Title: Always On My Mind
Author: Elisabeth
Email: dragonydreams@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.dragonydreams.com
Rating: R
Pairing: Giles/Ethan
Summary: Giles can't get Ethan out of his mind.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site, my LJ, summer_of_giles, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Thanks to Kat & KhaosChilde for the beta.
Note: Written for summer_of_giles 2007.

See Awards this story has won.

Always On My Mind


Ethan sat in the back seat of the military issue SUV, his hands bound behind his back. Next to him sat a dim-witted looking young man who had sat with his eyes forward since the beginning of his forced trip fifteen minutes ago. He was the one Ripper and that annoying Slayer had spoken with before packing him off like a disobedient child.

'Disobedient, indeed,' Ethan mused. 'They should know better than to think I'll allow myself to be carted off like this. While it's not entirely surprising that Ripper would try to retaliate, I must admit that I am disappointed in his choice of retribution. No matter. If I can't get myself away from these Neanderthals myself, he'll just have to do it for me.'

Sliding down in his seat, Ethan created a small space between his back and the seat behind him. He clenched his jaw as he used a fingernail to draw blood on the palm of his hand. This was no easy task, as his nails were perfectly manicured at all times. Let it not be said that Ethan Rayne was a man who lacked determination when the situation called for it.

Once a small amount of blood had welled to the surface, he used the index finger from his other hand to draw a crude symbol on his palm. As the symbol took shape, his lips moved, silently uttering a spell.

"Hey, what are you doing?" his companion asked in alarm upon seeing Ethan's silently moving lips. Getting no response, Ethan felt a gun being pressed against his arm. "Stop it. Stop doing that, now!"

Completing his spell, Ethan allowed a smirk to grow. He met the nervous eyes of his captor and said, "No need to resort to violence. I'm finished."

"What did you do?"

"Is a man no longer allowed to pray on the way to his execution?" Ethan asked.

The soldier frowned. "We're not going to kill you."

"Oh, no?" Ethan quirked an eyebrow, his disbelief evident. "Ripper knows that no jail will be able to hold me for long. Although why he would hand me over the military, I have no idea. Care to enlighten me?"

"Mr. Giles knows who we are and why you're being taken in. You'll find out for yourself soon enough."

"Not even a little hint?"

Resuming his forward-facing pose, the soldier said, "No."

Ethan closed his eyes and rested his head against the back of the seat. It didn't matter what awaited him at their destination, he'd be free from the prison soon. One way or another.

As Giles sat reading in his flat, a shiver ran down his spine.


Chapter One

Five days after Ethan had turned Giles into a Fyarl demon found Giles alone, again, in his flat, cleaning. He had his shirtsleeves rolled up past his elbows as he attempted to keep his books dust-free. He knew it was a foolhardy attempt, but Buffy had been complaining lately that his home smelled mustier than the library had.

As Buffy was out, again, with Riley; and Willow was spending the evening with Xander, and God bless her, Anya, Giles took advantage of a free evening to clean. Although, really, he seemed to spend most of his time alone these days, the children having "better" things to do than visit an old man.

"What did the books do to make you dust them so hard?" Willow asked, having used her key to get in.

Giles jumped slightly, not having heard her enter. "Willow, I didn't hear you come in. I thought you were spending the evening with Xander and Anya."

"I knocked before using my key," Willow said, not wanting him to think she was barging in on him. "Anya managed to chase me out after a couple of hours by constantly talking about all of the things she and Xander were going to do (in bed) after I left. I don't know who was blushing more, me or Xander, so I decided to leave before she started acting out any of them."

"A wise idea," Giles agreed. "So you decided to come here?"

Willow shrugged, sitting on the couch. "I wasn't ready to go home. Buffy's never home this early when she goes out with Riley."

"I'm not complaining," Giles insisted. "It's a wonderful surprise."

Willow frowned. "Me showing up here shouldn't surprise you. You're my friend."

