Title: HEARTBEAT Chapter 16
AUTHOR: Mistress Ace
EMAIL: rosewood@inreach.com
FEEDBACK: It's the thing that keeps all writers going. Please let me know what you think......
DISCLAIMER: Don't own the characters at all. They belong to Joss Whedon et al. And the man is a genius, however there is always something that can be improved upon. This is my vision of how things could be. Please don't sue, I am like most people and have just a few things that I own, a computer, a car, a cat with delusions of person-hood (actually he owns me...)
RATING: NC-17 (You expected anything different from me?)
PAIRINGS: B/A/R/A(us) he is a very real part of this......
SPOILERS: The I in Team and Goodbye Iowa
SUMMARY: This story takes place in my universe, not Joss'. Adam is dead, Buffy and Riley have gone to L.A. to bring Angel back to Sunnydale...... The course of true love has all sorts of pitfalls, especially if it involves a vampire with a semi-split personality......
DISTRIBUTION: FINNactics, FINNSmut, Jen, it's yours......anyone else, just ask
EXPLANATION: Anything within ** denotes internal thought
DEDICATION: To my beta readers for pointing out there had to be so much more to this vampiric mated bond thingie. To Raine for keeping me at this thing and for all those wonderful people who have sent me such great feedback.

 
CHAPTER 16

Angel woke up alone in his darkened bedroom, only vaguely aware of the sweat-soaked sheets he was lying on. Every cell in his body ached, some parts of him worse than others. His head was pounding, his lips were chafed and sore.....

As for the rest of him, he was relatively certain such everyday activities such as walking or wearing clothes were going to produce excruciating agony. Not wanting to actually test that theory, he chose to lie quietly in the dark until someone decided he was needed.

Hopefully, that wouldn't happen for another week or two.....

The haze caused by the drug had finally faded. Riley had been right, it had taken days for it to clear his system, about three days give or take. Angel closed his eyes and said a little prayer of thankfulness for the young man's well-timed intervention in Adam's maze. Had it not been for such quick thinking, there was no telling what could have happened there.....

Especially considering what happened in his own home, in a safe environment. Given the inherent dangers of their imprisonment, Angel knew the outcome would not have been anywhere near as pleasant or satisfying. While he tried to work the knots out of his over-stressed thigh muscles, he replayed the memories now permanently etched in his mind. Even to someone of his jaded experience, it was astonishing how inventive the three of them had been.

He was certain every single stick of furniture in his apartment had been used at least once as a surface to hold a body. Buffy even devised a fascinating use for the shower curtain rod. The upside down position gave her the ability to actually deep-throat each of them to shuddering climaxes in rapid succession. It left both of them weak-kneed and proved once again she was still a first-class gymnast.

Angel stretched and stood, sore joints popping back into place with each languid movement. A little Tai Chi should loosen them right up, after he'd fed......

But he wasn't hungry, not even remotely hungry....

That was curious, he didn't remember stopping to feed during the last three days. And his demon was always hungry upon awakening........

Angel stopped in mid-stretch, he hadn't fed and the apartment was quiet. Much too quiet to still be occupied by two living humans...

*Oh dear God, please don't tell me...*

Panicked, he flipped on the bedside lamp, flooding the bedroom with a soft light. It was thankfully empty, the drained bodies of his lovers were not scattered about as mute evidence of his demon's insatiable appetite. He extended his senses to the rest of the apartment.

Humans always made noise of some sort, either the simple sound caused by the act of breathing, the steady throb of a heartbeat, the racing of blood through their veins. But his apartment was completely silent. The only sounds to be heard were those of his feet as he raced through the empty rooms, searching each one for his missing loved ones.

*Angel, calm down.... They're not here.* Angelus was finally awake, deeply amused by the frantic searching of his ensouled counterpart.

"Where are they?" Angel stopped his headlong rush at the base of the stairs, realizing it would probably not be wise to dash up to the office while still nude. Not that Cordelia hadn't already seen everything his body had to offer during her recent adventure in voyeurism, but it might shock Wesley......

He stalked back to his bedroom and started to dress, completely forgetting his earlier thoughts about the pain wearing clothing would bring to his abused frame.

