Defining Moments
written by Karen Jephson


Rating: FRM
Spoilers: None indicated.
Summary: Just what did Giles get up to in his Ripper days?
Thanks: To Trich, Beth and Gail. Without your support and beta'ing I may not have finished it.
Dedication: To Robin, because he is. Hope you're both feeling better.
Feedback Author: Karen Jephson
Author's Website: Behind Green Eyes


The young couple alighted from the taxi, obviously a little worse for drink. Giggling, their arms wrapped around each other, they made their way into the dark alley. Their clothes were more suited to a society ball than the mean streets they now wandered. The taxi driver shook his head as he pocketed the generous tip the young man had given him. None of his business if they decided mixing with the working class was worth the trouble they were begging for. As he pulled away he barely noticed the youth leaning indolently against the wall a few yards away. Nor did he or the young couple see the boy pull away from the wall and follow them into the alleyway.

The young girl gave a nervous giggle as they went further into the darkness. Without the courage of the street lights to laugh away your fear, this wasn' t so much fun. Clasping her boyfriend's hand, she looked nervously behind her. "Did you hear something?"

Squeezing her fingers in encouragement, her date hurried her up. "It's nothing. Just your imagination. We'll be there soon, and you'll see I'm right." Nevertheless, he pulled her closer to the warmth of his body, and glanced nervously back toward the receding warmth of the busy street they'd just left. Neither of them heard the soft footfalls behind them, or saw the flash of silver as the switchblade knife was extracted from the leather jacket. And neither realized the perfect target they made, he in his white dinner jacket, she in her pink taffeta evening gown. Sheltered as they were they hadn't given a thought to removing the expensive jewellery they both wore, and which now guaranteed the not so pleasant ending to their little adventure.

A movement before them caused them both to halt in fear, until they realized that it was another couple intent on the same destination. Hesitating only once more as they were joined by another man at an intersecting lane, they moved silently toward their target. A few minutes later, they all spilled into a courtyard, the surrounding buildings boarded and crumbling with disuse. There was eight of them now, none willing to look the other in the face. Barely nodding an acknowledgment of existence they made their way to the building at the far-left corner. The man they'd met earlier obviously knew what he was doing as he rapped the rotting door with his knuckles in a strange rhythm the young girl knew she'd never remember. Swallowing nervously she glanced at her boyfriend, almost shocked at the look of fear and excitement on his face. She glanced at the others, recognizing the same look on them, except with the others there was an added expression. One almost of need.

She turned back at the sound of a latch being pulled, and rusted hinges being forced to work. Only a single candle held out toward them lighted the interior of the building. She could barely see the pale hand that held the candle, and could see nothing of its owner. The candle swung back and forth, illuminating them all twice, before waving them in. A moment of sanity made the girl pause, turning to her boyfriend with a refusal on her lips. He smiled at her before dragging her into the dark hallway.

After the door shut, all was silent in the courtyard. A flicker of a curtain at the house the only indication there had been a watcher from the inside. A few moments more and their unknown witness stepped out of the shadows. Puzzling the facts before him, he tried to work out where he'd seen that exact look of fear and desire before. A slow smile spread his face as he realized what he'd found. Turning, he skipped back down the alleyway. Sod jewels and money. He'd found something better to win back the support of his gang from those two pillocks!

* * * * *

The young couple lay entwined on the sofa, their mouths fused in a passionate kiss. Releasing his partner's mouth, the youth kissed the spot below her ear before making his way down her neck. The girl smiled, not in pleasure at his activities, but up at the shadow in the corner of the room. The uncovered globe in the ceiling cast them in light, leaving the rest of the room in darkness. For all the couple knew, there could be a dozen people watching them, but they didn't care. There was only one that they were interested in, and they could feel his eyes devouring them. The girl moaned as she felt he partner's tongue on her distended nipple, but she didn't take her eyes from the watcher. They both knew that a word from him, and she'd gladly leave the boy on top of her and finish this mating with him in the shadows, or wherever else he commanded.

He shifted his shoulders slightly, making his body more comfortable. He smiled as Phillip lifted the T-shirt off Deidre and threw it across the floor. It'd become a competition the past few days among the others, see who could give him the better entertainment. He turned his head slightly at a noise to his right, never taking his eyes off the undulating couple. "Whatsa matter? Not enjoying the show? Or enjoying it too much?" His eyes drifted down then, taking in the bulge at his fellow watcher's crotch.

"Don't you get tired of this? Don't you want to join in?" They both spoke quietly so as not to disturb the other two. "Don't you want.." He stopped and gasped at the feel of a hand on his arousal.

"I told you before, you gotta control it. All of it. If you let anything control you, especially this, " he squeezed to indicate his meaning, "then you're lost before you begin." He grinned as he looked back at the couple, his hand massaging the jean covered erection. "'Sides, if I give in too often, they wouldn't come beggin' for it now would they." The two were from worlds completely different from this place, most of them were, but they all changed their accent to suit their new surroundings. None did it as well as him though. That's why he was leader now, cause there wasn't much that he wasn't best at.

The boy beside him moaned quietly as he pushed against the hand rubbing him. "Please, don't..."

"Don't what?" He was openly grinning now. "Don't give you what you want no matter how much you deny it, or don't stop?" It was a subtle battle between the two. The boy was truly innocent, hadn't known the touch of another, man or woman. One of the things that he'd been attracted to, was that innocence. And the glow of magic that surrounded him. One to be corrupted, the other to be harnessed for his own uses. They had just to remove this one final barrier. The silent battle was disrupted by the cry of the girl on the couch. She was naked now; her legs spread as the boy above her moved his face into her crotch. "Deidre's about ready to come. Why don't I make you come at the same time? That way you can pretend it was from looking at her instead of, " he hesitated as he moved his mouth over to the shivering boy's ear, "me." The whisper caressed the sensitive flesh.

The boy hesitated, involuntarily shoving against the hand cupping him. "No." He pulled away, obviously with great reluctance. The older man smiled. Each time, he came nearer. The lad was almost his.

