Fic: Right of Claim: Chapter 7
Chapter 7 – Possibilities (Playing It Safe)
“I’m just standing in the doorway
Trying to make some sense”
- The Rolling Stones – Waiting On A Friend
Rupert wondered what his old man wanted, when it had been as long as it had since he’d last seen him. The last time had been just before they’d left that town where Tristan has been based, to take shelter in another one of Ethan’s damned fox-holes.
That had been two, or three years. It didn’t really matter which one it was, or even how long it had been, not really. In fact the only way in which it truly mattered was that it had proved that he didn’t need his father around after all.
He turned down another street, and kicked savagely at a half-full bottle of beer that someone had left standing near a doorstep. It flew several feet and hit the road with a hollow thud, and rolled for several more feet, spilling drink in a wavering line.
For that matter, he didn’t even really want his father around. It was easier to survive without looking over his shoulder every other day and wondering what the old man would think of his fucked up life. Why was he in town? What did he want? Rupert wasn’t sure he wanted to know what he wanted. How could it be anything good?
He had never had much use for the Council. They were just another set of bloody people that hadn’t been around when he might have actually needed them for something. If they had been on his tail those five years ago like they were meant to be, then maybe the attack wouldn’t have happened. If the attack hadn’t happened, then he wouldn’t have had to find some dark quiet corner to lick his wounds and almost die in, and if that hadn’t happened then the rest of this sorry mess wouldn’t have, either.
And damn it, but the corners of his eyes were not -not stinging, that you very bloody much.
He still would have renounced his home at some time, probably; but he would have been a lot better prepared to deal with things at that mythical later stage. He would have been more careful and surely wouldn’t have got himself into a situation where a fucking vampire would have had to nurse him back to health on its own filthy blood.
Then he could have avoided al the rest of this.
Lowering his head and tucking his hands into his pockets he still exuded a tangible aura of menace. Gods, but was it any wonder that he felt as fucked up as he did at times? His breathing was slightly ragged, and that sure as hell wasn’t from exertion either. If nothing else, then Ethan’s tutelage, if he could use the word, was keeping him in shape.
Or maybe, considering his always-rocky relationship with the Council even before he had run, then he would have eventually sought Ethan out and gone to it of his own free will, with his head turned by stories of mayhem and violence. As little as he liked to consider that scenario, he couldn’t deny that there was definitely a part of him that had responded, and favourably at that, to the sounds and sights of terror and destruction.
These days the Council treated him like he was something akin to a half-wild, overly intelligent animal. Something to be tolerated because they had no choice but to work with him, and something that they had to tread warily around for fear of bringing devastation down on their own heads.
It would have actually been funny, that it would look to an outsider that he had the Council whipped, if it weren’t for the circumstances surrounding it.
He rounded another corner, turned into the cutting wind, and a woman who was making her way up the street crossed the road rather hurriedly, yellow streetlight throwing her edges into sharp relief and shadows across her face.
At least if he had gone to Ethan willingly, then he wouldn’t feel as violated as he did. He wouldn’t have wished it dead as often as he had. That thought was familiar ground. If it had been his choice had then he wouldn’t be living with the beast that had violated him right now, because that was what it came down. It had forced him, taken that choice from him, and he literally couldn’t live without it around. He didn’t think that he could ever be comfortable around it, after all of that.
With a drawn-out sigh, he sped up his pace a little. He wasn’t sure where was going with all this self-analysis, but it wasn’t anywhere healthy, he knew that much.
Especially when the same thoughts had lad him down the same merry track, at least several dozen times before, and he couldn’t do a single fucking thing about it. The chance that his interaction with Deidre might be able to help him find a way out of this for him was a long shot at best.
At the next corner he paused, and did a few quick stretches.
He could spend as much time as he wanted wondering what might have been if he had never been forced to submit to Ethan, or imagining a future of shared passion, violence and bloodshed, and willingly giving it his neck so that it might drain him to the point of death and then offer its wrist, but that didn’t change a single bloody thing that had happened.
