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Far Better Fate Than Wisdom, A

by Mosca

Date: Thursday, January 09, 2003 8:55 AM

     Title: A Far Better Fate Than Wisdom
     Author: Mosca
     Fandom: Angel: The Series
     Pairing: Wesley/Gunn
     Rating: NC-17 for sex and violence
     Summary: Wes and Gunn find each other in the night.
     Spoilers/Continuity: I'd seen the first three episodes of
     season 4 when I wrote this, and that's it.  My beta says
     it's an AU after that.
     Feedback: Dude.  E-mail me privately at mosca6@mailcity.com
     to make sure I get it.
     Distribution: Yes to list archives.  Anyone else, please ask
     so I can say yes.

Disclaimers: Angel: The Series is the intellectual property of Mutant Enemy, Kuzui, Sandollar, and Fox Television. This original work of fan fiction is Copyright 2002 Mosca, and I wrote it for free. Therefore, this story is protected in the USA by the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976. All rights reserved. All wrongs reversed. Because everything's on goddamned La Brea.

Notes: Thanks to k for the supersonic speed beta, and to The Distraction for listening to the whole friggin' thing on the phone.

It seems like I'm taking all my titles from cummings lately. This story was written for the 2002 Secret Slasha exchange, for katyd. Wesley/Gunn was her second choice, and I hope she'll forgive me for not being able to write her first. Also, she wanted fluff, which is not really a distinction I make; I hope this is fluffy enough to make her happy. Happy Solstice!


"You've been kissing," Lilah says.

And Wesley can't think of anything to do but send a mea culpa smile in the direction of his shoes and trace his chapped lips with his index finger, because, yes, kissing is one of the activities he has engaged in tonight. "Is that a problem?" he says, finally. He's not trying to make it sound like a come-on, but it turns Lilah on when he fucks with her head. In the past, he's rather enjoyed that kink. He's rather enjoyed binding her wrists with her stockings and holding her down and reminding himself over and over that it's all okay if it's all consensual.

"We agreed that it wouldn't be," she says flatly.

"But you wish I weren't," he says. And singsongs, softly, "You wish it were you-ou..."

"So what if I do?"

"Doesn't make a difference," he says. "I won't be fucking you tonight."

"Are you trying to make me beg?" She exaggerates her pout and thrusts out her hips.

"I'm trying to tell you that it's time for you to go home. There's a phone call I need to make."

"You're serious."

"Get out of my apartment, please, Lilah, before I call out my thugs on you."

"You're the one who told me to wait for you and get comfortable," she says, and come to think of it, yes, he did tell her to do exactly that.

"I've changed my mind," he says.

She buttons her suit jacket over her breasts and gathers up her purse and shoes. "Fine, then," she says, somehow implying in those two words that he will soon be visited by an ornery and ravenous demon with copious horns and dermatological problems. He waits until he can no longer hear the click of Lilah's heels in the hallway before he dials Gunn's cellphone.

"I didn't think you were going to call," Gunn says.

"I said I would," says Wesley. "When I got home."

"And took care of what you had to take care of."

"Yes."

"So it's taken care of?"

"She's gone," Wesley says. He hears a little swallow on the other end of the line, like Gunn is trying not to react. That has been his entire evening: people trying not to react to things. It started with a pay-phone call from a working-class Mexican neighborhood on the outskirts of the city. Some panicked vampire-beset abuela who'd gotten his number from the Powers knew where, and hell, maybe it was the Powers themselves who put the thought in her head. The caller was dead or fled by the time Wesley and the two ex-cons currently under his employ reached the scene of the attack, which was a long haul from Central L.A. Half a dozen immortal gangbangers, bloated like mosquitoes, were hanging out in front of a boarded-up house, licking their chops. Well-fed and complacent vampires aren't usually much of a challenge anymore, but these were rough kids who knew how to fight. One of them pulled a gun on one of Wesley's ex-cons and caught him in the gut. Two against six, especially when one of the two was all brawn and very little brain, wasn't particularly good odds.

