Title: A Far Better Fate Than Wisdom
Fandom: Angel: The Series
Rating: NC-17 for sex and violence
Spoilers/Continuity: I'd seen the first three episodes of
season 4 when I wrote this, and that's it. My beta says it's
an AU after that.
Summary: Wes and Gunn find each other in the night.
Feedback: Dude. E-mail me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org to
make sure I get it.
Distribution: Yes to list archives. Anyone else, please ask so
I can say yes.
Disclaimers: Angel: The Series is the intellectual property of
Mutant Enemy, Kuzui, Sandollar, and Fox Television. This
original work of fan fiction is Copyright 2002 Mosca, and I
wrote it for free. Therefore, this story is protected in the
USA by the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976.
All rights reserved. All wrongs reversed. Because
everything's on goddamned La Brea.
Notes: Thanks to k for the supersonic speed beta, and to The
Distraction for listening to the whole friggin' thing on the
It seems like I'm taking all my titles from cummings lately.
This story was written for the 2002 Secret Slasha exchange, for
katyd. Wesley/Gunn was her second choice, and I hope she'll
forgive me for not being able to write her first. Also, she
wanted fluff, which is not really a distinction I make; I hope
this is fluffy enough to make her happy. Happy Solstice!
"You've been kissing," Lilah says.
And Wesley can't think of anything to do but send a mea culpa
smile in the direction of his shoes and trace his chapped lips
with his index finger, because, yes, kissing is one of the
activities he has engaged in tonight. "Is that a problem?" he
says, finally. He's not trying to make it sound like a
come-on, but it turns Lilah on when he fucks with her head. In
the past, he's rather enjoyed that kink. He's rather enjoyed
binding her wrists with her stockings and holding her down and
reminding himself over and over that it's all okay if it's all
"We agreed that it wouldn't be," she says flatly.
"But you wish I weren't," he says. And singsongs, softly, "You
wish it were you-ou..."
"So what if I do?"
"Doesn't make a difference," he says. "I won't be fucking you
"Are you trying to make me beg?" She exaggerates her pout and
thrusts out her hips.
"I'm trying to tell you that it's time for you to go home.
There's a phone call I need to make."
"Get out of my apartment, please, Lilah, before I call out my
thugs on you."
"You're the one who told me to wait for you and get
comfortable," she says, and come to think of it, yes, he did
tell her to do exactly that.
"I've changed my mind," he says.
She buttons her suit jacket over her breasts and gathers up her
purse and shoes. "Fine, then," she says, somehow implying in
those two words that he will soon be visited by an ornery and
ravenous demon with copious horns and dermatological problems.
He waits until he can no longer hear the click of Lilah's heels
in the hallway before he dials Gunn's cellphone.
"I didn't think you were going to call," Gunn says.
"I said I would," says Wesley. "When I got home."
"And took care of what you had to take care of."
"So it's taken care of?"
"She's gone," Wesley says. He hears a little swallow on the
other end of the line, like Gunn is trying not to react. That
has been his entire evening: people trying not to react to
things. It started with a pay-phone call from a working-class
Mexican neighborhood on the outskirts of the city. Some
panicked vampire-beset abuela who'd gotten his number from the
Powers knew where, and hell, maybe it was the Powers themselves
who put the thought in her head. The caller was dead or fled
by the time Wesley and the two ex-cons currently under his
employ reached the scene of the attack, which was a long haul
from Central L.A. Half a dozen immortal gangbangers, bloated
like mosquitoes, were hanging out in front of a boarded-up
house, licking their chops. Well-fed and complacent vampires
aren't usually much of a challenge anymore, but these were
rough kids who knew how to fight. One of them pulled a gun on
one of Wesley's ex-cons and caught him in the gut. Two against
six, especially when one of the two was all brawn and very
little brain, wasn't particularly good odds.
Wesley hadn't yet figured out how he was going to keep himself
alive, never mind the hired help, when he noticed that the odds
had just gotten significantly better. He didn't have time to
see who was assisting him until his assailants had been reduced
to five piles of dust and one outnumbered escapee. He didn't
really want to know, considering it was most likely an employee
of Wolfram and Hart or else Justine, come back to kill him with
kindness. Besides, he knew where his priorities should be.
