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14 January 2008 @ 09:23 pm
That same night...

The envelope reads: Connor Callaghan

It's from the Los Angeles Police Academy. It's definitely not for me. There's no mistake.

He stands there twitching, bouncing from foot to foot nearly in front of me, and there's Darla, hands running over our son's shoulders encouragingly.

I don't have to open the envelope to know what it says.

All the wind gets knocked out of me and I want a serious drink, prohibition be damned. I swallow hard and toss the letter on the table. "I thought you were studying for exams," I say hollowly looking at my hands braced on the table.

"I was, I did, Dad, Willow helped, I totally aced all the Academy tests, the really think I have a chance-"

"We agreed you were going to University."

"Dad, I know, I aced the exams this semester too. It wasn't easy, I couldn't have done it without Willow's help-"

"Maybe you should get a little less of Miss Rosenberg's help, and spend a little more time on your studies and not on- on-"

"What? No! You're not-"

"Liam, honey, they've already accepted him. He wants to go-"

"We agreed on University. I'm working my behind off paying for University, not for you to go out-"

"And get myself shot. Right, Dad." Sarcasm. When did he get such a mouth? He's got that look on him now, that look that says he's ready to slug me, but he's a good kid and I know he won't. Maybe if his mom wasn't around, and maybe if I had a chance to keep going, but he's already shrugging out of Darla's grasp, pulling a coat on and slamming the door. He won't be living under this roof much longer I'll wager. Which isn't what I want, none of this is what I want. But I'm a worn down detective and what else is there for me? There's more and more hopeless souls out there every day. More and more that I can't help. Not with shysters like McDonald out there, not with sewage like Lilah Morgan. I can't win, and I won't ask for this life for Connor. I won't.

Crumpling up the letter, I shrug into my own coat and give Darla a kiss on her cheek. We can't have another fight about this again. The house can't take it.

"Liam," she murmurs, curling into my space like smoke, grabbing my lapels. "He's a smart boy. You should trust his judgement. He's not a child you can protect anymore," she says quietly, turning her face away and stepping back. "Come home for dinner," she adds before slipping into the kitchen.

"I'll be home," I say gruffly to her retreating figure. I doubt I will, and she knows it. But it's her way of saying be careful, and my way of saying I will.

[Open to a certain detective...]
Current Mood: cynicalcynical
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: close upwatcher_pryce on January 15th, 2008 05:33 am (UTC)
The entire way over to Liam's house, his boy didn't speak a word. So much like his father is't both amazing and extremely annoying. Frustrating. Despite everything, I cannot help but admire Darla. She has to live with both of them *and* try to keep the peace about the house day in day out. I sincerely hope for her sake, and Willow's that it's not like this everyday. Because watching Connor sulk is not at all impressed.

Watching Liam sulk, I think with a very brief smile, might have been cute. If it weren't for the circumstances. Now if it were only Connor, I'd be keeping out of it. Mostly. This is a father and son thing, a family thing. And I'm anything but family. Just the sometimes lover who has to sneak around in the dark because he'll be dead if ever caught. I'm doing this because Willow is involved. Has nothing to do with you and Liam? Liar.

I suppose its very telling that I know exactly where to find Liam isn't it? Which is what I had indented to do, as soon as I had dropped of Connor. Once that was done, I found myself driving over to the harbor district. The more tougher part of town, where people know your name but pretend no to. Always a good place to get information. Also the perfect place to get lost, one way or the other.

Parking the car and paying off Slim - one of the many homeless - to keep an eye on it, I stride over to the Blue Belle. A strange name for a pub in such a district I've always found. But when you enter the place, you forget all about the name. And I don't mean 'enter the place' in the front door. No, the backdoor is where we want to be, the place where even one of the law can find a drink.

Spotting Liam in the back of the room, leaning morosely against the bar, indeed nursing a drink, I let out a small sigh. This is going to be hard. For both of us. For Connor and Willow as well, I can't help but think briefly. Pushing my hands in the pockets of my slack, I push my fedora back a bit and stride over to him. My hip bumps against the bar as I lean against him, staring until he finally looks up.

"I don't think you want to be here. Drinking. You could get into a lot of trouble if they catch you, Liam."
Keep Me: pb det callaghan_keep_me on January 15th, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC)
I feel the bore of a familiar stare amidst the din of the bar as I take another shot of whiskey, and I push it across the bar petulantly for another, which the bartender supplies when I give him a glare.

"Yeah, so?" I shoot another glare at the man next to me now, and take another drink just to be stubborn - only a sip this time though, not tossing it back. Leave it to Wesley Wyndam-Pryce to make me feel like a heathen without even trying. God, I haven't tasted whiskey in years. And here I am throwing it all away just for a few shots of the stuff.

I rub my hand absently over bruised knuckles, a cut on one just now stopping its trickle of blood. "Plenty of other things to get in trouble for," I mumble, but I know it's plain enough for him to hear. And plain enough that he should know I'm not talking about just beating up a few thugs as my hands plainly show. My eyes sear into his, and I scoot my barstool back roughly, defiantly, and move away from him to a booth in the back. As if he's not going to follow me. Wesley hates games though, so it's in the cards that he won't. Maybe he'll just leave me alone and let me do this.

But knowing Wesley? He's on a mission and he can be a tenacious son of a bitch when he wants to be. Not that I'd ever be calling him that to his face.

He's going to get killed is what keeps running through my mind. Has been all evening, is still running right now. My only son - my only child - and he's going to get himself killed. And it's all my fault. I'm not blind. I know he's following in my footsteps. I also know it's got to be some kind of thing to prove himself to me. But god damn it all, he never needed to prove himself! He's my son!

I look across the table stoically, numb, and not giving much of a damn about what Wes might say. If we've had this talk once, we've had it a million times. I sigh and stare at the last of the whiskey in my shot glass.
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: Red Shirtwatcher_pryce on January 15th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
"I see."

