TITLE: It Never Happened (part 5 of 8)
LENGTH: 37,000 words
SUMMARY: It's the summer of 2001. Buffy is buried under a stone that says "She saved the world. A lot." Those she left behind are struggling to figure out how to live in a world without her, and how to continue to protect it.
WARNING: I wanted this story to fit perfectly into the gap between S5 and S6. So if you think about it, you already know how it ends.
FEEDBACK: Honestly? I crave it.
DISCLAIMER: The characters and the world belong to Joss, but he did say that we could play with them. This story was written for fun, not profit.
If you didn't catch chapter one, you can read it here.
A busy schedule was the best remedy for an unsettled mind, Giles decided. His first full day back at the shop was a hectic one, with hardly a moment to stop and think about, well, anything. They had several massive mail-orders to fill, an increase in walk-ins due to the full moon, and to top it all off they spent an hour in the basement trying to capture a rare cemetery-bred albino bat.
He still regretted the day he’d let Willow talk him into trying his hand at live stock.
Patrol afterwards was, surprisingly, comparatively relaxing. The Bot took point, slaying two vampires with almost no help from the group. Her reprogramming was coming along very well; Giles was almost becoming accustomed to her presence.
He arrived home bone-weary, but in better spirits than he’d felt for quite some time. He was careful when he opened the door not to make too much noise, in case Spike was already asleep on the sofa. The flat was dark. Giles felt his way along the wall until he reached a lamp and turned it on.
The room was quite empty. The blankets on the sofa were a rumpled heap; Spike had still been lying in when Giles had left in the morning, so he hadn’t had the opportunity to tell him to fold them.
Spike didn’t seem like the sort to leave a message to let one know where he was, but Giles nevertheless checked the answering machine on his way to the kitchen. Nothing.
He was far too keyed up from patrol to go straight to bed, so he settled in his reading chair with a drink and his copy of Morgenstern’s Demonologies.
Spike came in the door at a quarter past one. He leaned on the doorframe for a moment, backlit by the courtyard light, very film noir in his black leather duster and tight red t-shirt. He looked so precisely like his old self that Giles felt a sharp jab of dismay, thinking for a moment that he was facing a vampire. The flush in Spike’s cheeks was a clue to the contrary, however, and Giles stood up to meet him with only slight misgivings.
Spike smirked, kicking the door shut. “Rupert, luv, you didn’t have to wait up for me.”
Spike was slurring his words ever so slightly; Giles had almost thought he’d said Ripper. “Are you drunk?”
Spike doffed his coat, letting it puddle carelessly on the floor. “No, but I have been drinking.”
“Where did you get the money?” Giles wondered whether he should check his own wallet.
Spike, meanwhile, had moved into Giles’s personal space—so close he had to tilt his head up to look Giles in the eye. There was a predatory quality to his smile. It gave Giles prickles down the back of his neck but he could feel Spike’s body heat: human. Giles refused to step back.
“Now Rupert,”—there it was again, almost sounded like Ripper, and why was that on Giles’s mind tonight?—“You think a bloke like me buys his own drinks?”
Giles cleared his throat. Spike’s proximity was making him uncomfortable, and certainly not in the way that Spike intended. Giles found his attention drawn to Spike’s lips, found that he was aware of them in a way that was terribly inappropriate. They looked very soft.
He recalled the three glasses of Scotch he’d drunk while waiting. Bugger. Perhaps he should have stopped at one.
He retreated one step, giving Spike as withering a look as he could manage. “I hope you didn’t take advantage of the lady.”
Spike chuckled, deep in his throat. “Wasn’t a lady.” He closed the space between them again and Giles, fairly confused by Spike’s last words, didn’t think to move. “Didn’t take advantage, either.”
And then Spike kissed him.
Spike made as if to kiss him, rather, with that feral gleam in his eyes, and yet at the very last moment before their lips could meet he hesitated. Time seemed to stop, or some such tired cliché, and Giles could feel his heart going wild in his chest, and then he kissed Spike.
