TITLE: Games (1/1)
SUMMARY: Wes & Gunn chill after a hard night’s
slayage. Gunn makes a discovery.
SPOILER WARNING: None – set mid/late season 2
RATING: PG 13
DISCLAIMER: "The characters are the property of Joss
Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui, Sandollar, and David
Greenwalt Productions, 20th Century Fox, and whoever
else may have a hold upon them. The situation is
wholly mine, and I do not mean to infringe upon any
NOTES: Thanks to the Bitches for their encouragement.
FEEDBACK: God, yes. Pretty please with sugar on?
ARCHIVE: UCSL, GunnWesley & anyone else welcome - just
“What the fuck is ‘Toad in the Hole’?”
Gunn looked down the list of ‘Traditional British
Fayre’ with a growing feeling of horror.
“Bubble and Squeak? Black Pudding? Spotted Dick? Wes,
you *sure* you supposed to eat this stuff?” Curling
Ye-Olde English-Style lettering under laminated
plastic. Pick’n’mix prints of dead old white guys on
the walls – he recognised Shakespeare. Photo of the
British Queen hanging behind the bar under a big old
British flag. They might as well call the place
UK-U-Like. Tacky, tacky, tacky. This was positively
the last time he was letting English choose their
post-slaying venue, that was for damn sure.
Until he’d walked into this place, Gunn had been
convinced that Wes was the whitest guy in LA. Possibly
in the world. Turned out, though, that there were a
whole bunch of them in here, all bad dentistry and
tea-and-scones accents. Some of them weren’t
technically white, but they were still the whitest
people Gunn had ever seen. And the music *sucked*.
Still, he wasn’t going to stay long – he really should
be getting back to the neighbourhood, keep his eye on
the local nasties. He was just going to have a quick
bite to eat and sink one beer before heading back
home. Possibly two beers, but no more.
Wesley shot him a wickedly reprimanding grin.
It did Gunn’s heart good to see how much more relaxed
the man was these days – time was when he’d have been
all apologies and offering to find another place.
Somewhere between getting fired and killing the first
demon they faced without Angel, damn if the skinny ass
white boy hadn’t found himself a backbone. Or at least
got rid of the corncob he’d had rammed up his ass.
(Thinking about it, the combination of tequila and
brutally murdering a Queen number in a demon karaoke
bar probably got rid of the corncob.)
Gunn *liked* seeing this side of Wes.
“Are you mocking my national cuisine, Gunn?”
“Damn right I am – you got a problem with that? This
stuff sounds like a list of medical complaints, Wes. I
got an appetite worked up from all that slayin’, but
there ain’t no way I’m plannin’ to eat no spotty,
squeakin’ black toad in no hole,” said the younger
man, grinning. “Don’t you eat no normal food back
“Well the menu here is all rather pitched at nostalgic
ex-pats, Gunn.” //No shit, bro.// “Perhaps…what about
hotdogs in a crispy batter?”
“Whatever, Wes, I trust you. Just order me something
that don’t look like it came out of one of Cordy’s
Wesley picked his way to the bar to place their order
and collect the first round of drinks. He realised
that he was grinning stupidly, but this did nothing to
wipe the look from his face. He was still beaming when
he got back to their table carrying two brimming pint
glasses and saw his expression echoed on Gunn’s face -
the direct result of yet another brush with death and
they were both still tingling with adrenaline. The big
nasty Big Nasty from Cordelia’s vision was now a
sticky paste on the floor of the its warehouse lair
and the boys from Angel Investigations were not, so
they had hit The Pub to celebrate. Eat, drink and be
merry, for tomorrow…well, no, perhaps that wasn’t the
most apposite quotation after all.
“Cheers,” said Wes, smiling as he raised his glass.
“To us – we really kicked some demon arse.”
“To us!” returned Gunn, grinning back. “Who the hell
needs an undead guy moochin’ around in a black coat to
get the job done?”
