Spoilers: takes place somewhen after AtS 5x14, "Smile Time" A/N: Written for Doyle who made me see the validity of the Angel/Nina pairing
“So...you wanna go get a latté or something?” Angel said as he and Nina were heading back to his car from dinner.
She tightened her shawl around her shoulders and thought about it, listened to their footsteps echo off the garage walls instead of answering.
“Or I could just take you home,” he said to the Alfa Romeo Spider door as he opened it for her.
Nina slid into the seat, looked up at him with the Lauren Bacall face she had practiced all afternoon, and said, “Don’t you have coffee up at your place?”
Angel hesitated, smiled, and said, “Yeah, I have coffee. I can do coffee.” * * *
They had ridden back to Wolfram & Hart with the top down so Nina didn’t mind that Angel ran his hand through her hair when he pushed her against the back of the penthouse elevator.
“Hey,” he said as he hesitated, eyes flickering down to her face. “This okay?”
And Nina replied, “Hey, what are you doing way over there?” She leaned up and in until there was nothing but a cool Merlot taste in her mouth as the elevator flew further than she ever thought possible. Made her lightheaded, the pace of it. There is a race between the elevator and the bluebird, she remembered. And the bluebird always wins.
Coffee forgotten, postponed an hour or maybe until morning, they managed to navigate from entryway to couch to bed in a blurry cartography that she could only repeat through her tongue, his hands.
“Please,” Angel said as he sucked one nipple and then the other. “Please, if you wanna stop, go slow, we can.”
Nina raised her head slightly, one hand reaching back to the headboard, “God, Angel, if you stop now, I’ll hit you. I swear.”
He grinned. Or at least, she could feel him grinning since he had half his face buried in her tits. “Can’t have that now, can we?”
And her other hand flew back to the headboard when his hands spread her legs wide and his face slithered completely from view. His eyes, the last thing she saw...
Later, “Hey, you don’t have to...” Angel’s voice trailed off as she batted his hands away and she dipped her head to blow him. She would have said, ‘Let me. I want to.’ but she was nothing but mouth and full and her hands gripped his ass hard as she buried herself as far as she could without choking.
“Nina,” he said. “Nina.” His voice, her name, vibrated in her mouth.
She only lifted herself away completely once. “Talk to me. Talk to me, baby,” she said. “Come on...”
“Nina,” he breathed as her head descended once more, “Oh, fuck, you have no idea...” * * *
Afterwards, she glided up to his offered arm. “Mmmm,” she said, “I’ll take this over coffee anytime.”
“Do you still want some? I could make us a pot.” He leaned over and grazed his lips over hers. “It won’t take but a few minutes. Promise.” And with that he got out of bed, headed straight for the door without so much as looking for his boxers...
When he came back with two plain black mugs he said as he sidled back into bed, “Do you wanna watch a movie? I’ve got a DVD player in here.”
She took a sip. Not bad but a little strong, she thought. “Actually, I’d like to see some of your drawings.”
Angel’s expression flurried from one to another before she could interpret one. “Okay.” He looked away. “I don’t know,” he said.
Nina reached one arm over, “Aw, come on. Are they really that bad?” She didn’t think they would be. Not with centuries to perfect his technique. This was something that they should have in common.
“No,” he said, still looking away. He got up and gazed out the window. The polaroid effect of the blinds, light and shadow, delineated him, lent contour. Charcoal, she thought, I should draw him in charcoal. “No,” he repeated. “They’re that personal.”
“Oh,” she said. Simply, “Oh.” She was watercolor, matte paper, slowly seeping, brush lingering.
But maybe he heard that ‘oh’ and possibly all it entailed. So she heard him say, “Okay. What the hell?” He turned back to the bed. “It’s just...You’ll see.”
So he put his coffee down on the nightstand and disappeared into the walk-in closet. He returned with a black portfolio. Big enough to hold some 11x14's but nothing else.
