For The Mind Is Hollow and I Have Touched This Guy

Long, wet fingers inched down his body. Head thrown back and shoulders, head, feet braced against the tile, Wesley stood in the spray of the shower and just let Charles touch him. Here, there, everywhere the water hit. As though tracing the path of the water down Wesley's body, an impossible but worthy task in the shower, hot water turned up as strong as the ancient plumbing could handle.

Wesley tried to gasp for air, trying to remember that breathing water wasn't conducive to breathing, conducive to standing here where his lover had surprised him, and letting him have his wicked way -- if he choked, Charles might stop doing what he was doing, and that was a wicked thing indeed. He tried to turn his head so the water could glide down his face -- or were those fingers, now? reaching up and caressing, fingers hot as the water, burning and making him turn his face anyhow, searching for those fingers to bite, and suck.

They eluded him, so Wesley let his head fall, eyes closed against the rivulets of water that now ran down the sides of his head and across his face, across his eyelids and dropping in the center. Water, just hot, clean water, dripping from his eyes and onto Charles' head, no doubt, but the other man wasn't complaining.

At least not aloud. His mouth was still too busy for that, wrapped around Wesley's cock, giving a hot wet sensation that could never be mistaken for the shower water.

Unless one tried really, really hard.

Wesley gasped, then opened his eyes to see his own hand grasped around his erection. Jerking faster now, even as the fantasy faded. He reminded himself that his lover would be home, soon, and this would be for real. This would be Charles and not his imagination, kneeling before him and holding him -- Wesley came in ferocious spurts, biting back and outcry which would echo throughout the bathroom and through the thin walls into the neighbor's bathrooms. There were some things they needn't know. Even if they did it, themselves.

Wesley took a deep breath and stood still to let the water rinse him clean. Tightening his shoulders, he pushed then stretched his arms against the wall and felt the delicious exhaustion that always crept in afterwards. If he hadn't had to go to work, he might think about crawling back into bed and lying there until Charles did come home. Then another shower, and back to bed again.

He'd already put in for a day's vacation. Intended to use it by not leaving the bedroom -- and the pizza delivery person could bloody well bring it in here. Wesley finished his shower and shut off the water, feeling a stab of guilt at using so much, heating it so high. Perhaps next time he got his utility bills, he'd figure out just how short his shower ought be. As he stepped out and grabbed the towel, he looked around at the steam-covered surfaces. Yes, perhaps a bit cooler, and a bit shorter.

Next time. He inhaled deeply, and smiled. Today he simply felt too good to really mind. He dried himself off, then wrapped the towel around his waist -- then laughed at himself for bothering. How long had he lived alone, or lived only with a lover?

He shrugged as he stepped out of the bathroom, towel still in place. It did make it easier for certain parties to whip the towel away.


Wesley sat down at his desk in the hotel office, which he'd finally convinced Cordelia should be his, and not hers. Remodeling the lobby had segued into restoring the offices, and they'd found that the three small offices had once been two much larger ones. The first, rear office went to Angel, of course. The second Wesley had claimed, explaining over and over that as the receptionist, Cordelia should be at the front desk where she could greet the new clients.

When she'd protested, he'd argued that did she really want him being the one to greet new customers, convince them to stay, and give them money?

She'd actually argued back at that, which had been rather nice. But in the end he'd convinced her, though sometimes he didn't wonder if she'd been after the front desk all along, for when had Cordelia ever done anything but what she'd wanted? When Wesley or Angel were involved, at any rate. He couldn't recall Charles ever managing to win over Cordelia, either, though it was difficult now to remember the last time they'd gone at it over anything. Arguing over where to park the truck, he thought, which honestly didn't matter to anyone. Except Cordelia, who wanted to not be seen getting out of the aging junk heap, and to Charles, who didn't want to be told where to park. And to Angel, who had just wanted to get out of the truck before the sun rose.

Grinning at the memory, he shuffled through the notes he'd left yesterday. He was working on cataloging the Precian prophecies which he thought might become useful in the first dozen years of the new millennium. They were all more or less translated, but they'd never been properly indexed. He was doing that, now, so he could look them up by title, line, and author when needed. Perhaps not precisely something required, since there were only fifty or so prophecies, but indexing them allowed him to study them, and become better acquainted with them. Once the index was completed, he might never need to refer to it. But it would be there for others, and if he didn't create the index, he would need one. All in all, a worthwhile endeavour.

