Title:  Shooting Hoops


Summary:  Gunn realizes that Wes is the best man to have his back in tough situations.

Rating:  PG, for very mild violence

Pairings:  Gunn/Wesley friendship

Disclaimer:  They belong to ME.  I just get to shoot hoops with them for a little while.

Note:  My first attempt at a Gunn-centric ficlit.  I hope I got him right.  Please review!!!  I really appreciate all who have on my others.  This takes place early second season, mid-second season, and then fourth season at the end.

"Let's shoot some hoops."  Gunn asked Wesley as they sat around the office.  It had been especially slow that week.  Angel was being all broody and uncooperative.  What's new, he thought.  Cordelia had an audition.  So that was the first thing to come to his mind.

He and Wes had played cards, computer games, Playstation, everything.  He needed some physical action.  The playoffs were on the tube, so basketball was running through his brain constantly.

"Shoot some what?  Are they some type of demon that I don't know about?"  Wesley answered.

Leave it to English to not know what hoops were.  Wes of course still didn't know everything American, but he was learning.  Gunn just wanted to play a game of HORSE. 

"Basketball, OK?  You know, round ball in a basket that's about ten feet high."

"Oh, oh.  That basketball.  I've never really been that good with balls.  I played a little rugby at school."

"You were always picked last, weren't you?"

"Yes, unfortunately I was.  So I should be easy pickings."

Gunn drove them over to a park not too far from the hotel.  He often played in pick-up games on the weekends when he could.  None of his playing buddies were there though.  There were a few guys around shooting, but nothing that interested him.

"So, what do I do?" Wesley pointed to the basketball.

Gunn snickered.  Man, English could be so dense sometimes.  "Put the ball through the hoop, Wes."  Gunn showed him by swishing it from the free throw line.  "Try this shot first."

Wes flung it up with one hand and missed by a mile.  "That didn't work."

"Use two hands to balance out the ball.  Get closer until you can make it."

Gunn went through the paces with Wes, showing him how to shoot.  After about fifteen minutes, Wes made his first shot.

"OK, let's play a game.  I shoot it.  If I make it, then you have to make it from the same spot.  Got it?"

Wesley saluted Gunn.  "You should shoot first, so I'll know what to do."

Gunn started off easy.  He shot from very close to the basket.  Wes made it.  Every shot Gunn made, Wes made.  Gunn started making them harder and harder, shooting from behind the free throw line.  Wes made every one of them.

He finally held the ball and looked at Wes.  "Have you ever played this game before?  Because if you have, I'm going to beat you from now until Sunday for lyin' to me."

"Never,"  Wes said with a grin.  Since Wes couldn't lie, and Gunn would see if he did, so he believed him.  Then Gunn started getting fancy with his shots.

"You know, I hope that I'm doing this right.  These American games sometimes are a bit perplexing."

He stopped in mid-shot.  "OK, if you're tryin' to pysch me out, well you can forget it.  I've been playin' this game since I could walk, no before I could walk.  I know one shot you can't make.  Double or nothin'."

"Gunn, we haven't even bet on anything."

Gunn dribbled around, trying to think what would be a good punishment for Wes when he lost.  "The next time Cordy goes off on one of her tirades, you have to deal with her.  No grumping, no snide remarks.  Take it like a man."

Since Angel had become broody, Cordy had also become harder to handle.  Her comments were getting harder to handle by both of them.  Man, he hated it when everyone was always grumpy. 

"Deal.  Same for you.  You have to deal with her, without my help." 

They shook on the deal.  Gunn set up the shot, and then turned around, not looking at the blackboard.

"Gunn, don't you need to look at the blackboard to shoot?"

He just shook his head.  "That's the beauty of this shot.  You don't look.  Hardest shot to make.  You game?"

"Go for it," Wesley said, smiling.

Well, he won't be smilin' for long, Gunn thought.

"You looked."

"Did not.  I'm just the superior player."

"You cheated somehow.  You knew where the basket was."

Gunn was beside himself.  English had made the shot and he had missed.  He'd never live this down as long as he lived.  At least none of his buddies had been there to see it.  Some white English guy whose nose was always buried in books had beaten him with one shot.  Wes would not let him forget it.

"How could I?  You set up the shot. It was your shot."

Gunn shook his head.  The man was right.  His plan, his shot.  And he missed.  Wes made it.

When Wes had taken that bullet for him, Gunn didn't know what to think.  The man took a bullet for him and almost died.  Helping him out of a tough situation.  He'd never know how to repay Wes for that.  No one had ever done that for him.  Yeah, his people had his back, but take a bullet?

"Lucky shot," Gunn pointed out as Skip the demon hit the ground.  Wesley had just put the demon down after he had broken out of the binding spell.  He had told everyone that fate controlled each one of them.  Something that Gunn rejected outright.  No one being had control over his fate, especially one really scary looking, really dead demon lying on the ground.

Wes just nodded to him.  He seemed to have a lot of lucky shots over the years.  The man always seemed to end up on his feet, Gunn thought.  Beaten by his slayer, he bounces back and doesn't give her away.  Shot through the stomach, he survives to annoy Gunn even more.  Throat sliced, Wes moves forward even though all of his friends reject him.  How many other times could the man tempt fate?

"The shot we needed.  That had nothing to do with fate, demon," Wes said as he put the gun back into his waistband.  When had he started carrying weapons on an everyday basis?  Gunn didn't know the answer to that.  Lucky for all of them he did at that moment.

When had his friend changed?  When Billy had infected him, so he had tried to kill Fred?  Or when they were in Pylea?  He didn't know when.  English was no longer his best friend.  He was a hardened man with a gun.

"Darts."  Wesley turned to where Gunn was now sitting in the lobby of the hotel.

"Come again?"

"Have I ever lost at darts?"

"Not that I remember.  Come to think of it, no, never." 

That's when it hit Gunn.  Wesley wasn't lucky.  He was damn skilled.  The only reason no one knew about this was his bumbling attempts to help.  Wesley rarely missed, not with that basketball so long ago, not with darts, not with the crossbow, now not with the gun.  The man had the best hand-eye coordination he had ever seen.  It was just that no one had ever given Wes a chance to prove himself.  And now he had.  Or now Gunn understood.

Wes saw the emotions play across his face.  "Now you know."

Yeah Gunn knew alright.  If he'd given the man a chance after stealing Connor, they wouldn't be in the situation they were in right then.  Wes always had his back, was the best person to have his back.  He'd never back down from a fight.  He'd never given Wes a chance to prove himself, either by fighting or talking.  So Wes had gained confidence these past couple of years.  He would have to with no one watching his back.  Gunn regretted that was the way Wes had earned that confidence.

"Just tell me when to duck next time English, OK?"  Wes looked a little startled at his nickname being said. 

"I will."  Wes nodded to him, telling him without words that they understood each other.  Both had made the same mistakes.  By not trusting each other, by not talking to each other, no one had each other's backs.  Gunn had learned his lesson on that one.