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Another small interlude from liliaeth and me. Takes place some months after Dawn’s exit from the Hyperion. Gunn’s thoughts on fatherhood and recent events – and his place in the scheme of things.

Please, as always, read and comment! The muse is taking a slight breather in the calm before the storm.

Goddess bless willa_writes - ‘cause she deserves a little blessing.

To read Beloved from the beginning, go Here.



Full-sized banner by banner_grab beneath the cut.





Beloved – Interlude 12-13 – Sins of the Father

Gunn sat in his office. The door was locked; his desk covered with stacks of files, most of them untouched. He could hear his wife’s familiar voice as she yelled at the kids, telling them to hush – Daddy was working.

Daddy grimaced as he wadded up another piece of paper and tossed it through the hoop on the back of the door.

Swoosh! Another perfect game for Charles Gunn, Esquire. He fought back the urge to whistle yet another Gilbert and Sullivan aria from The Pirates of Penzance.

Yeah, he may not be a corporate pirate anymore, but he still did more than his fair share of finagling paperwork to better serve his clients. And the first piece… the worst and best lie he’d written up post his Wolfram & Hart days was… William Michael Jamison Pratt’s private adoption papers.

Shaking off his discomfort for the moment, he turned to more pleasant matters… he stared lovingly at the pictures on his desk. Their wedding picture to his left. His beautiful Anne, bedecked in white lace. She’d wanted a traditional wedding – said she was only gonna do it once, so it had to be done right. The guest list, however, was anything but.

Their reception christened the new shelter and the entire neighborhood had been invited. Bride and groom in gown and tux, and guests in blue jeans and t-shirts. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Never had fast-food tasted so good. He couldn’t help but smile as he caressed his bride’s framed image.

To his right were the images of their beautiful children. Alonna Kathleen – his sister’s namesake and their firstborn. Beautiful child. Her first school picture; all thick black hair, café-au-lait complexion, and pretty brown eyes. Benjamin Sisko – the son whose name Anne pretended ignorance of in its origin as the first leading captain in a Star Trek series to be portrayed by a black actor. Nappy haired, darker skin, and his father’s nose – with the prettiest shade of blue-gray eyes. The boy who’d completed their little family… until the surprise package that was their newest production arrived – little Carolyn Jane, just three weeks old. Skin as white as her mama’s, fair haired – hard to tell whom her features favored so early on in her young life, and bald as her Daddy liked to keep himself. Little Cue-ball.

Gunn sighed. He was one proud papa. Something he never thought he’d live to be when he was younger.

He picked up Will’s papers again. Seemed like he was drawn to them. Shit, man. How did one legally represent a Shanshued ex-vampire? Pick a mother, choose a father and voila! Lie upon lie. He’d live with it. It gave Spike a new start with blood kin in the truest sense of the word. Vampires certainly are who they ate.

For the third time today – Father’s Day – he found himself looking at those original documents and shook his head. He and Angel’d both agreed that the paperwork was a necessary evil to secure the boy’s place in the human world. They did not agree, however, to lie to family. And lying by omission was still lying. He and Anne had both put in their arguments about telling both Connor the truth, and were soundly refused.

“He already loves him like a brother,” Angel had insisted. “Why should he mess that up with the history of a vampire he’d only met once in passing?”

That night, Gunn had written the first letter he’d never sent.

Angel,

This is so fucked up, man! You can’t keep one child in the dark about another. You got lucky when Connor forgave you for stealing his memories and placing him with another family. Hell, you got lucky that we all forgave you for that little mind rape.

Do you really think that you’ll get so lucky a second time?

Gunn


He’d crumpled the paper into a tight ball and tossed it out, only to retrieve it moments later. For whatever reason, he straightened the letter out as best he could and placed it with the adoption papers.

A second letter was written when Dawn joined the fold and the lie was voiced for the very first time. He’d gone along with it at Angel’s behest for one reason only… he’d not known about the history between Dawn and Spike.

It wasn’t until several weeks later that Dawn regaled them all with Adventures in Babysitting starring the once chipped wonder, himself.

Gunn had mentioned in passing that he thought it was rather stupid of her sister, The Slayer, to leave her in the care of a bloodsucker, no matter the chip in his head, and was floored at the girl’s simple reply.

“She trusted him. And she was dead at the time.”

So there you had it. The world’s first vampire babysitter where the child wasn’t eaten as an hors d’oeuvre.

Not a role he would’ve envisioned the blond vampire in. Not in a million years. Then again, they hadn’t had much to do with each other, unless you counted those bathroom peek-a-boo sessions during Spike’s ghostly phase, or the nods in passing before the end. There just hadn’t been time.

From the depth of Dawn’s feelings, it might have been interesting to have known the dude better. Now it was just another lost opportunity.

The young woman’s leaving played havoc on Angel and his family. William was devastated. Weeks later he still cried for his Auntie Dawn in his sleep. When he wasn’t crying for Buffy. What wouldn’t Gunn have given to have seen the legend come to life – even for just those few moments.

And Connor. The guy was an innocent here, and still he’d lost his woman. She’d left without listening to his protestations. Angel damned them both with his falsehood.

“Ah, children,” he sighed, picking up the plaque Alonna had made for him. Father of the Year 2010, it stated. She’d coated it with silver glitter. Gunn smiled, remembering the days it had taken to vacuum the excess stuff off the floor. And wash it from her hair. And her clothes… and the bed sheets. He traced the two handprints in the corners, and the additional fingerprints in the center where Will had leant his helping hand.

