Disclaimer: The characters herein are the property of Joss Whedon, his associates and his corporate paymasters.
Summary: Giles learns a new song.
Warning: Sex and violence. BDSM
Acknowledgements: Zigi as ever, for beta, inspiration and big E-love! Joss
Whedon - thankyou for building a lovely playroom and filling it with beautiful
toys - I promise not to break them (although they could have a few sore
spots when I'm through!)
by Queen of Cups
that I should be Watcher to a Vampire Slayer. Rupert Giles who at the age
of twelve would crawl to the Head Boy's bed at night to hide from the darkness
of the dormitory, clinging to the older boy for comfort from my fear and
loneliness. That pathetic waif who traded his innocence for shreds
of love and comfort now spends the long nights helping to combat the very kinds of beasts that stalked my nightmares back then. The darkness that was once my nemesis is now my workplace. My night terrors faded when I found a sleeping companion. My loneliness was harder to defeat.
My chosen career brought me to Sunnydale - to him. When I first met him I thought him an attractive boy, nothing more. I had known a few of those in my time and they had long since ceased to interest me. When I learned the truth of who he was I felt a thrill go through me. In my youth I had embraced many forms of darkness, but the thought of close proximity to Angelus - most notorious of demons - was a new level altogether. I researched his past more fully, then attempted to reconcile my knowledge of the demon with this stoic, brooding creature who stood in Buffy's shadow and never smiled - speaking only occasionally to offer a quiet measured opinion.
picture of his true nature formed when he first talked about Spike. William
the Bloody - Childe and companion for a quarter of a century. He
never said the word 'lover', but I heard it as clearly as if he had. I
am familiar with certain elements of vampire sexuality, and the fact that
had - clearly, I felt - been involved with Spike came as no great surprise to me. I have read many accounts of such relationships within vampire families. The fact that he chose to conceal the fact was also unsurprising - the children would never have understood the true nature of the Sire/Childe
bond. The fact that I recognised the concealment, well, it takes one to know one I suppose.
while after this revelation, I found myself alone with Angel for the first
time. We eyed one another over the large reading table. Under the harsh
overhead lighting of the library, his skin was as white as the pages of
the book he was holding. As attractive as he been when I thought him a
mere boy, now he took my breath away. Without any shadows to hide in, he
seemed to draw on some inner wellspring of strength to balance him. With
the poise of the demon, even his casual, slouching posture seemed to exude
grace and confidence. I busied myself in the weapons cage, feeling uncomfortably
warm. I never heard a sound, but he was suddenly behind me. I turned quickly. To my surprise, he smiled.
"Why Rupert," he teased "Anyone would think I made you nervous." He gently removed the stake from my hand and replaced it in the rack. "I hope you weren't planning on using that."
As he looked at me with an ironic smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, it seemed like he was looking directly into my soul.
"Hi Guys!" chirped Buffy from the entrance "Hey Angel, are you ready to go?"
He turned away wordlessly, and left me without a backward glance.
As usual, it was well after midnight when I finally arrived home. I collapsed on the couch and was just starting to drift into sleep when a knock at the door made me jolt awake. Checking the window was a pointless exercise - the front step was in total darkness. I called out a nervous "Who's there?"
"It's me, Angel"
I opened the door. He stood very still regarding me evenly, like an expected guest rather than a surprise caller. There was a momentary silence.
"You have to ask me in Rupert - remember?"
Shaking myself, I stood aside. "Come in, by all means" Instinctive hospitality took control of my actions as I bustled about offering tea and cushions in accordance with a lifetime of good manners.
"Rupert," Angel broke in to my routine, "Relax. I'm fine. Sit down."
I expected him to sit also, but instead he prowled around the room running his long fingers over surfaces, touching objects but not moving them, like a blind man learning the room. He didn't speak until he reached the stand that supported my guitar.
"Do you play often?"
