wesleynotponcy: (witw: alone)
[personal profile] wesleynotponcy


Initially, Wesley had been relieved at first not to be asked to join the others backstage. Normally he wasn't one to pass up a good research opportunity, especially with two of his high school friends invested in it, but tonight with the dressing-up and the romantic atmosphere, he'd rather been hoping to try to attract Fred's attention, and was wary of veering too far from the script of how these encounters normally went.

But thirty minutes into Act Two, just as he was about to try to work up the nerve to slide one arm around Fred's shoulder, a hiss from Fred brought him out of his reverie.


"Angel!" Fred whispered sharply, startling both Wes and Gunn out of the suspiciously identical arm movements they'd been in the process of making.

Wesley shook his head to clear his thoughts. "What?"

"And Cordy, and your friends," Fred added, drawing glares from some neighboring ballet fans. "They've been gone way too long."


Wesley checked his watch. She was right: almost thirty minutes had gone by without so much as a text from one of the others.

"You're right," he said, drawing even more glares from their neighbors as he got up and retrieved his coat from the back of his chair. "Come on."


"We're gonna miss the end!" Gunn complained, even as he got up to follow the other two out of their seats. "If we miss Giselle and her boy hooking up, one of y'all is getting me a ticket to see this again later this week, so help me..."


By the time they made it backstage, Wesley was instantly glad they'd investigated. The corridors were far too long and eerie to match up with the theater -- he wondered if they'd gone through some kind of portal, or if there was a perception filter at work. The others seemed to notice it too.


"This is very not right," Gunn judged, peering down an unnaturally long corridor that showed no sign of ending.


"Hold on," Fred said, sticking out both hands and catching both Gunn and Wes before they could advance any further. "Do you hear it?"


Wesley hadn't, but he tilted his head to listen. Sure enough, Fred was right: there was a low moan, followed by a gasp. They weren't alone back here.

"Someone's in pain."


Another gasp, this one breathier than the last. Fred slowly turned to face the others. "That or someone's in fun," she whispered.

Wesley and Gunn exchanged looks.

"Let's keep going," Gunn decided.


They proceeded along in the corridor in silence for a few minutes -- well, 'silence,' with the exception of the occasional noises coming from a room that Wesley couldn't tell if they were even getting any closer to. They tried opening every door along the way, but they all seemed to be locked. They might not really even be doors, Wes thought: they might be part of an illusion.

It was this train of thought that he was startled out of when he suddenly heard a gasp that was much closer to him and Fred than the previous sounds -- much, much closer, as he spun around and saw that Gunn had just been stabbed by a demon with the face of a comedy mask. Gunn yelped, Fred gasped out, "Charles!", and as Gunn elbowed his attacker in the face before crumpling to the ground, Fred tossed Wesley the fallen demon's sword just in time for him to face off against a second and third demon that had just arrived.

"Can you handle the other?" he called to her as he launched into a pattern of swings and slashes, craning his neck to look over at Fred. She seemed a bit too busy to answer, however, as she was currently walloping the third demon with one of her shoes. "Well, then," Wes told his own cackling attackers. "Just us."

It had been some time since Wesley had fought with a sword as clearly not designed for combat as this one was, but before long, after a series of expert parries and some fancy swordwork he hadn't used since the Watchers' Academy, he took out the two demons in a single slash, exhaling as he did. "Who's laughing now?" he boasted, only to be slightly disheartened when the comedy-mask-faced demons continued to chuckle as they fell to the ground. "Well -- you are. But I still win."


As Wesley fought the demons, Fred knelt beside Gunn to tend to his wound, her own demon having been systematically taken out after just a few clubs to the eye with her heel.

"That's good," Gunn groaned as she tied off a makeshift bandage around it. "Should hold."

Fred let out a shaky breath, and with a good amount of effort, Gunn reached forward to tilt up her chin. "You okay? You hurt?"


"I'm fine," Fred assured him shakily. "I just thought..." She glanced down, blushing somewhat. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't fall apart like this."


Gunn chuckled, not moving his hand from her cheek as he teased, "You scared I'm gonna die on you?"


Fred didn't laugh, just glanced down again. "Charles, don't even..."


