Subject: Indirect (G, BtVS) Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2003 12:54 PM Title: Indirect Author: s.a. Rating: G. Pairing: Nothing, really, though I'm tempted to call it Buffy/Wesley. Sort of. Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series. Summary: Welcome to the Summers' Rehab Clinic. Disclaimer: I don't make up the 'verses, I just fuck with them.
Spoilers: Sixth season BtVS and third season AtS. This takes place during the summer after the finales, so anything before is fair game.
Feedback: Always appreciated. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Distribution: HiTG, http://hole.adamao.org as well as list archives. Everyone else, just ask.
Author's Notes: Min said if I wrote her Buffy/Wes she'd give me a Lance Bass calendar. How could I say no to that offer? Yes, all my crossovers include Wesley. Blame Min for that one. Actually, she'd probably ask you to thank her. She also told me to include the words violet, Pompeii, and luna. A little evil. Have I mentioned I love summerfic?
"And she looked at him, piercing with her violet gaze, as the cucharachi band strummed 'La Luna' in the soft background of Pompeii--"
"What are you doing?"
Wesley jumped from his chair, the novel spilling to the floor. He cleared his throat and straightened his shirt as he bent to retrieve it. He did his best to hide the cover, and seemed successful, as Buffy was focusing her attention on his face.
"Look, Wes, I'm glad you're here. I mean, we haven't really heard much out of LA lately, and it's good to see a familiar face--visible scarring and all. Which, by the way, you can explain at any time. But I really wouldn't mind some help patrolling tonight, so if you could put away the ten cent romance novel and grab an axe, I'd really appreciate it."
Damn. She'd seen.
He sighed and took the proffered weapon, following her jaunty ponytail out the back door into the slowing expiring sunlight.
They sat at the counter at four am, drinking Folgers and watching the first dawnings of twilight. It was a companionable silence, surprisingly easy for all that their last meeting had been.
She'd allowed her hair to fall from its clasp, and it hung around her face as though she was a model for some makeup advertisement. He knew his face was hard, rough with unshaven beard and heavy with the weight of what he'd left behind.
Buffy seemed to allow this all with acceptance he hadn't expected, but then she had gained a maturity and understanding since high school. He thought part of it was raising Dawn, losing her mother to something she couldn't beat back, and defeating any adversary that stood in her way.
He respected that, especially when he saw something so radically different in himself.
He cleared his throat, finding that he did that more now that someone had attempted to sever it from his body. "You seem quite awake for someone who spent a large portion of the day herding her younger sister around."
She grinned into her coffee. "Well, I think it's some kind of Slayer bonus point. Super strength, quick and nimble reflexes, uber-insomnia. Comes with the gig."
He felt a smile twitch the corner of his mouth. "Ah. It's a wonder the Watchers ever kept up."
"I think Giles took his coffee intravenously," she said, her face dimming slightly.
He noted that with some detachment, but asked gently, "Are you handling--that is, is everything right in the, ah, financial area?"
Buffy nodded, and relaxed on her elbows on the counter. "Yeah, Giles apparently paid the mortgage and the utilities in advance, along with dumping a sizeable amount of money into my bank account, for food and a pair of 'overpriced unnecessary shoes,' he said." She shrugged. "I think it's residual guilt from the whole abandonment and apocalypse thing, but it means I don't have to worry about a job this summer. Leaves me more time to take care of Dawn, concentrate on slaying. Even though it gets really slow in the summer--I swear, you'd think the vamps had to worry about sweat or something, the way they hole up."
Very seriously, he replied, "Recent reports have indicated a migration pattern: north in the summer, south in the winter."
She laughed, loud and bright, and there was that smile again. He enjoyed making her laugh, making himself smile. Perhaps he simply enjoyed her.
Buffy drained the last of her coffee and stood. He followed suit, taking the two mugs and placing them in the sink. She cocked her head towards the door, motioning for him to follow her. As they climbed the stairs, she said, "I'm thinking about opening a bed and breakfast. Summers' B&B. What do you think?"
"Very lucrative business, I hear."
She frowned. "Maybe a rehab clinic. I'd probably get way more clients. Summers' Rehabilitation Clinic. Now that has a ring to it."
He chuckled and followed her to the last door on the left. He glanced inside, raised an eyebrow. "Wasn't this your room?" he asked.
"Um, yeah. After the whole...thing, after Willow left, I decided to move into the bigger room. Figured Will wouldn't want to stay there, too many memories. So Dawn and I did the switcheroo."
