Grief, loneliness and the bottle never made for the best companions. Wesley remembered Xander as someone sarcastic and unfriendly but distance and perspective, not to mention conversations with Cordelia, had made him realize the young man had never been the bad guy. He had never expected to be seeking him out though, especially not under these circumstances.
Wesley hadn’t even realized that Lorne had been moonlighting at the new demon bar, Oblivion, until he found himself abruptly caught by the shirt and hauled into a vacant office. He had been headed somewhere -- he couldn’t remember where, but he had set out from his office with some intent in mind, something to do with Illyria probably. Most things were about Illyria these days. The trouble was that every time he looked at her, he saw Fred, and the grief would flood through him, washing away every other thought, and if she was out of his sight, the memories would start carving jagged lines in his brain, a toxic spill of failure. He would find himself standing in a corridor -- harassed lawyers, who had sold their souls to evil, flowing past him like flotsam from a shipwreck, giving him a wide berth because everyone apparently now knew that he was insane and as likely to shoot an employee in the kneecaps as he was to stab a friend in the guts -- seeing that baby being carried away to Quortoth and the guilt would overwhelm him like a tsunami, driving out even the grief.
He started and realized that the background noise he had automatically been blocking out came from Lorne and was a conversation only one of them was having. He tried to pick up the echoes of words he had ignored.
“Xander?” That one was unusual enough to have stuck. “What about him?”
Which was when Lorne had told him about Oblivion, and the moonlighting as a host there, and how Xander had sung, drunkenly, and Lorne had almost passed out from the black cloud of grief and rage the guy was giving off.
“He’s going to do something regrettable, Wesley. He’s got a grade five Threskal infection. You know what that means.”
He knew. Of course. Adrenaline and testosterone, over-production of, not a bi-product, but the body desperately trying to save itself, in the same way it spiked a fever to kill an infection, because a man had to be aggressive to ensure himself the amount of climaxes necessary to clear that stuff out of his system before it ate away the brainstem and left him a vegetable. Men with no conscience became serial rapists. Men with money and knowledge locked themselves in a bedroom with half a dozen prostitutes and humped themselves back to health. But it sounded as if Xander had neither of those things, just a lot of anger he needed to channel and probably a permanent erection by now.
Wesley felt curiously detached from everything at the moment. Even his own hands seemed to exist in a parallel dimension. He gazed at them now and found them mildly fascinating. “That’s what life is, isn’t it? Doing regrettable things? Living with our regrets?”
Lorne snapped his fingers until Wesley stopped looking at his hands and looked at Lorne’s, noticing their speckled greeness and following them back to Lorne’s face. It was unusually grim, and Wesley thought about how long it was since Lorne had cracked a smile or used an endearment on anyone. Not since Fred had --
“No -- me, look at me.”
The sharpness recalled his straying attention and he did as he was told. Lorne nodded. “There we go…. Now, his regrettable action could be avoided or at least…channeled. Also, he could get himself very very killed if something isn’t done to divert him.”
It was only then as he took in the green demon’s expression -- apparently grief and guilt acted as speed bumps to the mind -- that he realized Lorne was expecting him to do something about this situation. He took a step back. “Why me…?”
“Because he’s looking to punish someone, and you’re looking to be punished. It’s a perfect fit.”
And, bizarrely, humiliatingly, some part of him felt itself aligning towards the possibility like a compass needle to magnetic North. He had been here before; embracing darkness because he was cold enough to be grateful for anyone’s arms around him; but Lilah had entirely failed to stab him in the back or even to properly betray him.
“Shouldn’t it be Spike…?” Perhaps he had misunderstood, but Spike, when drunk, was inclined to run off at the mouth, and, when attempting to deny the past romantic entanglements of which he was accused, to dig himself in deeper. On one occasion when he and Angel had been having a slanging match, he was quite certain that Xander’s name had come up in a very…questionable context.
“Definitely not Spike,” Lorne said emphatically.
“But doesn’t he…know Xander rather better than the rest of us?”