"I know that, Willow. I didn't mean to imply that you weren't." Giles sat the feather duster aside and moved towards the kitchen. "Where are my manners? Would you care for anything to drink? Some tea perhaps?"

"Tea would be great, but don't go to any trouble."

"I'm English, making tea is no trouble at all," Giles assured her.

Unaware that he was doing so, Giles traced the mark of Eyghon showing on his forearm as those words sparked a memory of a life he tried to forget.

~ Flashback ~

"You're such a fishwife, Ripper," Ethan cajoled from the ragged couch in their bed-sit.

"Who're you calling a 'wife'? I want a cuppa, so I'm making tea. 'Sides, as I recall, I wasn't the one begging to have his arse shagged last night."

Ethan smirked, shifting against the lumpy cushions. "All in good time."

Ripper peeked his head around the corner and glared at Ethan. "Not on your life, mate. So long as this keeps going on, I'll be the one doing the buggering."

"No need to get pissy," Ethan said. "I'm perfectly pleased with our arrangement."

Ripper returned, carrying two steaming cups of tea, setting one down in front of Ethan. He picked up the book Ethan had wanted to show him. "This it then?"

"The one and only; for now at least." Ethan leaned against Ripper, in theory to get a better look at the image displayed in the book, but he really just wanted to enjoy the physical contact. "The Mark of Eyghon."

Ripper read over the ritual and it seemed simple enough; after they all wore the Mark. "Who'd you have in mind to do this with?"

He wasn't to thrilled with the idea of sharing Ethan with anyone else, but he had a hard time resisting when Ethan started on about how fantastic the sex would be while high on magick. Especially with the others.

"I was thinking Phil and Tom, and Deirdre to make things interesting," Ethan said, curious as to what Ripper's reaction would be at the inclusion of Deirdre.

"You want to bring a girl into it?" Ripper exploded, getting to his feet.

"Not for me, no," Ethan rushed to say, moving to press against Ripper's back. "Since you seem unwilling or unable to give them up, I thought it might entertain you further, especially considering it would be that wet dream Deirdre. Consider it as a token of my appreciation; when we summon Eyghon you get to shag a bird, just like your dreadfully moral upbringing would insist on."

Ripper laughed mirthlessly. "My morals don't seem to have a place here. I don't know that I want to put her at risk."

"Perhaps I'm reaching, but it's not particularly up to us if she's interested," Ethan pointed out. "We'll extend a persuasive invitation and see what she says. If we play up the sex angle I'd wager she'll be inclined to accept, she's wanted you since the day you met her." Ethan slid his hands down to cup Ripper's hardening cock. "Then again, everyone who's met you wants to shag you."

Ripper turned in the circle of Ethan's arms. "Guess you're so lucky I took a fancy to you then, since apparently I could have had any bloke or bird I wanted."

"You've any bloody idea how desirable you are?" Ethan mused, pressing his body against Ripper's.

"Show me," Ripper said, pulling Ethan the short distance to their bed.

~ End Flashback ~

The thud of Giles dropping the full kettle drew Willow to the kitchen.

"Giles, what happened?" Willow asked, looking at the water spread across the floor.

Giles shook his head, keeping his back to Willow to try to hide the erection his memory had caused.

"N-nothing to worry about. I was distracted by something and it slipped from my fingers. Go back to the living room so that I can clean this up," Giles said.

"Are you sure?" Willow asked, placing a comforting hand on Giles' back.

In his current state, Giles flinched away from the touch, his body screaming at him to turn around and take Willow there in the kitchen. The fact that he'd found himself growing more attracted to Willow the older she'd gotten did nothing to help his cause. He wanted so badly to pull Willow to him and crush her full lips under his. He wanted to take her perky breasts in his hands and pinch her nipples into hard peaks. He wanted to pull off her jeans, lift her onto the counter and fuck her senseless.

