Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (watcher_pryce) wrote in bonded_byblood,
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
watcher_pryce
bonded_byblood

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Continued from Here


I wasn't able to get much sleep in my old room. No one had been in there though. I guess they had been to busy with the small things. Such as smashing my tea set, or my small soldiers. But the bed where I'd once been able to sleep safely now felt uncomfortable. Not like mine, not my place. Every sound woke me up, every little shadow I thought I saw made me nervous. I was half expecting Angel or Gunn to come in and finish the job Justine had started.

Gunn and Fred did come home at one point. The moment I heard their voices I tensed and got ready to leave. The voices raised, at least Gunn's did, but they never came near my room. Either Angel had told them not to, or they were to disgusted to even take the chance to be confronted with me. When the voiced died down, I still couldn't find sleep. Tossing and turning. Left to right, until dawn started to break through and I gave up.

Sliding out of bed, I found some of my spare clothes in the closest. Odd that, to find a small part of me still here. Where it shouldn't be. It felt wrong. I was so tired of this all. I was so tired of keep on going, keep on moving. Sighing, I got on my shoes and stared out the window. The sun would be up fully soon and then a new hell would await. A new hell of trying and always failing. Shaking my head, I opened the door and peered outside. Good, no one there. Not that I'd expected that, but still. Didn't feel like walking into anyone.

Angel still confused the hell out of me. His being nice to me didn't fit the profile I had so carefully build. Gunn acted accordingly. Fred and Connor did as well. Angel didn't. He was supposed to hate me; he was supposed to shun me. He was...supposed to want to kill me. That what was I had been preparing for. Not the constant 'thank you's', and most certainly not dinner, and him stitching up my arm. Or offering me a place to sleep.

Softly closing the door, I started toward the stairs. I was till tired and I noticed the world looked and felt a little fuzzy. My arm itched and was looking a little red. Must've been scratching it last night without noticing it. No matter, I had something for that at home. The dark and depressing place I called home. As quietly as I could, I stared down the stairs ready to get the hell out of here. I was terrified of Angel catching and... Not having any idea what he'd do.
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I heard the door open upstairs and knew it was Wesley. Checking my watch, I was a little impressed he'd managed to wait until sunrise to try and make an escape. The lobby was empty and I was sketching. It was a good way to pass the hours. I'd been tempted to go out and locate Connor, but I ended up waiting for Gunn and Fred to return home instead.

Fred took the news of Wesley being here much better than Gunn did. In the end, I won the debate, but it wasn't a fair fight. I reminded Gunn that this was still my hotel and he had a choice, he could accept my decision to reconnect with Wesley or he could leave. Gunn glared and mumbled something about the ocean rotting my brain and took off for the stairs with Fred right behind him trying to calm him down. I had no doubt he would stay surly for a few days, but eventually he would get over it. In the end, he knew as well as I did that Wesley was family and we needed each other. We'd spent too much time fighting amongst ourselves and I was tired of it.

"Good morning, Wesley." I greeted, setting my sketch pad aside as he landed on the last step. "Did you sleep well?"

I knew he hadn't. I could hear him tossing and turning all night, but I wanted to see if he planned to lie to me. He looked ready to stake me or hurt himself when he realized that I had been in the lobby waiting for his grand escape. I couldn't help but wonder how long things were going to remain awkward between us.
Everything was going as planned. I'd made it past Gunn and Fred's door. Gunn *and* Fred. Funny how that still hurt somewhat. He'd known and he'd still gone after her. It had certainly opened my eyes. Especially considering what had happened afterward. He'd treat me as though I were out to keep him and Fred apart at every given opportunity.

Passing Angel's door had been a bit harder and I'd been somewhat surprised he'd noticed me. The moment I set foot on the lobby floor however I knew why. I tried not to look to startled when he showed up out of the blue. It would seem some thing never changed, and I'm no longer used to Angel suddenly appearing out of nowhere.

Should've given him that damn bell.

A bit annoyed, because it dawned on me that he'd been waiting downstairs here for me, I shot him a glare. I suppose running for the door is out of the question now. You'd think he was glad to see me leave without having to..talk..with me. Well, no matter, just some quick small talk and then I'm out of here. It's a good thing Angel doesn't really do small talk.

