The Madness of My Muse


I lost hope after 175. I lost interest after 176. I lost count after 177.

Days didn’t matter there; time was a privilege only for those free enough to curse it. I knew nothing of freedom then, caged behind three white walls and one of tempered glass. My sky was an uncompromising florescent bulb; my earth, cold grey tile. They watched me endlessly; studied me relentlessly. Torture became my teacher and loneliness, my companion.

Initiative holding facility 413SD.CA, cell block C, or as I like to refer to it… sanities end.

All that there was left to do was whittle away at the empty minutes remembering the past, reliving my every mistake and imagining successes that never were. Had I moved faster, had the location for the spell been more secure, had I requested Council backup, had I removed Spike from the equation before he’d set us up for the trap, none of this bleak existence would have befallen us.

I could see their faces in my waking dreams. You wouldn’t dare sleep there for fear you would never wake again. The beasts might fancy your ear, or arm, or jaw; piecing you out like some demonic junk yard. So I would stay awake and try to paint the picture of my friends, my crafted family, within my mind. One by one they would visit me; Xander, with his irrepressible smile, Willow , with her spellbinding eyes, and Buffy with her… her everything. I remembered everything of her. I would lose myself in my thoughts of them until the next approach of regulation army boots would snatch me away from my wishful reality.

Then one day, in an ironic twist of fate, destiny was delivered to me. The physical representation of my abandoned past invaded my kingdom of an ten by ten cell. And with him came her, my virtually abandoned heart.

Buffy was wrapped within my arms before the glass door of our cell closed behind her and I vowed to never let her go.

“Giles, my God… I thought you were dead.”

It was a strange sound; hearing the identity I’d nearly forgotten being spoken by the very voice I prayed to hear again every night since our capture. Having adapted to the title of Hostile 248HS they branded me with upon processing, it took a moment for my mind to register the connection of the name to the named. Little did she know that with her call she’d given me back a small sliver of myself.

Buffy held me close, my moonlight soldier, but it wasn’t nearly enough. I wanted her a part of me as she was before our incarceration. Our bond was shattered that day. The day Riley Finn betrayed us all by offering himself to be twisted into a hybrid beast of science in trade for our freedom. But Adam denied us our lives as they were, locking us away as lab rats for his own sociopathic experiments and inhuman amusements. Sadly but not unexpectedly, after the transformation, Finn no longer cared for our small band of civilian insurgents. Time fades all things and though my thoughts of her never did, our bond was no more.

“Buffy, I knew you were alive. I felt it.” I lied, choking on my words, millions more all rushing to be heard. “The others… Willow and Xander?” I apprehensively stepped back, giving her some space to breath.

Her eyes examined me with such amazement and sorrow. “They’re alive, imprisoned together in the north wing.”

My heart leapt at the news. “You saw them?”

“He lets me visit with them once a week.”

“Adam?” The idea of such consideration from the monster surprised me.

“Riley,” she admitted, her stern expression tried to hold but I could see the sadness there. “Or… what’s left of him anyway. At first, he wouldn’t let me see you. Then he said you’d been found dead in your cell. Said that you’d fashioned a rope out of your pants and hung….” She choked as a tear fell from her eye, staining her cheek. “I can’t believe you’re alive.” She shuffled forward, burying herself within my welcoming arms again and I held her, hoping to imprint the delicate shape of her body to mine in case it was only a dream.

Though our reunion was wonderful beyond all my hopes, it was so far removed from what I knew before. She was thinner, her slight frame obscured within the uniform of bland olive green drawstring pants and an oversized solid olive green shirt. How I grew to hate that hue. Her once glowing blond hair had faded to a dull, pale ginger and the waves of golden locks were gone, transformed into an uneven mess, chopped short buy the butchering claws of our demon hosts. The absence of sunlight had drained us all of color. She smelled of sterile solvents and bleach, no scent of flowers or vanilla that I’d remembered so fondly. It was then that I realized we’d both lost something in our time apart; that we may never fully recover our sense of self.

“What? No warm welcome for me?”

I turned around to see Ethan standing at the wrong side of the cage door; mine. I didn’t encourage him with a response.

“What have you heard?” Buffy asked, eyes pleading for anything I could offer.

“Not much, I’m afraid. They’ve seized this quadrant, Adam and his extended militia.”

“And above?” She asked, already reading the answer from the regretful look on my face.

