The Saint And The Sinner Series
Chapter Four - Starting Over

written by Jae Kayelle




"Hello," he said with a small smile.

"Giles!" Cordelia shrieked and rushed around the desk to give him a big hug.

Surprised, he tentatively put his arms around her shoulders and hugged back.

"It's so good to see you," Cordelia grinned up at him, stepping back a bit.

"Yes," Wesley walked over with hand extended. "Very good to see you, Rupert."

As they shook, Giles relaxed a bit. "Thank you both. I must say I didn't expect this."

"Well," Cordelia informed him, "we've seen Oz -- which was cool -- and Buffy which was not so cool for Angel. Then there was Spike who can be really cruel, you know. He said I lost weight!"

The men waited for the punchline.

"He implied that I needed to!"

"Cordelia..." Wesley smiled goodnaturedly but seemed embarrassed when he glanced towards Giles.

"You look lovely, Cordelia."

She perked up at that. "There! Giles knows how to give a compliment. Anyway," she picked up her train of thought again, "the latest was Faith who caused a lot of trouble and who I do not wish to see again in any lifetime soon. So, gee, it's great to see you, Giles."

He worked at a smile which came out puzzled, "I shall endeavour to be neither cruel nor...Faithlike."

Cordy beamed at him. "Then welcome to Los Angeles!"

"I have been here before, Cordelia."

"Did anyone welcome you?"

"Not like that, no."

"Consider yourself officially welcomed then." The phone rang. "Oh, excuse me. Better answer that. Could be a client with money."

As she hurried away, Giles turned to Wesley, "Angel tells me you're working for him now."

"Yes! And enjoying it. It's been quite the experience. A bit like it was in Sunnydale only now I answer to Angel instead of the Council. And Cordelia occasionally." He grinned self-consciously.

"It's about time you came around for a visit, Giles." Angel leaned against the doorframe of his office. Neither of them had heard him come out. "You've been in town a few weeks now."

"You're living here?" Wesley was surprised. "Do tell. What about Buffy and the others?"

"Buffy will do fine without me." He managed to say it without a trace of anger. In the time since making the decision to leave Sunnydale, he had come to terms with his emotions -- or at least was able to speak of things without letting his emotions show. "She's an adult now and quite capable of Slaying without needing a Watcher."

Wesley's brows drew together. "But still..."

Giles stopped him mid-sentence. "It's all right. I have a new job which I'm enjoying and I'm looking forward to starting a new life."

Angel pulled away from the doorway. "Which you haven't done yet."

Defensively, Giles said, "It has been a rather hectic time at the museum, learning the ropes, setting up policies, reviewing the inventory. There's a lot of work involved."

Giles saw Cordelia hang up the phone and come over to stand next to Wesley, but he and Angel were facing each other and the others were not part of this conversation.

"And how do you know what I've been doing or not doing... Oh, I see. You've been lurking in the shadows again." Giles didn't know whether to be annoyed or pleased that Angel still cared enough to spy on him.

"Come on," Angel said in a voice Giles couldn't recall hearing before, a mature, not walked all over by Buffy voice, "you could have made time to go out, meet new people."

Cordelia snorted. The men all stared at her.

"Look who's talking. Mister Broody-I-just-want-to-sit-alone-in-the-dark-Guy. Giving advice like that. Puhleez." She wandered back to her desk, apparently done with her criticizing.

Shaking his head slightly, giving Giles the impression that he was used to such conversations, Angel said, "The three of us are going out for drinks tonight..."

"We are?" Cordelia and Wesley chorused, smiling at each other in delight at the news.

Ignoring them both, Angel finished, "Will you join us?"

"I'd like that..." Giles was interrupted by the ringing of a phone again but this time it wasn't the office phone.

Cordelia fished her cell phone out of her purse. "Not me."

Wesley pulled his out of his pocket. "Nor me."

Angel started when they both stared at him accusingly. "What? Oh." He went to his office and came back right away. "Not me, either."

"Oh, it must be me. I keep forgetting I have it." Giles dug in his jacket pocket and produced a tiny cellular. He hit "talk" and walked away to speak, hearing Cordelia say, "How weird is that? I thought he was allergic to technology." Wesley shushed her.

The caller's voice was most welcome and the brief conversation left him smiling when he returned. "Well, it seems I have a date tonight."

"Not some matronly museum mummy type, I hope," Cordelia commented, screwing her face up in distaste. "You can do better than that, Giles, 'cause you're looking almost hot these days."

"I must be out of practice. I've forgotten how to respond to your unique compliments, my dear. So I'll simply say -- thank you."

Cordelia waved his remark away, possibly missing the sarcasm. "Yeah, yeah. So? Who are you going out with tonight?"

Giles smiled more to himself than to the others. "An old friend. We've been seeing each other off and on for awhile now. She, uh, doesn't like Sunnydale, I'm afraid, but is quite pleased that I've moved to Los Angeles."

"Is she from here?"

"London, actually. Her work allows her to travel a lot."

"What's she do?"

Giles was beginning to feel uncomfortable with the attention and the questions. He was trying to figure out how to excuse himself when Angel intervened.

"Guys, we have work to do and Giles didn't come here to get the third degree."

Giles flashed him a grateful smile, which was soberly returned. Wondering about that, he said, "Yes, I ought to get back to work. Lots to do since I won't be able to work late tonight. Good to see you all."

"Don't be a stranger," Cordelia called to him.

"I'll walk you out," Angel said.

Giles said goodbye to Wes and left the office with the vampire following.

They walked in silence a moment.

"Sorry about that in there," Angel said.

"Not at all. A bit of a period of adjustment needs to be made when dealing with Cordelia but otherwise..." he trailed off. Stealing a glance at Angel he saw that the vampire appeared to be deep in thought.

Just then Angel looked up but his gaze slid away immediately.

"Is something wrong?" Giles asked.

"Just glad to see you. That's all."

"I'm sorry I haven't come around here sooner. It has been rather busy at the museum...settling in and all."

"It's okay."

"Well, I appreciate your help in moving me down here. And for understanding why I had to make the move."

"I meant it when I told you to call me anytime you just want to talk or whatever."

Nodding, Giles said, "Then I shall have to take you up on that. Soon."

"Good. Look, why don't you bring your date and meet us for those drinks? Believe me, it's not usual for Wesley and Cordelia and I to go out together. They do once in a while but I...don't."

Chuckling quietly, Giles said, "You can take the vampire out of the small town but you can't make him sociable."

With lowered eyes, Angel replied, "I do more social stuff than I used to. There was Cordelia's party and sometimes..." he was clearly struggling to put forth his defense. "I sort of dated an actress once, but she was a client and, well, it went badly. I just...I still have trouble..."

"I understand, Angel." Giles touched the vampire's arm, noticed the way the brown eyes tracked down to his hand then back up. "Perhaps we will stop by later. Where will you be?"

Angel gave him the name of a club and directions on how to get there. When they parted, Giles was left with an odd feeling that was part confusion and part elation.

* * * * *

Cordelia scanned the crowd every few minutes.

"There they are. Ohmygod! She's gorgeous. Giles!" She waved frantically. "Over here."

"Cordelia, do behave," Wesley admonished goodnaturedly.

"Yeah, don't embarrass him. Okay?" Angel pleaded.

"And you care why?"

"He's my friend. The same way you two are my friends. I don't have a lot of people in my life and I'd like to keep the ones I do have."

He turned away to greet Giles and missed the pleased expressions on their faces.

Keeping one hand on the small of her back, Giles introduced Olivia to the others. She sat on a stool between Cordelia and Wesley while Giles and Angel stood nearby.

Cordelia, irrepressible as ever, asked, "Are you a model? You could be on the cover of Vogue or something."

"Thank you. I've done some modelling, yes. Vogue hasn't called yet but I've done a few covers."

"I'm sure I've seen you somewhere... Got it!" she snapped her fingers. "You were on Marie Claire."

"Last year..."

"April."

"That's right. You have a remarkable memory."

"Thanks."

"Olivia has gotten into the designing side of the fashion business," Giles told them.

"Really?" Cordelia gushed. "Do you have your own label?"

