by Robin the Crossover Junkie


Wesley’s head is bent over his desk, cradled in his open palms. He’s not crying, at least not yet. He’s just gotten off the phone with Father. Who wasn’t happy to talk to him, because he had, in fact, heard through the grapevine of Wesley’s most recent employment. They hadn’t talked long, and Wesley found himself, for one dark moment, wishing the…thing he’d shot, hadn’t been a robot. Then the guilt had settled in, and he’d told Father he’d had to run, and he’d call again soon. His father had reminded him to call his mother more often. He never asked Wesley to call him more often.

Angel had walked by the office and heard Wes let out a ragged sigh. He’d stepped into the office.

“You okay, Wes?”

“I’m fine, Angel, thank you,” Wesley lies, straightening up. Angel looks at him speculatively for a moment while Wesley busies his hands shuffling pages on his desk. After another moment, Angel steps to the side of the office and pulls out a crystal bottle of warm scotch, pours two glasses.

He hands one to Wes wordlessly, and Wes gives him a grateful look in return before tossing it back. Angel refills his glass, and moves over to the sofa in Wesley’s office. Wes paces the room for a moment, sipping more slowly now, and eventually sits on the other end.

“Did Spike ever tell you the incredibly disturbing story of killing his own mother?”

“I had nightmares for weeks.”

“Spike does tend to inspire a distinct air of discomfort.”

“And annoyance.”

“He’s not
my spawn. You’ve no one to blame but yourself.”

“He wasn’t all bad, the first few weeks.”

“Well, there goes my theory.”

“What theory?”

“That all children in rebellion decide they want to kill their parents.”

Angel is silent for a moment. “Well, you know, he did go through a wanting-to-kill me phase for a century or so.”

Now Wesley’s silent for a moment, too. He takes another swallow of the warm scotch and starts to tell Angel a story of when he was a child.

When Wesley was eight years old, he began to fantasize that he was adopted.

He concocted an entire story in his head. His beloved Mum and Dad had been killed in a horrible accident, leaving their cherished baby son alone in the world. Mum had been pretty, with curly dark hair, and Dad had been tall, thin, with kind eyes and a bright smile. Mum was soft, and smelled like apricots, and Dad smelled like fresh bread and warm tobacco. Dad was a novelist, Mum candied the fruits in their orchard for the neighboring villages. They lived in a cozy cottage with low ceilings and had a beloved basset hound called Harry. Mum always had tea made on time, and she and Dad would take turns feeding him apple sauce in his high chair in the yellow kitchen, chuckling to one another as he grinned through the pale mush. Mum and Dad would lean across him for a kiss, staring into one another’s eyes, grinning like fools in love, even after several years of marriage.

He didn’t dare tell his father of his fantasy. Nor his mother; she’d just tell Father in a long-suffering sigh that their son was dreaming, impractical, needed discipline of the mind.

He’d never lived in a cottage with a fruit orchard, his parents were very much alive. His mother had short, straight hair the shade of dirty hay, and his father was of average height with a spare tire around his middle. His eyes were cold, and Wesley rarely saw him smile with anything but smugness. His mother smelled like sherry some days, and other days had the bitter scent of wilted roses. Father smelled of dust. He was a watcher, while Mother didn’t work. She was allergic to dander, so they’d never had a pet, and Rosa, the Italian housekeeper, served tea at exactly four in the afternoon. His governess was an old woman with frown-lines around her mouth, and her pink lipstick would bleed into the crags around her lips as she fed him oatmeal. His parents rarely touched, and he had to assume the only time they’d touched in the fifteen years of marriage had been to conceive him.

“My dad sucked pretty bad, too,” Angel says after Wesley’s run out of words.

“So you killed him.”

“Yeah, well, I also had that whole soulless killer thing going for me.”

“Neither of my parents were particularly affectionate. I grew up always wondering if I was ever loved at all.”

Silence stretches on, and after a while Angel looks at Wesley until the younger man meets his eyes.

“You’re loved, Wesley.”

And then he leans in for a kiss.





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