"That Goo Stuff"
By Jennifer Allen

Rating: PG-13, for violence and m/m interaction.
Spoilers: None really.
Archive/Distribution: Go ahead, just let me know where.
Disclaimers: As much as I'd like them to be, Gunn, Wes, Angel and Cordelia (okay, I don't think I'd want her) belong to Joss Whedon and the folks at Mutant Enemy Productions. That "Grr, Aargh" guy could kick my ass and I know it.
Feedback: Can be sent to movigrrl@hotmail.com
Summary: Gunn figures some things out with the help of a demon's fingernails. (Sorry, I suck at summaries.)
Note: Not betaed, so all mistakes mine. Oh, and this is my first posted fic in this excellent fandom, so please be gentle. I finished this yesterday and was eating breakfast today (Raisin Bran) so the jingle for Raisin Bran was running through my head all morning as I was reading this over, so please, begin this story like this:

(Two scoop of raisins and those delicious....)


"Thtaleth fingernails?"

"Yes, they're very expensive. Very hard to find. But very, very powerful in the right spell."

"And that's the kind of demon we're going after?"

"Well, the samples we collected from the side of the building would seem to indicate that."

"You mean that goo stuff we found."

"Yes, Gunn, the goo stuff."

I have to smile, because I just love getting that tone from Wesley. That 'I 'm trying to sound like I'm agreeing with you to make you be quiet, but I really am rather amused by our conversation' tone. I discovered a few weeks after I first met Wes that I like getting under his skin, any way that I can. And if I have to annoy the hell out of him to get there, then I can do that. But one of my favourite ways to get to him is to make him smile, laugh, giggle or even fucking *sigh* happily. Making English happy is a good thing. And from the look that he gives me when I make him a cup of tea just like he loves it, I don't think that many people in his life have spent any time trying to make him happy. So now, it's one of my missions.

I'm pretty sure that Angel has figured it out. He looks at me sometimes, this wistful, 'I want to be you' expression on his face, like he agrees with my mission, but that he knows that he isn't the man, well, demon to do it. Which is just fine with me. Because I figured out a while ago that Wesley does not need another fucked up relationship in his life. And anything he might have with Angel would be just that, fucked up. And it's good to know that Angel knows that, too, but it's also good to know that he is honestly, well, fond, I guess, of Wesley and actually has some concern for his welfare. Shit, I sound like some social services dude. Lucky me.

Anyway, back on track here. Angel likes and looks after Wesley, well, when he can, and I really like Wesley and look after him as much as is humanly possible without it seeming like I am. I think the cups of tea are kind of a giveaway, though. Whatthefuckever. Wes doesn't seem to mind and I sure as hell don't, not when his face just lights up like that. And I'm happy not jumping his bones as soon as I get the chance, because that Would Not Be Good For Wesley, and that isn't part of my mission. So, I'm taking it just as slow as we need. And I know that Wes needs, too, because I've seen him watch me, in that cute, kind of absentminded English way.

One afternoon, we were goofing around in the office, nothing to do but make paperclip chains and count the cobwebs. I was telling Wes about some vamp raid with my crew and my hands were just flying around, staking an imaginary vamp here, dusting myself off there, when I suddenly realized that English was *not* listening to a word I said. He was just watching my hands. And when I finished my story and let my hands drift down to the desktop, he suddenly snapped his eyes back up to my face and blushed. A faint, barely there blush. I just smiled at him, letting him know I caught him staring at my hands, but wasn't upset about it or anything and he just smiled back. I know that would have been just the most perfect time to just lean across the desk and kiss him, but Cordy came in right then. Wes and I just smiled at each other again, both of us knowing what would have happened if she hadn't walked in, and both of us perfectly cool with it.

So, there we were, working our way towards something with the blessing of our undead employer, when something happened that just sort of brought it into extra-fine focus for me. Which brings us right back to the Thtaleth fingernails.

It started out just the same as always, a report of a demon attack in a deserted building that the three of us went to check out, cause Cordy had an audition. So Wesley, Angel and I were walking along in the deserted building, probably a little cocky, cause it was just one demon and there were three of us (although I don't think English ever lets himself get cocky, maybe he was just more relaxed than usual). Wes was in the front and then suddenly he wasn't anymore. He was flying through the air, fast and high, until he met up with the far wall, and, I swear, Angel's vamp senses must be rubbing off on me, because I heard the breath that was forced out of Wesley's lungs, I heard the crack his head made when it hit the wall and I heard the crunch when some bones in his hands broke. It was like he was almost suspended for a second on that wall, then he slid down and I found out just how small over six feet of English could get when he was crumpled on the floor.