The slamming of the front door disrupted the scene as Phillip entered Deidre. The two froze, then looked toward the corner. A hand waved them on. "Go on. We know who it is. We'll see to it." He walked away without a backward glance, the boy close behind him. The couple shrugged at each other then finished their coupling.

Following the sound of footsteps in the passage, the two men moved toward the kitchen at the back of the house. The older one stopped the younger from entering. Staying out of sight of the occupants, they listened as the new arrival dropped his jacket on the table.

"Where're are the others?"

"It's Phillip's turn. He and Deidre are in the front room." The voice was young, male, obviously not much interested in the visitor.

"And the rest?"

"Most of them are gone out. Hunting, like you were meant to be. He's not gonna be happy...."

"I don't care whether he's happy or not." The words were snarled out, not caring who might hear. "Suppose he's leading his little pack again."

"Nope." A slight change in the air, not noticeable to all but the highly trained. The eldest of the two smiled. But then he'd been highly trained, by the best. "As far as I know he's being entertained by Deidre and Phillip."

"I s'ppose the pretty boy's with him." This was still with a sneer, but not as much bravado as the last.

"Of course." A pause, and then slyly, "Do you want me to fetch them?"

"No. I've got something to tell you all, and they can wait with the rest. This is my gang, and I'll decide who knows what."

The listener shifted, then beckoned his accomplice to follow him. "Really Randall, must you always try to play the little dictator? We are a democracy after all." Rupert Giles smiled his wolf's smile as he walked into the kitchen and sidled up to Randall. "And the pretty boy," he waved to the glowering boy behind him, " who prefers Ethan by the way. Why, we'd just love to show you the rewards to be gained in giving it all up to your duly elected leader."

Randall sneered again, but the fear was evident in his eyes, mixed in with a little lust. And that's why Rupert had them all. He knew what turned them on. "And that would be?"

Rupert slid his hand to cup the other man's ass. Randall was a little taller than he was, and stockier, but they both knew who was the better man. "Who else? Me."

* * * * *

"Get your hand off there before you lose it!" Randall put all the venom he could in to the snarl, but Giles just smiled, the golden curls framing his angelic face. Ethan might have been called the pretty boy, but Giles was nothing to sneer at. There was a fascinating attraction about the two, one dark as the other fair, which drew even him. He wasn't ever gonna let them know that though. Girls was his thing, and nobody was gonna make him do different. "I mean it. Now!"

The hand hesitated, squeezing the bun it held before moving in a caress across his hip and thigh. Just short of his groin it dropped away. Giles quirked an eyebrow, waiting for Randall's response. There wasn't much difference in height between the two, though Randall was stockier. In a fight though they both knew who would win. Giles had already proven it.

Tired of toying with his victim Giles grabbed the can of beer out of the hands of the boy sitting at the table. Giving him a wink he swallowed a mouthful, before turning back to Randall. "So what's this exciting news you can't wait to tell us all?"

Randall shook his head. "You can wait for the rest." Another silent war passed between the two, interrupted only at the appearance of Deidre and Phillip.

Giles waved at the newcomers. "Everybody's here. Everybody that counts that is." There was an unspoken agreement between the six of them that they were the core of the gang. The others were mainly hangers on or drifters, not stopping long enough to make any lasting impressions. "That reminds me. Deidre?" The girl looked up at him eagerly, "You're one of us now dear. No need to make yourself so available?" He caressed her cheek with his hand, letting her know the decision was a reward and not punishment. She smiled sleepily at him as she leant into his touch.

"So what's the big news?" Tom's question dragged the other boys' attentions away from the couple. None would admit their jealousy, or their confusion as to who they were jealous over.

Randall cleared his throat. "I was on the hunt tonight. Found a couple of toffs too busy slumming it to realize how much of their worldly goods they was showing."

"How much did you get?" Giles' voice was almost disinterested as he continued to stroke Deidre.

"Nothin'!" Even Giles stared at Randall's gloating voice. "I let them lead me to better pickings. A shootin' house."

His attention fully gained, Giles took a step toward Randall. "Where?"

The others shouted over him excitedly. "You sure?" "How do you know?" "When we gonna hit it?"

Giles held his hand up for silence, a command immediately obeyed. "Where?"

Randall shrugged. He wasn't gonna let anybody know until it was time to hit it. "Off Newbury Lane. I figured we'd hit it tomorrow night. They'd be so drugged up, we'd be able to clear the place out in no time."

Giles' distracted "We'll see," surprised them all. He turned away, moving toward the front of the house.

"We'll see? No we bloody won't see mate!" Randall pulled up from his tirade at the flinty look in Giles' eyes.

"I said we'll see. It's late. Time for all good girls and boys to go to bed. Ethan?" The younger man followed him out of the kitchen. The others assumed they were lovers, but Ethan knew that Giles was protecting him until he could protect himself. Giles paused at the foot of the stairs, looking back toward the kitchen to make sure they weren't being observed. "I have to pop out for a bit. Make the others think we went to bed."

"What.." Giles' finger on Ethan's lips silenced him.

Giles smiled that quirky gentle smile he reserved only for the boy before him. "Anybody'd think you wanted me to join you." His smile deepened at the dark blush on the other's cheeks. He leant forward and kissed his forehead. "All will be explained tomorrow. Don't wait up." In a flash he was gone, leaving the bemused boy behind.

* * * * *

He lay on his bed, drawing on the cigarette on his lips. Dropping the ash in the ashtray on his stomach he thought about what he'd found the night before. Not what Randall thought, but what he'd guessed. It had been easy enough to locate the alleyway, there weren't that many on Newbury Lane. The building was easy enough to spot. Hadn't he seen enough in his days?

He smiled as he sensed the presence in his doorway. "You gonna stand there all day?"

Ethan shifted forward. "Didn't know if you wanted to be disturbed."

"By you? Always." He put as much innuendo in the last word as he could manage. The smile deepened as Ethan's blush appeared.

"Why do you do it?" Neither needed to embellish what he meant. Ethan had been witness to Giles' seduction of the girl out of Randall's bed, and his offer to Randall to join them. "Why Rupert?"

