Conversations part 4
“Relax. Enjoy the night. We're just a couple of sorcerers. The night is still our time. Time of magic,” Ethan raised his glass, hoping Giles would follow his lead.
Giles smiled, remembering the fun times in his youth with Ethan, he had to admit there were a few. “To magic,” He raised his glass and they drank to the past.
Ethan smirked as he watched Giles chug down the special mix he’d prepared for him. What a wonderful Fyarl demon he’ll make, and it’ll get his mind off that bloody Slayer. A weird feeling of deja-vu came over him as he drank his beer.
“Not this time, old friend,” Giles smiled, “It’s time I rid the world of a warped sod like you.”
Ethan looked up from his drink to see Giles eyes blacken and his face distorted by dark veins. He knew this was wrong. “What…this isn’t what’s supposed to happen. This isn’t right…” He watched in utter confusion as Giles stood up and leaned toward him.
“Life’s chaotic mate,” Giles whipped his hand around Ethan’s throat and lifted him out of his chair. Ethan gasped for breath, clawing at Giles hand.
“Give me a taste of your magic now!” With that final threat,
Giles placed his hand on Ethan’s chest. Ethan’s body convulsed
with pain as he felt his power stripped from him. As the sensation of
the last bit of magic left him, he felt every nerve sting as his very
life force slowly drained away; he was dying.
Ethan woke up with sweat pouring off his forehead. It was a dream; he sighed with relief. He could do without such nightmares at this point in time. The slight movement of a delicate hand across his hip reminded him he was sharing the floor with Buffy. It was a pleasant reminder of the previous night’s activities. He smiled at the unused bed. They never even made it to that comfy mattress, he’d slipped the covers off and they camped out on the floor all night long.
Buffy looked so peaceful, no hint of the killing machine he was used to seeing. With a delicate kiss, he placed her hand on the floor and slid out from the sheets. His stomach tensed as he considered what Ripper would do if he found out what happened between Buffy and him. He probably already knew. Perhaps it was time to do what he did best, run. Buffy mumbled something inaudible and he smiled, shaking his head.
‘Damn you Ripper. She’s special all right. Of all the times to grow a conscious!’ They would need help and fast. Ethan ran his fingers through his tangled hair and went to wash up.
“You were looking…um…never mind.” She suddenly realized he’d been checking her out. Her Watcher had ogled her exposed legs. Her Giles. This revelation quickly followed with another, she wasn’t upset. A matter of fact, she was intrigued. Watching Giles busy himself with other texts spread out on the main table, Buffy walked up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder.
Giles was startled to find her right behind him, his face still flushed with embarrassment at being caught looking at her legs.
“Please don’t sneak up on me like that. You should know better.” He continued to search the different books on the table. ‘Please, just leave me alone.’
“Are you ok?” Buffy smiled, not ready to let this one go so easily.
“Hmmm…oh, yes. Fine. You can go if you’d like. Now that I have the proper text I should be busy reading all evening,” Giles walked back to his office, avoiding eye contact with her.
“Are you sure you’re ok? You look hot?” Buffy followed him into the office and closed the door behind her. Giles heard the door shut and turned around, suddenly uneasy with the close quarters. As she approached him, he tried to act casually and sit down at his desk. That approach quickly failed when she hopped up on his desk and crossed her bare legs before him. She leaned forward to touch him, offering Giles a grand display of her cleavage as she placed her palm on his forehead and slowly drew it down his cheek.
“You’re a bit hot? You may be coming down with something.”
He carefully positioned a book over his groin and Buffy knew he was trying to hide something. She was right, he was checking her out. This was fun.
“Buffy, please just go. I’m fine…really, “ he pulled her hand away from him and turned away from her, trying to direct his attentions to the books on his desk. It was really bothering him, his reaction to her. She felt sorry for teasing him and hopped off his desk.
“I’ll go. I’ll give you a call,” she wanted to apologize but didn’t really want to admit to her teasing. Hopefully he’d forget about it all by tomorrow. She walked to the door and reached to open it. “Catcha later!” The door wouldn’t budge. It seemed stuck. She turned around and saw Giles standing right in front of her in full dark sorcerer mode smiling at her.
“I’ll catch you…” he grabbed her arms before she could raise them in defense, his fingers digging into her skin. He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead. “…Later,” he whispered.