*Not in the building..... The only one here is that pet watcher of yours. Hmm, cologne's a little different this morning but I can still smell him a mile away.* The demon listened for a long moment. *He's reading the newspaper in the front office.*

As he realized Angel's intentions, Angelus chuckled quietly. *Soul-boy, I would really suggest a shower before you go upstairs.... You reek of sex, every kind of sex....*

"Are they safe?" Angel took a deep breath and found he agreed whole-heartedly with Angelus' opinion. A shower was definitely in order before he checked in with his employee..... A long hot shower, fresh sheets, some incense burnt to clear the intoxicating aroma which permeated not just his skin, but the room as well......

Actually a full fumigation might be necessary to accomplish that task....

But before his own comfort, he needed to know Buffy and Riley were all right. That they hadn't been carted away in ambulances when his demon must have lost control.....

*Relax. I didn't take that much from them..... Just enough to keep the buzz going.* His demon stretched within him, purring to himself. *Angel, I know your memories of my time before the curse are faulty, but for me great sex is almost as satisfying as blood, especially when the two were combined.... You'll find I don't need that much blood to survive if I'm getting laid on a regular basis.*

Angel nodded as he stripped off the clothes he had just donned, his memories were a little faulty due to the curse. The gypsies were heavy on the guilt factor and light on remembered pleasures. "Any clue where they might be?"

He stepped into the bathroom, reattached the shower curtain with a small smile and turned on the taps.

Angelus stretched his senses, reaching for his mates through the blood-bond. They were easy to spot once Angel had calmed down enough for him to concentrate. *Breakfast..... about a block away. They're with Queen C...*

He snorted. *Buffy's getting a little peeved at her attitude.... Hope she decks that nosy bitch....*

"Cordy's giving her a hard time?" Angel tested the temperature, flipped the lever to start the shower and stepped into the scalding spray. He shivered in delight as the water heated his skin, the needle sharp spray loosening his muscles further while he carefully lathered his body with soap.

*Them.... She's giving them the third degree...... Why do you put up with that woman, Angel? She's trying to make our mates feel guilty for coming after us.* Angelus' temper was starting to rise as he felt Buffy's own fiery nature respond in kind. *Good girl. Now act like my mate and hit her.*

Angel laughed at his demon. "Buffy won't hit Cordy and you know it. She has much better weapons available to her..... Like that wonderfully sarcastic sense of humor. " He rinsed his hair, poured shampoo into his hands and applied it to his wet locks. It was a shame to wash away all the evidence of their lovemaking but it did feel good to be clean again. He hummed an Irish jig tune to himself as he rinsed the lather out of his hair, stopping when his demon chuckled.

"What's happening now?"

*The boy has stepped into the argument..... Hmm, he's piqued Queen C's interest, which is ticking our Slayer off even more.....* Angelus smirked in satisfaction. *Good boy, he shut that down pretty quick.....*

"Just out of curiosity, what did he do?" More shampoo, rinse, conditioner, rinse again.

*Kissed her....*

"Which one?" Water off, brisk toweling to get dry.

Angelus snorted again. *Buffy, of course.... Nice deep tongue action, hand up under her skirt, damn that boy is talented... Distracted both of them I would say.... Buff's ready to come back to our bed with him right now..... Might want to get those sheets changed, hmm?*

A little gel, quick comb through the hair and then a trip to the linen closet from fresh sheets. This was rapidly becoming the most civilized conversation he'd ever had with his demon. Angel could almost like him when he acted this way. "How about Cordy?"

*Embarrassed..... Berating them about being in public.....* The demon laughed in delight at Cordy's discomfort. He was tired of all the sniping comments she made over the last year about what she'd do if he were ever on the loose again. *Riley's caught her scent..... Yeah, she's awake and wanting.....*

Angel stripped the used sheets off the bed and efficiently replaced them. The hot shower had loosened the most of the kinks out of his muscles. He was feeling surprisingly good despite the abuse his body had been subjected to over the course of the past few days. "Buffy aware of it?"