Oh good bloody god. As if dealing with Connor hasn't been enough already. Driving the boy home had been pure frustration. The sulk, the pout, that 'the whole world is against me' attitude. And now here we have one Liam Callaghan having the exact same problem. Like father like son indeed. The only difference is that Liam's an adult.

One who's behaving like an arse and playing games. He should know by now that he's barking up the wrong tree with it comes to that. I narrow my eyes and watch his childish retreat but make no move to follow him. I don't play games, I don't follow after anyone. Not even Liam. This isn't my problem, not really. Probably should stay out of it.

I promised Willow though. However, with the mood Liam's currently sporting I could stand naked in front of him and he'd still sulk and not listen. Not sure what that says about me... As if you have any right to think in such terms.

Wonderful, now I need a drink too. If Liam is walking away from *me*, then that's his problem. I couldn't get a more clear signal. Shrugging, I turn my back to him and signal the bartender. A Whiskey would go down well right about now. Or maybe a Scotch. "Scotch," I murmur gruffly when the man approaches. He doesn't waste any time and moments later I'm leaning against the bar, glass in hand, sipping a forbidden substance.

And watching. Watching him, watching him sulk, watching him in pain, watching him not understanding but wanting to. There's nothing I can do however when he's like this. He wouldn't listen. He *isn't* listening, he made that quite clear when he walked away from me. So watching out for him seems like the next best thing to do.
Keep Me: pb det callaghan_keep_me on January 15th, 2008 11:02 pm (UTC)
I stare at the glass sparkling on the wooden table top for what seems like an eternity, and then finally realize that Wes isn't coming over.

All right...

I guess he really is going to leave me alone. Who would have thought? Aside from me a few minutes ago. Not that I really believed he would. I blink at the glass half empty expecting it to give me the answers I'm looking for. Of course, it doesn't, but the burn down the back of my throat says it'll dull the thoughts running through my head. You know what else works? A good brawl.

You could get arrested, a little voice tells me. But who's going to call the cops? The place is illegal, nobody here is going to want it shut down.

Plunking down my now empty glass and standing up from the table, I saunter over and step right into the middle of a nice little billiards game. I 'borrow' the cue from the man closest and sink a ball without a word. Of course the rat with the money on the shot goes ape and I can't help but smirk as he throws the first punch.

It's all a blur until there's yelling and men on the floor and someone lands a punch that has my cheek stinging like nothing else. The bartender is already reaching under the bar for something to put a stop to this, but I can't find it in me to stop when the next man comes at me. Why bother?

My son's going to be gone tomorrow, I can feel it in my gut, and then either he's going to disappear and never speak to me again, or I'm going to find him in a gutter, victim of something a lot worse than a father dead in a bar brawl.

Darla will kill me for sure for driving our son away, and every time my fist collides with someone else, I can hear her, that night she went into labor while we waited for the midwife, squeezing my hand tighter than any mob goon: This child, Liam, it's the one good thing we ever did together. You make sure to tell him that..
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: I'm no superman S5watcher_pryce on January 16th, 2008 05:12 am (UTC)
In retrospect, I suppose I should have expected this. But this is really so unlike Liam that it his next move takes me by surprise. I'm half tempted to just up and leave, let him have his problems he so desperately seems to want. What happened to this rational, sensible man? I don't understand this at all. All this because his son has been accepted at the academy?

And since when did violence... alright I'm not touching that one. That would be sort of hypocritical wouldn't it? But goddamnit, he's giving me a bloody headache!

Sipping my drink, I sigh and shake my head when he gets deeper and deeper into the fight. Why is he doing this to himself? Is it really so bad to talk to me? Is that it? All this because I came to look for him? What is he trying to prove with this stupid move? Death wish, I never knew he had one. Nor did I realize he thought so little of his job that he'd risk it like this. As if his bosses *wouldn't* hear about this. Small world we live in, you know.

I'm seeing a whole different side of Liam I'm pretty sure I don't like. At all. No, I'm not liking this version of Liam in the slightest. Of course the fact that I do know the other Liam is the only reason I haven't just upped and walked away. In fact, after a while I find myself putting my drink down, glaring at the bartender enough for him to put the gun away and then stomp over to there.

And the first thing that greets me is a fist in my face from Liam himself. Not once, but twice. Talk about going mad. Growling, I pick myself up from the floor, extremely pisses off now. I move to stand in front of him, bleeding lip, throbbing cheek and flashing angry eyes. At least I'm better off the most of the chaps he's been at. There are more and more of them gathering, so getting him out of here seems more then prudent. Before they turn on both of us.

"Go ahead," I growl, making sure he knows who's standing in front of him. Watching him with his fist raised, ready to strike out again. "Hit me again, since you seem so keen on it. Maybe you're lucky and punch me out this time, would that solve your problem? Stop it, Liam and get your arse outside. *Now*!" I finish in a tone of voice that leaves *no* room for arguments.

I'm so angry with him right now, I might just hit him right back if he opens his mouth to show me *more* of that appalling attitude. "This isn't you, Liam. Get outside. I'm not joking, you selfish git. think about your wife and son!" What are they going to do if he ends up in jail, or comes home drunk every night. He'll lose the job he's worked so hard for, and then what? Or worse, what'll they do if he's dead due to an extremely stupid, unneeded pub brawl.
Keep Me: pb det callaghan_keep_me on January 20th, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC)
They keep coming at me, big target that I make, and I keep punching them. My hand's starting to swell, and there blood from a cut over my eye clouding my vision. Not to mention some tears I think. Again. Not again. Wes is always here to see me at my worst.

After that Preston case that it took him to solve, and then there were a couple cases before that... I'm washed up. I'm washed up. They're going to fire me next time, I'd wager. Is this what Connor wants to look forward to?

I simultaneously get a beer to my face and feel someone behind me, making me automatically whirl and punch, and punch again just to make sure the sucker's out. I can't see a damn thing, but I can hear him drop like a stone.

