the Wrong Friends
main character: Rupert Giles
mentions of a great many naughty behaviors, including swearing.
disclaimer: I hold no legal rights to Rupert Giles, Ethan Rayne or any other characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer - they belong to Joss Whedon. I hold no legal rights to Lucius Malfoy or Narcissa, they belong to JK Rowling (author of the Harry Potter books)
distribution: Twisting the Hellmouth, TNL, Cat if she wants it, Paula, anyone else ask.
note: a 'what if' look at Giles' wild teenage rebellion.
His father had given him the decree: You will become a Watcher, as generations of your ancestors have been. There hadn't been any room for discussion, or argument, or even the simple fact that the idea of becoming a Watcher was the most unappealing thing that Rupert could imagine.
Rupert couldn't stand the thought of spending his days smothering in suits and choking from buttoned collars. Surrounded by dusty old books and nearly as dusty old grouches who would do little more than glare at him and complain about how much better things were when they were young. Or the basic fact that being a Watcher had been the cause of more than one ancestor becoming... well, ancestrally dead.
Almost, it helped that even now, his best friend Ethan was getting a similar speech. About family traditions and honor and destiny. Full of words about noble history and sacred callings, about protecting the world. At least when he was sent into the depths of London to be chewed up and swallowed by the Watcher's Council, he would have a friend. Someone to escape with and have an evening out.
So, despite his wishes, protests, and feelings, he was packed up and sent to London. The Watchers had a special department at Oxford where they taught the newest group of victims... err, watchers-in-training. It was a nightmare.
"Pssst! Rupes, you got to help me out here. I'm suffocating in tweed and buttons!" Ethan's words may have been a bit exaggerated, but it was obvious that he was as miserable in this place as Rupert.
Leaning back casually, his collar not quite so suffocatingly tight since he'd 'accidentally' popped the button, Rupert gave a small grin to his friend, Ethan's curly hair a wild disarray. "Well... Since I've been politely told to bugger out of the way of some new shipment of old cracked pots, how about a night out inspecting the pub scene?"
Grinning with anticipation, Ethan nodded. "Sounds good. A good ale, some pretty birds... let's go before I choke on the tweed."
They'd had no idea how drastically that night out would change things. All they knew at the time was that they met up with another of the new victims, Thomas Sutcliff and his girlfriend Deirdre Page, and started hitting more interesting pubs. That some of those pubs had things that seemed... almost magical. That the evening ended with the group of them together with a few other new friends, all of whom Deirdre had known from her 'last school'. Randall Martin, Lucius Malfoy, Narcissa Reubens, and Philip Henry were all far more interesting than anything at Oxford.
Lucius was the one who first mentioned 'real magic', showing them amazing tricks. Narcissa and Randall started teaching them, and in no time, it was a simple thing to use a simple charm here or there to make things go more smoothly, to charm someone to bed, to escape a spot of trouble. Their small tastes of power left them hungry for more, craving bigger and better, more power, more control.
Somehow, that need, that craving for another taste, for a bigger rush led them to summoning things. First, small spirits to cause mischief, to take things. Then... They found references to Eyghon the Sleepwalker. A ritual to call upon him, to invite him into a host... and there they were. The biggest rush Rupert had ever imagined.
Later, he'd always wondered why he hadn't seen earlier, why he'd been so blind to the dangers. Had he just been so focused on the rush of calling things, of working magic? Had it been some sort of spell cast on him by one of the others? Had it been Eyghon? He would probably never know the answer, never know how he'd let Lucius talk him into becoming an Initiate of Eyghon, although he could remember the explanation of the tattoos going at the crook of the elbow, high enough that it wouldn't interfere with the one Lucius already had, a green snake going into the mouth of a skull, taking up most of his forearm. It was a perfect match for the one Randall had.
They'd said it had to do with a club they'd joined the summer after they'd graduated, and he'd let the matter go. How foolish he'd been! He'd never even bothered to find out what sort of club, why a snake and a skull!
But he'd allowed himself to be Initiated, to have the Sigil of Eyghon marked onto his arm and into his soul... he'd felt it, felt the change and for a moment wondered what the hell he was doing... But when they'd summoned Eyghon into Philip, the rush of power and pleasure had blown all the questions from his mind. He'd been bound, tied by his craving for power and control more tightly than any chain, any threat or spell could have held him.
For a while, he'd felt as if the world rested before him, spread open, vulnerable. His for the taking. It had been a heady feeling. Perhaps that exhilaration had made him careless, perhaps it had been someone else's mistake, or perhaps their luck had just run out. When they summoned Eyghon under the September moon, something went... horrible wrong. Randall had been the host that night, and Giles prayed that he'd never returned to awareness, that he'd missed the whole gory horrible end. But he knew that Randal hadn't, that the screams that had caused his very bones to shiver and squirm had been Randall's. That it had been Randal who had suffered as his body had twisted, the flesh changing color, bones reshaping themselves, muscles and skin writhing over his body... He'd screamed, spasming in pain and terror so thick that it could practically be tasted.
Lucius had looked astonished, but then... it had been almost as if he was watching some delightful and forbidden entertainment. He'd looked so excited... That had chilled Rupert, although he'd taken to calling himself Ripper, almost as much as Randall's spasms. But then... it was as if something inside Randall had snapped, because he just collapsed, like a puppet with out it's strings. Randall was suddenly, horribly dead.
Everything had changed for Rupert that night. He'd been terrified senseless... or maybe it was that he'd been terrified back into his senses. He'd practically run back to Oxford, to find some of the older Watchers to have them help him send Eyghon away. It had been fear that had made him throw himself into his studies, and a combination of fear and the desire to never be so helpless again that had made him study the texts and lore of the Watcher's so seriously. Even the tweed became a sort of protective disguise: who would look for Ripper in the tweed-covered ranks of the Watchers?
He never told his father what had caused him to pay attention to the classes, never told him why he'd stopped fighting his 'destiny' to become a Watcher.
It was fear.
Lucius may or may not have known what had happened, but he'd delighted in every moment of it. The look on his face as Randall died... it had been so much like the one Rupert had felt when he'd had that first addictive rush of power. But Lucius had been drinking in the sight of death, not the feeling of magic. And surely it would only be a matter of time before Lucius sought to taste that forbidden drink, that dark delight again? Considering that Lucius Malfoy had an unknown amount of magical power, although it was almost certain that he knew far more than he'd shared, how else could he prepare to stop him? Especially since he had no idea how or where Lucius had learned all of those things.
Rupert Giles was also determined never to make such a terrible mistake again. Either with magic or with his choices of friends. He only wished that he knew what had happened to Ethan...
end the Wrong Friends.