Wesley hadn't yet figured out how he was going to keep himself alive, never mind the hired help, when he noticed that the odds had just gotten significantly better. He didn't have time to see who was assisting him until his assailants had been reduced to five piles of dust and one outnumbered escapee. He didn't really want to know, considering it was most likely an employee of Wolfram and Hart or else Justine, come back to kill him with kindness. Besides, he knew where his priorities should be. "Junior," he said to the still-standing ex-con. "Help me get Jimmy in the truck." That accomplished, he gave Junior clear instructions: get the injured Jimmy to the nearest hospital; if anyone asks, say he was an innocent bystander in a gang shootout. It wasn't totally inaccurate.

Now, it was just Wesley, his secret helper, and one unconscious homeless man curled up on a heating grate. "Wesley, wait," someone said, presumably not the bum.

Wesley's first thought was, thank heavens it wasn't Justine. His second thought ran along the lines of realizing that Gunn wasn't much preferable. "Let me get in the truck," Wesley said. "Just let me go."

"You could thank me," Gunn said.

"That would require either a sentiment of gratitude or the ability to lie persuasively," Wesley said. "Neither of which I've got at the moment."

"We got a call in from some kid. Rival gang, probably. I had no idea you'd be here."

"You came alone?"

"We were busy," Gunn said. "Believe it or not. We were already working three cases."

Wesley heard the clattering sound of the truck's ignition and turned just in time to see Junior speed away in his only ride home. "Might as well get going now," Wesley said dumbly.

"I'm gonna hang around for a few more minutes. Kid on the phone said he'd pay me whatever he could."

"Has that ever amounted to anything?"

"Never," Gunn said. "But hope springs eternal, you know?"

Wesley knew.

Gunn filled the silence by asking, "You're stuck here without a ride home, aren't you?"

"I'll have to get a taxi."

"In this neighborhood? Right."

"I'll call for one."

"I'd give you a lift," Gunn said, "if you asked me for one."

"That's all right," Wesley said.

A rotund, crew-cut kid in a Lakers jersey came running. He was carrying a paper grocery sack with a drawing of a sunburst and the legend "Supermercado El Amanecer" printed on it in red. "Are you Mr. Gunn from Angel Investigations?" he asked.

"Uh-huh," Gunn said.

"I'm really sorry," the kid said. "I had, like, forty bucks saved up, but my dad saw the money and he, like, popped a blood vessel. But my grandma thought we should, like, give you something, so she made you some food."

Gunn grinned. "Thanks."

"It's pork tacos," the kid said. "And I think she put some cinnamon cookies in there. And Cokes."

"Tell your grandma it's much appreciated," Gunn said. "And make sure to call us again if you have any more of that kind of trouble."

"The cookies are really good," the kid said. He handed Gunn the bag and ran away into the darkness.

"Want a taco?" Gunn said to Wesley.

"If you've got one to spare," Wesley said. He'd been arranging the table in his apartment for a romantic takeout dinner with Lilah when the call had come in. The fight had left him hungrier.

"Then get in the car," Gunn said.

"I said I'd get a taxi."

"And I said, get in the car."

"Now it's really starting to sound like you're going to take me into a secluded alley and try to kill me," Wesley said. "Need I remind you that that trick never works?"

"If you're good," Gunn said, "I'll give you a cookie."

Wesley climbed into the passenger seat.

Gunn got in and started the car. "I'm not going to apologize," Wesley said. "I'm not going to beg for you to take me back."

"Wasn't expecting you to," Gunn said.

Wesley was charged with holding the taco bag. Assuming that he was still owed a taco, he drew one of the warm, foil-wrapped packets from the bag. He unwrapped the taco and took a bite. "They're good," he said. He unwrapped another for Gunn and handed it to him.

Gunn took a thoughtful bite of his taco. "You saved Angel," he said. "That's all the apology I need."

"I didn't save him for you," Wesley said.

"It doesn't matter."

"I suppose that if you're not going to take my motives for taking Connor into consideration, it would balance things out if you didn't take any of my other motives into consideration."

"I lost track of that sentence somewhere around, 'I suppose,'" Gunn said.

"It doesn't matter," Wesley said. "Consider it bygones."

"It's not that easy, Wes. It's just not that easy."

"It could be," Wesley said.

"Why should it?" Gunn said. "You betrayed us. And you can spend the rest of your life trying to make it up to us, but that betrayal isn't going to go away. You don't just make up for things."

"It should because you need me," Wesley said. "And you do, don't you?"

"Me?"

