Author: Lindamarie

Spoilers: not really, slight Initiative arc

Rating: R

Pairing: Gunn/Wes/Ethan

Disclaimer: all belongs to Joss

Author's notes: Angel/BtVS crossover

Summary: Wesley and Gunn get drunk and go to Vegas. They meet someone they did not expect.


When the Initiative falls, it falls hard, and Ethan is there to fiddle while it burns.

They've relocated him to an awfully cliché facility in the nondescript desert of Nevada, near enough to Las Vegas to see the glow of its lights when the air is clear. He can't see them tonight because of the smoke rising from his smouldering prison, but he remembers well enough to know which way to run.

This desert is a place of chaos. People dump bodies there, and kids go there to get high, and big businessmen go out there to foster their corruption with soiled dollar bills. Ethan can feel the dark power of the place rising up from the earth, through the soles of his ill-fitting shoes, chafing against the wounds concealed by his stolen uniform. He runs, the gritty sandy sounds of his footsteps his only companions.

Outside those white antiseptic walls, his magic is coming back to him, working its way from where it hid deep in his bones' marrow, spiraling out through his chakras and seeping through his pores. He has survived, and he is strong. He will never let himself be caged again.

The city is his.


Ethan comes to the outskirts of Vegas just as dawn is shivering its way over the mountains. He charms open the lock on the back-door of a Mom and Pop clothing store and finds something more suitable for himself: red button-down shirt, tight blue jeans. Clothes that don't really say anything about him, which is precisely the point. He picks up a business card on the way out.

After that he hits an ATM. He quickly scrawls a sigil onto the card from his pocket and discreetly charges it in the alleyway next door. It glides without protest into the bankcard slot. The machine discharges just enough cash to fit comfortably into his pocket.

Now he has all the essentials to begin. Ethan hails a taxi and sits down wearily, ignoring the stink of sweat and desperation clinging to the upholstery. For the first time in months, the smell is not his own, so it doesn't matter at all. He closes his eyes as the car speeds along, and forces himself to relax. He's not running any more. There's no hurry.

He's got time now. Buckets of it.

Ethan spends the next 14 hours in a luxury high-rise room, having a hot shower and hot food and then a long deep sleep. He wakes up to the flash of neon lights, with no sign of stars in the dark sky. He walks out onto the filled street outside, and climbs into the first cab he finds.

One of the few things he's never had to work for was a sense of opportunity. Some people can read minds, or tell the future, but Ethan can filter his way through the crowded confused world and find where he wants to be, and when. Unfortunately his gift doesn't warn him of danger, or it would be a lot more useful, but something is better than nothing. Tonight he feels a glimmer of something good, something fortunate, out in the urban sprawl, and follows it like a rainbow, hoping to find the gold at the end.

He ends up standing on the curb in front of a sweaty seedy little strip club, the sign over the door flashing a gaudy pink "NUDE GIRLS ALL NITE."

Inside the door and the room's full of smoke and the reek of stale beer, all eyes glued to the girl on the pole bump-and-grinding to "Cherry Pie." He pushes his way to an empty space right up along the stage, and scans all around, looking for whatever he knows he came here for. It's near by, itching along his spine and buzzing like a mosquito in his mental ear.

Quite suddenly, as he looks straight across the stage from him, the itch dissolves into a shivery feeling of pleasure. He's found it. Whatever it is.

Two men, clearly drunk, rambling on at one another. The man with the shaved head has his arm casually draped over the other's shoulders. They're smiling and laughing, empty bottles of Heineken set in front of them. They might as well be in a karaoke bar, for all they pay attention to the girl in front of them.

Despite all this there's an air of danger, of power and knowledge around them. They know hidden things. Dark things. Ethan things.

Ethan weaves his way through the crowd until he's quite close behind them, then pulls one of his old simple tricks. There'll be time to impress them later with the fancier stuff, assuming they haven't seen it all and then some; either way, revealing himself is only the polite thing to do. He makes himself noticeable, with a capital N. He'll be like a glow on the edges of their thoughts; they won't realize they've turned to look at him until they do. The man who taught this to him called it unveiling.

