The doorbell startled him, despite the fact that he'd been expecting it for over an hour, ever since the sun went down. Giles finished off his drink with one quick gulp, straight to the back of the throat then went to the door and threw it open.

Caught off guard, the expression caught on the pale face above the black leather coat isn't one Giles remembers seeing there before. He looks nervous, and very young. It's gone in an eyeblink replaced by his patented cocky sneer.

"Spike," Giles said after an awkward silence. "Well, come in."

He turns his back on the vampire, leaving him there in the doorway; goes back to the bottle and the empty glass. Hears the door shut behind him as he starts to pour himself another shot. No idea that Spike was so close until a pale hand reaches round him and snatches the whiskey out of his hand.

"Rupert, Rupert, Rupert," he chides, holding it out of Giles’ reach. "I like whiskey myself, but our deal was for blood." Giles winces at the clank of glass against the tile countertop as Spike sets it down a little too hard. He considers protesting, but gives up the idea knowing it would be a waste of breath; and also, that Spike may just have a point.

Spike is watching him very closely, picking at his fingernails, tiny black flakes of polish spiral to the floor. He seems jumpy, anxious; talking a little too fast. Giles realizes there's something familiar about his manner. Then the memory clicks into place: his old flatmate Maurice strung-out, pacing back and forth like a schizoid tiger in their tiny flat, waiting for his supplier to call. Spike is jonesing. It's been a long time for the vampire. At this point there's probably nothing he wouldn't do to satisfy the need for fresh blood, human blood. Pity he hadn't seen it a week ago, he might have driven a harder bargain.

"Well?" Spike says impatiently "Can we get moving? I haven’t got all night." Giles is oddly pleased to see his loss of control. It helps him maintain his as he goes over to the dining room table where everything was ready. He sits down and rolls up his sleeve.

Spike frowns at the items laid out on a tray: gauze, antiseptic, the sharp little knife, and white porcelain bowl. "Ere, what's all this," Spike protests. "I thought we had a deal."

Giles glances over at him, unimpressed. "And I'll keep it. But surely you didn't think I was fool enough to let you feed on me directly?"

Sees in Spike’s pale gaze the truth: that he had hoped before Spike shrugs and shutters his eyes again. "A boy can hope, can't he," he says and sits down to watch.

Giles does his best to ignore him and concentrate on the matter at hand: the delicate business of deciding where to cut. Aware that he’s making an unnecessary fuss about this; it's not as if it’s the first time he's drawn his own blood. Though this time there’s no circle, no summoning: the demon is already present watching avidly as he finally settles on the vein in the crook of his arm. As he cuts, Spike leans forward and makes a quiet sound that's the distillation of hunger.

The blood is unnervingly bright against the gleaming porcelain. Giles finds watching the bowl fill slowly with his blood, to be slightly nauseating, but it's better than the alternative. He refuses to look at Spike, afraid he might lose his nerve if he could see all that hunger directed at him, if he looked in those yellow eyes and saw himself reduced to *food*.

Again he wonders how the hell he got himself into this situation. Why had he ever agreed to this bargain? It had seemed necessary, like the only choice at the time, but maybe it was simply the easiest for him. Anything had seemed easier than the alternative: dealing with Angel. But here, and now, bleeding himself into a bowl, trying to ignore the soft and probably involuntary whimpers of anticipation coming from Spike, he wishes he could turn the clock back, make another choice.

Spike squirms in his seat, it's the hardest thing he's ever done to stay here, to wait patiently when it's so close... He chokes back a moan as another wave of scent teases him with the sweet promise of warm and red... It's been so fucking long. An eternity, without the blood, without the kill. Bare subsistence, sustaining his undead body with animal blood and the occasional unit of blood filched from Sunnydale General; sating some of his demon's need for mayhem on the non-living population of Sunnydale. In the end though, there’s no substitute for the real thing, for warm, human blood just freed from the vein.

He still can’t believe that Giles is going through with it. He'd made the bargain, but he hadn't let himself hope too much, sure that Giles would screw him, that he'd back out at the last moment and run and hide behind the Slayer. He was a Watcher after all, it was what they did best. Raised his opinion of old Rupert quite a bit that he apparently means to fulfill his part of the bargain.

He'd killed ten demons to get that amulet, and he'd gladly kill another ten right now if it would make the blood flow a little bit faster...his forehead and teeth ache with the strain of wanting it, he jerks his gaze away before he loses control.

