TITLE: Mr. and Mrs. Bickerson
AUTHOR: Shrift
E-MAIL: darth_shrift@yahoo.com
RATING: NC-17 for Wes/Gunn slash
SPOILERS: Angel through season 3 "Heartthrob" and a gimme for "Fredless"
SUMMARY: Bickering. Sex. More bickering. More sex. Stupid jokes. Visions. Did I mention the bickering?
AUTHOR'S NOTES: For Sheila, 'cause she asked for fluffy romance. Beta thanks to the DRV girls. All remaining errors and stupidity belong to my impatient ass.
DISTRIBUTION: Yes to list archives. Others, please ask.
DISCLAIMERS: I'm convinced that Tim is secretly slashing Wes and Gunn, and this only makes me heart Tim more.
WEBSITE: http://bifictionalbedlam.slashcity.net/shrift

* * *

Gunn saw Cordy wince out of the corner of his eye as he flew back and hit the wall, a hot flash of pain spreading along the back of his head and making him feel like he was going to see his supper again. He hauled himself back up when the urge to puke passed, the handle of his axe slippery and dripping with green demon blood.

Cordy took aim with her crossbow and let one fly. It went wide, barely missing Wes as he ducked to avoid a set of huge demon fangs.

"Next time I insist that you two aren't fighting the big nasty without me?" she said, wincing again.

"What, you want me to write you a reality check?" Gunn asked. He flung himself forward to break Wesley's fall. Over his shoulder, he told Cordy, "That check would bounce so hard and so fast it'd look like the Flash with a crack pipe and a two liter of Mountain Dew."

"Okay, okay," she said. "I get the point. I think your point just splattered demon guts all over my new Franco Sartos'."

Gunn let go so Wesley could bend over and put his hands on his knees, and whoop in a big breath of air. "Doesn't matter. They're on their way out this season."

"No!" Cordy said. "Since when?"

Wes opened his mouth to answer, then his eyes went wide. "Duck!"

Cordelia hit the ground and Wes jumped over her. Gunn took the demon from the other side, and they hacked at it with their axes until Cordy managed to plug the Chirago demon between the eyes with a crossbow bolt.

Gunn looked down at the thing when it finally collapsed, hitting the ground so hard the dirt shook. He didn't think there was a piano box big enough for it.

Chirago demon put Fat Albert to shame.

"Looks kinda like a mutant rooster," he said.

"Do chickens have teeth?" Wes asked. He rubbed at his bloody shoulder absently.

Gunn raised an eyebrow. "I look like a farm boy to you?"

Cordy stalked up and kicked the demon, her foot hitting the thing's ribcage with a hollow thunk. "I just bought these shoes two weeks ago. They can't be out of style yet."

"Cordy..." Wes rubbed at his cheek. Smeared demon blood over his cheekbone.

Gunn wanted to wipe it off. But he didn't.

"Suggestions on what we should do with the body?" Wes asked.

"Burn it?" Gunn said.

"Dumpster, perhaps?" Wes frowned.

"Or we could just leave the thing to rot," Cordy said. "It's not like this warehouse is a high-traffic tourist attraction with a Ferris wheel and the dollar freak show."

"You the woman with a beard?" Gunn asked.

Cordy smirked and reloaded her crossbow.

Wes put his hand on Gunn's arm, and it felt good there. "I'd advise you never to taunt an armed woman, Charles."

"Yeah, taunt Wesley instead," Cordelia said. "In a battle of wits, he's always unarmed."

"If I wasn't in an extreme amount of pain, Cordy..." Wes said.

"Yeah, yeah," she said. "I'll see you at the hospital."

* * *

"This isn't the way to the hospital," Wes said.

"And you realized that, what, five miles back when I didn't take the turn off to Wilshire while we were still on 110?"

Wes smiled a little, resting his head against the passenger side window. "Well, I had my suspicions."

"Keep it up," Gunn said. "You might be a *real* detective some day."

Wesley snorted. "Yes, and wouldn't that be nice?"

"Bite ain't that bad, right?"

"It hurts, but I'll live," Wes said. "As far as I know, Chirago demons carry no special toxins in their saliva."

Gunn turned his eyes back to the road. "Good. I got plans for you."

Wes reached inside his torn coat and pulled out his cell phone. Flipped it open. Dialed. Waited. He mouthed 'voicemail' at Gunn. "Cordelia, this is Wesley. I know you're expecting us at the hospital, but I'm fairly sure neither Gunn nor I require professional medical attention. We're tired and going home. I'll contact you tomorrow."

