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The Meaning of Heroes
Book One: Chapter Eight (10,664 words) 
3rd-Sep-2005 10:07 pm
wes/fred/giles OT3!, heroes

Dinner went by in relative silence, and that was all right with Giles. All three of them just seemed content in each other’s company. Where most would find the need to fill the silence, Giles felt it settle around them like a comfortable sweater, soothing. Finally finished, he stood, picking up his plate and reaching for Fred’s.

“I’ll take care of the dishes and make us some tea. Then we can go over the spell if you like,” he offered to Fred.

“I’ll help with clean up.” Wes shrugged when Giles looked over at him. “It’s the least I can do. You cooked after all, so it’s only fair.” With a nod, both men carried all of the dishes into the kitchen.

While they took care of the dishes, Fred wandered into the living room and looked down at the piles of books still where they had left them. She decided to start straightening them up, putting everything on the dining room table neatly, so they wouldn’t end up kicked or otherwise damaged. She knew that some of them were really old and rare.

As she set the last book on the table, the doorbell rang, causing her to pause for a moment. They weren’t expecting anyone – Lorne wouldn’t be over until the morning and would have called first if something had come up. Walking over, she rose up on the balls of her feet to peer through the peephole and took a step back when she saw who was there. Why was he—?

Suddenly, a loud rapping knock came on the door. It sounded impatient, and she didn’t like that.

“Rupert. Wesley. I think you’d better come out here,” she called to the kitchen.

The two men looked at each other, their concern mirrored as they heard the worry in their lover’s voice. Giles led the way, instinctually still protecting the man behind him. He frowned when the loud knock became an active pounding. As he looked through the peephole, his frown became a downright scowl at the sight of who was standing there. Charles Gunn. He felt an icy chill run up his back, knowing that this visit wasn’t going to end well. Body coiled, ready to defend, he opened the door, letting Ripper off his leash a bit.

“I thought I made myself clear that you’re not welcome here,” he growled.

“And you thought I was gonna let you get away with what you did to me at the Hyperion?” Gunn shot back, holding up his arm, which was in a cast. “You broke my arm and turned my girl against me.”

“I’m not your girl!” Fred told him. “Whatever was between us was over the moment you called Angel that night.”

“You’re mine,” he repeated. “And I don’t take too kindly to what’s mine being taken from me.” Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a gun and held it on Fred.

Giles watched Wes move Fred behind him without hesitation, feeling his own anger boiling within. He didn’t even see the man, he just saw the gun threatening those that he loved, and he let Ripper off his leash entirely without remorse. He could feel his magic bubbling under the surface angrily, calling out for blood.

Itum!” he called, holding out his hand as the gun flew from Charles’ hand to his. Opening the chamber, he dumped the bullets on the floor before tossing the gun away angrily. “Did you honestly think I would stand idly by while you threatened them?” Growling again, he gripped the man’s shirt and slammed him against the wall, pressing his forearm across his throat.

Gunn let out a gurgling chuckle. “Of course not...” He kicked out, catching Giles in the shin and pushing his leg out from under him. Using the distraction, he grabbed the other man’s arm with his good hand and pushed him into Wesley to clear a path toward Fred, who immediately vaulted herself over the back of the couch and scrambled for where she knew Wesley kept his weapons collection.

Giles gasped as he landed on Wesley, driving the younger man to the floor hard. He knew he had driven the air out of his lungs and wanted to make certain he was all right, but he didn’t have time. He couldn’t let Gunn get his hands on Fred. Aiming low, he launched himself at the back of the other man’s legs, taking them both to the floor. He scrambled up Gunn’s back and drove his fist into the other man’s skull as hard as he could. Springing to his feet, he placed himself between Gunn and Fred.

“I told you, hands off. She’s not yours,” he growled, his green eyes flashing dangerously as he tried to anticipate the man’s next attack.

“Magic and moves,” Gunn said, awe in his voice, as he picked himself up off the floor and rubbing the back of his head a bit. He focused his eyes on the man before him, not noticing Fred opening the cabinet and pulling out a sword and a crossbow before crawling over to Wesley.

“Are you all right?” she whispered to him as she helped him to sit up, keeping a weary eye on Charles, who at the moment didn’t seem interested in launching another attack. The phone began ringing, but no one seemed to notice.

Wesley groaned, feeling Fred’s small hands helping him up. He was still breathing hard, the achy feeling of having all the air forced out of his lungs predominant in every move. He couldn’t figure out why Gunn was doing this. It didn’t make sense – this wasn’t his friend. He shook his head, trying to clear the fuzziness and help Rupert, but the action just caused more dizziness so he stopped.

“I’m beginning to think maybe I’m going after the wrong person,” Gunn continued. “She has a great brain, but you...”

Suddenly, he ripped the cast of his arm and picked up the coffee table. Giles’ eyes widened when he saw no sign of the injury he had inflicted on him. It wasn’t humanly possible. He knew how severely he had broken that arm a little more than a week ago. Even with a high pain tolerance, there should have been some sign of it bothering him.

The momentary distraction was enough, and Gunn charged at him, driving him into the wall with the table between them. He grunted as his back impacted hard. Reaching out with both hands, he gripped the back of the man’s head, and pulled it down hard, driving it into the wooden table. When the item was dropped between them, he launched out with an upper cut and followed through with his elbow, catching the man under the chin hard.

“I don’t know who you are, but you can’t have them. I’ll kill you first,” Giles – no, Ripper – growled fiercely.

Blood dripped from the gash across Gunn’s forehead, but he didn’t seem to notice. Instead, he simply wiped his sleeve across it as he once again pushed himself up off the floor.

“I don’t care about them at the moment. I’m more interested in you,” he said, his voice taking on a slightly strange quality. “But they did promise her to me, and after all I’ve done...I think I’ll still take her once I’ve gotten you. I was actually looking forward to finding out what she’s...like. I’ve earned it by now.”

Giles’ mind was whirling. ‘They.’ Gunn had said ‘they,’ and his voice had changed, almost as if there was a second voice overlapping the original owners. Once again, the distraction allowed whoever this was to get the advantage,

Whirling around, Gunn struck Giles’ in the shoulder, sending him into the wall once more. Nearby, Fred fumbled with the crossbow and let off a shot, hitting Gunn in the arm Giles had broken and which now seemed to be healed. That actually seemed to affect him, and he roared in pain, taking his eyes off his opponent as he tried to pull the bolt out. Using the moment of distraction, Fred then picked the sword up off the floor where she had dropped it when she had stopped to help Wesley up.