Gunn affected a dramatic tone of voice as he teased, "And all I ask as the light is dimming... is one last kiss..."

He'd hoped to stick the landing with a serious expression, but he dissolved into snickers instead.


"You think that's funny?" Fred demanded, swatting his shoulder. She didn't seem to be teasing -- there was real concern in her eyes.


"It's just a scratch!" Gunn insisted, still chuckling a bit. Then he caught sight of Fred's expression, and repeated, "It's just a scratch," this time more seriously.

Fred looked down. "I thought it was -- I --"

"Hey." Gunn made a spirited effort to scoot closer to her, but the wound just wasn't having it, so he beckoned for her to come closer instead. As Fred obliged, he said, "Hey. You really that worried about me?"


"You probably think I'm an idiot," Fred muttered, raising her eyes reluctantly to meet his.


Gunn waved that off. "I think," he said, waiting until she was looking right at him before he continued, "if you care that much, the wound is most definitely deep."


Fred scoffed, but played along. "'The light is dimming?'" she repeated dubiously -- and then not so dubiously, as she looked into his eyes and found that there wasn't as much teasing there as she'd expected.


"And all I ask," Gunn said, beginning to lean toward her, with his voice too soft for any of the theatricalness from before, "is one... last..."

With that, he kissed her.


At first Wesley hadn't gone over to join Fred and Gunn because he'd been busy fighting the comedy-faced lackeys, and after that because he was looking out for others that might come by. But it wasn't too long before he was certain that they were in the clear, at which point he turned his attention to the two of them, watching and listening from just barely close enough to hear.

Fred and Gunn kissed, and in a flash, Wesley felt overwhelmed by emotions that felt profoundly unlike him -- rage, wanting to retaliate, needing to do something that would hurt them to match the anger (not hurt) that he felt right now. Turning away from them and making eye contact with his own reflection in an old, dusty mirror, he suddenly found himself dropping to the floor, oblivious to anything beyond these feelings of anger and jealousy.

He stayed there for a moment, ideas fermenting. Revenge plans, ways to punish them, ways to hurt them...

Hurt... Gunn and Fred.

That wasn't right, Wesley thought dimly, that one thought catching his attention even over all the other, hurtful thoughts he was having. He wouldn't hurt Fred...

An image bloomed to the front of his mind, of yanking Fred out of reality, keeping her far away from Gunn and in his life forever. Wesley knew that as hurt as he might be right now, that wasn't him, couldn't possibly be him -- something was going on, possession of some kind, and he needed to fight it off.

For Fred's sake.


The look on Angel's face as he and Cordy stomped through the halls was not a happy one. There were comedy-mask-minion guts all over his suit, and security-guard blood smeared on his hand and moving toward his sleeve. This tux had been a rental, dammit!

Oh, right, and this theater was mystically evil or something, too.

It was a while of stomping before he and Cordelia caught sight of Wesley, Fred and Gunn. "You guys all right?"


"Charles got stabbed," Fred said breathlessly, getting to her feet and helping Gunn to follow.


Gunn lifted up his shirt, already unbuttoned, so that the others could see. Cordy took a look, wincing. "Couple stitches worth," Gunn said. "It can wait. Anyone seen Karla and Warren?"


"Kiss kiss," Karla said, coming around a corner with Warren, their fingers still tightly laced together. "Did someone call for us?"

It was selfish and petty of her, but she was hoping that the blood on Warren's shirt would convince them that their current state of dishabille (Darkness knew her hair was a wreck) was due to attempted murder by creepy things and not the extensive making out for the past...however long it had been.

"See?" She nudged Warren gently in his side. "Told you."


Warren wrinkled his nose a little, but he still gave Karla a faint smile.

"I stand corrected," he murmured. "Mildly traumatized. I've managed to lose a shirt again. But corrected."

He glanced at Gunn and gave him a bit of a 'bloody shirt, huh?' nod of solidarity.

"I can take care of that for you."


Wesley wasn't sure he needed more shirtlessness from Gunn, so he interjected, "I think Fred just--"

"Man, I'll take whatever you got," Gunn interrupted, pulling his shirt off entirely. "Hit me."

