Exaggeration and Blank Verse
The Fallen
Battlestar Galactica
Horatio Hornblower
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series

If you never bother to outgrow your ridiculous adolescent James Bond fantasies, eventually they come true. Some of them, anyway. Well, maybe just one.

But if any fantasy got to come true, I'm glad it was this one. Pressed up against the bed in a palatial hotel suite, blood running around ninety proof, a gorgeous spy going down on me...of course, in the daydreams, the spy was female, but I'm not complaining...

He's so gorgeous, even now when he's all hard edges and angles down there on his knees in the deep hotel carpet. He's lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw him, and from the first time I saw him, he's a completely different man.

It was in a nightclub in St. Petersburg; I was trying to figure out which of the waitresses moved like a Slayer, and he was meeting a contact. It was only a few months after the Hellmouth after Sunnydale after Anya. I was trying to forget, and he was running from the memory of someone named Sydney, who in time would come back from the dead with all the lack of fun that implied.

It was drunken and tawdry and cliched. A nightclub bathroom was involved. I figured it was a one-and-done. I didn't even get his name, that night.

And then something funny happened: He just kept showing up, wherever I was, all over the world.

"I'm glad you're here," he whispers after I come. He crawls up on the bed and lies on his back, staring up at the ceiling. "I'm going insane."

Darkur, Capetown, Marrakech, Nairobi; wherever I was, one day he'd walk into the bar. Or I'd walk in and see him in the dim smoky haze. That face stood out from any crowd, whatever disguise he had on, whatever his alias was.

"You're not insane," I tell him, running one hand over his torso. I can feel each rib, sharp and defined. I trace the scars with my fingertips, the ones that are still young. I kissed them when they were raw, just a few weeks after a girl he loved and a bottle-blond Englishman broke him. I knew something about that, anyway.

"No, I am," he insists softly, placing his hand over mine and looking at them. Skin on skin on skin. He shivers. "They put me on psych leave."

"Why'd they do that?" His face is gaunt; there's no other word for it. His cheekbones must be worrying through his skin. It makes me think of Spike at his lowest, howling in chains, and I close my eyes and start kissing my way across the scars to push the memories back again.

"I burned my house down." I stop kissing and look up at him; he laughs at the expression on my face. "I told you, man, I'm fucking crazy."

I watched him go a little bit crazy, between Abuja and Johannesburg. In Abuja he was fine, tense but good, and we jerked each other off in an alley while telling knock-knock jokes in French (his- flawless; mine- atrocious). In our defense, we were out of our minds on hash.

But in J-burg he was burning with rage, so angry I don't think he even saw me as he dragged me into the back seat of his rental car, pressed my face into the upholstery, and fucked me raw.

"It's okay," I tell him, turning my attention to his stomach. His skin shivers and tightens as I brush my lips over his abs. "Crazy happens to us all sometimes."

He apologized, after, told me what he'd just found out about her, the wife, the name I forgot- in my mind she was Faith, the dark version of the Sydney I saw as his Buffy (a beautiful girl with the world on her shoulders, drawing in trouble with every breath and orbited by an adoring crew that lived to sustain her).

He sighs and I feel his fingers in my hair, tangling the curls just because he wants to touch. "I don't know who I am," he mumbles.

"It's okay," I repeat, letting my mouth wander down to his navel and lower, letting the air of my speech tease his skin. "You don't have to."

"Are you going off chasing Slayers soon?"

He told me about the CIA in Nairobi, but it was the next time we met- Darkur? who could remember?- that he found out about vampires. He killed three with a handgun before I had a chance to tell him that you couldn't do that. Hollow-point bullets, expanders, aimed at the base of the throat. Took the heads off cleanly. He never even hesitated. I guess that's why his going a little crazy doesn't surprise me, after that- have I been sane since I was sixteen?

"Yeah. Thailand." I lick along the painful jut of his hipbone. He shivers again.

"Beautiful there. Watch out for the whores."

"Got it." He catches my chin in his hands suddenly, tilting it up so I'm looking at his face. Blue eyes stare back at me. He's lost, he's falling. I don't have a rope to throw him. I think maybe that's why he found me, this time; he wants to fall into someone who's already gone. We can spin through the nothingness together.

"Want a cigarette?" I ask quietly. A Slayer in Kenya taught me to smoke. She said she couldn't respect me until I could grind one out on my palm without flinching. I miss her.

He shakes his head, smiling faintly. "I only smoke in Africa." He turns to look at the window. "Where are we now, anyway?"

"Doesn't matter," I tell him, and I stretch up to kiss his mouth. He kisses back, all desperation and hunger and longing, and together we fall.

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