“Rupert!” she yelled, throwing it to him.

Giles cursed himself for allowing himself to get knock back into the wall again, but he recovered quickly, catching the sword Fred tossed him. There was no time for games – this threat had to be put down hard and fast. Answers could be ascertained later. Rushing Gunn, Giles gripped his shoulder and shoved the sword through his body where he knew it would be a kill shot, nearly cutting the man’s liver in half.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered to the true owner of this body, hoping he understood that he had no other choice.

As Fred screamed, Gunn fell to his knees, eyes wide. His hands went to the sword, pulling it out and dropping it on the floor before covering the hole, almost like he was trying to heal himself somehow. But then he fell onto all fours and heaved several times, something greyish-blue and thick like a slug coming out of his mouth. Wrapping her arms around Wesley, Fred watched in horror and amazement, feeling like she would retch at any moment. What was going on? What the hell was that thing?

Giles could feel the familiar buzzing in his head, as if Ripper were laughing at him. He had allowed the darkness within himself to take another life. It was Fred’s scream that brought him out of his shock. His eyes widened when something crawled out of the dying man.

Charles looked up with completely glossed-over eyes, still apparently able to see them. “I’m—sorry...couldn’t stop them...sorry...never wanted to...hurt....” he choked out, tears running down his face. He then turned his gaze at Giles. “Thank...you.”

With that, he collapsed to the ground as the thing that had come out of him reared up from the floor. It seemed for a moment to be ready to launch itself at Fred.

“No!” Giles shouted, picking up the sword.

At the sound of his voice, the thing suddenly whipped around and shot into the air toward Giles, who caught it in mid-air and slammed it to the ground, driving the sword through it into the floor. Only when it stopped moving did he fall to his knees, once again consumed by the shock. He hung his head, almost afraid to look at his lovers, afraid to see the condemnation in their eyes. He had just killed one of their friends.

Fred sat on the floor in disbelief, watching as Gunn’s body suddenly crumpled and turned into dust, like he had been a vampire or something. Then her eyes went to the thing, dead and skewered to the floor. A parasite...a parasite had been controlling Charles...and Giles had...he had... She looked at him with wide eyes and tried to say something, but nothing would come out.

Gunn was dead, and Rupert had had to kill him.

Giles got to his feet slowly, finally finding the nerve to raise his eyes. When he saw Fred’s face, his heart stopped and fell into his shoes. He saw fear. The woman he had grown to care for – to love – was afraid of him. It was a little to much for him to handle. Giving a sad nod, he walked to the door, feeling utterly defeated. He had done his job and protected his lovers, but it had cost him everything. Opening the door, he walked out of the flat. He was so out of it, he didn’t even acknowledge the person he bumped into in the hallway. He needed air; he needed time to think. And he couldn’t get that with Fred looking at him like that.

Wesley staggered to his feet, intending to try and stop Giles, but stopped when Lorne stepped into the doorway.

“Gunn’s dead. Rupert...I should go after him,” Wes said softly, not knowing what to do. He didn’t want to leave Fred, but he knew Rupert well enough to know that this could go from bad to worse for him.

Lorne’s red eyes widened when he saw Fred looking down at the pile of dust on the floor. “I’m too late,” he whispered, feeling his heart constrict in pain along with his throat. He looked at his friends with tears in his eyes.

“What?” asked Fred, her voice practically non-existent. “What did you find out?”

“We were right about Wolfram and Hart – about them being involved in trying to cause Angel to lose his soul. They—well, a few of them, not sure who although I put my money on that Gavin fellow—they’ve been manipulating things to break up Angel Investigations.”

Fred immediately understood where he was saying. “They—they’re responsible for that...thing being in Charles?” She felt like she was going to be sick. She looked down at the parasite skewered to the floor then walked over to table and picked up one of the books and flipped through it until she found what she was looking for. “Slocar parasite. Originates from the equatorial jungles of Central America and takes over a person and absorbs everything he or she knows, so it can pretend to be that person. Will do anything to gain hosts with more power and knowledge.”

Lorne nodded. “From what I could get from Lennie, they took him and implanted him right after the Billy incident when we were all in a tizzy from what happened. Promised the thing it could have Fred and her big brain in return for helping to break the team apart. I tried to contact you, to let you know, but no one was answering the phone....”

Wesley practically flinched when Lorne mentioned what happened with Billy. “We couldn’t have answered, he—it pulled a gun,” he snapped, his eyes immediately turning contrite. Lorne didn’t deserve his anger. He was just worried about Fred…and Rupert.

Dropping the book she was holding back on the table, Fred walked over to him, wrapping her arms around him, tears streaming down her face. Opening his arms, he automatically enveloped her in a hug, trying to soothe her tears. His brow furrowed as he thought about what she had said about the Slocar parasite wanting knowledge and power.

“That’s why it changed its mind, went after Rupert. He was the factor Wolfram and Hart hadn’t counted on. A Watcher with access to magic. That would feed its hunger for a long while.” He looked up at Lorne helplessly. “He fought it, didn’t have a choice. It kept coming. It would have gotten Fred if he hadn’t... He didn’t have a choice,” he whispered again.

Nodding, Lorne walked over to where Gunn had died and squatted down over it, his hand hovering above their friend’s remains. “Charles Gunn was dead the moment they put that thing in him. There’s no way to remove a Slocar without killing the host. I was just hoping that I could have warned you before you had to find out this way.”

Fred looked up at Wesley. “That’s why he was acting the way he was before,” she said, biting her lip. “Why he called Angel on you. Why he—.” She broke off and buried her head against his chest. None of that had been Gunn. And it had wanted her. And Rupert. It would have killed one of them – probably both of them if it could have – just like it had killed Charles. Suddenly, she looked back up at him. “He said thank you, Wesley. He said thank you to Rupert.”

Wesley nodded weakly, thankful that Fred was all right. “The Gunn I knew wouldn’t have wanted to live like that. Helpless, watching this thing dismantle everyone he cared about.”

He sighed, his mind working a mile a minute – through grief for a brother who couldn’t have been closer had he been blood, through anger at Wolfram and Hart for ending Charles Gunn’s life, and through determination to get Connor back, and thwart the attempt to see the rise of Angelus. He was worried, though. Worried for the tearing woman in his arms and worried for his lover, who had his own war to face against the darkness within himself.