Buffy opened her eyes and sighed. These nightmares were driving her insane. Perhaps that was the idea. Giles may be planting these thoughts to throw her off her game. She heard the footsteps come up to the room and the door opened to reveal Ethan with his arms full of small paper bags.
“Shopping…at a time like this?” She teased.
“Needed a few things…for spells.” He closed the door and set the bags down on the bed. He sat down on the edge and smiled warmly at Buffy, admiring the view.
“He’s like Freddy Krueger,” Buffy said and Ethan looked bewildered at the reference. “He’s stalking us in our dreams.”
“Yes…he’s been with us the whole time I fear. Waiting to strike when it pleases him. So, what’s the plan Slayer?”
“We need to get home.”
“I am home, luv.”
“My home…Sunnydale. I need to get back to the gang. Giles could be going after them too.”
“I thought you might feel that way. The airports are bound to be under high security. Council’s pulling strings all over the city to capture Ripper and us. Flying will be very difficult if not time consuming…and pocketbook consuming.”
“Like money’s an issue here. Can’t you just conjure up some cash?”
“What are you willing to risk for it…balance luv. Always remember the mystical balance.”
“Right! Then how? I need to warn the others.”
“I took the liberties of gathering a few necessities for a teleportation spell. If I could reach that witchy friend of yours, she and I may be able to work it together.”
“We’ll call her then. Give her a chance to prepare.” Buffy grabbed her clothes and slipped them under the sheets with her, suddenly shy of her company.
“I’ll send her a little mental email. It’ll be faster…and more fun.” He chuckled at her shyness but decided not to give her a hard time about it.
“I thought you had some distance issue?” Buffy jumped up and tucked her shirt into her jeans.
“Willow’s powerful, she’ll get the message.”
“Ok then. Make the…um…call?”
Willow stared at the laptop screen, unable to focus on the words in her email. Something troubled her. She hadn’t heard from the coven in a few days and wondered if they had seen Buffy yet. Buffy hadn’t called in days and she was beginning to think the worst had happened. Dawn came into the room and peeked over her shoulder.
“Any word yet?” She asked.
“No…nothing. I’m sure she’s fine,” Willow tried to show some confidence but knew Dawn could see through her weak attempt.
“Have you tried the Watcher’s yet?”
“They gave me the run-around,” Willow decided to come clean, Dawn deserved to know anything she knew. “I have a bad feeling. Something is wrong.”
“What gives you that idea?” Dawn asked, peacefully unaware of the entire situation.
“I can’t explain it. There’s a feeling of unbalance…”
“Don’t worry. She’ll be ok.” Dawn smiled and tried to walk away.
“You seem way too un-panicky. I mean, usually you’re all tears and whining,” Willow was embarrassed at the sudden brashness. “Sorry, I didn’t mean…”
“No, you’re right. Um…I just have a gut feeling. Everything will be fine. Besides, she’s with Giles right?” She smiled.
Willow couldn’t reply to that. Buffy never wanted Dawn to know what happened; never wanted Dawn to know it was Giles who attacked Xander. Giles was to be remembered, as the caring friend he always was and Willow would uphold her wishes.
Willow’s face paled as she looked around the room.
“What is it? Are you ok?” Dawn put a hand on her shoulder.
‘Willow? Are you there?’
Willow’s eyes darted around the room. “Did you hear that?” It took a moment for her to realize the voice was in her head.
“Hear what?” Dawn looked around but didn’t see anything out of place, nothing that was making noise.
‘What…w-who is this?’ Queasiness filled her stomach as she wondered if this was Giles finally seeking his revenge.
“Did you get through to her?” Buffy asked Ethan, anxiously bouncing in place in front of him.
‘Ello luv, Its Ethan Rayne…you may not remember me. We met…’
‘I know who you are. Why are you contacting me?’
Dawn was getting impatient. Willow seemed upset. “Willow, what’s going on?”
‘Buffy is with me. Things have soured a tad and we need your help.’
‘Why would Buffy be with you? You tried to kill us, kill Giles.’ Willow looked at Dawn who began to bounce impatiently in her spot.
‘You’re just going to have to trust me. We have an emergency situation here.’ Ethan tried to be firm but wasn’t sure his emotions were getting across.
“Will…” Dawn urged.
“Shhh! Someone is contacting me,” she knew this would be hard for Dawn to believe, but she couldn’t carry on two conversations at the same time.
