The ropes are cutting into his wrists and Wesley can’t think about anything else. Silly really. Faith’s slashing and bashing, burning and turning knives in wounds as if he’s a bottle of wine she’s trying to uncork...and he’s obsessing over the itchy scratch of rope against wrist. If he concentrates really hard – and he can do that for whole seconds at a time – he imagines he can trace each strand as it wraps around, can guess which knots she used by the way they –
Then she does something so outrageously agonising that for a blessed moment the ropes stop itching and he peers up at her dark face with something like gratitude for the deliverance, until his mind, punch-drunk and slow, manages, finally, to process the pain and he howls, still silently, because volume is one thing too many to expect at this point, and anyway the gag would muffle it, so why bother, and he won’t give her the satisfaction of hearing him scream, won’t let himself rationalise that surrender by pretending that a scream might bring help, might bring an end to this, because it won’t end, it never will, it never can, it never did.
She’s been torturing him for ever, as far back as he can remember, the pain so intense that it’s trickling back down the years, staining each memory scarlet and bright, spilling out in a flood that washes and laps at the future, endless hours to come of this, just this, nothing more.
She’s screaming at him now, straddling his legs, her hand fisted in his hair and her mouth is shaping words that he can’t hear anymore because they’re lost in the noise inside his head where the silent screams are slamming against his skull.
Then the door opens and Angel’s there. That moment hurts the worst of all, because he sees Angel’s face and sees himself reflected in it, and there’s no escaping that because he can’t look away from Angel, never could, and Angel’s talking to him and this he wants to hear, so he listens and moves, gives Angel the chance to fight, frees himself, gets a knife, goes out, out into the rain that’s falling, just like tears, oh, just like them because clichés have to be true ninety-nine times out of a hundred or they stop being...
And Faith’s crying in Angel’s arms and taking his love, his concern, taking it away from Wesley and he wonders what he has to do to get it, as being tortured obviously isn’t quite enough. Pity, that. He’s really all out of ideas now.