*No, blissfully oblivious.....*

"Hmmm, that's a little unusual. She's usually pretty quick on the up-take where Cordy is concerned." Angel dropped the dirty sheets into the clothes hamper and hung up the clothes he grabbed earlier. He pulled on a pair of clean silk boxers before wandering into the kitchen.

The room was an absolute disaster. The table was on its side and the counter littered with Pizza boxes and Chinese takeout containers. When had they found time to eat? "You hungry, yet?"

*I could eat.... * Angelus was a little hungry, but much more interested in following the little drama being enacted by his lovers and Angel's annoying seer. *Don't blame our girl, she's still a bit distracted...*

Angel popped a blood-bag in the microwave, set the timer and started it before pulling down a mug. He absent-mindedly cleaned up the debris left by his lovers as he waited for the blood to heat. "How so?"

*Well, he stopped kissing her but hasn't removed his hand..... Cordy's gone to pay the bill....* Angelus chuckled softly, then laughed out loud. *Damn, girl's just like clockwork.... That's it, boy, one more stroke and.... over she goes.... Here, Angel, let me give you a real taste of a mated bond.*

Angel almost dropped the mug on the counter as Angelus shared the feelings coursing through their mates. He felt the sweep of Buffy's orgasm as she sat gasping in the diner booth, felt the tightening of her sex on Riley's fingers, felt the swell of Riley's cock under the table where her leg was pressed against him. What he felt through the bond in the past was nothing in comparison to this. "Christ.... Is that what it's like all the time, Angelus?"

*Only when they're close...... That's the reason why a mated pair can't survive without each other.... Once you've experienced this type of connection, it's impossible to live without it....* The demon's tone was no longer light-hearted. *Now do you understand why I can't leave her, can't leave either of them?*

"I'm sorry I even thought to keep you from her..... from them.... I just couldn't let you turn them." Angel was bemused by the easy truce they had struck upon awakening this morning. In the hundred years they coexisted in the same body, he never felt this connected to Angelus. If he could maintain this closeness, this communion with his demon, he just might be able to keep his promise and return home to Sunnydale with his.... no, with their mates.

Angel retrieved the bag from the microwave, opened it carefully and poured it into the mug. The blood eased the dryness in his throat and soothed his sore mouth. He felt Angelus' satisfaction as his vague hunger pangs eased. *I will keep my promise to you and to them, Angel. I won't turn them, even if they ask....*

Angel was amazed, he never expected his demon to act in anything but his usual selfish fashion. "But when they die, we'll die with them. Are you sure you're strong enough to face that?"

*Better to die with them, than without them...... They're young, Angel, they won't die for many years.......* He was winning the argument, he could tell Angel was about to give in. *Especially if we're there to protect them.* Although it went against his nature to make deals with the soul, Angelus would keep his promise. If it meant he could be with his chosen mates, he would do anything.

Knowing instinctively it was time to finally trust his demon, Angel sighed deeply. "All right, we'll go home with them..." He felt Angelus' joy, the dancing in his undead heart as the demon whirled round and round within him. "But if you ever try to go back on that promise....."

*I know, I know, sunrise city...... Angel, Angel we have to plan, we have to pack......* Angelus stopped suddenly in his dervish dance, sobered by a single thought.

*We have to talk with them.*

"About what?" Angel remembered the empty mug in his hand, washed it, rinsed it and put it back into the cupboard. He also rinsed the empty blood-bag before placing it in the trashcan and then up-righted the kitchen table from where it had been knocked over. Distracted by his conversation with Angelus, he failed to notice the absence of his letters.

*We have to do a formal bonding..... All of us have to accept the bond to complete the mating....* Angelus' tone was once again very serious.

"That will bind their lives to us, won't it? It means our death would kill them. You know I won't put them in that kind of danger..." Angel stopped his unconscious puttering around the apartment and dropped the pillow he just picked up off the living room floor.

Bonded mates always died within days of one another, Angel knew that much from his research and his memories. It was one of the reasons he had been so appalled when he realized Angelus marked Buffy as his mate.......

And now his demon was insisting on tying both of those bright children's' existence to theirs? There was no way he would allow such a thing. He lived a perilous existence, he couldn't have their lives to be put on the line every time he went on a case or out on patrol.