“I don’t know. I can only speculate they haven’t shown themselves in any greater scale. Had they, we would most likely have been incinerated in a deluge of napalm.” I’d lost hope and she could see it in my half blinded eyes. It made me sad to wound her with my misery. “But they will show themselves and when they do…”

“They will occupy Sunnydale and use the dead to strengthen their numbers.” Ethan finished gravely.

“We’ll never let that happen.” The Slayer showed her fire, all confident and uncompromising. I couldn’t help but praise her determination. She could wage crusades with her words.

“And how do you intend to stop them?” Ethan asked indignantly. “Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it appears we are trapped in here and there is no heroic cavalry coming to the rescue.”

“I don’t know yet.” Buffy tried her best to ignore him, following my lead; still united as partners.

Ethan sank down to the cold, hard tile and sat there, arms crossed and a smug grin crossing his lips. “Fortunately for us I’ve been waiting for just an opportunity as this. I have an extreme proposal but you will most likely stake me at the suggestion.”

“Lucky for you I’m stakeless at the moment.” Buffy grumbled, deciding to take a seat to the floor as well.

“What is it?” I couldn’t deny my curiosity.

“I could do with a bit of a lie down,” Ethan said, yawning dramatically as he leaned sideways to lie along the floor. I couldn’t help but wonder why Adam had decided to assemble us. It was obvious Ethan also doubted the seeming thoughtfulness of reuniting Buffy and I, as he wanted to get as far from the microphones imbedded in the ceiling above as to not be overheard discussing possible escape. I slipped to the floor as well and moved in closer, much to Ethan’s pleasure. Buffy didn’t bother with proximity, her Slayer hearing was all she needed.

Ethan spoke softly, barely a whisper. “I know of a little spell that binds the essences of willing participants, transferring the energies to a host.”

“Sounds like the deal we tried,” she whispered, shaking her head, already dismissing the suggestion.

“We attempted something similar. It worked but only for a short time, allowing Adam the chance to counteract and eventually contain our magicks.”

“You forget the darker magicks, Rupert. Caressed by Chaos and a vessel can hold the powers of the servants indefinitely. Remember your roots, dear boy.” He meant to tease but there was truth there.

“Meaning?” She asked with restrained impatience.

“What would you sacrifice for liberation?” He asked easily, a devilish smile painted along his frail features.

“He’s wasting our time,” Buffy concluded, crossing her arms in frustration.

“Most likely, but Ethan knows magicks, Buffy. He’s cast such spells before.”

We have cast such spells, Rupert… together.” Ethan corrected carefully. “We can again.”

“If you think he can get the spell to work, let’s do it.” She hadn’t the faintest idea of what she agreed to. “And do it now. We don’t know how long we have before they separate us again. This may be our only chance.”

“This isn’t some petty enchantment, Slayer.” Ethan’s tone held the severity the suggestion called for. “This is the deepest, darkest magicks laying waste to your soul.”

Buffy moved in closer, her eyes holding that sense purpose I remembered I once had, and she spoke with unwavering certainty, “Adam must be stopped.” She never gave up hope even when I had. “I’ll do whatever I have to.”

For what seemed an hour, Ethan explained the intricacies of the spell. The dark magicks we would attempt to harness would be unstable, hard to control and contain for even the most skilled practitioners. She carefully weighed the options with the perceived outcome and risks, just as I’d taught her to do. And in the end, she’d accepted the apparent costs. But though Buffy heard, she failed to listen. Sanitary phrases laced with bland words like “joining”, “energies”, and “transference” passed over Ethan’s lips only to lose all meaning in her naive interpretation. But I understood all too well what he was describing, what acts were required both to spark the spell and camouflage it to the watchful eyes of our captors.

“I’ll agree to this under one condition, that Giles is the vessel,” she said determinedly.

“I heartily agree. I haven’t the physical strength to bear the magicks.” Ethan smiled demurely. “It would have to be you, Rupert.”

“Buffy hasn’t any magicks to offer. Besides I don’t want her to be a part of this.”

“She has her own gifts to give, Ripper. Why don’t you let her choose for herself?” Ethan knew that would get a rise out of me as well as prompt Buffy to question further and he was loving it.

“I want to help, Giles.” She said softly, trying hard to mask the insistence in her tone.

“No, this could be irreversible. I don’t want you a part of it.”

“I don’t care. Adam must be stopped by any means necessary.”

“By any means necessary…” Ethan echoed with a chuckle. “I do believe I could learn to love this one, Ripper.”

“You don’t understand Buffy…” I warned.

