Fic: Triangle part 5/?
Rating: NC-17 now, yippie!

Buffy stared out at the red sky, watching as the orange sun dipped under the horizon. The peace did little to silence her mind brewing with conflicting emotions. She'd managed to avoid Ethan for a full day, a full day to try and make sense of what happened and yet, she was no closer to understanding. All she knew was that of all the guys she could possibly get involved with, for good or worse, Ethan wasn't even on the radar and could quite possibly cause the universe to implode in on itself. So why did that single kiss sting in her memory like an itch she needed to scratch? A really, really good scratch.

"Far be it from me, self appointed son of Chaos, to question defiance of authority, but I believe our diluted dear, Rupert, ordered you to escort me home, did he not?”

Buffy did her best not to flinch with Ethan's approach, silently dreading every step closer.

“In my recollection, the duty of escort relies heavily upon one being present." He casually came up next to her, much too close next to her, and leaned forward to come into view.

"I am by no definition of the word, your escort, Rayne!" Buffy crossed her arms before her and increased the gap of space between them by a few steps sideways.

Ah, we're back to last names, he thought. "I believe that's what I just said. Should I talk slower so this conversation isn't so one sided?"

"You do that and I'll open the lines of communications with my fists." She wouldn't dare back up her empty threat with any attempt at a glare. She was sure he'd see through her camouflage of fury.

"Just like old times, I see.”

“Muchly. Back to the good ol' days, for sure.”

“I'm merely pointing out that if I didn't know any better, I'd think the mighty Slayer was frightened of me. The hero of the piece bested by a kiss? Had I known that ages ago…"

"Ha! Ha ha, it is to laugh."

"But you are avoiding me."

"No, just lucky that way." Buffy turned ever so slightly, enough to cut Ethan out from her view.

"Odd how I could have arrived at such an impression. Perhaps it has something to do with you're running away, all track and field, at the slightest hint of me being in the vicinity."

"Really, it's just dumb luck; fate sparing me from having to deal with you."

He slid in closer, not to be denied notice. "Close but quite the contrary, I think. You're unable or unwilling to deal with me."

"When you're right, you're right. And you know, you are so right. It's the overwhelming nausea and revulsion that drives me away. You pegged it. On that note, later Rayne. Much, much later. Or better yet, how about never again?" She turned and began to walk away until confronted by a surprisingly determined Ethan blocking her path.

"Try as you might, this rather transparent tactic won't work. You're like cheap scotch. Chances are I'll be seeing you again. And yet, I can't help but indulge." He grinned and went to caress her face only to be deflected by a swift Slayer chop.

"Are you completely mental?”

“Indeed I am… for you.”

“I can't stand you. I'd even go as far to say I loathe you, despise you, hate you, even."

"At the very least, you feel strongly about me and that's something. If it's not too much of a bother, mind enlightening me as to why you suddenly hate me?"

"Hello! You tried to kill me!"

"Did I? When was this?"

"What do you mean ‘when'? The whole thing with the black market tattooing so your boyhood demon crasher would set its sites on me to save your own ass."

"Mmmm, I'm afraid the details are still a bit foggy. When exactly did *I* attempt to kill *you*?"

"Oh no you don't! That counts, Mister. That so counts as attempted murder. Just because you were too much the coward to knife me in the back or shoot me in the gut like every other self-respecting psychopath…"

"I deplore violence.” He reconsidered the statement. “Well, that's not particularly true. It can be rather stimulating coming from the right source. You, for instance, are an artiste."

"You are so messed up on every level it isn't even funny."

"Not even a chuckle?"

"You disgust me, Rayne. You are nothing but a burning irritation."

"Or perhaps it was something you ate. I have just the thing."

"Did you hear what I said? I hate you unconditionally."

"And really, it's quite adorable."

"You're an evil, demented, self-absorbed dark sorcerer with a yearn for chaos and a twisted sick sense of humor."

"My apologies, love. Mind repeating that? I was lost in your raging glare."

"Why are you being like this?"

"Like what?"

