Written by anyjay for summer_of_giles
The fic is 3500 words, plus I went a little overboard on the author’s notes.
Giles and Ethan preslash or friendship, Giles/OFC, all pre-series
Summary: He’s changed his name from time to time. She changed hers once, as well.
Beta’ed by Mr. Jay.
Disclaimer: Ethan Rayne and Rupert Giles are the property of Joss and Mutant Enemy.
This is a prequel to The Need to Believe, which was set during season 3. An incident in this story is also mentioned in my first fanfic Come Hither, set post-Chosen, but I don't think Come Hither and The Need to Believe are in the same verse.
Warning: Giles is going to seem like an incredible hypocrite, if you don’t read The Need to Believe first.
I didn’t try to convey the different English accents used here through altered spelling because (1) it’s hard to write and hard to read and (2) I don’t think I could accurately convey the accents anyway. I hope they will be clear from the word usage. I’d appreciate feedback on that, though.
katekat1010 made me another of her wonderful movie posters.
This was part of a group she did for summer_of_giles. You can view the others she made here.
October 30, 1974, almost midnight
Luck favors the prepared, Ethan thought, as he helped the drunk who’d blundered into him to stand and then watched the man totter out of the pub. Slipping into the gents’, he quickly transferred the money – only a few quid, mores the pity – from the drunk’s wallet to his own pockets before chucking the wallet in the bin.
Returning to the bar, Ethan ordered a pint and then stood, studying the crowd as he drank. The brunette at the end of the bar looked likely. Maybe too likely. Ethan sighed. He wanted something – someone – different. Someone who was just a bit of a challenge. The bloke talking with the bartender, for instance. Tall, handsome and with an arse to die for. Unfortunately, in this bar a pass at a man was more likely to get Ethan beaten than laid.
Still, Ethan thought, there might be some fun to be had there. The man’s accent was pure London working class, and his clothes matched the voice, except that every item of clothing looked new. Moreover, his hands were wrong. He wore a signet ring. His nails were neatly manicured. His skin was soft, a gentleman’s hands, except for the cut and bruised knuckles. Now Ethan looked closer, there was some faint bruising on his jaw as well. He’d been in a fight, but for all that he was still a boy from university pretending to be a London tough. Ethan wondered what his game was, and whether two could play.
The young man took his drink to a table against the wall, setting an old canvas rucksack on the chair next to him. He sipped his drink slowly for a time. Then he lit a cigarette, took a couple of deep drags and tapped the ash off onto the floor, despite the presence of a clean ashtray on the table in front of him. He stowed the cigarettes in his jacket pocket, leaving the matchbook on the table. Next he removed a thick leather-bound book and a twist of paper from the rucksack. He undid the twist and poured its contents into the ashtray. Then opening the book to a page marked with a bookmark, he began to mutter. He lit a match and dropped it into the ashtray. A white flame flared up and just as quickly died.
How delightful, Ethan thought. He drained his drink and walked to the mage’s table, sitting in the chair across from him. “Spell casting in public,” he said, “how very brazen.”
The man held up one finger to indicate Ethan should wait, and continued his muttering. When he was done, he took another long drag on his cigarette, surveying Ethan with an air of satisfaction. “You a nance then?” he asked.
“Sorry?” It had been so long since anyone had surprised Ethan.
The mage closed and held up his book. “Come hither spell,” he said. “Anyone fancies me, they come hither, see? And here you are.” He smiled proprietarily at Ethan and stowed the book in his rucksack.
“How utterly delicious,” Ethan said. “You must teach me that spell.”
“Excuse me?” It was the brunette Ethan had noticed earlier. But now her attention was on the mage. “Have you got a light?” She waved her cigarette at him.
The man didn’t take his eyes off Ethan. He simply picked up the book of matches and thrust it in her general direction. He waited until she had taken the matches and retreated uncertainly to the bar. Then he stood and picked up his rucksack. “Come on,” he said and led the way out the door.