It was Giles’s first kiss in over a year, which was not the sort of thing one wanted to think about during the event, so naturally it was the first thing that popped into his mind.
It was followed immediately by Spike must have shaved this morning, and then Does this mean that we’re going to have sex?
The answer to that last was most probably yes. There was really no reason to kiss Spike, otherwise.
The heat coursing through Giles’s body now could not be put down entirely to three small glasses of Scotch. He found himself clutching at Spike’s shirt near the collar, bunching it up in his fists—not pulling it off, not yet, but establishing something. Control. Spike’s own hands wandered around the back of Giles’s neck, caressing, urging him on.
It was all too gentle. It was still possible to think about what they were doing, which was unacceptable. Giles growled, deep in his throat, and shoved Spike against the nearest wall. When he tried to kiss him again, Spike was laughing.
“Knew you had it in you, Ripper.”
Giles had the abrupt and extremely unpleasant sensation of all the blood in his body having been replaced with ice water. He wasn’t, hadn’t been, hearing things. Spike had actually said it. He stepped back, releasing Spike’s shirt. “Where did you learn that name?”
Spike raised the back of his hand to his mouth and then glanced at it, as though checking for blood. He wasn’t bleeding, but his lips did look a bit swollen. Giles had let himself get carried away. “Met a nice English bloke at the Fishbowl,” Spike said. “Bought me a couple of drinks. Said his name was Ethan.”
“Ethan,” Giles repeated, rather weakly. “Oh God.” He had been thinking about him lately. For just a moment Giles entertained the entirely irrational thought that he himself was responsible for conjuring Ethan up out of thin air, simply by remembering him. “Spike, you’re in danger. You ... you don’t understand who that was.”
Spike flashed him an odd smile. “Old mate of yours, chaos mage, innit? Never laid eyes on him before, but I remembered the name from that time you came over all demony.” He stepped up to Giles and ran a finger down Giles’s collarbone, making a show of seduction. “Now don’t let him spoil our fun. I didn’t do anything with him, just shared a couple of pints, had a bit of a chat.”
“Oh God.” Giles felt, suddenly, intensely embarrassed. He pushed Spike’s hand away and retreated towards the kitchen. “He probably slipped you magical roofies,” he said over his shoulder. His own voice rang in his ears: clipped, awkward. He ran a glass of water. Two. One for each of them.
“Couldn’t have done,” Spike said over the sound of the tap. “I switched the drinks when he wasn’t looking.”
“And you really think that was sufficient protection?” Giles asked, infusing the question with enough contempt to forestall any thoughts about whether he could have saved himself last year with a similar simple maneuver.
The trouble was, with Ethan around, it was always impossible to think straight.
With an infuriatingly casual grin, Spike took the glass of water Giles offered him. “I wouldn’t worry about me, I’d worry about you. This Ethan chap, he has it in for you, doesn’t he?”
Spike’s assertion was no less true for being an oversimplification. “What did he say about me?” Giles asked, willing his voice not to falter.
“Not all that much. But he was lurking outside your front door—shadowed me all the way to the bar, didn’t know I’d spotted him.” Spike took a drink of water without losing his smirk. “He thought I was your lover, Ripper. And he was burning up with jealousy.”
Giles straightened his back and made his voice go cold. “You’re assuming rather a lot, William.”
Spike blanched quite visibly at the name. Good. Giles hadn’t been sure at all that it would have the desired effect; now he knew. “You had better tell me everything he said, and everything he did,” Giles continued, sipping his own water and wishing his head would stop spinning. Ethan Rayne. God help us.
“I don’t remember exactly.” Spike seemed sullen now. “Gave me this, though.” He fished a crumpled green business card out of his jeans pocket.
Giles took it and held it up to read the white embossed printing: Perfect Image in a cursive script, and an address on Main Street. He ran his thumb lightly over the raised letters, then realized what he was doing and clenched his hand into a fist. “Did he say what this is about?”
Spike shrugged. “Said he was opening a shop, that I should stop by and see it. Didn’t say what it was.”
