By Minim Calibre
Notes: Spoilers through Spin the Bottle. Wes/Gunn, just subtext, PG.
The man doesn’t even look the same. None of that yielding need that made Gunn want to keep him safe. Nah, this man looks like the sort mommas warn you about. This ain’t the hint of backbone Wes showed in Pylea, either. Gunn’s seen vamps that looked less threatening than the skinny old white boy does right now.
He can’t believe Gunn even needs to ask what happened to him. It should be blindingly, painfully, horribly obvious. It’s not as if he hasn’t told Gunn exactly how he feels about it. Perhaps he just needs simpler words. Perhaps “I was dying” didn’t cause the proper firing of synapses.
He’d never thought of Gunn as stupid before, but there are some things that shouldn’t require repeated explanations.
Wes wants to think it’s a simple answer. That’s his prerogative. And yeah, it’s the what. But no way that’s all there is to it. Gunn looks at that too-pretty face and remembers when things were simple.
Remembers Wes grey and bleeding on the dirty sidewalk, remembers thinking that the bullet that took him down had Charles Gunn written all over it. Hates himself when he thinks maybe it would have been better if it had all ended there, ’cause guilt would feel better than whatever he’s feeling now.
It’s funny that Gunn’s betrayal seems the worst of the lot. Perhaps it’s that Gunn never attempted to smother him, never tore into him with words that would tear him apart. Never considered him as anything but beneath contempt.
It’s horrible that he should feel such pleasure at Gunn’s pain, but he can’t help himself. He’s earned the right to a touch of schadenfreude; he paid for it in blood, after all.
And, as he’s learned so many times, and at so many hands, increasing that pain is just a simple matter of twisting the blade correctly. Wesley’s become something of an expert in the matter.
When’d Wes get so cold? There’s nothing but ice behind those eyes anymore. It’s like looking at Alonna right before he staked her, and it makes him sick to his stomach.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Wes was supposed to have his back, not stab it. Wes was the one he trusted to do the right thing.
Gunn takes one last look at that face before they get down to business. Sooner this is over, the better, ’cause as soon as this is over, Wes is gone, and Gunn doesn’t have to think about any of this crap anymore.
Not until the next time he can’t sleep, the next time he remembers bones snapping under his fingers, the next time he wonders if he’ll be the next one to lose the mission.
If it happened to Wes, it could happen to any of them.
Maybe it already has.