Carrying on from Anjilly's interlude (here), I proudly present Interlude Part Two(ish).
Disclaimer: The PPC is not mine: it belongs to the wonderful Jay and Acacia. Brenden and Ajilly are also not mine, being the property (although they might dispute that) of Anjilly, who not only very kindly allowed them to be used/mentioned in this fic, but also wrote quite a large amount of it, for which I am extremely grateful. ;-)
"So, you eventually persuaded her to let you out, then?"
Sabbat leant back and took another swig of his gin. "Eventually. Gods, that woman! I swear she would have kept me in there for another week if she'd had her way."
"I'm sure she's not that bad. And besides, you did have your leg cut open."
"No excuse. Brenden was covered in Sue blood, and she still let him go earlier than me. She's a bitch."
"That's a little harsh, don't you think?"
"No. If anything, she's worse than that. Sixdamned spawn of evil, she is... and that's being nice. What did you and Anj do, anyway?"
Archer blinked, obviously surprised by the sudden change of subject. "Pardon?"
"You and Anjilly went for a drink, remember? How did that work out? Enjoy yourself?"
"Yes. It was very nice, actually." The vampire took a sip of his own drink, then added, "Why do you want to know, anyway?"
"Just interested, that's all."
"Naturally. Not this time, though."
"Again, liar. You're jealous, aren't you?"
"No," Sabbat said, rather unconvincingly. "Why would I be?"
"You've got nothing to worry about as far as that sort of thing is concerned, I assure you."
"Oh?" Sabbat raised an eyebrow, a gesture which he knew Archer fully appreciated the underlying meaning of. "And why is that?"
"Because, you stupid, mercenary, thieving, gambling, murdering and thoroughly insane pirate, you bloody well know I don't work that way."
Sabbat grinned, and the tension in the room abruptly lessened. "I know, I know. But I can't help it if I'm paranoid, can I?"
"Technically, yes. Realistically, no, not really, and I like you the way you are. Except for the fact that you're wearing far too many clothes."
This time the second eyebrow shot up to join the first. "What? Exactly how much of that have you drunk, mate?"
"Not much. Why?"
"Because that's the sort of thing I say."
Archer blinked, then went slightly red. "Oh! You thought I—"
"You mean you didn't—?"
"I just wanted to—"
"I was just going to—"
They paused, and looked at one another. Then, at almost exactly the same time, they both said, rather hurriedly:
"Well, if you want to...."
They stopped again. They looked at each other, again. Then Archer reached out a tentative hand and gave an experimental tug at his friend's neckcloth. As there was no adverse reaction to this, he grew bolder, and, leaning in, began attempting to untie it. Unfortunately, this proved to be a more difficult task than he had expected.
"Damn it, why do you always wear this thing?" the vampire muttered, his long fingers fumbling with the knotted material.
Sabbat laughed and bent his head sideways, allowing Archer better access to his neck. "Protection. Never know when a psychotic mini's going to try and slit your throat, do you?" He paused. "Or slice your leg open," he added, and grinned.
Archer had the grace to sound embarrassed. "Sorry about that. I locked him in the bathroom, anyway, so he won't be bothering us."
His partner raised an eyebrow. "You did? You do realize it's going to hate you now?"
"He, Sabbat. Not it. And, yes, I know."
"So why'd you do it?"
His answer came in the form of a surprisingly gentle kiss on the neck, and a whisper in his ear. "Because I've got more important things to concentrate on."
After much struggling and many (not unwelcome) distractions, the neckerchief was eventually loosened enough to allow access to the collar, and Archer began to unbutton his partner's shirt, running the tip of his tongue up the side of the other man's neck as he did so.
Sabbat's skin prickled at the touch, and he shivered almost involuntarily, a low moan rising from deep in his throat. Oh Gods – we haven't done this for a long time. Too long. He reached around behind Archer, fumbling clumsily with the lower buttons on the vampire's waistcoat, then suddenly remembered something. "You did remember to lock the door, right?"
There was an awkward pause. Then Archer mumbled something that sounded very much like an embarrassed "'m not sure."
Sabbat sighed. If someone comes in, this could get awkward. But if I get up, we might never get any further. And that would be a crime, considering.... "Doesn't matter. Who's going to come and visit us, anyway?"
