by Wolfling

(Rated NC-17


Part 20


Wes followed Angel up the stairs and down the hall to their assigned room in silence. He was feeling... stunned really. He'd been so convinced that Lorne reading him was going to be the end of, well, everything really. This budding relationship with Angel, his chance at seeing the legendary Unity, possibly even his life -- he wouldn't have been surprised if the discovery of what he had done was met with violence -- all of those he thought were going to be gone when Lorne Saw his past.

He'd been totally unprepared for the encouragement and reassurance he had got instead and it had taken several minutes for it to sink in that all of those bad things he had been fearing weren't going to happen. He still wasn't sure it had completely sunk in. Wes suspected that when it did, the relief would leave him weak-kneed, so maybe it was better that it didn't until he was somewhere he could sit down.

Still, despite his emotional shock, his mind refused to leave it alone. Wes found himself worrying at it like an aching tooth. Did Lorne fail to read his past -- or at least that particular moment of his past -- or was it like Angel had told him and Lorne simply didn't care -- even about something as horrible as this?

Logic, his mind insisted, dictated that it was in all likelihood the former, and that for whatever reason, this one secret of Wes' had not been lain open. But some instinct told Wes -- and Lorne had advised him to listen to his instincts after all -- that it was the latter that was true. That Lorne had read all of him and still accepted him -- more than that, telling him he was right where he was supposed to be. That had been a better welcome than he had dared imagined -- not only acceptance, but confirmation that he was supposed to be here. That was very close to saying he was wanted here, and that would have been a novel thing indeed.

Thinking of being wanted made Wes' thoughts turn to the vampire who was unlocking the door to their room. Angel had promised to take care of him. Wes wasn't sure why that made him feel all warm and speechless -- it wasn't like Angel and he hadn't been taking care of each other since they left the library after all -- but it did.

Maybe, he thought as Angel held the door open for him and he stepped inside, it was because putting words to something always made it seem more real to him. Maybe it was because Angel said it in front of someone else, but whatever the reason it had made him want to hug Angel and possibly do other things that involved more touching and less clothing.

Which, Wes realised, now that they were alone in their room he could do.

But Angel beat him to it. As soon as the door was closed behind them, Angel put his pack down and took Wes' from him and set it down as well. Then he pulled Wes to him and wrapped his arms around him tightly. "I've been wanting to do this since we walked into the lobby," Angel confided conversationally. "You all right?"

The feel of Angel's arms around him brought with it a sense of comfort that was as novel as it was welcome. Having someone to lean on was a new experience, but that didn't stop it from easing some of the tension from Wes' body that had been there so long it felt like a permanent part of him.

"I am now," Wes replied to Angel's question, letting his head rest against Angel's shoulder and letting out an involuntary sigh of contentment.

It did occur to him, as it had at every stage of this strange developing connection with Angel, that he was trusting an awful lot awfully fast, But it felt right, as it had all along. And it also felt good enough that he didn't want to question it, not just yet.

He just wanted to feel it.

Angel seemed to be a bit surprised by his answer, but just tightened his embrace and murmured, "Good."

They stood like that for a while, Wes soaking up the comfort being in Angel's arms offered, and trying not to think about, well, anything really.

It was Angel who eventually broke the silence, clearing his throat and saying, "So if I said I told you so..."

"I'd have to admit that you were right," Wes said grudgingly, more because he was reluctant to start thinking than any real distaste at having to admit he'd been wrong. He sighed and gave in to the inevitable, pulling back enough to look at Angel. "I'm sorry I wasn't able to completely believe you," he said, meeting the vampire's gaze squarely. "It's not that I didn't want to or that I thought you were lying; it's just..."

"Something in your past scared you bad enough that you couldn't believe it wouldn't matter," Angel finished for him, the faint ghost of an understanding smile gracing his lips. "I understand. Believe me, I've enough skeletons in my closet to fill an entire cemetery; I'm not happy about sharing any of them either."

But this is different, Wes wanted to say, but held his tongue. He couldn't really argue the point, not efficiently at any rate, without actually explaining why it was different and his entire being shrank from doing that.

So instead he just sighed, closed his eyes and let his head rest against Angel's shoulder again.

Angel took that as a sign to drop the subject and there was another long moment of silence until he asked Wes, "Do you want to go to bed?"

Wes shook his head. "My thoughts are still too busy for me to be able to sleep."

"Who said anything about sleep?"

Oh. Wes pulled back enough to see Angel's face; the vampire's expression was serious, but his eyes were smiling. Also, inviting.


Feeling a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth, he asked, "What would we be doing in bed if not sleeping?"

"Why don't I show you?" Angel asked, closing the distance between their faces once more and kissing him.


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