Fic: Triangle part 4/?
Rating: NC-17 eventually

Buffy took in the warm breeze. The night sky was breathtaking; making her thankful Ethan had suggested dining on deck, far from prying strangers. A curtain of stars glistened around them, rippling along the black of the ocean as the full moon cast dancing shadows along the waves. For all intents and purposes, it was the makings of an incredibly romantic evening. Too bad it was being wasted with Ethan.

Buffy couldn't deny she was enjoying herself, though. Ethan had spent the evening weaving unbelievable tales of Giles' seedy youth and his influence thereof. There was a sparkle in his eyes in the telling, a playful pride in the memories and much to her surprise she found herself enjoying his company or in the very least, enjoying getting the really filthy dirt on Giles.

"So there we were, Ripper bare arse naked and me sporting a sequined strapless number staring down a pack of vamps intending to make us dinner and a show," Ethan chuckled as he recalled the story.

"Strapless?" Buffy snickered at the mental image he painted. "At least you have the shoulders for it. Though I woulda taken a pass at the sequins with your complexion." The moonlight was damned flattering to Ethan, she admitted grudgingly to herself. His long features softened under the bluish glow and the stunning black of eyes drew her in with every twinkle. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. "So how'd you weasel out of that crispy pickle?"

"Ripper, appointing himself the muscle of our gang of two, took to brawling with them, buying me time to cast an illumination glamour." He swirled and sipped his wine. "It was dumb luck the bloody thing worked. Ashed the vamps brilliantly as well as gave us both the worst sunburns we'd ever suffered. Still, beggars can't be choosers, eh?"

"Giles as the muscle." Buffy shook her head in disbelief and downed the rest of her wine in one gulp. "God, it's like he was a different person."

"In many ways, he was." He considered it for a moment before adding quietly, "As was I."

"I don't know, you sound like the same old jerk to me." She held out her empty glass and gave it a wiggle. He grinned as he refreshed her drink a bit more generously than before.

"Oh how you flatter me, Slayer."

"I don't get it. I mean… was everything he told me a lie? There I was, little miss new Slayer on the block, totally clueless, making it up as I went along, being criticized by this goodie-two-shoes Watcher all to find out he had more of a freak factor than anything I ever did."

"Yes, well, it was that freak factor that helped keep you alive."

Was Ethan Rayne actually defending Giles? She definitely hadn't had enough to drink for that. "But why did he lie to me? I would have liked to know I wasn't the only messed up deviant everyone made me out to be back then. Maybe if he'd told me… just a little peek behind the wizard's curtain, we might have… I don't know."

"He lied to everyone, Buffy. He lied to his parents about leaving university, lied to me about returning, lied to the Council about his loyalties, and lied to you about his past. What's worse is he lied to himself about all of it. Bet he hardly knows who he is anymore."

"Yeah, there seems to be a lot of that going around." Her head swam under the influence of the numerous drinks she'd indulged in. "Check please," she mumbled and sipped sparingly at her wine.

"Giving up on me early this evening?"

"I think the Council credit line has suffered enough for one night."

"I suppose you're right. The accounting department will have a stroke with the dessert tab alone. Well then, I guess the only thing left to ask is your place or mine?" He flashed a devilish grin, swallowed down his drink and stood up from the table. Ever the gentleman, he came around and offered his hand to his companion. "While I adore a good mop and broom, I think its best we choose the latter. Besides, they've just restocked the honor bar and I could go for a nibble of chocolate."

Buffy ignored his extended hand and stood up slowly to avoid any evidence to how tipsy she actually was. "About that, I don't think…"

"Good girl. Why start now?"

"You see… that's why this is wrong."

"You're right, fuck the honor bar. Room service it is?"

"This… this getting along and working together thing just isn't going to work."

"But we've manage a whole evening without bloodshed. I think we're up to the challenge." He moved in closer, barely a hair but enough to send Buffy's pulse racing.

"I don't like you." God he smelled good, a subtle earthy musk mixed with exotic spice and splashed with wine.

"Feeling's mutual." He chanced another step, closing the space between them. "See, we have something in common after all."

"Mutual hatred is not a basis for a working relationship." She hadn't a clue what she was saying. All she could manage was staring at his full lips as he spoke in a seductive tone, wondering how they felt, what they tasted like. Would the beard tickle? God she was in trouble.

"How's sexual tension for an occupational foundation?" He leaned in slowly, threatening her with the promise of intimacy.

"Doomed for disaster," she whispered, feeling his breath tangle with hers. "Take it from me."

"I believe I will."

Ethan's lips met hers in a soft embrace. The kiss was sweet, gentle and melted her beneath him. The stubble along his jaw grazed her chin as the kiss intensified. He suckled at her lips, coaxing them apart as the tip of his tongue begged reception. His hand slipped up her arm and along her shoulder, fingers feathering a trail along her sensitized skin. Buffy welcomed his tongue with her own, inviting exploration as she brought her hand up to cup his cheek. In the heat of the moment, their bodies pressed firmly together, already moving in tempo to the carnal beat of desire. Ethan tasted rich like some exquisite dessert. His lips, thick and determined, sought out her neck with nips and licks, sending Buffy's body burning for more. She ran her fingers through his ashen curls and with a tug, pulled him back to her in a clash of a kiss. Each strove for control but neither managed it as they collided, clumsy with tongues and lips and passion. Then, in a moment of uninvited clarity, Buffy opened her eyes and gasped.

"Oh God." She pushed herself off of Ethan, staring in disbelief. "I… I can't…"

Before he knew what happened, Buffy had run off into the night, leaving Ethan alone and in need of a cold shower, under a lonely sky of wasted stars.

part 5...