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Going to California.

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     Rupert Giles wasn’t a man to get upset easily. Everyone had a breaking point but he’d just reached the apex of his. Ethan was the opposite. So nonchalant about the whole affair, like the damage he’d- no. They’d caused these past few weeks had never happened. Fires in pubs, people mysteriously vanishing, magic benders that went on for days. Not to mention. Randall. God he’d been so blind. So goddamned stupid. For so long Giles had ignored the dark path Ethan had been straying down but enough was enough. It seemed there was no one left to save. This Ethan only responded to extreme force and force he was going to get. The two men stood affixed to the dark wood floors. Still as statues. These walls had seen the beginning of their relationship and now it seemed they would see their end as well. Their bitter, angry, end.

“You can’t keep playing god like this Ethan.”

“Who says I’m not a god?” Rayne smirked.

“Ethan. You’ve hurt people. More than that, you’ve hurt me.”

Ethan scoffed. His feelings didn’t matter. No one mattered at this point but himself. Giles looked at him incredulously.

“The one person in this whole bloody world who’s always been there for you. Me!”

Why should he care about the wellbeing of those who were obviously lesser? Their lives were so very fragile. So easily ended.

“I never expected you to play betrayer.”

“This isn’t a fucking betrayal.” he spat. “You need to stop.”

“No. I don’t.”

“Then I’ll make you.”

Ethan took a step toward him, his blue eyes suddenly pleading, suddenly looking desperate. “Ripper. C’mon. Look at me.” he chided in a smooth as silk voice. Another step toward him, his hands reaching out for his. 

“Look at us! We have power these fools will never possibly understand!”

Ethan eliminated the space between them. He kissed the older man roughly, his fingers digging into his hair. Heat and need filled his mouth. Giles tore himself away. He was disgusted and didn’t make any attempt to hide it. This wasn’t the boy he fell in love with that wintry morning. It was almost like that boy had never existed. Whoever it was standing in front of him had erased him completely.     

“Does that make us better? They don’t understand these powers and neither do we!” he roared. 

Ethan was bored with his argument. He crossed his arms tightly over his chest and waited for this tirade to conclude. 

“That’s what you don’t get Ethan. We’re just as lost as the rest of them. Just as broken.” Giles pleaded with him. He wanted so badly to get his beloved back, to get the true Ethan Rayne back. The boy who’d wait backstage for his shows every night, the boy who freed him. But he knew in his heart it was already over. These scenes they were playing out night after night were reruns of already finished programming.

“I’m not fucking broken.” Ethan’s eyes flashed pure hatred. “You’re the damaged goods here.”

He didn’t know if it was the blistering London heat or his own head but something snapped inside of him. Blood roared in his ears. Giles flew at him, his fist connecting with his former lover’s jaw in a sickening crack. Rayne crumpled to the floor. Blood trickled from the side of his mouth.

“What’re you gonna do Ripper? You gonna kill me?” He sneered, smiling through broken teeth. It took all of Giles’s power not to take his boot to Ethan’s ribs. Images of his blood spattered across the walls, Ethan on the ground, Ethan dead. A tidal wave of violent thoughts flashed through his mind’s eye but he tamped them down. Instead he knelt down, grabbed a handful of the younger man’s hair and slammed him against the wall. Their faces were inches apart. Ethan stared into those furious green eyes.

“You listen to me you conniving little shit.” the older man growled.

“Oh stop it Ripper you’re turning me on.” Ethan purred. He never knew when to stop. Never knew how to grow up. With his free hand he seized Ethan’s broken jaw and clamped it shut.

“Shut the fuck up.”

Ethan rolled his eyes.

“I am leaving you. From this moment on I will never, ever see you again. If I do, if you follow me I'll finish what I started here.”

Giles was being merciful, he knew it. Ethan knew it too. Somewhere in the back of the older man’s mind he knew one day he’d pay for this mercy but he stuffed that thought down and pressed him harder against the concrete.

“Do you understand?”

Ethan’s response was muffled through his clenched teeth. Giles let go of his jaw and awaited his full answer.

“I understand.” Ethan responded simply, not wanting to incur more of his wrath. Giles stepped away and let him slump to the floor. He stood over him. His features remained impassive but his eyes betrayed him. He was hurt deeply. Ethan was the only one he had ever loved and now look at them. Shadows of their former selves.

“I never want to see you again Ethan.”

“I get it.” Ethan hissed.

“Yes, I think you finally do.”

He turned and left the broken man. It was only five blocks down the busy street below he allowed himself to grieve over his loss. He sat down heavily on a park bench. His eyes searched the mockingly clear sky for an explanation on how the hell he’d gotten here. His heart, his knuckles, and his body ached. Rupert Giles was exhausted. He took a deep, shuddering breath and straightened up. He had work to do now. Work in California, out of this godforsaken city. It was time to bury the past where he could never find it again and this park was as good as any to do it. He dug out words he wrote to Ethan years ago, struck a match and burned the flimsy parchment. As the flame licked and curled the edges he let it drop to the lonely pavement. Standing up, he ground the ashes down with his boot heel, turned toward the west, and left. Rupert Giles had a plane to catch and a new life to start.