"Yes," I lied, nodding a bit. "I slept...alright. How about yourself? Though I suppose you've had enough time to rest under the ocean?" God, I was so tired. I could sleep for days, if i remembered how one did that trick again. Funny how one forgets when there are nothing but nightmares the moment you close your eyes.
Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I smirked at the ocean comment. It was good to see that even though he was exhausted, Wesley was still on guard and snarky as ever. It meant that he hadn't lost too much blood because he was still quick witted. "You'd be amazed how little sleep I got down there. Though, passing out from starvation did help."

I still half expected to wake up and find this was all another insanity driven hallucination. That Wesley hadn't really saved me and I was still stuck in the box my son sealed me in. It wasn't a dream though. I could hear Wesley's heart beat and smell his blood calling out to me. We were bonded in ways he couldn't even imagine now. There would never be a time when he was near me when I couldn't *taste* him in my memories.

"Are you hungry? Coffee for the road or a cup of tea maybe?" I asked, as I set my sketch pad aside and stood up. He was staring at the door as if he was considering making a run for it. Did he really expect me to tackle him as he passed me? I wasn't trying to keep him prisoner here. Well, not really. If I was, I'd just lock him up in his room or something.

"Unless you just plan to leave. I'll understand if you need to go. I'd rather you stay though."

As soon as the sun set, I was going to try and find my son. Hopefully my conversation with him would go over better than my failed attempts at making Wesley more at ease around me. I understood that a lot had happened between us, but I couldn't help but wonder what I was going to need to do to make Wesley relax in my presence.

"Really? You'd think those fish would have some interesting things to say."

Still weary and rather hesitant I kept my eyes on him. As though I'd expected that there was to be some hidden meaning or thread with each word he was saying. I also kept my distance, both physically as well as emotionally. I'd let them come close one. Closer then anyone else. When that had backfired, it had hurt more then a knife cutting my throat or a pillow cutting off my air.

Hell, I could still feel that pain while the others were long gone, ghost memories fading in my mind. The only physical pain I felt now was the throbbing wound on my arm where I'd cut myself for him. Always for him. Why? I don't know, but he could probably still threaten to kill him and I'd still do anything for him.

Not that I'd *ever* tell him that. I'd ached to tell him that at one point. But not anymore, never again. That was in the past, we'd moved on fast now. I wasn't his faithful servant anymore, and I would never be again.

"You'd rather I..." I looked at him confused at that. Why would he rather I'd stay? I'd like to get the hell out before Gunn wakes up. I think I can do without the glares and the stabs under water and the overly blatant projection of manliness by showing he owned Fred.

Sighing, I ran a hand through my hair and blinked at the sketchpad he put aside. Wonder what he's drawing now. Probably an ocean view. Or Connor, maybe Cordelia. Maybe I don't care anymore. "You were going to make tea?" I ask carefully. "Did you think up new ways to mess that up while conversing with the fish? Did any of them have the golden tip?" Good lord, he could make a fine pot of coffee. But tea? I don't anyone here can. Heathens.
I couldn't hide the smile when he made a crack about the fish teaching me how to make tea. Fine, maybe I wasn't very skilled at making tea, but it was the thought that counted, right? Of course not. Wesley was English and there was no bigger sin than making a bad cuppa.

"Maybe you could teach me." I offered, as I looked down at my sketch book that was still open. Sketches of Wesley, Connor and Cordy filled the book and I wasn't sure he would feel comfortable if he knew I'd taken to drawing him. "I'm sure you have better tips than the fish."

It was a bad attempt at humor, but at least it was a step towards casual conversation. Wesley had his walls up and I couldn't blame him. So much had happened between us and there was no reason for him to trust my intention. I had tried to kill him not that long ago. Surely he had to know if I wished to kill him, I'd have done it by now.

Well, perhaps now, considering back in the day I did enjoy toying with my victims. Wesley knew more about my exploits as Angelus than anyone else did. He probably thought I was setting him up to be my next prey. I always did have a thing for shy brunette English boys with dark blue eyes and a bit of a stutter.
Did...did he just smile? That's rather frightening actually. He smiled and I cannot think of a reason for him to do so. Unless it's some inner joke I do now wish to know about. I blinked at him, taking an involuntary step back. Which was utterly ridiculous. If he wanted to kill me all he had to do was jump.

"I've been trying that," I murmured. Pushing my hands in my pockets, I glanced at the floor. Those marking were still there. What in gods name had they done here? The magic oozing from it was making me shiver. Wasn't going to ask though, it wasn't my business anymore. Literally. "I gave up on that after the fourth time."