“I need to do something. Maybe I can distract them somehow… I mean, they might try and stop you if they see you’re trying to cast a spell, right?” She asked in a whisper, finally striking at the heart of the matter.

“That’s the beauty of it, Slayer. They won’t recognize it as a spell. It would appear as it we were …the spell is cast while the participants are…” Ethan searched for a delicate way of putting it. He finally looked to me in defeat.

I cleared my throat, dreading the reaction to come. “Traditionally the energies required to cast such a spell with Chaos magicks can only be induced during moments of heightened arousal.” I waited for some sign of comprehension. It didn’t take long.

“G-Giles?” Her voice cracked; a hint of disgust in her eyes. “C-can you do this?”

“We’ve done it before,” I answered softly and watched as her expression melted away into shock. She’d not realized what Ethan and I were to each other, what we’d experienced together. “To act as the vessel, Ethan must pass his energies to me by means of…”

“I get it,” she interrupted, her eyes finding solace from mine in the scuffed floor. Her revulsion hurt.

“This is extremely dangerous, Buffy. There’s a good chance I may not be able to harness these powers. I might lose control, lose myself. If that happens, if something goes wrong… you know what you’ll have to do?”

“Do I have a choice?” She stood up, begging for an alternative but I couldn’t offer her one.

“You know what to do?” I asked again, demanding from her the only answer I could accept. I got to my feet, wanting somehow to take her back into my arms, to make it better, but I could see the confusion there. I realized that I’d changed far more in that revealing instance than time ever could alter me in her eyes. “Will you do what needs to be done?”

“I will if you will.” She said it as a regretful dare.

“Sorry to break up this touching exchange but it must be now, Rupert. The night has always empowered us and the time grows short. Dawn is coming and so must we.” Ethan chuckled at his crude humor as he pulled me away from her and stepped between us. “I’ll take good care of him, luv.”

“If you hurt him…” she growled and my heart sank. She wasn’t prepared, she didn’t understand.

“Only as he likes it,” Ethan purred. “Feel free to join in; the more, the merrier, the better.”

“I don’t want her involved,” I growled, raising a stern finger to punctuate my demand.

“She’s already involved, Ripper. She’s the Slayer. With her speed and her strength, it could be the deciding factor.”

“You don’t touch her!” I shoved him hard to the wall and pinned him there with my forearm. He responded only with an inviting smile. “It’s you and I, Ethan. Only us.”

“As it should be,” he agreed with a wink and his eyes glanced briefly toward the ceiling and returned to me. “Give us a smile, Rupert; best to look the part for the good folks in the home audience.”

I loosened my grip, bringing my other arm up and I could see the fear in his eyes, a flicker of doubt with my intentions. But instead of striking him as he’d most likely assumed I would, I combed a wisp of rascally hair from his forehead, curling it back as I stroked his head. He leaned into the caress, like a cat savoring a scratch.

“I missed you,” he whispered it like a secret between us, for no ones ears but ours. But I knew better, Buffy heard it. He lifted his hand and after a moment of apprehension, tremulously cupped my hand in his, pressing it firm to his cheek, not wanting to relinquish the contact just yet.

He was so changed; his features a mere apparition of the peacockish youth I recalled and there was no sign of the haughty man he’d grown to be. Ethan had paled with his imprisonment, but his eyes still held the mischief that enchanted me so many years before. And as the sorcerer maneuvered unhurriedly out of my guard and pulled me into a genuine embrace, I wished for a moment Buffy wasn’t there, leaving us to our privacy.

“A kiss, Ripper.” Ethan’s voice could harbor such sweetness. I could feel his breath waft along my ear. “Long and slow, it’s been far too long since I tasted your lips.”

I ignored him, my eyes locking on her, to Buffy now sitting lonely in the corner, hugging her knees to her chest and watching as Ethan propositioned me.

“Get on with it.” I stepped back, releasing Ethan to his task as I gazed down at her. He moved in closer, breaching my space with his wandering hand. I cursed under my breath as his wicked fingers crawled along my stomach; methodical touches that ignited such fantastic memories of passions past. He made his way behind me and I cringed. It sickened me to think he could still move me as he once had; that I could be so utterly weak or that he could be so unexpectedly potent. “You’re enjoying this too much, you bastard.”

“That’s the point, old man. If you’d let yourself go, only for a moment, you might remember how good it can all be.” He reached lower, boastfully cupping my cotton clad groin within his hand. “And it was good, wasn’t it Ripper?”

