Chapter 12 – Twist of Emotion (Guilt)
“The hands we’re dealt in time all show
Some twisted kind of fate”
- Bloodbound – Twisted Kind Of Fate
It was getting late in the day and March fifteenth was in only a week’s time. Rupert had only met with Deidre again three days ago. He had brewed the potion that they needed while looking back to her book for instructions at every other step, and he was sure that he had got it right. He wouldn’t have been prepared to take it otherwise.
After all, he may not have feared for his life, but he saw no reason for his possible death to be a painful one. Any one of the ingredients in the potion alone was extremely toxic, and if everything in it wasn’t in perfect balance then the dragon venom in it would ensure days of prolonged agony before he and anyone else that took it passed away.
He had used his friend Mike to pass cash on to her, and had left everything else in her hands. Mike, in return, had passed the occasional message back to him; that she had secured the dragon’s teeth, that she had found the occasional other person to work with, that a werewolf in their area had been killed by the new Slayer a week ago and that she had found a half-demon that was prepared to be the host for possession.
Today he was meeting the rest of the people that they would be working with, and they would begin the ritual to tie them to the summoning. He and the host wouldn’t be a part of that, though. Instead Eyghon was meant to recognize them both on their own merits, and speak to them itself, on the last new moon before the New Year, after the rest of the circle had been marked. The last moon was in three night’s time then the summoning itself would be four nights after that. The good thing about being hard-pressed for time was that it shouldn’t give Ethan enough time to find out what was going on.
Deidre had asked him, or rather, told him to steer clear of her flat and he had respected that wish. The place they were meeting wasn’t far off the abandoned factory that Ethan liked to use as a training ground for hand-to-hand and strategy.
Of course he was the first to arrive. He made a point of showing up early, so that he could observe the arrival of the group of people that Deidre had gathered. He had always been able to get a good insight into people from a first impression.
The first person to show was a bloke that looked to be in his late teens. He moved with an economic grace, like no-one had a right to question where he walked, he was skinny, on the wrong side of thin, and his head was framed by ragged-cut limp black hair. His clothing was rough, but looked comfortable, and his ice-blue eyes darted around, looking into every corner before they settled on him. The power that surrounded him was at odds with his small frame, but that was the way it often was with magic. Only those that really needed it ever really developed it, if they weren’t born with the ability.
He frowned as he saw Rupert, “You know you shouldn’t really be here tonight, little man. We don’t take kindly to strangers hanging around. If you leave now you can even walk away.”
His voice had a depth and timbre that was also unexpected, something about it that reminded him of rolling thunder, heard from a distance before the first drops of rain were felt. Even without probing him magically Rupert would bet his last dollar that this fellow wasn’t human. After living with a predator for as long as he had one learned to recognize the signs.
“Nice try. Let me guess, you’re part demon.,” this time he did brush him lightly with the smallest thread of power, “You can call me Ripper. I’ll be orchestrating the spell, if everyone’s in.”
That cold gaze flicked over him, and Rupert felt a brush of probing magic in return. It was only practise that stopped his own power from rising to meet it, so that the guy didn’t get a lock on how strong he was. He had never liked letting a stranger know everything that he was capable of, if he could help it.
“Ripper, huh? I’m Randal. Stenarchian, on my father’s side. So how you get that handle?”
Rupert raised an eyebrow, “Does it matter how or why? I’ll be working with you, not moving in with you.”
Randal looked at him, “Fucking hell, I’m just trying to be friendly.”
“Don’t bother. Ripper doesn’t get on well with anyone.”
Both men looked towards the door, as Deidre came in. Her skirt ended well above her knees, and the white blouse she wore had short sleeves. Rupert hadn’t thought she’d owned clothing like it. He nodded towards her, “Deidre. All dressed up, I see.”
“Do us a favour, Ripper?”
He grinned at her, and then turned his attention back to Randal, “So, Randy. What did you want out of this?”
