Title: Four Times Angel Almost Kissed Wesley and One Time He Did
It’s the summer after the explosion and Wes might as well be living at Cordelia’s too, he’s there so much anyway. Popping in just in time for the breakfast Angel dutifully cooks every morning, doing the day’s work, showering after a nasty demon kill, relaxing after another Angel-cooked meal in the evening, or reading across from Angel whilst Cordy watches television.
So, even though she has gone away for a little while, Wes is still here. This time, there is no TV and only one person’s breathing. Without the flickering lights and the laughter of the annoying sitcoms Cordelia watches he should become lost in his book. Wesley certainly has. But, instead he becomes lost in the in-and-out of the breathing. In thinking about how much his friend has changed in the short time they’ve worked together. The darker part of him wondering just how much Wesley would still be willing to do for him.
Oh, he doesn’t doubt that he can trust him absolutely. What he means is: he’s pretty sure that, a few months ago, if he’d tried to take things beyond a close working relationship the man would have been slightly terrified, but oh-so-consenting. And now, he thinks the fear would be gone, but what he really wants to know is if the willingness would still be there.
Brighter light then he’s been able to see in over a year soaks his skin. He’s dancing around in his seat, desperately yelling for a blanket; trying to ignore the tingling and the searing burning that- isn’t happening… He’s not on fire. Okay, then.
Oh. Alternate dimension, different rules, two suns, both of which he is free to enjoy. And it must be true about the sunlight affecting your mood because he’s grinning like an idiot, feeling downright… giddy.
Wesley’s whole face is lit up and he’s staring at Angel with a look that’s pure joy and fun at the situation, and enthusiasm that, while actually slightly moving to Angel, also makes him suspect Wes would like to be intensely journaling and reading right now. Sure enough, “fascinating!” is one of the exclamations out of his mouth. And what’s with the touching? They’re slapping at each other’s hands and pinching at cheeks and ears like a couple of flirty junior high kids.
He passes Connor over to Wes and is struck by how comfortable it feels. Somehow having a baby around seems to make all of them official family, if there was ever any doubt. Connor will surely say “Aunt” and “Uncle” with as much surety as he’ll say “Dad” in the years to come. Though he has to admit, he’d been allowing himself to get used to seeing Cordy in more of a Parent-role than that of an aunt. But, now she’s off with Groo, and Gunn and Fred only have eyes for one another. He’s still not a single Dad though, even for the brief time that the group’s attention is focused elsewhere; he’s got Wes. Who, ever since Cordelia left, has stepped up in her place. Angel will come into the room and find Wes bent over the cradle, just staring at the baby; or, still here in the middle of the night, exhausted, but offering to take Connor himself.
As Angel reaches his head down to the baby, awfully close to Wes he doesn’t fail to notice, he finds himself having a quick flash of daydream, seeing the years go by, as he’s done many times before. But, this time, something’s different. Wes isn’t one of three (Four? Will Groo become an “in-law”? Two? Does Lorne count, or is he more like a… nanny?) uncles, but a father figure. Teaching Connor reading at an impossibly young age and languages that he’ll never learn in school. Finding children-appropriate places that can be visited when it’s dark, so as not to leave out Angel. Occasionally tucking the young boy into bed, before crawling into bed with Angel. Although that last part startles him, when he tilts his head up toward Wes he wonders if he could make it come true if he’d just move a few more inches.
It hadn’t taken long underwater for the hallucinations to start and not long after that for Wes to be in them. And not in the way he would have expected he’d always picture Wesley after Connor had been lost. And it was usually always Wes who got him out in his fantasies. Usually, because occasionally he dreamed that he was simply able to break out, or that Cordy developed some new power that located him, or, hell, Lorne decided he missed his old life and Connor hummed a tune as he walked in the door. But, mostly it was his old faithful servant. The blood though, that had never even hinted its way into his subconscious.
As Wesley leans over to buckle him into the car, he stops and turns to gently tighten the blanket around Angel’s shoulders, and Angel thinks that if things had turned out this way for any reason other than why they did, it might have actually been appropriate to kiss him right now. Hell, maybe it would actually be even more appropriate to do it now, anyway, because it’s certainly not like he’ll ever be able to come up with any words for their situation, and he thinks Wesley would understand what it meant.
They’ve managed to both slowly shift themselves so that they’re only a foot apart on the couch. Angel can strongly smell the scent of the wine on Wesley’s breath and a hint of parchment- always part of Wes, but he knows that this time any book-reading has been purely pleasurable, rather than tension-filled researching. The familiarity of it adds to the Jasmine-and-alcohol-induced high and makes Angel suddenly aware of the warmth radiating off his friend, of how relaxed he looks with the first few buttons of his shirt undone and the beginnings of wrinkles in it that he probably isn’t even aware of. Everything is really going to be alright this time. He can truly call Wes his friend now without feeling a pang of doubt at the statement or a longing for how things used to be.
Wes is staring at him with a bit of a fond, questioning half-smile and Angel realizes that the relaxation on his own face must be quite disconcerting. And Wes smiling and gazing at him like that adds another burst of comfort and joy to his already elevated mood, and it’s just too much now. Negative consequences are a thing of the past and all he can think is how endearing the man beside him is right now, and how he wants more of their now-pleasant relationship. So, he moves his head the short distance it takes to press his lips to Wesley’s.
The other man freezes with his lips still curved up slightly, at least for the first few seconds, before he begins to tentatively return the kiss. It’s slow, their lips lightly gliding over each others; pleasantly peaceful really, like everything else these days. Still, it only continues simply and for a moment before they both pull back slightly. However, it’s not awkward at all. In fact, when they are both struck with what just happened combined with the events of the last year through their new perspectives it seems both laughably absurd and wonderful that they can be this close.
So, while they both claim maybe they’ve had a bit too much to drink and part ways, they are grinning as they say goodnight.