Lost In The Dark
He was lost in hellish darkness, abandoned and alone. Flashes of memory, of nightmares, tormented him over and over, until he could no longer distinguish what had really happened from fevered dreams.
The prophecy and the horrible sinking moment when he had first translated those six words that had changed everything.
Fred and Gunn. His friends, who had not only found with each other the solace and passion he had wished to find with them both, but who seemed not to want to maintain the intimacies of friendship they did share. Instead they reacted to him with either hostility, or a kind of distant sympathy that was even worse. Wesley had more experience than he ever wanted with both being resented and with being pitied, and had never liked either. That it was these two friends who were treating him that way hurt more than he thought he could bear.
Angel, a dark silhouette against the fiery room behind him, holding Connor wrapped in a white, bloodstained blanket. He was making a joke about snacks that brought the horror of those six words of prophecy crashing down on Wesley once again, just as he had convinced himself that it was all a mistake, a lie.
Sitting in his office, trying to find a way to prevent the unspeakable and the slow realization that there was only one course of action open to him. He had no choice, no matter how much it would hurt his friends, no matter how much they would hate him as a result.
Lorne standing in front of him, the knowledge of Wesley's plans clear on his face. Wesley's stomach was a sick knot inside him as he lashed out at Lorne, not letting himself hesitate or temper his brutal attack. Friend or not, he couldn't let Lorne stop him.
The feel of sharp metal sliding across his throat. There was no pain, not in those first seconds, just shock and the terrible taste of failure. He stood there numbly as his attacker (his killer?) took Connor from him, watched as she used his own escape arrangements to get away, watched because that was all he could do, his body refusing to obey the commands his frantic mind was trying to make. When darkness began to creep in around the edges, he didn't try to fight it, welcoming the oblivion that was preferable to this bitter knowledge that he had failed.
He wouldn't have been so sanguine about fading if he had known his failures would follow him. Still, that wasn't reason enough to fight against it.
The part of his brain that was still aware, that could still think in this smothering darkness, was wondering if this was hell, if this was all he could expect of existence for the rest of eternity. If it was, it was no more than he deserved.
Voices sounded on the edge of his awareness: loud, urgent, full of anger and demands. He couldn't hear what they were saying and he didn't really want to.
He didn't want to hear his father's disappointment or the casual dismissal he gave with assurance that everything that Wesley tried to do would turn into ashes.
He didn't want to hear the anger in his friends' voices, the bewildered hurt at his betrayal. He had known from the beginning that they would hate him for what he had done. It would've been worth it if he had succeeded. But now...
They would mourn for Connor, but not for him. And they couldn't hate him anymore than he hated himself.
But tried as he might, the voices wouldn't go away. They rose and fell, increased and decreased in number, in volume, but they were always there. In spite of himself, after a while Wesley found himself straining after them, trying to make out what they were saying.
And then, suddenly, there was only one voice, a voice that had called him back from the darkness once before. A voice whose words were suddenly clear.
"Don't do this, Wes. You're stronger than this -- I know, I've seen it. You're not going to let those bastards win." Gunn, his tone fierce and imploring. "Lorne went through your papers. We understand why you did it. Mind you, that doesn't mean I'm not going to beat your ass for going all Lone Ranger on us. We're supposed to be a team -- we're supposed to be friends. I get why you couldn't talk to Angel but you should've come to the rest of us."
Gunn sighed, long and weary. "But I guess Fred and I haven't exactly been easy to talk to lately. We....I...didn't mean to shut you out. We just got so wrapped up in each other and the newness and the wonder and how good it felt...
"I wanted to make it last as long as it could, so I was blowing off anything that might interfere. So I guess I understand why you were doing this alone. But I'm still going to beat your skinny white ass for it, when you wake up. Which better be soon because there is some serious shit going down and we need that big brain of yours."
There was a pause and when Charles resumed speaking his voice was quieter, his heart naked in every word. "That's not all we need you for. We need you for...you. We need our friend back. *I* need my friend back."
It was like a beam of light cutting through the darkness that Wesley was trapped in. They didn't hate him, didn't blame him, not in the way he had feared. They still wanted him, still needed him, still cared for him. He still had a place, a family. That knowledge settled into his battered soul and gave him the strength to do what he had thought was beyond him. It gave him the strength to go back. It gave him the strength to wake up.
Wesley opened his eyes.