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Acceptable Losses

by cgb

     Date: Saturday, June 07, 2003 7:04 AM
     Title: Acceptable Losses (Wrong the Dead Remix)
     Author: cgb (luberluber@yahoo.com.au)
     Web: http://appelsini.tripod.com/Christine
     Fandom: Angel 
     Category: Gunn/Wes, m/m 
     Rating: NC-17 
     Archive: Sure
     Summary: "Brutus is an honourable man"
     Author's Notes: Written for the Silverlake Remix project - a
     remix of Minim Calibre's "Acceptable Losses" which is a
     lovely, moving story and her Gunn kicks my Gunn's A-R-S-E
     which is why mine doesn't talk too much...
     Thanks Silverlake people for being all silverlake-y. Cheers.
     For Teanna and Leea 'cos they don't watch Stargate.

There's predicability in the way he knocks, in the way he stands there when Wesley opens the door, feet firmly on the floor, arms by his side where they look like they don't belong. Someone probably told him that real men don't put their hands on their hips and Gunn takes image very seriously. He can't even beg without the bad-ass.

Bad-arse, Wesley thinks. A-R-S-E.

Gunn doesn't call him "English' anymore. Gunn doesn't call him at all and he thinks he should be reacting like he's been screwed on the run, which he has but he's never cared to be respected in the morning. He doesn't care at all lately, which is why Gunn is here. And Wesley always thought it was his deal to save souls.

So he says "Go Away," when he means, "Fuck you" because that's more of the cross on the 'T' and he's got a Watcher's pedantry for finishing things.

He closes the door on Gunn and goes back to the kitchen where he's poured half a glass of scotch. He takes the bottle once more and fills the glass to the top.

Straight scotch used to burn, used to make him shake.

Fuck you, fuck me, fuck you for fucking me. Fuck you very much.


He should have seen it coming in the way he marched into the hotel and said, "Where's Angel?" before he'd deigned to learn their names. He had that hero worship face which, for Gunn, was a darting of the eyes and a concealed edginess. Nothing an untrained eye could pick. And even if he and Cordelia had been untrained eyes, Lorne certainly wasn't.

"We should put that boy on a calendar," Lorne said. "He works for all demographics."

Cordelia rolled her eyes and Lorne shrugged. They never brought it up again. There was always something more pressing to deal with than Angel's fans.

That was before the belly-up. Before Angel's descent, before he fired them and before Wesley saved Gunn's life.

It hardly occurred to him then that he would spend so much time in Gunn's company let alone that Gunn might see him in the light of a torch he once held for Angel.

They drank then, because they were bitter and abandoned and they used to pretend they could still have a good time. At Caritas one night he swore he could drink Gunn under the table and it was a rash thing to do because it was more about national pride and less about his ability to drink. Equally rash was Cordelia's insistence she would see them both table-side before the night was through which resulted in her heaving in the women's room and Lorne sending a trusted Frenezli demon to see her home.

"Should we go with her?" Gunn asked and he had to remind Gunn that Cordelia had perfectly effective care at home.

"Dennis will make sure she doesn't pass out in the hallway." And he thought that kind of care was something they could all use.

They went to his apartment

"If you save someone's life, you own it," Wesley said as he pulled the Tennants from the fridge.

"You got me then. English." Gunn laughed. " And I thought your type drank warm beer."

"A myth - and completely absurd in this climate."

It was easy after that. They were tired and drunk and bitter and that was something that kept them together. Disappointment. Anxiety. Angel.

And he used to be a Watcher which was important in some ways. Watchers are never conventional despite the officious English manner. Gunn didn't know that so his actions probably surprised him, but Gunn never met Giles.

"There was a boy... in the Watcher's school," he told him after the fourth bottle. Gunn didn't react at all. His eyes glassed over, and Wesley wondered whether he'd heard. "A relationship of sorts..." He was never good with people. That should have been a warning.

"You went to Watcher's school?" Gunn said eventually.

Wesley capped another beer and handed it to Gunn. He capped one for himself and leant back in his chair. "Traditionally a Watcher's role is to assist the slayer with knowledge - the brains to the slayer's brawn, if you will. I spent a lot of time in school."

They drank, matched silences with each other and watched the empty space in front of them. The night passed slowly, simple in its unfolding, as the complex day was left behind.

