Disclaimer: the author does not claim ownership to the characters or plot development mentioned from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Angel". These properties expressly belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Greenwolf Corporation, 20th Century Fox Television, WB Network, etc. Any other characters contained in the original story are the author's.

Author's Note: This is the unedited version of Wesley's dream from my story "Disruptor". He is relating the experience to Angel. e.c. 26 apr 00

ENCOUNTER (part two) by Evan Como

You were there in your room with your back against the armoire, studying the contents of your box. The second I saw you--even as far away as the kitchen I could feel your sorrow, Angel. Your grief. My breath caught in my throat.

You didn't look up when I knelt before you. The box. All of your attention was on the box and I looked in but couldn't see a thing. To me? It was empty. A deep, vacuous hole--pitch black and I couldn't fathom just how far it went, knowing only that it would swallow me whole if I should try to test for its limits.

An 'empty' box, Angel, was the reflection of your emotional state. I have been sad in my life, at times. I have often edged near despair. My life, though, has always had Parameters and I have not so often been without Solace as much as I have, perhaps, refused it for masochistic reasoning or because I was just being obstinate, trying to pretend as if I was able to find The Way on my own.

I had NEVER known hopelessness until that moment, though. Viewing your life through your eyes. It made me wonder what Cordelia saw when she sifted through the contents. She sees things so differently than you or I, Angel--so clearly without pretense, unlike my moralistic sight or your cryptic one. I wonder how well she got to know you, what side of you she saw. What side I'll never know...

I greeted you as cheerily as I could. You sighed before you lifted your eyes to me. They reflected what I could only feel--that emptiness. Utter isolation. I asked how I could help, but you merely shook your head before returning your gaze to the void.

With my finger, I lifted your chin and held your eyes with my own. And you seemed to search me, looking deeply inside for... What? My Solace?

At this point, Angel, the dream shifted. Imperceptibly, it moved. And when it stilled, I had offered myself to you...

My heartfelt choice. "Please, Angel," I implored, "let me donor you. It would ease your suffering, if only for a little while. Make you a bit stronger to fight the necromongracy."

"It's a dream, Wes," you reminded me. I finally recognized you were cool to my touch. You had returned to your pre-diseased normality. My disappointment must have been wildly evident because your pat on my shoulder was so compassionate.

"Consume me," I commanded. You were confused, to say the least, begging me to reconsider my offer, to take it back. I remember shaking my head 'no' for so long I made myself dizzy from the motion. I was adamant and I moved forward, to sit next to you as I drew back my collar, to expose my neck more fully.

You rested your chin on the cap of my arm and traced my skin with your fingertips. "Reconsider," you warned me, your breath nonexistent near the cradle of my neck.

Then I gasped, overwhelmed by the intimacy of your contact. How you were making me feel. I remember trying to figure out what to do with my hands and thinking 'what a silly thought to have at such a moment!' When you pulled back to look into my eyes and warn me again, I was still demanding. And scared but not scared. And, from that point, your eyes never left mine until you sat forward and leaned into me with your hands on my shoulders to place your lips just under my jaw.

I swallowed. Hard. I was nervous as hell. I remember that, too. Quite vividly. When you pulled away, I immediately reached and felt for where your lips had been, where it felt as if you had burned my flesh and I felt-- Nothing. No puncture. No wound. Not even spit. Nothing. Except rage. Pure, unadulterated rage.

I pushed you back. Then I stood over you and condemned you for treating me like a child. How could you make me feel so inferior? So insignificant? That you couldn't even take my sincere offer seriously. I was hurt. Terribly hurt. And, it was at that point I removed my watch and threw it into your box.

"Here, Angel!" I spat at you. "Another trinket if that's what it takes!"

It took a very long second for me to comprehend that I could now see all the contents quite clearly. And as you enveloped me, with your mouth imbedded voraciously into my flesh, it finally dawned on me what event I had set into motion.

The sun set. The moon rose. And then it set, as well.

I lay on your bed, perspiring. Panting heavily. Writhing, my hands grasping the wrought iron of your bed frame to control my body's contractions. Completely dressed, but so aroused my clothing bruised my skin. You sat there on the edge, watching me with remorse etched upon your face. Your beautiful face so sad. That brilliant smile was faded, a memory--like something I had dreamt one day.

"Let me," I breathed, barely uttering the words as I reached to my neck and felt the sore I had wished for. "Please," I spoke into your mind. Words without words, but I knew you heard me.

And you walked away, to let me drift back into unconsciousness.

When I awoke to you again, I was chilled. You were wiping my brow with a cloth, tending to me like a child. I wanted to raise my arms, to pull you in, but they wouldn't move to my command. You apologized for taking me too close to the threshold.

