5.7.2013 NI is officially 2 YEARS OLD! Thanks guys for making those years amazing!
FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS
Welcome! Have you ever wondered what your favorite supernatural TV fandoms would look like if they were all literally interconnected? If Damon from Vampire Diaries heard about Sunnydale becoming a crater? What if 'fighting for vampire rights' in True Blood mattered in the world of Supernatural? Want to find out how your favorite characters will react in a world like this? Join in and don't forget to follow your instincts!
Canons: True Blood, Being Human (BBC), Vampire Diaries, Buffy & Angel, & Supernatural.
There was something that she was forgetting. She knew that much. She had had plenty of experience in this particular routine, and it usually involved her with a marker and an empty wall, or a dry erase board, or a light board, and scribbling out line after line of text, listing out everything that tumbled through her thoughts until she could look at the bigger picture to find the glaring and sometimes literal blank spot. She had the sinking sensation, at this particular moment, that there wasn’t quite enough empty walls in the world to fill in the blanks. She was clever. She was incredibly clever, she knew that, she always had, so finding herself staring blankly at the road signs of the street she was standing on, finding herself not quite able to clear the cobwebs from her thoughts enough to make the letters form coherent words was… to say the least, incredibly disconcerting. Nagging, gnawing fear ate at the pit of her stomach, turning sour in the back of her throat and drying her lips to the near point of cracking.
She did not know where she was. She did not know how she got here, wherever that was. She wasn’t even sure exactly what the last thing was that she could remember. Her memories were jumbled, shuffled inside out, like someone had tossed them into a cotton candy machine, and then tossed her head first into a teacup ride. And then booted her out mid-circuit. She knew that there were words. Words on the street signs and on the windows and on the billboards, words that made a aural cacophony around her. If she could only get any of them to stop spinning long enough to catch a hold of, she was certain she would feel quite a bit better. Someone’s elbow caught her mid ribcage, jostling her half a step sideways, ending her nearly into the street, but for a reflexive hand leaping out to snatch up the nearest life line – in this particular case, the corner sign post of this intersection. Steadying herself, she hugged the post for a moment, oblivious to the few looks that she was being given by those that paid enough attention to notice. A few deep breaths, focusing on the feel of the ground under her feet, and the cold steel under her fingers, and she felt the cobwebs begin to brush away. Sort of.
Finally, she felt that the vertigo had faded, and as she pulled herself upright from her leaning position, she opened her eyes and blinked rapidly, before looking around her once again. A few streets later, she began to realize that the sinking feeling that she had felt upon initial recognition of her surroundings was well founded. She still, had no idea where she was. That was not entirely true, she chided herself. She knew that she was in New York City. Though that made absolutely no sense at all. She should be in Los Angeles. And this… this really didn’t strike her as right. Things were… off. Different. Not in any immediately overt way. But there were enough things to make her go wide eyed to convince her that something was definitely not right. In more than one restaurant window, or bodega window, she saw advertisements for blood, or what seemed to be a facsimile thereof – geared particularly towards vampires? Signs, flyers, pasted over older flyers, competing for space, vying between pro vampire rights, and something of the sun. ‘Vampires are people too’ was painted in blood red paint over an abandoned billboard.
She tried to piece together the fragmented memories of those last…. Hours? Days? Had she triggered a portal, had she fallen into some alternate dimension and lost all recollections of it? A coma? She struck that idea from the list as soon as it flittered through her brain. She would be weak, not just disoriented, and she wasn’t even hungry, much less suffering from any form of muscle dystrophy. Somewhere along the way, she came to the realization as well that she had nothing – no purse, no backpack; a search of her pockets turned up no cell phone, or glasses, or badge or wallet. She debated the wisdom of seeking a police station, but almost immediately nixed that idea as well. She had enough experience with the backwards way that alternate dimensions or different time stream realities could work to know that the good guys weren’t always… the good guys. At another intersection, she saw the dull glint of the metal and glass rarity of the modern age – a phone booth, and she quickly ducked inside, pulling the door shut behind her. Tucking the phone to her ear, she quickly punched in the numbers for the Wolfram and Hart headquarters in Los Angeles, fortunately one of the benefits of working for a mystical corporation was the direct line that circumvented any need for cash payment – not that it mattered, for all that she got was a recorded message indicating that the number she was attempting to reach was no longer in service.
Her fingers found the keypads for the Angel Investigations number in Los Angeles next, her fingers curling tightly around the cord of the phone as she tried to focus on the sound of the phone ringing. Ringing, that was a plus. Only, it ended in a click – and with a wave of relief she heard a very familiar voice. Her own, stating that the number that she was trying to reach had been changed. She was talking to herself. She repressed a manic giggle. At least she wasn’t talking to herself out loud. She did not need to write down the number that the recorded message intoned. She had always been good with numbers. She could hardly forget a set of them once she’d heard it, or written them, or read them. It took less than a minute to disconnect and dial again, only to be once again met with a recording. An address, though, and that was something.
”Angel?” Fred spoke, into the receiver, fighting back a sudden wash of tears at the wave of emotion that seemed to spring out of nowhere as she spoke his name. ”Wesley?” Her voice cracked with the weight of those syllables, her breath heavy in her chest instantly. ”It’s… me, it’s Fred, I don’t know… what’s going on. Is anyone there?” She spoke, swallowing sharply. ”Please pick up.” She almost whispered into the phone, her forehead pressed to the glass of the phone booth, her eyes closing as she listened to the hollow silence. It was heavy, and lasted far too long, before there was a click, and a buzzing sound in her ear that indicated that she was listening to dead air now. She resisted tears, forcing breath to come steadily. She was not the scared little girl who had been trapped in a cave, hiding herself away for years, cowering from the sunlight and any signs of civilization. She was Winifred Burkle, gosh darn it.
She was better than this.
Tag; PREQUEL. | Location; Streets of New York | Word Count; 1175 | Outfit; Click!
Sometime between when the dial tone had bled into her ears, and the time that she had stepped out of the phone booth, she had managed to find something resembling calm. It wasn’t exactly calm but it was a fairly close facsimile thereof. With the address running through the foreground of her thoughts, she tugged out the plastic bound phone book that was eternally present under the bottom of the bulky phone, and flipped it over onto it s front, looking at the back. Fortunately, perhaps the first break of the day, the local district map was still attached, and running her fingertips along the streets she memorized the most direct route to the cross streets that had been mentioned on the recording. Taking another slow, deep breath, she had braced herself and stepped out into the jostling and all too chaotic stream of bodies that flowed through the streets. She was determined not to be swayed, however, and somehow managed to shoulder her way through the currents much like a fish swimming upstream when she had to in order to make it to her final destination.