"Junior," he said to the still-standing ex-con. "Help me get
Jimmy in the truck." That accomplished, he gave Junior clear
instructions: get the injured Jimmy to the nearest hospital; if
anyone asks, say he was an innocent bystander in a gang
shootout. It wasn't totally inaccurate.
Now, it was just Wesley, his secret helper, and one unconscious
homeless man curled up on a heating grate. "Wesley, wait,"
someone said, presumably not the bum.
Wesley's first thought was, thank heavens it wasn't Justine.
His second thought ran along the lines of realizing that Gunn
wasn't much preferable. "Let me get in the truck," Wesley
said. "Just let me go."
"You could thank me," Gunn said.
"That would require either a sentiment of gratitude or the
ability to lie persuasively," Wesley said. "Neither of which
I've got at the moment."
"We got a call in from some kid. Rival gang, probably. I had
no idea you'd be here."
"You came alone?"
"We were busy," Gunn said. "Believe it or not. We were
already working three cases."
Wesley heard the clattering sound of the truck's ignition and
turned just in time to see Junior speed away in his only ride
home. "Might as well get going now," Wesley said dumbly.
"I'm gonna hang around for a few more minutes. Kid on the
phone said he'd pay me whatever he could."
"Has that ever amounted to anything?"
"Never," Gunn said. "But hope springs eternal, you know?"
Gunn filled the silence by asking, "You're stuck here without a
ride home, aren't you?"
"I'll have to get a taxi."
"In this neighborhood? *Right*."
"I'll call for one."
"I'd give you a lift," Gunn said, "if you asked me for one."
"That's all right," Wesley said.
A rotund, crew-cut kid in a Lakers jersey came running. He was
carrying a paper grocery sack with a drawing of a sunburst and
the legend "Supermercado El Amanecer" printed on it in red.
"Are you Mr. Gunn from Angel Investigations?" he asked.
"Uh-huh," Gunn said.
"I'm really sorry," the kid said. "I had, like, forty bucks
saved up, but my dad saw the money and he, like, popped a blood
vessel. But my grandma thought we should, like, give you
*something*, so she made you some food."
Gunn grinned. "Thanks."
"It's pork tacos," the kid said. "And I think she put some
cinnamon cookies in there. And Cokes."
"Tell your grandma it's much appreciated," Gunn said. "And
make sure to call us again if you have any more of that kind of
"The cookies are really good," the kid said. He handed Gunn
the bag and ran away into the darkness.
"Want a taco?" Gunn said to Wesley.
"If you've got one to spare," Wesley said. He'd been arranging
the table in his apartment for a romantic takeout dinner with
Lilah when the call had come in. The fight had left him
"Then get in the car," Gunn said.
"I said I'd get a taxi."
"And *I* said, get in the car."
"Now it's *really* starting to sound like you're going to take
me into a secluded alley and try to kill me," Wesley said.
"Need I remind you that that trick never works?"
"If you're good," Gunn said, "I'll give you a cookie."
Wesley climbed into the passenger seat.
Gunn got in and started the car. "I'm not going to apologize,"
Wesley said. "I'm not going to beg for you to take me back."
"Wasn't expecting you to," Gunn said.
Wesley was charged with holding the taco bag. Assuming that he
was still owed a taco, he drew one of the warm, foil-wrapped
packets from the bag. He unwrapped the taco and took a bite.
"They're good," he said. He unwrapped another for Gunn and
handed it to him.
Gunn took a thoughtful bite of his taco. "You saved Angel," he
said. "That's all the apology *I* need."
"I didn't save him for *you*," Wesley said.
"It doesn't matter."
"I suppose that if you're not going to take my motives for
taking Connor into consideration, it *would* balance things out
if you didn't take any of my other motives into consideration."
"I lost track of that sentence somewhere around, 'I suppose,'"
"It doesn't matter," Wesley said. "Consider it bygones."
"It's not that easy, Wes. It's just not that *easy*."
"It could be," Wesley said.
"Why should it?" Gunn said. "You betrayed us. And you can
spend the rest of your life trying to make it up to us, but
that betrayal isn't going to go away. You don't just *make up*
"It should because you need me," Wesley said. "And you do,
Wesley hadn't even considered that Gunn might take the
statement personally: that Gunn might, not as an employee of
Angel Investigations but as a friend, need him. "All of you.
