By Minim Calibre
Notes: From the advice/book/thing of the same name. Old Skool ficathon assignment: “Wesley and Gunn (friendship or slashy. Your choice.), AtS, Season Two, Gunn teaching Wesley the secret handshake. The boys out fighting demons, no angst. (There may be a skosh. Just a little. Not much. Mostly none. Honest.)” Gunn/Wes, PG.
1. Make it easy for him to confide in you by listening without giving him advice or criticizing him.
“I still can’t believe he sacked us.” Wesley confesses about four girly drinks into the night, and Gunn’s glad they left Cordelia behind this time, because one mopey woman giving off the just-been-dumped vibe’s enough for him.
Besides, last time one of them said the A word, Cordelia didn’t take it at all well. Took it with a mean right hook to Gunn’s shoulder, as a matter of fact.
“Yeah, well, this is one time it sure as hell ain’t us, it’s him.” Gunn drains his beer and stands up to head towards the bar. “You up for another round?”
2. Make your man feel special by showing him that you love him for himself alone.
Cordelia’s got the day off. Something about an audition. So it’s just the two of them at the Artist Formerly Known As Angel Investigations. Boy’s night in, manning the phones, manning the desk, and man, this is lame.
Wesley’s researching some demon they heard was spotted out in West Hollywood. Gunn’s supposed to be organizing their case files. All what, three of them? That’s not going to take long. He taps the pencil against the side of the desk, watching Wesley flip through a book that looks… suspiciously like a crossword dictionary.
“You sure you’ve got info on our demon boy in that?” Wesley jumps, and the guilty look on his face makes it hard for Gunn to keep from laughing. “Busted. How ’bout we close up shop and go do some field work instead?”
3. Try to be natural. Be yourself and don’t conceal your tastes or the things you like.
“A comic book store, Gunn? I thought we were researching a case.” Wesley pushes his glasses up with one slim index finger, brows raised right up over the rim.
“You can learn a lot about strategy from these things, English.” So sue him, it’s release day, and a guy has to get his pulls. “Check this out.” He pulls a title off the shelf and hands it to Wes.
“So you’re saying Cordelia and I should outfit ourselves in spandex and simply quip at the demons?”
Gunn thinks of Cordelia in spandex and grins a little. Thinks of Wes in spandex and moves a little closer to the shelves to hide his reaction. “Bears thinking.”
4. Give your man the sense that he can keep his freedom – at least to a reasonable degree.
“Yo, any paying customers happen to call while I was out?”
Cordelia shakes her head, keeping her eyes glued to the copy of Vogue that’s supposed to be sitting in the space she insists on calling the waiting area. “Nope.”
“Didn’t think so. Hey, Wesley, what do you say we take off and see if we can find ourselves some demon ass to bust pro bono?”
At least Wesley looks at him when he shakes his head no. “I’m afraid I’m to go to a gallery opening with Virginia tonight. Perhaps tomorrow, assuming we’ve no actual business to take care of?”
Gunn nods, smiles. “Yeah, tomorrow.”
5. Don’t let him do too much for you or spend too much, (even if he volunteers).
“You’re certain you don’t need anything?” Wesley’s finally finished going through the last of their boxes, and is getting ready to head out for the night. Virginia’s waiting out front with his coat and her car keys, and Gunn doesn’t want to keep them.
“Nah.” He bounces the basketball against the fake wood panelling, watches the books shake a little from the impact, and decides maybe that wasn’t such a great idea. Not much point in sticking around. Maybe he should take off, go see what the boys are up to, kick a little ass and take a couple names. “I’m good.”
“Thank you, Gunn. Don’t forget to lock up when you leave.”
6. Don’t make your man jealous as a device to build his interest in you.
“Hey, you with the horns! Bring it on, bitch.” Yeah, that’s enough to get the Artingle demon to turn away from Wesley and start hauling its sorry, scaly ass over to Gunn’s side of the alley. “That’s right, baby. Big daddy Charles here is gonna make you feel something you’ll never forget.”
Gunn swings the axe extra-hard, right through the neck and into next week. Problem is, the Artingle doesn’t seem too keen on stopping any time soon, head or no.
“Gunn, duck!” Wesley’s half-ordering, half-yelping, then there’s a flash of flare gun, a burst of blue-white, and no more demon.
“Next time, English? You’re the decoy.”
7. Insist on sexual fidelity once you feel you need it.
“Through, over, kaput?” Gunn balances the phone between his shoulder and his ear. Cordelia spilled the beans about the break up, but if he’s on Wesley watch duty tonight, he figures he should probably know officially.
“Yes, Gunn. Through, over, kaput.” Wesley’s starting to sound testy. “And as my former relationship with Virginia isn’t especially relevant to our current situation, I’d appreciate it if you stopped asking me about it.”
He’s only asked the once, but far be it from him to argue with the man. “I’ll be over around 7, 7:30. Chinese good?”
Hears a long-suffering sigh through the plastic. “Yes, Chinese will be fine.”
8. Help your man to accept the fact that he needs you and loves you.
“Gunn, I already told Cordelia that I don’t need a baby sitter.”
“Yeah, well, leave you here by yourself, you’re liable to tear those stitches open again, and it’s not like we’ve got medical. Hell, we didn’t even have COBRA.” Gunn sets the tray with the tea and those biscuit things down in front of Wesley. It’s all routine now: two sugars, lemon, no milk, a half-dozen digestives, and a handful of pills for pain and infection. “Besides,” he adds, grabbing a cookie for himself before he picks up the remote control, “this way I get free use of your cable.”
Wesley sighs, leans back gently against the arm of the couch, a faint smile teasing at the corners of his mouth, next to the crumbs Gunn wants to brush off. “Anything good on?”
Gunn grins and gives into the temptation, brushing off the crumbs and playing it up like he’s Mary Poppins or something. “Tango and Cash.”
9. After a few months, insist that your man introduce you to his family and friends and to anyone important in his life.
Feels weird, being back in the hotel, having Angel back with them. Gunn’s trying to make it feel as normal as possible, trying to work past the awkward.
“You’re doing it all wrong.” Gunn grabs Wesley’s hand, guiding it through the motions again. “Up, down, side to side, punch.”
Wesley raises his eyebrows. “I don’t recall it being this elaborate last time.”
“I didn’t realize handshakes needed variations.”
“Variety’s the spice of life. Let’s try this one again. One. Two. Three… ”
All wrong doesn’t begin to describe the next attempt. Somehow, they get tangled up trying to sort it out, and next thing Gunn knows, he’s kissing Wesley like there’s no tomorrow.
And maybe the world is ending, cause Wesley’s kissing him back.
10. Guard against giving your man more than you really want to over a long period of time.
Things are different since Pylea. Angel’s gone, Fred’s here, but that’s not what’s bugging Gunn.
There’s a distance, kind of a disconnect, every time he and Wes talk, or go out on a case, or one of their not-dates, or anything. And it’s not all just Wes trying hard to fill Angel’s size 12s. A lot of it’s him.
Wishing he weren’t sure that if the time was right, and the cause was right, Wes would put him out on the line with a grim lie about his chances for the sake of the mission.