While he's out, I wipe my face on my sleeves, the alcohol making my eyes burn and tear up more. It's not until I hear a growl next to me that I know who I've just decked.

I'm still squinting and blinking and trying to get him to focus, but even the barest glimpse tells me Wes is furious. Beyond furious. I don't think I've ever seen him this angry.

He tells me to think about my family, but the anger in his eyes sends a chill down my spine. I can't lose Wesley now too. I can't. He's... I don't know what I would do without him.

I nod though, and do my best to duck around the fight, getting shoved along the way, but conveniently toward one of the well-hidden side doors out to the alley.

My eyes are still burning and my face must be a mess, but the cool air sobers me up. Not that I really needed sobering up since I'm far from drunk, but...

I slump against the nearest wall, brick digging into my back here and there. Wes follows not long after, and he still looks like he might kill me. "You okay?" I ask, trying to figure out if an apology would do me any good.
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: Wes broodwatcher_pryce on January 21st, 2008 05:09 am (UTC)
That'll be a bloody lovely shiner in the morning. At least I don't have a wife to explain how I got a swollen lip and a black eye. Liam on the other hand does, and considering the state he was in when he ran out of the house? You can bet your arse Darla is going to be mad as Hell. I doubt she'll be as mad as I am though, she seems to forgive quite a lot when it comes to Liam.

I fully expected him to hit me again, with as far gone as he was. But as I'm standing there, eyes shooting fire, bracing myself, he does the un-expected. That's Liam for you, I cannot help but think. Always doing the expected for everyone but me. No. I get the un-expected that is part of Liam Callaghan. The exact part I don't really know how to handle.

Sighing, I drop my own fist and follow him outside. I stop by the bar on my way out, leaving a few threats, just in case. Just in case they think Liam is going to pay the bill. He should, I know that. He's bloody well going to pay his part in this. What the hell was he thinking? Staring a brawl like that! That wasn't the reason I stopped by Jake, the owner.

No, I had to make sure he kept his mouth shut about what really happened. The last thing I want, on top of everything, is Liam loosing his job over something this--this *stupid*.

When I finally stumble outside after him, the cold air stings my face. As I pull out my handkerchief, I take a few breaths of fresh, cool air. Doesn't do much to calm me down though. Liam's slumped against the wall, looking slightly dazed. His eyes are soon clearing now that we're outside, but my anger isn't going anywhere.

"Pardon?" I ask, my tone clipped, accent more pronounced. Cordelia always said that was a sure way to tell I was furious. I guess she was right. Dabbing the blood away from my lip, I come to a halt in front of him, narrowed eyes looking down. "Do you care? Don't tell me you didn't enjoy taking a bloody good hit at me in there, Liam."
Keep Me: pb det callaghan_keep_me on January 21st, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
My own handkerchief is trying to wipe the various liquids out of my eyes. I'm lucky Wes didn't try to get a punch in while he could. Christ, my eyes are burning. I shake my head and hear the slam of the door next to me.

His first words of course are full of rancor, only with that classy British voice it almost sounds even more polite. I suck in a deep breath of cold air. God, if I lose him too...

"I couldn't see you," I say, my voice rumbling deep in my chest like I'm trying to growl at him. "It was instinct. I was blind and you were coming up behind me." Now would be the time for an apology Liam. A very good time. Suck it up, old man.

"Didn't think you'd get involved," is what comes out instead. My sorry rear on the line, I don't have too many friends these days and Wes can't afford the bad press. "What are you doing here anyway?" I ask, somehow still not apologizing while I try to soak up some of the blood still running into my eye. Yeah, both of those sound like real apologies. Be a man, Callaghan.

"I'm- Damn, Wes, I'm sorry about the shiner," I mumble, genuinely contrite if not feeling like a fool and a mercenary for just punching without looking.
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: Hand facewatcher_pryce on January 21st, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
Ignoring the rather pitiful excuses, I keep looking at him. Or rather glaring at him. Lips pressed together in a thin line show my obvious disgust at the whole matter. I'm still not sure what he was trying to accomplish by getting into a incredibly stupid fight, like some teen-ager would do. Will that convince Connor not to go to this academy? I highly doubt that.

"Trying to keep you out of trouble," I reply when he asks what I'm doing here. "And obvious useless, wasted and failed attempt," I cannot help but add, sarcasm dripping from every word. Of course I could have said I was here to gain information for something or other, which is something that wouldn't even dawn on Liam here.

But why lie? That would not accomplish *my* goal, though by now I'm rather in the dark what my goal was again. Talking to him is quite clearly not going to get me anywhere. Good lord.

A sigh gets out when he finally manages to mumble something resembling an apology. I put my handkerchief away and crouch down in front of him. "Really," I murmur dryly, still not wholly convinced he's actually sorry. I'm thinking there have been many times he'd liked to have hit me, so something inside of him might feel rather good about finally doing it. Flimsy excuse or not.

"May I require," I ask, skirting past the apology as I my eyes still shoot fire at him, "what in the bloody hell you were trying to accomplish with that foolish act? Did it make you feel better? Will it stop Connor from leading his own life? What? Liam? What in gods name were you thinking, you complete wanker?!"
Keep Me: ang sad_keep_me on January 21st, 2008 11:04 pm (UTC)
I grit my teeth while he simply glares at me the way he does. The way that could make even the most hardened criminal feel like an imbecile and a screw-up. And a less hardened one cower in the corner. Good thing I know Wes a little bit. He's furious. At me. But I don't think he's going to kill me. Yet.

He says he's here to keep me out of trouble, and I look at him queerly. How did he know I was in trouble? Did he stop by the house? He never does that unless Willow's over and he's come to escort her home. He avoids Darla like the plague, I've seen it. "How did you know?" I murmur, looking at him a bit in ador- No, not like that at all. I close my face off. He's angry, he doesn't want to see my moony looks.