"I'm sure," he barked, stepping away from her touch. His body shuddered with arousal.

Unfortunately, his harsh tone only concerned Willow more. "No, something's definitely not right here. Just tell me what it is and maybe I can help."

"You don't want to help with this," Giles sneered, a little Ripper creeping into his voice.

"So something is wrong," Willow said, glad that he was at least admitting it.

"Willow, please," Giles said, sounding pained. "It's nothing you need worry about. Just go back to the other room, I'll mop this mess up and come out."

Willow looked unsure, but slowly turned back to the door. "If you're sure..."

"Yes, I'm sure," Giles said, letting out a sigh of relief. "I'll be out soon."

Once he was certain that Willow had left, he gripped the counter and willed his body to relax. He didn't understand what was happening to him. First to have such a vivid memory of the better times with Ethan and then to nearly lose control so completely with Willow was very uncharacteristic of him.


Chapter Two

The next day, Giles couldn't get Ethan out of his head. Memories of their past - good times and bad - left him alternately horny and angry. Sometimes angry at being horny.

When Buffy stopped by he tried to casually bring the subject up.

"Buffy, has Riley said anything to you about what happened with Ethan?" he asked her, polishing his glasses.

Buffy shrugged, looking at him from her place on a barstool. "He asked about why he'd do something like that to you. I gave him the Cliff Notes version of what happened a few years ago."

"Th-that isn't what I meant," Giles said. He knew he was going to have to come right out and ask. "Has he heard anything about where Ethan was taken? What his current situation is?"

Buffy thought for a moment then shook her head. "He said the ride to the drop off point went pretty smoothly and Ethan didn't put up a fight when he was taken into custody at the facility in Nevada. If he's heard anything since then he hasn't said anything to me. Why? Are you having second thoughts?"

"Maybe, just a little," Giles admitted.

Buffy stood and crossed to stand before Giles, forcing him to meet her eyes. "Giles, don't second guess yourself. After everything that he's done to you he deserves to be locked up. He almost made me kill you. That's, like, conspiracy to commit murder or something."

"I know," Giles said. "You're right. It's just that we used to be very close, once upon a time."

"How close?" Buffy asked, narrowing her eyes at him. She grimaced. "Never mind, I don't want to know."

"No, you don't," Giles agreed, enjoying watching her squirm. If she only knew, she'd never call him repressed again. He sobered enough to ask, "Could you ask him, in any case. To set my mind at ease, if for no other reason."

Buffy didn't like it, but she reluctantly agreed. "I'll ask. It might take a few days to get an answer though."

Giles let out a sigh of relief. "Thank you, Buffy. And thank Riley for me as well."


Chapter Three

"Fuck, it's been too long," Giles sighed, leaning heavily the side of his car. Ethan was kneeling, no squatting - wouldn't want to dirty his pants - before him, with Giles' cock down his throat.

This wasn't anything that Giles had expected, let alone imagined, would happen. Yet happening it was. And, good lord, it was just as mind-blowing as he remembered. Ethan had always had a wicked tongue. He just hadn't felt it in this manner for several decades, though.

Ethan had helped him stumble to his car as they left the bar. They were both rather pissed, and Ethan said he wanted to make sure Giles would be able to drive straight. Eventually, they had made it to Giles' car, and Ethan insisted that Giles needed something to help him sober up a bit before getting behind the wheel, and had promptly dropped to his heels and opened Giles' pants. It didn't take him long to harden from Ethan's touch. Somehow Ethan still remembered exactly what to do to make him harder than a stake.

Giles hadn't had such an expert blowjob in years, so it wasn't surprising when he lost control in under five minutes, biting his lip to keep from crying out with his release.

Ethan stood, looking smug. He tucked Giles back into his pants and zipped him up. He kissed Giles, letting him taste himself on Ethan's tongue.

"Just a little something to remember me by," Ethan whispered in his ear before disappearing into the night.


