Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

On Mercury
By Bear
For Adrian

Such a peculiar sensation.

At first Wesley could certainly feel the cold and the pain... but seeing her face again made it fade away, reminding him of sunny, balmy days. He wanted to keep his eyes open, wanted to keep looking at her sweet and open face, wanted to forgive her for leaving him behind.

Wanted to believe the untruths the familiar voice was soothing him with.

He'd been able to cope with the battles and the fighting - it was the day to day living that had been killing him slowly. Now, like the angel he wanted her to be, she had returned to show him the way to the peace he'd been wanting. Smiling, he finally closed his eyes, reaching out for her in the sudden darkness that wrapped around him.

As he awoke, Wesley thought how he'd never imagined dying would be like this. He'd clung determinedly to his life many a time before, and he'd been so cold - and so alone each time. As his blood had seeped away he'd only been aware of his own body's failings. Uncertain as to whether the shivers that ran through him were due to death's near embrace or to remembrances of past mistakes. His was not a life that he wished to have flash before him on yet another occasion.

He felt warm, sun-kissed warm, like lying on the beach at the start of his summer holidays in Cornwall as a lad. Yet he smelt meadow flowers instead of the briny tang of the sea air that he remembered fondly from those days. Cornflowers, bluebells and buttercups.

No sounds of the angry swell crashing against the cliffs during the unexpected sudden summer storms. No gentle waves breaking on the shore, foaming softly around his toes, calm and deceptive in its falsehood.

The accident during his first summer there had taught him about the undertow - a perfect simile for his life. Calm, serene, collected on the surface, and a maelstrom underneath - he'd floated along in the direction he'd been expected to go. Lived the life that he'd been expected to live - finally, and quite regrettably, dying the death that Angel must have expected of him.

That thought, that single thought of Angel, sharply brought back the pain. Not the pain of Vail twisting the knife in his guts. The pain of remembering that he'd loved Angel. He'd needed Angel.

He'd betrayed Angel.

He'd betrayed him just as simply as he had done before when he had taken Connor away. He hadn't meant to fall for Fred - it had just been so... honestly? Expected of him. He'd known there was a passion within him, a fuse waiting to be lit. So angry, just so furious at not having the chance to explore the possibilities - to see if she was what had been missing.

So he'd turned on Angel, taken the easiest option - the one person that he instinctively knew, even without knowing, that would take the barbs and blows. Yes, Gunn hadn't had it easy from him either - and Knox had deserved it, but Angel had disappointed him. Wesley had needed him to be a hero so that what he thought was his hero-worship could have a focus.

Then he'd dropped Vail's little glowing cube, and his life was all at once as fractured and splintered as the remnants of the spell. He was, to be quite frank about it, well and truly buggered. So many obstacles to overcome - betrayal, wariness, desperation, sadness, Angel's new relationship with Spike... and her Blue Highness. Not to mention this new twist of events... death would have really put a serious crimp in his plans.

Wesley really hoped that Illyria had kicked some serious sorcerer butt.

Opening his eyes, Wesley could see why he smelt meadow flowers. The deep blue, cloudless sky above and tall grasses were a dead giveaway. Everything was now explained, all completely crystal clear. He had died and his idea of heaven was plainly a sunny summery afternoon in the countryside.

All he needed now for everything to be perfect was a tall, dead, American/Irish man. As the shadow fell across his face he looked upwards at a face he'd seen before but not known. A wry smile pulled at the corners of his mouth as Wesley realised that God was still listening - and He had a terrible sense of humour.

At least two out of three wasn't bad.

He pushed himself up on his elbows and waited for the man to speak. Wesley had only ever seen him on that video. The one that Angel played time and time again when he thought Wesley was asleep. He knew that Angel had missed him badly - that he'd been the first real friend that Angel had let in past the barricades.

When he was feeling particularly anxious about whatever deadly situation they were facing Wesley would play over those words that were imprinted onto his mind. The rich brogue steeling Wesley's backbone, knowing that he was able to access that stupidity their team called courage. "You'll see that there's still heroes in this world."

Though if anyone asked him he would have said that he was imagining he was John Wayne - Rio Grande, The Alamo, even Rooster Coburn - but not The Conqueror. Even with The Duke, one simply had to draw the line somewhere; to say thus far, and no further.

Facts had to be faced, simple as that. This place clearly wasn't Hell - meadow flowers abounded, yes, but there was not one jot of Laura Ashley, chintz or purse dogs. Unless he rapidly started believing in reincarnation, Wesley knew that he probably wouldn't see Angel again.

Yes, Angel would probably eventually achieve the redemption that he desired so much, but there was always going to be one stumbling block in his search for forgiveness. Himself. Angel couldn't believe that he'd ever finish paying for his past transgressions - and that his soul deserved to be at peace in Heaven.

Wesley couldn't believe that Angel didn't deserve to be allowed here, yet he knew that the vampire wouldn't let himself be at rest. The habits of an un-lifetime would be hard, possibly impossible, to break.

Ah, such foolish babbling. Wesley recognised that he could be a fool at times, a romantic fool - but he was also a realist. He'd told Illyria earlier that day that one of the first things he'd learnt at his father's knees was to recognise the lies and deceptions for what they were.

One lie would be to think that he would wait around for Angel. Another would be to think that Angel had waited for him - the ever observant Illyria had failed to see the pain hidden inside when she'd related Spike's admission of their intimacy. Possibly the worst lie is to grab at insubstantial straws and cling on to the only link he has left to Angel.

Wesley came to a decision there and then - he had an afterlife to live now. Better not to count on false hopes. He would adopt a new philosophy, some upbeat American twaddle like "deal and move on".

His hand shot out to Doyle, who grasped it and pulled him upright. Wesley managed to lose his balance slightly and fall against the slight body, years of practice as a bumbling Watcher standing him in good stead.

Yes, Doyle isn't Angel, but he'll do.

"Careful, friend. You'll be wanting to stay off the hard stuff if you can't keep your feet steady. And where are me manners? I'm Doyle, and I'm your guide for now."

"Guide? To where? What is this place?" If Doyle's like any typical loquacious Irishman, and Cordy seemed to imply that he was, just a few words would keep him talking. Talking could only lead to good places.

Doyle stepped back, and made a mock bow. "May I welcome you to the Elysian Fields?"

The Elysian Fields? Oh, damn.