by Te
October 2000

Disclaimers: None of these are mine, I'm merely using them for my
own nefarious ends.

Spoilers: Good Lord. Lots of stuff, S1 and S2.

Summary: Wesley asks a question.

Ratings Note: NC-17.

Author's Note: Well, Debba gave me an improv I almost sort of
used, and Debba acceded to my command to, well, command me,
and then she had to go ahead and *help* me with it. We loves

Acknowledgments: To Debba and Dawn Sharon and my absent mami.
Love yous.

Feedback: Please God yes. leytelj@gmail.com


Found during a small conjuring, literally. The mic set up carefully just
outside the circle, the calling a long and difficult one.

Desperarius, Desperation demon, small and impossibly knowledgeable,
perhaps as close to omniscient as any known creature could be. One
question, once in a life, and the answer could never be shared, less the
creature take you and catalogue you, one torn cell by another.

Oddly, Wesley didn't feel at all anxious before settling in, perhaps
because it wasn't necessarily for him. Wasn't anything he could believe
would *ever* have to do with him because... Angel's perfect happiness
did not come from weedy British ex-watchers, no matter how they -- *he*

Wesley accepts his love for Angel, and lives in it. He must make the
man he loves happy, thus he must find a way out of that damnable
happiness *clause*. There had been a brief moment of unreasoning hatred
toward all things gypsy, followed by several long moments of guilt and
the wonder that he could be bigoted and not realize until this late date
and all this while he'd prepared.

The tattoo had been excruciatingly painful to apply, but this was no
surprise. As a Watcher he had several tattoos scattered over his body.
Protective armor, indifferently effective because the Watchers
Council rarely sacrificed its traitors to the Runic races anymore.

Such is life.

The devotion of the one thousandth part of his soul to the whims of
the Desperarius had been worrisome, but all the texts seem to indicate
that all harm (if harm was given) would fall only to him. There would
come times when his body burned with need, unfocused and restless. He
would live through them, closeting himself if necessary.

The depilitation had been par for the course, as was the oiling, the
bloodletting, and the application of various disreputable herbs. Wesley
kept one eye on Dateline while he'd performed the tasks. They did do
some of the most fascinating investigations. The smarter man's
schadenfreude, mostly, but Wesley admitted to his humanity, and all
its degradations.

And in the end, it had all gone quite well, really. Four and a half hours
of chanting and sweating -- his energy bill would undoubtedly be
atrocious -- followed by the appearance of the one inch high demon
with the reed thin voice. Thankfully, the microphone proved quite
functional, and the tape deck the same. Though they were both a trifle...
melted after the encounter.

How could Angel's soul be protected until such time he was granted
his humanity?

Only a full Chaos Lord could siphon the power from that particular
spell with enough precision to guarantee that the soul itself would
not be lost to the ether again.

And Wesley most certainly knew, knows a Chaos Lord, or lordling -- the
hierarchies are often confusing -- and he knows *exactly* how to track

Thankfully, Rupert Giles had been most thorough in his early journals
about the ways of his former associate Ethan Rayne. Part of his
atonement to get back into the good graces of the Council after his
little London rebellion.

The only thing still useful in those notes -- so diligently copied once
Wesley had received the news he'd be going to America -- was his
spell signature. A small three-dimensional rune that had lived *inside*
the journal in question, and also in its surrounding planes. Something
only a sorcerer could see.

Whatever deals had been made before his birth, Wesley is most
assuredly a sorcerer, if mostly non-practicing until working with
Angel made him abruptly useful in that respect.

Still and all, Wesley had made a point of burning the memory of the
rune into his mind, and now he will use it, just as the Council should
have long before now.

Folk-named bruja root, actually the crumbling extremities of Persis
demons known to hang about the Basque regions of Spain for the
similarities in language. Perhaps the most distasteful thing Wesley has
ever come across, but then that's the point -- a powerful sorcerer is
helpless when circled with it, the less powerful merely weakened. For
once, relative inadequacy is his friend.