“Spike he’ll stake, you he won’t. Well, not with a…stake. He’s sick, but he hasn’t lost who he is. That’s why it’s not going to occur to him to visit a hooker or grab someone in a dark alley. There’s too much aggression there for him not to be able to sell himself on the idea of staking a vampire, because he really wants to watch something die right now, but he would never kill a human being, not even now. He has no idea what’s happening to him, but I know where he’ll be tonight, room number and everything.”
“But I thought he and Spike were once…?” Lorne just looked at him until Wesley remembered that Spike and Angelus had also once been…and that Angel would happily have staked Spike straight through the heart on most days and probably twice on Tuesdays.
“Remind me never to sleep with Spike,” Wesley murmured. “His bedroom technique doesn’t seem to win him many friends.”
“For a guy with cheekbones to die for, the peroxide one does seem to bring home the self-loathing in his partners in a big way.” Lorne held out a piece of paper. “This is where Xander will be this evening. Don’t worry, he’s no longer infectious, but you need to get there before seven. I suggest you take a lot of lube.”
And it was insane, when he had never even liked Xander, but it helped to have something to do, something difficult, something with pain attached to it, that wasn’t him self-harming just to feel something beside numbness, that was a good deed that only he could do. Even though it made no sense, he took the paper and took the jacket that Lorne also handed to him. The demon had his tough love face on. Angel was wearing that face for him these days, too. Wesley wondered which of them he was being sent to cure -- Xander or himself.
“You must have a lot of faith in his inherent goodness,” he observed, hesitating just a moment as he thought about the case histories he had read, of what men did when in the throes of this infection. Lorne was unusually inscrutable. “Or you still haven’t forgiven me for that concussion.”
“I have a lot of faith in him. He’s a lot stronger than he was when he was taken over by that evil hyena mojo. He’s a good man. And I mean -- to the core.”
Wesley had been considered a good man once, but he had still gone after Fred with an axe, and when Angel’s soul slipped loose from its mystical moorings, Angelus had committed acts for which there was still no name.
Lorne shrugged. “Of course, let’s be honest here -- you’re going to be walking funny for a week. But he’s not going to do anything to you that you don’t want.”
As he walked to his motorbike, hoping he wasn’t breathalyzed, because he hadn’t been entirely sober for days now, Wesley wondered if Lorne really knew about all the things that he had wanted in his time. He had loved Angel for what felt like forever but that was never happening. And that longing had gone unfulfilled for years. There had been the things he had done with Lilah. The things he had dreamed of Angel -- and even Angelus -- doing to him. He had a score of fantasies that were more than a little twisted, chains and whips, and himself a struggling prisoner, guiltless in the midst of all this perversion, because he was the victim here, and it wasn’t his fault. Perhaps Lorne did, perhaps Lorne knew every sick, dark, sadomasochistic yearning that had ever flickered through him, the memories of which were reminding him now why he had never been good enough for Fred, too tainted, too damaged, too flawed. If he did, and if that was what was waiting for him in Xander’s bedroom then Lorne was wrong about one thing -- he would be walking funny for a lot longer than a week.
Note to self, Wesley thought. Don’t let a guy fuck you whose last boyfriend was a vampire.
Gritting his teeth, he clenched his fists into the tangled sheet as Xander pounded him mercilessly. He knew he should say something; point out that he wasn’t Spike, and couldn’t take what the vampire had evidently demanded that Xander dished out. Xander wasn’t a monster; he was a basically decent human being, even if there did seem to be an element of punishment in this deep hard fucking that was making Wesley’s whole body reverberate like pile-driven tarmac. One word and Xander would rein it back, so why wasn’t he saying it?