Clearing my throat, I dragged my eyes away from the floor, unsure of what I should do now. This was awkward. Not at all like it once was. Hell, this didn't even come close to how awkward things were when I first joined the agency. Must to Cordelia's dismay. She got over that though. Wonder if she's regretting that now.

"I'm bound to have better tips then the fish." I sighed and gave him a confused look. This was just to confusing and I was getting tired of having to keep my walls up at all times. It had taken me a long time to get them down again around him. But I had, I'd trusted him fully. I'd have done anything for him at one point.

"I mean, I doubt there are a lot of English fish swimming around in Californian water who'd be able to give you a tip-- Angel what is going on here?"
I stared at him for a moment while I tried to process exactly what he was asking me. What was going on? Like I had a clue? He was the smart one. I was the guy who followed his lead. At least that was the way it used to work. He was always so quick to call me a champion, but in reality, I was just the weapon he used because it was his knowledge and research that normally pointed us in the right direction.

"I think we were talking about talking fish and tips on making tea." I said, but I knew that wasn't what he meant. Shrugging my shoulders, I folded my arms across my chest and rocked back on my heels as I felt the tension fill the room again. Uncomfortable silences were hard to deal with so I made the decision to try and get us back to talking.

"I'm failing at trying to make you more comfortable around me. We can talk about tea and fish or whatever, but mostly we're avoiding the real topics of conversation."

There was so much to be said, but I was starting to wonder if the time had passed to say it. Perhaps Wesley was right. Too much had happened and we couldn't go back to the way things used to be. I was holding on to a dream that just wasn't plausible. I didn't want to believe that though. I needed my family back and a part of me hoped that Wesley still needed me. That he still wanted to be a part of my life.
Yes. We were talking about fish and making tea. But that's not what I meant and he damn well knows it. He damn well knows what I do mean. This awkwardness between us. The way he's being so bloody *nice*. And if he doesn't then he might just be as dense as he sometimes makes himself out to be. But I know he's not.

I know Angel. In fact the only other person to really know Angel bar myself is Cordelia. And Angel? Is not as dense as he sometimes likes to play. Even if it does have a purpose at time. This time however it doesn't server a purpose. Other then making me annoyed.

Just as I'm about to give up and shrug all this off. Just as I'm about to offer my goodbyes and leave. He talks. And proves to me just how dense he's not.

Pushing my hands in my pockets, I sigh and glance down at the floor. Still can't figure out what they did here. Can't be good. I'd like to think this place is falling apart without me. But I'm no longer so arrogant as to think that. The higher you climb the harder the fall. And good lord did I find out true that was.

"And what," I ask, finally dragging my eyes back up to meet his again. "Do you consider the real topics of conversation, Angel?"

God, how I miss the old days. Life was so much simpler when it was just the three of us. Cordy, Angel and I, the visions and us going out together to take care of them. We'd joke, we'd bicker, and we’d take care of each other. Whatever happened to that? It seems that was gone long before....that. Or maybe it just seems that way now.
Right. Well he wasn't buying my answer of fish and tea, but I didn't expect him too. As well as I knew Wesley, he knew me too. Maybe that was why this was so hard. We knew each other's defenses and the walls were being built up faster than we could try and tear them down.

I couldn't help but think this would be easier if Cordelia was here. She was the glue that held us all together. The heart that we depended on and without her, we were scattered to opposite corners of this hotel with more distance between us with each awkward moment that passed.

"Is our relationship completely unsalvagable, Wesley?" I asked, deciding it was time to lay the cards on the table. We were both taking one step forward and ten steps back and it was obviously making the situation worse. I missed the days when we were still friends. When we trusted each other. I missed Wesley.

"If it is, I'll stop trying to fix what I helped to break, but if there is a chance in hell that we can salvage it, stop fighting my attempts to do so."

That wasn't exactly fair. I was the one who tried to kill him. I was the one who cast him aside. I was the one who refused to give him an opportunity to explain what happened, yet I was the one who was expecting a quick fix? That wasn't fair at all. Then again, I never claimed to be fair.
Is our... what? I stared at him in disbelieve for a moment. What the hell? First he tries to kill me. Tells me he'll never forgive me and I'm a very dead man. He's made that point by pushing a pillow over my face. I'd feared for my life from that day one for quite some time. I would've even welcomed it if he'd come by to finish the job.

Probably the reason I never revoked the invitation.

But in time I saw the other side. The one where he'd taken everything away from me. My friends, my family, my job, my purpose, my...my life. Everything. I'd given up everything for him. And the part that angers me the most? I'd do it again. Without thought, I'd do it again.

