Wesley's Place
by J Douglas Burton

"Aaaaaaahhhhh!" Cordelia shrieked at the top of her  longs as the hell-beast scratched at her, its razor-sharp  claws swiping millimetres before the tender skin of her  face, moisturized only an hour earlier. It was a vampire,  but unlike any she'd seen before in her brief tenure as  Honorary Scooby Gang Member. She held a slender hand up  to her mouth as she backed up against the tall wooden  fence behind her, her pretty mouth tugged into a form of  terror.

He'd have to be swift. There wasn't much of a time  window here.

Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, Watcher extraordinaire, leapt  with all his strength, flying at the creature with  awesome grace, his hands stretched forth like some comic  book superhero, but with much more dignity. And no  underpants outside his trousers.

The monster was torn down to the ground as Wesley's   arms closed down around it, and he fell with it, tumbling
roughly on the stony surface. The gruesome creature bared  giant fangs, howling shrilly as its vile breath escaped  from the gritty mouth. God, what an ugly brute this was!  Wesley raised a wooden stake high into the air. Luckily  he had been carrying this spare he had found lying around  in Mr Giles' library this afternoon, otherwise Miss Chase  would have been in severe trouble. The sharp end of the  stake entered the creature's hairy body as easily as a  knife cut through butter, and in a sudden burst, it
collapsed into a small pile of ashes on the ground. Wesley lay there on the ground for a good few moments  after that, staring at the scattered remains of the  creature spawned in the pits of Hell. Had he done that?  By Jove, he had! He had killed his first vampire outside  the controled habitat of the Watchers' Council Center  back home. His heart hammered like a pneumatic drill in his chest, feeling as though any moment it might break  its way free of his fragile chest and flop out onto the  ground. He rather hoped it didn't, really. Eventually,  his breath slowed, and his heart calmed. Wesley nodded,  pursing his lips. All in all, a job well done. And then he looked up at Cordelia, the young woman  whose life he had just saved. She stared down at him with
those beautiful hazel eyes that outshone a thousand suns  in their brilliance, her full, pink lips parted in  thanks, and his heart began to pound anew. Perhaps even  worse than before.

The Watcher clumsily climbed to his feet, brushing  himself off with as much dignity as he could retain. His  charcoal suit was wrinkled slightly, but recoverable.  Vampire dust coated his knees, and he reached down to  wipe them clean.

"You saved my life again!" Cordelia sighed, her voice  heaving with some emotion Wesley hoped like mad was lust.  Oh, he knew he shouldn't, but Miss Chase was simply the  most beautiful creature he had ever set his eyes upon,  and he couldn't bare to think she didn't even remotely  see him the same way. "How can I ever thank you?" I can think of a way, he wanted to reply, but instead  fixed nervously at his tie and cleared his throat.  Minuscule droplets of sweat began to appear on his  forehead, and he mentally willed them to stop. He had to  appear professional here.

"No.. need for... thanks," he  stammered to the unbelievable girl who stood before him.  "Merely doing my... duty as a... Watcher." He sniffed.

Did that go right? Somehow he didn't think that was  what he meant to say. He chided himself. Not personal  enough. Make it more personal.

"You're so brave, Wesley," she said, her eyes wide and  smooth, so deep... She laid a hand on his shoulder, and  his body shivered in response. Touch me again, he pleaded  internally.

He swallowed hard, unable to speak for a moment. Then,  spotting movement behind her, he said, "Sometimes the  bravest thing to do is run," he advised, and Cordelia  turned her head to see a small group of vampires stalking  slowly up behind them. She shrieked again, and her hands  flew up in despair. Wesley placed a hand on her back,  feeling the warmth of her body, and pressed her gently  forward. "Run!" he repeated, and they set off.

