It had started out innocently enough.
One minute, he had been alone in his office, pouring over paperwork for the Council. Then next, he barely missed getting hit by his overcoat landing on the desk in front of him.
Giles looked up to see Faith grinning at him from the doorway.
“It’s Friday night, I’m new to this town and had zero time for partying in Cleveland. You’re taking me out,” she stated, her tone brooking no refusal.
Picking his coat up and setting it aside, Giles turned back to the papers on his desk, relieved that things hadn’t been disturbed too much. “Faith, I’m busy, if you can’t tell. And I’m hardly the best candidate for showing you a night on the town.”
“Aw, G, that’s not how I heard it,” she argued, walking into his office to perch on the corner of his desk. “Rumor has it you used to have the run of London, knew exactly where to go for a good time.”
“Thirty years ago.”
“Something tells me you’d still be able to find something worthwhile if you tried,” she pressed.
He tried his best to focus on his work and quash the voice that said a night out might do him good. Considering that voice most likely belonged to Ripper, the wise thing to do was ignore it. “Faith, I can’t. There has to be someone...more appropriate who can show you around.”
“Giles, you’re the only person I know in this damn city,” she said with the barest hint of frustration.
“What about one of the girls?”
“That’s just it, they’re girls. There’s that whole sacred duty in common, but that’s about it. Not in the mood for going out with some teeny boppers who spend half the night staring at me in awe,” Faith dismissed. “And, flattering though it may be, hero worship really doesn’t suit me.”
“Faith, I’m too—”
Her hand clamped firmly over his mouth. “I really hope that sentence wasn’t going to finish with ‘old’, because that’s just crazy. And if it was ‘busy’, I think they can spare you for a night. Last time I checked you weren’t the only person working here. Since you hand-picked pretty much everyone in the new Council, with a little help from your friends, I would think you’d be able to trust them alone one night.”
He hadn’t taken a night off since the new Council started up. A break wouldn’t be a bad idea. But with Faith? Surely that was asking for trouble.
“I can see you wavering,” she said, standing up. Then she grabbed his arm and pulled him out of his chair. “Let’s get out of here before you change your mind. I promise you won’t regret it.”
The thing was, he already did. There was no way this could possibly end well.
Two hours and three rounds later, Giles was starting to think Faith dragging him out was possibly the best thing that could have happened to him. It was good to get out and away for a night. He needed to remember that the Council didn’t have to be his life. Not anymore.
To his surprise, Faith had towed him into a relatively low key pub. Smokey, working-class with the main feature being a line of dartboards along the back wall.
Returning from her most recent turn, Faith leaned over him to grab up her beer, her breasts lightly brushing against his arm. He had a feeling the action was far from unintentional. Accidental or intentional, his body nonetheless responded. When she stood up, Giles tried to shift subtly in his seat.
The small smirk told him she noticed, but otherwise she didn’t comment. Instead she took a long draught from her glass. Sighing in satisfaction, she set the glass back down. “You’re up, G.”
In more ways than one. So much for not commenting.
Giles drained the rest of his Guinness and, darts in hand, made his way over to the board. Yet again, her darts had landed all over the board, not a one even close to the center. She was toying with him. No Slayer could have that bad of an aim. Of course, he hadn’t been playing his top game, either.
“Please stop calling me that,” he said as he studied the board, weighing the options of bettering his performance.
“Everyone calls you Giles. I like to mix it up a bit,” she replied. “I suppose I could call you ‘Rupert’, but that’s just too stuffy for my tastes. ‘Rupes’ is lame, and I wouldn’t blame you for killing anyone who called you that. So, ‘G’ you are,” she finished, her tone conclusive. “Unless...I think I heard a thing or two about ‘Ripper.’ Now that’s a nickname I can get behind.”
“Don’t call me that,” he commanded, throwing his first dart and landing just shy of center. His next two landed as close to the first as was physically possible.
Giles glanced back to see Faith’s dark eyes narrowed in thought. Her white teeth then flashed brilliant between red lips. “You’ve been holding back on me...Ripper.”
“Faith, don’t,” he warned. “And you’re one to talk. I’ve seen you fight. I know your aim is better than that.”
She closed the distance until she stood toe-to-toe with him. The only contact she made, however, was with her eyes. “I thought I’d be nice, since I did drag you out against your will. Figured if I didn’t bruise your ego, you’d stick around a little longer.”
