Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

By Morrigushout
For Trekker

He awakens to a world of darkness and pain.

His body aches all over, but in some places, the pain reaches almost unbearable edges. He can recognise all the kinds of wounds that have been inflicted to him: from the most classical cuts and slashes and cigarette burns to the irony of the leeches -- it must be leeches- that have been attached to his throat and to his nipples and limp manhood.

That, he cannot tell for sure, he must trust the sucking sensation, because his eyes are closed, both from the swelling and from the blood encrusting all of his face and caking the eyelids closed.

He tries to locate his surroundings, but he cannot tell much: he seems to have been tied to a common chair, placed just under the dim, garishly yellow light that is likely to come from a bare bulb above his head. He's almost glad that his eyes have been beaten closed, because even with the wall of flesh and blood covering them, the light makes them hurt.

A soft chuckle sends shivers down his abused spine, but he doesn't have the force to jump, or even just flinch, left in him. He hears footsteps approaching him and then three calloused fingertips touch him, tenderly brushing sweaty, blood-encrusted hair out of his face.

And his heart sinks in his guts. Only one person has ever touched him like that. So many did that same gesture, but only one like that. Only one like they mean it.

He remembers. He remembers the tortures, and yes, now he's sure it's leeches that are sucking tiny rivulets of his blood, because he remembers being shown them.

He remembers everything.

He remembers being in the kitchen, making tea, his love likes his tea so much, they always joke about how having had so many years to learn to make good tea is one of the many good sides of his nature.

He remembers the strange sensation as he finished drinking his tea, and the cup slipping from his numbing fingers and crashing on the polished parquet as his vision faded on a loving smile turning into a satisfied smirk. He remembers waking up for the first time in the basement -- it's the basement, he should have recognised it even without seeing it- and he remembers the first round of tortures, the pain in his body that didn't remotely match the one in his heart , because...

He tries to call for his tormentor, but his voice fails him. He tries again.


A faint, croaky whisper, almost inaudible. But his holder hears him, and chuckles again.


The beloved voice, the only one that can soothe his guilt and his nightmares and his regrets and his pain... and that now, now is making the pain explode, instead, all over again. The words roll out of his cracked lips, natural and ridiculously obvious.

"Rupert... why..."

The fingers are now brushing down his tortured cheek; each tiny spot touched feels like an explosion of needles.

"I trusted you to ask the most predictable question. Now, that is something I'm not quite sure about, myself. Why could this be, indeed? Maybe the fact that you tortured me so imaginatively, all those years back? Remember how beautifully you hurt me, darling?"

He remembers. The memories are etched into his brain and heart, horrible and somehow sweet and implacable, eternal regret and sublime guilt, the one sin he knows there will never be atonement for. And still...

"N... no... Rupert, please ... you... you said you'd forgiven me..."

"Ah, yes. I must have at some point. Even if I don't remember that. You must forgive me, dear; age is probably taking its toll on me. But I do trust your word on that."

The fingers run down his throat now, skipping the leech suckling on it and descending further, circling the nipple where another parasite is feeding like a horrible child -- the only kind of child one like him could ever have. One can say many things about Rupert, about, namely, his unique concept of book cataloguing or his passion for onion marmalade, but not that he's not brilliantly ironic. The fingers skip to the right now, and begin drawing absent patterns on the skin over his unbeating heart.

"So, what else could it be? How you shagged my Slayer? How you broke her heart just thereafter? How you kept me and my beloved ones in a vice of utter terror for months? Oh! Oh, wait, I know, it could be that you killed my girlfriend, and set up that awfully imaginative farce so that I could benefit of your artwork... I still should have that lovely sketch somewhere... But after all, it would be so very rude of me, showing ungratefulness after all the trouble you went through for me... You must forgive my narcissism, but I can't help wondering if even then, you weren't trying to vow me in your own way... But, do forgive me, I'm getting sidetracked, I guess you aren't familiar to the way the elderly lose themselves in digressions when reminiscing their past... what were we discussing? Oh yes, the possibility that I was, after all, avenging dear Jenny... Mmm..."

The voice drifts off for a second, then "No, how banal would that be? Avenging my lost love after all these years? Maybe what, kill myself to reunite with her just after dumping your dust in the bin? How very cheap, and what an insult to your creativeness of those days... No, it must be something else... Well you know, it might also be that you came back from the very Hell you'd had the good grace to go to and began messing with Buffy's life all over again, as if nothing you had done actually mattered..."

The fingers leave his chest, and after a moment, the footsteps circle the chair and stop behind him.

"You know" Rupert resumes casually "on last consideration, it could actually be that, at least subconsciously, I did put up with you for all these years just because I wanted to get my revenge when it would hurt you the most. But all in all" metal softly tinkles as something is retrieved from the workshop behind him "I think the most honest answer to your rather unsurprising question" a hand pats him companionably on the shoulder before seizing his fingers "is that I'm doing this because I feel like it".

As the first fingernail is torn from him, he screams and then everything goes dark again.