"It hasn't been launched yet. I'm still accepting modelling assignments whenever I can get them to raise the capital. I'd rather not take on a partner if I can avoid it. That way when the line is ready to go, I can retire from in front of the camera."

The younger woman began firing off more questions and the two of them chatted amiably. Wesley sat in stunned admiration of Olivia's beauty. Giles was reminded of Buffy's admonition one time that, "It looks better closed, Wes." The man's mouth was open as he stared with rapt attention.

Angel touched Giles on the back and they moved away a few feet.

"She's lovely."

Glancing at Olivia, Giles agreed with him.

"How long have you known her?"

There was a funny note in Angel's voice like he was trying to be nonchalant and not quite pulling it off.

"Quite a few years, actually. We knew each other in London."

"After I left?"

"We met before you left. Is there something specific you wished to know?"

Abashed, Angel shook his head. "No, just curious."

Glancing at the others, Giles urged Angel even further away. "Olivia and I have a rather shaky relationship. We're friends...and more, but can't seem to get beyond that," he confessed. "It's not easy living on different continents. She travels about 300 days out of the year, is trying to get her business started -- and it's based in London -- and then there's Sunnydale."

"She doesn't like it there. You said that earlier."

"She's afraid of it. That veil of ignorance that afflicts the citizens doesn't seem to extend to visitors. She saw the Gentlemen and they frightened her."

"Smart lady."

"She's very smart. Sometimes I almost wish she wasn't so aware." Giles grimaced. "I don't mean it like that..."

"It's understandable to feel that way. You want to have a solid relationship and there are a lot of obstacles in the way. But you don't live in Sunnydale anymore. You live here."

Their eyes met. Angel did understand. So why did he feel so unsettled? Giles wondered.

"Rupert."

Giles turned to Olivia but not before he caught the frown Angel was trying to hide.

"Yes, luv?" he said to her.

"I just got a call from my manager. I have to catch a plane."

Dismayed, he said, "But you just got here."

"I know. This is a big assignment in Paris. There's a show that not only pays well but I can make all sorts of contacts with other designers. It never hurts to network. You know that."

"I'll drive you to the airport."

"Don't be silly. You stay with your friends. I've called a cab."

"At least let me walk you outside."

"All right. 'Bye, Cordelia. Don't worry, you'll get your big break someday. Wesley, good to meet you."

Cordelia waved goodbye while Wesley struggled out of his dumbstruck haze.

Olivia said goodbye to Angel and Giles followed her outside.

On the street, they stood in strained silence. Finally, Giles spoke.

"You're not coming back, are you?"

"No, I'm not."

"Then why...?"

"I wanted to tell you at dinner but didn't have the heart then. I've decided to channel all my energies into starting up my label. That means I'll be taking on even more assignments for a while and then concentrating exclusively on the business end of things."

"You won't have time for us," Giles said flatly.

"I won't have time for myself, Rupert. You know how single-minded I can get. I'll be fortunate if I remember to sleep! I'm so sorry. This must seem abrupt. It's not. It's something I've been thinking about for a long time."

A taxi pulled up at the curb and Olivia signalled to let the driver know that she was the customer. As she backed towards the vehicle she said, "I really am sorry, darling. You know how fond I am of you. If there was any way to make this work... Maybe you could move to London. I still keep a flat there. I visit it at least once a month. We'd have a chance then."

"I just started my job here. My friends are here..." he trailed off.

Olivia came back and stood on tiptoe to kiss him softly on the lips. "Goodbye. Good luck."

He watched her get in the cab and drive off.

He was still standing on the curb when Angel arrived at his side.

"She's gone?"

"For good, it seems."

"I'm sorry, Rupert."

At the use of his first name, Giles turned around so that he could look at the vampire's face. Angel really did seem regretful.

"Thank you."

"Do you want to go back inside?"

Studying the cement of the sidewalk, Giles asked, "Is there somewhere in this bloody city where it's safe to go for a walk?"

After a pause, Angel said, "If you don't mind the company, I can show you a place that I find peaceful."

"I don't mind the company."

"Then let's go."