Wesley hadn't even considered that Gunn might take the statement personally: that Gunn might, not as an employee of Angel Investigations but as a friend, need him. "All of you. I'm stronger than any of you except Angel, who I'd assume still isn't quite up to his full strength again yet. And I know more than all of you put together. Never mind the fact that you'll have no one to do your taxes come spring. Honestly, I have no idea how you're keeping that business afloat."

"We're managing," Gunn said.

"But not very well."

Gunn stopped the car at a red light and chewed his taco. "No," he said with his mouth full.

"You can have me back," Wesley said. "All you have to do is ask."

"I'd... have to discuss it with Fred and Angel."

"Fair enough." He hadn't expected it to be that easy to get his job back. He wasn't really sure that he wanted it back, but he welcomed the regular paycheck and the access to his books. Most days, he missed his books more than he missed his friends; it was hard to miss friends who were that angry with him, especially when he was spending so much of his free time fucking Lilah.

He didn't miss Gunn, exactly. He missed what he had wanted Gunn to be, for him and with him. Before Gunn had taken up with Fred, Wesley had entertained the hope that someday Gunn would buy a clue (as Cordelia might say) and decipher one of Wesley's convoluted signals of affection. He'd played a game with himself: what would Gunn do if I kissed him right now? He'd given up on the game after Fred interfered, as it came to evoke missed opportunities and eternal unrequited misery, but he found himself playing it as they roared up Mulholland Drive. What would Gunn do if Wesley kissed him right now? And if Wesley did kiss him, would it mean something anymore, or would it just be the kind of game he'd picked up from so much quality time with Lilah?

"I've missed you," Wesley said. It wasn't totally inaccurate.

"I missed you too, English," Gunn said.

If he was going to play Lilah's game, he decided, he might as well play it all the way. "No, what I mean to say is-- It was never Fred. It was always you." Besides, this was the part that was completely accurate. Blisteringly, embarrassingly true. True enough to get him hurled out of the car in the middle of some strange neighborhood halfway between nowhere and downtown.

Gunn made a sudden right turn, sending the car hurtling into an alley, then braked so hard that the tires squealed.

"What are you doing?" Wesley said.

"Pulling over," said Gunn.

"Why?"

"Because it's been about you a lot longer than it's been about Fred," Gunn said. He snatched the end of Wesley's taco out of his hand and put it on top of the dashboard, then unbuckled Wesley's seat belt, pulled him close, and kissed his lips softly.

"I didn't--" There was a whole second clause to that sentence, but Wesley's brain was too muddled to come up with it.

"There was a time-- remember when we went to the ballet? There was a time when we were both reaching for Fred's hand at the same time. Up until then, I thought-- I mean, Fred's a hot little thing, and it was easy for me to cover up the way I felt about you. But I touched your hand and I realized-- I wanted to be holding your hand, not hers."

Leaning into the driver's seat to bury his tongue in Gunn's mouth, Wesley nearly impaled himself on the gear shift. Wesley thought suddenly of Lilah. She was probably draped across his bed, naked, bored and horny. Wesley broke away from the kiss. "There's... something I need to take care of at home," he said.

"You-- you want me to take you home?"

"Just-- I'll call you when I-- when it's taken care of."

On the way to Wesley's apartment, they kissed at every red light until it turned green. While the car was moving, Wesley kept his eyes locked on Gunn, even when Junior called to say that Jimmy was in surgery at L.A. County Hospital. Jimmy was going to pull through, and Gunn had a beautiful jawline.

Which more or less brings Wesley to where he is now, telling Gunn to meet him at an abandoned row house on La Brea. The place was a haven for vampire squatters until about a week earlier, when Lilah passed Wesley a stack of Wolfram and Hart hundred-dollar bills and asked him if he would please, for her, go and chase them all out. As far as Wesley knows, the place hasn't been cleaned out yet; the law firm is still working on the low-priority process of claiming the property as their own. Wesley chooses it because it's neutral territory, and it's unlikely anyone will interrupt them there. And because his apartment still reeks of Lilah's perfume.

Almost by rote and utterly out of habit, Wesley does a gear check before he leaves. Wallet, keys, and phone in the pockets of his jacket; stake in the hidden pocket in the inner lining; sharp steel dagger sheathed in his sock. In the gun belt under his shirt, he has two more stakes and a handgun that he's only ever fired once; the latter is more for scaring humans and naive new vampires away from the scene than for actually shooting people. As an afterthought, he goes to the drawer by his bed and grabs some condoms: four Peppermint Kiss and two extra-strength lubed. He tucks them into his jacket pocket. In all things, overpreparation is preferable to running out of supplies.

