Katrina Aid Fic Donated by Heide
Request pairing: Giles and Ethan
Lead Author: WickedFox
Lunatics Currently at Large:
Giles Fan, Jessie, Koala,
Miss Witch, Tara, and WickedFox
Time: In the Luniverse, sometime
"'Til Death Does Its Part."
"This is looking really good, Giles." Willow gave the hanging bag a solid punch and winced, rubbing her hand. “This is going to be a training room extraordinaire.”
"Making this strong enough to stand up to a Slayer’s needs was all Xander's skill, I assure you." Giles gave a self-deprecating grin. "I just did my best to avoid getting in the way."
"Couldn’t have done it without your supervision and constant criticism.” Xander grinned, patting the framework. "Nah, really you were far better than many a stout-necked foreman I've slaved under."
"You're too kind." Giles snorted and bent to collect some of the tools lying about the wagon house floor.
"Xan, Dawn will be home from school at any moment and I'm sure she'll be squeeing all over the place with what you've accomplished so why don't we leave Giles a moment's peace before she arrives?" Willow suggested, receiving a grateful smile from the Watcher.
"Thank you again, for everything," Giles said.
"Just remember your promise," Xander reminded.
"Of course," Giles grinned and watched them leave.
Finally, he was alone and could take the time to admire their handiwork. The heavy bag was reinforced beautifully, if such a thing could be beautiful. The shimmering, polished metal of the chains and hooks twisted as the bag did, swaying from Willow's assault a moment before and Giles stepped up to still it. He turned to study the newly reupholstered pommel horse bolted solidly to the floor, fresh matting surrounding it. The free-standing resin dummy stood off to the side, eager to take any abuse Buffy offered it.
For the first time in months, Giles honestly felt things could be much like they were before. Everyone needed some semblance of routine back in their lives. For Giles and Buffy, training seemed the most obvious diversion. And it was only a diversion, now, rather than necessity. Whispering Pines had only the odd vampire passing through, and the Council reported no impending apocalypse. Buffy could finally truly relax, the daily dangers all but fading away since their confrontation with…
Giles quickly refocused on gathering the tools, unwilling to wade through those painful memories again.
The familiar drawl came from beside him. Startled, Giles looked up to see Ethan leaning casually against the pommel horse. Blinking once at the sight, he shook his head and turned resolutely away to continue tidying up the tools. The sorcerer snorted.
"Brooding, are we? You always were rather adept at sorrow. Had enough practice at it, more than most, I suppose."
The Watcher ignored him, continuing his work.
"Ah, so the plan is to ignore me, then, in hopes I might simply bugger off and leave you to your happy ever after? But where’s the justice in that, old friend?"
"Ethan Rayne speaking of justice only goes to prove this is merely a delusion," Giles grumbled.
"A delusion?" The sorcerer chuckled. "That's right, Ripper, you've gone mad with grief or better yet, guilt. I'd truly love to believe that.” He stroked his beard thoughtfully. “Or could this be a fantasy? You miss me, Rupert, admit it. It would do this old soul some good to hear it."
Giles straightened. "Go away!" he demanded. "Ethan Rayne is dead and gone."
"As surely as is your sense of humor, dear boy."
Giles frowned, studying him for a moment. "You couldn't be…" he shook his head, contemplating aloud, "The First was defeated back in Sunnydale."
Ethan raised his finger in objection. "No… I'll have none of that, Ripper. You owe me more than to write me off as one of your desperate evils hell bent on upsetting you and yours."
"Ah, but if you are who you claim to be…"
"That's not fair!" Ethan wagged his finger in challenge and then, in reconsidering the point, conceded, "Well, perhaps a little fair."
"Whatever you are, I'm in no mood. Leave me alone."
"I suppose this is the part where you demand some sort of proof to the contrary? You never would give me the benefit of the doubt. So be it."
Ethan stormed over, gripped the Watcher’s shirt and pulled him in close, pressing their lips together. Before Giles could react, the fleshy union evaporated to mist, leaving only an eerie chill as Ethan seeped in and through him. Giles shivered and turned to see the apparition congealing again beside him.
"Alas, the spirit is willing though the flesh is weak." The mage smiled weakly, shrugging in disappointment.
Giles stepped backwards, "What just happened? You touched me…I felt you. That can’t be."
"That’s sweet, Ripper. I’m glad I can still stir feelings in you, even after you killed me.”
"What are you?"
"Ah, there it is. I always did love inspiring that twinkle of discovery in your eyes." Ethan sighed. "Sorry to say I'm nothing worth writing home about, though you'll certainly manage a journal entry or two, no doubt. From what little hereafter orientation I was given, I'm a lower level specter enrolled in an ordinary afterlifers’ plan."
"Strangely suitable, really. The boss prefers a touch of chaos to the more common, chain rattling, variety of ghost."
"So you're here to haunt me?"
"You look disappointed, Ripper. You favored my company once, above all others, if memory serves." Ethan stepped forward with a mischievous glint in his eye.
"Stay away from me," Giles warned, fists clenched at his sides.
"Or what, you'll kill me again?" Ethan tsked disapprovingly. "And what unfortunate end would come to me this time? Present location suggests you’d use a pitchfork. Or a stake perhaps, in tribute to your current love? With your peculiar habit of playing God, one might begin to wonder if you took pleasure in the act."
"Enough of these games, Ethan. What purpose do you serve in coming here?"
"What's this, has the skeptic surrendered so soon? And here I thought you would be a hard sell."
"I believe you believe yourself to be Ethan. Nothing more."
"I guess I'll settle for what I can get."
"You haven't answered my question. Why are you here?"
"Where's the sport in that, Watcher? You believe yourself a connoisseur of otherworldly knowledge. I'd think you'd fancy a chance to unravel this mystery."
Giles considered the obvious evasion. "You don’t know, do you?"
Ethan grinned proudly and tapped his finger to his nose. "Well done. All part and parcel of the whole purgatory clause."
"I figure out your purpose and I send you on your way, then? Is that what you're after?"
"This is not about what I want, luv. Won’t ever be again, actually. "
"Are you saying this is what I want? Because I don't recall a sudden urge to face my inner demons."
"Ah, but there are urges, just the same.” Ethan winked. “Darker yearnings lie in wait beneath that handsomely calm exterior. You feel it, don't you? And you always will."
"I won't do this. I won't allow you to manipulate me in this fashion."
"Even if you refuse them, even if you deny them, they'll surface."
"Not anymore. I've told you, Ethan, I'm not that man…"
"You will always be him, Ripper!" Ethan shouted, his voice echoing along the exposed rafters, his dark eyes wide with fury. Then, with a sigh, his expression softened with uncharacteristic patience. "Even now… especially now, the man you were remains."
"I buried that part of my life with you." Giles whispered harshly.
"Right. Do you remember our initiation night?" Ethan mused. He rubbed his arm absently and then reached out towards Giles. Within a blink, he was suddenly behind Giles, purring in his ear, "Can’t you feel it? The prickly pain of mystical ink searing our skins as we marked each other?" Giles body reacted at the conflicting sensations; the tickle of breath so cold it chilled him to his bones while the intimate proximity stirred heat from deep within. He shivered, but he couldn’t be sure why. "Do you remember how else we marked each other that night?"
Giles stepped away. "However much this amuses you, Ethan, I'd rather skip the flashbacks."
With another blink, the mage stood before him again, shaking his head in frustration. "Bloody hell, Ripper… you won't even permit yourself the slightest wet dream. Loyalty to the extreme, dear boy. You certainly love that Slayer of yours if you pass up this temptation."
"Temptation? Is that what this is about?"
"Always was, luv."
In a flash, everything went black. His body was afloat, arms drifting out in the black void surrounding him. Then within the darkness came occasional sparks of light. The sparks scattered and collided to form flares of illumination enough to confuse his eyes and cloud his mind. He felt a rushing wind as the sparks shot past and closed his eyes. His body spun around hard, and then stopped. He opened his eyes, and immediately collapsed to his knees, nauseated. He was startled to see he was no longer in the wagon house. But it was a familiar place, nonetheless; the smoky flat in the old abandoned building back in London so may ages ago. He gasped as pain, pulsing liquid as if alive, traveled the length of his forearm. It snaked up his shoulder and neck, tensing every muscle as it crawled up his arm.
"Relax, Ripper. It'll only get worse with your fighting it."
"And will continue to if you don't be still and relax." Ethan smirked. "Must you make a scene in everything you do?"
"Easy for you to say being on the other end of this torture."
"I'll kindly remind you that not ten minutes ago, you were contentedly carving the very same sigil into my arm. Now it's your turn to sit quietly and take it like a man."
"’Take it like a man?’," he growled. "I'll bloody well take it, take it out on you, you bastard. Fuck, it hurts. So help me if I find out you’re making this worse on purpose, I'll beat your arse."
"Promises, promises. Settle down, now, and I'll give you a treat if you're a good lad," Ethan offered condescendingly as the sharp blade cut a shallow path in the already inflamed skin. He pulled back just as
Rupert Giles jerked, nearly impaling his friend. "Watch yourself."
