Rough Beast
by Te
July 2001

Disclaimer: If they belonged to me, I'd just be far too reckless
with the poor dears.

Spoilers: The Gift/No Place Like However The Fuck You Spell It.

Summary: Wesley does some thinking about the new order of
things. Alternately: "There's a fear down here we can't forget /
Hasn't found a name just yet..."

Ratings Note: R.

Author's Note: Sheila's bribing me. Again.

Acknowledgments: To Sheila of course, and to Jane, and to my
zoja, whose absence triggers this sort of thing. *rueful smile*

Feedback makes doves stop crying.


Really, it had only been a matter of time.

While projectile weapons had only limited effectiveness with
certain creatures, the vast majority of the demon population fell
as readily to them as humans.

So, at first it was necessary to merely think of the change in
their weaponry as the acquisition of latter-day crossbows. Bullets
instead of bolts.

Eleven shots instead of one.

Safe, and efficient.

Cordelia needed no such time to adjust. Cordelia spends more
time on the firing range than any of them, really, though Wesley
is still the most accurate shot.

His father's idea of a classical education had, of course, included
the necessity of testing well with any number of weapons. Wesley
had merely needed time to grow into their use, as it were.
Accustom himself to the weight at his waist, the carefully adjusted
bite of a holster.

All of their guns are, of course, properly registered. Angel still has
no need for anything beyond the more primitive weaponry, and
seems to prefer it.

At first, there was some worry about the guns possibly being used
against them in some legal manner, but with ex-Detective Lockley
gone, their agency has slipped back into the shadows.

Where, perhaps, it has always belonged.

Wolfram and Hart seem to be focusing on the real estate angle
more than anything else. Presumably their 'Special Projects'
department is still rebuilding.

Gunn looks most natural with the Glock, which is a thought
Wesley will never voice aloud. Smacks of television stereotypes,
the ugly bite of racism.

Wesley is almost entirely sure his sense of the *rightness* of a
heavily armed Gunn has more to do with the man's "brusque,
macho exterior" than with anything having to do with race... but
in this day and age it is better to be discreet with such things as
a matter of course.

It is enough to hold his satisfaction within, a private smile at the
sound of Gunn clicking off the safety and settling in at his back.

There remains the question of *why* they've all taken this step, but
again, it seems so natural... Are they not outnumbered and often
outgunned? Do they not have a *duty* toward this world they only
half live in?

When Wesley had made the suggestion, Buffy hadn't been dead
for very long at all. The universe, their universe, had still been
quite putatively strange after the world of demons, deep woods,
and dungeons.

Cordelia's painkillers had ruined her reaction time, and she'd be in
hospital. Gunn had been restless, and dissatisfied. Angel had
been... well, Angel had been no different than he is now, really.

An empty shell of a hero, still fighting but terribly detached.

Something had to be done, and it had come to him to make the

Fred was in no condition to do battle with anything other than
her own lingering post-traumatic stress, and there were certainly
no other allies on hand. Wolfram and Hart remained. The visions

Something had to be *done*.

Really, the suggestion had smacked of nothing more than a
bandage over a gaping, festering wound. The bandage, in the end,
would most probably help nothing, but sometimes it truly is the
thought that counts. The necessity of morale.

Besides, the use of guns had a lengthy enough history within the
Council. The old bastards had survived for a long, long time, and
it wouldn't hurt to learn from them.

Or rather it would, and it did, but such learning is often

The guns have made the inevitable nightly battles with demons
infinitely... briefer.



Wesley is getting far more sleep than he had been before, and so
are the rest. Save, of course, for Cordelia, but there is little to be
done there.

Less that she'll accept.

Wesley does not often allow himself to think of Cordelia. She is the
sickly aunt in the attic in many ways, private with her suffering
save when the screams wake the whole house, and there is work to
be done.

Cordelia is aging, right in front of them all.

Right now, even as Wesley sits alone, the smell of machine oil
embedded beneath his fingernails, Cordelia is most probably in

There. The thought has been considered, acknowledged, and filed
away. A bit of duty, fulfilled for the night.

They'd gotten in quite early, really. Skora demons are just one of
many varieties susceptible to a bullet in the brain, provided you
know just where to aim to find the tiny things. More time to rest.

More time to think.

Angel shows no signs whatsoever of going mad again, which is a
blessing. Makes quite a bit of sense, really. If he's a good boy, he'll
achieve his humanity. If he dies, heroically, as a human, the Powers
may even see fit to reunite him with Buffy.

It's good to have clear goals.

Gunn has become quiet, or perhaps they both have. Not that there
aren't any number of things to say, Lord no, this thing between
them is still so *new*. So capable of being defined by the language
between them.

It's only.

They have *time* now.

They have the sort of safety that will only last until their enemies
acquire their own heavy weaponry.

They have time, and the knowledge that it won't last. A clever
little paradox that, really, is working in their best interests. Or at
least it seems so.

It seems.

It is, it could be, they could be.

They are lovers.

There is passion, and hunger. They have the taste of each other
coiled within them now, like a beacon for more of the same. Like
joining to like in the most bizarre ways, really.

The sense-memory of Gunn's kisses makes him ache.

Gunn's fingertips are bruised into his skin in a dozen places.

They have time, and the will to appreciate it. Perhaps the flesh
will remember when there is nothing else that can.

At the very least of it all, there is the sense that something
irrevocable has taken place.

That things have been set in motion, somehow. Of course, he's
found no prophecies about the Fighters With Boom Sticks or The
Buggery of Light and Dark, but. It's in the life they live. Chances
are, if it seems as though the Powers are taking a special interest,
they probably are.

It is... deeply unsettling. Stiffens his spine, tightens his mouth.

He can feel Gunn looking up, focusing on him. Watching for an
opening, or perhaps simply watching.

So much *tension*, and Wesley doesn't know if it's right or not
that it's as much about the outside world as about their.

God, just the knowledge of Gunn's desire for him. The dangerous,
giddy *mutuality* of it.

It floors him sometimes. Leaves him shaky and awed and useless
for anything beyond what can go on between the two of them.

Hand and mouth and cock.

Makes words gather at the back of his throat and strangle the
breath out of him. Makes him moan, sometimes, at even the
suggestion of touch, before any connection is made other than the
one in their eyes. So powerful, this. Some vague urge to hoard
every unnameable emotion, every strained muscle and hoarse cry.

Hoard it, store it, use it. Power. God.


No answer but a hand on the back of his neck, warm and sure,
slipping beneath his opened collar. Gunn can move so silently,

"You feel it, too."

It isn't a question, and Wesley only nods. Bites back the reasons
and excuses. Looks at everything but the gun on the table before

Analyzes his feelings, his senses, and. That's it, really. A tremble
of sensation. Wesley feels very blind.

Afraid of everything in a sudden rush of feeling. The present, the
future, the life, the world all around. Gunn's warm hand and
achingly human presence. The scar on his own belly. Everything
seems to gather at the gates and. Press.

There's no prophecy, and it repeats like a mantra, and then only a
helpless silent chant. Nothing is looming that Wesley can quantify,
but something. Is.

Something out there, something in motion and gathering speed
and it occurs to Wesley that this, and only this, is true paranoia.
Something he can hold up to the Gunn and Wesley who used to
be as proof that he'd been fine then.

Perfectly well, really.

As opposed to now.

Sudden awareness of weight, heightened wash of machine oil
across his senses.

Gun in hand.

Gun in hand, and Wesley's not ready at all.

For whatever comes.