What kind of fool am I?

And her he was expecting us to shake hands, laugh about it and sit down to have a bloody drink? Christ, why does he always think it's so simple? I fired you all, but hey, I'm sorry can I come back now? I hurt you, but hey, I bought you new clothes it's all fixed now? He even sucked up to Gunn. Why never to me? Why did I never get new clothes? Why did he never tell me that he missed *me*?

Narrowing my eyes, years of anger suddenly comes to the fore. Not just about what happened recently, but *everything*. "You bastard," I growl, and my fist flies through the air connecting with his jaw hard. Which probably hurt me more then him. Panting for air, I let my arms drop to the side, hands clenching into fist.

"Dammit," I hiss, "That didn't even make me feel better. Why are you doing this to me Angel," I ask, pointedly ignoring the pleasing and hopeful tone in my voice. He wants our friendship back. Why are you pushing him away you fool? Isn't that what you've been craving for all along? "You were the one who said I was a dead man and you'd never forgive me. What am I supposed to think?"

Maybe I should just hit him again. Maybe it'll make me feel better this time.
I knew as soon as I said it that Wesley would be angry, but I didn't see the punch coming until his fist connected with my face. Well, this was progress at least. We weren't avoiding the subject or making polite yet awkward conversation about making tea and talking fish. This was a step forward.

His words stung, but they were true. I had said everything that he threw back in my face, but hadn't I apologized for that? Right. I guess an apology doesn't exactly make an attempt at killing someone disappear.

"I'm sorry." I said, and I swear he was about to punch me again. I'd let him if it would help us fix this. "You're supposed to be angry. You're supposed to do..."

I sighed, my shoulder sagging as I suddenly felt very tired. I was screwing things up like I always did. No matter how hard I tried to save my family, I hurt them. They paid the price for my mistakes and maybe it was unfair to try and pull Wesley back in when he was so close to being free.

"I missed you. I guess I thought we could try and fix things between us. I'm tired of losing the people I love, Wesley. Especially since it's usually my damn fault that I lose them."
And there we go with the sorry again. "I'm supposed to do what?" I asked angrily. I forced my fists down at my sides again. My one hand was hurting already from trying to get physically through to his thick head. Not that it appeared to have worked much. Should've just stuck to the brick I never really did use.

I was angrily leaning forward, ready to jump on his case. Hell, I'd probably end up hitting him again I was so angry. But then he sagged and seemed to fold in on himself. Blinking, I took a step back and looked at him confused. What the hell just happened?

He what? He missed me? *Me*? The man who took away everything? The man he tried to kill? I stumbled a few steps back as I stared at him in disbelieve. I felt as though someone had punched me in the stomach.

"People you love? You mean Cordelia?" What did... what did the people he loved have to do with our friendship. Which he apparently wished to try and fix. Try and fix? I'm so confused! He's not...he's not.

"Fix it,” I muttered. "You could try buying clothes," was out of my mouth before I even realized it. Closing my eyes, I ran a hand through my hair, before putting my face in them. "Sorry," I mumbled. "I guess that was uncalled for." Bygones be bygones as they say right? It still stung though.
The clothes statement forced me to break out of a good brood. He'd never talked about the clothes before. Cordelia and her clothes. The easy way to win her back after I'd hurt all of them by firing them. I'd managed to get through to her and Gunn so easily, but Wesley well it was never easy with Wes.

"People I love, Wes. Cordelia. Connor. Buffy. You. Darla. I keep screwing things up and I can't fix it. I'm able to save everyone but those closest to me and nine times out of ten, I'm the one who hurts you."

I sat down on the couch suddenly feeling every one of my two centuries plus years. Things were so complicated and torn apart, and it was done by my hand. Maybe I should have stayed at the bottom of the ocean. Maybe Connor knew what he was doing after all.

"If clothes would fix this, I'd take you to the mall now. You know how much I hate that place."

It was never the same after I took the trip with Dru and big blue. That didn't work out the way I wanted it too either. Maybe a nice trip to a hell dimension was what I needed. Where the hell was Buffy and her sword when I needed her?

watcher_pryce

11 years ago

not_a_eunuch

11 years ago

watcher_pryce

11 years ago

not_a_eunuch

11 years ago

watcher_pryce

11 years ago

It was like being hit by a two by four. I'd know, I'd been hit by one on more than one occasion. He had a point of course. Why hadn't we noticed? Fred and Gunn were distracted with each other. Cordy and I were buy with Connor and there was Groo...and no one had noticed that Wesley was losing his mind as he tried to fight a prophecy that wasn't even real.