There was no answer. Having finally won his fight with the buttons, the dark-skinned agent transferred his attention to the black ribbon which held his friend's hair back. Attempting to remove this required putting his hands around the back of Archer's neck, which in turn required the vampire to lower his head – which in turn required (or rather, did not require, but it sort of happened anyway) a rather neck-straining kiss.
From that position it seemed natural that Sabbat would twist his body round (in order to alleviate the crick in his neck, of course) and even more natural that this would lead to a slow removal of jackets and neckties and waistcoats and shirts, and from then on to... well, on to a reprise of their original position, it turned out (only this time, bare-torsoed).
The hair-ribbon had been forgotten in the heat of the moment, but the vampire took it out himself, letting his long black hair fall around his shoulders.
Sabbat bit back an exclamation of surprise – I haven't seen him like that for years... – then felt Archer's fingers begin to trace the thick lines of scar tissue that snaked across his chest. If anyone else had dared to do that, they would have been rewarded with a fist in the face or a knife in the ribs (depending on the state of Sabbat's temper at the time), but this... this was different. This was... nice.
"I like your scars, you know," the vampire whispered in his companion's ear, one hand sliding over Sabbat's stomach and down towards his belt-buckle as the other continued to follow the welts of raised flesh. "They're... interesting."
"Honourable war-wounds," the other man joked, as Archer's fingers slid down under his belt—
—and the door was pushed ever-so-slightly open.
"Bloody sixdamned Ironic Overpowers!" Sabbat growled, then gave a rather undignified yelp as Archer bit down slightly too hard on his earlobe.
"Sorry!" The vampire leapt to his feet and almost ran to the door, putting himself between whoever was on the other side of it and the rest of the room.
Unfortunately, "whoever was on the other side of it" turned out to be Brenden Sanderson.
"Hi, Patches," he said. "Mind if I come in?" He pushed past the vampire before Archer could answer, entering the RC.
"Um, Brenden, what are you doing here?"
"Oh, Anj kicked me out of the RC once we got back from a mission. Something about how exploding some uncanonical landmark was overkill and how I should've been stuck in DOGA." He waved a dismissive hand. "But I really need a nap, so I figured you guys wouldn't mind if I crashed here for a—wait, I don't get it. Why do you both have your... shirts... off...?"
Brenden trailed off, looking from the obviously disgruntled Sabbat to the somewhat-embarrassed Archer before having a sort of relapse into that pink colouring the Sue blood had given him. "Holy Force."
"What," Sabbat said, enunciating each word with care, "are you doing here? And what the hell are you staring at?"
Archer, his normally pale face now a rather beetroot-like shade of red, hurriedly grabbed a jacket from behind the door and pulled it on, all the while making ever-more desperate hand signals for Sabbat to do the same (which the other man was resolutely ignoring). "This... this is not what it looks like. Honestly."
Sabbat folded his arms and leant back, perfectly unembarrassed by his half-naked state. "Ignore him. It is. And yes, you are interrupting something."
Archer flinched at Sabbat's blunt reply and started to make apologies for his partner's behaviour (in the vain hope of somehow rectifying the situation), but Brenden was too busy proving he had some semblance of a conscience to notice.
"Sorry!" he was saying, holding his hands out towards Sabbat in a gesture of peace. "I didn't realize that... you know... you and him were... yeah. You know? Sorry about that! Really! I didn't mean it! Here, I'll even make it up to you!"
He pulled two thermal detonators out of his pocket and handed them to Archer, who instantly looked terrified. His first experience with the explosives hadn't been all that great.
"So, uh, I guess I'll just leave now," Brenden went on, backing out of the RC. "I can just go... uh... sleep in a random hallway, I guess. Or somewhere. Sorry."
"You do that," Sabbat agreed, watching their unwanted visitor leave.
Once Brenden was back in the hallway, a mischievous smirk suddenly spread across his features. "Patches and Hatter, in the RC! K-I-S-S—"
When they were sure that the unwelcome intruder was out of earshot (and when the thermal detonators had been placed in the locker with the rest of the weaponry), Archer collapsed back onto the bed, slipping the jacket off as he did so.
"Well, thank gods that's over. Now, where were we?"
Sabbat smiled lopsidedly, and slid an arm around his friend's shoulders. "I think I remember."
Fifteen Minutes Later
"Don't want to spoil the mood, but—"
"You did remember to lock the door this time, didn't you?"