“Is it Buffy? Tell her I said ‘Hi!’” Dawn got excited.
Willow looked surprised at the young lady. How would she have any clue what Willow meant by contacting. Dawn knew something. “Dawn, give me a minute…”
‘He’s escaped…hasn’t he,’ Willow tried to clear her mind, waiting for a response.
“Tell her I said ‘Hi!’” Buffy grabbed Ethan’s arm and shook it.
“I’m not a bloody pay phone. Give me a minute,” Ethan tried to ignore her.
‘Yes, he’s hunting us.’
‘Giles wouldn’t hurt Buffy.’
‘This isn’t Giles, luv. This is a different beast.’
‘He’ll come here.’ Willow looked at Dawn, seeing the happiness in her eyes. How was she going to tell her what happened?
‘Willow…he’s growing stronger.’ Ethan concentrated on reaching out to the witch.
‘I know, I’ve sensed it. When is Buffy coming home?’
‘I’m not sure. Council has airports at high security, looking for Rupert and us.’
‘We can attempt to teleport you back. I think with both of us we might pull it off.’
‘Great minds think alike. That was my thought exactly.’ Ethan nodded to Buffy and she smiled nervously. It was one thing to be teleported around by Willow; Ethan was another matter. She considered what the difference was putting herself in his hands now when she’d given him all of her the night before. What did she have left to loose?
Willow didn’t like the idea that Ethan agreed with her; it reminded her of her tendency for dark magic.
“Dawn, I need to do a little spell. Buffy and an old…um, acquaintance need to be brought here in a hurry.”
“How can I help?” Dawn seemed happy she was involved.
‘You have the ingredients?’
‘Ready when you are, luv.’
Buffy was disoriented for two hours after teleporting back to Sunnydale. I didn’t help that Dawn was playing twenty questions at the first glimpse of her. Willow gave Buffy a big welcome home hug as Xander kept a distrusting eye on Ethan. They needed to talk without Dawn so Buffy sent Dawn on some errands to the store while she debriefed the Scoobies. Keeping Dawn in the dark would be a problem. She needed to be elsewhere. Xander suggested calling in a favor and have the new principal of Sunnydale High require a camping trip to Breakers Woods. Buffy went to work to set it up, doing a bit of research to include the few friends Dawn had made at the new school. Now the only factor was Giles and when he would make his appearance.
The subtle tap on the door made Buffy turn around. Ethan leaned against the door jam, smiling devilishly.
“Permission to speak commander?” He saluted.
“What? Itching for some punishment?” Buffy wasn’t in a mood for Ethan’s teasing. She went about her business in her bedroom, checking for the things Dawn had borrowed and not returned yet.
Ethan stepped into the room and walked up behind her. She ignored him, concentrating on straightening the drawer in front of her. Her nerves tingled alive as she felt him slip a hand around her waist and glided it down the front of her jeans, cupping her crotch and pulling her to his groin.
“Punish me,” he whispered into her ear and grinded into her backside, drawing his other hand up her hip to rest on her breast. She was tempted to accept his advances but the thought of Giles was better than a cold shower.
“Never again, Rayne.” She stepped away from him and heard him sigh with frustration.
“I expected as much,” He leaned onto the dresser and lowered his head. “You love him, don’t you?”
Buffy whipped around, ready to deny it but saw the sadness in Ethan’s eyes. She couldn’t lie anymore.
“What did you expect? You opened my eyes damn you!” She sat down on her bed and grabbed Mr. Gordo, holding him to her chest for comfort. “I was happy. I was blind with denial and happy. Then you come along and…and do this.”
Ethan turned around and stared at her. Examining the young lady in her pretense of normalcy, her bedroom decorated, as it should be. Covered with band posters and stuffed toys, fashion magazines and diaries. Buffy was just a woman after all; he’d failed to see it until that moment.
“He still loves you. That’s what this is all about. He wants you with him,” Ethan joined her on the bed, careful to keep personal space between them. He knew his fling with her was past and accepted the reality. Her heart belongs to Ripper now.
“It scares me,” Buffy said softly, focusing on the floral comforter.
“That he wants you with him?” Ethan asked.
Buffy looked over at him with concern wrinkling her forehead. “That I want to be with him.”
Ethan didn’t know what to say. She was in love with a man that she could never have. Her Giles was forever changed, yet her heart needs him.
