Title: End Of The World
Author: Princess Twilite
Contact: Princesstwilite2@aol.com
Rating: PG-13 [language and some adult themes]
Pairing: Gunn/Wes
Summary: It's the end of the world, and since Cordy has taken Angel off into the middle of nowhere to cope with Buffy's death, that only leaves Gunn and Wesley to deal with it.. and other things. AU Season Three.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in this story; all rights to them belong to Joss and Co. I make no money from this story, so you're not getting a bloody dime.
Distribution: List archives, A Bullet Train from Tokyo, Gunn Slash, and if anyone else wants it, just send me an e-mail and tell me where it is going and you can have it.
Website: http://thatvisionthing.org/whip
Update List: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ptupdates
Author's Notes: First foray into male slash. Wes/Gunn is my favorite slash couple, and though I enjoy Fred/Gunn, I really miss the subtext between my boys. I've been working on this one for a while, and for the longest time got NOWHERE. I only had about 10 paragraphs written, and not written well. Then my muse struck me, and though it was a bitch of a slap, I'm thankful for it.
Dedication: To Argent, who I told once upon a time, that this story was coming. And most likely, and even bigger shipper than me. If that's possible. Hope you like it girl, believe me, it was one of my hardest fics to write. Because hey, not a male here.
WARNING: Slashy m/m feelings inside, along with some naughty language.

"I know there's no where you can hide it.
I know the feeling of alone.
I know that you do not feel invited,
But come back, come back in from the cold."

'I Know,' by Jude

* * *


There are things you do when you believe you're going to die. Things you say, that should never be said other wise... or at least things you've been harboring, pretending didn't exist. It's like your guts just fall right out, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

That's how Gunn found himself leaning over Wesley's body, spilling his heart out in front of a crowd of strangers. Wesley's blood stained his cold, trembling palms. And that truth thing happened.

Because after all, if Wesley didn't live, chances are Gunn wouldn't breathe another goddamn breath.

* * *


Wesley tried the doors to the church, but they didn't budge.

"It's locked." He told Gunn. "Maybe we can..." Gunn kicked it open with his booted foot. "Break it down and announce our arrival and hopes to kill the entire clan of Serphor demons."

"Oh. Oops." Gunn grimaced and lifted his bow and arrow toward the doors and a whole group of mean looking snake-like creatures turned in their direction. "Sorry."

"It happens." Wesley said, distracted as they were charged.

Gunn discharged an arrow and it lodged in the throat of one creature, knocking it into another. The nuns were in the back, tied together in front of a table covered in various rats and entrails. "How many?" Wesley shouted to Gunn as one of the demons wrapped it's green, flaky hand around his throat and tried to throttle him. Wesley slipped a knife free from its sheath at his side and tore open the creature's belly.

There was a sharp stinging sensation across his chest.

It stumbled back and fell to its knees. Bleeding white, oozy puss from the wound.

"Kinda busy!" Gunn yelled back, reloading his bow while a demon hopped onto his back and knocked him over. Gunn's bow slid across the church floor and the hiss of the demon on top of him stung his neck. Gunn flipped over, his knee connecting with the demon's stomach, he sent it sprawling across one of the pews. "10, I think!"

"Oh..." Wesley used the dead Serphor's body as a shield when another came flying at him in a hiss of rage, its fangs bared. "Well then, what say we kill them quickly hmm?"

"Good plan." Gunn called back, using a blade to chop the head of another demon off before he got bitten. Puss splattered across the side of his head. The nun's screaming became all the louder. "Coming ladies!" He bolted toward them but was tripped by the tail of one particularly viscous demon, dressed in a blood red robe. "Or maybe not." Gunn smacked his palms against the floor, cursing.

"You interrupt us." It said in a child like wail. "We only wish to feed our pet. It has been long since we have last seen it. Over a thousand human years."

"Pet?" The demon bent over him, and Gunn punched it with as much force as he could. "Wesley, there's a pet?"

Wesley was too busy fighting a group of demons that were circling him like he was a mouse, to answer.

"Yesssss," the demon hissed to Gunn as it swooped to the side when Gunn would have connected with his fist again. "It is very, very hungry."

"I don't like the sound of that." Gunn knocked the demon's feet out from under it and shoved a sword into its chest with a sickening juicy sound that threatened the Big Mac in his stomach, before it could get up. "One moment ladies." He called to the wide eyes, hysterical nuns as they cried out for him. "Wesley, dude - you okay?"

"I could use a little help." Wesley tried shaking a demon from his arm where it was attempting to bite him while thrusting his knife at the others to fend them off. "Their bite is deadly, Gunn. To the extreme."

"Kinda got that." Gunn jerked his sword free from the chest it was stuck in, and lobbed it through the air and straight at Wesley. It slid through the skull of the Serphor on Wesley's arm like a knife through butter. Wes flinched back as the blade came perilously close to stabbing him in the shoulder. The serphor released him and fell to the ground in a limp, disgusting sprawl.

"Thanks." Wesley stopped for a moment, smiling, then jolted when one of the final Serphor's lunged at him, swinging the blade up from his side in a deadly arc that plunged it into the demon's shoulder. It whimpered, and Wesley twisted the blade free, plunging into the chest.

The fight went on.

When the Serphor's were all dead and white goo dripped from Gunn's nose where one of the Serphor's had spurted at him in its final moments, they sat taking labored breaths, in the middle of all the destruction. Sighing, Gunn stood and gave Wesley a hand up. Together, they untied the nuns who all but trampled them as they ran out of the church in tears and kissed the ground.

"Thank you god!" One of them called.

"What about us?" Gunn asked aside to Wesley. He shrugged in return, wiping a speck of goo off his own cheek.

"Let's just get this mess cleaned up, then we'll-" A distinct growling could be heard behind them. Both men froze, before slowly turning to face what amounted to a very large, snarling dog. Very large. About the size of a small house. It stood on it's hind paws, having climbed from a hole that had been dug below the crucifix of Jesus.

"That would be the pet." Gunn muttered, taking the broad sword out of its sheath.

"Did I forget to mention they had a pet?" Wesley asked as they slowly began to back away.

"You might have."

"I thought it would be smaller."

Turning, they ran like there life depended on it. Because, well... it did.

"Yea', English, next time? Remember anything that needs to eat PEOPLE can't be very small."

"Noted." He knocked over one of the nuns, then dragged her back up and pushed her into a run. "Sorry madam, but move your ass." Behind them, the giant dog broke through the church walls, sending stone flying. His roar filled their ears. "Bloody apocalypse." The nun he had a hold of screamed and started mumbling in Spanish. "Apologies, forgot your religon..."

"Any ideas?" Gunn asked, laboring for breath as they ran full force toward a cliff. If they stopped, they would be eaten. If they didn't stop, chances are they'd fall to their death.

"None. But I'd rather not become dog kibble - so if we could.." Gunn grabbed his sleeve and pulled him up short just at the edge of the cliff as inspiration struck. Wesley caught on, and holding onto the nun, they dove to the side. The dog didn't have the same luck. Its growling turned into whimpering as he stopped running and dug up the earth with his heels as he tried to slow, but over it went, keening as it fell through the air.

Gunn and Wesley watched as it hit the earth, neither realizing they were still holding onto the other.

"Dead?" Gunn asked, letting Wesley go when he realized just how tightly he was gripping his friend. The nun fell to her knees, kissing the earth again. "And you'd think they'd get tired of that."

"I believe it is dead. Now let's go in there and clean up that mess."

Inside, Wesley went first to the pillars and dragged the bodies toward the exits. Gunn grabbed the ones near the pews. On the return trip, Wes was stopped near the altar of candles. Something had caught his eyes.

"What's up?" Gunn grunted as the dropped the last Serphor onto the ground outside. Wesley hadn't followed him. Stepping into the church again, he saw Wesley standing quietly, bending over something. "Wes?"

"Nothing." Wesley carefully rolled up a yellowed piece of paper about the size of a map, and slid it into his backpack. "Just some light reading material." Gunn narrowed his eyes. "Let's get out of here, I'm starting to smell."

"I could have told you that." But Wesley didn't laugh, just walked past Gunn with that serious look of his.