His eyes snap open as he gasps awake, chest pointlessly heaving as he tries to control his panic.

Something's changed.

His surroundings are still dark, but he's not in the basement anymore and he's lying on something soft. He's so frantic in locating his new confinements that at first he doesn't even realise that he can open his eyes now, but it's only a moment, then the revelation that he's in his -- their-


bedroom gives him enough of a shock that his whirling mind finally takes a break. He begins to notice things then. A film of cold sweat is covering him, and as a cool breeze blows over him and makes him shiver, he notices he's unhurt, unbound and, most important, naked.

The panic returns with a vengeance. What is Rupert planning now? Why isn't he hurt anymore? Maybe he got bored of torturing his body, and decided to move onto more elaborate and twisted torments? This is why he took all the pain away, maybe feeding him while he was unconscious --like he did so many times when he'd got hurt on a mission, lovingly taking care of him (or was he just keeping me alive for this?) -- so he would heal and no physical pain would distract him from his new trials?

Was that why he must be able to see now, that why he was naked?

Oh God he's gonna rape me he's gonna oh sweet god please please please no not this I know I deserve it but please not this don't let him do this to me don't let him do this to HIMSELF

But why is he unbound? Is there some kind of binding spell on him like with that Ghroph'tahr Demon he saved me with that spell that time he's so good at magic oh Rupert or is his lover so confident about him being so guilty that he'll just lie down and take it because it's fair, because he knows he deserves it but even if I let him do it I deserve it but he doesn't but I do and is it right to stop him or to let him have this his way oh please someone someone anyone tell me what to do what is right to do I'm lost anyway he's lost whatever I do I'll lose him he'll lose himself no escape


is this Hell the last damnation hurting him as he hurts me oh dear God please if I'm dead if I died last night or a lifetime ago please I know this is the right punishment but not his he doesn't deserve it please let this be an illusion let him be safe

Something moves beside him, just a little shift, a soft moan, but it makes him jump anyway

Not a binding spell so it's up to me it's all up to me oh no no no no why please didn't I amend even a little at least to avoid this didn't I do enough not for me at least for him oh God Powers anyone who's listening please

And who is this who's awakening beside him? Another prisoner? Another victim of Rupert's


Folly, another victim of his own evil doings of more than twenty years ago, who might it be


"Rupert?" he barely manages to exhale from his dry throat as the familiar, beloved, now frightening scent reaches him.

Yes it's him, or maybe someone else with his smell on them, the room reeks with last night's sex, their sweet lovemaking oh God whoever this is he raped them too oh why Rupert no


A sleepy, confused voice, his


lover's voice, just as adorably groggy as all those times he had to endure being woken up by his nightmares



And even as rationality begins to make its way into his ragged, fluttering mind he can't help clumsily scuttling away from the voice that mocked him so cruelly... and suddenly the bed is not there anymore.


He's just fallen of the bed on his fat arse, as Rupert would say (not that his ass is really fat), because he got so scared by a nightmare that he tried to run away from the love of his life.

"Angel?" The voice is beginning to sound alarmed now, so different from


The other one.

"R-Rupert?" he shyly enquires, his voice still dry and uncertain and shaky.

"Angel, what's wrong?" Giles' face appears over the bed edge, groggy and fluffy-haired. "Another nightmare?"

He stares at his concerned love for a terrified moment, before finally stuttering: "I... yeah. Yes. A nightmare... I think it was... a nightmare, I hope so."

The human frowns. "You... hope so? Angel, one can be a little confused when they wake up, but why wouldn't you be sure it's a nightmare you had? You're here with me, in our bedroom. Looking quite laughable with your arse on the floor and your feet on the bed. It's usually the other way round, you know."

Angel smiles faintly as he drags himself further away from the bed, and when Giles offers him a hand to help him up he takes it, but just to kiss the calloused palm, then he gets up by his own and sits on the bed, letting Giles, who has moved to sit up too, take him in his arms and hold him gently.

"You are sweating cold" the human softly notices. "And do please spare me the jokes about body heat, or lack thereof. What was so terrible that it upset you so? I haven't seen you this way for a long time."

"It was... it felt very real."

"Mh. You were back... in that, er, Hell dimension?"


"A memory from your roaring times then."

"That, neither" Angel snorts.

"Oh. Something... someone you couldn't help?"


"Very well, charming as this game of guessing is, I'd find it more productive of you to just enlighten me about what it was you dreamed, then?"

"It... it wasn't something I did, or I didn't do" the Vampire admits, a little ashamed that what upset him so much was his own suffering, and not others' "It was... it was you."


He can feel Giles' protective frame tense against him, and knows he's been misunderstood. "Angel, we have discussed of this. I don't... I wouldn't see it fit to... prolong my existence beyond its natural course. It's not about the way I feel about you, I think I made that clear enough, it's just... I can't be young forever, Angel. I'm not young, and it's not that it's too late. You know I never was actually young. It's the old Sybil story, I told you. How pathetic would it be, to be old forever?"