His blue eyes flashing slightly, he looked at Lorne. “Are you satisfied? He protected us, and you have no idea what this cost him.”

“Wesley—,” Fred started to say.

“No. Fred. Let me handle this,” Lorne interrupted. He straightened up, staring at both of them for a moment. “I do know, Wesley.” His voice was soft and filled with regret. “Do you have any idea what I saw when I read him? That man has faced more darkness than I could ever have imagined one man facing in this world, and he’s done things he isn’t proud of, but he’s done it because of his love for the people closest to him. I didn’t know anything about him when I met him, and now I know more than I really wanted. Do I regret that and the pain I caused in insisting I read him? Yeah, I do, but you know what? I’m glad that he’s there for two of the most important people in my own miserable life because I do know that he loves you two so much he’s willing to go to hell for you to keep you safe.”

Wesley ducked his head in embarrassment. “I’m sorry, Lorne, you didn’t deserve that. You already apologized. I just…” He trailed off, unsure of how to continue.

“It’s all right, Scruffy bear,” Lorne said with a half-smile. “We’re all on edge with everything that’s been happening. I’d probably do the same thing in your shoes.”

Releasing Fred and walking over to grip the sword instead, he looked down at the parasite that had killed one friend and might have succeeded in causing him to kill himself. Pulling the sword out of the sword with the creature still impaled on it, he stomped over to the rubbish bin and used the side to slide the parasite off the blade into the bag. He grabbed the container of lighter fluid from under the sink, intending to take it outside and burn it. Rupert had killed it, but he wanted to see it in hell, make certain that it couldn’t hurt anyone else again. He looked toward the window as he saw a flash of lightning and heard the hard rain hit the pane of glass.

Figured – just another day in their screwed up lives in Los Angeles.

Fred had just been about to ask Wesley if he was planning to do what she thought he was when the rain started. It looked like it was going to be a hell of a storm, she thought. And...

“Wesley, Rupert’s still out there!” she cried out, running for the front door.

His eyes landed on Rupert’s jacket and he cursed under his breath, realizing that he had left everything behind. He was out there without a car, without his jacket, and without a weapon in nighttime Los Angeles. If he was still dazed, he would be an easy mark for any of the city’s after-dark inhabitants.

“Lorne...stay here, we have to find him.” Wes instructed. He thought about taking an umbrella, but Rupert might fight them on returning. Only the prospect of his still-healing lover out in the pouring rain as well might break through the stubbornness. He knew it was a cheap shot, but it could be necessary. He followed Fred out the door and down to the front of his building.

She hurried out of the building without even pausing despite the fact that water was coming down in a virtual sheet. Pushing her instantly soaked hair out of her eyes, she dashed across the parking area to the edge of the park and looked around as Wesley joined her.

“Rupert! Rupert, where are you!” she yelled. He probably couldn’t hear her above the sound of the thunder, but she had to try. She squinted in the rain into the expansive field before them and felt her heart constrict. “He must have gone into the park.”

As she headed in, she prayed that when they found Rupert, he was all right. She couldn’t take something happening to the other man she loved here as well.

Wesley knew it might be easier to split up to find him, but he had the nagging feeling that it would take both of them to get through to Rupert, so he followed her into the park. His blue eyes were scanning the area, his glasses shielding a bit against the rain. It took several moments, but his heart suddenly lurched as he saw a figure sitting down against a tree, his back against the trunk. He gripped Fred’s arm and pointed.

“There!” he shouted to be heard over the storm.

She turned in the direction he was pointing, and soon she was able to make out the dark shape against the tree. “Rupert!” she called out again as they hurried over to the tree. Immediately, she was on her knees in the flooded grass in front of him. Reaching out, she touched his face, trying to get him to look up at them. “Rupert.”

Wesley wordlessly watched Rupert, trying to gauge what was going through the other man’s mind. He could see the weight of guilt weighing his lover down hard. He observed with regret as Rupert looked away from Fred in shame. Taking a knee on the opposite side from her, he ducked his head, forcing Rupert to meet his gaze. He reached up a hand and touched him hesitantly on the temple. When her didn’t flinch away, the touches became bolder. “Rupert, come back inside with us,” he begged.

“Go inside, Wesley,” Giles instructed, still trying to avoid Fred’s dark eyes. “You’re still healing.”

“Not without you,” he replied in a determined tone.

“We’re not going anywhere without you,” Fred agreed. She tried to get him to look at her again but still he refused, looking elsewhere, pulling away from her. “Rupert, please. We don’t blame you for what happened in there. You didn’t have a choice. That thing would have killed us if you hadn’t killed it and Charles, and Charles wouldn’t have wanted that. You did the right thing.” She put her hand in his soaked hair. “Please. Look at me.”

“I did,” Giles replied, and Wesley’s heart sank at the flatness of his tone. “I saw the fear in your eyes,” he added, not preventing her touch but still hanging his head. He closed his eyes, still seeing the image in his mind as clear as if he were looking at it now. “Wesley, please, take her inside.”

“No!” Wesley snapped. “Fred’s right – we’re not going without you!”

Rupert had refused to allow him to succumb to his demons, so he’d be damned if he would leave him out here with his. He had read his file before arriving in Sunnydale, about his past as Ripper, and even been witness to the actions of what his lover considered the dark aspects of his nature. He wouldn’t leave him to handle this alone. He needed to be reassured. He needed to know the good man was still needed, and in control.

“Fear...?” Fred asked. What was he talking about? She could barely process what had happened in those first few moments after...so how could he...? “Rupert, I don’t fear you. Look at me, please.”

She felt like she going to break down crying if she didn’t make him understand. How could he think she feared him? This was Rupert Giles, the man who had held her when she was scared for Wesley’s life and had taken care of both of them. This was her and Wesley’s Rupert, and she loved him so much that it amazed her sometimes.

Wrapping her arms around him, she hugged him tightly. “I’m not afraid of you,” she whispered. “I was in shock by what had happened, and I was upset that you had to be the one to stop that thing like that, that you had to kill Charles to save us. But I was never afraid of you. I could never fear you, Rupert. I love you too much.”

Giles looked up at her finally, not quite daring to believe her words of comfort. “I...I’m sorry I killed your friend. But I couldn’t let him hurt you. Either of you,” he admitted, his voice cracking under the emotion.