I'm stronger than any of you except Angel, who I'd assume still
isn't quite up to his full strength again yet. And I know more
than all of you put together. Never mind the fact that you'll
have no one to do your taxes come spring. Honestly, I have no
idea how you're keeping that business afloat."
"We're managing," Gunn said.
"But not very well."
Gunn stopped the car at a red light and chewed his taco. "No,"
he said with his mouth full.
"You can have me back," Wesley said. "All you have to do is
"I'd... have to discuss it with Fred and Angel."
"Fair enough." He hadn't expected it to be that easy to get
his job back. He wasn't really sure that he wanted it back,
but he welcomed the regular paycheck and the access to his
books. Most days, he missed his books more than he missed his
friends; it was hard to miss friends who were that angry with
him, especially when he was spending so much of his free time
He didn't miss Gunn, exactly. He missed what he had wanted
Gunn to be, for him and with him. Before Gunn had taken up
with Fred, Wesley had entertained the hope that someday Gunn
would buy a clue (as Cordelia might say) and decipher one of
Wesley's convoluted signals of affection. He'd played a game
with himself: what would Gunn do if I kissed him right now?
He'd given up on the game after Fred interfered, as it came to
evoke missed opportunities and eternal unrequited misery, but
he found himself playing it as they roared up Mulholland Drive.
What would Gunn do if Wesley kissed him right now? And if
Wesley did kiss him, would it mean something anymore, or would
it just be the kind of game he'd picked up from so much quality
time with Lilah?
"I've missed you," Wesley said. It wasn't totally inaccurate.
"I missed you too, English," Gunn said.
If he was going to play Lilah's game, he decided, he might as
well play it all the way. "No, what I mean to say is-- It was
never Fred. It was always you." Besides, this was the part
that was completely accurate. Blisteringly, embarrassingly
true. True enough to get him hurled out of the car in the
middle of some strange neighborhood halfway between nowhere and
Gunn made a sudden right turn, sending the car hurtling into an
alley, then braked so hard that the tires squealed.
"What are you doing?" Wesley said.
"Pulling over," said Gunn.
"Because it's been about you a lot longer than it's been about
Fred," Gunn said. He snatched the end of Wesley's taco out of
his hand and put it on top of the dashboard, then unbuckled
Wesley's seat belt, pulled him close, and kissed his lips
"I didn't--" There was a whole second clause to that sentence,
but Wesley's brain was too muddled to come up with it.
"There was a time-- remember when we went to the ballet? There
was a time when we were both reaching for Fred's hand at the
same time. Up until then, I thought-- I mean, Fred's a hot
little thing, and it was easy for me to cover up the way I felt
about you. But I touched your hand and I realized-- I wanted
to be holding your hand, not hers."
Leaning into the driver's seat to bury his tongue in Gunn's
mouth, Wesley nearly impaled himself on the gear shift.
Wesley thought suddenly of Lilah. She was probably draped
across his bed, naked, bored and horny. Wesley broke away from
the kiss. "There's... something I need to take care of at
home," he said.
"You-- you want me to take you home?"
"Just-- I'll call you when I-- when it's taken care of."
On the way to Wesley's apartment, they kissed at every red
light until it turned green. While the car was moving, Wesley
kept his eyes locked on Gunn, even when Junior called to say
that Jimmy was in surgery at L.A. County Hospital. Jimmy was
going to pull through, and Gunn had a beautiful jawline.
Which more or less brings Wesley to where he is now, telling
Gunn to meet him at an abandoned row house on La Brea. The
place was a haven for vampire squatters until about a week
earlier, when Lilah passed Wesley a stack of Wolfram and Hart
hundred-dollar bills and asked him if he would please, for her,
go and chase them all out. As far as Wesley knows, the place
hasn't been cleaned out yet; the law firm is still working on
the low-priority process of claiming the property as their own.
Wesley chooses it because it's neutral territory, and it's
unlikely anyone will interrupt them there. And because his
apartment still reeks of Lilah's perfume.
Almost by rote and utterly out of habit, Wesley does a gear
check before he leaves. Wallet, keys, and phone in the pockets
of his jacket; stake in the hidden pocket in the inner lining;
sharp steel dagger sheathed in his sock. In the gun belt under
his shirt, he has two more stakes and a handgun that he's only
ever fired once; the latter is more for scaring humans and
naive new vampires away from the scene than for actually
shooting people. As an afterthought, he goes to the drawer by
his bed and grabs some condoms: four Peppermint Kiss and two
extra-strength lubed. He tucks them into his jacket pocket.
