Disclaimer: Never owned them. Never Will.

Fifty Years And Counting...
by Poodle (Poodle75567 at yahoo.com)

Pairing: Angel/Wes

Rated: PG-13

Spoilers: [mentions A:ts Season 4 situations in passing ~the Mgt.]

Summary: A brief interlude as a lover fondly regards his beloved.

Hope is a shadow on the wall....

It whispers past then vanishes with the coming of the dawn.

Angel traced the fine lines embellishing the dusty blue eyes that fluttered closed at the intimacy of the touch. A smile tipped the corner of Wesley's lips and he sighed. Angel leaned near to his lover who settled back, eyes still closed, head resting against the pillow in quiet contentment, and watched the gentle rise and fall of his breath, listening to the sound that strummed his senses, the whisper of his lover's life as it coursed though his veins....


So wonderfully alive. His Wesley.

The years weaved their none-to-gentle hands though the strands of once dark hair, then salted with gray, now white as the pillow that cushioned his head. Cheekbones once finely chiseled now carved deeply into the lines of an angular face. Wesley opened his eyes and they sparkled at the man/vampire who watched him, propped on his elbow in the bed they shared. The bed was massive and elaborately carved mahogany purchased years ago in an estate sell during one of their many trips to Madrid. Wesley fell in love with the bed, so of course, Angel insisted they should have it. Whatever Wesley wanted...

Wesley's smile deepened and the lines grew to gentle furrows in the pale skin of his face. Laugh lines. Something Angel never dreamed the passing years would grace his companion with. For a man who seldom had reason to express levity for the first thirty odd years of his life, the smiles came easily these days and hopefully they would continue to do so in the years to come. Angel returned the smile with one of his own and bent near, brushing the thin lips with his, relishing the taste of salted breath and the wonder of all that encompassed this frail yet formidable man.

His Wesley.

Together they weathered the years, fighting the "good fight." First, as an impoverished team of three at Angel Investigations. Later, with Wolfram and Hart, and later still, as the evil law firm crumbled behind them, they continued on their own, as a resourceful, seasoned team of two, they fought the forces of darkness and fought it to this day. Sometimes they won. Sometimes they lost. But the evening shadows never failed to find them intertwined in the solace of a lover's embrace. Impassioned kisses mellowing over time to embers not as easily stoked to flame as they once were; yet more greatly cherished for the effort.

Angel's smile widened and the pitch of his eyes darkened as they gazed upon his companion who watched him with a mischievous glint in his own.

The promised Shanshu never came, though the years passed them by. Maybe that honor belonged to Angel's wayward grandson and was never meant for him at all. Bitterness grew, shadowing the lines of the vampire's face, but time and love brushed the furrowed brow of fate and eased the pain. It didn't matter any more. Maybe it never did. There were greater rewards than becoming human...and grander means of regaining one's humanity than drawing breath with a beating heart. Angel wouldn't change a moment of the wondrous gift the powers granted him instead of returning his humanity. Maybe this was the reward they intended all along?

A human lover.

His lips found Wesley's again and the warmth of Wes's sigh, whispering into his mouth, was greater than if the breath had been his own. It *was* his own. The breath of life, heady, warm and vibrating with all that was right with their world. Taste of mint-laced tea on his tongue.

In the years following the downfall of Wolfram and Hart, their passion grew to a raging flame that scorched the very edges of his soul, taunting an imprisoned Angelus, anchored by Willow years before, who fought to break the bonds when mocked by perfect bliss. The Scourge of Europe was no longer a threat to their perfect happiness; a taste of heaven, Wesley, in his self-deprecating way, never dreamed he could offer the vampire. His good and faithful servant, hardened by the years to a man of steel, still foolishly naive and unaware of all that he had to offer. Angel had to laugh...

Pale and thin, lying back against the sheets, frail beneath the cotton top of his pajamas, Wesley chilled easily at night, these days, and though his lover still preferred him naked in bed, Angel insisted he sleep fully clothed, and Wesley reluctantly agreed, amusement dancing in his eyes as it always did when Angel fussed. Arthritis caused his bones to ache when the icy fingers of evening crept into his joints. He never complained, but Angel could see it in his lover's face. Time was the cruelest mistress of all.

The first decade was sheer bliss. The second, brought shadows of doubt, clouding the blue of his lover's eyes as people began to turn and stare at the couple so woefully mismatched. At first, Wesley laughed it off, then slowly, painfully, he began to pull away, withdrawing his hand that once laced fingers with the vampire's as they strolled together, occasionally stealing kisses, heedless of who might be near, lips dancing blissfully along the contours of each other's mouths.

Wesley aged.

Angel didn't.

Salt and pepper gave way to curls of finest silver that Angel adored, weaving them though his fingers and kissing the locks. Wesley fretted and urged the vampire to leave. The lovers fought. Two hearts crushed in a vise. Angel stayed, but the passion cooled, clouds passing over the moon. Wesley rejected his lover's embrace, retreating to a separate room and bolting the door. Angel remained undaunted in his devotion, celibate but still enamored and ever faithful, showering his companion with tenderness and affection...

Time passed and Wesley mellowed.

The lock was removed from the door.

People still gawked and sometimes pointed, but Wesley learned to simply give them something to comment about. Drawing his lover close and seeking the passion of his lips or the roguish squeeze of a muscular vampire's behind with mischievous fingers, ever eager to play. Angel's eyes widened in surprise the first time it happened in a public place, stunned by this emerging facet of his older lover's behavior, but soon he grew to adore the fanciful nature that developed through the years. The world be damned. Angel was Wesley's 'gold digging' young lover, and the thin, dapper, silver-haired ex-watcher, sporting a cane, didn't care who knew it.

And the years passed.

Passion came and went. The fervor rose and waned in the seasons of their lives. But their love was eternal. Rough and tumble sex gave way to the gentle caress of experienced hands that knew every nuance of their lover's body with practiced skill. The sex grew tender when the strength of a vampire's touch could easily bruise lean muscles pulled taut over delicate bones. But the smoldering warmth of Wesley's body never faltered when Angel's fingers found the hardened length beneath the cotton, and the vampire lived for the wondrous moments when their bodies entwined and joined. Slipping inside the burning heat, he was alive. Truly alive.

Time left its indelible mark.

A tall, thin frame, slightly bent by the ravages of time, replaced the gangly, awkward youth of years gone past. Fingers, still strong, barely trembled as they firmly clutched a stake in the heat of battle or turned the brittle parchment of an ancient manuscript, wire-rimed spectacles perched on his nose.

With a tender finger, Angel traced the delicate lines of Wesley's face. The furrow of his brow. The hollow of his cheek. The sculpted bones. The silver curls that scattered over the pillow that cushioned his precious head. Yes, the years had changed him.

Fifty years and counting...

And he was beautiful.


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