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Author: Queen of Cups
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Numfar the All-Seeing and All-Dancing
Summary/Spoilers: Epiphany. Angel's on his way to Wesley's place
Distribution: Blurred Vision, Eterniata - any others please ask first
Rating: PG-13 - they may be thinking it but they're not doing it
Dedication: To Lar. This was your idea so I hope you like it. Thanks for prodding the muse.


************************************
Angel: "Well, how do I fix this. I mean, what do the Powers want me to do?"
Host: "Does it *look* like I'm hearing voices? Because I'm not. I'm not your link with the Powers, Angel. I never was. You got rid of that when you fired your crew. - Yeah, that's gonna be the hardest part of all of this, you know."
Angel: "Yeah."
Host: "And there is a chance, a *good* chance you won't be able to put this back together. It just... well, it depends, really."
Angel: "Yeah, whether they'll even talk to me."
Host: "No, actually it depends on whether they live through the night. And I got to tell you, at the moment, the odds? Not good."

**************************************

Angel is trying to start the car. He's having trouble because the demon within him is straining for freedom and at these moments it always feels as though he has eight fingers and two thumbs on each hand. Tiny fizzing white firecrackers are exploding in front of his eyes and he is a portrait of thinly veiled rage.

Finally ramming the key into the ignition, he fires the car into throaty life and guns it towards Wesley's apartment. His mind is utterly clear. He is acting on purest instinct, not even allowing himself those totally human and utterly impotent thoughts of protective retribution. "If anything happens, I'll..." Has left his vocabulary. He knows full well what he will do if anything has happened and has no need of clarification.

Logic on shutdown, so it doesn't matter that Wesley's apartment is further away than Cordy's, or that he has to drive through her neighbourhood on the way. He's driving by scent because all he can now see is anguished blue eyes behind flashing glass, filled with confusion and hurt.

//We're the only thing standing between you and real darkness....//

Trembling hand that rested on his arm as its owner stammered out a request for him to think it over.

//Please Angel - not just for us.. For yourself//

The harsh breathing and rise in temperature that accompanied the kiss that Angel dropped on to Wesley's forehead as he said goodbye.

//I know you'll be back. I trust you//

The taste of salt and desire that lingered on his lips afterwards.

Angel's coat still carried faint traces of Wesley. His cologne - something staid and British - a strand of his hair that had been stuck to the collar and was now in the pocket and the scent of loneliness. Angel breathes deeply, filling his senses. This is what he must protect.

Angel hits the brakes, making the car slide drunkenly sideways to a halt outside the memorised address. Angel has never been to Wesley's place before, so he spends precious seconds searching for the entrance. His blood is singing with the need to fight. For the real, visceral action of protection.

The fight is short, brutal and ugly. The reunion awkward. During one of the long silences, Angel tries to remember the way back to Cordy's place. He doesn't really recall any of the surrounding streets. He came here blindly, driven by.... what? Of course he cares deeply for the three people in the world whom he calls 'friend', but the rage and the instinct were from another source. The same one that now drives him to Cordelia, and will continue to drive him until he has satisfaction. His ire is righteous. He is the victim of trespass, and demands justice.

He can feel Cordelia now. Peppermint and coconut. Ripeness within youth within weariness. Her smile that has tarnished around the edges since the old days, and eyes that still covet the lines of his features when she talks to him. The voice of the child that she was

//Are you still, you know...grrr?//

mingles with that of the woman she has become. Gentle friendly kisses that twist her stomach and he can hear her needing him - wanting him. Wonders if he has the sight too because he always seems to catch her just before she knows she's falling, but then perhaps he can just hear the scream forming before it comes.

When the last fight comes, he is ready. His people are at his back and their tormentors are on their knees and all is as it should be.

Deep down, he knows what the demon tells him is true. He owns them. He owns them all, each one is as profoundly his creature as if he had made them. If they are in danger, who but he can protect them? Proprietary anger still courses through him.

God help whoever tries to take what is his.

~end


Copyright Tania 2003-2004
Violators will be forced to ride in the trunk.

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