His touch was something so familiar, so rudimentary that my body reacted as it had so many years ago. Thighs tensing, heart pounding, cock pulsing to thick, welcoming his hand home. I could feel the satisfied smile in his breath, tickling along my ear as he moved in to nibble my earlobe. I closed my eyes, shutting out Buffy’s troubled face but it still remained there in my minds eye, watching the wizard seduce me and seeing my vulnerability with every motion.

“Seems you haven’t forgotten me after all.” He gave me a squeeze and a sigh escaped from my lips. “Or is she the one you’re imagining touching you?”

My eyes shot open, finding Buffy’s wide with shock. I winced, partly from the remark and partly from his achingly steady manipulation of my arousal. It hurt, as the truth often does, and stung even more that she seemed terrified by the suggestion of my possible infatuation.

“You never told her, Rupert?” Ethan chuckled and drew a finger along the tenting material. “I’ll bet she figured it out anyway. You always did prefer the clever ones.”

I turned, warning Ethan with a glare and he punished me with a rough stroke though the fabric, triggering my flesh to leap up and greet him under the coaxing attention.

“Lovely as well, isn’t she?” He continued with another stroke and I could feel my knees buckle. It’d been so long since I’d suffered such hunger that I wanted more. “And she’s only feet from you. Invite her, Ripper.”

“No…” I hissed my ruling as he pressed down harder, suffocating my irrepressible cock with his palm. “Leave her alone.”

“I do believe he cares, Buffy,” Ethan declared proudly as he smiled down at her. “But you know that, don’t you?”

My eyes sought hers out only to find her slowly sinking further behind the shield of her knees. “Must you talk?” I growled to Ethan. It was the only way I could silence him.

“Is there something else you’d rather I do with my mouth.” He’d slinked around to face me, his plump lips barely an inch from mine.

Unconsciously, I moistened my lips with a lick and rumbled, “Just be quiet.”

“Make me.” He leaned in for a kiss and I turned away, dodging the intimacy. Not to be denied, his hand lifted to cup my chin and direct me back to face him. “You’re not making this easy, Ripper.”

“Did I ever?”

“No, I suppose you never did.” He offered a patient smiled and with a brutally exquisite squeeze of my sensitized groin, I moaned only to be muted by his instant mouth, his hot tongue slithering in to smother mine. I wanted to pull back, wanted to be repulsed by his intrusion but instead found myself unable to fight him. And what was worse, I wanted him so badly I burned. He kissed me with a vigor I’d never forgotten, kissing me thoroughly, and I found my hands gripping at his trousers and pulling him flush to me, needing to feel his arousal against mine.

“There’s my boy,” he purred with approval and shuffled me backwards until my back was flat against the cold wall. His fingers untied the string at my belly and slipped beneath the band of my pants, teasing me with promises of what was to come. “Tell me you missed me.”

“Fuck you, Ethan.”

“In due time, but first, tell me…” his hand dove beneath the material and seized my bare, rigid flesh. He didn’t move, only held me there, unwilling to grant me a single stroke until I conceded. I was just as trapped by him at that moment as I was in my prison.

“I-I m-missed you…”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Too bad!” I snarled.

“But I want to believe you, Ripper…” He sank from my sight, kneeling before me. I stared down at him and watched with repressed expectation as he rolled my waistband down until my cock sprang free and eager toward him. My hand captured his as he reached to grip me.

“Don’t!” I demanded feebly, feeling Buffy’s eyes burning into me.

Ethan grinned and with an impatient shake of his head, he crooned, “Make me believe you, Ripper.”

“Ethan… d-don’t…a-ah…” It was too late, he had me, all of me, ensnared within his accepting lips. My hands trembled, curling to fists at my sides as his mouth milked me slowly, dulled teeth scraping ever so slightly along my length, his moist tongue slicking along my engorged cock. My eyes moved to her, staring at Buffy staring back and I wondered in that moment what she saw when she looked at me; Watcher, father, friend, freak… or something grandly pathetic. Ethan’s hands encouraged me to rock towards him, one massaging my scrotum, provoking the storm as the other curled behind and drew playful fingertips along my ass, creeping in to settle between my parting flesh and tease the eventual objective. Faster and faster, Ethan’s persuasive mouth begged for me to let myself go, allowing me to sink deeper with each thrust. Soon, my hands lifted to his head, grasping fistfuls of hair as the angry fever welled inside. I was fucking him, choking him with everything I had and loving every second of it as much as he did. And he took me in again and again, never ceasing to suck, to swallow, to let me slowly unravel within the embrace of his skillful lips.