* * * * *

Angel took him to the rooftop of his building. Giles wondered why until he stepped up to the edge, put his hands on the parapet, and looked out over the City of Angels. The beauty and vibrancy took him by wonder. He had yet to form an attachment to Los Angeles, so far having spent most of his time here focussed on his job. Now he simply stared, wondering how he couldn't have noticed this before.

"It's different up here. Not as ugly. It's...all those lights."

Angel leaned his arms on the wall, joining him in staring out at the power of the beast known as L.A.

"It's not London, but it'll do."

"No. It's not London," Giles agreed.

"Rupert?"

"Hmmm?"

"Do you love Olivia?"

Turning his back on the city, Giles leaned against the bricks. He propped one foot up against the wall and rested his weight on his elbows.

"Not sure," he confessed. "I thought maybe...especially when she visited me in Sunnydale. Now...I don't know."

"You do seem okay with her leaving."

"It's not bothering me as much as it probably should," he agreed, looking into the dark eyes on a level with his own.

"Why not?"

Shrugging, Giles said, "Maybe there's something else that appeals to me more?"

"Something or someone?" Angel was closer, within the limits of personal space. It was anyone's guess how he'd gotten there without seeming to move.

The attraction that had flared up between them earlier now had their complete attention. Old feelings hovered, waiting for the signal to land and re-explore.

"Definitely someone," Giles said and leaned forward, his hands grasping Angel's elbows to draw him closer. As Angel moved to slide his arms around Giles' back, the human joked, "I should warn you. I'm on the rebound."

"So am I. Is that going to be a problem for you?"

The vampire was serious. He studied Giles' face intently, waiting for an answer.

With a sigh, thinking about the eternal, doomed love that Angel shared with Buffy, Giles replied, "Right now I'm feeling too selfish to let it become a problem."

"My feelings for Buffy are never going to change, no matter how much I want them to. I live with her shadow hanging over me everyday. Just once I'd like to forget...and to remember what it was like before when I was with you."

"I thought I was the great love of your life." His tone was playful, but Giles' heart thudded heavily in his chest. Angel's gaze dropped to a point just above it, reminding Giles of his preternatural hearing.

"You were first. I'll always love you, Rupert. I'm just not in love with you."

The hard beat lightened somewhat. "Well. That will have to do."

Angel's fingertips traced the line of Giles' jaw. "Are you sure?"

Trapping the questing fingers in his hand and drawing them down against his chest so that Angel could feel as well as hear the pulse, Giles said, "We could look at it this way -- there's not much chance of you losing your soul with me. It didn't happen before."

Angel smiled ruefully. "I feel like I should apologize for not loving you enough to turn evil because of you."

"However will I handle my vast disappointment?"

"If I kiss you maybe that will help?"

Finding that question very provocative, Giles nodded his consent. His eyes closed a moment after their mouths met.

Wesley nodded. "Yes, I found him here a few times. There's a wonderful view..."

They both stopped and stared. Giles was within the circle of Angel's arms, caught between the vampire and the wall. Angel's head was bent and his mouth was at Giles' neck.

"Ohmygod! He's turned into Angelus and he's feeding off Giles!" Cordelia rushed forward, her instinct to help a friend blinding her to possible danger to herself.

Wesley hung back, staring at the two men. "Wait! I don't think it's what you... Oh dear..." He took off after the enraged young woman.

Cordelia charged up to them, her only weapon being her purse which she wielded like a club. Striking Angel on the head and shoulders, she yelled at him.

"Get away from him, you evil thing of the night! Begone!"

"Ow! Cordelia...!"

"Stop, it's all right!" Giles shouted.

Cordelia continued her attack. Wesley caught up and wrenched the handbag out of her grip.

"Let's leave, Cordelia."

"But..." She looked at Angel who was fang-free and Giles who was caught between amusement and mortification. She noted the flushed faces and the jumbled state of their clothing. Giles' shirt was half unbuttoned and Angel's was pulled out of his pants which he seemed to be trying to keep from falling down. "Oh. My. God. I'm so sorry! I didn't know that you were...and he was..."

Before she could start babbling, Wesley gently tugged her hand, backing away until she followed him the way they'd come.

"Apologies from both of us. Please do carry on. We're leaving now."

And they did. In a hurry.

"'Evil thing of the night?'" Angel asked.