In all things, overpreparation is preferable to running out of
The abandoned house would have been a crack house like every
other abandoned house in L.A. if the vamps hadn't gotten to it
first. As such, it isn't an entirely unpleasant place to be.
Vampires tend to be lucid enough to make their hideouts homey.
The living room is a bit of a disaster-- cigarette butts and
half-eaten microwaveable burritos dominate a coffee table
constructed from liquor boxes covered in an Indian-patterned
cloth-- but the bedrooms seem cleaner. They used to belong to
people: vampires higher on the totem pole, or couples who
needed privacy. It sometimes impresses Wesley that demons will
afford each other this sort of respect.
The cleanest and most welcoming of the bedrooms is apparently
the former domain of someone with Goth pretensions. There's an
actual mattress with an actual box spring, framed by a
cast-iron headboard that, if sturdy enough, would be ideal for
restraints. It occurs to Wesley that perhaps it was purchased
for exactly that purpose. The windows are hung with black
lace, and the bedcover is purple velvet. There's a fluffy
black throw rug next to the bed, and an empty chest of drawers,
draped with more black lace and lined with half-burned candles,
stands next to the door. The floor is neatly swept, and the
bed is made. The personality of this fled vampire lingers, and
it's eerie to see the mundane quirks that evil has left intact.
He wishes that he knew her name, and he wonders if he killed
The slam and thump of Gunn's entrance startles Wesley. Gunn
never was one for stealth. "Wesley?" Gunn calls. He knows, it
seems, that Wesley would be the first one there.
"I'm back here," Wesley calls back. "In the bedroom."
Gunn comes in and takes a look around. "Did you do all this?"
"No," Wesley says. "It-- was already here."
"It's sort of... if Anne Rice and Martha Stewart mated."
"I was thinking you could help me make a mess of it," Wesley
says, tickling the back of Gunn's neck.
"You want to-- don't you think we ought to-- discuss this
"We have all the rest of our lives to talk."
"I-- did you-- was that some kind of commitment you just made?"
"I *do* want you to know that the option would be available,"
"I guess that's all I need to know right now," Gunn says and
"So... what do you want me to do to you?"
Gunn smiles innocently. "Anything you want," he says.
"There-- there are so many things that--"
"You could turn me over and take me right now, and I wouldn't
complain." Gunn is goofing around, trying to get Wesley to
Wesley is perfectly serious.
He shoves Gunn down onto the bed with one flat palm, and Gunn
lands so hard that he bounces back a little. He yanks off
Gunn's shoes, his socks, his jeans, his boxers. In Russia,
there are demonic dogs with eyes as big as dinner plates; right
now, Gunn could be one of them. Wesley rolls Gunn over and
runs his hand under Gunn's shirt. Gunn shrugs out of the shirt
the rest of the way. He is all rough brown back and rough
brown ass. Wesley kisses and nips at Gunn's bare skin. He
reaches underneath to get at Gunn's nipples. Since coming to
America, Wesley has had only one liaison with a man; he's
missed the smell and the texture, the way men react fast and
quietly. He is hard already, and he's still got his jacket on.
He pulls a fistful of condoms out of his pocket and throws his
jacket in the corner of the room.
"I haven't got any lube," Wesley apologizes.
"A condom, though?"
"Should be all right then," Gunn says, and Wesley hopes Gunn
has as accurate a sense of his body in the bedroom as he does
in a fight. He keeps close to Gunn's skin as he undresses,
kissing him and stroking his neck like he is reminding Gunn to
be aroused. He rolls one of the extra strength condoms onto
himself-- Peppermint Kiss wouldn't be too comfortable for
Gunn-- and tries to get his brain to stop doing the thing where
it wants to worry about whether Junior parked the truck in a
tow zone at the hospital.