"Smooth," Gunn said when Wesley hung up.

"And the complete truth."

"Never said it wasn't."

* * *

Gunn took their axes into the kitchen and dropped them into the sink, pulling out the sprayer in a really pathetic attempt to wash off the crusting demon blood. He shrugged, and filled up the sink with hot water and fluffy soap bubbles of Joy. He walked to the bedroom and nearly tripped over Wesley's jacket. Looked up to see a line of bloody, stained clothes leading to the bathroom door.

He let his jacket fall to the floor and sat on the bed to untie his steel-toe boots. Gunn got to his zipper when the shower came on, and stripped off the rest of his gear.

Wes was a dark shape behind the shower curtain. Gunn climbed in behind him, swinging the curtain shut with clicks off metal on plastic. Wes had his head down in the spray, one hand flat against the tile. Gunn leaned into Wesley and they just stood there for a while, hot water running between their bodies. He moved back a step when he felt Wes shifting around to face him. Wes shook the water out of his eyes and smiled, turning Gunn under the spray.

Gunn wiped his eyes clear with the back of his hand and peered at the mess of torn skin on Wes' shoulder. It really wasn't that bad. Wes'd had worse. Not too deep, nothing gross in the wound.

"Couple of butterfly bandages, some gauze, and you'll be all set."

Wes craned his neck to look at his shoulder. "Yes, I think you're right."

Gunn laughed. "Man, this is so weird."

A washcloth plopped against Gunn's chest and Wes arched his eyebrow. "What is so weird?"

Gunn turned Wes around again and fumbled for the shampoo bottle, popping the cap with his thumb and squirting some onto Wes' head. He started scrubbing at the demon guts in Wesley's hair and said, "You know, how we don't leave the house without an axe and a first-aid kit. And how we go out and kill these nasty, fat-ass demons every night, and--"

Wes had moved the washcloth down from Gunn's chest, down over this stomach, and wrapped the washcloth around Gunn's dick. Wes grinned a little and tightened his hand, pulled. "And?"

"And don't you even think about stopping what you're doing," Gunn said, pushing Wesley under the spray to rinse out his hair.

Wes stepped closer when the shampoo was swirling into the drain, squeezing and tugging, twisting his hand, the nubby fabric feeling really *fucking* good on Gunn's dick. Wes moved his face forward until their lips were almost touching, and he said, "Then you'd better wash us both."

And Gunn did, taking the cake of white soap and running it over Wes' body, broad swipes down his back, chest, under his arms. Washed himself as quick as he could, Wes still smiling and squeezing. Gunn backed them under the shower head and rinsed the soap off, then he pulled Wes back away and reached for the taps. His hand never made it.

Washcloth plopped onto the ground, and Wes followed it, using it to cushion his knees a little.

"Unh," Gunn grunted. Wes had his balls in one hand, dick in the other, and the man was using his tongue like he really fucking loved what he was doing. Loved it and knew just what made Gunn go all wordless and crazy. Gunn was wet and warm everywhere, Wes sucking him off, one hand clenched on the bar over the soap dish, other hand buried in Wes' wet hair.

His hips jerked forward and Wes kept swallowing and stroking, hands slick and a little rough. And Gunn was still worked up from the fight, turned on as all hell. And when his legs started shaking, fingers twisting in Wes' hair, he just let his head snap back and--

Oh, *fuck*.

Wes got up from his knees kind of slow, and Gunn just sort of draped himself over him. Wes turned off the water and they both stumbled out of the tub, barely drying off. Gunn smiled when he saw Wes bringing a towel with him, and he collapsed onto the bed face-first, drawing one leg up a little so Wes would get a nice view of his ass.

The view made Wes swear softly. Gunn felt the bed dip as Wes climbed on, towel landing beside him on the bed. Heard the snap-top of the slick, felt Wes' fingers, still warm from the shower. Gunn shifted around Wes' fingers and groaned when he hit the right spot.

"Now, damnit," Gunn said.

"On your side," Wes told him.

Gunn turned, and then Wes was against him, Wes' front to his back, and Gunn could feel him from his shoulders down to his calves. Sound of a condom wrapper, stretching latex. Wes slid a leg between Gunn's thighs and opened him up, then pushed in a little. Gunn pushed himself backwards, reached back and grabbed Wes' hand, brought it over his body to wrap Wes' hand on his dick.

He wanted it and Wes knew it, so he pushed in all the way, harder. Pushed in again and again, Wes' right hand stropping his dick. Gunn grunted something like, "Yeah, like that."