Giles growled as he half sat, "I've told you to never use that name again! Don't know why I told you." He lay down sullenly as he finished speaking.

"Why did you?" Ethan was obviously curious. They both knew Giles would never hurt him.

Giles shrugged. "I liked the look of you. And you got me drunk. Thought you wanted to seduce me." He smiled up at his young friend before stubbing out the cigarette. Moving the ashtray to the bedside table, he patted an empty spot of mattress. "If you want to know all my dark secrets you'd better come make yourself comfortable. Don't want anybody else to hear."

Ethan hesitated for just a moment, then moved to the indicated place. He barely resisted when Giles pulled him down beside him, pushing his head down on the broad shoulder. He visibly relaxed as the older man's hand stroked his hair. "It's me way of getting back at them."

"Who?"

"The Council. A secret organization of do-gooders out to save the unsuspecting world." The derision was evident in his voice. He turned to look into Ethan's eyes. "The trouble with secret organizations Ethan is that there's nobody to make sure they stay good. Never get involved in ╬em." Turning back to look up at the ceiling he fell silent.

"How did you get involved in them?"

"They were my guardians." He laughed at the stupidity of it all. "Me Dad died when I was ten, never knew me Mum. Gran was long gone. And there was this old fart telling me to put away me dreams cause I had a sacred duty to fulfill."

"What duty?"

The bitterness was evident in his voice. "The great duty of sending little girls out to their deaths. That was our noble cause. That's why I was locked away in some private school learning about things you don't even want to know. Monsters. Evil. Real evil, not that crap Hammer House stuff. The real, living breathing stuff. So to speak. Cause we are put on this earth for just one thing. To send out little girls to kill vampires."

It was obvious by the returned tenseness of his body that Ethan didn't believe him. Probably thought he was on something. He wished. "If you hated it so much why did you stay?"

"Didn't have a choice. Like I said, I was locked up when I was ten. All this crap thrown at me. You know I can speak three languages? Started on the fourth when I finally escaped, plus the usual Latin, Sanskrit and other dead languages. Even got into some of the demon languages too, though me head's not really into that sort of stuff."

"But if you were good at it..."

"Oh I loved the studying at first. I'm a bloody genius Ethan. It's easy for me to get bored. That kept me interested. But I could hear them. Bad seed. Not conforming. Too curious by half. Come to a bad end. That's what my darling guardians thought of me. So halfway through my second term at Oxford I decided to prove ╬em right. I wasn't gonna send no little kid to her death, so I might as well become the renegade they thought me. Hopped a train to London, and here I am."

Both were silent while Ethan mulled over all he had learnt. He didn't notice when Giles pulled him closer to his own body, or started rubbing his hand along his side. "Why don't you like me calling you Rupert?"

Giles giggled. "Not exactly a name of leaders now is it. Rupert the gang leader. Rupert the sex god." They both smiled at that. "Nah, Giles'll do." He snuggled even closer to Ethan, loving the dawning recognition in those beautiful blue eyes. "Now I know you don't believe me, but that'll change tonight. In the meantime, you wanna kiss Giles' booboos better?" The temptation was there, and for once Giles thought it might be winning. "Just a kiss Ethan. As a reward for telling you my life story?" His lips were just a breath away from the boy's now, but he waited. It was up to Ethan to make the next move.

Ethan wet his dry lips, his tongue accidentally brushing Giles' flesh. He looked into the hazel/green eyes so close to his, and realized that Giles would never hurt him. For all his teasing and tormenting, Giles would never knowingly hurt anybody, and him least of all. He pressed his lips to the other man's.

Giles quickly took control of the kiss, brushing his tongue gently across the swelling lips until they opened for him. Then he plundered the waiting mouth, stroking it repeatedly until the body now beneath him squirmed in excitement, and Ethan's tongue joined in his in a mating ritual as old as time. It was obvious that they were both aroused by their passionate kiss. Giles pulled back then pressed a firm kiss on Ethan's red lips. He smiled down at the bemused face. "See? Think how good it'll be when you finally let me make love to you." Kissing the younger man once more, he rolled them both over until Ethan was again pressed against his side. "Now let me sleep. I should be able to with you watching over me."

Ethan watched his friend as he finally drifted off to sleep, the deepening lines of pain and anger easing away. He was tempted to stroke back the curls that fell across Giles' forehead but worried about waking him. He had much to think about until tonight. He doubted Giles realized how much he'd given away in that last line. But now he'd given Ethan a purpose. To watch over him and protect him from the Council or whoever else came after him. Years later Ethan would wonder if that was the moment he fell in love with Rupert Giles.

* * * * *

They gathered in the kitchen, the last rays of the sun peaking through the dirty window and highlighting them all in an orange glow. Randall was practically strutting, sure that this would reinstate him as the leader of the group. The others waited in pairs or small groups, mostly silent save for a few excited whispers. Randall didn't mind that they wouldn't leave without Giles. Better for the other man to witness his own downfall.

"Oh look, our little family is waitin' for us. Are we late for something?" Giles and Ethan stood just inside the doorway, the older man's arm slung over his companion's shoulders. "Did I forget an important appointment Ethan?" The younger man just smirked.

Randall shook with rage, but refused to respond to the baiting. "A moment longer you and your," he smirked, "girlfriend would have missed out on all the fun."

Giles pulled back an angry Ethan. "Jealous Randall? You could have always joined us." He glanced around the room. "You think the others would have left without me?"

Randall didn't bother looking around. He knew the answer already. "You're here now. We can all leave." He turned toward the rest of the party. "I've found us a little fun tonight. We're gonna visit a shootin' house."

"No we're not."

Randall spun in rage at the quietly spoken words. "You think you can stop us from going?"

Giles dropped his hand and moved forward, placing himself in the middle of the group. "Oh we're going all right. But I checked out your little house. It's not full of druggies getting' their fix. It's something even more," he paused as though searching for the right word, "thrilling."

"What?"

Giles smiled gently at Randall, wresting full control of the night from the other man. "If I told you it wouldn't be a surprise would it? Get all the money you can find. We're gonna need it for tonight's entertainment."