And the summoning is simple, a smaller calling, more of a tracing on
the universe of Ethan's rune, and voila. Ethan Rayne, flinching and
yelling, balled in on himself. Either Ethan is ludicrously powerful or...
Move closer, just enough to feel ill and shivery. Ethan is covered in
bruises, some small open wounds and is flinching from... nothing.

Curious. And more than a little disturbing.

Just what *had* he pulled the man out of?

"Mr. Rayne? Mr. Rayne, there's no one here but us, now --"

And stilling immediately. Scrape of fingernails into the floor and
Ethan is suddenly crouched and ready to spring. Wild light in his
eyes and something. Something wrong with his mouth.

Another sudden shift and he is standing in a parody of natural,
obviously in a great deal of pain. Slightly exaggerate moue of
distaste at the root surrounding him. "To what do I owe the honor of
this invitation, Mr...?"

"Wyndham-Price. Wesley Wyndham-Price."

Slight curl of lip, a smile that Wesley can't quite classify.

"Can I get you something? Perhaps a large bottle of morphine?"

Short laugh. "Oh, please do. And perhaps a healthy shot of revolution.
I find myself not best pleased with the American government at
the moment."

"Ah, you were involved with that Initiative business in Sunnydale? I
thought they'd shut down?" Wesley tosses his guest several pillows
to sit on, gestures that he may do so.

Cross-legged now, heedless of his nudity. Ethan's body is lean, and the
scars don't seem quite... they're like the rune, Wesley realizes. Not
just on the physical.

How very existential.

"Does it surprise you that a government might withhold information?
Tsk. You need to have a little Oliver Stone marathon."

Smirk and he settles on the couch across from the circle. "I hardly need
any *more* paranoia in my life."

"So I've been told."

Does his best not to react, but can't keep his eyes from narrowing,
a bit. Childish hatred for tales told out of school. "Really."

"Ah, well, I'm sure you know Ripper isn't especially fond of you."

"As I am aware that vampires don't breathe, yes. But... Ripper.
I wasn't aware the two of you were keeping company beyond the
occasional mayhem and you getting your arse thoroughly kicked."

Icy smile. "Foreplay among the aging sorcerers. Anything to keep the
romance alive."

And Wes can suddenly see himself, the way he would finally surrender
all trace of pride and propriety: Angel, pushing his aside, or down,
or against a brick wall... Shakes it off as best he can. "Well,
I can file that under too much disturbing information, October --"

"It's October?"

And, for just a moment, there is neither acid nor steel in Ethan's voice.
Disappointment and rage... too much chanting has left Wesley rather
in need of a... sparring partner. One he can hurt, and not be surprised
by being hurt back. But... Ethan didn't know. "Yes, it is." Comes out
gentler than he'd wanted it to.

Which immediately brings the acid back. "You never answered my

"I wasn't aware that I was in any debt to you, Mr. Rayne."

"But of course, Mr. Wyndham-Price, I cannot pay my debt if I don't
know what it is?"

Not at all, not in this state. "For now, you will rest. I will feed you,
and give you something to drink, and you will do whatever it is you
do to pull yourself together."

"Ah, my emotional state is important to you, then? You need me in
control, don't you? Just what bit of naughtiness won't you be reporting
to the Council?"

"For what it's worth, Ethan -- may I call you Ethan?"

"Of course... Wesley."

A nod. "For what it's worth, I am no longer a part of that fine, august

"They booted out the both of you? How extraordinary! Must be that
Hellmouth taint."

Wesley shakes his head, not quite able to hold back a smile. "You wanted
to be a monster when you were coming up, didn't you? Something
big, and sleek, and vicious, right?"

Shuttered eyes, half smile. "Ripper does have his blind spots, doesn't

"Right. Sandwich?"

"Soup would be better. At least until I convince my teeth not to desert

"Of course. And the painkillers?"

"Most appreciated."

Broth and a bit of wine to chase the anti-inflammatories Wesley is
finally able to come up with. Bread soaked in the soup, and Ethan
zoning in and out of an odd sort of trance, snapping out at -- probably
quite appropriate -- random intervals.

