A Vision Of Time Gone

He'd had the dream before. He was used to dreaming about other men, sharing his bed with a male lover as he'd done once upon a time. It was never more than dreams, in the last several years, as he hadn't dared search for a lover, what with... everything. Wesley had come to terms with it, allowed himself to sleep with a woman from time to time, and resigned himself to dreams both sleeping and awake.

He'd dreamt of the same man more than once. Years ago it had been another man -- not a man, of course, but him all the same. After a time his blind devotion had been shattered, and he'd woken from his dreams to find himself stronger, if more lonely. Friends, once, had filled some of those gaps in his life. But his heart had been thoroughly disillusioned....

And he'd never figured out why that had changed how he felt. It had only changed what he'd ever expected to do with it, dampening the blindness with sight, but not the emotion that burned behind it.

Somewhere along the way he'd stopped dreaming about Angel, though. Long before he'd destroyed the friendship they'd rebuilt. But now, alone except for the questionable companionship of an enemy, he found himself dreaming again.

This man was no one he knew, but he was gentle, and understanding, and there was pain in his eyes that made Wesley unafraid. Wesley was reminded somehow of Lorne -- the depth in his eyes when he looked at Wesley before moving closer and letting the press of the bodies remove any thought, always made Wesley think, upon waking, that he saw something Wesley could never touch.

But for all that he couldn't see, he treasured those dreams. He felt loved, and needed, and trusted -- though his dreams rarely took them anywhere but his own flat, Wesley found himself growing closer to the man that didn't exist anywhere but in his fantasies. When he was awake, he dismissed them as foolish, knowing his subconsciousness was creating what he'd never had in life.

But in those moments, when his dream lover was just that, touch and pleasure entwined to make Wesley forget it was all a dream. He would wake, sheets twisted and sticky around him, and he would close his eyes and grasp for the fading visions behind his eyes.

Tonight was no exception. As he laid down and fell towards sleep, he found himself lying beside the smaller body of his lover. Wesley wrapped one arm around him, and smiled back at the wide, cheerful grin that greeted him. He reached for a kiss, and felt cool lips barely brushing his. The phantasm kiss made him grin and he reached for another, grateful for the chance to forget a day filled with bleak memories of failure and burning regret.

His lover shifted back, though, and Wesley looked at him in surprised.

"Love..." A soft voice caressed him, even as a single finger touched his lip. Despite his lover's smile, there was worry and sorrow in his eyes.

"What's wrong?" Wesley asked him, feeling the hints of trepidation creep into his dream.

"Nothing. Well, everything. But it's time for me to fix it." His lover looked at him, worry growing stronger. "Only I need you to help me."

Wesley sat up, his lover moving back to sit beside him. "I'm not--" Wesley bit back his words of self-criticism. This was a dream, and this was his lover. None of this was real. "Of course. Whatever you want."

He smiled. "Isn't so much what *I* want. As what I - and you - need. But... it'll be all right. I think." he frowned, then shook his head. "Do you trust me?"

The question caught him by surprise; it sounded real, sounded like there was actually a voice in his ear. But Wesley had known how to lucid dream since he was a teenager, and knew how real dreams could be while you were dreaming them. Regardless, he knew his answer. "I do."

His lover smiled, and leaned forward. As he moved to kiss Wesley again, he whispered, "This won't hurt a bit." Then he kissed Wesley, and the dream began to fade.

The next morning, Wesley was out at the dock early. He'd spoken to a gentleman about renting a boat; as he'd known, there was a small fishing boat available. It had exactly what he needed, also as he'd expected. The vision had showed him everything, up to the point he actually pulled the box from the ocean. After that point... it was anyone's guess.

As they waited for the boat's captain to round up a second crewmember, he glanced towards the polished silver trim on the bow of the boat. Green eyes looked back at him, and Wesley smiled.