* * * * *

They were a dozen in all that night. Giles, Ethan, what was to be known as the Eyghonites, and half a dozen hangers on. Giles hadn't wanted too big a group, he wouldn't have been able to handle them all. Instead he took those he trusted most, plus a few of the others he wanted to test. The rest were told to seek their own amusements that night. Except for Ed. Giles had come across him trying to rape Deidre and had ensured that Ed would spend the night at the local Casualty. It served as a double lesson. Ed would never force himself on a girl again, and the rest of the gang knew what they'd get if they crossed Giles.

The clock had finished chiming the quarter hour past midnight when they all stumbled out of the pub. Only Giles and Ethan were anywhere sober, although they'd had enough to numb the senses. Giles figured that they'd be easier to handle when they realized where they were if they were paralytic. Guiding his flock down the dark, deserted street he indicated Ethan over to him. "Whatever happens tonight, do as I say."

Ethan was concerned. Giles hadn't told him much more than the others, except the reason for the stop off at the pub. "What's going on?"

Giles smiled that cocky, heart broken grin that had first drawn Ethan to him. "Oh we're just gonna have some fun. And I'm gonna show this mob that there's worse things than the cops and gangs. And prove to you the truth of the night." This was said deeper, almost sadly.

Randall, at the head of the group staggered to a halt in front of an alleyway. "This ish it?" He waved his arm into the darkened passage as he used the wall to support his weight. He peered uncertainly in the direction he'd traveled before. "Ain't it Giles?"

Giles moved beside him. "Yeah, this is the one. Now I want you all on your best behavior and do as I say. That way you'll live to tell your grandkids an unforgettable story." He pushed Randall forward, then led the rest of the group into the darkness.

The house was as the previous night, the windows boarded, no light peaking through the wooden slats. The little group stumbled upon itself as it crowded into the cul-de-sac, no one uttering a word. Giles motioned Randall toward the door. Hesitating for a moment, trying to remember what he'd heard the night before, Randall lifted his hand and tapped the code on the wooden pane. One of the girls giggled as they waited for somebody to approach. Ethan shifted nervously, suddenly not wanting to be there. "There's nobody home. Let's..." He stopped at the sound of a bolt being pulled back.

As in the previous night, a single candle extended beyond the doorway, a pale hand holding it aloft. The candle shifted among the group, hesitating a moment at Giles. At his nod, the candle finished its journey then retreated beyond the doorframe. The door was pulled back further, inviting the party in. The group shuffled into the passageway, each reluctant for some reason to look at their host. Again Ethan hesitated, only to be pushed slightly by Giles, his whispered "I'll take care of you," heard by none of the others. Ethan glanced at the face of the owner of the pale hand. He was disappointed to see a normal, if slightly fair visage. Almost beautiful in fact. Giles giggled in his ear. "What did you expect? Glowing red eyes and long pointy teeth?" He didn't see his almost lover look back and wink at the stranger, or that pale visage morph into ridges and protruding teeth.

The visitors moved up onto the first floor, drawn by the low moans of others above them. They hesitated in an open doorway, before being herded by Giles into a large room. Couples lying in various positions on the floor surrounded them. The darkness of the room, and the smoke from a pot burner reduced visibility, but it was obvious that some of the couples were involved in sexual acts. As for others, "What are they doing?" Deidre squeaked the question the others wondered.

Giles smiled his wolf smile. "Why they're vampires dear, and they're waiting to suck you."

"Vam -- vampi.." An incredulous Randall cut off Deidre's fear ridden question.

"Don't be stupid. Vampires don't exist. And if they did why would you bring us here?"

"That's what I want to know." Ethan didn't bother hiding his rage.

Giles' lifted his eyebrow in query. "You wanted to come here Randall. Remember? And I promised you all a night to remember."

One of the girls screamed "They'll kill us all!"

Giles turned on her impatiently. "Don't be bloody stupid! D'ya think that I' d lead you all into real danger? That I'd let myself get caught? They won't kill you. They'll just feed on you a little. And if you ask nice, why they might even screw you."

"How do you know they won't kill us?" Phillip was already drawn to the idea, but obviously still worried about his safety. Only their absolute faith in Giles had kept them all there.

Giles sighed, then rolled up the left sleeve of his shirt. He showed them all the faded scar of two puncture wounds. "It's not in their interest. They make money and they feed. Why would they kill the golden goose? Now go choose your partners and have fun." The others turned slowly then moved hesitantly toward some unoccupied vampires. Ethan noticed a girl on her own, her pink taffeta party dress how only distinguishing element in the dark. A hand on his arm halted his progress. "Not you. We just watch."

He turned back to Giles. "Why? I thought you wanted me to experience it all?"

Giles shook his head. "I have something better than this planned for you." They both turned at the sound of Randall moaning. "Much better."

One of the girls screamed before being silenced. Ethan peered toward the sound, but all seemed well. "Are you sure they'll be safe Rupert?"

"Wha?" Randall lifted his head up, already lightheaded from the loss of blood. "What did you call him?"

Ethan looked guiltily at Giles. "I didn't."

"Yesh you did! You called him Rupert."

" No. I -- I called him Rip -- per. Ripper."

"Ripper?" Deidre looked heavily lidded up at Giles. "As in Jack?"

"Yeah." Giles' accent was stronger now, sounding almost evil. "And you're all my lovely little whores." The others giggled, only Giles and Ethan knowing that he hadn't been joking.

* * * * *

The two young men sat cross-legged on the bed, large dusty books spread out before them. They spoke very little as they thumbed through the thick pages. Giles had brought them home that afternoon, telling Ethan it was time to continue his education into the dark magics and monsters. It had been three days since their visit to the vampire-feeding house. Ethan had not returned, and Giles had stopped after the third night. Some of the others went every night, Randall especially becoming addicted to the thrill. Only Tom had refused to be fed upon after the first night, but went to keep an eye on the others. It had taken Ethan two days to forgive his friend, but there was still a shadow between them.

"Are you going to tell me?" Giles looked up at Ethan's words. "When were you bitten?"