Wesley gasped as Xander hoisted him up a little, dug his fingers even harder into Wesley’s hipbones and slammed into him so hard Wesley saw stars. Wesley couldn’t stop the moans, pain, yes, but oh god, oh god, he did not want this to stop. That was why he wasn’t saying anything, even as his whole body shuddered with the impact of thrust after punishing thrust, each one of which seemed capable of splitting him in two; because this, ironically, was how he had imagined it would be if Angel ever lost it, mid-fuck, if passion completely overwhelmed his realization that Wesley was only human; Wesley’s body completely taken over by someone so much stronger than him there was no point in resisting, his job just to spread ’em and take it…. And he liked it. Oh god, yes. No responsibility. Just abject absolute submission to the alpha male on top of him who was ramming his cock hard and fast and deep and oh so confidently into Wesley’s aching ass.
Wesley’s body twisted partly in pleasurable submission and partly in a half-hearted attempt to pull away from the pounding it was taking and Xander tightened his grip on his hips in warning and dealt out what definitely felt like punishment in the form of a thrust so hard it jolted Wesley up off the bed and made him whimper at the aftershocks, that explosion of pain-pleasure in his prostate. Xander pulled all the way out and then slammed him again, lifting Wesley’s knees off the mattress from the impact. Wesley made an inarticulate sound, a groan of pain and shameful submission, spreading himself wider, trying to pacify the one on top of him with a show of obedience. He had always thought that if Angel became Angelus again that would probably have been the only way to live through it. The shameful part had been the way he thought about it more often than he needed to -- focusing on the details, the way it had excited him.
“Say it --” Xander hissed.
Wesley whimpered. “Please --?” It was a guess but it seemed to be the right one.
Xander’s fingers felt as if they were going to break his hipbones as he was hauled back and pounded harder, his whole body jolting at the impact, feeling himself bruise deep, deep inside.
“Please --” he tried again. “Oh god, please --” Impossible to say if the please was for Xander to spare him or do it again, harder, harder.
In Xander’s fantasy it was obviously the second because he slammed into him so hard Wesley’s knees were jolted off the bed and then Xander was making an incoherent grunt of pleasure and coming inside him with a reverberation that nearly bent Wesley in two, gripping hands and pumping come, warm and sticky, deep inside him.
There was a long pause as Xander’s body weight rested on him, the younger man panting rapidly, his sweat dripping onto Wesley’s own sweat-slicked body, and then the cock was pulled out of him, straight back and with surprising care.
“You like it rough.” It wasn’t a question and Xander accompanied the words with a stroke of his ass, palm rough and warm.
Wesley flinched a little at the touch. His cock was aching with unspent seed and his ass was singing with soreness.
“That’s okay,” Xander continued evenly. “I’ve never fucked a girl I didn’t like or a boy I did.”
Wesley snatched a breath, even the pain of that statement feeling regrettably right. Like a cane across his bare ass, something expected, something known.
Xander slipped his fingers into Wesley’s ass, making him gasp again. There were no words for how sore he was, or how horny. Xander reached in and found his prostate; twisting his fingers to touch it; electrical charges of pleasure jolting through Wesley with each deliberately rough touch. Xander slipped his fingers out and stroked Wesley’s ass cheeks instead, his tone still conversational: “I know you like it up the ass, Wes. Do you like it across the ass, too? Did you enjoy it when they used to do that to you at school?”
Wesley could feel himself jolting with shameful excitement. It was incredible that Xander Harris of all people should be the one to know the ways in which he liked to be hurt, liked to be dominated and forced to obey. He had always thought it would be Giles or Angel who would do this to him, but Giles hadn’t wanted to unlock that floodgate -- too much dislike for him there to trust himself, too much Ripper inside him to make him a safe person to be alone with Wesley in a bedroom. And Angel cared about him too much to hurt him like this.
“I used to think about it,” Xander continued still conversationally, still massaging Wesley’s buttocks, pulling his cheeks open a little and then letting them close as if to enjoy the proof of how dilated Wesley was from the incursions of his cock. “Back in the days when you were that annoying little prick Cordy kept panting over. Used to think I’d like to just make you bend over a damned desk and cane you until you screamed then ram myself into you afterwards. Used to jerk off to that image too. Did you want Giles to do that to you, Wes? Beat you across your bare ass while you begged him for mercy?”