After stretching he mentally calculated the distance left between here and where he was going. Another eight blocks, he thought.
Maybe if he ran it then it would be enough to stop him from thinking, at least temporarily. Or maybe he was deluding himself again.
He started to run, one foot in front of the other, arms swinging out wide, and tried to focus on nothing but the sound of his breathing and his feet slapping against the pavement, shockingly loud against the normal sounds of the night.
Loud. Rhythmic. Soothing. He’d always enjoyed the sounds and rhythm of running, had done so ever since he’d been seven and had made a spot on his primary school track team. As he’d grown older, and his build had become more muscular then he hadn’t been suited to sprinting, but he’d still handled distances with more ease than most.
He’d loved the way that he could use it to shut the world away. He still did.
He wasn’t even breathing heavily when he arrived at the address on the letter, and stopped, staring up at the place.
It was a common enough looking London-edge townhouse, really; whitewashed walls and windows all the same size. But that was the way that the Council worked things; they would buy a place wherever they needed it and sign it into one person’s name, which helped prevent uninvited guests from dropping in.
It wasn’t like money was an issue when you had enough to feed several large African villages for the next ten generations, and then still have enough to buy several large planes, with change left over, or some shit like that. There were some books in the Council’s library that were worth more than the average car, and others that could have been sold for a month worth of board and food, if you could have found the right buyer. That was another thing. The Council always knew where to look, for the right buyer or seller.
He wondered if he mightn’t still have time to turn and run back, even as he undid the latch on the gate and started up the path which ran beside a garden that was heavily stocked with the herbs that came in handy for some of the more common spells. Moonlight made the leaves, and a single dew-coloured cobweb glow silvery.
No, he decided, as he mounted the stairs and raised a hand to the knocker. It was well past the time he could have headed in the opposite direction.
He heisted as he felt the wards around the door tickling over his skin, accepting and recognizing something in him. Even though he had never been here before they knew that he held invitation, in the same limited way that a guard-dog would allow a friend to pass, and warn its master of an enemy. The wards recognized him, and the barrier wouldn’t bar him. That was something, at least. It was a bloody pain, needing a direct invitation before he could enter a place.
Finally he struck the knocker against the wooden door, and listened to the way that the sound echoed through the place. It was a few minutes before he heard the sounds of shuffling and the door was drawn open, to reveal a tired looking man who held a book in one hand. This wasn’t someone that he recognized.
“Who might you be?” the man brushed a few strands of grey out of his face.
Rupert shrugged, “Doesn’t matter. I’m here at Adrian’s… that is, Mr Giles’ invitation. Let me guess, you’re Council too?”
He sheepishly raised the book so that Rupert could ready the title, Rites and Right of Passage: Dargan’s Guide to the Ghost Roads and Otherworld.
“I didn’t have a copy where we were, and there’s an influx trying to push through to the Ghost Roads. Need to be prepared for all eventualities, you know.” He stepped back and to the side, “Mr Giles will be back in around half an hour, it you wanted to…” he nodded towards the inside and Rupert nodded, stepping over the threshold, pulling a face as the closer wards stung his skin.
The man watched him closely, a flash of unease in his eyes as he saw the reaction.
“Sitting room is this way,” the man led the way down the passage and into a room at the end of the hallway.
Rupert took one step inside the room and froze as a girl who didn’t look any older that fourteen, with mousy brown hair, skin that held a light golden tan and an expression that was anything but timid, stood and took several stiff-legged steps towards him. Fine muscles rippled under her skin, and her dark blue eyes narrowed. He wouldn’t have been surprised had she started sniffing at the air near him.
“Let me guess. Well met, Slayer.”
“You… You have been stained by the darkness. You are a part of the shadow. Tell me; how did you pass the wards of a sanctuary?” her voice carried a trace of accent, something from Carolina he thought. She moved to place herself between him, and the bloke that he assumed was her Watcher.
