This way
by Te
November 2000

Disclaimers: If they belonged to me, they'd occasionally show up wearing
each other's clothes. Though Wes can't get Gunn's jeans to stay up.

Spoilers: General season two stuff.

Summary: Some Wes snaps.

Ratings Note:

Author's Note: I just love these two.

Acknowledgments: To Sheila, for helping to plant these ideas in  my head,
and to my wonderful Brain, for taking care of me. Also love to Pretty
Pretty Dawn Pares, for readthrough.

Feedback: When have I *ever* said no?


Wesley tugs the gloves off carefully. He'd been forced to reach within
the rippling corrosion of his own spell to pull out the sacred knife while
Gunn and Angel and Cordelia battled the Swid. One of the rules of rogue
demon hunting: Conjure anything truly nasty, and you will be forced to
sample it.

His hands feel vaguely tingly, and there's more than a little numbness.
The flesh remains unmelted, though, so he is safe.

Note: Leather is his new best friend... though these gloves will have to
be carefully disposed of, just in case. It really wouldn't be very helpful
if, say, he reached for Angel in the midst of battle and accidentally
melted his arm off. It would grow back of course, but...

Quite queasymaking. Even the idea of hurting Angel, endangering him.
Angel is necessary to the Powers, and while the prophecies paint the
possibility of Angel living to reach his final reward, these things are
rarely set in stone.

Well, all right, quite a lot of them *are* set in stone, actually, it's just
that that rarely helps determine the truth of the way things will out.
Wesley had given himself freely to Angel, and living that way is no
hardship. Angel is conflicted, and horribly pressured, and endlessly
wounded, and yet still retains his goodness.

Resists every temptation that would allow him to lose his grip.

Made a place for Wesley, here. A family of sorts, and Angel is never
to be hurt by him. Angel is worth it.

Worth everything.

"Why him?"

And it's only when Gunn creeps around the pillar and surprises him that
Wesley realizes he's been staring again. Angel, sweeping through the
rooms they use for storage. Cleaning and replacing weapons, even as
Wesley does the same and he'd forgotten Gunn was here. Lost himself in
his thoughts and. "Hmm?"

"You heard me." And Gunn comes around in earnest, seats himself on the
low bookshelf beside him, and gives Wesley that abrasively expectant
look that so desperately needs to be smacked off.

Half-consciously draws himself up. "If you mean why do I... work with
Angel, I imagine our reasons are similar."

A snort, and the 'don't play me' look, and a head shake. "Yeah, Wes, I
know that. I meant..." And leans in close enough that the tip of his nose
brushes warm and ticklish on the shell of Wesley's ear, "why do you
love him?"

Wesley stiffens all over, then carefully tucks the gleaming Calit Square
back into its cushioned nest, then just as carefully walks from the room,
Gunn unsurprisingly on his heels. And back in Sunnydale, the months long
embarrassment of Cordelia had been the only blessing he could count on.
Something to distract the eye from the many ways Wesley is simply

Something to give himself that moment of precious, shameful hope --
maybe this was to be his freedom.

There is nothing of the kind now, though, and Wesley supposes he'll get
his chance to finally find out for himself just what sort of man Gunn is.
Out on the street and Gunn flanks him, arm occasionally brushing Wesley's
in their silent walk to the diner three blocks away. Gunn's walk is casual,
graceful. Liquid, as though his vertebrae are made of something far more
flexible than bone.

At two-thirty in the morning, there are only the prostitutes and the
solitary old man in his corner booth -- the one with the bruised, faraway
stare of the chronic insomniac.

Gunn slips in opposite to Wesley, and orders a decaf. Wesley orders,
oh-so-predictably, tea.

And then Gunn is looking at him, all wide clear eyes and brighter, less
insolent expectancy this time.

"What exactly do you plan to get out of this discussion you're so
determined to have, Gunn? I'm not ashamed of my feelings for Angel."

Leans back now, obviously more relaxed now that there are words. "Hey,
I just want to know. Have a little male bonding."

"Over tea and unrequited gay love?"

"New millenium, brother. Gotta bond over *something*."

"I wasn't aware of that being in my job description."

"All part of the *tacit* agreement, Wes-ley. So are you gonna tell me?"

"He's beautiful, in any number of ways. Are we quite finished?"