Giles sat up like a shot in his bed, sweat drenching his hair. He wasn't sure if it was the dream/memory that had awoken him, or something else. The ringing of his phone alerted him to the fact that it was something else that woke him.

Groggily, he reached over and picked up the handset, bringing it to his ear.

"Giles, here," he said.

"Giles, it's me," Buffy said. "Sorry to wake you, but I thought you'd want to hear this right away."

"Hear what?" he asked, instantly alert. He fumbled on his nightstand for his glasses and a notepad and pen. "What's happened?"

"Oh, nothing unusual on patrol. I just got back from seeing Riley and thought you'd want to know about what's happening with Ethan."

"You're just getting in now? It's nearly 3am on a weeknight," Giles admonished his slayer.

"Gi-les," Buffy whined, "so not the point."

"Sorry," he mumbled. "So what did he learn about Ethan?"

"Well, at first he was all, like, this is classified information and I could get in a lot of trouble for telling you," Buffy started.

"Yes, yes, I understand," Giles interrupted her. "Just please get on with it."

"I'm getting to it," Buffy said huffily. She sobered and sounded a little nervous as she told Giles, "Riley said that everything was going as planned. Ethan was taken to the facility and was immediately given something to suppress his ability to perform magick."

"They what?" Giles roared, his anger moving him to his feet. If Riley had been delivering this news to him in person, Giles would have soundly punched him.

"Calm down, Giles," Buffy said. "Don't shoot the messenger. I'm just repeating what Riley told me."

Giles continued to breathe heavily through his anger. "I'm sorry, Buffy. I didn't mean to yell at you like that. Please continue."

"Not much else to tell. Riley said they were doing some kind of testing on Ethan, stuff to find out where the magick comes from, I think."

"Bloody fools," Giles muttered to himself. To Buffy he said, "Thank you for telling me this. By the way, I may have to go away for a few days. I don't want you to worry if you try to find me and I'm not here."

"Giles, what are you going to do?" Buffy asked, panic edging into her voice. "Please don't tell me that you're going to go after him. We're the ones who sent him to the Initiative in the first place."

"Which is exactly why I need to be the one to get him out," Giles calmly stated. "I had no idea what they were going to do to him. Cutting him off from his magick, at this stage in his life, is like removing a vital organ. He could die if I don't do something to get him out of there."

"Giles, just stop and think for a minute. Remember Halloween when he nearly got me killed. Or the whole thing with the Band Candy when all the adults regressed into teenagers." Giles smiled fondly over that particular memory of his time spent with Joyce. "I really shouldn't have to remind you about the recent event of TURNING YOU INTO A DEMON!"

"Yes, Buffy, I remember all of those events. You have to understand that Ethan and I have a long history and even these recent unpleasantries don't add up to him being stripped of his magick. This is something that I must do, and hopefully some day you will understand. I'll call you when I return to town."

Before Buffy could protest, Giles hung up the phone. When it began to ring several seconds later, he ignored it, allowing the answering machine to take the call. He ignored Buffy's pleas not to do this as he moved to his desk and began to plan Ethan's escape.


Chapter Four

Giles was grateful that Buffy had an early class the next day, waiting until he was sure that she would have left to call the room she shared with Willow.

"Hello?" Willow tiredly answered.

"Willow? Buffy isn't there, is she?" Giles asked.

"Giles," Willow sat up in her bed, "is everything okay? Are you still in Sunnydale? Buffy said you were going to go after Ethan."

"Willow, calm down. Yes, I'm still here. I didn't mean to alarm Buffy, but she can't help me in this situation. However, you can," Giles said.

"Me?" Willow squeaked. "What can I do? I don't know anything about breaking and entering."

"No, but you do know magick and how to hack into government files," Giles reminded her.

"You want me to hack into the Initiative's files to find out more about what they did to Ethan, don't you?"

"If you don't mind," Giles confirmed.

