Disclaimer: Joss owns it all, but told me to write

Weary of the Gray
by JustHuman (justhuman111 at hotmail.com / website)

Pairing: Wes/m

Rated: R

Spoilers: Everything including "Home" is fair game

Notes: Huge thanks to Magpie and Kath, who are both wonderful betas. As time was running out, I finally added a bit to the top and rewrote the end. Don't blame them.

Summary: Wesley tries to walk a narrow path in the world of Wolfram & Hart.

Funny thing about black and white. You mix it together and you get gray. And it doesn't matter how much white you try to put back in. You're never gonna get anything but gray.

White is the absence of color, and it therefore follows that no matter how small an addition of color, one no longer has white. However, black is the saturation of all the colors, and it should also follow that if black is continually added to gray then a tolerance will be reached--saturation.

Nothing but black.

At the time, I had deliberately ignored Lilah's words because of their inherent truth. I knew both intellectually and emotionally that I could not correct past wrongs, and that there would never again be a time of idealized innocence in my life, but I also knew that I needed to try--try to do the right thing.

How ironic that I found myself on the opposite end of the conjecture. How easily we moved into the lion's den. I'd like to lie and claim that I was not tempted, but I'm only human. Somewhere along the line, perhaps when we ended world peace, I stopped trying to ponder 'good and evil.' Instead, I simply decided that there were 'right' things to do, like rescue Lilah from her contract. So, now I sit amongst the black, watching myself become grayer and grayer

Once we had move in, I had spent several weeks in the file room attempting to destroy Lilah's contract to no avail. I wasn't expecting it to work; I was simply eliminating the obvious before moving onto other options. The others settled into their respective departments, seemingly too caught up in their own work to check in with each other. It did not take long to begin to see the changes and it wasn't hard to guess the source. Still, all in all, the system was predictable--power corrupts. I was rather surprised to note that Gunn was the first to slip.

But then the anomalies began to happen. Secure doors left open, precious objects missing or broken, and countless other things that suggested poltergeists and ghosts. Many believed that right off, after all practically the entire staff had died and become zombies at one point.

However, I had other ideas and other fears.


The badges at Wolfram, Hart & Angel also served as a photo-ID. Due to various levels of negotiations between Lilah, Angel and certain unnamed forces, the actual name of the firm continually shifted. Therefore, I was attempting to use my fourth badge, complete with scowling portrait, to open the storage room on the fifteenth floor. I wasn't sure if I was surprised or not to watch the elevator open into the warm and dusty space. It was quite different than the rest of the building, which was always antiseptically clean and just a bit too cold for comfort. On so many of these exploratory visits, I had found myself proceeding with all stealth and caution. Now I understood that it was unnecessary - that it had always been unnecessary. In truth, if I wanted to escape this, the only solution would be to physically leave Wolfram, Hart & Angel.

And even then, I wondered...

"Ah, Wesley, you're early. I really wasn't expecting you for another ten minutes. You've used the passkey instead of picking the locks. Why is that?" The room's only occupant smiled at me, as he poured the water from an electric kettle into a plain china pot. The space he occupied near the corner windows was a clearing in the forest of vintage office furniture, neatly tagged and stacked, as if they were dominos waiting to fall in the next apocalypse or earthquake.

Skirting the edge of the tattered Oriental rug, I unabashedly sized up my companion here. He was much taller than expected. People had a way of describing individuals that they found lacking in decency and character to be of diminutive height. But this man was nearly as tall as myself, and of which of our characters that spoke, I wasn't sure.

"I simply assumed that if you weren't ready to be found, you wouldn't be here--like the other times you have deliberately left me clues."

The man's smile was completely genuine and disconcerting at the same time. "But you nearly caught me last week, with all your sneaking and James Bond apparatus. I cheated, of course, to prevent you from getting near."

He made me nervous, the scene more so, but I suspected he probably knew that. Stuffing my hands in my pockets to give them something to do, I watched the other man's long manicured fingers fuss with a box of biscuits, finally opening it and spilling the crisp treats unceremoniously onto a crazed china plate. "It was rather clever of you to recruit Gunn and Fred. I knew they had been compromised, but I hadn't suspected that they were collaborators. In fact, I would have thought them relieved to have me replaced."

Clapping his hands together, the other man chuckled deep in his chest. It was the kind of sound that said, 'you don't know what you're talking about.' I wouldn't have been able to argue that point, but that didn't mean that I liked it. "They would have; however, it's just not done that way. The connections between you five are just as important as your individual strengths. Another simply wouldn't do." He sank into the leather executive's chair, gesturing for me to join him in the other. "Besides, Angel won't if you won't, and he is key."

