Inklings

~ Written for versaphile in honor of a donation made to support victims of the tsunami. Thanks to wesleysgirl for the beta.

"Watch out!" Wesley shouted, dodging a tentacle. He felt something tug at his hair and knew it had only just missed him -- and that his hair was now thoroughly splattered with green luminous goo.

The precise term for the goo was of course in Latin, but he'd rather chop off the offending tentacles at the moment, than talk to himself in languages most scholars believed dead. He swung his sword, side-stepping a rather clumsy attack by two more tentacles, noting that the Rofibian was indeed slowing down.

"Look out!"

Wesley hurriedly moved backwards at Gunn's warning. The mass of green scales in front of him was trembling -- the demon might be ready to fall. Wesley waited, wanting to leap in and continue slicing away at the source of the demon's strength. But to do so would risk being crushed beneath the creature's leg if the demon was, in fact, collapsing now.

The scales rippled again, the trembling stronger now. Wesley dared to look upwards, trying to see the thing's head. Some twenty feet above them, it was hard to make out details. Were its eyes turning brown, as blood rushed from its body to support what few tentacles were left? Were its horns drooping, as many scholars swore was the case when a Rofibian was dying while others argued was a sign of mating?

Wesley caught a flash out of the corner of his eye and spun, bringing his sword to bear on the huge black tentacle coming for him. He struck, but the tentacle had no direction, no aim -- no intent behind it. Flailing, Wesley realised. The demon was dying.

Gripping his sword carefully -- in case it was faking its death throes in order to catch them off-guard -- Wesley moved back further, out of range. The demon was clearly shaking, now, and the four remaining tentacles of twelve were whipping about the air, not even trying to attack himself or Gunn.

"Now?" he heard Cordelia shout.

"Now!" Wesley nodded. From across the parking lot, Cordelia crouched at the firing mechanism of the huge crossbow mounted in Gunn's truck. It fired -- successfully sending a huge bolt into the demon's body. The plastic shaft buried halfway in and, a second later, the demon let out a horrendous scream.

Gunn stepped up beside Wesley and they watched the demon go through its final throes. Writhing, now, as its body began collapsing in on itself. Wesley was grateful that modern technology had devised a way to destroy these beasts, disintegrating their carcasses with a petroleum by-product.

Otherwise, clean-up was a bitch.

"Man, that is one huge, ugly ass mother fucker," Gunn said calmly, shaking his head. Wesley saw him wrinkle his nose, but he did not, as he obviously wanted to, cover his nose and mouth from the stench.

"Actually, I believe that one is a father fucker. Er, fuckee. It's a female," he elaborated. "You could tell by the delicacy with which it wielded its tentacles, and the cleanliness of its outer fringe."

Gunn stared at him with his 'bullshit' expression. He didn't say it, because they both knew it was entirely possible Wesley was speaking the truth.

Wesley merely looked back, daring Gunn to call him on it. The demon *had* been female, and they did differ from males in their fringe and the manner in which they used their tentacles.

Gunn was still giving him the bullshit expression, and Wesley sighed, and gave in. "Also, the males are only two feet tall."

"Eew," Cordelia said, finally joining them as the last of the demon dissolved around the now-twisted and melted plastic arrow. "That's why they invented plastic? And all the other billions of uses is just an accident?"

Wesley had given them a complete briefing after they'd got the initial call. "Well, not an accident, precisely. But the original developers were research scientists employed by the Council of Watchers." He still felt a bizarre stab of pride as he mentioned it, despite his feelings for the Council as a whole -- kept his face impassive, and he changed the subject immediately by glancing at his watch. "Oh, Cordelia, you still have time to make your date."

Cordelia turned a bright smile on him as she reached for the zipper of her HAZMAT bunny suit. "I know."

She started removing the suit, pulling her mini skirt into place as the suit itself fell down -- there was a flash of thigh which Wesley couldn't be sure was accidental. Cordelia kicked off the booties, and stood there in her shined black pumps. Slipping her hand into a pocket, she pulled out earrings and put them on.

"Take that back to the office for me, OK?" Then she turned and waved. Wesley and Gunn looked and saw a car just pulling up into the parking lot. Thankfully the demon was fully disintegrated; Wesley and Gunn both shifted their swords behind their backs.

"Oh, relax. I told him we were practicing for a show." Cordelia headed towards the car.

"How'd you know when to tell him to get here?" Gunn asked.

Glancing over her shoulder, she said, "Oh, please. A Rofibian demon? I gave it half an hour, tops. Anything that can be destroyed with plastic isn't going to last in this town."

They watched her go, getting into the car as David - Daniel? Darrin? - held the door for her. The man gave them a wave, which they returned; Gunn hastily shifting his sword into his other hand. As the car drove away, Gunn said, "Do me one favor, and don't ever tell anyone we fought a big demon with plastic swords."

Wesley grinned, and waved his Toys R Us 'Battle Sword' in the air. "Be glad we were able to find some that don't make electronic sounds." They'd had to try out several in the store, before finding these.

"I dunno, man, I kinda liked that Darth Vader lightsaber." Gunn gripped his plastic sword in both hands and brought it swooping down, adding the appropriate Lucas-owned sound effects.

Wesley regarded him as though disapproving. "It would have heard us coming. Not to mention the attention we would have drawn from anyone passing by."

Gunn smirked. "Uh-huh. And you weren't eying that He-Man Masters of the Universe sword."

"I most certainly was *not*!" Wesley wiped his sword with a rag he'd pulled from his pocket, then handed it to Gunn. Gunn took it and started to wipe his sword, then stopped.

"Why am I cleaning my plastic sword? There's a dumpster right over there."

