by Wolfling

(Rated NC-17


Part 4


Wesley wondered just when exactly it was that he had taken leave of his senses.

What had he been thinking? Agreeing -- asking even! -- to travel with a vampire to a place out of a fairy tale. Why didn't he just offer to let the vampire tap a vein right there -- it would have been a lot less trouble for probably the same end result. He had to be insane.

The part that really convinced him that he was no longer thinking clearly was the fact that even now, that he'd have time to think about it, and convinced that it was a bad -- probably suicidal -- idea, he wasn't backing out. Instead of shooting, staking or otherwise dealing with the vampire, thus making the library safe again, Wesley was helping him locate all the books that corresponded to a rather long list of titles the vampire had brought.

The vampire. Angel. And wasn't that an ironic name for a demon.

That's good, Wesley thought drily as he pulled several more books off the shelf. I always wanted a death full of irony.

"That's the last of them?" Angel asked, when Wesley brought the books he'd collected back to where the vampire was carefully packing them in the duffle bags he'd brought.

"Yes." Wesley handed them over.

"Thanks," Angel said, giving Wesley a faint smile as he took them from him.

Wesley watched the reverence with which Angel handled the books and it reminded him about why he'd decided to trust him, in spite of all sane logic. Books had been the one thing in this world that Wesley had clung to, that had reminded him that there was something beyond the hellish savagery that seemed to envelope the entire world now. Seeing Angel treat them the same way he did -- like they were precious and valuable, created a connection. Like it or not, it made Angel seem like a real person instead of just a threat.

A real person that came complete with a home out of a fairy tale, that however much Wesley doubted, he still wanted to believe in.

Wesley became aware that having finished his packing, Angel was now regarding him just as thoughtfully and curiously as he'd been regarding the vampire.

"So," Angel said, sounding just a bit awkward. "Been here long?"

"A couple of years, I think. It's a little harder to keep track here than say, further up north." He gestured at the four duffel bags Angel had packed. "Shouldn't we be getting ready to leave?"

Angel shook his head. "Too close to dawn. We wouldn't be able to make it to the first safe house before the sun came up."

And there was another disadvantage of having his travel companion be a vampire, Wesley thought, aside from the obvious eating problem. Vampires could only travel at night. And travelling at night for anyone who wasn't a vampire tended to be a very very bad idea. Wesley wasn't sure if travelling at night with a vampire made it any safer, or just one more piece of proof that he was insane.

"We'll leave at dusk," Angel continued. "That will give us plenty of night to make it, even if we do run into trouble."

"Will we?" Wesley asked, as it was just what he'd been thinking about. "Run into trouble?"

Angel shrugged. "I didn't on the way here, but it's always a possibility. We'll be heading through some areas that belong to real cranky people, both demon and human. It never hurts to be prepared."

"Being prepared is good," Wesley agreed. "Being able to avoid trouble is even better."

"Oh believe me, I want to avoid trouble as much as you." Angel patted one of the duffel bags. "I don't want to take a chance on anything happening this treasure." He paused then added a bit awkwardly, "Or to you or me either. Really."

"That's okay. If there's one thing I can understand it's wanting to protect these books." Wesley locked gazes with Angel for a moment and once again felt that weird connection.

Here was someone who understood.

Even if he was a vampire.

Angel gave him a funny little smile. "Yeah, you would, wouldn't you?" He didn't look away and that feeling of connection only deepened.

After a few moments, Wesley began to get uncomfortable and wildly cast about mentally for something to sever that connection, or at the least lower the intensity.

"Would you like a tour?" he heard himself blurt out. Angel cocked his head questioningly and Wesley babbled on, hoping to not sound like a total crazy, even though he increasingly suspected that was exactly what he was. "It's a lot of hours till dusk and I thought... to pass the time, I could show you around. Give you a tour."

Angel looked at him for a second too long before answering although when he did it was in the completely casual and unaffected tone that Wesley had hoped for. "Sure. No one would know this place better than you, especially if you've been living here for a couple of years. I'd love to see it through your eyes."

"Great," Wesley replied in a far more chirpy tone that he'd intended, and winced. Trying to regain some dignity with a humourous bent on the truth he added, "You'll have to forgive me. I seem to be in the midst of completely and utterly losing my mind."

"You know, it's amazing how many people tell me that, especially when the subject of Unity has come up, and most esepecially when they actually believe me," Angel told him.

"So what you're telling me," Wesley said slowly, "is I'm reacting in a completely predictably manner."

"Well, I wouldn't say completely predictable. But the losing your mind thing? Totally normal."

"Oh. Good," Wesley murmured.

After all, who wants to find out that they were losing their mind in a completely abnormal way?


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