And how pathetic will it be, to be without you forever? Who will hold me when the nightmares, the real ones, will come back? Because they will, when you won't be there to keep them away anymore... and who will make me feel worthy of living among humans? Who will be strong and smart and brave and loyal enough to kill me if Angelus takes charge again?

But Angel doesn't argue about this, because Giles is right, they've talked about this so many times, and he knows that, if Rupert doesn't love him enough to give up Heaven and spend eternity at his side, as his Childe, that's anyway a lot more love than he deserves.

So he just shakes his head no, and softly replies: "It's not that. Not about when... It wasn't about that. It was... awful. You... you'd given me drugged tea, and then tied me up in the basement and tortured me. You- what?"

Giles has released him from his loving grasp, and is now scrambling to his bedside table, and...

After a moment of puzzlement, Angel's jaw falls as he sees what his lover was so anxious to do.

Giles is furiously polishing his glasses.

At 3:27 a.m.

"Huh... Rupert?"


"Why are you polishing your glasses?"

"Why, to see better of course."

"It's the middle of the night."

"Yes, I did notice that Angel, thanks. I would be quite upset if my vision had so suddenly and drastically faded that I would see this bad at midday."

"You do seem quite upset."

"Well, do look at this fingermark. Awful. It takes so much toil to clean the lenses from those, and the glasses are always bent after, you know I lose hours fixing them afterwards, and of course, when I'm finished I usually have left more fingerprints on them than before. Awfully disappointing, I tell you. Not that you'd know, of course."

"What I mean is, what if they aren't shiny, it's dark anyway."

"You know I tolerate no excuses for self-negligence. Moreover, if my vision is already challenged by the dark and by my myopia, the better reason not to worsen the situation with filthy lenses, don't you think?"

"Okay, enough. It's not about the fingerprints on your damn glasses. I told you about my dream and you freaked out."

"Oh, excuse me very much" Giles snaps back, refusing to either stop his cleaning task or turning back to Angel "Of course, what a wuss I must have turned into, you just told me you dreamed of me taking pleasure in gratuitously hurting you, that's just under the 'disgustingly romantic afternoon at the beach' in your 'best dream' chart, isn't it?"

"Gratuit-? Who said it was gratuitous?"


"You said, you were having fun torturing me, gratuitously. I never said you were having fun."

"Yes, ah, sorry, of course. I, I didn't let you finish. I'm sorry I assumed..."

"You didn't assume anything. In the dream, you were having fun."

"So I see no reason for you to remain offended..."

"I'm not offended. But you knew something about that... dream, before I even told you. So I think you made the same dream, too."

Giles freezes. Before he can reply, Angel goes on.

"And since I've refused to believe coincidences a lot more plausible than this, then I think it wasn't just a dream."

Giles remains quiet for a second, then: "I... I told you, even with the little you told me, it was easy to assume..."

"Sure, maybe it was. But I just know this isn't the case. And I know you. You don't polish your glasses for nothing. I think you haven't polished them so well since that time Buffy walked in on us on Willow's birthday. And as you said, one should be able to say they've had a nightmare once they're awake, and that... nightmare, felt a lot more real than it should have. So let's just assume that I'm right and we have a problem, okay? 'Cause we both know that when this weird kind of stuff happens, ignoring it it's hardly the best thing to do, and I've already made a much longer monologue than I'm usually comfortable with to try and convince you."

Giles' still rather strong shoulders remain tense for one more moment before sagging. "All right" he finally sighs, dejectedly. "Let's say we do have a problem. What do you suggest now? Separate rooms? Getting drunk to grant ourselves dreamless nights? Therapeutic sex?" he smirks as he finally turns to Angel, but even without his improved vision, the Vampire can tell that there's a lot of fear buried under that smug expression.

"I'd say the last" he grins back "but before that, I think we'd better understand what our... let's call them dreams until we find some better definition, okay?, what our dreams had in common. So, what did you see?"

Giles lowers his eyes and, having already taken the glasses on the edge of explosion, he busies himself by smoothing a crease on the crisp bedsheets. "You... you described that quite accurately, if succinctly. I... put something in your tea... actually, I asked you to get the milk for me, and slipped the drug in your cup when you turned to get it. I chatted amiably with you until you passed out."

Angel can see the green eyes flash dangerously as his lover grows furious at the idea of someone hurting his mate, his rage worsened by the knowledge that this time that someone was his own very self. A cool hand rests gently on the one now clutching the fabric it was smoothing just moments before, and Giles offers a small, apologetic smile.

"I am sorry, it's just... it did feel so very real, Angel... I could feel... the excitement, the wicked and malicious anticipation of what I was going to do as I deceived you, and then the satisfaction that my plan had worked..." he stops for a second, lowering his head in sorrow, anger and shame. He manages to speak only after taking a very deep breath.