"Mind? Not at all. My hacking skills were starting to get a little rusty with all of the schoolwork and magick studies," Willow eagerly said.

"Wonderful," Giles said, breathing a sigh of relief. "Could you bring your laptop over here and begin working on it as soon as possible?"

"Of course. I just need to grab a quick shower and I'll be right over," Willow said.

"You don't have any classes today?" Giles asked, knowing how important Willow's studies were to her.

"You're in luck. My only class was canceled because my professor got sick."

"Excellent." Giles paused, realizing how that sounded. "You know what I mean."

"Yep, no worries. I'll get cleaned up and see you there in under an hour."

"Thank you, Willow. If I'm not here, just let yourself in and you can get to work. I have a couple of errands that I need to run."

"Errands? I thought Spike totaled your car," Willow said.

"That's errand number one. To pick up a rental," Giles agreed.

"Good thinking. Okay, see you soon," Willow said.

"I'll see you shortly." Giles hung up the phone.

He looked at the list before him and crossed off 1. Ask Willow to hack into the Initiative's mainframe.

Giles cringed as he looked at number two on his list. Gritting his teeth, he dialed Xander's number. He was surprised when Xander answered right away, alert, instead of groggily responding after several rings.

"Hey Giles," Xander said.

"Good morning, Xander. How did you know it was me?"

"Caller ID. Plus, you're the only one I know who would call me this early," Xander answered.

"Yes, I was rather surprised you answered so quickly," Giles admitted.

"You just barely caught me. I'm on my way to work," Xander said.

"Oh, right, I'd nearly forgotten. Is there any chance you could pick me up and drop me at the car rental place on Main Street?" Giles asked.

"If I leave right now I'll be cutting it close, but sure, I can do it. Or would you rather just use my car while I'm at work?"

"No, I need to go out of town for a few days, so a rental will be best," Giles said.

"Something up?" Xander asked.

"Nothing you need worry about. If we're going to do this, you should probably leave now. I'll see you shortly."

"Sure thing, see ya in a few," Xander said, hanging up the phone.

Giles left a quick note for Willow, letting her know he'd be back in a couple of hours and what she could start looking for in the Initiative's files before heading out to wait for Xander.


Chapter Five

An hour and a half later, Giles returned to his flat with a bagful of magical ingredients and a rental car in his parking space, to find Willow sitting at his desk with her laptop open, busily taking notes on what she had found.

"Ah, Willow, thank you for coming over so quickly," he greeted her. "Have you found anything yet?"

"Hey, Giles," Willow said, smiling up at him. "I actually just got through their security system about fifteen minutes ago, but once I got in, it was pretty easy to locate Ethan."

"Really?" Giles asked, barely keeping his excitement out of his voice. He set down his purchases on the counter and moved to look over Willow's shoulder.

"Yep. For a military operation, their firewalls are incredibly easy to get through. You'd think they'd work harder to keep their secrets hidden."

"Willow..." Giles interrupted, willing her to get on with it.

"Right, sorry," Willow brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. "So, anyway, Ethan is being held at a secret base in the Nevada desert." She paused and turned to look at Giles. "Although, really, that's a pretty predictable place to hide a secret base. Can anyone say Area 51?"

Giles simply stared, narrowing his eyes at her.

"Right, keep the commentary to myself, got it. From what I can tell, the Initiative has different bases with different purposes. The one here seems to be devoted to studying and experimenting on demons. The one in Nevada is devoted to, um, magick practitioners."

Giles gulped. "A-an entire base devoted to ex-experimenting on magick users?"

Willow solemnly nodded. "I really don't think it's a good idea for you to go after Ethan alone," she said. "What if you get caught and they keep you and start experimenting on you, too?"

"Then I'll just have to be careful not to get caught," Giles coldly said.

"I could..."

"No!" Giles cut her off. "Do not even think of suggesting that you come with me. Any of you. I will not risk your lives to save mine, or Ethan's. It is my fault he is in there and I will get him out."

