This Blue Night
by Tesla

Cordelia leaned her elbows on the counter and rested her chin on her hands. "I never thought I'd like his type," she confided to Fred. "So not me. Men with a mission, what can I say?"

Fred pushed her glasses up with one finger. She looked anxiously at the three men, involved in a technical discussion in front of the weapons cabinet. "Well, all of them are---are you talking about Wesley?"

Cordelia dropped her hands, and turned to Fred. "Ew. No. I had the worst kiss of my life, once, with him. I love him, like my geeky older brother, no offense."

Fred blinked. "None taken."

"Nothing wrong with geeks."

"They're fun when you get 'em stoned," Fred said unexpectedly. She looked back at Wesley. "Can't see him smoking weed, though."

"You stoner, you!" Cordelia resumed her pensive position.

Fred put her hands flat on the counter. "Well, Angel is handsome, and brave, and strong---what?"

Cordelia had started shaking her head. "No! Well, yes, he is. But he's also dead! And, issues? Hello, split evil personality? He can be really sweet, and----yeah, I love the big dork. But not about to be the next one he's drawing pictures of!" At Fred's look, she shook her head. "Never mind. Before you were here."

"Charles," Fred said wonderingly. She followed Cordelia's gaze across the lobby. Gunn threw his head back and laughed, white teeth showing vivid in his warm brown face.

"I could lick him like a mocha bar," Cordelia said. She straightened. "Did I say that out loud?"

"I do that, too," Fred said. "Not lick Charles, I mean, I think out loud. It's okay."

Gunn turned his head, and saw them watching him. He put his axe back in the cabinet, and loped over to the counter. "What's up, girlfriends?"

"Why don't you wear your scarf anymore? I thought you looked all gangster with it?" Cordelia asked.

Gunn gave her a tolerant look. "Don't be tryin' to be all street talk, now, Cordy." A beat. "You like that look?"

Cordelia raised both eyebrows and smiled. "Oh, yeah," she said.

Gunn leaned on the counter. "Have to get the do-rags out, then. Either of you two wanna get something to eat? Wesley's going to go get some magical somethin' from one of his book people, and it's too light for Angel."

Fred looked at them both. "I--I don't think so." She backed up and went into the office.

"That girl is positively feral," Cordelia said. "I thought she was doing better, too."

"She's not used to LA yet," Gunn said. "It'll take time. Too many people, too many cars, too many buildings."

"Is Fred all right?" Wesley asked. He was pulling on his jacket. "She just darted up the stairs."

"Yeah, I guess asking her to go out and eat in the daylight was pushing her." Cordelia tilted her head. "Going to come with?"

Wesley shook his head. "No," he said, "I've got a bit of a drive. I have my phone, if you need me." Gunn and Cordelia smiled into each other's eyes. "No, I can see you don't."

Gunn slapped his upper arm. "Aw, English, you're my main man. You know I don't get into the magic shit. That's your thing." He raised his voice. "Hey, Angel, we're going for dinner. You okay with the Fred watch?"

Angel locked the weapons cabinet and walked across the lobby. "I don't know what the deal is. She's fine with me."

The other three exchanged looks. "You're dead, man. It's not like you have the exciting home life."

"Paint drying is more exciting," Cordelia contributed, picking up her jacket and bag.

Angel looked annoyed. "Fred and I have conversations," he said.

"Oh, sure," Cordelia said. She came out from the counter. "I can hear it now. 'This looks like a demon I killed in the Burbank sewer.' 'The Pylean word for demon is Squeek-kew. Can I have another marker for my room? I'm writing on the ceiling.' Phooey."

Gunn took her jacket and helped her into it. Wesley and Angel watched with differing degrees of pretended indifference.

Wesley turned to Angel. "Well, I'll talk to you later. Cordelia, I was going to offer you a ride home, but I see that you're taken care of."

"Yeah," Cordelia said. She patted him on the forearm, and with a "Later, guys," she and Gunn left.

Wesley sighed.


"Cordy is going to start dating Charles," Fred said, through a mouthful of taco.

Angel grunted. "I heard her talking," he said. He looked up at the ceiling speculatively. "I don't think you'd write on the ceiling," he said, half to himself.

Fred swallowed, took a long pull of her soda, and turned her head. "What? No. The surface's too rough." She set the paper cup on the floor. "I think Wesley's in love with Cordy."

Angel was silent.


"Fred, we have---conversations, don't we?"

"Sure, we do. We're having one now." She wrinkled her nose. "Aren't we?"

"I mean, we---" he stopped. "Wait. Wesley's in love?" He sat up straight, and some of the water slopped over the side of the tub. Fred held her foil-wrapped taco in the air out of the bathwater.

"Yes, I noticed even in Pylea. I think it was the bikini. Or maybe the whole Queen thing." Fred took another bite, wadded the foil up, and pitched it into the wastebasket. "Too bad Cordy thinks she'd like to lick Charles's mocha."

Angel sank back into the water. "I don't wanna know."

Fred pulled her hair back and slipped the rubber band off her wrist. "It'll be okay," she said. "More than okay." She leaned back against his chest. "Now, tell me about---" she started giggling. "I thought you wanted to have a conversation?"

Angel's hands slid up her thighs. "I do."


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