Title: "No Such Thing"
Author: monimala
Fandom: "Queer As Folk"-US/"Angel"
Rating/Classification: 'AC' for language. Angst, slash, crossover, ficlet.
Disclaimer: CowLip owns the space, Joss owns the man. That leaves me with naught but the tale.
Summary: QAFImprov#20-crossover. How far do you have to go to escape yourself?

Blue darkness and bright light and noise and silence. Men going home with each other without exchanging names. This...this is something he knows, he recognizes. Long before he used to sit on the stool at Caritas and twang away his worries, he would troll the streets of West Hollywood looking for other ways to ease the emptiness inside him.

Never realizing, of course, that there is no such thing.

But he knows the clink of glasses, the sound of lighters flicking on, the whisper-shake of coke on a mirror, and the roar-rip of condom foil just like he knows all the chords in "Friends In Low Places." Familiarity. Comfort zone. No...*discomfort* zone.

There are neighborhoods like this in every big city. Daylight is time for pride...for hands held in public and kissing and the blasting of ABBA...and night time is for shame...for back alley fucking and club drugs and the music of forgetfullness.

Pittsburgh is no different.

And there is a reason he never comes to Liberty Avenue during the day.

He has no need for pride.

Sometimes...sometimes he misses the marathon bitch sessions with Lilah at Wolfram&Hart. The demons...the pervasive scent of slime that was never just lawyers...the glass breaking every time Angel used a window instead of a door. Most of the time, he just shrugs on a flannel shirt, grabs his hard hat, heads out to the construction site and pretends he's never known the luxury of office work. Never known the warm air coming off the coast. Never known a vampire's touch.

But that doesn't erase the truth.

That he's done nothing to be proud of except turn tail and run.

The guys on the crew call him "Mac". The name for the guy that drives the forklift and doesn't mind hanging out on the highest beams. The name for the guy that spends a fucking creepy amount of time staring ten stories down. For the guy that hoists a few beers with them at the breeder bars uptown. And it is not the name he gives the man pinning him to the wall outside Babylon.

He doesn't need to give him a name at all, but he does anyway. And the man laughs as he push-pulls him away from the strobe lights, Ecstasy running high in his eyes. "Lindsey....Lindsey...Lindsey..." he chants, low and deadly. "Funny. So fucking i-ron-ic."

"Yeah, I know," he drawls, breathless, as their bracelets--cowry shell and silver link--tangle in a race to unzip and unbutton all at the same time, "it's a perfect fag name."

"Perfect." Something familiar glitters in the man's vaguely singsong bitterness. "Lucky for you I like fags a lot. Too much."

Familiarity. Comfort zone. No...*discomfort* zone.

Perfect...ha. There's nothing about him that's perfect here.

Pittsburgh is no different.

So, he's going to have to move on.

He'll turn tail and run.



October 6, 2002.

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