Knowing it was a lie -- that Xander had never once thought of him like that, never thought of anyone like that until he had inhaled the wrong kind of demon dust and picked up an infection that made him angry every minute -- didn’t stop the words having power. Lies should only be answered with lies, but for some reason he found himself offering the truth instead. Wesley swallowed, finding his voice with difficulty, cock an ache like a throbbing tooth. “Yes.”
“Did you think about his cock? Did you think about it down your throat? Up your ass? Wonder if it was big enough to really hurt you? How much you’d like that?”
“Angel --” Wesley managed in a hoarse croak. “I thought about it with Angel. And I saw his cock. I know it’s… Know how much it would hurt --”
“But you want it anyway?”
“Wanted it more once you knew how much it would make you stretch and whimper?”
Wesley closed his eyes so close to coming now, the pleasure building up his thighs, electric currents of sensation as Xander kept massaging his ass and that voice lured him closer and closer to climax. “Yes --”
“You like it when you’re not given a choice, don’t you? When it’s not your fault? ” Xander pushed two fingers into him, into the wet warm channel he had ploughed so mercilessly. Then added a third. “Like it when a guy just shows you who’s boss and you have to take whatever he dishes out.” A fourth finger and Wesley whimpered a protest. “Don’t whine, Wes. You’re plenty dilated enough.”
Wesley knew what was coming and half pulled away but Xander wrapped an arm around his waist to hold him still, the arm brawny with muscle, like an iron bar across his abdomen, giving his cock some delicious friction just when it was at its most heated, then fingers were being carefully inserted, four fingers and the thumb, and the fist was pushing into him. He cried out as he was stretched, wriggled, straddled, bent his head, panted hard like a woman giving birth, and the remorseless fist pushed on it. He squirmed and gasped: “Please, no. It’s too much… too --”
The fist pushed into him and he had never been so wide open, legs straining to open himself up, biting the coverlet desperately, not to stifle a scream but because his mouth needed some stimulation too to match the whole over-stimulated screaming mass of nerve-endings that was now his body. “No, Xander…please --”
“You say ’no’ like other men say ’yes’, Wes. Do you know that?” And then the fist was pushing on in deeper and he was whimpering and whimpering because he was going to come, couldn’t help it, was going to come this --
“Oh god…!” Pleasure exploded and he wailed as his body pumped and pumped, spraying hot come all over Xander’s arm and Wesley’s chest.
Xander thrust his fist in, pulled back, thrust again, gentler than his cock thrusts but so bruising on his already sore ass. He fisted Wesley through his climax and then slipped his hand out carefully -- so carefully that Wesley realized this was part of the terrible problem that Xander was presenting -- the perfect fantasy of the brutal alpha male who gave him no choice and therefore absolved him from guilt -- but who nevertheless didn’t actually hurt him. Lorne had been right, after all. Even semi-insane with lust and rage from a demonic infection, some part of Xander was still aware of a line that he wouldn’t cross, was still pulling back from the brink.
“I’m going to take a shower.”
As Wesley made to get up, Xander added firmly: “No. I like you smelling of my come. You stay there. I’ll be back soon. Then I’m going to tie you to the bed and make your ass as tender on the outside as it is on the inside. Then I’m going to fuck you again.”
“No, I’m --” Wesley gazed into Xander’s one remaining brown eye, shivering with shame at how much pleasure it gave him to say the words aloud, to show Xander how much of a lie it was even as he said it: “I’m too sore.”
Xander didn’t even blink. “That’s why I’m going to do it. And that’s why you’re going to like it.”
Then he was gone and Wesley had a brief glimpse of that big heavy cock of his, balls swinging with the tomcat arrogance he would more normally associate with Spike as he strode across the room as if he owned it, it and everything in it, and Wesley most of all.
