RATales Archive


by Pic

Title: "An Understanding" (1/2)
Author: Pic
Feedback/email: Feedback welcome (rogoblue@earthlink.net)
Rating: NC-17
Category: Alex Krycek/other (het)
Spoilers: A few for DeadAlive.
Summary: Set just after the events of DeadAlive; Alex is adjusting to life on the inside looking out.
Disclaimer: Recognizable characters aren't mine.
Comment: Something about DeadAlive reminded me of a story I'd barely begun months ago. Then Alex wouldn't shut up. This is Alex like I've not written him before. Thanks to Sue for assuring me that I hadn't been overcome by paint fumes. And, as always, thanks to Missy for going over this generally and specifically - someone has to stamp out passive voice and keep me honest regarding the motivation/history/voice of the original character.

Alex Krycek's eyes were closed. He was leaning back in an expensive leather chair with his feet up on his ten foot long cherry wood desk, jacket off, tie undone, dress shirt and suit pants rumpled. He now had the position he'd desired for longer than he could remember yet he found his mind drifting into an odd bout of nostalgia for the days when his only responsibility was to himself and his only goals were to stay alive and put a few more gray hairs on the Smoker's head.

Now, he had so many commitments that he was forced to amuse himself by dressing down and slumming with his favorite FBI personnel. It had taken him almost an hour to find his palm pilot in the disarray of an office move, but he really hadn't wanted to disappoint Skinner. The image of the AD lunging for the device brought a smile to Alex's face. That alone had been worth the effort.

"Mr. Krycek?"

Sighing wearily, he returned his feet to the floor and opened his eyes to regard the assistant that Marita had insisted on hiring for him. What the hell is her name again?

"Your schedule didn't allow for lunch." She held up the pizza boxes she carried by way of further explanation.

Two? Why are she and Marita trying to fatten me up? An image of Marita Covarrubias as the wicked witch to his Hansel flashed into his mind. Funny, yet disturbing. Although mildly curious about who would get the plum role of Gretel, Alex shook his head and noted the falling darkness outside of the tinted windows.

"Do you have dinner plans, sir? There were none on your calendar."

His assistant's increasing nervousness, inspired no doubt by his silence, appealed to Alex in a perverse way. He hadn't had a very good day and the urge to take it out on someone else was tempting. Tempting, petty and ultimately unsatisfying. Better to expend some energy as he and Marita had with a screaming fight earlier that afternoon.

"Do you want it on your desk or the table?"

Krycek reacted sharply, and his assistant involuntarily stepped back, gesturing with the pizza boxes.

The food, you idiot, not her. She isn't Marita even though they dress exactly the same. The moment the thought crossed his mind, Alex amended it. Not exactly at all. For one thing, Marita confined her wardrobe to perfectly tailored power suits these days. This woman added a bit more color and her accessories were more ... eclectic. Still, the similarities between the two women were striking, although his assistant was a bit younger, mid to late twenties, he guessed. She was also a blonde, more natural than Marita from the look of things. Clear blue eyes regarded him from a lean 5'7" frame. Marita ate lettuce; this one worked out. Alex was sure of that even with little in the way of what Scully would call physical evidence.

"Mr. Krycek? Are you all right?"

Finally, he met her eyes, and for the first time considered how she might be of use beyond making sure he ate, maintaining his calendar and managing his "legitimate" correspondence. Alex wanted to know what Marita's game was. Whether she was playing one wasn't an issue. She always was working one angle or another. The possibility that this woman might actually know or have some useful information prompted his quiet question. "What is your name?"

"Angelica Thorpe."

With the certainty of one accustomed to manipulation, he pounced on her small sigh of relief and mild irritation, self-deprecation flowing from his lips. "Sorry, it's been a long week, Ms. Thorpe."

Relaxing fractionally at the mention of how long she'd been in his employ, Angelica placed the boxes on the small conference table. A slight smile graced her face as she asked, "Are you hungry?"

