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This story is No. 2 in the series "The Vulnerability of Faith". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Charles Gunn left L.A. in 2006 to get away from the Angel Investigations. Twenty-three years later his son shows up in L.A. to find Angel -- to let Angel and Company know what really happened to Charles Gunn. Sequel to "the vul. of faith"

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Highlander > Other BtVS/AtS Characters(Moderator)DemonaFR181227,997034,0412 Aug 032 Aug 03Yes

Chapter Nine: Life Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be

For Disclaimer and Notes see first chapter.

Chapter Nine: Life Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be

Year: 2077
Location: Hawaii

I am rudely awakened from my mid-afternoon nap when I hear familiar feminine laughter echo through the house and out to the sun porch where I am currently laying.

“Do you always have to be as loud and annoying as you are right now?” I called out to my uninvited houseguest.

“You know better than to ask that Wes,” her familiar voice calls back in a sing-song fashion back to me.

“Well then get out, I didn’t invite you over anyway,” I grumble back but we both know that I am excited to see her.

“How are you doing anyway you old fart?” She asks and I know that she has stopped in the doorway to the porch.

“Fine same as last time you stopped by,” I answer shortly back.

“You should know better than to lie to me Wes. I talked with the nurse before I came over,” her gentle voice scolded me.

“I don’t need you scolding me,” I shot back. “And I go by Wesley, not Wes,” I snap angrily.

“I see that Wesley is back in control of that body of yours,” she says and I hear her step onto the wood floor of the porch. She steps into my view and I draw in a quick breath. She is just as beautiful as she was when I last saw her ten years ago. I had forgotten just how beautiful she was, pictures did her no justice.

“Why are you here Dawn?” I tiredly ask.

“What? Can’t come to visit an old friend?” She asks as she picks up my feet and sits down on the lounge chair where they were and then places my feet in her lap.

“Yeah, at least one of us is showing our age.”

“I didn’t mean old as in physical age and appearance Wes, I meant old as in time spent knowing one another,” she explained patiently to me.

“Where’s Richie?” I ask, moving to a different, although just as painful, topic.

“He is sight seeing with Mac and Adam. They will be by later. I told them I wanted alone time with you before they came in and chaos erupted.”

“Hmm…Faith didn’t make the trip?” I snidely threw out. I can feel her tense underneath of my legs.

“She is at the hotel,” she quietly stated.

“Figured she wouldn’t let you out of her sight even to come see me.”

“Your hatred and overall dislike for her won’t even keep her from watching me. Especially now,” she shot back, anger was beginning to creep into her voice.

“I see you still are siding with her after all that she did.”

“She did what she needed to do. Any of the group would have done it.”

“Would you have, Dawn?” I ask as I raise my eyes for the first time to meet hers. We locked eyes because I knew that she couldn’t lie to me while looking me in the eye.

“You know that I would have so why ask?” Was the response I didn’t ever want to hear. “She threatened the group Wes, she threatened you. When push came to shove we chose you. Unfortunately our decision and yours was not the same. Why you would have chosen her over you we don’t understand but we did what needed to be done for us. Faith is deeply sorry that it had to happen the way it did. You have to understand that Wes,” she pleaded with me.

“I understand that Faith killed my sister. She killed a human being, a sister of sorts to her, a Slayer. She killed her when she could have just let things be,” I snapped back at Dawn.

“You don’t mean that Wesley, you are just feeling remorse and guilt…”

“I know that if Faith had just minded her own business then my sister would still be alive,” I snapped back at her, cutting her off.

“And you would be dead Wes. You want to hate someone, hate me. I begged Faith to go, to protect you, because I knew I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t good enough to take her out. She knew about me too and I’m not sure I wanted to die and have us both die for nothing when I was positive that Faith could take her.”

“Did it ever occur to you that by the time you arrived and the condition that I was in that I might have wanted to die?” I asked her.

“No, it didn’t. I guess I was thinking selfishly,” was her soft, barely above a whisper, reply.

