Today I’m back with a continuation of a ‘verse I began in SoG two years ago. My Vamp!Giles story, Magister, seems to have been well received, so I wanted to go back and visit. I just hope this one lives up to the first. If you haven’t had the time to read the first story (I know it’s long), I’m afraid you will be completely lost in this one. So, go ahead, I can wait… And, as always, your comments give me life!
Title: Magister 2 – The Demon’s Legacy
Characters: Vamp!Giles/Willow, Dawn, Ethan, Spike, Buffy
Timeline: Starts right after Magister, just before BtVS season seven.
Disclaimer: Joss never did this…
Summary: Giles may have his soul back, but that doesn’t mean he’s done fighting his demon. Can Dawn and Ethan help him find his place in the world again? And, as Willow recovers back in Sunnydale, the ghosts of their past bring doubt and misery. Against so many odds, is a future even possible for this odd couple?
Dedication: Written in honor of Robin Sachs (1951-2013). We lost a wonderful actor, and I had to make sure one of his beloved characters lived on.
Thanks: To my beta, ashlynvance — . And to all the judges who have seen fit to award Magister, your encouragement spurs me on.
A/N: “Lost in the Darkness" from Jekyll and Hyde. Music by Frank Wildhorn, book by Leslie Bricusse.
Magister 2 – The Demon’s Legacy
Giles felt like he was bound with heavy chains, yet he was not. His limbs were free, only they were not his to control. He was no more than a conscious marionette with someone else tugging at his strings, directing his actions. The only part of him truly imprisoned was his will, his soul.
He felt the magick flow through him as the spell was cast and fabric easily torn aside. She shivered before him, frightened and naked. The terror blazed in her eyes as he stalked toward her.
‘No! I won’t let you hurt her,’ Giles roared in his impotence.
At the same time he could hear his own voice rumble, “It’s time, Willow. I’m tired of waiting for you.” He tried to fight the dark will controlling him, but the harsh voice that shared his mind only laughed at him. ‘Relax, you old fool. I’m about to fulfill your deepest fantasies. And I want you to feel everything that’s coming.’
‘No,’ the Watcher moaned. ‘Not like this.’
He watched as Willow put up her bravest front, a warrior to the last, trying to reason with this monstrous demon. But then he felt his body pressed against her. Felt his lips take hers, rough and demanding. She seared him with her fire.
Still she stood tall, strong and powerful. “A last request from your queen in human form?” she asked.
He felt his body shiver with need for her. “Command me,” his voice rumbled.
Then came the request that nearly broke him. She was asking to see his face, look into his eyes. “The face I could love,” she said.
And Giles wept at her tears as she touched that face, caressed his features, said her apologies for her part in bringing this torment upon him.
The demon roared to life at this, now only wishing to punish them both. ‘Feel everything,’ he ordered the prisoner in its mind. ‘Remember every sensation, every gasp, knowing it was your filthy desire that brought this about. Your heinous, impure longings for an innocent, little child.’
Giles felt himself released as her heat flowed over him. Finally, he had her. His arms surrounding her, her tight womanhood encasing him. All he ever wanted. He needed it all now. Needed to taste her, devour her as she consumed him.
This was what he was. All he was.
Dawn and Ethan glanced sadly at each other when they heard the pitiable cry come from the back of the van.
“He’s having the dream again,” Dawn muttered.
Keeping his eyes on the road, Ethan reached over to squeeze her hand. “One of them, at any rate,” he answered. “I would venture to think that that demon left poor Ripper with enough memories to fill his guilty nightmares for at least a few centuries.” He heard the girl sigh. “Sadly, not everyone can be blessed with my lovely lack of conscience. Makes sleeping at night much easier.”
“You have a conscience,” Dawn smiled at the sorcerer. “You just have to learn how to listen to it again.”
“And what makes you think I would ever feel the urge to do a fool thing like that?”
“Because, instead of running off again, you’re here with me and Giles.” She turned in her seat to look straight at him. “You’re tired of being all alone. You know all you really want is someone to care about. Even if it takes them a while to admit they care about you, too.”
Ethan glanced down shyly for a moment before returning his gaze to the road ahead. “I think my ship with Ripper has sailed without me. Beside, he’s finally declared his undying love for your little witch friend.”
Dawn chuckled. “I just realized that anyone who didn’t know us and heard you say that might think you didn’t like her very much.” Her eyes lit up as that brought a smile to the older man’s face. “And besides… I don’t think that makes any difference. You’re not looking for a lover, Ethan. You’ve had plenty of those. All you want now is a friend or two. Someone who likes you just for being you.”
He glanced over at her, his eyes narrowed in a glare of annoyance at her ability to see him for the pathetic, insecure little git he was. “Maybe I should start with the goal of finding someone who can tolerate me,” he sighed.