"I... brought you in the basement. Tied you down. I had... things, hidden there. They had been there for days. Not that my dream went that way back, I just... just knew they had been there that long. Knives, holy water, crosses" he chuckles mirthlessly "a pack of cigarettes, even if I knew how much trouble I'd go through if you found out about that... and... other things, too... all the necessary for electrocution... and... I remember finding that particularly funny... I'd got myself some... some leeches, too... And when you woke up I... I..."

"Enough" Angel orders softly, taking the now trembling man in his strong arms "Enough. I remember that part. I was there, remember? It's... it's okay. Well, no, it's not, but I'm here, right? I'm right here with you, and I'm fine. You didn't hurt me."

"You passed out twice, Angel..." the man hisses in utter fear, burying his grief-twisted face in the crook of the pale neck and grasping the broad shoulders with desperate strength. "I made you pass out twice... and I liked it..."

"Shhh, shhh... I know, I know... we'll figure this out, Rupert... we'll sort this out. We always do. We've been through worse. It's okay... it'll be okay... it's gonna be okay..."

Angel has done and seen too much to feel guilty about some little lie.


He awakens to a world of harsh light and pain.

A thought immediately flashes through his mind:

It happened again.

He immediately remembers last night's events.

He remembers waking from what was probably the most hideous nightmare of his whole life just to find Angel cowering on the floor... away from him.

He remembers the concern about the nightmares having come back -- they do sometimes, Angel still has his dark periods - turning into fear as he recognised his lover's dream for his own. He remembers confessing his nightmarish deeds to his lover, he remembers loathing himself for the pleasure the dream had brought, and for making his lover even comfort him about that.

He remembers

Bodies entangled

Angel comforting him, telling him everything would be fine even if he clearly wasn't convinced, himself, he remembers the guilt he felt for having his victim comforting him, the torturer, even if it had all been a dream, he remembers the sweet nonsense his lover lulled him with

Husky love vows

As he held him and let himself be held in turn, seeking reassurance in the

Firm flesh cool skin hot touches

Mutual presence and love they were so frantically

Passionate Hot Hard

Eager to reaffirm.

He remembers how bloody scared of going back to sleep they both were, and how both of them ridiculed themselves further by badly pretending they weren't. He remembers finally giving in and allowing his limbs and mind to relax, comforted by the cool firmness of the chest upon which he'd rested his head and by the strong arms that had embraced him -- maybe a little too tightly for it to be just tenderness and not fear.

So much for researching about the possible causes of their shared nightmares.

They had both been too bloody coward to believe something was actually wrong. After so many Apocalypses, after so many fights, this had got them so much by surprise, hit them so deeply in what they cared for the most, they had been petrified, and instead of reacting, researching, seeking some Incubus, Succubus or some other kind of nightmare Demon whose arse they could kick to fix this, they'd just made desperate love and





Serves us right.

"Awake, are you?" an amused voice asks from behind him.

He barely resists the urge of whipping his head towards the voice he's come to love more than the sweetest music, but which at this moment sounds as loving as a set of rusty, jagged knives.

"You know, it's not that you ain't cute when you sleep, but that tends to blast the whole sleep-deprivation thing." A high-pitched snicker, then: "Bah, never mind, that takes days and I was getting bored anyway."

Footsteps approach and the lamp above him is hit so that it draws nauseating circles above his head, making him flinch at the harshness of the powerful light. He now understands it's been placed there to deprive him even of the slightest chance of rest.

Cold fingers touch his chin and with mocking tenderness lift it so that he stares into black, evilly cheerful eyes.

"Rupert, my love..." the Vampire whispers huskily... just before he bursts out laughing.

Giles watches him in sheer horror and puzzlement, until he takes in his surroundings. His heart skips a beat as he recognises his prison.

It's the mansion.

It's the mansion where Angelus had tortured him for an eternity and a half back in Buffy's second year, until Xander had dragged him out of there and his Slayer had sent the undead wanker to Hell, literally.

But how?...

What the Bloody Hell's happening, has Angel somehow lost his soul again and taken the bother of arranging this whole farce to properly enjoy his former lover's demise?

He can feel his broken fingers, he can feel the bruises on his face and the slashes the whip left on his back, the ache from his broken ribs and the cigarette burns and knife cuts on his chest... in the exactly same position as then... just like then...

Even the clothes he's wearing are the same, even the-

Giles feels cold sweat cover his body as he sees his reflection in the mirror-polished floor.

He's young.

Well, as young as he was... is?...

Breathing becomes a difficult task as reality crushes into him, and he understands...

It was all a dream. All a bloody dream, Angel, their love, their years, years together, even Angel's own nightmare, the one they'd shared, and that must be why, why he could see Angel's dreams, and how he could even feel, he realises now, his lover's sensations, his thoughts as he woke up... not because of some apocalyptic threat, but just because in dreams, things like that just can happen ...

But how can just a dream have given him the memories of all those years... how can he remember them all... all the lovemaking, all the anguish, all the fights, all the tears, all the laughter...