He nodded, realizing only after she'd posed the question that he could smell the food and that his mouth was already watering. Necessities had never deterred him from his goals, however. "You don't expect me to eat all that by myself, do you?"

Picking up the slight tease in his tone, she blushed and lowered her eyes, running her hand along the edge of the table. "I didn't know what you'd like."

"I like answers to my questions."

Alex fought back a predatory smile. She hadn't heard him approach and emitted a soft startled squeak when she looked up and he was standing across the table from her. He raised an inquisitive eyebrow and waited.

"You ... you don't have to finish them both."

A chuckle seemed to surprise her. Now, the disarming smile, Alex. C'mon, you remember how. The softening of her countenance convinced him that his memory hadn't failed him and indicated that it was time to make the next move-and not so incidentally get rid of his tie. "I was trying to ask if you'd join me, Ms. Thorpe. But I know it's Friday night, so feel free to say no."

Tossing his neckwear aside, he neither missed nor called attention to the slight blush that colored her cheeks. "They smell good, and I have some time before I have to meet my friends, Mr.-"

"Alex, please." He thought of all the things Marita had called him that afternoon and smiled. "It's a happy medium between Mr. Krycek and 'you fucking asshole,' don't you think? Appropriate for the weekend?"

"Ms. Covarrubias was a bit...upset."

He approved of her careful tone and choice of words. The reference to people who might or might not be waiting for her put him on notice in a different ways, signaling that dealing with her wasn't going to be as straightforward as he'd first thought. He was both annoyed and intrigued.

With a shrug, he redirected his attention to the matter at hand. "That's putting it mildly," Alex muttered, moving across the room to the small bar he'd insisted upon. "Have a seat. I think I've got a bottle of Chianti in here." As he looked through his stock, Alex considered what, other than somewhat rusty charm and excellent alcohol, might get Angelica talking. "Marita can be moody, particularly when she's wrong about something." Coming upon a reserve of the correct grape from a fine vineyard, Alex allowed himself a kinder thought of Marita. The woman was strung tighter than piano wire but she knew her wine.

He kept his back to his guest as he removed the cork, demonstrating his complete ease in her presence. "And she was wrong today in a big way. Made a spectacle of herself at a critical meeting with some of our partners. I tried to tell her what would and what wouldn't go over well with that audience, but you know how some people are. Too stubborn to hear anything that doesn't jibe with their world view."

Balancing the bottle and two glasses in one hand, Alex turned back to the table, gauging how his calculated talkativeness had gone over. His assistant looked uncomfortable and Alex instantly recognized his own miscalculation. Marita had hired her, after all. "Damn. Look, Angelica, forget that diatribe. I shouldn't bore you with my problems with Marita." After resting the bottle on the table, he placed a glass in front of each of them. "Is it all right if I call you, Angelica, by the way?"

She made a face and rearranged the pizza boxes on the table.

"Ok. Ms. Thorpe it is."

"No, Mr. ... um ... Alex. It's not that. I ... well, I prefer Angel, that's all."

The situation suddenly struck him as funny and he turned the details over in his mind as he poured them each some wine. Alex Krycek, a personification of the devil according to some, having pizza with an Angel. With some effort, he restrained himself; laughing at this juncture wouldn't get him where he needed to go. "Angel," he murmured, trying the name out aloud. "Isn't that a tough image to live up to?"

"Not really, when you remember that some angels are fallen." A slow smile stole across her face.

"The devil himself, in fact," he observed, more engaged than he'd been in a long time.

She shrugged. "So the story goes."

Something in her tone was slightly off. "Are you trying to tell me something, Angel?"

Picking up a plate, she ignored his question. "Do you want spinach and feta or smoked salmon and montrachet?"

Catching her eye and grinning at her attempt to change the subject and the upscale topping choices, he said, "I'll take the one that's bad for me."