* * *


"Sit still." Gunn muttered, trying to wrap the bandage tighter around Wesley's ribs. "This isn't gonna work if you keep flailing around like a sissy."

"I am not a sissy. That ointment your aunt 'allegedly' uses bloody stings."

"Means it's working." Gunn said succinctly, pressing on the bandage, trying to lock it into place with the small metal hook. "This thing is too damn small, how's it supposed to hold even a feather together?" He watched as Wesley flinched again, the muscles in his arms going steel. "Do you think they broke a rib?"

"I don't believe they did." Gunn's fingers were warm on his skin, so Wes pushed them away, standing cautiously. "Delayed pain catching up with me. Good thing it didn't feel like this when we were fighting."

"Adrenaline." Gunn watched him limp toward the bathroom. "Gets ya every time." Wes shut the door behind him, and Gunn took a deep breath, staring down at his palms. Then he clenched them into fists and turned firmly away. Fred needed checking on. She was writing on the walls when he entered her bedroom after knocking and receiving no answer.

"Gotta hurry," she muttered. "Not much time. They'll come... gotta hurry..."

The room was dark, he could barely see her.

"Fred?" She shook as if his voice had smacked her and stumbled into the corner, falling to her knees.

"Gotta hurry, soon... soon... soon!"

"You okay?" Gunn asked, coming to kneel beside her and help her back to her feet.

"I'm okay, just in a hurry. Things to do. So many things to do before we die." Gunn's eyes widened and he gripped her shoulders, making her face him.

"Look, you're safe here. Wes and I ain't gonna let anything happen to you."

"Wes and you, you and Wes." The words slipped free from her lips like a child's song. "K-I-S-S-I-N-G." And then she was laughing again, throwing her arms around him. "I'm so happy for you."

Swallowing, he drew back and looked into her eyes. Panic fluttered in his heart, and he didn't like to FLUTTER. But she didn't seem to know what she was saying. Closing his eyes in relief, Gunn sat down heavily beside her on the dirty floor.

Hoped like hell, he wasn't as obvious as Fred seemed to think.

* * *

Wednesday, 2:30 AM

Gunn rolled over in the bed of the room he was using. Even though it was softer and cleaner, he still missed the dumpy mattress at his own apartment. Not that her regretted giving it up, not really. But at least when he'd lived there, he'd been near his old gang. Now living here in this big old place, even though it was rusted and creaky, they had pretty much given up on him. Turned their backs. Or maybe it was him who was doing the turning away?

And for what? Some job, making a few bucks to do what he had once done for free, just because that's the way life was? It didn't always sit well, this feeling of being a traitor to the life he had always known.

Hell, he was lying to himself again.

A part, a very big part of why he had agreed to move in here, had stayed more and more last year, was down stairs at this very moment, working at his desk. Yep. Gunn had a thing for the big ol' boss man. Wes was pretty much THE reason why he'd broken off his secret relationship with Ron. They'd been together for two years. Ron was the only one on this earth, besides Gunn himself, that knew CHARLES GUNN was gay. Shit, he had enough trouble in this world being black and trying to walk into a super market.

Screw being the QUEER black guy walking into a super market.

But it was hard and getting harder every day not to do something about the feelings crowding up his chest. He wanted to punch something, to beat it to a pulp until those feelings just went away so he could live in peace again. The peace of hunting at night and fuckin' during the day.

He wished Angel and Cordy would come back. But Angel had been some screwed up when Cordy convinced him he needed a break from everything and they'd left for - well, some place far, far away. His first love dead. Gunn could almost relate. Alanna's death had rocked him, so hard he hadn't thought he would ever come out of it. But he didn't care to think about his sister. That was like picking at a scar that never was, because the wound just wouldn't heal. It always resulted in the need to kill something, and that just wasn't gonna happen right now, besides he had to keep an eye on Fred.

Well, maybe Wesley could watch Fred... except that would mean talking to him when that wasn't at all what Gunn wanted to be doing. He was tired of talking. All they ever did was talk.

Gunn watched the ceiling; ears open to the noise of the man downstairs. He could hear footsteps, and the clanking of cups. God, he swore he could hear Wes breathing. Gunn pressed the pillow over his head, in order to muffle what must be his damn imagination working up. It was driving him insane.

Fuck it.

Maybe Wes wouldn't mind some company.

* * *

Wesley sat at his desk for a very long time, his eyes glued to the characters of the text in front of him. He stared so hard that they began to blur, dance even, and he had to take his glasses off and rub his fingers into the sockets of his eyes. Sighing, he slid the glasses back on, glancing up at the clock at the edge of the room, where it clanged three times.

He should be at home, he knew - but the muscles in his stomach were bunched with oncoming dread. He had to finish reading the transcription scratched in faded ink onto the paper before him. He'd discovered a pattern with the letters, which related closely to the Phoenician alphabet. They seemed to be a rough mixture with some unrecognizable script, one which he'd never seen before.

Pushing away from the desk, he went into the kitchen and poured some coffee from the pot that had been hard at work the last two days. The steam rose and tickled his nose pleasantly, waking him up. He caught sight of himself in the glass of the window, his reflection looked tattered, rough and abused. Wesley ran a quick hand over the stubble on his jaw and took a deep sip of coffee, wincing at the burnt taste of it.

Note to self: Do not drink coffee older than six hours.

Fact: You have before and you will again.

He was startled from his musings by a thump in the upper hallway.

Gunn stumbled down the stairs, and Wesley looked up at him as he came down in just his boxer shorts. Gunn had taken to staying at the Hyperion to keep an eye on Fred who spent most her time up in her room, every now and then begging for a marker or a pen. But she'd only yell from her room like a banshee until one of them came running in, then she'd calmly ask [like she wasn't crazy] for a writing utensil. Wesley had been willing to move in, but really it had been more appropriate for Gunn to give up his very small apartment in a dangerous area while Cordelia dragged Angel off to a healing retreat.

"Hey," Gunn muttered, heading directly for the coffee pot, unmindful of his near nudity. Wesley cleared his throat, looking away toward the open door way of his office where the translation lay half finished.

"Did I wake you?"

"Nah, I just thought you were a loud ass burglar." Gunn muttered, pouring the steaming coffee into a mug. Wes glanced back at him; saw that Gunn was watching him while warming his hands on the coffee cup, his eyes serious over the rim. "Why are you still here?"

Wesley leaned back against the window, letting it cool the skin of his back. It suddenly seemed overheated with the stress of the past two days, with the stress of Fred, with the stress of Gunn. Wesley cleared his throat.

"I couldn't sleep. I've just been working on some extra paper work that was lying around." Wesley shrugged, crossing his arms. Gunn looked dubious, but only took a sip of his coffee. Winced at the taste, and then took another sip. "You didn't have to come down."

Gunn stepped away from the counter, the light over the sink glazing his skin.

"I couldn't sleep either. You know how it is. Demons start invading the subconscious." He came forward, and for a second Wesley thought he might just walk right up to him and... but he only changed directions half way and headed toward the office. Wes cursed softly under his breath; all the scrolls were still laid out. Damning himself a fool, he followed behind Gunn. The man looked absurd standing in only boxers in the middle of the brightly lit office. Gunn looked pointedly at the strange looking markings on the yellowed papers, which were sprawled across Wesley's desk. "That the paper work you were talkin' about?"

Wesley smiled ruefully, rubbing a quick hand through his scattered black hair, before moving carefully around Gunn's body, and taking a seat at his desk again.

"It's... something I felt the need to look into." He admitted, strumming his fingers on the edge of the desk nervously. Gunn merely raised his eyebrows, expecting him to continue. Wesley sighed in defeat. "Okay, I didn't want to tell you about this, until I could be sure."

Gunn stiffened, catching the edge of worry in his friend's voice.

" What's up? New big evil or somethin'?"

"I'm not... entirely sure of that yet. But when we raided the Chapel last week, to stop the sacrifice of the nuns - remember the scroll that I found laid out near the candles?" Wes asked, leaning forward, his cobalt eyes intense.

Gunn thought back. Remembered.