“Exactly. Now why were you thinking selfishly? Because you loved me? No, you were thinking selfishly because we were just friends.”

“I can’t believe that after all these years you are still bitter about the way that things turned out between the two of us. I never led you on Wes, you knew from the beginning that I was with Richie.”

“I can’t help the way I feel. And you knew full well that I love…loved you Dawn. When Kate threatened me to get information out of the group she wanted information on Angel, Faith and you because you were the three abnormal ones of the group. Especially you and Faith. I was prepared to die to protect what little information I knew about you Dawn. That is why we were fighting, over you and the others,” I announced to her.

“I know Wes, I know. But as your friend I couldn’t let you die for me. I am not that kind of person. I hate it when people die for me because it leaves me alone. I’m the abnormal one as you said; I shouldn’t have people die to protect me. I should die to protect those that are normal and need protecting. You were always one of those people to me Wes. The more I got to know you the more I liked you. I would do almost anything to protect you, which means that Faith would do more than I would to protect us both. She did her job of protecting me because I was protecting you. I thought you would understand that.”

“She was Dad’s favorite. She could never do any wrong. He made me promise him that if anything happened to him that I would protect her with my life. He said she was so special to him and to do the honorable older brother thing I needed to always protect her.”

“Did he ever tell you about Alaina?” Dawn asked me.


“His sister, she would have been your Aunt. I never knew her. She was his little sister he was supposed to protect. A group of vampires took her to get even with him. They made her into a vampire and sent her after her brother. He had to stake his own sister. For some reason I think he didn’t want the same thing to happen to Kate especially since she was a vampire Slayer on top of being Charles Gunn’s daughter. Unconsciously I think he put you in the same position as he was in without meaning to. Your sister had been taught, like you by your Dad that anything not human was evil. And you thought that way until you met us and then you saw the gray and colors in the world, not just black and white.”

“My Dad asked me to die for her. I didn’t do what he asked me to do. Kate is dead!”

“I can’t believe you Wesley! Stop fucking blaming yourself! There is no way you could have taken on Faith and won, especially in the condition you were in,” Dawn yelled at me. I chose to not answer and look the other direction. “Your Dad wouldn’t have allowed her to kill you. He wouldn’t have wanted one of his children to kill the other. She had an unfair advantage of being a Slayer. Your Dad would not have supported her killing you!” She finished yelling and then moved out from under my legs. She carefully set them back down on the chair and then walked back into the house. I heard voices a few seconds later talking inside and I knew the boys were here.


A few seconds later Richie, Adam and Mac were seated around me on the porch.

“How you doing man?” Richie asked first and I just nodded.

“Just as same as I was the last time you saw me. You three however look absolutely excellent. I see that time is treating you extremely well,” I snidely told them.

“I see that neither time nor age has improved your sense of humor Wesley,” Adam commented from his position on the couch next to Mac.

“Guess they haven’t,” I answered back. “So, how come Faith didn’t bother swinging by? She didn’t feel like coming to see me after all these years?” I asked them.

“You never give up do you man? She did what Dawn begged her to do. Instead of hating Dawn for the decision you hate Faith. I don’t get it,” Richie angrily stated.

“Kate didn’t die by Dawn’s hand though did she? Faith was the one that actually ended Kate’s life.”

“The only reason she did was because Dawn told Faith she was going with or without her to face Kate. They both knew that Dawn was going to die for you. And Faith went because she promised several people that she would make sure that Dawn lived. Dawn loves you man, she cares about you so much, and all you do is hurt her. For someone that loves her the way you do you have a horrible way of showing it,” Richie continued.

“Don’t talk to me about my feelings for Dawn. I don’t want to discuss my feelings for your girlfriend with you or in front of you. My feelings for her are mine alone. Leave it at that or get the hell out of my place,” I snapped angrily at him. If I had been able to I would have gotten up and punched him, but I couldn’t.

“So, is Melinda still working for you?” Adam asked with a slight smirk.