She narrowed her eyes at him, and he felt as threatened by her as he once had by Ethan. Perhaps even more threatened, because he knew that this girl would have no qualms about killing him. With that thought in mind he decided it might not be wise to aggravate her. His gaze flicked back to her Watcher behind her, and he gave the man what he hoped was a placating smile.
“Sorry, where are my manners? I should have introduced myself at the door. I’m Rupert Giles, Adrian’s son.”
Instead of relaxing, the Slayer looked even more ready to tear a strip from him. The snarl she made in the back of her throat would have done Ethan proud, and he could read it in her eyes that she didn’t know what to think of him.
“They call you an abomination. The arguments that have been held about you…” she sighed and shook her head, “well I have never heard the likes of it before. Have you any idea how many of them still think that it is worth the risk to kill you?”
He laughed to himself, not trying to hide the bitterness in it, and sat down in the worn, black couch before replying.
“I’d say most of them, probably.”
The Slayer didn’t sit back down, which wasn’t surprising. Her Watcher, James something-or-other if his memory was right, did though, unwilling to leave his Slayer alone with the likes of him.
“They say that you are destined to be the Watcher some day, not just one amongst the masses. So why do you choose to return to a monster’s side? You must know that such a thing can hold no part in your future.”
“Choice has little to do with the matter,” he said shortly.
“I am sorry?” he heard the question in it.
“A master’s command,” he said smoothly in Latin. His voice was low, but he knew that she had heard exactly what he’d said as her expression froze.
“But such a thing could only work in the first place with agreement. Why not simply renounce the declaration?”
“You don’t think that if it were that simple then I would have, girl?”
“You have no right to call me girl!” she drew herself up a little, and Rupert tried to act as though he were unimpressed.
“And you have no right to talk about matters that you don’t have the first fucking clue about,” he flicked back to Latin again, “A tie born of blood and natural power. What’s your response to that, then?”
“Impossible,” she breathed, after a long-drawn hesitation.
“Not impossible, I’m afraid,” a weary voice came from the doorway, and all three of them turned towards the doorway.
“Giles,” James whoever-the-hell-he-was sounded startled when he spoke, “I wasn’t expecting you back quite so soon.”
“Yet here I am, Edmondson,” Adrian’s voice held a chill that Rupert wasn’t sure he had ever heard before, “right on time. Now, I would very much appreciate if you and Elizabeth were to be on your way. I’m sure you’ve plenty to get on with.”
Rupert watched without making an effort to disguise his amusement as Edmondson stood and lowered his head in the deferring nod that a Council man gave to his superior, in spite of the fact that he was the one with a Slayer.
“Come along Elizabeth,” his gaze moved over Adrian with an equal chill, “Let us leave them to it.”
She followed after her Watcher, master and teacher without questioning him, and Rupert found himself hating her unwavering obedience. How many Slayers had been killed because of that? The enemy was the person who was going to get you killed, no matter what fucking side he or she was meant to be on, and that was all there was to it. He wondered callously how long it would be before Elizabeth would be able to count Edmondson amongst her enemies. A demon would kill her, but there was no doubt that in the end the responsibility for her death would fall to Edmondson.
Then they were alone, facing one another. Adrian was staring down at him from the doorway, and Rupert was again doing his best not to show any emotion. Standing would, and did help with that. He crossed his arms, doing his best not to let the action seem defensive or offensive.
“Rupert,” Adrian nodded to him, “How are you doing?”
“Pray tell me how you think I’m doing? It takes me out to dinner and does everything that it can to keep me wrapped up in cotton wool. Never lets me starve or tries to…”
“Rupert.” Adrian cut him off sharply.
Rupert forced a smile, “There was a part of that I wasn’t kidding about, you know? It doesn’t …”go out of its way to hide feeding from me. Never shy about dinner. He bit the words back with extreme effort, able to picture exactly how that would have played out, “You know what? I get by. Never mind.”
“I do mind, though,” Adrian said softly, “I always worry about you. Circumstances don’t change that.”
