Title: Getting Through the Night
Author: Dae
Author email: Dae@dae.slashcity.tv
Archive- sure, why not? Nancy, feel free. Someday it'll be on my page, anyone else just let me know where its going.
Sequel/Prequel- Companion to *kee's To Touch Him which can be found on the list archive (look under S) and our page http://dae.slashcity.tv click on Kee's Page and there you are=)
Rating: R
Summary: Wes's thoughts during There's No Place Like...
Warning: Stream of consciousness writing ahead. Lots of fragments, little grammar, and quite a bit of angst and mixed metaphors. Blame Wes, not me=)
Notes: So I read *kee's To Touch Him, and went, "Damn that's good!" I turned to go back to my many unfinished stories spread across far too many fandoms but there was Wes. Just standing there. With that look, the one neither Gunn nor I have yet figured out how to turn away from.

And I went, "Wes, my man. I can not work with you right now."

He felt differently.

"Actually, yes, you can. And you will. Now, have a seat and let's begin."

And I blinked at him and stuttered and made excuses, but this new Wes we've been seeing these past few weeks, he would have none of it. So, this is what he had to say. It helps to read *kee's To Touch Him, which can be found off of http//:dae.slashcity.net/~starkee. (Or at the archive on the S page.)

You can blame her for this.

Oh- and a pressie for anyone who finds the Methos reference I snuck into Wes mental meanderings because I'm so easily amused=)


The first time, I took it greedily.

A single black knight. The pad of my index finger rubbed over the horse's snout as I grinned in triumph at my grandfather. There was a bishop next, then several pawns. Prisoners, rightfully taken, rightfully kept. The row of captured pieces mocked me as a lonely rook knocked down my white king.

I lost.

There was laughter in the pipe smoke, as I stared at the ivory and mahogany chessboard, blinking in confusion.

The second time, I hesitated.

I moved my pieces across the board, protecting them, thinking twice before I took any offered piece.

But still I lost.

The third time, I watched.

I watched my grandfather's fingers move across the board, stiff with age and stained with tobacco. I watched his eyes, a pale blue, as they focused not on the square at hand, but an empty point in the center of the board. I watched, and waited, and learned.

The next time we played, I lost both my knights. Of all the chessboard coterie, those were the two of which I was most fond. The two, that as a tyke, I had risked my father's wrath to steal and play with in the empty moments. I watched them vanish into my grandfather's hands with the solemn eyes of an eight year old. The eyes of a child who knew they were only carved pieces of bone, only going away for a little while before they reclaimed their place upon their board and in their battle. But it still hurt, a little hurt.

Even though I won.

For the first time.

But white knights, pale ivory stallions, do not stain your hands with blood. And they don't cry out in death. Or leave children or wives or ghosts to haunt you.

People do.

But the game doesn't change just because the pawns can bleed.

I tried to tell Gunn that. I did.

"You try not to get anybody killed, you wind up getting everybody killed."

And I wish I could say I saw understanding in his gaze. But I can't. Because there wasn't.

Acceptance. Yes. Defeat. Unfortunately. But understanding? No. None of that. Even in the warm undertones of the one emotion we share but never name, no matter how bad things seem. No matter how confused or angry we are at each other, it's always there. Underneath it all.

I love him. I love him enough to burst into song, if the situation permitted. I'd pen him poetry if I could rhyme or fathom iambic pentameter. Because I do love him, and because I think his lips would purse and his eyes narrow in that quaint little expression that always comes when I've done something he classifies as both "pansy assed" and "English", that he loves even though he'd rather die than let anyone know it. And.

And he might die. We all might. We probably will.

That's something else he doesn't understand.

We might die infiltrating the fortification. Some of us. All of us. But if we don't, every enslaved human on this planet certainly would. And then, in short order, those that remained would be hunted down and killed as well.

Our lot is with these humans. Their fate is ours. There is no way home.

I won't breach that subject, not yet. If we live through the night. If we overthrow Silas. If we don't. Then, in the morning, then we will confront tomorrow. Until then, we'll live in today. In tonight.

I need him to understand how important this is. I need him to understand what has to be done, no matter how many lives it takes. Theirs. Ours. His. Mine. He's still watching me, gaze intent. It hasn't wavered since he asked about Angel. Asked if I believed what I told Angel.

Do I?

Does it matter?

Once upon a time, in another life, I had another purpose. For into each generation a Slayer is born. One girl, in all the world. A Chosen One. One born with the strength and skill to kill the vampires, to stop the spread of their evil...

One born to die a gruesome and pain filled death at a young and tender age.

No Slayer lives long, this every Watcher is taught. For a few brief years, one girl is the center of your world. For a few brief years, she faces the nightmares that keep children awake at night. She fights the monsters, and demons, and fiends that their parents don't even believe in.

That she has no choice but to believe in.

And your job is to train her. Support her. Comfort her, with the strength of your convictions, with the stability of wire rimmed glasses and tweed suits, with the lies perfected over generations to calm her so that you can send her back into the night.

Knowing full well that one night she won't come back.

As a Watcher, I never had to wait in the darkness with the echoes of my lies for company. I never had to watch the fire burn, feeding it the fears and worries I hadn't time or the energy to face. I never had to ask, does it matter?

Now though. Now I know that only one thing matters.

And that is getting through the night.

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