Title: Standing Offer

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Angel: the series

Rating: PG

Pairing: Angel/Wesley

Disclaimer: Joss owns, I play. He makes money, I don't get a cent and wouldn't want to.

Summary: Angel and Wesley are out stalking a demon in the woods. The cold woods.

Notes: I've never written this pairing before; hope it turned out all right!

Written for the Sneezefic Annual Challenge 2009

Standing Offer


                They had been hiking through forests for what seemed like days but was really more like hours before Angel suggested they take a seat on the nearby ledge as a lookout station. It wasn't as great a vantage point as a tall building in downtown Los Angeles, but it would do in a pinch.


                Wesley's vision through his glasses went fuzzy for a moment then ended altogether as his eyes slammed shut. “ehf'Chihh! Uh… sniff! Excuse me.” He shivered and rubbed his hands together. As that did not have as much effect hoped for, he cupped them together and blew on them to warm them up. His rogue demon hunter leather jacket looked amazing on him, and it went with the bike quite well, but it wasn't the warmest of things.


                He wished he'd stayed back in LA with Cordelia now, instead of insisting upon going Northeast into the mountains with Angel. They'd been hunting this demon since sundown and the only thing Wesley had managed to catch was a cold.


                Though, to be honest, he'd had a bit of one of those even before the hunt began, he just hadn't wanted to admit it then. “ehh-Chifffff! Ah, excuse me.”He didn't really want to admit it now, either. He took his handkerchief out of his pocket and unfolded it from a small rectangle into a larger rectangle. He dabbed a corner at his nose ruefully.


                Angel turned and inspected the man sitting beside him. “Feelin' all right?” he asked.


                Wesley nodded and waived his hand in a dismissive fashion. “Yes, yes, of course I am. It's just the temperature. I'm used to a slightly warmer climate.”


                “Being from England and all.”


                “Right, and…” He had answered quickly before he realized it didn't make any sense. “Well, no, of course. England is generally cooler and damper and… eh-heh-hehShiii!” That one had been embarrassingly high-pitched. He followed it with an embarrassed, half-laughing, “excuse me.”


                Angel looked apologetic as he put an arm around Wesley. “I'm sorry I can't warm you up any.” He pressed his lips to Wesley's temple. “I didn't bring any cold medicine either.”


                Wesley shook his head insistently. “I don't have a… a… cuh… a cuuhhhh-KTChihh!


                Squeezing Wesley's shoulder reassuringly, “Excuse you.” Angel took hold of Wesley's wrist and directed the hand still holding the pocket square up to rub at the sniffling nose. “Not a cold, then?”


                “No. Certainly noh… not.” Wesley's hand with the handkerchief cupped tightly around his nose. “ehhSihhh!” He breathed deeply. “Snff! Sniff! Rather, not much of one. Sniff! Please excuse me.”


                After a few moments, Angel released Wesley. “Let's go.”


                Wesley coughed. “Pardon?”


                “Let's go.” He stood and held a hand out. “I'll take you somewhere out of the cold and get something warm for you to drink.”


                Suddenly, tempting images of snuggling into a booth beside Angel filled his head. With an extra pair of socks and a burning hot cup of tea, nothing could have been better. Except, perhaps, lying before a roaring fire with a vampire to look after him.


                Wesley shook his head. “We came here for a reason, and I'm willing to wait this out. Sniff! If we do not find this demon, it will kill again.” Angel was about to cut him off, so he held his hand up. “That is not a possibility, it is an inevitability. As a trained watcher, I understand the most important thing is to put the situation and others first. I can put up with a little physical discomfort.”


                Angel frowned thoughtfully. Then he bent over and kissed the top of Wesley's head. “I'll be right back,” he said softly. He left and returned a minute later with a long, plaid scarf. He wrapped it around Wesley's neck once, twice, and three times. Then he sat down beside Wesley again, pulling the man close.


                Appreciatively, Wesley nuzzled into the vampire's side. “Ffannku,” he said, words muffled beneath layers of wool.


                “Have I ever mentioned how much I like your jacket?” Angel said after a while, his arm still around Wesley.


                Wesley shook his head.


                “Well I do.”


                Wesley gave him a sheepish look.


                Angel chuckled. “You can't talk with that scarf on, can you?”


                “Nuh,” Wesley tried to reply, shaking his head again. Then his body stiffened. At first, it looked as though he might sneeze, but nothing was further from the truth at this point. “Dmmin.”


                Angel's brow furrowed.


                With a sniffle and a cough, Wesley reluctantly reached up and pulled the scarf down in front, away from his mouth. “Demon,” he said, and he pointed out the unnatural movement of the trees below, as if something immense were carving a path through. His shivered and moved the scarf back into place. Then he struggled to his feet only to find Angel holding him back.


                “You should f stay. I'll handle it.” And without debate or even a word from Wesley otherwise, Angel ran down, towards the forest.


                Wesley could not possibly compete with the sort of speed a vampire possessed, but, even ill, there was nothing that could make him stay behind. He had not come all this way just to sit by helplessly, wondering what was happening below. With a deep breath, Wesley headed down after Angel.


                It took some time to get there, naturally, but when he reached the forest, he found Angel and the demon engaged in battle. They seemed evenly matched, the two of them, and it only took Wesley an instant to figure out what to do.


                A scarf was good for more than just keeping him warm. Wesley waited until Angel was on the offensive, then he spring forward. The scarf was long enough to wrap tightly around the demon's neck. There was no hope of strangling it, as its neck was as thick around as a tree trunk. But Wesley was able to pull it back far enough to get the ends of the scarf around a tree. He used all his weight as leverage to hold the demon there. It would break free in a few minutes at the most, but that was more than enough time for Angel to get the upper hand. Three blows later, the demon was a skeleton of ash.


                “Whoa.” Wesley had been expecting that, since the literature he'd read had been explicit about this particular demon's death, but apparently Angel hadn't. “That's dramatic.”


                Wesley nodded and turned, once again burying his nose into his handkerchief to muffle the uncontrollable sneezes. “ehhh-Chffff! ehhhChishffff! H'shfffff!


                Angel pulled the scarf away and shook it free of ash. He walked over and wrapped it around Wesley again. “My offer still stands.” With Angel's strong arms around him, with the scarf again covering his mouth, and with the temptation of tea, all Wesley could do was nod.