He clenches his jaw as he regards the laughter that's shaking his tormentor's body now. He forces back the tears that threaten to spill at the sight of the man he feels like having loved for decades tormenting him, and steels his mind around one, hatred-filled word:


The Vampire in question is still doubling over in laughter, tears of amusement streaming down his pale cheeks.

"Oh, oh Hell..." Angelus manages between the guffaws that shake his body "You... you should have heard yourself... whimpering like a sappy old chick... 'Angel, my love!' 'Let's make love, then we'll face this mor-' oh God!" he allows another fit of laughter to posses him, before he calms enough to go on, clasping his joined hands to his still chest "-'This mortal danger together, as we did all these years!' Jesus, Rupert..." he snickers as he wipes his eyes "you really are pathetic... wonder what dear Buffy would say, if she knew her upright, stuffy, pole-in-the-ass Watcher and mentor was fancying her boyfriend substituting the pole? Not that I didn't know you liked taking it up the ass, I mean, that Ethan friend of yours, the whole Ripper episode..."

Angelus chuckles scornfully, then a thought seems to hit him, and he tilts his head as he regards Giles with new, amused interest. "...About that, what's with the "Ripper" thing? Don't tell me you actually had the balls to kill someone, let alone getting arty about it..." he considers the bound man before him for one more moment, then: "Nah, tell you what, I think that whole loser gang of yours scraped the bottom enough to give yourselves tough nicknames... what was your friend's, by the way? Marilyn?"

The Demon snickers again, shaking his head in comptentuous pity... then he approaches the chair and crouches again before Giles, and staring into his green eyes he says in a low, dangerous voice: "How would you like me showing you how one can really deserve a name like that?"

As Angelus produces a shining, sharp, horrendously shaped object with a theatrical flick of his wrist, and plunges it into his abdomen, Giles screams in pain and passes out.


"Rupert! Rupert!"

Strong hands shake him awake, and when he finally opens his eyes, the first thing he sees is a pair of black eyes he's come to be very familiar with.

He punches the other man as hard as he can with that iron grip blocking his biceps, and a twinge of satisfaction runs through him as he feels his fist connect with the other man's jaw.


The heavy frame jumps away from him and falls to the floor, and he tries to disentangle himself from the sheets. He knows he's not match for a Master Vampire, but he'll be damned if he won't go down with a fight. He hopes that he won't be damned anyway, that Angelus won't decide to turn him and send him after the very children he'd die to protect.

Assuming they're still alive... because if it was all a dream then Buffy never beat him, Xander never came and Willow... oh God, are they still alive? What happened to them? Did Drusilla just get me, or...

Now wait just a minute.

Why the Hell is he in a bed? Why did Angelus sound so worried? Afraid he'd broken his new toy too early?

He shivers as he remembers his dream, Angel's fear of being raped. Will Angelus go that far? He sounded pretty mocking about his sexual orientation just before torturing him into oblivion, but after all, that could be all there was to it, mockery and humiliation...

No, Giles is dreadfully sure that it's not beyond Angelus giving him this horribly twisted version of a desire fulfillment...

"Ow!" The voice from the floor shakes him out of his speculation, and with an energic tug to the sheets that were imprisoning him, he is finally on his feet.

"Ow! Why the Hell did you do that?! I was just trying to wake you up, dammit..."

"To do what, I wonder?" Giles spits back, getting in a fighting stance.

"To do what, what? You were having a nightmare, I try to help and this is what I get for my trouble!" the man on the floor complains, gingerly feeling his jaw. "Great," he mutters "It'll bruise by tomorrow... just hope it's not broken, man, or you'll be sleeping on the damn sofa for a month... ow..."

Giles blinks as he watches the naked, sullen man on the floor. Something's clearly wrong. Of all the ways he expected Angelus to react, muttering and threatening nights on a sofa surely wasn't on his top lists. Tackling him with a roar and proceed to dismember him with his bare hands, that's more like it, surely more in character, if less comfortable...

Realising just how ridiculous he must look with his bits merrily giggling between his legs and his fists raised, he backs to the bed and covers himself with a sheet, then he takes a minute to inspect his surroundings.

It's obviously a bedroom, not all leather, designer frenzy and supple fabric like he'd expected from Angelus, but an elegant comf- oi, what's aunt Lizzie's wardrobe doing in Angelus' mansion?!?

Suddenly, a memory hits him: a memory of arguing with someone about the wardrobe...

"All I'm saying is it's a little... invading."

"Victorian, you surely mean. And we already had this discussion: the wardrobe is a valuable antique and has been in the family for generations, and thus it stays."

"It doesn't look like an antique to me, it looks like an old moth lair."

"There's no need to be insulting!"

"Well, sorry, I didn't mean to be insulting, but it looks old, smells old, sounds old when you open that damn door and... well, look, it's so old in a non-antiquish way, that it's depressing."

"It's not the wardrobe that's depressing, it's you who live in constant depression. And you're much older than it, you know."