“So that’s the reason why you’ve never phoned or written to me any time over the last three years, then? Because you care so bloody much? I’m up shit creek without a fucking boat, let alone a paddle, and obviously you know exactly where I am, but you still won’t throw me a line from the fucking riverbank, why? Oh, that’s right, because you care.”
“You’re right. I could have been in contact sooner. It is because I care for you that I was not.”
Rupert glared, “Let me tell you…”
“No, let me tell you something. Did you think it was easy to do what I had to do when you came home four years ago? Did you think that I celebrated you putting that damned choice into my hands; that either I stand aside and watch you die a slow, painful death, or I invite that thing in and watch you enveloped by a painful life? But at least it was a life. Where there’s life, then there’s always a chance.”
“Did you never think that I might have already made my own choice?”
“You did. It was a poor choice, but it was still a choice, still your choice. All that you left for me to do was try and pick up the bloody pieces. Inviting that thing into my home and then standing aside was the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do. You want a god-damned comparison? It was harder than watching your mother die. At least when that happened I still had a hope of keeping you safe. I promised your mother that I would protect you. So what choice should I have made? Tell me, should protecting you have truly meant your death, or was I right to make you live?!”
He was yelling, shaking, they both were, and they were toe to toe without Rupert remembering standing up or stalking closer. He could see tears at the corners of his father’s eyes and he knew that that look of anguish on his face, that feeling of betrayal which was so obvious must have mirrored his own.
Rupert took a few ragged breaths, “I didn’t want to die. But I didn’t want to live, either, not like that.”
Adrian took a couple of steps forward, and reached out a hand. Rupert drew back, and stared until Adrian lowered it again. Rupert’s muscles were trembling, as though he were a cornered animal.
“Then tell me what I should have done, Rupert, when you still don’t know what you wanted. If you’ve decided that death is still preferable, then God spare my soul, and take pity on the future world, but I will make sure that it happens. If it is the last thing that I can do for you then I will.”
Rupert felt sick. He looked away, staring at the carpet between himself and his father, wrestling down the desire to run back out into the night. The last thing that he wanted was to say what he wanted, but he knew that his father would be able to read it in his expression. He didn’t want to die any more. Like the old man had said, life was an integral part of hope. He also knew that to do such a thing would kill his father, by slow degrees.
“Look,” Rupert drew another shuddering breath, “can we please just start tonight over?”
Everything about Adrian’s smile was forced, “Good evening, Rupert. How are you?”
Rupert matched it with his own equally false warmth, “Good evening father. I’m fine, thanks; never been better.”
He followed with his eyes as Adrian crossed the room to where a weapons trunk sat against the far wall. Rupert recognized the polished, carved mahogany box that his grandfather had made for his grandmother, and felt another stab of pain. When Adrian rose from his crouch he had a thin, cloth-wrapped package in one hand which he set to the side, before lifting something else out from the chest
“This was already yours.” Adrian gave him the cloth-wrapped object first, and Rupert flicked the covering aside to see the wooden knife under it, carved with delicate runes on the blade and crossed etched into the handle so that a vampire couldn’t hold it.
“Are you sure that you want me to have it again, after everything?” he held it with an obvious reluctance, not taking it out from its cloth nest.
“Yes, I’m sure.” Adrian looked at him again, and Rupert could see that he was fighting to keep pity his expression straight, “As for this, I had it commissioned when you first entered the Academy, to give to you on your twenty-first birthday. Took a couple of years to get it right, and have the charms that I wanted worked into it.”
“My twenty-first?” Rupert asked, hesitantly.
“Yes, I know it’s a couple of weeks late, but here it is.”
“I didn’t even realise,” Rupert’s voice was soft, “I suppose I must have lost track of time.”
He tore the paper off to reveal a black scabbard, and a beautiful silver-inlaid handle that had crosses worked into the design that was on it.
“Once you blood it then no-one will be able to handle it without your permission.”
Rupert startled, “You had a dominis imperio woven into it?”