She leaned over and put a gentle hand on his shoulder. “I count two already.”
Ethan laughed out loud. “I’m afraid Ripper would see himself more as jailor than anything else in this instance.”
“Well, maybe if you stop trying to mess with him…” Dawn giggle in a conspiriatory whisper.
“Oh yes, take all my fun away,” Ethan chuckled back.
Another soft cry and a thump from the back of the van quelled their laughter. “It wasn’t him. He didn’t do anything wrong. I wish he’d stop blaming himself,” the girl frowned.
“He knows that in his head, but his heart also knows that without his emotions and hidden desires, that demon would have been just another mindless animal. He feels responsible. And, even in the days when we were out of control, I’ve never known Ripper not to own up to his own actions. You’re going to have to give him time to get through this one, Luv.”
“I’m gonna go back and talk to him,” the teenager said, unbuckling her seat belt.
Ethan sighed with a smile. “I thought you might.” He gently held her upper arm as she maneuvered toward the small door between their seats, and whispered, “You can’t fix this for him. Not with a kind word and a kiss on the cheek. No matter how much you might want to. We can be here for him and make sure he doesn’t do something foolish, but it will be up to him to figure out how this new… ‘life’ of his is going to work.”
“I understand all that. But you can’t blame me for caring about him.”
The sorcerer glanced over at her steady gaze. “No, I don’t believe I can.”
Dawn made sure to latch the little door behind her before shifting the dark curtain they’d hung to keep any sun from coming through the cracks. The old catering van Gunn had found them may not have been the most stylish way to travel, but the large, fully-enclosed space in the back was ideal for a party travelling with a vampire in their midst. The girl stood still, trying to wait for her eyes to adjust from the bright sunlight she’d just left to the darkness. She plopped down on the mat they had laid along the wall across from where she knew he had been sleeping, and felt around for the electric lantern. It was only when she laid her hand on it that the soft voice made any sound.
“Please leave it off,” he murmured.
Dawn set it down next to where she sat cross-legged, but did as requested. “Alright,” she put on a cheery voice, “But it’s really not fair that you can see me and I can’t see you.”
“You’re not missing much.”
The girl frowned. He sounded so tired, so down. She wanted so badly to help him, but Ethan was right. There was nothing she could say to change what he was now, what had been done to him. So she sat with him in silence.
It was strange. She knew he was there, likely sitting just across from her, but there was nothing in the darkness to give her a hint of his presence. If he were still human, she could focus on the sounds of his body. A small stomach gurgle here, a joint popping there. But, most of all, his breathing. The sound of his breath could tell her exactly where he sat, even what he was feeling at the moment. Now his body no longer needed oxygen, did not digest food or do any of the things she’d always taken for granted. It was nothing but a dead shell. He was a dead thing.
Dawn hoped he didn’t see the tears gathering in her eyes as she thought. The last thing he needed to worry about was her sadness.
“Does it feel different?” she whispered after several more minutes passed.
“Does what?” he replied softly.
“Being a vampire. Does it feel different than being a human?”
There was a long pause and Dawn was about to withdraw the question when he finally murmured, “It’s… cold. I had always thought that vampires didn’t mind temperature changes because their bodies adjusted like those of cold-blooded animals. But… but they’re just always cold.”
“Oh, Giles. That sounds…”
“I think that is one of the reasons they love to hunt. It’s not merely because they require the sustenance, but for that moment of feeling warm blood flowing through them again. Or… through us, I suppose I should say.”
“Don’t do that,” Dawn whispered sadly.
“Just lump yourself in with all the other vampires.”
“But, Dawn, that’s what I am.”
“No!” The insistence came out a little more forcefully than she’d expected. “You’re not like the others,” she said softer, and kinder. “And it’s not only because you have your soul. You’re not even like Spike or Angel. You’re unique. Because you’re you. Rupert Giles… Only with a few bonus features now.”
Dawn waited for his reply, but the darkness fell into silence again. She let several minutes pass by before asking, “What are you thinking about?” He gave a noncommittal grunt. “Please. Whatever it is, I’d like to know.”
“No. I don’t believe you would.” His voice was darker, a touch more sinister than it had been before.
A twinge of uncontrollable fear shot through the girl, but she managed to keep it out of her voice as she replied, “I know you don’t think I can help you, Giles. To you I’m just a little girl who needs to be taken care of. Maybe even the little brat that managed to guilt you into staying here in this crappy world. But I am willing to try. I just want you to know that I’m willing to listen. Whatever it is that’s bothering you… I’ll sit here and nod, if that’s what you want.”
A thump in the blackness made her jump a little. It didn’t sound like a fist. Maybe his head falling back against the side of the van. Silence reigned again and Dawn decided to let it stretch. He wasn’t ready to be pushed, but she wasn’t ready to abandon him either.