"All winky and smirky and come hithery? It's wrong."

“It must have been that lip lock of ours that confused me. Besides, is it wrong for a man to be attracted to a beautiful woman?"

"Wrong for a sick creep like you being all flirty. You're wigging me out, here."

"Well, if you'd prefer to go inside..." he crept in closer, hands reaching out to pull her near.

Buffy dodged his advances and recouped some buffer space. "That's not what I mean."

"And yet the offer still stands."

"Urgh! You don't get it do you?” Buffy threw her hands up in frustration. “I hate you! I hate everything about you! You're all immoral and perverted and just plain bad in every way."

"In all the right ways, I assure you."


"But I haven't even begun."

"And you never will!" Her eyes went wide with realization. "You're doing this to me!"

"What?" His eyes narrowed.

"You've cast some spell to make it open season on me and my vacation."

"I'm doing nothing of the sort."

"Yeah, you must be 'cause every time something bad happens to me, you show up flaunting your stipend and your good luck. Making me think you're morally born again by tossing me scraps here and there."

"Luck is what you make of it. Same goes for generosity, I might add."

"Bullshit. It's all you're doing. This is your idea of a holiday, isn't it? To make me miserable, get your kicks kicking me when I'm down and making me grateful for it."

All humor had waned from Ethan's expression, replaced by obvious anger. "Regardless of what you think, Princess, everything is not about you. And as for scraps..." He tossed a coin purse to a deck chair beside them. "Here's the last of them."

"What's that? Another fake voodoo doll? Another colorful lie?"

"With a little investigative prowess, I tracked down your cabin thieves and persuaded them into returning what was left of their bounty. They refused at first, of course. But a demonstrative curse of uncontrollable sea sickness convinced them the consequences of their refusal would be hazardous for their profession. And after a few choice words with the cruise director, I negotiated replacement accommodations for you for the remainder of the cruise. The key card is inside along with all-access pass to whatever bar you've chosen as your holiday hideaway."

"Oh.” Buffy suddenly felt very, very small. “I don't know what to say."

"Then allow me." He crossed his arms before him and stared coldly. "Piss off."

Buffy's instinct was to argue, to challenge him no matter what the situation. Instead, she gathered her things and started to walk away as Ethan stepped up to the rail and stared out into the newborn night sky. She paused as she reached the corner and glanced back at his silhouette haloed by the purplish glow.

"For what it's worth,” she called out, “…thanks."

"Think nothing of it.” He didn't bother to look her way. “Oh yes, I forget, you already do."

"You're wrong. This is... it means more than you know."

“And yet the fact remains I'd truly wish you to piss off.”

She hesitated. “Ethan…”

“Fine then. I'll go and leave you to your hatred and mistrust. I'm sure you'll live happily ever after.” He stormed off, much to Buffy's dismay.

It took a while for Buffy to find her way to her new cabin. She wandered aimlessly for a while, reflecting on her confrontation with Ethan and all the while regretting how she'd come off in it. Buffy didn't trust him and knew that was the safest way to go but then again, she'd given second chances to much deadlier foes. She'd given far more than trust to one. Giles had made it an ongoing point of contention and now Buffy understood why.

The room seemed nowhere to be found as she searched the multiple levels of the ship before referring to one of the ships maps. She felt like quite the fool to discover it just a few cabins down from Ethan's. With a quick dip of the key card, the lock deactivated and she opened the door to a gorgeous stateroom.

