D.M. Evans

Written for the Stoner Ficathon for gashes (requirements at the end of the story)

Disclaimer - I don't own any of the characters. Mr Whedon owns all. Suing me will get you a place in line behind the rest of the people I'm in debt to.

Spoilers - none, takes place just before Deep Down in S4

Rating - R for sexual situations and drug use.

Feedback - yes please,

Summary - In his quest to extract what Justine has done to Angel, Wesley hits rock bottom. Lilah tries to help.

Author's Note - As you might guess from the ficathon title, this story does have some frank drug use in it. If that bothers you, please just move on to another story and don't bother flaming me for depicting cocaine use. The resort mentioned in the story is a combination of places me and my friends have seen in our travels. And as requested this story is dark.


Wes let a long swallow of scotch burn down his throat. It was an expensive label and year, a gift from Lilah. He'd never be able to afford it. He had wanted to decline the gift but he no longer had any pride left. His large apartment's rent, the soundproofing for the closet he kept Justine in, the other little gifts like the scotch all came from Lilah's largesse, his thirty pieces of silver for betraying his friends.

By right, those silver coins should be coming from Justine and Holtz but one was a prisoner and the other lost after returning with Angel's son from a place so vicious, so terrible there were no portals to it. Wes knew that for certain. He had looked long and hard for one just to make it right but he wasn't the one to save Angel's son. The boy had saved himself.

Lilah stepped in, filling the void left in his life after his friends deserted him. She dangled Wolfram and Hart in front of him like pristine water to a man dying of thirst. He lost count of how many times he nearly reached for that goblet. The only thing that kept him from drinking was the faint hope he could be redeemed, bargain his way back into everyone's good graces. That way he wouldn't need to combat the temptation Wolfram and Hart represented. He could dodge the sword of Damocles that went by the name of Lilah Morgan. He just needed out before he was forced to admit he had more feelings for her than any woman before her.

There was no doubting he had feelings for Fred but it was one-sided. He knew that now but it still hurt. Had it left him open to the warped thing he had with Lilah? He thought Lilah felt something for him. He could see it in her eyes whenever he was being particularly cruel. They both played it like their relationship meant little more than hot sex, a thing of convenience that had no future, no real meaning. He suspected they both knew it was dangerously close to being a lie. He didn't know what to do about Lilah. This was the one place he felt wanted. He couldn't escape the perversity of that.

All he needed was a break. If he could only find Angel or Cordelia, he could get out of the mire he was in. The problem was he was feeling a little like Brer Rabbit working with Lilah, one foot in the tar and in danger of shoving the other one in to extricate himself.

Wes polished off his scotch. It really was too early to be drinking but he always needed a little something to steady himself whenever he stepped inside Justine's closet. Lilah was long gone, having early meetings at work or some such. He tried his best not to listen. If he actually paid attention, he'd care about her that much more and he'd be waist deep in the tar. He half wished she was still here. They could have spent a leisurely morning in bed and he wouldn't have to worry about anything. He could just simply exist.

Instead, he entered the closet prepared for another ham-handed interrogation. In truth, he was getting better but only because he had gone into both Wolfram and Hart's archives and the Watchers Special Ops files and read up on techniques. It stung to realize the Watchers had so undervalued him that they hadn't even changed his password once he had been fired. They had just turned a blind eye to him as if he had never existed, so insignificant they couldn't imagine him breaking into their files. Their mistake, his gain.

He had been feeding Justine a very restrictive vegetarian diet without much in the way of any form of protein or vitamin supplements that proper vegetarianism demanded. It was known to alter the brain's biochemistry, making people more susceptible. So far, while Justine looked bone-weary, she still had a defiant gleam in her eyes. The room reeked from the slops bucket he had failed to empty for three days as a punishment for her whipping feces at him like a monkey in a zoo earlier in the week.

Justine rattled the shackle holding her to the bar transceting her little cage. Her chains kept her from trying a real escape but let her get to the slops bucket and lie down comfortably enough. "When are you going to just give up? I'm not telling you a damn thing."

Wesley said nothing. He captured her free wrist and slapped a handcuff on it then freed her bar-latched hand, clinking her into another cuff.

"Ooo, I'm scared," she mocked him as he maintained his silence, pulling a blind fold over her eyes. He felt her body tense, her throat audibly constricting. She was nervous now. Wes dragged her to her feet. Justine went limp and he had to drag her down the hall to the bathroom.