“Rupert, that wasn’t Charles. Gunn has been dead for months; we just didn’t know. You did what you had to. We don’t blame you. How could we when we would have probably done the same. That parasite, if it had gotten to you... I know it sounds selfish, but I don’t know if I could have done it.” Wes wrapped his arms around the both of them. “Come on, let’s go back inside.”

“Come on,” Fred echoed, drawing Rupert up. The three of them stood up together under the large tree, holding onto each other, none of them wanting to let the other two go. “I know you didn’t want to do what you did. But Wesley’s right, you didn’t kill him. That thing did when it was put in him. You set Charles free. That was what he wanted. He wouldn’t have wanted to go on being used to hurt us.”

Reaching up, she ran her hand along his temple and gently turned his face so he could see her despite the pouring rain. “I don’t fear you.”

With that, she and Wesley took Rupert back inside.

Giles weakly allowed himself to be led back inside. As they came in through the front door, Wesley breathed a sigh of relief when he realized Lorne had cleaned up while they were gone.

“Lorne…towels,” he called out, holding Rupert’s hand firmly. He could feel trembling in the other man’s body that had nothing to do from the chill of their wet clothes, and he didn’t want to break contact. Right now Rupert needed them both. “It’s all right. Ripper isn’t here, Rupert....” He touched Giles’ chin, forcing his gaze to his. “Ripper isn’t here, and Rupert Giles is one of the finest, most gentle, loving souls I have ever known. I know it. Here.” He placed his hand over his heart.

As Fred placed her own hand over Rupert’s, she wondered who or what Ripper was. Someone Giles knew? Like Wesley and his father? Not that that was important at the moment. What was important was Rupert understanding that they both loved him, no matter what had happened. She wrapped her arms around him again and pulled Wesley closer into the embrace.

“Group hug! Can I get in on this too?” Lorne’s voice came from the direction of the bathroom. A moment later, another set of arms were thrown around the knot of three people. “I’m so glad you three are all right.”

Wesley smiled, his eyes catching Fred’s. They could always count on Lorne to lighten the tense mood. He was still worried about Rupert, though. He was allowing himself to be lead around like a rag doll, and it just wasn’t the man he adored. He stepped back, taking a towel from Lorne’s hands.

“He won’t ever get control of you because you respect what he brings. Remember that. Ripper is your past, Rupert. You let him off his leash to do his job, to protect, but he is not you. Head down, luv.” He smiled sadly when the other man complied without a fight. Draping the towel over his head, he rubbed Giles’ hair dry. “You’re back, and you’re the one in control,” he promised. “I won’t let him take you, I swear it.” Wes saw the confusion in Fred’s eyes and knew she had to be told, but not right now.

Fred wrapped the towel Lorne handed her around her hair, wondering what Wesley meant. From the way he was talking, it sounded like Rupert and Ripper were...one and the same? She wanted to ask, but the look in Wesley’s eyes told her to wait, that it wasn’t the time. She glanced over at Lorne. Was this Ripper the thing that Lorne had seen that had made Rupert so upset a few days before?

Lorne, however, did understand what Wesley was talking about and knew that this was something that had to be dealt with between the three of them. Giving the last couple of towels over to Fred, he then walked over to the table and picked up both a jar and the bag there before returning to her.

“I’m going to go now,” he whispered into her ear. “I’ll...dispose of the parasite and take care of Charles. He wanted to be scattered into the ocean if he died. I’ll do that tonight.”

Tears welling in her eyes, she nodded. “Thanks, Lorne.”

“Don’t thank me, sweetie. Just take care of your two guys there tonight, okay? I’ll see you in the morning.” He gave Fred a kiss on the cheek and briefly touched the shoulders of the two men before heading out.

Once he was gone, Fred turned her attention back to them, wanting to ask about Ripper but not sure how to. Instead, she handed one of the towels she still held to Wesley and used the other one dry Rupert once she had unbuttoned his shirt to get him out of his wet clothes.

Wesley peeled the wet shirt off of Giles’ shoulders, tossing it to the floor. Sod the carpet, helping his lover keep his demons at bay was more important. He peeled off his own wet shirt before reaching around Rupert’s body to pop the snap and lowered his wet jeans. He touched the back of the other man’s thighs gently. “Step up, luv,” Wesley instructed gently. Picking up one of the towels, he began to dry the older man’s back and rear. Once he was dry, he turned Rupert around to face him. “Come here,” he whispered, taking Giles’ hand and placing it over his heart. “Let us take care of you tonight,” he added, looking at Fred when Giles nodded weakly.

Fred, who had pulled off her own wet clothes while Wes dried off Giles, nodded and reached up to cup Rupert’s cheek. She then leaned up to kiss him before moving back again and taking his hand. Entwining her fingers with his, she took Wesley’s hand as well and drew both of them into the bedroom, wanting to get them out of the room where the fight had taken place and into the one that held the most good feelings for them together.

“I want to know about Ripper,” she said softly, “but that can wait. You’re the most important thing to us right now.”

“I am Ripper,” Giles confessed, still allowing himself to be led around like a rag doll. “Or I was in my youth. I tried to rebel against the Council. I was angry at their rules, angry that I had no choice in my destiny, angry about everything. Anger gave me power, so add to that bad company, drugs, and a natural affinity to magic….Ripper wasn’t a nice person. I slept with who I wanted, hurt who I wanted, all in an attempt to reclaim what I believed was taken from me. I had no intention of stopping until my rage and carelessness led to the death of a very nice young man. I returned to the Council, beaten with my tail between my legs, determined to keep Ripper harnessed within myself.”

He stood in front of the bed once he had finished, still hesitant to meet her gaze. Fred had listened to the explanation in amazement, so much about Rupert making sense now. She had wondered why he had been so upset after Lorne had read him regarding his past and why he had insisted their friend say nothing about what he had read, and now she understood why. Because there was a part of him that he was afraid of letting out for fear that it would get out of control as it did then.

“I saw Ripper shove a sword through the chest of the local evil in Sunnydale for threatening to eat Buffy at graduation,” Wesley explained gently. “Wilkins was evil; he deserved it.”

“But your friend…” Giles started, but Wesley cut him off.