The room was spacious and beautifully furnished. Buffy stepped inside and closed the door behind her. She slowly took in the extravagant décor which looked more like a penthouse in a movie than a cabin on a cruise ship. The result was she immediately felt like she didn't belong. There were perfectly fluffed pillows on the apparently new couch, the unblemished and lush carpeting that seemed to massage her feet with every step, the graciously stocked basket full of toiletries inviting her to investigate the spotless marbled bathroom, and at the far end of the room, a bed fit for a queen with a sea of pillows at the headboard and a small box placed carefully at the center. A card lay beneath the ample bow donning the lid. A single, thoughtful, white rose was propped through the bow. Buffy slipped the card from its home. It read, “I think it's about time you get a taste of the good life, don't you?” Simply signed “A friend”. Guilt was already eating at her but when she lifted the lid from the box, she nearly gasped at the gift within. A gold bracelet sat upon a cloud of silk. It was made of three thin, intertwined chains which held one charm fashioned in a familiar symbol. Giles had tried to teach her many kanji symbols in his aggravatingly thorough training but only one stuck clear in her memory, the one glistening mystically from the chain dangling through her fingers, hero. To anyone else it would seem a cheesy and common charm but to Buffy and her history with the man giving such a gift, it was incredibly telling. She wrapped the bracelet around her wrist and secured it, admiring how it shimmered in the luxuriant warm light of the stateroom.

With one final glance of the room, she charged through the door and down the hall, stopping at Ethan's stateroom. She knocked briskly, loud enough to catch his attention asleep or otherwise. It took a few moments for her to hear him stirring inside. Soon there were footsteps and the sound of the door latch working. The door pulled back, revealing Ethan wrapped in an attractive burgundy robe. His ashen hair was chaotic and damp as were the wisps of chest hair peeking out from the folds of the robe. He smelled and looked fresh, clean shaven with carefully trimmed goatee making him all the more handsome, even with the worn expression.

“Oh bugger. What do you want now?” He asked as he rubbed at his temple. Buffy didn't answer, only stared up at him. “I suppose you've come for my nightly beating? Well then… on with it. I've got a full day of abuse from Ripper ahead of me tomorrow. Might as well prepare with a few rounds of pound the prat…”

Buffy reached out, grabbed fistfuls of robe and pulled him to her, silencing him with a kiss. Ethan stood motionless, submitting to her every move, as if frozen in the disbelief of the moment. Her hand slipped behind his neck and guided him in closer, inviting him to join in with playful nips to his thick bottom lip. She pulled back, barely allowing him space enough to catch a breath. He stared glossy-eyed at her as a smile teased up the corners of his mouth.

“Was it something I said?” he sighed.

“I think it's about time we shut up, don't you?” She smiled.

“Make me,” he challenged, brushing his lips along hers. Buffy leaned in, locking her mouth to his. Ethan began to step back, allowing her entrance into the room but refusing to interrupt savoring her lips. She kicked the door closed behind her as Ethan's hands busily worked to unfasten her jeans. Buffy stole a breath as she quickly peeled her shirt up over her head and tossed it aside then set her sights on Ethan's robe. She gave the belt a tug and watched as the burgundy cloth parted, unveiling the nude, shameless manhood beneath. The robe slipped off his shoulders and fell to the ground. She broke off her pursuit to appreciate the lean muscle of his torso defined by ashen curls that trailed down his taut abdomen toward his budding erection. Her gaze lifted, greeted by the proud grin of the sorcerer welcoming her exploration.

Ethan moved in to steal another kiss and blindly guided her backward to stop up against a narrow table lining the wall. She watched, intrigued as he knelt before her and drew his fingers along the loosened waistband of her jeans. She gasped as his hot breath broke on her bare abdomen soon joined by feathery kisses which graced every new inch of skin revealed as he tugged her jeans down to pool at her feet. Tingles of excitement ran through her feet and legs as he worked her shoes and socks off from each foot, attentively massaging each with the momentary touch. His thick fingers brushed up along her bare thighs until they met the lace of her panties. She watched him with breathless anticipation as he carefully drew the thin fabric down her legs and guided it clear of her feet. His gaze lifted to hers for a moment, just an instant to reassure her with a smile, before his hand slipped between her thighs and coaxed them apart with a gentle nudge. Buffy's breath hitched as Ethan's face disappeared. Upon the first lick to her eager core, she reached out for something to hold onto, finding only Ethan's head to anchor her. He interpreted her desperate grasp as a request and immediately lavished her with deeper licks and zealous strokes of his talented fingers. It was blissful agony to be helpless under his exquisite tongue. Every lap, every stroke weakened her knees as her arousal threatened to crest. Sensing her wavering stance, he reached up to shift her hand from his head to the table behind her. Thankful for any support, she clutched the table as Ethan's mouth returned to praise her wet folds with newfound determination. It wasn't long before she felt that maddening tension, that beautiful welling of euphoria as it grew and spread from deep within. With one glorious dive of his plump tongue, the last of Buffy's will burst. She bit back her cries, demanding silence as her orgasm took her. Ethan remained there, carrying her through the waves of ecstasy until her breathing began to slow and her senses returned.