Wesley found the spot he'd left off, and began searching for the book he'd been in the midst of. Ten minutes later he was shouting for Cordelia.

She popped her head into the office, looking only slightly concerned. "What?"

Frowning, he continued looking through the stacks of books. "Have you seen the Compendium Du Roches?"

"Uh... the what?"

"Compendium Du Roches. I had it right here, yesterday. Have you borrowed it?"

She stepped into the office and began halfheartedly looking around. "Why would I borrow a book on roaches? I don't have enough evil in my life?"

He gave her a flat look. "Very funny. You know perfectly well it is not about roaches. I said 'Roches', and you yourself have read the book before. At least once, I saw you."

"Oh, sorry." Cordelia held her hands up in a gesture of ill-acted apology. "Like I remember any of that stuff afterwards? Um, what does it look like?"

"It's about this big," he held up his own hands, indicating the book's size. "Brown cover, and on the cover is written 'Compendium Du Roches'. It's only an inch or so thick, so it might have slipped under the papers, only I can't find it."

"All right, all right, calm down. I'll help you look, OK?" Cordelia began searching more earnestly, then, actually picking up stacks of papers and books, and looking through them. Wesley searched as well, first the desk, then the filing cabinets, then finally the floor.

"Would Angel have taken it? It isn't anywhere. It must be here somewhere." He tried to think if he'd taken it from the office last night. Had he? He couldn't recall.

"Maybe. We can go check his office, first. He'll be down soon, and we can ask him."

Wesley stood up from where he'd been looking under his desk. Still frowning, because he knew he'd had the book. Right here, next to his notes. He nodded, though, at Cordelia's suggestion. She led him out of his office and into Angel's, where they split up and began searching.


Angel came downstairs later that afternoon. Cordelia was standing at the bottom of the stairs, waiting. Her expression worried him.

"What's going on?"

She looked up at him, then shook her head. "Not much. He's in his office, working on his index."

"Then why are you so worried?" He asked quietly, as he came down to stand beside her.

She glanced at him. "He was looking for some book; we couldn't find it. I got him distracted with one of his other books, but...do you know a 'Compendium Du Roches'?"

Angel shook his head. "Never heard of it."

"Well, he was pretty convinced he had it here yesterday. I can't tell...but we turned his office and yours upside-down, looking for it. We went up to his room and looked, but nothing. I told him maybe you'd borrowed it....?" She looked at him hopefully, despite his just-made claim of ignorance to the book's existence.

"Sorry. I don't have it."

Cordelia glanced up at him. "Do you think it might have been one he lost in the...?" Her voice dropped the last word, her mouth barely began it.

"Maybe," Angel said. "Did you call any of the bookstores, to see if there's another copy around?"

"Yeah. No copies, most of the rare book shops haven't even heard of it." Cordelia sighed. "I left a message with Anya, to see if Giles has a copy we can have. I don't know if Wes will need it." She looked up at Angel, again, words in her eyes that she didn't speak. She didn't have to, not anymore.

"But there's no reason we shouldn't get it for him," Angel finished the thought. "Anything else?" He hated asking.

Cordelia stared towards the office. "He asked when Gunn was getting back."

"What'd you tell him?"

That got her to glance his way with a slightly incredulous expression. "Told him I wasn't sure. What did you think I'd say?"

"I'm sorry. I just meant...if you'd said anything I should repeat."

She shook her head, and the expression faded to a sadness that was always there, anymore. Angel couldn't remember the last time he'd seen her look really happy. Sure, she smiled, and laughed -- with Wesley, when he needed to. It never touched her eyes, though. "I hate lying to him."

Angel wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "I know. But telling him is worse."

She nodded, then turned around, suddenly, opening her arms for the hug she needed. Cordelia pressed her face against Angel's chest, and he just held her tightly. They'd tried telling him, before. Telling Wesley what he didn't remember, explaining about the explosion and the fire, the lost books and the deaths.

Wesley had screamed until they'd knocked him out, then, when he'd woken, had forgotten it all once more.