“Yes. I thought it might come in handy for you. Now, I suppose you probably have to be getting back?” Adrian frowned.
He should probably say yes, and catch up with Deidre instead.
“No, I’ve got the night off.”
“Don’t suppose you’d like to perhaps stay and have a drink or two with me? Perhaps we could talk?”
“Only if that Slayer isn’t coming back. I got the impression that she was working out how hard it would be to stake me.”
“She isn’t going to be back. They have more important things to see to.”
“Thanks,” Rupert made himself sit back down, “in that case, I will”
He should be able to make himself play nice for one night.
The day had been a pretty normal one, really. Rupert thought that it made for a nice change after the last couple of weeks, what with the tension and the anxiety that had been ever-present since the new school year had started. It was rather amusing that all it had taken to make things normal again was a life-or-death situation.
It’s true he mused as he walked up the path to the house, that there are no bonds forged quite like those that are forged by the apocalyptic. He wondered how many others had discovered that fact in their lifetime. That most Watcher-Slayer pairings would have was a granted, but he truly had no idea how many others might have. He could probably count the number on a couple of hands at a stretch.
He unlocked the door, stepped over the threshold and closed the door locking it again behind him, then kicked off his boots and headed up the stairs. There were no demands on his time today, and in spite of a little restlessness he though he might crack a beer or several and try to relax. Maybe he would stretch out in the tub with a cheap paperback for a while.
But what he found when he got up the stairs put paid to that idea. Ethan wasn’t resting. Instead there was an open holdall on the bed that looked like it was fully packed, and Ethan was pacing, a look in its eyes that told him it was feeling like a caged animal.
“What’s going on?” Rupert stepped into the room.
Ethan glanced towards him, dismissed him with a flick of its head and carried on pacing with a slight growl.
“You’ve packed a bag and you’re just going to ignore me? Were you even going to tell me before you walked out, or was I just going to come back and find that you’d left for gods knew where?”
Ethan stopped pacing and looked towards him again, “I should have been out of here days ago, Rupert. With my blood in your veins, you can’t say that you haven’t been feeling restless as well.”
“I’d thought it just restlessness for the sake of… well, restless. What is it, then?” Rupert stepped towards it, and it brought its hands up to stop him at an arms length.
“People call it the Night of Saint Vigeous, although it doesn’t really need a name. The stars align to increase our strength and it creates frenzied state of being. The Hellmouth will only make it so much more potent. If you don’t want a massacre in this town, then I need to get out of here until after the night in question. The influence the stars have increases with age. I need a place where I can be what I am.”
Rupert shivered. He could do the mental translation of that easily enough. It needed a place where it could hunt, and there was no way that the feeding would stop at a few mouthfuls, either. He felt sickened by the thought and hated the fact that there was nothing he could do to stop it. He watched as Ethan licked at its top lip.
“I don’t know what the night will do to someone like you, since you’re still human. Probably not much more than what you’re feeling right now to a greater degree, and a thirst for violence. You should come with me as well, but I know that you won’t leave the Slayer.”
“No, I won’t.”
Ethan threw in a couple more items, brown-wrapped parcels that Rupert couldn’t identify and zipped the bag closed.
“Proximity to the Hellmouth shouldn’t do too much to you, either and I know that if it does go to your head, then it won’t be you in any danger,” it gave the words a chance to sink in, as it opened one of those bottles of blood-wine that it must have brought up from the basement earlier and took a deep drink.
He was sensitive to magic, had enough of Ethan’s blood in him to recognize the scent of a submissive and could certainly feel it when the Hellmouth got…well, prickly, for lack of a better word. Ethan was right, that if he lost his head then it really wouldn’t a danger to him. But even knowing all of that, “No,” he shook his head, “no, I’ll be fine. I need to stay here in case Buffy needs me.”
“Very well, then. You’ve made your call. I just hope for your sake that you won’t have any reason to regret it.”
“I’ll be fine,” he repeated, unsure of whether he was stating a fact, or trying to convince himself of his words.
