by Jennifer-Oksana

The house reeked of girl. From the very foundations up, there was the faint scent of damp hair washed too often, menstrual cycles slowly locking into sync, that particular tang of girlskin that distinguished the sexes to a vampire's nose. Chemicals and hormones and the faintest differences in blood. It was intoxicating.

Besides which, these girls mostly smelled of the sweet strangeness of Slayer. Power, too, had a smell, and it tickled the delicate little hairs of Wesley's nose. Demon. They were all demons. So distant that it couldn't be called half-breed, or even quarter-breed. More a memory than a crossbreed now.

It made his silent heart want to beat. So many little girls in the house, quivering little bodies full of wet, sweet blood and innocent desire. For some reason, it brought to mind the legend of St. Ursula and the eleven thousand virgins. A massacre. Gallons of blood to wade through.

The eleven thousand, of course, didn't have stakes waiting for one such as him. Even if he got lucky, and drove his fangs into one of those juicy young bodies, the second would make him pay for it.

He was barely sired anyway, a by-blow of Angelus' relentless lust to power. The very idea was madness. Perhaps he was mad. Angelus had left him delirious for days to come here, to feed and hunt and play with Spike, and then, when Wesley had thought himself doomed, Angelus had returned, holding something lovely and amazing and clearly dying on his arm.

"You didn't think daddy would leave you all alone to die, did you?" Angelus had asked, biting down lovingly on Wesley's shoulder as his hand fumbled with Wesley's jeans. "I tell you, it was hell finding this one, Wes. But look at her. She's luscious. I can't tell you how crazy it drove the soul, thinking of it. Smelling it on you and her."

"Lilah," Wesley had said weakly. She'd looked up at him, glassy-eyed, and smiled with utter bewilderment.

"I don't know if she recognizes you," Angelus had chuckled. "Look at that. Makes me want to sink my teeth into her just to get her wet. Think she'd get off on it?"

"Not while concussed, Angel," Wesley said, his old prissiness resurfacing at the last of it. "Or drugged, whatever the case might be."

"Drugged," Angelus laughed, knocking Wesley to the floor. "I wasn't going to miss the pre-show. Give her about fifteen minutes and we'll have a real party on our hands."

"Wesley?" someone asked, waking Wesley from his cursed memories. He looked up, recognized Dawn Summers, standing on the porch with her arms folded. "Is that you? Wesley Wyndam-Pryce? Useless Watcher guy?"

"Might be," he said, pretending to fumble with the glasses. "I've come to warn you. Angelus is loose."

"We know," Dawn said petulantly, folding her arms in a way that rather accentuated the fact that she wasn't the little girl Wes vaguely remembered from monk-implanted memories. "Spike told us. Did you get free? Spike said you might be in trouble. Like, dead in trouble."

"Fred and Gunn rescued me," Wesley said, taking care to look ashamed and slightly effeminate, the way the girl would remember. "Shouldn't you be inside? It's after dark. I'd imagine the Slayer's sister would be a valuable bargaining chip in the war."

She is so warm that Wesley imagines he can see the heat rising from her, the confusion. Something inside of her is trying to scream that Wesley is an unnatural thing, but something else is screaming that Wesley, despite his pains to appear so, is not the sissy she remembers so dimly. In fact, there is a softening of her posture, something that tells him that Little Miss Muffet is glad to see a man--any man--around the house.

"The First can talk but not touch," Dawn said, sitting down defiantly on the porch. "Besides, the Bringers are mostly ignoring us now. They've knocked down our house enough. So, want to come in or something?"

"Perhaps something," Wesley said, sitting down on the hood of Xander's car and smiling at her sadly. "Buffy must be busy, if she can't be bothered to come and worry about Angelus."

"We're insanely busy. The Potentials and all," Dawn said, crossing her legs in a way that brought the memories back into Wesley's rather addled head. Lilah had done that once upon a time, cross her legs and mean more than she was saying. But Lilah was dead now.

Then again, so was he.

"Wakey-wakey, Lilah," Angelus had whispered, pulling the terrified, half-drugged woman to her feet. "You and I have an appointment to talk, and I think the time is now."

"Go to hell," Lilah said to him hoarsely, writhing against the grip.

"Ooh, feisty," Angelus had said, putting his hand under her sweater. "Is this where the Beast got you deep? I bet you moaned for him, didn't you? I know you too well, Lilah. Always waiting to give it up to anyone who can make it hurt so good."

Wesley had watched from corner, trying to hate Angelus for this. His brain hadn't been working. There had been so much brain loss, and it was all just a pattern of color and shadow. And the smell of blood, the sound of blood as it pounded in his arteries, his temples beating staccato counterpoint to his heartbeat, such as it was.

"Fuck you," Lilah had said, spitting angrily.

"Don't have to ask me twice," Angelus said, tearing the shirt open and pulling her skirt up. "I'm going to make you scream for me, and then I'm going to suck you dry. Maybe not even in that order."

Angelus' hands had been on Lilah's breasts, squeezing cruelly as the woman screamed and struggled. Wesley had been transfixed, stuck in that corner as though his body were trapped in a blob of syrup.

"Wes? Are you with us tonight?" Dawn asked. "Jeez, you're acting creepy. Can't you come up here and sit down or something?"

"It might not be wise," Wesley said regretfully, watching the way her eyes worked. Pupils big, pupils small. And he could hear her heart beat from over here. "I've been somewhat overwrought. Angelus has left us a trail of bodies to track and I haven't been sleeping."

"Well, you're not gonna get any sleep here," Dawn said acidly, standing up and walking two steps closer to Wes. "Welcome to the Slayer boarding house and training facility. Normals like us only welcome to do the cooking and the books. But hey, I'll be the only high school drop-out to know ancient Sumerian."