“Bloody hell.” Giles felt tired suddenly, so very tired, and old. To face off with Ethan again, after everything that had happened in the past few months—after Glory, and Ben, and Buffy—it seemed so petty, so trivial, and yet more than he thought he could manage just now. “We should go to bed. I’ll pay him a visit in the morning.”
“Not alone, you won’t,” Spike said, very much to Giles’s surprise. “Take Red. We don’t want him turning you into a—a fucking slime demon, or something.”
Giles glared at him. “I’m quite aware of Ethan’s capabilities, and I can protect myself—certainly better than you can.”
Spike’s expression hardened. “Well, yeah, the Initiative made sure of that, didn’t they? Wonder what they did to him.”
Giles had been avoiding that question ever since turning Ethan over into their hands. “Whatever it was, it obviously wasn’t fatal.”
“Neither was the bloody chip,” Spike pointed out. “Yet.”
“Are you saying I should apologize to him?”
“No, I’m saying he’s an evil son-of-a-bitch who’s got more reason to want to hurt you now than the last time you met, and you should be fucking careful.” Spike hugged his arms around his chest, scowling at Giles. “And I can’t fucking help you, so swallow your fucking pride and take Red.”
“I never said that I wouldn’t.” Giles touched his glasses, but didn’t remove them. He wasn’t sure if he needed distance or focus. Everything was turning on its head. Ethan was back. Giles had kissed Spike.
Spike seemed to be worried about him.
“So you won’t go alone,” Spike insisted.
“No.” Giles cleared his throat, feeling awkwardly and obscurely as though he should apologize. He certainly hadn’t meant to upset Spike, not in that way. “I’ll talk to Willow in the morning. But now it’s long past time for us both to turn in—you’ll make yourself ill again, with hours like this.”
“Bloody hell Rupert, I’m not made of fucking glass.” Spike scowled at him and then quickly put down the tumbler he’d been holding all this time and strode over to grab the front of Giles’s shirt. “Seems to me we had unfinished business here.” And then he kissed Giles, decisively.
The numerous very good reasons why Giles should not respond to this kiss seemed quite irrelevant, suddenly. Spike was indeed not made of glass. Giles confirmed as much, very quickly, by tugging Spike’s shirt off over his head and shoving him back against the counter. He had a torso like a Greek sculpture, sleek muscle under marble-pale flesh. He grinned up at Giles, showing his teeth, and then with a hand at the back of Giles’s head pulled him down for another long kiss. Giles felt his own arousal rising in frantic need.
“Come upstairs with me,” Giles said. His voice came out shockingly hoarse.
“Bugger that,” Spike gasped, closing his eyes and tilting back his head even as one hand sought out the buckle of Giles’s belt. “Got everything we need right here.” And then he seemed to melt through Giles’s fingers—one moment he was on his feet, pinned between Giles and the counter, and the next he was on his knees.
“Oh God.” Giles found himself grabbing the counter with one hand and Spike’s hair with the other so as not to fall over. Spike had managed in a few seconds’ work to release Giles’s cock from all its layers of fabric and to swallow it almost to the root. “Oh ... God.” He could feel the muscles in Spike’s throat contracting. His legs were like jelly; he wasn’t sure he could keep his feet.
“Stop,” he managed to say, though his tongue felt thick; at the same time he pulled Spike’s hair to force him to stand. “Not yet. Not here.”
Spike rubbed his scalp, stumbling sideways a little against the counter. “What’s wrong with here?”
But Giles had moved on to a different question entirely. “Spike, are you sure about this? We’ve never ...” He didn’t know how to finish the sentence.
“Shut up, Rupert. Are we going to shag or what?” Spike fumbled with his own belt, fixing Giles with a smoldering glare. He was being abrasive and rude, and Giles couldn’t understand why it was making his heart pound so fast.
“I suppose we are, yes.” Giles gave up the thought of heading for the bedroom, fixing instead on fine line of fuzzy hair that trailed down from Spike’s belly button to disappear under the waistband of his jeans. “Let me help you with that.”
