Flashback
By
Linda B

TITLE: Flashback
AUTHOR: Linda B
EMAIL: DocVirgo2@aol.com
SPOILERS: Up through Season Four
SUMMARY: I don't want to spoil it!
RATING: R, at some points, NC-17. This story contains drug use, and slash.
DISTRIBUTION: Just drop me a line!
DISCLAIMER: As we all know, these characters are not mine. They belong to Joss, Mutant Enemy, WB, and Fox.
FEEDBACK: But of course! Please! I'll love you!

NOTE: A great Big thanks to Nikki Dutton and Lizz for the feedback, as well as to Nancy Mansfield for the URL, and her time, making this nominationable. I like to make up words.


Rupert Giles sat back on the cushions, eyes bloodshot with a ridiculous grin on his face.

"Thanks, man." He took the glass charm from Ethan's outstretched fingers, then reached back again for the lighter. The tunes of Cream's "Cross Roads" belted out from the record player across the room. "I've been thinking... maybe there is a God, and maybe his name is Eric Clapton." He looked at the room's occupants expecting an answer. Ethan nodded agreeingly, while Deirdre and Philip stared off into space. "Cause, you know, this music was written for people like us, by people like us. It just grooves too well to have been written bloody sober." He paused in his deep thoughts to lift the glass to his lips, lighting the lighter then inhaling deeply. He held the smoke for a moment, then slowly blew it out in little circular clouds, transfixed by his own actions.

He held out the bowl to Deirdre who wasn't paying the least attention. "Deirdre." Nothing. "Crack head!" He snapped his fingers in front of her face.

Glazed blue eyes met his. "What?!?"

He cocked his head to the side, smiling. "Am I interrupting something? Cause, surprise!" He made a show of presenting her with the bowl. "Take your hit, luv."

"Oh, sorry." She took her turn and passed it to Philip. He looked into it first, frowning, then poked his finger in.

"Man, you passed me a cashed bowl. This shit's all ash."

"So pack it." She then turned back to Giles then. "You know Ripper, I really like that earring on you. Silver suites you so much better than the gold one."

"Really?" He stared at her a bit longer than necessary.

She nodded. "Yeah." She gave him a seductive look. "Can I play with it?" She slid over to his side. "With my teeth?" She purred. Ethan choked on smoke, then stared over at Philip who met his gaze.

"She should know better." Philip whispered to Ethan. Ethan nodded as she did just as she had asked.

"Well, I doubt she's going to mind being used." He then rolled his eyes as Ripper laid down on top of her, the two kissing now. Honestly, he didn't know who to be jealous of more, Ripper or Deirdre.

Buffy woke up with a start, the dream still fresh in her mind. "What was that?"

* * * * *

The next day being a Saturday morning, Buffy went straight to Giles' place. Without knocking, she turned the doorknob and entered, softly closing the door behind her catching Giles in a towel walking up the stairs to his room singing the song that had been in her dream last night. *Okay, this is just too freaky*.

She paused in her greeting, enraptured by his voice. And the shock of seeing him in a towel alone. His back was smooth, the occasional scar catching her eye, his shoulders broad and strong. Her eyes flew down to his legs since he would soon be out of her line of sight. They were muscular, lean and sprinkled with light brown hair, almost blonde. Then he did disappear from her sight and out of curiosity she kept silent as he started on another song. She vaguely recognized it as something by The Doors. A shiver of excitement ran up her spine at the thought of the devastatingly handsome Ripper. Confident and proud. Too excess, which was only okay only because of how the Giles she knew now managed to have those qualities too, in a not so forceful way, which now came from experience. He wasn't the overly testostrated boy any more. She heard him shifting around above her head, when she remembered her very wiggy reason for being there. She reopened the door and shut it again loudly, calling out "Giles! Where are ya?"

His head poked out from above. "Buffy-" he stammered not quite dressed yet. He thanked the Fates for her not walking in several moments earlier, when he had been dancing around in a towel in his room half naked and singing quite loudly. He now had pants on. "Be down in a moment."

He slipped on a sweater and headed downstairs. "What's wrong?" He asked her. There was a 50/50 chance she has news of the world ending.

"Nothing!" She said a bit too quickly. Then she frowned. "Nothing major, I hope. I just had a question." He looked at her expectantly. " How'd you sleep last night? Any dreams?" She asked, trying to sound causal.

He stared at her. "Nothing I can remember. Why? Did you have a dream last night?"

She looked up at him from where she had gotten comfy on the couch.

"Um..." He sat next to her, now concerned. "Its just... remember when Angel and I shared a dream?"

"Yes."

"I... dreamt about you last night." (Giles kept the unbidden thoughts to him self) "I mean, did you ever... is it possible for me too... dream about the past?" He caught on quickly.

"You dreamt about something I did? Your memories of something I have done in the past. Was I mad?" He half joked, thinking it was just unconscious steam blowing its self off.

"No, that's not what I mean. I wasn't even born yet. It was like, the 70's or something."