'Just some light reading material...' The sunlight had slanted of Wesley's face, catching on the dark blue eyes and making the lips seem thick...

" Yeah," Gunn said finally. " But you got all stiff upper lip about it and didn't tell me what you wanted it for." Wesley slid his notebook out from beneath the papers, pointing to the words that were written down so very carefully. Gunn leaned over his friend's shoulders. Wesley was briefly distracted before he got back on the subject at hand.

"This is what I've been able to translate in the past week. It's not much, because to be honest, I've never seen a language or script like this in my life." Wesley's fingers plied the paper, running over the ink. Gunn's nose wrinkled up as he looked back and forth between the scrolls and Wesley's translation.

"That definitely gives me the bad tingle." Gunn muttered, rubbing his hand quick and hard over his dark scalp. "Definitely not of the good."

The ink stood out in stark contrast against the white paper. Seemed to draw the reader's eye. Or maybe that was Wesley's scrawl, the clear - precise lines of it.

"So far, I've been able to read a few lines. Basically - this is somehow connected to the death of the slayer."

"Buffy?" Gunn asked, sipping his coffee again. Wesley's eyes bored into the paper in front of him. As if he could make it give up the secrets it kept.

"As far as I can tell,,," Wesley's voice trailed off as he leaned forward, away from where Gunn's body heat radiated at him. "It speaks of Buffy, that when she lays cold beneath the soil, the earth will weep it's pain, and the heart will emerge for the first time in one billion years to mourn. The soil will split. All will suffer, all will pay. The ground will bleed, as if it's wound is too deep to bear. Terror will not be bound and the heart will die. Life will be no more."

"Was that supposed to give me the shivers?" Gunn asked near Wesley's ear in a low voice, and the Englishman bolted from his chair under the guise of grabbing another book and leafing through it. "'Cause that gave me very wrong shivers." Wesley shoved the book back onto the case, and took a deep breath.

He just couldn't get his equilibrium around that bloody boy anymore. And he was getting more certain every day that Gunn knew it and reveled in it. Except for the fact that Gunn was a self-professed straight man. Not that Wesley was Gay... or anything. Maybe just a little crooked.

"Regardless of your shivers Gunn, I've yet to decipher the rest of the prophecy, so we don't know the date or where for that matter, this is going to start. Much less, how to stop it from taking place." Wesley met Gunn's eyes for a moment, putting as much weight into the look as he could. He needed Gunn to understand the severity of their situation.

"Do you know how to..." Gunn reached for the phone. Wesley put a hand over Gunn's to stop him.

"We have no way to get a hold of Angel. Cordelia made it very clear when she dragged him off, she wasn't going to let anyone near him, not even for the end of the world." Gunn quirked his lips up, leaning back and sliding his hand free. Had a whole 'nother type of tingle that he wasn't gonna mention.


* * *

5:03 AM

Wesley unlocked the door to his apartment at dawn. The sky was a purple light, reflecting off of the tall rising buildings and blanketing the flat lines of the ocean. L.A. was alive and kicking with people dragging themselves home after a night of booze and sex. Preparing for a few hours sleep and then the work day ahead.

He wished he could claim such a life style. No, his long nights were those of researching. His drink of choice: coffee. Not even that tea that only he seemed to love. It couldn't keep one going in the life style HE lived.

Of course his father had always had issues with any life style he led, so it didn't really matter. Catching himself before the thoughts could take a heavy hand, he tossed his jacket onto the couch. He'd pick it up when he awoke. If he awoke. At the moment he felt like the walking dead. Except less active.

The papers were carefully set on his desk and then he was dragging his clothes off. Almost tripping as his pants fell around his ankles and his shoes wouldn't fit through the holes. Sighing, he bent and slid the shoes off and then the pants. He left a trail of clothes behind him.

Tomorrow. Yes, he'd fix everything tomorrow.

Wesley fell face first onto his bed.

The last thing he thought of before sleep took him, was the way Gunn's whisper felt in his ear.

* * *

12:35 PM

Wesley set the papers back onto his desk. He'd studied them briefly over breakfast but hadn't been able to focus. The sun had been too bright, the chair too hard. Even the air was too thick. Frustrated with himself, he had rolled the scroll back up and stared down into his cup of coffee like it might lend him a few answers.


Wesley turned on the coffee pot and whistled his way over to the lobby desk where the mail sat. Maybe if he just took his mind of his life for a second, his life and a few billion others, he could relax. Whistle, pretend, and it will come true. Right.

Junk mail. Junk mail. A subscription renewal to Vogue magazine. Junk mail. An invitation for the wedding of Anya and Xander, to one Cordelia Chase. Wesley put it down as if burned. Xander was getting married? God, now he felt old. Junk mail. Bill. Junk mail.

Grumbling, Wesley realized he wasn't going to get a reprieve and might as well just face the fire. Or at least the aging papers where the worlds destiny waited. Shoulders hunched, he headed toward his office and took a seat behind his desk.

Time to get to work.

After all, he had a planet to save and should stop ignoring that fact like he was thick headed.

'Yes, Father.' He wanted to say, but didn't.

* * *

2:38 PM

Gunn parked his truck in front of the abandoned building, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel for one indecisive moment. The boarded up windows weren't exactly welcoming, but they weren't meant to be. They'd never put up any bones about who they wanted in there. And it wasn't anyone but part of the tight knit group of Vampire Hunters. Underdog heroes.

He turned off the ignition, and palmed the keys as the got out of the truck, locking the doors behind him. As if it would matter if someone wanted to get in. Not in this part of town.

The sun was hot on his scalp and heavy on his shoulders as he strode toward the heavy metal door and banged his fist against it. They'd moved head quarters in the past month so this place didn't have the feeling of coming home for him. No, it was more like walking onto foreign territory, wondering if someone was gonna cock a gun and blow your head off.

A small metal slat slid back and revealed a pair of unfamiliar eyes staring back at him.

"State yo' business." A rough voice came through the door.

"I'm here for Ron." The eyes stared back at him. "Ya know, Ron, the person who hands you your orders?"

"He don't know your coming." Gunn grew impatient, and leaned forward, searing those eyes with his own.

"Now you may be right 'bout that. Open the fucking door."

"It's okay." Another voice said. "He's one of us. Mostly." Ron.

The door opened enough for him to step from sunshine into no-shine. The place was dank and a little filthy, but he could see from the many faces of young men and women snapping pieces of a weapon together... one that he himself had designed, the gang was running as smooth as ever.

"What's up?" Ron asked, raising a hand for Gunn in their shake. A drill sounded in the distance.

"Usual." Gunn said, eyes on the group of men whose faces stayed looking away from him like he wasn't there. "Heavy shit."

"That right?" Ron shook his head. His voice was dark with memories. "Ain't that always a bitch. Somethin' I should know 'bout?" Ron's fingers came up to hook into his jacket pockets in that familiar way.

"Maybe." Gunn shrugged, glancing away from Ron's subtly appraising gaze. A pair of eyes turned away from him when he looked their way. "Can we..."

"Yo, J - take the watch for a min, bringing my boy in the back fo' some di-scuss-ion."

In the back room, Gunn's shoulders tightened when the door shut and locked behind them. "So let's drop the game, what do you want?" Gunn stared into Ron's ever-hard eyes. "You here for some weapons? I don't got any I'm willin' ta give up. You best look else where, boy - you took all I had. More than I had."

"I'm sorry for that." Gunn whispered with uncharacteristic softness. He kept his eyes on his shoes. "You know I'm sorry for that." There was a long moment of strained silence before Ron's hand came up, lifting his chin so Gunn would meet his eyes. Gunn could see that the pulse in Ron's neck was pounding. Hard. And he was swallowing like he had a fur ball lodged in his throat.

"You back, maybe? Not for them. You really back?" Gunn couldn't answer, stunned by the emotion in Ron's face. He'd only seen Ron emotional a few times in his entire life. And it had never been about their relationship. This was. He could tell by the way Ron's eyes traveled his face. His fingers sliding along like he was trailing them on a map. The memories surfaced like fog from the streets.

Laid out in Ron's bed, feeling what it was like to be with a man for the first time.

Ron's sleeping head rolling onto Gunn's shoulder when they were driving down the high way.

