Notes and disclaimers: fictional characters belong to Mutant Enemy. Everything is completely made up, even the Susie Wynne part. No speck of truth, no profit garnered ever. Title from the poem Seen by Mark Wunderlich.
TO THE NEXT WARM STATION
It ends like this: Ben says, "So, seriously, thank you." He laughs and doesn't look anxious or anything. Figure skaters have a reputation. Then he's out the door and Wesley glances over at Gunn. Wesley doesn't say anything at all but he's looking good. Definitely good, Gunn thinks.
But when Angel comes in and asks if everything went okay last night, Wesley smiles and says, "Perfectly fine. We didn't need you at all."
He gets up and walks past Angel to the coffee maker. Angel makes a surprised face and Gunn remembers the vamp senses. Angel glances at Gunn and then smiles and sits down on the edge of Gunn's desk. "Good," Angel says. "That's good." Angel almost winks at Gunn and heads out the same door.
Somewhere in the middle it's like this: Wesley makes a face like he's smelled something bad. It's nothing in the office, Gunn can vouch for that. All he smells is the same old books and office smell. And he's something like pretty close to sick of both. But it's not new. "What?"
Wesley shakes his head. "I'm not sure, exactly, what we can do here."
"I can break any contract if he signed something. I'm pretty sure of that," Gunn says.
"I don't think he did," Wesley says. "You know they're not all that simple. Look at Virginia and her father."
"It's been a long time since you mentioned her," Gunn says. He liked Virginia. He liked her more when she dumped Wesley. "How is she? I didn't think you two kept in touch."
Wesley looks up, smiling. "We did not. But I understand she's married. I saw an announcement when we were at Wolfram & Hart."
Gunn can't help himself, he's smiling, too. He remembers the way it was, the way they were. "This feels good, you know. You and me, the team supreme."
"Thanks for the resurrection," Wesley says. He looks back down at his umpteenth musty book. Still has a little smile, though.
"We were owed," Gunn says. "Don't worry about it."
"I'm not," Wesley says. "No tell-tale smell of sulfur, no alterations in personality. And no long wished for success." Wesley frowned. "I think he was likely tricked into making a sacrifice to one of the lesser Hkarplon demons. Possibly Dorniplak'ch."
Gunn reviews what he knows of that particular sect and nods. "Sounds about right. You think he was tricked?"
"I would imagine so," Wesley says. "It's their MO, after all."
"I just think he was wanting it, too. That's also part of the MO."
"That's the question, isn't it?" Wesley gets up and paces. "He wanted it, but would he have ever done anything without being entrapped? We're hardly talking about Tonya Harding here."
"Look, Wes, I'm the last person to judge someone making a deal with the devil, even a devil as completely pathetic as Dorniplak'ch. But he's not our client. All we care about is the girl. I'd feel different if he came here wanting out, with actual regret."
"I'm aware, but you know as well as I do that people get fooled and find themselves paying consequences they never anticipated." Wesley sits down and sighs. "And neither of us are the client, are we?"
"Help the helpless and protect the innocent," Gunn says. "Pretty clear who's helpless and innocent here. The soul suck on the boy will start to affect the girl and probably already is. But yeah, we should figure out a way to help everyone. If we can."
"We could kill the Dorniplak'ch, if we can find it."
"That doesn't wipe the deals," Gunn says. "Let's keep thinking on this. You and me, we can figure this out."
Somewhere close to the end, it's like this: "It's not cheating if it's not a woman," Ben says. "That's what Merrie thinks." He's naked and his towel is already on the floor. Gunn looks away from the towel because this is a view he isn't going to get again, he's pretty sure. He's never seen someone in the altogether who's this fit. He and Wesley don't really work out for fitness, they just make sure they won't die fighting demons. Angel and Spike have that demon inside them thing going, and Gunn's actually more than a little thankful he's never seen either of them like this.
"That's very liberal of her," Wesley says. He sounds a little choked up and Gunn remembers that tone of voice. If he wasn't hard already, he's ready and willing now without even seeing Wes.
"Figure skating has a reputation," Ben says, smiling. "And it's a little earned."
Gunn realizes he's fully dressed. At least he's already gotten his boots off when they came upstairs to let Ben wash off the slime from the demon's handshake. After they'd had a few drinks with the demon, at the creature's insistence. Gunn wouldn't say any of them were more than buzzed, but they were all definitely feeling no pain.
And their minds were wandering. Gunn says, "Good." He doesn't know apropos of what but things are definitely good. Right now, as he gets his pants off and his shirt and hears Wes doing the same: good. Hot buff figure skater watches them two of them, his hand on his dick like he's really enjoying the show: also good. And everything after is bound to be even better.