*They are still human, Angel and there are two of them. If we die, they will have each other.... They will complete the span of their mortal lives.* Angelus was not surprised by Angel's ignorance of certain aspects of the mated bond. He had always been close-mouthed to his ensouled counterpart about most demonic information. It went against his grain to share his knowledge because Angel used it to kill their own kind.

Not that most of them didn't richly deserve it, if judged by human standards. But still it bothered him......

And besides, theirs was a highly unusual case. Humans were usually turned before mortality became an issue and a mated triumvirate was almost unheard of in vampiric society.

Angel felt a rush of relief for an instant, he knew quite a bit about the mating process but apparently not everything. It was good his death would not kill either of them..... But a small selfish concern began in the back of his mind and it had to be voiced. "What if one of them dies? What will happen to us?"

*We will stay with the one that remains. We'll always mourn the one we've lost but as long as one lives, we will live.* Angelus could feel his mates approaching from down the street, it was time to hurry up this conversation so they could be ready for their return. *You liked the feeling I just shared with you, didn't you?*

"Yes." Simple, direct, to the point and the absolute truth.

*Once all of us formally accept the bonding, you should be able to feel them without much help from me. They'll feel it too.* They were entering the building. He could hear Buffy's light tread, followed by Cordelia's heels and finally Riley's sure step.

*It'll help us keep them safe, Angel. We'll all know exactly where the others are at all times..... Imagine what a fighting unit we could be.*

That advantage had already occurred to Angel. He and Buffy had always moved in almost perfect concert with one another but the thought of improving that skill was very tempting. The only thing keeping him from exploring the concept further was the excitement humming through his body as they drew ever closer to him.

There were footsteps running down the stairs, two rapid heartbeats moving in unison, then a pause. Angelus felt the joining of his lover's mouths, the quick exhale of breath as Riley hoisted her little body over his shoulder and continued down the stairs toward him.

"They're here..... We'll talk to them, Angelus.... later."

Angel laughed in absolute delight at the sight of Riley barreling down the stairs with Buffy slung over his shoulder in a fireman's carry. The young man was pulling his shirt out of his belt as he hit the last step and Buffy was helping. Riley shot Angel a huge grin.

"Good to see you're finally up. I'm sorry we weren't here when you woke but we were both starving and you don't have a lot of food here." Riley set Buffy on the couch and pulled Angel into his arms for a long kiss.

He raised one eyebrow at the vampire, his voice an appreciative drawl. "Yeah, really good to see that you're up......" His fingers lightly stroked the outline of Angel's erection through the silk of his boxers before he cupped him with a sure hand. Angel moaned, grabbed the back of Riley's head and crushed their mouths together.

Buffy giggled at both of them, drawing their attention to her. "So, where was it you figured we hadn't tried yet, Riley?" She rose from the couch, stripped off her white tank top and short skirt before ambling toward the elevator cage. "The elevator, right?"

"Yeah, that was it...." Riley released him, pulled his shirt over his head as he followed the sway of Buffy's now nude hips. He stopped and looked over his shoulder at the gaping vampire. "C'mon Angel......"

*Yeah, c'mon soul-boy. It's not polite to keep them waiting.*

Angel shook his head, chuckling as he stripped off his boxers and followed. "I'm coming, I'm coming."

Buffy giggled again. "Not yet, but you will be soon."

*******

"God, I don't believe it!" Cordy's irritated voice rang out through the confines of Angel's office. Wesley looked up from the newspaper he was studying, there was some valuable information listed in there about one of their cases. He blinked as he realized she wasn't in the same room with him.

"What's the matter, darling?" He folded the paper and followed the sound of her voice into the inner office.

"They're at it again! Don't they know it's..... 11:00 in the morning..... It's time for work, Angel, not play!" She stuck her head down the elevator shaft and froze in place. The noises drifting up from the basement were enough to make Wesley chuckle despite his co-worker's discomfort. She was right, they were `at it again'......