Looks instead at Giles' face turned away from him and the blood and he's caught by the taut line of his neck. Still Brit-pale despite Sunny California, and slightly stubbled; Spike can see the artery pulsing in sync with the drip, drip, drip, into the bowl. Rupert's a bit aged, but in overall good shape, that lean body would feel good pressed between him and a wall, one hand to hold him in place, the other covering his mouth. His skin would be clean, tangy with aftershave and the slight taint of alcohol seeping through the skin, and Spike's fangs would slide through it like butter, and the sweet red stuff spurt into his mouth, as Giles screams into his hand as he dies…

"Spike," Giles says.

Spike opens his eyes to find that the bowl is finally full. Giles leans back, pressing hard on the wound to stop the bleeding. He can't avoid the sight of Spike, unmasked and gripping the edge of the table so hard that Giles can hear the wood creak. But Spike waits until Giles stands, until he nods consent, before he moves to claim his prize.

Spike’s awareness has shrunk down to the bowl and its precious contents. He carefully wraps his hands around the bowl, and inhales. The aroma rises warm and enticing. He lowers his face and dabs his tongue into it and the taste goes through him like an electric shock.

Only desperation had driven him to make the deal with Giles; Spike was a veal man, and dry-sticks like the Watcher weren't in his usual line. He'd been expecting Irish Stew, and glad to get it after months of bread and water, but instead this is a four-star feast. Giles' blood sizzles with the taint of old possession and sorcerous deeply buried by Giles that Spike suspects he's forgotten he still owns it. Trembling, he begins to lap at the blood like a cat, savoring each drop.

Holding his arm, Giles flees to the bathroom. Takes his time carefully bandaging the tiny wound. The knife was razor sharp; the cut should be healed by the time it needed to be reopened, or become part of a set. He washes his hands, splashes his face with water. He's feeling a bit shaky. He could probably use a cup of tea and a cookie. He stares at his reflection, the man looking back at him from the mirror is too pale, he has a slightly lost look around the eyes. It’s the face of a man without purpose, a middle-aged slacker.

Buffy is all grown up, she certainly doesn't need him any more. Truthfully, she could probably have handled this last crisis without him. She had her friends, her family, her lover. He was the ghost at the feast, a useless appendage, a joke, like the defanged monster drinking his blood on the other side of the door.

It was time for him to face up to reality. Time he went home, confronted the Council, dealt with his family’s disappointment, and started in on the hard work of building himself a new life now that the old one was irretrievably lost.


Spike is sitting quietly, with his eyes closed in front of the sparkling bowl when Giles emerged. He looks pinker than usual, and very young. He opens his eyes and turns his head slowly to look at Giles, licking his lips.

"You can go now," Giles tells him, reaching for the bowl. He freezes as he feels Spike's hand on his leg, looks down to see long white fingers running up the inseam of his carefully pressed blue jeans to his crotch.

"What are you doing?" Giles says, grabbing the deceptively thin wrist. He tries to shift it, but it might as well have been welded there, cupping him just tightly enough to spark anxiety… and a faint stirring that he wants desperately to believe is a simple atavism, reptile brain uncaring of who or what the touch is, only that there is *touch* after too long...

"So, Rupert, you have any plans for tonight?" Spike says in a wheedling tone.

"Stop it," Giles says firmly. "Or our deal's off." Spike frowns, there's an actinic spark of anger in those pale eyes, it's gone before Giles can decide how to react. He removed his hand.

"Sorry," he says, the soul of insincerity. Giles glared at him, then sighs. There's no point in saying anything more; Spike in the end is a demon, lecturing him would be as pointless as preaching to a cat. Giles settled for ushering him to the door and out into the night. He locked the door after him with a sigh of relief.

Alone again, thank God.

Bugger the cookies and tea, he needed something stronger. He takes the bottle and the glass to his old recliner, and sinks into it with a sigh. It has seen a lot of use this past year or so. He switches on the TV with the remote and flicks through the channels till the familiar sounds of Figaro stop his search. All hail PBS, long may it reign, he thinks as he settles into the twin embraces of Mozart and whiskey.

Knows he's come to a sad pass, sitting here again in front of the telly, drinking himself into a stupor. While somewhere out in the muggy Sunnydale night, Buffy is patrolling with Riley, defending humanity against the demons. He's let himself slip into bad habits, but he doesn't see a way of breaking them. Ever since the unlamented decease of the Initiative it has been very quiet. The Hellmouth seemed to have lost its cachet as a demonic vacation spot.