Morning and it was over. Wesley had to move gingerly because everything hurt, but he managed to get to the bathroom -- clutching at the walls because walking was no fun at all right now. It helped. It really helped -- that lancing, searing ache so deep inside him. It had gone past being pleasurable hours since and he had endured the pain. The pain had helped immensely. Fred was dead and everything hurt. He finally understood why medieval monks had scourged themselves -- not just to get into heaven, but because the pain could be blissful when one had truly sinned. It made forgiveness seem possible, even redemption. He felt closer to clarity than he had been in days. It was as if everything had been misty and now it was clearer. Fred was gone and blaming Gunn was pointless. Blaming himself was pointless. He would tell Illyria that he missed Gunn. He would speak to her as if she wasn’t a walking parody of everything he had loved and lost. He would be a watcher again and one day, if he was fortunate, there would be a day better than this one.
Xander woke up to a cock that felt as if it had been rubbed with glasspaper and a sickening hangover. That was bad enough. Then the memories came in and he sat up with an actual horror movie blonde gasp of horror.
And there he was, moving very, very carefully, as he limped in from the bathroom. He said, “Threskal infection. No other way. It’s out of your system now.”
“My God -- what I did to you.”
Wesley looked like hell but there was a weird, unblinking clarity in his eyes that hadn’t been there the night before. “I wanted it. Remember?”
Xander put a hand to his head. He remembered all too well. “Yeah -- from Angel, not from me.”
“Angel didn’t need saving. You did.”
“How are you even walking?”
“Very, very carefully. I’ll let myself out.”
“No, Wesley -- wait!” Xander stumbled out of the bed, become acutely self-conscious about how naked he was and pulled a sheet around his waist, tripping over it as he moved towards Wesley and then stopped, a few feet away because -- maybe the guy Xander had fucked about a million times the night before might not want Xander that close to him this morning. “We need to talk about this.”
“There’s nothing to talk about. You had an infection. The cure was a lot of sex. Lorne suggested I was the right man for the job. So it proved. The end.”
Xander threw up his hands -- which unfortunately meant that he dropped the sheet and had to scramble in an undignified fashion to retrieve it. “But those things I did to you…”
“Are not proof of any latent sadism on your part, if that’s what’s worrying you. In fact, this was only possible because both Lorne and I knew that even at your darkest you would still take reasonable precautions not to cause me any permanent damage -- and so it proved. And my latent masochism is not your problem.”
As Wesley put his hand on the door handle, Xander said, “Does Angel know -- that you’re more than half in love with him?”
Wesley gave an odd little smile. “What does it matter? He isn’t more than half in love with me, after all.”
He was halfway through the door and Xander’s head was still spinning but he did grab hold of the one essential salient fact. “Thank you -- for saving my life. You really…”
“Took one for the team…?”
Xander shook his head at that brief, unexpected smile. “British people have the weirdest sense of humor.”
Wesley said, “It’s part of our charm.”
And then he was gone, just like that, limping carefully down the grubby hotel corridor. Looking out of the window, Xander realized that Wesley was on his cell to someone and that a car with tinted windows arrived almost faster than seemed possible, to whisk him away. He wasn’t sure the guy who had arrived last night would have been able to organize a car for himself. He had seemed as lost as Xander had been angry and full of lust. And now Xander would be quite happy to never have sex again, thank you very much, as he was clearly a Grade A Perv. He’d fisted Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. He’d really done that. He felt acutely embarrassed and a small, flare of triumph. He mostly felt grateful. He was glad not to be dead. He was very, very glad about that.
Looking down at himself, Xander realized he desperately needed a shower and then someone probably needed to burn all these sheets….
Angel knew something…significant had occurred. Wesley was limping like, well, like he’d been to a Hollywood hookers-and-blow party and someone had forgotten to order the hookers and he’d had to step up. He also -- weirdly -- looked like he was in better mental shape than he had been for days. As Lorne passed, Angel grabbed him by the lapel and pulled him into the room.
“What happened to Wesley?”
“He was helping out a friend.”
“What friend? The only friends he has are here.”
“A friend with a grade five Threskal infection.”
Angel literally reeled backwards; something he hadn’t even known people did for real. “The hell? You let him…? My God, does he need medical care…?”