Wes licked and sucked at his neck, then shifted, and Gunn's eyes rolled in the back of his head. He reached back, hands slipping on Wes' sweaty, smooth skin, and grabbed Wes by the back of his head. Pulled him forward and went for Wes' mouth, tongue pushing in and tasting everywhere.

And they were sucking and biting and fucking, fucking hard like they always did after a fight. His body hurt everywhere, but adrenaline and pleasure were making him forget it. Wes slammed in a few more times, pulled his mouth away and inhaled, nose pressed behind Gunn's ear. Wes' body tightened and he came, hand squeezing Gunn's dick, still thrusting in, Mr. Fucking Considerate. Gunn came too, not as hard as before, and it pissed him off a little that he'd have to move in a minute to clean himself off, and so Wes could find a garbage can.

But not moving meant no more fucking, too, and that was just fucking wrong.

* * *

The first thing that registered was skin. Warm skin. Warm thigh wedged between his own. His face buried against more skin, a neck. Gunn inhaled. His back hurt.

The next thing that registered was a ring. Phone. Cell. Off to the side. Floor, maybe.

Gunn tried to flip over and groaned, settling back face-down on the pillow. His body told him he'd been demon-wrangling the night before, had hit the wall and the edge of a ceiling support. And then he'd been pounded through the mattress by the warm body still half-sprawled over him.

That was a good ache. Mm. The one that would remind Gunn that he got fucked last night every time he moved. The rest of him was one sharp pain. Nasty taste in his mouth. Fuzz on his teeth. Definitely needed to piss. Felt a throb ripple through his bladder.

Water. Pretty much needed to drown himself in water.

Wes wasn't waking up.

And that phone was getting annoying as fuck all.

Gunn slapped at the floor with one hand, finally locating a hard lump of plastic in somebody's coat pocket. He flipped the cell open with his thumb and brought it up to where his face was mashed back into the pillow. Said something like, "Hwo?"

"Hello? Wesley?"

Shit-shit-shit. Cordy.

"Hold up," Gunn said. He rolled his body half onto Wesley's and shoved the phone at Wesley's face.

The man blinked sleep-swollen eyes. Scrubbed at spiky hair. Took the phone away and said, "Hello?" in his sexy-scratchy morning voice. Gunn relaxed into his body pillow, head bumping a little against Wesley's. So close that he could hear Cordy saying, "Wesley? Why is Gunn answering your phone? Is everything okay? Did we miss the talk about calling and actually talking to Cordelia when big bad demons bite Wesley and stupid Wesley doesn't go to the hospital so they can fix him?"

"Cordelia," Wesley yawned. "What time is it?"

Gunn buried his face in Wesley's neck and shut out the rest of the conversation, nudging his morning wood into that nice dip on Wesley's body where his pelvis met his upper thigh. Felt Wes' voice rumbling up through his ribcage, and was half-asleep when Wesley flipped his phone shut.

"She wants to meet us later," Wesley said. His other hand rested on Gunnís bald head.

"Why?" Gunn muttered.

"I've no bloody idea. Something about Fred," Wesley said, stroking his hand down the back of Gunn's neck, down the length of his spine, and back up again. "Gunn," he said. Then, "Charles."

"Call me Chuck and I'm gonna have to kill you, you know," Gunn said.

"Don't you ache everywhere? I have a --"

Gunn flopped his arm up and covered Wesley's mouth with his hand. "Shut up, English." Gunn let his eyes slide shut again, only to open them back up a minute later when Wes kept talking. Brushing his lips across Gunn's palm.

"Next time, we should go to Caritas after we've battled the insanely huge demon hell-bent on destroying the planet Earth."

"Because then we'd be in serious pain *and* hung over. Great plan. I can see why you're in charge."

"You might have a point. And as much as I'd like never to move again," Wesley said, "Cordelia is expecting us for brunch in an hour."

"Brunch?" Gunn demanded, raising his head to glare at Wes. "I don't *do* brunch."

"Fine." Wesley held up his phone. "You can call Cordelia and tell her we're not coming."

"Sure thing," Gunn said, snatching at the phone. "I'll just tell her I'm too tired from banging your ass all night--"

Wesley propped himself up on his elbows and smirked. "I believe *I* was doing the banging, Gunn, while you would be the bang-ee."

"I believe that's what you upper-crust, English people call se-man-tics," he mocked, doing his version of Wes' accent.

Semantics. A big, old five dollar word. Proved he could read, yessir.

Wesley grabbed at the phone and Gunn grabbed back, and then they wrestled for it. Gunn could have told Wesley he didn't have a chance, but he kind of enjoyed proving it to him again. He ended up sitting on Wesley's chest, pinning Wesley's arms above his head.

