Title: Comfort (1/1)
Authors: DangerMouse (dangermouse42@yahoo.com)
Website: http://www.rose-tinted.net/dangermouse
Rating: P*-13 just because of the slash. Nothing graphic.
Warning: Angst
Pairings: Gunn/Wesley
Spoilers: Everything up to "Supersymmetry"
Disclaimer: The characters and settings belong to Mutant Enemy, the WB, and serveral other people, I'm sure. The story belongs to me. Strictly for fun, no profit. I promise to return the characters with as few mental/physical/emotional problems as possible.
Feedback: Makes me so happy, I could lose my soul. Constructive criticism welcome, flames are not.
A/N: This is quite a bit shorter than my usual style, but I think it works for what it is. Enjoy the fic and I hope to hear from you!

I get it now.

I get why Angel is always sittin' in his office, starin' at the wall, when he thinks we ain't lookin'. I get why he sometimes disappears in the middle of conversations, his eyes gettin' all dark and funny. I get it now. I so get it.

I wish I didn't.

Fred, my beautiful, sweet - and did I mention beautiful? - Fred is sleeping right now, curled against my side, her hand on her cheek, all innocent-like. She's not smiling, though. She usually smiles in her sleep. Didn't used to, when I first met her, but lately, she smiles. She'd been happy, these past couple of weeks, goin' on about her paper. Never understood a lick of what she was talkin' about, but that ain't nothing new. Her eyes were lit up like I ain't ever seen 'em before.

But, tonight, her eyes went dead.

The minute I ran across that room and snapped that guy's neck with my bare hands, her eyes went dead. She looked at me with something like disbelief, maybe a little disgust. I could feel it. But I had to do it, I had to stop her from killin' the bastard. I didn't want to have to look at her the way she wasn't looking at me tonight. I'd never have been able to live with myself.

We didnít talk when we got back to the room. We just went about our nightly things, brushing out teeth, changing our clothes, that sort of junk. Then, we went to bed. Not a word. Not a word spoken between us. At least, I don't think she spoke. If she did, I didn't hear. I ain't heard nothing really since I killed that guy. Nothing but the sound the snapping of his bones made when I just grabbed his head and twisted, over and over again in my head.

It was easy - too easy. I just put my hand on his head and turned, like I was trying to open a large jar of pickles. It twisted that easily. And even over the roarin' of the portal and the shoutin' of my own brain telling me not to do this, I heard it. I heard his bones warp and break. It's a strange noise, unlike anything I'd ever heard before. I don't think I could describe it. I don't think I want to, anyway.

I can't take it anymore, I just can't. Before my body tells my mind what it's doing, I'm already standing up and changing my clothes, slipping into my shoes, not caring if I break down the backs. My hand ghosts over a weapon, Fred's weapon, still sitting on the dresser, and I pick it up, heading out the door, going down to the lobby. It's late, but it ain't early. Angel might still be up. I don't see him though.

I'm in my truck and driving before I even realize I'd gone outside.

* * * * * *

Gunn raised his hand an knocked on the hard, wooden door without hesitation, the loud, hollow sound temporarily drowning out the imaginary one in his head. He waited patiently outside the door, listening as soft footsteps approached, a brief silence as the light streaming from for peephole went dark, then the audible clicking and clacking as several locks and chains fell undone. The door swung open.

"Come in," Wesley said, his voice even, stepping aside, not at all surprised to see his former employee standing in the hallway, holding a crossbow.

"Thanks," Gunn replied in kind, walking into the dark apartment. He went straight into the living room, hearing the door being closed and re-locked behind him, hearing Wesley as he padded back across the carpet after him. Gunn turned to look to look at the man, glad for the darkness and deep shadows in the apartment. He hoped it was hiding his eyes.

"I'm bringing this back," Gunn said, holding out the crossbow. The older man took it wordlessly. "I recognized it as yours. Fred came here?" Gunn asked.

"Yes," Wesley replied, walking over to his weapons cabinet, drawing out a key to open it.

"And you told her how to open the portal?" Wesley shook his head, putting the crossbow back in its place.

"No, that was her idea," he said, still not turning around as he re-locked the antique case. "I showed her other things, other types of vengeance." He tilted his head in the direction of his bookshelf. "I'd hoped to scare her off... or at least, buy you and Angel some time to get to the man first." Finally, he turned back to face Gunn, staring carefully at the young man's face. "You were too late?"

"Angel wasn't," Gunn said, "but I was."

"She killed him?" Gunn closed his eyes.

"I did." He opened his eyes again, seeing Wesley staring at him, his expression unreadable in the dim light. "I did, before she could." When Wesley didn't reply, Gunn turned and walked over to the couch, sinking down into a spot that felt all-too familiar. It was hard to believe that, just a year ago, he'd been sitting in the same place, laughing over Kung Fu movies with his best friend, eating greasy popcorn and joking about the action on the screen, each of them wondering if they could incorporate the moves into their work. He remembered the one with the girl dancing over the tree-tops, remembered asking Wesley if that was really possible, then listening to the long winded reply of how some humans and a few demons could do such things.

Hard to believe how such a short amount of time could change so much.

"Are you okay?" Wesley asked him. Gunn almost laughed. Such a simple question. One he could have asked the one who just voiced it so many times in the past, one he should have asked. But he didn't, though - too late to stop what had happened between them, just like he was too late to stop what had happened tonight. He almost laughed.

Instead, he heard himself ask in a strange voice, "Can I stay here for a while?"

Silence, for a brief moment that stretched into eternity, then, "Yes."

"Sit with me?" In an instant, a familiar warm body was sitting down in it's familiar spot, the warmth of Wesley's side brushing up against him sending waves of inexplicable comfort towards his heart. A pale, long-fingered hand interlaced with his own and for the first time that evening, the sound of breaking bones faded out of his mind, replaced with the comforting, even breathing of the man sitting next to him.

"Thank you," Gunn whispered, gripping the hand tightly, feeling the familiar calluses rubbing against his own.

"You're welcome," Wesley replied softly. Gunn leaned against him, closing his eyes, enjoying the familiar scent of Wesley's hair as it tickled his nose, taking the comfort for as long as he could get it.

The End


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