Cordelia was hardly dressed for a late night chase,  Wesley noted, looking down at her. The tight skirt that  hugged her gorgeous hips allowed for little leg movement,  and the red high heels she wore on her feet were a severe  impediment to swift motion. His gaze moved up further, to  the fabulous crimson top, cut low enough to reveal a  sizeable amount of those assets he knew assuredly he  should not be looking at, but couldn't tear his eyes away  from. He forced his eyes to move to the small black jacket  that covered it, keeping her arms warm, but they merely  slipped back to her chest.

Stop it man! he berated himself. She's a child. A  student, a young, nubile, shapely, sexually mature... No!  Stop!

She yelled in that high-pitched voice again as she  stumbled along, and her purse bounded all around as she  clutched it tightly in her left hand. The growling and  scuffling continued unabated behind them, and Wesley  hoped to God they could outrun the fiends that pursued  them. He doubted it, though. They'd have to use their wits. Too bad his were scrambled by the glorious perfume  that clogged his nostrils, elevating him to a level where  he walked five feet above the pavement below him.

"In here!" he yelled suddenly, ducking into a side  alley. He and the girl beside him raced along the narrow  way, stepping on piles of garbage as they did so. As it  squelched beneath her high heels, Wesley heard Cordy  mumbling:

"Eeewww! Yuck! Euch! Nasty!" And various similar  descriptors. Ah, she had such a way with words... No time for that now. They had to keep up the pace. In  a few seconds, they emerged from the alleyway, scrambling  along various paths and walkways, until Wesley stopped,  satisfied their pursuers had ceased to follow. He settled  back against the brick wall they stopped beside, trying  to catch his breath. His lungs ached, feeling like they  might collapse any minute. Cordelia sank there beside  him, one hand to her ample chest.

"You think we lost them?" she asked, looking up at him  with frightened eyes.

"We... seem to have," he gasped, still unable to  regain his wind. Cordelia's presence, of course, always  snatched his breath away. "I believe they're... gone."

"Thank God," she sighed, feeling back at the bunch she  had caught her lustrous chestnut hair in, ensuring it was  still perfectly arranged. Of course, it was. When was it  ever not? "I was so scared, Wesley. Who knows what I  would have done if you hadn't been there to rescue me?"

"Yes... well... hmmmm," he muttered, slapping his  forehead in his mind. Get a grip, man. Talk normally!

"Wesley," she said, laying a hand on his shirt, right  over his heart. She must have been able to feel it  quicken at the touch. "I'm so scared. I don't think I can  go home." Her eyes flitted up to his, wide and innocent.

"Do you think... you could take me back to your place?" Song and dance erupted in Wesley's mind, a celebration  to end all celebrations. The 1999 New Year's events would  have nothing on the joyous festivities that exploded in  Wesley's head at those magical words spoken by Miss  Cordelia Chase. He wasn't jumping the gun, here. He  didn't expect any... thing from her. Just to be there. In  his apartment!

Sputtering, he managed to get out the words, "Well...  if it's all right... I imagine... it..."

"Great!" Cordelia smiled, her brilliant teeth flashing  up at him. Wesley's knees buckled at that most prized of  all smiles - if he hadn't still been leaning against the  wall he would have ended up on the floor. "Can we go?"

"My car isn't here," Wesley realized, looking left and  right. "We seem to have gotten rather away from it."

"But your place isn't far, right?" she sounded  concerned.

"No, no," the Watcher assured her. "Just around the  corner in fact." Screw his car. It would be fine where it  was for one night, surely? This was eminently more  important. Getting Miss Chase to safety, that is. First  priority.

There was a bounce in his step as he herded her around  the corner to his apartment complex. They sped up the  stairs, Wesley fumbling nervously for his keys as they  reached the top. Damn hands wouldn't stop shaking! The  keys rattled as he pulled them from his pocket, and he  fingered them for the right one. Procuring it finally, he  shoved it towards the lock... and missed. Feeling like a  moron, he carefully inserted it into the hole, and  turned. The door swung open, and he motioned for Cordelia
to enter first. She smiled at the gesture, walking into  his apartment and looking around. He casually flipped on  a light switch, illuminating his much fussed over  apartment.

