Comfort
by Te
October 2000

Disclaimers: If they belonged to me, they'd probably have an even harder
time getting laid.

Spoilers: 2nd season Angel.

Summary: Wesley's up late with the books.

Ratings Note: R.

Acknowledgments: To my pretty Sheila, for allowing herself to get
kidnapped, and, of course, to my brain.

Feedback: I'll never say no. leytelj@gmail.com

*
 

And he admits to himself that he ought to be asleep. Three a.m., reading
vampire legends written in broken Farsi of all things. The writer had
clearly been trying to keep casual witnesses from reading the text,
but... one could wish she or he had stuck with a language they'd actually
*known*.

It seems to be one of those unspoken laws of demon hunting that were
never quite mentioned in Watcher training -- the best and most useful
knowledge will always be found at the very last minute, in the most
obscure fragment of text. Which is exactly why the Farsi is one of the
first things Wesley has tried for this problem -- cut out the
middleresearcher, as it were.

He cuts back and forth between the common and uncommon, just in case,
but he's already reasonably sure Gaithers' Vampire Bibliography has
nothing to help him -- the sleep habits of the vampire just never seemed
to pop up in his learnings beyond "stake them when it's sunny, though do
try to avoid waking them up first."

And to be *absolutely* honest, this "problem" could be merely a glitch
of some sort in the normal pace of things. Angel works hard, ergo Angel
is tired. No reason to stay up all night studying on something the man
himself blew off as unimportant. There *had* been some apocryphal
evidence that suggested vampires occasionally entered dormancy phases...
but that was usually through forced extended imprisonment or repeated,
non-fatal head trauma. The Undead equivalent of catatonia, or even
coma.

Angel hasn't been captured by anything long enough, nor hit on the head
often enough to suggest dormancy.

Though perhaps it can be a matter of the *Angelus'* dormancy, in which
case whole new doors are opened up.

And yet there's nothing in the prophecies about a retiring of the Souled
Vampire before his duties are completed.

And yet, and yet, and yet. Wesley is tired, and Angel is most probably
asleep. Perhaps dreaming again. No matter how straightforward Wesley
tries to make the statement in his head, he still can't keep from flushing.
Whatever woman Angel had been dreaming about when Wesley had been
forced to interrupt on Gunn's behalf, she had certainly managed to...
rouse him.

Arouse him, to be blunt, and the image is there, waiting for him and
Wesley lets it wash over him. More a collection of sense than anything
else. Crushing iron weight on his windpipe, more welcome weight blanketing
the rest of his body. The brief scent of sex in the air before Wesley's
breath had been cut off. The fire and lust still in Angel's eyes, focused
on *him*, for once, and the only thing Wesley had been able to hold on to
was the danger.

The *duty* that had to be done lest he... be any more obvious about his
feelings for Angel than he'd already been.

It had been a shock nasty for all its welcome. An impossibility dearly
wished, and dangled in front of him like so much of a playground tease.
One more piece of useless subtext for him to dwell on in the small hours.
Better to be out somewhere, fighting for his life against the latest
abomination. Better than this.

Because it's too easy. Wesley knows precisely what he wants to focus on
as the anomaly -- the dream. But Angel dreams every day -- it seems
something necessary to the soul, however clumsily reattached. And so the
only reason he can come up with for wanting to investigate is that the
power of the dreams seems far too strong for a 200 year old vampire.
Angel should have more control, more of... whatever it is that keeps him
from trying to kill them all on a regular basis.

And the other voice -- small, loathsome, and inescapable: it isn't fair
that I should dream every night about him, and be hated for chasing away
his own dreams of (Buffy) some woman who has obviously left him behind.

One way or the other. Sometimes what he feels for Angel, the love and
the need to the point of abject worship... it's just too much. Death is no
excuse for leaving Angel under the rules of this existence. The woman in
the dream does not deserve him, the dream is thus invalid, the emotion
behind being slammed to the floor is removed, leaving only the delicious
feel, smell, and *sight* of him. Naked and erect, dripping with it, and
offering Wes his hand and oh, Jesus.

Another truth: He welcomes any excuse to think on Angel, to tease apart
every small gesture and lack thereof, to focus on words half-spoken and
the look in his eyes. Angel is tired, so very, very tired and Wesley... oh,
he can welcome even this. Suffer, Angel, only let me heal you, slowly, and
with great, great care.

The images there are stolen, manipulated, and utterly shameful and Wesley
digs the heels of his palms into his eyes and opens his mouth to make a
sound that is not quite a word.

Close on to four, now. He can allow himself the luxury of hating Angel's
dreams until he sleeps.

The Oneiros is, as always, near to hand.

The section on erotic dreams is understandably lengthy, spilling over into
several sub-volumes of the guide. There is any number of sexual horrors
he can imagine inflicted on Angel, but he has been doing his best to narrow
it down to those involving female lost loves...

Which doesn't narrow things very much.

There are questions Wesley would need to ask to make this search
halfway legitimate and useful, but he didn't need ligature marks to tell
him those questions would be anything but welcome.

There's a comfort in this just the same, to be able to lose himself in the
atrocities available to any caster familiar with the workings of a mind and
that's it. Isn't it? Right there. Circled around and around but the fact
remains -- if something is being *done* to Angel, there must be evidence of
the act. Somewhere.

There must be someone to *do* it, and there are certainly no shortage of
magical creatures in the worlds who have reason to wish Angel, Angelus, or
the both of them dead.

(But Angel's still quite frisky, isn't he, Wes?)

More tired every day...

(You're basing this all on a wet dream you wish was about you.)

Angel *needed* them.

(He never needed you.)

And that... is just about enough blatantly obvious self-hatred for one...
extended evening. The sound of his own laughter surprises him. It's a
little too sharp, loud for the hour and the emptiness of his flat, which has
that vague sense of unwelcome that flats developed in the small hours,
after they'd had the chance to rid themselves of human inhabitation.

Self-aware and hate-filled rooms. Yes, that's exactly what he needs to
think about. Perhaps there's nothing wrong with Angel beyond the fact
that he's sleeping all alone in a great echoing tomb of a formerly enchanted
hotel.

Perhaps there's nothing wrong with Angel, period. Just a vampire under
stress, getting his much-deserved restless rest.

Perhaps if he can come up with one vaguely official sounding dream spell
that targets vampires with lost loves he can ask all the questions he
wants and desperately does *not* want to know the answers to.

Wesley adjusts his glasses and bends to the book again. Any goals
consciously made at four in the morning are bound to be questionable, yet
impressive just the same.

In the end, it's something to do.

*