Alex could see that she was trying to figure out how many questions he'd just answered as she piled his plate with slices of the rich, decadent smoked salmon variety. Wordlessly, she offered it to him, but her eyes spoke eloquently. They showed her curiosity, made an appraisal and issued a challenge, but he wasn't sure exactly what she was curious about, what she'd assessed or the precise nature of her challenge.

Alex didn't like, appreciate or trust what he didn't understand. Selecting somewhere to start, he wondered if her pizza selections matched her taste or constituted an effort to anticipate his. A dead- on effort. After his incarceration in Tunisia, Alex had promised himself nothing less than the best that his expanding resources could provide.

Warily, he watched as she took a single piece from the same pie, put it on her own plate and closed the box. Picking up his wine glass, he waited until she followed his lead. Her open, slightly amused expression, led him to amend what he'd been about to say.

"To fallen angels," he offered, touching his glass to hers.

"To the devil himself," she added.

They stared at each other while they sipped the Chianti in a silence suddenly brimming with a plethora of tensions. Alex spoke first. "I can't recall drinking to the devil before. You're a bad influence, Angel."

She giggled. She actually giggled. Alex wracked his brain to recall the last time anyone had giggled within his hearing, let alone at something he'd said. Disturbed by the elusiveness of that particular memory, he dismissed the issue and asked, "You think that's funny?"

Popping a piece of salmon into her mouth, Angel washed it down with some wine, smirking all the while. "I do." His patient wait for elucidation was rewarded in an odd way. "You and Marita fight a lot, Alex."

While her words did nothing to solve the mysteries she presented, Angelica's actions reminded him of the food in front of him and Alex began to eat. Her thoughtful look in his direction called his attention to the way he was eating - with the methodical efficiency of one familiar with real hunger. Making a mental note to try even harder to break the habit, he forced himself to slow down and to keep the two of them on his chosen topic. "Do you think it's appropriate to listen in on private conversations?" With a moderately dramatic sigh, he added, "That's not a trait that my mother ever attributed to angels."

Obviously unimpressed, she gestured with her wine glass to emphasize her point. "If you want to have a private conversation, don't do it at that volume."

"That's your excuse, then?"

"That's my advice, Alex."

"Do I pay you for that?" he muttered irritably.

"On rare occasions, you get more than you pay for."

Reassessment was an ongoing, unconscious process for him and Alex was arriving at some very uncomfortable conclusions about this woman that Marita had selected. "Make that extremely rare, and I might agree with you." Her impudent smile in response wasn't sufficient to derail his curiosity even though he did continue with greater caution. In between bites of dinner, he casually inquired, "What does my relationship with Marita have to do with anything?"

"According to her, you're the archetypical bad boy."

Again with the oblique reply. Draining his glass in frustration, he growled, "That's a pretty big word, little girl."

She punctuated a shrug with an observation. "But you aren't, even though you react like one sometimes."

Eyes narrowing, he poured more for both of them. "How so?"

Angel giggled once more. "Now he's back in control. That's a dead give away, you know."

"What's that supposed to mean?" He asked himself when his voice had last held that edge of defensiveness as he watched her attack her pizza crust with enthusiasm. Definitely a gym rat, this woman. Not afraid to eat.

"Nothing mysterious, Alex," she assured him. "We're talking simple basic facts. Tall, dark, handsome and more than a little bit dangerous. Will bite, when backed into a corner." She paused for a bite of pizza, perhaps for emphasis and perhaps to consider her next volley. "But you do this controlled discipline thing, though. The veneer of bad boy impulsiveness is there to fool anyone who doesn't look closely enough."

Concentrating hard on not letting his mouth drop open in shock, Alex breathed, "Marita said that?"

"Not exactly." Grinning at his discomfort, she leaned forward and confided, "She got stuck on the biting part. I think she has an oral fixation."

Alex latched on to the information about Marita, remembering how rough she liked her sex. As painful as those memories were, they were better than wondering how Angel had seen what very few others had appreciated. Those he'd successfully snowed were numerous, not the least of whom were the FBI agents with whom he still occasionally interacted. Even the new guy-Doggett or whatever his name was-accepted what he was given at a very superficial level.