Giles was amused but restrained. By now the sexual tension between them had dissipated, cooled by the night air and the unexpected arrival of their friends. A shadow of self-consciousness dropped over them.

As they straightened their clothing, Giles asked, "Do you think I could have a cup of tea? We need to talk."

"There must be a teabag somewhere in my apartment."

"Just one?"

* * * * *

As it turned out, there was an entire box of teabags.

"Wesley must have stocked them. Sometimes the three of us have breakfast after a tough night of fighting evil. He complained that I don't keep any decent food or drink for visitors. I guess butcher's blood doesn't count."

"Then what do you feed them for breakfast?" Giles wandered around the apartment. He stopped to look over the collection of weapons on the wall.

"Eggs."

"I remember your scrambled eggs. They were delicious."

"How would you know? You always put ketchup on them before you tasted them. Barbarous English customs," Angel mumbled that last part while filling the kettle with tap water.

Grinning, Giles walked into the tiny kitchen area. "I heard that. For someone who can't appreciate his own cooking you're awfully fussy about it."

Angel set the kettle to boil then regarded the mortal.

"When you called to tell me you were moving down here, I wondered how we would get along living in the same city again."

Giles drifted away again, going into the living room. "It's a big city. Much bigger than Sunnydale. No reason to think that we would ever see each other."

"Yeah, but you came to see me today. You made the first move."

"I knew that you wouldn't." Giles was over by the couch now.

Sending his gaze floorward, Angel replied, "We haven't exactly been comfortable around each other since last summer. I don't want to force my company on you."

"We had this conversation months ago. You apologized. I forgave you. You made amends by helping Buffy and me against the Mayor and by helping with Faith. We could cover the same ground again. Where would that get us? I thought that session on the roof proved that we still have more than a spark of something. Let's move on, shall we?"

Sitting now, Angel drummed his fingers on the tabletop. "Your capacity for forgiveness stuns me. I wouldn't be so willing to overlook my sins if I were you and will you please come over here so I can see your face?"

Giles remained where he was.

The kettle began to whistle on the stove.

"I should get your tea," Angel murmured.

"I'll get it." But all Giles did was go over and remove the kettle from the burner and turn off the heat. Staring at Angel, he removed his glasses and set them on the table.

Giles circled around behind him and put his hands on Angel's shoulders. After a brief hesitation, he worked the tense muscles with his fingers.

"I still can't see you," Angel complained, twisting his head to the side.

Unbuttoning the black silk and slipping his hands under it, Giles felt the cool, smooth skin of Angel's chest slide beneath his palms. He returned his hands to the shoulders, fingers splayed against the pale neck. Skimming upwards to cup Angel's face, Giles leaned down and rested his chin in the dark hair, breathing in the faint scent of shampoo.

Angel raised his arms and reached back to encircle Giles' neck, urging him to bend closer. As Giles leaned down and around, Angel stretched up. Their lips met awkwardly, nearly missing each other. Giles moved his head and planted a kiss on the underside of the vampire's chin, feeling the rumble of laughter through his lips. He slid his hands downward again, reaching for Angel's belt buckle.

Suddenly he straightened.

"What's wrong?"

"I refuse to stand on my head when I make love to you."

Taking Angel's hand in his, he pulled him off the chair and into his embrace.

"The bed would be more comfortable," was one suggestion.

"Or the couch."

They agreed on the bed.

In the shadows of the bedroom lit only by a faint light from the kitchen, with their eyes locked on each other, the two men quickly shed their clothing. Angel laid down on top of the bed. When he held out his hand, Giles went to him, stretching out close by. They lay on their sides facing each other, propped up on their elbows.

For a long moment neither of them moved. It wasn't as if this was their first time. On the other hand, it had been nearly five years since they'd last been together in this way.

Giles studied the face of the man next to him. He'd seen him vamp out often enough to know that technically Angel wasn't a man. It didn't matter. His feelings for him were complex and they ran deep. Despite all the hurt and madness that had happened between them, to claim that he wasn't still in love with Angel would be to deny that he had any feelings at all. That's why he had gone to the office that morning. He simply could not stay away any longer.

"What are you thinking about, Rupert?"

"You. Me. Us."