His curiosity turned to fear. "You dreamt of me, in the 70's? What was I doing?" His voice cracked, eyes wide.

"Smoking pot! You bad boy!" She half teased him. He actually looked relieved.

"Well, Buffy, that was a long time ago, and- " He paused and looked at her. "Tell me everything that happened- in detail" He listened to her, his face turning from deep interest to worry. "You dreamt an actual past event." He said deep in thought.

"Yeah, and my big question is why. I don't like this Giles. It's too weird. I don't need to know that much about your fuzzy past. Your hair was long! And you were just sitting around with Ethan getting along like pals!"

"Buffy, we were-"

"No! I don't want to hear about it!" She exclaimed.

"Well then, I'll spend the day researching. But I'm not sure what I'm looking for exactly. It may take a while. Until then, just tell me about any other dreams you have."

* * * * *

Buffy had trouble falling asleep that night, so she laid awake thinking about her dream, and that wild gleam in Ripper's eyes. She tried imagining that gleam in Giles' eyes. She fell asleep grinning wickedly.

* Giles was concentrating, and people were staring at him in the darkened room, when suddenly, the room was lit by neon blue, the source being the ball of light emanating from Giles' cupped palms.

"Ohhh, I like that Ripper!" Ethan nodded, impressed.

"Its nothing really." Giles said offhand, smiling cockily. *

* Ethan, Giles and Deirdre were high again, sitting in a small circle on a bed. They were silently enjoying Led Zeppelin, until Deirdre grinned madly. "Ripper?"

"Yeah?"

"Truth or dare?"

"Dare. You know that."

"Kiss Ethan."

"What?" Ethan looked up startled as Giles did the same. Her smile grew wider. The two men looked at each other, then away. By the time Giles looked back, they were both staring at him.

"If you do and it's okay, I'll join in." Deirdre promised in seductive tones.

Ethan shrugged and looked at Giles expectantly. "Well?"

Giles stared at Ethan. "You want me to fuckin' kiss you?" He asked surprised. Ethan shrugged again. "Why not, mate. You've done it with two girls. Why not a girl and a guy? Double your pleasure, double your fun!"

Giles considered then sighed, then leaned in for the hesitant kill. "Ok..." *

* * * * *

The next morning Buffy found herself at Giles' house again. She grinned and let herself in, but instead of finding her ex-watcher half naked like she had hoped, she found him sitting at the kitchen bar drinking from a mug and reading the paper. Fully dressed for the day in loose fitting jeans and a sweater.

"Morning Giles." He turned his attention to her finally, his eyes alone expressing his anxiety.

"Good morning Buffy. How did you sleep last night?"

"Can you still do that thing with a ball of light?"

"Excuse me?" He looked at her oddly.

"You know, that thing when you make a ball of light. Can you still do that? It's cool."

He frowned. "I don't know. If I wanted to, perhaps."

"Will you do it now?"

"No"

"Why not?"

"What did you dream about exactly last night Buffy?"

"Yet more stuff about you I didn't need to know."

"Oh, dear."

"To put it lightly. Why is this happening?"

"I don't know, but I wish I did. I haven't been able to find a thing. Tell me in detail what happened."

She hesitated. How could she tell him she saw him making out with another man? A man he hated- Buffy paused in thought. Giles' complex relationship with Ethan was starting to make more sense.

"Well... it was like, in two segments. The ball of light was the first one."

He nodded. "And the second one?" He prompted her.

"Well, " she flushed. He raised his eyebrows. "You were playing truth or dare... with Ethan and Deirdre."

He put his head in his hands. He didn't need to hear anymore. "I want this to stop now!"

"Its not like I can control it!" Giles got up and left the room, obviously mortified Buffy knew the truth about one of his deepest, darkest secrets. Ethan.

* * * * *

She gave him some time to cool down and regain his sense of dignity. She came back to the apartment a few hours later and found him deep in research.

"Find anything?"

"Nothing that will help to stop your dreams before..." He broke himself off.

"Before I know everything you don't want me to know about you." She said slowly.

"Buffy you should realize why. I'm not proud of my past. And I'd like to keep it..."

"Secret."

"Well...yes."

Buffy couldn't help the tang of pain she felt at that. "Giles, your past helps make you who you are today. You can't escape it or repress it, because it's part of you. I've learned that much from experience."

He looked up at her, his face clearly stating the end of the discussion.

A thought came to him then. "Has every dream about me also been about Ethan?"

Buffy saw his point immediately. "Yes. This is his work, isn't it?"

"That's our best bet by far. Come on, we're going Ethan hunting."

"Ok, let's call the guys, it'll be easier if we-"

"Buffy. I'd.... rather not get the others into this one, if you don't mind. It's just... It's too personal." He finished with a tiny nod.

Buffy gave him a sour expression. "All right Mr. Deep Dark Secrets. Let's go."

They spent the rest of the day searching Sunnydale for any sign of Ethan. They found absolutely nothing. By nightfall, Giles went on his way to look around the bars, and Buffy started patrol.