A low, familiar rumble, boiling from the deep made him pull back and release me. Fueled by lust, I objected harshly, grasping at his peppered waves and forcing him to return, silently commanding him to finish the job he’d started. Then my gaze fell back to her and I remembered myself and was ashamed. Ethan managed to pry himself free and stood before me, licking his swollen lips and smiling, pleased. “I never forgot you; the look, the feel, the taste.”

I struggled to breathe, my body throbbing with the overwhelming need for release. He’d driven me to the brink only to leave me unfulfilled and cascading towards madness. At that exposed moment, I found my gaze falling to her, to Buffy, and I shut away the vulgar visions filling my mind with the sight of her.

“Tell me,” he whispered, leaning in for a kiss. I could taste myself on his breath, the pungent musk on his tongue. “Just this once, Ripper, please…”

“I missed you, Ethan.” I said it as sweetly as I could and found legitimacy in those words. I did indeed miss him, particularly his luscious mouth. I bribed him with the kiss to grant me what my body craved. I savored the kiss that time, finally rewarding him with what he wanted and I found it more tender than any touch we’d ever shared before.

“Thank you,” He whispered and began to disrobe. I followed, watching as his lean figure was slowly revealed to me. He was thin, his body marked with years of torture and pain. I’d be furious at our brutal hosts had I not fallen victim to the same treatment, as I’m sure we all had. He caught a glimpse of the distress in my face.

“I don’t want your pity, Rupert,” Ethan demanded sadly, tossing the last of his clothes aside and standing exposed before me. “Don’t see me as I am. See me as I was.”

And in that moment, I did see him as he was, forever frozen in my mind as the beauty of his youth. I smiled with genuine appreciation of the reflection.

“I remember,” I assured him as my clothes fell to the floor. “You’ve never changed in my mind, Ethan.” I held out my hand, inviting him to come to me. At first, he seemed to recoil, the creases of age suddenly amplified by his conflicted emotions. There was doubt there.

“I need you.” I reassured him. It was all he wanted, to be needed. Years of uselessness and abandonment had fashioned him into a heartless mercenary and it only took a single phrase of compassion to bring his humanity back to him. He reached out and took my hand. I could already feel the prickling heat of magicks on his fingertips as I guided him to me, past me, behind me. All the while, Buffy’s gaze never left mine, even as I slowly lowered to my knees.

“You have no idea, Slayer…” Ethan said softly as he knelt behind me and leaned forward, blanketing my backside with his bare body. “…How much he haunts me. How much he torments me in my dreams.”

His erection pressed to me, finding a nook between my buttocks and resting there, pulsing with expectation as he simply embraced me. One hand glided down my tensing arm and covered my clenched fist. His other attentive hand reached around and stroked my aching cock, gifting me with a collage of caresses, collecting the anticipated results of his attentions along his fingers.

“He is the only person I have ever truly loved. And yet he chooses you…”

I could only see her eyes, shimmering tearful and peeking up over her knees.

“He loves only you…”

I felt him rubbing against me, rousing long dead emotions. She shouldn’t have to witness it and I grunted my apologies as Ethan’s erection stiffened, parting my anticipating flesh as I rocked instinctually back to meet him.

“And as the fool I am, I let him…”

His fingers crawled down my ass, tenderly drawing along my dimpling skin. I bent over; readying myself for my old lover to return to me. We’d done it before and like a military exercise, there were steps to be taken to guarantee success. Ethan began to chant as his fingers, lubricated with the fruits of my arousal, took to exploring me. One digit, stiff and moist, slipped inside and I winced. It’d been so long, another lifetime ago since I’d known the touch of such an invasion. But Ethan knew what I liked, twisting within me, writhing within me as his chant continued. He retracted then returned with two fingers, stretching, priming me to accept him. He teased me with subtle tickles and scratches, knowledgeable fingertips sparking energies inside and I felt my flesh relax to welcome him. He withdrew only to revisit with three demanding digits, drilling harder, forcing me open and I cry out, but it was her name I heard in my voice. She was always there.

With a final, repentant glance to a teary eyed Slayer, I prepared myself for the pain, prepared myself for Ethan to penetrate me. I screwed my eyes shut to abandon myself to everything but the magicks. Then, rapt within the darkness, I felt lips, silken and gentle pressing to mine. I opened my eyes to find Buffy kissing me, tears streaming down her face. She held my sweat dampened face pressed between her trembling hands, consoling me as Ethan’s voice rumbled behind me, the chant growing in intensity. Her tongue ventured past my lips, forcing open my gritting teeth and with the taste of Buffy gracing my mouth, Ethan pierced me deeply and the union was made.