"I...I don't know." I said. It was as honest an answer that I could give him. There was so much that I wished I could different, but there was no way to turn back the hands of time. If we'd noticed would things had been different now? Would Connor have been saved? Would Cordy still be here?

"We let our guard down and got caught up in our own stuff. I'm sorry. Being a father was new to me and Connor had my undivided attention. I was riding the greatest high of my life and desperate not to screw things up with him."

I ended up screwing things up anyway. The harder I fought to make things good for the people I loved, the more screwed up I made it. It was like I was cursed to bring pain to the ones who meant the most to me. We should have noticed. We should have helped Wesley prove the prophecy wrong. Hell, I didn't even notice they were feeding me my son's blood.

"I don't know what to say."
He didn't know. Of course he didn't know. They were all to busy having an actual life to notice that their boss was falling apart. Not even Lorne noticed. And he's supposed to be the most insightful person around here. I was willing to bet that if I'd ask Gunn, or Fred or Cordy if possible, they'd not know either.

I nodded at his words, a small sigh slipping out. There had been a little bit of hope that perhaps they had noticed. But that would mean that they'd ignored it. That they'd just let me muddle on with my fight. Couldn't be bothered with helping me. Part of me was relieved that he didn't know.

Another, bigger part, was angry.

"And how about afterward?" I asked, trying to ignore the small tremor in my voice. "Why did no one come to me? Why did no one ask for my side of the story? Neither of you ever gave me a chance. Have I been such a despicable, untrustworthy person in the past that you al thought I'd be capable of just handing the boy over to Holtz?"

I noticed my voice was growing more quite and softer with each word. Most people would raise their voice. But mine grew quiet the angrier I got. Just like my father. That used to scare me to death.

But this? This I needed to know. Had my life before been a lie? Had they just been humoring me, by pretending I was the boss? By pretending they'd know me? If they would've really known me, they'd have never believed the lie.
Now this was more like it. He wasn't closing himself off or building his walls higher. Wesley was getting angry and demanding answers. Answers that maybe he wouldn't like, but at least this was better than what was going on between us before.

I thought about all the signs I'd missed. I was so caught up in being a dad that I didn't realize my best friend was losing his mind in his office. It wasn't like Wesley to be that far gone without coming to any of us. Not once did I wonder why he didn't ask any of us for help. I just assumed things were fine because I was happy. So happy because I'd been given this miracle.

Then the miracle was gone.

"I don't know why they didn't come to you, Wesley. I didn't because I was obsessed with finding Connor. He was all that mattered to me. I was crossing lines and making deals with the devil because I needed my son back. I had to bring him home."

Except I didn't bring him home. The harder I fought to bring him back, the closer I got to the darkness that Wesley had feared would prove the prophecy true. I was falling apart and I was pushing everyone away.

"I couldn't see you. I was still...every time I thought about you I lost control. My son was gone and I couldn't bring him back and the last person who had him was his Uncle Wes."
He didn't even deny the fact that he thought I was capable of just taking Connor and handing him over to that bastard. It was like a slap in the face. No, more even then a punch in the gut. I frowned and stumbled away a bit from him as he went on about why he'd not come to see me.

I knew all that! He knew I knew that!

The walls I had build up were starting to crumble and I had to struggle to keep them upright. I didn't know what kind of person I was anymore. Had I been a liar to myself all those years? That even my best friend, or former whichever, though me cold and heartless enough to just take his son and hand him over like that?

I had a scar burning on my throat which told a whole different story.

"An Uncle who's apparently been a liar all these years about who he was. Is. Fooling himself but not his apparent friends. Because his so called family knew he was capable to just hand him over to the enemy without even blinking his eyes. Isn't that right, Angel? Isn't that who you all think I am? God, how could I have been so stupid to believe I even had a place to belong? How could I have been so stupid to believe I was the boss around here?"

I noticed I was rubbing my throat again and quickly dropped my hand. I also noticed that I was raising my voice. Not good, that never went well. Whenever my father raised my voice, I'd been unable to get out of bed for days. I am too much alike him, even though I don't want to be.

Taking a deep breath, I took another step away from him. "I don't who I am anymore, Angel. I don't know who I was. I don't even know if you really were my friend to begin with." So many years, adjusting my persona just to get his attention. And all it took was trying to save him and his son. Just not the way I wanted it.