She walked through the park thinking, *Yeah, right. Looking around the bars. Sure. Giles and I are gonna have a very long talk someday soon.*

She soon headed home to the dorm after a few kills to the warmth of her bed. She called Giles first to see if he had *found* anything. No answer. After talking herself into believing he was okay, she changed and crawled under the covers, almost hoping for a Giles guest spot in her sleep, since he made it clear he had no intention of telling her about any of the things he used to do.

Buffy wanted to know these things. She wanted to get to know him as well as possible. Plus, he was yummy.

* * * * *

* They were running. It was obviously night, and Giles was nursing a badly broken hand. Ethan had an impressive black eye forming. They ducked down into an alley. "Cor, those fucking bastards!" Giles gasped, obviously in pain, and very, very angry.

"Where the hell did they come from?" Ethan panted.

"More important, why didn't we see them coming?" Giles growled in a rage.

"That bleedin' money was ours, Ripper!" Ethan protested furiously.

"I know, Ethan." Giles took a breath. He closed his eyes. A steady, cold calm came over his face. "Don't worry man." He grinned madly, inspecting his hand. In the dim light of a street lamp, Ethan watched as his hand began to heal itself. Not completely, but enough for a visible difference. Enough to half the healing time it would need. Giles looked up at Ethan, flexing his fingers a bit. He laughed insanely. "This isn't over yet. I don't care if I have to kill off every fucking other gang in this city. We'll get what's ours." He lit a cigarette, and stared up at the stars. *

* * * * *

* The knocking was loud. Giles sat straight up in bed, jolting the nude girl sleeping next to him, but she didn't wake. He looked down at her in a sleepy haze, unable to remember her name. He didn't care. "Ripper!" Ethan pounded on the door again. "Open up man! We have an emergency!"

"What the fuck!" Giles yelled back, getting out of bed, slipping into a pair of dirty, worn jeans. Buffy moaned in her sleep at the sight of his bare ass before he got the jeans on. His body was lean and muscled, his hair shoulder length. A large silver pentagram hung from a long chain around his neck, brushing across his ribs and flat stomach. He ran his hand through his hair as he threw the door open, not caring that he was giving Ethan a full view of the naked form on his bed. Ethan didn't care either.

"We need some heavy duty healing, Ripper." Ethan rushed him down the hall of their group home, to Karen's room. Karen had been living with them for a while now. Almost three months, longer than most people stayed around. And they met a lot of people. And they were all on the run from something.

"What happened?" Giles asked, now concerned by Ethan's rare state of panic. Ethan never panicked. It just wasn't their way.

They got to Karen's room, where Philip was screaming "Karen!" into the unconscious girls face.

She was laying on the floor, in a heap.

"Step back." Giles rushed to her side, and felt for a pulse while his eyes scanned the broken down sparely decorated room. "What happened?" He demanded.

"I-I heard a thud- then something- that lamp-" He indicated the broken ceramic next to her- "broke. She wouldn't open the door so I bloody broke it down and found her like this." Philip said hurriedly. Randal and Thomas were also awake and present by now. They looked on worriedly.

"Is she okay?" Thomas asked with trepidation.

"No, you fucking idiot, she's dead!" Giles snapped.

"WHAT?"

Scanning the small room, Giles spotted something in the corner. He dashed to it on his knees, and picked up the discarded needle. He skidded back to her body, pushing up her sleeves and found the marks on the insides of her arms. "FUCK!" He cried. He looked up at Philip his eyes dead serious. "Where did she get this shit?"

Philip looked at him shocked. "I don't know man, I had no idea!"

Ripper got to his feet and grabbed him by the front of his shirt and forcibly shoved him up against the wall. "Where did she get it?" He shouted into his face. Silent tears ran down both their faces.

"I don't know!" Philip screamed back.*

* * * * *

Buffy woke up suddenly. "Oh my god." She sat up in bed whispering to the empty room. She wiped the sweat from her face, realizing that the dampness wasn't sweat. She had been crying in her sleep. She took a few moments to calm herself and collect her thoughts, looking over at Willows empty bed. Then without thinking, she reached over and picked up the phone next to her.

"Hello?" Giles sounded either drunk or just waking up. Buffy looked at the clock. Two a.m. blinked neon red.

"Sorry, it's me. Did I wake you?"

"What was it this time? And no, I've just given up my search for Ethan. Nothing."

She told him, all the while he listened silently, without interrupting. When she was finished she added, "I want this to stop Giles. You were right... about some things belonging personal." She said seriously, but only half believing her own words.

"So do I. Buffy- were you crying?" The worry was obvious in his voice.

"I guess so. Giles- it was so horrible. And you know because you were there. I'm- I'm sorry that happened."

"So am I. But I'm more sorry you had to see it."

"It's hard to imagine - I mean, I fight monsters for my life every night- but that- that was scary."

"It's a harsh reality of life, Buffy. I'm not the only one to have lost friends to drugs."

