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Author's note: I pulled a lot of dialogue from the actual episode of That Old Gang Of Mine, but the plot has still been rewritten, due to Buffy's presence. Enjoy.

Shades Of Grey.

He watched as the person he had once loved more than any other in the world, turn into dust, courtesy of the stake he had stabbed through her unbeating heart. Then, as he waited for the wretched feeling within him to grow, another thing abruptly entered his world, beeping insistently.

Gunn opened his eyes, and, realising his surroundings, suddenly sat up. He reached across to the table beside his bed, clasped his pager and brought it into his vision, shutting off the beep. With the images of his dream still resonant in his mind, it took some time before the meaning of the message was understood. As soon as it did however, Gunn felt the frustration which had originally emanated from his dreams, returning.

He did not need this sort of case today.

His mind attempted to keep itself open regarding preconceptions about this case until he arrived at the crime scene. There, the immediate surroundings were enough to confirm his original conclusion.

"Who died?" He asked, nevertheless.

"Merl," Wesley replied, pausing from collecting evidence.

"Where's the body?" Gunn queried, though, as he glanced around the room, the horrible answer came to his mind.

"Splattered around," Angel bluntly confirmed his suspicion, gesturing at the walls, which were covered in what could only be described as slime.

Gunn took another glance around the room. Apart from Angel and Wesley there was also Buffy present, collecting evidence. The first thought that entered his head, caused by the emotional effects of the dream, was that they did not need a fourth. "So," he began, "why did you call me?"

"There's been several deaths with the same MO like this recently," Wesley replied. "I thought you could see if anyone knows about it."

"Is this really the kind of thing we should be spending our time on? I mean he was what he was, right?"

Angel looked up from his crouch upon the floor. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing. It means what it means. Somebody killed a demon. Hello! We do that every day."

"Merl," Wesley emphasised, "was harmless."

"Okay," Gunn threw up his hands in surrender.

"Sure you're not just bent because maybe we interrupted something you'd rather be doing?" Angel asked in a deadly voice.


"Okay," Angel did not sound convinced. "Usually doesn't take you two hours to answer a page, that's all."

"Excuse me, but did somebody put you back in charge? Because if they did they forgot to tell me about it."

Angel advanced forward, causing Wesley to stand between opposing battle-lines. "All right. - Gunn, if this isn't something you can get behind, we'll understand. For now why don't you just go on home."

"You know what? That's probably a real good idea."

Gunn walked out, slamming the door to the stairs on the way. Angel stopped looking through Merl's rolodex to glance at Wesley. "What's eating him?"

"I'm not sure," Wes replied, as Buffy closed Merl's wardrobe and came out into the main room to join them. She met Angel's look with one of her own.

Some time later, Gunn pulled up outside an iron rod fence. Climbing out of his truck, he thought about the last time he had visited this place. Ever since Wesley had reformed Angel Investigations almost a year ago, He had never returned to his old hang out. He still was not sure why sometimes. Too many painful memories perhaps. Today however, he felt a sudden yearning to return to simplicity of those days. When he fought to keep his brothers alive in a vamp infested neighbourhood.

Walking in to the first room, Gunn saw that its appearance had hardly changed since the last time he was there. Then he felt a sharp point in his back. He turned to see his attacker, and parried the moves efficiently. Seconds later he had taken the staff from his opponent, and was now pointing the sharpened end at his neck.

A loaded crossbow matched the position on him. "This is a situation you might wanna rethink," announced its owner.

Unperturbed, Gunn turned to look at the crossbow. "Nice rig," he commented calmly, with the point of the bolt just inches away from his face.

"I'm glad you like it."

"He should," answered another as he came out of the darkness, "He built it. - Gio, you wanna get that thing out of my boy's face?"

Gunn dropped the staff and held out a hand to help his first attacker up. Gio pointed the crossbow up at the ceiling "I see you're still passing along a little something of what I taught you," he remarked, exchanging a handshake with his old buddy Rondell.

"Word's out, brother. Vamps know better than to even cross Venice Boulevard these days. Crew's as tight as it's ever been - even back in your day."

Gio pointed at Gunn in sudden realisation. "Charles Gunn?"

"That's right."

Gio put his crossbow down to come close to his hero. "I know all about you. That name is part of the reason why I came out here."

"Gio's from Miami," Rondell explained.

"Ah, coast to coast, huh?"