"What I'm saying, exactly: it's not ancient, it's old. And looks like a coffin. And in case you haven't noticed in all these years, the whole coffin-sleeping Vampire is nothing but a load of-"


"All right, all right, if you can't live without it, let's keep it."

Twenty years of shared life slam into him like a truck, and with a gasp he returns to reality. He stares down at the man that has been his life for so much time, and, just as he'd wondered how he could have remembered twenty years that hadn't been there while Angelus tortured him, he now wonders how he could forget all of this.

But the dream felt so real... not only the Angelus part, but also the part before, Angel's dreaming and their fears afterwards, and Angel still being a Vampire... when Angel has been human for over fifteen years, after he's finally achieved Shanshu.

Still, Giles can't rid himself of the fear, the sorrow, the rage the nightmare left him. After all, he's already believed he was awake twice, three times counting Angel's dream...

What the Hell. He's already getting his arse kicked to the sofa; he can bear ridiculing himself some more. Regarding the jaw-nursing man on what's clearly his bedroom carpet, he cautiously asks: "Angel?"

"What?!?" Angel snaps from the floor.

"Is, is that you?"

Angel glares at him for a moment, then growls: "Yeah. It's me. Happy? Now will you tell me what the Hell got into you? First you behave like you're being possessed by some hip-hop Demon, then you scream your lungs out and when I try to help, you give me a free tooth extraction in change. Damn, this one's loose..." he winces as he prods his teeth trough his cheek.

"I... I'm terribly sorry, I... I had a bad dream." He lets himself fall back on the bed, and brigs shaky hands to his face. "A, a very, very bad dream."

Angel is immediately off the floor and beside him, gentle, worried eyes boring into him, aching jaw and sofa exiles forgotten.

"I never saw you like that. What was it about?"

Giles smiles ruefully as he allows himself to lean into his lover. "You, and me... both at our worst. But the really bad part was... it's stupid actually..."

"Yeah, well, I promise not to use that against you. Not in public, at least. Tell me."

"...I kept thinking I had woken up..."

Angel sighs, and begins carding his fingers into Giles' gray hair. "Yeah, I know the feeling" he admits "It's annoying enough when you have to get up and go to school, and whatever you were dreaming, it looked like something much less pleasant."

"Yes" agrees Giles with a small, self-deprecatory smile "Yes, it was a little more upsetting than that."

"You wanna talk about it?"

Giles stares into the bluish darkness of their --their- bedroom, then lets out a shaky breath and, raising his eyes to meet his lover's, he smiles as he shakes his head and whispers: "No. There's no need for that." And he brings his lips up to meet Angel's warm ones.

Soon they are laying face to face over the sheets, their legs entangled, their arms roaming all over each other's body, Angel trying to show Giles with reverent touches how real and alive he is and how much he loves him, and Giles, Giles holds onto his lover for dear life, trying to believe that Angel is real and alive and that he loves him... and then a thought hits him, and he draws away, his mouth gasping as it leaves the other.

"Rupert? What..."

"Angel... did you dream... do you remember what you were dreaming before waking up?"

Angel frowns, looking at him in puzzled disappointment. "Yeah, but what..."

"What were you dreaming about?" Giles urges, pushing down the twinge of guilt he feels for having deprived his lover of such a passionate moment to ask what must sound like a very silly question.

"Damn, you really wanna sleep on the sofa, don't you?" Angel scowls, but seeing Giles' anxious expression, he relents and mutters: "Well, if you really wanna know... oranges."

Green eyes blink. "Oranges?"

"Yeah. I was dreaming about oranges. Got something against oranges?" Angel inquires defensively.

"Well... no, obviously not, only I don't understand how..."

"Look, it was pretty simple, I was sitting at this table and it was covered in oranges, oranges in plates, oranges in bowls, oranges scattered all over the damn table. And I had to eat'em all."

"Oh... and it... it wasn't about... er..."

"Us at our worst?"

"Well, yes."

"No. I mean, it's not like you were there throwing oranges at me... actually, no offence, but you weren't there at all."

"... And was it, ah, uncomfortable?"


"Having to eat all those oranges."

"No, it was okay. Now will you tell me what's with my dreams now? Is eating oranges a bad omen? 'Cause now that I think of it, there might have been a coupla lemons too..."

Giles lets out a relieved chuckle. "No, no, I don't think there's nothing bad in eating a table-worth of oranges, besides maybe a considerable indigestion... it's all right, Angel" he breaths out huskily as he allows himself to finally believe so, and leaning his forehead against the other man's, he repeats against his lips "it's all right."

Angel silences him by plunging his tongue into his mouth, and then proceeds to scatter tender, feather-like kisses all over the beloved features, across the high brow, down the noble nose, up the chiseled cheekbones and over the closed eyelids that hide that incredible shade of jade green, heightened by that wonderful small brown patch in one iris... then he gives up to the irresistible call of those thin, but oh so soft lips, and again he kisses Giles with everything he has, until their humanity forces them to draw back for breath.

"Angel..." the other man gasps "Need you... need you inside... please, now..."