Pain, so sharp and rich, the pleasure cut through me like a blade, blinding me by its force. I’m sure Buffy could feel it too, her mouth working to keep mine busy and tethered to her as Ethan began to rock, the chant perverting to a moan as he worked to drive into me. The magicks swelled, starting in the pit of my stomach and slowly creeping out. But those were my energies, scattered notes humming along my flesh, waiting for Ethan to conduct them into a melody.

I opened my eyes to find Buffy feverishly shredding her clothes, giving me eager kisses as she undressed. I wanted to ask why, needing to know she understood what it meant, what she would be giving up. And with a pause, her eyes meeting mine in one solitary gesture of acceptance, she slipped her body beneath mine.

The energy storm surged, building to a symphony of pain and bliss. Sparks of power passed between Ethan and I as he worked harder, pushing into me with his steely cock demanding satisfaction. My eyes squeezed shut as his thrusts grew fierce and I could feel the moment arriving. Buffy continued to kiss me, soothing me with gentle pecks and suckles as Ethan assaulted me from behind. Two far different worlds of desires clashing in one glorious instant and I wanted both and more. With a choppy gasp, Ethan plunged once more and stopped suddenly. His body went ridged, fingers clawing into my hips as he choked out the final stanza of the spell. Like a jolt of electricity it struck me fast and hard and I screamed out in anguished pleasure.

I felt him merge with me, beyond the physical, beyond anything we’d managed before. He spilled within, the hot seed of his soul seeping into every thread of my self and with his release, his magicks were mine. I felt him withdraw, heard him collapse, falling hard to the chilled tiled floor, but I no longer cared. The untamed elements I’d been gifted with were restless and my unsatisfied desires boiled to the surface with every gentle kiss Buffy continued to grant me. She was all I knew.

I let the tension in my stiffened arms release and sank down to blanket her beneath me. She gasped; startled by my sudden intrusion into what little space she had left. As I looked down into her eyes, I saw something I hadn’t remembered seeing for a very long time, fear. She was frightened. I was uncertain it was fear of what we were about to do or attempt to achieve with doing it, or simply fear of me. Regardless, there was fear there and I hated seeing it. Useless words of comfort swarmed my mind. I knew nothing could better the moment; no phrase could ease the difficult mission and somehow magically make it all right. But I had to speak. The words couldn’t be left unsaid.

“I love you.” I whispered it like an apology, begging forgiveness for having been inflicted so. A tear fell from her eye as her hand reach up to caress my cheek. She didn’t respond then and I understood. That wasn’t the time or place and with that realization, I wished I could take the words back, keeping them for a better circumstance.

She guided my face to hers and kissed me again only deeper, desperate. Her lips pressed to mine, her tongue dipping between to capture a taste of my mouth. The magicks churned, sparking emotions in a flurry of chaos; anger to bliss, hate to contentment, misery to love. I reached down and slipped my hand between her thighs, gently coaxing them to part. She nearly jumped at the touch but quickly followed my mild direction. I readied myself to join her, my arousal resting along her most intimate flesh. I stared down at her, waiting.

“Are you sure?” Though my body yearned for her, my heart begged for her to change her mind. It was a sacrifice she should never have to make.

Buffy smiled; all fear gone and I saw the color return to her along with a glimmer of hope sparking in her grey-green eyes. “Let’s make it right.”

I watched her with awe as I began to move. My feverish flesh glided slick along hers, gently preparing her for me but not daring to go beyond the surface of our trembling skins. If only I could have savored it as I should have, given our intimacy the adoration it so richly deserved. But the miraculous moment was wrapped within the burden of mutual responsibility. I began to recite the spell, speaking the words with a poetic tone as if to court her. Her smile remained as her body rocked in time to my motions. Then the smile gave way to wince and soon the gentle friction drew out a sigh of pleasure from her. I relished that I’d caused it. But with that amorous breath, I grew greedy and wanted more. My words hastened as my weight shifted and with an eager stroke, I felt my hardness penetrate her. I stopped shallow, seeking forgiveness in a gaze and went silent. Before I could withdraw, I felt her hands grip at my hips and hold me there. With a nod encouraging me to continue the spell, she pulled me too her, grunting with the act as my girth stretched her unprepared tightness. My voice broke and a moan escaped me as I struggled to comprehend the bliss I felt enveloped within her moist haven.