Gunn narrows his eyes in thought, slightly exaggerated grimace. Wesley
muses on Gunn's use of humor, and finds himself oddly reminded of
Xander. If Xander were distinctly African-American, confident, and
utterly unashamed of the workings of his own mind.

On the inside, Wesley has his head in his hands, digging circles at his eyes
with the tips of his fingers. He misses a home he never actually had, and
last night's dream of Angel, inaccurately warm in the circle of his arms.

"... want to be?"

Snaps to attention. "Hmm?"

"I *said* --" Parody of put-upon. "do you want to be? Finished."

And just how many deeper meanings are in there? Thank God for
Cordelia's presence. Without her he wouldn't ever have a
straightforward conversation. Or childish argument, as the case may be.
"Gunn. It's late."

A searching look, powerful in its unfamiliarity. Wesley feels pinned under
it, carefully glassed in and studied.

"Yeah, you're right." Downs the rest of his coffee and throws a healthy
pile of change on the table.

Walks out without another word.


Gunn, riding pillion behind Wesley as they break any number of traffic
laws on their way to the scene of a sacrifice in progress. Cordelia and
Angel were already there, leaving the two of them to find a hastily
scrawled message when they got back from a fruitless search of what felt
like every weaponry shop in the city.

Gunn's arms tight around his waist. They haven't talked beyond the normal
banter of their business days and nights.

There's something of a crawl to the contact, to be so close to a man who
knows full well that he loves other men, and isn't celibate about it,
either. A chance meeting on a late night street. Wesley with his arm
around Christopher's waist -- a regular acquaintance fuck -- Gunn
apparently patrolling on his own. Despite not being ashamed of his
feelings for Angel, this is the first time this aspect of his personal
life has come in contact with his professional life. It's more than a
little disconcerting.

With Angel on the bike, there is only the high-heart elation of contact.



Wesley has to admit, if only to himself, that he's been waiting for this
moment for a *long* time. Another vision of Gunn in danger, despite his
calmer approach to demon-fighting, and none of them had come close to
being able to decipher it clearly.

Gunn had been entirely opposed to the idea of going inside a demon bar in
the first place.

Well before they told him he'd have to sing.

They'd practically had to drag him there, but the Host relieved them of
their burden almost immediately:

"Oh, *darling*, I bet you have a *lot* of soul to show."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"The eyes, my adorable little human, the *eyes*. So full!" Turning to
the rest of them. "Oh, *thank* you for this one!"

Guided Gunn off with a steady patter of flamboyance and disturbance and
now he's on stage, looking shell-shocked and, yes, emotionally nude. Fear of
making an ass out of himself most clear.

He's singing some old Michael Jackson song in a truly abysmal falsetto.
The Host has been edging closer and closer with each tremblingly painful
note, nearly crawling onstage at this point. Gunn looks hunted.

Wesley can't help but grin a trifle maliciously. It's nice to see in Gunn's
eyes what he feels just behind his own sometimes, when Gunn is staring at



They save each other's lives on a regular basis, nudity while scrubbing
off assorted demon effluvia is of the norm, but this feels...

This is Gunn down on one knee, massaging the vicious cramp out of
Wesley's thigh with brisk, firm efficiency. The same ecstasy of pain and
relief that comes from any truly horrible cramp, and terror, too. In the
sewers, on the run from a Wolfram and Hart summoning they'd been unable
to stop. Cordelia had been wounded by a flying limb of some sort, and Angel
had passed them minutes before, Cordelia thrown over his shoulder.

Wesley is willing it to pass as best he can, but it's a bad one and they
have no time and --

"*Relax* or we'll never get it out, OK? Just... focus on my getting this
knot out, all right?"

Gunn's eyes are a gleam of intent in the dimness, and Wesley can't help
but flush beneath the sweat and the grime. And relax. Gunn's hands are
strong, and skilled, and steady.

Seeming hours later it's finally gone, and they're running again, and
there are... sounds back there, but the weaponry they need is only a
half-mile away, and Wesley knows they will make it. A weird, bone-deep
faith that really does make him wish he had just a tad less experience
with the black arts.

Get beneath the hotel to find joy already awaiting them in the form of
a vaguely conscious Cordelia wielding a flame thrower, an Angel with a
sword, and both Gunn's and Wesley's axes just waiting for them.

The sounds come steadily closer.

They stand ready.


Celebrating Gunn's birthday, date gently teased out of the man's
extensive police record. Wesley likes to think of that throbbing vein in
his father's forehead at times like these.