"She's got a major thing for you."

Pizza halfway up to his mouth, Alex grunted, "Huh?"

"Marita," Angel murmured, diving into the second pizza box to get a piece of the vegetarian variety. "To borrow a useful, but anatomically incorrect expression, she's got ..." Giggles erupted again, and Alex noted that the wine seemed to loosen Angel up nicely even though some of her observations were uncannily accurate and decidedly disconcerting. "She has a hard on for you that won't quit."

That was information in which Alex had no interest, but he could see that Angel expected some reaction. "Give me a break, Angel. She's banging a stockbroker. William Something Something IV. Old Boston blueblood."

"That's right," she agreed amiably. Too amiably in Alex's view.

Not unexpectedly, Angel wasn't finished. "And then she closes her eyes and does what she has to do to come."

Alex quickly held up his right hand in front of him. "I don't want to know."

"Of course you do, Alex," she murmured with a wave of her pizza slice. "It's perfectly normal to be curious about a former lover. Give me your plate."

Looking down, he saw that he'd finished the slices she'd given him and realized that he was still hungry. He held his plate hostage when he asked, "What the hell did Marita tell you, anyway?"

She wiggled the fingers of one hand imperiously, calling for the plate. "Nothing much. She didn't have to. It's pretty obvious. The two of you have this vibe going."

Alex almost laughed as he handed over his plate. Not even protesting when she chose vegetarian for him this time, he reveled in the knowledge that Marita surely hadn't intended to hire someone quite this observant. The very real dangers of doing so were too obvious for him to spend much time dwelling on them. He was in a damage control situation and had some difficult decisions ahead of him.

"It's really cute, you know," Angel continued after serving up his second helping and pouring more wine in both glasses. "Very second grade. Fight equals like, Alex." When he just shook his head, she challenged, "Are you saying you've outgrown that phase? Because it sure doesn't look or sound like it to me."

"I've outgrown Marita."

"Have you now?"

Something in her voice caught his attention and there was no mistaking the look she was giving him. Angel was assessing Alex the man, not Mr. Krycek the employer, and the tiny smile that flitted across her face had a decidedly satisfied look to it.

"What the fuck was that?" he demanded, ignoring the rush of warmth she'd inspired.


He didn't tell her. Not when showing her would be far more effective. Unhurriedly, avidly, Alex perused her body. Nice eyes, brown with flecks of gold. A long slender neck. Breasts that looked like they'd fit very nicely in his hand. Flat stomach, but not too thin. Thighs that would make his temperature rise much higher if he let himself admire them too long. Perfectly shaped calves.

"That," he murmured after his eyes made the return journey.

Eyes meeting his, she whispered, "I can tell you for sure what that was."

"What I did?"

Angel nodded, leaning slightly forward, inadvertently - Alex thought, but didn't trust his judgment at the moment - calling attention to her chest. To distract himself, he dutifully muttered, "What?"

She smiled at the demand he'd infused into what was ostensibly a question. "Hot."

Sensing an opportunity to take the conversation around a sharp left turn, Alex took it. "What are you after, Angel?"

Electricity crackled between them while she pondered his somewhat loaded question. Angel studied him and Alex maintained his very best impassive expression. She'd get nothing for nothing. It was time to see where she stood. Alex wouldn't settle for less. He couldn't afford it.

"What makes you think I'm after anything?"

"Everyone is." Picking up his wine glass, he regarded her dispassionately. Tired of fencing, he stood, moved around the conference table and lowered himself into the chair next to her. "Tell me."

Biting her lip, Angel tapped the pizza crust she was holding against her plate. He occupied himself by trying to guess the tune until she softly spoke. "I want an understanding, Alex."

In his admittedly limited experience, that was refreshingly direct for her. "An understanding?"

She showed him her teeth briefly as she took an enthusiastic bite of crust and the tension building between them slid up another notch. If the small, very private smile she aimed his way was any indication, Alex thought Angel felt it, too.

