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21 September 2005 @ 10:27 pm
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: Oblivion, Interrupted  
The pain was incredible—white hot pokers, not just stabbed into his eyes but woven between the nerves behind them. It radiated through his skull, pounded in his temples, and was preparing to burst his head open like a ripe melon.

And this was all before Wesley had even opened his eyes.

He supposed he ought to have been accustomed to the pain by now. It had turned into a daily ritual, this slow hazy awakening that was quickly succeeded by the headache and an intense screaming protest from his mind. Wakefulness meant hours of time that were open and available for Wesley to do nothing but consider his myriad losses and failures. He had never been good at repressing, not the memories of his father’s disappointment and scathing disapproval, not the thoughts of his failures as a Watcher—a position for which he’d been groomed from birth, and certainly not the memories of his most recent betrayals of family and responsibility. His repression skills hadn’t improved in the time since he’d left L.A. If anything, the destruction of Vale’s magic had made it impossible for him to forget.

There were so many things he wanted to forget. People he would love to forget.

As always, in these moments of nearly complete sobriety, the guilt hit him in waves, shame that he would even consider forgetting those he had failed. Faith, Connor. . . Fred. Wesley knew he didn’t deserve to forget, knew that if he spent every moment of the rest of an unnaturally long life inundated with visions of his many misdeeds and mistakes that it still wouldn’t be enough to pay for what he’d done. Not being the Watcher or the friend that Faith needed because he’d been too busy foolishly competing with Giles for power and control over Buffy; leaving Faith to be exploited and then carelessly turning her in to be slaughtered as though her failures weren’t also his.

And Faith had been the least of his triumvirate of Big Failures—at least she’d had Angel to step in and do what Wesley should have been doing all along. Connor had no one but a madman with a twisted concept of love to keep him company in a hell world and with Connor, he’d also managed to betray Angel as well and his actions had led them all on the path to his most personal loss—Fred. If he’d only believed in Angel, trusted his friends, then perhaps he wouldn’t have been manipulated into starting everything that had followed... Actions that had resulted in Angel making a deal with Wolfram & Hart to save his damaged son (a son who was only damaged because of Wesley), actions that had taken them all into belly of the beast, actions that had made Fred vulnerable to those bastards. . .

It was like this every day, every time he woke up. Soon the visions of Fred’s skin turning brittle and hard would come, her dying words would echo in his ears. Every day it was a race for oblivion before that happened.

Wesley cracked open an eye and turned his head to look at the alarm clock on the cheap nightstand. For a single moment the blurriness of the glowing red numbers confused him—perhaps he was still more intoxicated than he thought—but then he sighed and slowly reached for his glasses. He sat up and gingerly eased off of the bed, raising a hand to rub across the stubble along his chin. After a few minutes of waiting for a wave of nausea to pass, Wesley stood up and crossed to the heavy hotel draperies, cracking them open to let in a sliver of the late afternoon light. He scanned the nearly empty parking lot before turning to make his way to the wash room.

He couldn’t remember the name of the hotel, or the town. It hardly mattered. It had at least 3 establishments that catered to the only needs he indulged these days.

As he squeezed a dollop of toothpaste on his brush, a vision of Fred’s dry cracked lips flitted through Wesley’s mind and he dropped the toothbrush into the sink. Grabbing a half-empty bottle that sat next to the sink, Wesley took a quick swig.

It was past time to visit one of those establishments.