Well. That had... happened. Wesley cleared his throat, but his voice was still shaky as he turned to Karla and asked, "What have you two been up to? I'm guessing nothing good."

Because blood and all.


Karla nearly stepped forward to volunteer, but then reconsidered. Warren could use an opportunity to be something more than 'the boyfriend what gets possessed.' "You help Gunn and I'll fill Wesley in on what happened?" she offered.

While Warren nodded and went over to poke Gunn's insides with a bloody finger, Karla turned back to Wesley to explain. "We got caught in some kind of...emotional resonance field thing." Sorry, hotspot just wasn't in her vocabulary. "We found the prima ballerina's dressing room and got possessed by the Ghosts of Makeouts Past. Turns out she was in love with someone else, which angered the company's obsessive owner, Kurskov. He's got some kind of creepy magic power and seems the bitter, jealous, let's-kill-people type."


"He was a wizard," Wesley filled in quietly. "He was... obsessed with the girl. When he found her with the other man, he went insane with jealous rage -- pulled her out of time, out of any reality beyond his theater, his company. He swore that she would dance for him forever."

Well, that wasn't creepy at all.

"How did you...?" Fred began.

"I hit an emotional resonsance field too."

Seriously. So. Creepy.


Karla nodded. "And now that we unlocked both sides of the story, we can figure out what to do with it. This isn't my area of expertise--" she glanced at Wes to see if he knew more about it, "--but it sounds like we need to get out of this area and back out to the performance. It's like a skipping CD, you know? You have to smack the player and make it jump a bit and then everything can settle back to normal."

That made sense, didn't it? Sense-ish?

"We just have to figure out how to exit this maze and smack the CD player. I suspect at least one of these will involve violence."


Wesley nodded. "She's right."

"I got that, Wes," Angel said, perhaps a bit more peevishly than he'd intended, because it elicited a wince from Wesley and a rather sharp look from Cordelia. "I'm in favor of the violence. Starting--"

He strode across the hall to where two of the seemingly dead comedy-faced minions began to stand up; in a smooth motion, he grabbed them both in a headlock and broke both of their necks. When the collapsed back onto the floor, however, they multiplied into four new ones.

"--now," Angel finished uncertainly.

"The more we kill, the more he makes," Fred realized.

"And that," Wesley interrupted quickly before anyone else could take over his role and render him even more obsolete than he apparently already was, "has to be a drain on his energy. Angel, Karla, try to find a way to the stage. The count will be watching."

And maybe if Warren was going to finish up with that poking of Gunn's wound anytime soon...?


Poking Gunn's injury with his own blood! Warren was not a blood-poker. That was counter-productive. In any case, he was mopping a bloody hand off on his already ruined shirt and making his way over to join the group again.

"I'm with Karla," he intoned, because... after all that, there was no way he was going to get split up from her now.

And because, dammit, he was Angel, too.


Sure he was. Except for the part where he refused to ever admit it or answer to it. Or even where the leather uniform.


"Damn right you are," Karla said with a decisive nod. She held her hand out for him to take again. Still a bit angry or not, they stayed together, dammit. "We'll go talk to the ballerina? Considering we just got an intimate slice of her life, there has to be something we can do for her."


"Excellent," Wesley said, picking up the sword he'd dropped not long ago and turning to face the newly-awoken tragedy-faced minions. "And Angel, find his power center and destroy it. We'll try to loosen his hold."

"By making more monsters?" Gunn wanted to know, still gingerly poking at the healed skin on his stomach. "Man with the frightening plan!"

"Whatever it takes," Wes replied through gritted teeth. "You two --" he looked to Gunn and Fred-- "Stick close together. I'll take point."

Stepping up behind him, Cordy hauled up a sword from the ground and muttered, "I hope you're in a killing mood."

"I'll do all right," came Wes' reply.

[[from here, here, here, here and here. I AM SO SORRY, TRACY AND REST-OF-FLIST. still adapted from angel 3x13, "waiting in the wings," with help from [livejournal.com profile] not_a_parakeet and [livejournal.com profile] glacial_witch. nfb, nfi, and ooc-good, and only one more part left, i swear. warning in this one for some violence against some bad guys, but nothing super-gory.]]


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