Running a hand over my face again, eyes probably puffy and bloodshot, I lean both hands on my knees, surprised when I see Wes' face crouching in front of me. "Really," I say, looking at the ground next to his foot. If he's going to tell me what a screw up I am then he'd better do it and run along.

I look at him for a long time when he asks me why the hell I did it in a few more words. My eyes memorize high cheekbones, slim pink lips, an arched eyebrow. Little lines around his mouth and eyes where you can see the time is beginning to pass. "Why do you keep fighting the good fight, Wes?" I ask him, hand moving from my knee to touch him and then aborting when I remember we're in public and he's mad.

"Don't you ever think it's all pointless?" I ask him quietly. I know. Blasphemy. A cop who's given up, washed up, washed out. I can't keep fighting only to hand my son the same fight. I was supposed to clean things up for him, give him a city he could be proud of. But he's only going to see one that's exactly the same as it ever was. And what can I do? I'm only one man. And so far? What have I accomplished?
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: I'm no superman S5watcher_pryce on January 22nd, 2008 05:36 am (UTC)
"Does it matter?" I ask, wondering why he has to reply to every one of my questions with one of his own. It's annoying, it's also typical Liam. Doesn't make it less annoying. And as much as I *wasn't* in the mood for his games before the fight? I'm most definitely not in the mood for it now. Especially not if he gets on his high horse of woe.

That sigh I've been trying to keep from getting out gets out anyway at his next questions. It takes everything I have not to just get up and walk away right then and there. In fact I'm still surprise when I don't, wondering what's wrong with *me* for not doing so.

Glutton for punishment I guess. I've done something fundamentally wrong, for years. Something like that never goes unpunished. So how ironic is it, that Liam is going to be the punisher.

"You're doing it again," I murmur, eyes flashing to his hand. They narrow when he drops it and I'm not sure if I wanted him to touch me or not. But my body, as on reflex, leans back from him just a little. "Don't answers my questions with a counter question, Liam. I hate it when you do that, and right now you really don't want me any *more* pissed off then I already am," I assure him.

Getting up from my crouch, I move away from him a bit, pacing the alley. Hands push deep into their pockets, fingering the bloodied handkerchief. "Answer me, Liam. What were you thinking you'd accomplish by doing this? Does your family really mean that little to you?" I turn around to face him, eyes boring into him. "Do you even know how *lucky* you are to have a family? One who's so proud of you? You have no idea, do you?"
Keep Me: pb det callaghan_keep_me on January 26th, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
"I'm trying to answer your question," I grit out, wiping the remaining blood from my cut forehead with annoyance. Shifting back when he pulls away, I lean back against the uneven wall feeling like a caged tiger at Wesley's sharp words and even sharper stare. Rubbing my hand over my bruised knuckles, I try to find the right words. I know he doesn't understand but... I have to try. I can't- What if he gives up on me too?

"Proud of me?" I nearly laugh. "I've already driven Connor away, he's going to run, I know it. Darla's never going to speak to me again. That family? That pride?" I say to him in disbelief, eyes closing as I let my head drop back against the brick. Not a wise move when Wesley is this pissed, but if he wants to hurt me then... I probably deserve it right now.

"What else do I have left? Not my career, Wes. I haven't had a collar in months. The bosses are looking at me. I help one person, ten more bad guys crop up. And this is what Connor wants to join? This is what I'm leaving to my son?" I say finally looking at him again, eyes dark and defeated. The only thing I have left is Wes and he won't hear it. Probably won't even let me say it. Wouldn't believe it anyway.

So a little brawl hardly seems important. I run a hand over my face and stuff my hands in my coat pockets. I should get out of town. Let Connor have his life. Let Wes move on.
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: Hand facewatcher_pryce on January 27th, 2008 12:05 pm (UTC)
Oh for... If Connor was really as mad as Liam makes it out to be, then he wouldn't have come to see Willow. Then he most certainly wouldn't have let me drive him home. As for Darla? The less I think about her, the better. Because I know this woman loves him more then... I ever could ...then anything. He saved her, just as she saved him.

With a roll of my eyes I turn my back at him, staring at the opposite wall. What I wouldn't give to have what he has. A son who may be angry with him now, but who's so proud of his father he wants to do what he does. Why can't Liam see that? And a wife who'll forgive him anything and would love him even if...even if she found out about his other side.

"Are you done?" I ask calmly when he's finally stopped talking and laughing bitterly. "I can talk to you until I'm blue in the face, Liam," I tell him quietly, turning around to face him. "You *never* listen. All you want to hear is your own pain and damn anyone who might be looking at it reasonable."

He certainly has a flair for the dramatics, I'll give him that. I'm also very much *not* in the mood for that right now. "Your son is so proud of you, his father, that he wants to do the same job you do. All he wants is your approval, for you to look at him proudly and say 'well done, son'. Is that *really* so bloody hard for you? It obviously is, because what do you do? You belittle him, put him down and tell him he's not going to be allowed to do it. You're basically telling him he's not good enough."

And don't I know *all* about that. Right now, Liam reminds me a little bit to much of my own father. And this is not a good thing. "Instead of stomping around like some bloody drama queen, how about you look at what you *do* have, Liam. Because there are a lot of people who'd give anything to have what you have, you complete wanker." I would give anything to have what he has.

"But since you're to busy drowning your supposed sorrows and never listen to me anyway? I'm wasting my breath." My eyes narrow as I stare at him for a moment, then I turn around on the balls of my feet and stalk to the exit of the alley.

"Don't know why in blazes I bothered to come looking for you," I mutter, wishing I'd remembered where I parked my car in my haste to get to Liam. Before it was to late. Hah, and isn't that a joke as well. Liam was never mine, not really, so I couldn't ever be on time either.
Keep Me: pb det callaghan_keep_me on January 27th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
I blink at Wes when I hear the bitterness in his tone. What? Why is he the one that's so upset? I'm the one who's life is going down the john. He sounds worse off than me right now and I have to wonder how that happened.