"I wasn't about to volunteer to follow you into the breeches. I'm not an idiot. But I can still help." When it looked like Giles was going to object, she said, "From here. I can help from good old Sunnydale."

Giles frowned. "How?"

Willow perked up, glad he was going to at least hear her plan. "I figure that once you get through the magical barrier they have up - oh, right, I didn't tell you yet, since they're experimenting with magick, they have a barrier up to keep any loose magick inside the facility, so as not to alert anyone as to where they are. Also, the place is cloaked; you have to be a demon, witch or warlock to sense it. Anyone who stumbles across it gets captured. Although I'm guessing they've found some way around that for their employees."

Giles breathed a sigh of relief, momentarily worried that it would be difficult to find. "Not a problem for me, then. Please continue."

"I don't think any of the staff practice magick, at least not naturally. From the little that I've been able to read so far, they're trying to extract and manufacture what makes a person capable of performing magick."

"I just bought the ingredients to help me prepare a small arsenal of spells," Giles informed Willow. "I won't be walking in there empty handed."

"Anything I can help with?" Willow eagerly asked.

"Perhaps. For the initial preparation. I'll need to finish all of the spells myself, to give them the most impact, you understand."

"Of course," Willow nodded her head, knowing the spells would pack a bigger punch with Giles' final touches. "Back to what I can do from here, though... Since I'm already tapped into their computer system, I can knock out their power."

"From here? Really?"

"Yep. Having everything computerized really does make it easier for someone like me to help take them down. They're military and assume that sheer gun power can stop intruders. Besides, since the place is magically cloaked, it's made them a bit cocky, I think."

"Good plan," Giles admitted.

"I'll see about getting you some night vision goggles," Willow offered. "I think Xander might have some that he can loan you."

"Excellent. Care to help me get started with the spells, then?" Giles asked, feeling better having some kind of plan in place.

"You bet, mister," Willow beamed.


Chapter Six

Willow had been right. With her help, Giles now stood inside the darkened Initiative base in Nevada. He'd followed the directions Willow had written out for him to the general location of the base, and he had nearly driven into it, so good was the cloak.

Once he'd parked the car, he called Willow on the disposable mobile she'd made him buy for this excursion, and she killed the base's power. Alarms, which apparently were on a back-up grid, sounded, but they had purposely chosen a time when the base would be at minimum staff.

Giles slipped down the dimly lit hallways, the red emergency lights barely providing any illumination. He adjusted the night vision goggles and continued to where they deduced Ethan's cell was located.

His heart clenched as he found the right hallway, forcing himself to walk past half a dozen rooms that he knew contained other prisoners. He wished that he'd thought of a way to free them all, but right now he only had time to get Ethan out. He would have to find a way to get the rest out and destroy the facility once Ethan was safe.

Finally, after what seemed like an endless search, Giles found himself standing before the room containing Ethan. Giles choked back an anguished sound at the sight of his nemesis and old friend lying curled up on the thin mattress looking much older than he had just a few weeks ago.

Holding his hand over the electronic lock, Giles muttered a short incantation and the door slid open.

"Ethan, come along, we need to get you out of here," Giles said, rushing to Ethan's side.

When Ethan didn't respond, Giles removed a small bottle from his jacket pocket and quickly drank the contents. Then he bent to effortlessly pick the thinner man up, sending a quick thanks that they had thought to include a strength-enhancing potion.

After checking to make sure the hallways were still clear, Giles headed back in the direction he had come. He silently promised each closed door he passed that he would find a way to free them too, later. Right now, there wasn't time.

When they were nearly to the exit, a voice behind Giles stopped him dead in his tracks. "Hold it right there."

Giles remained motionless, waiting for further instruction.

"Put down the prisoner and turn around. Slowly."

Reluctantly, Giles lay Ethan on the ground, raised his hands and turned to face the man speaking to him.