By the time that she made it to the streets that she was looking for, she looked a little bedraggled and felt like she had been, actually, forcing herself through a wind tunnel. It didn’t take long to find the building she was looking for, the familiar Angel Investigations symbol painted carefully over the heavily curtained windows, and it brought a wave of nearly tangible relief. Something at least was recognizable, even if the address, the city, and the building itself was entirely foreign. They had run the gambit, from cramped office, to sprawling and perceptibly haunted hotel, to the glitter and gleam of the Wolfram and Hart offices…. And it seemed they had come full circle. She hesitated at the front door for a moment, before gathering her courage and twisting the handle, pushing the door open and stepping inside. Despite the unfamiliarity, the place was instantly recognizable. The lobby, with its welcome mat and warm colors, the knick knacks that were scattered all around the shelves and windows that might be mistaken as simply tchotchkes to the uninformed, but to the learned observer would prove to be a rather impressive display of magicked artifacts.
The door to the side would lead to Angel’s office, which was currently closed, and the armoire just to the side was the weapon stash. And despite the fact that the receptionists desk was brightly lit with a desk lamp and the glare off of the computer monitor… there was no one at it. In fact, there didn’t seem to be anyone… anywhere. ”Hello – is anyone here?” She called, her voice far more meek than she would have wished it to be given her morale boosting monologue that she’d had on an insistent loop since emerging from the phone booth. Her arms curled across her stomach, her long fingers twisting inwards against the opposing curves of her elbows as she stood looking somewhat lost in the center of the lobby, hoping for any sort of response.
Tag; Wesley. | Location; Angel Investigations, New York | Word Count; 525 | Outfit; Click!
Member No.: 92
Joined: 21-June 11
A miracle? A tragedy? Some other sick twist of fate or sick game of Wolfram and Hart? Wesley's mind was spinning between the same details, over and over, as if the more the it did, the more chances there were that everything would start making sense and that, somewhere along the way, something would happen, something... What was he expecting? "We'll be together again..." No later than the previous evening, his mind had been fixated upon these words and the cruelty of the fate that made it so that them being together again would be nothing more than a dream never to come true, whispered words haunting a ghost. That same evening, Wesley had been into a church for the first time since the most horrible day in his existence and he had questioned an angel about the cruelty of fate and of the alleged God's ways. Wesley was beginning to ask himself what were the chances that either before he arrived to the church, or sometime during the conversation with Balthazar, he slipped into some alternate reality in which one's desires could affect reality, albeit in very strange ways.
During the meeting with Balthazar, it had made no sense to Wesley why, all of the sudden, the angel was hit with an wave of energy and, consequently, his behaviour made no more sense. The ghost vividly recalled how quick his very unpleasant bosses were to decide the fact that he had enough time for himself and brought him back to the Wolfram and Hart office. The next thing he remembered, apart from the quite painful sensation of their summoning, was him being in the White Room, the disembodied voices of the Senior Partners informing him that some wiccas which they had sent on an assignment had shamefully failed an assignment which they had been given and how pleased they actually were about it, as their failure resulted in a spell that was very beneficial to them if it hit the right people. As Wesley manifested a visible lack of interest in the news, the demons gave him an assignment of his own: to go to the Angel Investigations offices and find out how many of the team members had been affected and then report back to them. To make sure that Wesley would not protest against the mission, the Senior Partners simply teleported him to the AI office, making sure that he would be unable to teleport to another location until he found the information which he had been sent to retrieve for them.
Finding himself back in the Angel Investigations office was, most certainly, very unpleasant for Wesley. The memories of the previous time when he had been there filled him with anger against the ones which he used to consider his friends. Friends... how fool he had been to delude himself with the thought that there were people that considered him a friend. His father was right: he failed – at being the son he always wanted to have, at being a Watcher, at having friends, at being happy... The list of things he had failed at was immense. No, those people he had called friends during the last years of his life had been nothing close to that. The moment when he made his first mistake, they rushed to accuse him, they refused to listen to him, they cast him aside as if he were worse than a monster. And the moment when he needed them so, when he found himself brought back into a world where he did not wish to be and by creatures which he loathed, those same friends turned their back on him because they thought that he had betrayed them to the Senior Partners. Perhaps he was betraying them without even knowing it, because he had no way of knowing the extent of the control which the Senior Partners had over him, but Wesley had expected Angel and the others to do something to free him from his contract, instead of making him feel unwelcome, feel like their enemy.
Shaking his head, as if that helped shake the thoughts away as well, Wesley took advantage of his ghastly qualities – transparency and immateriality – and quickly inspected the entire premises. No one was there and that helped his mood a little. Unfortunately, the Senior Partners did not appear ready to allow him to leave, so he was stuck there until people started arriving. Perfect. The phone rang, making Wesley frown. Something as simple as that was enough to remind him of his uselessness, as he could not even do something as simple as picking up the phone. The ghost did not have time to sink too deeply into self pity, because the voice he heard once the answering machine started recording a message from the caller was one that struck him so hard that he felt... The sensation was similar to that of running out of air, except that Wesley had no need to breathe and, consequently, he could not run out of air. Except that it was exactly the way in which he felt, even more intensely so when that voice which he adored called his name. ”Fred...”, he murmured, unheard by her, tears welling up into his eyes.
On any other given day, Wesley would have been slightly more contained, reassuring himself that it was only Illyria doing more of her experimenting and messing with his emotions but, today, he knew enough to be certain that the voice was really Fred's. The beneficial spell mentioned by the Senior Partners... Was this why they wanted him here? Was this a new stage of the torture which they made him endure on a daily basis? These were the thoughts that had his mind whirling. No matter how much he tried to answer his own questions or to piece the puzzle together, Wesley only managed to get more confused and desperate and... Dear Lord, his poor Fred, how she sounded so scared and confused... How much did she remember? What state was she in?
The sound of the front door opening snapped him out of his thoughts and, in an instant, Wesley was right in front of the door, completely invisible to the eye, anxiously waiting to see if... It was her... He felt tears trickle down his immaterial cheeks as he watched her, moving to a different corner to have a better look at her, at the love of his life that was suddenly there, in flesh and bones, while he was just... Her call tore Wesley on the inside but his emotional side was quick to overcome the rational one, that dictated that it was better if he did not show that he was present. Therefore, Wesley teleported to another room before materializing, walking into the lobby through the open door, slowly, hesitantly... ”Fred...” His voice cracked, more tears falling down his cheeks. He didn't stop to think that the sight of him wearing a costume and looking so proper would be completely foreign to the woman he loved. Conscious that he could not touch her, in spite of how desperate he was to pull her in his arms and hold her smaller body against his own, lovingly and protectively, Wesley stopped at a distance from her. ”Fred... It's you. It's really you...”
