“I was going to tell him, you know,” Wesley murmurs, his hand clasped loosely around flesh that will soon swell to fill his grip, stretch his fingers wide.
It’s more than cryptic, it’s out of nowhere, a conversational comet, and Angel frowns, though he’d been on the verge of an ecstatic gasp and it’s hard work switching expressions.
“Wes? Want to break that down into bite sized bits?” A thought occurs and he tries to sit up. “This isn’t about Holtz is it? Because, you know we’ve talked about that and I get why you did it and Wes, fuck, we’ve done that one –”
“Balthazar,” Wesley says, his hand flexing in a convulsive squeeze and then releasing the captured, rapidly hardening cock. “You remember him...it was when we first met. He wanted to know who had his amulet and I was going to give you to him, betray you.”
Angel’s mind locates the memory easily enough. “Your first encounter with a demon,” he says. “Knowing you back then, you probably had a good reason for doing that.”
“Fear of losing my kneecaps. Terrified of dying. Do they count?”
“Yeah, they do, Wes.”
Angel rolls over and Wesley’s pulled into an embrace that’s rough and comfortingly impatient. “Doesn’t matter,” he whispers against Wesley’s lips. “Want me to forgive you?”
Wesley reaches out and places something in Angel’s hand. “No. Not yet. After.”
“Do I have to?”
Wesley nods, his lips tightening in anticipation. “Please?”
“Who is it this time?”
“Giles. He stopped me. Set me an example I was too cowardly to follow.”
Angel hesitates and then sits up and peers down and the phone Wes has given him. He taps at tiny silver buttons and in the silence that’s fallen, they hear the distant voice say, ‘Hello?’
“Giles? Angel here. Don’t ask why, just tell me a number between –” Angel ignores Wesley’s attempts to mouth instructions at him, silencing him with a large hand laid lightly against his lips, and finishes, “twenty and fifty.”
He can feel the curl of Wesley’s tongue, slipping between dry lips to touch, supplicant and tentative, at his palm as Giles questions him anyway, sighs and then obliges him, a querulous ‘You’re welcome’ ending the call.
Wesley heard the answer – forty-eight - as clearly as Angel, and he only waits for Angel’s hand to be removed before he moves into position and waits for Angel to decide how his penance will be applied.
“Next time, I’ll make it sixty,” Angel threatens, moving towards a locked chest, wishing this wasn’t needed, wishing he didn’t know what would follow, wishing –
- that Wesley didn’t say that, before, during, and after.