I explained about my years of playing and my occasional performances. He brushed the guitars strings lightly, playing a soft chord. Turning towards me, he gave a smile tinged with sadness.
"I've always loved music, but I could never play. I guess I've always been better at destroying things than creating them."
He was momentarily silent - perhaps contemplating once again the 150 years of murder and chaos wrought by the demon Angelus. He shrugged off his reverie and looked at me once more.
"I like the way you look when you talk about your music. It's like someone turning on a light. I'd love to hear you play sometime."
His fingers trailed silently down the neck of the instrument and he walked slowly towards me.
"You can't hide from me Rupert, you should know that. I can hear you - feel you. You can conceal who you are - what you are, same as I can, but in the end -" his face twisted to show his demon countenance "-the truth will out."
Seeing the face of the demon made my stomach twist with a combination of fear and excitement. I could feel myself tremble. Rapidly resuming his human face, he covered my hand with his.
"Don't be afraid Rupert. You have control. Nothing will happen that you don't want." He paused, "I just want to put that light in your eyes again"
I began to ask him how he could think such a thing - I would never... But of course I would. I had been thinking of little else since the Library earlier that evening. He knew it. I knew it. It seemed pointless to deny it.
for a moment about what he was thinking - cheating on the girl whom he
so clearly loved - but I think I understood. He had adopted us. In the
same way that Darla and Drusilla and Spike had been his family, now it
was us. He didn't consider it being unfaithful because it was within the
nucleus. He was reaching out to me and in his eyes I could read the same longing that I remember feeling as a boy. It was a powerful sensation having this ancient creature, one who had once commanded such terror, kneeling before me placing himself in my hands. I was overcome by the feeling and using all my strength to control my shaking, I reached out and touched his face.
He gave the briefest of smiles then pulled his black t-shirt over his head, baring his muscular torso. He removed the heavy leather belt from around his waist and gave it to me, then turning away he assumed a submissive pose before me, head bowed.
I hesitated, unsure how to proceed.
he said "I know how much you want to. I can hear it. I can smell it.
Remember, you can't hide anything from me" Straightening, he turned slightly
towards me. "There's nothing you need fear. You can only hurt me, not harm
me. You want to do that - I know you do. So please, I've done terrible
things-" he resumed his previous position "- punish me. I deserve it."
He was so beautiful kneeling there. I wanted to give him what he needed - what I needed. I allowed my desire to take over and swung the strap, letting it fall across his broad shoulders. With the lightning fast reflexes of the demon, he reached out and caught it.
"You're holding back. Please, give me everything. I can take it all and more"
I took a deep breath and swung again. This time I put more conviction into the blow. It struck across his back with a mighty crack and I could immediately see a reddened welt rising from the smooth alabaster skin. I dropped the belt.
I didn't need to say any more - he understood. Rising, he drew me into a comforting embrace. I began to stammer an apology. He placed a finger on my lips.
"Hush. I'm the one who should be sorry. I pushed you. It's all right, there'll be time enough for that."
until just before dawn. We talked a little and he held me for long while.
Strangely, his cool skin had no smell, save for the faint scent of fresh
laundry picked up from his shirt. He asked me if I had ever feared the
dark. I told him about school - being sent away, feeling like a failure.
His arms tightened around me and he seemed to understand. He listened far
more than he spoke, and when he did talk his voice was almost a whisper
and his sentences as economical and laconic as ever. He offered little
in the way of insight, but his sensitivity and mute understanding led me
share more of my
secret history than I had ever done before. Logically I suppose that a person who has led such a long and largely morally bankrupt life would be hard to shock, but that did not detract from the cleansing feeling of sharing my heart with someone who understood.