Kisses. Millions of wet, hot kisses.

Not being alone. God, that one got him the most.

Ron came closer, eyes darting around to double check that they were alone. And then he softly touched his lips to Gunn's, eyes wide open. "All you have to do is say so." Ron said against his mouth. "Don't matter if you say please o' not. You know I want ya." Another kiss, warm and sweet. Gunn let it happen. He hadn't been touched in so long. So long it was unbearable.

The kiss went on until it became a hot mating of tongues with Gunn's hands gripping the back of Ron's skull. And then, when Ron's fingers came up, touched the back of Gunn's neck in a gentle way that echoed Wesley's finger tips there on a night Gunn had gotten drunk and vomited all over Wesley's toilet - Gunn jerked away, gulping in breath. "What the fuck?" Ron asked in a voice like sand paper, pupils wide.

"I'm sorry." Gunn said. "So damn sorry." For a moment Ron stilled, as if everything inside of him stood perfectly in line. From toe to head, he did not move. Then he burst into a flurry of motion, ripping his jacket off and throwing it across the room. It slapped against the wall and fell to the floor. The action smacked of wanting to be torn out of his own skin.

"Fuck you man. Just fuck you!" Gunn ducked his head, waited for the fury to pass. It didn't take Ron long to get himself under control. He was that type of guy. "It's that pussy white boy ain't it?" The suddenness of the question, seemingly out of nowhere, was like a slap and Gunn stumbled on his own feet. His work boots made clumsy sounds against the cement.

"What?" Then, "He's not a pussy." Ron gave a smile that was more a baring of teeth. He went over to one of the boarded up windows for a moment, staring at the nails. Slowly, he began removing the boards - as if he couldn't breath in his own home.

"So the truth comes out." He muttered. There were lines around his mouth that Gunn had never seen before. He seemed older, heart broken and even a little lost.

"Ron.." When Gunn would have stepped forward, laid a hand on his ex/lover/friend, whatever the hell he was, shoulder - Ron turned, face blank.

"You got no business jonsing for a white boy, and you know it. Shit like that never works out."

"You don't know that." Gunn figured it was time to change the topic of conversation. This was a little bit too much for his heart. He didn't like seeing Ron bleeding over something that couldn't be helped. "I came here for a reason, man."

"Yeah?" Ron smiled ruefully. "Ain't me. So what is it?"

"End of the world, Ron. What else?"

* * *

Wednesday, 7:46 PM

"Where have you BEEN?" Wesley asked the minute Gunn walked into the Hyperion. Gunn stopped short, hands still on the door. He thought of Ron's kiss and shook the memory from his mind.

"Getting back up." Like it's any of your business where I've been, he added silently. Like you even give a damn. Gunn let the door slam closed and strode past Wesley, who turned to walk with him into the offices. "Ya know. Just in case we need it." The words hurt his throat though, and Gunn realized it was closing up, swelling. Ron's words were coming back to haunt him.

'Shit like that never works out.'

"Are they willing to help?" 'Leave me alone!' Gunn wanted to turn and yell to the nosy fuckers face, but couldn't. After all, he'd, oh god dammit, he'd fallen flat on his ass in love. And he hated it. Hated that this pretty little white boy had the power to make him ache.

"They set." Gunn answered, but said nothing more.

Wesley felt out of place all of a sudden, like a stranger in the room. Gunn wasn't looking at him or even facing him. The back of his jean jacket seemed imposing. Wesley left the room, unsure how to approach a man who suddenly seemed very alone. Like his best friend had just died.

Or a sister. Maybe a sister.

* * *

9:38 PM

Wesley's hand shook when he held it up in front of his face. Willing the caffeine headache away, he wondered what his father might say.

"Stupid boy," He'd mutter. "Always falling down and crying over a bloody knee... " Wes stood up from his desk, and walked near the window. "You'll never amount to anything, you realize. You got your brains from your mother."

Slowly, he shook his head from side to side. NO. "All you'll ever been is Mum's little boy, picking flowers. Are you a sissy, child? Speak up. You bloody better answer me."

The sigh split his chest and the sunlight creaked through the blinds as he tugged them down. In that moment, he wanted nothing more than for the world to not exist. For a second, he could understand the why the earth mourned...

Something was always dying.

A body. A soul. A heart. A dream. A wish.


* * *

Thursday, 2:23 AM

She slid her fangs along his neck and he did not flinch.

She ripped out his heart, and held it in his palm. He stared at her.

She was a stranger.

The earth rose up, breaking and bleeding blood so red it burned his eyes.

But he did not move.

It swallowed her. Took her down, the sound of sobbing as loud as any earth quake could imagine being.

She was gone. And the earth lay in tears.

He screamed.

"ALANNA!" Gunn bolted up in bed, the sheets falling to his waist. His chest gleamed with sweat, vibrated with the force of his heart beats. "Alanna." He said again, quieter. Not even he could hear it, he could only feel it vibrate in his throat. "Alanna."

Shaky, he scooted over to the side of the bed, reaching for his cell phone. Dialed.

"Hello?" A scratchy English voice answered after five rings. Gunn opened his mouth, but couldn't speak. The wind whipped hard against the walls. It had begun to rain, like a torrent of weeping, the storm wailed. "Hello?!" The voice became disgruntled. Having spoken no words, Gunn pressed END on the phone and tossed it onto the night stand. Laying back, he turned toward the window, staring out at it. Rain ran down it, a sheet of water.

Nightmares were not unfamiliar to him. But this one was.

* * *

6:12 AM

"You're up early." Gunn noted as he trudged down the steps, a hand on the back of his neck.

"It's not ideal to sleep with the world on your shoulders." Wesley stated soberly, sliding his jacket off and laying it onto the lobby counter.

"I see you that, and raise you a 'let's change the subject.'"

"Point taken." Wesley shifted. "So, yes - how about those Knocks?" Gunn looked at him, a slow smile stretching his cheeks. The first real smile in a long time.

"The Knicks, Wes dude, the KNICKS."

"That's what I said." Wesley sputtered, threading his fingers together. "The Knicks, of course."

* * *

8:19 AM

Gunn knocked on Fred's door and heard nervous, hiccupping giggles from inside. Cocking his head, he stepped inside.

And was greeted by the sight of the wild haired woman tearing strips of wall paper clear off.

"Fred!" Gunn ran over, grabbing onto her and bodily lifting her up and away from the destruction. Her fingers were bloody "What are you doing?" She shook in his grip, her glasses bobbing at the edge of her nose.

"Just making it go away. Making it all go away." She cried. Then her nails dug into his forearms and Gunn bit back a whimper at the sting as thin threads of blood trickled free from the ten tiny wounds.

"Make what go away?" He asked instead, gripping her shoulders.

"Bad things." She said, then went still and stopped struggling. "Bad things from the earth. I can hear it."

Gunn blanched.

"Wesley!" Gunn yelled. "Get yo' English ass UP HERE NOW!" He heard heavy foot steps on the stairs, like someone was taking two steps at a time, and then Wesley slammed into the room, the door banging off the wall and almost swinging back into his face.

"What?" He asked, hands raised at the scene before him. Looking harried and irritated. "What's wrong?"

"I think our little Fred here has been hiding something from us."


"Somethin' important. Like the fact that she might know somethin' about the end of the world." Wesley's eyes bore into Gunn's, and then he softened his expression, turning to Fred.

"Fred." Wesley began quietly, staying an unthreatening distance away when the Pylean swung free of Gunn's grip and ran to the wall, bouncing from side to side on the balls of her feet. Searching the writings for something important. "Fred, what do you know about the end of the world?"

Fred put her hands over her ears.

"I can hear it." She whispered. "So sad. So sad. I don't wanna hear it any more." Wesley went to stand next to her as she ran her fingers over the wall, following some pattern that was known only to her. "She will die. She will bleed, the heart." Fred shook her head then slapped her hands together. "Poof!" Gunn and Wesley both jumped at the loud sound. "Gone."

Wesley bit his lip, amazed.

"How do you know this?" He asked gently. She whirled on him, hair swirling around her face.