"I'm glad you still think there is an us. I wondered about that sometimes."

"Doesn't our being here now prove that we still have something?"

Angel narrowed his eyes. "With you I'm never sure. For all I know you could be planning to stake me after you have your way with me."

Even though he knew Angel was teasing, it shook Giles to think that at one time it would have been true. After being raped by Angelus he would have gladly given his body again if that was the only way to get close enough to kill the undead son of a bitch. It made him pause thinking of the demon inside Angel, smirking...

But this wasn't Angelus. This was Angel. Beautiful, noble, caring, brooding, pain in the ass Angel.

"Not you. I could never stake you."

Giles touched his fingertips to Angel's throat. Then he went to the prominent collarbone just below. Dragging a finger down the sternum, he smiled. Angel was just lying there watching.

"What are you doing?" the vampire asked.

"Getting to know you again."

"Could you maybe hurry it up?" Angel's voice held an odd note.

His gaze going straight to the reason for it, Giles saw the dusky erection twitching impatiently between blanched thighs.

"I've wanted to do this for a long time. Don't rush me." Ignoring his own aching desire, he continued his leisurely explorations, running his hand down Angel's flank, brushing his hip.

"Rupert. Please."

It wouldn't take much longer before the restraint broke. Giles changed his tactics slightly, rubbing the inside of Angel's thigh from just below the heavy sac to his knee. A small shuddering grunt was Angel's only reaction. Very well. Giles slid down the bed and shifted his attention to the flat belly.

"You've been working out," he accused.

Looking slightly sheepish, Angel replied. "Sit ups. Helps me sleep."

"Right. Well, the, uh, six pack...? It's quite lovely. I especially like the ripples right...here." He nipped at it. The flesh jerked in response.

Making a noise that sounded like "gluhh" Angel struggled for control. Close. Very close.

"You've lost weight," he observed in voice that was halfways normal.

"I jog." Giles wrapped his hand around the rigid shaft straining under his nose. A tiny moan escaped the owner's throat.

Angel swallowed before speaking. "You...you used to do that a lot. Jog, I mean."

"I stopped when I moved to Sunnydale." His fist slid up and down the swollen organ.

"Well, who had time for it?" Angel asked conversationally. Only the sweat that had broken out on his brow betrayed his true state of emotion.

"True, but I got dreadfully out of shape. Living on junk food when I remembered to eat at all, sitting in the library for hours and hours, lack of sleep. Not healthy." Giles sped up his movements. Then he bent to take the head into his mouth. He swished his tongue around the tip a few times and flicked it across the slit.

"L-looking pretty fit now. Very nice, Rupert. I...I like the tight muscles. Very lean. You..." he began, stopped to search for his control, found it, and continued, "You look ten years younger."

Deciding to increase the torment, Giles dragged his tongue from the base to the tip once, twice, three times. On every pass his victim squirmed more. He took the shaft deep into his mouth where it banged on the back of his throat before he relaxed to let it partways down and sucked hard on it, billowing his cheeks. Then he let it slide from his lips.

"Christ!" Angel's control snapped. Jack-knifing off the mattress, he threw himself on top of Giles, pinning his shoulders down. "Finish it already!"

Giles caught him in his arms.

It was useless to fight now. He was outmatched in strength and he remembered how Angel got when he was pushed too far. Lying still he looked up into passion-clouded eyes.

Angel stared back, his expression softening. "I've missed you so much."

What followed swept away all coherent thought for them both. Giles had forgotten how good they were together. Then he sank happily into oblivion.

* * * * *

Sometime deep in the night, Giles woke up to find Angel watching him.

Without saying a word they fitted themselves into a mutually acceptable position and began to move together. The rush towards ecstasy was over quickly in the face of their great need. Giles fell asleep where he finished, sprawled on top of Angel, the strong arms wrapped around his back and their legs intertwined.

It was exactly where he wanted to be.

It was mid-afternoon when Giles walked into Angel Investigations. Wesley and Cordelia were in the outer office arguing over what sounded like the merits of cappucino over frappacino or something. They stopped mid- argument and looked towards him as he stood in the doorway, tension making the lines of his body rigid and awkward.

END