Angel stares glazedly at him at him for a moment, then nods jerkily. "Yeah... yeah."

He turns to the bedside cabinet and retrieves the lubricant from the drawer, then immediately turns back to his lover and kisses him again as he uncaps the tube and squirts the slippery fluid onto his fingers.

He folds a protective arm around Giles' waist and puts the other hand between the long legs, instinctively finding his entrance and idly circling it several times before he inserts the first finger. The other man gasps into his mouth and arches against him, just before rocking back against the talented hand. Angel smirks and strokes the taut channel walls for a while before letting a second finger join its companion, and shortly after, he adds another.

"Angel" comes the quiet plead "Now..."

He just nods and lets his hand slip away, strokes his erection with it to lubrificate it once, twice, three times then grasps the slim hips and, with a confidence gained over years of lovemaking, plunges smoothly into the man he loves.

Giles arches again with a cry of joy, and then thrusts back wildly, his arms closing tighter around the muscled back, fingers digging into broad shoulders. "Angel" he calls desperately as they fall into a long-known rhythm, "Angel, Angel..."

"I'm here" the other man answers the unspoken enquiry "I'm here, I'm right here, I'll always be here..."

Giles is sobbing against his neck now, fear and relief and weariness and passion having finally the best of him, as he brokenly pants out: "I love you so..."

"Love you" Angel gasps back "Love you..."

And they are falling, losing themselves and finding each other at the same time, naked and defenceless and still safe, merely human and yet powerful, exhausted from their coupling but also strengthened by it.

"Mmm" Angel hums contentedly after they've regained their breath and wits, "That was good."

"It never ends amazing me, how regaining your humanity enhanced your eloquence" Giles observes smugly, snuggling into his lover nevertheless, merely chuckling as he's swatted on a bicep for his cheek.

"And it never ends amazing me" Angel replies "how a stuffily raised Brit like you still refuses to respect his elders."

"It's because of the very stuffy raising. I rebelled. And officially, I am sixteen years older than you."

"Officially. There's that insignificant detail of me being born in the eighteenth century."

"Exactly. An indeed insignificant detail. And technically, you're a Brit too, you know."

"Whatever. Go to sleep, Giles."

Giles stiffens in his lover's embrace, but fortunately Angel, who's already dozing off, doesn't notice.

That's the thing. Giles doesn't want to sleep. He doesn't know what he will find when he awakens.

Angel sighs as he always does before falling into a deep sleep, and Giles smiles as he regards his beautiful love in the moonlight. He takes his time letting his gaze wander over the dark hair, barely graying at the temples, the still completely dark eyebrows and the even darker, long eyelashes, the straight nose and the strong mouth, with the corners slightly wrinkled by the finally showing age and the now so frequent smiles, just as the corners of the dark, dark eyes that are now resting.

Giles discovers himself incredibly relaxed by the contemplation of those beloved traits, and finally lets his eyes drift closed as well. As the steady heartbeat thrumming against his own lulls him into sleep, he places his trust into the mindblowingly beautiful hands of the man he loves and falls asleep into Angel's warm embrace.


He awakens to a world of dim light and numbness.

He hears soft voices speak in the next room, and even if he can't make out the words, he knows what they're talking about.

He's dying.

He's been dying for months- well, if one doesn't count the constant dying that's characteristic of all living beings, but he's too stoned and too tired to dwell on philosophical ramblings- and now he's finally getting it over with, and relieving his friends of the burden of his agony.

The coloured lights twinkling through some window of the opposite building remind him that it's almost Christmas, and he feels a pang of regret at ruining their holidays with the sorrow he will cause with his demise.

He doesn't remember what's killing him, but it doesn't seem important now, or at least, he can't bring himself to care. In a way or another, he's dying, so why take the bother of trying and remember the name of the killer concealed in his body?

He smiles weakly as he remembers how his Slayer reacted to the news of his imminent death, marching to the weapons trunk and asking what the Demon that was causing his desease looked like. It had taken the best part of a month to make her actually accept that the monster who was killing him was nothing but his own ill body, and not some huge, horned bloke who wanted to rule the world.

Poor Buffy, after all she had seen and done, she couldn't believe death could come in the invisible, implacable and unfightable form of a body failing to work properly.

And if Giles has to be quite sincere, he's a little stunned, and even a tad disappointed, that after all he has seen and done, he's slowly fading away in his own bed.

But then again, once death comes, it doesn't really matter to him what it looks like, and even if he's sorry that his beloved ones had to endure the anguish of his slow end along with him, he's somehow glad that they there is nothing they might blame themselves for, and they surely would have done just that if he'd died on the field: he knows too well the fears that have tormented his nights for so many years, of not being smart, fast, strong enough to keep his protégées safe. He knows that had he died at the hands of some Demon, or during some Apocalypse, the fears he'd shared with them would have become the mistakes they'd accused themselves of. Not to mention, this way his passing will be surely less gruesome, if maybe a little more mortifying.