"Were you?" I asked quietly, giving him a look of hope. Hope. It as all I had left. The only thing to keep on moving. But even that was sliding away fast. What would I do if I lost the hope for any kind of future?
My words were hurting him and infuriating him, but at least we were getting all of this out. Yes, I made mistakes. I should have come to him and asked what happened, but deep down, I knew he hadn't aligned with Holtz. I just knew that if he hadn't taken Connor in the first place, Connor would have never been placed with Holtz. It was a vicious cycle that always lead back to Wes and me and the choices we made.

I could see him trying to build back up his walls, but it didn't work. He was caught in the moment. Good. Maybe I had a chance at not losing him this time. I listened as he told me he didn't know who he was anymore. Join the club. I was lost way before my son sunk me to the bottom of the ocean. Then he said something that cut me so deep I couldn't believe I didn't feel blood pouring out.

Were we friends? Did he really doubt how I felt for him? Did he really believe our relationship had been nothing but lies? He was my best friend. The one person who I could always count on. The one who I had turned my back on and attacked while he was laying near death in a hospital room. Right. Well, I guess I could understand where the doubt was coming from.

I ran my fingers through my hair as I tried to figure out how to answer his question. It seemed like everything I said made things worse and I was tired of hurting him. I knew that he would hate me if I stopped being honest now.

"Yes. We were friends. Are friends, Wesley. I blamed you for things because it was easy to do that. Just like it was easy to blame myself. I had the choice, Lilah or Holtz. I had to hand Connor over to one of them and I thought...I thought Holtz was the right choice because in my heart I didn't think he'd hurt a baby. I thought he'd take care of him until I found them. Until I got my son back. I blame you because I thought if you came to me and told me what was going on, then you wouldn't have taken Connor that night. You wouldn't have gotten jumped and Connor wouldn't have ended up away from me. Out of my grasp and away from my protection."

I sighed, and looked down at the floor. I could still see the faint reminders of the chances I'd taken to try and bring my boy back home. Yet I just let Connor walk out the door last night. What the hell was wrong with me?

"I get it now. I should have came to you and asked what was going on. I should have noticed. I should...I can't change what happened, but never doubt that you're my closest friend and that I love you."

Wait. I said it. I said it outloud. It was the truth, yeah, but this was me and Wes. We didn't say these things to each other. At least we didn't used too.

Giving him a doubtful look when he hesitated, I was about to turn and leave. I guess that gave me my answers. I stopped short though when I noticed something He was thinking. For the possible first time since I’ve met him, Angel was thinking before opening his mouth. That stopped me short in my track and tilt my head to look at him.

And I was trying. Trying to understand what he was saying. What he was trying to explain. But I could still hear the accusation and part of me didn’t blame him. Part of me still wanted him to punish me for that. I’d been a failure again, a disappointment. It was a small surprise I’d not locked myself in a closet for some time. Maybe until I died, because that’s what happens when I mess up.

But I wasn’t that boy anymore. Nor was I the man I had been in Sunnydale, or when I first joined the agency, or even the man I was just before I took Connor and tried to save him. Always trying, always failing. Always changing. Which was the reason I looked at him with wide eyes and took a step back at his last words. I’d not even noticed how close I had drifted to him again. Like a lost ship to a beacon. Like a moth to a flame.

There was a time I craved for those words. Or even something similar to those words. Then there was a time I’d given up hope of him ever even noticing me, especially not that way. No one could ever really love me. Care for me, maybe, but love? No, no one ever could or did. No matter how much I yearned for it. Which was why it was like a slap in the face when now he managed to say those words.

Words which suddenly became loaded with a meaning he might not have even wanted them to have.

And the only thing that went though my mind were things like ‘why now’ and ‘I love you too’ and ‘its to late you bastard.’ I’ve always thought he knew, or he could smell it on me. But he never gave any indication to that. Never even gave the barest hint that he knew. Had he known? “Angel,” I whispered, knowing those words couldn’t possibly mean the same thing to him as they meant to me.

“Why now?” Why now when it’s probably to late?
Why now? Did he think I just suddenly decided I loved him? I watched him as emotions crossed his face and reflected in his eyes. So many emotions and so few words. It was like we had changed places. I used to be the one of few words. Now I was making speeches in a desperate attempt not to lose him.

The irony was not lost on me.