“Let’s go through it together,” he said as he sank back down on the bed. He undid the ties but let her take out the loose pictures inside. “They’re all pencil,” he said. “I don’t have time for much else. Mostly just life studies. Mostly from memory.”
She carefully examined each one. Some were hurried, frenetic, contained the sloppy mistakes that only a frustrated marathon could produce. Lines disappeared, didn’t follow anything. These were of a young woman, a gleam in her eye. Mostly, the eyes were cold, flat. But this one, the same woman, belly swollen...this one was good.
“Darla,” Angel said, arranging the viewed portraits into a neat pile on the duvet. “My sire.”
There were some of a baby. Some of these were frenetic too, but the shading took the tone of joy, vitality. Here a curve, a dimple. Here an emptiness that relayed an explosion of light.
When she turned to him for an explanation, Angel simply reached back for his coffee on the nightstand. Several minutes went by, punctuated only by his slow, even sips. So she continued.
There were more of another young woman: long hair, smile broad. There was hope in the curve, in the contour. Nina followed the slight downturn of the eyes. “This...this is your friend in Rome, isn’t it?”
Angel looked at her, finally reached over and squeezed one hand. “Yeah, that’s Buffy. Like I said, mostly memory sketches.”
And then she saw someone she knew, had seen in the halls, all smart-ass swagger. Angel had done a good job rendering the flow of the duster. The one that only showed Spike’s back reflected light, movement, quite masterfully. But most of the sketches were nudes. Some obviously posed. But the nudes were all of long, darker hair, perhaps, a darker time.
“I really should tell you more about my past,” Angel said quietly beside her taking the sheets and sorting them in a new pile. “There’s just some stuff that’s kinda awkward to bring up on a date. Most of my life doesn’t make good dinner conversation.”
She wanted to tell him that she understood, that she had a past too, that urges and desires were human as well as demon. And the two of them here in this bed had a little of both.
But then one sketch caught her eye. Three quarter profile of Spike, elbows resting on his knees. A half-smoked cigarette dangling from his fingers. And the tilt of his head, the sidelong glance back at the artist...light in sections, filtered as through blinds...
So looking at this one she knew. All she had to do was follow the line of the shoulder, the curve of the back. She knew...
“I never mean for it to happen,” he whispered. “Each time, I never mean for it to...”
She couldn’t let go of the paper; she couldn’t look back at him. “Hey, Angel, it’s okay,” she said. What could she say? “We just started seeing each other. We’ve never had this discussion.”
“Are we having it now?” he said, his hand on her shoulder.
She finally looked back at him, “Yeah, maybe we should.”
He sipped his coffee, never looking away from her. He took his hand off her shoulder and placed it over her right hand. “It’s just sex.” He looked away then. “I mean with him, not with you. It’s a demon thing.” He got up off the bed then, went over to the window. “I don’t even like him.” He shook his head and muttered, “God, he pisses me off.”
Angel turned to face her, “Look, Nina, this isn’t coming out right.” He stopped, put his coffee down on the nightstand and sat back on the edge of the bed. He looked down at his hands and whispered, “I’m kind of an asshole. Now you know.”
Nina looked back at the drawing, its deceptive simplicity. Saw the truth there that Angel couldn’t bring himself to say, that maybe he didn’t know. But he knew it here, in the flat pencil strokes, chin and cheekbone.
So she said, “I’d like to draw him sometime if that’s okay.”
Angel slowly looked at her, incredulous, “I guess that’s only fair. I’ll see what I can arrange.” His mouth settled back down into a thin line of acceptance.
“What I mean, Angel, is with you there. Maybe we could do some quick studies together. Or maybe I could draw the two of you. Who knows?”
And he looked at her with real wonder then. His large hand tentatively cupping her face. “You’re really something, you know that?” He leaned in and hugged her, “You’re really something else.”
Yes, she really was something else. She would always be something else. She would always have that rage and hunger inside her, the call of moon and pack, of heart and claw. God, she didn’t have names for any of it, really. Didn’t have the words to tell him. So she kissed him to let him know it was alright. That in this demon heart of hers, there might be room for one more.