“Certainly not us,” agreed the Englishman, feeling
only a slight lurch inside at the mention of Angel.
“Man never did pull his weight,” Gunn said firmly,
refusing to explore the big bruise of emotions he felt
at thinking about the vampire.
The food, when it came, was hot and – surprisingly –
really not half bad. Gunn tore through hot dogs in
batter with fluffy mashed potato and dark onion gravy
while Wesley ate a spicy chicken curry – which kinda
surprised Gunn, ‘cause he’d have bet hard cash Wesley
liked his food blander than bland. He thought back to
the way Wes had handled himself in the warehouse
earlier. Seemed like the prissy little English guy was
just chock full of surprises when you got him out from
under Angel’s shadow.
The beer flowed freely. Gunn flat out refused to agree
with Wesley about the superiority of English beers
over American ones, so they had to sample a wide
selection of both.
“Research,” said Wesley wisely. “Careful, rigorous
research is necessary in order to prove either
hypothesis. And it’s your round.”
* * *
Alcohol did not improve Gunn’s hand-eye co-ordination.
That said, even three pints the worse for wear Gunn’s
hand-eye co-ordination was pretty damned formidable –
years of fighting tooth and nail seven days a week
with demons whose teeth and nails are a whole lot
bigger than yours would do that for a person.
It was the first time he’d played darts and he didn’t
think it was going to be his favourite sport any time
soon – but he was pretty damn good at it, and it was
always cool to whip someone else at their own game.
Wes and Gunn were playing against two English salesmen
who thought they were shit hot at this game until they
came up against the boys from Angel Investigations.
Turned out Wes was a kick-ass darts player and had
himself quite a reputation – but since Gunn was a
darts virgin this was supposed to even things up.
It was kinda funny watching Wes poised in front of the
board with a pint glass in one hand and a little dart
balanced in the other. His movements were more fluid
than usual – like he seemed more at home in his own
skin here with Gunn than he generally had around Angel
or Cordy. ‘Course, that might be something to do with
the beer, but Gunn thought it was more than that.
There was nothing self-conscious about the way he sent
the little spiked darts slicing through the air into
the board – like this was something he *knew* he was
good at and so he wasn’t thinking about it, for once.
Seemed like maybe Wes did too much thinking. And
damned if two girls weren’t checking old Wes out,
which Cordy would have found hilarious – they were
giving it the full pouty-lip, heaving-cleavage deal.
Wes had noticed too and he’d got this relaxed little
casual half-smile on his face that was surprisingly
sexy. As the third dart pierced the board exactly
where Wes had wanted it he smiled easily at them, a
definite twinkle in his eye. They giggled and smiled
back. Wesley Wyndham Price, chick magnet. Who knew?
But then he was still going out with that Virginia
Bryce, and she was *fine*. And rich. Gunn grinned. Go,
“Your turn,” said Wes, flashing a challenging grin at
Gunn as he stepped aside. Gunn still felt a little
silly throwing the darts – big guy like him hurling
these tiny little things like kids’ toys – and he
didn’t do as well as Wes, but he still racked up a
respectable score. They won.
“God DAMN, we’re good!” he exclaimed, slapping
Wesley’s hand jubilantly.
“Are you quite sure that you haven’t done this
before?” protested one of the English guys as he
handed a little pile of notes to Gunn.
“I’m a fast learner,” replied Gunn, his sly grin
oozing sheer wickedness. He glanced back over at Wes.
“So what other games you got?”
* * *
Snooker was a lot like pool. Wes wasn’t bad at snooker
either, actually, but turned out Gunn was better. Gunn
watched the Englishman frowning in concentration as he
lined up a shot and wondered why he was still here.