It looked at him, “I’m off as soon as the sun sets.”
He didn’t say anything else to it, as he left the room, leaving it to go back to its pacing. He wondered if the children were still at the school right now. Buffy and Xander had said something about getting so homework actually done before leaving, and Willow had been going to spend some time with Jenny, going over a few computer tricks. As for Cordelia, well, she helped on occasion, but she still very much had her own life.
He would head back and see if they were still around. He wouldn’t get any peace here today, and being alone with his own thoughts was never a good thing.
“So, any idea what it’ll be this week?” They had migrated to the café where they usually went to unwind. Xander spun his coffee by the handle and passed it from one hand to the other, “Are we due for a repeat of the invisible girls, or do we avoid the zoo again, or will it be something I’ve never seen before, like an invasion of midgets? I mean, I really don’t want to see last week’s jigsaw-puzzle woman again since it was kind of gross and sad, so it’d be kind of nice to know what to prep for, you know?”
Rupert took a sip of his drink and eyed Xander over the rim of his glass, wondering whether the boy had entirely finished. It wouldn’t have been the first time he had seemed to round off, only to start again the moment someone else opened their mouth.
Buffy took a sip of her mocha and half-shrugged, “Well, I haven’t been having any dreams about any of the above, but that doesn’t really seem to mean much when I never had any dreams about them in the first place, does it?” she sighed, “What I have been dreaming about is construction paper and punch.”
“Punch?” Xander asked, beating Rupert to it.
“Seriously, tell me how fair you think it is that I’ve been stuck with the whole Parent-Teacher night gig, and getting it ready on what will pretty much be my own, by the time it’s all said and done, what with who they paired me with. I mean, I know I’ve missed a few classes lately, but it was all in the name of saving the world. Or… various people in it. I should get some karmic break for that, shouldn’t I?” She looked at Rupert, as though hoping that he could overturn it.
“No point in appealing to me, I’m afraid. A librarian can’t do anything about the decisions that a principal makes. If you were the Slayer of a more normal Watcher then you wouldn’t be hanging around, though.”
“Good, how do I make you more normal?”
“Because,” he carried on as though she hadn’t said a thing, “you would already be flying off into the sunset with me to stop the next major threat from devouring a village or country. I may be many things but I’m afraid I shall never be a normal Watcher. I’m not sure you would like me if I were, either.”
“We already like you pretty well now,” Xander gave him that patent grin of his, that a person couldn’t help but smile back at, “and I’m not sure how good normal would look on you. It probably wouldn’t do much for your complexion.
Rupert took another sip of his drink, “It’s nice to hear such stunning reviews of my abnormality,” he made sure the teasing note in his voice was obvious.
“Nah, you’re not abnormal,” Xander spun his drink again. “You’re just unique.”
“Next verse, same as the first, different spelling?” Buffy looked at Xander.
“Cooler spelling, neater word,” Xander confirmed.
Rupert took a very large mouthful of his drink, all of a sudden feeling as though he needed it. He was working with teenagers. How on earth did he get himself into these sorts of things?
“You’ll get it done, Buffy,” Xander became a little more serious, “you can get anything done. This will be the best Parent-Teacher that Sunnydale High has ever seen even if I have to convince Willow to help you get ready for it down the back of the library. Come to think of it, it shouldn’t be that hard to make it better than last year’s.”
“No paint around the books, please. Some of them are worth more than your life is. What happened last year, anyway? I think I missed it by around a month,” Rupert asked.
“Wow, you actually sounded like a librarian there, Giles,” Buffy teased, “Rock and roll and leathers, and a secret love of book-bindings, is it?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” He raised an eyebrow and grinned.
Xander shrugged, “They said it was caused by a leaking gas pipe, and of course it was covered up to their gosh-darn Sunnydale bestest, but the rumour was that some parent got so upset over their kid’s grades that they exploded.”
Buffy pulled a face, “I’m guessing that you don’t just mean ‘eruption of rage’ explosion either do you?”
