Summary: Giles can't get Ethan out of his mind.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site, my LJ, summer_of_giles, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Thanks to kallie_kat & wickedfox for the beta.
Note: Written for summer_of_giles 2007.
Willow had been right. With her help, Giles now stood inside the darkened Initiative base in Nevada. He'd followed the directions Willow had written out for him to the general location of the base, and he had nearly driven into it, so good was the cloak.
Once he'd parked the car, he called Willow on the disposable mobile she'd made him buy for this excursion, and she killed the base's power. Alarms, which apparently were on a back-up grid, sounded, but they had purposely chosen a time when the base would be at minimum staff.
Giles slipped down the dimly lit hallways, the red emergency lights barely providing any illumination. He adjusted the night vision goggles and continued to where they deduced Ethan's cell was located.
His heart clenched as he found the right hallway, forcing himself to walk past half a dozen rooms that he knew contained other prisoners. He wished that he'd thought of a way to free them all, but right now he only had time to get Ethan out. He would have to find a way to get the rest out and destroy the facility once Ethan was safe.
Finally, after what seemed like an endless search, Giles found himself standing before the room containing Ethan. Giles choked back an anguished sound at the sight of his nemesis and old friend lying curled up on the thin mattress looking much older than he had just a few weeks ago.
Holding his hand over the electronic lock, Giles muttered a short incantation and the door slid open.
"Ethan, come along, we need to get you out of here," Giles said, rushing to Ethan's side.
When Ethan didn't respond, Giles removed a small bottle from his jacket pocket and quickly drank the contents. Then he bent to effortlessly pick the thinner man up, sending a quick thanks that they had thought to include a strength-enhancing potion.
After checking to make sure the hallways were still clear, Giles headed back in the direction he had come. He silently promised each closed door he passed that he would find a way to free them too, later. Right now, there wasn't time.
When they were nearly to the exit, a voice behind Giles stopped him dead in his tracks. "Hold it right there."
Giles remained motionless, waiting for further instruction.
"Put down the prisoner and turn around. Slowly."
Reluctantly, Giles lay Ethan on the ground, raised his hands and turned to face the man speaking to him.
"How did you get in here?" the soldier demanded, holding his gun at the ready.
"Through the front door," Giles calmly stated.
"No one can find this place who doesn't work here, so I repeat, how did you get in here?"
"Obviously, you don't know this place as well as you think you do. I found it quite easily," Giles said. "Now, I am unarmed, as you can see. Would you mind lowering your weapon?"
"You are under arrest for helping a prisoner to escape," the soldier responded, grasping his weapon more firmly.
"I don't think so," Giles said. With a wave of his hand the gun flew out of the soldier's hands and into Giles'. "I really didn't want to resort to this, but it appears that you've left me no choice." With that, he fired the gun, aiming for the soldier's leg. He wasn't going to kill the poor fellow; he just wanted to stop him from following.
Giles muted the soldier's scream of pain as he fired, not wanting anyone to hear him and come running to investigate. Then he turned back to where Ethan lay motionless, picked him up again, and continued out of the facility.
Once Ethan was securely in the back seat of the car, Giles peeled away from there as fast as he could, releasing the spell on the soldier once he was far enough away to have a good lead. He cloaked the car, just in case, as he sped back towards Sunnydale.
It had taken three days for Ethan to return to a modicum of his former self. He was weak from all of the testing that had been done on him. He had been kept heavily sedated for most of his imprisonment, to keep him compliant.
The Initiative had been alternately drawing his blood and bone marrow to study, and injecting Ethan with something to dampen his magick. As the treatments wore off, Ethan began to regain some strength and color.
Giles had insisted on Ethan staying in his spare room, despite the objections of the children. Even incapacitated, they feared for Giles' safety. He'd hear none of it though.
"Do they really think that I'm the one holding you prisoner?" Ethan asked as Giles entered his room with his lunch on a tray, having heard Giles' end of yet another phone conversation with Buffy.
Giles chuckled. "I believe they think that you are corrupting me, just by being here."
"Shows how little they know about you," Ethan said. "I corrupted you a long time ago."
Giles set the tray across Ethan's lap and sat near his feet on the bed.
"That is something they will never know about," Giles said firmly.
"Which part? The way that you abandoned yourself to dark magick or the way you liked to bugger me?"
"The first part," Giles said, smirking.
Ethan dropped his spoon back into the bowl of soup, having been caught off guard by Giles' answer.
"I beg your pardon," he squeaked, cringing at the cracking of his voice.
"While I don't plan on outright telling them anything," Giles said, standing and moving next to Ethan. He leaned down and whispered in his ear, "Should you remain in my life, I fully expect us to end up in bed together again."
Ethan licked dry lips, shivering at the tone of Giles' voice. He never could resist that damn voice. Why else would he keep seeking Ripper out? It certainly wasn't for the beatings.
"You honestly wouldn't care if they knew you liked to shag men, let alone me?" Ethan asked.
"They've never cared whether or not I approved of the people they dated, so why should I care what they think about my lovers?" Giles continued to speak huskily in Ethan's ear.
"Damn it, Ripper," Ethan ground out, grasping the tray tightly in his hands. "Don't tease me like this, taking advantage of me in my helpless state."
"You could never be helpless. And I'm not at all teasing. We've waited too long for this day."
"What, for you to be in a position to play nursemaid to me? For me to be so weak I could barely stand, let alone contemplate performing magick?" Ethan angrily retorted.
"No, for us to be even," Giles said. "You'll regain your strength with time. Hopefully your magick, too. I can only hope that you choose to use it more responsibly in the future."
"And if I don't?" Ethan countered.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, let's just enjoy being in each other's company again." Letting his bravado slip a bit, Giles let some uncertainty show. "Unless, of course, you don't want to be here, with me?"
"Enough with the sentiment," Ethan said, rolling his eyes. "Just kiss me, you old fool."
Rather than respond verbally, Giles did just that.