“Well, he’d probably appreciate only traveling in vehicles with good suspension for the next few days, but other than that he seems to be fine.”
“Lorne, how the hell could you let him…?”
“There was a good man’s life at stake and Wesley wanted to be punished. It’s not like you’ll do it for him, is it? And let’s not pretend you don’t know about his sad little crush on you.”
Angel turned away. “He’s over that. He’s been over that for months -- Lilah and then Fred. He’s all about women now.”
“Which would be why he spent last night taking it up the joy-tunnel from Xander Harris.”
Angel spun around. “Xander! But Wes never had feelings for Xander!”
“No, but Giles wouldn’t, and Gunn wouldn’t, and you certainly haven’t stepped up to the plate, have you? What else is a grieving masochistic Brit to do when he wants someone to punish him good and hard and…”
“Lorne, stop talking if you want to live!”
Angel gritted his teeth. “Yes.”
“Because, deep down, you know that Wesley belongs to you. That he’s always belonged to you. And you’re not claiming him.”
“I’m trying to be a better man than I used to be!”
“But, the trouble is, Angel, that he knows it too -- that he belongs to you, and it’s like this jarring wrong note in his head all the time because you won’t claim what’s yours. You know you really ought to think about -- ” As Angel left the room, Lorne finished with a quiet smile: “…claiming what’s yours.”
In his office, with the silence, where perhaps Fred’s perfume still lingered but he didn’t have the super-senses to know it, Wesley looked at his office chair and realized that it looked uncomfortably hard. The couch definitely seemed more appealing. He sat down…carefully. Had he been out of his mind? That actually seemed like a very real possibility. It was embarrassing to realize that now not only Lorne but also Xander knew about his masochistic leanings. It was gratifying to realize that he had saved someone’s life. Perhaps he could still be of some use in the world, after all. Even if only as someone who got --
Angel. One day -- he considered it clinically -- his heart might stop aching like that at the sight of the man. Apparently, he had not reached that day yet. He wished he’d sat down at the desk so he could look through some papers with an air of being busy about something. “Angel…?”
“Are you okay?”
“Ah. You spoke to Lorne.”
“I saw you limping!”
Wesley did not meet his eye but he kept his tone conversational, “Well, there was somewhat more of Xander Harris to contend with than I had expected.”
Angel grabbed him by the shirt, raised him up -- unexpectedly gently -- cradled his head in his hand and kissed him, very carefully, on the mouth. “I’m sorry about Fred. I loved her, too. But you don’t get to go off the rails like…that with anyone but me. Understood?”
Wesley knew he should have been objecting, vociferously, but Angel was kissing him again, and it was soft and tender, and not at all what he had expected. Like Angel didn’t want to bruise him. Like Angel…loved him. “Meaning…?” he whispered.
“Meaning, in a week’s time, you and I need to have a serious conversation. In a bedroom. Without clothing.”
It took him a moment to recognize that feeling -- it was so long since he’d experienced it. That strange uplift, that lightening somewhere in his chest, as if Fred’s death had happened longer again than he realized, and there might be a life still ahead of him. “Do you mean…?”
“I mean you’re mine,“ Angel said forcefully. He took Wesley by the shoulders and gazed intently into his eyes. “You always have been. And I’ve had enough of you…slutting around with every other Tom, Dick, and Harriet in the city.”
“But I haven’t --”
“And in what universe do you expect an alpha male vampire to be reasonable about sharing his toys, Wesley?”
He gave that some thought and then nodded. “Not this one.”
“Good answer. So…?”
Wesley looked into Angel’s eyes and his knees may well have weakened. “I’m yours.”
Angel kissed him again, mouthing at him with a small, frustrated moan. “This is going to be a very long week,” he said.
“I’ve had to wait five years, Angel,” Wesley pointed out. “Five days doesn’t make that much difference to me.”
And when Angel kissed him again, like he meant it, like he’d never meant it before as much as this, five days felt like nothing at all.