"Another hour, give or take and we'll be there," Angel announced, breaking the silence that had been in the car since they left Caritas.
Wes seemed to shake himself at the sound of Angel's voice. He turned from staring out the window to look at Angel instead. "So soon? I didn't realise we were so close."
"Yeah. That last leg from Caritas is more like half a leg. Not too far at all." Even though Wes was speaking now, he still seemed distracted to Angel so he ventured, "You okay? You seem a little..."
"I'm fine," Wes replied with a quick smile. "Talking with Lorne just gave me a lot to think about."
"Yeah, he tends to do that," Angel said, thinking of all the times that Lorne had decided he needed to talk him. Between Lorne and Doyle, Angel sometimes thought it was a wonder he did anything but think deep and uncomfortable thoughts about things that any self-respecting being would repress. He glanced over at Wes again, unable to help wondering what it was that Lorne had him thinking about. "If it would help to have someone listen..." he offered in a sincere desire to help, but also with an equally sincere desire to find out.
"No," Wes said quickly. "It's not... something I can put into words. At least... not yet." That last bit looked like it was a bit of a revelation for Wes and it was a few heartbeats -- Angel counted -- before he gave Angel another quick smile and a, "But thank you."
Angel nodded, making sure to hide any disappointment that Wes wasn't sharing. "Any time." He gestured at his head. "Two ears, no waiting."
That earned him an amused, affectionate glance. "I'll keep that in mind," Wes promised.
Silence fell again, but even in the quiet Wes felt more present than he had before, and after a few moments he shook himself and turned back to Angel. "So tell me more about Unity," he bade, as he had many other times as they'd travelled. "Is there anything else I should know before we get there?"
And wasn't that the perfect lead-in for the topic that Angel had been searching for a casual way of bringing up. "Actually," he began, "there is."
Wes made a questioning sound and Angel took a deep breath before continuing. "I have a kid."
He took his eyes off the road long enough to glance over at Wes for his reaction; but Wes' expression was pretty close to blank as he turned and looked at Angel. "I beg your pardon?" Wes asked politely.
"I have a kid," Angel repeated. "A son. His name's Connor. He's fourteen." He paused and allowed himself another glance over at Wes.
"But how..." Wes began, looking puzzled, but then stopped and his expression smoothed out as an answer obviously occurred to him. "Of course. You took him in, adopted him." He gave a little chuckle. "For a moment there I thought you meant he's your son biologically."
"I did." Angel took his eyes off the road a third time to look over. "He is."
Now Wes was looking puzzled again. "But that's- He can't- You're a vampire!"
"So was his mother. And that was kinda our reaction at first too." He sighed and tried to explain what he could. "Darla and I went way back -- in fact she's the one who sired me. But since I got the soul, we hadn't really been on what you would call good speaking terms. I hadn't even seen her for... years. Decades even. But somehow, the night of the Burning, there she was."
"And you fucked her." There was a sharpness to Wes' voice that Angel had never heard before.
"Yeah," he replied. "Not exactly my most shining moment. But what with all the people bursting into flame and us not knowing if it was over or if there was going to be another wave that we'd get caught in..." Angel shrugged.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time?" Wes supplied, his voice still having a bit more of a bite than usual.
"Actually it seemed like a really bad idea at the time," Angel admitted. "It just didn't seem to matter all that much. But considering what came of our... encounter, I can't regret it, bad idea or not."
"Because of your son," Wes said softly.
"Yeah." Angel couldn't keep from smiling. "Because of Connor."
"But how?" Wes asked, looking puzzled again, then blushed. "I donít' mean the actual mechanics -- I'm quite capable of understanding that -- but... two vampires aren't supposed to be able to... propagate."
Angel had asked himself that question more times than he could count. "I don't know. Maybe it had something to do with my having a soul or with the Burning and all the energy the air seemed charged with that night... hell, even with the position of the stars." He shrugged. "We've never been able to figure out a why."
Wes nodded, his eyes once again going a bit distant as he fell into silent contemplation. After a moment he asked, "Is Darla at Unity as well?"
"What?" The question startled Angel. Hadn't he...? No, he realised, replaying the conversation in his mind, he hadn't. "No, Darla died when Connor was born."
"Oh. I'm sorry." Wes shook his head. "I thought..." he began before trailing off, looking embarrassed.
That combined with Wes' earlier weirdness during the conversation suddenly made sense to Angel. "You thought I might still be involved with her."
A touch of red crept up Wes' cheeks as his embarrassment visibly deepened. "Yes. Generally when there's a son, there's also a mother. Often with continuing involvement with the father." Wes gave him a rueful look. "I rather was beginning to half-fear that your next announcement was going to be that in addition to having a son, you also had a wife."
The very thought of being married to Darla made Angel want to laugh -- and then shudder in horror. His and Darla's relationship could best have been described as... complicated, but that was one complication that they never got around to indulging in -- thankfully considering the potential disasters that most likely would have been the fall out.
"No," he said mildly. "No wife." He glanced at Wes and added, "Though there's this guy I met in a library that seems to have relationship potential."
"Really," Wes murmured, going red again, but with a shy smile of pleasure thrown in.
"Really," Angel replied. "I'd see what I could do to go about proving it again right now if I wasn't driving." He paused, thinking about that over for a minute, feeling the tug of Wesley's presence tempting him. "I suppose I could see what I could do regardless," he found himself offering.
"That's quite all right," Wes said quickly. "You can show me how much relationship potential I have once we get to Unity." He smiled. "After you introduce me to your son."
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