"I Hate Hospitals"
by Just Human
"I Hate Hospitals" won first place for best Wes/Lilah at The Beleive Awards
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Disclaimer: Joss is my sadistic god; I am but a cowering sub that claims to write and owns nothing.
Summary: Wesley looks at life on the other side of 'Apocalypse Nowish'
Spoilers: Everything is fair game through "Apocalypse Nowish"
Author's Coments: Magpie read it in the
LiveJournal and said 'want a quick beta' - that's why it's here :-) Thanks, Magpie!
I Hate Hospitals
I hate hospitals. There was a time in my life when I would have considered making the best of it, or perhaps praising the selfless work of the caregivers. But right now, I hate hospitals. Based on the vast experience that I have, it's not like I could be accused of irrational fears or influence. Although it is odd not to be freezing in a garment made of paper under a blanket that is too thin. For a change, I'm resting my bum in the visitor's chair, waiting for signs of life.
When I hear the door open, I don't look up from Gunn's face. After all, it's a common ward with five other beds, all full. How could they not be? It's raining fire outside. Despite the drawn blinds I can still decipher the outline of the vortex that is visible in the gap between the two heavy plastic sheets. This is when I make the mistake of turning around. While there has been some physical devastation, most of the brightly burning flames land with no more trouble than ash from a campfire, easily brushed off and stamped out. However, the psychological damage is incalculable, and there is a palpable sense that mass panic is about to erupt.
I imagine that a harried nurse or more likely an orderly is about to part the privacy curtain, but I am wrong. A warm hand presses against my cheek while red tipped nails play in the stubble of my jaw.
"You know, you can't keep making me jealous by running off to be with the good guys. I'm not going to get caught dead in work boots and you can forget about me shaving my head. I could try to talk about the Lakers or play a video game if you really want."
A part of me says that I'll lose ground in the battle if I look up at her, but I hate hospitals, and I'm glad she's here. I lavish some quick kisses on fingertips and turn my head to look at Lilah. There are dark circles under her eyes and something in her face makes me think that she has aged.
"I tried to call..." There's no point in finishing the sentence. Lilah has hundreds of psychics, mages and other mystical researchers at her disposal to explain that Los Angeles has been cut off from satellites and that regular antennas cannot pick-up signals through the static. She hands me a cell phone and at my questioning look says,
"Magically enhanced." I nod at the practicality, and she turns her gaze on my former friend. "I'm assuming you're both here because you were eye witnesses. Is he going to make it?"
"The burns, cuts and broken bones are all repairable, but he took a severe blow to the head. He'll make it, but the question is whether or not he'll wake up."
"I have contacts, do you want me to get some special help?" When I look in Lilah's face, I'm expecting a mask of cool efficiency because that's how Lilah deals with a crisis. I'm not disappointed, but there's something else there as well. Fear in her eyes tinged with sympathy. While I'm not sure if the sympathy is for the world at war behind the window, the man in the bed, or the lover in front of her, I'm willing to take it.
"Gunn wouldn't like that, but yes, do it, please." She inclines her head, pulling out her phone and crisply orders a subordinate to send the appropriate personnel. While she speaks, Lilah drifts to the window and fractionally moves the curtain for a better view. I see her shiver. With her hand over the mouthpiece, Lilah steps back and focuses on me.
"We could waste time arguing motivations. I don't need to tell you that this has to be stopped; whatever it is. Today we're on the same side in all ways." Her fingers are stroking my shoulder, and I do not doubt her sincerity about our relationship or the current world destruction.
"Will you tell my chief magic guy what happened?" I stare at the offered phone.
For just a moment I want to be a petulant child who refuses to talk about his friends being hurt and sent through skylights and off the roof to plunge over twenty stories. But some part of me is still practical and knows what needs to be done. I take the phone and recount the details clinically - from Gunn discovering the pattern in the pages to the fire missile that made the sky bleed. My own words barely register, as all I can do is watch Lilah's eyes. Perhaps the most frightening thing about all of this is that it frightens her. Somewhere in the middle of the conversation, I find I cannot bear to watch the fear in her eyes any more, so I pull her into my lap to comfort her.