“Died months ago, and you set him free. For as dark as you claim Ripper to be, every instance I have known about his re-emergence smacks of nobility. And I bet if you didn’t have a firm grasp of him, he’d flatten me for saying so.” He smirked, trying to prove a point to Rupert.

“Wesley’s right, though,” Fred said, turning Rupert to look at her and pressing her palm to his cheek. “From what you just said, you were Ripper in your youth – at a time when you didn’t have the maturity or the control that you do now. Everything I’ve seen from you and heard about you now – these times where you seem to be scared that you’ve let him out of control...they’ve been for good reasons. You had to do what you did tonight, both for us and for Gunn, to stop the use of his body for evil, something he never would have wanted. You do what you do for the love of others, for us. If that was the same Ripper that you described, it wouldn’t be that way. You wouldn’t care about us and what happened.”

Wesley stayed silent, watching Rupert’s hand cover Fred’s on his face. They needed this—he needed this more than any of them. Slowly, he peeled off what clothing he still wore, moving to stand next to Fred in front of their lover. Threading his fingers in Giles’ hair, he pulled the other man’s head over, covering his lips in a sweet kiss. His heart lurched when he heard the desperate whimper, and he deepened it. Finally, pulling back when air became necessary, he smiled sheepishly.

“We’ll take care of you, I promise.”

Fred smiled and nodded in agreement at that. “Just like you take care of us. You keep saying that you want what we have between the three of us to be permanent, so that means letting us watch over you and protect you and take care of you when you need it.” She gave him a long kiss as well, happy when she felt him respond to her as he had responded to Wesley.

When she stepped back, she took his hand and looked over at Wesley before drawing Rupert down onto the bed with her, wrapping her arms around him as he settled over her. She gave him another kiss as her fingers caressed over his back, stroking him gently, letting him know that he was wanted and loved, no matter what had happened.

Giles sighed, his head buzzing in the gentle kisses and comforting touches of his lovers. He allowed himself to be pulled down on top of Fred, settling his body over hers. Looking down into her dark eyes, he saw no recrimination. There was concern and, dare he say, love. He lowered his head to hers again, sweet kisses turning heated quickly, and he felt his body responding to the feel of her bare skin against his. Were they correct? He still felt the weight of his actions weighing down on him, despite their reassurances. But it was quickly being replaced by the fire of loving touches.

Breaking the latest kiss, Fred trailed her mouth along his jawline up to his ear, where she placed a kiss before whispering, “We love you, Rupert. Don’t ever doubt that or that what you did wasn’t right.” Her hands continued to trail down his back, along his spine to the small of his back. Then she drew one around to the front and down to his groin, cupping him gently and rubbing her thumb along the underside of his hardening cock. “We want you so much.”

Giles gasped, feeling her hand close around him. Instinctively, his hips pressed forward into her grasp. Instead of over-thinking things, he decided to just go with the feelings flowing through him. Reaching down between them, he gently brushed her hand away before positioning himself at her opening. Holding her dark gaze, he pressed forward with his hips, filling her.

“Fred,” he groaned, holding still until she moved against him.

She closed her eyes for a moment, enjoying the feeling of him inside her. When he said her name, she opened them again and smiled up at him, lifting her hips up to urge him to thrust into her.

Wesley watched them, part of him ashamed that he was hardening. They were meant to be comforting Rupert, not distracting him. Then it occurred to him that loving him, both in heart and in body, could be what he needed. Crawling on the bed behind Rupert, he leaned over and began placing soft kisses on the back of his neck. He was a little surprised when he felt Rupert press back against him with a moan. But he understood what the man wanted. Leaning over, he reached for the tube of lubricant from the bedside table.

Fred’s eyes locked on Wesley as he leaned over them, and she knew what he planned to do. Both of them were going to show him how much they wanted him together. She and Rupert had shown Wesley. Wesley and Rupert had shown her. Now it was their turn. Pulling his head down to hers, she kissed him again and hooked one leg up over him to draw him deeper into her.

Wesley, meanwhile, placed a soothing hand on Giles’ back, still feeling trembling through his body that had nothing to do with their current situation. Squeezing out a generous amount of lube on his fingers, he slid his hand in between the older man’s cheeks, smiling gently at the gasp it produced. Slowly, he pressed the digits inside, pausing when Rupert threw his head back with a moan.

“That’s it, Rupert – just let go. We’re here,” he whispered, stretching his lover open to accommodate him. “Don’t ever be afraid to fall; we’ll always be there.”

Fred reached up to touch the back of her hand to Rupert’s temple before running her hand through his hair and over his shoulders. She locked eyes with him when her touch caused him to open his eyes again. “No matter what,” she promised in continuation of Wesley’s words. “We love you for who you are. We accept you for who you are. You’re our Rupert.”

Feeling that he was ready, Wesley moved back behind Rupert, positioning himself. He would be lying if he said that he didn’t ever want to be in this position, but not under these circumstances, knowing Rupert needed them so much. “It’s all right, Rupert,” he whispered, pushing forward with his hips. He paused when the other man threw his head back and cried out. Reaching around, he braced his arms on the bed next to Fred’s head, trying to get as close as he could before he started a slow, deep rhythm.

Rupert Giles felt as if he wanted to cry – not from sadness, no. He had had relationships with men before, but he was the one who always had to be in control. Wesley was the first man he had willingly handed his heart to, and he just hoped the younger man didn’t make him regret it. Surrounded by Fred in front of him and Wesley behind him, he felt himself hurtling toward that edge quickly. Fire was surging in his veins. Every time he drew back to thrust into Fred, he was impaled on the man behind him.

“Oh my god,” he gasped when Wesley’s shaft bumped his prostate.

Fred couldn’t help but moan, feeling the chain reaction Wesley’s thrusts into Rupert were sending through his body into hers. As she stared up into his green eyes, she saw something – what looked like a moment of fear before it quickly disappeared, replaced by a glaze of passion. She suddenly wondered if anything like this had ever happened before. Was this the first time he had ever been in the middle? Was this the first time he had ever allowed himself to be taken by a man?

“Don’t hold back,” she told her before a dizzying rush of sensations snapped through her own body, leaving her breathless for a moment. Reaching up, she grabbed Wesley’s arm, which was still propped next to her and held onto him before continuing her urging to Rupert. “Don’t hide. Let us see. Let us inside.”