“Love’s mysterious.” He mumbled. “Sometimes I think it best to never experience it.” He glanced over at her and felt remorseful for what he was going to do.
“Tell me about it!”
“It’s time love,” Giles smiled as he took her hand in his, guiding her along the cemetery path.
“Where are you taking me?” She looked over at him and was surprised to see his eyes black with magic and features webbed with dark veins, she wasn’t horrified or scared. It was as if she found it suddenly acceptable, as if she’d accepted the reality of loosing her Giles forever. “Where are we going?”
“Where no one can come between us. Where we can exist only for each other.” He looked lovingly at her, caressing a calloused finger along the back of her hand as they walked toward an eerie light at the end of the path.
“Will you kill me?” She smiled as they approached the light.
Giles paused and smiled tenderly, “We’ll be together…always.” He cupped her chin and kissed her forehead with the gentleness of a feather.
“I’d like that,” she began to walk toward the light, guiding Giles with her. “Always…”
Her dreams were becoming too vivid, too prophetic. Giles wanted to meet her at the cemetery, but which one? Then she remembered one specific cemetery had a very personal effect on Giles. ‘It has to be there,’ Buffy thought.
“You’ll get what you want, Giles. I’ll meet you, but not alone.”
She could have sworn she heard a faint voice say “As I.”
Dawn settled into her sleeping bag and stared at the tent ceiling, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. It was so unfair that she had to go on this stupid camping trip, her grades weren’t that bad. It was her failure to get into extracurricular school activities that doomed her to this excursion. Oh well, she had to admit it was fun to be free of the usual parental types. Everyone had been extra sensitive and overprotective lately, it was starting to drive her batty.
Her eyes caught a glimpse of a sparkle of light just outside the fabric of the tent. She’d thought it was an illusion at first until it appeared inside the tent. Dawn sat up and scooted away from the sparkles that seemed to multiply in front of her.
“Ok…no panicking! It’s just some strange sparkly things. No real danger here. Remember you’re the sister of the Slayer,” she watched as the lights continued to multiply and form a large shape. With a sudden flash of light, the tent was blanketed in darkness and Dawn felt her pulse racing. She sat frozen in her spot, trying not to make a sound. Her eyes began to adjust to the dark and she wished they wouldn’t as she noticed the shadow of something in the tent with her. Just as she was about to scream she saw a dim light appear, growing in intensity until it revealed a hand holding it. It radiated brighter, illuminating the kneeling figure of a very familiar Watcher.
“Giles!?!” she jumped on him, hugging him with all her might.
“Like the trick, eh?” He embraced her warmly, chuckling as she squeezed him tighter.
“I’ve so missed you,” she finally released her hold on him and sat back down, examining his welcome face. He looked tired, thin, and different. “You said you’d talk to me in a couple days. It’s been a week mister. Ok, all is forgiven cause you’re here. No more mental stuff!” Dawn loved to be sneaking around, in secret communications with him. He’d been planning some surprise party for the others and using her as his accomplice. The gang was going to be so surprised.
“Been a bit busy, luv. Making arrangements and ridding us of unwanted party guests,” he winked and Dawn smiled at his uncharacteristic behavior. He was being so cool, so much the secret pal. She couldn’t even recognize him as the stuffy Watcher of so many months ago.
“So, how would you like to ditch this mandatory exile and have some fun with me?” He had a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. Dawn didn’t want to get into trouble again but this was Giles. He wouldn’t steer her wrong, he was the closest thing to a father she had.
“What about the counselors…the chaperones?” Dawn began to stuff her belongings back into her bags.
“I’ve arranged for a leave of absence. They won’t be a problem. Forget about your things. We haven’t time,” he reached out and took her hand in his.
“So…what now? Is Scotty beaming us up?” Dawn smirked, slightly embarrassed that he was holding her hand. Giles raised an eyebrow, obviously not getting the joke.
“Trust me,” he slowly glided his fingers before her eyes, back and forth, absorbing her attentions with the movement. She felt her eyelids grow heavy as the hypnotizing motion was captivating her. She couldn’t help but follow his fingers.
“Is it time to party?” Dawn yawned the words as Giles tenderly brushed his hand down her face, her eyes closing as he past them.
“Yes, luv. It’ll be a scream,” he whispered with a
satisfied smile as his eyes blackened and the sorcerer cast his teleportation