Summary: Moments of intense realization.
Wesley can’t escape his father.
He realizes this, quite often, and then promptly forgets that it’s so. Like every forgetful student of history, he is doomed to repeat this revelation until it sticks–and so far, it’s shown no signs of sticking. This may be because every time his father looms large in his memory, Wesley has taken to heavy amounts of alcohol, research, or obsessive attentions to a lover to forget.
To forget that he’ll never escape. Not until he confronts and destroys the monster in the closet–but Wesley’s a coward. He can’t imagine surviving the confrontation and so he avoids it completely.
This time, he’s using Fred to forget.
Fred is unaware of the obvious; Fred is lovely and young and sympathetic. By the time he’s through with her, she will probably loathe him the way Cordelia secretly loathes him.
He doesn’t do this consciously. He’s not aware how seductive he can be, a puddle of wasted potential looking to be something more. Even Angel couldn’t resist that seduction.
“Your parents were lovely,” he says to her as they sit alone in the hotel, waiting for everyone else to come back from some mission or other. “I really liked them.”
She smiles at him, a shy grin that screams something he can’t hear.
“They liked you, too,” she replies, playing with a new gadget. “Do you think Angel will be back soon?”
“Maybe,” he says whimsically. “Then again, maybe not.”
She suddenly thinks she’s offended him. Maybe it’s the sad look on his face–and she realizes that Wesley is actually pretty cute. He’s not Angel, but he’s nice and cute and listens when she talks.
“Not that I don’t like hanging around with you,” she says. “I just got so used to asking about Angel that it’s a bad habit now. And besides, I’m kinda hungry for ice cream and he always offers to take me. For ice cream.”
“It’s all right,” he says generously. “Though if you want ice cream, I’m certainly not averse to going for some.”
Wesley, at heart, is an opportunist.
Ice cream becomes a tradition. Fred sometimes waits for Angel at first, but Angel’s not nearly as interested in ice cream now that Fred’s gotten sane. Angel’s interested in the way Cordelia’s skirts have shrunk to roughly the size of beer cozies. Gunn sulks for a while, but something about the way Fred’s started beaming and humming happily seems to be enough for him. Either that or he really doesn’t want to lose his job.
One day, Fred walks into Wesley’s office wearing a cute flowered dress and a grin bright enough to light a block of downtown Los Angeles.
“Wesley,” she says nervously. “Do you think instead of ice cream, we could go out for dinner tonight?”
“Dinner,” she says firmly. “I could go for–”
Fred hasn’t had the same lust for tacos since her parents visited, he realizes. He also realizes that he’s going to kiss her after dinner, a slow, sweet kiss that’s only a shade more than friendly. And she will kiss him back.
They go out for dinner and drink a lot of green tea. The sushi is good.
They do not go out for ice cream afterward.
Wesley kisses Fred good night in the hotel courtyard and she wraps her arms around him and kisses back. Time seems to stand still and they kiss for a very long time.
“See you tomorrow,” she whispers as a good bye and runs into the hotel as gracefully as a bird in flight.
Inside the hotel, Fred touches her kissed lips and smiles, knowing that in another week–or two–or three–it will be more than kissing. Angel will be surprised and jealous enough that he’ll forget to notice that Cordelia’s not wearing much more than underwear to work anymore. She also thinks that Wesley’s a damn good kisser. So much for listening to Cordelia.
Soon, everyone realizes that Wesley and Fred are doing more than going out for ice cream around lunchtime. Gunn teases Wes mercilessly about the way he sits around with a goofy grin on his face. Cordelia starts wearing longer skirts and tripping over Fred’s latest inventions. Angel stolidly ignores all the evidence that his two most devoted servants are spending a lot of time grinning at each other suggestively. But that is very much like Angel.
One afternoon, while Wesley is reading some ancient manuscript or other about demons, he looks over at Fred. Fred looks up from fine-tuning a catapult or maybe a travelling battle-axe and sees him. She waves, suddenly shy. He waves back. They go back to what they’re doing.
Wesley suddenly knows he’s going to ask Fred to stay the night with him tonight.
Fred knows it, too. She also knows she’s going to say yes.
The whole evening is charged with energy. Before, neither of them thought of the dinners out, the movies, the walks on Third Street Promenade as dates. Now, they’re painfully aware of the obvious truth. Everything is awkward, but not an uncomfortable kind of awkward. There’s a strange sort of expectation between them that feels like electrical sparks every time they touch.
The moment comes while they’re browsing in the Tower Records on Santa Monica Boulevard after dinner. She’s talking about how she can’t believe how all these bands she’s never heard of are super-famous now.
“I don’t know what to do,” Fred says, looking at three or four CDs fanned out under her hands. “Which one should I get?”
When she looks over at him to see what he thinks, she realizes that all of the music she’s chosen is mood music. Fred realizes that she’s played the game to perfection, and now all he has to do is point to a CD, ask if she wants to go home, and they will make love. With a strange little thump in her chest, she knows she wants that, not to make Angel jealous, but because she wants Wesley. She may even be in love with Wesley.
Wesley picks a CD. The look in Fred’s eyes either breaks his heart or makes it do somersaults. He’s not sure.
“I like this one,” he says, handing her the slim square. “Fred?”
“Come home with me.”
He takes her back to his apartment. They’re kissing before he opens the door. Fred’s taking off Wesley’s shirt before he can get the CD into the player. By the time they reach his couch, they’re both almost naked.
“Make love to me,” she says.
When he enters her, Wesley realizes he loves Fred. And that he will break her heart.
Is this a love story?