Title: Gunn's Blues (1/1)
Author: zahra (frans_angel@hotmail.com)
Rating: PG-13 (m/m, language)
Pairing: Wes/Gunn
Feedback: Yes. (What, you thought I was going to say 'no?')
Spoiler: Angel S3. `That Old Gang of Mine'
Disclaimer: Joss needs to be more open-minded and learn to share his toys. Until then, he owns all.
Dedication: If he was mine, I'd cover him in chocolate sauce and share him with Kassie, alas this is the best I can offer... and as always to P.Diddy and Ms. Ice for more support than a Wonderbra.
Summary: Angst. Gunn.
Note#1: This is like my fifth effort to work off the trauma that this episode induced.
Note#2: Why is there no Gunn Slash list? Someone must fix this! Improv #26: Homophones.


The Hotel Café. Hollywood and Cahuenga.

The only place open for six blocks and obviously that way for a reason. He just wishes he knew what it was. How it was that he got there. Here. He has no fucking idea.

Maybe it's fate. Maybe he's trippin'. Maybe his stomach is hungry and the message got fucked up en route to his brain because this place doesn't serve food - it serves sadness. Espresso and a dirge on an altar for the blues. Music for the depressed.

Whatever the case, however he got here, now he's stuck in some kind of limbo. Can't go forward, can't go back. Boots cemented to concrete by the sounds of Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald. Maybe someone somewhere does understand that there's nothing flowing through his veins but indecision and hurt. Bringing new meaning to apathetic. Pathetic.

But it could all be so easy.

All he has to do is turn the brass knob of the black door with peeling paint. Just has to walk down the darkened hallway that has a vague scent of wax and coffee beans. A hallway that will lead him to a place where he can lay down whatever his problems are. Forget about whatever is bugging him. Stop being wrapped up in all this drama. All this trauma.

There's solace in the blues. A chance to take stock. To try to come up with a way to rectify the situation if he so chooses. If he wants to walk that walk.

Gunn's gone down a lot of dark paths in his time. His entire life revolves around going where nobody in their right mind would, so why he suddenly doesn't want to go down this one is beyond him.

Intuition. Gut instinct.

The doorway is dark, but at the end of the entrance hall there's faint candlelight illuminating the red walls. It seems to flicker in time with the feedback from the wailing guitar.

The effect is eerie. Creepy.

He's got this whole should-I-stay-or-should-I-go situation happening and it's depressing as shit. It's not on his to-do list tonight. But then again, what is?

He spends his time walking the streets so he can forget, not so he can dwell on the bigger issues. The demons that haunt him.

It's not supposed to go down like this. He's not supposed to open this door.

He is not trying to deal. Avoidance ain't a bad thing. The demons inside his head are bigger, stronger, and scarier than anything he's ever encountered in real life. Of course it would figure seeing as they're something he created. Never one to half-ass it, Charles Gunn.

They're there all the time. Looming over him. Haunting every action. Creeping up behind him just when he thinks he might find a moment's peace.

He's not sleeping. The nightmares have battled their way into full- fledged insomnia.

Can't sleep. Can't eat. Can't even close his eyes and not see the look of hurt on his face. The sense of betrayal. Wesley.

Gunn's sleepwalking through the day and wired all night. It's never- ending. A vicious cycle he's doomed to repeat, and doesn't `that' sound like something `he' would say?

The nights are empty. Endless.

He trawls the streets of West Hollywood and the parks: La Brea, Morningside, Leimert, Jefferson. Endless cruising. Endless walking.

He's not sure who, or what, he's looking for anymore.

His crew? Demons? A certain Englishman? Perhaps. But he certainly wasn't looking for this. Music. The blues. He's honestly not sure how he got here anyway. But then again he can say that about a lot of shit these days.

Gunn has never gone out much at night - at least not to socialize. Normally, it's all about work but tonight is different. Tonight he's driven all over the city and found himself making a decidedly conscious effort not to drive by a certain apartment out in Santa Monica. Not tonight, for once. It has to stop. He's gonna have to stop.

Trying to strictly stay on this side of La Cienega.

He's turned off his pager and buried it in the folds of his hoodie. Not that he thinks it'd be going off anyway. Doubts that anyone wants him around just about now. Doubts that he'd be looking for him. Not now. Maybe not ever again.

Talk about depressing shit. At least someone seems to understand. He's beginning to understand that this music has actually earned its name.

Gunn's not really into music much. He doesn't get anything other than talk radio in his truck with the occasional burst of salsa.

Hip-hop. Rap. The whole dancing thing. It's hard to appreciate someone hollering about 'flossing' and houses in the Hamptons when you can barely pay your rent and the only flossing going on is after brushing.

In all honesty, he can take it or leave it; he's not bothered. It's all background noise. He was beginning to dig the classical stuff but he'd never ever admit it. It was his place to do the obligatory complaining.

But it's three in the morning on a Tuesday. He doesn't have to keep up any pretences. Doesn't have to be anything other than what he is. It's only at times and places like this that the whole truth comes out. And the truth of the matter is this.

There are very few things that Gunn is still afraid of but this is most definitely one of them. The voice that's asking if he really can fix this one. If he really hasn't gone and fucked it all up now.

He can hear his fears calling to him in the music. The reverb from the saxophone. The skittishness in the trumpet. Just when he thinks he's got it all figured out, this happens.

Most of the fears that he had as a child have already happened. Abandonment. Death. More death.

It's made him cynical. Pessimistic. He expects the worst - always. It makes life much easier to cope with when you already know you're going to get fucked over.

As for the things that he fears now, up until a few weeks ago he could count them all on one hand and most of them started and ended with the same person. Wesley.

Wesley leaving him for Angel. Wesley thinking badly of him. Wesley not loving him. The whole getting fired thing never even crossed his mind - now he's got a whole new set of worries. Just because he tried to do the right thing. Just because he hesitated.

He never thought that he would have to choose between Wesley and anything else. He never thought he could have it all, but he never thought that what little he had could be jeopardized in this way.

He made his choice.

Chose between his past and his present when he got in that convertible to Pylea. When he watched George's body smolder on the funeral pyre. When he found himself tied to Wesley and had to force himself to come up with an escape plan instead of thinking dirty thoughts about the Englishman in handcuffs.

It's amazing how fast things can change.

He's not sure how fast the blink of an eye is, but he's starting to think it's pretty damn slow. Remembers that when he saw that broken tip from his rig on the coffee table he never even blinked. Remembers not blinking when that stake slipped into Alonna's heart, even through all the dust.

Never even blinked when Wesley read him the riot act that seemed to go on forever.

Never blinked back the tears. No point. Blinking doesn't stop the tears and doesn't stop the pain. You don't necessarily cry when your heart is being ripped out. After all, Gunn hasn't. At least not yet.

But all it takes is the smallest trigger - like a sad song. A song about loss and heartbreak. A song about being done wrong and misunderstanding. About trying so hard and having it all fall flat. A blues song.

All it takes is walking down a darkened alley and walking through the doorway of this tiny café. All it takes is seeing a café, empty, except for a wailing Muddy Watters CD, a beleaguered waitress and a lone customer slumped over cold coffee.

A lone customer who's equally tired and frustrated. Someone else suffering from a lack of sleep and looking for someone to empathize. Sympathize.

It could all be so simple. So perfect. He could be forgiven.

All Gunn has to do is walk into the café... but he doesn't want to take that path tonight.

And Gunn has never thought of Wesley as a blues fan, so he ignores the voice telling him to go in, and he walks on.


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