"I don't think I'm going to be very entertaining just sitting here
while I gather my strength."

"A naked Chaos Lord in my living room is already quite entertaining,
thank you."

"Give me a moment and I'll work up a pretty blush for you."

"Oh, no, Ethan, really. That's quite all right." Unable, and losing the
will not to grin. There was something almost glittery about Ethan,
something necessary to grab and play with.

"No, no, really, it's the least I can --"

In again, for over an hour this time. Wesley takes the time to do a
small refresher course on the various minions of chaos to find
everyone from eccentric humanitarians to a mass murderer who chose
his victims based on whether or not they said the word "orange"
in his presence. Or sometime "candle." That was the beauty of it,
he'd explained -- its so very honest cruelty.

Respond best to requests that allow them to increase the ambient
level of, wait for it, chaos in the world. Which is intellectually
distasteful and yet. And yet, the seemingly endless amount of demonic
chaos in L.A. is precisely his livelihood. Wesley has no other talents
beyond the cataloging of demonic apocrypha and rather good aim.

No marketable talents, at least.

"What *are* you thinking about so deeply, Wesley?"

"Awake, are you? I was just having myself a fine bit of rationalization."

"Ah, yes. Summonings almost always require some of that."

"Especially when they involve you, I'd think."

But Ethan is chanting now, with some difficulty -- probably due to
the root Wesley has no intention of removing until absolutely
necessary. The only real power Wesley has against Ethan is that of
his runic signature, which doesn't open as many options at the
fairy tales would have one believe. Still, a debt was owed, and some
amount of goodwill is to be expected from freeing someone from.

And yes, it comes to that. It very often comes to that. That awful,
pathetic, inescapable moment of 'my hero' when  Angel crashed in
to save him from being further maimed by Faith.

The equally pathetic inability to hate him for not being the one in
his arms.

Wonders -- and hopes on levels he doesn't understand and doesn't
want to explore -- that Ethan sees the scars in his eyes, if not
necessarily the ones beneath his clothes.


Chaos Lords, as opposed to minions, are supposed to be in some way
physically/spiritually *related* to Chaos. As though there is some
embodiment, somewhere, of the concept itself. The thought is an intriguing
one. Just what sort of Christ could Chaos create?

"Could I trouble you for more food? Perhaps one of those sandwiches?

Wesley brings wine, too, and fixes a sandwich for himself. It has
been  more hours than he was aware of passing. Ethan finally seems to
relax a little bit, taking in Wesley's small living room, gaze stopping on
the leathers thrown over his work table, tin of neatsfoot oil beside.

"Oh, Wesley. Tell me our acquaintance is about to become more

And he has to snort. "Perhaps a bit too interesting for you right now?"

"Don't pester me with common *sense*, Wesley, haven't I been
tortured enough?"

Ethan's voice doesn't even crack over the word, and Wesley dearly wants
to know how he does that and. "It's just for my motorcycle, I'm
afraid. I'm rarely *that* interesting. Besides, it's all a bit too
public school, don't you think?" And it feels... oddly good to surrender
the information, the personal touch of it. No more wine for him.

"Oh, I don't know. All that *tradition*. It might have been nice to have
some official *weight* to all the buggery of my teenage years."

Full blown laugh, the first one, and Wesley doesn't try to stop it at
all, and Ethan's smile is pleased. Within the circle, he seems a bit
more vivid. Larger around the shoulders. His eyes are still, his
movements far more casual than careful. Wesley is, it seems pleased
to see Ethan looking better.

Ethan tells stories of the London of the early 70s, entirely human,
safe ones, clearly designed to charm. It works, and Wesley doesn't
really mind.

Imagining Ethan learning to walk in platform shoes and skin tight
leather pants is good for several more laughs, especially with the
constrained demonstrations Ethan gives of ankle turnings, wobblings,
and the sudden fear of heights... but it is *hard* to see the teenaged
boy in the man.