"I don't remember anything," I whispered, too hoarse. Too thirsty. "Why don't I remember?"

"I don't want you to," you replied, the timbre of your voice so forlorn your words tore at every muscle in my body. "I was weak, Wesley," you apologized again. Then all those silent words flooded my mind and I found my hand entwined with yours and spoke in silence to you.

I listened to myself breath, the sound of air as I swallowed mouthfuls of it, as if the memory of doing so would last an unending lifetime. I was scared, but not scared. I just wanted so badly. Your voice within me, surrounding me, filling me. Your one palm in mine as you reached across me with your other, to steady your approach. The tease of your skin brushing mine as you ruffled the hem of my shirt...

You kissed me and my mind exploded, Angel. I felt your thoughts as if they were my own, your body as if it was mine and when you drew your face from my neck, it was your demonic one smeared with my blood. I could feel my life oozing away. I was joined with you at that moment as your vampire self. Of your soul on edge, understanding your desire to quench a hunger that could not be satisfied.

Watching my hand reach up for you, my heart beat wildly without enough fluid to sustain its operation. I did not want you to leave me on the precipice of eternal death, but to pull me into your immortality. I wanted, Angel. WANTED.

And my senses were attuned to everything around me. OUR senses, Angel. This home. Where Cordelia and I had been. Something, somewhere-- Doyle? Something of Buffy lingering. Of Kate. Of these people who matter to your life. I was caught in-between breaths, drowning despite an overabundance of atmosphere and all I could do was focus on you.

You pulled away from me with the same terror on your face you are wearing now. Conflicted, perhaps, over what to do. Knowing to leave me as I was, I would die and your soul would take flight. To take me farther? Your soul in peril again. And I could sense your dilemma. And I could feel your soul. Such a precious possession, more borrowed than owned. Such a precarious one, barely tamping down the demon that IS you, but not YOU. If I could describe your beauty, I would be a poet. I did not see the demon at all, but you. As I see you now before me. I saw through IT and into you. And I felt YOU.

What even this touch must mean.

How you can bear NOT to feed amazes me, Angel. What a poor substitute your diet must be and how it would only accentuate your isolation. And, THAT is the cruelty in your curse. The paradox of knowing you can partake from humanity if it is freely offered without coercion but the horrid torment of carrying the memory of consuming someone who would be so kind.

The perfection, the bliss of being united with a life so intensely yet being unable to respond in like. You wouldn't allow ME to touch you. Couldn't. Not in the way I wanted to. For that would have ended life for me, made me as deceased as yourself and robbed you of the one thing that even allows you to feign humanity.

Your face began to fade from my vision. Every part of my being throbbed in desire. Every desire, Angel. Some part of my dying human self wanted its last meal, maybe even a cigarette. I swooned. I wanted you to destroy me. I wanted to participate in your misery, your willing participant. Wanted you to reciprocate what I felt, how I longed--

I blacked out and when I regained awareness, I saw Council Elder Augustine step from behind you with a stake in his hand and I cried out for your life. Crying 'no'. But the stake was not for his application. He placed it into MY weakened palm. "Your kill, Wyndham-Price," he told me. "Do what must be done."

Of course the dream had shifted, Angel. I knew this game. As weak as I appear, I am still a product of my creators. Still, obviously, a toy for their amusement. The Council, Angel. They were testing me. Somewhere between your dream state and mine they got in and made me choose.

Augustine regarded me with no less disdain than what I endured all those years under his tutelage, the anomaly of his abuse being it was still kinder than what I received from the man who spawned me. I thought, for a moment, I saw kindness in those ancient eyes of his, but it didn't matter. Your life was all that mattered. OUR life, Angel.

How could I bear to kill you again? It didn't matter in your dream state you were well--normal for your state of existence. In my dying mind I knew otherwise. And, in my dying mind your silent apology provided comfort. YOUR apology. YOUR acceptance of my taking your life and you opened your shirt and your heart to me, remaining in demonic face so I would not falsely believe you to be an ordinary man. And you lifted my feeble hand and held it in place.

"End me," you spoke so rationally. As if it were that simple.

Funny thing about raising my arm, though. You provided the impetus I needed and I plunged the stake into my own heart, Angel. At that point, Angel, I saved both of our souls. You would have never been able to make me immortal--the very nature of my injury would have never allowed it. And, I resisted the temptation to fall prey to something so ungodly--the ultimate fall from Grace.

It may have been the worst possible solution but it was MY solution, Angel. Every night. The same decision. Nothing the Council tried ever swayed my resolve. In retrospect, perhaps what I saw in Augustine's eyes was not kindness as much as it was respect. Of course, I'll never truly know. I never expect to see those eyes again.

Or know them the way I know yours.

-0-

evancomo@netscape.net