"When I was a little girl, a princess, because everyone's a princess. Except the Princes of course, unless they wanted to be, and it wouldn't bug me if they did. I - I walked, and I would hear things that made my parents so mad, so mad they whispered about it at night, and it made me sad." Fred closed her eyes and out of nowhere, she looked tired and beaten. "I'm sorry, I'm not usually so rude. Would you like to sit down?" She bolted toward him, and Wesley almost stumbled back a step before he could help it. Looking up at him through a curtain of hair, she dragged him toward a metal chair in the corner. "No. Not there. You haven't been bad. Okay. Stand. You can stand? You've got nice legs. Charles thinks so."

Gunn coughed, choking on his own tongue, and Wesley just stared. "You are going to save the world?" Fred asked then, her voice child-like and innocent. "That's so nice of you."

"I'm going to try." Wesley told her and tried make her focus on his eyes with a finger at her chin. "I need your help Fred. I need you to come down stairs with me, and look at some words on paper. You can do that right? You like words." Fred smiled nervously, fidgeting with her hands.

"I like words. Words are letters, and letters are like puzzles... I like puzzles."

"Mmm-hmm." Wesley took her by the hand in a light grip, and began leading her toward the door. She dug her heels in when she realized where they were going.

"No!" She started shaking her head, the muscles in her arms trembled like she was an agitated mare. "No! I won't go out there. Bad things. There are so many bad, bad things."

"You used to go out there Fred. It's time again."

"NO!" She tried to jerk her hand free, but he wouldn't let her go. Gunn came up and stood behind her, just in case she tried to run.

"Yes. Listen." Wesley ordered. "You will come downstairs with me, because it's your duty, with whatever power you have, to help us protect the world. Do you understand me? We can make the sadness stop." She stilled, before speaking very quietly.

"The heart is so sad. I want to make it stop."

"Then take control, Fred. Make it stop."

She looked at the doorway, her lips pursed up tight, like they had strings pulling at them.

* * *

12:00 PM

Gunn stood at the edge of the office, feeling useless and big. Fred, with her small hands and pretty face hiding the mind of something special. Gunn found himself oddly jealous. Or maybe not so oddly, because in that moment, Wesley's hand came up to rest on Fred's shoulder, and she grinned at him. [Sure the grin was a bit insane-like, but it was a grin, a BIG one.]

Shit, he had bigger things to worry about. Like the coming doom of the entire world. If the prophecy was worth the paper it was printed on, things unlike he'd ever seen were going down, and he needed to be prepared. But how the hell did English expect him to save the world, when he hadn't been able to save his own sister?


Wesley glanced up at him, eyebrows furrowed. Gunn wiped off whatever might have been on his face. Yeah, just look like a soldier or maybe a statue, and he won't ask any of his questions. Wes hesitated, but eventually he dropped his head back to the papers in front of him.

"What do you hear when you look at this letter, Fred?"

Fred's eyes were on Gunn however, and once more, she wasn't paying attention. "What do you hear?" Wesley asked again, tapping Fred's hand. She jerked her eyes to him.

"Loneliness." Fred replied, gaze bouncing toward the black man again.

"What?" Wesley looked back down at the letter in confusion. Gunn left the room.

"Huh?" Fred seemed as lost as he was.

"Okay, Fred - we NEED to get this translated or else nothing is going to matter in the long run. So you have to focus for me. Fred? Fred." She sighed, dragging her gaze away from the departing man and back to the yellowed scroll.


"Good. Now, what do you hear when you touch this letter, when you look at it?"

"The clock." Fred laughed. "Tick, tock. Tick, tock."

* * *

Fred walked back up to her room two hours later, black circles beneath her eyes. Gunn tracked her ascent sadly, watched as she trailed her slim white fingers over the banister.

"She looks like a hollowed out doll." He said to himself.

"It was hard for her." Wesley stated gruffly, the words not smooth like they usually were.Gunn turned to find the Englishman standing behind him with his arms crossed over his chest. "She opened herself up to a great deal of things."

"This is what we're depending on?" Gunn asked, nodding his head toward the ceiling. "A crazy lady who talks to the walls. Don't get me wrong, I like her plenty.... But she IS crazy."

"You saw what it was like in Pylea." Wesley replied, but he was looking at a trail of red sauce on Gunn's bottom lip. "You - have..." He pointed at Gunn's mouth. Gunn reached up and wiped it away, then licked the sauce from his fingers. "Where'd you go?"

"To that little Mexican Food stand down the street."

"I see." Wes pressed a hand to his stomach where it growled.

"I brought you food." Gunn held up a blue paper bag, a shy grin stretch his cheeks.

"Have I neglected to mention what a good friend you are?" Gunn's smile faded a little as he handed Wesley the food.

"Nah. You tell me all the time." An uncomfortable silence fell over them. Wesley tried to cover it by turning his back to Gunn and rustling with the food in the bag. Behind him, Gunn asked, "What'd you find out?"

"Oh, we have about twenty-six hours left to live." Wesley said calmly, setting the bag on the counter, and pulling out a burrito. "Now this is food. Sometimes I don't miss England in the slightest." Gunn almost missed the answer all together, since it was couched in such an easy going tone. When he caught it, he did a double take and grabbed Wes by the shoulders, spinning him around and shoving him back against the counter. Wesley smiled ruefully as the edge of it dug into his back. So much for quiet time with his stomach.

"What? Man, you're joking me here righ'?" Gunn realized he was pleading, and that he was probably hurting Wes, so he backed up a step, fingers clenching and unclenching. Wesley's skin was paler than usual, from knowledge.

"I wish I could say that I was." Wesley admitted, setting the uneaten burrito back into the bag. "But I know how we can stop it. It's all about prevention, and that's something we don't need mystical help for."

"What do we do?" Gunn's heart was pounding low in his gut, making his fingers throb. Fear tasted like copper.

"Ever seen the movie, 'Body Guard?' I hear it was quite a hit over here, a few years back."

"The one with Whitney Houston?" Gunn's forehead wrinkled. "Dude, you're cracking up."

"No. I'm trying to use up my supply of humor - just in case. Don't want it to go to waste, now do we?" When Gunn didn't crack a smile, in fact shivered, Wesley wiped the forced grin from his face. "Okay, listen. At 5:15 PM, at the down town International air port, an evil being dressed in a human disguise, carrying a gun will enter the airport. They don't go into details on his appearance."

"A gun? That doesn't sound apocolypty. That sounds like your every day bad guy."

"The evil being will have a target in mind. They don't go into details of who it is either. All the scroll says is that this person is in fact, carrying the heart of the earth inside their chest. The center of all the life is focused on the love of this person, their protection. If we fail to stop this being from being shot, if we cannot keep the blood of their heart from spilling free of their skin, the world will end in a simple burst of pure darkness. This planet, as we know it, will no longer exist. In its place will be a black hole, a void of utter despair."

"All this over a Slayer?" Gunn muttered. "What makes them so special?"

"This slayer WAS special." Wesley said, leaning back against the counter. "Because she held a great deal of love in her heart. More than any slayer before. And she has left a hole that weakens the earth, as her death was not meant to be. In fact, her sister was supposed to be the one to die. Buffy messed with the fates, and now it's time to pay the price. She was supposed to be alive, for future fights, battles. She was a CHILD of the earth. That is where she drew her strength from."

"That doesn't make sense." The younger man argued, mouth pulled in a tight, flat line.

"Situations like these rarely do."

"Twenty-six hours." Gunn nodded his head, mind on the weapons in the cabinet near Wesley's office. "So Wes, this might be your last day alive, what you gonna do about it?" Wesley could think of quite a few things, but he said none, and did nothing but shrug and walk away. He was getting damn good at denial.

Gunn stood there, the ticking of the clock making his skin twitch.

* * *

6:38 PM

Wesley knocked on Cordelia's apartment door. Seconds later, he heard the locks disengage and the door slowly opened inward. Wes stepped inside and Fred followed behind him, hunching her body, eyes flailing around.

"Dennis." Wesley said succinctly to the area where a lamp turned on. "We need your help. If you could keep an eye on Fred for a little while, take care of her, it would really be appreciated." Wesley could feel the confusion. "You've certainly felt the dreadful vibes in the air? After all, you're a ghost. Well, earth might no longer exist soon, but that's an awfully long story, and I have no time to tell it."

