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

These New Years
By Pesha
For Lasair

The current N.D.U.O. -Nasty Demon, Unknown Origin- had lost them somewhere between the not-so-good side of town and the pretty-decent side of town. Presently, Angel and Wesley were wading through the glistening throngs in what had to be Upscale L.A.

'City of Angels, indeed,' Wesley considered idly as yet another set of perfect porcelain veneers twinkled brightly at him from a blonde whose hair color could be no more real than her smile.

Angel bumped into Wesley for what had to be the fifth time in as many minutes as the broad-shouldered vampire avoided the happy-go-lucky, uppercrust nightlife. Wesley was unsure of whether Angel was avoiding the elitists for fear of injuring them or of injuring their wardrobes.

'That suit could not possibly have sold for less than---'

"Unbelievable. Hand-tailored. How much does hand-tailoring cost these days? Where do you even get a tailor to hand-tailor anything for you if you had the money to pay to have it----tailored?" Angel finished his rant on a rather apologetic note as he must have realized the volume of his voice had been increasing with their press into what Wesley assumed was "Club Territory."

Wesley realized that Angel had been staring at him, waiting for a response for what must seem like a rather long pause. He adjusted his lenses on his nose in an effort to maintain a casual aplomb.

"I imagine one might hire a reasonable tailor through directory assistance. There is always a means to an end in any---"

Angel was giving him a wry look that showed how he clearly did not have the necessary acting skills to pull off such an obvious subterfuge.

"Bugger. Fine. Was I very obvious in my ogling?" Wesley sighed raggedly, for a moment forgetting what they were supposed to be accomplishing with this impromptu outing.

Angel's mouth tipped up at the corners in his best approximation of a smile.

"Honestly? Your eyes were getting pretty big for a while there, Wes. Mainly I'm just impressed that you managed to use the word 'ogling' without cracking a smile."

'Lovely. His wit has decided to make an appearance on my behalf. I love making a spectacular arse out of myself in front of my----employer.'

"I apologize for any...unseemly expressions my eyes might have been making. I will endeavor to express myself with more admirable restraint in future."

The retort came out so smoothly it might have been only yesterday that Wesley had last given its predecessor in his father's study, shaking in his scuffed school shoes for fear that this time would mean the cane instead of merely the threat of it.

Except this time, Wesley was not a child, nor was he shaking with the fear of one. Any trembling that he might be willing to admit to was likely caused by the startlingly brisk breeze wafting through the close city streets.

Angel was giving him....a look again. Pity? Regret? Constipation?

Wesley certainly couldn't tell, but the moment was gone as quickly as it had come. Movement to their left had Angel back on full alert, shoving Wesley behind him -even though Angel claimed time and time again that he valued Wesley's skills in battle, he never quite managed to curb the instinct to....shield him- and moving into a ready stance.

"Alright. Let's go," Angel challenged.

The subsequently emerging couple didn't seem too impressed with Angel though. They seemed more likely to be unaware of the world around them at all. No danger was present enough to distract them from their bliss, apparently.

Wesley couldn't help but feel vaguely off by their appearance. He wasn't quite certain why that was -They're just another happy, beautiful couple. Yet another shining example of the statement: Ignorance is bliss.- until it dawned on him rather like...well, rather like the dawn except with less appalling results for his erstwhile companion.

They were men.

That is to say they were both men.

They were kissing men. Laughing men. Men who held hands and brushed shoulders and leaned far too close for the sake of propriety when they were talking.

Wesley's English soul was jostled by the bold display and he could practically feel the tension radiating from Angel.

'I'm not the only one startled for a change. Oh for the ability to make a witty comeback right now.'

Instead, Angel startled them both by stating baldly, "There's something you wouldn't have seen back in my day. Not where I come from, that's for damned certain."

Wesley nodded jerkily. His tongue felt strangely large inside his mouth. "I. Yes. Quite."

Angel had very dark eyes. Flecked with gold even while his human mask was in place. He seemed to stare completely inside someone when he focused on them that way. This way.

Wesley realized he'd been staring deeply into Angel's eyes for another regrettably long period of time when he realized that his ruminations on the vampire's gaze were more present observation than past recollection. He looked away too quickly and Angel's hand was suddenly bruising his wrist, reminding him of his own human fragility.

Wesley's eyes jerked back up to Angel's own, a silent question freezing his expression in place.

Angel gave an imperceptible tick of his head.

'Ah. A follower then. It seems our straggler has returned after all. I can handle this. Just. Be calm. Collected. Don't panic. Don't exhibit any sign of awareness. There is only you and Angel. Just myself and---him.'

Oddly, that thought was more disquieting than any other.

"Wes....test a theory with me? We can revel in this new time. Forget about the Old World for a while. Alright?"

His gaze was like molten chocolate. Only heightened somehow. Wesley could feel his gaze over ever modestly clothed inch of his flesh.