“Power. My father isn’t just Stenarchian; he’s also one of the heads of the pack down this way. I’m first-born, which means that his position should be mine when he dies, but being half-human I doubt I’ll get a look-in, unless I have power to make a proper challenge.”
Power. That answer was an Achilles Heel in itself if he’d ever heard one, and with it, it was obvious that Randal didn’t know his culture half as well as he should have. The Stenarchian respected power, that much was true, and Randal probably had had a thin time of it, being half-human, but if he earned a position at the head of the pack himself then there was no doubt that the rest of the pack would respect it. Being first-born meant that he should have had more opportunity than most to prove himself, as well. If he wasn’t given the respect due a first-born, then there would be a very good reason for that.
Unlike a lot of the demonic, the Stenarchian didn’t encourage violence simply for the sake of violence, or needless cruelty. Nor would they allow an insane pack member to survive. In fact, even compared to humans the Stenarchian were remarkably reasonable and honourable. Perhaps they were rather archaic, but demons had been responsible for far worse crimes.
“So you think Eyghon will give you that power you want?”
“I know it will. It’s something with power over life and death, right? So what better way to manipulate the living?”
Rupert was careful not to let any scorn show.
So, the half-demon was an idiot. What did he think he was going to do, cut a deal with an elder demon from the tiny, remanning corner of his mind that would still be his once it had possessed him? Or perhaps that it would lend him its strength, and share control of his body with him? A possession of this magnitude would be total, and even if it were not, then there was no imaginable reason why an elder demon would chose to interfere with a pack’s version of politics.
“Sure thing, mate,” Rupert turned away and Deidre caught his eye. In response to her half-smile, he smirked, knowing that Randal couldn’t see it, “good picking, Dee.” He kept his tone as neutral as possible.
She raised an eyebrow, as though to say really, and he nodded to her. He took her bag off her, dropped to a cross-legged position, and unzipped the top of it. Even through his jeans the concrete floor was cool.
“So, how many more have we got coming?” he asked, as he pulled out a jar that was quarter filled with a thick dark liquid that was only just discernable as midnight blue when he tilted the jar up then let the liquid run back down the side. There were few commonly called for items that were more difficult to get a hold of than what came from a dragon. The jar of blood that he was holding wouldn’t have been worth any less than three hundred, even for such a small amount, and some would have been able to sell it for two or three times that again.
“Five. One more woman and four blokes. Names are…”
“I don’t care about names. Names are for people you have to get to know, and I’d rather not know the names of people I doubt I’ll ever see again. If anything goes wrong, then it’s a hell of a lot easier to walk away from nameless bodies.”
“Harsh attitude, Ripper.”
“I prefer to think of it as realistic,” he pulled out another jar, this one filled with powdered charcoal. He sat it on the ground beside the dragon’s blood, and then glanced up towards Randal, who was pacing and glancing towards the door every few minutes.
“Do you think we have enough there?” Deidre nodded towards the blood, as Rupert reached into the bag again, pulling out a knife wrapped in leather, a worn crockery bowl that was covered with glaze cracks, and the book.
“We should have. It’s a shame, though, that everyone has to be done when only five will see the other side of the summoning, though.”
“Only five?” Deidre frowned at him.
“Need a sacrifice, don’t we?”Rupert’s voice was a low hiss, so that Randal didn’t overhear.
Deidre jerked, pulling away Rupert, and stared at him with wide eyes, “You… you… you said that before, but I didn’t realise you meant a… a…”
“A person?” his voice was still a whisper, “Did you actually think a cat or dog would be enough to entice something with Eyghon’s strength? Or can you not wrap your head around the idea of a human sacrifice? It’s one life to pay the way for all of us, princess, and I don’t think your Randal there is the type to flinch back from taking a life. In fact, chances are, he probably already has.”
“How the fuck can you even talk about something like that and act so cavalier about it?”