Gunn stopped gloating when he realized Wes was staring at him. "What?"

Wesley squirmed a little underneath him. "Nothing. I simply can't breathe."

"What?" Gunn repeated. Wesley looked like he was about to say something, opened and closed that long mouth. Blinked a couple times.

His eyes were all soft, like he'd been looking at puppies. Or that fancy Chinese hook knife with the mother-of-pearl inlay in the display case at the Army Navy surplus store.

"Nothing," Wesley finally said. Then, "Are you enjoying yourself? Comfortable up there? Will you let go of me?"

Gunn decided to be honest, just for shits and giggles. "Nope."


He squeezed Wesley's wrists a little tighter. They felt thin in Gunn's hands, even though he knew Wes could sling an axe. "What did I just say?"

"Ah. Just checking," Wesley said. He grinned a little and wiggled under Gunn's body, waiting a whole minute to say, "Shall we shower? Again?"

Gunn sniffed. Sweat. Spunk. "Man, we're rank."

"That's one way to phrase it," Wesley said, and let Gunn haul him to his feet.

Gunn got in some good gropes in the shower, Wesley half-blind with shampoo. All slicked up. Pink and shiny.

And bruised. They were both bruised, though Gunn's skin didnít show it as much.

Wesley yelped when Gunn sat him down on the toilet to bandage the mauled shoulder. "That's bloody cold!"

"Want me to warm you up?" Gunn said, leering down at Wesley's naked body.

Wes just glared at him, eyes unfocused without his glasses but so damned *blue* like that, and moved forward a little so his balls wouldn't freeze to the toilet seat. Gunn taped him up. Wesley's hands wandered, rubbing a rough knuckle up and down Gunn's thigh.

Gunn dug around in Wesley's dresser and came up with a black T-shirt. Only thing of Wesley's he was willing to be seen wearing in public. All his other gear was in the laundry hamper, and there were come stains on his shirt from yesterday.

Come stains and demon brains, maybe some blood, too.

Wesley was already dressed. Button-down oxford, pressed pants. Gunn jumped him as Wesley was digging for his keys in the pile of stuff they'd left on the floor last night. Got Wesley's shirt half-open and closed his mouth over that pale skin, sucked hard. Left a big hickey on an undamaged bit between the shoulder and the neck. His shirt would cover it.

Gunn just wanted to know it was there.

Wanted Wes to know it was there, too. Wanted him to feel his shirt rubbing against it, to be a little bit turned on by it all day.

Wanted to get Wes to look comfortable and messy instead of British and constipated. 'Cause it was a good look for him.

Wesley started out sitting on the passenger side of Gunn's truck on the way to Cordy's. Ended up with his hand stroking down the thigh of Gunn's jeans when Gunn pulled into the building parking lot.

Gunn made sure Wesley was paying attention when he adjusted himself in the elevator on the way up to Cordy's. Wes made this whimpery noise in the back of his throat, and Gunn started eyeballing the emergency stop button.

Damn door opened right as he was reaching. He followed Wes out.

Cordy opened her door after one knock, doing that manic grin thing. Girl had big fucking teeth. "You're okay? Tell me you're okay."

"I'm okay," Wesley said.

Cordelia smacked him upside the head. "Why didn't you tell me you were okay?"

Gunn's stomach growled. He pushed past Wes, who looked like he was trying to decide between stunned and pained for the expression of the day. "Got any food?"

She glared at Wes again before leading him to the cheese log and Ritz crackers on the dining room table. Cordy got that don't-fuck-with-me-boy look on her face when Wesley laughed at the spread, and said, "You try and find a gourmet food shop open 24 hours between here and the hospital, buster."

Gunn backed away with his hands held up and went to the kitchen. Cordy must've heard the refrigerator door open, because she yelled, "Touch the diet soda and you die, homeboy!" He came back out of the kitchen and handed Wes a bottle of water. Then Gunn tipped his head back and chugged his own.

Wesley cleared his throat. "Cordelia? Why are we here?"

"Yeah. Some of us were out late last night getting chewed-on by Chirago demons, vision girl," Gunn said. "Oh, right. You *were* there. Way the hell out of range."

"I'm worried about Fred," she said. "Angel's been gone for over a month. I don't think I've seen her since last week, and even then, I just saw her eyes doing that shiny raccoon thing at the end of the hallway."

"So?" Gunn said, digging in to the cheese log. "She's shy."