"I know but," She sighed loud and long. She hadn't told him about the forgotten first part of the dream which came to her again right at that moment.

He seemed to sense her mood change, even over the phone. "What is it Buffy?

"It's a life style choice, Giles. I'm glad you got out of it."

"Yes, well... so am I." They both took a moment for reflection. "But there is nothing else we can do about it tonight Buffy. Just... get some sleep, and dream about Riley or something for goodness sakes." He hated saying that.

"I'll try, trust me." Buffy lied. If she was going to dream any normal dream, she wanted it to be about her Giles. And his naked butt. She smiled to herself. "Goodnight." Buffy hung up the phone and laid back down, 'a naked Giles man' the focus of her thoughts.

* * * * *

* Ethan and Giles were walking- stumbling a bit- down the sidewalk, their hands shoved in the pockets of their leather jackets. Their breath was visible in the cold night air. A slightly older woman walked past them on the otherwise empty street, blonde hair long, red skirt short.

"Hello..." Giles breathed her way. "Man, would I love a piece of that." He said to Ethan loud enough for her to hear. He chuckled just as loudly in response.

"I hear that, mate."

She stopped and turned on her heal to glare at the pair. "Excuse me?" She looked pissed.

Ethan smiled and turned, walking up to her, Giles at his side. "Sorry, Miss, but me friend and I were just admiring you legs."

A look of anger passed over her already annoyed face. Giles' grin grew wider. "Yeah, well keep you eyes to yourselves." She turned away.

"What a bitch!" Giles exclaimed.

She turned back and looked at them again. "Yeah, so sod off!" She started walking away.

She hadn't counted on them walking after her. Which is just what they did.

"Come on baby!" Giles called. "Can't take a compliment?" He laughed, practically giggling. The thugs giggling made her more than a bit nervous, as she looked back over her shoulder, then picked up her pace. So did they.

"So your saying that you don't want to party with us?" Ethan called ahead.

She ignored them. They silently caught up with her, and each took her by the arm, dragging her into an alley.

She screamed, then shouted "Get you fucking hands off of-" Giles clamped his hand over her mouth, shoving her back against the alley wall.

"You know, for such a beautiful woman, you've got ghastly language." He breathed coldly into her face, pressing his body up against hers, trapping her. She looked into his eyes, her own wide and fearful.

"What now..." Ethan pondered, clearly enjoying himself. "She's pretty, mate. And probably rich. Probably thinks she's better than us or something."

Giles snorted. "Money... moneys about power. Well, miss... we are but humble folk... and who has the power right now?" He asked softly. She whimpered under his hand, eyes darting left and right.

"I'm sorry miss, but my friend and I here are on drugs, you see." Ethan stated matter-of- factly.

"And something a little stronger." She whimpered again.

Ethan passed something to Giles' free hand. Her eyes returned to Giles' when she heard the cold clicking of metal against metal. He held the open switchblade up for her to see. She tried to scream.

"Shush now, luv." His eyes were cold swirls of green and...*was that yellow?*, somehow visible in the dark. "We aren't going to hurt you." *

* * * * *

Buffy was shaking violently. She had just spent about half an hour throwing up in the bathroom, not caring enough to be embarrassed by the lack of privacy there. She was crying now, curled up on her bed, hugging Mr. Gordo to her chest, thankful Willow was either at class or at Tara's. She couldn't explain it to her, no matter how much she wanted to. Now she knew why Giles hated himself so much at times. She knew that at one point he had been bad news, but... She hadn't known that.

*Eyghon. He had to be possessed at the time. That's the only explanation. No control over his actions. Giles, my, Giles would never do anything so horrible...* But she had seen what she had seen. Nothing could undo that now. But he was a different person then. And it was true, she had loved Angel even after knowing the truth about him. But that was different. He had a demon, and it wasn't his choice. Giles was human, a person with a soul. Could she still love him? Buffy's eyes widened. *Love him? I guess I do... did... do. Oh, I don't know! I have to find out. I need the whole story.*

* * * * *

Buffy walked up to Giles' apartment door. She was about to just burst in, but hesitated. She raised her fist slowly, knocking softly, unsurely. Giles opened the door a moment later. He looked wrecked, still wearing his clothes from yesterday, dark circles under his eyes. Buffy glanced at her watch. It was noon.

"Buffy?" Giles started, not expecting her to be there, for his visitor had knocked. "Do come in. Is something wrong?"

Buffy waited until he was well out of her way before coming in. She stared up at him, eyes puffy and red from crying. "Did you hurt that woman?" She asked softly, the only words on her mind. Her eyes started watering over again. "Did you... kill her?" She asked in a mere whisper.

Giles looked at her, confused, and a bit frightened. "Buffy... what are you-"

"You know what I'm talking about, Giles. The woman you and Ethan grabbed. You- you-" she had to force the words out, her voice hoarse and intense. "You pulled her into an alley. You had a knife-"

He sank onto the couch, his legs no longer having the strength to hold him up. "The dream wasn't finished?" She nodded. "Oh, god, Buffy. I'm so sorry. We didn't hurt her- not physically. I swear it. We mugged her, took her purse and ran off." He looked up at her, his glazed green eyes begging her to believe him.