He nodded solemnly. "I see."
"I put your bags in there, and we can take the Ryan Philippe poster down tomorrow, if you want."
"Perhaps not," he said. "It adds a certain charm."
She smiled and squeezed his arm. "Have a good night--or morning, really. Don't worry about waking up. We have a strict no-alarm-clock policy in this house."
"Of course," he nodded, slipping into the room. "Goodnight."
He heard her pad across the hall as he shut the door.
"It's an Icarus demon," he said, ruffling through the pages of the Dofflebin Encyclopaedia. He was surprised at the collection Sunnydale had, though he could imagine where it came from. Most of what he saw was Rupert's, and after a brief conversation with Anya, it appeared that she'd added a few choice volumes over the years. Every once in awhile he happened upon a book with blank pages, but wisely he chose not to ask about it.
Buffy was leaning against a wall in the living room; Xander was inspecting the winches again, making sure they were strong from when he repaired them last week; Dawn was bouncing a ball against the table, contributing to Wesley's impending headache; and Anya had claimed "other engagements." Wesley didn't really wish to inquire as to what those engagements might be.
No one was really listening to him. Ah, that was reminiscent of always.
Finally Buffy prompted him. "And an Icarus demon would be?"
He flicked his eyes towards her, then back at the book. "Well, it's called that after the Greek myth. This fellow loses his wings--"
"It has wings?!" Buffy exclaimed.
"--that detach from its body if it gets too hot," Wesley finished, undeterred.
Dawn made a face. "So, it's what, weird slidy action or something? Ew."
"What are we supposed to do, invest in some quality tanning time with this thing? Xander always said he wanted a sunbed," Buffy said.
Xander whirled around, tape measure clacking against his nose. "Hey! One time, one time I say I think I'm a little pale, that I could use some sun, and I'm branded for life."
"Yup," said Dawn. "Your manliness has been compromised. I'm very sorry to inform you that you must now flip your hair and call me honey."
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Come on, shiny hair girl. Let's go over some of those moves we tried last night."
Dawn rolled her eyes back her sister. "I thought we were learning about the Icky demon."
"Whatever," both girls said at the same time.
Buffy grabbed Dawn's hand and pulled her from her seat. "You were the one who wanted to learn. What was it? You wanted to be a 'kickass slayer-type person'?"
"Yeah, but that was before I realized it required movement of body parts," she mock-groaned, flashing a grin at Wesley as they went out of the room.
Wesley moved to the couch and sat down, thumbing through the book, hoping to find something that would allow them to destroy this creature who was being very reckless in most air-conditioned buildings in Sunnydale.
Xander left the room for a moment, came back and sat down next to Wesley on the couch. Wesley accepted the proffered beer without looking up from the page he was engrossed in. Xander took the remote and relaxed back into the couch. There was a click, and then the sound of a crowd cheering.
Wesley looked up and his mouth dropped open. "How the hell did you get football?"
Xander glanced over at him. "Do you know how many times I've stayed at Giles' place? The man will never admit to it, but he had satellite on a television in his bedroom. He'd stay up till four in the morning to watch some game, and after awhile I got a little hooked." He shrugged. "When I had to do some roofing work on the house, I just set up a dish here. I spend more time at Revello than I do my own apartment, anyway. Besides, Giles almost kissed my feet when he came back," he said with a grin.
Wesley just nodded, never taking his eyes from the screen. "It's Arsenal versus Tottenham Hotspurs, in the champ match! Dear god, I can't believe I'm watching this." He patted Xander's shoulder and took another sip of his beer, putting the tome aside as he became more engrossed in the happenings on the television.
"I was calling for Giles," Wesley began. "I thought perhaps he'd be able to help me with a translation, but things seemed rather hectic at the time, so I just worked on it myself. A few months later, I hadn't heard from him, so I drove here."
Buffy nodded, twirling her stake in her fingers.
"There was an overbearing Greek woman at Giles' apartment, who not-so-kindly informed me that Mr. Giles no longer resided there, so I went to your house."
"And the rest is history," Buffy finished, turning backwards to impale a vampire intent on sneaking up behind them. She ran and pulled the stake out of its heart just before it crumbled into dust, and wiped any errant flecks off her shirt.
She jogged back to his side, and in answer to his questioning eyebrow explained, "The stake dusts with them if you don't grab it quickly enough. And this is my favorite one." She put the stake in her pocket and smiled at him.
