Disclaimer:  I don't own the character.  The song lyrics belong to U2. 

Notes:  Written as an 'unrequited love' challenge.  The quotes are from the episode 'Billy'.


By Bohemian Storm

And if you look, you look through me

He climbs the stairs to his own apartment, stripping his sweater as he goes. Her laughter is still in his ears. An early morning drink with a colleague, he tells himself. That's all that it was. An early morning drink with a colleague. He tries to ignore the fact that he has never made her laugh like that. Not in a very long while, at least. The last time he really made her laugh was years ago.

He doesn't like Knox. He can't imagine that hearing that would be very surprising to anyone but her. She'd be shocked, of course, because she doesn't get it. She wouldn't be able to understand why he doesn't like Knox. Knox is intelligent, after all. He's a big help around her department. He's really come through for her on more than one occasion.

Knox stares at her like he's in love with her and that's why Wesley hates him.

There's sadness in him. Angel's the only one who sees it, but it's there. He tries not to talk about it. He just thinks that it's so unfair to lose her twice. He's dealt with the first time. He's moved past hating Gunn and trying to hate her. He can't really hate either of them. He can hate Knox, however. He and Knox are not friends. He never took a bullet for Knox, did he? He took one for Gunn. He likes to think he'd do it again, if time was turned back and he was faced with the same situation.

He wonders, however, if he would do other things the same.

And when you talk, you talk at me

He remembers trying to hurt her, no, not hurt her, kill her. He hates himself for that. He wonders if that's why she can't be with him. Maybe that's the reason she'll never look at him. Gunn helped her. He was infected, though. Billy made him want to kill her. He remembers kissing her, his mouth on hers, roughly pushing her against the wall. She was scared; he can still feel her shoulders trembling beneath his hands if he closes his eyes and tries hard enough. He hates that he did that to her.

Fred, I tried to kill you.

He closes his eyes against the words. Closes his apartment door. He just wants to forget. There is no relationship between them for him to analyze. He loves her and she doesn't return it. She'll never return it. He wants to tell her what his heart says, but it's not him anymore. Maybe a few years ago he would have gone to her, stumbled over the words, flushed a deep red, tried to loosen the tie around his neck, but that's not who he is anymore. He's changed. Maybe she doesn't like the him that he's become.

That wasn't you.

How can you know that? Something inside me was forced to the surface. Something primal. Something-

He wants to forget she exists because knowing that she's four floors down having a drink with him is just about more than he can handle. Knowing that she's laughing, that she's so happy without him is going to kill him. He just wants to sleep. He falls into his bed and her words are in his mind.

Do you want to kill me?

Oh, God, no.

It wasn't something in you. It was something that was done to you.

He tosses in his sleep. He dreams about her. He dreams about touching her hair and touching her face. It's soft, he imagines. He feels her next to him. He smells her. It's going to kill him.

I don't know what kind of man I am anymore.

Her eyes are so sad in his dream. He wants to forget. Maybe he should go away.

Maybe he should go home. The abuse at the hands of his father can't feel much worse than the battering his heart is taking here.

Well, I do. You're a good man.

He dreams about the time she said that. She closed the door after and he cried, leaning against the door. He drew great shuddering breaths of air into his lungs and he sobbed, the tears hot on his face. He hadn't cried for years, but she was enough to do that to him.

Because he loves her.

When he wakes up there is sweat on his forehead and he's shivering. His window is open and it's mild for fall, but he's still cold. The blankets are twisted around his legs and his shirt has somehow become lodged between the night table and the box spring of the bed. He sits up and pulls out the shirt, smoothing the wrinkles before pulling it over his head. He doesn't remember taking it off, but he must have been warm.

He stands. It's very late. He's slept the whole day. His clock says three in the morning.

He pulls on a pair of sweat pants. He smiles. He knows he doesn't look much like the pulled together Wesley everyone is so used to, but they'll all be asleep. Even Angel, who seems to never sleep.

He walks down the stairs and enters the room where the party was held. There's still a bit of a mess, but the couch looks clean enough. He doesn't really know why he's awake or why he decided to leave his room, but he likes the couch and it's warmer in here. His room is too cold to sleep in. He's barefoot and doesn't know why he didn't stop to put on shoes, or at least socks.

"What are you doing up so late?"

She startles him and his head snaps up. She's dressed like him. Sweat pants and a wrinkled shirt. Her lab coat is slung over one arm and her glasses are very close to slipping right off her nose.

"Couldn't sleep," he answers.

She comes over and sits beside him on the couch. "Liar. Didn't we just decide we were gonna tell each other stuff?"

He smiles slightly. She's very warm and he can feel the short hairs on her arms brushing against his. "We did."

"Well, tell me," she says, nudging him slightly. "We're gonna be friends again, right? No secrets."

"I love you," he says without meaning to.

She stiffens beside him.

Oh, he thinks. She didn't mean that kind of friends.

He wants to laugh and he wants to cry and he wants to put his hands in her hair and kiss her, but he can't do anything but sit there and wait.

She laughs softly. "You're still lying to me," she says, but she's not convinced of that.

He shakes his head.

She stands up and stares at him for a very long moment. He's never felt so completely naked before. Not even under his father's scrutinous eye. She sees him like no one else has ever seen him.

"You can't just say things like that," she instructs him.

"You said no secrets," he says in defense.

"I . . ." she trails off and takes a step away.

He looks down. He knows what is going to come. He's always known.

"I'll see you in the morning," she says softly, then hurries away.

And when I touch you, you don't feel a thing

He sighs. He'll climb the stairs and go to bed alone. Maybe he really will go home.

He doesn't think so, though. He really does love her, after all.