Tears by WesLess

Disclaimer: 'Angel' and associated characters do not belong to me, and I make no profit from this.

Rating and warnings: PG-13. Some slash, cussing and non-graphic mentions of torture.

Pairings: Some Gen, mostly Angel/Wes, mentions of Wes/Fred.

Setting: 10 AU drabbles from across the series and with an 'insert your own scenario' suggestion.

Summary: Angel makes Wesley cry.

---

Angel doesn't remember much from that rooftop other than the strange, painful and oddly disorientating sensation of being hollowed out and crushed at the same time. Clearly, having your free will removed will do that to you.

He does remember the sounds of gunfire. He remembers the disgusting nauseous feeling of having all that power forced back into him when the crystal had shattered. He remembers hearing someone retch.

Clearer than anything, he remembers turning groggily in Fred's arms to where the cyborg lay, trying to call out to Wesley but being unable to do so. He could see him wavering over the body, but could not stand to join him.

Then Wesley had turned from it, swiping at his eyes angrily before the terrible calmness had descended. Angel remembers watching those eyes go dead. He's been waiting ever since for them to re-light.

The emotion is only there for the briefest of moments before he shuts himself down to it, switching them off like it's done. He won't let himself feel hurt or angry or upset. That interferes with the blame.

---

It had felt only right that he should be the one to say these words, and despite being in no fit state, he'd had to find the heart. No one else could manage it.

It was like forcing his throat to work against a choke-hold, needing to pull in air to make the sounds as his body went through the motions of speaking. He'd have been unable to breathe otherwise, so it was a good thing he didn't need to.

Wes had turned his head away and raised a hand to his face half-way through the speech, a gentle trembling and hitching of his shoulders proof enough of the reason. Angel couldn't watch after that.

The flowers he placed said simply 'thank you'. And the headstone read 'Cordelia. Our Heart'.

---

The closer he looked, the more obvious it became that Wesley was the poster-boy for post-traumatic stress disorder. The man had been having a slow nervous breakdown, in plain sight and for all this time, and he hadn't even noticed.

It's the most distressing thing he thinks he's ever seen.

It had taken Wesley actually breaking down in front of him for him to wake up from his Connor-induced cloud dream and realise that there was a problem. A huge fucking problem. Now that it had happened, he couldn't fathom how he'd missed the signs.

Shaking and hysterical and looking utterly defeated, those six terrible words seemed to lose all their power in the face of Wesley's exhaustion. They had already destroyed enough.

Angel doesn't think he even embraced Faith with the same fierce sense of desperation as is drowning him now.

---

The love in Angel's eyes is overwhelming, and Wesley almost can't bear it in its intensity. It's too much when he thinks of how long he's wanted this. How much he's needed it.

It's slow and sweet and all completely his, and he finds he can't speak, even though he wants to.

"Shh," Angel hushes him anyway. He leans forward as he moves against him, gentle. He kisses the moisture from Wesley's face with a reverence that sends a shudder through him, and he surrenders to it completely.

---

"It's not funny," Angel insisted with a pout, concentrating on the road with dogged resolution.

Wesley tried and failed to summon a straight face, despite a valiant struggle. He'd almost sobered when his treacherous mind had again presented him with the image of Angel and the amorous Graxit-beast.

The creature in his imagination once again performed the courtship ritual in full swing, cornering Angel and gleefully inflicting the mating dance upon him with passion. Angel again cowered back helplessly, cringing and trying to turn away.

Wesley snuffled as discreetly as he could manage, it becoming more difficult by the second to keep his lips pursed. He could still hear the mating call.

"It's NOT funny," Angel ground out for the second time, and the fit burst over Wesley with a vengeance.

"You should've...seen...your face..." he gasped between the laughter, tears streaming down his face.

"...Tell Cordy and you're a dead man."

---

Angel didn't think he'd ever seen Wesley snap like that before, and he had to admit that it was shit-scary.

Initially, it had been complete and dumbfound surprise that had prevented him from reacting, but that had quickly given way to heartfelt understanding. He doubted Wesley would appreciate him voicing it.

He hadn't resisted as Wesley's hands had fisted in his coat, slamming him back against the wall.

"Fred was everything," he'd snarled through stinging tears of anger, clearly unaware of the fact that they were there.

Angel had held back the 'I know'. Held back the show of strength and dominance his demon demanded he make. Held back the brutal kiss he'd suddenly wanted. Held back the comfort. He wished he would have held back the comment in the first place, as he couldn't take it back now.

---

Wesley bolted awake, heart hammering in his chest so fast that he couldn't feel his body. A suffocating sense of unreality firmly took hold and was about the only thing preventing a full-blown panic attack. It was the shock, a small part of his brain reminded him.

He became vaguely aware of Angel having arrived, some hurriedly thrown on clothes hanging from his sleep-disturbed frame. Something cool grabbed his hand and fingers turned his head by his chin.

"Breathe," Angel said, sounding concerned. That seemed ridiculous.

He couldn't seem to focus on Angel's face, despite his encouragement, and continued to gaze blankly into the distance. He was gathered to Angel's chest as a hand stroked his back, but his detached mind couldn't tell him whether or not he was soothed.

Angel's grip tightened around him suddenly, and it was with some dismay that he finally realised that Angel was wiping drying tears from his face.

---

The pain was so excruciating that his body would no longer obey his commands, and a tortured cry ripped itself from his throat without his permission. He jerked on the chains holding him upright, rigid and spasming in the throes of agony.

He came down from the spike panting and, he suspected with some horror, gibbering slightly. He blinked rapidly.

"There's a good boy," Angelus told him lovingly, running petting fingers through his hair. "I knew you'd scream for me."

The fingers gripped and held his head still. Angelus ran his tongue up the side of his face, licking the salt of sweat, tears of pain and blood.

"Faith wasn't doing it right," he whispered.

---

Angel would always get caught somewhere between an indulgent smile and a disturbed frown whenever Wesley got that look on his face. Of course, Angel would always cover it with feigned ignorance, indifference or confusion. Pretend that he hadn't noticed or that it didn't affect him. His mysterious creature-of-the-night persona was above it and found such displays faintly absurd.

Like the way Wesley would duck his head or sniffle or wipe self-consciously at 'something in his eye' if ever Angel performed the smallest act of kindness. The way he'd look up at him with those eyes that told he'd just had his confiscated Christmas presents returned to him if Angel so much as asked him to fetch a book over.

He found that he wanted to shield this delicate creature and nurture it, despite all his better judgment flashing danger signs and telling him of the trouble he was laying up for himself.

Then Wesley would smile at him, and he'd melt into a puddle of compliance. He couldn't refuse that begging look.

---

"It wasn't meant to be like this," he says, marveling at how remarkably steady his voice is.

"It's okay. It doesn't hurt."

And he can't keep back the painful tears as they roll hot and unwelcome down his cheeks, spattering the coverlet in fat drops.

Angel has been reduced to this, to a shell and a whisper, to an unnaturally frail hand in Wesley's own. The frustration and the despair and the utter unfairness of it all has built up in him, but there's not a damn thing he can do except sit here and keep Angel company as he says his final good-byes to the world. A world that has taken everything from him. A world that preferred him when he was dead.

He has a gentle smile of peace on his face as his eyes slip closed, and Wesley cannot contain the sobs.

END 2006