Pairing: Fred/Gunn, Fred/Wesley, Gunn/Wesley
Summary: He’s dreaming of the one(s) he love(d).
And sometimes, Gunn dreams.
More often than not, they’re nightmares, they’re the things he’d rather have buried–but that’s not the way of them. They’re the things he can’t ever tell Fred.
Fred Fred Fred, his one and only and only and one.
He knows this, he’s grateful to Jesus that he found her, the fragile queen of physics and contraptions, but the nightmares and dreams and they’re really the same thing–
not so convinced. not at all convinced is his subconscious.
He dreams, Charles Gunn dreams asleep in his bed that’s made for two and has never been used for sex or drugs or rock and roll.
Who does he dream? Alonna. Fred. Sometimes. But not often, not nearly enough for his own tastes. Other things have been haunting him these days, things that he doesn’t want to understand.
He dreams his room, his small and rather dirty room. And sitting on the edge of the bed, looking at him with lonely, rejected eyes
Hollows of pain not eyes at all
sitting on his bed
Wesley is on his bed. Wesley looks at him and does not cry. Wesley doesn’t cry, it’s not in him, he’s fucking English for Chrissake. But those eyes are worse than tears and Gunncharlesgunn can feel the impact of the looking in his chest and it feels like burning.
“I told you to leave me alone,” Wesley says or maybe said. His hands are in his lap. “You’re not my friend, Gunn. Are you?”
“You–” Gunn tries to say and Wesley looks at him and he can’t speak. He can’t speak because suddenly Wesley is Fred and Fred is Wesley.
“You have to admit there are layers to this, Charles,” Fred says, swinging her head and turning back into Wesley. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed the strange coincidence–”
The walls have turned into hotel walls, but it’s still his bed and his carpet and Gunn is tired of dreaming but can’t wake up. Gunn is staring at Wesley, who is a strange coincidence, sitting on his bed with his throat cut and bleeding onto the floor drop by drop. Wesley bleeds too much.
Fred touches the raw red scar and puts the blood on her lips. Her finger smears it around and her lips are full, crimson, kissable things that Gunn wants to feel with his own fingertips and his own mouth. She smiles at him.
“There are no such things as coincidences,” she tells him. “See? It’s all connected in connections. You must admit, Charles–”
She’s Wesley again, and he’s unbuttoning the top button of his shirt. Will there be breasts beneath? Gunn still can’t find words. He’s trapped, pinned to the floor like a butterfly to one of those collections that he’d look at when he went to the Natural History Museum.
Wesley looks around at the room, shirtless. There are butterflies covering his arms and a round hole in his middle. The hole from the scar that he took for Gunn. The memory of the shot as silent and hot as a summer day with no air conditioning. Wesley would have died for him, unasked.
The favor would not have been returned.
“They like the taste of the salt,” Wesley explains, indifferent to the fact he has a hole in his gut. “They’ll feed off shit, too, you know, but sweat and blood–they like that.” Wesley holds out his hand. It’s covered in blood, absolutely red and sticky with blood. “Have a taste.”
Fred is suddenly behind him, her arms wrapped around his waist. She only comes up to his shoulder. “I know you want to,” she whispers, her clever little fingers slipping into his pants and pulling out his shirt. “You want absolution. So that you can–with me.”
“Fred,” he manages to say. Wesley tilts his head and looks at Fred.
“He doesn’t understand,” Wesley tells her. “You understand.”
Fred laughs, a glass shattering laugh. “Of course I do! You and I and I and you and lovely brunettes with glasses and brains and dead white guy cultural snobbery. It’s as clear as the nose on your face.”
“Denial,” Wesley says, taking off his belt. The butterflies are now pinned to the wall, dripping yellow-green blood. “Denial is the human psyche at its zenith and nadir. We deny death and find it stalking us. We deny life and find nothing but life. It’s a paradox. You understand, don’t you?”
“He won’t touch me there,” Fred says mournfully, letting go of Gunn and walking over to sit on the bed. “What are you afraid of?”
“Are you afraid of this?” Wesley asks, still sweaty with blood. He reaches over to Fred and she falls into his arms, her lips pressed against his, tongues swallowing each other. Gunn can’t move, even though he wishes he could. Fred is taking off her bra, moving Wesley’s hands to her breasts, a leer in her eyes.
“He’s not afraid of this,” Fred whispers, sitting in Wesley’s lap, the blood smeared on her mouth. “He’s afraid of that.”
They turn and look together, naked and half-entwined in each other’s arms. Gunn looks and
He’s kissing Wesley on his bed. Wesley is hot and squirming under his hands and his lips and Fred is standing over them like a recording angel. She’s still pretty topless, but her arms are folded over her breasts modestly.
Wesley’s tongue is in Gunn’s mouth and that’s not as wrong as it should be, even if it’s bitter no-good baby-stealing bad Wesley and it should be worse because Fred is watching. It’s not wrong at all. It’s almost right. But Fred is watching and she and Wesley are holding something back from him.
“You like it?” Fred asks, sitting behind him on the bed and throwing her arms around his shoulders. “Charles?”
He lets Wesley go. “I don’t want to. I’m not–you know–it’s not my thing.”
“That’s not the question,” Fred says, resting her head on his neck. “Did you like it?”
“I did,” Gunn admits. “I do.”
Fred laughs and laughs and falls back against his pillows and he realizes now that she’s completely naked, a question in her eyes. Lots of questions, from her eyes to her toes to–
everywhere in between.
“Love is a dangerous angel,” she says, laying her fingertips on her collarbone and tracing patterns. “Not that Angel, of course. You know what I mean.”
“I’m not sure.”
“Don’t lie, Charles,” Fred says severely, dreamy fingers sliding down soft curves, resting on hipbones. “You know what I’m talking about.”
“Transference,” Wesley hisses, just in case Gunn doesn’t get it by now. “Projection. Desire displaced.”
“I love her,” Gunn replies, angry that Wesley won’t go away. He’s made his point. “You know that.”
“I love you,” Fred says, suddenly boneless and soft and without any more mean questions. “Love for everyone who hasn’t got enough.”
“I used to love you,” Wesley says, touching Gunn’s shoulder. It hurts. It burns, not just in a metaphor way, it really fucking burns. Gunn wants him to let go. “But I never really mattered to you. Except that I did.”
“Can you live with love when you can’t live with loving?” Fred asks, parrot-like. Wesley laughs. The laughing’s really starting to get to Gunn. They should tell him the secret.
“Very good question, Winifred,” Wesley says pedantically. “Of course, I would ask, can you live with loving when love can only break your heart?”
She shrugs. “Better to have loved and lost–”
Gunn can’t bear to look at her anymore, naked and laughing and talking only to Wesley. He looks over at Wes–but he’s not there anymore. It’s enough to make Gunn look back at Fred, but she’s gone too. He doesn’t know where they’ve gone and why they left the butterflies behind for him.
“Come back,” he calls. “I’m sorry. I didn’t understand–”
Their laughter is painful, the way Wesley’s touch was painful. Fred is snickering, evil snickers like when that thing was in her, hungry and alien.
“Sorry’s not good enough for this ride,” she says. “But you did win the home game–”
Gunn flops onto the bed, noticing that the ceiling has become psychedelic colors. It is a dream, after all. The ceiling can be whatever it wants to be, but he’s not playing anymore, not with these two shadows. Wesley made his choice and Gunn made his. That’s the long and short of it.
He closes his eyes. And the other shoe drops. He opens his eyes and the knife’s cut him from ear to ear, deep and slow.
“I said that sorry’s not good enough, Charles,” Wesley whispers. “Not anymore–”
Gunn wakes up, more tired than he was when he fell asleep. He’s pretending he doesn’t remember what he dreamed, that the ceiling is just a ceiling, that it’s all just the stress getting to him. He tells himself stories to forget.
He doesn’t go back to sleep the rest of the night.