Cordy was turning redder by the second, from the sound of it, the trio were actually in the elevator itself. "I just can't deal with this, Wes..... Do you have any idea what they were doing in the diner? I'll never be able to show my face in there again..... And they had the best chef's salad." She stepped away from the opening to the basement and stalked back into her office, Wesley followed.

"What if I get a vision, Wes? Do you think he'll be able to stop long enough to help save someone?"

"It's just the honeymoon period, Cordelia. It should calm down soon." He gathered her stiff form in his arms and felt her relax against him as he kissed the top of her head. "Can't really blame Angel... Think how long he went without.... Hmmm?"

"Yeah, I guess so. But do they have to be so noisy?" She raised her head from his shoulder to receive tender kisses on her forehead, her cheeks and finally her mouth. Wesley held her there for a few blissful seconds then slowly released her. While she stood with her eyes closed, he opened her desk drawer, retrieved her purse and set it on the desktop.

"Dearest, why don't you take part of the day off and go shopping?.. I'll hold down the fort." Buffy's long, loud cry of pleasure came through the inner office door. He gave her a rueful smile as she picked up her purse. "Someone has to stay and answer the phones....... and perhaps explain to the police once again that no one is actually being murdered in the basement."

Cody laughed at his comment, gave him a quick kiss. "I'll be back in, say three hours?.... That should give them enough time to get it out of their systems..... If not, join me for dinner tonight.... My place?"

"Certainly.... I look forward to it." Another kiss and she was gone. Wesley picked up the newspaper, stifled a laugh at the sound of Riley begging Angel to stop teasing him and get down to business, then continued to read.

********

Buffy's voice was slightly muffled as she spoke against Riley's shoulder. "Okay guys, oxygen's becoming an issue here." Both men laughed heartily before starting the process of untangling their limbs and allowing her to rise from depths of the couch. They had started in the elevator, but found it to be too cramped for their usual acrobatics, so they moved to the living room and finished on the couch.

Angel kissed Riley's shoulder as he carefully withdrew from his now slick passage, running his hands tenderly down the young man's back. His caress was acknowledged by a deep sigh of contentment before Riley rolled to one side, swung his legs onto the floor and sat up slowly. He winced a little as he straightened, waving Angel away before he started to hover over him. "I'm okay, Angel..... Just a little tender in few places, that's all."

"I'm so sorry...." And Angel was, he never meant to cause either of them even the slightest discomfort. But his demon was being his usual contrary self and hooked him into the mated bond the instant his flesh connected with theirs. The feeling of being so intimately conjoined with his lovers was too strong to ignore, it was better than the drug he ingested through their blood three days earlier. The link was beyond addictive, he wanted more and more and more......

He experienced Buffy's orgasms right along with her, he felt the exquisite pain of being penetrated by his own hard cock as he slid into Riley. But despite that pain, he had been unable to keep himself from sinking deeper into the young man's body. His demon whispered to him about the delights to be found by immersing all of them in this intoxicating delirium until they all faded to dust and Angel was so much more than tempted.

"Don't be.... I enjoyed the hell out of it...... But we should probably should take a break for awhile and regroup." Riley kissed Buffy then helped extricate her from the couch.

She gave each of them a blissful look, stretching as she rose to her feet. The admiration mirrored on both of her lover's faces made her preen a little. They loved her, both of her men loved her and they were all going to go back to Sunnydale together. *Ooh yeah, mission accomplished.*

Even though she was the Slayer and had super-human recuperative powers, she was a little tender too. It wasn't like she'd had a lot of practice where sex was concerned before the last week..... *Well, not on this kinda scale anyway.*... .... But she knew she was going to get a whole lot more.....

"Hmm, if it's any consolation, Riley, certain parts of me are sore too......" Both of them responded instantly, matching looks of concern mirrored on their faces. Riley stroked her arm as Angel reached out to touch her hip in a reverent caress.

"Sweetheart, if you're sore I could...." Angel about to offer his services in rubbing the kinks out of her sore muscles. If she felt anything close to how he'd been when he woke earlier, a deep massage would really help.

He raised a dark eyebrow as he caught the mischievous gleam in her eye. Surely she couldn't be ready for another round? If she was, then Riley was right, it would take both of them to keep her satisfied..... Not that he really minded.