"And therefore, so am I." I took the chair and held a small strainer over one of the cups. There was no point in being uncivil. He had already proven dozens of times over the last six months that this, our first meeting, would be on his terms. Without hesitation, the other man filled the cup, the strainer filling with the lovely curl of tealeaves. We continued the ritual until the second cup was filled, and then I asserted, "You won't convince me to do it."

"That's what Lilah keeps telling me. Oh, not that she comes out and says it precisely - much more like she avoids saying it. But I can hear the things between her words. 'My Wesley is much too clever to fall for this. He sees straight through this obvious subterfuge and would never succumb to your style of seduction.' I wonder what she would say if it wasn't for her contract."

I fussed with the creamer, avoiding his gaze. What Lilah would do without a contract was indeed something I had wondered, and it was a personal goal to find out. "You think otherwise, of course, about your powers of seduction." I poured a bit of milk into my tea and waved off the offered sugar. "Tell me though, how does a bastion of order such as Wolfram & Hart come to hire a chaos mage, Mr. Rayne?" I watched him as I settled back in my chair.

Ethan, having passed on the sugar himself, took a healthy swallow of the hot black brew, but didn't reveal any emotion at all. "They need me. And understand, there you show yourself to be head and shoulders above your colleagues." The redundant flattery made me wince and wonder how evasive he was going to be. Apparently, non-verbal communication drove my point across, and he continued much more directly. "Gunn thinks chaos is a riot on the street. Fred, misguided innocent that she is, understands all sorts of things about butterfly wings and hurricanes, but automatically equates it all to evil. You understand that chaos and order really have nothing to do with good and evil."

The tea was delightful--hot, strong, and real--meaning that it was as far away from what the executive cafeteria referred to as tea as one could possibly get. Taking a bit into my mouth, I allowed it to roll on my tongue, warming me. "It is rather ironic that the only contact the senior partners have with their terrestrial agents is through a nexus of chaos." I saw no point in being evasive myself. Having finally deciphered the scheme, I felt it important to lay the cards on the table. Of course, there were things I did not understand, such as why a well ordered organization such as Wolfram & Hart needed a chaos mage, and, "Why would you support such a thing?"

"Oh, Lilah is right; you are a bright boy. Chaos is a very different whore from a Hell Lord or all these major generals of organization, Wesley. These confining walls and well-oiled schedules rub me the wrong way. I suffer to serve Her will. If you'll excuse the colorful language, She enjoys fucking with me as much as She enjoys me fucking with you. So that there are no misunderstandings between us, that statement could be metaphorical or literal; the choice is yours."

Taking some more tea, I leaned back in the chair in what I hoped appeared like thoughtful contemplation. I was trying to formulate an appropriate question, but the question that kept wandering through my mind was far from being so. I found myself wondering what sort of pick-up maneuvers Ethan might use in a gay bar. "If I understand correctly, you have no contracts with Chaos - no clear terms of rewards and damnations. You simply enslave yourself to the ideal, taking your pleasure where it offers itself."

That was probably what Ethan was like in a bar. No glances or casual conversations, no contracts or negotiations. He was the type that came up behind you, squeezed your arse and then just smiled. Or maybe he was the kind that bought you a drink from the other side of the room and then spent an hour or two in thoughtful conversation with someone else, deliberately not looking at you.

"Exactly. But please understand that I am not completely a free agent. Should I take up the pursuit of mischief making simply for my own enjoyment or self-interest, She would soon abandon me as unworthy. So it is in tasks like this," Ethan gestured to the room, though it was evident to both of us that he was referring to the situation in general. "That I suffer the bounds of Order to serve Her needs."

There was something close to a leer on Ethan's face, which conveyed to me that the mage was seeing potential pleasurable rewards in 'his suffering.' I felt the heat rise to my cheeks. Wanting to divert the conversation so that I wasn't the only one on uncertain ground, I nodded. "And is that why you are here, instead of badgering Rupert Giles?" The involuntary twitch Ethan gave was minor, but satisfying.

"He is my own special torment. He lusts for chaos like an alcoholic craves gin, but steadfastly he fights, giving me no satisfaction. Thus, my suffering drives me to greater spectacles and feeds my Mistress' needs."