Her lips quivered with the release of a choppy breath, trying to relax and grow accustomed to the feeling of my flesh invading her. I continued with the spell, using the sound of my voice to calm her, to soothe her like some foreign lullaby. She moved beneath me and her hot, velvety flesh gliding along mine sent my mind aflame. My words and my body took on her set rhythm, swaying into her. The stir the magicks swelled with every beat. Incredibly strong fingers clawed at my hips and soon she was driving me harder to her, my cock thrusting at her command as the currents of energies slowly bubbled between us. The spell was building and the moment of transference fast approaching.

Lust to compassion, awareness to madness; the Chaos magicks took hold and I was lost in their rapture. I slipped my hands under her, cupping her rear and lifting her to penetrate her deeper. I wanted to know more of her than any other man ever had or would again. My body was charged, muscles humming with strength as I hammered into my Slayer, challenging her to surrender herself to me with every thrust. I roared out the final stanza as if to warn our captors of what lay ahead; punishment for what they’d brought us to.

Buffy’s body arched, her head falling back as I drove one last time to reach that untouched part of her within. We screamed together, in pain and anger and ecstasy and at that instant, the fractured bond that we’d suffered healed. The transference activated; the Chaos magicks and Slayer spirit invaded me, burrowing deeply like some divine parasite. I was invincible as the shadows claimed my consciousness.

Minutes passed before I came too, though I never fully lost consciousness, only drifted within the sensations of my own existence. The initial response of my body to such profound influence was bewildering. I was hyper aware of every cell, every fiber of my being. I could feel the individual hairs on my arms standing up on end as the static energies crackled within the atmosphere of the space around me. I could hear the electric currents of the lights overhead, the buzz of distant alarms sounding down the endless corridors, the voices of soulless soldiers dripping with supremacy three subterranean levels below. My senses were amplified by the infusion of the gifts given to me by Buffy and Ethan and it was liberating.

When I opened my eyes, Ethan stood above me fully dressed, a smug grin curling his lips.

“How do you feel?” He leaned over and offered me his hand, helping me to stand. I immediately sought out Buffy who lay naked and motionless, curled up into a fetal position at my feet.

“Is she…” I dared not finish.

“She’s fine, Ripper; only sleeping. You took a lot out of her, literally. That goes for me as well.” Ethan knelt down, took up my discarded clothes and handed them to me. “I’ll get her dressed, get her ready. You best prepare, old man. I hear the winds of war howling. They’ll be here soon enough.”

“Be careful with her.”

“Or what?” He challenged me, raising a brow in defiance.

“What do you want, Ethan?”

“Freedom, but that goes without saying, doesn’t it?” He stared at her sleeping. “I will tell you my price if we survive this.”

“Guard her with your life and you can have anything you ask. If she dies, so help me I will have your soul.”

“You already do.” He smirked. “Ripper, I swear that she will live to see the sunlight again.” I wanted so badly to believe him, I did.

I dressed for what I promised myself would be the last time in those bland green, military issue drawstring pants and jumper and stepped up to the glass. It vibrated with my approach and I had to concentrate on containing the pulsing field of magicks surrounding me to stop its motion. The powers were so raw, so ready. My eyes focused on the glass, watching as it stilled before me. That was the first time I caught the sight of my reflection since the transference. With that evidence, I realized I’d gain the face of a stranger. My hair had stained black, damp with sweat and sparkling in the unnatural light. My eyes, corresponding with the hair, were void of any color and now seemed only hollow pools of darkness. Black, spidery veins webbed along my face, breaking up my features like some mystical camouflage. I’d lost all of myself, distorted willingly into a beast as corrupted as those that jailed me. But it was the fury I feared most, glowing there in my eyes and I worked to keep it at bay.

“How do you feel?” Ethan asked again and I still hadn’t any proper words to describe it.

“Different.” What a bloody understatement.

“Good. What do you say we renovate this place for the better?” Ethan smiled and gently took the sleeping Slayer up into his arms. Heavy boots to the tiled floor echoed up the hall. It was a battalion of the beasts, armed to the hilt; the truest test for my newly acquired skills.

“Stay back and don’t follow until I say.”

“Lead on, Ripper.”

The cell wall was breached by the breath of my words and I stopped the first wave of defense with an immolation spell. As I inhaled their ashes, the second wave attacked, a horde of Frankenstein monsters so fresh I could still smell the stink of humanity on them. The organic decomposition counter spell made them puddle to nothing more than twisted wires and metal skeletons at my feet.