The abandoned house would have been a crack house like every other abandoned house in L.A. if the vamps hadn't gotten to it first. As such, it isn't an entirely unpleasant place to be. Vampires tend to be lucid enough to make their hideouts homey. The living room is a bit of a disaster-- cigarette butts and half-eaten microwaveable burritos dominate a coffee table constructed from liquor boxes covered in an Indian-patterned cloth-- but the bedrooms seem cleaner. They used to belong to people: vampires higher on the totem pole, or couples who needed privacy. It sometimes impresses Wesley that demons will afford each other this sort of respect.

The cleanest and most welcoming of the bedrooms is apparently the former domain of someone with Goth pretensions. There's an actual mattress with an actual box spring, framed by a cast-iron headboard that, if sturdy enough, would be ideal for restraints. It occurs to Wesley that perhaps it was purchased for exactly that purpose. The windows are hung with black lace, and the bedcover is purple velvet. There's a fluffy black throw rug next to the bed, and an empty chest of drawers, draped with more black lace and lined with half-burned candles, stands next to the door. The floor is neatly swept, and the bed is made. The personality of this fled vampire lingers, and it's eerie to see the mundane quirks that evil has left intact. He wishes that he knew her name, and he wonders if he killed her.

The slam and thump of Gunn's entrance startles Wesley. Gunn never was one for stealth. "Wesley?" Gunn calls. He knows, it seems, that Wesley would be the first one there.

"I'm back here," Wesley calls back. "In the bedroom."

Gunn comes in and takes a look around. "Did you do all this?"

"No," Wesley says. "It-- was already here."

"It's sort of... if Anne Rice and Martha Stewart mated."

"I was thinking you could help me make a mess of it," Wesley says, tickling the back of Gunn's neck.

"You want to-- don't you think we ought to-- discuss this first?"

"We have all the rest of our lives to talk."

"I-- did you-- was that some kind of commitment you just made?"

"I do want you to know that the option would be available," Wesley says.

"I guess that's all I need to know right now," Gunn says and kisses him.

"So... what do you want me to do to you?"

Gunn smiles innocently. "Anything you want," he says.

"There-- there are so many things that--"

"You could turn me over and take me right now, and I wouldn't complain." Gunn is goofing around, trying to get Wesley to take control.

Wesley is perfectly serious.

He shoves Gunn down onto the bed with one flat palm, and Gunn lands so hard that he bounces back a little. He yanks off Gunn's shoes, his socks, his jeans, his boxers. In Russia, there are demonic dogs with eyes as big as dinner plates; right now, Gunn could be one of them. Wesley rolls Gunn over and runs his hand under Gunn's shirt. Gunn shrugs out of the shirt the rest of the way. He is all rough brown back and rough brown ass. Wesley kisses and nips at Gunn's bare skin. He reaches underneath to get at Gunn's nipples. Since coming to America, Wesley has had only one liaison with a man; he's missed the smell and the texture, the way men react fast and quietly. He is hard already, and he's still got his jacket on. He pulls a fistful of condoms out of his pocket and throws his jacket in the corner of the room.

"I haven't got any lube," Wesley apologizes.

"A condom, though?"

"Yes."

"Should be all right then," Gunn says, and Wesley hopes Gunn has as accurate a sense of his body in the bedroom as he does in a fight. He keeps close to Gunn's skin as he undresses, kissing him and stroking his neck like he is reminding Gunn to be aroused. He rolls one of the extra strength condoms onto himself-- Peppermint Kiss wouldn't be too comfortable for Gunn-- and tries to get his brain to stop doing the thing where it wants to worry about whether Junior parked the truck in a tow zone at the hospital.

The tip of Wesley's cock enters Gunn easily; Wesley is relieved to see that this isn't Gunn's first time with a man. Wesley knows that he is shy, uncommunicative, paranoid, occasionally cruel: Gunn will have to learn to coexist with these flaws, and that will be difficult enough. Wesley doesn't want to have to watch Gunn navigate the redefinition of his sexuality. It's got to the point where Wesley is too old to have the patience for that.