“Because I know what’s necessary in this world, and I’m prepared to do it. I know this world isn’t a nice place, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. It’s not going to give you a free fucking pass for acting humane, is it? No, instead others will walk all over you.”
“Oh, get off your high bloody horse, Dee. You’re no better or worse than I am. How many people do you think will pay the ultimate price because you turned your back on your old life? How many people have probably died already, trying to track you down? You want the Council off your back permanently. How many innocents will pay for your selfishness if you’re ever Called?”
She stormed away from him, crossing to the other side of the room, but he noted with dark satisfaction that she didn’t leave. Randal watched her, and then glanced at Rupert and quickly away again as he saw the cold anger in the other man’s expression.
Then the door opened again, and the other five came in at once. Rupert stood, keeping hold of the dragon’s blood, and placed everything else on an old bench nearby. The last thing that they could afford was for that to break. It would be impossible to get hold of more on such short notice.
Rupert recognized Thomas, but the other four were new faces. One girl, four guys, just as Deidre had said. He nodded in their direction, as he carefully probed the strangers with a tendril of magic. The woman was reasonably powerful, two of the guys weren’t much more than average and the final man wouldn’t ever be able to do much more than basic warding on a good day, or perhaps float a pencil.
“Thomas,” Rupert managed a faint smile, for the man clad in a denim jacket, “joining us, I see. So, what happened to your ‘magic isn’t real, even though I’ve seen demons’ attitude?”
“Figured if anyone could prove it to me, then it would be you.”
Rupert nodded, then looked to the others, and gestured for them to gather around. Everyone crossed the room to stand near him, aside from Deidre. He caught her eye, and stared at her, waiting, until she finally gave up her position and came to stand behind the other woman.
“So, I’m assuming that we’re all on the same page, people. We all know what we’ll be doing in a week. This is the last chance any of you will get to back out.”
He looked around the circle one by one, as they nodded.
Then the woman that was standing in front of Deidre pushed a few strands of red hair behind her ear, and cleared her throat, “So, you not going to do the old twenty questions?”
Rupert shook his head, “You’re here. That’s all I need to know. Once we’ve done the actual summoning we won’t need words between us, anyway. So, if you’re in take your shirt off and step up to the bench, here.”
To Rupert’s surprise the least powerful of the blokes was the first to step forward, as Rupert finally loosened the lids on the jars, poured the powder and blood into the bowl, opened the book from Deidre’s backpack to the page that he needed and unwrapped the knife that she had brought. It was wicked-sharp and pure silver, with no pattern on it.
“Give me your arm.”
The guy did it without hesitation, but Rupert could see a touch of fear in his hazel eyes that he was obviously making an effort to keep at bay, as he picked up the knife, glanced once at the intricate design in the book and then angled the knife blade against the flesh of his forearm.
“Got a name, my friend?” Rupert tried to put him a little more at ease.
“Lawrence. Lawrence Stine.”
“Not a bad ring to it. Now, the knife is sharp enough that this won’t really hurt,” he said in a reassuring tone, as he made the first cut, “that will only happen when the dragon’s blood is added to it. All accounts say that it burns like fire under the skin, but the pain won’t last for all that long.”
“Okay.” The guy made sure to keep perfectly still under the knife, so that Rupert didn’t slip, and within twenty minutes he was done.
“Someone get me some water,” Rupert snapped, “there’s a sink over against the wall, and another bowl in the backpack.”
He didn’t see who jumped to do it, focused as he was on the man before him, who had gone slightly pale, and was staring blankly at his arm, and the blood running down it. The water was placed on the bench, and Rupert tore the cloth in half, and soaked it, using that to clear the blood off. Then he dipped the other half of the cloth into the bowl containing the mixture that was their ink, and rubbed it over the mark that he had cut. It was less than a second before the guy pulled back, hand pressing against his forearm, lips pressed thin, eyes glazed with pain.
“Next please,” Rupert said, pleasantly.
The dragon blood would ensure that the mark had heeled in a few days at the most.