Wesley dipped his head, pressing kisses into Rupert’s shoulder, nipping the skin coated by a fine sheen of sweat. He smiled to himself, feeling a different kind of trembling flooding the body underneath his. He felt Fred grip his arm and raised his head to meet her gaze for a moment. The silent communication was understood as surely as if they had spoken the words aloud. Working off of Fred, Wesley timed his thrust counter to hers, to keep the continuing wave of pleasure flowing through the man between them. He could feel that Giles was close, the man’s breathing and exclamations becoming faster. He increased the force of his thrusts, determined to take both of his lovers over together.

Fred angled her hips up and threw her head back, a strangled moan catching in the back of her throat. She was so close...so close. And she could feel Wesley moving faster, going deeper. She squeezed her internal muscles slightly, bringing a groan from Rupert, who responded by thrusting into her a bit harder as well. It was enough to take her over the edge, and she let go with a cry just as he did as well, her pulsating around him while warmth flooded into her.

Wesley laughed breathlessly when Fred shouted out her pleasure, but his laugh was turned into a strangled moan when Rupert instantly followed. He knew he was close himself, and when Rupert contracted around him, he dipped his head, biting down on the fleshy shoulder in front of him to stop from shouting out. Wes trembled hard as his body surged and he emptied himself into his lover.

After a few moments, forcing his tired body to move so that they wouldn’t crush Fred, he slid to the side, drawing Rupert with him while they settled next to her. He made certain to keep his arms wrapped around Giles, wanting to continue the feelings running rampant through them. He guided the older man onto his back, placing a finger over his lips when Giles made to protest.

“No, I’m fine. You need this. You sleep on your back. All those still recovering sleep on their backs. Not all injuries are physical,” he reminded him, using his lover’s words against him. Settling on his side, he curled around Rupert.

Fred shifted onto her side and rested against him as well, her hand curling over his shoulder. A smile crossed her face as Wesley nuzzled Rupert’s jaw a little and pressed against him. “Wesley’s right,” she said. She’d been agreeing with him all night – it was vital that they show him he was just as important to them as they were to him, especially after what he had had to do.

Giles sagged, pulling them both against him to the point that he knew if it were possible, he would pull them both inside of him. What they had just done had helped sooth the demons that were beckoning in his own soul. He still felt them knocking, but with his two young lovers, he felt he might be able to keep them entirely at bay. He smiled sheepishly, feeling Wesley’s long fingers trailing through his hair.

“I’m sorry...for being such a prat,” he sighed. “In my head, I think—no, I know that it had to be done, but...” He growled, disgusted with his own behavior, and looked over at Wesley. “Listen to me. We trained our entire lives to deal with things like this – situations where friends become enemies at a moment’s notice. How many years did they try and teach us how to handle it, to leave the emotion aside. And here I am trembling like some kind of green initiate.”

“They’re wrong, Rupert. You taught me that. Emotion is risky, but it can also give you power. Don’t become like them; they’re not worth it. I...” Wesley felt the constricting in his chest, nervous about what he was about to say, but knowing that Rupert needed to hear it. “That’s what I love about you. You feel things so acutely with every fiber of your being. And despite that, you still dig deep and do what has to be done. You didn’t consider for one moment that what you did would affect you adversely. You just protected us. Thank you.” He whispered the last words softly, turning Giles’ chin towards him to kiss him deeply.

Fred watched them for a moment before turning her face to nuzzle against Rupert’s neck, kissing him below his ear. “You’re amazing.” She propped herself up on her elbow, her chin resting on her hand. “Both of you are amazing. Despite everything that’s happened and everything you’ve faced, you both still feel so deeply. I can’t imagine having gone through what you have and still have that ability to love and care the way you two do. What happened...what you felt...is nothing to be ashamed of.”

Giles could feel himself responding to their words, even more than their gentle strokes on his skin. He was starting to calm down, knowing that the feelings that always accompanied Ripper were sinking into the background. He turned his head, capturing Fred’s lips. He moaned into her mouth when he felt Wesley’s fingers close around his rapidly filling shaft. After a few firm strokes, he was forced to break the kiss, his head lolling back against the pillow in bliss.

“I know that you’re always worried about that aspect of yourself taking over. I’m not,” Wesley promised him, moving up on one elbow to look down into the familiar green eyes. “I trust you with my life, and I trust you with my heart.”

“Same here,” Fred said once she had caught her breath following the kiss. She ran her hand over Rupert’s chest, one fingertip tracing idly around his nipple. Looking up at Wesley, she remembered when they had decided to invite Giles into this part of their lives, to share a bed with them. She hadn’t been scared then, and nothing had changed since then. “I meant it when I said I didn’t fear you. I didn’t then and I don’t now, even knowing about that part of you that scares you.”

Giles’ breathing was starting to increase, his two lovers stirring things in him he didn’t think he had ever felt. He bit his lip to stave off the deep moan that wanted to work its way out. “Good God, take pity on an old man. You to are going to be the death of me,” he laughed breathlessly.

Wesley grinned, his blue eyes shining mischievously. “Old, my arse. Your recovery time is better than mine,” he pointed out, his strokes increasing in strength. “You have no idea how delicious you look. So wanton.” Wes ducked his head, drawing Rupert’s earlobe between his teeth. “So shaggable,” he rasped, tracing the shell of his ear with his tongue. He chuckled deeply when Giles gasped what sounded mysteriously like his name. He knew this wasn’t fair, ganging up on him like this, but he suspected the man needed to be pushed a bit, to know that he was trusted, loved...and desired.

Running her hand down his abdomen to his groin, Fred slid her hand over Wesley’s and moved it with him as he pumped Rupert’s cock, watching the expressions that played across his face. He kept talking about how old he was, but she didn’t see it at all. What she saw a handsome man with a few wrinkles around his eyes and along his forehead and some grey hair. He didn’t seem old to her. He was just Rupert.

“You’ve done pretty well keeping up with us so far,” she said with a grin before leaning down to place kisses on his chest. “Something tells me that you really like this. After all, you seem to initiate this just as often as we do.”

“It’s the j—jogging,” Giles stuttered, his body feeling as if it were made of molten fire. “I’d have been a goner that first night otherwise.”

Feeling the pair of hands working his shaft, he gasped and reached down, gently disengaging Fred’s hand. Wrapping his arms around her, he drew her on top of him, immediately drawing her head down for a carnal kiss. Sitting up, he lowered his head, drawing her nipple between his teeth.