All that happened in just a split second and Angel and I turned back to the demon, like some psycho synchronized killing team and we killed it. I think we both knew we didn't want to kill it, not right away, and we did some damage to it that we didn't have to before we killed it, cause I'm pretty sure that me trying to hack off it's foot and Angel trying to cut off its dick and balls was not very important to the whole dusting thing, but it was what it was. I was still gasping from the one punch it made that actually connected when we both turned again and then we were standing beside //over// Wes.

He was just lying there, silent and still. I crouched down to make sure he was breathing, then looked up at Angel.

"I... I heard bones...." Angel didn't seem to be able to continue, so I just nodded and told him I heard it too. I told him we shouldn't move Wes and listened to Angel call for an ambulance. The wait for the paramedics and the argument with them that, yes, both Angel and I would be riding in the ambulance with them, and the trip to the hospital was just a blur of medical stuff I didn't really understand and Wesley's pale, long-fingered, elegant hand, already starting to bruise up, hanging over the side of the gurney. Until I told the paramedics that we thought his hands had been hurt too, and then they examined both of his hands, tsked once or twice and carefully wrapped them up, till his hands looked like a mummy's.

Then we were at the hospital and we were kept outside the little room they took Wes into. We just stood there, staring at the door, Angel trying to hear what was going on, and I was just trying to not throw up. Wes had been so still. So still. After about an hour of waiting, I finally dropped down into one of the hard, plastic chairs they have in hospitals. Angel just stayed standing outside the door they took Wesley through. The nurses started getting pissed at him for partially blocking the door and when one of them told him that he would have to move or maybe be ejected from the hospital, I swear he growled at her. After she ran away, I went up to put my hand on his arm and he looked at me with just a little bit of gold in his eyes. I told him he should just sit down and that the docs would tell us what they knew when they knew it. He muttered something I couldn't hear, and came and sat down on one of those crapass chairs.

I took a break once to phone my crew and got them to pick up Angel's car and to do some other things for me I didn't tell Angel about.

We were still sitting there about an hour later when a doctor (who looked about as old as Wes when he just wakes up, so, about 16) came and told us Wes was going to be okay. He had a couple of cracked ribs, a concussion, a bone chipped out of one of his elbows that was going to hurt for a while and both hands had broken bones, but no broken fingers. He was also bruised from the back of his head down to his ass and he was going to be sore and whiny for a while. Doogie didn't exactly say whiny, but that's what he was thinking, and I didn't have the time or energy to point out to him that Wesley is Wesley and that means he's British and he's, well, he's Wes, and Wes doesn't whine. Not about important things. So, we asked Doogie when we could see him, and he just looked at us for a second, then asked if we were family. Of course, I told him that we were Wesley's brothers. He actually smiled a little at that and told us we could see him now, but that he probably wouldn't be awake for a while.

So we went into this little room with no windows and one really pale Englishman on a really uncomfortable looking bed and just stood there for a minute or two, looking at him. I know we were both thinking the same thing: we almost lost him. Because we got careless. And I know that we were both promising Wesley and ourselves that we would do our damnedest to not let it happen ever again. And that would have to be enough, because there's no way we could keep him safe 24-7, but we could sure as hell try. I looked over at Angel and, yup, he was thinking the same things.

Angel looked at me for a second, then nodded and we moved to different sides of the bed, dragged over chairs and sat ourselves down to wait for Wes to wake up. I looked at the hand closest to me and realized that with both his hands in casts, English was going to need an awful lot of help for a while. And I realized that I wanted to be the one to help him. I reached out and carefully slipped my hand underneath Wes' still //lifeless// fingers. I didn't squeeze or anything, I just left my hand there, feeling him. It calmed me down a lot.