Giles looked down at the book he was holding for a moment, before lifting his head once again. "It's part of Watcher training. Controlled battles with vampires. Being fed by them to know how a victim feels. Trouble is, a lot of the watchers become addicted to that feeling. That's why they train so many of us. Some of us don't make it through to the end."

"And those who do make it become Watchers to the Slayers?"

"Oh there's only one Slayer." Giles closed the book and put it to one side. "The Council usually traces the potential Slayers when they're still babies. Watchers are then dispatched to train and prepare them. But most don't actually have an active Slayer. That's an ╬honor' given to few." His derision at the supposed honor was obvious. "I believe the current one's living in America at the moment. New York."

"Lucky Slayer."

"You think?" Giles smiled gently at the blush gracing the younger man's cheeks. "So you've forgiven me then?"

Ethan shrugged. "None of the others have died. I still don't get why you wouldn't let me join in though."

"I told you. We don't join in, we watch. We're leaders Ethan, and above the rest. The others are just sheep."

Ethan looked at his friend quizzically. "You don't like them do you." Giles just shrugged. "If you feel that way why bother with them?

"They're all right. They're just stupid followers."

"And Deidre, Tom and Phillip?"

"More stupid than the rest. That's why I know I can trust them. In the end they'll go back to their little world and think this was all a bad dream. Something to pull out in the dark of the night and hold onto when their dull little lives get duller."

"Even Tom?"

"Tom will go into banking. Probably working for his old man. He'll be good at his job, move up the ranks, but he won't stand out. He won't want to. Deidre'll never get married. She'll end up a spinster wearing spinster clothes, unable to live with the shame of what she's done. Phillip'll go into middle management eventually, a little weed of a man wondering why everybody else gets promoted ahead of him."

"And Randall?"

Giles hesitated. "Randall will always resent my taking over. He'll try to prove he's the better leader for the rest of his life. He'll be the guy bullying the Phillips of this world." He shrugged. "Or he might end up dead in the streets after picking one too many fight." He opened the book again, hoping to avoid the next question.

"And what abut us Ripper?" Already the nickname had stuck, everybody using it instead of his surname. "What will become of us?"

Giles sighed then looked back up at the still innocent youth he was trying so hard to corrupt. "You and I my love are at a fork in a road. We can go one way or another. I'm a little way further along one path than you are, but we can still change our minds and go in the other direction. You're gonna have to make up your mind soon Ethan as to which path you want to take."

Ethan licked his dry lips as he thought on his friend's words. "Why haven't you made love to me? You know I'll let you."

Giles smiled before putting his book to one side. Moving onto his hands and knees he crawled toward Ethan. Pausing when their lips were only inches apart, he surrounded the younger man with his heat. "I don't want you to let me. I want you to ask me, to beg me." Bending forward he took Ethan's lips in one of those searing kisses that left Ethan almost giving him what he wanted. After several pleasant moments teasing Ethan's tongue with his own, and then drawing it into his own mouth he pulled away. Turning, he sat against the wall, pulling the book on Ethan's lap until it draped across them both. "Until then, let's see how much magic we can teach you."

Ethan bent his head, his eyes caught by a picture on the page. The two faces looked up at him, almost calling to him. He pointed at the image. "What's that?"

Giles glanced down. "Janus, God of chaos. Somebody you don't want to tangle with." He turned the page, trying not to appear in a hurry. "Let's try something smaller shall we? Like a demon?"

Ethan bit his lips, holding back his protest. Giles had been trying to interest him in this stuff for the past week. Now he found something he wanted to know about, they had to move on. He vowed to follow up on this Janus by himself. "Ah, here's something more on what I was thinking of." Giles' words broke his musings. He looked down at the ugly face Giles pointed out to him. The other man must have read his mind. "Don't let appearances fool you love. Here is a demon that revels in orgies and other good stuff. Yes, I think it would be a good idea for us all to meet this Eyghon."

* * * * *

He assembled them in the front room. The others had been sent away again, most of them deciding to go back to the vampire house. Ethan knew that Ripper was worried about the amount of time they all spent there, but as he' d introduced them to it he didn't feel he could stop them. Only Ripper's trusted few were there that night. Even Randall, who'd become more malleable since his introduction to vampires. They all knew that was because he was addicted to the vampires and took drugs before and after the visits.

Ripper had told them all to dress up for the occasion. They'd all put on their cleanest togs, Tom going so far as to wearing his party suit, a bandana around his blonde hair. The dark glasses added to the hippie image, making them all giggle. The room was dark, lit by a few short candles arranged around a pentagram. Ripper had shown Ethan how to do the patterns of the pentagram for future reference, then finished arranging the room. He' d then given Ethan a small bottle of oil and told him to bathe before rubbing the oil on his body. If the older man had been trying to arouse him, it worked. He had trouble hiding his erection in the long gown he'd been made to wear. He decided to ask Ripper to make love to him after the ceremony. The way he was feeling he might even beg him.

Ripper checked the time on the old fob watch he always carried with him. He wouldn't tell even Ethan where he'd got it from, but it was obvious the watch meant a lot to him. Closing the face, he looked up and smiled at the gathering. "Everybody in their places." As the others moved to the different points of the pentagram, Ethan realized that Ripper hadn't told him everything. "For our first calling, I've decided to use Ethan as the vessel." He held his hand up before anybody could speak. "Eyghon will be weak when he comes out, but he'll be fighting to get away. Ethan and I are the only ones who haven't visited the vampires in two days. And I need to be here to control the demon. So, Ethan love," he lifted his hand, "ready for the adventure I promised?"

Feeling his excitement increase at the thought of being possessed by the demon Ripper had described to him, he placed his hand in the other man's. "Wherever thou go, I shall follow." Ripper laughed at the bible quote before guiding Ethan into the pentagram. He kissed him gently on the lips before bending and pulling the robe over the younger man's head. Knowing he should protest, but not feeling the urgency to do so, Ethan smiled lazily at the appreciative gaze. "You could have warned me."