She giggled, catching the surge of desire in his gaze and was well pleased by it. "No, Angel. I don't need you to kiss it and make it better. Thanks for the almost offer and I will take you up on it later. But Riley's right, we do need to talk..... After a shower." Buffy ambled off in the direction of the bathroom, stopped at the door and looked over her shoulder. "Anyone want to scrub my back?"

With that question, she once again took control of their trinity, causing her partners no end of amusement. The two men shared a smile and a knowing glance between themselves. They followed her into the bathroom, arms slung around each other's shoulders as they basked in their good fortune.

*******

"Hey, Angel? Whose popcorn is this?" Buffy held up a box of microwave popcorn as they raided the kitchen for snacks. The vampire who was clad only in a pair of black silk boxers and matching robe looked down from his perusal of the upper cupboards. He could have sworn there were still some canned goods left in there from the last time Cordelia insisted on shopping for groceries. He smiled at her nostalgic expression as he too remembered all the times the Scooby Gang settled down to a long night of videos and big bowls of microwave popcorn.

"It's Wes'. But I don't think he'd mind as long as we replace it."

"Buff, put it back..... We've been eating junk for the last three days, it's time you had decent food...." Riley was at the stove, stirring a saucepan full of soup.

While the others were searching the cupboards, he located a container of homemade soup tucked behind Angel's supply of blood as well a head of lettuce and some not too old tomatoes. The salad was basically ready and once the soup was warm, they could sit down to share a nice hot meal. "And no, the cup of coffee and toast you had in the diner does not constitute food."

He commandeered the microwave to warm a mug of blood for Angel so he could join them at dinner. After pulling out the blood-bag from the refrigerator, he caught the disappointed look on both Buffy and Angel's faces. The childlike sadness in their expressions softened his resolve and he relented. "Okay, but only after you eat dinner."

"Yes, mom...." Buffy giggled, not noticing the change that came over Riley's handsome features. He silently handed the spoon to Angel, who moved over to man the saucepan, his brown eyes alight with curiosity. Riley stalked his little blonde girl until her back was up against the fridge. Buffy started to laugh until he placed his large hands on her hips and pressed his entire body to hers before speaking.

His tone was conversational, although a thread of fire ran underneath its deceptive surface. "Tell me, Buffy.... Do I look like your mom?"

*What a strange thing to say.* Now she did giggle, her head tilted back so she could look him in the eye. "No."

Riley took her little hand and placed it on his stirring cock. "Do I feel like your mom?"

"God, I hope not. Otherwise my birth would have been all over the National Enquirer." Angel laughed out loud. Riley shot him at look which clearly stated, you're not helping me out here, buddy. The vampire stirred the soup, still chuckling.

Riley bent his knees, bringing his face down to hers. He moved one hand to tangle in her hair and covered her mouth with his. Angel emitted a small moan, the soup forgotten as he watched their love play. After a long, leisurely kiss, Riley drew back, casually reaching past her to hit the start button on the microwave. He gazed down at her flushed face. "Do I kiss like your mom?"

Buffy could only pant and shake her head. Forget dinner, she wanted Riley, naked on the kitchen floor..... again.

"Good. I'm not your mother, I'm your lover..... Don't forget that....." Riley shot a look over at Angel; the naked desire of the vampire's face enough to make his knees go weak. He'd already been with him, been with her, been with both of them in every conceivable position..... and he still craved more. However, he needed to get this point across to both of them. "That goes for you too, Angel."

A dark shadow extinguished the fire of desire within those deep chocolate eyes. "Trust me, Riley.... I would never mistake you for my mother..." Angel removed the bubbling soup from the burner and turned the stove off. His voice was almost a whisper, full of long-remembered pain. "You taste completely different....."

Riley swallowed, his heart going out to him. He knew the history of his family's death, Buffy filled him in on the way down from Sunnydale. "Oh God...... I'm sorry Angel. I didn't mean to hash up old memories.... Just wanted to make a point to both of you."

"And what exactly were you trying to get across?" Buffy frowned at Riley then slipped away from him to hug Angel tightly. He responded by enveloping her in his arms, closing his eyes to shut out the memory of Angelus' ruthless destruction of his mortal family. She murmured soft words of comfort as Angel stood with his head resting on the top of hers.