"Wow!" she gasped, taking in the decor he had worked  so hard on since moving here. He would, after all, be  here for hopefully quite some time, being Buffy and  Faith's new Watcher and all. Artifacts from around the  globe sat at strategic positions around the living room,  and the blue color scheme was something he had been  rather proud of. It seemed all his toiling was paying  off, as Miss Chase seemed suitably impressed. "This place  looks great!"

"Yes, well..." he stammered in response, "I do my...  best." He took a deep breath and closed the door softly  behind him. Now that they were both here, together, he  couldn't control the irregular rhythm of his heartbeat,  or the short gasps his breath insisted on coming in. Calm  down, Wesley. Nothing you haven't done before.

"I need to use the bathroom," she told him, and he  flushed, pointing down the short hall.

"First door," he told her, and she took a few steps  towards it. "Second!" he corrected sharply. She had  nearly walked into his bedroom. Stupid! Why had he given  her directions to his bedroom? She grinned and entered  the correct room, closing the door behind her.

Wesley leapt into the air, clicking his heels together  in mid air. he removed his suit jacket, flinging it  recklessly over the side of a chair. Usually, it would be  hung up in his dresser, but he didn't feel like the  effort at this juncture. The Brit wandered over to his  hi-fi, and switched it on at a low volume. The deep tones  of Barry White began to emit from the speakers, and he
changed the disc, quickly, his face flushing a beetroot  red. Didn't want to give the wrong impression here. The  gentle harmonies of Chopin's Prelude in E Minor wafted  now from the system, and he relaxed, turning the sound up  to a suitable level. Perfect!

With one hand, he eased off his paisley tie, tossing  it on the chair with his jacket. In the center of the  room, he twirled once to the music, happy as could be.  Cordelia was in his apartment!

A sound attracted his attention. Cordelia, closing the  bathroom door. He quickly adopted a more respectful pose,  smoothing the front of his shirt as he did so. He puffed  up his chest, taking a breath through his nose.

"Better?" he asked her.

"Much," she smiled. "Sit with me?" she asked,  eyelashes fluttering. His heart leapt as he eased himself  onto the soft loveseat. Loveseat... For loving! Cordelia  smoothly seated herself to his right, her body pressed  against his, and lay her head down onto his shoulder. As he placed his arm lightly round her shoulders, he  felt his whole body tense. 'Relax, Wesley,' he told  himself, especially as his trousers began to tighten.  Just relax!

"This feels nice," Cordelia sighed, and Wesley rubbed  his hand softly on her shoulder. His breath came in fits,  his heart jumped like a caged animal. What was his next  move? How would he advance this? He was never really good  at these romantic interludes. He had no idea what was the  best course of action - especially under these  circumstances. He caused himself to loosen up, and took  another breath, calming himself. Just speak.

"Cordelia," he said softly. "I think... you know the  way I feel about you. If I'm not mistaken, and remember  that it is quite conceivable that I am so forgive me, I  believe you feel at least in some small portion the same  way. I know it's strange, the two of us. You're... very  much younger than me. But, we're both adults here...  legally. Morally, I don't see anything wrong with us...  pursuing our relationship further. I care a great deal  for you, Cordelia. I want us to have... tonight...  together."

There, he'd said it! But why wasn't she answering?  Suddenly terribly afraid at his outburst, he glanced down  at Cordelia's face.

Her eyes were closed. Slow, even breaths came from her  nose, and a serene mask of calm had settled over her  face. There was a gentle smile there, as she rested her  head on one hand against his chest. It was perfect. She  was perfect.

He sighed in surrender, moving his right hand down to  hug her side. This would do. This was fine.

He smiled as he watched her breathing, her chest  moving slowly up and down. The warmth of her cheek heated  him, and he took in the sight of her, drinking in every  drop. Her breath filled the air, and he breathed it in,  savoring every bit. And he did what he did best - he  Watched. He watched her for hours, until he too fell  asleep beside her. The two of them, alone. In Wesley's  place.