"Shy?" Cordelia demanded. "She's an abused, agoraphobic ex-slave whose only touchstones with reality are beef tacos and Magic Marker fumes!"

Wesley did that blinking thing and ran his fingers through his hair. He'd stopped slicking it when Gunn had stolen all his hair gel and blamed it on a rogue poltergeist.

"So," Wesley said. "You're saying you'd like us to speak to Fred?"

Cordy raised her eyebrows and popped a cracker into her mouth. "Hey, I've put in my time, Wesley. I went shopping for her when we first got back, remember?" She started checking things off on her fingers. "Clothes, shoes, underwear, toiletries, accessories, and did I mention that the sales woman who sold me jeans for Fred told me that I was too fat to wear them?"

"And here I thought you were gonna be the one chick I knew in L.A. who didn't bitch about her weight," Gunn said.

Cordy's hair swung when she whipped her head around to glare. "Mock me again, and I'll stick that cheese log where the sun doesn't shine, mister."

* * *

Gunn was trying to climb down Wesley's throat. Wesley whimpered into Gunn's mouth. Wesley's hips lurched up, rubbed. Gunn rubbed back and tried to touch every inch on Wesley's body while not falling off the couch in the lobby. They broke for air and Wesley started chewing on the side of Gunn's neck.

"Time?" Gunn asked.

"Depends," Wesley said into Gunn's neck. "She left two hours ago. We have no idea when she'll return. We ought to stop."

"Stop?" Gunn said. "No, no, no. You're gonna suck me off. Payback time."

Wesley pulled away from his neck and grinned. A shit-eating, I-got-mine-already grin.

He *had* got his, when Gunn had swallowed Wesley's dick about thirty minutes after Cordy had climbed into that cab to meet some agent out in Santa Monica. Then the phone had rang and Wes morphed into research boy until Gunn got sneaky and made Wes say, "Must you *insist* on licking me?"

Because yeah, he did insist.

Wesley's hands were working at Gunn's zipper when they both heard it. Squeak of a door hinge. Fred's feet on the stairs, barely making any noise at all.

God *damn*.

Girl had to choose the most inconvenient time to eat.

"Back to the game?" Wesley asked, zipping him back up and giving Gunn's dick a little there-there pat. His very heavy and hurting and *wanting* dick.

Gunn heaved himself off the lobby's couch. "Back to the fucking game."

"She's bound to let us off the hook, soon," Wesley said, picking up the dice. "Cordelia will probably have more success at coaxing Fred out of her room, after all, and..." Wesley stopped when Gunn looked at him, and Wesley's mouth went soft and slack for a minute. "Good Lord, I hope she lets us leave the hotel soon."

The only option for real privacy was to fuck on Angel's bed, and that had been vetoed back when he and Wes first started having sex.

Wesley bent down to look at the board. Looked like he was concentrating real hard, so Gunn leaned in and said, "When I'm done with you, you'll be sitting funny for a week."

"You think you can beat me?"

Mm. He loved it when Wes played along. "I *know* I can beat you."

"Confident, aren't you?"

Gunn was seriously resisting the urge to crawl over the table. "Roll, English."

Oh yeah, any minute now, Fred would walk out of the back kitchen and get traumatized even more. Or even worse, Cordy would come back from lunch and catch them with their pants down, Wes face down on the table, legs spread wide, arms braced, and Gunn just shoving himself on in.

Yeah, he was thinking about moving in to Wes' ass. Maybe do some interior decorating.

Wes flicked his wrist and the dice flew out of his hand. Gunn's dice clattered to the table.

Gunn crowed when the numbers came up and did a victory dance. "You lose *again*."

Wes managed to look disappointed. He looked cute like that. "I kept Andorra this time."

"You with this fancy-ass education and years of training, and you haven't won *yet*," he gloated some more.

"Shut up," Wesley said. He sat down on the table.

So damn cute. Of all the games Wes could be bad at, Gunn just *loved* that Wes sucked ass at Risk. If he couldn't fuck Wes right now, he could damn well taunt the boy.

"Who's your ruler, baby?"

Wes looked up, peering over the tops of his glasses. "Don't make me hurt you."

"Kinky. I can go with kinky."

"I know you can go with kinky," Wes said. "You were the one who lost the handcuff key, remember?"

Cordelia slammed through the front doors of the Hyperion, the fringe on her blouse ruffling in the breeze. "I," she said, brandishing the brown bag like a politician holding a newspaper with a winning election headline, "have food."

"Whatcha got?" Gunn asked. He backed up from Wes. Man was dangerous when he was too close and talking about bondage.

"How did the meeting go?" Wesley said, standing.