Ethan followed. When he caught up, his new friend said, “A nance, a pickpocket, and a mage. Dark magic?”
“Chaos magic,” Ethan answered automatically, chagrinned that he’d been spotted lightening the drunk’s pockets.
"That'll do." The mage grinned. “Drugs?”
“I might know a gent,” Ethan said.
“You’re bleeding perfect, you are,” the mage crowed delightedly. “Sweet Christ, how me Dad would hate you!”
The mage stopped beneath a streetlight and turned to face Ethan. “Listen, mate, just so you know, all that’s standing between the world and its destruction are a crowd of over-educated pillocks with pokers up their arses and blood on their hands. We’re all going to hell eventually, but I reckon to break every rule and taste every pleasure while I can. You with me?”
Ethan smiled. He had no idea what the mage was going on about, but he endorsed the overall sentiment. “Why not?” he answered.
“Brilliant! Got a name, then?”
“Ethan. Ethan Rayne.”
“Pleased to meet you, Ethan Rayne. Name’s Jack Ripley, but me mates call me Ripper.”
October 27, 1974, twilight
Algernon Giles stood as Rupert entered the room. “I wondered if you’d have the gall to come home,” he said. “Did you think no one would inform me you'd been sent down? Professor Wilton’s under sedation at the moment, but they believe he’ll press charges for assault once he’s conscious.”
Rupert smiled. He’d like to assault the whole lot of them. He’d like to kill them all. “Did they tell you the topic of Wilton’s lecture?” Rupert asked. “Did they tell you he lectured us on the long and glorious tradition of the cruciamentum?”
The color drained from Algernon’s face, but he made no response.
“Your slayer died the night of her eighteenth birthday, didn’t she, Father?” Rupert said, his eyes never leaving Algernon’s face. “I reckon it wasn’t an ordinary vampire attack after all. I reckon you killed her.”
“I did nothing of the kind,” Algernon said, angrily turning away.
Rupert reached out and stopped him, his grip like steel on Algernon’s arm. “You told me it was my fault,” he said, and his grip tightened. “You stood next to Ronnie’s grave and told me she was dead because I’d been selfish, because I’d taken her dancing when she should have been training.”
“It was your fault,” Algernon said. He tried to pull away, but Rupert held him fast.
“You drugged her,” Rupert said. “You drugged my wife. You deliberately took away her strength and locked her in a building with a vampire, one chosen especially for its viciousness and cunning. You knew that half of all slayers die during ‘the torment’ – and you let her face that alone, without warning. How you must have hated her. How you must have hated us both.” He dropped his father’s arm, and regarded him with disgust.
“How dare you!” Algernon said. “She was my slayer. I did my duty as her watcher. I prepared her for our time-honored tradition and I administered it. Veronica was extraordinary. She was strong and quick and able. Until you interfered. Slayers can’t be allowed a personal life. I told you both that time and again. I ordered you to leave her alone but you wouldn’t listen.”
“I listened to her,” Rupert said. “I gave her what she wanted. She was happy. It was your duty that killed her. But that wasn’t enough for you, was it? After you slaughtered her with your twisted tradition, you let me go on studying to become a murderer like you. It makes me sick to think how much I wanted that, how much I wanted to make you proud. There’s no difference between the council and the vampires, is there? You both feed on the blood of the innocent.”
“That’s a lie!” Algernon said. “We do what is necessary to save the world from evil. We—”
Rupert slammed his fist against the wall. “If that’s what it takes to save the world, the world’s not worth saving.”
“You’re talking like a child,” Algernon said. “You must understand that sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the greater good.”
Rupert laughed. “The greater good. There is no good in a world where the woman I love can be killed by a committee of stodgy old men. If you had any feeling for me – but you don’t, of course. You adopted me for the same reason you killed Ronnie, because the council told you to. And if the council told you to kill me or Alisa or Mother you’d do it, wouldn’t you?”