“Out so soon, Rupert?” Ethan glanced up as Rupert cut through the lounge and pulled open a drawer on the far side of the room, grabbing out a whiskey bottle that he’d left in there. No point in going for a glass. He didn’t need one tonight.
Ignoring it he threw himself down in one of the chairs, and twisted the top off the bottle to take a large swallow. Seconds later the bottle was being pulled out of his hands. Rupert raised his head and glared at Ethan, trying to kill it with willpower alone.
“I can’t fucking do this… something like this… I can’t do it straight. If… if… if… if it comes to… to what it might, then I can’t do it like this. I… I’m not sure that I can see him throw his life away,” he admitted, his voice a strangled whisper, “So give the fucking bottle back, you cunt.”
“You need a clear head, not an addled brain and softened body.”
“No, a clear head is the last thing I need right about now.”
“You know at least a dozen other ways to get what you want.”
At the moment he was loath to follow any of Ethan’s advice, perhaps even more so because it made sense. But that was the problem, it did make sense.
He had been stupid, so, so stupid, not considering that he might affect the boy. He shouldn’t have had enough of Ethan’s blood in him to do so. The boy shouldn’t have been as close to maturity as he obviously was. Jessie, the friend that he had originally chosen should have still been around, and it would have been even better that he were a vampire. He should have sat the boy down, and forced the necessary conversation.
Ha. Should have, would have, and could have. Didn’t, wouldn’t, and couldn’t.
Thinking about the past wasn’t going to change it. Now, they both had to live with it. But what more was another stain on his already darkened soul, really? It didn’t actually matter any more, did it? Working with a Slayer was a chance to atone, one that he’d never thought he would get. But there would be no making up for this.
There was only one thing that he could do now, and that was give him a little more time to come to terms with his future. He knew that Ethan had been completely serious when it had said that this was a one-time deal, but if he carried his scent properly, then that would settle his body back down, and give him those few extra weeks that he should have had in the first place. It wasn’t enough time to change a way of thinking, but it would be a damn sight better than nothing.
Drawing his legs up onto the chair and crossing them, he rested his hands on his knees and focused on the sound and feel of his breathing. In, and out, in and out. If he thought about things, actually thought about them, then he knew that there was no way his composure would last.
He closed his eyes, and visualised an electric charge in the air, carrying what he felt that he so desperately needed. A way to disconnect, a way to make things easier, not just for himself but for the frightened young man up there. He needed power in his fingertips, something that he could spread with a touch, and he couldn’t go so far under that he forgot himself.
Twisted quasi-Latin fell easily from his lips. This wasn’t a spell that he had ever used before, but he understood the theory behind it well enough. Already, he could feel power, energy crackling through his fingertips, moving through his body. It was impossible to think or to focus on any one thing, this much power at his beck and call. All those worries and concerns that he’d had fell to the wayside, and the sound of his own heartbeat, sending the wild magic coursing through his veins was the most fascinating sound in the world.
He hadn’t heard Ethan go, but it was gone. His skin felt too tight, his clothing felt too restrictive. He could see patterns spinning through the air, and each one the he disrupted sent a different feeling though him. He was reeling from a sensual overload. He wasn’t as out of his head as he had been in the past, or even as far gone as on the night of Saint Vigeous. He was separated from himself in a completely different way. What he thought, and what he cared about didn’t matter any more. The only thing that mattered was that this feeling continue.
He watched the air currents scattering as he moved through them, colour drifting as he breathed in and out, mixing colour with colour and creating shades that he had never seen before, as he mounted the stairs one more time. He could see the outline of the bed, hazy and inconsistent, and yet the person on it was the complete opposite, glowing and pulsing, bright-dark-bright-dark with each heartbeat. His breath mixed with the air, several shades brighter than Rupert’s, untarnished and young as he was.
“Your eyes are black. It’s kind of freaking me out, right now.”
