Nothing Of It
I'm on the outside, I'm looking in
I can see through you, see your true colors
Inside you're ugly, ugly like me
I know that you're weak
I know that you want me
Lover don't speak
Let me in
-Melissa Etheridge, "I Wanna Come Over"
It's dark by now, as is generally the standard
procedure when night rolls around.
Some ancient tome or other sits in his lap, the
same page open for the past few minutes without
him so much as glancing down at it.
The air is heavy. He can feel it, even though
his windows are closed and it's a dry night in
LA. It feels almost humid in here, that damn
heat that tricks you into believing it's the
cold and manages to make you shiver although
it is, in actuality, a good deal over
Would a little rain be too much to ask for?
A little water, to just rinse a few things out
of the air, maybe rinse a few things out of the
air around him.
He could do it, of course. It's a simple enough
matter, summoning a few clouds. And it wouldn't
even need much justification; the farmer's
markets would benefit from it...
But that would be too easy, wouldn't it?
And deep inside, he knows it's going to take a
good deal more than a few drops of rain to wash
these things away.
And perhaps that's appropriate.
As though someone might have heard him (but
that's probably too much to hope for - or maybe
it was too much to hope for that they might let
his ohsoresponsible decision go unpunished),
there is a teasing little breeze outside, and
the windchimes which were left outside of his
door as a clumsy gesture of housewarming by a
two-hundred-year-old vampire (he hung them up
outside his window, hoping the delicate wood the
chimes were suspended from would be safe in this
city) give a light twinkling noise, the faintest
little five-note-interlude which damn damn DAMN
distracts him from this fascinating reading once
Snaps the book closed finally (who is he
kidding, anyway?) and storms over to the window.
He roughly yanks the chimes down from the
rotting windowbox and slams the window closed.
The chimes seem to give tiny gasps/sobs/godknows
as he emits a nearly identical strangled noise
somewhere in the vicinity of "gargh" as a
splinter from the crudely carved claddagh on the
wooden disc from which the metal pipes hang
catches in his thumb.
He drops the chimes, and they fall to the ground
with harsh clunks of six different pitches. The
injured digit flies to his mouth, and he sucks
slightly on the sting and heads for the bathroom
to find a pair of tweezers.
He's perched on the sink, squinting against the
harsh light, digging and trying to get at the
tiny sliver of wood when another breeze rushes
through the flat.
And he feels that unmistakeable presence maybe
a foot behind him. Careful. Almost afraid. Of
him. That thought was one of the funniest
he'd heard in days, which probably just went to
show precisely how depressing his life was.
"I'm sorry to disturb you," Angel says quietly.
"Mmm," Wesley replies succintly, still intent on
pulling out the splinter.
"Any luck with that prophesy?"
"Mm-mm," Wesley answers, vagely tilting his head
this way and that to indicate that no, he's been
too damn distracted by the non-heat and the
chimes to think straight, much less translate a
few dull references to a maybe-demon who might
kill a few frogs up in Seattle the third week
There's a few moments of silence, during which
another gust, this one stronger and definitely
scented of rain, wends past them.
Past him, at least.
And the chimes improvise another piece.
That stops him. The tweezers fall to the ground
and he shoves past Angel, to see them hanging
outside of the window once again.
"I - they were on the ground, I thought they
might have fallen," Angel says, a tiny, almost
imperceptible note in his voice that - in Wes's
mind, at least - seems to beg him to say "yes,
that's right, they just fell, 'cos after all,
I just forgive and forget". Or perhaps a note
which challenges him to tell the truth.
He plays it safe and says nothing, just slams
the window shut once again, so hard that its
frame rattles. A few more like that, he knows,
and he's going to have to pay for more glass.
"Was there anything else you wanted, Angel?"
For what feels like the first time in ages, his
voice is stony. Low, rough, and totally
Angel is silent, as per usual.
"If you'll excuse me," he says calmly, brushing
past Angel and heading back, because irritating
the splinter only seems to have made it hurt
worse and the thumb gives a low, warm throbbing
with each heartbeat. He glances down at it, and
sure enough, a small drop of blood is welling
up. Without thinking, he wipes it on his black
jeans and it stings a bit more.
Maybe it's the last lingering vestiges of the
wind, but Angel seems to catch the slightest
sniff of the blood, for there comes from his
direction the tiniest little throat-noise, not
nearly a growl but not to be mistaken for a
purr by any means. More an enthusiastic
exhalation than anything else. The noise sends
the tiniest shiver down his spine, because he
knows that sound, and that's the sound of a
predator catching that first whiff of his prey.
He stops dead in his tracks and turns slowly.
"Angel, if there's nothing else-"
The empty look on Angel's face distracts him
momentarily. Not 'empty' as in bereft or
sorrowful by any means. Blank. Devoid of
A look which means instinct has taken over.
It lasts for only a couple of seconds, and Angel
seems to realize that Wesley has spoken again.
"If there's nothing else..."
"Uh...no, I, I don't think so, I..." he trails
off again, and, after a moment, turns slowly.
"Sorry to bother you," he says quietly.
And he's heading for the door and his hand is
on the knob and now would be the time to call
after him if he were going to.
And the door falls shut, of course, because he
won't speak, of course.
And he could still call out, and there's still
a change that Angel might come swooping back in
here and grab him up and carry him into the
bedroom and ravage him.
But of course he's not going to do that, because
this is so much more complex.
And the complexities of life are what's going to
kill him. He realizes this as he slumps against
the wall, closing his eyes. The sting seems so
much more acute now, as he slides slowly to the
floor and finally crumples into a vaguely
Another gust of wind comes along, and the chimes
begin again, landings-and-reliftings of various
shades of blue on the colorless canvas of
And through it all, the slighly orange throb-
slash-sting of his thumb and the reddish throb-
slash-sting of his desire.
So he is almost grateful when this movement is
ended by the dark purple growl of thunder and
the rain begins to splatter upon his window
and rinse the canvas clean, even though he knows
that in the end, it will only become the same
washed-out red which colors his existence now.
Wesley. Grateful. Rain.