"You would have said no." Ripper guided Ethan onto the floor, arranging him with his arms crossed over his chest. "If I'd known what was behind those jeans of yours I wouldn't have waited for you to ask." He kissed him once again before moving out of the pentagram. Ethan sighed as he heard Ripper's voice touch him from the darkness. "Now close your eyes and relax, we'll do the rest." Picturing the fork in the road that Ripper told him about, he did as he'd been commanded as he mentally took his first step toward the man he intended to follow into eternity. The chanting of voices came to him from a distance before lulling him into a peaceful slumber.

* * * * *

He awoke to the touch of something rubbing along his body. A moment's reflection brought the realization that somebody was sponging him down, wiping off the oil, sweat, and he didn't want to think what else that had clung to his body. He winced as the sponge moved along a particularly sore spot. He knew who was his nurse, and relaxed under the ministrations as he tried to remember.

Only flashes came through. A feeling of power and exhilaration. People touching his body, making love to them, being made love by them. Although that probably wasn't the right word. Ripper's description was more apt. He'd been well and truly screwed. He supposed he should feel ashamed, or a sense of loss. After all, his first time and he wasn't really part of it. But the emotion of it all was too fantastic to regret a moment. The memory, combined with the feel of the cloth on his member caused a surprising reaction. He smiled as the hand remained where it was, stroking the length of him. "Ripper."

"Hmm?" The voice was gentle, loving.

"Was I good?"

A bark of laughter sounded harsh in the darkness. "Good? No, you weren't good," he felt a whisper of air as lips neared his ear. "You were very, very bad."

Ethan smiled. "I'm so glad. I wouldn't want you to be displeased."

"Oh I wasn't displeased love, not at all." A firm hand, stroking his flesh fully to life replaced the cloth. "But what of you Ethan? I was worried because Eyghon seemed to take pleasure in inflicting pain. How do you feel?"

He would have laughed but he was too tired and sated. "Can't you tell?" The two lay there, enjoying the feel of each other's body. Ethan shifted closer to Ripper, realizing that he, too was naked. "Ripper?"

"Hmm?"

"It was you first wasn't it?"

"Would I let it be anybody else?"

"I'm glad." He realized that Ripper's hand had stilled, resting against the heat of him. "Ripper?"

"You should be resting love."

"Not until you kiss me." He felt the shifting of the body next to his, the heat of his lover covering him. Two firm lips pressed against his own, before a tongue demanded entry. He eagerly complied, pulling Ripper further onto him until he could feel the other man's arousal. He finally pulled back, grinning lazily. "I must be more tired than I thought, because I want to make love to you but can't get the energy."

Ripper smiled back. "Well, Eyghon did keep you pretty busy tonight. You need to rest for a few days. Then we'll finish this off." Neither were to know that the promise made would never be kept. Ethan would wonder in later years if this was the beginning of his hatred for Rupert Giles.

* * * * *

First, the others demanded their turn with Eyghon. As a participant, and not the vessel, Ethan could see how hard the demon was to control. He studied harder to ensure that when it was Ripper's time he could handle Eyghon. After each session everybody was exhausted but sated. Yet Ethan noticed that Eyghon took special pleasure in hurting Ripper, in almost raping the other man. And once the demon noticed their closeness, it turned on Ethan, as if using him to punish Ripper. He dreaded even more Ripper's turn.

And it was worse than he'd expected. The demon had pushed Ripper's body beyond what any human could endure. He'd insisted the others cause as much pain as possible, abuse it as much as they could. Randall, in particular, had taken great pleasure in obeying their master. For that was what Eyghon was. They may have succeeded in controlling the time it occupied their bodies, but in all other ways they were Eyghon's. After the demon had finished with Ripper, Ethan had spent hours wiping him down, tending to his wounds. He'd wept at the damage to his beautiful love, but Ripper would not explain why it was so. And he knew, it was in his eyes.

Each time Eyghon occupied Ripper, the punishment was worse. And each time it took Ripper longer to recover. Yet, after that first time, Eyghon was almost gentle with Ethan, as if trying to seduce him from his human lover, but Ethan could not forget or forgive what his demon master did to Ripper.

One day Ripper had gathered the five of them and taken them to a tattoo parlor. He'd instructed the owner to copy a design he'd brought with him, making sure that the pattern covered the scars left from his vampire encounter. When they returned to the house, he'd explained to them all that they now wore the mark of Eyghon, binding them with their master forever. Ethan wasn't sure he wanted this binding, but Ripper had reassured him that it helped them to control Eyghon, and not allow it to escape.

Ethan noticed Ripper had begun to change. He'd always been reserved with the others, but open and loving and fun with Ethan himself. Now he cut himself off from everybody. He'd seen something in a paper that had worried him. Ethan saw him grilling Randall about something, but the other man wouldn't say what. After that Ripper would disappear sometimes at night, returning late and covered in dust. He eventually banned the gang from returning to the vampire house. Some of the members grumbled, but they accepted the order. As the Eyghonites didn't need the cheap thrill of the vampires it was easy for them to obey. Or so they'd thought.

In the meantime, Ethan continued his own study, sometimes with Ripper, often without. He had a surprise for his friend, one that he wasn't sure Ripper would appreciate. But he'd made the final steps toward the path he wished to take, and couldn't wait to show Ripper how right he'd been about everything.

And then it all unravelled.

* * * * *

It was Randall's turn, but he was already running late. Ripper was on edge, ready to call the whole thing off. The others just wanted to replace Randall, but Ripper said that it had been too soon since their last sessions. It took each of them longer to recover from their possessions, and he was worried that Eyghon was becoming too strong for them. He was ready to send Eyghon back where he came from. Things had gotten too messy.

The slamming of the front door broke up the discussion. They all turned as Randall stumbled into the living room. "Sorry I'm late."

Ripper sighed in frustration. "You're drunk."

"Nope. Haven't touched a drop just like you ordered."

"Then what have you taken?"

"Nothing. Just excited about the upcoming ceremony. Fell over me own feet." Randall hesitated before pulling himself from the door he'd been leaning against. "I already bathed, and have the oil in me pocket. I'll be ready in five."

Ripper opened his mouth to call it off, but changed his mind. Let the fool learn the hard way. "Make it two."