In another minute the last of their clothing was shed and kicked aside, and as Spike trailed kisses down the front of Giles’s chest Giles realized that he wasn’t sure how to approach the next stage of negotiation.
He couldn’t remember how it had worked with Ethan. That is to say, he remembered exactly how it had worked, but not how they had worked it out ahead of time.
“Were you planning to—I mean, would you rather...” Giles stumbled over the question to the point that Spike pulled back to give him a quizzical look.
“What are you on about?”
Giles told himself he was too old to blush. It was a lie. “I was trying to determine who is going to be on top.”
Spike’s eyes narrowed. “Well, seeing as if I accidentally hurt you the chip will probably fucking kill me, I’d rather you fuck me, if you don’t bloody mind.”
“Ah.” That was an unwelcome thought. “Christ, Spike, I’m sorry, I didn’t think—“
“Bloody hell Watcher, shut up.” Spike kissed Giles again—and this time Giles noticed that it was gentle, that it had always been gentle, that the bruising, frantic kisses had been all his own part.
It occurred to him that Spike was crippled, in a sense. It was a disturbing thought, and he pushed it away. It was easy enough to do so, under the influence of Spike’s insistent caresses.
With the ground rules established, as it were, Giles found that he was able to relax and truly begin to enjoy himself. Spike responded quite gratifyingly, shuddering and leaning against Giles at the barest touch of his cock. Soon Giles had him leaning over the counter, begging Giles to fuck him already. A bit of cooking oil served for lubrication. For just a moment, with his cock pressed between the tight, muscular halves of Spike’s arse, Giles came to himself enough to wonder what the hell he was doing—with Spike, of all people—but then Spike squirmed and swore at him and told him to bloody well get on with it, and he did.
The trouble with having sex in the kitchen, Giles reflected, was that you ended up on the kitchen floor, naked, cold and sticky.
Spike didn’t seem bothered. He was leaning back against the cupboards with one knee tucked up in a lazy way, looking quite pleased with himself.
“I don’t suppose you have a cigarette,” Giles said.
Spike raised an eyebrow. “In for a penny, in for a pound?” He shifted his legs, casually. “I’m not giving you a bloody fag. Don’t want the Niblet on my case.”
“You don’t have any,” Giles guessed.
Spike shrugged, smirked.
Giles stood up, considered gathering up his clothes, and decided they could wait for morning. “Good night, then.”
Spike looked up sharply. “Oi! Forgetting something, mate?”
Giles hesitated, unsure what Spike meant. “A good night kiss?”
Spike rolled his eyes, taking the suggestion as seriously as Giles had meant it. “The sleeping pill, berk. Actually, how about giving me two tonight. They’re not working so well anymore.”
“Ah.” Giles squeezed his eyes shut momentarily, pinching the bridge of his nose against the sudden feeling of a headache coming on. “I don’t think that would be wise. In fact, I don’t think you should take one tonight. Alcohol is rather strongly contraindicated.”
“Bugger that.” Spike stood up, looking a bit wild. “Rupert, you’ve got to give me the fucking pills. That, or fucking show me where you’re hiding the liquor, because I am not going to have those dreams again.”
Giles thought of the pill bottle, half empty already. The doctor, prescribing them, had warned Giles not ever to use them for more than two or three nights in a row; they were habituating, he had said. “I only meant for the pills to get you past the first rough patch, while you were ill,” Giles said now. “You’ll have to learn to do without them—they’re not healthy, and in any case I’m running out.”
Spike’s expression was edging towards panic. “All right, sure,” he said, with all the sincerity of a junky promising to quit, “but not fucking tonight, okay?”
Spike had tried to stake himself, Giles remembered, that first night on the sofa. There was real danger here—perhaps more from Spike’s tormented mind, after all, than from a mixing of alcohol with medication. “One pill,” he conceded. “You may have one.”
“Bloody right,” Spike muttered under his breath, hugging his arms around his chest.
“And you’ll come upstairs and sleep with me.”
Spike’s eyes widened. He hadn’t expected that. Neither had Giles—he hadn’t thought before he spoke.