“If it were necessary–”
Rupert shook his head. “I used to think you were a good man, but there’s no such thing, is there? There’s no good or evil, there’s just fun and stodgy. Well, I’ve tried stodgy, and it lost me the one person who loved me. I reckon it’s time to try a little fun, then.” He turned and began to walk away.
“Rupert Giles, come back here at once,” Algernon shouted. “I’m not finished talking to you.”
The young man turned back and smiled wickedly. “Rupert? You must have me confused with some other bloke, mate. Name’s Ripper.”
September 14 to 17, 1972
White, of course, for a young woman like Veronica. Rupert had been unable to repress a quite inappropriate laugh, when his mother had used the word ‘virginal.’ Surely not even his mother could believe he and Ronnie had never had sex. For that he was relegated to a chair by the window. Thank God. If he had to listen to one more unctuous word out of the salesman’s mouth he wouldn’t be responsible for his actions. He forced himself to conjugate Latin verbs in his head until the violent tendencies passed.
At last a decision was reached – white, simple yet elegant with tasteful gold-colored trim. Rupert could only be thankful that no one asked his opinion. Ronnie was everything to him, but these trappings were ludicrous.
The church was next. They met with the vicar. The ceremony would be at 10, with a light lunch to follow at the Gileses’ home. Rupert switched from Latin to Ancient Greek. He nodded whenever he was asked a question, but left the church without the slightest idea what readings and hymns had been chosen. It didn’t matter. He just wanted it done.
When they reached the florists, Rupert tried to wait at the pub across the street, but that was not allowed. The choice of daisies and yellow roses was made quickly, but Rupert had already moved on to the hard stuff – Ancient Sumarian.
The next few days were some of the longest in Rupert’s life. Everything seemed to move at a snail’s pace. He couldn’t concentrate. He couldn’t eat. He slept only fitfully. All he could think about was Ronnie, how empty his bed was without her.
It was a relief when Mother set him and Alisa to polishing the silver in preparation for the day. The work was mindless and uncomplicated, and Alisa didn’t mind that he could talk of nothing but Ronnie.
On the day of the ceremony, he dressed in his best black suit. Mother fussed over him, wanting his hair and tie to be just so. Mother wanted everything perfect, for Ronnie. Rupert thought Ronnie wouldn’t care, but he had the sense not to say so. Mother was stretched to her limit, there was no sense risking a breakdown. His cousin George came to the house and drove Rupert, Alisa, Mother and Father to the church. Ronnie was already there, of course. Rupert’s stomach clenched.
Rupert took his place at the front of the church, grateful for George’s presence beside him. He tried to pay attention to the minister. He thought that someday he might want to remember what was said. But Rupert couldn’t take his eyes from Ronnie.
His life would never be the same, not after today. He would always be different, a different person. He felt as if he should have a new name, as if he wasn’t really Rupert Giles anymore.
“Her husband would like to say a few words,” the minister announced.
Rupert stood and walked to the lectern where the ancient bible stood open. Looking at Ronnie, cold and pale in the glossy white coffin, he realized he did have a new name.
April 14, 1972, late afternoon
Ronnie was waiting on the platform as Rupert stepped off the train. God, she was beautiful: tall and shapely, with long wavy hair. She wore it in tightly pinned-up braids when she patrolled, but today she’d left it loose. He longed to touch it. He desperately wanted to take her in his arms, but they had to be careful in public. Gossip was rampant in the village. If he kissed Ronnie at the station, Mother would hear of it even before he reached home, and the whole weekend home would be spent in another shouting match with Father.
“Come on then,” Ronnie said, and led the way off the platform and down the street. Rupert hung back just a bit and enjoyed the view. Ronnie was beautiful from every angle.
He grinned as she turned down the path through the woods. It was a shortcut to the house, but Rupert knew Ronnie wasn’t in any hurry to get home. He jogged to catch up with her. He dropped his bag on the path, grabbed her hand and they ran together through the woods into a small clearing.