"I- No-" I try to say, but I trail off with a cold feeling in my belly. I wasn't trying to say that. Not at all. I wasn't. I just couldn't stand it if I lost Connor. A parent shouldn't outlive their child. But Connor's smart, I know that much - got it from his mom, I'm sure - and he's a good kid. Maybe- Maybe Wes is right and I have been underestimating him. Because he'd probably be a great cop with the way he's been so dedicated to getting in.

And I barely even noticed. Have I been looking at this all wrong this whole time?

Here I am left wincing at the rest of Wes' words. Christ in heaven, I am an idiot.

Taking a few unsteady steps towards the mouth of the alley, I watch Wes leaving angrily. "You think he'll come home?" I say quietly, looking at Wes's stiff back as he's about to round the corner. "Do you think he'll forgive me?" And if Wes was as smart as I always think he is, he'll know I don't mean just my son. I mean him too, because if nothing else I can't lose Wes in all of this. I want to take him home, get some ice on that eye and thank him for coming after me. I don't know how he knew, but I'm glad he did.
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: WWPwatcher_pryce on January 27th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC)
His voice is so quiet that I actually have to stop walking to hear it over the sound of my own foot-steps. I wreck my brain trying to find I've already told him Connor is home, but I can't remember. Why would he think Connor wouldn't be home at any rate? The boy doesn't strike me as the usual run away.

I pause at the corner and turn around to face him. The mask by now is firmly in place, now showing him any sort of emotions. I hardly ever do, but around him there's far more danger of that mask slipping. Even more so when we're... sneaking around in the shadows. Hiding what we are, what we do.

"He's already home," I inform him, "he came to see Willow. We had a talk and I drove him home." Or I had a talk, Connor is as good as listening as if father is. If not worse. Good lord, he most certainly inherited that god-awful trade from his father. "That's when I figured you'd be roaming around out here somewhere as well. He's very much his father's son."

Pushing my hands in my pockets I narrow my eyes at him and sigh. "Go home, Liam. Go talk to you son and tell him you're proud of him. Tell him-- Tell him you love him. Don't make the mistake so many others have." Don't end up with a son who hates you and a broken family.
Keep Me: pb det callaghan_keep_me on February 16th, 2008 01:54 am (UTC)
The next minute seems like five. Like ten. I don't realize I'm holding my breath until it all comes whooshing out in relief. He's not going to leave you.

My face screws up in confusion though when Wes says that Connor's already home. How does he know that? Oh. Really? "He let you talk?" I say, somewhat baffled since Connor likes to have the last word. Connor must actually respect Wesley or something.

"I- Thanks. For talking to him. And- You know." Caring enough to come look for me. "For in there. For-" not giving up on me.

I trudge over closer to him at the mouth of the alley, my knee twinging in pain all of a sudden. Someone must have got a good kick in. Hit my bad knee too. Damn this getting old. "You should let me look at that eye. We should probably get you some ice on it," I say gruffly, trying not to favor one leg over the other. Thankfully, I think my forehead has stopped bleeding. Darla's going to love me for getting blood on my clothes. Among other things. No idea what I'm going to say to Connor yet, but I hope whatever I say comes out as good as what Wes told me to say.
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: Red Shirtwatcher_pryce on February 16th, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
It wasn't as if Connor had much of a choice when he let me talk. He couldn't bloody well walk away could he? Though, his talking back to me wasn't really appreciated. Liam and his wife raised him well, but this rebellious streak is going to get the boy into trouble sooner or later.

And of course Connor wasn't about to embarrass Willow, or walk out on her. He has more class then that. He's a good boy, once he gets his head out of arse. Just like his father needs to get his out of there as well.

"I shouldn't be the one talking to him, Liam," I say, letting him know exactly what I think of the fact that he hasn't been doing at such. "You both have a hot headed temper. I suggest you curb yours or you'll only aggravate him more. End up loosing him, Liam. Don't make that mistake."

I watch him hobbling closer, knowing there's going to be a very worried and very angry Mrs. Callaghan soon. Actually, worse then she already is no doubt. I don't envy her-- when I can get past the guilt I feel toward her that is.

"My eye is fine," I tell him, taking a step away. I know him, he'd reach to touch it automatically. Just what we don't need right now. Not here. "I'll put some ice on it at home." And get a lecture from Willow, and one from William just because he can. Git.

"Go home, Liam. Make things right with your son." With your wife, hangs in the air as well, but I can't get it past my lips. "I'll-- " be seeing you soon, hopefully. Be in touch? Call you? Neither things I can say. "-- see you around."

Another once over is given his body, almost as though I want to sear him into my memory. Then I turn around, push my hands into my pockets and go in search of my bloody car. Wait. With as much as Liam has been drinking, he shouldn't be driving. Is he even with his car?

Never mind.

Dammit! Why do I keep finding ways to stay with him longer. I'm such a fool! Just keep going, walk away, idiot. He doesn't need me, he has his family. He'll be fine, they'll be happy and proud and... just walk away. I can be with him hidden in the dark, hiding from shame, that's all I can have.
Keep Me: ang alley_keep_me on February 16th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
I nod mutely when he says I should be the one talking to Connor. He's right, I know he's right, but... I thought I *was* talking to him. Only...it looks like I was talking to him exactly the way my father talked to me.

It shouldn't hurt when he steps back to a more appropriate distance, but it does. After everything, and knowing what I know about the world, what people are like, I should be able to take gestures like that better. I should just file them under Wesley watching out for us. For me. But it still hurts to see him move away from me. And makes the moments when I can touch him all the more bittersweet.

So I don't move forward, but- I want to. I set my mouth in a line when he pushes me off with words as well. So prickly, so hard to get close to. But all it does is scream to me that he really does wish he had someone to get close to. Maybe he'll find a nice girl he can be comfortable with, if not love some day. Maybe Cordy even, though he's probably not her type- and ow! Shit. My knee buckles but I manage not to go down.