“Yes, Melinda is still working for me. You just missed her actually,” I answered and smiled slightly. When I had been moved out here to Hawaii the guys had interviewed a lot of private nurses and found me Melinda, an extremely hot Hawaiian woman. She was a year younger than me and she has been with me ever since.

“I keep thinking that one of these days the money she is getting from us won’t be worth the shit you put her through. She complains about you to everyone, but for some reason she keeps coming back every morning. Any idea why kid?”

“She likes me for some reason. We actually get along great as long as I am not on a self-pity trip. It’s those times that she hates me beyond belief,” I admitted softly.

“How is everything else on the island? Is she taking you out every now and again?” Mac asked me.

“Yeah, she takes me out through the city and we just hang out for the day. She only does that on days when I am in a good mood. It is like a treat for being good or whatever. I get to spend the whole day with her and sometimes other people that I have met over the past years. This surely isn’t LA or Chicago though, but I think I like it here,” I told them honestly.

“Good. How are you doing though? Physically?” Mac persisted.

“Same as last time we talked Mac. My body is aging normally. Everything is going as planned in the natural progression of things for a human being.”

“I was wondering more about your legs,” he quietly stated.

“I know I just wanted to make you say it. Still no feeling. The feeling in my left arm returned a few years ago though. So, I am fully functional in two arms now. Still no feeling below the waist though. As you can see the bag is still a regular part of my wardrobe.”

“I’m glad that feeling came back in your arm Wesley. This could be looked at as progress. You might regain feeling below the waist sometime in the near future. I heard about a few new procedures that are being tried right now that perhaps you could look into,” Adam told me. I laughed.

“I am sixty-eight years old Adam. I don’t think that at my age with the amount of damage I have to my body that experimental procedures are going to do me a damn bit of good. Why should I try them anyway? What am I going to do? I am an old man. I have white depleting hair now. Gaining full use of my legs and lower parts again would fucking great, but I don’t see the reasoning behind getting any procedures done when I am going to die soon,” I shot back at him.

“You don’t know that you are going to die soon Wesley. People are living longer and longer all the time. I mean…when I was first around people died at like twenty-five. Look at the times now,” Adam tried to argue with me and I just sadly smiled. I listened carefully to make sure Dawn was busy in another room. When I was sure she wasn’t in hearing distance I continued.
“I have a rare condition that was, up until six months ago, laying dormant in my body. Since then it has sprung to life and attacked me with absolute vengeance. My brain is deteriorating as well as my heart and lungs. Basically all my important organs are failing me at an alarmingly quick rate. The doctors estimate that I have another six months to live peacefully, and about another month or two of absolute hell. When it gets too painful I am just going to ask Melinda to put me in my wheelchair and take me for a walk up to the cliffs. I’ll tell her to go home and leave me up there. That way she won’t have to be there for my final moments,” I quietly admitted to them. “I don’t want Dawn to know ok? When the time comes I will leave her a note explaining the situation. I don’t want her pity or to see the look in her eyes when she realizes I am going to die and she isn’t, understood?” I asked them all. They all nodded in agreement. “I’m sure that you all understand that. You have seen mortals come and go for your entire lives. I don’t want her to see me go. Or to know that I am going to go. I just want to go peacefully in her eyes ok?” I asked of them.

“Fine, if you think that is best for you and for her,” Richie said.

“What do you have a different opinion on that?”

“I think that she has a right to know,” Richie admitted.

“I don’t. It is my life, my death, and I will choose who knows. Don’t tell her Richie. Please, it is my dying wish to you. Please don’t tell her,” I begged him. He nodded slowly and then looked at me.

“You should tell her. She would prefer to be here with you for your final moments. You know that she wouldn’t let you want for anything,” he admitted.

“She already doesn’t give me everything I want. You know that. I don’t want the woman I love to see me like this ok?” I snapped at him.

“Fine,” he told me. “I’m going to go help Dawn with whatever she is doing,” he announced as he stood up. He touched my shoulder briefly on the way past me into the house.

“I’ll have Melinda notify you all when I die,” I told Mac and Adam. They both nodded, wisely choosing to remain quiet on the subject.
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