The danger that had once consumed her still lingered around her. She may play for the good guys now, but she wasn’t a good girl. Giles knew she was pushing him, testing him, and he had a pretty good idea what she was after. Faith had made that obvious since the day they first met.
The appropriate way to handle this situation would have been not going out with Faith in the first place. But he had, and he was here, and he had no desire to walk away as he probably should. Perhaps it was time to call her bluff.
“Care to make a wager?” he asked finally.
She smiled slowly. “You’re good, I’ll give you that,” she said, nodding toward the board. “But as you pointed out, you know what I’m capable of. You think your Watcher skills can defeat my Slayer talent?”
He dipped his head down close to her ear. “I only ever bet on a sure thing,” he rumbled dangerously. “Because something you might not know about me, Faith, is that I really don’t like to lose.”
One small hand ran lightly over his chest, down to rest briefly and with promise on his belt buckle, but it went no further. “I’d make it worth your while to lose.” Then she stepped back and resting her hands casually on her hips. “So what are the stakes, G?”
“When I win, you do what I say,” he stated simply.
“Isn’t there some saying about pride and falling on your ass?” She grinned. “So whatever you say, huh?”
“I could very well ask you to leave me alone and never attempt this again.”
“You could,” Faith purred. “But I really don’t think you’re gonna do that. You’d only be putting yourself out. And what kind of reward is that for winning?”
Giles hadn’t played with fire in far too long. It was rather liberating. The rational part of his brain argued that regardless of the fact that she wasn’t under his tutelage, she was still a slayer and he a watcher and interaction such as this wasn’t allowed. But it was a new Council, and they were both consenting adults. No harm there. And Ripper reminded him that he’d always taken a certain pleasure in breaking the rules. And he had been celibate for longer than was necessary.
“Ladies first,” he said, motioning to the board.
“Ladies? I don’t know about you, but I’m not seeing any ‘ladies’ around here,” she chuckled.
“Slayers first?” he tried again.
Faith nodded, pleasure evident on her face. “Better.” And with that she went to retrieve the darts, taking just enough time to provide Giles with the opportunity to fully appreciate her backside. Returning, she handed him the darts and proposed, “Since you’re so sure that you’ll win this contest, I’d like to get something for my time. How about for each shot of yours that beats mine, you have to answer a question for me? Gotta make it tough on you somehow.”
Giles considered it. “So you won’t be playing at top form then.”
“Oh, I will, my pride has always beat out my curiosity. And I figure on the off chance I win, I can still get my answers.”
She was formidable, there was no denying that. “And if I don’t feel comfortable answering your questions?”
Shaking her head, she said, “Too bad. It’s all part of the gamble.”
Giles forced a sigh, attempting to sound put upon. He was actually interested in what Faith would ask, despite the risk. “To five hundred?”
They kept fairly even, with Faith narrowly beating him the majority of the shots. And when he did beat her, the questions she asked were surprisingly inoffensive. She was lulling him into a false sense of security, he knew, but he relaxed his guard anyway.
He had just edged ahead of her at three hundred points when she asked, “So, why’d you never get that tattoo of yours removed?”
Giles looked at her in surprise.
“Willow told me way back when I first came to Sunnydale,” she explained. “I think she was sick of all the attention I was getting and wanted to impress me. She definitely got my attention. Who would have thought that one of the stuffy Watchers hadn’t always been so stuffy?”
“Not stuffy is an understatement,” he muttered. Then said louder, “You’re up.”
“Nuh uh. You still need to answer my question,” she said, toying with her dart. “If you lost yourself in the tweed of watcherhood to make up for your bad boy days, why keep a reminder like that?”
Automatically he replied, “To remind me of what those days had cost me.”
Her frown told him she didn’t believe him. And in all honesty, that wasn’t the reason he had kept it at all.
“Speaking from experience, I know I don’t need anything physical to remind me of all I did. Those are the kind of memories that don’t fade with time. Or maybe that’s just me,” Faith finished with an edge to her voice as she threw her dart.
She was disappointed in him, Giles realized. Or maybe she didn’t care for the fact that he had lied to her for the first time all night. He didn’t care for it much himself.
Before he could second guess himself, he said hurriedly, “I keep it because it’s a part of me, and there are too many good memories tied in with it to erase it.”
