He's very happy with who he is and where he is. He's Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, he's thirty-four years old, head of Ancient Prophecies and Research at Wolfram and Hart Los Angeles, and his rather hideous khaki trousers do not itch; nor does the blue button-down shirt he's worn to his favorite pub to play a few rounds of darts feel rather tight across the chest. He has NOT become so Americanised that his Guinness is too warm and the glass too sticky. That is an impossibility.
He is not staring at the woman playing pool out of the corner of his eyes, watching how her shapely posterior, wriggles as she makes a very difficult shot, nor at the slim crescent of strangely familiar skin emerging from between her ribbed black sweater that clings tightly to her figure while he ignores the pain of biting on his lip. The woman is a stranger, and Wesley is simply admiring someone who looks (not at all) like Fred.
With hips. And breasts, and damn that incorrigible dead ex and her lilting mockery...a fait accompli. Damn her anyway, for refusing to fade away the way ghosts should fade, turning into the soft sensation of fog tickling against the face, not the residual warmth of a banked fire, daring at any moment to flare up and burn brightly.
He's very happy without having to consider the split loyalties that came with Lilah Morgan's poisonous touches, those sharp fingernails digging into his back, scratching like a cat. Nor the shameful delight of stroking that well-moisturized skin that smelled slightly of Chanel and expensive, slightly citrus-smelling soaps.
"Another?" the bartender asks, the feel of his stale breath too close to Wesley's face unpleasant as he considers the firmness of evil lawyer flesh, muscle and sinew and fatty tissue that molded itself to fit the contours of whatever sexual position that they had chosen for the encounter.
"Yes, why not?" Wesley says, remembering lips pressed against the hardness of her shoulderblade, the resulting press of her ass against his cock, the shiver of her upper arms when roughly grasped and held against her sides. This has gone beyond thinking that the woman playing pool looks vaguely like her; he rarely gets this maudlin or detailed. This is a haunting, pure and simple, a memory-trace almost as palpable as an experience. Perhaps it's the chill in the air. Wintertime is full of ghosts, and he can't quite exorcise his living father's ghost from his mind, so what of his dead lover who would willingly come when he called?
Everything about her was sleek, like the clothes she used to wear, expensive fabrics that weighed more in his hand than they appeared to on her body. He remembers a pair of silk thigh-high stockings that he brutalized, pulling them away from her legs as slowly as he could before using one to blindfold her (no more knowing eyes to watch him) and the other to tie her wrists, which were strong and not at all delicate, together above her head.
She would have looked good in a silk kimono, her hair sleek and done up into a bun caught by two ivory sticks. Wesley would have liked to seen that, to feel the glossy material as he untied the kimono with his teeth, brushing against her stomach with his stubbly face until she squealed.
None of these images should be unhappy, necessarily. Wesley can hear himself rationalizing this to a psychoanalyst, the leather of the couch buttery smooth and comforting to settle into, pressing against his back, hurting the back of his head. "Lilah was a very sexual person, and very enjoyable to make love to," in plastic-coated tones. Why not fantasize about an extremely talented lover, especially given the wreck Wesley had made with the unexpected emotional component of their relationship?
He was happy with the sexual aspect of their relationship. The feeling of being balls deep in a woman, the feeling of her warm (not cold, not dead, not haphazardly re-attached) body collapsing atop his, whimpering delightedly? All of these things, despite the identity of his lover, were enjoyable.
Writing it off as pure sensation was twisting his stomach, turning the beer sour. The enjoyment of the shudder(s) of orgasm, as powerful and hot as they'd been, had been only one of the sensation Wesley had found himself rather fond of in the six months of relationship with Lilah. Almost as powerful had been the weight of her head on his shoulder, the tentative curling up between them that had gotten harder to resist. That, even more than the sex, has been missed.
Wesley, in short, wants to be in love again, to be able to accept from the beginning that he's in love; thus, ideally, he should not fall in love with the Enemy so that being in love can be as easy as having good sex, or swallowing a mediocre Guinness and feeling it wash against his throat. In the unhappy, confused parts of his head, Wesley thinks that it's not going to be quite right, him and Fred, that they'll be too frail against each other, that she won't fit. Worse yet, he keeps thinking that transferring that harridan Eve and replacing her with Lilah would be easy. The touch of a few keys.
The ease is why he won't do it. It would be too easy to twist his fingers into her hair and tell her that she belongs to him, that he needs, very badly, someone who has complete and total faith in him (because no one should), to revel in the tearing of his psyche into painful, stabbing little bits, in breaking whatever remains of Lilah into pliable warmth. Nothing worth the trouble is easy.
This time, he draws blood when he bites down on his lip. And the woman doesn't stop looking like Lilah, and Wesley doesn't stop wishing, somehow, that he could have just the good of what happened between them back, wrapped around him like his grandmother's knitted afghans from when he was a lad. Or like the warmth of a mug of hot tea, the steam impossibly comforting against his face. Not all of the pain that he can muster, not fingernails digging into his hand or biting his tongue, can stop him longing, a splinter twisting in his head, pulling him away from unity and friendship and Angel's leadership.
And Wes wonders when he fell in love with a dead woman...not even a real dead woman, the dream he came up with...and if it gets to stop before it kills him this time.
Into the 21st Century: http://www.imjustsayin.net
"Your son brought you into the 21st century. It's a lot like the 20th century, except people are afraid and the stock market is much lower." --The Simpsons
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Title: Slave of Sensation
Series Name: Sensationalism
Author: Jennifer-Oksana [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | R | 6k | 04/20/04
Pairings: Wesley/Lilah past, Wesley/Fred UST
Summary: These feeling sometimes get out of control. Part five of the Sensationalism Series.
Notes: Spoilers: Lineage
Disclaimer/Other: Joss, not me.
Distribution: list archives, standing orders, others by permission.
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