She drifts up out of sleep slowly, dimly aware of movement. She stays still; feigning sleep is the least of the skills she took from Pylea, and neither Angel nor Wesley has learned to see through it yet.

They had drifted off early that morning, each with their head pillowed on one of Angel's shoulders, holding hands across his stomach. The feel of Wesley's elegant fingers twitching as he dreamed had followed her into slumber, bracketed in the firm arc of Angel's cradling arm. They seemed to have moved during the night, though; Angel had wriggled around until she was draped over his chest, one leg slipping off to the side. The cool of the sheets-- satin sheets, and they ought to have been absurd but somehow weren't-- is just different enough from the cool of Angel's skin to register in her thoughts.

He is moving underneath her again, trying to slide out of bed without waking them. She wakes up at least half the times he does this but she never lets on-- it seems rude, when he's trying so hard. Moving with preternatural caution, he rolls her gently off his chest and into the space he's made between himself and Wesley. She lets herself sigh a bit, settling more comfortably into her place. Angel stops moving.

She has almost gone to sleep again when she feels him pull her hair back away from her face, tucking the tangled strands back over her shoulder. She can feel Wesley's breath, the warmth of him so close it prickles her cheeks, a sharp contrast with the sculpted chill of Angel's arm beneath their heads. She hears him draw and hold a breath as he eases his arm from under them, and has to stop herself from smiling at the nervous gesture. As Wesley's head drops to the pillow, he rouses a little, making a grumbling noise and moving restlessly. He settles when he's flung an arm and a leg over her, twisting his hand in the back of the old t-shirt of Angel's that she wore to sleep in. He says "applesauce," enunciated clearly in his lovely precise voice, and burrows his face into the top of her head. She can feel the cold tip of his nose on her scalp; Wesley's nose always gets cold when he's sleeping. The bed shifts as Angel leans over, whispering soothing nonsense as Wesley relaxes into deeper sleep.

She'd expected him to be a quiet sleeper, self-contained and dignified in that as in everything else, but he was surprisingly active, making small sounds and moving, sometimes talking. Angel had woken her once, gesturing for quiet, and they'd lain shaking with silent laughter as a slumbering Wesley gave a startlingly ribald lecture on demon behavior patterns, with illustrative anecdotes she's sure hadn't come from any Watcher diary. She often wonders whom he had been addressing, but he maintains that he doesn't remember what he'd been dreaming of that night. The way his earlobes turn pink when he says it makes her think he's probably lying.

She remembers when she got her first pair of glasses. She'd been excited and nervous, not really sure whether to be afraid that she'd look funny or proud that she had something so grown-up and important. She'd left the optometrist's office clutching the case tightly, her palm sweaty and sticking to the blue vinyl. Her daddy was holding the bag with little cleaning cloths and cleaning spray and a Xeroxed sheet of instructions that Dr. Moomey had given her to take home. She'd put her feet down carefully with each step, feeling as though the ground wasn't quite where it was supposed to be anymore. It wasn't until she was safely in the car that she could take her eyes off her feet and look out the window.

"Daddy!" she remembers saying. "I can see the leaves!" Because where before a tree had always meant a green blur on top of a brown stripe, now there were individual leaves, branches with bark on them, sometimes a squirrel, as though a veil had been pulled away and now a whole new part of the world was open to her. It was so beautiful.

She leans back into the crook of Wesley's arm and cups the mug of peppermint tea that Angel made for her. He settles on her other side, brushing a kiss on her temple with lips still warm from his coffee, and reaches around behind her to toy with the hair that curls into the nape of Wesley's neck.

She inhales the fragrant steam rising from her mug and smiles to herself, remembering the thrill of seeing leaves.



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