It was easy, and Gunn was always the direct type.

He blamed it on Gunn and his boldness and directness and the fact that he moved toward him first but of course it was that story, that line about the boy that was the invitation.

It might have been him, something he did. A look, a movement of his foot towards Gunn's, a hand creeping along the arm of his chair, suggestive.

They kissed. Somewhere between the couch and the kitchen and the floor, they kissed. Gunn's eyes were closed and his lips were soft, unlike his hard edges. His touch was slow and full or purpose and he was reverent when he lifted Wesley's shirt over his head.

They were drunk, but Gunn was beautiful and Wesley forgot that he was the responsible type who didn't get carried away with impulse know matter how pretty it looked.

He found himself naked beneath Gunn, the floor pressing the back of his head as Gunn kissed him hard and deep and they fucked, and fucked again. And again.

It was an isolated incident. And then it was occasional. Eventually it became predictable.

And discreet. No one could know and with Angel that took little effort. Cordelia was another matter of course and she looked at him sideways sometimes. But she had her own less material demons to fight so he didn't raise it and she didn't raise it and she looked at him sideways sometimes then forgot.

And if it wasn't raised there, it wasn't raised anywhere.

Gunn wasn't possessive. Just confused. They didn't have a name for this type of relationship and Gunn wasn't living in a post-modern world.

He reacted, caught Wesley in conversation with a girl at Caritas and made his position on the subject clear by taking Wesley outside and slamming him against a wall while he fumbled with his belt buckle where anyone could see but didn't. Gunn moved from slamming him into a wall to slamming him against the bed. He made a point Wesley hadn't forgotten yet.

It seemed like forever but in reality it must have been weeks, possibly months and how much time did they spend in Pylea? It had to end and it had to end in glorious misery. It had to end with a girl as well, and Fred's timing couldn't have been better.

He didn't blame Fred, of course. In darker moments he blamed Angel, but mostly he blamed himself.

He saw the look Gunn gave him sometimes when he thought Wesley wasn't watching. The admiring looks turned dark, scared.

It happened after Pylea and he thinks he could pinpoint that exact moment because he told Gunn it was "acceptable losses" and he made it look easy. It wasn't, but you don't show the children you're scared too.

He saw Gunn once more. It was after the ballet. Drunk. Desperate. In need. He didn't take him in because he still thought of himself as an honourable man.


The door shakes visibly on the second knock. He watches it for a while, not knowing what he's waiting for.

Gunn calls out. "Wes!"

He flicks the chain and opens the door. Gunn's expression hasn't changed since he closed the door on his face.

He waits, one hand on the doorframe. Gunn shifts his position.

"If you're worried that you didn't make your position absolutely clear..."

"That's not why I'm here." Gunn has black eyes. Deep and black and disquieting.

"Really? Why are you here? And does Fred know about it?"

"Know about what?"

He takes his hand off the doorframe. Slow and deliberate. "Indeed," he says.

Gunn shifts, thrusts his hands in his pockets and looks barely contained. Gunn was all about superiority in a fight and that was how he assessed his comrades. He always had a thing about champions but he's learned they come in all shapes and sizes. He used to think he could take Wesley. He's not so sure anymore.

"This is not about Fred," he says. Was it ever? "But between you and Fred I know whose side I'm on and it doesn't come down to whose bed I'm in. We trust Fred. None of us trust you. You get that, Wes? I don't trust you."

He thinks this should make him feel. Somewhere inside he should feel something. His neck hurts, his head swims from the scotch.

"This is a war, Gunn. It doesn't matter where we wage it, we're always fighting a war. You used to understand that."

Gunn looks him in the eye, and he's almost ready to say something so it's an anti-climax when he doesn't.

Instead he turns back to the hallway. "Fuck you," he says as he walks away.

He closes the door. Fuck you, he thinks in return. If only that were possible.

Could I, would I, if I only could I sure would.

He used to have integrity and he used to know how to feel. Brutus is an honourable man and Gunn came to bury him. Maybe he'll die for his ambitions, and maybe he'll go to hell for presiding over life and death in Pylea.

And maybe they'll forget him, accepting his loss like fallen soldiers with names they no longer remember.

Fin


cgb

"We're a package. Love me, love MacGyver" Selma (The Simpsons)


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