The sun was barely down when they got everything together in preparation for leaving. Angel had his four huge duffle bags all packed with the books they'd collected. Wesley had his backpack of necessities, including his shotgun and a couple of pistols, a small crossbow, his best sword and an all purpose dagger. At the last moment he'd thrown in some wooden stakes -- just as an extra precaution. Hopefully the trip would be uneventful, but Wesley had learned the hard way always to expect trouble when he stepped out into the world.
"Ready?" Angel asked, hefting up the four incredibly heavy bookbags with an ease that belied their weight.
Wesley looked around for one last time. While they were waiting for sunset, he'd walked the perimeter of the wards, using his own magic to strengthen them, as well as adding a few more defensive spells if someone should bypass them when he was gone. The place was as safe as he could make it, and he was only going to be gone a week or so. Really. But telling himself that didn't make it any easier to leave.
The way the world was now, when you left something, be it a person or a safe haven, you could never count on it still being there when you returned. And the library was more than a safe haven to him -- it was his home.
Still, he had asked to go. The risk, he knew, would be worth it if Unity turned out to be half the things the stories about it said. Taking a deep breath, he silently entrusted this place to whatever Powers may care to help and hoisted his own bag. "Let's go," he said quietly.
He followed Angel outside and across the street. The area seemed deserted, as it usually did -- Wesley had often wondered from time to time if the wards on the library had something to do with the relative quiet of the immediate neighbourhood as well. Whatever the reason, it made it a little less dangerous than it otherwise would have been and for that Wesley was grateful.
Still, when Angel led him down into a ruined building's parking garage Wesley couldn't help but tense in apprehension; dark places like that rarely held anything good. Not to mentioni just the fact that they're dark; not much of a problem if you had a vampire's night vision, Wesley supposed, but it left him as good as blind ten feet in.
"I can't see," he said, when he lost track of where Angel was exactly.
There was a pause of a second or two before Angel's voice came back to him. "Right. Sorry. Been a while since I travelled with a... with anyone." A cool hand closed around Wesley's, gently pulling it up to rest on what Wesley guessed was Angel's shoulder. "It's not far," the vampire encouraged him. "I'll guide you."
"Thank you," Wesley said, tightening his grip on Angel's shoulder as they began moving again, going slower for Wesley's benefit.
It occurred to him that somewhere along the line, he had started to trust Angel, really trust him. Wesley didn't know if it was the story about having a soul or if it was just the vampire's continuing presence without eating him that had lulled his doubts to sleep, but the panic he'd been feeling before about travelling with Angel had completely vanished.
He still wasn't quite sure about the reality of Unity, but at least he believed Angel believed it.
And he trusted Angel enough to let him lead him blind through a pitch black parking garage. He just wasn't sure if he trusted the pitch black parking garage itself...
"We're almost there," Angel told him as they changed directions and began heading off to the left. "I'm sorry about this -- if I had known I was going to meet you, I would've parked somewhere with better lighting. Well, either that or packed a flashlight."
"It's quite all right," Wesley assured him, although his mind kept throwing up all sorts of senarios where they were attacked and he couldn't do a damn thing because he couldn't see. He paused, running over what Angel had said again. "You have working flashlights?"
"Well not on me, but yeah. I'll make sure you get one before we come back here -- it can be part of Unity's library membership fee." Wesely could hear the smile in Angel's voice, and it brought a smile to his own lips.
"This deal seems to get more profitable all the time," he said. "I'm glad I didn't shoot you."
"Yeah, that's a decision we all got something out of. You got a chance to strike a deal that gets you stuff you need and I... get to not be dead. Here we are." Angel stopped and covered Wesley's hand with his own, squeezing it gently before removing it from his shoulder. "Wait here. I'll start the engine and turn on the headlights so you can see."
Angel moved away and after a few seconds, Wesley heard the sound of a car door opening. He listened to Angel getting in and the engine turn over a moment later. The engine caught and with it, as promised, came the illumination of the headlights.
Blinking rapidly as his eyes adjusted, Wesley got his first look at his transportation to Unity.
"It's a convertible," Wesley said, not quite believing what he was seeing.
From his place in the driver's seat, Angel grinned. "Yeah. In great condition too, despite the world going to hell."
"But it's a convertible," Wesley felt the need to point out again.
Angel's smile morphed into a puzzled frown. "Yeah. We've established that. A real cool convertible."
Again, Wesley felt the need to point out the obvious as either he was missing something or Angel was. "And you are a vampire."
The puzzled frown deepened. "Uh huh....?"
"It just seems to me," Wesley explained, "that you might want something with a bit more in the way of protection. Just in case."
"It has a roof," Angel pointed out. "It just goes up and down." His expression turned wounded. "You don't like my car."
"I never said that," Wesley assured him quickly. "It's a very nice... convertible."
Angel was muttering half under his breath now and raised the volume enough for Wesley to catch the last bit. "-not like I made fun of your library."
If Wesley didn't know better, he would say the vampire was pouting. He looked closer; maybe he didn't know better. "I'm sorry," he said as sincerely as he could. "I didn't mean to imply I didn't like your car."
Angel was definitely pouting. "Well you did."
"I said I was sorry."
"All right then."
"All right," Wesley repeated, cautiously agreeing.
"So are you going to get in?" Angel asked after a moment, with just a hint of a pout left. "Or are you going to wait for a car that you like more to come along? Because you may be waiting a long time."
"Oh for..." Wesley rolled his eyes, and threw his pack into the back seat before walking around and getting in the passenger side. "You'd think someone who was two and a half centuries old would have given up acting like a sulky teenager a least a century ago.."
"Nobody made fun of my car a century ago," Angel replied, as he backed up and headed the car towards the exit.
"You're not going to let this drop, are you?"
"Probably not for a while, no." He glanced over at Wesley and the sulky expression gave way briefly for a faint smile. "It's a long drive. Gotta have something to pass the time."
~...previous | next...~