by Te
October 2000

Disclaimers: If they were mine, I'd arrange them nicely.

Spoilers: Are You Now...

Fandom: Angel.

Summary: Gunn does some thinking.

Ratings Note: PG-13.

Author's Note: I've been threatening this pairing for a while, now.
Here you go, Queena. <g>

Acknowledgments: To my beloved Brain, and to Dawn Sharon for much


Some things, Gunn reflected, were incredibly easy.

For example, it took approximately thirty-seven seconds to work Wesley
into blush-faced, arrogant, and extremely *British* mode today -- and
that wasn't even a record. He thought there were probably at least a
few more random book-tossings in him before Wes started to just accept
it and move on. Which was infinitely less fun.

Maybe mocking his accent?

Teasing him about the pastels?

Pushing him to the floor and fucking him stupid?

All of these were options, at least within his own head, though he had to
admit "attractively flustered" wasn't the only reaction he wanted from
the last. Not that he was getting any closer to what he *did* want, or
was ever likely to. Wesley carried his -- apparently unconditional -- love
for Angel like a husband joyful with his 8 ton wife.

Or something. The sudden image of himself in lace and train was just too
much for him not to chuckle out loud.

Earning a suspicious look over the table from Wes.

Gunn waved.

Wesley scowled.

The image shifted to a sumo wrestler in the wedding dress instead and
Gunn laughed out loud.

"Is there something particularly funny about eighteenth century frog

And was *that* what he was reading about? He looked down, and yes,
there was indeed a froggish/mannish/uglish thing looking back up at him
from one of the books he hadn't tossed. It was proud, and angry looking,
and the illustrator had apparently caught the thing just as it screamed
its proud battlecry of "Ribbit! Ribbit!"

Gunn fell off his chair.

Laughed and laughed and found himself looking up at the neat little ring
of Angel, Cordelia, and Wesley. White, Whiter, and Whitest, and they
were all just so *cute*.

"Is he all right?" Cordelia was still eating her yogurt.

"Oh, he's just fine." Wes sounded like he was ready to start shaking
him at any moment.

"Could choke from all the laughing." Angel's deadpan marred by a slight
twitch of the lips.

"Oh for God's sake --" Wes shouldered past Angel and offered Gunn a
hand and he looked irritable and puzzled and sexy. Definitely sexy. Gunn
took the hand and decided not to try explaining beyond:

"See, it's a *frog*..." And started giggling again when Wesley just
looked more puzzled.

And he *knew*, he *knew*, Wesley would ask Angel about any known
"street interpretations" for frog. Gunn wanted to yank him close by
the hand he still held and kiss him breathless, and stupid, and full of
the knowledge that Gunn was, in fact, a man.

As opposed to a series of vast cultural differences. He grinned
instead, surreptitiously ran his thumb in a small arc over the back of
Wesley's hand and pulled away and turned away before he could see the
other man's eyes.

Rubbed his hands together and surveyed his new team. "Chop chop,
people, those frog legs aren't gettin' any crispier."

There. Let Wesley wonder about the connection of French cuisine to
L.A. street gangs.

And the rest of the day was pretty predictable. Wesley pulled some
scrap of obscurity out of thin air, Cordelia related it to the real world,
Angel and Gunn spent a large amount of time in the sewers, leaving Wes
patrolling aboveground, just in case. Gunn wasn't sure if he'd be able
to handle having someone stick their tongue out at him ever again.

The frog demons did ribbit, though, which left him with a fine sense of
justification that he would never, ever try to explain.

Clean up at the old hotel had the added bonus of the discovery of not
one, not two, but three neatly arranged sets of human remains in the
crawl space above the tub. This is what he got for hanging around

Angel disappeared after that, probably to go do that grief thing of his,
and Wes and Cordelia immediately began arguing about who the bones
belonged to and what year they should be filed in, so Gunn left.

Tossing Wes a skull first.

And hanging with his old crew was... strange now. A little off. He's
spent too much time with Angel's people, and he knows it shows. You h
ad to speak the language, walk the walk of whoever you spent the most
time around. His father's rule, and Gunn sometimes wondered whose
walk that bastard was walking now -- but it was still a good enough

No matter that it wasn't his crew anymore, even beyond the way he'd
left Carlos in charge. Carlos was a good leader, and everybody was
getting fed, and vampires were getting dusted, but those weren't the only
reasons they didn't need him anymore. Still, it was good to be back out
there where it was only lives on the line, and not the fate of the world.
Good to watch the bloodsuckers die, one after the other, and wish, not for
the first time, that it was a little harder to breed the damned things.

And then on different streets, alone, sharing an L with LeVon and Roy.
Stupid, but Gunn figured he was entitled. He'd fought and won with
worse in his system.

Dawn found him alone and a little grainy around the edges. The latest
place to crash out in WestHo catches the best of the eastern sunshine
without leaving him too exposed. He shares the place with a couple of
hustlers, or used to before steering them to Carlos. He had the place
to himself, tonight, though, and he chose to believe that was because
they were bedding down somewhere they didn't have to give it up to

Gunn liked to think they had a better chance of surviving his way,
though when it was this late, this early, he didn't bother denying that
 he liked the idea of having more soldiers out there, too.

Maybe it was time for him to just move in to the Hotel of a Hundred
Nasty Surprises with the rest of them. Or rather, with Wes and
Angel, since Cordelia had her own crib, complete with ghostly companion.
He'd heard the story behind that one, and it always made him think of
that old Eddie Murphy routine about how if the Amityville Horror had
been made with Black people it would've lasted about five minutes.

Get Out? Well, shit, didn't have to tell *him* twice. His mother's voice:
"White folks are strange, boy. Even the nice ones."

And all he was doing, really, was distracting himself from the original
idea. Wes had to be happy as... as however he really got all alone there
with Angel. Free to wish from afar as much as he wanted to, and maybe
do more than wish.

Wesley was brave enough when it came to demons. He knew how to fight,
was good enough with weapons to teach Gunn a few things. Brave, and
never any question of how smart he was, and sexy, and funny whether he
meant to be or not and Angel *had* to know, so...


So maybe Angel doesn't like it that way, or maybe just not with Wes, or
maybe had it bad for Cordelia, or maybe was still wide open over the
Slayer up in Sunnydale. She had to be good if Angel could get past a name
like Buffy.

Gunn couldn't quite get past the image in his head of gum-chewing Valley
Girl with superpowers.

Gunn owned his limitations.

And, beyond that, Angel was a freak. You'd think a guy could mention the
freshly dead body upstairs before announcing they were all moving in. Or
at least get rid of it discreetly.

The image of Angel tossing dead old ladies out of windows lets him know
it's really time to sleep. He'll swing by the office later. Angel will look
at him like he knows everything, Cordelia will smile at him and ask him
about the Black Experience in the most embarrassing way possible, and
Wesley will... what?

Comment on his sleep habits?

Sigh deeply?

Ignore him?

No challenges there. Wes sets 'em up, Gunn knocks 'em down. And then
Wes will try harder and Gunn will try harder and.

Does Wesley think Gunn hates him?

Less a pang than a nasty twist inside because *that*... that wouldn't
get him anywhere. And a whining voice he hated, deeply, deeply hated
piped in with: But I need him to pay attention to me.

And that was... heh. That was just as pathetic as he's ever been in his
entire life. Even beyond the Spiderman costume when he'd been 14.

Gunn winced at the memory and laughed. It'd been the last Halloween
before his mother had died, and it had been a good one. He'd been Spidey
to everyone not too embarrassed to speak to him after that, which had
been just fine with him.

The sun was rising steadily, and Gunn yawned. Had a small argument with
himself about when to set his internal alarm for before deciding that he
actually did need to rest. He had the beeper on if they needed him,

He settled on the blankets with his pack under his head for a pillow.
He'd shower and change at the Y when he woke, then head over to the

Maybe with his pack. Maybe.