"I want to believe you Giles..." She sobbed, covering her face with her hands.

"Please, Buffy. We didn't harm her. I swear it on my mother's grave. We were so high... On drugs, and on magick..." He got off the couch and put his hand on her shoulder. She flinched, and he felt his heart break in two. "I'm... sorry-"

"Well, you'd better be!" She snapped, stepping away from him. He snatched his hand back as though it had been burned. "Do you have any idea what you must have put that woman through? Could you even see the terror in her eyes? Or is that what got you off back then?"

He turned, his eyes burning holes into hers. "You think I don't know that? You think I haven't played for what I've done?" He raised his voice to a shout, unthinking in his anguish. "My years with Ethan and the gang were like a nightmare. Only it never ended. I never woke up. At first I was so intent on being my own man, and hurting my father as much as possible... that when it caught up to me, I had to make myself as miserable as possible, just to pay for my crimes. And the nightmare got worse, because I had lost myself into drugs, and black magick, sex and crime. I didn't know who I was anymore.

"I woke up one morning in an alley in a puddle of blood that wasn't mine, and I realized that my facade had become reality. I was The Ripper. No matter how much I didn't want to be." He wiped at his tears angrily. "So that's it, Buffy. That's where I come from. That's what made me who I am today. Are you happy to know the truth? To know that I was a worthless bastard? That the only way I could feel anything at all was by getting fuckin' high on whatever I had access to? I sought love in the form of one night stands, and I kicked each girl out before morning, because after I came, I realized I didn't deserve love." He stopped suddenly, realizing exactly what it was he was saying.

Buffy stared at him, shocked by his candor. And before he knew what was happening she had him wrapped in her arms, sobbing on his shoulder. "No, Giles. It's over, and now you're... you're a good person... You've saved so many lives, you deserve..." She chocked on her own breath, and looked up at him her eyes meeting his. She ran her fingers down his cheek, wiping away his tears with her thumb. "You're not worthless anymore. You could never be worthless. You've paid for the past, and now it's time to move on to the future." She pressed her lips to his softly.

Giles froze, then overcome by the moment, kissed her back firmly, with a passion Buffy herself had never experienced. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into the sea of his guilt and pain, and love.

Overwhelmed, Buffy was only able to concentrate on what they were doing- how he felt, where her hands where, where his hands were. Everywhere. With no hesitation, they found themselves on the couch, a tangle of arms and legs. Buffy arranged herself into straddling his lap and ripped his shirt open, eager to feel his bare skin beneath her hands. The buttons popped across the room unnoticed. He sat up with out breaking the kiss, shrugging the shirt off, before he reached behind her, and violently ripped her tank top in half, tossing it across the room. The kiss turned carnal, a desperate need to feel anything but pain. They spoke no words. Giles tore his mouth from hers, and began kissing his way down her neck, occasionally biting her- hard, before gently licking over the marks. Buffy gasped, both in surprise and in pleasure.

To Giles it sounded like pain. Reality came crashing back, his mind first processing what they were actually doing. He pulled back immediately, staring up at her face.

She looked back down, met his eyes and saw regret. She got off him as quickly as possible, standing, realizing she had no shirt to cover herself with. They stared at each other, unmoving, until Buffy couldn't take it anymore. She burst into tears, and ran straight for the bathroom, locking the door behind her.

Giles stared after her, his face shocked and anguished. There was no excuse for what he had just done. He hadn't been violent with any woman like that in almost 20 years. He hadn't been Giles. The first time he had kissed Buffy, he had been Ripper. He put his head in his hands, and cried.

* * * * *

Buffy sat on the edge of the tub basin, sobbing. It had been the most incredible, intense sexual experience of her life- lasting only about five minutes- and Giles regretted it. No one had ever dared be rough like that with her- in such situations, none of the men in her life had treated her like a... Slayer. They had treated her like porcelain, as if she could break with ease. But Giles- Giles had enough passion and experience, and respect to treat her as an equal. Or like a Slayer. And she had loved every second of it. But when she had looked down into his eyes after he had suddenly pulled away and saw his regret, her heart had leaped out of her chest and smacked her in the face. Without the gore, of course.

She glanced around the room wondering *what now?* She was only wearing a pair of jeans, and her bra. There was no way for her to leave without asking Giles for a shirt first. She got up and walked over to the mirror. Her eyes widened at the sight of deep bite marks decorating one side of her throat. She knew that the marks would be gone by tomorrow. For some reason, the thought saddened her.