"Hallo," Ethan says, when there's two pairs of eyes trained in his direction. "I'm Ethan Rayne. Care for a drink?" Being direct is another good quality of his; it usually catches people so off-guard that they can't think to do anything but comply.

"I know you," says the man with the glasses. "I saw your file in the--" He stops abruptly, clearly realizing he's already said too much. The other man's arm is gone from his shoulder, and the two of them are standing, little glances stealing between them. Ethan was right about the danger.

No time to win their love now. "The Council's archives? Fascinating. And just what did they have to say about me?"

"You're a very evil man."

The other man reaches over and shakes him a little. "What is he, Wes? No vamp, that's for sure. Do we kill him?"

"He's a sorcerer, a thief, and a troublemaker, and possibly a murderer. I don't remember exactly what he's done, but I know he uses magic for only his own profit. We can't kill him, but we should do...something. Don't let him get away, Gunn."

"No prob." And Ethan's lost his touch. He watches them just an instant too long--then Gunn's holding his arm in an iron grip. "Let's get outta here, Wesley."

"Now, wait just a minute," Ethan says, when they're outside in the air again. "I'm not a murderer. I'm just opportunistic. Can't fault a man for that, can you?"

"Yes, well." Wesley smiles, light glinting off his even white teeth. "We're opportunistic too. And I think you have some information to share." He turns to Gunn. "Let's take him back to the room. More private."

Ethan doesn't struggle. He'll have a far better chance to get away, once they're alone.


Wesley and Gunn's hotel room isn't nearly as nice as his own. He tells them so, while they're tying him to the desk chair. "Sod off," says Wesley.

"Well, it's not. And mine happens to have a jacuzzi tub."

"We didn't bring you up here for a bubble bath." Gunn jerks the knots extra tight and Ethan hisses through his teeth. Wesley gives an evil smile, thinking the sound was from pain, and Ethan doesn't bother to contradict him.

Ethan Rayne has a thing about being tied up. And even though this definitely isn't the best situation to start getting turned on, he has been in prison an awfully long time. At this point his body seems to be pretty indifferent.

Which brings up a whole new plan in his mind, but he doesn't let on about it yet. There's a bigger opportunity here, and he needs to know more before he can figure out exactly what it is.

"Right," Wesley says. "Now, what do you know about Wolfram & Hart?"


"Don't pretend you don't know who they are."

"I'm not pretending. Who are they, if you'd be so kind?"

"Evil lawyers." Gunn moves to stand next to Wesley, towering over him. Ethan suppresses a shiver.

"And why do you think I'd be aware of them?"

"Because," Wesley says impatiently, "you're a supernatural criminal. And that's their clientele. Their employees. If you're half as powerful as the records say you are, they should be trailing after you like hounds. Now," he sighs, "Tell me everything you know. Or I'll be forced to resort to more drastic measures."

"What are you going to do, Wesley? Torture me? A Council boy? Please." And now Ethan starts bringing his plan into action, notching the sexual energy in the room up by about 80%, drawing power from all the nasty transactions going on in other rooms in the place, pulling it up from the floor, into him, through him, becoming a conduit. He sits very still, with a sneer on his face, and very decidedly ignores the erection that's pressing maddeningly against the seam of his new tight jeans. "I don't know about any lawyers. Not my bag at all. But I do know other things that may be of interest to your admirable crusade."

Both of the standing men shift uncomfortably. Ethan's good enough at what he does that they won't have any clue what he's doing. No matter how much these two know, they've obviously never met a true magician before. They're like clay to mold, now that he's got them in the right place, and has found the right tactic.

Gunn moves very close to him, his face just inches away from Ethan. "We don't need to torture you. We'll just take you back to our vampire boss. He'll do a much better job than we could, anyway." And that statement would be a lot more threatening if the man weren't actually smelling him while he said it.

"What kind of Watchers," Ethan says slowly, as Wesley moves much nearer as well, "have vampire employers?"

Wesley's hand is on Ethan's knee, hot through the fabric. This is too easy, really. "We're not Watchers. We never even said we were the good guys."

Ethan smiles. "You look pretty good to me," he drawls, and leans his head forward just an inch, so that his nose brushes Wesley's cheek. A second later Gunn's hand is in Ethan's hair.