He turns his back and I know I'm on my own. As I so often am after we somehow manage to collide. I try to take a few more steps, but damn if my knee isn't shooting pain everywhere. I may have managed to walk here in my angry stupor, but there's no way I can walk back, and my last two bits went to the bartender. All of it.

"Wesley?" I call after his fading back. "Could I- Would you mind giving a guy like me a ride?" Yeah, I hate having to ask for anything, but if this will keep me closer to Wesley for a little while, it's worth sacrificing my pride a little, right?
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: Wes broodwatcher_pryce on February 17th, 2008 10:40 am (UTC)
Just keep walking, I keep telling myself. Just keep walking. If only I could remember where I parked my bloody car before I was in such a rush to get to Liam. Liam, it always comes down to Liam. I hear he's in trouble and come running. Like the boyfriend I shouldn't be, can't be, am not allowed to be. It should be Darla here, not I. It's her right to have this talk with her husband.

And yet, she's not here. With what she's been before, she must know where to look for him. She has to know. And yet, she's not here. Why? Or maybe it's just my jealous side trying to find fault where there is none. Still, she wasn't here and I was. Got a black eye to show for it too-- and a sermon from William and Cordelia in the morning to boot no doubt.

Oh. There it is. Hmmm, not all that far away. I guess I hadn't noticed the lucky spot I managed to get in my haste. I quicken my pace toward the car, wanting to get out of here as fast as possible. The more I linger here, the more chance there is for my making a mistake. Can't afford to make a mistake. A mistake could ruin Liam's career. And Liam himself isn't very careful right now and-- calling me?

"What?" I blurt out, a frown appearing on my face as I turn around to look at the hobbling man. Oh dear me, Darla is going to kick his rear. And his boss is going to not only kick his rear, but tear him a new one as well. "Did you walk here?" I ask, wondering if perhaps for once in his bloody life the man is showing some sense. Getting into the car, I nod gruffly to the passenger side as my eyes follow his every move.
Keep Me: pb det callaghan_keep_me on February 22nd, 2008 03:10 am (UTC)
Oh, thank Christ he stopped. I was damn near worried he was going to drive off without me, but thankfully...

"Walked, ran, punched a few people...yeah," I say, biting back a wince as I hobble closer to the car. I wait for a moment, not exactly sure if he's offering me a ride or another lecture.

There's a curt little nod though and it makes me want to fly into the passenger seat before he can change his mind. But I settle for slowly limping and easing into the seat once I've stopped heavily leaning on the door, and picking my leg up and into the car to keep the stress off my knee.

"Thanks," I say quietly, glancing over at Wesley and wondering how we're going to survive a drive together cramped up in this tin can with such close quarters and no real privacy in sight.

"Maybe we should stop at your place, get some ice on that first," I say after I've sat there looking at his eye and just knowing it's going to swell and turn purple be morning. Should really get that iced, at least he might be able to see out of it tomorrow if we cut back on the swelling quick. "I don't mind waiting," I add, looking away and out the window just because. Wesley can be a strange duck about people looking at him. Gets him nervous at times, I think. I'd offer to let Darla look at it - she's certainly nursed her fair share of shiners - but we all know how that will go over.
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: close upwatcher_pryce on February 22nd, 2008 05:30 am (UTC)
If I grip the car any tighter, it's going to break. Not something I can afford, the damn thing is expensive enough as it was. Is. Still is. But watching him hobble down the street either makes me want to go there and kick his arse myself... Or worse, go there and worry about him all the way. Can't do either, it's not my right. All I can do is over the bloody git a drive home and not worry at all.

"Hm," I grunt when he finally gets into the car. Squeezes into it as though I drive a very tiny car. I may be tall, but Liam's very much a bulk of a man. I should know... Stopping that thought right there. Dammit. Should've let him walk home, that ought to teach the stupid hothead a lesson. Why must he fly off the handle everytime things don't go his way? And why do I rush over to get him out of that pickle everytime?

Starting the car, I frown when I feel him looking at me. My eyes dart from the front to the side a bit nervously, wondering what he's looking at. Moving my eye seems to be a bad mistake. That *is* going to be a pretty colorful one to look at tomorrow. I've had worse though, far worse, which he knows. So no, we're not going to take care of that first.

"Its fine," I say gruffly, pulling away from the curb. He should worry about it just a little bit, considering the sod put it there. The next we're together he can fuss over it-- and moving away from *that* thought as well. Goddamnit, this has to stop. These thoughts have to stop. Now. This can't go on, we've been doing fine sneaking around for so long now. Well, not fine but...

Everything is changing and I don't know why.

"I'll drop you off on the corner of your house," I say, wondering if dropping him off in front of it would make Darla wonder. Or maybe I'm just being paranoid. I've no idea. "You have to talk to Connor, though, Liam."
Keep Me: pb det callaghan_keep_me on February 23rd, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
"I will," I say finally, when he chastises me about Connor. As if he thinks his advice is going to be ignored and he's going to be at this again in a few weeks; rescuing me and talking to my son for me. ...Which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, I don't think. Connor, like his old man has a habit of blocking out certain people like it's second nature. Me, he rarely listens to, so maybe he needed someone not me to talk to for a second. "I'll talk to him at breakfast, it's late. I don't want to wake him," I say, hoping that passes Wesley's judgment.

"And that doesn't look fine," I say, glancing at him and resting my arm on the door. "It's not out of our way to stop at your place and put some ice on it for a little while. It'll save you a swollen shut eye tomorrow," I point out, for some reason fighting the inevitable of going home. I don't know what it is, but I get in Wesley's company for a longer length of time and I want to stay in it.