It took only a moment for Fred to register the arrival of another person, her slender frame tensing briefly in anxiety as her eyes leapt towards the movement. She did not know exactly what she was expecting, or who, but some part of her had been prepared for some looming ‘worst case scenario’. She refused to consider what that might be – with the things that she had seen, in Peylia and on the ‘really real’ world, there were too many options to count. And most certainly too many to count in the few seconds between anxiety, and open and tangible relief as her gaze settled on Wesley’s very familiar, and very comforting features. Relief flooded her features, the tension washing out of her body so abruptly that she almost buckled under the loss of it, but somehow she managed to keep herself standing. ”Wesley!” She breathed, a smile slipping easily onto her features as she took a slightly unsteady step forward, though her smile was joined with a look of vague confusion as his words met her ears.
”Of course it’s me, silly – why wouldn’t it be?” She asked reflexively, her inflection a combination of confusion and mild amusement, though the more his words rattled around in her brain, the more that she felt the inner anxiety well up through her that she had just barely managed to shake between the street corner that she’d come to her senses on, and here. Why wouldn’t it be? And why was he crying? Confusion settled into place, her brows creeping together, a furrow sneaking into place on her normally smooth forehead, her shoulders shrinking in towards each other slightly as she watched him, pieces of the last half hour or so working to cram themselves together in any semblance of order, or anything that fit together at all. If she was right, if this was some sort of alternate dimension, or time stream… there could be any number of reasons. Was she… a vampire? Or one of those three-eyed creatures? Her hand rose reflexively to press against the back of her head, fingers probing through the mess of brown curls to make sure that she hadn’t somehow missed some recessed eye socket. Well, no, of course, she wouldn’t, not if this was … not right.
”What – “ Fred swallowed sharply, another almost drifting step or two taken forward, trying to force herself to breathe, and not to hyperventilate. ”I don’t know what’s happened, Wesley – am I… am I… not right? This – it’s different, all of it, and I thought maybe it was wrong, with the… city, and, and the… posters and, and everything being all … swimmy, when I was... here but, is it me? Am I wrong?” She tried to ignore the upwards tilt of her voice. Focus on what she knew, on what was here, what was real, she rebuked herself, beginning the mental list of algorithms and number sequences that were the same solid equations no matter where or when she was. ”I don’t… know what happened. I was…” Her brow furrowed deeper still, as she tried to force her way through the fog of memories. ”We were… at Wolfram and Hart… and I don’t remember… there were projects, sure, and, I – but I don’t think there was anything with, with portals I mean, or rifts – at least, not on purpose, after last time, and Angel said that was … “ She took a ragged breath, her words having come in such a rush that they were almost tangled up in each other, and she looked up towards Wesley with something of a plaintive look. ”Bad.” She ended, hesitantly, as she tried to glean something from his posture, or expression, or words that might make this any easier.
Tag; Wesley. | Location; Angel Investigations, New York | Word Count; 600ish | Outfit; Click!
Member No.: 92
Joined: 21-June 11
”Of course it’s me, silly – why wouldn’t it be?”
Fred did not remember. There was no other conclusion which Wesley could draw out of her question and the tone in which it had been asked. Was that a good thing? Was it a bad thing? Ah, how Wesley wished that his mind would stop whirling with the shock of seeing her again, so that he would be able to think clearly and reasonably, as the situation called for. Good, it had to be good that she could not remember what had happened to her, the long hours which she spent agonizing while her life was slowly getting eaten out of her by a demon that was anxious to come to be into this world. It was hard to tell what could have happened if it would have been the first memory etched onto Fred's brain – she might have broken under its weight and be left wandering the streets of New York, searching for place to hide, for walls on which to scribble words meant to disprove the fact that she had, in fact, died and that her being here, right now, was nothing more than the result of an accidental miracle. Question remained whether the memory would return to her eventually but if it did, he would be there to soothe her – or, worse case scenario, Angel or Gunn would soothe her, seeing that he could do nothing more than watch her and talk to her with an almost whispered voice which he used when she had just returned from Pylea and he would try to convince her to open the door of her room because nothing bad would harm her any more.
The issue right now, however, was how to answer Fred's question. It was impossible to simply tell Fred the truth and it was just as impossible, for the moment, to think of a lie which would sound convincing to her. He opened his mouth to say something before she would start working herself into a state but, after a couple of instants, he closed it without muttering a word. Wesley watched with mild confusion as Fred lifted her hand and checked the back of her head. He imagined that she wanted to see if she had taken a fall and hit her head? His gaze wandered over her delicate form; he was trying to assess how much of what had happened to her had been undone. From what he could see, she appeared to be completely normal but there was no way for the ghost to perceive the small details that made a difference. In order to hear if her heart was beating, he had to get too close and that implied the risk of Fred trying to touch him and realizing that he was not really there in the way in which she thought he was. Touching her to feel whether the skin was soft or solid was also out of the question, as his hand would have passed right through her. Was the fact that Fred did not point out anything abnormal about herself a sign that the body had also been restored or was she still too confused to realize that she was not right? He could only wait a while longer and see if she said anything.
When Fred stepped forward, Wesley took those couple of steps back, to keep the same distance between the two of them and avoid contact. ”Shhh, Fred, take slow breaths...”, Wesley encouraged her. ”You should calm down. I promise nothing is wrong.” He was lying but he was doing it out of love and out of despair – it was the only thing he could offer her right now. Wesley stayed quiet while Fred spoke in her usual, endearing way. ”We... you no longer work for Wolfram and Hart”, Wesley explained, rectifying the mistake with which he started. Unfortunately, he still worked for them. ”We are in New York now. If you calm down, I shall try to explain everything.”
Fred’s gaze remained fixated on Wesley as she stumbled her way through thoughts and sentences that wound together and jumbled up and came spilling out of her mouth like some sort of cotton candy concoction, only made out of the dulling sensation of panic that welled out of her, and some sort of nightmarish cobweb or fog that hugged her thoughts, her memories, mushing them all together and creating something that was… sort of right. Almost right. Not right at all. She felt like screaming, like letting loose some animalistic shriek of fear and confusion, as if doing so would propel all of those things from the inside and put them outside… out of her, away from her, leaving her like … her, like she had been, before she was lost. Between the times that she had been lost. So many times they had saved her, so many times that Wesley had saved her, standing in the eaves in the aftermath and watching her without saying a word, with only his quiet, almost but not quite forlorn smile. Patient. He had always been so patient with her, the quiet and steadily burning light at the other end of the darkness, the light that would lead her out of hell and into heaven. Her hand rose, fingertips brushing feather light, without thought, against her lips, as she stared at him, the recollection of his lips against hers, so gentle and yet so very steady. Familiar, like they had always been there, like they had belonged.