"Get in the tub," he instructed.

"What is this shit? Some kind of kinky game?" she grated out.

Wes wrinkled his nose. He hadn't realized how badly a person could stink when they weren't washed regularly. Justine's odor was enough to make anyone's eyes water. "As much as you could stand a bath, that's not what this is about. The tub is right in front of you. Get in."

The blindfolded woman did so reluctantly with his help.

"Now sit."

When she was slow to respond, Wes sat her down then lashed her feet together with a belt.

"What are you doing?" She twisted under his hands.

"Lie back."

"Have you gone insane?"

Not answering her, Wes forced her to lie down and as he struggled to hold her flopping, bound body down, he reached for the pre-cut piece of Lucite he had ready. He fitted it over the tub, lashing it in place with broad straps, thankful for a clawfooted tub. He turned on the water which flowed into the hole that had been cut into the foot of the Lucite lid. Feeling the water hitting her, Justine started screaming, thinking he was about to drown her, he didn't doubt. He pushed a small tube into the smaller hole near her face.

"Quit screaming, Justine and take the tube. It'll be the only way you're going to be able to breath."

He guided the tube to her lips and she took it greedily. Wes let the tub fill until the water was over her face, hearing her sucking harder in a near panic as the water touched her chin. Wes sat and listened to her breath rasping in and out of the tube. Satisfied she was okay, he turned on the tape deck he had in the room. His voice echoed out of the machine, alternately cajoling and demanding she give up what she had done to Angel.

Wesley went out of the bathroom and made a call on his cellular. "Hello, have time to talk?"

He listened to Lilah's voice telling him about something that motivated her latest fantasy about killing Gavin. Given what he knew of the man, Wesley didn't blame her. He paid more attention to this than he had to whatever she had been saying as they lay in bed together. This was far more amusing for one, a good insight into the vindictiveness Lilah was capable of. He hadn't really had anything he wanted to talk about when he called. He just wanted to hear her voice.

He wondered if the clues that had led him to Justine originally came from Lilah. He suspected that they had since it began with a typed anonymous letter. It meant Lilah knew more than she was telling him. Wes had stopped speculating on whether he should have Lilah sealed into the tub trying to wear her down so he could find his missing one-time friend. He had come to the conclusion Wolfram and Hart did have ideas as to where Angel and Cordelia were but not exactly or else they would have at least retrieved Angel.

The vampire was important for their end of days. It was harder to determine what the firm felt about Cordelia. They had tried to kill her once and carve out her seer's eyes at an earlier time. They might still be interested in her. What he didn't understand was why Wolfram and Hart weren't putting out more effort to locate Angel. Maybe they didn't need Angel yet. Maybe Angel wasn't as important as they had been led to believe or maybe the firm was letting Wes, Gunn, Connor and Fred wear themselves out trying to locate the vampire and were waiting to step in at the end, taking away their prize.

Wes only wished he knew what Fred and Gunn had uncovered but that door was more than just closed; it was triple locked and barred. If he was to find Angel, he couldn't rely on anyone but himself. While he was thinking hard on all of the ramifications, Lilah talked herself out and had to go to her next meeting. Wes was not unaware that she never gave him any crucial details about anything happening at Wolfram and Hart and this conversation was no different. He knew she was trying to manipulate him to her own ends and he was doing his best to not fall under her spell completely.

Wesley went back into the bathroom. He shut off the tape, undid the straps and plucked the tube out of Justine's mouth. She thrashed under the Lucite in a sudden panic, her air supply gone. Wes lifted the lid off the tub and hauled Justine up into a sitting position. As she sputtered and coughed, he pulled off the blindfold.

"Tell me where he is, Justine."

She took a few labored breaths then said, "Go to hell."

He slapped her face. Justine's eyes shot open in shock. "Want me to put you back under the water?"

Her jaw started chattering as her body was wracked by shudders. "Angel's son helped." Her eyes widened in horror realizing what she had just given up.

Wes knew he should press for more, take his chance now to get it all, but he felt gutted. It hadn't occurred to him that Connor was involved. What had he wrought? His misguided attempt to save the boy just got worse and worse. "Why?" The question slipped out more for himself than to Justine. Why had he not trusted his friends?