"You should really let me take a look at it. It's my mess after all," I add wondering if he'll let me have my guilt. "It's the least I can do," I add quietly over the noise of the motor, staring out the window at the buildings and houses we pass. "Or you could just pull over for a second and let me look at it." I want to make sure you're okay.

I shift in my seat, feeling cramped even though his car isn't so small. I feel like every bump and pothole is going to make our shoulders brush together if it weren't for me keeping a tight rein of control over myself. Besides, if I didn't, we'd be necking, stopped dead in the middle of the road.
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: I'm no superman S5watcher_pryce on February 23rd, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
This close. *This* close to pulling the car over and telling him to walk - limp - all the way home if he keeps fussing about that eye. I know I thought he should do that at least a little bit. But can't he do that in silence? We're not going to waste any more time on something that's not important. My eyes is not important, getting Liam home is very important. I'm guessing by now Darla must be very worried. And so's Connor who I know to be home waiting for his father as well.

"It's *fine*," I grit when he keeps on nagging about my eye. Taking the corner of the next street perhaps a little bit to sharply, I glare at him as much as I currently can. Letting him know that I'm aware of what he's trying to do. Oh, don't get me wrong, I know he may be worried about that eye just a little bit. But he's also using it, using me, so he doesn't have to go home right away.

And that is something I'll never understand. Not will I ever understand why he's hiding in the shadows, doing things the good god fearing people of this city will condemn if they knew, when he has such a lovely family at home. A wife who loves and adores him. A son who loves and looks up at him very much. Everything I once wanted but knew I could never have.

Of course, I will never say this to him, not even when we're fighting.

"Yes, Liam," I sigh, nearly rolling my eyes again. "It is your mess," Oh in so many more ways then one, "but stop it about my eye, please." And stop giving me that bloody lost puppy dog look when I say things like that. A sigh gets out while I try to ignore him and keep driving on. He just keeps looking though until I can't take it anymore and angrily pull over to the side into a shaded part of the street.

Turning in my seat, I glare at him, lips pressed into a thin line. "It's *fine*, Liam," I once again inform him, "I've far worse, you know that. On the grand scale this barely even registers. Now stop worrying." Or feeling guilty-- well, maybe he should feel guilty for a little while. Maybe that'll make him pause and think before the next tamper tantrum.

Keep Me: pb det callaghan_keep_me on February 24th, 2008 02:05 am (UTC)
Woah. Wes might actually be trying to glare me to death, I think. Or he would be if-

Woah, double woah! Wesley takes the next corner like we're on a police chase and my shoulder rams right into his despite my best efforts. There's a zing of something at the contact, just like there always is, and I have to literally shake myself to keep myself from doing something stupid. Even with the alcohol I've drunk, I know I can't...

Straightening my coat and myself, I give him him my own sideways glance. Just wondering what that was all about. I mean, really all that over me fussing about his eye? I just give him as much of a look as I can. Boy, and I thought I didn't take people fussing over me that well. I guess all those years of Darla licking my wounds rubbed off and I give into it now. But not Wesley, no never Wesley.

I just keeping peering over at his face now and then, wondering if there's a way I can maybe sneak some ice out to the car for him but- Oh, woah again. Looks like we're stopping. I brace my hands against the dash as it all happens suddenly and then he's lecturing me.

Turning, he's staring me head on and looking really piqued. I can't help it, I hate seeing him injured, and if he's not going to let me get some ice on it--

Without thought to the consequences from Wesley, but still glancing around the darkened, shaded street for pedestrians, I reach out and take both sides of Wesley's face in my hands. And lean in and kiss him into silence.
Wesley Wyndam-Prycewatcher_pryce on February 24th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
Turning angrily in the car seat to face him, I just keep glaring at him. Wondering what he'd going to do next. No doubt reach out and touch that damn black eye to make sure it's not-- falling out or some such. My back goes ridged in anticipation of that, all ready to pull my head out of his grip should he try to do that. We may be in the shadows - Aren't we always? - but it's still...

... That? That I wasn't expecting. Him reaching out with both his hands to take hold of my face is enough to stop my rant and look at him alarmed. Him leaning in and kissing me is more then enough to stop my thinking entirely. Bastard. Bastard! He knows that! He knows what that does to me! He knows it! Why is he doing this now? Why is he doing this in goddamn *public*? Doesn't he know the dangers? He knows what could happen if he gets-- If he'd stop.

The one hand still resting on the steering wheel is grabbing it so hard it turns as pale as a ghost would be. My other hand comes up to his shoulder, fully intent on shoving him away. Instead my own body betrays me and pulls him closer, a groan escaping in this his mouth while he keeps on kissing me. It's not until then that I realize I'm bloody well frantically kissing back.

Whatever is left of my brain must've finally kicked in, because I finally manage to push him away. Though not in the angry way I had tried to do. No it's a gentle shove while I stare at him with wide eyes and an open mouth. Whatever words I would want to pour out, lecturing him about this sort of behavior-- don't come out at all. "Bloody hell, Liam," I whisper instead, clearly shocked by this turn of events.
Keep Me: pb det callaghan_keep_me on February 25th, 2008 03:54 am (UTC)
At first I'm not sure if he's going to let me, he's so stiff, so distant, but he gives in sooner than I think even he realized. And then he's mine, all mine-- No. He's here. With me. Kissing back, clinging- Clinging, well, as much as Wesley would ever let himself, and I realize how long all these weeks have been since that last night in the Sandy Pearl motel. There's been so much water under the bridge since then and I don't even know where to start on how to make it up to him.

His hand on my shoulder sears me, just like the heat of his groan against my mouth. I swallow it, giving him a quiet, rough one back, sure that if I let go of any more of my control it won't be just kisses. As it is, his mouth meets every change in pressure, every slip, every twist of my tongue like he's the part of me that's missing when I'm alone.

I'm panting for air when Wes finally gets a hold of himself and pushes me back. Not as forcefully as I expected. Just...so open. And for a few moments I can see him. See all of him even in the dim light here. A glimpse of Wesley Pryce's soul.