They kissed passionately, trying to make up for lost time. There was never enough time. This was what Rupert lived for. The sensation of Ronnie’s lips on his, her mouth opening to him. Her hands rubbing along his back and combing through his hair. Rupert slipped one hand between them and inside her jacket, cupping her breast over her shirt and bra. She moaned and pressed into his hand for a moment before pulling away, panting. Her face was flushed, and her lips swollen. Rupert thought he had never seen anything more beautiful.
“Oh no, Ru,” she said. “Not until we’re married.” Rupert could hear the regret in her voice. He was wondering how to coax her into changing her mind when the full meaning of what she’s said finally dawned.
“Married?” he said. “Does that mean yes?”
She held out her left hand where he could see. She was wearing the ring. The one he’d left with her when she’d asked for time to think. Third finger, left hand. Joy filled Rupert’s heart. He looked into her face and saw the love shining in her eyes.
Rupert picked her up and twirled her about. “Oh, Ronnie, Ronnie, how I love you. I want everything to be perfect for you.” Setting her down gently, he cupped her face in his hand. “We can wait if you like,” he said. “If you want to be married in the village church. Your sister’s been dropping hints about being a bridesmaid. Mother and Father might even come, once they see they can’t stop us.”
“Are you mad? My 18th birthday’s not for months and months. We’re for Gretna Green, Ru, you and I. Alisa will recover from the disappointment, I’m sure.” She ran her hand suggestively along the front of his shirt and smiled up at him. “But I can’t wait to be Mrs. Rupert Giles.”
July 10, 1964, late afternoon.
“You’re Jack Ripley, then?” The man said. He wore a suit and his accent was posh. Jack wondered if he was from Scotland Yard. Didn’t matter. Jack wouldn’t rat out Davy and the others no matter who asked.
The man though Jack was stupid, but he wasn’t, he was smart. Jack smiled. “M’name’s Tom Green,” he said.
The man shook his head. “There’s no use lying, Jack. We’ve been, ah, watching you for some time. I’m Mr. Giles.”
Not a copper then, unless he was trying to fool Jack.
“The constables tell me that you’re quite the young hoodlum.” Mr. Giles said. His voice was stern, but his blue eyes seemed more interested than angry. “Your mother, though, says you take good care of her and your sister, that you’ve been the man of the house since your father left.”
Jack didn’t say anything, but he thought the man was playing dirty, bringing Mum and Lizzie into it.
“What possessed you to hot wire a car?” Mr. Giles asked. “What were you going to do with it?”
Jack squirmed. “Rent were due, weren’t it?” Jack said. “That old cow Mrs. Burn were going to throw Mum, Lizzy and me out in the street.”
“You wanted to help, eh? How do you reckon to take care of your Mother and sister from reformatory school?” Mr. Giles said.
“My mates’ll look after them,” Jack said uncertainly. If he'd had delivered the car, he’d have been part of the gang, but now? Jack had a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach when he thought about what would happen to Lizzy and Mum, or what would happen to him.
“I work for an organization that trains young people for a very special career.” Mr. Giles said. “We have some, er, talent scouts who tell us you have the intelligence and mag— er, ability to succeed in this career. I’ve told your mother we might find a place for you in our school. Would you like that?”
“Would I still live with Mum and Lizzie?” Jack asked.
“No,” Mr. Giles said. “If you did well in your studies, and behaved, you might be allowed to visit them from time to time. You would certainly be able to write to them. More importantly, Jack, you’d still be helping your mum. My organization will arrange a monthly payment to her for as long as you stay at our school. She’ll be able to move to a nicer flat. Your sister will go to a better school. You’ll still be taking care of your family, and you’ll also be learning how to help the world. Doesn’t that sound fine, Jack?”
“I’d rather be with Mum and Lizzie,” Jack said sullenly.
“You should have thought of that before you hot wired that car, my lad,” Mr. Giles said. “We’d have waited another year or so if you hadn’t gotten yourself into this fix. Now, staying with your family is no longer an option.”