Look, father, my new friends have been arrested again. Love to stay and
chat, but I really do have to bail them out. Do try not to wait up.

One day that vein will burst, but Wesley will not be there to see it. He
does not regret this.

The punch is surprisingly delicious, and will undoubtedly leave Wesley
moaning for God's mercy come morning. The music is occasionally
terrifying, but he likes the loudness of it. The *vitality*, and the

Angel has joined him on the sidelines of the dance floor. Whatever
reasons Angel has for not wanting to dance, Wesley has no intention of
proving himself any Whiter than he already has. Most everyone here seems
to have that same flexible spine.

Perhaps they were raised with something beyond Mother's endless
Debussy and Father's sincere hatred for music of any kind.

Angel is smiling, mostly to himself, but the effect is amiable.

"Sometimes I want to belong to this." Winces at saying it aloud, hopes
for a noncommittal grunt from Angel. It will go on the list of ways he
has humiliated himself in front of Angel -- cool-skinned idol as much as
man he loves these days, but:

"It would be nice, I think."

Wesley nods and turns to find Gunn and an extremely tall man named
Levon both dancing with Cordelia. Her smile tonight is the wide, brilliant
one that still gives Wesley pause. Gunn's laugh slips into a brief wave
of relative quiet, pure and purely happy. It gives Wesley a twinge of.



"I'm tired of near-death experiences, Wes. That's progress, right?"

And Wes doesn't know exactly what possesssed him to follow Gunn
upstairs as the party lost its birthday focus and became simply itself.
Just that... he'd happened to *see* him go, and it seemed. It seemed that
he followed. They'd been sharing a Dannon bottle full of punch in silence
until just this moment. "Yes. I'd have to say that's..." Swallows. "A
*good* sign."

Gunn swivels his head to face him, they are both sitting against a bare
wall of the abandoned building. Dust in the air. Gunn's drunkenly soft
smile. "Yeah? Well, here's to the birthday boy."

"Can you toast with just the one bottle?"

"Only if we drink at the same time."

"Is that possible?"


Breaking into laughter now, both of them, and staring into each other's
eyes for rather too long. The smile is difficult to hold on to, his eyes
want to be wider. Wesley looks away too fast, and has to recover both
literal and figurative equilibrium.

Careful look over and Gunn's smile is gone, too. "You're a good man,
Wes. You know it?"

"I... thank you." There is no hope in trying to hold back a blush. "So
are you."

Low chuckle. "Just a little too... what? Human? Dark? Bald?"

Wesley tries to puzzle that out and fails, turns and runs into a kiss,
close-mouthed, that had been meant for his cheek and Gunn's lips are too
soft for a man's, shocking and full and Wesley darts his tongue out to
taste and Gunn shudders, long, against him.

Smooth forehead against Wesley's own. Sense of brief stubble nearby.
Wesley is hard, and deeply confused in that way where you know it
will all work out to something very simple that you still can't grasp.

Wesley wants more of Gunn's mouth, the sweet and tangy burn of the
punch on his lips.

Gunn is just breathing. Evenly until he reaches out and clutches a
fistful of Wesley's shirt in one hand -- it hitches then, and Gunn looks
into his eyes. Open and hungry. "Want this."

A moment to wonder if Gunn has regressed past the use of personal
pronouns, followed by the realization that it was more of... somewhere
between a command and a plea, and before Wesley can think, he covers the
hand on his chest with his own and pushes it down to his lap. And. "All

Gunn's palm riding him and the kiss is exactly the one he wanted,
carefully hungry. Slow and thorough and sweet-spicy and there are too
many things to do, things he's learned over the years because, yes. Gunn.

Right there all along.

Gunn's groan, Gunn's hand inside his pants now. First brush of night air
and Gunn's bare fingers and sucking at Gunn's lips. Awkward positioning,
reaching and scrabbling for purchase, for flesh and it's just a sudden
decision. The clothes have to go, and they do, the two of them working
separately and quickly, pushing the punch bottle away and coming together,
skin to skin and Gunn is.

An absolute furnace.

Setting every nerve ending on fire, making Wesley cold where he isn't
being touched and rolling together and separating just long enough for
Gunn to turn over. Wesley has to run a hand over the beautifully muscled
back, over the firm curves of Gunn's ass, utterly hairless. Dips his
tongue in the hollow of Gunn's spine and --

"*Wes* --"

Continues down, spreading smooth cheeks and then in, where it's dark,
and necessary because it's been so long, and the occasional pick-ups
mean absolutely nothing. This is *Gunn*. Trusted with his life, and
the truth of his heart, and spread out before him, bucking and moaning
because of his touch. Utterly real, impossibly close to life.

*Part* of his life. Undeniable and. Warm.

Splaying his fingers over hip and muscle, diving in, pressed against the
strong columns of Gunn's legs, thrusting brokenly as he licks, tongues.
Thrusts in, blushing, oh God, he's a slut. Wesley's a slut and Gunn will
know now and he can't stop. Moaning right along with Gunn because of
the *feel*. This need, this close. Hard body and fucking tongue and Gunn
humping steadily against the thin pile of clothes and he can't keep his
hands still anymore.

Has to touch Gunn everywhere he can reach, skate over all that lean
muscle, writhing under his touch, finally break away with a kiss to Gunn's
grasping anus and move up, scoot forward, drape himself over Gunn and
kiss his scalp, rub his cheek against it, stubble catching on stubble and
Gunn laughs, half-heartedly tries to buck him off, but they're still moving
together, Gunn pushing his ass back into the socket of Wesley's hips. Back
and back and when a helpless thrust leaves him trapped between the globes
of Gunn's ass, he gasps out all the air in his body, curses and needful

Gunn bracing himself up a little, shifting position and just giving
*permission* and Wesley wants to know how long, and how much, and how
could he have missed *this* but mostly it's just the grip on his cock, Gunn
squeezing and squeezing, slicked with Wesley's own spit and Wesley needs
*closer*. Runs his hands down Gunn's arms, twines their fingers together.
Skin to skin again, at last, so warm and slick and


good, so *sexy*. Moves faster, and faster, random brief catch of the head
of his cock over and over Gunn's anus, suddenly serious *need* for condoms
that Wesley just channels into harder thrusts, loses himself to the squeeze
and stroke and half-wild scent of sweat and alcohol and sex in the air.

And Wesley *wants* to, he does, but he can't, too dangerous if not impolite
and has to tear himself away, scooting back off the thin comfort of their
discarded clothes to jack himself furiously, knees scraped on the bare
never-finished floor, eyes wide and focused on Gunn's sweat-slick body,
perfectly sleek male animal, standing now, moving and oh oh God oh God
standing over him. Hard and slick and the scent and all control lost.

Reaches out with his free hand for Gunn's bobbing cock and aims it at
his mouth. Takes in the head and sucks as hard as he can before just
letting himself open up for it and the first thrust down his throat is the
last he can take.

Comes groaning, spills in jerks that leave him impossibly needful, wired
hard on the pleasure and sucking in earnest now, come-slick hand joining
the other on Gunn's hips and pulling him in, fucking him in to Wesley's
mouth and yes, please now hand on the back of his head, hand ghosting over
his cheek and Gunn groaning obscenities and pleas and fucking his mouth.

Steady and relentless and fast descending into sharp random strokes
that make Wesley's eyelids flutter, makes his *mind* flutter, lost
somewhere between desperate and needful for exactly what he's
getting --

"Oh, Wes, your *mouth* --"

And Gunn comes down his throat, breathing rasp and harsh and loud over
the wet sounds and Wesley's muffled purrs.

Wesley suckles until Gunn pushes him away, still half-hard. Delicious
bitter and just the feeling, fired iron in his mouth and the irresistibility
of being.


Hand up and swaying together. Of a height, eye to closing eye, leaning in
to kiss, and touch, and hold. And the thought, over and over in the sated
clear of Wesley's mind: He wants me. Desperately.

Even now. After. Hands cupping his ass, squeezing, pulling him closer.
Twines their legs together and runs his own hands over Gunn's back and
a flash, brief but telling -- wants more in the impossible freedom of
being wanted *back*.


"Shh, not done kissing you."

A second try and Gunn's tongue is back, thick slick welcome. A tease.
Wesley wants his cock again, and tries to say that with his own kiss, and
wandering hands, and the too-early twitch of his cock. Much too close for
that be missed, and Wesley wants to blush again. Something out of the
fantasies about what a vampire's needs could demand of him.

Angel. An ache, yes, but... Angel is not here.

And Gunn's kisses are the most necessary thing he's felt in a while.