Title: After the Fall
Author: Serafina
Pairing: Wesley/Gunn
Spoilers: That Old Gang of Mine
Disclaimer: Joss owns them; I don't.
Feedback: Yes, please. especially since I'm so uncertain with my ability to write Gunn and Wesley together.
Summary: The night after Gunn's `fall' from grace, he and Wesley sort some things out.
Notes: I've written this because, watching the show, I'm getting a strange vibe from Wes and Gunn. Last season, I felt they were a solid couple, but the last two episodes, I feel as if something has changed. So, in this fic, Wesly and Gunn have been together for awhile, but after Angel came back, Gunn asked if they could back things off so he could have time to think. So, if it sounds like they're referring to stuff I wrote in a previous fic, they're not. Maybe one day I'll go back and try to write a story leading up to this, but, for right now, this is it. Hope you enjoy.
Warning: un-beta'd. Sorry

The night air was cool against Wesley's skin. It brushed against him, chilling him, bringing blood to the surface in an effort to warm him. Autumn nights in Los Angeles could be like that. Before, all those days ago when he was fresh from England, he would not be the least bit chilled. Before, a lifetime ago. He supposed that it was a sign how acclimated he was to his new home that he needed the light jacket to guard against the night air.

He sighed and leaned back against the wall, gazing at the stars. It had become Wesley's habit to retire to the roof of the Hyperion in order to organize his thoughts. It was a refuge of sorts. A wide expanse of concrete, broken occasionally by air filters and cable lines. If he sat with his back to the stair's hutch and faced west, he could just make out the ocean.

It was peaceful up here. Far enough above the street that the sound of the cars faded away to a muffled roar. Above most of the nearby buildings so that he needn't worry about Peeping Toms. Close enough to the sky to be able to make out a few of the stars, so faded among the glaring lights of the city. Far enough away from the constant tension of being surrounded by so many people to relax.

Closing his eyes, Wesley concentrated on his breathing, willing that tight knot in his stomach to ease and the ache in his heart to fade.

"It was not personal," he said softly to himself. "It was strictly business. It was in no way intended to be a reflection on me, simply something that he felt he needed to do." But, he couldn't help wonder, if it wasn't personal, then why did it hurt so very much.

"Wesley?" a voice said softly from above him.

Wesley opened his eyes, staring straight ahead. There were a pair of baggy jeans before him, blue blocking the skyline.


Hesitating a moment, the younger man sat besides Wesley, adopting a similar pose of drawn up legs, forearms resting easily on his knees. "So," he said after a moment, "I was about to head home. You need a ride?"

"No, thank you. I'm going to stay here."

"Again?" Gunn sounded dismayed.

A slight smile touched Wesley's lips. So he still had the power to ignite Gunn's jealousy. It was nice to know that that hadn't changed. "Fred has indicated through actual words that she sleeps easier when there is more than simply her and Angel in the hotel. She says she finds it comforting to know that I am down the hall and readily available should a demon portal open or she have the sudden urge for tea."

"Uh-huh," replied Gunn sourly. "So, you gonna move in or what?"

"I am considering it. Rent would be cheaper, as would the commute."

Gunn hit his fist on his knee. "Look, do you want me to go get my stuff outta your apartment? Cause all you have to do is tell me and I'm gone."

Sighing, Wesley turned. "No, I don't. Not unless you want to. That is," here he hesitated, unwilling to voice the hated thought, but needing to get through the conversation, "if you have figured things out, as you said you needed to." Wesley tentatively touched Gunn's hand. "I've tried to give you space and time, just as you asked. Tried to stay away from our more intimate association."

"Right, you have. And you used that time to be with Angel, getting close to him," Gunn retorted.

"Well, yes. I have spent time with my friend, Angel, repairing our friendship as best I can. And I have spent time with my friend, Cordelia and a frightened young woman named Fred. I've spent time with them, yes."

"Yeah, but Angel . . ."

"Yes. Angel," Wesley interrupted. "He has indicated that he is interested in taking our relationship to the next stage. That his feelings for me are moving away from being strictly platonic and into something more. But, until you tell me that we are officially no longer a couple, I am not going to enter into anything with Angel. Nor do I want to."

Gunn turned his head to look at Wesley. "You don't want to." A disbelieving tone of voice, distrustful look in the dark eyes.