Jack blinked his eyes. He could feel them getting all watery at the thought that he couldn’t go home. But Jack was ten, he was too old to cry.
“If you could be anything at all when you grew up, Jack, what would you want to be?” Mr. Giles asked.
“Grocer,” Jack said without hesitation.
“Why a grocer?” Mr. Giles asked.
“They make pots of money, don’t they?” Jack said. “Everyone eats. I’d buy me mum a telly, and a new dress for Lizzie.”
“Yes,” Mr. Giles said. “Very practical.” He stroked his beard, and looked at Jack appraisingly. “Wouldn’t you like to do something more exciting?”
“Fighter pilot, then,” Jack said.
“Old Captain Mills was a fighter pilot in the war. Sometimes he tells me and Lizzie stories about how he and his mates protected Britain,” Jack said.
“Excellent. The career I have in mind for you would be just the thing, then.” Mr. Giles said. “You wouldn’t get to fly an aeroplane, but you would be helping to protect Britain and people all around the world. Wouldn’t you like that?”
“Might,” Jack said doubtfully.
“That’s fine,” Mr. Giles said. “Now, let’s begin as we mean to go on, shall we? It’s tradition in my organization for someone to take direct personal responsibility for each new, er, student. I shall become your legal guardian. You must get used to calling me father. I know it’s strange, but this happened to me when I was just a little older than you are now. Helen Giles told me and my family about attending this same special school. Then she adopted me and became my mother.
“One other change we need to make. The school is quite formal. So from this time forward you’ll be known by your proper first name, not your nickname. Also, you’ll take my surname, just as I took my mother’s. ‘John Giles,” has rather a ring to it, don’t you think?”
“NO!” Jack said. “I won’t be called John. You can’t make me.”
“What’s the matter with ‘John’? It’s a good strong name, surely.” Mr. Giles said.
“It’s me dad’s name. He left Mum years back with never a word since. I won’t be called by his name,” Jack said.
“Jacob Giles?” Mr. Giles suggested.
“Your sister referred to you by a strange nickname. What was it?”
“Ripper,” Jack said. “Everyone calls me that.”
“Ripper,” Mr. Giles repeated. “Of course. Jack Ripley, Jack the Ripper, Ripper.”
“Right,” said Jack.
“We’ll never convince them that ‘Ripper’ is a formal name,” Mr. Giles said thoughtfully. “Is Rupert close enough?”
Jack though a moment, and then nodded.
“Excellent,” his new father said. “Pleased to meet you, Rupert Giles.”
Author’s note: When I wrote The Need to Believe, I only looked up current law. Since I knew historically people eloped to Gretna and I confirmed that the current legal age to marry in Scotland is 16, I assumed that Giles and Ronnie would have been able to elope. Later I found a history of marriage in Gretna and found out I was wrong. In our universe (the one without vampires) couples could elope to Gretna Green before 1857 and after 1977. In the period in-between, a three-week residency in Scotland was required to marry there. In 1977, the residency requirement was lifted but people planning to marry in Scotland were required to provide at least 14 days written notice. In this universe (the one where Rupert Giles married a vampire slayer named Veronica DuBois), clearly the residence law was revoked sometime earlier. Young Rupert and Ronnie will each have to fill out a form and receive confirmation from the authorities in Gretna Green, but then they can marry even though Ronnie is 17.
I swear I wrote the The Need to Believe without realizing that “Rupert and Ronnie’ was a sappily cute pair of names (possibly because in that story, Giles is called Giles throughout). It became apparent here, but once again it was too late to change.
Request for specific feedback: This is the first fic I’ve written with all English characters and set before Giles when to America. So, there’s no excuse for Americanisms here or errors in Britishness. I tried, but I’m sure I made some mistakes. Please let me know what they are. All other con crit gratefully accepted as I am trying to improve my writing. Thanks!