* * * * *

Giles wiped his face with his hands, his mind churning with emotions from the present events, and those of his past, before getting up and climbing the stairs slowly. He took two sweaters out of the closet, slipping one over his head, then going back downstairs to bring the other one to Buffy. It would be ridiculously large, but oh well. He paused outside the bathroom door to take a few deep breaths, gather his courage. She probably hated him. If she tried to hit him, he decided, he'd let her. He deserved no less. He had hurt her, after all, in a moment that was supposed to be tender, and sweet. In a time that should have been full of love, he had acted with force and possessionism. If Buffy had even been thinking clearly when she had kissed him, that is. If she had actually meant it. Gods, he hoped she did.

But even if that had been the case, he had blown it. Maybe it would be better if she hadn't meant it. If it had been a foolish impulse... He shook himself out of his revere, knocking softly on the door. It opened, Buffy's face peeking around the edge. He cleared his throat, and held up the sweater, an apologetic look on his face.

"Sorry about your shirt." He said quietly.

Buffy faltered. "I guess you would be. I'd say sorry about yours," She took the sweater, and slipped it on as she came out of the doorway. "But I'm not." She brushed past him swiftly, heading for the door.

"Buffy!" Her name escaped his lips with out him knowing it was coming. He was glad it happened though, because she stopped and looked back at him.

"No Giles... I don't need to hear your apologies. I don't want to hear it was a mistake. You meant it, I know you did... I mean, how could you kiss someone like that, that you didn't want. Unless you were just going to kick me out after you came." She accused angrily. His jaw dropped, before his own anger built up at her words. And it showed in his voice.

"I'm not that man anymore. I would never do that to you. Even if I was that man, Buffy. But I'm sorry, because I hurt you. And I'm sorry I hurt you, because I love you so fucking much!"

Buffy's pounding heart seemed to just... stop. She stared at him, shocked. He had the same expression on his face. "Well, I love you too." She said with anger. "And I'm sorry you don't have the courage to show me how much you love me." She chocked on silent tears.

Giles walked over to her in a rage. "Courage?!? I don't have the courage? Why do you think I'm still here, Buffy! Why do you think I have stuck by your side, no matter what happened for the last four fucking years!" He grabbed her by the arms then, and pushed her into the door behind her.

She started sobbing again. "I love you so much, I can't think straight! I can't even imagine a life away from Sunnydale, away from you. And what have I gotten for all of my love? I get to watch you prounce around in skimpy little outfits, with your newest boyfriend on your arm. I tried to keep it together, Buffy. But I can't keep it together, not anymore. Not after what just happened... what is happening." He shook her tiny form. "Look what you do to me! Buffy, look at me!" His blazing green eyes desperately sought hers out.

She was crying too hard to meet his gaze. He let her go suddenly, turning to the kitchen bar. He picked up a bottle, and took a healthy swig straight out of it. Then another. Then another. Buffy looked up at him, her face hardening at the sight of Giles trying to get drunk right in front of her. Trying to forget her, after they had professed their love to each other. In reality, he was trying to forget himself.

"So, that's your answer?" She screamed, shaking hard with emotion.

He finished his mouthful of Whiskey before looking at her. "Do I have anything else? You said you love me... and I physically attacked you, Buffy. If you weren't a Slayer, you'd have hand-shaped black and blues on your arms, a bump on the back of your head, and those bite marks on your neck would be bleeding. You make me so crazy, I don't know how to deal with it. So I revert... to him. That's the second time I lost control in less than an hour, Buffy."

Buffy stared at him, seeing how true his words were. Before today, he had never been so...violent, so emotional. So angry. Well, with two exceptions, which were understandable. "Then I guess I had better leave." She said softly, slipping out the front door. She shut it behind her, then collapsed against it. Her feelings were whirlpools of anger, confusion and love. How could he make her feel like this? The answer came as she heard him cursing on the other side of the door, then the jolt and sound of glass breaking as the bottle smashed into the inside door.

* * * * *

She slammed the door to her dorm room, stalking towards the bed in a rage. It was still hours until sunset, when she could go on patrol, and kick some ass. She collapsed onto the bed, suddenly drained of energy.

* * * * *

* Giles was sitting on his bed, rolling a joint, cigarette dangling from his teeth. He finished it, then put it into a cigarette pack with the others. "Home grown, home rolled." He muttered to himself, the dark sounds of Black Sabbath almost drowning his voice out. He stood, and began pacing the room, working himself into a frenzy. "Shit!" He shouted, punching the wall in anger. He planted a foot on the wall to pry his hand out of the new hole.

The door opened behind him, admitting Ethan. He stared at Giles for a moment before walking over to the record player and turning the sound down. Giles whirled on him. "What do you want?" He growled, actually showing his teeth.

Ethan eyed him again for a moment, his face neutral. "For you to calm the hell down, Ripper." He nodded his head towards Giles. "It's been worse than usual?"

Ripper almost laughed. "Worse? I didn't think it could get any worse. Apparently, I was wrong." He picked up one of the half full bottles on the floor in the corner and began chugging.

"You know that isn't going to help, mate." Ethan said quietly. He jumped when Giles smashed it into the wall.