He'd been almost grateful for the crisis that emerged at the end of August: a prophecy, warning of imminent Armageddon, yadda, yadda, yadda, as Xander would say. They'd needed a specific amulet to stop it, which presented difficulties as said amulet had been hidden by the Master deep in the labyrinth under Sunnydale and left guarded by a spell instantly lethal to any *living* being.

Of course he could have asked Angel's help. But he liked Angel right where he was, in LA where Giles never had to see him, speak to him, or pretend forgiveness for what Angelus had done to him, to Jenny.

Fortunately, there was an alternative.

It had taken some doing to find Spike. Spike wasn't very popular with either demons or slayers at the moment so he found it safest to move house frequently. Giles had finally tracked him to a deserted carpet store at the edge of town. TV, battered chair, and tiny refrigerator set up in a corner behind some forgotten rolls of aqua shag carpeting. Spike didn't even bother to get up. Kept staring at the snowy image of Vanna turning the letters while Giles explained the situation to him.

Spike yawned rudely when he'd finished, and shook his head. "Sounds dangerous. Think I'll pass."

"How much, Spike? $200?" he asked wearily. Spike shook his head again.

"Sorry Rupert, the scaring people and taking their money is doing well for me. Try again."

"What then? Blood?" The minute the word is out of his mouth, he felt the atmosphere change, knew that he has Spike's full attention.

"Well spotted. Yeah. A year's supply."

"Done," Giles said, relieved, but Spike's next words shatter his complacency.

"Don't be so quick. I'm not talking about the bottled stuff - I want fresh and warm. I 'aven't had the real stuff for a year."

"You must be joking. I couldn't possibly..."

Spike cut him off. "Fine, be seeing you. Make sure you shut the door on the way out." Spike turned back to his show.

"But, without it...the Hellmouth will open. It's essential," Giles protested.

Spike had been unmoved. "Trying to appeal to my better nature? You want my help, you pay my price." Giles had stood frozen, trying to think. "Don't go all melodramatic on me son. I'm not askin' you to kill anyone. Just make a small donation to the cause, say a pint, once a week."

"Impossible," trying to convince himself as much as Spike.

"Yeah? Tah then." He turned back to the TV, then looked up again. "Here, I know, why don't you ask soul-boy to fetch it for you?"

If Giles had had a stake in his hand right then, he might have killed Spike. Wanted to. Because Spike knew better than anyone in Sunnydale did why Giles didn't want to ask Angel for anything, ever. Knew everything that Angelus had done to him.

But the idea of opening a vein for Spike, of Spike feeding on him, was repulsive, not to mention dangerous, chip or no chip.

But they had to have the amulet.

Spike had waited with suspicious patience for his answer. Knowing what it would be before he slowly nodded.

"A pint a week is too damn much," Giles said finally. "I'm not Arnold Swartzenegger. Half a pint every two weeks is the best I can do."

"A pint, every two weeks, you can spare that much." The gleam of excitement in Spike's eyes made Giles uneasy, but in the end, what choice did he have?

"Alright then. We have a deal," he said.

Spike had fulfilled his part of their deal. He showed up at Giles' apartment early the next evening a bit worse for wear, with the amulet. Giles handed it over to Willow. Willow performed the spell, Buffy slew the demon trying to open the Hellmouth, and the world was once again saved.

Afterwards it was high fives all around before Buffy and Riley, Willow and Tara, Xander and Anya went back to their lives, leaving Giles alone to make good on his bargain.

A year to go, 25 more encounters with the knife, the bowl, Spike. It's yet another argument for going home. If Spike didn't follow him. How many reasons does he need? How long will he go keep haunting this sad little apartment? What the hell is he waiting for?.

Applause as the curtain rises for the 3rd act. A moonlit garden, and the pretty maid searching hopelessly for what she'd lost, "L'ho perduta, me meschina. Ah chi sa dove sarà."

He empties the glass, staring at the flickering screen. It's been months since he heard from Olivia, he wonders if she'd be glad to see him if he came to London. Wonders if he still has any friends there.

"Ah chi sa dove sarà…" Giles closed his eyes, the better to appreciate the sweet sound of Barbarina's plaintive lament, and indulged in thoughts of Olivia, her beautiful face, her body pressed along the length of him. "Non la trovo...non la trovo...L'ho perduta, meschinella, Ah chi sa dove sarà... Unnoticed the empty glass slips slowly from his fingers and falls to the carpet.


