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I Blame the Dutch mpoetess
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mpoetess flashes jennyo...

Hmm, that didn't come out right...

Flash-fic-a-thon story for jennyo. Wes/Lilah, set during Players (if you squint and pretend anyone at ME ever remembers that humans require sleep to function.)

1000 words exactly, and vielen, vielen Dank to wesleysgirl and stakebait for beta, handholding, and listening to me panic.

Clean of You

The middle of the night, and he's splashing water on his face, roused from dreamless, restless sleep by... nothing Wesley can name. No sound from the street below his bedroom window. No screams, no flames pouring down from the sky. The darkness outside is empty, quiet, and utterly natural.

It's just night, and he's hot, and his face and hair and back are damp with sweat, and Wesley is cupping his hands under the cold, cold water from the bathroom sink, then dousing himself with it. Droplets run down his forehead and cheeks, soak the collar of his t-shirt. It cools him, but doesn't really make him feel better. The artificial light of the white room is unreal, unsettling, as though he's not truly awake, for all that he's here in the first place because he couldn't fall back asleep.

He shouldn't be here in the first place; he should be back at the Hyperion, up to his nose in portents and demon pregnancies. But one too many times when his head had fallen too close to the book for even a nearsighted man to be reading, and Angel had sent him packing. Go home, get some rest, Wes. You're no good to anybody if you're so tired you can't think straight. The other words, unspoken, buried in the tone of Angel's voice: we know the kind of things that happen then, don't we, you and me?

But he's slept, and he still can't think anything like straight. It's a twilight state of mind, thick and uncertain and silent, and Wesley suspects that's what woke him, what's keeping him half-here, blinking into the mirror at himself. The silence in the streets, in his home. In his head, where the low, mocking sound of a woman's laughter hasn't returned, no matter how carefully he pretends he's not listening for it. There's only the dull, wet thunk of the axe, if he listens too hard.

Heavy, dirty silence, like a stopped eardrum, skewing everything out of balance. He pokes tentatively at it, sickly fascinated. If he were to imagine her here on purpose, would it hurt again? Could he sleep then? Something shifts unpleasantly in his gut.

She'd laugh at him, surely, if she could. What, you're not happy now? You're welcomed back, right? Arms about as open as they're ever gonna get. You even got an apology. Sure, it was just a sorry for your loss, but hey, I've met your brain. We're on intimate terms, you might say. You can stretch that sorry thin enough to cover every time he's never said it to you, and still have a little left over for the next time that no one says thanks. All that for the little price of getting me out of your life forever. You just never know a good thing when you've got it, do you, Wes?

And there she is, the sharpness of her voice echoing off the walls of his skull as if aloud and bouncing off the tile. Or maybe you do know, huh? Maybe you called me back because now you've got me right where you want me, for once in your life. Goes when you tell her to go, comes when you call. She laughs. Not that we didn't play that game before, right, lover? Touch-ghost of the phone against his cheek, echo of her breathing harder in his ear, five miles away and pleasuring herself at his command.

"But you never did leave when I told you to," he says. His own voice jars, grating on his nerves, and his throat aches inside, far beneath the faded scar. "Especially when it counted. Why should I imagine you would now?"

Good point. Mmm, god, I love smart guys. The tease and the truth are so real, so loud, that he can finally see her, leaning against the door to his Faith-ravaged shower stall. Bare, smooth curve of legs, belly, breasts. Shadowed fall of hair. Unrevealing quirk of her tight red smile.

It makes him hard, makes him ache, makes the thing in Wesley's gut coil and strike at him. He pushes past her, eyes squinched shut, into the shower. Reaches blindly for the faucets as he steps on sharp chunks of plaster -- tiny, welcome stabs of reality between his toes.

Hot water pouring down on him, soaking his t-shirt, shorts, and Wesley doesn't care, as long as it beats the truth, her absence, into his skin. Finally he strips off, the need for sensation too much, and his clothes fall heavy and wet to the floor. He could drown in the heat and the wet, Wesley thinks as water slides into his ears, sudden roaring rush, and not regret it. He's finally awake, finally...

Alive? Laughter in her voice again, but strangely, it doesn't sound cold. Not even bitter.

"You shouldn't be here," he sputters, spitting water. The sharpness of her fingernail burns a memory-line down his back.

Then let me go, she taunts him. Wash me away.

There's soap in his hand, and he must have reached for it, though he can't remember. He's half asleep, still, he must be. Hand sliding clean and smooth down his stomach to his cock.

Still hard, and it must be wet-dream hardness, his own hand grabbing, none too gentle. His own nails, in lieu of hers. Memory only, of her lips hot on the back of his neck as he aches and pulls and shakes his head and just for one second, lets it be her. And finally, panting, comes.

He blinks away the water, leans against an unbroken wall, and laughs. Short barks as he gasps for air, the silence ripped apart and washed away. There's water, there's breathing, there's the thud of his own heartbeat and the distant sounds of cars and cats and undoubtedly crime, out on the street below. "Goodbye, Lilah," he says, just one more noise.

You wish, she whispers. Wesley closes his eyes, then nods, and laughs again.

__

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diannelamerc

2003-04-20 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Very, very cool. Thanks!