From point A of getting naked to point B of actually getting busy involves the three of them meeting on Wes's king-sized bed. Ben laughs and says, "I never feel short, but you two." He laughs again.
Gunn can't stop looking at that mouth so he kisses Ben. He runs his hand down Ben's side and grips his thigh. Impressive, he thinks. But it gets harder to form words, even in his head, when he figures out he's ended up the filling in this pie as Wes presses against his back. All of Wes.
Everything goes the good kind of fuzzy. There's a point where Wes's slick hand is rubbing Gunn's dick and Ben's dick together and against each other. There's a point where Wes has his mouth on and fingers in Gunn's ass while Gunn has a mouthful of Ben's dick and he manages to think that he has never seen someone put on a condom so quickly. There's a point where Gunn gets elbowed in the thigh by someone.
Six condoms in the trashcan later, the three of them are staring at the ceiling, laying across each other. "I'm gonna sleep in," Gunn says. "You can pay your bill to Angel."
"This doesn't count?" Ben pats Gunn's thigh. "I thought I was paying with my fantastic body and great blowjobs."
"Fantastic," Wes echoes. "Absolutely."
"Yeah, but we used Angel's car and had him on call all night," Gunn says. "You owe him something, too. And I'd advise going with money there."
"Absolutely," Wesley says.
Ben's clearly in the best shape of the three of them because he manages to sit up. "You guys do this often?"
"You're the first," Gunn says. He looks over at Wes and says, "Been a long time."
Ben gets off the bed and goes into the bathroom, humming. Gunn hears the shower turn on and thinks, good idea. But he's not up for moving right now. He's still looking at Wes in profile, watching him breathe.
"Next time, just us," Gunn says. "And next time should be tomorrow."
"Absolutely," Wes says. "This time, I think, will be the right time."
This, it turns out, is the middle: "So we can make a deal," Ben says. "And both of you aren't saying anything, so I think I'm not going to like it."
"We can absolutely make sure there are no consequences for your partner and no violence," Wesley says.
"And the demon wants?"
Gunn sighs. "Something of great value and utterly unique. Of greater value than what your friend got."
Ben stares at them. "No way."
"It is just a physical object," Wesley says. "And only yours, you don't have to give him Ms. Belbin's as well."
"Yeah, it's just an Olympic medal," Ben says. "You know, I have ones from Worlds. I have four from Nationals. Couldn't we do bulk?"
"Yeah, the Costco approach won't work," Gunn says. "We checked. Trust me."
"If I give him my medal, does that mean, what? Evan loses at Nationals," Ben says. He smiles. "That would be awesome."
"Sadly, no." Wesley sits down on the edge of Gunn's desk. "The only changes would be going forward. Your friend's soul would be restored completely, but previous achievements are just that."
"Achieved," Ben says. He rubs his face and looks out the window. It's a crappy view, Gunn knows. Angel didn't work very hard to replicate the pretty they had in the old digs.
"You still won the medal. And you give up the physical object, in person, and get your partner back and your friend as the person he was. Not like I have one, but it is just a medal."
"It's more than that."
"It's not worth more than your partner or you never would have come to us," Wesley says. "Partners matter." He glances back to Gunn.
"I think I'm mostly pissed that I'm the one paying to get Evan's soul back. I mean, how much has he lost by now? He could be okay."
"That's not how it works," Gunn says. "I bet you've seen this before. It's not like your friend is the first professional athlete to do this. Probably not even the first figure skater."
"No, he's definitely not." Ben stands up and gets himself a cup of coffee. They should've offered, but it's not the kind of thing Wes or Gunn ever think of. They used to have Cordelia or Fred to remember that their clients might want something to drink. Now it's just the agency of guys. Rude to everyone. "You know, now that I think about it, that could explain a lot about my first coach," Ben says.
Wes says, "Did they achieve success?"
"She's got a commentator job with ESPN," Ben says. "And I definitely don't want Tanith ending up like Susie Wynne or dating someone like that." He sips the coffee and quickly puts it down. "Okay, fine. I clearly have to. The demon's not going to do anything with it, right? Like, eat it or something gross."
"He'll wear it, most likely," Gunn says. "Or hang it on his wall. Don't worry, nothing too gross."
"Fuck," Ben says. "Well, I'm pretty sure Tanith would do it for me. She better."
"Partners," Gunn says. He stands up. "That's what they do. Don't worry, me and Wes'll be there right with you."
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