Cordy rolled her eyes and slammed the bag of food onto the counter. "Jerk stood me up. No possible 15% of Cordelia Chase's earnings for you, Mr. No-Show Agent Man."

Gunn leaned over and sniffed at the bag of food. Hot sauce. Meat. Lukewarm. "Tacos?"

Cordy sighed. "Yeah, I stopped by Baja Bud's on Third on the way back." She looked at the stairs. "I thought it might, you know, bring her out. A little." She cocked her head and took a few steps toward the stairs. "Fred?"

Gunn cleared his throat and pointed at the kitchen. Wes tossed Cordy a paper-wrapped taco.

"I take it neither of you had a chat with Fred while I was out squandering my precious time on the sleazy Hollywood creep who promised me a spot as an extra on Gilmore Girls?"

"Um," Gunn said.

"We were, uh --"

"Being big, cowardly idiots?" Cordy volunteered.

"Well, yes," Wes said.

Gunn finished swallowing a bite of taco and said, "Hey! Who you calling an idiot?"

"Come on, guys," she said, hands on her hips, dangerously close to getting hot sauce on what looked like a really expensive miniskirt. "You need to do this."

"Forgive me for asking, Cordelia," Wes said, "but why do you need *us*?"

Cordy rolled her eyes. "Because you're all freaky smart like Fred is so you can do the nerd communication mojo, and Gunn's a big, strong manly guy and Fred's still kind of the damsel in distress."

Gunn caught Wes' eyes, then turned back to Cordy and said, "So, what you're saying is that Wes is a pansy and I'm stupid?"

"No! I am so not saying that," she said. "It's just that together you make one almost perfect guy and I think that's what Fred needs right now."

Gunn caught Wes' eyes again. He smirked. Wes smirked back.

Wesley cleared his throat. "So, what you're saying is that you want me to find a mystical spell to merge us into one perfect being in order to be Fred's boyfriend?"

"You are not sleeping with Fred!"

Wes blinked. "Of course not, Cordelia."

"Because that would be wronger than a wrong thing that is wrong," she continued.

"And that's a bad thing, right?" Gunn asked.

Whoa, and that got him a classic Cordy the Avenger look.

"Forget it! I'll talk to her." Cordy stalked back to the counter and snatched the bag of tacos. She straight-armed the kitchen door.

Wes licked grease from his fingers. "I think that went well."

Gunn just shrugged and downed half his taco in one bite.

* * *

He looked left. He looked right. Shuffled forward and peered around the corner. Wes had been gone for a while and it was starting to make Gunn nervous. British boy said that whatever he was looking for would only take a minute.

Note to self, Gunn thought, Wes lies like a hell dog. The slobbery ones with glowing red eyes.

"Have you been helped today?"

Gunn turned on his heel and caught himself reaching for his axe. "Huh?"

The salesgirl smiled and tilted her head. "Is there anything in particular that you're looking for?" she said. Her name tag on her purple sweater said 'Debi', and Gunn was pretty sure she wasn't a natural blonde.

"Nah, not really," he said. Gunn put his hands in his pockets and looked around for Wes to reappear.

"Are you shopping for your girlfriend?"

Gunn smiled down at the girl. Fucking great. At the mall with his boyfriend and he's getting cruised by a Valley girl who'd probably call the cops if she saw him in a dark alley on the way home.

Heh. Boyfriend.

"Nah, I don't have a girlfriend. I'm just here with--"

Wes popped up at Gunn's elbow with a plastic bag draped over his arm. "Ah, there you are, Charles."

"Where'd you go?"

Wes lifted his arm to show off the bag. "Cordelia."

Gunn smiled. "We picking up her dry-cleaning next, boss?"

Wes raised his eyebrow. "Funny that you should mention it..."

Gunn turned back to the salesgirl who was squinting at him and Wes like she'd magically got transported to boys town and was trying to figure out how she got moved off the menu.

"Hey, Debi," he said. "Where's the men's department?"

"All the way to the back of the store, on the right," she said. "You can't miss it."

"Thanks." Gunn grinned at her and then towed Wes to the guy section.

"You aren't trying to coerce me into have sex in the changing rooms, are you?" Wes asked. "While I wouldn't mind a video tape of our exploits, Gunn, I'd rather it weren't submitted as evidence when we're arrested for public indecency."

Gunn stopped in the middle of the aisle and thought about letting his head explode. "I can *not* believe you just said that."

Wes looked smug. "Was it the video tape portion, or the idea of sex in a public place?"