The smile didn't last, "Marita's asked me to watch you for her; you're building up to ask me to do the same in reverse. I could do that and augment my income very nicely, thank you, but I don't want to live life as a poker chip, waiting for one of you to cash me in. That's not my idea of a calm but decent-paying desk job."

The analogy was apt; that he couldn't deny. "What sort of understanding are we talking about here?"

Crust disappearing rapidly, she gave the impression of eating out of anxiety. The strange impulse to speak meaningless words of reassurance came and went, and he noted that her voice shook when she countered, "If you could have one question about Marita answered, what would it be?"

"Is this a test?" he asked, shifting his chair closer to hers, crowding her a little, eyes matching hers for intensity.

"Yes." Her nervousness was palpable and it drew him still nearer to her.

"What does Marita want?"

She hesitated, and Alex couldn't blame her. The choice she was about to make was irrevocable. With a small sigh, Angel murmured, "Power. And you."

The way she'd replied troubled him, but he couldn't put his finger on exactly why. "Are those necessarily different?"

"As far as she's concerned, they're mutually exclusive."


Angel interpreted his deceptively mild tone correctly. "She doesn't want it to come from you. She wants to earn her own."

Alex laughed. "So she wants to take control in such a way that I'll take her to bed?"

His assistant didn't share his amusement, and she didn't make him wait to find out why. "No. She wants enough control that you have no choice but to take her to bed."

"But she can't get there, Angel," he stated gently. "And I don't see how she can harbor any illusions that she can after today. The ... people I deal with won't accept her. They ... ah ... have trouble working with women. Always have. Always will."

Angel nodded thoughtfully, the tightness in her muscles easing marginally. "If that's the case, why work with her at all?"

"It's complicated, but the gist of it is that there's no one else."

She smiled and slipped out of her raw silk suit jacket. "That's exactly where the understanding I want comes in, Alex." After hanging the jacket on the back of her chair carefully, Angel caught his eye and slowly began to unbutton her blouse.

The skin she was exposing was tan where Marita's was fair to the point of pale. If that difference was telling, Angel was likely to be fire to Marita's ice. Alex frowned at his stray thoughts, although he knew that comparisons between the two women were as inevitable as they were irrelevant.

Leaning back in his chair and gesturing vaguely toward her, Alex asserted, "This isn't the way to choose an ally."

"I've already chosen, Alex, and there's no better way to cement an alliance. Is there?"

"There are others," he muttered, watching her slide her shirt from her shoulders and drape it over her jacket neatly, not quite believing she was serious and unwilling to make a move until he was sure.

She simply allowed her skirt to pool around her ankles before she gracefully stepped out of her heels. Alex swallowed hard at the sight of stockings in lieu of panty hose. Placing a foot on his chair between his legs, she leaned in, presenting him with a fine view of a long lean thigh, and asked, "You want to help me out here, Alex?"

A minimal amount of dexterity was all it took to free the sheer fabric. Breathing more rapidly and flushed with rising excitement, Angel watched him through lidded eyes as she removed it and offered him her other leg. He repeated his action and so did she. Seemingly at ease and not angelic in the least bit, Angel closed her eyes and moaned softly while she tantalizingly slipped a thin strip of silk off of one shoulder and then the other. She went completely still for a heartbeat or two, before undoing the clasp of her bra and freeing her breasts.

Rigidly hanging on to his control despite how ready his body was to do her bidding and how aroused she was, Alex indulged himself for a moment or two and then shifted his eyes from her chest back to her face.

"Like I said," she panted, reaching for her last vestige of clothing. "Controlled and disciplined." When she'd removed every stitch, Angel asked, "Are you going to let me see your impulsive side, Alex?"

Standing before him, she grinned and did a slow three hundred and sixty degree turn. He remained seated and almost unnaturally still.

