"Do you have any questions?"
Joss stared at Willow. "Uh....no....I don't,"
"Good! I'm going to the Naked Place Too site. Giles," she sighed, "All that British repression. Yummy," she was gone, and Joss felt the numbness stealing over him once more. He lowered his head into his arms and fell asleep on his desk.
"Joss....Joss? Wake up, buddy!"
Joss opened his eyes and saw a large pair of expensive shoes propped on his desk. He stared up the length of crossed legs and then into a pair of dark, sparkling eyes with a sly sideways smile under them. Angel leaned elegantly back in a chair, his feet resting right in front of Joss's face.
"How are you holding up?"
"David...you're in Phil-"
"JOSS. Think for a minute. Dickensian nightmare....Buffy ....Willow....me,"
Joss gulped, "Who are you?"
"A very good question," the long legs swept down and Angel stood, towering in the small office. He strode slowly across the floor and then back. "Who am I? How many meetings have been devoted to exactly this subject?"
"Yup. And for this thing I had to make a decision. Angel or Angelus? Which would be more effective?" Angel swung his head toward Joss and his eyes gleamed yellow. His forehead bunched , his upper lip drew up over a sudden mouthful of fangs. Joss gasped and tried to scramble under his desk.
"Joss....Joss," the velvety voice shook with laughter, "Come on out, it's OK. You made me. Joss, come on out,"
"Dav-Angel, I swear-"
"Don't be afraid of me," said Angel softly, "I'm not such a bad guy. I'm actually a very gentle guy. You wrote me that way. But for this purpous, I've decided to let the demon and the soul take turns,"
"Just hang on to that soul, OK?"
'Well, there's not much choice in that, is there?" said Angel quietly. Too quietly.
"I-I-I....I....I was gonna..."
"You're stuttering, Joss,"
Angel sat on the edge of the desk and heaved a sigh. "You've got to relax. We'll never get through this,"
"I promise to behave myself. I haven't gone medieval on you yet, so chances are I won't now,"
"What are you going to show me?" Joss managed to choke out.
"Well, if we stuck to the true Dickensian plot, I'd be showing you a dark potential future...and I thought about it," said Angel, "But if there's one thing I'm tired of, it's DARK....dark moods all the time. You know how I'd describe myself? Morose. It's beyond tragic, it's actually more like pathetic." He stood, looming over Joss.
"Do I really look like the pathetic type? I mean, I understand the Dark Hero archetype, and it's solid, but it's like falling off a log for me. Don't think I don't appreciate the vast unexplored depths you've given me...."
"But, lately I've been exploring. There's a lot of good stuff in there," he nodded at Joss' computer. "A lot of good stuff. It's a party. I've got this body," he extended his arms and looked down at himself and then at Joss, "And you've got me celibate. Does that strike you as a bit of a waste?"
"Yeah, yeah, the sex symbol thing. Keep it clean for the network...Good thing I don't have to do appearances, hunh?" he grinned blindingly, "I feel for David. I really do,"
"For the show. True," said Angel. "It's our primary hangout. We love you, all of us. And my vast unexplored depths will be revealed in the new show. I'm looking foreword to it, of course. But there's just one thing-"
"Love," sighed Joss.
"Boy, you know how to make a character twist on a hook," said Angel. "Do you know how bad I want her, all the time? All of those imaginations out there, boosting the agony for me...I know what she smells like, do you know what she smells like, Joss? She smells like the one thing you might crave at the moment. If you crave something sweet, she smells like fresh honey, the kind that has a slight edge of meadow flower in it...she smells like all the flowers in all the poetry in the world, all wrapped up in one tiny, doe-eyed, athletic package. She feels like a brand-new silk-covered feather pillow when you've been walking for three days straight and exhaustion is all you know. Her kisses taste like real cream, the kind that floats to the top of fresh milk. Am I giving you any images you understand? Imagine all of those things in front of you when you need them the most...and all you can do is look. It's even worse because I know what it feels like to be inside her. Do you know what that's like?"
Joss struggled silently.
"Of course you don't. It's like being surrounded by a symphony. She's pure music. I lose myself in her like a master musician loses himself in his instrument. She's my Stradivarius. We create something together, something entirely new, every time I touch her. She changes the entire flavor of the universe, she makes it come alive. She puts me in heaven, she brings me home. She's my addiction. And I can't touch her,"
"Agony, Joss....in it's purest form. That's why I was forced to jump around a little," he patted the top of the monitor, "And that's why I think that the best way for you to get the idea....to understand what I'm talking about, is to bring in another party, one we both are and always will be eternally obsessed with,"
Angel chuckled, "Good guess! But before she gets here, I want to tell you that this is a much kinder punishment than a lot of our audience would have had for you, especially earlier this season. This, compared, is cake. It's not going to be easy for you, but as Angelus would say-" Angel paused and looked up, his features transformed by an evil grin, " 'It has poetry'," he looked at Joss, " I would go further and say, poetic justice. Also, in the end, it might be good for you and the wife. Boost your creativity in an entirely new way,"
"But I don't-"
Angel held up his hand and turned, head lowered, as if he had heard a sound, "I can feel her. Can you?"
"C'mon, Joss, listen with your body. She makes the air shiver. When she breathes it's like a thousand butterflies fluttering over your skin. Feel her? She's almost here,"
Angel straightened suddenly. He walked backward and braced himself against the far wall of the office, waiting.
Buffy stepped into the office from a fold in the air. Fog bloomed at her feet. She looked down at it, and then at Joss.
"Do you mind? It's a bit much,"
"Please, Joss, I know it's your dream, but it's....cheap,"
"Sorry," Joss shook his head a little, struggling. The fog began to fade. He could see her more clearly now. Buffy gazed at Angel and he gazed back at her. The lust in the room was thickening, it became more palpable than the fog. They stood across the room from each other, arms at their sides, heads lowered, swaying slightly in counter to each other's motions like prize fighters, or like elk in rutting season.
"Pick one," said Buffy hoarsely.
"Go ahead, baby," groaned Angel.