Faith’s eyebrows shot up. She hadn’t expected him to say anything else on it.
Finally she pressed, “Good memories such as?”
Giles took his dart in hand and studied the board. It would be easy enough to throw his shot off just enough to evade her questions. But that would be breaking their agreement for the game. So he threw, and his dart landed dead-center on the bull’s-eye. He turned to her. “Such as who gave it to me and what we had before things went to hell.”
Her eyes lit up. “Who was she?”
Giles grinned. “I’ll let you have that for free. Not a she.”
“You’re up. And you better land a damn good shot for me to beat. This is an answer you have to earn.”
The dart landed next to the one he had thrown for the last round. “Shit,” she cursed.
“That certainly is a damn good shot.” His landed just under and between the two in the center. “But that’s even better. Ask away.”
“Damn, G,” she said, walking to the board to retrieve their darts, but not before looking at the placement up close. Glancing back over her shoulder, “So who was he?”
“Ethan Rayne,” he answered without hesitation.
“Why does that name sound familiar?”
“You were in town when the adults started acting like kids again?”
“Oh, yeah, the enchanted candy! That was some tasty chocolate, gave me a nice buzz for a few days. Wasn’t that Ethan responsible for some other crazy things that went on in Sunnydale?”
Giles ticked off the list, “Enchanted costumes, the candy, turning me into a Fyarl...and countless other things over the years before I went to Sunnydale.”
“Never pictured you for the type,” she said easily. “I’m all for it, but just never saw you as swinging that way.”
“It was the seventies. There were a lot of ways to swing,” he said with fond remembrance. “But I think it was really because Ethan was Ethan. There was and is something magnetic about him. He brought out my worst and my best.”
“Sounds a lot like B and me—minus the fooling around,” she hastily added. “Though it sure wasn’t for lack of trying on my part. But she was strung a bit too tight then, not to mention way too hung up on Angel.”
“Might have done her some good to let go for a bit,” he said without thinking.
“See! That’s what I always said. But you know Buffy.” Faith dismissed it with a shrug, then eyed the score. “It’s getting down to the wire, G.”
“So it is.” Two more bull’s-eyes and he could take it. And when he did, things were going to get very interesting.
After the next throw, she asked, “You ever think about trying anything with her?”
He choked on his beer. “With Buffy?” he rasped.
“All that one-on-one training and those skimpy little outfits she’d wear...it had to have at least crossed your mind.”
In all honesty, he replied, “Never, not once.”
“I can tell you’re not lying, but still...” she trailed off. “Not even a quick, dirty thought that you quickly repressed?”
Giles shook his head. “She’s a very attractive young woman, I’ll grant you that. But the only thoughts I have ever had about Buffy are fatherly, though occasionally bordering on murderous.” He took another sip of his beer before adding, “And she’s not my type.”
“So that’s what it comes down to; she’s not your type.” Faith sounded extremely pleased with this revelation. She threw her next dart. When she spoke, her voice was low, throaty. “And what is your type?”
Ripper grinned, knowing full well it would come across as predatory, calculating. He noted how her breath caught momentarily. “You want to know my type?” he asked seductively, discarding his remaining darts on the table and closing the space between them. In one fluid motion he reached Faith, left hand moving behind her head and right around her waist, and pulled her to himself, his mouth crushing upon hers with undisguised hunger and need. Surprise gave him easy entry, tongue sweeping in and sampling a mixture of the earthy taste of ale, faint sweetness, and an elusive flavor that could only be sin.
Faith’s response was eager, but not overly so. It was tempered by experience, an equal mix of aggression and acceptance. He felt her hands fist in his shirt, pulling him closer. Giles didn’t know which of them groaned when his erection became flush with her stomach, taut, firm, but still retaining feminine softness.
She whimpered when he broke the kiss and worked his way back to nuzzle and nip at her ear. “My type is dark, Faith. Dark hair, dark eyes, and dark inside.”
“Fuck, G,” she gasped.
Giles yanked her head back sharply, forcing her to look at him. “Call me Rupert,” he ordered.
She said his name and it sounded anything but stuffy when spoken in that deep, smoky voice she had. His cock jumped at the sound.
“Rupert,” she repeated, red lips curling in satisfaction.
The woman was sin embodied.
“We’re leaving,” he stated, stepping away and retrieving their jackets. Tossing Faith’s to her, he said, “And the loser buys drinks.”
“But the game isn’t—”
There was fire in her gaze, but she nonetheless took out a number of pound notes and tossed them on the table.
“Good,” he said, shrugging on his jacket and then heading out of the pub. He didn’t need to glace back to know that she was following him.
“I’m beginning to think,” she said lightly as she caught up to him, “that you aren’t the gentleman everyone else seems to think you are.”
The back street they were walking down was dark and deserted. Perfect. Perhaps not quite as public as he had once preferred, but it would do nicely.
“Hey, G, an answer would be nice. I’m not really one for talking to myself.” Faith’s hand came to rest on his shoulder to get his attention. It was all he needed.
Grabbing her hand, Giles twisted and pushed her against the wall. Even in the darkness he could see the pleasure light her eyes.
Faith, however, was anything but a passive creature. Before he could make his next move, her free hand wrapped around his neck and pulled him down, her mouth capturing his, hot and demanding. He felt her left leg hook behind his legs, pulling him tight against her. If Giles had thought for a moment he had the upper hand in the situation, he would have been sorely mistaken. There would be no easy domination for either one of them in this game. For the first time since his early twenties, he had found a lover that he didn’t have to hold back with. When he pushed, Faith would push right back. Until that moment, he hadn’t realized how badly he’d needed that.
His hand slipped under her shirt and between the tight press of their bodies, reveling in the feel of smooth, warm skin as it sought upward until skin gave way to lace, so delicate that the material was barely there. The powerful, dark girl had a softer side. As his fingers mapped the terrain of her breast, thumb flicking mercilessly over her nipple and eliciting the most soulful moan, he had to wonder if her underwear was in the same bold shades as the rest of her wear, or if she wore lighter, more innocent colors. Giles suspected that darkness wasn’t all she carried inside her.
He felt the button on his jeans give as a tiny hand slipped in. His mouth left Faith’s with a gasp as her fingers, cold from the night, nearly burned as they wrapped around his fevered flesh.
She chuckled, the sound warm and rich. The sound of a woman pleased with the power she had over a man. Her hand glided expertly along his shaft.
Giles’ forehead rested on the brickwork beside Faith’s head as he gave himself over to the sensations. He should reciprocate, but the feel of someone else’s hand on his cock was such a rarity these past years that he couldn’t help but savor the moment.
“God, Faith, faster,” he begged raggedly.
She complied. He was aware of her head turning toward him. When she spoke, her voice was soft, intimate. “Come for me, Rupert.”
His balls drew up automatically, but Giles fought against himself. Not yet, not like this. But he couldn’t find the brain power to protest. “No,” he managed.
“Yes,” she commanded. “Come for me, Rupert.”
Again, he almost went over, but managed to hold back. Such exquisite agony.
“Ripper, come for me.”
And he did, his come spilling hot and wet between them. Mere moments seemed an eternity as Giles returned to himself, enjoying the bliss that followed release and the presence of a warm, soft body against him. As good as Faith was with her hands, he could only imagine the pleasure that awaited from her mouth and quim.
“Didn’t break you, did I?” Faith inquired, amusement coloring her tone.
“Far from it,” he replied, pushing himself up from the wall and reluctantly away from her. “It’s just really been too long.”
“Good thing I happened along, then, isn’t it?”
“Perhaps it is,” he agreed, as he fastened up his slacks, pleased to note that the tails of his shirt took the brunt of everything. Looked like he could still pass for respectable.
He glanced at Faith, leaning impishly against the wall watching him, looking very pleased with herself. He’d let her revel in this small victory for the moment, but the night and the battle was far from over. She thought she had him. But she would soon learn it was the other way around. An image struck him of Faith bound naked and vulnerable to his bed, unable to do more than beg for the release he teased her with and withheld from her. Giles felt his cock begin to stir to life again with the thought.
“So, your place?” she asked, breaking the silence.
“Without a doubt.” He grinned.
“Should I be worried?” She pushed off the wall and walked to him.
Wrapping his arms around her, Giles held Faith close. “Never worried,” he assured her. “But you might think twice about losing next time.”
“You think there’s going to be a next time?”
“I know there will,” Ripper replied.
He didn’t know how long this thing between them would last, but he was absolutely certain tonight was just the beginning. One night would not be enough.
And as far a predictions went, he was very happy to be proven wrong. The night was going to end very well indeed.