Deep in her own thoughts, Dawn nearly jumped when she heard soft musical tones coming from her companion. The words were barely audible, “Lost in the darkness, Silence surrounds you, Once there was morning, Now endless night…” She waited for the second stanza, but it never came.
“That was pretty,” Dawn ventured carefully. “What was it?”
“Just… just something I heard once. The tune seems to be going through my head lately.”
“I can understand th-”
“Blood,” Giles suddenly announced. “Y-you said you wanted to know what I was thinking about. I was thinking how Angel and Spike never mentioned how distracting it is… Always women around. Buffy, Willow, Anya, Cordelia… It’s overwhelming.” He released a deep sigh, it was an oddly comforting sound to the girl. “I’ve been sitting here thinking how much you smell like food to me.”
His meaning finally dawned on the teenager. “Oh, God Giles, I’m sorry. I must be driving you crazy. It’s just, well it’s not my normal cycle, but stress sometimes bring it on, and last week when I thought I was gonna lose you and Will and everything… It was very stressful. But this one should be short and done soon. And now I can’t believe I’m talking to you about something so embarrassing.”
“It’s natural, Luv. Nothing for you to feel embarrassed about. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t like looking at you and seeing a meal.” It was Dawn’s turn to sigh. “But, if I’m going to live like this, it’s something I’ll have to get used to. I hate the part of myself that can so easily imagine hurting you right now.”
“Are you going to hurt me, Giles?” the girl asked in a low, serious tone.
“Never,” he whispered.
“And I know that. I know that with all my heart.”
“How can you? After all that’s happened, how can any of you ever trust me again? How can I trust myself?”
“Because you are our friend Giles, and the person who did those things was not.”
The low keen he let escape cut to Dawn’s heart. “My body. My desires. And now my memories.”
“I’m… I’m gonna turn this on now,” the girl whispered. “I can’t stand you being a voice in the darkness anymore.” He made a low groaning sound, but no protest, so she clicked the lantern on. He was sitting directly across from her, his shoulders hunched so that the collar of his coat still threw a portion of his face into shadow. The white florescent bulb made his skin look even paler than it already was, and his tortured eyes were sunken into dark circles. He looked as beaten and broken as he ever had. The sight of him was almost too much for Dawn to bear, but she steeled herself against the pain, determined to be strong for him.
“Better?” he asked in a nearly inaudible voice.
“Yes,” she forced cheer into her answer. “Seeing you is always better.” His snort said he didn’t believe her. “Alright, you caught me. Your cheeks are a little less rosy than they used to be.” The near smile she got was enough to give her hope. Dawn lowered her voice to a more sincere tone. “I still love you, Giles. I always will. I know it’s hard for you to believe that now, but someday I hope you will. And I’m not the only one. You’re still a Scooby, part of our family. A very important part. And I’m not even the one who loves you the most. I know it’s hard to believe.” She pulled her backpack over and dug out a sealed envelope. “Willow knew you’d still be having a hard time, so she gave me this to give you when I thought you might need it.” Handing him the letter, she made sure her warm fingers lingered on the cool skin of his hand. “Do you really think she could love you so much if you were what you think you are?”
Giles clutched the envelope, but made no move to open it. A moment later, a knock sounded from the cab of the van. Ethan’s muffled voice said, “Pit stop.”
Dawn watched Giles a little longer, but he didn’t move. She began to rise before he asked, “Am I missing anything? Out there…”
She grinned down at him. “Still just flat farm land. Ethan says we can cut over to the Pacific Coast Highway soon. It will take us the longer way around, but it’s not like we’re in any hurry. We should be able to walk on the beach tonight.”
“Sounds lovely,” the vampire sighed.
Dawn crossed to the small door. “Oh, and…” she began to sing the same tune he had sung earlier in a slightly shaky voice, “We will find the answers, We’ll never desert you, I promise you this, ‘Til the day that I die.” The young girl gave him a radiant smile. “And, in case you’re wondering, you’re neither one. Hyde was evil, and there’s nothing evil about you. And you make Jekyll look like a total wuss. I like musicals, too.”
“Don’t’ tell the others…” he whispered hopefully.
“Our secret,” she chuckled, then left him in the darkness still clutching Willow’s letter.
Dawn blinked rapidly until her eyes adjusted to the bright afternoon sun. Ethan was standing outside waiting for her.
“That took a while,” he commented. “Any progress?”
“I don’t know,” the girl frowned. “He’s more depressed than I’ve ever seen him. Even the times Buffy was mad at him for some reason. I just wish he’d let us in to help.”
“Did he talk to you?”
“A little bit. But he wouldn’t say much.”
