Putting It Right
by Am-Chau Yarkona
Title: Putting It Right
Author: Am-Chau Yarkona
He looked along the street, peering out the window, and saw him- the man- surely he is a man- he loved. In the gloaming, his dark coat was nearly invisible, but the set of his shoulders told Wesley everything that he needed to know. His lover was brooding again.
Well, the Englishman thought, I can do something about that. I have all that is required: Irish whiskey, the best American money can buy; clean sheets, red satin; my body, freshly showered; and handcuffs, stronger than even the fittest vampire. Oh, yes. It's a good thing we dealt with the curse.
He's probably watching me from the window. He does that- stands by the window and looks along the street. It's such an old-fashioned gesture, it makes me think of Sherlock Holmes and London. Of course, that leads to thoughts of William and Drusilla- everything leads me back to them.
I hurry into the hotel, barely noticing that Cordelia has left and there is filing still to be done, trying not to run up the stairs- I don't want him to hear me coming- but he saw me enter, and is waiting at the top, my prince in a smart suit.
I pull gently on his sleeve. He almost falls into my arms. We walk to the bedroom, holding each other like we will be torn apart forever if we let go. The bed is neatly made, the whiskey is cold, and I undress him slowly. Coat first (why he didn't leave it downstairs?); then trousers, to reveal pale legs, then shirt, to find broad chest and strong shoulders.
His skin is cool, soft, but not cold in the heat of the evening. He lies back, a tiny smile. "Love you, Wesley," he says, and adds as an afterthought, "Fuck me?"
My lover is careful, but strong: his long fingers brushing my skin as delicately as an ancient text; his blue eyes watching my face for every reaction; his mouth licking, nipping, sucking every inch of me. The alcohol softens the edges of the room, casting our little bed afloat on a sea of dreams, until we wash up at a shore of pleasure.
He pushes inside me, tenderly. His human gasps excite me more than the strength of a vampire, and his heart beats so hard I mistake it for my own. When I come, I cry out his name.
We wrap around each other and settle into sleep. Mine is dreamless, but at midnight I wake, because his isn't. He shifts restlessly, trying to escape some horror or avert a disaster. I run my hands over him, stroking through his hair, trying to soothe the fears away, but to no avail. Nearly an hour passes before he wakes, shaking in the dark.
When he speaks, he tries to explain, but the full terror he feels isn't told. His eyes show it. This is guilt, and what he fears is himself. "I killed her. She's dead- again- I couldn't stop."
He understands better than I can explain, and I'm glad of that. I don't want to have to spell out who is dead- he knows, he met her, he cared for her when she would let him- and he was here when Willow told us. I wasn't there, but every detail is etched in my mind, from talking to the others. Spike saw every moment, and his gift with words brings it to my mind.
"She jumped, Sire," he told me when I asked, "She jumped and she's gone- and I fucking love her! You know that? I love her!"
I know who is dead. I also know he loves her still, because I heard him telling Spike. "So do I," he said, and the other vampire accepted that. I have accepted it too: I will never hold my lover's heart, and that is simply the way it is. It hurts to know that he is not wholly mine, however loud and often he cries my name, but it is the way it must be. I am not his soul-mate, not even his first choice when deprived of her. I will be fighting ghosts forever- Buffy, Doyle, and Darla, too.
At breakfast, Wesley is quieter than usual. "I'm sorry I woke you," I tell him, "You can go back to bed for a while, if you like." But he shakes his head.
"It's not that, Angel. Though if you want to go back to bed, I don't mind coming with you." The raised eyebrow and the subtle innuendo are a tempting reminder of what we could be doing. I think he's trying to change the subject. What's more, he's succeeded.
"Later, Wes. How's the research coming?" Damn demons and their evil ways: I don't want to be a hero anymore!
Angel's brooding, probably over Buffy. He claims to be focused on the case, but my books have nothing.
I could weep- it's unfair that he must continue working- most jobs give compassionate leave when you're bereaved, but not his: Cordelia's had three visions already this week. He hasn't grieved properly, there are nightmares every night, and he still goes out and fights.
On the other hand, it could be for the best. If he didn't, he might be trying to kill himself. I was quiet this morning, and I think he worries: but it's because I'm worried. I can't win.
"I don't mind."
"Don't mind what?"
"That you don't love me."
"What are you saying?"
"You love Buffy. I heard you telling Spike."
He heard that? I meant to comfort, not to upset. "There's a difference," I begin. Why did I never learn to explain things?
"Yes- you love her, not me."
"No, I loved her. Now she's... I love you."
"You can't just stop."
"Then I love you both. Her in the past, you now. Okay?"
He hesitates, so I reach out. Blue eyes with a frown in them- then it goes, and I hold him.
God, this hurts.
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