He knew he really oughta be heading home, ‘cause it
was getting late now and he’d planned to do a circuit
or two, check on some of the new guys. He’d really not
seen enough of his crew lately. They were his people,
people who’d fought shoulder to shoulder with him,
who’d die for him. People he’d die for. And that was a
thing of beauty in this unbeautiful world, no two ways
about it. He should really be with them right now,
‘cause he had *history* with them – not just a dozen
battles, but hundreds of battles. And other stuff,
Thing was, though, that Gunn was really enjoying
himself – in spite of the ugly ass décor and the CD
Collection from hell. Felt like he was actually
starting to unwind, which was downright perverse
considering where he was. Thought about his
relationship with the English guy as he sipped his
Wesley, he realised, looked on him as an *equal*. An
equal from a dramatically different background, but an
equal just the same. Most of the people in Gunn’s life
– the ones who mattered – looked up to him, depended
on him to make decisions and be the final authority.
Or else it was a competitive thing, with Gunn
constantly having to prove himself to them, letting
the younger guys know that he was still the boss and
they could just take their Alpha-male-wannabe vibes
some place else. Never letting his guard down. And he
was cool with that, ‘cause that was just the way
But it was *nice*, what he had with Wesley – a
friendship that was totally outside all that
power-play shit. Had taken him a while to get to know
the man and at first Gunn had dismissed him. Then he’d
started to realise that Wesley might be a royal pain
in the ass at times, but for a whiney little momma’s
boy he was pretty damn cool in a crisis. Concluded
that Wesley actually *was* at least as smart as he
thought he was. Possibly smarter.
It sounded weird, but there was something about Wesley
that made Gunn want to look after him – but at the
same time he knew Wes could handle himself, wasn’t
looking for protection. Didn’t need it. He also knew
with absolute certainty that Wes could be trusted to
guard his back. Unlike a certain am-I-evil,-am-I-good
creature of the night who would remain nameless. Fuck
him, anyway, unreliable sonofabitch. Deserting his
crew because of some nasty blonde bride-of-Dracula and
her dysfunctional grandchild.
Glancing back at Wes, Gunn noticed that the Englishman
had got himself another admirer. Only this time it was
A guy with floppy dark hair and a fashionable shirt,
couple of years younger than Wesley and a lot bigger
in the shoulders. Looked like he worked out. A guy who
was quite blatantly checking out Wesley’s butt as the
Englishman bent earnestly over the snooker table to
take a particularly tricky shot.
Gunn really wasn’t 100% sure how he felt about that
one, but after a moment he decided it was kind of
funny – old Wes sure did have it going on tonight.
Cordy would laugh her head off when he told her.
It was a perfectly good ass, Gunn had to admit,
looking at it objectively. White boy looked more like
Waldo than Rambo, but in a good way. Lean, yeah, but
muscled under the shirt – not Angel-muscled,
admittedly, but still more solid than you’d expect.
Gunn’s eyes traced the line of his back and the curve
of his ass appreciatively, without really thinking
about it. A perfectly good ass. He was all kinds of
embarrassed when Wes turned round a moment later, but
seemed like the Englishman hadn’t noticed.
“Your turn,” said Wes ruefully, returning to his
“I’m going to whip your pansy ass,” Gunn told him
automatically, and then felt grateful Wes couldn’t see
him blushing at the vivid image that brought to mind.
“You’re going to try.”