"Despite what you may believe, before I met you, my days did not begin and end with the thought of Angel. He was my employer and friend, nothing more. And now I'm with you. I think. I hope."

"But what about last night?"

Wesley took a deep breath, pausing long enough to make sure his voice was steady. "What about it?"

The younger man furrowed his eyebrows. "All that . . .that warning. About how you'll fire me. About putting me out on the street and stuff? You were so disappointed."

"Yes, I was. But, that was work. And while I am still hurt, I have to learn to distance myself from what I have to do as the leader. You didn't betray _me _ exactly; you betrayed us. All of us, including yourself. We have a mission and that mission is to protect that helpless - all of them, including the occasional demon. But," Wesley continued giving himself a sharp mental kick, "but that should not affect our relationship. We should have a life that is relatively separate from our work. It's hard. We work together, face death together, then go out together. The lines are blurred. But, they are there. I am angry and hurt at your subterfuge, but I . . .I still care for you. And if I am willing to give you another chance as an employee, I must do the same as my lover." He bit his lip, then said, "I don't want this to affect our relationship, as uncertain as it is at this moment."

"But it does," Gunn replied.

Sighing, Wesley shrugged. "Unfortunately it does, to an extent. Although I know you did not intentionally set out to hurt me, I find myself wondering if you are hiding anything else. Anything that does pertain to us." He hesitated. "That man. Your friend."

"Yeah?" asked Gunn, warily.

"Were you lovers?"

He sighed and leaned his head back, rubbing his forehead. "Yes and no. It was never serious or nothing. Just . . . hell, I don't know. It was buddy stuff. We'd go out fighting, kill some vamps or demons, get all hot and tense and shit. There wasn't anyone out there; none of the girls appealed to me and he was the only guy I trusted. So, we helped each other out, turn to each other and give a hand."

"Ah. A sort of `I'll suck your dick if you'll suck mine' arrangement."

"Oh, I wish you hadn't said it like that. But yeah." Gunn reached out and gently caressed the back of Wesley's neck. "Not like with you."

Wesley closed his eyes, leaning into the touch. "Like me?"

"Yeah. Like you. With you it's not just about what we do, it's not a helping hand. With you it's about you. Being with you, smelling your scent, watching you sleep, listening to you breath. The way you make me feel. Trying to make you feel the same, feel good about yourself." He picked up Wesley's hand and kissed it gently. "I love you, Wes."

A glow suffused Wesley, traveling through his body, making him warm. At the same time, his stomach lurched and his heart contracted. "I wish you hadn't chose now to tell me." It's so hard to trust just now, he added mentally.

The younger man shrugged, hearing the subtext. "Yeah, well. I had to. I'm afraid of losing you, Wes. And I do love you; I wouldn't lie about something like this. And I'm not going to lie to you ever again." He inched closer to Wesley, entwining their fingers. "Look, I know I've been pushing you away since Angel came back, but I'm scared. I've never loved anyone before and loving you is . . . .well, it's different. It's new. Before, well, I was afraid to let anyone close because I'm dangerous. I don't expect to live long and I didn't want anyone to endanger their lives because of me. It's not fair to ask anyone to fight with me, to endanger their lives because I am driven by a compulsion to fight the darkness."

"But I would fight anyway. With or without you, I fight."

"Exactly. And because I know that, I allowed myself to let you in. And when I realized how I felt, I got scared. So I asked if we could back off, so I could sort things out."

"So," Wesley said, with growing comprehension, "it wasn't because you didn't want me anymore. It was because you were scared?"

Gunn cupped Wesley's face with his hand. "Ah, Wes. How could I ever not want you?"

Wesley closed his eyes, nuzzling Gunn's hand. "I'm so used to not being wanted that . . . I never believe that we would last. I've spent every moment of our time together waiting for you to realize that I wasn't the one you wanted. That I'm never the one anyone ever wanted."

"Wes, of course I want you. But, do you still want me? I mean, with Angel sniffing around and all, I . . ."

"No. I do not want Angel. The only reason he and I have been spending so much time together is that he's trying to open himself up to others. I've been trying to help him; he feels comfortable with me. But I don't want him." Wesley opened his eyes, gazing deeply into those of his lovers. "I want you. Because I love you, Charles."

Gunn smiled tentatively. "Still?"

Grinning, Wesley leaned into Gunn, bringing their bodies together. "Yes, Charles," he whispered. "I want you still."

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