"Time. Time. All about the timing." Fred said softly, and Wesley felt Dennis's attention shift.

"She needs you, Dennis. Help us."

The ghost flicked the lamp light twice for yes. "Thank you." He brought the bags in, and in minutes was closing the door behind him. A breath whistled from between his lips in relief. One less matter to worry about. Fred was safe.

Inside Fred was glancing around the apartment.

"Never lived with a ghost before." She muttered. "Gotta be like standing on water without your shoes on. If ghosts stand on water that is. Do you stand on water Dennis?"

Dennis fluttered uncertainly. "Lots of pretty walls here." Fred said. "Do you have any markers?"

* * *

9:48 PM

"Ron." Gunn said into the phone. "Stop yelling at me."

Silence. "You know what we talked about before?"

"Yeah, man. I remember."

"Well it's the end of the world, gotta slide on those shit kickers."

"When do you need me?"

"Gather the boys and all the metal you can handle and come to the hotel, we can't hold our cocks on this brother."

"Are they coming?" Wesley asked when Gunn hung up the phone, leaving his hand there for a moment. Gunn turned.

"Yea'. They in." Wesley nodded, setting down a small dagger as he crouched on the floor. The lobby was littered with weapons. They were laid out across the floor like it was super market time in prison. Gunn maneuvered his way around a heavy mace. "Damn, we can't take all this into an airport, WE'LL get arrested."

"I know that. But we CAN take in smaller weapons. Besides, it never hurts to have back up outside."

"True." Gunn knelt down next to him. His shoulder thigh brushed against Wesley's knee, his shoulder - Wesley's side. Gunn watched the side of his face, and swallowed hard. "Wes?"

"Hmm?" He answered distractedly, for no other reason than the smell of Gunn's skin.

"Nothing." Gunn looked away and picked up a thin sword, tossing it up and catching it in a tight grip.

* * *

10:00 PM

The lobby was now filled with men and women. Boys really, who still didn't have to shave every day. Girls that ought to be looking through magazines or planning college. It hurt to look at them, Wesley thought. Made him ache to know what each and every one of them had been through, to bring them here on a night where it was raining like it never had before.

"Thank you for coming." Wesley said loudly, and they all settled down. Looked at the lean white man with glasses who was apparently their leader in this mission. The infamous Charles Gunn stood by his side. "Chances are, tomorrow will be the most important day of our lives. It will decide our fate, as humans, as animals habiting this planet."

Ron chuckled a little and Gunn's face turned to stone as he heard a thinly veiled insult. Wesley heard it too, but he didn't give any indication that he had. Just struggled on. "Each of you will be considered heroes, even if there is never a plaque given, or names carved into a wall. It is for us to protect our right to live."

"Yo, skip the speech brain, and get on with the plan." Ron said, leaning back against the far wall. Wesley stopped mid-point, his hands still raised dramatically. Gunn stepped forward, eyes hard.

"If you don't want to be here, Ron, you can leave." Gunn growled, even as Wesley gripped his wrist to say it was okay. Gunn shook him off. Ron eyed the exchange with a thoughtful look, before turning his gaze away as if the sight of them side by side were unbearable. "You're here to do something good, and he's trying to thank you, so get off that fucking high horse of yours and listen."

Ron didn't reply, his eyes said it all. Gunn glanced back at Wesley. "You were saying?"

"That doesn't matter." Wesley answered quietly and Gunn frowned, opening his mouth to speak. He was stopped as Wesley addressed the crowd of people. "The point is, tomorrow is going to possibly be the last day of all our lives, and it's up to us to make sure it isn't. We need at least ten men," at one of the girls looks, Wesley hurried on, "or women, surrounding the airport. With the bigger weapons of your choice." Some of their eyes lit up like a child in a candy shop. "And we need another twenty inside, with small weapons, such as this knife." Wesley held an example up. "It's not much to defend ourselves with, but..."

"We've defended ourselves with less." Gunn put in, shrugging toward the gang. "That ain't a problem."

"Good. Each person will be placed strategically throughout the terminals. You need to keep an eye out for a suspicious person, even if they don't look it, who might be carrying a weapon. A person with their hands in their pockets, or who is carrying a briefcase. Luggage. Pretty much everyone. We don't have very many details, but it will be a gun that we need to prevent its discharge."

"Who's the target?"

"We're," Wesley paused, glancing at Gunn who nodded for him to continue. "Not quite sure about that exactly. So a sharp eye here is the key."

"So let me get this straigh'." Ron piped up. "You don't know if this is going to happen inside the airport or not. You don't know what the guy looks like. And you don't know who the target is? And your running this op? Damn, there goes the neighborhood."

Someone laughed and covered it with a cough.

"Yes. I am running this operation, and so is Charles. I deciphered the scroll, the ANCIENT scroll, written in a language never before heard of, so I think I'm uniquely qualified to understand and fulfill the conditions of this mission." Wesley's voice had become the type of steel he tried to avoid, because it sounded like his father's. "If you would like to suggest that I am not fit to lead you, do so now. If not, we'll get on with this without your petty comments." Ron stepped forward, but a man with braided hair put a hand on his shoulder and pulled him back. "Now, are there any questions?"

A girl raised her hand. "Yes?"

"You got any food here?" Wesley's mouth opened and closed, and he tossed Gunn a look.

* * *

Friday, 3:33 AM

"You, Wes, you asleep?" Gunn whispered, across the room to where Wesley lay on the floor of Gunn's bedroom. It remained quiet so long, Gunn began to believe Wes WAS asleep.

"No." Wesley said suddenly, having reached a decision. Gunn didn't know what that decision was, but he heard Wesley rustling around, and then saw his outline as he strode toward the window and jerked it open. "I don't want to miss a minute. Do you know what I mean?"

"Yeah." Gunn tossed the covers back, shivering as he walked to stand behind Wesley and the cold rain landed on his skin. "I think I do." The clouds covered the sky; the moon was shrouded in mourning. As if saying goodbye. "It's like everything is alive." Gunn murmured in uncharacteristic wonder. Wes nodded, resting his hands on the window ledge, leaning out and letting the torrent of water pelt his face. "You'll get sick." Gunn said firmly, grabbing Wesley's shoulders and pulling him back inside.

Wesley's shoulder blades bumped into Gunn's chest. His backside was buffeted by Gunn's groin. They both froze and Gunn's breath hissed inward. "Wesley..." He groaned, a sound of need that coated the throat. Gunn lifted his fingers, and tried to gently turn the stiff man in front of him, but his fingers squeezed tighter than he could help, and there would be bruises.

He felt clumsy. Afraid. Looking into Wesley's terrified face, lit only by the light that had been left on in the hallway. Gradually, Gunn moved his head forward, feeling Wesley's shoulders grow more rigid beneath his palms. But he wasn't saying no, so Gunn pressed into Wesley's lips with his owns. The first touch was electric. The first taste was delicate. Wesley's breath poured out in a rush through his nose, bathing Gunn's upper lip. "Let me." Someone whispered. "I don't know who I am anymore." One of them said. "Please."

Hot, furious arousal tainted the air like a sudden bolt of lightning had struck.

Wesley opened his mouth and pressed his tongue gently against the corner of Gunn's lips, and his mouth immediately widened, to let Wesley inside. A hot puff of air against Wesley's cheek, followed by a little groan when their tongues touched, told Wes just how much Gunn was enjoying it. They tried to stay kissing, to keep their mouths pressed together, but they were so shaky, so much in need, that their mouths vibrated and bumped off of each other.

Gunn's fingers went to the snap on Wesley's pants. Tugged it open.

And then there was a knock on the door, and Ron's voice asking Gunn if he was awake.

Wesley jerked away as if burned, and Gunn stared with shock and something close to agony as Wesley pulled himself free of Gunn's grip and shot across the room like a wounded gazelle. He opened the door and almost knocked Ron over as he got out of there as fast as he could.

Ron stepped into the room, staring at Gunn's stricken face.

