On the Mend
Disclaimer: I merely dabble in this world, for fun, not profit. Joss Whedon created it – a million blessings on his balding little head.
Spoilers: Through AtS Season 5's Origin
For wolfling as a (very, very) belated birthday present.
And many thanks to lostgirlslair for the beta.
Standing at Angel's door, Wesley paused to get his hammering heart under control.
He'd waited until the building wound down for the night, the offices dark, hallways dimmed, and the special hush of a deserted building fell. He left Illyria communing with his ficus and was across the lobby and up the elevator before he could talk himself out of it for the fourth time. They needed to deal with this.
He knocked on the door, anger and disappointment surging when there was no answer. He tried again.
"Go away, Wes." Angel sounded tired and strained.
Wes reached out and tried the door handle. Open. Welcome enough.
The apartment was dark and Angel sat in front of his windows, face lit by the lights of the city. Wesley turned an armchair around, pulled it along side Angel's and sat.
There was a long silence. "Since when does 'Go away, Wes' mean, 'Come in and make yourself comfortable?'"
"Since you left the door open and actually let me know you were here."
"Oh. Right. God, I'm stupid." He sipped his drink. To Wes it looked like at least four fingers of whiskey.
"Yes, about that…"
"Wes." Angel's voice, equal amounts anger and sorrow, cut him off. "Don't."
"We need to talk about this."
"No, we really don't." Angel was up and out of his chair, half way to the sanctuary of his bedroom.
"Angel." Wesley could see the coiled anger in Angel's back. The vampire looked up at the ceiling and sighed, then whirled around , speaking in a furious, sarcastic tone as he paced.
"What, Wes, do you need for me to say it out loud? That I screwed up? That by altering my son's memories I nearly got him killed? That by altering yours I violated you and all the others? That this time, meddling with my life and my son's was okay, because it all worked out in the end? 'Cause it didn't. He had to kill a demon, not be a normal kid and you know everything I don't want to think about, ever. I never wanted Connor to be a part of – " He waved his hand around, searching for the words, "Supernatural stuff, but the joke's on me, 'cause he is. I still end up in the lose column and you're still going to hate me for messing with your brain."
"Oddly enough, I don't. Hate you, that is."
All the fight drained out of Angel, and he went still. "What?"
"I'm afraid your other points are still valid. Of course, I would have preferred that you consult me before 'messing with my brain', but circumstances being what they were, I understand. I seem to remember someone saying something to me--for comfort--about making all the hard decisions, no matter what it cost. You might want to remember that."
Angel blinked and shifted slightly, "I do."
Wesley got up and walked toward Angel so that he could look him eye-to-eye. "And you gained one thing."
"A friend to whom you can talk about your son." Wes watched a small half-smile, laced with pain, touch Angel's his face. Wesley's answering smile was sly. "Well, if you're not going to offer me a drink…"
Angel grinned shyly and rolled his eyes. "Wes, would you like a drink?"
"Don't mind if I do."
Angel prepared some scotch for Wes and started to hand it to him. "Uh, we don't have to talk about it right now do we?"
"You wanna sit?"
They retook their seats watching the city lights. Neither of them spoke for a long time.
"So, where's Illyria?"
"Talking to plants in my office."
"Oh." Five minutes later, Angel asked, "Does she ever tell you what they say?"
"I hadn't thought to ask."
Comforting silence fell again as they sipped their drinks and gazed out at the night.
"So, where would you have taken him, when he was a baby?"
"A little cabin north of San Francisco. I was going to stay there until I was sure the danger had passed."
"And if it didn't?"
"I would have kept moving, I suppose."
"But you planned on bringing him back."
"I kinda never thought of that."
"Um. Really sorry. Pillow thing and not even trying--"
"I am, too. For all of it."
"We're good, then."
Angel sighed heavily in relief, and seconds later, so did Wes.
The ice in Angel's glass chimed gently as he shifted it to his right hand. He lay his arm across his armrest, palm up. A moment later, Wesley reached out and took it.
As the big hand tightened over his own, Wesley thought he heard Angel say, "Missed you," but he wasn't quite sure. At least, not until Angel's thumb brushed softly against the back of his hand.
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