"Wesley." I waited for him to meet my gaze before I said anything else. He'd been moving toward me and then the moment he'd noticed it of course he backed up again. One step forward ten steps back. We were back to old patterns. This time I was the one trying to keep his attention and he was the cynic. It seemed like a life time ago when he was the one trying to catch my eye back when he first came to work for me.

I missed the glasses and the stutter sometimes. Made me want to find a way to scare him a little so he'd stammer, but he wasn't that Wesley anymore. He'd changed and so had I. We never seemed to be on the same page at the same time. Maybe we never would be.

"It's not like I just suddenly loved you." I said in a tone that was soft and patient. I knew what this was. It was self doubt and insecurity. It was something that I would have exploited and used to my advantage if I didn't have the soul. The same way I had when Drusilla first brought William home.

The look in Wesley's eyes told me he wasn't sure he believed me. I guess I understood his doubt. He didn't believe he was worthy of love and when he had allowed himself to trust us, we turned our backs on him. How could he ever trust any of us again.

"I'm telling you now because I'm an idiot who didn't say it before. I guess I'm hoping it's not too little too late."
I remember a time when I was bending over backward to get him to notice me. To get him to see the real me. It only now occurs to me that there is no real me. I keep changing over time, shedding one personality to adjust to the people around me after another. Removing anything which might cause him to turn away from me.

Until I finally gave up and tried to be myself. Tried to be the man they all thought I was. The boss, the planner, the brain. Little did I know that my idea of who I was wasn't the same as their idea of who Wesley Wyndam-Pryce was. Gone were the days where I desperately offered to clean off every coffee bean so he'd not be angry with me. Gone were the days where I desperately tried to prove to him that I had his back, that I was worth something.

But how can you prove something you don't even believe yourself?

A frown appeared when he said he didn't just suddenly love me. No? When did it happen? Don't tell me he had another epiphany? Under the ocean? Why is it only desperate times seem to open his eyes? Why is it I'm the one who gets hurt before his eyes open. Alright, that's unfair, Cordelia got hurt just as much. At least she got some clothes out of it last time.

Me? Bitter? Oh no.

For some reason unbeknown to me, I'd moved the few steps I'd taken back, forward again. Tilting my head, I gave him a wondrous look as he called himself an idiot. Now there's a first. Remind me to mark the calendar later. "To late for what?" I asked quietly, hiding the small jolt of hope that went through me. "For us to be friends? For me to love you? For you to love me? To late for what, Angel?"

Sighing, I closed my eyes and rubbed a hand over my tired eyes. Not sleeping for day was starting to catch up with me again. "Unlike some people I don't come with an on- and off switch, Angel. I can't just suddenly stop caring about you, all of you. I can’t stop loving you. I never stopped being your friend." And I should shut up now; because that was the bloody last thing I wanted to say.

I'm supposed to be angry with him dammit! I still am, but he's taking the wind right out of my sails again.
It seemed like my words had done more damage than good at first. The look on his face when I tried to explain to him how I felt hurt. I knew that pain he had reflecting in his eyes was put there by me. By my disregard for his feelings. By my refusal to come to him and ask him why he did what he did. He'd always given me the chance to explain, but I didn't return the favor to him. Wasn't that part of being a friend?

Of course things with Wesley were always complicated. It wasn't just friendship. I'd had feelings for him and Cordelia both that went beyond friendship, but I'd forced myself to try and bury it. I wasn't allowed that. The curse saw to it. Buffy still war the scars.

Once I had been ready to give it a chance, I found Wesley fascinated by Fred. I couldn't fault him for that. At one time or another I believed we had all looked at the other in some way that went beyond friendship. Okay, Gunn probably never looked at me that way, but I knew his feelings for Wesley weren't just friendship. Even if Gunn didn't realize that yet.

Then Wesley took a couple of steps towards me and said the things I'd been longing to hear. We were still friends. He never stopped caring. He didn't say there was no hope for us. Of course he didn't address anything besides friendship and I wasn't sure if this was the time or place for it.

"No one has an on and off switch, Wesley. Some of us hide it better than others." I said, and when he looked at me with unreadable eyes, I added, "You are one of those people. I honestly didn't know if there was a chance you would ever forgive me. I thought I'd screwed up too much and hurt you too bad to ever be given another chance."
Slowly, I blinked at him. Me…forgive him? That…that was a very new concept. Was there some deep hidden desire in me that wanted to forgive him? Yes, I had been hurt by his actions, but my actions hurt him more. Cost him more. In a way I deserved what he’d done to me, not matter how it hurt. Inside and outside. But I didn’t think he needed my forgiveness. I craved his, but I that wasn’t something I deserved.