"Little something like that. - Hey, you might be able to help me out. Why is it - that places like LA and Miami bring out the teeth you suppose? I mean, you would think that the vamps would wanna hang in less sunny climes, you know what I'm sayin'?"

Gunn felt himself relax. "Yeah, I think I do."

It was not to last. "Well, maybe we could ask your boss why that is."

Rondell shook his head in exasperation. "Yo, Gio."

Gio ignored his leader. "You can't beat 'em, right, Chuck?"

Gunn shook his head "It ain't even like that."

Gio remained sceptical. "Nuh? - Okay. If you say so. See, 'cause I heard - that you was like this - big time, alpha vamp killer - and now you working with one? What's up with that?"

"Gio," Rondell began, "who's supposed to be on point out back?"

"That be me," Gio answered, still not taking his eyes off Gunn.

"So why aren't you back there?"

Gio sniffed at Gunn, then gave a little laugh. "Yeah. A'right. It's cool. Y'all can have your nice little visit." He turned to go with another laugh. "You might wanna do that outside - in the sunshine - just to be on the safe side, you know?"

Gunn turned to watch him go, then faced his friend once more. "I guess that's the word on me around here nowadays, huh? Traitor? Vamp lover?"

"Hell, don't go listening to Gio, man. He don't know you. Come on."

They separated from the crowd and walked outside into one of the buildings that surrounded the hang out.

"No," Gunn continued, "but you do. So what you got to say, Rondell. You think I turned my back on you all to hook up with one of them?"

"Hell, I don't know. I haven't even seen your back in months, bro. I don't know which way it's facing."

"That's no answer."

"Truth? I ain't heard word one from you - not since we spread what was left of George in the river. Some of us were even starting to wonder if you were still in this world."

"I didn't mean to disappear on y'all. I didn't plan it. - Guess after George..."

"You were gone way before George. - It was Alonna, man. Things - they were never the same after Alonna."

"Couldn't keep my own sister safe. What can I do for the rest of you?"

"A lot, man. You done a lot. There's people alive today because of something you started."

"No, man. Something we started."

Rondell smiled. "You got that right. You free to stick around for a while?"

"Yeah, I think I am."

Outside the large entrance to the building the slayer quietly stepped away. She had heard all she needed to hear.

"She's had time alone. Five years. I think that's the problem." Angel slid off Hyperion's counter to meet his girlfriend while he continued to press his point home. "She's been back in this world for three months and she still hasn't gone out into it." He kissed his beloved. "Hi. Find anything out?"

"Think so," Buffy answered. "Could do with a further check though. I'll go back later. What's going on?"

"I'm trying to point out to Cordelia that Fred needs to interact with the world a bit more than she's doing at present."

"Right," the brunette began. "And it's not like the last time she went out into it she got sucked into an inter dimensional portal and ended up living like a hunted animal in a hostile demon alterna-world or anything. Oh, wait. Kinda is, isn't it?"

"Which is why I'm asking you to, you know, talk to her."

"I'm not so sure that's a great idea."

"You don't like her?"

"Sure I like her. What's not to like? She's sweet and adorable and...... seems to be laughing at something that shrub just said. Look, it's not that I don't like her. It's just..... I don't get her."

"I'm not asking you to 'get' her. I'm just asking you to - talk to her."

Buffy smiled and kissed him in temporary farewell. "Come on, Cor," she remarked, "we'll go together."

Angel walked back to the counter and picked up the paper that was lying on it. "What's this?"

"Enemies of Merl list," Cordelia replied.

Angel looked at it, then followed her into Wesley's office. "Hey. - Why is my name at the top of this list?"

"Ah - 'a'?" Cordelia answered.

"Merl and I where not enemies."

"Oh, okay, my mistake."

"I'm the one that found the body, remember?"

"Oh," Cordelia commented sceptically. "And that's not suspicious. The one time you pay Merl a social visit and he ends up - dead?"

"I recognise quite a few of these names, actually," Wesley remarked, examining the papers.

"You should," Cordelia added. "Half of them weren't 'enemies of Merl' until we made him snitch on them."

"I went to apologise to him," Angel continued his defence. "At your instigation, remember?"

"We'll work backwards, end with the 'a' s. How's that?" Wesley stood up from his chair. "We should start tracking these names."

"Guys," Buffy rose from her lean against the wall, "stop teasing him. He's human now."