"Do you think I'm just playing with you?" she asked while she poured herself more wine. He nodded when she lifted the bottle in inquiry. She took that to be his reply to both her spoken and unspoken questions. "I'm not, you know." As she emptied the last of the wine into his glass, she suggested, "Feel how wet I am. God, Alex," she continued after a small shiver shook her, "can't you smell me. I can."

He could but he wanted to touch her. It had been a while since he'd actually had the urge and he'd been too determined to consolidate his power to risk the complications that sex often brought. Expensive and highly discreet professionals of both sexes had been adequate to take the edge off. Until now. Transferring his wine glass to the conference table, he smiled up at her and drove two fingers deeply into her well moistened passage.

She gasped and moaned as he stroked her swollen clit with his thumb. He repeated both motions and the empty wine bottle she held crashed to the floor, missing the expensive area rug and shattering on the hardwood floor. Again and again and she was pushing herself against his hand, clutching his shoulders, pleading with him not to stop. He didn't until he'd driven her to orgasm.

While Angel shuddered in the throes of her passion, Alex stood and steadied her with his prosthetic arm, leaning her against the conference table, stroking her more gently all the while, extending her pleasure.

Collecting herself required effort, and he smiled when she tried to twist away from his fingers and panted, "Your ... oh God, that's nice ... but it's your turn."

"But, Angel," he protested in a deep voice with a hint of a growl in it. "I'm not finished with you yet."

She moaned his name in his ear and pressed full length against him. He simply grinned and continued to touch her. As he'd expected, her desire flared again. She'd reached the pinnacle too fast to be satisfied, and he felt her surrender before she groaned, "Fuck me, Alex. Please."

"Unbutton my shirt."

Alex stared into Angel's eyes as she wantonly stroked herself against his now still fingers and fumbled with his shirt buttons. Her eyes were still slightly unfocused as she began to push the garment off of his shoulders.

"Are you sure you want to do that, Angel?" Alex tightened his left arm around her, letting her feel it. Hips still moving of their own volition, she gazed at what she could see of his chest and made her decision. "Yes." Her eyes shifted to his. "I want you as naked as I am."

"Is this in any way about what you want?"

Her eyes narrowed in anger. Alex met them, quietly asserting, "The shirt stays." He knew could seal this deal with sex without his prosthesis entering the equation and that was his decided preference.

When she opened her mouth to protest, Alex kissed her hard, drove his tongue into her mouth and shifted his hand to torment her clit relentlessly. He noted Angel's flushed, needy face with satisfaction and groaned softly at what her tortured, "Please, Alex," did to his hardening cock.

"C'mon," he whispered, leading her over to his desk.

She protested the removal of his fingers but followed willingly enough. After sinking down into his desk chair, he tapped his belt and asked, "Have you lost interest, Angel?"

After sticking her tongue out at him, she was on her knees, deft hands unbuckling and removing his belt. Intent, she wasted no time in unbuttoning the button and unzipping the fly of his suit pants. When she told him to "Lift," Alex complied and sighed in pleasure as his pants and boxers were slid down around his knees and Angel's head lowered into his lap.

Suddenly, it hit him how similar this was to the bullshit he'd been handed by the Consortium elders. With some regret, Alex shifted his feet and placed his hand on her shoulder, pushing her away gently. The look in her eyes and the way she licked her lips and fondled him when she paused nearly changed his mind. Angel appeared to be enjoying herself. That had never been part of the equation in the old days.

Seeing his hesitation, she bent down and kissed the tip of his penis and swirled her tongue around the head enticingly. Pleasure shot through him and he couldn't help but buck his hips when Angel withdrew her mouth a second time. Smiling wickedly, she stroked him gently and asked, "Will you let me do this for you, Alex?"

"Do ... do you want to?"

"What do you think?"

Her hand was driving him crazy. If she's a fucking angel, I'm the King of the World. Random thoughts about the exact qualifications of a 'fucking angel' were interrupted by her amended question. "What are you thinking?"

"Angel, I ..." Alex stared at her for a long moment, contemplating and disregarding possible replies faster than he'd have thought possible given his current state of arousal. Listening to the demands of his ego as well as his body, he murmured, "Do it."

Without hesitation and with admirable enthusiasm, Angel bent to the task. She seemed to be trying to memorize every topographical feature of the head of his cock with her mouth, while her fingertips did the same at the base and along the shaft. It's been too fucking long, Alex.

He lost track of time, melting into a puddle of lust. So damn good. Her mouth ... her tongue ... fuck, the whole fucking package is incredible.

Eyes closed, breathing ragged, heart rate accelerated, he leaned back and let go. She took him right up to the brink of the point of no return so slowly and expertly that Alex didn't even realize how much he was squirming and moaning until she lifted her head.

"Do you want it this way or with me on your lap?"

"Wha ...?"

Smiling predatorily, Angel climbed onto Alex's chair, one knee to either side of his hips. Sliding herself back and forth along his length, teasing her clit with each stroke, she moaned and then whispered, "How do you want me, Alex?" Not waiting for an answer, she kissed him thoroughly and at length.

Opening his top right desk drawer blindly, Alex reached in and shoved things aside and back until his hand closed around a foil packet. When Angel was ready for her answer, he handed her the condom and she rewarded him with a wide smile, both approving and grateful. Working together, they soon had him sheathed where he wanted to be and the duel began. He thrust as hard as he could and she rode him for all she was worth. Quarter was neither sought nor given and they came together.

Before he'd quite caught his breath, Angel had settled more comfortably on his lap and kissed him languorously. Uncharacteristically, he allowed himself to be drawn into a relaxed, sensuous bit of mouth work. Her hands busied themselves underneath his shirt as well, but he couldn't find the will to protest. Not even as she slid his shirt off of his shoulders and dropped a trail of open-mouthed kisses on what little remained of his left arm. When she paused to look at him, a strange, almost sad expression on her face, he quickly asked, "What about those friends of yours?"

She merely smiled and licked his earlobe.

As she nibbled along his throat, Alex replayed their earlier conversation and found himself trying and failing not to laugh. Angel lifted her head and glared at him. "Sorry," he muttered. "It's the angel/devil thing. It's funny. Particularly given ..." As he allowed his voice to trail off, he traced one of her nipples with his forefinger. Feeling her shudder, he idly wondered if he could bring her off just by touching her breasts.

Angel finished his spoken thought for him. "If I was an angel and you were the devil, this wouldn't have happened."

He couldn't resist. Truth be told, he didn't try. "Or there'd have been hell to pay?"

"Something like that." Eyes determinedly focused on him, she asked, "Who are we going to have to pay, Alex?"

"The piper, sweetheart. Just like everybody else."

"How much does he charge?"

Somehow, he was absolutely certain what she was really asking. "He'll let us have more of the same for a minimal down payment, so long as I can depend on you."

Unrepentant, she kissed him lightly. "Dinner, wine and sex?"

"Not necessarily in that order, but yeah."

Running her fingers through his hair, Angel thoughtfully considered the situation. "And otherwise you'll do what you have to do?"


"I can live with that."

Chuckling, he appreciated the irony in her words, particularly since she'd undoubtedly been very well aware of it when she'd spoken. "Good."

"Next time, we should role play."

His heart beat a little faster at the casual reference to another bout, but the amusement in her eyes demanded a cautious inquiry. "Role play?"

"I'm curious about how Lucifer and the innocent angel would get along."

Wondering what he'd just gotten himself into with this 'understanding' with his erstwhile assistant, Alex noted, "You are not well."

"Maybe not," she allowed with a giggle. "But you'll do it, won't you?"

Alex shook his head incredulously, feeling relaxed and alive for the first time in months, if not years. The boredom that had descended upon him, the intense and deadening boredom of a cat playing with an injured mouse, was gone. He didn't know how long this adjustment would take, but Alex did know the answer to Angel's question. And how to express it the oblique manner she favored. "I'll need a cape."