"Nothing is going to help me, Ethan. At this point, it doesn't matter." He said without anger, then stared at the broken glass on the floor before turning his eyes back to Ethan. "Go on, then." He said trying to look better. "I'll be fine, smoke myself to sleep maybe."

Ethan crossed his arms over his bare chest. "No, you're not. If I walk out that door you're going to kill yourself."

Giles looked at him, surprised. Then he snorted. "Kill me self? Bloody hell. Get real."

Ethan raised his eyebrow, then lowered both of them in anger. "Fuck you, Ripper. A minute ago you looked at that broken bottle and thought 'I might as well just get it over with.' You can't lie to me, Ripper. Our blood is mixed. I feel everything you do. I know how angry and pissed off you are. I know how miserable you are." He took a step towards Giles. "I can feel how much you want to die." He said softly, putting his hand on Giles' shoulder.

Giles' hollow eyes met his. "It hurts. It hurts to feel this way, and it hurts to know it's really you feeling it."

Ethan traced his fingers up Giles' cheek, his thumb then wiping away a tear Giles hadn't known he shed.

"What are you doing Ethan?" He asked in a small voice.

Ethan brought his face inches from his. "Trying to understand you. Trying to make you feel better."

Ethan's other arm slipped around his waist. Giles looked down at the arm, and when he brought his face back up to Ethan's he found Ethan pressing his lips to his. Giles' mind raced, not that surprised that Ethan was kissing him, but that he was liking it. Giles opened his mouth to Ethan's, shutting his brain down. He didn't want to think anymore. He just wanted to feel. And Ethan felt good.

Ethan pulled Ripper's white undershirt over his head, pressing his body to his in a need for more contact. Giles pushed Ethan onto the bed, laying down on top of him. They kissed tenderly, then fiercely, then tenderly again. Giles felt a moment of panic when Ethan grabbed his ass, then slipped his fingers between his legs, rubbing his crotch through his jeans. But the panic was gone as quickly as it had come. Giles had never admitted it before, but Ethan was probably the one person on earth that he felt comfortable with. Their friendship had always been an unspoken agreement, a thing they just... knew. They were blood brothers now. Why not be lovers as well?

Giles kissed Ethan more feverantly, trying desperately to loose himself in a sea of lust. It was working. Ethan kissed him back just as strongly, trying to keep a hold on his only friend. The only person he had ever met who he trusted with his life, who understood him. The only man he knew who radiated sexuality constantly. Even when he was in a rage, Ripper was sexy as hell. And the most appealing part of it for Ethan was that Ripper didn't even know it. He acted like he did, but Ethan knew better due to the blood bond. He didn't know anyone else who was innocent, yet corrupted and damaged like Ripper was. Except for maybe himself.

Now Ripper was pumping his hand faster over Ethan's cock, prompting Ethan to return the favor. He felt Ripper's fairly built muscles begin to tighten. Ripper groaned then, the first sound he had made during the whole thing, a deep, sensual sound that shoved Ethan over the edge. His seed spilled over their stomachs, while he continued to pump Ripper furiously in a desperate need to hear Ripper come. A moment later, he did, growling deep in his throat before lowering his teeth to Ethan's neck, bitting down hard, his knees and forearms holding up his weight over Ethan, squeezing Ethan between them to him, his fingers digging into the mattress. Ethan felt like a lion was tearing his throat out. He came again, the sound of Ripper's growls in his ears. Ethan wanted it to never end.

* * * * *

Buffy woke up, squeezing her eyes shut instead of opening them, due to the fact that she was having an orgasm. She came down, then looked down at her disheveled body, realizing she had been masturbating in her sleep. *How is that possible?* She thought before the dream was clear in her conscious mind. *Oh my god.*

* * * * *

Ethan paused outside of Ripper's home. Was it really worth the beating he was sure to receive? *How mad is Ripper going to be when he sees me?* Ethan though sadly. He then felt a twinge of doubt in his plan. What if his little exploration in dream magick hadn't pushed Ripper just a little bit too far, but instead, over the edge? He shook his head. Ethan knew where to draw the line with Ripper. He had learned the hard way. It took a lot to push Ripper over that fine line he internally lived with everyday of his life. Ripper wasn't always sane, and he fought it as if for his life, whenever he had an emotion he didn't know how to deal with at that particular moment. Ethan had seen it happen too many times, having lived with the man for years. Loving him for years. Until they had destroyed each other and all those around them. When people started dying. He'd seen Rupert Giles completely insane.

That was what he had wanted to show Buffy. That Ripper was his, and always had been. That she could never understand Ripper, or Rupert for that matter, like he did. He believed that after what he had shown Buffy, she wouldn't love him enough to forgive him. She wouldn't understand what it was like. They would split apart, and Rupert would be forced to move on. Then he would have nothing. Then he would be Ripper.

Ethan's current problem was that he hadn't been able to wait, and was standing on the other side of Rupert's door far too soon. He simply couldn't be so close and stay away from Ripper. Like a moth to the flame. His skin was tingling, just from this close proximity. He started to get a slight buzz. He raised his fist, and knocked on the door.