He heard the words, but didn’t get what they meant. It was just another noise, as far as he was concerned. Just another marker of time, no more important that the tick of a clock, completely inconsequential to him.
Moving his head closer he inhaled, drawing in the scent of the boys breath. Then, reaching out a hand he stroked the back of his fingers against Xander’s cheek, and heard him gasp at the first skitter-shot hint of magic playing over his skin. He shushed him gently, and rested both hands on either side of his head, holding him throughout his squirming, until his eyes glazed a little, and his body relaxed.
“I’ll give you time, and make it good for you,” his voice was no more than a whisper, as he ran a pair of fingers down the side of Xander’s face, then pressed them lightly over the pulse-point in his neck, simply feeling it, taking in the differences. He’d always imagined that Ethan felt like a human might after it had fed, but that had been wrong. There was living, delicate warmth here, rather than sculptured flesh.
Even when it had fed a sort of heated chill remained, just under the surface of its skin. It was hard to describe, but there were differences. Xander was…he was delicate. Not in the sense that he was weak in any way, but he was distinctly human and humans were delicate. They were soft, and easily breakable.
He could kill this person, even if he weren’t chained back. All it would take was a little pressure right here…he pressed his fingers in against the pulse-point a little harder… or a little more exertion to cave his ribs in. There was something intoxicating, in holding a life in his hands, in the fact that it was his to do what he wanted with, and the human under him couldn’t do a single thing about it. He could take him high or bring him crashing down, give him the means to thrive, or kill him in a heartbeat. If this were part of the attraction that Ethan found in him, then he wasn’t entirely sure that he could blame it.
As he drew a hand down his covered chest, then cupped Xander through his pants his scent became so much richer. He drove him higher and higher, touching what skin he could, and let the power at his fingertips do its work.
Raising a hand, he drew his fingers over the boy’s lips, then leaned forward and brushed his lips against Xander’s. They were dry and loose against his, but firmed up a little as Rupert grasped the side of his chin, and slipped his tongue into his mouth, stroking it against Xander’s. Xander moaned and pushed back, the magic going to his head far quicker than Rupert would have expected it to.
He felt hands on his shoulders, flicked his gaze down to the boy’s face, and felt a kick of self-disgust that was muted by the magic as he looked at the waring emotions on his face. Self-hatred and betrayal yes, but also want and need. Desire. He wouldn’t know whether he wanted to shove him away or hold him closer.
He knew what was going through the boy’s mind, because he’d been there before. It wasn’t much of a compensation, but at least he could make this, Xander’s first time far better, far less intrusive than his own had been. The boy only had to carry his scent, which meant that there was a line that he could draw for now.
“That’s it, relax,” he breathed into Xander’s ear, before taking his earlobe in between his teeth, and sucking lightly on it, running his fingers over Xander’s face and neck. He knew what the spell would be doing to him, and he wanted him so out of his head on hormones hat he wouldn’t be thinking straight, or about what was happening. Grasping his chin he pushed his head to the side and ran his tongue over the shell of his ear, dipping just inside.
The boy shivered under the touch, bitting at his lip to keep himself quiet as Rupert kissed down the side of his neck. He licked under his chin finding a spot that must have been sensitive, because it drew a giggle from him which caused the colours in the air to spin and shift wildly. He knew about tenderness. Ethan hadn’t always been harsh and brutal with him. Forceful, yes, and demanding, and thoughtless by a human’s perception, but it had only ever truly been cruel, by a demon’s terms, when it had been reprimanding him.
Again, he kissed him up over his jaw line and sought his warm lips, light, teasing brushes over his clean-shaved skin, before he pushed his tongue into his mouth again, and slid his hands under that ridiculous poncho, to tug his top free from his waistband and run his hands over the smooth expanse of stomach and chest that he found there.
He felt Xander start at the contact, but a tongue drawn up the side of his neck, and the burst of magic that accompanied it was enough to sooth him again. Pressing his lips to the faint scar that was on the side of his neck he played his tongue over the rough flesh.