"And ask yourself this: if I'd killed Merl would I've brought donuts?"

The search was still going when night came over Los Angeles. Splitting up into groups of two and three, Buffy with the girls, Angel and Wesley together, they continued checking off names.

Angel stopped in front of door number 424 of the block of apartments they were currently inside. "What's this one?" He asked.

"Samuel Larch," Wesley answered, reading off the list, "a bookie. Merl owed him quite a lot of money."

"Demon or human?"

"I'm not sure."

"Care to find out?" Angel kicked in the door. Wesley watched him walk across the threshold, pulling out a dagger before following. They looked around the room. It was completely ransacked with yellow slime splashed on the walls and broken furnishings.

"I think," Angel replied, his voice grim, "when we find whatever is doing this - we're gonna need Gunn."

"I agree. From the looks of this, whatever we're up against is - quite big. Extremely powerful..."

"...and really pissed off."

Across town, down in the sewer network, something else was making its way home, little knowing that it was also being stalked. Suddenly caught in a beam of light, he turned round, clutching at his big milkshake in fear.

"Who's there?"

That was the signal. The gang surrounded him, readying there attack. The monster- though hardly deserving that title -back against the sewer wall, thinking his fate decided. Then suddenly there was the sound of a punch hitting home several times, followed by total silence. Cautiously peering forward, the monster gasped in surprise at his saviour.

"Come on," Buffy began, smiling at him, "lets get you home."

Wesley conducted a thorough search for clues over Larch's apartment. He picked up a crossbow bolt to examine more closely when two boots appeared in his line of vision. "Gunn," he acknowledged.

"Hey." He moved out of the doorway. "Got your page. Where's Angel?"

"He's checking on something else. Come in. The victim's name was Samuel Larch. We found him last night."

Gunn glanced around the room, taking in the yellow stains. "The guy was a demon."


"Wesley," He suddenly appealed, "what are we doing, man? Who are we supposed to be working for, anyway? Did the Powers send us here? Did Cordy get a vision?"


"Then what?"

"Charles, things aren't always so simple as - going out and slaying the big, bad ugly. There are in this world shades of grey..."

"Yeah," Gunn cut in, "and shades of green, and a kind of sickly looking yellow with pink eyes and sometimes puce with horns, too. I get it. What I don't get is why we're suddenly playing cleanup crew to a bunch of lowlife demons! - I mean, okay, so we - we bust our butts day and night until we find whatever it was that did Merl and this Larch guy..."

"And six other victims we believe we've linked to it."

"So we find this demon killing machine. What then? We gonna stop it? Or thank it?"

Wesley hesitated, the remark catching by surprise. "I don't know."

Gunn turned away, shaking his head. "You don't know."

Wesley put the arrowbolt in a little plastic bag and added it to the other neatly labelled bags lying on a sofa table. "From everything I can determine, this victim was fully assimilated. No history of violence, no threat to anyone. Of the other six, at least two of those would have to be classified as irredeemably evil."

Gunn sits down on the sofa, suddenly tired by the complications of the world he inhabited. "So what are you saying then?"

"I'm saying that whatever is responsible for these attacks isn't making any distinctions. It's just killing. Randomly."

"You were right," Angel suddenly appeared in the doorway, followed by Buffy. "It almost happened again."

"Where and what?"

Gunn took the opportunity to pick up the bag with the arrowhead off the table. A theory formed in his mind.

"A Yarbnie was nearly eviscerated in the sewer near Century City."

Wesley walked over to his satchel to get something.

"A Yarbie, what's that?" Gunn asked, getting up from the sofa, casually pocketing the bag with the arrowhead.

Wesley, still looking through his bag, explained. "Yarbnie. It's a - balancing entity. They tend to nest in urban areas under roadways - utterly non-violent." He made some notes in a book.

"You know what?" Gunn suddenly volunteered. "Uhm, maybe I should hit the streets. You know, see if I can shake anything lose. I mean, if you want."

Wesley looked up at him. "Yeah. That's probably a good idea."

Gunn made his way out. After a minute or so, Buffy nodded at the other two and also exited the apartment. Wesley looked to Angel. "So what really happened?"

"Buffy and I checked out his old gang. They tried to attack the Yarbnie. We managed to knock most of them out and get him home."

"So," Wesley started packing away the evidence bags, "what do you think we should do? Confront him?"

Angel shook his head. "Let's see how things pan out."

"So, you wanna explain this?"