"Did I come at a bad time?" He had this smirk on his face, that concealed a little bit of hurt that he didn't want a damn soul to see. Especially Gunn.

"Don't you always?" Gunn slammed the window shut, the glass rattled, shattered. Ron's face burned in embarrassment.

* * *

1:16 PM

Gunn helped load up the last bag of weapons as fifteen guys climbed into the back of his truck, beneath the tarp. His eyes caught Wesley's as the Englishman climbed into the driver's side of the van he had rented for the rest of the gang. There was a moment of connection, but Gunn broke it by pivoting on his heel and shoving the bag furiously at Ron. Wesley didn't look in the rear view mirror, not even once, at the truck following him all the way to the airport.

They stopped at a red light once, and he wanted to. But instead started up a conversation with the woman on the passenger side who had bright green beads in her hair, about what she would regret if she didn't live to see tomorrow.

"Yeah," he wanted to say. "Everyone has regrets."

* * *

5:00 PM

A person sitting in a rental car in the airport parking lot, took out a pistol from a paper bag, and loaded it.

The radio weatherman forecasted flooding.

* * *

5:22 PM

"I'm in position." Wesley told Gunn through the mike on his shirt. He got a grunt in reply. Another man lined up, and repeated Wesley's words. A plane had just stopped on the runway, and the bridge was being extended for the passengers.

"Set here." Gunn said, eyes scanning the crowd of tired looking people, dragging luggage along behind them. "Anyone see anything? And dammit, whoever's making sex noises, shut the hell up."


"Nothing." A deep voice that belonged to Russel, said.

"Ya' know," Gunn said a little lighter, "This is one of those times I'd like to have a vampire's ears." There were scattered chuckles in his ear.

"We all know how you love vampires." Ron pointed out gruffly. The laughter stopped, replaced by dead air.

"Get your head in the mission, Ron." Wesley said finally, focusing on Terminal 15, where people were exiting the plane from Dallas, Texas.

"My head's in the game. And its been a lot of other places too." Ron tossed back, standing at the baggage claim. Trying to be inconspicuous, he watched a woman in plaid pick up her heavy luggage, bound by masking tape to keep it from falling apart. Nope, not her. Stupid. He bet nothing was gonna happen at all.

"I don't care where your head has been." Wesley said, but it was a lie. Something about the way Ron talked, made him want to shove his English fist into that bastard's face. "Just shut up and focus. The lines need to be clear for any possible alerts."

There was silence for a long time.

* * *

5:28 PM

The last passenger to get off the flight from Dallas was an older woman in a wheel chair. A male flight attendant, smiling a big Jet Blue Travel Ways smile, wheeled her off the plane, and through the terminal. Her jaw shook, fingers weaving in front of her like she wasn't quite there. Veins webbed the back of her hands and age spots colored her skin. Her head lolled to the side slightly, and her wig fell off.

The flight attendant cursed, bent to retrieve it, but it was blown away by the fan.

Just then, the older woman lifted her head straight up like she had heard something. A sound as quiet and as loud as death. Wesley followed her gaze, toward a little girl with blonde, curly hair. She was smiling, and for a moment, Wesley thought she was a child welcoming her grandmother. And then he saw what looked like a toy pistol in her hand. Wesley jerked his gaze back to the older woman, who was now looking directly at him, with eyes as purple as twilight. A tear slid down her cheek...

"Oh my god," Wesley breathed, unaware that the words could be heard by the entire team.

Darkness descended mid-day. The sky turned black and hostile.

"What is it, Wes?" Gunn asked, but there was only static. Gunn's heart began to throb painfully. "Wes?" Again, no answer. "WES! FUCKING ANSWER ME!" The other guys were getting worked up; he could hear their breathing and questions in his ear. It disoriented him, made his thoughts bounce around. So he took the head set he wore off, shoving it in his pocket as he turned toward the sign that read, 'Terminal 15,' and ran.

For Wesley time slowed and sped up at the same exact moment, he couldn't move fast enough, and the little girl was raising the toy pistol, laughter in eyes that had turned as black as obsidian. He felt himself react, his feet moving, running... He had to save that poor old woman.

Her heart pounded in his ears. Her heart...

"Wesley, NO!" Gunn's voice did not penetrate the fog of his mind as the bullet ripped through his chest, lodging into his spine. Immediately, he dropped to the ground, face first. The impact didn't faze him. He was already too far gone too care. The little girl frowned, then raised her pistol again, this time without Wesley's body as an obstruction in the path of the old woman.

Purple eyes met black. Good met evil.

A crowd had gathered around the scene. Morbidly interested, terrified.

"How do you do?" The little girl asked as Gunn gave a roar like a dying lion and fell to his knees at Wesley's side. Forgotten was the earth and it's impending death. There was only Wesley. "Grandmama."

Her finger tightened on the trigger... and it was knocked from her hand. An inhuman screech rose up from the child, so loud and shrill that it burst the ear drums of a man near by. She looked up to find Ron standing over her, his face lined with sweat.

"You should learn ta respect yo' elders." He said. Then his fist came down hard on her temple, knocking her out.

Screams rose around them.

The little girl turned to dust. Only a weapon of destruction. An illusion that had lost its reason for existence. Ron stared down at the pile at his feet in shock, then over at Gunn's broken face.

It hadn't been as easy as it had seemed. A man lay dying.

Gunn pressed his hands tightly over Wesley's wounded chest, feeling the fitful heartbeat there. But the eyes were already empty. Head craned to the side, legs drawn up in an unnatural angle beneath his body. In that moment, the world did not exist for Gunn beyond the scope of his bloody hands and Wesley's vacant face.

* * *

5:30 PM

"Get up English!" He cried, and he wasn't the type to cry. Tears spilled down his cheeks much like the blood that ran steadily from Wesley's mouth. Bright, bright red against Wesley's pale, gray skin. "You're not dying on me, I swear to god, if you die... you're not dying on me." Gunn's whole body was shaking, like it was his soul being ripped away instead of the bleeding man's. He thought he was whispering, but his voice was a shout. "I'm the Warrior, dammit! You're the nerd, fuck, you're supposed to let me take the bullet. If you had given me a second more, just a second, oh god..." He couldn't breath, Wesley's heart was slowing beneath his palm. "No, you don't! Don't you fucking dare. I fucking love you. You hear that, you son of a bitch? I love your lily white ass! It's all messed up and I know it, but if you die, I swear I'll do something... bad, I don't know what, cause my head isn't goddamn working, but it will be BAD..."

There was a choking, gurgling sound in Wesley's throat, and Gunn cupped the back of his neck, lifted him. A wave of disgusting, clotted blood poured out. "Wesley...Wesley! I can't... take this again. I can't. Please don't die on me. Think of your fucking tea, they'll go out of damn business without you!" Wesley's body was limp as a dolls, head bent back, mouth grotesquely open. "This isn't happening."

Wesley's heart stopped. Gunn couldn't close his eyes, couldn't blink. He didn't know how to comprehend that his best friend was dead. That the man he was in love with was DEAD. "No." This time, his voice was a croak. "Someone help me." He looked up at the crowd of silent people, faces ashen; they held their hands over their mouths, hearts and eyes. Some shed silent tears, others made a commotion that seemed hollow in Gunn's ears. "Please. He needs a hospital. Someone fucking help me!" Gunn stood and the crowd backed up a step. All at once. "Please." He pleaded.

"Charles, man..." came Ron's rusty voice from his side, he rested his hand on Gunn's shoulder, eyes heavy with regret. "He's gone."

Wesley's voice in his head: I don't want to miss a minute. Do you know what I mean?

"Fuck you!" Gunn threw Ron's hand off with a violent jerk of his shoulder. His body froze, and then something seemed to snap inside of him and out of nowhere, Gunn jerked at glittering knife out. He raised it up to Ron. Slowly, hands held up, Ron backed away. "You're gonna help me." Gunn said calmly, as if his reason for living hadn't just died in his arms. "And if you don't, I'm gonna tear you apart. Limb by limb."

"You're not thinking clearly." Ron said, motioning his hand to the other guys to stay back. They all stared in horror at the scene before them. Charles Gunn off the deep end was not a pretty sight. He was covered in blood, a vicious look in his eyes. Like he could kill till blood filled the ocean. "You need to get back yo' control, Gunn. It's me, dude. Ron."

"I don't care." Gun said, so hard and so cold - Ron believed it. "I'll start with you and work my way around until someone helps my boy."

"Gunn," Ron began, feeling a sorrow for the death of a man he had honestly despised.

"Shut up!" Gunn raised his hands to his head like his mind just couldn't bare the sound of a human voice. Someone in the crowd was weeping and he whirled in their direction. "Shut the fuck up!" It was his one opening, Ron was on him in an instant, bending his arm back. The knife dropped from Gunn's numb fingers and he was flat on his face in seconds, Ron's heavy weight on his back. One big palm mashed Gunn's face into the cold floor.

"Calm the hell down." Ron ordered, biting off the words.

"Please." Gunn whispered pathetically, eyes rolling up toward his forehead for a better look at Wesley's prone corpse. "Please help him." His eyes closed, willing the cloud of denial back around himself.

There was the sound of a wheel chair squeaking.

"I can help him." Everyone, hundreds of eyes and faces turned toward the sound of a rust bucket excuse for a voice, coming from the old woman Wesley had given his life to save. Slowly, with laboring breaths, she began to stand.


"Silence." She ordered. And as she got her balance, something miraculous happened. A golden, green light surrounded her. And slowly, the skin on her neck tightened up, her back straightened, the age spots vanished, her jaw stopped shaking, and beautiful, ivy color hair began to grow from her bald scalp.

And everyone obeyed. There was absolute silence.

Ron got up off of Gunn out of sheer wonder, and Gunn immediately hopped to his feet, eyes wild. The now young, beautiful woman slowly walked to him, and touched a hand to his face. It was as if she had set free a lock inside Gunn's chest, bursting a dam wide. A wretched, choked sob worked its way up his throat, and Gunn found himself leaning into this woman's shoulder, weeping like a lost child, clutching at her fragile bones like she was the key to Wesley's life. To his own.

When the storm of tears that shook his bones quieted and he was empty inside, so empty he ached, she took his hands, and with her eyes on his - brought him to Wesley's side.

"He is a good man." She began in a voice as soft as mist. "He did not even consider the consequences of saving me." She reached down, and pressed a single finger to Wesley's heart. Gold sparks shot up from Wesley's chest, and his body jerked. Something similar to jumpstarting a car. "He may have even restored my faith in humanity. For now." She smiled, showing her teeth, and said again as if it were important. "For now."

Then she pressed her finger deeper, blood staining her powder pale skin as they slipped through the wound and Wesley's back archived up off the ground, eyes opening in that instant life returned and forced his blood back into motion. Gunn's heart began to beat again and Wesley coughed, rolling over onto his side and away from the woman who had just touched his soul. "Be happy." She said, and then stood.

The crowd parted for her as she walked away.

Gunn's eyes were wide in disbelief as Wesley flopped back onto his back like a landed fish, and tried to take a breath.

"Wesley!" He yelled, like he was talking to a deaf person. Wes flinched, bringing his hands to his head.

"Oh bloody hell, my head feels like I've been hit by a Mack truck. What happened?" Gunn shook his head in amazement. Filled with the most pure, undiluted joy he had ever felt. And before the eyes of guards, his old gang, and the world alike, leaned forward and kissed the living hell out of Wesley. Living was the key word. "Jesus bleeding Christ." Wesley said, shoving Gunn away after a long, drowsy, seductive moment. "Can't you see all those people?"

"I don't give a fuck." Gunn muttered, running his hands over Wesley's tired face. Wes flinched under the probing, trying to sit up. "You're alive." His chest felt like he'd been sucker punched, but the wound, as it was, had vanished.

"Apparently. And I do believe I need a vacation." He muttered and Gunn gave a hysterical shout of laughter.

People began to clap in confusion, as if it were all some elaborate show meant to entertain them.

* * *

Friday, 7:32 PM
2 weeks later

Cordelia threw open the doors of the Hyperion with a flourish of a movie star, expecting Wes, Gunn, or at least that weird girl Fred to be occupying the lobby. No one was there. Frowning, disappointed, she continued in, her heels clicking against the floor.

"Cordelia!" Angel growled.

"Oops!" She turned back, running quickly to hold the door for the vampire under a blanket, who was trying to get inside. "Sorry about that."

"First you try to fry me in Barbados and now this. I'm starting to get a complex about my self-worth." Cordelia smacked Angel's shoulder as he tossed the blanket off, stretching. He looked around the hotel. It looked much the same as it had when he left. Maybe a little messier. The weapons weren't pout away. But it seemed empty, alone. "Where is everyone?"

"No clue." Cordelia shrugged. "Can't you do that scenty thing with your nose?" She asked as she wandered over the counter. Her eyes landed on an envelope addressed to her. Cordelia's face lit up and she grabbed onto it with both hands. As she was opening it, Angel sniffed with exaggerated force behind her, than coughed as his unaccustomed lungs sucked air in.

"Well," he said darkly, coming up behind her like an impending storm. "Something is definitely not right. I can pick up their scents. But those are old. No one has been here for at least a week and a half."


"Cordelia, did you hear what I said?"

"Yes." She waved her hand at him. "Now shut up. It's a letter from Wesley."

Dear Cordelia,

If you're reading this, I guess I'm dead. Kidding! Don't have a heart attack and ruin your nails. My sense of humor got a jump start, so to speak. My sincerest apologies. I do hope Angel is feeling better, he looked like death warmed over when he left. Well... you the point. I'll cease trying to be funny. It doesn't seem to be working very well.

While you were gone, I stumbled upon a prophecy when we raided the Serphor's ritual feeding of their pet. I think we once had a discussion about them, though in hypothetical terms as we believed them extinct. Well the food? It was nuns. Turns out, the 'pet' - had come from the center of the earth when it began to mourn the death of the slayer. Yes, far fetched, but the earth's heart had been broken by Buffy's demise. Don't turn your nose up like that. You'll get wrinkles. The prophecy, once I was able to translate it [no easy feat, but I had Fred's help] - told of the end of the world. Before you get all worried, Gunn and I took care of it. The heart of the earth was in danger, vulnerable, as it never had been before. It WANTED to die. But I died instead, it brought me back to life... etc. I'm kind of in a rush, I apologize for the condensed version. Basically, all is well. Fred is staying at your apartment, Dennis is looking after her. If I didn't know better, I'd say he's cuckolded you.

Gunn and I... are on a vacation. Together. Together as in, we're in love and we don't care whether or not you approve. But of course, I'm sure that you do. You were always making suggestive remarks about us that I just didn't grasp until now. And Angel has no room to talk, after all - he slept with Spike for years. Of course he also slept with Darla, which doesn't say much for his taste. If he gets his Shanshu before we return, do make sure you take him immediately to the doctor. You never know when he might get crabs.

Okay, so I might be the only one that finds that hilarious.

To the point, I'm not sure when we will be back. We'll call.

Sincerely and with love,
Wesley Wyndham Price

Cordelia stared at the letter, her jaw hanging down near her shoes. When she came back to her senses, she set the letter back onto the counter, and her gaze landed on a tabloid that shouted in a big, bold letters: THE END OF THE WORLD.

"Old news." She snorted derisively, picking up the tabloid and tossing it in the trash.

"What?" Angel asked, leaning over her and plucking up the letter.

"That's mine, thank you very much!" Cordelia said, grabbing the letter back from him.

"What does it say?" Angel demanded, eyes boring into Cordelia's.

"Geeze, making with the over dramatic today aren't we? I thought we'd learned that it isn't always attractive, hmm?" When he only continued to stare, Cordelia gave in. "Alright, this is the condensed version of HIS condensed version. The world was going to end. They saved it. Wesley and Gunn are having sex. And did you sleep with Spike?"

Angel's face went blank.



A/N: So yes, that was my first M/M slash. And hey, it's actually PG-13. Wow, does that mean it had a plot? Either way, I enjoyed writing it, and I hope you enjoyed reading it. Feedback is always good of course. ::sniffs:: Oh how I miss my boys...

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