I Would Give My Life for Love

He woke up, stretching his arms and legs underneath the cool sheets before his brain even was alert enough to remember why that should have surprised him. Cautiously, as if the first movement had been a fluke, Wesley slowly stretched his legs again.

Not even a twinge. Smiling, he rolled halfway over in bed, enjoying the sensation of not at all being sore. After yesterday, he'd have placed large, unaffordable bets on feeling quite unlike getting out of bed. Instead, he felt like he could get up and run across the rooftops once more.

Or not. He froze where he was, only then realising where he was -- whose bed he'd woken up in. Who had massaged his legs and back, perhaps even everything else, so that he would not wake up stiff and sore this morning.

Sore, at any rate. He scooted further back amongst the covers and stared over at Angel.

Angel was simply watching him, that half-amused, half-patient, almost grin on his face. "Morning," he said easily.

"Hello." It occurred to him he ought to be saying thank you, but he wasn't quite sure he wanted to know exactly what he was thanking Angel for. Beyond the sheer fact of rescue, of course. "Thank you," he said quietly, and saw the second of startlement in Angel's eyes before the impassive grace of amusement reigned.

"You're welcome. Didn't you think we'd be there in time?" Angel's voice held the lightness of a tease, but Wesley shook his head.

"As a matter of fact, I did not. I wasn't aware I'd even reached you long enough for you to have known it was I calling."

"I knew--" Angel stopped himself as another dark flash flickered in his eyes. Too swiftly for Wesley to remark on it. "When you said demons....' He shook his head slightly, barely a motion, but the darkness vanished and he was teasing again. "I thought we sent you to research the area. Maps, blueprints of the building. Not interrupt a Boschac feeding frenzy."

"Oh, I apologize." Wesley didn't try to hide the curve of a grin. "Believe me, I would have preferred to have found the superintendent, instead." The grin faded -- he suspected he might have seen the super. Lying amongst the-- but he wasn't going to think about that right now. "Next time I'll call ahead." His voice dipped into a whisper, and he found himself thinking of it regardless. He hadn't even been able to tell how many bodies had been down there.

"Wesley," Angel spoke, moving closer to the bed. Half-standing, looking as though he were caught between kneeling on the floor and crawling onto the bed with him.

"I'm sorry, I'll--"

"No, no, don't." He sat very carefully on the bed, as if afraid he might jostle. Wesley wanted to tell him he needn't be, that his work the night before had been superb. Even if he couldn't remember it. He'd fallen asleep in the lobby, he suspected, remembering quite clearly the ride home and staggering into the hotel on Angel's arm. Angel, who hadn't ever quite let go of him. Angel, who was now leaning close and utterly failing to hide something deep within his eyes.

Wesley looked up at him. "Thank you," he said again.

Angel blinked, confusion creasing his brow. "You said that already."

"Only for rescuing me. That was for everything else." He cast his gaze around the room, indicating the bed, the place to sleep. The massage. He wished he'd been awake for it, but knew Angel never would have dared, had he been.

"Oh. Um," Angel replied, and Wesley watched, hiding his own growing amusement at the vampire's discomfort.

"I can still smell the camphor and wintergreen," he continued easily, stretching again under the sheets. He could almost feel the tingle in his skin, in his thighs and--

And he was only wearing his underwear. He knew the stupefied expression communicated itself clearly to Angel, when Angel ducked his head guiltily and tried to explain, or apologize. "I'm sorry, you were...I just...."

"Next time, I'd like to be awake." Wesley rolled away from Angel, his tone properly casual, teasing, the grin fading only once his back was to Angel and he could not see.

"I'm sorry." The sincerity in Angel's voice told Wesley it had not worked. He paused as he'd been about to get out of bed -- shower and his clothes and going home for breakfast -- and looked back.

There should have been something to say, then, which would make it unnecessary to...say anything. Wesley couldn't think of anything.

"I just started rubbing your legs, thinking you'd be hurting this morning, and I didn't stop. I heard you says 'demons' and then the phone went dead. All I could think was that I'd l-- we'd lost you."

Wesley didn't move. After another moment, Angel did -- closer towards him on the bed.

"I realise you probably don't...." He cut himself off, and hesitated before saying what Wesley suspected was something else entirely. "Feel comfortable like this. Cordelia brought over some clean clothes. Why don't you take a shower and I'll...."

"Tell me," Wesley said quietly. He knew he'd promised to stop asking, finally realising in those adrenaline-spurred moments of clarity what he'd been asking for was something he already knew. But he knew, and know that he realised he knew, he wanted something else.

Angel blinked, trying for confusion. "Tell you what?"

He reached out and almost touched Angel's face. The spot where, when he truly smiled, touched his cheekbones. "Tell me?"

Swallowing nervously, Angel stared at him. For a moment Wesley thought he would claim he didn't understand, and walk off to start breakfast and leave Wesley alone for his shower. Start the morning with nothing more said and they could pretend little of this had happened or was worth mentioning again.

Wesley didn't even think he could explain what he was asking for. He took pity on Angel, then, and said, "Never mind. You needn't say it."

"Wesley, I can't lose you."

It was said without warning -- Angel's mouth barely seemed to move, his eyes never leaving Wesley's, never quite losing their expression of trapped, perplexed misunderstanding. Wesley started to smile, grateful for words he'd never really needed to hear.

But Angel wasn't through. In an even softer voice, as though afraid of hearing himself speaking, Angel said, "I need you watching out for me."

"You what?"

"Don't you understand?" The whisper was so soft that the movement of air through the room from an open window would have eradicated them. Wesley felt them touch his face like phantasms. "You're what I'm trying to be."