Xander whined, making the sound deep in the back of his throat, and as another scattershot burst of magic shot up through his muscle, and Rupert’s thumb brushed over a nipple he arched up, towards Rupert. The nipple had hardened quickly under his light touch, and he grasped the bottom of Xander’s shirts and slid them up past his head, leaving them on his arms so that the material bound his arms together.
It wasn’t something that would hold him if he didn’t want it to. With one hand he encouraged Xander to raise his head from off the pillow.
“Put your arms back, then put you head back down.”
Xander did as he was asked, eyes still half-glazed, and the older man settled back onto his haunches, sitting so that he was on Xander’s legs as he looked at the sight before him. Pale chest, darker around the nipples. Not quite a six-pack there, either, but definitely a young man’s sinewy strength. The dominance and power that he felt in that moment was startling.
Mine. This is mine. The thought startled him, but didn’t break his mindset.
In that moment he wanted to take him hard, leave his marks; scratches, bites, bruises and the like across his skin. He wanted to make this something that the boy would never forget, something that would tie him to him, even if he eventually sought to leave. The only thing that stopped him from doing it all was the look in his eyes, trust coupled with fear. Even though he was half out of his mind on the magic that had been fed to him he was still afraid. That meant that he had to pretend to be humane, and play nice.
He smiled and the expression didn’t feel out of place. The air fed him more of those pulsing, breathing colours and living crescendos of sound that cut into the natural world, tearing it apart and remaking it heartbeats later. Reaching down he undid Xander’s trousers and tugged them and his pants down just far enough to free the straining erection inside.
Lowering his head and putting one arm down on either side of him, he kissed the tip of Xander’s cock, flicking his tongue out over the salt drip that was gathering there. Xander’s curse was just as meaningless as anything else that he had said. He bucked his hips off the bed, and Rupert swallowed around his cock with a skill born of years of practise. A hand that Xander had obviously freed tangled into his hair, and Rupert pulled back off him as Xander tried to hold his head down.
“Fuck you,” Xander snarled, voice rough with desire, the magic destroying all common sense.
Rupert used the moment to shrug out of his top and loosen his jeans, shoving them down as far as they would comfortably go. Closing his eyes he inhaled deeply, and the way that the boy smelled to him in this moment was almost enough to make him forget his resolve again. He opened his eyes just in time to see Xander’s widen as he let his gaze stray south.
Again, Rupert lowered his head to Xander’s cock, and this time he licked up the underside of it, then took one of his balls lightly in his mouth, and sucked on it. He could feel the shudder go through Xander’s entire body, and he palmed his other ball, stroking it lightly.
When pulled back it was released with a faint pop, and Rupert took Xander’s entire cock in his mouth, and swallowed around it timing his breathing as he moved his head up and down. It was the work of less than a minute to get him to the point where he was sweating, and his cock was twitching in Rupert’s mouth. He wrapped his fingers around the base of it to stop him from coming and drew back. He held him as he squirmed and writhed, until the moment had passed.
Twisting his hand he grasped Xander’s cock, and began to move it up and down his length, as he grasped his own with the other, and began to masturbate himself, fast and furious. He matched the pace with the hand on Xander, and unused to it as the other was, it was only a short moment before he shuddered and jerked, as his orgasm took him, and he came, shooting over Rupert’s hand, and back over himself.
Rupert slowed the movement against Xander’s cock, but didn’t stop it entirely, as though he wanted to wring every last drop out of him. Flicking his own thumb up he ghosted it over the head of his cock, and that was enough to bring him to his own orgasm. He shot it over Xander’s chest, then with a growl let go and reached forward, rubbing his come into the skin that was there.
More than one way to skin a cat, after all.
Xander gasped and writhed at the bite of magic, as Rupert’s finger’s moved over his chest, rubbing and stroking. As far as a claim went, it wouldn’t hold for long. He would have to do more soon, but it was enough to settle his hormones for now.