“Lovely,” Ethan sighed as he slowly lifted himself from his knees. He paused to unfasten her bra and suckle along her nipples before gracing her with the briefest kiss. “My turn.” His brows arched with the challenge. “But first, I think it's best if I freshen up a bit.” He caressed her blushing cheek and strutted off toward the bathroom.

Buffy took the breather as a chance to relax and come down from her sexual high. Damn it if she would let Rayne outdo her in anything. Even so, she was untrusting of her legs, suffering still from the numbing effects of Ethan's mystical mouth. She was determined to make it over to the bed somehow, to display all the poise she could muster whether or not it was truthful. Buffy listened as he ran the faucet and splashed water on his face. She managed the first few steps and caught a glimpse of Ethan drying off. His body seemed to glow under the warm light with subtle shimmers of sweat shifting his motions, evidence of his previous effort. She pulled herself away from the absorbing view and made her way to the bed, quickly striking a pose as she heard Ethan return.

Buffy watched the sorcerer make his way to the bed at a painstakingly leisurely pace. He was teasing her but she couldn't help but enjoy the game. Ethan's body was a fascinating shrine to chaos, evidence of disciplined fitness yet his skin was adorned with scars and ink, mystic symbols sharing space with signs of abuse. His every movement was fluid, flowing into the next as if practiced to transform even the most menial gesture into a dramatic demonstration. He stopped at the foot of the bed and quickly ran a finger along the bottom of her foot. The tickle triggered an unanticipated retreat and in doing so, shattered her well crafted sexy pose. The game had barely begun and she'd already lost. But what a way to go.

Ethan sunk forward onto the edge of the bed at the very spot her feet had occupied a moment before, and began to crawl his way up towards her. Once he reached the crest of her thighs, he dipped down and licked the firm terrain of her abdomen, slowly slinking his body between her thighs as he inched up her body. By the time the stiff heat of his cock pressed against her pulsing core, she instinctively welcomed him with a subtle buck, inviting more.

“You are an evil man, Ethan Rayne.” Buffy smiled.

“And you are a wicked woman, Buffy Summers.” He reminded her just how evil he was with a fleeting kiss to her lips, just enough to leave her craving more.

“You have no idea,” she growled. In an instant of Slayer speed, she swiped his arm out from under him, sending him off balance and used the momentum of his decent to roll him over onto his back, pinning him beneath her, arms trapped at his sides.

“Something tells me I'm about to find out.”

She grinned triumphantly, giving him a wiggle, a mere taste of the revenge to come. “I don't play fair.”

“Thank heavens for that.”

“Think you got that wrong.” She began to grind her slick warmth along his erection and watched his eyes close under the spell of her sultry dance.

“Thank you for that,” Ethan's voice quivered as his cock did and Buffy relished the reaction. “Before you have your wicked way with me and while I still have some pitiful shred of decency, should we need to take precautions, I have the necessary…”

She silenced him with a single stroke, sheathing him deeply within the heat of her intimate flesh. He let out a grunt of approval. She leaned down to steal a kiss and whispered, “What did I say about the talking?”

