Archive: List archive, anyone else wants it, let me
Feedback: Makes me so happy, I could lose my soul.
Constructive criticism welcome, but no flames, please.
Summary: Gunn and Wesley meet together again to
celebrate a small tradition.
Disclaimer: The boys don't belong to me. They belong
to Joss, Mutant Enemy, the WB, and probably a few
other people. The story, such that it is, is mine.
Spoilers: A little season four, but nothing specific.
Thank you: Jess, for the quick beta. Any mistakes
still in the fic belong to me and only me.
Author Notes: This is... late. Very, very late.
Almost a month late. My response to the Gunn/Wes
Anniversary challenge. Sorry. *sheepish grin* But,
at least I got it done at all, right?
The bar was crowded, but quiet. All of the tables
were filled with small groups, talking in hushed
tones, while a rickety jukebox played a scratchy
version of an old Bob Dylan song. Wesley sat at the
counter, his hand cradling a cracked glass filled with
potent whiskey, his hand casually tilting the glass to
roll the liquid around. The bar tender had long
stopped bothering him, aware of the fact that he was
just going to continue to sit there and stare at his
drink, as he had been for the past twenty minutes.
The glass was set loudly on the table and Wesley sat
back on his stool. His eyes never lifted from the
glass. The Bob Dylan song skipped.
"You made it."
Wesley glanced up and nodded at the familiar figure of
Charles Gunn as he approached the counter, taking his
place next to the former watcher. Gunn motioned to
the bartender, who brought over another drink just
like Wesley's, setting it in front of the younger man
without a word. It, too, remained untouched.
"Sorry I was late," Gunn continued, pushing the glass
around on the table with his finger. "It was tough
getting over here."
"I appreciate it," Wesley told him, staring
impassively at his friend. "I know how it can be."
Words failed them and they both sat quietly, staring
at anything but each other.
"How you been?" Gunn asked, breaking the silence.
"The same," he said, giving Gunn a rueful smile.
"Fighting the good fight, trying not to get killed,
you know how it is. You?"
"Yeah, same." He was turning his glass around in
circles, not meeting Wesley's eyes. "Why do we keep
doing this?" he asked suddenly.
"Tradition?" Wesley offered. At that, Gunn finally
looked at his friend, giving him an even, unimpressed
look. "Because we need it?" Wesley tried again. Gunn
sighed, looking back down at the scarred wood of the
"I do need it," he agreed. "So much... so much has
changed. If I didn't have this..."
"I'd lose myself," Wesley finished, running his
fingers along the rough lip of the glass.
Gunn nodded. "Sometimes, I can't remember, you know?
I can't remember what happened. And when I do, it
seems really stupid."
"It was stupid," Wesley agreed. "All of it. The
petty fighting, the rivalry, the distance... useless."
He reached over a tentative hand and covered Gunn's
with it. "I missed you."
"Me, too," Gunn said, intertwining his fingers with
his friend's. He started to look over his shoulder
towards the window, but Wesley shook his head.
"Don't," he warned. Gunn sighed and looked back at
"Sorry," Gunn said. "I was just thinking how crazy it
was that this is what it took for us get over our
Wesley sighed. "I wish there could have been another
Gunn stared down at the bar, chewing his lip for a
moment, indecisive. Suddenly, he looked sharply back
at Wesley. "Stay here," he pleaded. Wesley closed
his eyes, looking torn, and Gunn interrupted him
before he could voice his opposition. "You don't have
to go back to Sunnydale," Gunn said.
"They need me there," Wesley returned.
"I need you here."
The two men stared at each other, Gunn's eyes hopeful,
but resigned. After a moment of silence, Wesley gave
his head the tiniest shake of 'no,' his own eyes
showing deep regret.
"I can't," Wesley whispered.
"I know," Gunn replied in kind. He looked out the
window, this time Wesley not even trying to stop him.
"I should go," he said.
Wesley nodded, following his gaze. The two men
unclasped their hands then reached out for their
drinks, both downing the burning liquid
simultaneously. Clearing his throat a little, Gunn
met Wesley's eyes for one last time. With just the
barest hesitation, Wesley leaned forward, capturing
Gunn's lips with his own. It was short and sweet,
conveying so much more than could ever be said, filled
with hope and love, regret and loss.
They both sat back, Wesley's eyes blinking a bit too
fast, Gunn swallowing heavily. They stood up, Wesley
carelessly tossing some cash on the bar, nodding at
the man behind it, who inclined his head just slightly
in acknowledgement. Together, they made their way to
the door, hovering just at the exit.
"Be careful," Wesley told Gunn, who flashed him a
familiar, cocky grin.
"Always am," he said with some enthusiasm and Wesley
smiled. "You watch your back, too, alright?"
"I will," Wesley promised.
"Good," Gunn said seriously. The both glanced
outside, preparing themselves to part ways. The air
was thick with smoke, the sky burning an unnatural
color. All around them, the cries of things screaming
filled the air as the demons rampaged on the street,
as they had been for the six years since the world
"See you next year?" Wesley asked him, hefting his
battle-axe high on his shoulder. Gunn nodded reaching
out a finger to trace the long scar along Wesley's
"Without a doubt," he said with conviction. With one
last lingering glance, the two men rushed off in
opposite directions, into the hell that was the
streets of Los Angeles.