"So you couldn't be Angel," she pointed out, eyes closed. "You could never be Angel no matter how you tried. They didn't want you as their daddy. So now you've become Angelus out of spite. How's that working out for you?"
"If I'm Angelus, you're Darla."
"I know," she said placidly, stroking his hair. "Don't you think I've thought it all out? It's rather frightening, the possibilities."
His mind whirled with possibilities all the fucking time. The idea of being Angelus was one he hadn't considered. Nothing so grand. He has considered where he's headed in this affair, the possibilities of redemption, and the thought that maybe one day, he will be forgiven the way Angel is forgiven. He, after all, hasn't left humans to die. He, after all, has not tried to become his evil alter ego by having sex with his first love. There is no reason that Wesley doesn't deserve forgiveness if Angel does.
Yet there would be no forgiveness. This wasn't possibility. It was accepted fact in Wesley's wild conjecturing mind.
"I don't think we'll have a love affair that lasts one hundred and fifty years," Wesley points out. "Perhaps not one year. You're not that good in bed."
Her laugh was gentle, amused, and she did not stop caressing him, the way she might have if she was in a bad mood. Funny to think that there were moods and textures even with the unrepentantly evil. Humans, it seemed, were still human, whether good or not.
"I think you love me and hate me," she said dreamily. "I know it's not going to last. You'll find another woman. You'll find plenty of other women. But I'm the one that matters most even if you never love me best. I'm the one you'll claim made you what you'll become. After all, think about what you did to Justine, just to impress me."
He bit his lip, because she was not wrong. Justine, cuffed and submissive, was an offering to this dangerous thing whose hands are entangled in his hair as though she were petting a great cat. They were lying there, naked as the day they were born, on her expensive Egyptian cotton sheets, 300-count, watching the late-afternoon sun filter through the large windows. She'd taken the afternoon off, pleading a sick headache. Possibly cramps.
"If that's true, I'll kill you. In the end."
"That's all right," she replied, rubbing her thumb against his cheek. "You'll do it the way I'd want it done. No dog food in San Pedro, no anonymous rape and murder by a mysterious burglar. You'd kiss me before you did it and apologize afterward."
Death seemed far away, the whole sordid world that swirled around them, claiming for the dark seemed to be stilled. It was late afternoon during a California September, the air summery yet. There was a cabinet of expensive liquor twenty feet away, the sleek stereo was pouring out the bittersweet sound of a good rock album circa 1989, and the woman whose chest he was laying against was beautiful, had warm skin, and smelled good. It didn't seem possible that if they got up and confronted the outside world, it would be so full of ugliness and ambiguity that there was no alternative but to drink and be cynical and loveless.
"I would at that," he mused. "Can we stay like this?"
"Mmm," she said. "Probably not. Nice, though. Almost normal, just wasting the afternoon in bed. Maybe if we quit the life, got regular jobs, and a lot of therapy, we could do this on a daily basis."
"You make it sound like we're involved in organized crime, not an ongoing struggle between primordial sources of good and evil," he teased. "There's no quitting."
Her hand paused in its lazy exploration of his upper body. "Why not?" she asked. "It's not as if there's any lack of candidates to replace us. We could just--go. Maybe to San Francisco, or Baltimore, or Philadelphia. Or London. Wherever. You could be a classics professor and I could be a public defender. Or maybe just a low-level corporate associate. Or maybe not a lawyer at all. I always secretly wanted to do interior design and sell Mary Kay."
"Don't make me laugh."
"Shut up," she said airily. "We would have attractive children, you know. It wouldn't be such a bad life. I'm pretty liquid at the moment. We could just disappear. Become someone else. Mr. and Mrs. Nobody, of Madison, Wisconsin. With attractive nobody children and a well-appointed nobody house."
"Until some demon catches the scent and decides Wesley Junior is exactly what would square the deal between him and us."
"Our son would not be named Wesley Junior," she murmured. "And no demons. I know people who aren't involved with the paranormal at all. We could go to Canada. Canada is very un-paranormal. The weirdest things up there were the X-Files and Mike Myers, and they're both in America and over now. It's too cold to be paranormal. Hell would freeze over if it was up there."
He could almost take her seriously, almost buy into the kinds of dreams that sounded so attractive and so plausible that they were the worst kind of seductive. What was worse, he wanted to believe the lie. He could almost see the house, the quiet, and the attractive children. But Wesley believed in karma, and the way of the hard atonement. Neither of them could just quit. Neither of them really wanted to, either. It was the sort of fantasy born of good fucking, a string of bad days at work, and no one to talk to but each other.
"If it were possible," he said, finding her hand with his own and catching it, twining their fingers together. "It would be nice. Maybe I wouldn't hate you if you were someone else and I was someone else. But we are who we are, and we can't simply run away from ourselves. The truth outs itself."
"And the truth is?"
"You're an alcoholic self-loathing sadomasochist submissive who sold her soul for a good job and the fall Versace line. And I'm a self-destructive closet bisexual misogynist who wants to be an arsehole vampire with a soul. We'd turn the children into sociopaths," he said.
"Hey, don't forget the part where I'm closeted bisexual, too," she reprimanded him lazily.
"Really? Who?" Wesley asked, amused rather than surprised by the easy revelation.
"Faith," she said. "That girl is fuckable."
"Sorry," she murmured, hand in his hair. "Forgot about the part where she tortured you. Can we keep pretending we're normal now?"
"Does it make you happy?"
"It's a way to pass the time," she said, neatly dodging the obvious answer. "I can't move, anyway. I'm thinking of never moving again. We can live on delivery. I'll flash the delivery guy and we'll get free delivery forever."
"Didn't someone already make that movie?" he asked. "You're getting maudlin. We should never have mind-blowing sex while you're on something."
Lilah slapped his shoulder with a small disapproving noise in her throat. "Shhh," she said. "Just for a second, we could make something true."
"Except it's a lie," Wesley replied, twisting around so that he could look directly into Lilah's eyes and discover what her game was with this child's patter of family, happily ever after, and escape.
"All the best stories are lies," she said, meeting his eyes without a hint of scheme and a smile that was young. Lilah, to Wesley, was many things and had many facets, but she has never been young. There has always been too much knowing in her eyes. "I like my story."
"I like your story," Wesley agreed, kissing her on the forehead before a cheated whimper from Lilah compelled him to meet her lips and stay there a while. "But there are certain truths..."
Lilah kissed him again, tasting like sex and alcohol blood. "Not today. Today, this could all be true. Just a thought."
It was a tribute to her skill that Wesley accepted that. That he believed in his heart of hearts she wanted it to be true until she disabused him of that notion.
And yet he knew she hadn't lied, either. Or perhaps it was true that all of the best stories were lies, and that Wesley, despite knowing what was right, could also dream of something better.
Didn't matter. After all, it was just a thought.
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Title: Just A Thought
Author: Jennifer-Oksana [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | PG-13 | 7k | 06/29/04
Summary: Meditation on love, redemption, and escape and why it's not an option. (Early S4)
Disclaimer/Other: Joss, not me.
Distribution: Lists, standing orders, others by permission.
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