Gunn bumped shoulders with Wes and said, "Remember when I said you were uptight?"

"Vividly." Wes nudged him with his elbow. "Even if we were intoxicated at the time."

"If I knew then what I know now," Gunn said, stopping in front of a rack of shirts. Shirts without buttons. "We would've been bumping uglies about five minutes after we met."

Wes frowned. "You would have taken advantage of me in a hospital bed?"

"Nah, that time doesn't count 'cause you were unconscious." Gunn looked over and saw Wes going through a rack of green paisley shirts. "That," he said, "has got to be the ugliest shirt I have *ever* seen."

Wes nodded. "I think I'll get one."

"You planning on wearing that around me in public?"

Wes slipped the shirt off the hanger and held it up against his chest. "As often as possible."

"I think I hate you now," Gunn said.

"Yes, we all know you're just using me for my body," Wesley said, walking off to see the shirt in a mirror.

"My boyfriend is evil," he said.

Wes looked startled for a minute, eyes wide, mouth open. They'd never had 'the talk' and maybe he was assuming too much. But then Wesley smiled, this slow beam that made Gunn's toes curl in his work boots.

"Your boyfriend is not evil," Wes said. "He's normally a very dapper Brit with a talent for darts, demonology--"

"Don't forget 'getting slimed'."

"--and getting slimed all in the name of duty. And your boyfriend is about to purchase a truly hideous shirt just so you can steal it and throw it in the incinerator along with your boyfriend's beloved Cat Stevens tape."

"I ain't apologizing for that last one."

"Considering that you weren't alive during most of the 1970s, I suppose it's not entirely your fault."

"Shut up, chicken hawk."

Wes draped the plastic bag over a rack of clothes and put on the ugly shirt. "Were you alive during the first run of *any* of the Star Wars films?"

Gunn tugged at the shirt, but Wes slipped out of his reach and laughed. "Ewoks," he finally said. "Okay? I only remember the ewoks. Would you take that damn thing off?"

"I think not."

"Buy you ice cream if you do."

"What flavor?"

"Jamoca Almond Fudge."

Wes crossed his arms. "Do I get a waffle cone?"

"Does Jesus love me?"

Wes stripped off the shirt; it left his hair a little messed-up and spiky, his glasses askew. Then his eyes narrowed. "It's free scoop night at Baskin Robbins, isn't it?"

"Hey, nothing but the best for my boy."

"What am I, a cheap date?"

"You really want me to answer that question?"

* * *

He came out of the bathroom to see Wes sitting on the couch, nose stuck in a book. Gunn climbed over the arm of the couch and put his head on Wes' lap, digging the remote control out from under Wesley's thigh.

"Got sick of Crocodile Hunter?"

Wes flipped a page in his book. "Since I run the risk of losing body parts to demons with big, pointy teeth on a daily basis, I have no desire to watch that lackwit face down the gaping maw of a crocodile."

"You're just jealous of his sexy shorts."

"Oh, yes," Wes snorted, "and I want a pith helmet for Christmas, too."

He mimed taking down a letter. "Dear Santa Claus, Wesley's been a really fucking good boy this year."

"Good boy, or good fucking?"

"Sex and Santa do not belong in the same sentence, okay?"

Wes flipped another page. "And I'm the neurotic one. Of course."

"You know it."

Gunn rubbed his cheek against Wesley's thigh and turned on the TV. He channel-surfed for a while and then let his thumb slip off the buttons.

"You stopped on Lifetime," Wes said.


"You hate Lifetime."

"So do you."

The screen flickered for a few minutes, and then Wes said, "Is this the one where she saves the ranch after being spurned by her rich lover, whose mother is out to ruin her reputation because the queen bitch has another daughter-in-law in mind for her son?"


Wes put his book down on the coffee table, his shirt falling against Gunn's face when he leaned forward. He sat back and started rubbing his thumb up and down the back of Gunn's head. "We are so terribly gay."


"Pardon me," Wes said. "We're so terribly sure of our brusque, macho exteriors that we have no need to prove our manliness by watching monster truck rallies with lots of loud noise and explosions and bikini-clad babes. Better?"

"You need to scratch your balls when you say that. Then I'll believe you."

Wes laughed. "Your head is in the way."

"Damn shame," Gunn said. "And I like loud noise and explosions."

"Of course you do," Wes answered. "You're an American."

Gunn sat up and lunged, pinning Wes underneath him on the couch. "Don't you fucking make me call Immigration and Naturalization down on your ass, English."

"Good Lord," Wes said. The light from the end table lamp was shining off his glasses. "If you have an ounce of compassion, please don't. I'd have to marry Cordelia to get my green card."