"How did you get in here?" the soldier demanded, holding his gun at the ready.

"Through the front door," Giles calmly stated.

"No one can find this place who doesn't work here, so I repeat, how did you get in here?"

"Obviously, you don't know this place as well as you think you do. I found it quite easily," Giles said. "Now, I am unarmed, as you can see. Would you mind lowering your weapon?"

"You are under arrest for helping a prisoner to escape," the soldier responded, grasping his weapon more firmly.

"I don't think so," Giles said. With a wave of his hand the gun flew out of the soldier's hands and into Giles'. "I really didn't want to resort to this, but it appears that you've left me no choice." With that, he fired the gun, aiming for the soldier's leg. He wasn't going to kill the poor fellow; he just wanted to stop him from following.

Giles muted the soldier's scream of pain as he fired, not wanting anyone to hear him and come running to investigate. Then he turned back to where Ethan lay motionless, picked him up again, and continued out of the facility.

Once Ethan was securely in the back seat of the car, Giles peeled away from there as fast as he could, releasing the spell on the soldier once he was far enough away to have a good lead. He cloaked the car, just in case, as he sped back towards Sunnydale.



It had taken three days for Ethan to return to a modicum of his former self. He was weak from all of the testing that had been done on him. He had been kept heavily sedated for most of his imprisonment, to keep him compliant.

The Initiative had been alternately drawing his blood and bone marrow to study, and injecting Ethan with something to dampen his magick. As the treatments wore off, Ethan began to regain some strength and color.

Giles had insisted on Ethan staying in his spare room, despite the objections of the children. Even incapacitated, they feared for Giles' safety. He'd hear none of it though.

"Do they really think that I'm the one holding you prisoner?" Ethan asked as Giles entered his room with his lunch on a tray, having heard Giles' end of yet another phone conversation with Buffy.

Giles chuckled. "I believe they think that you are corrupting me, just by being here."

"Shows how little they know about you," Ethan said. "I corrupted you a long time ago."

Giles set the tray across Ethan's lap and sat near his feet on the bed.

"That is something they will never know about," Giles said firmly.

"Which part? The way that you abandoned yourself to dark magick or the way you liked to bugger me?"

"The first part," Giles said, smirking.

Ethan dropped his spoon back into the bowl of soup, having been caught off guard by Giles' answer.

"I beg your pardon," he squeaked, cringing at the cracking of his voice.

"While I don't plan on outright telling them anything," Giles said, standing and moving next to Ethan. He leaned down and whispered in his ear, "Should you remain in my life, I fully expect us to end up in bed together again."

Ethan licked dry lips, shivering at the tone of Giles' voice. He never could resist that damn voice. Why else would he keep seeking Ripper out? It certainly wasn't for the beatings.

"You honestly wouldn't care if they knew you liked to shag men, let alone me?" Ethan asked.

"They've never cared whether or not I approved of the people they dated, so why should I care what they think about my lovers?" Giles continued to speak huskily in Ethan's ear.

"Damn it, Ripper," Ethan ground out, grasping the tray tightly in his hands. "Don't tease me like this, taking advantage of me in my helpless state."

"You could never be helpless. And I'm not at all teasing. We've waited too long for this day."

"What, for you to be in a position to play nursemaid to me? For me to be so weak I could barely stand, let alone contemplate performing magick?" Ethan angrily retorted.

"No, for us to be even," Giles said. "You'll regain your strength with time. Hopefully your magick, too. I can only hope that you choose to use it more responsibly in the future."

"And if I don't?" Ethan countered.

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, let's just enjoy being in each other's company again." Letting his bravado slip a bit, Giles let some uncertainty show. "Unless, of course, you don't want to be here, with me?"

"Enough with the sentiment," Ethan said, rolling his eyes. "Just kiss me, you old fool."

Rather than respond verbally, Giles did just that.

The End


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