Yes, it really doesn't matter how he's going to depart this life, especially since the doctors have sent him back home to die, literally, in his own bed and, most important, have prescribed him enough drugs to stop the pain.

The pain, yes... that was the only thing he's really hated of his desease. He's never deluded himself about his chances at longevity, and even if this isn't the way he expected to go, he is trained well enough to accept his death.

But the pain... the pain almost sent him crazy at first, it made him wish he was already dead, it made him arch off the bed and curl up in a whimpering ball, it made him plead and curse and cry... it made him lose his dignity, even if for a brief span of time. And that, he can't accept.

Fortunately, the drugs are so much and so powerful, that not only he doesn't feel the pain anymore, but also most of the time he doesn't even remember his own name, let alone some public display of rudeness...

The drugs, yes.

It must be the drugs that cause all those dreams, deliria, whatever.

What else could it be that made him believe so deeply he was with Angel, when Angel has been dead for years, has been dead since a few months after he left Sunnydale?

He doesn't know what's crazier, believing that he could be Angel or believing that he could be with Angel... after all he's done to conceal his secret, the secret that would have hurt his Slayer so harshly, the secret that could have endangered them all while Angelus was loose, the secret that would have meant the end of his career and of the friendship he'd been gifted with by his mates, not to talk about his already severely ruined self-esteem...

He has never known what had gotten into him, falling in love with a Vampire, and with that Vampire, no less. Giles refuses to believe it had been the creature's unheartily looks, for although he has never had a particularly high opinion of himself, he thinks he's above that, at least. It would be easier to think that it's the Vampire's ancient knowledge of so many things of this world and of many others, his familiarity with art and literature and dead and foreign languages... maybe even his very nature that attracted Giles in such a relentless way. But what Giles believes, as much as it pains him aknowledging so, is that he just fell madly in love with the man, period. If forced to give an explanation, no less than under the threat of the complete destruction of his book collection, he would say that it had just felt right.

But what his heart had felt as perfectly right, his brain has had the sense to classify as utterly wrong.

What a sacrifice has been keeping that secret for those long three years, keeping the longing from his voice every time he spoke to Angel and from his gaze every time he looked at him, controlling his body so that no whiff of arousal would reach the Vampire's sensitive notrils, forcing himself to tramp down every sentiment of envy he sometimes couldn't help feeling towards the innocent girl that was actually the centre of his world, and after Angel's death, hiding his almost maddening sorrow, and grieving in silence all those years...

What a sacrifice, indeed. But what else could he have done? Throw himself at Angel and declare his undying love for him? Tell Buffy that her feelings towards the Vampire were really adorable, but that it was time to step aside and let the adults take action? Tell the Council that they could sod off, he was happy with his own Vamp, thank you very much? How much trouble would such indecent decisions have brought? How much pain?

And after all, what would have Angel done, had he suspected Giles' sentiments towards him? Even worse, what would have happened, had Giles actually declared himself? Oh, the horror. No, it's better this way, and it's somehow even more romantic. His silent love has remained untarnished and pure in its "love for love's sake" way.

He's done the right thing.

The right thing. What he has always tried to do. What he'd been trained to do, what was demanded of him, both by the Council and by his most severe judge, himself. No matter that it had torn into his heart every day of his life.

Not to mention that now, after the agony of seeing Angel leaving for good after having given Buffy a long, loving look, and not having spared one at him, after the death he felt in his heart at the news of Angel's own death for the sake of some innocent, of his dust having mixed with the grime of Los Angeles dark alleys, now it's so easier to die, after having been dead for years.

"...No more than a couple days, probably less..." drifts to him the doctor's voice, followed by a sob, Willow if he's not mistaken.

About time, he thinks impatiently.

He spares a longing look at the door and his heart flies to the persons who are already grieving beyond it, to Buffy, his beautiful, stubborn, brave Slayer, so strong in her fragility, to Willow, so delicate and enthusiastic and good and genial, to Xander, so intelligent and sensible and selfless and funny... his friends of a lifetime, his companions in arms, his beloved children. A lone, sad and yet serene tear traces his pale cheek.

Then he sighs and closes his eyes, welcoming the chemical oblivion that is already enfolding him, thinking that maybe he can indulge in one last delirium, one last vision, one last dream.

"Oranges" he snorts softly as he drifts off "why the Hell would one dream about stuffing themselves with oranges..."

Nice last words, Giles, he scowls at himself as consciousness leaves him, pregnant. You're fortunate no-one heard you...

Oh, shut up, he mentally mutters back, I've got a headache.

But not even that is true anymore, a fresh breeze caresses his aching brow and even that last twinge of pain is gone, and if his eyes open one last time as it often happens before falling deeply asleep, and see a shadow hovering above him, he just thinks it's the beginning of a new --of his last- dream and goes to sleep knowing it will be a good one.


Angel smiles as his cool, incorporeal touch brings some relief to the dying man. "Soon, Rupert" he whispers lovingly as he cards his fog-like fingers through the gray hair.