We sit quietly after I end the phone call. We soothe each other gently in ways that are very far from our normal sex play. It is much more like the rare moments when we are in post-coital bliss, where we are too tired to fight and not quite asleep. The irony that those moments where we lower our defences only occur when we are completely shattered or the world is in apocalyptic chaos has not escaped me. Part of me wants to sit forever, but instead, I chose to break the comfortable silence.
"All those promises we made to each other," I'm smiling at her in my exhaustion. "What did you say to me the other night? Something about the world ending before you cooked me dinner?" Smiling back, Lilah leans down to kiss me. I assume that since her tongue begins exploring the deep corners of my mouth that I may be partially forgiven for having abandoned her to sit with Gunn.
Nipping her lower lip, I share a little observation of my own. "The timing of all this is awful. I was going to put on black leather, use some hair gel to make my hair stand straight up, and wait for you in your apartment. It would seem that certain fanged individuals find you a 'giving' person. Is it the brooding or the caveman brow? Because after all, you didn't share information about the apocalypse with me." I hadn't intended to let jealousy creep into my voice, perhaps because I hadn't realized that I was until that moment.
"You'd do that for me?" She smiles that catlike grin and then in a stage whisper. "His theories about obtaining information..."
I recognise the phrase she is referencing, and finish it, "They deserve attention..." For a moment, any further response is prevented as I capture her mouth and steal her breath.
"Mmmhmm, especially when his 'theories' are tied up, beat up and gift wrapped in your office. I gave him the information because he bruised Gavin nicely for me." She tries to kiss away my pouting, but I find I’m remembering the description of her willingly spread on my former desk beneath Angel's body.
"And did it turn you on?" There is a part of me that wants to know and a part of me screaming to ignore it because my curiosity will be perceived as weakness. What she gives me now is her assessing look, the one she gives when she spies something new for the first time.
"Yes, it did." Ever honest, in her own way. "But, my first thought was about making him watch us fuck each other, so that he'd be left hard and wanting." I kiss her. What else could I do?
Neither of us is so childish to believe that our erotic dreams are derived exclusively from the other. After all, every time I grab Lilah by the throat, I am sharing the deviant thrill of when Angel grabbed my throat under the influence of Darla’s dreams. For now I’ll revel in the arousal that the image of us fucking always brings, currently enhanced a hundred fold by the testosterone rush of humbling my rival. Later, I will wonder if she is really leaving Anel hard and wanting or is trying to push him into such a great level of sexual frustration that he commits an act of passion and violence. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind either scenario, and now, having considered the options, I wouldn’t mind taking on either role.
If the casual banter and kissing continue, Gunn may wake to find out first hand that I really have lost any interest I once had in Fred. Lilah also realizes that we are on the verge of doing private things in public, because she demands, "Come home. My home, your home, I don't care." Oh, and it's tempting, but I look at Gunn and know how much I hate hospitals.
"He sat with me, you know, when I was shot." How well do I know that long-suffering look that she's sharing with me now? "He even sat with me when *your* people blew me up in the old office building." Smoothly her face slides into the smile that says that she's been a bad girl and perhaps deserves a spanking, but in a good way. As if I could stop myself from smiling back at that, but I resist other urges.
With a quick kiss to my forehead, she's backing out of the privacy curtains. "Yes, and I heard he helped save you from a crazed vampire, armed with a pillow. Do what you need to, but call me when you're ready to leave." Then she breaks into a highly amused smile. "I'm going to save the world while you're visiting." It's a novel idea for her, I can tell, and I can't help but return her grin at the irony.
And with a quick blown kiss, she's out of sight, and I'm left in the place I hate, with a man who hates me.
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