While Gunn was methodically sinking snooker balls into
pockets, he noticed Wesley’s new admirer walking right
on up to him. Found it difficult to concentrate on the
game then, ‘cause there was this tight feeling in his
gut that was probably down to wondering if Wes was
about to start a bar fight. That was probably what
made him miss the next ball – his fingers were
tightening over the cue, holding it like it was a
weapon. All of which was just plain foolish, ‘cause no
*way* Wesley was about to get into a fight here at
As Gunn walked back he saw that Wes had this same
little half-smile on his face, kind of little-boy
pleased but not flustered or nothin’. Quietly
confident and kinda sexy without seeming conscious of
it. The Englishman’s face was flushed from the alcohol
and Gunn could suddenly see why he was getting all
this attention. There was nothin’ just like kicking
the shit out of a rampagey demon to get a person
buzzed and horny. OK, so most likely all Wes was
planning to do was head home to make sweet, sweet love
to Virginia, but he was giving off some serious
*vibes*. Gunn guessed he was probably doing the same
thing himself. Just that he’d been paying more
attention to who was looking at Wes than who was
looking at him - which was odd, now he came to think
about it. One thing that Gunn was picking up crystal
clear, though, was that whether he meant anything by
it or not, Wesley was *flirting* with this guy. Looked
perfectly aware of his interest and anything but
freaked about it. Smiled at him just like he’d smiled
at the two girls – all twinkly eyes and promise of
Huh, thought Gunn. So it’s like that, is it? And he
really wasn’t sure how he felt about that either, but
he knew damn sure that he didn’t like the guy in the
fancy shirt who was leaning into Wesley’s personal
space. Gunn loomed in front of the guy in a very
unsmiling kinda way, snooker cue resting casual-like
over one shoulder.
“Gunn, this is James Fletcher, a friend from London.
Jamie, Charles Gunn. We…work together,” said Wesley,
flashing Gunn a blue-eyed smile that invited him to
laugh at the blazing inadequacy of the word “work”
when it came to describing their ongoing battle
against the forces of darkness.
Gunn gave this Jamie guy his best bone-crunching
handshake and looked into his eyes in a decidedly
unfriendly manner. “I’m giving you another chance out
of the kindness of my heart,” Gunn told Wesley with a
nod toward the snooker table, never taking his eyes
off Jamie Fletcher.
“Right you are. Just be a mo, Jamie,” said Wes.
“Shouldn’t take me long to beat this fellow.”
“In your dreams, English,” shot back Gunn
automatically. It was only when he saw James
Fletcher’s raised eyebrow that he realised there were
a couple of ways a person could take that exchange. He
really didn’t like this guy.
“I haven’t seen Wesley in ages – I must say that LA is
the last place I’d expect to bump into him. So what is
it that you two do, then?” asked Fletcher – and again
there were a couple of ways you could take that,
especially the way Fletcher said it, but Gunn decided
to go with the most obvious.
“Detective Agency,” he said curtly, and was gratified
to see Fletcher looking impressed.
* * *
“So you fuck that guy, Wes?”
He hadn’t meant it to come out like that and he hated
seeing the way Wes flinched and retreated in on
himself, but there was no taking it back now. Once Wes
had won the game, once Fletcher had finally wilted
under Gunn’s glare and said his goodbyes, once they’d
sat down with fresh drinks, the question just burst
out of him. In the painful little silence that
followed Wesley’s eyes found his for a moment,
horrifyingly vulnerable all of a sudden, then darted
down to the table. Gunn looked expressionlessly at his
own pint, tried to remember if it was his fifth or his
sixth. Or maybe his eighth.
“I…that is…” stumbled Wesley, suddenly pitiful. “Yes.”
Squared his shoulders and stuck his chin out
pugnaciously, a strange mixture of vulnerability and
resolve on his face. “Yes, I did. Several times, as a
matter of fact, back in Britain. Not that it’s *any*
of your damned business.”
“Is that a problem for you, Gunn?”
Is that a problem for me, Gunn asked himself, trying
to figure out the mixture of emotions he was feeling.
He didn’t know. The question hung in the air between
“No, we’re cool,” he said, wondering if it was true.
The unvarnished relief he saw leaping in Wesley’s eyes
made him angry, for some reason. Wesley shouldn’t ever
look like that – afraid or ashamed or whatever the
hell that godawful braced-for-pain look was.
He wanted to beat the shit out of James Fletcher and
he didn’t give a damn that this wasn’t a remotely
logical feeling. The thought of that guy touching Wes
made him see red. He couldn’t rid himself of the image
of them kissing, wondered how *exactly* they had
fucked. Up against a wall? In bed? On the floor? What
Couldn’t stop wondering how Wesley would move in bed.
What it would take to make him moan. How his skin
“We’re cool,” he repeated reassuringly.