"Oh. Er, right." Wesley hurried to follow him. He told himself he wasn't thinking of reasons why they should hang onto the swords -- Rofibian demons were rare these days; with the proliferation of so much plastic they had died out to a mere handful. Even if the toy was rather fun.

"Come on. We'll buy some that make noise."

Wesley started, and realised he'd been staring at his sword. Gunn had tossed his into the dumpster; he took Wesley's out of his hands and threw it in after. "I'm not getting the He-Man sword."

"'Course you're not." Gunn grinned, and put his hands together to hold an invisible lightsaber. "You'll get the Jedi one, and I'll be Darth Vader. Only you can join me this time." He spoke the last words in a fair imitation of Darth Vader's invitation.

Wesley grinned, watching him. "Not Darth Maul?"

"Nah. Double ended lightsaber?" Gunn moved his hands back and forth, curled around what would have been the double shafts. "Man was overcompensating for something, if you know what I mean."

"Er, yes." Wesley coughed, and tried not to think what he'd just thought. Bad enough he'd been thinking it anyway, lately. He didn't need to embarrass himself with the first real friend he'd had since arriving in America.

Even if Gunn's hands did look gorgeous, wrapped around and moving just that way.

Wesley turned to head back to the truck, thinking they still had time to return to the toy store tonight. Apparently Gunn had had the same idea, only in the other direction -- Wesley collided with him, toe to toe and forehead to forehead.

It was on Wesley's lips to apologise, when his eyes met Gunn's. He could see laughter -- and pain, of course. But mostly laughter, and a second later he could hear it, too. Gunn shook his head and gave him a rueful expression.

Wesley could only think that neither of them had backed up yet. Gunn's body was closer to his than it had ever been before. Touching more than he could remember being touched in a very, very long time. There was heat, and Gunn's scent, and Wesley jumped backwards as he realised that his own body was reacting in a very obvious way.

"I... sorry," he stammered, hoping Gunn would take it for slamming into him. Perhaps he shouldn't suggest they head to the toy store tonight. Tomorrow, maybe. This weekend.

"Relax, man. No damage done. Besides, us Sith know how to take our lumps." Gunn smiled in a way that was meant to be menacing. Wesley wanted desperately to reach down and adjust his trousers. Or hold his jacket in front of his crotch.

"Yes, I imagine you do." Wesley did not wince at the absolute lameness of what he said. He wanted to, but mostly he wanted to get out of there and go home. Take a very long, very coold, shower. When Gunn stepped closer, the only thing he could think was that Gunn was going to slam into him, to balance the tally.

"One lump or two?" Gunn asked, and Wesley was fairly sure he had no idea what Gunn was talking about.

"I'm sorry?" These Americans fooled you into thinking they spoke English, then they uttered things like that and proved that they didn't speak any language known to man at all.

"Couldn't think of anything suave," Gunn said, and he was moving *closer*. Close enough that there was no way Wesley could step back even though he was fairly sure he really, really ought to. Gunn was pressing up against him, and -- yes. Dear god, he wanted to die of embarrassment. He looked away, though at this range there was very little he could see which wasn't Gunn's face without turning his head.

"Thought so," Gunn said, and before Wesley could change the subject, Gunn was kissing him.

Wesley couldn't move. Or perhaps he very desperately didn't want to. He tried to remember if Rofibian demon goo had a hallucinatory effect, or an intoxicating one. But it seemed like Gunn's lips were on his, and they were warm, and dry, and he was pressing against Wesley very, very closely.

And he was aroused as Wesley was, beneath layers of denim. Wesley gasped, and as his mouth opened, Gunn opened his. A tongue touched lightly on his lower lip and Wesley shuddered.

A parking lot was *not* the place for this.

Was it? Gunn was now holding him, hands on his face as though he could tell Wesley was in danger of falling. He didn't want to do anything that would make Gunn stop, so the suggestion of someplace more appropriate was shelved for now.

But Gunn stopped, anyhow, and leaned his head back to look at him. Wesley's lips still felt warm. He blinked once, decided that if this was a fantasy being brought to life by a heretofore unknown psychedelic effect of demon slime, then it hadn't ended yet and he was going to simply enjoy it.

Gunn was smiling at him, and Wesley found himself smiling back. "Thought what?" he asked, feeling somewhat foggy.

"Thought you might want to get kissed," Gunn said, as though the question wasn't absurd -- or its answer obvious.

"Oh." He tried to think about that. He'd tried to keep his desires hidden, not wanting to mess up the best friendship he had. But Gunn was rubbing Wesley's cheek slowly, with his thumb, and Wesley was finding it difficult to concentrate.

"You wanna go get some toy lightsabers?" Gunn asked, and his voice was low and soft and it would not have been at all bizarre for him to have said something about clothing and the loss thereof. But he was grinning, and Wesley knew he meant exactly what he was saying.

Afterwards, he was pretty sure they wouldn't be playing with toy swords. But for now....

"Yes, let's." Wesley kissed the thumb before he moved away, letting Gunn's hands drop from his face. The night air was cold, and if they left the windows down on the drive over, they would both, perhaps, have lost any evidence of what they'd been doing. He turned to head for the truck, pleased -- if stunned -- with the way the evening was progressing.

Which was why Wesley was surprised when Gunn grabbed him by his collar and yanked him backwards.

"What--"

Gunn was shaking his head. "Can't go out in public, man. You got dried green goo in your hair."

Wesley frowned. Then he smiled. "I suppose I need a shower, then."

Gunn looked at him, head to toe. Slowly, he nodded. "Yeah. Definitely."

Wesley shivered again. The night was not nearly cold enough -- and he really didn't care.