The tip of Wesley's cock enters Gunn easily; Wesley is relieved
to see that this isn't Gunn's first time with a man. Wesley
knows that he is shy, uncommunicative, paranoid, occasionally
cruel: Gunn will have to learn to coexist with these flaws, and
that will be difficult enough. Wesley doesn't want to have to
watch Gunn navigate the redefinition of his sexuality. It's
got to the point where Wesley is too old to have the patience
On the other hand, this may just not be the first time that
Gunn's been fucked. Wesley imagines Fred with a strap-on and
chuckles at the thought. Then, he remembers Lilah and the huge
sparkling pink thing she used to like to use on him, and the
idea doesn't seem so outrageous. He doesn't want to think
about them, about women. For once, he wants to be here in the
moment of having sex with the person he is having sex with, and
it makes him angry that Lilah has jaded him to the point that
it is difficult to do so.
Wesley has one arm around Gunn's waist, his fist wrapping
Gunn's cock so Gunn can thrust into him in time with his own
rhythm. He's using the other hand for balance, slamming Gunn's
weight and his own so forcefully into the bed that he thinks he
might crush his own metacarpals. Gunn is yielding but tight
enough that Wesley can feel plenty through the condom. Gunn is
grunting softly, and he is close. He releases into Wesley's
hand and into the purple velvet bedcover. Wesley likes the way
men come and especially the way Gunn comes, all at once, like a
blow to the face. Wesley is not quite there yet, but it only
takes him another minute to get there; Gunn is patient for that
long. Lilah has so inured Wesley to fucking and coming that
the orgasm seems irrelevant. The point is that it's Gunn who
got him there.
He pulls out, takes off the condom and knots it. Gunn watches
him as he searches for a place to toss it. "Throw it out the
window," Gunn says.
Wesley throws aside the makeshift black lace curtains to find
that the window is opaque with a few coats of black shine-free
latex. He finds the lever that would unlock the window, but it
won't budge. "It's painted shut," Wesley says.
"I was *kidding*," says Gunn.
Wesley notices a small wicker wastebasket, painted black with
silver trim, beside the bureau. It unnerves him that the
wastebasket isn't empty: there are a few makeup-crusted
Kleenexes and an empty packet of those honey-flavored
cigarettes that college girls smoke. He adds his spent condom
to the detritus of the vampire life whose blanks he has been
filling in slowly since he got here.
"Come back here," Gunn says. "I'm not through with you."
"You want more?"
"There are some things we should-- I mean, you get to go back
to your dark and dingy apartment after all of this, but I have
to go back to the Hyperion, and there are gonna be some
Wesley shakes his head. "And I was so looking forward to going
down on you."
"You've got the whole rest of your life to go down on me."
"We *could* die tomorrow. You would die unblown."
"Ain't no way that's gonna happen," Gunn says. Wesley sits
down on the bed next to him, and Gunn kisses the back of his
"Is this-- is it about Fred?"
"Someone's going to have to tell her," Gunn says. Wesley
almost has time to protest before Gunn adds, "Don't worry. It
should be me."
"There's no way, is there?" Wesley says. "To do this without
"She'll be upset."
"We could-- we could ask her to join us," Wesley suggests
"She'd never agree to it," Gunn says. "And besides, after
tonight, I can't see myself-- she'd be the third wheel, and
she'd know it."
"There's no avoiding it, is there?"
"I'll talk to her," Gunn says. "I'll do the best I can."
Gunn's shaved head is overdue for its weekly encounter with a
pair of clippers. Wesley likes the tickle of the stubble when
he kisses it. "Talk to me about something that's not
depressing," Wesley says.
"Lorne came back from Vegas," Gunn says. Wesley could listen
to Gunn's musical voice forever, that creamy urban patois
always with Gunn's smile under it, smarter than he sounds. And
Wesley is struck by a thought that seems to come from outside
himself, telling him that he can and will and should have this
forever. That he will endure sending Lilah away for good, and
they will both endure losing Fred, because this is where he
belongs. He suspected when he was a teenager that it was not
really his destiny to be a Watcher, and that he would know his
destiny when he saw it. He thinks this might be what it feels
like: not only good but Good. The greater purpose of fighting
for someone and with someone and finding that it is the same
person, that it was this person all along, and now here he is,
puzzle solved. And Gunn is talking and talking, and it is all
totally, totally true.
And they can lie like this until morning or well beyond. The
painted-over window will keep out the time of day until someone
worries and Gunn's cellphone rings, and they are put back on
the streets saving the world and each other and themselves all