After a moment of this quiet communion, the vampire opened his eyes. He took in the stricken look on Riley's face and gestured for him to join in their embrace. Riley stepped in gratefully, kissing Angel very tenderly before whispering another apology in his ear.

"Sorry, Angel.... so sorry....." He leaned his forehead against Angel's, stroking his back before turning slightly to look down at Buffy's face. "The point was, Buff, you obey your mother because you have to..... You obey your lover because you want to....."

They were interrupted by the microwave's bell as it brought them back to the everyday necessity of eating. But the sudden tension between them was not entirely dispelled by the prospect of food. Buffy bit her lip and sighed before giving each of her loves a quick kiss and sliding out of their embrace. She stood on tiptoes to reach the bowls in the cupboard, they were on a shelf high above her head.

Riley tried to move out of Angel's arms to help her with the task, but he was stopped abruptly by a bruising kiss from the vampire. He gasped when his back slammed against the refrigerator. That familiar cool tongue took advantage of his surprise and invaded his open mouth.

They dueled with one another for a long moment, each one enjoying the contest. Then Angel lifted his mouth from Riley's, whispering in a quiet, dangerous tone. "So, are you my lover, Riley?"

"Of course I am, Angel." He was a little confused by the sudden intensity in his lover's dark eyes...... Oh God, those were his other lover's eyes.

The deep voice repeated itself, soft, silky and laced with cold steel. "Are you my lover, Riley Finn?"

Riley swallowed nervously, his reply was softer, more subservient. "Yes, Master Angelus...... I am your lover."

Recognizing the demon's voice, Buffy turned to watch them carefully. She was ready to intervene if Angelus became too rough with him. While she observed, Riley gave a soft moan then tilted his head back, baring his throat as his body silently acknowledged the vampire's dominance.

"Good boy." Angelus licked the healing scar on the young man's skin, marked him with his scent. "And as you so charmingly pointed out, before soul-boy took the fast train to Broodsville...... As my lover, you will obey me. Yes?"

"Yes....." He leaned into the contact, his hands stroking Angelus' smooth, cool skin. "I will do anything you want."

"Anything?" His fangs were scraping the tender skin, tasting the subtle thread of fear was now laced through Riley's blood. Angelus savored its presence, after all fear was an aphrodisiac to a vampire. Especially when that delightful emotion was combined with the strong scent of human arousal. The boy wanted him, again. *I know you want me, beautiful child. But will you accept me fully? Will you allow me to control your fate? I have taken you to mate but will you take me, I wonder.....*

Buffy moved a little closer, hands poised to strike if need be..... The relationship with Angelus was too new for her to give him her complete faith. She loved him but she sure as hell didn't trust him.

Riley took a deep breath and moved closer, deliberately piercing his skin with Angelus' fangs as he whispered. "Anything."

Infinitely pleased by his submission, Angelus let out a purr of approval. He brought his mouth fully in contact with the small wound, not driving his fangs in any further, just running his tongue across the damaged skin to catch every precious drop. One single word kept repeating within him. *Mine.....Mine....Mine...*

"Ahem." They both turned as one unit, startled by the sound of another voice even though neither had forgotten her presence. She stood with her arms crossed, eyebrows raised and tapping one foot. Her body language showed nothing but disapproval of their actions but Angelus knew better.

The delicate musk of her arousal filled the room, for him it almost drowned out the smell of warm food.... "Boys, dinner is served..... Come get it while it's hot."

A final thought passed through the demon's mind as he relinquished control back to Angel. *Do we have to eat food, little girl?..... I would much rather have your wet little sex.*

Angel chuckled silently, amused by his counterpart's one-track mind where his human mates were concerned. He was relieved that the unplanned intervention by Angelus had diffused the miasma of anguish he dredged up in response to Riley's attempt at flirtatious banter. The issue of his family's death was something that belonged to he and his demon alone.

But how like Angelus to bring up his own agenda......

He joined his lovers at the table, slowly sipping his dinner as they ate their meal.

********