"Something's wrong here," says Gunn. But he doesn't stop, his fingers now moving to massage at the nape of Ethan's neck. His hair is longer now; he hasn't had it cut since the Initiative took him. "He isn't telling us anything."

"Untie me," Ethan says, "and I'll make it worth your while."

"Really." Wesley takes Gunn's chin in his hand and kisses his mouth firmly. Ethan's intuition was right; these boys aren't just sharing a room. Or a bed. "Untie him, Gunn; I think he might be of some use to us yet."


Ethan lets himself lose control, for a while, and forget why he came here, and what he learned. All that matters for now is the tan smooth skin under his hands in this hot little room, the eyes watching him kissing Wesley, grinding against him on the bed. Gunn is a few feet away and making no move to do anything except stare unblinkingly as Wesley strips off Ethan's shirt and rubs at his chest, bites his collarbone. Ethan groans. His magic slips as he loses himself in sensation, so that the power flowing through him, unbroken, breaks free and takes on a taste and shape of its own. Oh, he's lost, now.

So good, after so much time having nothing but memories to remind him what this was like, how fresh and aching and new it could be, every time. Unbuttoning Wesley's pants, his cock a perfect fit in Ethan's hand. Wesley squeezing his arse and groaning, thrusting up. Everything is a haze of sex; hands moving in presses and caresses and clenched fists. Friction of damp skin on skin. Low voices that say many things that all just mean, Oh, more, yes.

The next thing he knows Gunn is passing him lube, settling to sit next to Wesley, who start making little whiny noises when Ethan takes his hands off his cock and spreads Wesley's legs, slicking his fingers from the tube. He starts working his fingers inside in a slow, careful rhythm that falters and then halts altogether when Gunn and Wesley start kissing each other. Ethan holds his breath for a few second before adding a fourth digit. Listening to Wesley moan into the other man's mouth as he fingerfucks him is right there almost enough to make Ethan come.

Ethan is sliding inside Wesley, slow, drawing out the sensation, holding himself rigid, when Gunn moves a little and Wesley takes his cock into his mouth. And that's too much, right there, and it doesn't matter that Ethan wasn't even thinking about fucking them an hour ago--now they're driving him insane. He jerks his hips forward, deep, savage, and gets a satisfying yelp from Wesley, and an upward twist of the hips, in return.

He's unleashed now, and he doesn't care; thrusting and thrusting, hard, throwing his head back and twisting his face like he's in pain--and he almost is, it's so good. Every time he opens his eyes he sees the intent look on Gunn's face as he moves slick and wet in and out of Wesley's mouth. In that white cell he'd forgotten all the reasons he had to love this world, all the overwhelming beauty and shimmering pleasure it could offer him if he just reached out. He'd forgotten. Now in this room deep inside a man who normally thinks he's some kind of hero, watching his angry intense partner as he comes in his mouth, Ethan remembers.

He remembers that there are moments that you can never escape, and moments you don't want to end. He remembers that the world isn't just about getting by and getting what you think you want. Sometimes the world, in all its vast chaotic beauty, tells you what you want and makes you damn happy about it.

He remembers all that, and he comes.

Comes hard and panting and deep, deep in Wesley, groaning desperately.

Gunn's staring at him again; Wesley's eyes are closed. He already came in his own hand and Ethan didn't even notice.

The power in the room is wearing off, and soon Ethan's going to be in even more trouble than he was before. He doesn't look away from Gunn as he gathers his clothing and puts it on. He scrawls hastily on hotel room stationery and puts the sheet on the foot of the bed, then walks to the door.

He turns the knob, and Gunn grins lazily at him. "Be seein' ya."

"You bet," Ethan says quietly, and he's out of the room and gone.


The next day he puts the word out, and less than another day later, he gets a response. Wolfram & Hart's offices are in Los Angeles. They're always looking for help of the very discreet, very dangerous kind. The Ethan kind.

He meets one of the demons he saw setting fire to the facility. It tells him to get out of town, that two rogue demon hunters have been killing off all the escapees.

Ethan smiles. Any of those other creatures would have done the same thing he did, if the tables were turned. "I don't think I'll have to worry about them. Not now."


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