After this initial encounter, I was a little wary. Suppose he had revealed my secret? What then? But deep down I suppose I knew that he wouldn't. So when he returned a few nights later, I was glad.
he allowed me to explore myself and him. As my confidence and desire grew,
I was able to more fully supply his needs. Sometimes he would relate tales
of the exploits of his former family, sparing me no detail. Then
he would prostrate himself and beg for punishment, which I would
readily administer. There were occasions when I would spend an evening with him and Buffy, working side by side, during which time he would barely acknowledge me - sometimes challenging me openly. Later I would find him waiting for me at home, passionate and penitent. It became clear that he
would ignore me deliberately to inflame my jealousy, knowing that I would revenge myself on him later. On one such occasion, I beat him until blood poured down his back and yet he still never uttered a sound. Afterwards, he kissed me gratefully as though the pain and blood and degradation were a
gift of the rarest jewels. When we made love, he was submissive, allowing me to lose myself in him, revelling in the strange coldness of his body, but he would never allow himself to take me. That was our pattern. His pain, my pleasure. I didn't pretend to understand, but I was content.
When I met Jenny Callender, I never considered how it would affect my relationship with Angel. Even if I had, nothing could have prepared me for his reaction. He raged at me, accusing me of the worst sort of betrayal. I tried to defend myself, citing his own relationship with Buffy. That was different, he insisted. Buffy was in our family. He also added that as I was accepted Patriarch, he fully expected to share her with me once she was of age. By his own twisted family code, his logic was impeccable. Despite our shared intimacies, were we really so very different? I thought so. He slammed angrily from my house, leaving me alone with my grief.
I don't care to recall the invocation of Angelus on Buffy's birthday or the terrible, calculated death of the woman I had come to love. I shared a burden of guilt for those events. The endgame saw me kidnapped at Angel's behest and held in the mansion he was using while trying to raise Acathla.
Coming face to face with Angelus I felt an odd mixture of guilt, fear and loathing and desire. When I looked into his eyes, I knew he felt it too. He locked the door and faced me.
"You know what you need, don't you Rupert?"
I had learned long ago that I couldn't lie to him. He untied me from the
chair and stripped me forcibly, leaving me on my knees before him, mimicking
the posture he had adopted so many times. Using all of his supernatural
strength and soulless cruelty, he subjected me to a measured
beating, stopping each time I threatened to lose consciousness, allowing me to recover, then beginning again. Each drop of blood I shed under his lash felt like justice - each stroke was one closer to redemption.
I was almost euphoric when he finally threw down the scourge. He crouched beside me, wearing the face of the demon.
I nodded. Simply put, I had felt the need to pay for my share of his sins.
He snarled and freeing himself from his clothing he thrust himself upon
me, taking me as I had begged him to so many times. He was as cold as ever,
emphasising the heat of my own body. Incising through the comfort with
a ice-cold bolt of rage and pain. I was transported back through the decades to the dark dormitory of St James' school for Boys, to the night when I first allowed myself to be used in this way, biting back my cries of pain for fear of waking my classmates.
"Come on Rupert, sing for me"
I could feel him approaching his climax and the feeling quickened me. He reached his peak with a savage growl and bit deeply into my shoulder, causing fresh rivulets of blood to course down my back. I cried out - screaming my pain and shame and pleasure as I came convulsively, the fluid mixing into one of the small pools of my blood that had formed beneath my body. He withdrew, my legs gave way, and I collapsed into a fetal position, shaking uncontrollably.
He stood over me and I heard him say,
the song Rupert - now you know it."
"Sing for me?"
I look down at him sitting contentedly at my feet, his back against the couch. I lift my hand that was idly stroking his hair and pick up my guitar. Breaking away from my memories, I strum a few chords. He closes his eyes and smiles gently as I begin to sing. I watch as he dreamily conducts with one hand.
last - it can't. Nothing this beautiful ever does. Our relationship, once
edgy and one-sided, has achieved near-perfect balance since his return.
We share our joys and sadness, our pleasure and pain
equally. He'll leave, I understand that - but until he does we'll meet and love and talk and sing - now that I know the song.
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