And yet… her features crinkled slightly, confusion settling in place as her brows crept together, the corner of her lips turning downwards a bit, her hand falling back away to her side as she blinked at him, his steps away from her not having gone unnoticed. She blinked at him, or rather in the general direction of his feet, briefly, before her soft brown gaze slipped up towards his crystalline blue eyes. Blue as the sky after rain, blue as a robin egg, beautiful, and perfect. She couldn’t breathe, for a moment, her hand pressing to her chest, as her lashes slipped closed, forcing herself to take slow breaths even as he encouraged the same, her head tilting forward. What she wouldn’t have given for the comfortable round throw pillow covered settee in the Hyperion at this exact moment, or the worn to shreds but just perfectly broken in couch that she’d picked out for her apartment, covering its faded surface with brightly hued knitted afghans. She’d liked them because she could wind her fingers between them, tangling her hands up in the knots, bunching it and twisting it… and then she would let it loose, and somehow, all that chaos, all of it all tangled up and bunched up and marred looking would just sort of drift, slinking its way into the natural shape of the material. It had given her an odd sort of hope, that no matter how tangled up she got on the inside, no matter how lost she was, she would end up sorted. Smooth, and soft. Fluffy, even.
She didn’t feel fluffy at all. ”Have I --- “ She found her tongue dry, her lips stiff, not wanting to work or function, not wanting to obey her will, and she swallowed sharply, her lashes parting, her arms curling around her waist, her shoulders bunching in slightly as she forced some semblance of composure into her thoughts. Fake it til you make it. ”Have I done something… wrong, Wesley?” She questioned, her tone still more tremulous than she would like for it to have been, but finding no other way to put the fears and concerns in her head into words, though she was sure there was more, there were more questions, more words. So many words. ”I don’t… I don’t remember anything at all after … it gets fuzzy, somewhere around… “ Her frown deepened, a bit, blinking at Wesley, as her body sort of sank down of its’ own accord, with her ending up half perched on one of the chairs in the waiting area, curling in on herself a little. So many little spaces, that would do just fine, she thought, staring at the office that surrounded them. Desks, and corners, and at least two closets. ”The beach.” She whispered, her gaze flickering back and forth as she searched her memories. ”After that it’s all… bits and pieces, jumbled up like… like a puzzle without its cover.” She settled on, after a moment’s hesitation, her head upturned so that her gaze could find Wesley’s again. She fought, still, the tears that glittered at the edge of her eyes, trying to keep herself together, in one piece, to be brave. ”How long?” She questioned. ”How long have I lost?” More words, still. How, and why. They’d left Los Angeles, they’d left the offices of the law firm, and the lab. Why? ”Is everybody all right?” She questioned, suddenly alarmed and simultaneously stricken with guilt that this was the first time that she’d concerned herself with the whereabouts or safety of the rest of her little family.
Tag; Wesley. | Location; Angel Investigations, New York | Word Count; 850ish | Outfit; Click!
Member No.: 92
Joined: 21-June 11
”Have I done something… wrong, Wesley?”
Wesley was familiar with that stance: arms curled around the waist, slightly hunched shoulders. He used to watch her so much and analyze all of her reactions to the smallest of things that surrounded her that Fred's body language was no mystery to him. She felt confused, insecure and Wesley felt completely guilty for being the cause of these feelings. It was bad enough that she had to deal with finding herself in New York city, not knowing what were the circumstances that brought her here, she didn't need dealing with an apparent rejection from his side. If only he could explain her that he was stepping away because he wanted to protect her, to spare her the heartache of finding out that the man which, in her memories, was alive and happy, was actually just a pathetic, despaired echo right now. ”No, you haven't. I promise you haven't, Fred”, he replied softly. His gaze was on her and his blue eyes were teary but warm and filled with all that love which he carried for her and which had refused to die, lingering akin to his own, personal ghost.
To reassure Fred that she really had not done anything wrong, Wesley took a couple of steps closer to her – still cautious, however, to maintain what he considered to be a safe distance, that would ensure that there could be no accidental “touches” that would lead to awkward moments where she discovered that he was not really there in the way in which she thought him to be. As she sought to identify the last clear memory she had, Wesley's gaze stayed on her. Had he been able to breathe, he was certain that his breath would have caught up in his throat as he waited, fearful that she would mention something about the fateful day when she was... well... murdered. Fortunately, that was not the case. Unfortunately... at the mention of the beach, his eyes became filled with immense grief. The beach... their final attempt at a perfect first date. Even now, if he closed his eyes, he could remember every little detail about that late afternoon, the drumming of his heart while they walked together and he kept trying to find that one perfect moment in which to reach into his pocket and pull out the small square black velvet box and offer it to Fred. Each time he was close to doing it, he was held back by doubts about her reaction – he might have loved her for years but they were still trying to have a first date that would not be interrupted by a demon attack. Fate made it that their phones rang for another mission and Wesley allowed himself to be lulled into the assurance that he would have all the time in the world to surprise Fred. Her time ran out too quickly.
”I... I am glad you remember that...”, Wesley replied and it took a lot of self control for him not to cry out and let out all of his pain. He focused as best as he could on her next question, again trying to find an answer that would not scare her. ”Years”, the ghost whispered after long moments, not placing any exact numbers on it, as he loathed to think of how long had passed since he was captive in the hands of the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart. A nod was given to Fred, along with a gesture of the hands meant to assure her that she needn't worry. ”Everyone is fine. Angel is, well... the same way he's always been. Gunn is running his own crew again but he's still working with the agency. We lost touch with Lorne but there was no bad news concerning him.””Oh and I've died years ago”, he mentally added. Wesley couldn't say that out lout but, at the same time, he was not certain for how long he could keep hiding his state from her.
Despite the tension that crept through her form, the tautness pulling at her muscles and making her bones ache, she could feel the edge of weariness pull at her, the dizziness that came with being outright overwhelmed… but she fought it off, clinging to the solidness of the floor underneath her, of the chair that pressed to her legs, of the pain of the crease of leather digging into her skin under her… to the love that she could see, could feel radiating from Wesley as he spoke, as he tried to reassure her, to comfort her. How tired he must be, of picking up the broken pieces of Fred, she thought, miserably, as she tried to force logic, and numbers, equations and rationale thought to override the fear, the uncertainty. She needed facts, and figures, and pen and paper, but still she remained frozen, curled half in on herself in the chair that she had sunk down into. She watched him, as she spoke, as she tried to piece together the things that she recalled – she saw the flicker of grief, overwhelming him, the glint of tears in those beautiful blue eyes, and she felt her heart lurch in her chest.