"It was dug out of the wall of an apartment over on the Miracle Mile."

"Yeah, so?" Rondell queried nonchalantly.

"So, I recognise it, Rondell," Gunn answered. "It's out of my old rig. The one Gio's been using."


"Look, I just came by here to give you a heads up, alright? I think you got a rogue on your crew. Your boy Gio's been out there killing anything that moves. Now somebody, meaning you, has got to have a sit-down with him, man. Let him know that this ain't the way we do things down here."

"You say you dug this out of an apartment up on the Mile?"


"Tall white towers?" Gunn nodded and Rondell let out a laugh. "This is funny. Gio ain't no rogue. Yeah, he found the place, but we was all there. The whole crew."


"Bro, the thing living in that apartment? It wasn't human. We took care of it."

"But - did it attack anybody?"

"No. We got away clean."

"No, I mean before you broke in."

"No, man, we didn't give it a chance to. - What's the matter?"


"Yo, Rondell!" Somebody interrupted. "Everyone's here, man."

Gunn spotted the machine guns instantly. "What, you guys packing heat now?"

"You can never be too careful. I got to go. Hey, you wanna come out with us tonight? Gio says he found a nest or something. Primo hunting."

"No, man. I got something."

Rondell pointed a finger at him as he turned to go. "Be good."

Gunn turned to go, but found Gio standing in the way. "Hey. You know something? - He still thinks you're some kind of hero. But me and you, we know better, right? Yeah. Yeah, we know better."

Gio chuckled as he walked past Gunn to follow the others, grinning at Gunn as he pulled the sliding door shut with a bang.

"You made the right choice," a voice suddenly remarked. Gunn looked back into the darkness to see the slayer standing in front of him. "You got me tailed now?"

"I had a friend a few years ago," Buffy remarked, "Quite normal to all appearances. Attended college, dated one of my best friends. Thing is, every three days around the full moon, he turned into a werewolf." She paused to look him in the eye. "What would you consider him? Friend, or foe?"

"I don't know." Gunn sighed. "I guess I'd have to be there."

"I could have been like you, you know," Buffy continued. "When I was first called, I was living here. My first watcher, the one who introduced me to all of it, was killed, because I didn't understand enough about the underworld to help him. If it hadn't been for a friend telling me what I needed to hear, I would have ran to the streets. Maybe ended up with a crew like yours. But what they're doing isn't right, and you know that. Your part of a team that helps the helpless, Gunn. We don't specify in that motto. And now some demons that just want to live out their lives in peace need that help. So, are you willing to help them? Or do you want to return to their attackers?"

Gunn sighed. "Life was a lot easier with them."

"I'll let you into one of the truths of this world," Buffy replied. "Life is never simple." She gestured ahead. "Come on."

She held out her hand. Gunn slowly took it.

The hostage situation at Caritas was already underway by the time Gunn and Buffy, along with Angel who they met at the Hyperion, arrived on the scene. The recently shanshued turned to his junior. "Do you think we'll be able to get through to them?"

"I don't know," Gunn replied. "Gio will take a little work."

They made their way down the stairs and into the bar. "Here you are," Gio greeted them, crossbolt at the ready. "What, can't the vamp protect himself?"

"He's no longer a vampire, Gio," Gunn said, coming up in front of the weapon.

"What?" Rondell queried.

"Its true," Buffy intervened. "Because of all that he has done to help the helpless, he was given back his humanity."

"But even if he wasn't," Gunn continued, "I'd still choose him. You lost the mission, bro. He's still got it."

"You guys just gonna stand here and listen to him?" Gio accused the rest of the gang, glancing around."

No one had time to answer. A flash flicked over the room, causing the lights to go out, and a demon hostage rose from his chair, shredding his skin.

There was a loud crunch, then silence. The lights came back on abruptly then, revealing a room being empty of Rondell and company. The headless remains of Gio lay on the floor.

Wesley made his way over to Gunn, while the rest of Angel Investigations stepped forward to help Lorne clear up. "If you ever withhold information or attempt to subvert me again, I will fire you. I can't have any one member of the team compromising the safety of the group, no matter who it is. If you do it again you will be dismissed, bag and baggage, out of a job onto the streets."

He turned to help the group, leaving Gunn in thought at all the events of the last forty-eight hours. One thing he was sure on. He did not want a day like this to happen again.

The End.
To Be Continued In.........