“I see a heart attack in my future, but what a way to go,” he laughed harshly against her skin.

Wesley smirked, sitting up, bracing his weight on one hand. He touched Giles’ jaw, his own smile matching his lover’s when he realized that Giles knew what he was intending. He waited until the other man had Fred’s complete attention while he mouthed her right nipple before he lowered his own head, drawing the left one between his lips.

She gasped loudly, her eyes closing as sensations bombarded her. One set of lips on one of her breasts was usually enough to set her on fire, but both at the same time... “Oh, god,” she moaned, instinctively rocking against Rupert, feeling like she might fall over at any moment. She grabbed onto him with one arm and reached out to wrap her other one around Wesley, holding on to both of them tightly.

Giles chuckled, the vibrations of his voice flowing against the sensitive flesh in his mouth. His hand trailed down her torso, long fingers slipping between her thighs and sliding through her netherlips in search of her clit. When his fingers slid over the nubbin, he pressed down, smiling when she cried out. He could feel that her body was practically humming from being wound tighter and tighter. Increasing the suction, he nipped her flesh with his teeth.

Wesley, meanwhile, slid his hands down the bare skin of her back, his calloused hand moving over the firm globes of her ass. He stroked the skin gently, gradually working his fingers until they moved to the soft flesh in between. Using his index and middle fingers, he pumped them into her opening, coating it liberally with her juices.

Her breath caught in her throat as her hips moved in rhythmic motion, riding Wesley’s palm while Rupert’s fingers continued playing with her clit. Their lips were still teasing her nipples, and she could feel hands everywhere, and it was too much all at once, but it felt so good at the same time, and she didn’t want it to stop even though her body was begging for release and ready to shake itself apart.

Finally it all became too much, and she half-screamed, half-groaned as the sensations overwhelmed her. Unable to keep herself upright, she practically fell against Rupert, all her nerve endings tingling.

Wesley felt himself groan in sympathy when he felt Fred’s orgasm flood out to pool in his palm. Drawing his fingers free of her body, he licked the result of their efforts off of his digits. His head rolled back with a gasp when he felt Rupert’s fingers close around him. Raising his dark gaze, he looked at one lover, practically holding the other up.

“Make love to me,” he rasped, his voice husky. He knew what he wanted. But he wasn’t certain how to ask. Blue eyes met green, and after a few moments, Giles nodded.

“Fred, move off for a moment,” he suggested, making room for Wesley to lie on his back. Looking down at the flushed body, he shook his head and rubbed a hand up Wesley’s thigh. “I don’t know what I did to deserve the two of you. But I thank God for it. Fred, straddle his head. Let him taste both of us.”

Nodding, Fred shifted over Wesley on the bed so she was facing Rupert while he reached over to grab the bottle of lube. Her eyes closed against momentarily when she felt Wes beginning to nuzzle her. She splayed her hands across his chest, taking a moment to steady herself before her fingertips stroked across his ribs and down over his abdomen. She opened her eyes again to watch Rupert prepare Wesley, wondering what it felt like when he did that to him and thinking that the next time, she’d ask if she could try it.

Placing himself at Wesley’s opening, Giles slid his arms under the younger man’s legs to open him wider. Leaning over his body, he pressed forward with his hips, sliding into Wes’ body and smiling at his loud groan. Starting a slow, deep rhythm, he raised his head in a silent beckoning for Fred to lean closer. The moment she did, he kissed her deeply, chuckling into her mouth when she whimpered. Wesley had an affinity for languages, and now that he had Fred above him, he was showing her just how talented his tongue truly was.

It was the most incredible feeling in the world, being kissed the way she was by the two of them. The movements of Wesley’s tongue made her gasp and squirm, forcing her to reach out to grab Rupert’s shoulders. He continued to thrust into Wesley as she did, and the moans this drew from him vibrated through her.

Selfishly, she didn’t want this night to end, for morning to come and take them away from her. She knew that it had to be done, both for Wesley’s long-term piece of mind and for Connor’s sake, but still it didn’t stop just a tiny part of her wanting to be able to hold them and never let go and make love to them and read stories in exotic languages with them and feed them chocolate biscuits and tea...

“Wes,” she groaned into her kiss with Rupert when Wesley’s tongue suddenly pressed against her clit. And Rupert thought he was the one who was going to collapse from all this.

Giles took one of Fred’s hands in his and lowered it to Wesley’s shaft. Returning his hand to the bed, he leaned over the other man, changing the angle on his hips so that his thrusts brushed across Wes’ prostate. He chuckled when the younger man let out a strangled yelp in reaction, his breathing becoming more harsh and ragged. Focusing his efforts, he increased the force and pace of his thrusts, concentrating on the one blissful spot that would send Wes screaming over the edge.

Fred’s hand shook as she pumped Wesley in time to Rupert’s thrusts, her own body again screaming for release. His yelp hummed across her, causing her to groan. She had to force herself not to move as instinct tried to make her, afraid she would either fall over or lose the delicious feeling running through her.

Then his tongue swiped across her one more time, and this time her body reacted with a start, sending her into spasms. Her voice hoarse from her previous orgasms, she fell forward with a soft cry, her free hand reaching out to grab the quilt and stop her while she continued moving the other one up and down Wesley’s shaft.

Giles could feel how close Wesley was, knowing his own release would follow almost instantly. Pounding into the body beneath him, he felt the younger man stiffen and grabbed Fred’s shoulder and moved her back over Wesley’s mouth, her core over his lips preventing him from shouting out. He immediately cried out his own release, emptying himself into his lover.

As he was catching his breath, he smiled tiredly up at a confused and dazed Fred. “Couldn’t take the chance of him screaming and hurting himself, and you were the closest one to help,” he smirked, answering her unasked question as to why he had pushed her back down on Wes.

Slowly, he pulled out of him, a warm ache flowing through his body. Reaching over to the floor, he grabbed the towel and wiped Wesley’s semen off of his stomach.

“We’re going to have to change these sheets in the morning,” he remarked tiredly before returning to the bed.

“I’ll take care of that,” Fred said, feeling herself still spasming a bit as she practically fell onto the bed next to both men. Reaching over, she ran a hand through Rupert’s hair then Wesley’s. She didn’t like the idea of thinking about tomorrow even though it was getting closer. She curled up against Giles instead and trailed her hand down to Wesley’s, gripping it tightly. She suddenly realized that none of them were probably going to get any sleep, so she decided that she was going to hold them as long as she could.