"No. This is fucking ridiculous. It feels like you’re amputating my arm."
"It's nearly finished. Believe me, it'll be worth it."
"At least let me get pissed first."
"We can't. I've told you, the marking must be made with clear mind and intention. No drink or…" He reached out and swiped away the joint Ripper had slipped between his lips. "None of that as well. I thought we were clear on this beforehand." He tossed the joint atop the stash of paraphernalia on the table beside them.
"I don't get why we're doing this."
"Ripper, I thought you wanted this as much as I do? What's gotten into you?"
"I don't know." He heaved a sigh as he raked his fingers through his hair.
"I think you do. Out with it."
"Is this all we do… all we are?"
Ethan's brow crinkled with confusion. "What are you on about?"
"You don't need all this, Ethan, you know?"
Ethan let out a frustrated chuckle. "Ripper, what is you are so inelegantly avoiding saying?"
"The magicks, the spells, it's right fun and all but it's not… not why I'm still here."
"And why are you still here, then?"
"You," Rupert responded with a helpless, almost shy chuckle.
Ethan's eyes went wide with surprise then narrowed with his broad smile. "Is that so?" He studied the young man’s face for a moment longer and then looked down at the crude needle coated with blood and ink. “Well, perhaps you can have both.” He carefully set the implement aside and wiped his hands clean with a nearby rag.
Rupert sank back into the worn out sofa, arms resting relaxed at his sides. He watched his dark friend move closer and drop to his knees before him. A rush of heat went straight to his groin. Instinctively, his body sank further within the couch, hips nudging forward, legs parting.
Ethan grinned and leaned forward to wrap his hands firmly around Rupert's wrists, trapping them on the cushions. His head began to slowly move towards his friend.
Rupert sucked in a breath just as Ethan’s lips met his own. His pulse quickened, pounding heavy in his chest as Ethan deepened the embrace,. Then, just as quickly as it had started, it ended and Ethan pulled back.
"Tell me now, Rupert Giles, do you still want to be here?" Ethan asked simply, lessening his grip around Rupert's wrists.
"Yes." He wasn't given a chance to retract the statement or wallow in embarrassment as Ethan pressed in for another kiss.
It was more forceful than before and undeniably masculine. Prickly stubble scoured his chin and cheek as thick lips sucked to pry his mouth loose. A hot textured tongue snaked in to tangle roughly with his. Rupert was overwhelmed by the scent of male arousal and taste of sweat and stale cigarettes. And when Ethan's groin crushed hard against his, they both groaned their approval.
"While I adore your attempts at bashfulness, I swear if you don't snog me proper, I'll fuck you through the sofa," Ethan snarled.
"I've never… I mean, with a…" Ethan interrupted him with another kiss, slow and encouraging participation. Rupert responded by suckling the tip of Ethan's tongue. He was rewarded with a deepening of the kiss before Ethan pulled back again.
"Well then…" Ethan nipped at the underside of Rupert’s chin as he began to unbutton Rupert's jeans, admiring the rigid bulge of flesh trapped within, "…this will be a treat."
Rupert fidgeted uneasily. "The others…"
"Aren’t due back for hours, Ripper. You can have your way with me all you like." Ethan's broad hand dipped within the taut fabric and pressed against Rupert's erection, pawing it the best he could within the constraints of the jeans.
"Lord, Ethan… I… I haven't a clue what to do."
"And that's why you're going to do the honors."
He yanked the jeans past Rupert's hips and pulled them the rest of the way off, tossing them aside. The mage licked his lips, wasting little time in wrapping his fingers boldly around Rupert's cock. He smiled wickedly as he worked the foreskin with experienced strokes, never allowing Rupert a chance to reconsider. However reconsidering was the furthest thing on Rupert's mind as his cock twitched obediently with every pump. His friend knew just how to touch, to move, to stroke. His hips bucked to meet Ethan's motions.
"You're a thing of beauty, Ripper. Just as I knew you would be."
Ethan gave him one last kiss before bowing down to take Rupert's impatient cock into his mouth. Rupert gasped and try to push up into the welcoming warmth. Anticipating his friend's enthusiasm, Ethan braced his hand against Rupert's abdomen, grounding him as he went about his task. He suckled the head, exquisite suction that curled Rupert's hands to fists, then he drew back, taunting the rim of the engorged head with the deft tip of his tongue.
"So good," was all Rupert could manage. Ethan kiss the tip and then swallowed him deeper, his other hand pumping along Rupert's shaft. Rupert tried to move and Ethan withdrew and tsked softly.
“Not yet, my dear boy, not yet.” Rupert's grunts of frustration only spurred Ethan further in his play and he trailing his tongue along the slit. His mouth hovered over the cock, whispering teasingly along the sensitized flesh. "I’m not going to rush this. I've dreamt of what it would be like to fuck you." He kissed his way down the base of Rupert's shaft. "How tight you'd be. What decadent noises you'd make as I buggered you thoroughly. Tell me you've thought it too." Lithe fingers massaged Rupert's balls, snooping beyond to dip within his puckered ring.
"Oh god!" Rupert cried helplessly. Ethan smiled and with a smooth intake of breath, swallowed him again. Rupert whimpered as the head of his cock slapped the roof of Ethan's mouth then glided along the pliant flesh at the back of his throat. If it wasn't for that persistent hand, he'd fuck Ethan silent but his friend kept him in check. Capitalizing on the blissful distraction, a single manipulative finger pushed against Rupert's taut ring. Finally, Ethan released his hold on Rupert's stomach and withdrew for a much needed breath.
"So very willing. An arse begging to be fucked and a cock determined to fuck," Ethan said with rumbling desire. "Tell me, Ripper. Tell me you want to fuck me." His grasp tightened.
"Christ, Ethan," Rupert's voice cracked.
"All you have to do is ask."
"Damn it, Ethan, can I fuck you?"
"I thought you'd never ask."
Rupert watched in dazed disappointment as Ethan stood up. He quickly stripped off his clothes and departed to the kitchen.
Rupert stood, pulling off the remainder of his clothes. He listened curiously to the sounds of cabinets being rustled through. Ethan returned, lathering a glob of opalescent paste within his hand.
Rupert raised a brow and Ethan smirked. "It works. Trust me."
"If you tell anyone…"
"Our secret dies with me." Ethan knelt down and slicked Rupert's cock with a generous blob, pampering every inch down to his balls. He kneaded the velvety sacs with gentle attention. With an amused snort, he then turned his back to Rupert and readied himself on all fours, placing his hands in the mix of blood and ink on the floor.
"I can only pray you know what to do now," Ethan teased.
"What, here?" Rupert felt a flush in his cheeks.
"Most definitely here, Ripper. It will aid in our casting. Fresh sexual energies are like lightning for such things."
"Is that all you think about?"
"Amongst other things… people… positions," Ethan purred. He wiggled his ass. “Come on now, you asked.”
Rupert stepped forward, admiring the shapely curves of Ethan's arse, the tight thighs below, the arched landscape of his athletic back. "Ethan, are you sure?"
"What do you need, a bloody order? Fuck me, Ripper."
The absence of a response made him glance back over his shoulder. Seeing the uncertainty in his friend's eyes, his expression turned tender and he straightened to reach back and interweave his fingers with Rupert's. He pulled him down into a crouch next to him, tugging him close to place a kiss to his cheek.
"It'll be okay. You needn't bother worrying about me. Take your time, take it slow and let yourself go." Ethan assumed the stance again, moving Rupert's hand to his hip.
Rupert propped the head of his cock to Ethan's cheeks and pushed a little only to slip and slide aimlessly. He tried again and again until he felt a dimple of warm flesh give enough to catch him. The jolt of pleasure drove him forward again.
"You've got it, Ripper. A little more."
He shoved forward again, breaching Ethan's tense band of muscle. He heard Ethan's breath hitch and release.
"That's it, give me more. I want it," he coached and Rupert obliged, pushing in deeper. Ethan's taut, hot flesh choked his cock. With only a warning of a rushed inhalation of breath, Ethan shoved back, sheathing Rupert to the hilt, forcing a grunt from them both.
"Fuck, Ethan!" Rupert gasped.
"Quite the point, luv." Ethan chuckled unevenly, straining to steady his breathing and adjust to the pressures of Rupert filling him.
"So… bloody tight."
"Best do something about that," Ethan mewed and began a subtle rocking forward and back, forward and back. Rupert fell into the pace and soon countered the tempo, withdrawing ever so slightly and returning. Again and again, establishing the rhythm between them.
It didn't take long for the divine friction to bring Rupert to the edge again. Every sensation built upon the previous, feeding his hunger for more, deeper, harder penetration. All sense of caution lost, his final thrusts were reckless and awkward as his orgasm seized him. Rupert came in staggered spurts, his tensed body convulsing against Ethan's as he worked to drive just one more time. From within the storm of his own inarticulate groans, he heard Ethan cry out. It was a raw, pained sound, one that struck fear in him instantly and he pulled out, gasping.
"Ethan?" He called to his friend, still hunched over with his head bracing against his bent forearm. Rupert glanced down to see a series of small, bloody, crest shaped marks on Ethan's hip. Surrounding them was a slowly blossoming bruise. "Oh gods, Ethan, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to…"
"Ripper, you were bloody brilliant." Ethan tumbled limply sideways, chuckling breathlessly.
"But I hurt you."
"In all the right places, luv." He rolled over on his back and outstretched his hand, inviting Rupert to join him. He did, lying aside Ethan.
"Are you sure you're okay?"
"Never better, mate." Ethan panted. "Honestly, Ripper, why did we wait so bloody long?"
"I don't know."
"You're alright, I see," Ethan noted. "Looking quite dashing in a tousled, perfectly sexed-up fashion."
"You most certainly are."
Rupert lay flat on his back, staring up at the cracked and curling paint chips of the ceiling. "I meant what I said before."
"What's that, luv?"
"My place is here… with you."
Blindly, Ethan's hand sought out Rupert's and when they met, the sparks of complimentary energies made them both smile.
"About time you came around, Ripper. Welcome home."
All faded to black and after another whirlwind of darkness and dancing sparks, Giles opened his eyes to see he'd returned to the wagon house along with his ghostly companion.
"We had some good times, didn't we?" Ethan said softly.
"That we did." Giles smiled sadly.
"Would it hurt you to know that I still loved you," the apparition said solemnly, "even as you killed me?"
“Ethan, you left me no choice,” Giles started and the stopped, swallowing hard. "Yes. It hurts."
Ethan smiled briefly, then straightened and resumed a stern expression. "Good."
"For what it's worth, Ethan, I am sor-…"
"A sorry bastard? Yes, you bloody well are." The sorcerer nodded easily in agreement and the smile returned with all the humor and mischief Giles would fondly remember forever. "And always will be. But that's for you to figure out as well as that Slayer of yours. Well, that and of course there is the question of…"
"Giles? Giles, you better wake up. You're going to end up with a crick in your neck if you stay like that."
"Dawn?" His tired eyes blinked open. “What’s going on?”
"Buffy will be home in a few hours. You're going to need major help if you want to have this ready for her in time."
"Wha… where…" He looked frantically around the wagon house, seeing they were alone. "What time is it?"
"Earth to Giles, Buffy will be home from work at 6 which is the same time she usually gets home every day of the week that is a workday." When Giles stared blankly up at her she added, "It's past three. You know, for being the over-achieving, bookish, Watcher guy, you sure have your idiot moments, Giles."
"I must have dozed off."
"It's just that… it seemed so vivid. I could have sworn…" He shook his head.
"Sworn what? 'Cause you know Buffy doesn't like it
when you swear, specially those weird British curses that
sound okay but are really really bad words."
Despite her flippant tone, she looked a bit worried.
Seeing her concerned face, he decided against sharing. There was no telling how much time it would take for those wounds to heal... for both of them. "Um… nothing."
"You sure you’re okay? You're looking a bit loopy."
"I'm fine. Just a bit startled, is all."
"Okay then, I'm going to get Xander and Willow to help you while I get going on dinner."
"That would be good. Thank you, Dawn."
Dawn nodded and headed toward the door. She paused just at the opening and glanced back over her shoulder. "Giles?"
"Do you ever think about him?" She turned back, eyes shy and avoiding looking at him. "Randall… I mean, Ethan? Do you ever think about him?"
Giles initial reaction was to deny it but there was something in Dawn's voice, something in the lost innocence of her tone drew out an answer of, "Yes."
There was relief in her expression as well as confusion, anger, sadness; a spectrum of conflicting emotions, all of which he shared. And there was something more in her apprehensive glance, something he couldn't quite decipher but somehow could understand.
"Okay. Thanks." She responded absently, uncertain of what to do with what she'd been told.
"Are you?" Giles asked gently. "Okay, that is?"
"I don't know. The others… I don't think they'd understand and I think I kind of need to talk to someone who would."
"Well then we're both in luck because I think I kind of need to listen." He gave the bale of hay a pat, inviting her to join him. “Want to talk now? We can always call out for pizza for dinner.”
Dawn hesitated, then moved back to sit down beside him. As she settled in, Giles felt a brush of cold air trail down his side. He shivered, frowning thoughtfully at the empty air of the wagon house before turning his attention to Dawn. He closed his eyes as she began softly, “It’s so frustrating, Giles. I feel betrayed but guilty at the same time. I lie awake at night sometimes, wondering if I had just been a better friend, if maybe I could have saved him…”