In any case, Spike recovered from his surprise quickly. “Got to be more comfortable than the bloody sofa,” he said cheerfully.
“That sofa is quite comfortable,” Giles said. “I’ve slept on it myself.”
“Want to switch, then?”
Spike shrugged, heading for the staircase. “I hope you don’t snore.”
“I most certainly do not,” Giles said, following him.
Eyebrow raised, Spike looked back over his shoulder. “Who’s been around to tell you if you did?”
Of course the last person Giles had actually slept with was Olivia, last year, but it was rather bad form of Spike to rub his face in it. “Don’t assume you know everything about my private life,” he said as they entered the bedroom, in a half-hearted attempt to salvage a bit of pride. “I might have secrets, you know.”
Spike grinned, flopping down on the bed. “Well, I know you do now.”
Giles cleared his throat. “Yes. Well. There’s certainly no need to mention any of this to the others...”
Spike had propped himself up on one elbow, naked on the bed. His expression had gone quite serious. “Yeah, well,” he said. “There’s a lot they don’t need to know. They haven’t a clue about you and Ethan, have they?”
Giles usually slept in pajamas. He had gone to his dresser to get them out, but then realized that Spike seemed to intend on sleeping naked. He closed the drawer again before he answered the question. “They know that he and I were friends,” he said carefully, “and that we did black magic together when we were young. They don’t know that we were...” Giles hesitated, confounded at the attempt to find a word to describe what he and Ethan had been to each other. Lovers sounded too romantic for what they had had. Partners was a modern word, too strange to retrofit onto a relationship set entirely in the past, and in any case it implied a commitment that had never been there.
“Shagging?” Spike suggested.
Giles almost smiled, but not quite. “I suppose you could put it that way. Yes. What did he tell you?”
“Nothing.” Spike shrugged. “But it was in his voice when he said your name. He’s never got over you, you know.”
It was a moment before Giles could respond in a level tone. “I’d thank you not to pursue that topic any further,” he said.
“Sorry.” Spike did, in fact, look as though he regretted what he’d just said. “Didn’t mean to—fuck, Rupert, just come to bed.”
“You’ll want the sedative,” Giles reminded him. The bottle was hidden in his sock drawer, in fact; now that Spike was watching him retrieve it, he’d need to find a new hiding place in the morning. He had a nasty suspicion that Spike would readily overdose himself in an effort to chase away his nightmares.
Once Spike had swallowed his pill, the two of them settled into bed. They lay on opposite sides, not touching. Giles, for his part, felt a bit awkward. They had had sex, somehow, without establishing an intimacy between them. Giles had asked Spike to share his bed on impulse, borne on the feeling that Spike would be safer if he could keep a closer watch on him. He also hoped he might help Spike cope with the dreams. Spike had asked Giles to stay with him that first night, after all. At the very least, Giles could wake him up if his sleep became sufficiently distressed.
Sleep overtook Spike very quickly, which wasn’t surprising considering what he’d put in his bloodstream. For Giles, it proved more elusive. There was far too much on his mind, and besides he wasn’t used to hearing someone else breathing on the next pillow.
Ethan was back. It was terrible news, potentially disastrous, and yet in the dark and the stillness Giles could admit to himself that he also felt a measure of relief. Ethan had escaped the Initiative, somehow. They had not ... vivisected him, or sewn him up with demon parts.
Ethan had been watching his flat. That couldn’t be a good sign. He had followed Spike and attempted to ... what? Glean information? Gain an ally? It was doubtful Ethan had recognized Spike for who he was, and it sounded as though he had been quite mistaken about Spike’s relationship with Giles.
Or perhaps only prescient. Giles squeezed his eyes more tightly shut and tried unsuccessfully to remember how he had ended up fucking Spike over the kitchen counter.
They hadn’t even used a rubber. God, he hadn’t behaved this stupidly and impulsively since ... well, since the last time someone had called him Ripper.
And on that unpleasant thought, Giles finally drifted off to sleep.