Bubble Bath

One thing Rupert Giles did not miss about his homeland was small bathtubs. Here in America they had big, spacious baths you could sink into, with warm water neck deep and still you could stretch out your legs. Some were as wide as British baths were long. Normally he abhorred this tendency to go overboard on these sorts of items: cars that were twice the size they needed to be and portions that would feed a family. But when it came to baths, he was happy to let king size be the order of the day.

For Rupert Giles liked a good soak, and they came no better than this. Fine Australian Chardonnay chilled in a bucket next to the tub, and steam condensed on the side of his crystal wine glass, nestled in between the empty bubble bath bottles that sat on the shelf at his side. Soft violin music floated from the stereo across the hazy atmosphere of steam, incense and candlelight, whilst soft, fluffy, white towels waited for the moment he decided to leave.

It was bliss.

Not least because the most beautiful, wonderful, intelligent person he knew lay between his legs, head resting on his damp chest, dreamily swirling fingertips in the warm water.

"What composition is that?"

Giles cocked his head a little to listen, a faint smile on his lips. "'Gymnopédie number 3' by Satie, I believe."

"It's nice."

"Yes, it is."

And they lay there, skin against skin in a blanket of liquid whilst the music played and the world might die but it wouldn't matter because this was paradise.

A soprano began to sing 'Porgi, amor' from 'The Marriage of Figaro' and Giles looked down to see that a tiny bubble, tossed up by convection, had settled on the end of Oz's small nose. The lad's eyelashes were heavy with water and he looked almost asleep. Giles, smiling, bent forward to kiss the nose, lifting the bubble away with his lips, then lay back and drank some more wine.

The bathwater was cool when the last candle guttered in its holder. The wine was finished and the music had ceased to play.

Rupert Giles still lay in his king size bathtub, his wrinkled hands stroking the scarred flesh on Oz's belly, as his hot tears slid down damp cheeks.

He stroked the scar that marked where the silver bullet had entered, to lodge in Oz's abdomen, and slowly poison him to death.

Cain had killed his Oz, and Rupert Giles vowed revenge.