The Promise of Paradise
by Yseult deBreton (yseultdb at yahoo.com / website: Yseult's Passion)
Timeline: A week after “Expecting”
Notes: This was written for the third turn of the Buffy/Angel Lyric Wheel. Thanks to Chrislee for providing the lyrics to “Yellow” by ColdPlay and Kita for the affirmation that I am not insano girl.
Summary: Wesley comes to a startling self-realization.
Wesley’s gaze roams hungrily over Angel’s bare back. He notes the broad strong shoulders, the muscular arms, the tapered waist, and the rippling gryphon as it dances over Angel’s skin. A minute ago, Wesley would have staunchly denied that a man’s body could be so desirous to him. That would have been before he saw Angel’s half-naked body. Correction. That would have been before he saw Angel’s half-naked body covered with a sheen of perspiration.
The young ex-Watcher feels a lustful stirring beneath his sternum that threatens to erupt in a burst of vocal passion. It mirrors the one in his groin, except that one clamours louder for release. Wesley forcefully expels air past his vocal cords. The only sound he produces is a muffled groan of want. He closes his eyes and prays that Angel’s preternatural hearing somehow misses the pitiful noise. When Wesley opens his eyes, Angel has already moved seamlessly into the next set of Tai Chi exercises. The dark-haired vampire appears oblivious to anyone else’s presence as he focuses on the prescribed movements of his body.
Wesley licks his parched lips and imagines how Angel’s body would feel curled around his own smaller frame. He knows Angel’s skin would be room temperature and not ice cold. What Wesley really thinks about is the texture of that skin. He had once eavesdropped on a conversation between Buffy and Willow when they were in the stacks of Sunnydale High’s library. Buffy had described Angel’s skin as “creamy velvet smooth like a rose petal but without the smell.” She had sworn that heaven was Angel’s hands roaming her body, his skin gliding effortlessly over hers. The dialogue had gotten somewhat obscene at that point. For propriety’s sake, Wesley had retreated to Giles’ office and pretended to be deeply involved in some archaic tome when the girls walked by. But his subconscious mind had filed the comments away. It also remembered the frisson of pleasure he had felt during another overheard conversation. That one involved Angel graphically describing to Buffy what he was going to do with the Slayer’s body later that night. The vampire’s soft, low-pitched, husky voice was purely seductive. In one of Wesley’s recurring dreams, that voice whispers those words in his ear. In these erotic fantasies, it is Wesley's body that writhes in ecstasy and begs for more pleasure.
Angel turns gracefully while he pushes his left hand through the air and pulls it back to his chest. Wesley takes a calming deep breath but still shudders as it is exhaled. The vampire’s eyes rest momentarily on the ex-Watcher but move on without acknowledgement. Wesley gulps down the panoramic view of defined abdominal and pectoral muscles. His gaze reluctantly travels up the ivory column of Angel’s throat and is arrested at the vampire’s pursed lips.
If Buffy is to be believed, Angel’s mouth can set a soul ablaze in a fiery tempest of desire and lust. It nibbles, it tastes, it licks, it sucks, it devours, it loves. Angel’s lips are soft and cool and can erase pain with their touch. His teeth are blunt and dangerously teasing. His tongue… according to Buffy, Angel’s tongue should be outlawed for indecent acts. Wesley can imagine that tongue dueling with his, tracing the outlines of his face, circling his navel in a decadent whorl of passion before descending to the wiry nest of hair that surrounds his genitalia.
Wesley raises his gaze and coughs awkwardly as he suddenly finds himself floating helplessly in a magnetic mahogany gaze. Angel’s eyes bore into his psyche. Wesley squirms under its intensity. He is an intruder in Angel's home. As Wesley glances around its interior, he notes the myriad books, the understated furnishings, and the beckoning bedroom. He is an intruder with lascivious motives.
“Angel. I was… That is, Cordelia isn’t…” Wesley clears his throat and tries again. “I was looking for Cordelia.”
Angel grabs the towel from the couch and wipes his face. He doesn’t break eye contact.
“She had a date.” He doesn’t elaborate but his eyes soften.
“Date? Is she mad? I would have thought after her last date she would… she would…”
“Join a convent?” offers Angel with a slightly confused grimace.