On the other hand, this may just not be the first time that Gunn's been fucked. Wesley imagines Fred with a strap-on and chuckles at the thought. Then, he remembers Lilah and the huge sparkling pink thing she used to like to use on him, and the idea doesn't seem so outrageous. He doesn't want to think about them, about women. For once, he wants to be here in the moment of having sex with the person he is having sex with, and it makes him angry that Lilah has jaded him to the point that it is difficult to do so.

Wesley has one arm around Gunn's waist, his fist wrapping Gunn's cock so Gunn can thrust into him in time with his own rhythm. He's using the other hand for balance, slamming Gunn's weight and his own so forcefully into the bed that he thinks he might crush his own metacarpals. Gunn is yielding but tight enough that Wesley can feel plenty through the condom. Gunn is grunting softly, and he is close. He releases into Wesley's hand and into the purple velvet bedcover. Wesley likes the way men come and especially the way Gunn comes, all at once, like a blow to the face. Wesley is not quite there yet, but it only takes him another minute to get there; Gunn is patient for that long. Lilah has so inured Wesley to fucking and coming that the orgasm seems irrelevant. The point is that it's Gunn who got him there.

He pulls out, takes off the condom and knots it. Gunn watches him as he searches for a place to toss it. "Throw it out the window," Gunn says.

Wesley throws aside the makeshift black lace curtains to find that the window is opaque with a few coats of black shine-free latex. He finds the lever that would unlock the window, but it won't budge. "It's painted shut," Wesley says.

"I was kidding," says Gunn.

Wesley notices a small wicker wastebasket, painted black with silver trim, beside the bureau. It unnerves him that the wastebasket isn't empty: there are a few makeup-crusted Kleenexes and an empty packet of those honey-flavored cigarettes that college girls smoke. He adds his spent condom to the detritus of the vampire life whose blanks he has been filling in slowly since he got here.

"Come back here," Gunn says. "I'm not through with you."

"You want more?"

"There are some things we should-- I mean, you get to go back to your dark and dingy apartment after all of this, but I have to go back to the Hyperion, and there are gonna be some things--"

Wesley shakes his head. "And I was so looking forward to going down on you."

"You've got the whole rest of your life to go down on me."

"We could die tomorrow. You would die unblown."

"Ain't no way that's gonna happen," Gunn says. Wesley sits down on the bed next to him, and Gunn kisses the back of his neck.

"Is this-- is it about Fred?"

"Someone's going to have to tell her," Gunn says. Wesley almost has time to protest before Gunn adds, "Don't worry. It should be me."

"There's no way, is there?" Wesley says. "To do this without hurting her?"

"She'll be upset."

"She'll leave."

"She might."

"We could-- we could ask her to join us," Wesley suggests halfheartedly.

"She'd never agree to it," Gunn says. "And besides, after tonight, I can't see myself-- she'd be the third wheel, and she'd know it."

"There's no avoiding it, is there?"

"I'll talk to her," Gunn says. "I'll do the best I can."

Gunn's shaved head is overdue for its weekly encounter with a pair of clippers. Wesley likes the tickle of the stubble when he kisses it. "Talk to me about something that's not depressing," Wesley says.

"Lorne came back from Vegas," Gunn says. Wesley could listen to Gunn's musical voice forever, that creamy urban patois always with Gunn's smile under it, smarter than he sounds. And Wesley is struck by a thought that seems to come from outside himself, telling him that he can and will and should have this forever. That he will endure sending Lilah away for good, and they will both endure losing Fred, because this is where he belongs. He suspected when he was a teenager that it was not really his destiny to be a Watcher, and that he would know his destiny when he saw it. He thinks this might be what it feels like: not only good but Good. The greater purpose of fighting for someone and with someone and finding that it is the same person, that it was this person all along, and now here he is, puzzle solved. And Gunn is talking and talking, and it is all totally, totally true.

And they can lie like this until morning or well beyond. The painted-over window will keep out the time of day until someone worries and Gunn's cellphone rings, and they are put back on the streets saving the world and each other and themselves all over again.


Mosca
http://mosca.freeservers.com/fanfic/

     "And then you realize that instead of working on your
     goddamn novel, you've just wasted five minutes narrating a
     comic book adventure in which the world counts on you to
     save it from tiny legumes." -- Sarah Bunting, Tomato Nation

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