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

The Opposite of Comfort
By Ari
For Wesleysgirl

"Would you, er, fancy a cup of tea? Or perhaps coffee? Something, er, hot. And less... bloody... And... with me, for preference?"

It's worse out loud than it was in his head, and it's enough to earn an eyeroll from Cordelia, seated at her desk -- well, he's not had a lot of practice asking for dates and she ought to know that.

Angel shrugs. "Sure. Sunset's in half an hour."

The whip falls with razor-sharp precision, leaving a pattern of red Z's on Wesley's back, criss-crossing each other and felling him, one drop of blood, one moment, at a time. Angel can't erase memories -- only one spell did that, and he broke it. But he can, for a moment, ease them.

"So," says Angel, drinking coffee for the look of things, a puzzled look on his face.

"So," Wesley agrees. His Darjeeling burns his lips, his tongue, his vocal chords.

There was a safe word, long ago, that might've ended this. It's in the recesses of his memory, where dozens of ancient tongues lurk, ready to be spoken, resistant to his conscious efforts to forget. There are so many languages, the neatly catalogued ones learnt from Watchers, and then -- others. Older tongues that cause grammarians despair, that Watchers won't admit exist, that powerful mages have tried to master and died, strangled by their own words. There are no words in any language that would save him now.

"It's, uh, it's good to have you on the team," Angel lies, an easy, obvious lie that Wesley will pretend to believe until it's true.

"Er," says Wesley.

This is no Wonderland; there's no need for him to say, "Drink me," even if he could force the words around his swollen tongue. But Angel does, mercifully, with salted lips. There might be worse pain, somewhere in his psyche, but it's gone to the place where demon languages sleep. There's only this, one sharp, sheer, unending note of agony.

"Drink up," Angel says, gesturing at Wesley's mug. That's why we're here, right? There's certainly nothing... ulterior in Wesley's invitation?

Wesley tries, but his hands are shaking, his fingers numb with what must be fear because the tea and the air are hot enough to melt mortals.

Angel leans forward. "Wesley, come on. Tell me why we're really here."

They might have kissed, at some moment between, after Wesley's hopes burnt to ash, before they were reborn in the touch of the lash. They might've, but they didn't.

There has never been any comfort between them.

Wesley looks at his tea, dares a stammering, "I was hoping we might get to know each other -- better. Since we're to be partners in the good fight, and naturally we'll want to -- have full dossiers on each other."

Angel shrugs. "Didn't you get a good look at my file last year? Or do you want... stories?"

"No. I rather meant -- perhaps -- you'd like to know something about me?"

Another moment, and Angel will lose control, will let the whip fall from his hands and hold Wesley, roughly, jarring the already-scarring lashbites and letting fangs free to slice through flesh, to taste, just taste, drink just enough so that Wesley will waken feeling weak and woozy, sated and forgetful, enough, to do some work before nights comes again.

Angel laughs, and his laugh makes Wesley smile and duck his head in embarrassment at his own happiness. "I think I can guess anything I'll ever need to know about you."