After a while, the stories wind down, and Ethan's chin dips to his chest,
and there's the deepest trance of all. Fascinating to try to match his
breathing to Ethan's painfully slow rhythm. Failing, of course. Wesley
is no mystic.

This trance lasts exactly nine minutes and Ethan snaps to, almost
frighteningly *vivid* now. Full and loud without saying a word, on his
feet and... it's almost as though Wesley had been speaking to the man's
shadow. He's suddenly very aware of Ethan's nudity, and Ethan is
half-hard, from whatever thoughts put the gleam in his eye, steady
and sharp.

"And now, Wesley, what is it that I may do for you?"

A bit of hair, a handkerchief spotted from blood shed at the hands of
another vampire.

A sheet, stolen from when Angel had been having his dreams.

"You *are* the diligent young demon hunter, aren't you?"

Raises his eyebrow. "Well, Ethan, you never really know, do you? Pointedly
fingers the spoon Ethan had used for his soup.

"Point taken, Wesley. But really, what's in this for Chaos?"

"Very simple. Angel serves the Powers for his hope of becoming human
someday, and thus presumably being able to be happy with the woman
he loves --"

Briefly hungry look. "She looked *lovely* with a tattoo. May I say yours
are quite nice? I can feel them."

"Why, thank you. But to continue, if Angel has his soul secured, there is
 nothing stopping him from leaving the service of the Powers at any
time he wishes.

"The Powers have not been kind."

"No, no, they rarely are. Still, though, Angel *is* rather firmly
entrenched on the good side of things from what I've heard."

"Come now, Ethan. Would Angelus have been so terrible had Liam not
been so... poisoned?"

"But you don't really expect me to believe you *want* him in a...
rogue state. Even with his soul intact, a vampire is still a vampire."

Honesty, always honesty. Pointless except when it isn't. Wesley lets
himself relax, walks up to the edge of the circle. Stares directly into
Ethan's eyes. "I want him to be happy, no matter what."

Waits for the cruelty, but Ethan simply stares and stares before
giving a small, bitter smile. "We'd all do better without capricious
masters, wouldn't we, Wesley?"

"Of course, but where would be the fun?"

And Ethan nods. "My promise to you, by Chaos."

Perhaps the only believable vow, and Wesley breaks the circle with his
toe. Immediately pressed to Ethan, body to body.

"You are delightful, little one... " A kiss then, brief and strong. Something
like an elevator cut loose, all the blood in Wesley's body diving toward
his cock.

And then over.

"Mmm. Another life, another time... I would've liked to have seen to your
corruption personally, Wesley Wyndham-Price."

"I'll take that as a compliment."

And Wesley leaves him to it, and it is brief. Ethan eats the hair, a small
swatch of the sheet, of the handkerchief. Chases it back with the rest
of the wine.

"Chaos. I, favored, degenerate son, ask a boon."

A pause, until Ethan receives whatever it is he was waiting for, and


A ripple of wind, the sense of the universe becoming much, much
tighter, and it passes, and Ethan rises. Full within his lean frame, full
and fully erect and radiating power.

Wesley jerks himself off while sucking him, and it's a good, simple
distraction and something that simply needs to be done. Ethan's hand
in his hair is an electric benediction, Ethan's come bitterly vital to
his existence. Ethan leaves him half dazed before the broken circle,
body abruptly aware that he's been awake for 21 hours.

And then not aware of anything at all until Wesley wakes up stiff
on the floor, with a pervasive odor of far too much magic. Long shower
and he decides to make his apologies in person.

Arrives at the hotel to puzzledly angry glares from Cordelia and Gunn.

And Angel.

Smilingly refusing to fight.

No more blood on his hands, not now, not ever. Free. "Wesley," he
says, "I'm free. I could *feel* it happening and you smell... oh, Wesley,
it was you, wasn't it?"

The hug is strong, and fervent, and unfamiliar, and yes, everything he
ever really needed in that one brief instant before Cordelia and Gunn
flank him. Yelling.

And perhaps love belonged to Chaos all along.