By She's a Star

Disclaimer: Angel belongs to Joss Whedon. Therefore, tragically, Wes and Fred are not mine. Though, ya know, in all truth, I wouldn't mind owning Wesley . . .

Author's Note: I was a rabid Wes/Fred shipper before I ever even saw this show. But how can that be, you ask?? (Or maybe you ask 'when is the author going to shut up so I can read the fic already?', but who's counting?) Ahhh, the beauty of BuffyWorld.Com and transcripts. And a friend who happens to be an even more rabid Wes/Fred shipper. *waves to Storm* So . . . yes. Thanks to TNT, I've actually gotten to see a bit of Wes/Fred-ness, and I'm keeping up with season 5 by reading the transcripts, so . . . yeeeah. I finally just had to do a fic. Simply couldn't resist any longer. Sure, they might be wretchedly out of character, but . . . I tried, right?

This is set after Destiny, in which it was said that Wes was taking a leave of absence, so I had him go to England to see his family for a bit. Just because . . . that's what the fic decided to have happen, and really, it's not like I have any control over the matter.

And the author is going to shut up so you can read the fic already. Promise.

(This one's for Storm, by the way. Love ya, m'dear. :-D)


            He'll only watch her for a minute, he tells himself. After all, he has work to do in his office. During his two-week absence, a rather unnerving amount of paperwork has built itself up, and he figures it would be wisest to get it out of the way as soon as possible.

            And yet he can't bring himself to pass by, so tantalizingly close, without at least getting a glimpse of her.

            The door is open, and he leans against it, slightly. She is sitting at her desk, her hair pulled back messily, glasses sliding down her nose. It looks like she's been at work for quite sometime; her features are hardened with concentration as she stares down at the book open in front of her.

            God, she's beautiful.

            He wonders sometimes if he scares her, at least a bit. It wouldn't be especially surprising, he supposes – he's been in love with her, desperately so, for over two years now, without the faintest hope that she might begin to return his feelings. To be on the receiving end of that would be certainly unsettling, and he doesn't know how he can possibly justify to anyone how right his feelings for her are. He likes to think sometimes that they are soulmates, destined, meant to be, and that's why he clings to her without the faintest reason to. It's a maudlin, ridiculous idea, yes, but he sometimes grows tired of logic.

            She sighs, apparently exasperated, and slams the book closed.

            "I'm never gonna figure this out," she informs the book cover. "I'm not as good at this as Wesley."

            He starts, surprised at hearing his name.

            She looks up. "Oh! Wesley!"

            Wonderful. "Having trouble?" he asks, hoping he sounds more nonchalant than he feels.

            She stands up and walks over to him. "Yeah, a little, but I think I'm just gonna give it a rest for awhile. It's not that important. Besides," she adds brightly, and gives him a hug, "you're back!"

            Her hair smells like flowers.

            "Yes," he says, awkwardly placing his hand on the small of her back for a moment. "My flight got in this morning."

            She smiles radiantly up at him and takes one of his hands in her own, squeezing it gently, before pulling away. "How was England? Because, you know, I hear it rains a lot there. But I guess you'd know, since you lived there, and all, and you were just there. And I'll stop now. Promise." She smiles again, apologetically this time.

            He smiles back at her. "It was all right."

            "How are your parents?" she continues, then says, a bit quieter, "How's your father?"

            It's hard to look at her, suddenly, without remembering his father's face – it wasn't his father, he knows that, but that doesn't change that it was his father's face – as he took nine bullets to the chest in quick succession. Because of her. Because he would do anything to save her.

            "The same as always," he replies in a clipped tone, and can't quite look her in the eyes when he says it.

            "Oh," she says weakly. He looks up; she's staring at him, sadly. God. He's making her miserable, and they've only been speaking for thirty seconds.

            Soulmates indeed, he thinks wryly.

            "I'm sorry," he says, and walks quickly over to her desk, picking up the book. It's one of his older volumes, providing translations for rare ancient languages. "Now, what were you working on-"

            "Thank you," she cuts in softly.

            He looks up at her questioningly, and his mind goes blank. He doesn't know what she's thinking, and doesn't have the slightest idea what to say.

            "For caring about me," she explains, off his bewildered stare. Her voice is quiet. "I don't know if anyone else cares like that . . ."

            "Nonsense," he interrupts, knowing he can't let her keep talking. Every word she says makes him fall more in love with her, and he knows somehow that if she finishes, he'll never be able to let her go. "You have Angel, Gunn, Lorne – even Spike seems to have taken a liking to you." She laughs a little, and he contemplates even voicing his next thought for a moment before it slips from his mouth without his consent. "And that Knox fellow apparently cares about you very much."

            He hates Knox, and knows that he shouldn't. It's ridiculous and immature and petty, and yet he can't help it. He's the one who has loved Fred for years, and yet a man she barely knows wins her heart instead. The irony of it all is nearly sickening.

            "I . . . I guess that's true," she says, looking uncomfortable. "But . . ."

            A maddening silence hangs in the air.

            "Yes?" he finally asks.

            "You make me feel safe," she says, and looks a little bit embarrassed. She anxiously wrings her hands and stares at the wall to the left of him. "I know you'd do anything for me, and . . ."

            He knows that he should leave, but he can't even look away.

            She shifts her gaze to the floor. "Wesley," she says, and her voice is almost a whisper, "I know that you're in love with me."

            "Er. Oh," he says. It's all he can possibly think of to say; how the hell else is he supposed to respond to that?

            Maybe he isn't supposed to.

            Timidly, she looks up at him. "I . . . you know, I wouldn't want it to be anybody else."

            And for the first time in so long, he's able to hope. He remembers things – little, silly things, other times he's felt like this. Casually leaning toward the microscope she's looking into, his arm barely brushing hers; placing a shawl gently over her shoulders as she smiles at him . . .

            "I'm glad," he says simply, and finds himself nearly grinning.

            She looks relieved as she smiles back, and then walks over to him. "Anyway, so, this book. You see, we've got these new clients who got sent this letter that's apparently threatening, only it's written in some totally indecipherable language, and I can't quite figure it out. It looks a little like this one, here . . ."

            She absently adjusts her glasses and takes the book from him. As she does, their hands brush.

            Just barely.