Notes and disclaimers: all characters property of mutant enemy, etc, not mine. No profit garnered here ever. Thanks so much to Tigs and Dine for awesome quick beta magic. Title from the Eels.


"So, what else did our friend Barry write?" Gunn had enough demon knowledge and demon language permanently shoved in his head that he knew how to say it right, but he didn't want to use it. He'd rather let Wesley give the summaries and exposition.

Wes said, "Aberzhian wrote more than just his sacred scrolls."

"Including the shanshu one?"

"Yes, that one. But he also wrote a few histories, a treatise on demon language linguistics which even I found boring and an entire text on use of time manipulation magic to resurrect the dead."

"I liked that one," Gunn said.

"I appreciated it as well," Wes said. "Though I wonder how Spike got a hold of it. It was considered lost, even by Wolfram & Hart."

"Maybe when he was a ghost or when his Slayer friend was dead? None of us asked, you know. Angel and I just made sure he used it for you." Gunn sat down in the smelly beatdown couch. He tried not to breathe too deeply because 'smelly' was not covering the depth of that odor. "Also, Wes, we have got to get better headquarters. Or better furniture."

Wesley said, "We need a lot of things. But first, we need to find this girl, or some sign of her."

"The Tribunal girl? The one Angel was champion for? I thought she was protected until she came of age. Great force for good or something, whatever you said." Gunn got up from the couch and brushed at his pants as if the smell were clinging to them. It probably was.

He should get out of those pants.

"She is still protected and she will be a force for good, but Angel thinks, well, I'm not completely sure, but he wants to know where she is."

"Force for good that never did anything for us. Where was she when Jasmine showed up or Wolfram & Hart blew out five blocks in Los Angeles?"

"She's only three years old, Charles. I think she has a few years before she has to be a force for anything," Wesley said.

Gunn stood behind Wesley, looking down on the book Wesley was idly flipping through. He put his hand on Wesley's neck and started rubbing circles in the back of Wesley's head with his thumb. "I say, screw it," Gunn said. "They won't be back for a while."

Wesley shut the book and took a deep breath. He said, "I agree."

The steps between the work room and Wesley's room were getting to be a pretty familiar path. It was the smallest one and it was really nothing but bed and closet. Gunn said, "How did you get a double bed and I still have that single?" Wesley flopped on his back on the bed and undid his own belt. Gunn got his pants and sneakers off. "Smelly couch one foot from the door to my room, plus that tiny bed which I think was made for a very short and very thin child, no closet and you have all this."

Wesley was smiling as he pushed down his pants and drawers. "All this is no room to walk and space for nothing but a bed. You realize I'm reading from the light in the closet?"

"This," Gunn said, watching Wesley pull his shirt over his head. Saved from death and not a mark to show for it. Not even a grey hair on his chest. Wesley was definitely the lucky one. "This is the reason we need a new headquarters. I know Spike and Angel want to lie low and we have this crappy warehouse which is low, that's for sure, but we're grown men. We deserve someplace better. Maybe even places of our own. Remember those days?"

"I miss the Hyperion," Wesley said. "And now I'm just lying here and we're talking about … rooms, are we?"

"No, we're done with that for now." Gunn smiled and got on the bed. Wesley had even managed to get the nice sheets for his thrift store bed. Nice and soft.

Gunn stopped thinking about sheets and rooms when Wesley pulled him closer by grabbing his ass. It was the opposite of thought-provoking, it was more like thought-blasting when Wesley put his mouth and fingers to work.

It was a good thirty minutes before Gunn even had to be coherent, much less think. But the good times always end and then he was sitting up and pulling on his boxers. "Okay, when we find the next place, I say you and I grab the biggest room and share. Knock out a window or a skylight or something so Spike or Angel won't even think of taking it."

"So you're sleeping with me again so you can justify an upgrade when we move on to a better place?"

Gunn looked over his shoulder at Wesley and smiled. "And I like the way you always win at darts."

"Actually, your choices for a partner are reduced to the vampires or Illyria or me." Wesley always said 'Illyria' in that same way, like it was the most depressing word in the dictionary. When Gunn really let himself think about it, it probably was. But Wesley still seemed a little sad that since the alley, Illyria seemed to have chosen Angel as her new guide and person to follow around. Which Gunn also understood. He was just getting to the point where he thought of Illyria as Illyria and not a walking blue corpse.

"I like to hear a heartbeat," Gunn said. Gunn stopped getting dressed. "We're not going to look for that Tribunal kid any more today."

"Were we actually looking before?" Behind him, Gunn could hear Wesley moving around, getting dressed himself.

"No, we're going to shower and we're going to do what we've always done. Take care of ourselves. Apparently, all the forces for good have washed their hands of us or are too young to do anything. So, you and me are going to find the new headquarters. We may actually find a new HQ and get the two of us with pulses and driver's licenses an actual apartment for ourselves. Maybe even have time for a movie. I could see Shaun of the Dead a second time."

"I believe Angel has a driver's license, actually. It's not even forged. Wolfram & Hart had amazing reach." Wesley smiled. "We'll present the others with a fait accompli, I like it." Wesley nudged past him. He stopped in the doorway. "Coming? We need to move quickly to make sure we can see your movie again. And it would be the third time."

"The second time doesn't count because we had to leave before the end because of those demons in the projection room."

Gunn stood up to get busy, get clean and get busy in a much less enjoyable way.


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