"Oh, Jesus," Gunn smiled. "That's cruel and unusual."

"A fate worse than death."

Gunn settled down on Wesley's chest and went back to watching the movie. "At least you're better looking than what's-his-name, that fat dude in the movie."

A long pause, then, "Gerard Depardieu?"

"Yeah, him. Hey, Wes, you ever been to France?"

"Yes. Took holiday in Paris for a few weeks, once. Beautiful city. And surprisingly, the Seine doesn't smell like Angel's refrigerator when his blood goes bad. Why?"

"Wanted to know if you ever had sex with Gerard Dippy-doo."

Wes punched Gunn in the arm. "That is a disgusting mental image, I'll have you know."

"Oh, I know," he said. "You know, I've never really gone anywhere."

Wes quieted down, his arms going around Gunn's shoulders. "Really? Nowhere?"

"Went to Tijuana with Rondell once."

"That's somewhere."

"Yeah, I guess." Gunn didn't have the heart to tell him it wasn't, that it was just another place like L.A., only smaller and dirtier, with more cheap tequila. Wasn't far away at all, like how far Wes was from home.

A home Wes never talked about, and Gunn didn't want to push. Didn't really want to know unless Wes wanted him to.

Yeah, his home life hadn't been Leave It to Beaver for black folks, either.

* * *

He must've fallen asleep listening to Wesley's heart beat, because the next thing he knew, his body pillow was heaving up, then there was a beep and a fuzzy, "Hello?"

Gunn pushed himself up with his arms. Wes held the phone to one ear, his glasses reflecting cheap, glittery stuff for sale on the QVC channel. He fumbled for the remote and must have stabbed a finger at the right button, because the TV set shut off and the apartment suddenly got quiet.

He never got tired of listening to the sound of Wesley breathing.

Wes hung up the phone and yawned. Gunn could see the hangy-ball at the back of his throat.

"Another vision."

Gunn frowned. "Already?"



"My sentiments exactly."

Because it might be the last time he could do it for a while, Gunn leaned forward and kissed him, tonguing into Wes' mouth. And Wes just moaned a little, opened up, licked back. Chased Gunn's mouth when he tried to pull back.

They broke apart to breathe and Gunn flopped back down onto Wesley's chest. "Donít wanna move."

"As your superior," Wes started to say.

"Oh, you *don't*." Gunn started tickling where Wes' love handles would be if the man carried any extra weight.

Wes twisted underneath him and laughed helplessly. "As-as your superior, Charles--"

"What, I'm Pinky and you're Brain?"

"What?" Wesley said breathlessly, hips canting up in an effort to push Gunn off.

Gunn snorted at Wes' scrunched-up expression of confusion, and then started laughing hard enough that Wes could push him off onto the floor between the couch and the coffee table. "Ow."

"Demon," Wes said.

"Yeah, yeah." Gunn hauled himself up and stuck out his hand. Wes took it and he pulled Wes to his feet.

"Now where did I leave my axe," Wes said as he wandered off.

"Kitchen counter," Gunn said. He walked into the bathroom and picked up his hubcap axe where he'd left it propped against the toilet. Probably wasn't good to leave it in a humid place, but he didn't like being unarmed and naked at the same time in case he ended up on 'When Skilosh Attack' or something.

"Ready?" Wes asked. He was wearing his leather jacket.

"Mine or yours?"

Wes jangled his motorcycle keys. "Mine. I fixed the axe harness."

"I am not wearing the pink helmet."

"I wouldn't dream of asking you to."

Gunn snorted. "Yeah, you would."

Wes nodded. "Well, yes, I would, and I have, but I suggest we argue about it after we've dispatched the latest demon."

Gunn followed him out the door and watched Wes lock it. "You're just worried that Cordy'll yell at us if we take too long. Boss."

Wes headed for the front door. "I don't see *you* dawdling. Employee."

Wes put his pink helmet on and slung his leg over his bike, stowing his axe and holding his hand out for Gunn's. Gunn handed it over and climbed on behind him, sliding forward so his crotch was snug up against Wesley's ass. And wasn't that just a fan-fucking-tastic place to be. Wes started his bike when Gunn slipped his helmet on, the foam rubber lining cool against his head. Gunn wrapped his arms around Wesley's middle and they pulled out onto the street.

Road slipping by under his ass, motor vibrating up through his legs, and Wes' hard body wedged up close.

Not exactly where he expected to end up, where anybody probably ever thought he'd end up, but Gunn wasn't complaining.

* * *


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