I remember the scent of brimstone and electric flesh. Blistering skin charbroiled as the energies from my hands ripped through the demonized humanoid mechanized soldiers attacking me. No bullet penetrated, no claw cut, no fangs punctured, but I met their strikes with a counterattack of ruthless efficiency.

But for every success I seized, I felt something die away within me. Dark magicks take their toll on the soul, sucking it dry as a vampire does its prey. Soon, the killing became easier with every strike, the pain became less with every defense, and my control became wavering, edging toward chaos. The only thing that held me together was the sight of Buffy being cradled in Ethan’s arms, carried out of the cell a short distance behind me.

The power shut off and the lights went dim. I marched determinedly through the corridors, seeking out the others I felt were just beyond me. Embers of magicks at my fingertips lit our way as we moved. Another wall washed away to my will, like so much sand defeated by a wave, and I saw them, Xander and Willow , huddled close together in a dim, dank cell.

“Time to go.”

They stumbled to their feet at the sound of my voice; both confused by my resurrection and stunned at my alteration.

“Giles? Is that you?” Willow rushed towards me and I stepped back, unsure of what my touch could do to her. “Oh my God…”

“Not quite, but nearly,” Ethan corrected her as he made his presence known, peeking out from behind the wreckage of shattered glass I’d created. “No time for tender reunions, luv. Reinforcements are coming.”

“Ethan?” Willow gasped. “What’s going on?”

“I’ll explain after we’re clear of here,” I said as patiently as I could though my fury was only syllables away. They crawled over the debris and I began again down the corridor, becoming a sort of willing inhuman shield.

“Ripper has taken it upon himself to be our salvation,” Ethan explained as he moved, holding Buffy securely to him. “This is what Chaos magicks and Slayer powers will get you if you manage to succeed where others have failed before; particularly you.” He chuckled proudly.

“The spell? You got it to work?” Willow asked.

“Not the quaint little enchantment you attempted before. This was…” He glanced down to Buffy, sleeping soundly within his arms, “This was darker and not without its sacrifices.”

“What does that mean, Giles?” Xander marched forward to confront me and I swiftly turned and stared him down.

“Stay back!” I ordered.

“Is Buffy alright?” Xander asked. “At least tell us that much, Giles.”

“Buffy is alive and well, minus one pesky side effect of the transference,” Ethan continued to explain.

A flock of eight mechanized demons rounded the corridor and I charged fast. Beheading the first with a simple twist, severing another’s limbs with a mere tug of its arms, the rest were obliterated as I cast an electrical charge to ignite the air around them. Their wires and power cells did the rest, causing most to explode into bits and the final one to seize up and fall like a tin can at my feet.

“Giles, what’s happened to you?” Willow ‘s eyes went wide with horror and I turned to face her.

I couldn’t answer for I hadn’t one. All I did know was that Rupert Giles was no more, as was Hostile 248HS. What remained was more magicks than man. Only one word came to mind with that question but it seemed as good an explanation as any, so I offered it.

“Call me Ripper.”

The insurgence was a success.

Out of seventy-one prisoners, we escaped with thirty five; far better numbers than any of us anticipated. Willow and Xander came out unscathed and heroically set free those which I was unable to attend to due to counterstrikes from Adam’s troops. Ethan kept his word and Buffy did indeed live to see daylight. The sun rose to greet us that morning we defiantly broke through the ground, crawling out of the tomb we’d been buried in for nearly half a year.

That was two months ago and our numbers are growing stronger every day.

Sunnydale has fallen and the legions of hybridized demons have begun to infest the bordering townships. But now the towns surviving residents have a new cause. Demonkind and humankind alike, we all fight for the right to exist. We will not go quietly; being absorbed into a perverse culture fabricated by a flawed creator. Now, we are united against a common enemy and we will prevail. I see it when I look into the confident and brave eyes of Xander and Willow as they work to feed the hungry and bandage the wounded. I see it in the cocky attitude of Ethan as he discusses the finer points of Chaos with the coven, trying to win them over to his mayhem maneuvers which have proven successful in defeating smaller numbers of hostiles. But most of all, I see it through the love of Buffy. The Slayer may have been lost that day, but Buffy never lost her strength, her passion, her fire. She is what drives me now and keeps me from slipping into the black.

The situations changed but the duty hasn’t. Adam will fall and when he does…

Sunnydale will be mine.


The end.

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