Spike stands looking down at Giles thoughtfully. 11:05 p.m. and passed out in front of the TV, it really looks like Giles isn't adjusting too well to being on the dole. The former Watcher snores, his head thrown back exposing the long throat, the large Adam's Apple. Spike can imagine the resilient feel of it between his teeth, can almost hear the wonderful crunch it would make, can almost taste the salty flood that would fill his mouth, pour down his throat...if it weren't for those U.S. Government fuckups. The empty bottle lies on its side next to the chair and the reek of whiskey nearly overwhelms the faint scent of blood that seeps from underneath the bandage. Nearly, but not quite. Spike swallows as memory fills his mouth with saliva.

Giles' blood had been a revelation. He wants more, and he's not waiting two weeks for it. A part of Giles at least had reacted to his touch, and he's thinking that if he asks very, very, nicely, Giles might be persuaded.

He gives silent thanks to the inventor of duct tape, as he binds the sleeping man's hands in front of him, then his ankles to the chair. The situation brings back memories of his youth, of the skinny street-rat with his sharp iron tooth, moving like a ghost through a room full of snoring, gin-sodden men, his clever hands searching through their clothes for what coin or valuables they possessed. Back then, the cost of failure was a beating, imprisonment, or death. He grins, outwitting the chip, and not waking Giles is no challenge in comparison. At worst Giles might wake up and give him a severe tongue-lashing. And he'd have to try again another night.

Giles is very drunk; he doesn't wake as Spike finishes securing him. Not even when he unbuttons the shirt and slides his cool hands over the surprisingly muscular chest. His breathing changes as Spike teases his nipples to life, feeling them harden against his tongue, his own cock stirs at the smell of blood so tantalizingly close.

Spike works his way down Giles' lightly furred chest, to the waist of his jeans. He deftly unzips and tugs them down to his knees. Spike kneels before Giles and tears the boxers apart with his fingers, jerks them off, Alakazam! and tosses them away. And here's Master Giles, revealed, shrunken and pale in his nest of grizzled hair.

Even then, Giles doesn't wake. Spike notices that the music has ended, replaced by a droning interview program. He'd turn it off, but he's afraid it might rouse Giles, and he's not quite ready.

Spike leans forward and rests his arms over Giles' splayed legs. Runs his tongue along the underside of Giles cock, flicking the tip of the foreskin teasingly and is pleasantly surprised by the immediate response; he'd been afraid that between the alcohol and his age, he might be difficult to arouse. Old Rupert is just full of surprises.

He opens wide and takes him in, savoring the silken mouthful, the taste of human sweat laced with alcohol, of soap, and Giles' slow, steady pulse caught between his tongue and the roof of his mouth. The tempo slowly increasing as Spike applies his tongue and lips, and it grows stiff and heavy with blood. Giles moans softly, and Spike feels like echoing it; it's pure torture to have his mouth filled with something so delicious, to be able to smell the blood so close, and not be able to take a bite. Another low moan from Giles as Spike sucks hard, receiving a tiny reward of salty Gilesness, and a white spark of pain, a warning from the hardware. He pulls away before he gives in to temptation. Exposed to the air, Master Giles bobs slickly, more than ready. Spikes own cock is straining at his fly, and he moves quickly to get himself ready for the second act.

Giles dreams of Jennie, beautiful Jennie. Waiting for him in his bed...naked, smiling, not dead eyes staring at him, carefully arranged on his bed... Her breasts brush against his chest, as she embraces him, her lips so soft against his, butterfly kisses moving slowly down his jaw, down his throat...and... the face that smiles up at him is grey and lifeless, the grip that engulfs him ice-cold...

Giles struggles up from sleep gasping in terror from the familiar nightmare. Opens his eyes and his heart stutters as he finds himself caught in a new one. There is a dark figure, backlit by the bluish glare of the hissing TV, looking down at him. Some of the tension slips away as he recognizes his visitor.

"Spike," he groans. "Go away."

Spike says nothing, but moves forward till he fills Giles' vision. His eyes are unreadable in the shadows of his face. Giles suddenly nervous, tries to stand up, and finds he can't move his arms or legs. He's trussed up, helpless, and his clothes... Fear and anger as he realizes what must have happened. Oh fuck, he thinks, the sodding chip's gone out.

"Wh-what do you want?" Giles asks as Spike smiles, braces himself on either side of Giles, and leans forward until they're face to face.