"Fuck off!" Ethan practically jumped out of his skin at the sound of Giles yelling from inside the apartment.

Ethan shivered. *Shit. Dear Gods, I've finally done it.* He opened the door and entered the now dimly lit apartment. It was his first time being in this home. His foot crunched over glass. Ethan looked down at the broken bottle under his feet, wondering about where Ripper was mentally by now. He had already been throwing things, and was now sitting calmly on the sofa, nursing another bottle on his thigh. He looked up at Ethan in a haze.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" Ripper spoke blatantly to Ethan.

Ethan shivered again, his words triggering the last dream of Buffy's. In order to place each dream in her subconscious, Ethan had had to pick out specific events, and meditating for hours on that one event. Living it over, and over.

"My gods, Ripper. Your must be near passing out. No punch to the face? No knee to my stomach?"

"Oh, I've got yours, you fucking bastard." Ripper spat, sitting up with some difficulty. He stared at Ethan, his eyes burning. "This is all your bleedin fault. Go over there and bring me back a piece of glass, so I can cut your fucking heart out." He said, wobbling a bit, but not breaking eye contact with Ethan.

Ethan stared at him, then sat down next to him. "And then I suppose your going to kill yourself? Ripper, your magickal abilities would be broken in half if I died anyway."

"Like I use magick anymore." Giles snorted.

"No, you choose not too, at this point in time, Rupert. But what happens if you change your mind? What I can do, you could do as well. You were so good at it." Ethan sighed.

"Why do you do this shit to me, Ethan?" Rupert said softly, defeated. "Why can't you just stay out of my fucking life? Cause that's it. My life just ended. You've finally got me, mate. Again... I'm better off dead."

"I know Ripper." Ethan said, standing. "But it's not going to happen." He slowly made his way to the door. "I'm not going to let it."

"I never loved you, Ethan. Ever."

Ethan's gaze swung up to his. A look close to pain crossed his face. "But the choice is yours." He left.

* * * * *

Buffy walked around campus, trying to plot her patrol for the night. Naturally, she couldn't concentrate, so she decided to wing it. *It's difficult, because he goes through each emotion so fast. So fast, it was hard to keep up.*

A half an hour later she was on Giles' street. *Of course* She thought, not really aware of her walking here. She had killed a vamp in the park, then moved on and wound up here. She looked up at the heavens before walking into Giles' apartment complex, then up to his front door. She had no idea as to what she was going to say, because she wasn't totally sure as to how she felt.

She knocked. No answer. She walked through the door apprehensively for the second time today, entering, almost scared of what was inside. Him. Her shoes crunched over the bottle he had broken hours before. She lost her breath at the sight before her. Giles was passed out on the sofa, his arm hanging over the side with blood dripping from his fingertips. The puddle on the floor was almost large. Empty bottles were everywhere. Big bottles. Glass was scatted on the floor, not just in front of the door, but across the room, and around the sofa.

Buffy tried to hold her panic in as she raced to his side to feel for a pulse. She then noticed he was still breathing small, shallow breaths. And that the blood dripping from his fingertips was at a steady pace. She bent down, holding up his arm, her mind frantic at the proof this was done intentionally, not just a cut on his hand. It was a slice down his wrist. She picked up the phone, dialing 9-1-1, while slapping his face.

"Wake up, Giles! Please, you have to wake up!" She wasn't sure if he had alcohol poisoning, because he didn't look like he had much blood left to be poisoned.

* * * * *

One Week Later

"The doctor told me we were lucky I found you right after you passed out."

Giles looked down at his hands. "I guess so." He said quietly.

Buffy cleared her throat. "How was therapy today?"

"I asked you not to ask me about it."

"Well, I'm asking anyway. I want to know." She sat down on the sofa next to him.

"The dreams are still... not happening, right?"

"Yes. They stopped the night- last week. I guess it wasn't Ethan. He would have shown up to gloat."

He looked at her. Then he looked away. "I guess not."

"So, how about a real conversation?"

"What about?" He dreaded any answer.

"Us? If there is an 'us' anymore." She put her hand over his. "I hope there's an 'us'."

He finally met her gaze for the first time in a week. There was a flash of hope in his as of late empty eyes. "I... need some time, Buffy. To work a few things out." He smiled, a small flash of a one, but it was close enough of a start for Buffy. "After that, I'm all yours."

She smiled back at him, before growing serious again. "You want me to give you just time? Cause I don't want to give you space as well. I want to help, Giles."

"I don't need help, Buffy. I just need time. To...sort stuff out."

"Well, when your ready, I'll be here." She squeezed his good hand in hers. "I love you."

He shifted on the couch, laying down with his head in her lap, while still holding her hand. She instinctively began smoothing his hair and rubbing his back with her free hand. He looked up at her then, looking for all the world like a small boy seeking acceptance. He smiled then at the loving expression on her face. He laid his head down on her thigh. "I love you too."

The End