"I suppose I've never been really concerned about them before. I get them wholesale through a local distributor."
"Ah, capitalism in the name of fighting evil. Yay America."
They smiled at each other and headed towards Revello.
He was sleeping on the couch, snoring lightly. He'd burrowed himself into one of the plush pillows; for a couch that had undergone as much damage as this one, it was remarkably comfortable.
There was a small squeak and a quick intake of breath, and Dawn held still, waiting to see if he'd wake up. He didn't move, and she let out a relieved sigh, creeping closer.
She reached behind her and pulled it out, leaning over Wesley to get a direct shot at his face, and then sprayed once, twice, three times.
She burst into laughter when he shot up and looked around as though one of those Icky demons had come up and licked his face.
"Sorry! Sorry!" she gasped, holding her stomach for laughter. "Xander dared me to!"
He got up from the couch, and she backed up slowly, seeing his look. "Now, for that," he said slowly, "you're learning Sumerian."
Her eyes widened in shock. "No way!"
She looked left, then right, and Wesley saw her planning her escape. "You'll have to catch me first!" she yelled gleefully, heading for the front door.
As he made to run after her, he stopped a moment, and then gave a pure and unfettered laugh.
It was Friday night, and there were couples everywhere. Wesley was glad he'd had the foresight to make reservations, as they were seated almost immediately. Buffy startled for a moment as he held out her chair for her, but she quickly caught on and smiled.
They made small talk through the first three courses. He bought wine he was old enough to drink, and had to remind himself that she wasn't. They traded stories and small jibes against Angel, reminisced about the days of Sunnydale high, and threw well-meaning barbs back and forth.
"I will say one thing, Wes. Your retorts have gone way up in the snark factor," Buffy said as she sipped the last of her red wine.
"Perhaps Los Angeles has been good for me after all," he said, looking at the dessert menu.
He stopped when he realized the silence had changed. Buffy was gazing at him intently, with a little sadness. "You're leaving, aren't you?" she said quietly.
He nodded, putting the menu aside. "I wanted to say goodbye properly. You've been very good to me during my stay, but there are things, and...people I've left behind that I should deal with. I've put my responsibilities aside long enough."
She leaned back in her chair, playing with her napkin. "Okay."
He blinked, fiddled with his tie. He felt a little lost, as though he was missing something that he never really grasped. "I do wish I could stay."
She smiled, though there was a small downward turn to her mouth. "Wesley, it's fine. I never expected you to stay." She took his hand in hers. "I just...It's been nice having you around. Nice having someone who hasn't judged me--at least, not in three years--and who'll help out without trying to create an apocalypse."
He winced, looked down at his plate and squeezed her hand a bit. "Thank you. I think."
She slipped her hand from his and rested her chin on it. "Though if you really wanted to make it up to me, you could buy me dessert."
He grinned widely. "I've heard good things about the chocolate cherry torte."
Her excited smile was completely worth the two hundred dollars he spent on that meal.
Xander gave him a strong handshake and went to put the suitcases into the car. Dawn threw her arms around him and squeezed him tightly, until he almost couldn't breathe. Just before she let go, she whispered in his ear, "I don't hate you for making me learn Sumerian. It makes me feel kind of smart, like I could help out. Thanks." She kissed him on the cheek, then ran upstairs, Xander following her into the house after one last smile.
Buffy walked him to the car. As they got to the driver's side door, he slipped her a piece of paper. "That's my cell number, and my apartment number. Call if you need anything, anything at all."
She nodded, and pulled him into a hug. "I will miss you, you know. For being a stuffy Watcher guy, you've grown to be a pretty cool Rogue Demon Hunter."
He pulled back, askance. "How on earth did you find out about that?"
She grinned. "I have more than one friend in LA, you know."
Wesley shook his head, groaning softly.
"So what will you do when you go back to Los Angeles?" she asked.
"Oh, I don't know. Fight some evil, see about a missing person, have an illicit affair," he smiled.
She nodded seriously. "Of course. I do that every time I go. Plus stop on Melrose."
They laughed together, and he took her in his arms again. He mused, as he always had, how someone so small, who seemed as though she could break beneath his hands, could save the world. A lot.
He kissed the top of her head and they separated, giving quiet goodbyes. He climbed into the car, and she climbed the walkway to her house. Just as he was about to pull onto the main road, he tuned back and waved to her.
She waved back, and then went inside.
He made a left and began the long road home.
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to s.a.
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