It had been by pure chance, that first time they met. He had been lying under the trees in Hyde Park, on a November mid morning, in a section of the green that went mostly undisturbed.
He noticed something was different when he opened his eyes and he was surrounded by flowers, flowers that shouldn't be growing this late into the year, with stalks of which reached heights of three or four feet. He blinked , hoping they would disappear, but they didn't. He was certain that the supply of weed that he purchased earlier, in the pre-dawn hours was laced with something. He was furious at his new dealer, and his old one for deciding to go clean. He sat up and cursed.
And there he was, making the flowers grow, making them move, making them dance.
The young man who, unknown to each of them, would end up playing a major part of Giles' life throughout the years. Maybe they did know. Maybe they immediately knew that there was something connecting them, that this interaction was more than they expected. Giles shielded his eyes against the sun and said nothing.
Should he be scared of the strange man, leaning against a tree, sleeves rolled up to his elbows, a cigarette casually hanging from his mouth, staring at him, clearly adept at magic? His mother and grandmother always warned him to stay away from strangers. His aunts didn't particularly care. Actually they did care, so long as it resulted in Giles using magic.
The man pushed himself away from the tree and walked a few paces to the side, kicking at some rotting old bench. As he did so, Giles, who continued staring at the man, noticed that they were closer in age than he initially thought.
Giles decided this had gone on long enough. "Can I help you with something?"
The man shrugged, continued kicking the wood.
"You should be careful when you're using magic. You don't know who might see it."
"You didn't seem to mind." Giles didn't. Nor did he mind that the corners of his lips pulled into a smile. The other man turned to him. "Are you coming?"
Giles frowned but it didn't stop him from jumping to his feet and following the man out of the grove. It was a little while before Giles found out the stranger's name - Ethan Rayne - and it was well after dark, as the sat on the rooftop of an old abandoned building, looking out over the city skyline – pulling birds to them and sending them back, sending fire works in to the sky, talking about the hellscape of their pasts - with their fish and chips, when he realised what drew him to him. It was the confidence he oozed.
Ethan said something and Giles laughed. For years this would be how their relationship was defined, until Giles would ultimately gain the upper hand and pull away from his friend, from his dark other.
But as Giles looked at Ethan and bit into his fish and chips, tasting the tangy lemon juice mingle with the salt and vinegar, he knew that today set the course for the next few years of his life. The rest of his life really.
Tonight, for the first time in his life, Rupert Giles fell in love.