Wesley smiled, a genuine smile that hurt his cheeks and jaw. "You'll never be out of work if you know Sumerian, Dawn," he said. "And if you can tolerate the rampant energy running through your home, you'll be a natural for a women's dorm in a few years. College will seem like a vacation."

"Yeah, if we survive the incidental apocalypse--and are you really just gonna stand there like a big goob?" Dawn asked.

Lilah hadn't even flinched when Wesley came out of the shadows to look at her, bruised and naked and bleeding. There was something about her that made her accept the very worst in human nature, and it twisted his stomach to even consider that this wasn't the worst she'd had handed to her.

"Shoulda guessed you'd be skulking around," she said faintly. "Make it quick, okay?"

"I'm sorry."

"You're not sorry."

"You should have run when I told you to run, Lilah," he'd said, putting his arms around her one last time.

"I don't take orders," she said, tears refusing to spill as he'd kissed her, rocking her back and forth gently. "Please don't let him kill me, Wes, please. We can fight him."

Her skin had been so soft, even bruised and scraped, and for a moment, Wesley wished he weren't dying from the lack of blood, wished that she had been anyone but the bitch queen of Wolfram and Hart. Unredeemable. Wasn't she? Wasn't she worthless but for the sweet, hot blood that saved his life, allowed him to survive even death?

Lilah had been such an attractive corpse. It had been a pity that they'd had to get rid of it.

"I should go," Wesley said, watching Dawn move gracefully toward him. Another woman, in the land of the eleven thousand virgins, and Ursula, their queen, their commander, nestled all snug with her pet vampire in her bed. He wondered if they'd ever stop smelling good, like blood and innocence and sweet desire. "Tell Buffy to please call me if Angelus makes contact, and for the love of God, don't let him in."

Dawn was suddenly standing next to him, looking at him like he was a ghost. And the monster in him was screaming for her blood, and the man as well. If only it weren't for the high chance of his death, he'd tilt that long neck toward him and let her gasp, chortle, and sigh into his arms as she fell to the ground.

"I want to come with," she said.

"I do beg your pardon?" Wesley said, wondering if he should start with the neck or try some trick with the wrist.

Her eyes were blue like the sky Wesley had forsworn. Lips the color of bubblegum, smelling of cherry-chemical lip gloss, were trembling inches from his, and Dawn's breath was ragged, reacting to the very smell of man in this nest of femininity. Spike, Andrew, and Xander were all in the house, and it seemed to mean nothing to Dawn at all. Whatever she craved, they weren't the answer.

"Take me with you through town, Wes," she said, eyes glittering feverishly. "We can look for Angelus together."

"It would be extraordinarily improper," Wesley said, eyeing the way her jeans sat on her hips, the blood just waiting to be taken. Sixteen years old. Lilah would have died laughing at this, if she weren't already food for worms and maggots.

"I knew you were a bastard pervert, Wes, but this is rather taking it to extremes, isn't it?" her little voice in his head asked as Dawn's eyelashes fluttered at him. He could almost see the capillaries in her eyelids.

"Well, yeah. But you're not going to hurt me, are you?" Dawn asked, thrusting herself a little bit closer, leading with hip and breast and Wesley shuddered back. If he touched her, Buffy would find him and kill him, no matter how many First Evils there were. "Even if you want to."

"Miss Summers, are you trying to seduce me?" he asked humorously. "Are you quite mad?"

"Duh," she said. "Girls all the time everywhere. Twenty people living in my house, all more special, more important. It's driving me out of my mind."

"Enough to flirt with strange men in your driveway?" he asked, wanting very much to run his hand over her cheek and watch her eyes flutter closed, the breath catch in her pale throat. "We've never really met, Dawn."

"No, we haven't," she agreed, hooking her fingers into his belt loops and pulling his hips against hers as her breath got harsher. "Maybe this is a cry for help. Maybe I need you to give me a stern talking-to followed by a spanking. Though not the sexy kind of spanking. Or maybe that's a cry for help, too."

"You really oughtn't trust strangers, Dawn," he murmured into her ear, hoping he isn't terribly cold. There had been a woman at the local roadhouse, but that had been forty-five minutes ago and blood didn't stay warm that long in his body. "Even if you think they're not strange."

"I'm tired of all the rules," Dawn replied, her lips finding his earlobe as her arms go around his neck. "I miss boy smells. Or just me and Buffy smells and sounds and tastes. There are too many girls. And I want something else. Something harder."

She was really rather dense, or quite suicidal. He was cold, and he knew it, but here he was with an armful of moist, tender morsel in his arm, rocking her hips against him as though she knew what to do, as though she weren't a complete innocent.

"You smell good," Wesley said softly, pulling the hair away from her neck. Hadn't Lilah looked at him the same way, her eyes widening with horror as she realized what exactly he was about to become, what sort of devil's bargain he'd made with Angelus for his own survival?

"My dear, you'd have done the same," he'd told her, watching the tears start to stream down her face. "You wouldn't have even been kind about it."

This would be kind. To make up for what he'd done to Lilah. Just a few kisses, and the almost-virgin martyr would find herself down a rabbit hole with her eleven thousand companions...

"Dawn!" someone shouted, and the spell was broken, with barely a kiss to show for it. Dawn gasped and pulled away, her hand on her mouth with her sister's injured expression on her face. The blood was sparkling on her lips. "Dawn, where are you?"

She didn't even take a moment to say goodbye before she ran.

The thing that was Wesley, had Wesley about the throat and brain, watched her flee, and laughed.

Silly girl. They really were all the same, wanting the wolf and then running away, imagining he'd be content with a few glances.

Wesley was hungry. Extremely hungry.

And she'd invited him in.


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