“I never… I never….” Greg pants, then braces his hands on his knees while he waits for his heart to stop pounding. “What in the bloody—“
“I know.” Ripper, sans earring now, and quite a bit more tweedy than Greg remembers, doesn’t look half as winded, the bastard. “It takes some getting used to.”
“Bloody…” Greg repeats, then trails off, not wanting his old friend to think his vocabulary of expletives has atrophied in the years since they’ve seen each other. Instead, he valiantly pushes himself upright and squints in the dim light at the inhuman form lying at the end of the alley with Rupert Giles’ axe buried in what passes for its skull. “So it’s not going to, I dunno, go poof, burst into flame or something?”
“No, that’s only vampires, I’m afraid. Makes for a bit of a mess.” Ripper gives him an apologetic smile, and then Greg’s laughing so hard he can’t breathe.
“Vampires,” he wheezes. “I never.”
Ripper pounds him on the back until the hysteria subsides. “I do apologize,” he says when Greg has got hold of himself. “I didn’t mean to bring any trouble with me.”
“I have to say, mate, this isn’t what I thought you meant when you said you wanted to get together, talk about old times.”
“Well," Ripper says with a raised eyebrow. "We weren’t exactly angels back then, were we?" Greg dissolves into laughter once more.