Divine Intervention

He finds it odd, ironically amusing, that a man in his position, of his training, is not religious. But Wesley is not a religious man, for all that he invokes the trappings of the religion he's been taught, for all that he still prays sometimes. He does not believe there is anyone up there, above the Powers That Be, above the creatures that claim to have a connections to divinity. He's not sure what he does believe, what might be up there, what might not be.

But he's sure that if there is something up there, he cannot see him, cannot hear him, and could not be bothered to actually interfere in his life no matter how many good deeds he does or lives he saves. No one is handing out rewards for what he does, and the only thanks he gets most times are those he gives himself. Those are enough, because despite not having an omnipotent God to attribute it to, Wesley does have a code of morality, bolstered by the simple premise of 'thou shalt not inflict pain and suffering upon the innocents'. Everything falls from there, and good and bad are judged by tears and blood and dying, rather than an ancient book translated over so many times that it's impossible for someone who does not read dead languages to truly understand.

None of this can wholly prevent him from praying. At times he finds himself pushed so far that he whispers entreaties, begging for something he knows in his heart he shall never receive. But he prays, all the same, when the night is cold and long and there seems to be no end to the pain. He does not pray becuase he expects an answer, but because there is nothing else he can do.

Wesley lies in his bed, now, listening to the street traffic through thin walls, listening to the tired, worn out bed springs beneath him, creaking every time he shifts. Listening to the steady drip of water from the bathroom, that makes him consider getting out of bed and tightening the faucet -- except that he doesn't really mind hearing it drip.

The fact that he can hear any of these things is a relief, for it means Angel is asleep. It's the only time he isn't shouting, or crying, or talking non-stop as he describes the images in his head and asks Wes and Gunn to take care of them, so that they'll stop.

Wesley knows he should be asleep, as well. The night is almost over and he'll soon enough have to crawl back out of bed and start again. They've had a long night of it, and he's tired and by all rights should fall fast asleep merely by closing his eyes. But he hasn't, and he's not sure he will. His eyes are closed, and he's praying.

Sometimes he prays for big things. Let this all end. Let Angel be cured. Let the evil stop. Let someone help us.

Sometimes he prays for little things. Let us get paid tomorrow. Let us buy food, and a new shirt to replace the one Angel tore off himself again, and let there be enough left over that Wesley can consider buying new glasses to replace the ones lost over six months ago. They're little things, because they can steal food, and it isn't ever cold enough for Angel to really need clothing, and Wesley can see well enough to kill the things needing killed and he can read his books if he brings the pages close enough.

Tonight, he's praying to forget. They were late, this time, and though the demons were destroyed, so was the family they'd been tormenting. Two children and the mother dead, the father and eldest child in hospital, with wounds that Wesley knows from experience will not heal. The physical ones might close, but the emotional, psychological wounds are beyond the reach of modern medicine. God might have done so, had he cared. If such a creature existed.

Wesley prays, anyhow, because it's the only recourse left to him. Images in his own mind, matching the ones Angel described, garbled and punctuated with shouts of denial, will keep him awake for years to come. But all he wants is one night to sleep, for his head aches and his no-longer-existent arm hurts and he's exhausted all the way down to his bones. All he wants is for it to be over, even for just a few hours.

He opens his eyes as Gunn comes into the room. The lights are off, and Wesley isn't sure he wants to see Gunn's face, anyhow. Neither of them says a word as Gunn drops his shirt on the floor and crawls into bed beside him. He wraps his arm around Wesley, pulling him close for a moment, before releasing him to lie on his back, to sleep.

Wesley knows Gunn isn't going to sleep any more than he will, but he's willing, tonight, to let the pretense stand. Saying anything out loud will lead to talking about, or around, what happened. What they failed to do, and Wesley knows he doesn't want to hear his lover try to make it sound as if it's all right, because in the long run they save more than they lose.

He rolls over onto his left side because it hurts anyway and there's no reason not to. After a moment, Gunn shifts as well, and curls up behind him. One arm drapes over Wesley's body, and two legs press up against his own. Still, they say nothing, and Wesley closes his eyes again. He prays for sleep so he won't have to hear his lover crying.

Three nights later, Angel starts shouting something new. Wesley and Gunn go into the room, staying a safe distance away even though Angel avoids them well enough. Gunn is holding a crossbow, just in case.

It takes a few minutes to get the information clearly, and when they have it, there is only an address. Then Angel is back into something else, something older, and there is nothing more useful to get from him tonight. Wesley locks him into his room, again, and he and Gunn pack up their weapons and head out to find the demon at 171 Oak.