The magic was still beating out its rhythm in his mind, as Rupert tugged his jeans the rest of the way off and pulled his boxers back up, then did the same for Xander and slowly stood. He wasn’t going to give away the fact that he could have undone the chain, but there was something else he could do. Slowly, taking care with where he stood he headed to the bathroom and ran a towel under the facet, which he brought back to wipe Xander down with.
It would have been better if he’d headed back down the stairs, to sleep on the couch, but he wasn’t thinking that far ahead. Instead he lay down in the bed beside him, and pulled the blankets over them. Then he flicked a hand towards the light, shutting it off, and with another sure brush of magic nudged Xander towards sleep.
He closed his eyes. This spell was one that he could get used to. No morals, no responsibilities. Within minutes he was asleep.
The warmth next to him was nice, and the heartbeat under his head was as soothing as the sound of the waves breaking against a beach. But Rupert couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.
Exactly what that was hit him seconds later as he opened his eyes, and bolted from the bed. He made it just inside the bathroom door, before he stumbled and went down on his hands and knees, retching then throwing up on the linoleum just before the toilet-bowl.
Sure, he hadn’t fucked him, but what fucking difference did it make? He may as fucking well have got it over and done with. By marking Xander with his scent, he had completely removed any last vestige of choice that either of them had. Not that there really had been another practical option, but maybe a few weeks would have made all the difference.
Maybe a miracle would have happened, not that he believed in them any more.
His shoulders were shaking, and over the ragged pant of his breathing he didn’t hear the sound of footsteps coming up behind him, wasn’t aware of anything until a cool hand came to rest on his shoulder.
“Don’t you touch me you fucking bastard.”
The hand withdrew, and Rupert glared back at Ethan, murder in his eyes.
“Are you proud of yourself, turning me into a monster like you are?” he spat, “I hated myself once before, but I despise myself now. Why don’t you just fucking bite me and be done with it? Or do you enjoy seeing me loose myself and who I am?” towards the end his voice almost broke.
“No, Rupert. You know I won’t. Besides, you wanted him, didn’t you?”
“Not like this! I wanted to keep him safe!”
“You made your own bed.”
Rupert felt rage boiling through him. He couldn’t hear the rest of its words, as he lashed out with the wildest magic that he could wrap his hands around, throwing it back out into the hallway. Using the few seconds that he knew he had, he shoved to his feet and stormed past it.
Pausing only to pull on jeans and a tee-shirt he reached the front door and went to throw it open, only to find that the handle wouldn’t move in his grasp. He wanted nothing more than to get out of this place, away from the walls that were closing in on him, and the trapdoor that had sprung shut behind him.
“Let me out,” he snarled, not glancing back.
Ethan’s voice came from the foot of the stairs, not far behind him, “No, Rupert. I’m not stupid. The last thing you need is to be out there.”
“I don’t care whether you think you’re stupid or not. Let me out the fucking door.”
He didn’t know what the hell he was going to do. Throw himself at the Slayer’s feet, beg for her mercy? Once she found out what he had done to one of her closest friends, then she would have none towards him. She would probably kill him herself, if Willow didn’t get to him first.
Of course he couldn’t do anything if he couldn’t get out of here.
“Why the hell not?”
“Why do you think, Rupert? You’re going to simply walk out on that pup of yours?”
“As if you give a damn,” he snarled.
Finally he twisted, to look over his shoulder at it. A part of him wanted it desperately to refute that, even now, with everything that he knew about it.
“You do, though. You’ll hate yourself even more if you walk away right now. Go back upstairs and set his free. Give him the run of the house for the day, and for your own sake, talk to him. If you think that I’m going to watch you go backwards then you’re sorely mistaken.”
That glint in its dark eyes was both a promise and a threat. What do you think you can get away with? What do you think I’ll let you get away with?
He knew that he could argue with it until the stars came out again, but it wouldn’t make a difference. There was no way that Ethan would ever give in to him. It never had.