However, Justine chose to answer that why. "He thought Angelus killed Daniel. It's what Daniel wanted and I helped him die," Justine wailed.

Holtz was dead? He hadn't expected that. What had the boy done, thinking Angel had killed the only father Connor had ever known? Wes shuddered. "Is Angel dust?"

Justine shook her head and he believed her. He undid her feet and dragged her back to the closet, locking her back up still sopping wet.

Wes went into his study and found a picture that he kept to torment himself. It had been taken by Gunn of Fred, Cordelia, and himself. Angel was his camera shy self. Still, it put him in mind of all his friends and how he failed them. Whatever happened to Angel, his son had a hand in it. Wesley had set it all in motion and he didn't know how to take it back.

Wesley had spied on Connor a few times. It was a difficult challenge and ultimately proved fruitless other than to make him aware of how deadly the boy was if you happened to be a demon. He wondered if the boy's caretakers had a clue how often Connor snuck away to hunt. Of course, he didn't know if there was any truth to what Justine had just told him. She was exceedingly tough and what he had just done to her, gleaned as it was from the Watchers and from the army before them, might not have been enough. She might be trying to throw him off track. The phone rang, startling him out of his miserable reveries. "Hello?"

"Wes, I need you to do me a favor," Lilah said.


"I need you to go to Dreams Three, it's a new age shop."

"Oh?" It was hardly the most unusual thing Lilah had ever asked him to do but he wasn't expecting it.

"Yili, the owner, is a seer for Wolfram and Hart, an Amfulge demon. I need you to find out why your so-called friends are heading to her shop. We're assuming it has to do with Angel."

"Lilah, don't Amfulge demons eat human brains?" Wes didn't like this. It was the reason that he didn't just get into with Wolfram and Hart. He couldn't justify tolerating such creatures.

"Yes, but only once a week," she replied cavalierly.

And there it was, the justification. "I'll see what I can find out." And there went the last of his morality.

"Thank you, Wesley."

He didn't feel like being thanked. Wesley took some weapons, thinking he might need them for protection. Part of him wanted to use them to dispatch the demon once Gunn and Fred were done with it. He didn't know if he'd dared but he was going prepared.

Wesley double checked his text books as he drove for the shop, perusing them at red lights to be sure he wasn't forgetting anything important. Amfulge demons looked fairly human, unless one took a look at the tongue, which could be narrowed into a long tube capable of drilling straight through the skulls to suck the brains. It was all the more loathsome for its human appearance.

It was just about closing time and the shop was empty. It would be hard to hide when Gunn and Fred arrived. Wes froze, hearing something like a scuffle in the back room. He inched over to the room cautiously. He peered around the door jamb just in time to see Connor killing the demon, its tongue so close to the boy that it cut a furrow in his forehead. Hearing the front door bells tinkling, Wes ducked behind a kiosk. He'd need to sneak out, especially since he realized it was Gunn and Fred who had come in.

"Are you sure about this, Gunn?" Fred's Texas accent plucked at Wes' heart. He still cared about her.

"Mario insisted Yili would be able to tell us what happened to Angel," Gunn replied.

"Too bad Connor couldn't come with us. He's so worried about finding Angel," Fred said and Wes had to wonder at that. Was Connor as good an actor as Angelus was supposed to have been? He seemed to have Gunn and Fred fooled.

"He was giving nothing but 'tude, Fred. I ain't putting up with it any more. He's grounded," Gunn snapped.

Wesley managed to sneak out the door, his heart sinking somewhere south of his knees. The demon would have been able to find Angel and Connor had seen to it that it would never get the chance. He had acted out so much Gunn grounded him so he could have the opportunity to beat them to the source. He was actively preventing his caretakers from finding any clues. Justine had been telling the truth. Connor had something to do with his father's disappearance.

He caught sight of Connor loping off. The boy took a mighty jump and caught hold of a fire escape two stories up then swarmed up to the top of the building. This was all Wes' fault. He had created this nightmare. The son had done something to the father and was willing to kill demons to protect his secret. Would he kill humans, too? Somehow Wes didn't think so. Holtz might have taught him better than that. He had seen Connor in those rare times he managed to spy on him helping strangers out of the hands of vampires and other sundry demons. He probably wouldn't hurt a human.

It was cold comfort. Wesley had no idea how he could salvage anything. It was all pointless. That in mind, he dragged off toward home.