Ethan put an arm around her shoulders as he led her into a restaurant for lunch. “My amazing little goddess, Ripper doesn’t talk to anyone when he’s like this. Never me, and I’d bet not even his Slayer. He loves you, my dearest. More than you can even imagine.” She glanced up at him with a shy smile.
Buffy rolled her neck wearily as she let herself into the quiet house. It was an awful day of slinging burgers for masses of people who were too caught up in their own problems to pay much attention to anyone else. Buffy knew that feeling and she tried not to mind, but it was exhausting being practically invisible all day. What she needed was a nap and a good meal before heading out for patrol later that evening. Luckily, Spike had managed to keep the normal demon population in check while she’d been in L.A.
Some muffled clinking from the kitchen caught Buffy’s attention and she went to investigate. “I thought you were supposed to be recuperating,” she said quietly, leaning against the doorway.
Willow’s head shot up guiltily from looking into her cup. “Oh, I didn’t hear you come in.”
“I promised everyone I’d take care of you until you got stronger,” her friend crossed to pick up Willow’s tray and help her to the table.
“I think I can get some tea by myself,” the redhead smiled gratefully. “I just couldn’t stand lying in bed anymore.”
“Still having trouble sleeping?” Buffy retrieved a cup of her own and sat down across from Willow, who was slowly nodding. “The nightmares?”
“I came down here because I thought the tea would help me relax. It kinda became a thing while I was in England. Every night Giles would bring me a cup of tea and sit with me. He never said anything, but I knew he would listen to whatever I wanted to talk about. A lot of times I would cry over Tara, or how much it hurt while the others were helping me control the dark magick still inside me. Whatever it was, he would just be there.” She looked up at her friend with a sad smile. “I can’t even tell you how many nights he was the last thing I saw or his voice was the last thing I heard, how many nights I fell asleep from exhaustion with him still holding me. Even in the beginning when he was still in pain from everything I did to him.”
Buffy reached across the table and held her hand. “We tended to take for granted how amazing he was, didn’t we? Is… is that when you fell in love with him? While you were in England?”
“If I’m honest with myself… no.” Willow smiled shyly. “I think I started loving him when I was sixteen-years-old and found this incredible man in the library.” She watched as Buffy glanced away for a moment. “That wigs you, doesn’t it?”
“No. It would have, but not anymore.” The Slayer chuckled. “Good thing you were too shy to do anything about it back then. Would have given the poor guy a heart attack or something.”
“Definitely would have been a cluck-worthy situation,” her friend giggled.
Buffy sighed, “And now that you can admit you love him, every time you close your eyes he shows up to ra… to hurt you.”
“It’s not exactly like that…” Willow took a slow sip of her tea, trying to find the words she wanted to say. “By the time he really attacked me, he had stopped all his pretending. In his eyes, his voice… there was nothing of Giles there at all. I think Magister wanted to punish Giles as much as me, because by that time he’d realized he could never slip into the place Giles held in my heart. But, when I woke up after the spell and looked up into his eyes, all I saw was pure Giles. I knew beyond all doubt that his love would never let the monster hurt me again.”
Buffy nodded slowly. “Plus, it must have been frustrating for the demon to know that most of what he did came from the feelings he’d inherited from Giles.”
“That’s a very astute observation, Buffy,” the redhead grinned.
“Yeah well… I’ve had some practice with the vampire logic.”
Willow slowly shook her head. “Look at us. Both fools in love with vampires.”
“Oh no… Don’t lump me in with you guys. Your man just happens to be a vamp now because he had to be stupidly heroic and his meddling friends loved him too much to do the smart thing. You two are not going to have any of the convoluted troubles I tend to have with my wreck of a love life. Watch, he’s gonna come back for you, and you two are gonna have the happiness you both deserve.”
“I don’t know, Buffy. Dawn says she’s worried about him. I don’t know if he’ll come back from this.”
“Tell you what… When Dawn calls tonight, we’ll see if we can get him to talk to you. That should make you both feel better.”
“Do you think he will?” the witch whispered hopefully. “That couple of days when he and Ethan were resting up before they left the Hyperion, he couldn’t even bring himself to come in and look at me. I hate that he feels so guilty for things no one blames him for.”
“Blaming himself has always been enough for him. Oh, that reminds me, Dawn says he’s been having nightmares, too. Maybe if you talk about--”
“No, Buffy!” Willow grabbed her arm with worry in her eyes. “Giles can’t know I have nightmares about what happened. He’ll never ever forgive himself. Promise me you won’t tell him.”
“Okay, Wills. Don’t worry, I won’t tell him. You can just let him know you love him and you’re waiting for him to come home.”
“If he’ll talk to me this time.” Willow sighed into her tea, “I miss you, Rupert.”
...To Chapter 2