Will.

That wiped the smile from Gunn’s face as once again he gravitated towards the adoption papers. There were several other letters in that file, all as crumpled as the first. Letters begging Angel to tell Dawn the truth. Yeah, he might have had a hand in the construct of the falsehood, but for family – for people like Dawn who’d known Spike intimately – the lie was unnecessary. She would have been overjoyed to learn the ultimate fate of her friend.

Only now it was too late. The revelation had been brought to light under the worst possible circumstances. When the feeling of loss and betrayal were doubled as Buffy literally passed through her sister’s fingers.

Gunn felt like a damned fool. For all the words in his head; the knowledge of presentation… why could he never confront Angel face-to-face? Neither Spike or Cordelia had had trouble getting up into his space and telling him off for the stupid acts he’d committed, so why couldn’t he, Gunn… the vamp’s closest friend, do the same?

This time when Gunn grabbed the letters, he ran them through the shredder. Nothing left of his cowardice but tiny diamond-shaped slivers of paper.

Determined to make things right, he picked up the phone. He needed to call Angel. To bridge the gap that had developed since the incident with Dawn and the birth of CJ. C’mon, man… just a couple more taps to the phonepad… just one more…

Tomorrow. He’d call Angel tomorrow.
.

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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
chrissie_linnit
Jan. 24th, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC)
I'd love to say, "Poor Gunn", but he's had lots of time to consider and reconsider his part in this deception. He also clearly knows the consequences of lies. They hurt people. By not facing up to Angel and refusing to lie with him anymore Gunn has become an accomplice.

How many more of his friends is Angel going to corrupt? He's being so very selfish and doesn't seem to look beyond the here and now.

My greatest pity is with Connor and Dawn. They have their live's messed up because of Angel's selfishness and time is not something they will get back. Will, on the other hand, will grow up and his irrepressable curiosity and hotheaded attitude will uncover secrets. Hopefully, his current love for Buffy and Dawn and upset at being seperated from them is a clear sign that there is a deep and lasting bond, a bond that has passed from one lifespan into the next. A bond that Angel cannot sever with false realities.

Now, would that Muse please stimulate you gals to wake up the Buffy statue and get Wes working on a demarbleising spell? Pretty please?

Thought provoking interlude, pets. Thank you for keeping me awake well past my bed time.

*sips hot malted milk drink and frets about Angel, lies and a rumbling coffin*
spikes_heart
Jan. 25th, 2006 03:38 am (UTC)
Connor and Dawn have been the most affected by Angel's lie. Then comes William.

Are you telling me there's a bond between Spike/Buffy/Dawn? And I missed it??? **giggles** I can't see anything Angel does having an adverse reaction between those three... in the end.

Poor Buffy... I do believe she's really out for the count this time. Even with the muse's help, it'll be awhile 'til she can make her presence known again. I'll send her your thoughts, though. She'll like that.
ladycat713
Jan. 25th, 2006 01:06 am (UTC)
Connor didn't even know. Poor baby. He got his heart ripped out over someone else's lies.

Right now I want to shake Gunn for being so wishy washy.
spikes_heart
Jan. 25th, 2006 02:21 am (UTC)
**nods with you** Poor thing, indeed. And you don't even know what they were getting up to behind closed doors!

We'll just have to see what it'll take for Gunn to take a firm stand with his old pal Angel.
lil_leti
Jan. 25th, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC)
Lie by omission is still a lie and they are all paying the consequences now. I just hope they can all come back together and make is through all of this.
spikes_heart
Jan. 26th, 2006 09:03 am (UTC)
We've got lots of story left (more by the plotting moment, it seems) I'd like to hope for a happy ending, myself. **smiles**
just_sue
Jan. 26th, 2006 09:24 pm (UTC)
Reporting as ordered, ma'am! OK. First - and I may have said this before - haven't watched but a couple of eppies of At5. Wonder why. But as far as I can glean from fic, Gunn was aware of Angel's perfidy regarding Connor and the mind altering spell.

Oooh, am getting distracted by ASH in Hotel Babylon. Sorry.

Anyway, he is now a bystander, by choice, in another bit of underhandedness of the souled vamp. And he has other things on his mind. A family of cuties. But that is not a whole lotta help to Dawn (or Connor), Will or Buffy.

It seems that as far as Angel has progressed he just can't let his control freakiness alone. Why is he the one that puts less faith in the PTB than anyone else when he seems to be getting rewards over and above what he's earned? Mmm.

Off to ogle the next interlude before you mark my card and ban me from reading! Bows to you lovely ladies. xxx
spikes_heart
Jan. 27th, 2006 12:05 am (UTC)
Gunn became aware some time before the end of the series, yes. I'll leave that up to you to find out exactly when and how.

I think I'm happy - finally learned how to render less than perfect characters.

You couldn't get us to ban you from reading - it just warms our little cockles too much. And we boweth back at you.
just_sue
Jan. 27th, 2006 08:43 am (UTC)
Heee! I'm all about the cockle warming - and you pair do a damned good job of that yourselves!

Curtsies a la mode.
angelic_amy
Jul. 16th, 2006 04:53 am (UTC)
This insight into Gunn's thoughts was beautifully written. I understand his hesitation but at the same time it pisses me off! Saying something like that to your closest friend is hard, but in the end it's worth ruffling a few feathers if it's the right thing to do. Hopeflly Gunn will have the guts to tell Angel exactly what he thinks of him, and soon.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )