The voice of doom. Giles came to a halt but refused to turn around and walk back, forcing Principal Snyder to catch up to him. In retrospect, it was a foolish thing to do. The smile on the man’s face was spitefully gleeful and that was never a good sign.
“How would you like an opportunity to contribute to the community you’ve foisted yourself on and learn about a cultural tradition you Brits think yourselves too good for?”
Giles raised an enquiring eyebrow.
“We’re an adult short to supervise the trick or treaters tonight. As three of the students taking out the children are your...protégés, I thought you’d want to keep an eye on them.”
“I’d love to,” Giles said, not even trying to sound sincere, “but –”
“No,” Snyder said. “You’ll do it. I overlook a lot of what goes on in the library but don’t push me.”
Giles conceded a point and gave him a curt nod of resigned acquiesance.
“Pick up a costume –”
“Under no circumstances will I do this garbed in –”
“ – from my office, as soon as school’s over. We got a good deal from a new shop that’s opened; they let us have a discount for bulk. You should fit into Mr. Sprindle’s costume just fine. He’s the one who dropped out. Seems his grandmother died. As she’d have to be over a hundred and twenty, I’m going to want proof, but that’s not your problem.”
“He’s a foot shorter and thirty pounds heavier,” Giles muttered as Snyder stalked off.
“Don’t flatter yourself,” floated back to him.
Giles found a dark street corner to lurk on, after an exhausting hour of trailing around surrounded by children with unpleasantly shrill voices and sticky hands, and hoped no one he saw would recognise him. Whatever had possessed Snyder to make the teachers dress up as vampires? It was in appalling taste as Giles didn’t believe for a moment that Snyder was unaware of the nature of the town he lived and worked in. He twitched his long, black cloak around him and ran his tongue over plastic fangs with a grimace of revulsion.
Light spilled out onto the sidewalk from the shop behind him and he glanced at it idly. Hadn’t this shop been empty last time he’d been this way? The name written in ornate scrolling letters above the door caught his eye.
Old memories rose and old wounds broke open and began to bleed. Giles turned to walk away. The hell with Snyder and his games; he was going to get a drink. He paused. Was that incense he could smell? Suspicion flared. It couldn’t be his – it couldn’t be Ethan Rayne, but still... He walked to the door, took a moment to tug out his fake fangs and slip them into his pocket, and went in.
Ethan was kneeling before an altar, chanting words that caught at his mind, familiar and temptingly powerful, sickeningly sweet and rich with promise. Giles shivered and opened his mouth to speak. He was too late. Ethan spoke the final words of his exhortation to the Gods of Chaos and Rupert Giles ceased to exist.
“Let me see. You’re on your knees, which is good if you want to beg, but I can tell you now I won’t listen. Perhaps you should stand up and try to run instead?”
Ethan felt his fingernails dig into the wooden table before him. Rupert? He’d known this might happen, but not this soon. He had to distract him, let the spell do its work for a while longer at least...then the meaning of the words sank in and he frowned, spinning around to stare up at –
“You’re a bloody vampire? Oh, Rupert, trust you to bugger up everything the worst possible way.”
He looked at the transformed face with its yellow eyes gleaming from under a heavy, ridged brow. Still Rupert’s face, still enough to make his heart thud a little faster, but Rupert had never looked at him like that, empty of all but the need to hurt, not even when Rupert had told him he was leaving.
“Am I supposed to know you? And spare you because of it? I don’t think so.”
Ethan stepped back, raising his hands in an attempt to ward off sure and painful death. “You do know me. I’m the one who made you. You could think of me as your ... sire. Yes.”
“Apart from the unimportant detail that you’re not a vampire?”
Ethan grinned. “Neither are you, my old friend. Farthest thing from it, believe me. Look; go out and kill someone by all means, but then come back, will you? We’ve got a lot to talk about.”
“Why should I waste time hunting when you’re right here?”
Two steps and Ethan was up against a wall, Rupert’s body hard against him, his hand tangled and fisted in Ethan’s hair. Good as far as it went, of course and he wouldn’t be averse to a fuck for old time’s sake at all, but somehow he had a feeling the encounter would be a little too brief for his liking and not have a happy ending. With a feeling of acute disappointment, he realised that he was going to have to break the spell. After that old Rupert would probably do his best to kill him and – it really wasn’t fair after all his hard work.
“You’re Rupert Giles, mild-mannered Watcher to the Slayer. You moonlight as a librarian – your tax form must be a real work of art – and you’re wearing a costume I enchanted, so that you’ve become what you were dressed up as. A vampire. Irony is delicious but really, your timing couldn’t be worse.”
The snarl that punctuated his explanation wasn’t reassuring. Rupert bent his head and nuzzled fiercely against Ethan’s neck. Gambling on the fact that inexperience would slow him down a little, Ethan reached down and stroked against Rupert’s cock, already gratifyingly hard. Though maybe that was blood lust rather than a compliment to his own charms? Ah, well.
“Are you really only hungry for blood? Because I can do more than beg on my knees, you know.”
He felt needle sharp fangs press against his neck; felt the skin give. An ounce more pressure and his flesh would split, blood would pool and he’d be Rupert’s first kill of many. Not fun, no it really wasn’t. He kept his breathing calm, squeezed around the hardness his hand remembered so well and felt a burst of satisfaction and relief as the hand in his hair tugged him down to his knees with a brutally economic yank.
He spared a glance to see exactly how far he was from the head of Janus and decided that if he timed it correctly he could lash out and bring it tumbling off the table to smash both statue and spell. First things first...he had to get Rupert relaxed enough to slacken his death grip.
Smiling, Ethan let his hands drift up to unzip and ease out a cock his mouth, hands and arse knew so well and missed a little – well, missed a lot. There had been too many to count since Rupert left, but he was a hard act to follow. A hand cupped his face and Rupert’s thumb moved across his mouth, stroking it, sweeping back and forward once and then plunging inside, forcing his lips apart. Ethan relaxed obediently and kept his eyes open as cock replaced thumb and he was given something to work with. Giles tasted the same. How odd that he could know that with such deep certainty after so many years, know the smell, the taste of one man amongst so many others. He would regret later that he hadn’t dared to try bringing himself off, that he couldn’t –quite – lose himself in the sensations that were hammering at him; the wooden floor against his knees, the grinding ache as his cock demanded a touch it wasn’t going to get, the echoing ache in his jaw as it was held open, the throb where his hair was being all but ripped out...pain sparking pleasure in half a dozen different ways and over all of it the thrill of a driving, cool hardness that was using him with an indifference Rupert had never been able to achieve or even fake. Not that he’d wanted to back then, not really.
Ethan was taking a savage, bitter satisfaction in the thought that no matter what happened, remembering this would kill old Rupert, it really would – and then his mouth was filled with come and the grip on his hair was slackening just enough –
He jerked away, choking on a mouthful he was damned he was going to swallow, not under the circumstances, and felt his fingertips graze the table edge just as Rupert’s hands grabbed him, pulling him backwards with a roar that could have been amused or angry. Ethan didn’t care. The statue was wobbling when his head was forced over; falling when the fangs pierced his skin, broken just after Giles had taken his first swallow.
Ethan felt Rupert come back, felt the inhuman strength pass from the arms that held him, felt them slip away, leaving him cold and, just for a moment, desolate.
Then Rupert was staring at him with eyes so full of disgust that Ethan saw himself reflected back as loathsome and wanted to smash the image into as many pieces as the statue.
Pain followed; pain even Ethan couldn’t transmute into pleasure. He lay still under the kicks and blows, curling up, waiting for Rupert to move beyond the blind rage into a more intelligent, more vocal anger. Words were always Ethan’s favourite weapon but they were useless in the face of this fury.
When he’d screamed for long enough, Rupert stopped. Ethan couldn’t move but he squinted up and saw implacability thaw into faint regret.
“You fucking bastard, Ethan.”
He blinked an agreement.
“That spell...how many people bought costumes from you?”
He widened his eyes, tried to shrug. “Lots,” he husked.
Then Rupert was kneeling beside him and his face was so close...
“My Slayer. Her friends. They got their costumes from here? Yes, of course they did. If they’re hurt because of you, I’ll be back, Ethan.”
Ethan ran his tongue over lips that were swollen and cut and managed to make it look like more than damage assessment. “Want more of the same? Might not be up for that for a while.”
Giles’ lips tightened and his fist sent Ethan into a welcome darkness...but when he woke, he was in the makeshift bedroom he’d set up above the shop and Giles was sitting watching him.
“Come back to finish me off?”
Rupert raised an eyebrow. “In what sense? Doesn’t matter; I really doubt you’re up to me doing anything to you, Ethan, even if I were so inclined.”
Ethan laughed and regretted it. “Your Slayer?”
“Unhurt, like all your customers. No deaths, no serious injuries...just confusion and panic. Your stock in trade, isn’t that right?”
“You came back to lecture me? Wasted effort.”
“I came back because – ” Giles stopped and met Ethan’s eyes. “It’s part of my job. You’re a threat, but not one my Slayer can deal with.”
“And you think you can?” Ethan achieved a sneer at the cost of a trickle of blood from a half healed cut on his lip.
“I nearly killed you last night.”
Ethan waved a magnanimous hand. “I’m sure you’d have turned me. Wouldn’t have been all bad; we could’ve had quite the time of it, you and I, with an eternity of mischief in front of us.”
Giles shook his head wearily. “It wouldn’t be us, you pillock. We’d be dead.”
“You’re half dead already. When was the last time you let yourself go the way you did with me?”
The chair scraped along the floor and Giles stood up abruptly. “Leave, Ethan. There’s nothing for you here.”
Ethan lay still, hearing the footsteps clatter down the bare, wooden stairs.
“Nothing? You do sell yourself short, Ripper.”
Smiling hurt his lip too, but it was worth it.
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