Something had happened. She didn’t’ know what, but she suspected that that had been a turning point. She could see the grief, the guilt on his face – how well she knew those, too well, in the time that they had spent together, the years that they had spent side by side, fighting, winning, and losing. Losing time, losing friends… Years. She had forgotten years? How was that possible? A spell? It would not have been the first time that she had fallen victim to a memory charm gone awry. She did not feel like she had been enchanted, but then… she hadn’t then either. She stared down at herself, at her body that this time at least did not seem foreign, or different, but rather, just like she had last remembered. She felt no new aches, or pains, no other injuries, or scars that she had seen to suggest the missing years, as the time that they had tried to save Cordelia’s memories. That brought a pang of pain. Another friend, lost. ”What about Conner?” She questioned, suddenly, the wave of tangled memories bringing the name to her lips. ”Is he here? In New York?” She asked. She couldn’t help another frown, her head tilting towards her chest again as her gaze drew a little unfocused, as she tried to work through the jumble of memories surrounding Angel’s son, trying to work out the right order, before giving up after a moment, feeling the headache forming around the thoughts. ”And Spike?” She added, looking back towards Wesley, looking up to him as she fought for her composure.
”What’s happened, Wesley?” Fred asked, after a moment’s silence, her voice small and almost timid, a question that she hated to ask but felt compelled, driven to, knowing it had to be asked. ”Why don’t I remember?” She didn’t know if it was fair to ask, if it was fair for her to put that question in his hands. She had always counted on him. They all had. If no one else knew, if no one else could find the answer, he could… even when he didn’t want to.
Member No.: 92
Joined: 21-June 11
”What about Connor? Is he here? In New York?”
"I do believe he is. It's been a while since I heard anything about him", Wesley replied at length, his immediate focus being on Fred and her body language and delaying his mind from properly processing the implications of the question. "I am the last person Angel would talk to about his son", he added in a quieter voice. That was entirely understandable. Why would Angel talk about Connor with the one because of whom the boy had been robbed of a proper childhood, with the man that took away the one thing that most mattered to him in this world, the one thing which he would never be able to have again? Wesley imagined that that one past act of treason was the main reason why Angel was not rushing to do anything to help him get free from his contract with Wolfram and Hart. It was an easy guess that the ensouled vampire must have hated him for what he had done – after all, Wesley hated himself for it too after having smashed the Orlon Window.
With that thought, realization finally struck Wesley and he simply stared at Fred with wide eyes. ”Did... you just ask about Connor?”, he asked, wishing to make sure that he hadn't just imagined the whole thing. Anything was possible – she could have asked something else or he could have just imagined the entire conversation. ”You remember who he is?” If one of her distinct last memories was the beach on which they had their last attempt at a first date, then she could not remember Connor too – it was impossible. At that moment in time, both of them had no memory whatsoever about Angel's son. That episode in their lives had been replaced with memories carefully fabricated by the warlocks working for Wolfram and Hart and it only returned to Wesley when he proceeded to smashing the Orlon Window, in a futile and desperate attempt to undo what Illyria had done to his beloved Fred. Illyria had been there when the artifact had been destroyed, she had also become aware of the memories that had been robbed from her shell. Was it why Fred remembered Connor now? Fred's memories were akin to sparks of electricity into Illyria's system. Was the same valid for Illyria's own memories in relation to Fred? No, that could not be the explanation. If it were so, then Fred would remember seeing the world from Illyria's point of view as well. Had death and this miraculous resurrection wiped away the effects of the spell that had been done by Cyvus Vail and the other warlocks? No matter how many questions Wesley asked himself, he knew that it would be close to impossible to find any answers. Matters such as this one were not explained in books, because never before had something like this happened to anyone.
There was one thing which Wesley knew for certain: if Fred remembered everything concerning Connor then... ”You remember... what I did”, he murmured, bowing his head, ashamed and, if possible, more heartbroken than before. How come he had never given it thought until this moment? Before Illyria cruelly took her away from this world, Fred had finally opened her eyes and saw him as more than just a friend but... that was not him. That was the Wesley Wyndam-Pryce that had never stolen Connor, betraying Angel and the entire team, a version of himself that was the result of spells and fake memories that replaced events in his life that defined the man he had become before they joined Wolfram and Hart – a man which Wesley did not imagine that Fred would have wanted to spend the rest of her life with. ”I'm sorry.” The ghost of a man was not entirely certain what exactly he was apologizing for: it could be for that act of treason that happened so many years ago, or for the fact that she had wanted to start a relationship with a man which she wouldn't have loved had it not been for the fake memories. He could only hope that she would not hate him or show signs of regret for the brief time that they had spent together as lovers – it would have been too much to bear for him.
The question concerning Spike remained unanswered but not because Wesley intentionally avoided it. It was simply a matter of the Connor issue taking precedence over anything else. Fred's questions made Wesley look at her once again. His expression reflected his inner turmoil, the struggle between the wish to lie to her about what had happened and the wish to tell her the truth. As cruel as the truth was, Fred had the right to know what happened to her – at the very least some minimum details. The issue was... how could he speak about it without reliving that night in his mind all over again? How would he be able to prevent that he became more broken than he already was? Taking a deep sigh, Wesley came closer to the chair in which Fred was sitting and crouched in front of her, so that their eyes would be at the same level. ”Fred, the reason why you don't remember is...” Should he just blurt it out? He found that he couldn't. ”The day after our date on the beach, a sarcophagus was brought into your department. You were curious about it...” His voice trailed off into a sound akin to a small laugh that was completely strange and out of place considering how ominous his facial expression was. ”Strange... after all this time I still hate you a little for being so curious...” His voice trailed off again and he shook his head to himself. ”You were infected by a demon and within a matter of hours you... you died.”
An expression of empathy settled briefly onto her features, and a pang of guilt, briefly, as well, as the topic of Connor lingered in the air. She had almost hesitated to ask, aware of the painful minefield that the topic was, the animosity between Angel and Wesley that had slowly eased, especially after Connor’s return and the gradual acceptance between them – her head throbbed again, her hand rising to push against her temples, a flinch of brief pain, the hint of a migraine that threatened to creep in again, her brows furrowing a little as she blinked at him, a hint of confusion mingling with the other emotions easily read on her face at his questions that followed her own. ”I -- Yes,” She responded, hesitantly, her hand falling to her side again. It was confusing, and conflicting, if she thought about it too long, it became painful, and yet if she didn’t think about it consciously, the memories, the answers were clear, and easy – though no less conflicted, it seemed, depending on what was connected to them. ”I remember… I remember who he is, and –“ Her words trailed off, at his next pained inquiry, an almost ethereal whisper, his shame audible in his words and written on his features. ”No, no, Wesley, don’t.” She said, shaking her head.