Ethan's plump lips curled back into a devilish smile. He licked along his teeth, tempting her for another kiss. She shook her head, refusing the request by mirroring his smile. Her fingers raked through the fine hairs peppering his chest and came to rest low on his tensed abdomen, bracing her as she began a slow retreat along his restless cock. Just as he thought she was about to abandon him fully, she charged forward with delicious force, sheathing him deeper still. His eyes shut under the rush of arousal flooding every cell of his being. Again, she tortured him with the deliberately slow retreat all to drive him within her. He labored to watch her work above him, unwilling to deny himself the vision of her beauty. He found her watching him with as much vigilance, a sort of mutual voyeurism that made the moment all the more sexy.

Ethan's body instinctively strained beneath her, wresting for control. She did her best to keep him ensnared as she rode him with an ever mounting rhythm. Every stroke sent tantalizing ripples along his rigid flesh which, in turn, radiated pleasures foreign within her. The sensations born of his touch reached new recesses, quickly unraveling her resolve to keep him at bay. His hands pressed firmly upon the mattress, pushing his groin up to meet her drives. She gave in as her legs weakened, parting to allow him all the depth he could take. Capitalizing on his newfound freedom, he slipped his hands free and clasped them soundly on her hips, guiding her until their bodies matched cadence. Bolts of elation drew out a gasp from Buffy as Ethan bucked perfectly at the apex of each thrust.

Buffy's abandon and excitement fueled Ethan's and soon, he felt the familiar fever springing forth, warning of his pending climax.

“So close,” she whispered and increased her thrusts, jostling Ethan and shifting the bed.

“So fucking close,” he growled, fortifying himself for her forceful drives. “Harder,” he dared her. She obliged, falling forward to brace against the mattress and further power her final thrusts. Her vigor shattered his restraint and he spilled hot within her in a euphoric release. She followed right after, shuddering every last drop from him until she relaxed her arms and blanketed his body in her warmth. They lay still in the peace of a post coital silence. Their breaths slowed together as their pulses drummed dull along each other. Just as he moved to wrap his arms around her, she separated herself and rolled beside him, giving an uncertain smile.

“My turn to freshen up.” Buffy slipped inelegantly from the bed and hurried off on unstable legs. She took her time recovering from the second round in the privacy of the luxuriant bathroom. Once she'd regained her composure, she returned to the bedroom and offered him a hand towel. He accepted with a grateful smirk and made quick work of tidying up.

“If anyone ever even joked at the flicker of an idea of the possibility of the chance of this ever happening, I would have staked them… twice.” She chuckled weakly as she worked to mask her uneasiness.

“Yes, well you must admit the concept of you ever having relations with a being not of an otherworldly realm is quite an exceptional…” Her sharp glare ended his quip abruptly. “What, too soon?”

“You're still a bastard, Rayne.”

“And you're still quite the bitch. But a ravishing one so I'll grant you a reprieve for your presumably incurable rudeness until further notice.”

“Not so bad yourself.”

“Thanks for that crumb of courtesy.”

There was a long pause accompanied by an awkward silence between them. Finally Buffy worked up the nerve to speak.

“For the first time in my life, I don't know if I should stay or go.”

“If you're asking for my opinion, I'd certainly welcome the company. It's been an obscene amount of time since I shared a bed with anyone.”

“Yeah, same here.” She gave a thankful smile. “I guess we can kill two birds, then.”

“Is that your usual nightly ritual or something special just for me?”

“You know what I mean.”

“Why start now?” He offered a sly grin before he turned back the sheets then leaned over and shut off the light on the nightstand. The room was cast in shadows, leaving a subtle glow from the few portholes lining the wall. He slipped beneath the sheets and fell back onto the bed with arms spread wide, gesturing for her. “Well then, let's see if I remember how to do this, shall we? Care to join me?”

“Thought you'd never ask.”

Buffy settled in beside him, giving him space to adjust as needed and rested her hand on his chest. His dark eyes sparkled contentedly as he pulled her in closer, encouraging her intimacy as his arm tucked beneath her neck, supporting her head in just the right angle to enjoy his handsome profile. She racked her mind for something witty to say when she suddenly realized words weren't necessary. All she wanted was the warmth of his touch and the soothing sound of their breath as they gave into sleep. Who would have thought the Slayer could find comfort in the arms of a chaos sorcerer?