Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

By Doyle
For Minim Calibre

Even jet-lagged as Wesley was, the sight of the Wolfram & Hart lobby lit up like a combination of Father Christmas's workshop and some of the gaudier parts of Las Vegas raised a tired smile. Lorne's doing, most likely. Angel probably hadn't stopped glowering.

He made it as far as Gunn's office, then collapsed gracelessly onto the sofa. His lover looked up, surprised, from the papers in front of him. Red tape of some kind, he guessed. Gunn was constantly battling a mountain of paperwork; more, even, than Wes's own department was swamped with.

"Hey," Gunn said, looking as if he was going to rise from the chair, then sitting back down. "Thought you weren't due back till New Year's?"

Wes remembered the last, fraught conversation before he'd left for England, about space, and why he needed it. "Yes, well, I decided that spending Christmas with my parents would ensure that I really did kill my father," he said, keeping his tone light, knowing Gunn would get the message: it's all right. I'm all right.

His eyes softened. The space separating them seemed to shrink. "Really not complaining, here." He did get up, then, moving around to sit on his desk rather than behind it. There it was, that grace and strength that had characterised his movement ever since May, when they had taken the deal. Or perhaps it had always been there, and Wesley was only just seeing it now.

Either way, the view was nothing to complain about.

Gunn's office, now that he had a chance to look around, was as gaudily decorated as the lobby. Even the toy robots had tiny Santa hats. He smiled at that. That made twice in ten minutes -- more than he'd managed the past fortnight in England.

"Missed the party."

He let his face assume a look of guileless innocence that would fool absolutely no-one who had ever met him. "Oh, did I?"

"Yeah, you put on a brave face, but you're weeping like a little girl on the inside."

"Curses," he said, straight-faced. "You've seen through my cunning ruse."

"Laugh it up. You missed Lorne in a Santa costume."

Wes thought about this, an evil idea surfacing. "As CEO, surely Angel·"

"We tried," Gunn cut him off. "Believe me, we tried. Half my department offered to go pro bono all next tax year if the boss man'd wear the Santa suit. I think Lorne got a petition going. No go."

Probably for the best. There were certain things man was never meant to see. Besides, then he'd have to regret missing it, and workplace parties had never been his favorite activity. He suppressed a grimace at the memory of some of the celebrations at Watcher Headquarters. Needless to say, Quentin Travers had never dressed as Santa Claus.

"You're working late," he noted. "I thought everyone would be gone by now."

He saw the question -- so why didn't you go straight home? -- but all Gunn said was, "big case. Got a bunch of Kroxlegheth demons making waves. Literally." His voice had taken on that intense, passionate edge it always got when he was talking about an important case. Wes had more than once considered getting him to read out some legal briefs in bed.

"Kroxlegheth," he said. "Sea demons."

"Right. Kinda like hulked-out Little Mermaids. Their clan's got into a territory dispute with another group over fishing rights and I don't know what the hell I'm sayin' to give you that look on your face but damn I hope I keep saying it."

"I have a look?" he asked, knowing full well he did.

Three of those slow, easy strides brought Gunn across the office and onto the couch beside him. Still not touching, but close enough that they could.

Wesley decided that anything he'd thought about needing space had been American psychobabble brought on by too much time spent in Los Angeles, and followed it up with the thought that he should have either stayed put or taken Gunn with him to England.

It would have given his mum something to talk about at the dinner table, anyway.

Gunn nudged him. "What's funny?"

The lack of sleep had made him woozy, and he nudged back, hard, and that segued into an impromptu shoving match. Lucky thing the building was nearly empty, because this probably looked extremely silly, and Wes didn't much care.

The brief tussle left Gunn on top. Wesley couldn't even tell if he'd lost on purpose, and then Gunn dropped his head and kissed him, and he couldn't decide if he'd lost at all. But he'd missed this so much these last weeks, and he kissed back hungrily, wriggling his arm out from between their bodies to pull the other man closer.

I missed you, he didn't say, putting it all into the kiss instead, one hand on the back of Gunn's neck while the other slid down past the hefty belt-buckle that he was quite sure was Armani.

The phone rang. They both froze.

"Ignore it," Gunn said, kissing his mouth, his neck. "They want me so bad they can call back."

Wesley knew a little about wanting him badly. "The Kroxlegheth," he said reluctantly. "You said it was an important case."

They held gazes for a second. The phone clicked over to the answering machine.

Gunn shrugged. "Hell with it, they can eat the whole damn ocean." He laid a hand on Wesley's face. "This matters more."

Wes had been looking into those deep, dark eyes for three years. He still felt like they could drown him, sometimes.

Minutes, years, later, the phone rang again. Gunn swore, rolled to his feet, and ripped it out of the wall.

And he had a strange flash of something that couldn't be a real memory; an image of something like this on one of the couches at the hotel, and breaking apart because the baby was crying and Angel and Cordelia weren't around.

Gunn was back with him, and he stored the déjà vu or whatever it was to think about later. He hadn't killed his father, and there had never been a baby at the Hyperion, and whatever it was that Angel was hiding -- the father will kill the son? The sun? - couldn't be earth-shattering.

When he looked at Gunn, touched him, he could almost believe it. Almost drown.