"What's the matter Rupert?" He asks, conversationally and lets the beautiful boy face melt away like frost on a hot stove leaving the demon nose to nose with Giles who can't help flinching. He straddles Giles, legs supported on the arms of the chair, his duster swinging stiffly, like leather wings and Giles realizes, as smooth cool skin contacts his bare chest, that under the coat Spike is naked as a fish. And that he is still painfully hard and *wet*.

"I bet you think the chip's blown and big bad Spike's going to eat you up. Right Rupert old pal?" the demon murmurs. A greyish tongue lolls over razor teeth and licks the shell of Giles ear as Spike whispers into it. "Well, no worries, mate; I'm still neutered, I'm not here to hurt you. That's not it at all."

Giles shudders at the feel of cool lips kissing their way softly down the line of his jaw to his mouth. He tries to squirm away, but tied up and pinned by Spike's surprisingly heavy body, he can't get any leverage, and there's nowhere to go once the back of his head hits the back of the seat. The only thing he can do is close his eyes, refuse to look at the demon pressing his lips against his, nibbling and insinuating his tongue into his mouth. But he can't avoid the sensation of Spike's tongue raping his mouth, it tastes of death and his own blood. The feel of Spike's iron cold, iron hard, erection pressed against his stomach. And his own traitorous cock is still stubbornly hard.

"No, God, no. Stop." Giles voice, shaking as he begs makes Spike just that much harder. Feeling better than he has in months, Spike lifts himself up on the arms of the chair spreads his legs wide and positions himself so that Giles erection is between his cheeks, nudging his arsehole. Feels nice, feels hot as a red-hot poker, like it could melt its way inside him. Giles eyes fly open in shock when he feels the cool slickness of Spike's entrance pressing against the head of his penis, as he realizes what's happening. Spike looks into his eyes as bends his elbows and begins to lower himself, and Giles' cock moving up into him, filling him is a lovely feeling and the shock and betrayal on Giles' face is the icing on the cake.

Giles wants to scream, but his voice is frozen in his throat, drowned in sensation, and then Spike's legs are resting on the arms of the chair and he's buried inside Spike and it's like being in a silk glove full of ice, smooth and God, so tight. Awful and wonderful at the same time, it feels like losing his soul, but he doesn't care anymore. It's been such a long time since anyone has let him get close...

Giles shudders as Spike starts to move, working himself up and down. Spike's really enjoying this. He likes the size and the feel of the rock hard erection filling him, warming him from the inside out and striking notes of ecstasy when he drives himself down and hits the sweet spot. Likes the sweet smell of blood just underneath fragile, imperfect skin when he bends down to lick away the beads of sweat. It's been a long time between fucks for him...probably longer for Giles. Hadn't been a particularly good year for either of them. Giles squeezing his eyes again shut in useless denial, while his body greedily tries to follow Spike each time he pulls away. Poor fragile human, trying to deny his desires, and failing.

"Let me know if I'm hurting you, Rupert," Spike murmurs into his ear, bearing down.

Giles has nothing to say. Because it does hurt, but not in any way the chip cares about. Hurts that his body, that *he* wants this contact, forced and abominable as it is. Hurts that it feels so good, makes him feel real in a way he hasn't in too long. Hurts that being sexually assaulted by a corpse can make him feel alive.

"Give it to me, come on..." Spike coaxes, his voice rough with...something. Moving like a puppet on a stick, smoothly mechanical, building up speed, and it's so damned tight and friction is building heat and Giles imagines ice water dripping from their junction... "Come on, you know you want to," Spike urges.

Giles' is caught, body and mind in the quagmire of Spike's body, racked by sensation until finally, it's all too much. The final wall of resistance shatters and he lets go, making a sound more like pain than joy and comes, pouring himself into Spike and it feels like his soul is being pulled out as he comes and comes...while Spike murmurs endearments into his ear, clinging like a lover.

And Giles' surrender is the sweetest thing of all. The closest he can get to the kill, the wonderful moment when his victim realizes that it's over, when they stop struggling and open up; give themselves to him. Spike roars in bliss, and lets himself come.

Giles sags, feeling empty, numb, sucked dry as a bone.

Spike hums to himself as he unties Giles, cleans him up, and puts his clothes in order. He uses his long fingers to massage some of the stiffness out of Giles' abused arms and ankles, then folds himself to sit with his cheek against Giles knee. Silent. Waiting for something.

"Why?" Giles asks finally.

"You know why," Spike murmurs, rubbing his cheek against the denim, patient. Giles sighs, feeling the faint traces of pleasure slowly evaporate from his body. Feeling himself starting to fade again.

"The knife is in the bathroom," he says.



Oni's place: