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The pub was crowded; its customers spilling out on to the pavement, and it was standing room only around the dart board, with no one as yet proving their prowess, or otherwise, with their arrows. It was a typical Friday night - early, but not too early - late, but not too late. Giles shouldered his way through the crowd and found a niche at the corner of the bar next to the door to the snug where he could sip his pint of Bitter in peace and check out the action for anything of interest because, god knows, he needed something to pique his interest.

He could admit to himself that he was bored. Bored with London. Bored with gentle and not so gentle rebellion. Bored with Ethan - especially bored with Ethan. Bored with his posturing, his vanity and his constant promises of devilment that never quite came to fruition. Giles could sense it in the others too - in Dierdre and Phillip, in Thomas and Randall - but Ethan could still cast his spell, magical or otherwise, and they stayed, enchanted despite the nagging feeling that the promise and the reality were too far apart to be acceptable.

His dissatisfaction with Ethan had come over him in increments. For every blandishment there was an excuse. For every temptation, a prevarication. Ethan talked a good game and had a decent trick or two up his sleeve after the pubs shut, but that was exactly the problem – he was a Saturday night showman, full of temptation and razzle dazzle - but when the chips were down, or the devil needed raising, he somehow wasn't quite up to the task.

Giles eyed his nearly finished pint, wondering if he had enough cash to have another. A mental accounting of the contents of his wallet told him he could afford another half. As he turned to catch the landlord’s eye, he noticed a young man on the opposite side of the bar slouched against the wall - a punk with bright white hair and eyeliner, his tight black t-shirt ripped in all the right places and a cigarette dangling insolently from the corner of his mouth. Despite the crowd, the punk had his own space, uninvaded, as if he’d built an invisible wall around himself. It was … interesting. Giles finished the dregs of his pint and, money for the next round in his hand, he leaned on the bar and watched.

The punk looked up, as if he’d sensed he was under surveillance. He took a leisurely pull of his fag and tilted his head to the side before pushing off the wall and sauntering around the bar, drink in hand. People stood aside as he walked.

“What will it be?” The landlord wrenched Giles' attention away from the punk.

“What?”

“Same again, or something different?”

“He’ll have the same again,” the punk said at Giles’ back. Giles turned and the punk raised his glass and exhaled a puff of smoke. “And the same for me.”

“I don’t have…” Giles started.

“It’s on me, yeah?” the punk replied. He stood smoking, eyeing the crowd, supremely confident in his lack of further engagement. For the first time since he’d left Oxford, Giles felt unsettled and possibly inadequate. It wasn’t a feeling he liked. The silence lasted until the landlord came back with their pints and accepted his payment.

The punk picked up his fresh beer. “Cheers, mate.”

There was nothing for Giles to do but follow suit or look churlish, and despite his current rebellion, he had enough ingrained manners to make anything but a polite reply unthinkable. Leaning back against the bar, feigning nonchalance, he sipped his new pint and studied his benefactor. “Cheers yourself. Not that I’m ungrateful, but why would you stand me a drink? I don’t know you.”

"The name’s Spike. So now you do.”

The good manners of his upbringing poked Giles again. “I suppose the only polite thing to do is to return the compliment. Rupert Giles.” Good manners took a back seat. “My friends call me Ripper.”

Spike lifted his pint in salute. “Well, isn’t that just neat. I bought you a drink because you're about the most interesting thing I've seen in here all night, Ripper, old son." He looked around at the crowd, his gaze settling momentarily on the group around the dartboard before he turned his attention back to Giles. “Not that that’s hard to do with this lot.”

"Is that right?” Giles replied. “Backhanded compliment aside, that doesn't say much for your evening."

"It's been alright so far. Had a bit of a punch up. Something to eat. Thought I'd wash it down with a couple of drinks and listen to some music, but the music in here is for old geezers. The only thing it’s got going for it is you can talk without other gits listening in on your conversation." Spike curled his tongue between his teeth. "I like something with a bit more edge, if you know what I mean? Something with a bit of bite."

Giles took a sip of his pint. "So, I'm guessing prog’ rock isn't really cutting it for you? You're obviously not waiting for the next ELP album with bated breath."

"Are you?” It was amazing how much derision Spike could pack into two small words. “Because I'd be disappointed by the lack of taste."

Giles flicked his eyes up and down. "I think I have pretty good taste. Most of the time, anyway."

"Most of the time? Cocky little bugger, aren’t you?” Spike widened his stance, his left hand, still holding his fag, splayed out over the front of his jeans. “How about now?"

Giles shrugged. Nonchalance was getting harder to manufacture, but that was part of the game. "The jury's still out," he said.

"Is it now? I'm thinking I could sway the verdict. I know I've got good taste and I just bet you'd taste really good."

Giles watched him over the rim of is glass. "Are you going to bite me?"

"Only if you ask me nicely."

"Are you going to kill me?"

Spike took a step closer, one hand holding his pint, the other leaning on the bar next to Giles’ elbow. Not quite touching, but the almost was an alluring tease. "Want to die a little death?"

Giles glanced down at Spike’s hand and let himself slouch a little further. Spike’s cool fingers grazed against his arm. "I could be persuaded, but that's not what I'm asking. Are you going to kill me? Or more to the point, or you going to turn me?"

Spike stilled, his pint half way between the bar top and his mouth. "Who the fuck are you?"

Sipping at his beer, Giles savoured Spike’s confusion. It was exhilarating to take back control, even for a moment. "As I said, Rupert Giles. But also potential future Watcher if my father has his way. Current miscreant and family embarrassment.” He toasted his pint in Spike’s direction. “Hence Ripper."

"You one of those adrenaline junkies?” Spike took a step back and there was the head tilt again. He looked more curious than annoyed. “Because you sure as hell aren't one of those ponces that think we're dark, lonely and misunderstood."

"Neither." Giles hesitated before deciding that to push a little further. He closed the gap between them again. He felt reckless. Oxford was another life, another planet. "Perhaps there is some validity in the former, but definitely not the latter." He plucked the cigarette from Spike's mouth and took a puff before handing it back. "What I am, is bored. To echo your own words - you're the most interesting thing I've seen in here tonight."

Spike slipped two fingers into the front of Giles’ jeans, pulling him even closer. “Not that I’m complaining, but you know playing with vampires will get you killed, Ripper, old mate.”

“But I’m not playing with any old vampire. Just because I don’t want to work for the family firm doesn’t mean I don’t know my history, Spike, old mate. And how’s that working out for you? William the Bloody becoming too much of a mouthful?”

Spike gripped a little harder. His fingernails scratched at the soft skin at the bottom of Giles’ stomach where his t-shirt had ridden up. “Spike’s easier for folks when they’re screaming. Not so many consonants. And I’ll give you a mouthful you won’t like if you keep up the lip.” He pushed his fingers lower into the top of Giles’ jeans. “So you’re looking for a knee trembler in an alley with part of the Scourge of Europe because you’re bored?”

“Shockingly sordid, isn’t it?”

Laughing, Spike withdrew his fingers from Giles’ jeans and took a hit on his cigarette. “I think it’s bloody brilliant. Knew you’d turn out to be interesting. That’s reason enough not to kill you.” He paused. “Tonight at least.”

“Don’t I feel special,” Giles replied.

“So you should, mate. A vampire Watcher could do all sorts of damage and I don’t fancy having to take the time to teach you some manners.” Spike looked at Giles, lip caught between his teeth as if he was contemplating the prospect. “Mind you, it could be fun to see what happens.” He finished his pint in a couple of long swallows. “Come on then, chaos to cause, people to kill. Don’t have all night for you to drink your beer like you’re having tea at your aunty’s.”

“God forbid I take the time to enjoy a pint I didn’t have to pay for.” Despite his words, Giles chugged down the rest of his beer. “Satisfied?”

“Not yet, mate, but that’s where you come in.” Before Giles could reply, Spike turned and disappeared out of the side door at the end of the bar.

Giles counted to ten before he followed. Fuck Ethan and his promises of mayhem. This was the most interesting thing that had happened in weeks.

The alley behind the pub was dark and smelled of stale beer and chip fat. The cobbles were slick with earlier rain and other things Giles didn’t want to contemplate. Spike leaned against the wall next to a stack of empty beer barrels. One of the bulbs in the light above the back door to the pub was out, and in the half light his hair looked even brighter and his skin even paler than it had inside. He looked exotic, enticing, dangerous and a small voice at the back of Giles’ brain wondered what the hell he was doing. He told the voice to get stuffed.

“You going to stand there all night? Maybe waiting for me to crack open a Party Seven so we can have a proper shindig?” Spike said. He took a drag of his ever-present cigarette and the smoke curled in the air like London fog in the gloom.

“Just admiring the setting. Such an alluring place for a seduction.”

“Bugger seduction,” Spike replied. “Get your arse over here if you’re going to.”

Giles walked slowly down the alley. In his minds eye he was slinking, but he wasn’t deluded enough to try it in practice. Slinking was not an action many Englishmen could pull off, although he bet Spike was an exception. He stopped in front of Spike, took the cigarette from his mouth again and took a drag, feeling the burn of the unfiltered smoke in his lungs.

“That’s the second time you’ve nicked my fag.”

“Poor student, got to take my opportunities when I can get them,” Giles replied. “You set them up and I’ll knock them down.” He glanced down at the cigarette in his hand. “I can’t believe you smoke Senior Service,” he said.

“My last meal smoked Senior Service,” Spike corrected. He grabbed the half-smoked cigarette out of Giles hand, pinched the end and shoved it behind his ear. “Talking of opportunities-” He grabbed Giles by the front of his t-shirt and pivoted until Giles was up against the wall, the bricks digging into his back. “Still think this is a good idea?”

Giles caught his breath, then grinned. “Anyone ever tell you, you talk too much?”

Spike grinned back. There was just a hint of fang. “I’ve had a few over the years, but they don’t bother me after I kill them.”

“You said you weren’t going to kill me. At least, not tonight.”

“So I did.”

Spike leaned forward, his mouth next to Giles’ ear. “Maybe I lied.” He bit sharply down on the earlobe and Giles gasped as Spike raised his head, licking a trace of blood off his bottom lip. “Piercing’s all the rage these days.”

“I’ll get an earring to remember you by, shall I?”

“It’s a start, but I think we can do better than that.” Spike pressed the palms of his hands on to Giles’s shoulders and pushed down, and Giles’ legs buckled at the knees under the pressure until he was kneeling on the ground at Spike’s feet.

“Don’t you look good down there. Now take yourself out.”

The alley’s cobbles were hard under his knees and Giles tried to rise, but Spike kept his hands pressing down, fingers pinching just enough to give a warning. Giles got the message and unzipped his jeans shoving them and his Y-fronts down enough to free his half-hard cock. It got fully hard under Spike’s gaze.

“Not bad. Not bad at all,” Spike said. “Now it’s my turn. Unzip me.”

“At least you didn’t tell me to do it with my teeth,” Giles replied.

“It’s a thought, but if there’s anyone going to be using their teeth, it’ll be me. Get on with it.”

Giles popped the button on Spike’s jeans and pulled down the zip. He was commando. Of course he was, Giles thought fleetingly. He flushed at the thought of his own Y-fronts, so conventional, straight from M&S, just like every other middle-class boy in the country. Spikes’ cock sprang free of its confinement, already hard.

“Right then, get to it. Make it good and do yourself at the same time.” Spike grinned again, his face changing, making him alien in the half light. “Give me a show, yeah?”

There was a smirk oozing on the edge of the command and for a mad second Giles contemplated saying no, but the thought of Ethan back at the bedsit made him straighten his back. “I’ll give you a show, alright.”

Leaning forward, he licked a long stripe up Spike’s cock, before opening his mouth and sucking gently on the head. He brought one hand up to play with Spike’s balls and settled the other on his own cock, setting up a steady rhythm as he sucked.

“Come on”, Spike muttered. “I said I wanted a show, not just the overture.” He shoved forward, his cock ramming into Giles’ mouth and Giles clamped down hard. His back scraped against the uneven brickwork behind him, his teeth scraped on Spike’s cock with the same intensity and Spike leaned forward, arms braced, both hands splayed against the wall. “Keep your eyes on me,” he ordered.

Giles mouth slide up and down Spike’s cock, tongue working the slit, teasing at the vein, then he went back in deep, the smell, sensation and taste of dick filling his senses as his other hand did a dance it had done a thousand times before on his own cock. The damp of the cobbles was soaking into his jeans at the knees and the decaying scents from the alley were thick in his nostrils, but Giles ignored them because Spike was muttering obscenities under his breath as his hips worked back and forth, fucking Giles’ mouth. Watching as Giles fucked his own hand.

He kept his eyes on Spike, memorising the moment, memorising the demon. His father, his family, the Watcher’s Council were a million miles away, and Ethan and his blandishments, his promises of chaos, of demon raising that never quite manifested, were more ridiculous with every hitch of his breath. He was sucking William the Bloody and there was nowhere to go but further and faster and deeper, and revel in the adrenaline-rush on his way over the edge of the cliff.

Spike pushed forward again and Giles felt his own balls draw up, his hand stripping hard on his cock as he sucked, once, twice and Spike shuddered above him and came. Giles followed him, his whole body singing with sensation at the rush.

Pulling back, Giles put his hands on his knees, his breath hitching as he shook in the aftermath, oblivious to the sharp edges of the brickwork digging into his back and the detritus from the cobbles clinging to the knees of his jeans. He looked up and Spike stood over him, hands in his pockets, cock still hanging out of the front of his jeans, his face still showing the edges and planes of the demon. Giles spat the contents of his mouth out onto the ground at Spike’s feet.

Spike laughed and the demon melted away. “Playing a bit dangerously, Ripper, old mate. I could take that as a sign you didn’t enjoy yourself.”

Giles bared his teeth and pulled himself to his feet, pulling up his Y-fronts. His hand was sticky and he wiped them absently on the back of his jeans. “Maybe I like to play dangerously?”

Spike laughed again. “I’m beginning to think you might at that.” Pulling his hands out of his pockets he tucked himself back into his jeans and zipped up. “That was a bit of alright.”

“Is this where I swoon at the compliment like a Victorian damsel?” Giles asked. Still high on the aftermath of his orgasm, he felt invincible and batted his eyelashes at Spike, before bursting into a fit of helpless giggles. He leaned forward, his hands gripping hard on his thighs.

“Bloody loon.” Spike shook his head. “Anyway, I’ve had my share of Victorian damsels – real ones. Pain in the bloody arse, most of them. Keep your swooning to yourself.”

“I’ll try to contain myself.” Giles stifled his giggles and straightened up. “Are you staying in London?”

“Why’d you want to know? Going to tell the nobs at the Council I’m in town?”

“I don’t think telling them I gave William the Bloody a blow job in a pub back alley would exactly endear them to me.” Giles licked his lips. “Then again, might be good for a laugh.”

“It might at that,” Spike acknowledged. He raised his hand and rubbed his little finger over Giles lower lip before bringing it back to his own mouth and sucking. “Waste not, want not,’ he said. “Not that it’s any of your business, but since you performed a treat, I’ll give you this one for free. I’m off to New York. Check out the music scene. See if I can raise a little hell. All the usual fun stuff.”

“I feel like I should warn New York,” Giles replied. “But where would be the fun in that?”

“Exactly.” Spike pulled the half-smoked cigarette from behind his ear and looked at it briefly before reaching out and tucking it behind Giles ear – the one he’d bitten. “Poor student, yeah,” he said. “Right then, I’m off. If I see you again, maybe we’ll have another little dance. Maybe we won’t. Never can tell.”

“Maybe next time you’ll suck me.”

“Probably not. But you never know your luck.”

“I’ll not hold my breath,” Giles said.

“Best not. You breathing types get into trouble when you do that. That’s why we’re superior. No need to worry about crap like that.”

“I’ll take that under advisement.”

Spike chuckled. “See you around, Rupert Giles. Keep kicking over the traces, yeah. Have some fun, and don’t let any wankers tell you what you can do.”

“Words to live by,” Giles replied.

With a nod, Spike lit another cigarette and sauntered out of the alley, leaving Giles leaning up against rough brickwork, his fly still undone and the taste of Spike coating his tongue. He rubbed his bottom lip absently then zipped himself up. Pulling the half-smoked cigarette from behind his ear, he hauled his lighter out of his back pocket and lit up, Spike’s words echoing in his mind.

He was tired of being told what to do. How far he could go. And more to the point, how far he couldn’t. He was tired of Ethan’s sophistry, of being a follower to Ethan’s Pied Piper. He’d just had sex with William the Bloody and survived. The cliff edge had never felt more alluring and Giles had never felt more alive.

He pitched his cigarette at the nearest empty barrel, accurate as a dart player aiming for the bull. William the Bloody had said to have a little fun.

Ripper grinned. Ethan had been talking about Eyghon for weeks. It was well past time to raise a little hell.