Setting my cup upon its saucer, I instinctively took a chocolate digestive. "You'll have no satisfaction from me either. If I could have been coerced into this arrangement, it would have been done by now." Ethan hadn't eaten a biscuit, and I found myself bothered by the possibility of drugged food. It seemed that there should be more clever ways for a mage to go about it. Besides, if drugging me had ever been part of the plan then there would be no reasonable way to avoid it.

'Wicked' was the correct definition of Ethan's smile. "Absolutism is the beginning of downfall--you are aware of that? You're worse than Ripper, you know. He eyes the pretty whores along the boulevard and at least gives them the satisfaction of knowing that their painted faces gave him pause. You put on the disdainful virgin's airs, pretending that you are not attracted."

I took a bite of the biscuit, keeping my back ramrod straight, hoping that the activity covered my sudden lack of composure. "Perhaps you're right, but I think that my background and the events of my life will tell you that it has not been chaos that I have craved. Either way, I believe that I will maintain my stance on the sidelines."

Smiling into his tea, Ethan said, "Really?" He spoke with a disbelieving air, as if the warm liquid was a crystal ball telling him the true story. "Let's test that then, shall we?" The mage rose, placing the cup upon the tray and raising an eyebrow and waiting for me to rise. We were finally getting somewhere I hoped, so I did get up to follow.

"Will we be going far? I have an appointment this afternoon."

"Not far at all."

We left the storeroom via the elevator and descended into the basement. As we walked, several employees nodded politely to the division head, me. I had no illusions that any employee in the building held any loyalty towards the former members of Angel Investigation; it was self-interest that kept them polite. No one seemed to notice or acknowledge Ethan. "Files and Records?" I guessed for our destination.

He chuckled. "Not at all. You watchers never change, thinking all the answers are in books and papers. Our quarry wouldn't be caught alive or dead in such an endeavor. We are after much more physical pursuits." Passed the file room, we came up to a double set of doors with no handles--obviously emergency doors for the room beyond. Smiling, Ethan placed his palm upon the lock, whispering sweet words to the door as if it were a lover. Obligingly, it popped open, admitting us to a running track above a small gymnasium.

I moved up the rail and was struck with a sense of deja vu, as Connor and Angel sparred happily against a half-dozen burly staff members beneath us. Involuntarily, I pulled in a deep breath and pushed down all the memories--all the memories that had vanished for a month and then had come back with a vengeance. Memories that would have stayed away, if any of us could have ignored the gaps and non-sequitors in our past, which it wasn't in our nature to do.

Of course, Ethan was now attempting to distract me with a well-placed hand on my arse. I raised an eyebrow at the obviousness of the ploy, my pick-up technique suspicions confirmed. Ethan only returned a grin and pressed his body up against my side, not in the least bit deterred. "We both know you like it and won't be seduced by it. Let an old man have some fun."

For a moment, I had forgotten how ineffective shaming looks were on people who could not be shamed. So now it was either push Ethan away, and look like the wet behind the ears Watcher he had accused me of being, or enjoy the fondling. "Do we have a point for being here?"

Ethan chuckled and inclined his head towards the floor. "Hasn't *he* always been the point? Didn't you sell your own soul for his happiness? You even gave up Lilah for it, didn't you?"

That was a terribly uncomfortable statement. After everything that happened and the mementos that I still refused to part with, I had to admit that I had some form of feeling for Lilah. I was not, however, ready for the analysis. I wondered how many other positions Ethan could maneuver me into simply because I didn't want it to appear as if I were backing down.

"And the boy. You did everything to protect him and fate worked against you. Here he is now, safe and sound with his father, and he doesn't even know it. Only the rest of you do. He has no memory of kidnappings, hell dimensions or hating his father with untold passion. He only understands that he is a bright and special boy, hand selected to be mentored by one of the most powerful corporations in the world. It's the rest of you who know the whole story. It is the rest of you who avoid each others eyes-"

"Are you done?" I pushed off from the railing and started moving towards the doors.

"Not quite. You see, last night Connor performed the ritual and accepted his wings. Not Angelic wings mind you, but the wings of Ra, taking the place of Sem-khet." I stopped, frozen in place. How could it have happened so quickly? "As adorable as Winifred was when she took her wings, I do believe that Connor looked much more desirable kneeling there naked. Not the same kind of fun as peering at Gunn through panther's eyes, but that may have been because I did the bloodletting in that transformation."

"How?" I wanted to run, but found myself turning and needing an explanation. Ethan, who was leaning nonchalantly against the rail, just smiled, waiting for me to catch up. "I understand Gunn and Fred; they both became forces for good. Ma'at the white shaman, the healer's heart--I wouldn't have denied Gunn that, it bloody well suits him. Ash-et the blind seer; I tried to stop Fred, but I understand why she couldn't overcome the temptation to see *into* things--the matrix of the physical world, everything at a macro and sub-atomic level." I realized I was babbling, and he knew these things better than me. "How did you convince the boy?"

"Wesley, he is Angel's son. All it took was a shiny distraction and ten minutes of focused attention."

"Sem-khet is inherently evil. The boy was raised by a nice, normal, *moral* family." And now I felt like an idiot. Why did I blindly take such a simplistic view of Connor's safety? I knew much better than most how simple it was to mix some black into the white.

And Ethan knew that I understood that now. "The boy believes in passion and thinks that anything passionate must be right. It was never really a challenge."

I was out of the gym and heading towards the stairs, as the elevator would only be an opportunity for Ethan to try and talk to me and to manipulate me. I had walked into the storeroom earlier more sure of myself. I knew my abilities and now realized they were inadequate to face the assault that Ethan could bring in this area. There were five pieces of the Ra-tet. If four were claimed, the fifth was a given, because Angel had struggled so hard for family and would never give it up again, no matter what the cost. If I accepted then Angel would accept.

Three floors up, my heart was pounding, but I managed to maintain an air of calm as I exited the stairwell. It felt so odd to have gone through everything and to just leave without a fight. No one stopped Mr. Pryce as he walked out. Not until I neared the curb and a uniformed chauffeur called, indicating that the black limousine was my car. I was considering running when the window rolled down revealing Lilah, an emerald silk scarf around her neck. With a sense of relief, I climbed in and allowed the driver to close the door.

"So Ethan didn't win." It wasn't a question, and Lilah seemed to be saying it with a look of triumph.

"For the moment, no, but shouldn't you be helping him? Haven't you *been* helping him?" It was like so many of our fights - her obligations to Wolfram & Hart, when what I selfishly wanted was all that loyalty for myself. Frankly, I was deeply tired of these little battles we fought for good and evil.

"Wesley, I'm dead with a contract that extends-"

"Yes, I know all about your contract, Lilah."

She fingered the silk and looked down, shrugging. "You would be immortal. We could be together."

Some whispered pain gripped my chest. "Were you not the one that told me to move on? Didn't you toss all sorts of pretty men and women in my path?"

"Some of them were smart. Others spoke more languages than you do. Some of them were dumber than dirt just to try something different. Wesley, I threw everyone at your feet, and you ignored all of them to fixate on a dead woman. What was I supposed to do, forget that I was in love with you, when you wouldn't even pretend to be with anyone but me?"

The cringe and hardening when she said 'love' was involuntary. Strange how often she said that word now that she was dead. "Lilah, it's all gone. Dead, buried, transformed. I can't stay here. There's nothing left; no one left."

"Wesley." Her hands became entangled in mine and it was bothersome that they weren't cold. She was dead, but not cold or anything that resembled 'not living.' "It doesn't have to be all gone. You can go back, do the ritual, and they will always be family." Lilah smiled. "Contractual obligation out of the way."

She leaned in, and I willingly let the dead woman straddle me and press me into the leather seat with soft lips and roving hands. Usually, I resisted, but today I desperately wanted this type of comfort. My fingers trailed patterns over the silk blouse, covering her breast, making their way to rounded hips in order to pull her closer. At the same time, Lilah became more aggressive with tongue and teeth, eliciting moans from deep in my throat.

Cock hard in the questing fingers that had found their way into my trousers, I roughly squeezed and pulled at the body straddling me. When I opened my eyes, the last thing I expected was to find brown ones looking back at me, laughing. It was then I understood the confusion that my other senses had tried to relay.

Ethan licked my mouth, nipping at my lower lip. "My, she didn't do you justice at all. You're quite good at this." His hand was jerking me hard, teasing with the thumb.

"Get off of me. Get off of me!" My body went through the self-defense maneuvers without any real conscious thought. My thumb dug into Ethan's wrist, forcing the other man to release me from its intimate hold. Free, I shoved the laughing mage hard across the limo and dived out the door, aware that the car wasn't moving.

Unceremoniously sprawled on cement floor of the parking garage, I didn't waste time trying to figure out how we had gotten there. On my feet and adjusting my trousers, I began to jog towards the nearest door. Some part inside my head screamed to become reoriented - to seek the exit to the outside, but another part screamed just as loudly that I should simply put distance between Ethan and myself.

My passkey handled one of the doors back into the building. I was in the basement levels in a sea of steam. It didn't make any sense whatsoever that the garage would open up onto a locker room but the sound of metal doors slamming and tiled walls told a different story. Fortunately, it was the men's shower and dressing room. Good sycophants that they were, the occupants made no comment about my attire and only offered polite nods.

"No sir, we haven't seen Mr. Pryce." A faceless voice from near the front of the room had made the assertion. Raising a finger to my lips, I silently asked the other men for discretion. In the fine toadying manner that Wolfram & Hart bred, I was given serious nods and knowing winks. Snatching some towels from a bench, I pulled off my clothing, switching to the uniform of the venue. Now wrapped in a towel, my clothing was a hopeless mess, but somehow it was better than being caught. Swathed in white cotton terry at the waist and over my head, I entered the steam room, sitting on the nearest tiled bench.

I could hear my new 'allies' throwing off the scent beyond the wall of steam. Breathing a sigh of relief, I tried to calm myself. The voice from the bench above was one that had haunted my nightmares.

"He'll find you eventually, you know. Ethan is very clever. But if you want to play it this way, I won't give you away."

"You seem very certain, Connor."

"I am. I've...seen things." With the loping grace of a tiger, the younger man came down and sat next to me. "I was always different, and he knew when he saw me. But instead of trying to take my power or use me, he gave me more."

There was a thin red scar across the younger man's torso. "Did he? What is it like to be a totem of the Ra-tet, to carry this extra burden?" I couldn't help it as my fingers went out and automatically traced the line. The sight of it made my own scar ache.

"Burden?" The boy laughed and as much as he had grown and changed, to me, he would always be a boy. "I'm alive. I'm power. You were raised knowing all about demons and vampires and magic. Do you have any concept how boring it is to be raised in a nice suburban family? To think that you should strive to be the football captain, become a doctor," Connor laughed, lifting his hands. "A lawyer?"

My brain was constructing crumbling walls of disbelief. This couldn't be true; it must be the corruption of the surroundings. Angel gave up so much to give Connor a normal life and...

"I want. My skin is tingling with the sensation, and still I want more power. You must know that, feel it. I wanted your gift." The *boy's* fingers were making tracks on the damp surface of my thigh. "Mesek-tet, link to the senior partners. To have them all need to come to me."

I was being pushed into the tiled seat, as much from Connor as from my own need to try and get away. "It's not too late, Wesley. If you're not feeling up to it, I could take the burden from you. You could be Sem-khet." Sem-khet Connor was an animal, wild and sensual. The boy could no doubt smell the fear all over me, as those youthful hands made their way up my chest.

I was weighing the odds of pushing the more-than-human boy off, when my blood turned to ice; the teenaged boy suddenly spoke with clear British tones. "Switching with the boy is an interesting idea. He wouldn't be between you and Angel then." Demanding lips were biting and sucking at the scar on my neck. Without further thought, I sent the mage flying into the mist.

An empty row of benches lined a neat row of lockers. Pausing briefly, I began struggling into my clothes. "Wes, take it easy. Much easier to do that if you'd dry off first."

I was more or less naked, depending on how the towel draped, looking up at a freshly showered and very naked Angel. We were alone. Naked. In a locker room. And Angel was concerned that I was getting dressed much too quickly. I hadn't had a fantasy this unbelievable in over a year.

"You are an illusion created by a chaos mage. Kindly step away and allow me to get on with my business."

"Wes? Are you feeling alright?"

"I'm feeling-" My belligerent response was cut off when I caught site of the mirror just beyond Angel's naked hip. I was peering at myself at an odd angle. "You don't have a reflection."

"Ah," Angel sat on the bench, concerned. "Yeah. Been like that for the last 250 years, give or take." As if on autopilot, my hand was on the vampire's chest, feeling nothing.

"No heartbeat. Lower than average body temperature."

Probably afraid that I was about to hurt myself, burly hands grabbed me firmly but gently by the wrists, preventing further exploration. "Wesley? You were saying something about a chaos mage. Tell me about that."

There was something in the soft brown depths of his eyes that was my undoing. "Angel? We need to leave. It's a trap. It's been a trap all along. Wolfram & Heart didn't give us the operation. They need us to replace the Ra-tet."

Angel's expression was confused, "Wes-"

"An-gel!" Even I recognized the anger and panic in my voice. "The little girl in the white room, she told us that the answer was among us. Gunn, Fred, you, Connor and me - in that order. She knew that the Ra-tet was dead and needed to be restored. The little girl was the link from Wolfram & Hart to the Senior Partners, the home office.

Something seemed to click and Angel's attention went somewhere far away. With restored hope, I sat there, waiting for my friend to see sense. When Angel spoke, sense seemed very distant. "Holland Manners when he was a dead guy, much like Lilah is a dead woman, he told me, showed me the home office."

"Angel, we cannot be their link. In as much as the sum of the Ra-tet is neutral, we cannot allow ourselves to be used by this law firm to connect them to their evil superiors."

My wrists were suddenly free, as Angel continued. "We can't stop them. There are enchantments and rings. It's in the hearts and minds of everyone, Wesley. We can't stop them."

Warm hands were massaging my shoulders. I didn't need to look in the mirror to know whose hands they were. It wasn't as if I could take my eyes off the man in front of me anyway. "Angel, they want me to be evil. Connor - do you know what they've done to Connor?"

Angel nodded slowly. "He gutted two of our sparing partners in the gym before he went to wash off the blood. Wesley, he's my son."

Closing my eyes in despair and denial, I could only shake my head, wondering why the bench felt so cold. The firm hands continued stroking my shoulders and chest, soothing. I was naked on the storeroom floor, clothes neatly draped over the chair, by the tea a few feet away.

"The biscuits?" Stupidly, my brain wanted to know.

"The milk, actually. Much, much simpler to work with liquids - I found that out once with chocolate."

I wasn't really sure if it was desperation or indignation, but I forced him back, throwing my body on top of his and shouting, "I won't do it!"

"Not even for me, Wes?" I was staring into Angel's face, and I certainly knew it wasn't really him. "I'll be Man-jet. Wesley, the powerless balancing point - the potential in every soul. I'm tired of waiting for destiny. I'm tired of the constant fight. Good-evil, black-white. Aren't you tired, Wesley?"

Strong hands were in my hair, pulling me into a kiss. Disbelieving the illusion was easy, but the words were not as simple. When my lips parted from the false ones beneath me, I could only whisper, "I am so weary of the gray."

Ethan's face was his own again. "Then spend a little time with me. The colors of chaos are everything but black and white and all those muted tones in-between them." There were no promises in his eyes, only a sense of mystery and passion. There were more obvious signs of that passion as he bucked beneath me, rubbing our already slicked cocks together.

I made no promises other than the moment when I pulled him into a hard kiss, shifting his legs to make way for my growing need. Ethan took it all, against the cold cement, and I came away with matching bites and bruises after spending all my frustration in him.


On the days like today, when I think I should call LA, I remember it all in vivid detail. Ethan simply smiles when I look at him accusingly. Then he reminds me, "Sunny days in Mexican resorts should not be spent so far away."

Most days I try to take his advice, but today I have some conclusions to share. "You know that one day I'll go back. It hasn't taken me this long to understand that the Ra-tet represents the bridge of order between good and evil. It is necessary for maintaining stability in the universe. You were never working for Wolfram & Heart to recruit me; you were working for chaos all along to break the Ra-tet."

Licking the salt from the back of his hand, Ethan pounded the shot and sucked on a lime wedge.

His lack of response was infuriating, as usual. "You don't even like tequila." He only shrugs and pulls my G&T across the table.

"It's not hard to imagine that Chaos wanted to disrupt Wolfram & Hart, but you still needed an in." I retrieve my drink.

"I told you my in. They did need a chaos mage to perform the transformations." He eyed my drink with innocence and need.

"Lilah hired you. She was willing to try anything within the realm of her contract to force me to move on." His pauper boy look worms its way into me, and I slide him the drink. With a victorious smile, he blows me a kiss and then pulls on the straw.

"Yes, it was Lilah."

I sigh hopelessly at the lengths people seem determined to go to in order to manipulate my life. "I suppose this means that you'll be moving on now that I've deciphered your game." The chuckle came from deep with in his chest.

"You've figured out Chaos, Lilah and doubtlessly, 'good and evil.' What makes you think that you know everything that I'm about?" There was a twinkle in his eye that made my blood run fast and in a more southerly direction. "I'm not making any promises here, Wesley. I'm certainly not the promising type. What I will grudgingly admit to is a bullet-proof kink about good boys gone bad."

It was rather disconcerting how words like that made my passion stir. "I'm not bad."

His hand was across the table squeezing mine. "Of course not! It wouldn't be any fun if you arrived that way."

As I kissed him, I could feel the many colors slide into me. I wondered how long before it muddied once again to gray.


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