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FIC - Shelter (wishlist 8/12)

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Dec. 20th, 2013 | 01:54 am

Title: Shelter
Author: verucasalt123
Fandom: Angel the Series (post-NFA)
Summary: Gunn does what he can to salvage what’s left of the city; his friends do what they can to salvage what’s left of him and of themselves.
Prompt/Prompter: wishlist_fic for teaandhoney’s prompt: Somehow, impossibly - with lots of drop in help from witches and Slayers at the eleventh hour - they are still alive. (Most of them anyway). Gunn and Anne rebuild the shelter and deal with the aftermath of everything - injuries, survivors guilt, etc. But mostly they are happy to be alive.
Rating: PG
Warnings: angst, mentions of violence and psychological trauma
Disclaimer: ALL LIES

It might seem strange, the fact that Charles Gunn smiled so much more often now. It would have made sense for him to be happier when he’d been a highly paid employee of Wolfram and Hart with a corner office and a pricey apartment and really nice clothes, not after all the destruction and loss he’d been through after he volunteered to leave that comfortable spot to help Angel. Really, though, it wasn’t only because he wanted to help Angel; he knew it was the right thing to do, regardless of the snowball’s chance in hell that any of them would live through the battle.

After he’d gotten a look at what was coming for them and jokingly told Angel to “take the 30,000 on the left”, the storm seemed to shift in the sky and all of a sudden, there was a whole lot more noise. There they were, staring down their last few minutes on earth, when an army of newly-trained Slayers and the most powerful witches any of them had ever seen showed up to join in the fight. Wesley was already gone, and Gunn was badly injured, but the unexpected help tipped the scales just enough in their favor that the rest of them managed to survive and Los Angeles wasn’t a total loss. Sure, there were heavy casualties along with the astounding property damage, but people had come out into the light to try and get their city back.

Gunn knew he probably would have died as a result of his injuries had it not been for some serious magical intervention, and even with that, it was at least a week before he was back on his feet again. His first destination had already been decided.

He showed up where East Hills Teen Center used to be and found that about half the building was still standing. There were about a dozen people milling around, moving debris in wheelbarrows and sweeping up broken glass, but he was looking for a specific person. When he didn’t see her right away, his heart sank at the thought that she might have died, but after ten minutes or so, Gunn heard a familiar voice handing out assignments on the side of the building. Immediately, he jogged toward the sound, and found himself standing right in front of Anne Steele. He’d always admired her. Anne hadn’t given specifics, but Gunn knew she’d had a tough life before he met her – hell, he didn’t think for a minute that Anne was even her real name – but she’d gone on to do really good things for kids like he’d been in his younger days; lost, angry and directionless. She gave him something to focus on, something good, and he would never forget it.

When she saw him, she ran over and pulled him into a tight embrace. It was apparent that she also feared he may not have made it through the insanity that had left L.A. in shambles. “Charles, I can’t tell you how happy I am to see you!” she said, before they released each other from the hug.

Standing back a step, he told her he was happy to see her too. “Sorry it took me so long to get down here and check on y’all, I got hurt, was laid up for a while.”

“Well, you’re here now, and you’re looking healthy to me. If this isn’t a social call, maybe you wanna grab a shovel or a hammer?”

Gunn smiled and replied, “Some things never change, huh?”

“Some things do, though”, she said, looking at him with scrutinizing eyes. “Last time we were here together, you said none of this matters, none of it makes a difference, that nothing was ever going to get any better.”

“I was wrong, Anne. All of it matters. Every day matters, and even if it doesn’t make a difference, even if it doesn’t ever get any better, I feel like you still have to try. Because there are some things…well, some things you just can’t predict. So even if you lose, you know you did your part, and that’s good enough, don’t you think?”

She nodded and said, “Glad you had a change of heart. We can always use an extra person to help out around here.”

“Tell me where to start”, he responded with a grin.

It didn’t take him long to convince his friends to pitch in. Tracking down demons and monsters wasn’t something they were ready to start doing again right now. Angel and Spike could get a lot of work done at night – there would be no one there to see them using their preternatural strength and speed – and Illyria was fully capable of looking (at least to the other volunteers) like just another face in the crowd. It was still so difficult for Gunn to look at her, to see Fred’s face and know it wasn’t really Fred, but he still appreciated her willingness to help. The folks who came to work on rebuilding the center during the day thought there was an entire crew there working all night when it was, in fact, only two-man team (two-vampire team) who were able to move hundreds of pounds of materials at a time and very quickly frame an entire wall. Illyria, obviously, had no idea how to do any kind of manual labor, but it only took her a day of watching everyone else to figure it out. Even Spike didn’t complain, saying “Gotta do something to pass the time, Charlie, might as well make it something productive”.

It was going to take a good long time to get the center up and running again, but Anne knew that Gunn and his friends were cutting that time down considerably with their efforts. She never asked him anything, but it was clear that she assumed Gunn knew more about the recent upheaval than he was willing to discuss. Neither of them felt like it was all that important, anyway. Gunn would have loved to have a way to stop all this – for the center and so many other buildings to never have been destroyed, for Wesley and Fred to still be alive, for not having to live with the guilt of knowing his part in everything that had happened. Now was a time to move forward, though. He felt like he was, in some small way, making up for it and trying to create something better. He could never get back what he’d lost, but with time and work, he and his friends had a chance to do good. Gunn had been rescued from a pretty dark place by Anne once before, years ago; now she was helping to pull him out into the light again and he could never thank her for it enough.

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Comments {5}


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from: teaandhoney
date: Dec. 20th, 2013 08:03 pm (UTC)

Oooh - thank you, verucasalt123. This was very lovely; melancholy but so much hope wrapped throughout. And I really liked how Anne and Gunn did not talk about their past but it almost didn't matter, they had this shared respect clearly evident for what they were doing with their lives -now-. It was all about moving forward.

Again, thank you.

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I want another pony

(no subject)

from: verucasalt123
date: Dec. 21st, 2013 09:08 pm (UTC)

YAY, I am very happy that you liked it!

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Friday December 20th, 2013

from: livejournal
date: Dec. 21st, 2013 04:50 am (UTC)

User audela referenced to your post from Friday December 20th, 2013 saying: [...] Spike/Buffy. PG. [Chaptered Fiction Updates] Shelter Chapter 8 [...]

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I want another pony

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from: verucasalt123
date: Dec. 22nd, 2013 04:55 am (UTC)

Thanks :)

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