(Just happened to trip on this while discovering the friends-of-your-friends list on LJ... one of my favorite ships no less... ;)

mpoetess

2003-04-21 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thanks -- glad you stumbled in!

writteninstars

2003-04-20 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Lilah's voice is perfection. You did an outstanding job with this flashfic.

mpoetess

2003-04-21 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you! (Though how sad is it that it took me a week of rewriting and two beta readers before I had the courage to even post it, when it's supposed to be, well, a flashfic!)

jodyorjen

2003-04-20 11:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

Lovely. Wes' frame of mind, tauting Lilah, a touch of Faith and Angel to boot- perfect. The fic is smooth black glass, slivered just so.

mpoetess

2003-04-21 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

minim_calibre

2003-04-20 11:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

(nervously kicks almost-finished flashfic)

Damn, you and Jenny O both know how to give a girl performance anxiety.

That's fanfuckingtastic.

mpoetess

2003-04-21 04:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Moi? I am performance anxiety incarnate. Esp. when writing the favorite pairing of somebody who's widely acknowledged to be the It Girl for *writing* that pairing. Eep!

Glad you liked my congealed anixiety, though -- thank you!

cosmic

2003-04-21 12:12 am (UTC) (Link)

...that's a wonderful thing to wake up to, y'know. You do exquisite Wesley, and your Lilah is perfection. Wow. Pretty, broken wowness.

mpoetess

2003-04-21 04:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you so much.

essene

2003-04-21 01:32 am (UTC) (Link)

What a lovely thing to come across when one can't sleep. Almost makes me glad for insomnia...almost.

mpoetess

2003-04-21 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

[kicks lj]


Thank you!

[continues licking your icon]

estepheia

2003-04-21 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Beautiful. And achingly sad.

What, you're not happy now? You're welcomed back, right? Arms about as open as they're ever gonna get. You even got an apology. Sure, it was just a sorry for your loss, but hey, I've met your brain. We're on intimate terms, you might say. You can stretch that sorry thin enough to cover every time he's never said it to you, and still have a little left over for the next time that no one says thanks.
This section is like a kick in the gut. Brilliant.

mpoetess

2003-04-21 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you. (said Amy, in the devout hope that LJ allows her comment to go through....)

byrne

2003-04-21 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)

Oh my. Amy, this is stunning.

Brava!


mpoetess

2003-04-21 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you, wife-o-mine.

ladycat777

2003-04-21 05:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Oh, that was just lovely.

You wish, she whispers. Wesley closes his eyes, then nods, and laughs again.

Love this ending. That's definitely something Lilah would say and Wesley wanting it, almost needing it. Beautiful.

mpoetess

2003-04-21 04:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you! [wanders off muttering "I wrote hetfic. how did I write hetfic?"]

mabiana

2003-04-21 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)

That's a great story! :-)

mpoetess

2003-04-21 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

nakedwesley

2003-04-21 09:55 am (UTC) (Link)

and just for one second, lets it be her Mmmm, lovely.


mpoetess

2003-04-21 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thanks!

ros_fod

2003-04-21 11:12 am (UTC) (Link)

You can stretch that sorry thin enough to cover every time he's never said it to you, and still have a little left over for the next time that no one says thanks

There was nothing in your fic that I didn't like, and it was difficult to choose just one thing, but if I had to, it would be the above. This was exquisite. Every single word seemed to have shades of different meanings...so complex, so beautiful.

mpoetess

2003-04-21 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Wow -- thank you. I'm glad it worked for you!

circe_tigana

2003-04-21 11:15 am (UTC) (Link)

In his head, where the low, mocking sound of a woman's laughter hasn't returned, no matter how carefully he pretends he's not listening for it. There's only the dull, wet thunk of the axe, if he listens too hard.

Stunning, repellant, and compelling all in one.

Great voices, vivid writing ... Thanks for the read!

mpoetess

2003-04-21 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you -- glad you lked. (er, and were repelled. repelled is good.)

(and bwah! Cold dead seed! Bwah!)

jennyo

2003-04-21 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Very nice. Incisive, insightful, good Wes characterization and focus without costing a sharp, realized Lilah or rendering her the harpy from hell in a bad way. :) (She is, I get, the bitch from hell, but there's ways to do that right and wrong, and you did it right.)

mpoetess

2003-04-21 05:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you. I'm really glad it worked for you. (You have no idea how intimidating it is to not only write Lilah for essentially the first time, but specifically for *you* -- it's sort of like being informed that you have to take your driver's license test on the Autobahn!)

It is hard to portray that line between malicious bitch-ness, and amoral bitch-ness -- I think Lilah falls more on the side of amoral, but she also seems to pride herself on being *able* to be malicious if it serves her purposes. I think those may be the times when she's most interesting to me -- not just because she gets the kickass lines, but because I think we get more of what's in her head, when she lets herself enjoy whatever she's doing. (Be it evil bitch-ness or letting herself fall for Wes.)

(no subject) - jennyo, 2003-04-21 06:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mpoetess, 2003-04-21 07:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)

marguerite_26

2003-04-21 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Passionate. Intense. Eerie.
Your depiction of Wesley just broke my heart. :sigh: poor Wes.

mpoetess

2003-04-21 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you! Yay! I broke your... er. Sorry.


Re: - marguerite_26, 2003-04-21 05:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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