The others looked at each other worriedly as they prepared everything. They whispered to Ethan, before he approached Ripper. "Do you think we ought?"

Ripper ran his hands through his hair. "I don't know. He's been up to something, but he swore he hasn't taken anything. I'll see what he's like when he comes down. If he's still the same, then I'll call it off." Ethan nodded, then tried to distract his friend by discussing the spells they'd tried earlier that day. Ethan was by far the more gifted, but he tended to rush into things without making the appropriate safe guards. Ripper was more cautious, had become even more so in the past few weeks. He didn't want to risk losing Ethan, and would do anything to stop his friend from continuing on the destructive path he himself had led him down.

Six minutes later Randall strolled into the living room, his already naked body glistening with oil. They'd long given up wearing the gowns at the beginning of the ceremonies. "Where are the others?"

Ripper searched the other man for any signs of the weakness that had overcome him earlier. "Left long ago. Got sick of being left out."

Randall shrugged. "Never noticed." He smiled. "All the more for us."

Ripper approached him, halting him with a hand on his arm. "Randall, are you sure...?"

The other man shook him off angrily. "It's my turn! You're not gonna take this away from me too!" Ripper raised his hands in defeat, allowing Randall to enter the circle.

Something was obviously off from the beginning. Ripper would never know if it was because he wasn't concentrating, or if Eyghon had become too strong for them all. He did learn later that Randall had visited the vampire house earlier, hence his weakness and inability to stand upright. This made Randall too weak to fight suppresses the demon. The others sat back in shock as Randall screamed then began convulsing. They turned to Ripper to send the demon away. No matter what he did, he could not force Eyghon to return to its own realm. Even when Ethan joined him in the incantations, Eyghon resisted their demands, until it was able to break free of the pentagram. As they witnessed the body of their friend change into the monster they had all so eagerly summoned, it tore into them, taking them to hell and back in an effort to satiate its lust.

That any of them survived was a miracle in itself; that they all did was unbelievable. Ripper in particular was taken up time and again by the demon, his body and soul ravaged by his master as it spoke the one word over and again. "Weak. Weak. Weak." His screams excited it more, his silence caused rage. Only after he had passed out did Eyghon finally release him. It then turned to the others. One after another, they cowered until they were called upon. Ethan succumbed quickly, fearing more for his life than his body or soul. Disappointed, Eyghon soon tired of tormenting him, and left him fairly unharmed during the night. The rest resisted, their screams filling the night air.

* * * * *

Ethan sat in the corner of the room, daring not to move for fear of waking the slumbering demon. The sunlight shone weakly into the window, allowing him to witness the devastation of the night before. Ripper seemed covered from head to toe in blood, not one part of his beautiful body spared the wrath of Eyghon. Deidre still wept in her sleep, dried blood leaving a path down her leg. Phillip and Tom were on the other side of the settee, but he knew they weren't much better off than Deidre. If only they'd done as he had. He'd come off light compared to the others. He'd survived by his submission and he'd do it again.

A movement at the corner of his eye caused him to jerk around in fear. For a moment he'd thought it was Eyghon, but realized that it was the wrong side of the room. A bloody hand lifted, pointing to him. Quietly he shuffled toward the otherwise inert body. "Ripper," he kept his voice at a whisper for fear of waking the demon again, "can you hear me?"

The other man licked his lips, then opened his eyes. "Eyghon?"

"Sleeping."

"Still in Randall's body?" Ethan nodded. "Damn. He's taken complete possession." He paused to catch a breath. "We'll -- we'll have to try an exorcism to get rid of Eyghon and save Randall."

Ethan wondered at the courage and foolishness of the man before him. He was half-dead, and yet he wanted to go up against the demon again. "Eyghon will kill you. We have to get out of here."

Ripper shook his head. "He'll find us through the tattoos. There is no escape. We have to destroy it before it gains full strength."

Ethan leaned back in shock. "That isn't full strength?"

Again the slight movement of the head. "One of the books in my room. Gartier 's Treatise on Demon Possession and Control. Thank God Randall didn't know about it or Eyghon would have destroyed it."

Ethan smirked. "I doubt God had anything to do with it." Looking back once more to check that Eyghon still slept, he slipped out of the room and up the stairs. He tried not to think of the look in Ripper's eyes. The knowledge that he'd allowed the others to be sacrificed to save him, and the disappointment in this knowledge.

* * * * *

By the time they'd gathered the elements needed for the exorcism, and cleaned Ripper up enough to perform the ceremony the sun was beginning to set. Ripper tried to hurry the others along, knowing that the last light of day would signify the return of Eyghon. Already the darkening shadows were touching the demon's body.

Grabbing the book from Deidre, he ignored the pain in his body as he nodded to the others. "Hold him tight. It's the only way to save Randall."

"And if we can't?" Tom had become spokesman for them all. Deidre and Phillip had been too shocked by the brutality of Eyghon, and none of them could yet forgive Ethan.

Ripper pulled the sword from behind him. "Either way Eyghon does not leave this room."

The others shuffled forward, lighting the candles of the pentagram. Ripper waited until the last one was lit before putting the cigarette lighter to the one in front of him. He then began reading from the book sitting on his lap. The others began their mantra, fear evident in the hesitancy of their chant.

Hearing the casting above him, the sleeping demon woke. Feeling the magic bonds imprisoning it, Eyghon roared before fighting against the restraints. "Ripper! Release me now, or know the true feel of my wrath. Tell these fools what it means to have me as master! Now!"

None hesitated as they continued their chant. The demon began reigning curses upon them all, before switching tactics. "Deidre love. It's okay. You can stop now. Phil, Tom, it's okay now. Help me up lads." They hesitated at the sound of Randall's voice. Deidre glanced up to see the human visage of her friend smiling at her. "It's okay." She leaned forward.

"No!" Ripper's cry prevented Deidre from breaking the circle, but it was too late. Her distraction had released the spell. The demon roared in triumph as it broke through the magic restraints. Ripper closed his eyes in sorrow. "I' m sorry Randall" Pulling the sword from behind him, he stood and faced the demon. "I order you begone from this realm and return to your own!" The demon began to laugh, not noticing the blade in Ripper's hands. Using the last of his strength, Ripper swung the blade in a wide arc, slicing neatly through the flesh and bone of Randall's neck. Deidre screamed as the head flew from the body, before bouncing on the floor. Her sobs were the only sound as the five people stared at the clear visage of their former companion.