I heard a sigh from the other side of the bed and glanced over at Angel. I thought about asking him why he sighed if he didn't have to breathe, but realized I wasn't really interested in breaking the silence, not if it meant I wouldn't be able to hear Wesley's deep, even breaths. So I just watched Angel slowly rub a gentle finger up and down Wes' forearm, just above where the cast on that hand ended. A small part of me wanted to shout to him, "Hands off! He's mine!", but a larger part of me was just glad that Angel was there to help me keep Wes safe. I almost smiled at the thought of Wesley's reaction when he figured out that Angel and I had pretty much appointed ourselves his bodyguards. And he would really blow a gasket if Cordelia got in on the act. Suddenly it struck me.


Angel looked up at me, startled from whatever thoughts had been running through his mind.

"What is it?"

"We never phoned Cordy. Shit, she's going to be pissed."

Angel made a pained expression. "Maybe we could just wait until Wes gets out..."

I was already shaking my head. "Nope, you know Wes is going to be here for the night, at least, and Cordy was expecting us back," I looked at my watch, "about 3 hours ago. If we leave it any longer, we won't have any excuse at all."

Angel nodded, looking extra-tired. "Okay. I'll go give her a call." He kind of slunk out of the room, muttering something about how even being dead, he was afraid of the wrath of Cordelia. I smiled a little at that, then turned all my attention back to Wesley.

I was still trying to figure out if he had ever been paler when Angel got back. He handed me a coffee and settled back into his seat.

"Cordelia said she'll be here as soon as she can. She's covered in purple makeup right now." I just looked at him. Angel shrugged. "She said they wanted to see what she would look like as the thing she's auditioning for. Don't really know what."

I nodded and turned back to Wes. He seemed to be resting easier now, more relaxed or something. Angel settled back into his chair on the other side of the bed and leaned back a little, looking as tired as a vampire can. I glanced at my watch and quickly tried to remember when sunrise is.

"I'll take the car when Cordy gets here. There's lots of time," Angel said. I nodded and shifted my hand under Wesley's a little. And his fingers twitched. I watched his face carefully and shifted my fingers again. Yup, definite signs of English waking up. Angel leaned a little closer and we watched as Wes slowly fought his way back. Then his eyes were open and I felt this *surge* of pride or love or both all mixed up when his gaze travelled around the room and then settled on me. I smiled as gently as I know how and flipped my hand around so I was kind of cupping his.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Angel pressing the call button to get a nurse in, but I could pretty much only see Wes. He looked a little dazed and a lot tired, but, god, he was beautiful. I stood up and leaned over a little so he could see me easier and just smiled at him. Like a goof, I know, but I couldn't help it. No way, no how. I heard the door behind us open and I moved over a little so the nurse could check Wesley out and make sure he was okay, asking little questions the whole time. Wes's voice was hoarse and scratchy, but he was talking and making sense and, god, but I love him.

I had to sit down suddenly at that thought and Angel looked at me curiously for a second, then this flash of understanding crossed his face and he just grinned at me. The nurse finally finished, gently patting Wes's shoulder and putting a shot of something in his IV tube, then she bustled out of there. Angel smiled at Wesley for a second, then at me, and then he followed the nurse out, but without the bustling. Thank god.

I stood up again, thankful my shaky knees actually held me up and leaned over English, just watching as the drugs started to kick in and the pain lines eased from around his mouth. I wasn't sure if it was the right time or not, but I couldn't hold it in any longer. I put a careful hand up and cupped Wesley's cheek, letting my thumb rest on the cheekbone and leaned in a little closer.

"You really scared us, English."

Wes smiled a little at that, pushing into my hand a little.

"I know," he whispered.

"I got those fingernails for you."

Wes blinked for a second, trying to figure that out, then he flashed me this blinding, kind of feral grin. "Good."

I leaned down slowly, waiting for Wes to tense up or twitch or something, but he just waited patiently. I let my lips just brush his, //warm, smooth, soft, sweet// then another soft kiss on each eyelid and one on his forehead. Then I pulled back a bit so I could see his eyes and waited till his eyelids fluttered open. I smiled at him again and whispered, "I love you, Wesley."

Wes blinked again, and then he started to almost glow, this light shining in his eyes and a soft smile on his lips.

"I know," he whispered. I nodded and sat back down, watching as he started to drift away again. Then, just before his eyes closed again:

"I love you, Charles."

I smiled again and gently patted his fingers. Then he asleep again, a small smile still on his lips. And I realized I had made Wesley happy again and that was definitely a Good Thing.

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