Giles’ breathing was finally under control as he turned on his side, curling around Fred’s slight form. He felt Wesley do the same on the other side. Draping his arm across her waist, his fingers found the younger man’s back. “When you called me almost two weeks ago, I never dreamed that I would find myself in this position, in the arms of a woman nearly half my age and those of an old friend. I came to offer solace and aid, and instead I found a home with the two of you,” he confessed softly. Pressing his lips to her temple, he smiled, knowing that no matter where they were – LA or Sunnydale – with his two lovers, he was already home.

Fred smiled softly. “I’m glad I called you, and I’m glad we decided to invite you in, and I’m glad that I’m here with the two of you.” She tilted her head up to kiss Rupert deeply for a few moments before turning her head and doing the same to Wesley.

She knew that one day soon, she would have to explain this to her parents, and in some respects, she worried about that, wondering what they would think. But her mother had said that she and her father just wanted her to be happy, and she was when she was with them. She prayed that they understood that, that she had found her place and her home with two men in her bed—in their bed.

Giles found his own smile answering Fred’s. “I’m glad you called too. And thank you for finding this young pup,” he said, sincerely, not knowing what he would have done had his friend’s body been found instead. He was still amazed that a vampire hadn’t found Wesley first. Barely repressing shudder that the idea of having to stake a demon wearing Wesley’s face brought, he forced his thoughts past it.

“I never did thank you for saving my life,” Wesley rumbled from his position beside her.

He gave her a reassuring squeeze, both to reaffirm that he was indeed still alive as well as his gratitude to her. He was no fool – he remembered laying there, feeling his life blood seeping out. He knew that if it had been even an hour longer, he wouldn’t have survived. Now, he had a new lease on life, wonderful lovers, and a chance to right the wrong he had inflicted on young Connor.

“Thank you so much,” he whispered and then smiled shyly. “You know, in a lot of cultures, you saving my life means that it is now yours. Although that has been the case for some time.”

Fred blushed at Wesley’s words, understanding now what he meant by that thanks to Giles. How she wished she had known before although in some respects, it might not have led to where they were now, the three of them. “You don’t have to thank me. I had to do it. I couldn’t stop searching for you until we found you – we didn’t know what exactly had happened or what she had done to you or where she had left you. And when I found you...” She stopped for a moment, taking a deep breath to keep the tears from coming to her eyes and reminding herself that Wesley was alive and safe and pressed against her. “You say your life is mine. I feel the same way with both of you with mine if that makes any sense.”

“I do,” Wesley replied. “If you had given up on me, I wouldn’t be here….or worse….I would and you would have had to stake me.”

He shivered at the thought of a demon using his body to destroy his friends and felt a pang of sympathy for Charles, knowing that the past months, bearing witness to everything that had happened must have been absolute hell. While he was sad for his friend’s loss, he felt warm gratitude spread through him at the thought of what Giles had done for Charles by setting him free from his hellish prison. Besides, now his friend was with his beloved sister. He was happy. And the thought of that gave him a great deal of peace.

Fred rested her head against Wesley’s shoulder and closed her eyes, glad that she hadn’t had to stake him. Of all them from the Hyperion, Wesley was the one she had always known she would have had trouble staking had something like that happened. Knowing that made her sympathize for what Giles had had to do regarding Charles all the more – it had been the only way though it never made it easy.

“I would never give up on you,” she whispered, remembering how she had begged him not to die while they had waited for the ambulance to show. She wouldn’t give up on them while they were in Quor’Toth either. No matter how long it took them, she would wait until the signal came, whatever the signal ended up being.

“I don’t remember much,” Wesley confessed, his voice lowering to nearly a whisper. “Just darkness swelling, threatening to swallow me whole. But then your voice cut through, like an angel, a light in the darkness. I heard you begging me to stay.” A smile curled up at the corner of his lips. “I had to stay. I couldn’t leave without you knowing what happened or...or how I felt.” He shifted around her even more. “I couldn’t give up on you either.”

His words made her want to cry, knowing that he had heard her. “I didn’t know you had heard me,” she told him, looking up at him. She wrapped her arms around him tightly. “I thought you were unconscious and didn’t even know that I was there until you woke up later in the hospital after your surgery.”

“I heard you,” he whispered, holding her tight. “I’ve always heard you.”

And he had. Even when she would start her self-professed rambling, he understood that she always had something to say. And when she spoke, she always spoke directly to his heart. He smiled, the feeling of warmth flowing through his body. Being in love agreed with him, and the two individuals in this bed made his soul shine brightly in spite of the darkness of their lives.

“I’m glad we’ve gotten this second chance,” Fred said. “I’m glad the three of us have gotten this chance together. I can’t imagine either of you not being here.”


6th-Sep-2005 12:50 am (UTC)
lovely! I really like this story, especially the closeness that the three of them have together. Was never much of a Wes/Fred shipper, but this version of Fred I like a *whole* lot better than the canon version!

Thank you for writing this!
6th-Sep-2005 01:15 pm (UTC)
Hi! So glad you're enjoying the story. I've wanted to write a Wes/Fred/Giles story for a long time, and Jess came up with the idea for when to start it, so we're glad that it's working! Glad you like this Fred too. :) Thanks so much for reading. We'll be posting more soon.
7th-Sep-2005 03:33 pm (UTC)
You better be posting more soon Lara. LoL. I'm running out of Wes and Giles pictures to make Icons to bribe Jess with... Gonna have to move into other characters and what not.

Keep up the awesome work guys!


(Who is happily pretending that Gunn was Gunn, cos Gunn was just plain evil without a demon slug.)
7th-Sep-2005 05:01 pm (UTC)
Hey, you should be bribing me too, you know. I'm the one posting! ;-)

I'm glad you're liking the story. We'll have more soon.

And I'm going to friend you if you don't mind! :)
7th-Sep-2005 05:25 pm (UTC)
LoL. I'm *loving* the story (And, not just cos Gunn ended up deader'n a door nail.)

Friend away. :) Bribes coming soon... LoL
8th-Sep-2005 01:23 pm (UTC)
Yea!! New chapters...they were stealth chapters, I didn't see them til I came back to re-read, et Voila!
GilesyFredWes Goodness!
You made my week, ladies, Thank You!!
Now please bring everyone back safe, the suspense is getting to me.
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