Gunn shouldn't have noticed that Wes kept staying home, a little later each morning, but he did.
It was one in a thousand things that Gunn *so* shouldn't have been noticing, but he was and he was starting to get worried about it, thank you for not asking. Angel didn't say anything, and Cordelia sniped. He forgave her, because he tended to forgive her. They just, did.
It was eleven thirty, today, when Wes finally rolled up. Looking a bit haggard. Wearing--
Gunn said, "holy hell, Wes, is that a teeshirt, or are you just happy to see me?"
Wes looked at him blankly, and answered, "Thank you for not speaking, Gunn."
And that, Gunn noticed, was a bit more biting than usual, more cutting, impatient, and quickly, too. Straight from the get-go, Wes was, harsh.
He held up his hands, indicating submission to the boss. Cordelia beat him to the punchline. "Time out, Mr. Grouchypants. We have these files open right now, and I think that with that hair, she should probably be first..."
Gunn followed them blindly into the office, where Wesley sat down, the model of professionalism, and listened to Cordelia ramble off the caseload. Caseload. As if they were a real fuckin' detective agency.
"So are you going to just stand there looking confused, Gunn, or shall I have Cordelia go through things again?"
"What?" Gunn looked up, and blinked. "No, s'cool man, I got it."
He was sure that somewhere along the way, something had sunk in, and if not, someone would eventually tell him.
"Good." Wesley took his glasses off, suddenly, when Cordy's back was turned, and Gunn stepped back, startled. Without them on, Wes looked.... old.
He put them back on, and Gunn blinked. Gone, vanished, dusted. Usual professional Wes.
Cordy tugged on his arm. "Are you coming, Gunn?"
He shook his head. "gimme a minute with the boss-man."
"Yeah whatever." She was already turning around. He forgave her again, automatically, because there was something about Cordelia that said, 'yes' when she really said 'whatever'. It took a while, but it was easy enough to see.
Wes tilted his head. "Is there something I can do for you?"
"Yeah." Gunn started to pace. "Lose the attitude?"
"Might I remind you--"
"No, Wes." And Gunn swallowed. "Please."
Wesley leaned back. A little quieter, he asked, "What is it you want?"
"I know you're still all fucked up about what happened with Fred--" Pace.
Wes cut in with, "We're not having this conversation--"
"--and I think, I know why, because it's so easy to forget sometimes--" Pace, back.
"--here in my office while Cordelia types memos out there, because this is utterly ridiculous, Gunn, and--
"--that yes, you're the boss." Gunn stopped abruptly, and stared. "You're. The boss."
"--and." Wesley sat forward a little bit. "And." The color drained from his face. "Please leave, Gunn."
It was the please that did it. Gunn went. Cordelia asked, "Is he okay?" and Gunn shook his head, no.
Answered, "He's kinda, gone."