Kill the Messenger

Gunn stared at the girl who’d just wiped every scrap of happiness off Angel’s face by telling him Buffy was dead. Buffy. He knew who she was but damn, Angel looked...

“Guess his soul’s safe today.”

Gunn spun around and glared into dark eyes. “Who the hell are you?”

“Xander. I came with Willow. She needed the company and I needed to see...needed some space.”

It didn’t take much to work out that this was another friend of the Slayer’s but Gunn wasn’t cutting him any slack on that count. “You don’t come here and say crap like that when he’s hurting,” he said flatly.

Xander’s gaze wandered over to Angel, leaning against a wall, his face shut down, Willow talking to him in a low, urgent voice. “We’re all hurting,” he said, “but I’m thinking those of us who stayed and watched her die might be feeling it more.”

Gunn grabbed him and hustled him away into the office, ignoring Wesley’s startled look and involuntary step forward. He slammed the door shut. “What’s bugging you? You knew her; you must have worked with Angel, right?”

“Worked with him, tried to kill him, had his fangs inches away from being buried in my neck...oh, we go back a long way.”

“Look, we’ve just got back from another dimension, okay? Adventures, heads chopped off, storming castles, Wes sending people to their death...”


The lip curl was too much provocation. Gunn’s fist connected with Xander’s mouth and sent him staggering back. The fight would have taken off nicely if he hadn’t recognised the look in Xander’s eyes. “Stop it!” Gunn blocked the punch that came back at him and dodged behind the wide desk. “Boy, I can beat you to pulp but it ain’t going to make you feel better. So stop prodding me and, and sit down or something. Please?”

Xander collapsed into a chair, strings cut, battery dead and Gunn went over to him.

“Tell me about her?” he said softly. “How did she die? Did a vampire get her?”

Xander smiled crookedly. “No way. Took a Hell God...and even then, she beat her. Glory didn’t win. No; she wasn’t killed, she did it to herself.”

Gunn frowned. “Why?”

Xander shrugged. “She sacrificed herself to save Dawn. Her sister. Saved the world too, but that didn’t matter much at the end. She did it for Dawn.”

Gunn was silent so long that Xander roused from his own apathy and looked at him.

“I know why I am, but why are you crying?”

Gunn wiped his eyes and took a deep breath. “Long story.”

Xander looked out at the foyer. Angel hadn’t moved. “I’m thinking we’ve got time. What’s your name anyway?”

Gunn stretched out his hand. “Gunn.”

Xander took it and somehow forgot to let go as Gunn began to talk.

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