Then Angel's hand slid -cool and shockingly large- into Wesley's.

Their fingers twined together so simply that Wesley wondered if he weren't having some odd sort of miscommunication with the vampire at his side.

'Is this some sort of magic that I should know of? A spell that I should know the words to? Should he be squeezing my fingers quite so roughly? Should I squeeze back or keep my hand lax? No. If I relax my grip too much, he might draw away. That---would that be bad?'

Angel's lips brushed desperately close to Wesley's ear and his unnecessary breath set Wesley trembling in a vague mockery of the boy he'd once been.

"He can't hear us, I don't think. Khee Shak demon maybe. I can't get a good look at him through the glam behind us. I want to see if we can't fool him so that he makes a retreat back to the homeland. We might luck out and find the nest."


"Oh. Right. Of course."

Wesley dutifully squeezed Angel's hand back even as his spine stiffened with the vague pull of impending humiliation. Luckily, Angel was rarely very observant on such matters. Wesley would have been willing to bet his own mortal soul that this would not be the moment that such insight would grace his detached employer.

Unfortunately, had he placed such a bet, Wesley might have found himself in dire straights indeed. Or so he came to realize as Angel's ironically soulful gaze fixated on his own again.

"Sometimes I'm very grateful to be able to see these days. This time. Every New Year I make the resolution that this will be the year that I interact more with them, open up more to them, learn from them. Evolve. It never quite seems to. To hit home."

Angel gave a lopsided grin of apology as his own lack of eloquence kept him from saying---precisely whatever it was that he was trying to say to Wesley.

Wesley himself wasn't entirely certain he knew what was happening between them. Or what Angel was trying to tell him. He wasn't even sure that the Khee Shak was still following them or that there was any reason to continue to hold Angel's hand besides the perverse thrill of doing so.

Wesley was amazed at how intimate such a simple thing could be. At how naked he could feel while doing nothing more than touching hands with another man in public. He envied the laughing couple their free laughter. Their simple joy in one another.

He found himself speaking without knowing why, "My resolution is always to be more honest with myself. I fail every year as it's far too simple a thing to continue on with the comforting lies. Times may have certainly changed, Angel, but my England was not really that different from yours. Acceptance is never as freely granted as it might at first appear."

Angel's shoulder brushed his own once more and Wesley found himself marveling at how impossibly hard it felt. He'd never considered himself to be soft per se, but Wesley would willingly admit that he was a----gentleman of some leisure. A scholarly type, his father would say. Admittedly with a sneer, but absence -while perhaps 'fonder' was too strong a word- had made Wesley's heart grow wiser.

Angel was so very large. His hand was so very capable in Wesley's own slim grip.

Walking steadily at Angel's side, Wesley marveled at the ability of his heart to race so very wildly out of control while his strict upbringing kept his emotions in line enough to meet any societal standards that might exist in L.A.

"I'll work on my resolution if you'll work on yours. Deal?"

Angel startled Wesley out of his hyperaware mental ramblings. He nodded jerkily and did not start -much- when Angel's hand slid out of his own to find its way around his waist instead.

"Yes. I would like that. Very much. I will...endeavor to try."

"Endeavor to---" Angel let out a rusty-sounding laugh. "Wes, you've got to lighten up a bit. We'll work on that too. These new years are coming all the time and just passing us by. We'll make you more honest with yourself and me more honest with....everyone else. We'll be liberated together."

Angel was almost beaming at having finally found the turn of phrase he was seeking. Wesley found himself smiling -doubtlessly like an idiot- as well, enjoying the weight of Angel's heavy arm on his waistline, the press of his palm as it almost encapsulated Wesley's hip.

"Angel, I do believe the Khee Shak has stopped stalking us."

Angel sent him a hesitant look.

"Yeah. Gunn caught my eye about two streets back since it dropped off a while ago. He's going to follow it as best he can. I was...enjoying the walk."



'Idiot! Talk! Whatever this is, it shouldn't stop because you're being a spineless ninny!'

"As was I!" Wesley blurted, stumbling into Angel's so-solid presence. Their eyes met again as Wesley tried to salvage the moment with, "Perhaps after we find the Khee Shak, we could---"

"Take another walk?" Angel supplied helpfully.

"Yes. I think---That would be very lovely," Wesley managed between halting breaths.

It was Angel who took long, long moments to respond then.

His casual comment nearly passed Wesley by completely as he was focusing on his own inner turmoil so fully.

"You know, it's not really that different now. Courting, I mean. Walks were acceptable in my time too."

"Oh?" Wesley felt his mouth move into another impossibly wide grin, "You'll have to tell me about that some time. I've always been fascinated by the social rituals of the past."

It seemed like as good a start as any, Wesley surmised. Nothing could surprise him now.

Only in L.A. City of Angels.