"No more talking," I murmur just as softly as his British tones, pulling him back to me again. It's not time. I can't go home yet. I know there's so little I can give him - so little I'm allowed to give him - but just this much. This much I can do.

Soft hand at his waist, light grip on the back of his neck, and I can feel his breath on my lips again before I close the gap between us. And what a gaping abyss it is. So many things between us, keeping us apart. But I want to keep bridging. Keep walking over it if it means being close to him. If it means kissing him until I feel whole again. Or even if means me falling, falling apart.
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: Cannot do this on my own S5watcher_pryce on February 25th, 2008 05:12 am (UTC)
No. No, no, no! We cannot do this! Not here, sitting in a car. On an open street where anyone could walk by and anyone could see. It would ruin is career! A pub brawl he can explain away, an informant with a fat lip he can explain away. But there is no way on hell and earth he can explain sitting in the car with another man. Kissing him. There just isn't any way.

If anyone were to see, it would ruin his life. His wife would leave and hate him, his son would loose all respect and possible love, he'd be fired, people will mock him look at him as though he's dirt the gutter wouldn't even take. He can't be doing this! I cannot allow him to do this. This has to stop. So why does it take very effort I have, every strength I have to bring up my hand and this time really pushing him away?

"No," I whisper against his lips, this time bringing both hands up to his shoulders. They squeeze those strong muscles there first before given them a shove. Hard. And he moment those demanding lips are gone I'm missing them already. Almost as though I've ripped a part of myself out and away. This cannot be though, I cannot let this happening. And if Liam wont look out for himself then I'll have to bloody well do it *for* him.

"Have you lost your mind?" I hiss still panting from that kiss. Eyes wide, shiny and hazy at the same time as I look at him. "Liam, we cannot do this, not here, not ever. You know that! What's wrong with you for god sake?"
Keep Me: ang sad_keep_me on February 26th, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
His lips feel like-- They feel better than one of Darla's silk chemise things. Soft and pliant...and so rich, like there's so much below the surface that I haven't even touched yet.

Until they're gone.

I feel the squeeze of his hands on my shoulders telling me this is hard for him, that he's doing it to be careful, not because he wants to. Such a paradox, this man. Always shoving me away so we can stay closer together. I brush the back of my hand across my mouth and then lick my lips, staring him down hungrily.

"I'm sorry... for what I've put you through, Wes. What I've put us through. I'm sorry," I murmur, fingers itching to reach across and open his fly, take him full in my mouth until he cries out in a soft whimper under his breath since he won't let me kiss him.

"I've missed you," I say even quieter, studying the darkness cloaking him and the shine of his eyes. "Maybe we could find somewhere... more private. So I can kiss you some more," I murmur, eyes flicking from his to his mouth and back.
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: sulkwatcher_pryce on February 26th, 2008 05:32 am (UTC)
"What?" Put me through? Put *us* through? There is no us! What in the bloody blazes is he blathering on about now? He's drunk, that has to be it. That's the only explanation I can come up with for him to behave this way. In public no less. The fool. Can't have anything to do with his emotions being off kilter now can they? Oh no, heaven forbid.

I'm also not liking the way those eyes keep flicking to my lips, into my eyes, hell that entire look. It makes me lean back a little and look at him with narrowed eyes. Almost as though I have expected him to have lost his mind and move to kiss me again. We just *cannot* do that now. Not here, and if he keeps this up maybe not in quite a while.

Getting to carried away. We're getting to carried away. After all this time, after all we said, after all we talked about, we're getting to carried away. *He* is getting to carried away. And yet somehow that doesn't surprise me. I know Liam, I remember what most of our fights were about. In those hotel rooms, sneaking about in the shadows. Hiding our true feelings as well as our nature.

"No," I tell him, grinding my teeth together. Oh, don't get me wrong. The offer is tempting, oh so temping. I've missed him too, though I will never ever admit that. But I know he's just using me. How is that different from any other time?. To keep away from him, to postpone the inevitable.

"You're not going to use me, Liam," I tell him darkly, letting those words sink in before moving on. "Just so you don't have to go home right away. Is your wife really such a horrible person that you don't want to go home? Is that it?" Funny, Darla never struck me a such. Quite the opposite in fact. But what do I know? I try to not think about her or what she might be like as often as I can.
Keep Me: ang training/glare_keep_me on March 2nd, 2008 06:51 am (UTC)
"You ever say that to me again...so help me..." I growl at him the moment he starts about me using him. I'm in his face, close enough that we could be kissing, but we're nowhere near it in my book.

"This isn't about them, it's not about either of them, you dense gumshoe. And you call yourself a detective," I say, my voice still low with a definite edge to it. His words hurt, and feel like the gashes from them are bleeding all to quickly. "Who is using who here?" I say bitingly. Why would he say those things? Doesn't he know, doesn't he feel it?

I can't help how I feel! I can't stop caring about him. I have *tried.* Does he really think I would risk my marriage, God in heaven, and my son - Christ, my *son*, he knows what Connor means to me - if I could just wish these needs, these urges...these feelings away?

My hand shoots out to curl around his wrist. "If I were just using you, Wesley, do you think I'd have to bother asking permission?" I say, finally couching it in terms I know he'll understand. I'm bigger, I'm stronger, and it doesn't matter how clever or spry he is. I could take whatever I wanted from him and I think we both know it.

With that, I drop his wrist and open the car door. I don't even know what to say. I don't know if this is good-bye, but it certainly feels like it. If he really thinks that... I know we're not far from my house, I'm sure I can walk it. I'm already hobbling down the sidewalk before I know it, pain with every step, but none of it is sharper than the one in my gut or the one stabbing in my chest. I cannot *believe* this. I should be thanking him, I should be inviting him to dinner for what he's done for Connor and I, but now... Now I don't know what's going to happen.