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 Title: Servitude
Author: Tania
Summary: After the fire, Angel is still afraid of getting burned.
Rating: PG
Pairing: Angel/Wesley


The blast is like a furnace against his back, and the sudden fear that he has spent the last year in L.A. only to wind up indistinguishable from a charred coat rack is not far from his mind. Angel lands on the cement, rubble falling from the sky and shattering glass and flesh in equal measure. The building is completely ablaze and he's pretty sure he heard an explosion coming from the dental offices next door. Nitrous he imagines, nitrous and plaster casts of misshapen teeth exploding into a tooth fairy's nightmare.

It's possible, he muses as he pushes himself off the vibrating ground, that he hit his head on the way down. He's wobbly on his feet, but staying outside while Wesley fries isn't an option. He's barely made it through the front door when he hears the faintest rasp of breath coming from the stairs. A quick sigh escapes Angel's lips, at least he isn't trapped in the elevator, or still in the basement, which seems to have been ground zero. The flames lick the walls and Angel has to pause for the shortest of moments, so many trinkets he had managed to drag with him for two centuries, engulfed in flames just a few feet away.

Refocusing, he grabs hold of Wesley's arms, grateful that he's unconscious and can't feel the burns covering the backs of his legs. Most of his trousers have burnt away, leaving precious little material to cover his thin, yet strong thighs.

Once Angel has hoisted him up into his arms, careful to avoid the worst of the burns, Wesley stirs just a little.

"Well this is one way to get a peek at my ass," Wesley says with a pained giggle. Angel smiles back, tender as he hurries from the building. By the time they reach the cool air outside, Wesley is gone again, shallow breath the only sign he's alive.

Sirens screech the midnight air as fire trucks and squad cars begin circling the block. Angel doesn't bother to feign surprise when Kate jumps out of a patrol car, running to Angel's side.

"He needs an ambulance," Angel yells over the din.

"There's one on the way."

As if on cue, an Ambulance pulls up beside them, two men pulling a gurney from the back and bringing it to where Angel can place Wesley down as gently as he can. "Get him to the hospital," he says, shutting the door as they pull Wesley inside.

"And where do you think you're going? You're a witness to a major crime scene," Kate says, grabbing his arm as Angel turns to go.

"Kate, do you really think they want my statement?" Angel knows his eyes are wet, and he can't seem to care. "Please, get him to the hospital. Don't let Wesley die because you're pissed at me."

The rest of the argument speaks itself, well practiced as they are, Angel is reminded of old married couples in diners who seem to play out the same fight each morning over coffee. Shrugging off her grip Angel jumps in his car and follows the ambulance.

***

It's two days, nearly thirty hours of sitting at his bedside, before Wesley opens his eyes again, and another five before Cordelia opens hers. The hospital staff seem to understand that he's not leaving no matter how many times they hold up the little cardboard sign with the visiting hours posted in small black letters.

Once he has taken Cordelia home and tucked her in safely with Dennis on guard, Angel heads back to the hospital. Wesley has become a difficult patient, unwilling to stand, seeing as how most of his burns are on his backside. He paces the halls, pausing only so often for an unlucky nurse with salve in hand. He seems nearly giddy when Angel holds up his overnight bag and hands him release papers.

***

Leaving Wesley alone in his apartment seems like a bad idea, and squatting at Cordelia's even worse, so Angel checks them into a proper hotel. There are clean sheets on the bed, and less end tables and such for Wesley to knock into as he heals. Luckily the burns were far more superficial than Angel had feared. The deep rattling cough is evidence is far more evident than the bandages beneath Wesley's clothing, and to watch him, Angel wonders if he wasn't playing up the pain a little when the better looking nurses were around. Still, better to let him recuperate for a couple days before sending him off on his own.

The days aren't bad; as long as he keeps moving, Wesley seems fine. They spend the afternoons at Cordelia's pouring over the few books they were able to retrieve from the office. The nights they spend at the hotel are much the same, comparing texts, talking about the possibility of Shanshu, and when they both get a little tired, a little more comfortable, Wesley sheds his trousers, every inch of his body blushing as he does, and Angel applies the cooling salve to his burns.

The first few time are awkward, but eventually the ice shatters to pieces.

"I can't believe you didn't think of this earlier," Wesley says, twisting his head to watch Angel rub the lotion onto his legs.

"What's that?" Angel asks, careful to work the salve into each burn.

"Blowing the building up. I mean it was a little radical, but I daresay you have far more intimate knowledge of my backside than anyone in Los Angeles."

"Los Angeles," Angel asks, eyebrows raised, "And here I was aiming for the world."

"Well, it's always a good idea to aim high." Wesley's voice is low, eyes half mast, yet not quite bedroom eyes, expecting Angel to laugh at any moment.

"I can go higher," Angel says, standing up behind Wesley and placing a hand on the small of his back.

"I think I may be high enough," Wesley mumbles, pushing the small bottle of pills resting on the night stand a little farther away.

"Right." Taking a step back, Angel is ready for bed, thinking the mini-bar raid earlier may have been a less than stellar idea. Pulling his shirt over his head and kicking out of his shoes, Angel sits on the edge of the double bed.

"I'm sorry," Wesley says, attempting a precarious walk to the side of the bed with his pants still around his ankles. "Perhaps…"

"Yes?"

"You could take me a little higher?"

"Well," Angel pauses, waiting for Wesley's shirt to join his trousers on the floor, "I could probably do that, I mean if memory serves."

"I am your faithful servant, afterall," Wesley says, straddling Angel's lap and pushing him further onto the bed. "Allow me to assist in restoring your memory."

"Thanks," Angel says with a smile as their lips meet and his head meets the pillows behind him.

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