Yet, he seemed relieved, happy even if one can use that word when it comes to Angel, that I still considered me his friend. Hope flared up inside me at the thought that this might mean that he was still my friend. At least that, I had no right left to ask for anything more. Speaking of your on and off switch, there was another one I couldn’t turn off. I never stopped loving him. Another main reason why I did what I did.

It think it was to late however. Once he’d get Cordy back, he’d move on. And frankly, who’d want to be with the person who hurt him so badly? Well, besides me that is. But I’ve given up understanding myself. No wonder other people found me confusing, I confused the hell out of myself.

So, we were still friends. Now what? Do was slap each other on the back, go out to get drunk and laugh about the whole thing? That’s what most people do. But we weren’t most people were we? We never were that way, no matter how much I may have wanted that at one point.

I was still mulling over the fact that he, apparently, couldn’t read me anymore. Had I changed that much? I remember a time that I was afraid he would be able to read anything I was thinking in my eyes. Perhaps I had been training to keep them hidden, for a good reason. I think. Pushing my hands in my back pocket, I bounced around on the balls of my feet and looked at him nervously. And back to the question of…now what?

“I don’t think the question of another chance was ever up to me, Angel,” I said quietly, glancing at my very interesting shoes. “That was your decision to make.” And nicely done, Pryce. Put the ball right back in his court. Coward.
I was relieved that we seemed to be working things out. The lines of communication were open and we were using them. It had been a long time since Wesley and I talked. Especially about anything as important as our relationship. So much time lost, but I couldn't think about that now. I had to focus on what we were creating here. A fresh start of sorts as we tried to bury the pain of the past.

I wasn't surprised when he said that it was my decision to make. Of course I didn't agree with him. If you added up the mistakes we'd both made, I'd say he was the one with more reason to walk away than me, but I'm a selfish bastard. I wasn't going to turn down the opportunity he'd given me.

"I want us to be friends again. I need us to be friends, Wesley." I said, as I offered him a small smile. This was progress. Better progress than I could have hoped for.

"When the sun sets, I plan to go look for Connor. I'm not sure letting him leave was the right decision, but things were complicated last night."

I gave Wesley a look that clearly said I was asking this favor of him because I trusted him. It wasn't that I didn't trust Gunn and Fred, but when it came to Connor...Wesley had proven he was willing to do anything to try and save my son. Even if he was trying to save him from me.

"Any chance you'd feel well enough to go with me? I'm not sure he'll talk with me if we find him, but there is a good chance he'd want to talk to you."
My eyebrow raised when he said he wanted us to be friends again. Had we not just established that it what we both want? It’s a start, I doubt we’ll ever get back to the way we were. So much has happened. So much hate, so much anger, so much lost trust. I’ll have to earn it back again, and for the live of my I’ve no idea how I can do that. Because I feel the need to double check everything I do around him now. Weigh all my words in a scale just to make sure it’s not going to tip the fragile balance we’ve just created.

Returning his small smile with one of my own, I push my hands in my pockets and once again have no idea what to do. I probably should go home and sleep some more. Or sleep, rather, since I’ve not had any here. I’m still lightheaded from the blood I gave him and my arm itches like hell. It hurts too, but that might just be a phantom pain. I’ve no idea, I’ll have to look at it later to make sure. That knife wasn’t exactly clean. It wasn’t as though I had a lot of time to think things over then. It wasn’t as though I’d taken a clean knife with me to cut myself open for him. I’d not planned that at all, but there had been no other choice.

And I’d do it again if I had to.

When he folds out his plan, it takes me by surprise. The look in his eyes take me by surprise even more. If I didn’t know any better I’d say he trusts me. I almost want to make a remark about how stupid I thought his move had been. But I realize that when it comes to being a parent, I’ve no idea about the how and the what. It’s not as though I’ve any examples on how one should do it right. And neither does he.

“What makes you think he’d want to talk to me?” I ask confused. “I do think we should look for the bo- for Connor, but what makes you think he’d be more likely to talk to me?”

Saying his name still hurts, still makes me feel guilty, still leaves me with that biter taste in my mouth. And to I feel good enough to join him? No, I feel as though I’d like to keel over. But when has that ever stopped me before? We’ll just stop for a few bottles of Orange Juice on the way.

not_a_eunuch

11 years ago

watcher_pryce

11 years ago

not_a_eunuch

11 years ago