“Good God. No. I just thought,” Wesley eagerly sits on a chair. He pulls the hem of his jacket down and straightens his tie before leaning forward and whispering conspiratorially. “I just thought that, after last week, she might take a break. Keep herself away from the social scene, so to speak.”
Angel ambles tiredly past him and enters the kitchen. “Wesley, this is Cordelia we’re talking about.” His deep voice is muffled by the refrigerator door. Wesley hears sounds of liquid pouring into a glass. It is followed by swallowing noises. His mind flashes to an incident in his youth when he attended public school. He was in the bathroom when two older boys entered the adjacent stall. The next sound he heard was rasping metal as a zipper was undone. It was quickly succeeded by licking, sucking, and moaning noises. But the overarching sound, the one that Wesley always associates with this memory, was the loud swallowing/gulping/sucking sounds at the end. It was exactly like Angel drinking blood. A frantic, needy, hungry sound. For several mind-numbing seconds, Wesley can clearly feel Angel’s head between his legs while the vampire’s mouth makes the same delirious noises on parts of his anatomy.
“—bath. Help yourself. Wesley?”
Wesley shakes his head free of the mesmerizing images. Angel is kneeling before him.
“Wesley? You okay? You look a little pale. I don’t have much in the way of food. Cordelia might have some leftovers upstairs.”
Angel’s skin is so breathtakingly close, Wesley has to lay a hand on one bare shoulder. He sighs. God. Yes. Angel’s skin is creamy velvet smooth like a rose petal. He briefly squeezes the tempting shoulder and returns his hand to the safety of the tabletop.
“I’m fine. Really. Well, perhaps just a bit peckish.”
Angel walks towards the bedroom. Soon Wesley hears the shower running. He sits in the chair and considers that, while he’s hungry, food is not what he wants. What he wants is in the next room. What he wants is Angel. With that admission, he feels giddily confident. He stands and paces. Wesley has identified his objective. He wants Angel. He wants Angel in a purely sexual manner. How should he acquire his objective? He needs to identify Angel’s motivations, his preferences, his strengths and weaknesses, his— Wesley stops in mid-stride. He has just used the standard Watcher strategy for capturing a predatory demon.
Angel is a predator. He’s a vampire. Why shouldn’t Wesley use this proven approach? He's used variations of this strategy on women with moderate success. With the exception of Cordelia. Wesley releases another sigh. He isn’t sure why things didn’t work with Cordelia. Well, he knows why. That kiss in the high school library was just awful. He’d been caught up in his role of Watcher and overly concerned about her status as Student. He’d been Decent. Proper. Noble. Well-behaved. Everything that Giles wasn’t. He’d also been a complete ass when it came to The Kiss. Wesley had coveted that kiss since he'd first seen Cordelia. But daydreaming The Kiss and doing The Kiss were two unrelated actions. His vast inexperience had loomed spectacularly. As Cordelia later informed him, “It sucked the big one.” She would know. She had probably been kissed more in the last five years than he had in his entire lifetime. She had also kissed Angel. Unlike Buffy, Cordelia had described it as “No big. Not exactly ewww. But still. Vampire.” Her nose had wrinkled in distaste.
Wesley prepares a cup of tea, sits at the kitchen table, and stares listlessly in the direction of the bed. Angel walks through his field of vision. A towel is wrapped low around his hips. His hair is sticking straight up as if he towel-dried it and hasn’t combed it down yet. Wesley thinks he might be drooling at the sight of a freshly-clean sinfully-handsome vampire. Angel pauses in the doorway and stares at him.
“Why are you really here, Wes?”
The ex-Watcher freezes. The cup is millimeters from his lips. He hides his face in its shadow. How should he answer? Should he bluff? Fabricate a story about wanting to get to know his boss better? Perhaps he should tell the truth. And that would be…? Wesley raises his eyes and realizes that Angel knows. Angel knows that Wesley wants him. Angel knows and Wesley’s still sitting in Angel’s apartment. Unharmed and unthreatened. And Angel is standing there in just a towel.
Why is Wesley really here? The answer surprises him. It’s more than wanting Angel, more than naked unsatiated lust. Wesley wants to love Angel. He wants to say “I’d bleed myself dry for you” and mean it.
So he says, “I thought, Angel, that perhaps you and I could get to know one another better,” and takes a sip of tea.