”You couldn’t have known.” He couldn’t have known that betrayal would follow betrayal, that Holtz would have laid such an intricate plan into motion, or Sahjong before him, the prophecies woven into the fabric of the past to insure that Wesley would do exactly what he had done. ”You were only trying to protect him.” If they had known, then, what they knew now – but that was always the way of it, wasn’t it? Hindsight, being twenty-twenty. If they had known the prophecy was false, if they had known that Angel’s blood had been spiked, if they had known… the list could go on, and on. Her gaze dropped, then, her own words spoken to Wesley rising to the surface of her memory. She hadn’t known, then. Would she have said the same to him, if she had known? Would she have rebuked his secrecy, or offered a word of sympathy? ”None of us could have known.” She said, softly, her gaze flickering up towards him. How had they never had this conversation before? It didn’t fit, the jigsaw puzzle pieces jumbled and overlaid. ”But I remember…. I remember… not knowing.” She admitted, her forehead creased, still. ”It doesn’t make sense.” She admitted, after a moment’s pause.
”Then again, I’m not sure what about any of… “ A shoulder rose and fell in a hapless shrug, her hand rising to indicate herself sitting there with a somewhat pained attempt at a smile as she glanced back up towards him once more. ”…does.” She finished, meekly almost, ashamed to admit that to someone who had always been so sure of themselves, no matter the consequences. She never had that confidence, and she wished, for a moment, that she did, just for a little while, just for right now, especially as she watched the emotions tangle in his features, pain evident in his expression as he struggled with his words to her final questions, the ones that seemed to be the crux of it all. She had nothing, no point of reference, nothing at all in his words that struck any memories after his mention of the beach, everything after that fading off into a blackness that seemed impenetrable. She could not even find a feeling, an emotion, to connect them to, though her heart lurched a little at the words that he spoke, the thought that he could hate her at all a dagger in her stomach, but … she had left him.
She would hate him, too, if he had gone away, wouldn’t she? The thought of losing him was enough to cause her stomach to cramp, almost enough of a distraction to cause her to miss his last words – almost. Her eyes flared wide, as she replayed the words, his responses, her first instinct denial. There were precautions, safety measures put into motion to prevent exactly that, steps that any item went through to be sure that it posed no threat to the scientists that would delve into the depths of it, surely she wouldn’t -- the thought process trailed off, as flickers of memories, more than once that she’d sidestepped protocol, too eager to read through the text at hand, or to jump right into the experiment, and she felt a guilty flush creep over her cheeks, her gaze stinging with unspilt tears as she watched him. ”I… “ What could she say? What could make up for the pain that he’d felt, that she’d caused him? She felt the tears tremble at the edges of her lashes, one hand clenched in a fist against the pit of her stomach. ”What… kind of demon?” She asked, her voice weak, and raspy with choked back emotions, her other hand reaching out towards him, to cup his jaw in her hand, if he’d allow it, the hot splash of tears against her cheeks seeming so out of place with the icy sense of shock that crept through her as she tried desperately to process his words.
Tag; Wesley. | Location; Angel Investigations, New York | Word Count; 525 | Outfit; Click!
Member No.: 92
Joined: 21-June 11
It was difficult facing Fred again, now that they both remembered who Connor was and what had happened to him – better said, what he had done to him. In theory, they had been through this before. Only in theory. They have stood face to face after his betrayal of the team and belated return among its ranks but they had a heart to heart moment about what had happened. By the time he had returned to the team, Wesley no longer had a heart, so to say. Those long months of solitude had concealed it behind a thick block of ice. As Lilah had so unkindly – yet truly – put it: he had lost his soul. Before he could mellow a little, they joined the ranks of Wolfram and Hart and he became a different man – he was made into a different man by the intricate spells that were supposed to erase Connor out of their memories and, yet, not allow them to feel that there were blanks left by his absence from their minds. That Wesley was the one that started the brief romance with Fred, the one whose past was not weighed down by a deed so terrible as the betrayal of a best friend was. The Wesley and the Winifred that were carrying this belated conversation... were they the right ones? As far as he was concerned, Wesley felt that he was wrong, he felt unsure about whom he was and whom he was supposed to be and, in addition to his condition of ghost in the service of Wolfram and Hart, it made things very difficult for him.
Since he couldn't share any of these insecurities and this identity crisis with Fred, he watched her and listened to her words, his expression plagued with guilt and shame. How strange it felt to hear her say such words, to sound so understanding of his intentions when, at that time, she hadn't seemed to care. The memory of himself laying on that hospital bed, unable to say a word, and of her telling not to return to the Hyperion again returned to his mind and it hurt now as much as it did back then. When had she changed her mind and become sympathetic? ”All I wanted was to take him away for a while, until Angel stopped behaving the way he did, until I figured out something to avert the prophecy from coming to be...” His voice trailed off and he sighed. ”I should have known that Justine was fooling, I should have seen it coming. My intentions might have been good but I destroyed two lives.” Connor's and Angel's. His own was... collateral damage? Letting out another sigh, he looked at Fred and shook his head slightly. ”I know it is confusing to remember Connor and remember not remembering him. I wish I could tell you it will get better and start making more sense but... that didn't happen to me.” Perhaps things would be different in Fred's case, considering the fact that she didn't have guilt to weigh heavily on her shoulders. Perhaps, in time, she would adjust to both sets of memories...
… if she had that much time, Wesley reminded himself when he realized that he had started taking her return for granted when, in reality, chances were great that her presence would only be a matter of hours or days, before the spell cast by Wolfram and Hart would fade away. His unbeating heart shattered a little more every time he had to remind himself of the fact that every moment could be the last one – it was almost as if he was forced to relive the night of her death all over again. Having to tell Fred that she died in his arms... that was something which Wesley had never imagined, not even in his wildest of nightmares. How did you tell the one you love how you lost them without hurting them? It seemed completely impossible and seeing Fred's reactions to his words hurt Wesley more than she could possibly imagine. Unable to stand watching her while he continued, the ghost lowered his blue eyes, taking a deep and useless breath as he tried to gather his thoughts and answer to Fred's question. ”An Old One called Illyria...” He was trying to put his jumbled thoughts into order and figure out what other details he could give to Fred (out of the far too many he knew about the monster that had taken her away from him) when he felt something which he immediately recognized. Wesley's gaze snapped up towards Fred: she had tried to touch him. She knew.
”How could you have known?” She questioned, her words hushed, her tone reflecting some degree of her own guilt at the circumstances, at the situation that had been… glossed over, somehow – overwritten by the memories that had taken a whole chapter of their lives, of the whole world, and shuffled them away, made them simply fade away. How was such a thing possible? She knew of memory charms, of spells, like the ones that they had used to try and help Cordelia remember who she was after her return from the realm of the higher powers – but on such a wide scale? No recollection of Jasmine, the bliss that she had offered, the gaping ache that had been left when that illusion had been snatched away – and this, now, the abrasiveness of their actions, the pain of Wesley’s seeming betrayal and their own… her own actions in response. Connor’s betrayal, the loss of Angel, her anger at what Connor had done, the world devolving around them one layer at a time as one by one their family had been shunned, cut off, driven away – how did they not know, how could they not have known when they accepted Wolfram & Hart’s offer that there had been so much that was just… gone? ”Was it…. Was it Wolfram & Hart?” She questioned, after a long moment of tormented silence. ”Did they make us… forget?” She asked, her gaze slipping upwards to study his as he crouched in front of her, the pain in her chest acute, the pressure of all of the emotion that she tried to hold back unbearable.
All the time that they had shunned him, and all those times that he’d come to her rescue, in spite of it… ”I’m sorry, Wesley,” She said, finally, the words stinging in her throat. ”We didn’t …. I didn’t know. And Angel was… he was so angry, and… Connor was…. He was all of ours, and I didn’t… know. I’m so sorry.” She spoke, regret clear in her expression and in her words as she watched him, finally out of words to say, no way that she could think of to put the emotions and thoughts into anything coherent, which if truth be told, she wasn’t particularly sure any of that had been. She tried to force her thoughts into motion, into order, trying to process what it was that he had said, was saying. An infection – she knew of several species of demons that created offspring by implanting eggs into the host to harvest later or that would simply… emerge from the host when the gestation period was complete, but that did not seem to fit with the description that Wesley had given. She shook her head slightly, her brows creasing together, a new slew of questions rising to the surface but she held them back for a moment when he began to speak again – and as her hand slipped to trace his jaw, the set of questions fell away entirely, forgotten in the icy sensation of shock that cut through her in that moment.
Her hand slipped, not against, but through. The sensation was odd, but also… familiar. Too familiar. She had spent days, weeks, trying to sort out a similar problem, a similar situation. No. She shook her head, her hand falling away, a fresh set of tears spilling over her cheeks as she stared at him, the look of pain on her features all too tangible, all too real, the sensation that someone had just reached into her chest and pulled her heart out in one clean stroke – clean enough that she was still thinking, still feeling, the sensation still flowing, the pain receptors flaring hot white with it. ”No.” She whispered, she declared, shaking her head again, the straight brown strands tumbling around her shoulders with the motion. ”No, please….” She felt the wail of grief birth in her chest, strangled in her throat, as she stumbled upwards to her feet, her hand reaching out towards him as if to disprove her initial observations, the shock just as evident again when she reached the same conclusion. ”How?” She managed to breathe through the emotions, her thoughts whirling, chaotic and painful in her head. ”When?” She questioned, before shaking her head again, dismissing the questions as near irrelevant, as the next flurry of thoughts filled her mind. ”It’s – I can… I can fix this.” She declared, her gaze sliding up to meet his. ”I can – I did it once, I just need… I need to make a list.” She said, with a nod, her gaze spinning to stare around the room, looking for any sort of writing utensil, any sort of something that she could write down what she needed, her mind scrambling for the equipment, the materials, the equations.
Tag; Wesley. | Location; Angel Investigations, New York | Word Count; 800 | Outfit; Click!
Member No.: 92
Joined: 21-June 11
”How could you have known?”
The words made Wesley smile bitterly. He should have known and, at that time, they all agreed that he should have known, Fred included. They all thought that he should have seen through Justine's and Holtz's intentions, that he should have guessed that he was being played in order for Holtz to have his vengeance against Angel. They thought that he should have known better about holding information back from the team, not understanding, or choosing not to understand the fact that he did them for their own sake. The burden of knowing that, soon enough, Angel would do something to harm sweet little Connor was a very heavy one. Wesley had thought that it was selfless on his part to want to keep that burden for himself and not placing it over the shoulders of his friends as well. His friends considered that he had been selfish and thoughtless and that, together, they could have found a solution that did not involve Connor being taken away.
Why did it have to take so long before the one that mattered the most to Wesley understood that his intentions had been good and that he could have never predicted the outcome of his actions? Why did they have to both be gone – her presence depending on a spell and his own on the whim of three demons that wanted vengeance against the act of defiance that had been committed in Los Angeles? Whenever he thought that he knew how cruel fate could be, it showed him that it could become even worse. ”I should have known”, he answered, already resigned with the idea. He gave a nod to Fred's question. ”Yes, it was them. It was part of the deal that Angel struck with them: we were to work for them and, in return, they were to craft a completely new existence for Connor, from his very first day. For that to happen, they needed to erase him from our minds and replace those memories with something else. Some of the most powerful warlocks in the city got the job done”, he explained to her. It was not a simple matter of erasing some memories from their minds and leaving it at that, no. New memories had been created and weaved with those that did not involve Connor in such a perfect manner that he would have never known something was out of place had Illyria not pointed out that there were holes in Fred's memories and pieces that did not fit as they should have.
Tears filled Wesley's eyes when he heard those words which, at a time in his life, he had longed so much for. They came so late but they were still so welcome, wrapping around his cold, unbeating heart akin to a warm embrace. ”Thank you, Fred”, he murmured. He didn't know what good it did to know that he was forgiven now that Fred was gone and her presence back in this world was temporary but it brought him... an odd sense of peace, in a way, to know that the Fred that fallen in love with him was finally aware of all his flaws, of all of his darkness, and that she was not pushing him away. After having broken the Orlon Window, Wesley constantly felt guilty for the fact that she had fallen in love with a lie. Things were finally right between two spirit cursed not to find each other again once the metaphorical clock struck midnight and the spell ended. ”I'm sorry for what I did, with Connor and after...” By after, he meant his grudge against the team, the way he acted when he was asked for help. There was one thing he had no regret for and that was his not-quite-relationship with Lilah – but that was a different chapter in his life, which he refused to think of in these moments, when the woman he practically adored was in front of him.
Wesley would have done anything to shelter her and to make sure that the few time she had before the spell ended was as peaceful and happy as possible. He should have known better... Foolish Wesley... He should have known that being too close to her would hurt her, that it would make it inevitable for her not to find out the cruel truth about what had happened to him and when he felt the distinctive sensation, it felt as if a bullet pierced his heart and shattered it into a million pieces. He jumped to his feet and stepped back, to put distance between the two of them but... what was the purpose? It was too late. He had hurt Fred and the look on her face and in her eyes made him ache so much that, for a moment, he wondered if he had become tangible again. ”Fred...”, he murmured, tears spilling from his eyes. ”Calm down, please”, he whispered. How he wished to reach out and pull her in a comforting embrace but, alas, it was completely impossible and Wesley was afraid to do the smallest of gestures that hinted that he wanted to touch her, for fear that it would make her distress even worse than it was already. ”Please, calm down”, he pleased again, bringing a hand over the place where the scar of his mortal wound laid. ”A dagger... the night when we took a stand against the Senior Partners... weeks after you were gone...” Wesley explained as best as he could, the words coming out so hard, so painfully. ”Fred...”, he walked closer to her, in her line of sight. ”Please... I tried everything... Don't... Please, Fred, don't worry about it. It's too late, I'm a lost cause...”, he begged.
Fred could only nod, numbly, at the words that he spoke, at the acknowledgment of the part that Wolfram & Hart had played in the loss of memories, the rewriting of it all – shock, at the revelation that it was Angel that had commanded it though, shone clear, in those few seconds. Angel, their fearless leader, the hero, the one that she had worshipped, for months, hidden in her room, sneaking down to steal glimpses of him and the others, too afraid to delve back into the world of the living, too afraid that it would all be snatched away, that she would be snatched away… that if she let herself fall too deep, she would come out the other side, and realize that it had all been just a dream. That she was still trapped, in hell, in the dark, where she wasn’t Fred, or human, but cattle, and afraid – and he had saved her, and coaxed her through the steps to remember what it was to be … alive. To be human. He had known, he had seen, what she had suffered, what she had lost – and he had… he had taken it away, shifted it, crafted it to suit his purpose? To protect… Connor, To save Connor, but…. What of them? Of all that they had fought for, and… he had sold their lives, their truths… she could feel the ache, the knot of shock and tears that clenched tight in her chest, keeping her from breathing, from thinking.
What they had done… what they had agreed to do, who they were, what they had felt, was it real? Would it have been? She felt her world drop, again, a heavy knot in the pit of her stomach, as she turned her distraught features away from Wesley… How hard it must be for him, to carry the weight of these things, the things that he had done, and the things that they had done to him, holding those pains and grudges and trying to struggle with them, regardless. How could he face them, her?
And then, it all fell away again, crumbled, as she felt the shudder, the whisper of cool and electric tingle against her skin as she brushed where he was – where he should have been. She struggled, to breathe, to think. Was this hell? Was this … was she dead, then, still? Watching the worst of things, play out in her head, in her soul, in her own hell, one after the other? ”No,” She whispered, half hoarse, half hissed at him, as he tried to soothe her, tried to convince her that there was nothing that she could do, her head shaking rapidly from side to side as she wheeled about to stare at him. ”No! Don’t you – don’t you tell me that, don’t you say that to me,” She declared, demanded, tears trembling in her lashes and streaking, falling over her pale cheeks as she stabbed a finger through the air in his direction. ”Don’t you dare,” She mandated, her chin quivering as she tried to hold back the torrent of emotions, overwhelming, tearing her apart inside. ”I am… I can do this. I did it once, I can, I can do it again, don’t you dare give up, not now, I’m here, don’t you see that? I’m here, and I – I’m – I need you,” She finished, her voice shaking with the pain of her confession.
”The contract…. Perpetuity clause, like Lilah – there has to be a way, a loophole, and if not – I’ll find another way. I’ll make them let you go, or… or I’ll bring you back like I was going to with Spike, I have to try – there has to be a way, I’ll find one, you know I will,” She pleaded, insisted, desperate to find a way, to prove herself right, to bring him back, even now, especially now.
Tag; Wesley. | Location; Angel Investigations, New York | Word Count; 650 | Outfit; Click!
Member No.: 92
Joined: 21-June 11
Wesley was a hopeless ghost, not only because losing all hope and being despair was somehow included into the definition of being a ghost but also because of the particulars of the last months of his life and of his return into the world. For all of his hopelessness and for all the reassurances he received that there was nothing into the world which could bring a destroyed soul back, there were fleeting moments when Wesley had allowed himself to think differently. Oddly enough, all of those moments had occurred in the same location, that beach in Los Angeles which had gotten more meaningful to him than he ever thought it would when he chose it for that date with Fred. When he was there and he could almost feel the warm breeze surrounding him like an embrace, Wesley dared think that a miracle might still occur somehow, somewhere, to bring back the woman whom fate and Illyria had taken away; he dared think that he might turn around to see her standing behind him, flashing him that big, warm smile which used to make his heart skip a beat every time he saw it. Foolish Wesley never thought as far as what would happen if this wild dream would come true and now that it had, he had to face a situation he had never taken into account.
He had died a very long time ago and he had been turned into a spirit which was completely incapable of interacting with the ones around him. To the eye, Wesley was deceiving. For all intents and purposes, he could pass for a normal human being – one with an awful sense of style, given his dreadfully formal manner of dressing (typical to him in his younger years but clashing dramatically with the rough look from the late moths of his life). Why had he never imagined that a resurrected Fred would also be deceived by his looks and imagine that nothing had changed for him, that he was, for the most part, the man that held her in her arms until the moment when she gave her last breath? Why had he never imagined that her trying to touch him was something completely inevitable and that she would learn what he was, causing her a pain comparable to the one she felt when Illyria pushed her out of this world?
Watching Fred's reaction to the cruel truth concerning him was tearing Wesley down. He loathed the idea that he was the reason why she was suffering even more. To find herself in a town which she did not know, to find out that years had passed since the last memory she had of herself, that the vampire which she considered her hero had allowed her mind to be toyed with because he wanted to protect his son... now to learn that the man she loved was nothing more than a shadow tied with heavy chains between two worlds... He would have done anything to turn back the past minutes and prevent her from learning, he would have said anything to soothe her and console her but to her words and determination, Wesley was uncertain how to react without making things worse for her. ”Fred... I need you too, I... You can't even imagine how much...”, he replied, his voice trembling under the weight of his tears. ”I wish your optimism could be contagious but it's been so long and it feels like I've tried everything. Every spell and ritual in every book I could get my hands on... Please, believe me, I tried. I also hoped that the clause weren't perfect and I could find something to render it ineffective but... Nothing worked.” Wesley watched Fred with pain in his blue eyes. ”Nothing would make me happier than this changing somehow but, Fred... I don't want you to spend your time trying and then feeling everything I did whenever I failed.” The ghost stepped even closed to Fred, lifting his hand towards her cheek, in a caressing gesture that none of them could feel.