Ripper dropped the bloody sword onto the carpet, his breath rasping with exertion and shock. He looked up at the others, knowing they would be waiting for his orders. His mind froze, terror and resentment clouding his judgment. Why was it always him? Why couldn't anybody else make the decisions? Then he saw their eyes. Because nobody else could. "Run." They continued to stare at him. "Run!" Phillip and Deidre didn't stop to gather their things. They took off without thought. Tom paused to pick up the rucksack he'd left by the door. He glanced back at Ripper in apology then followed the others. That would be the last time he saw any of them alive. He looked across at Ethan. "Well?"

"What do we do next?" And Ripper's querying look, he smiled crookedly. "I may believe in self-preservation Ripper but I'm not a snivelling coward. We have to get rid of the body, or the cops'll be after us." He hesitated. "Is Eyghon gone?"

Ripper nodded, tiredness weighing down his limbs. "We have to get rid of the evidence. The house was in Randall's name, but the neighbors would've seen us walking in and out. Help me wrap it in the rug." He bent down to lift the bloody sword, throwing it on top of the body. Swallowing down his nausea, he did the same with the head. With Ethan's aid, he wrapped the body in the bloody rug. Using cover of darkness, they carried Randall's body away from the house and into the meaner part of London. Finding a deserted canal, they hefted their grisly parcel into the water.

Leaning against the wall as the splash echoed into the night, Ripper tried to catch his breath. He was still running on adrenalin, but it would soon run out. "Somebody has to go pack up the house. Too much evidence for the cops to find."

Ethan nodded. "I'll get our stuff out first. What about you?"

He looked up at the stars blinking weakly through the London fog. "There's something I have to do first. I'll meet you back at the house."

* * * * *

The first rays of the sun lit the dawn sky as he made his way back to the house. He paused before entering the place of his nightmares. He had passed through his own private hell this night. Nothing to come would compare to what he'd done and caused to be done. Now all he wanted to do was collect Ethan and start anew. Moving slowly up the stairs, he didn't think to call the other man's name. He pushed open Ethan's door. "What are you doing?"

Ethan knelt in front of a bust, his arms held in supplication. He continued his prayers, as if he hadn't heard Ripper enter. Bowing in deference, he finally stood and faced the other man. "Oh, I think you can guess, can't you Ripper old chum?"

Rage filled him, breathing new energy into his exhausted mind and body. "I told you not to go near Janus! Wasn't Eyghon enough for you?"

Ethan shrugged. "Why should it be when it wasn't enough for you. Or for Randall. That was where he'd been wasn't it? At the vampire house?"

Ripper dropped to his knees, the rage leaving as quickly as it had arrived. "Yeah. He never stopped going. It was like a drug to him. I doubt if he could have stopped."

"Well can you blame him? You were the one who introduced him to that particular drug if you recollect."

His head bowed, Ripper confessed the secret he'd been carrying with him for days. "Remember when Randall found the house? He'd been following a rich young couple. I remembered he said something about a pink dress. We saw a pink dress when we were there. Remember?" He begged Ethan to understand. At the other man's nod he continued. "There was a story in the paper. A young girl had gone missing after a party. Her boyfriend claimed he hadn't seen her after they left the taxi. One of the vampires killed her!"

Ethan shrugged. "You said it yourself. You take the risks for the biggest high. She got unlucky."

"No! They're monsters and we should be destroying them, not playing with them."

Ethan barked. "Well, you've changed your tune! Weren't you the one who wanted to lead us all into this magical world of demons and vampires? The bigger the high the better?"

"It was fun!" He was desperate now, realizing he'd somehow lost control. "I took precautions. Nobody got hurt!"

"Until tonight."

"Until tonight." Ripper dropped his head again. "Until I got lazy, and let Randall have his way. That's my sin."

Ethan straightened as realization set in. "You're all dust. You went back to destroy the vampire house didn't you? Didn't you!"

Ripper nodded. "I made sure there were no humans inside. Then I opened all the windows. After I left, I burned the place down. The girl was there. I -- I staked her."

"Eyghon! That's why he called you weak. He could sense your guilt and ╬goodness'. You bastard."

"I couldn't pretend any more. I knew what we were doing was wrong and Eyghon sensed it."

"My God, what's happened to you? After all the things you told me, all that we've done..."

"I was wrong. I thought that I couldn't measure up to them so I ran away. I was coward." He raised his head once more to his friend. "We have to fight it all Ethan. The evil that's out there. We have to protect the innocent."

"Like you protected me?" The words were as ice from his lips. He shook himself off. "Anyway, I'm not sure I want to fight the evil. I rather enjoyed myself the past few months."

"No." Ripper shook his head in denial. "Come with me. Help me to..."

"Come where? You want me to watch you crawl back to that disgusting Council? Cause that's where you're going isn't it? You're betraying everything you taught me, everything we've done in the past few months. You're betraying me!"

"Ethan!" He lifted his hand in supplication. "Help me. Let me help you. Please?"

Ethan shook his head. "Looks like we're at that fork you're so fond of talking about old chum. I know which way I'm going. Do you?" He picked the bust up off the floor, placing it carefully in a carry bag. Grabbing his rucksack, he moved around Ripper and toward the door. "Hope you don't mind, I've borrowed some books. To continue me study you know. So long Ripper old pal. Let me know when you've come to your senses." He halted once more. "You know, life is full of defining moments. I think we've both just experienced one in ours."

Alone, he wept at the sound of the shutting door. Weighed down by the guilt of what he'd done to that innocent boy he'd met only a few months ago, he allowed the world to crash down upon him. Some time later he lifted his head and wiped the tears from his eyes. Standing on his aching legs, Rupert Giles left the room, and the house of his downfall. He arrived at the Watcher's compound with nothing but the clothes on his back, and a determination to atone for the horror he had caused.

END