Xander shook his head, “Wish I did. I always thought it was just a story, but after what I actually saw with my own two eyes last year I think there may have been some truth to it. Not that I really want there to be, even if I can think of a few people who could use a good blowing-up.”
“Xander, almost no-one deserves to be blown up, if only because of the mess that it must leave for people to clean up afterwards. Would you like to be stuck with a job such as that?”
“Okay, so I didn’t think of that side of things. But there are still a couple of people I might be willing to clean up after,” Xander kept his tone light, but Rupert could see the seriousness in his gaze.
“It’s the same for all of us at some stage in our lives, I think,” Rupert offered, before turning his attention back to Buffy, “so what else did you still have to do before the night, anyway?”
“I’ve got banners to paint and a hall to tidy up, then on the night itself there are tables to set up, people to keep an eye on, punch to brew and fingers that will probably remain crossed throughout all of this. Not that that will probably make much of a difference, but no harm in trying. Snyder said that he didn’t want a slap-together job, either, so that makes a difference to my non-existent free time, too.”
“Yes, I can see how it would,” Rupert finished off his drink and toyed with the idea of ordering another one, then decided what the hell. It wouldn’t hurt, would it? Picking up the empty bottle he took it up to the counter and got another one before returning to the table.
“So, again to my original point, is there anything coming up next week that we should know about?” Xander picked up his pie and took a bite out of it, “Like maybe something that will destroy the school which means there’s no point in getting ready for the night?”
“Now you’re stealing the words from my mouth,” Buffy admonished.
Rupert opened the new bottle and took a mouthful, “As a matter of fact, there is something coming up, but it isn’t due until Thursday night itself. Feast of Saint Vigeous. It’s a power-boost for vampires, triggered by an alignment of the stars. It’s named for a vampire that took advantage of it, and led a band into a town. They ahh… well, they slaughtered the whole town in one night.”
“Nice guys,” Buffy took a mouthful of her drink, while Xander finished off his snack, “and it’s on our night in question too, I see.”
Xander looked at him, “Power boost for vampires, huh?”
He answered the question inside the question, “Ethan’s leaving town tonight, will be back probably a couple of nights after.”
“Running and hiding. Well that’s always a good fallback. I vote we follow that plan.”
“I wish that it were that simple, but we have no idea what is being planed. Besides, being out of town isn’t going to help get this Parent-Teacher night ready, is it?”
“Although there’s another good mark in the ‘run away’ side of the column,” Buffy finished off her mocha, and nodded to Xander, “And with that, I should probably get going. I’ve got to draw up some lists for what I need to get sorted. At least it will give me a starting point.”
“Yes, quite,” Rupert gave her a smile, as she stood up and pushed in her chair “Well, I’m sure you’ll do a wonderful job.”
“But you’re not volunteering yourself to help, are you?” she asked.
Rupert shook his head, and watched as she left, before turning back to Xander, turning a thought over in his head, “Well, I’m going to take the car back home and take a ride on the bike. I really need to stretch my legs, so to speak. I don’t suppose you’d care to come with me?”
Rupert watched as Xander’s face lit up for a few moments, before his expression fell, “I’d love to, but I’ve never been on one.”
“It’s easy enough and I’ve a spare helmet and jacket. All you’d need to do is sit and hold on to me.”
“That’d be cool. If you’re sure you want company, that is.”
“I wouldn’t have offered, otherwise.”
“In that case I’m in.”
“Good lad,” Rupert drunk the new bottle down in a single motion, and then stood, “Finish up, then. I’ll just pay, and I’ll meet you out at the car.”
It was right on sunset, so Ethan would be gone by the time he got there, so that was one less thing to worry about. His feet were itching to get moving.
Restlessness and a hunger for violence. Sounds lovely.
He wondered how bad it would be on the night in question. Maybe he should lock the door and hide away in his house.
A.N - dominis imperio = master’s command, if I’m remembering rightly.