Time was up. Buffy knew Xander and Spike were in L.A. It would only be another day at most before she was here. Ethan was putting Xander through his paces, by the time he was done the boy would know the spell backwards and blindfolded. Angel and Doyle had been summoned to the oracle, Spike and Cordelia were on weapons detail, and Giles had spent the better part of the morning casting every ward he could think of around the building. The last thing they needed was for a demon to show up to make trouble while this was happening. Or, Gods forbid, an innocent bystander seeking Angel's help.
There was nothing more the ex-watcher could do until the actual confrontation took place, so he leaned against the wall and watched the others work. So much was different from just a few short days ago. He'd come to L.A. because he knew this was where a defenseless Spike would run to. He'd told himself that he came alone to spare Buffy the pain of seeing Angel again, but after what the vampire had told him...the truth was he had noticed a change in Buffy's behavior since right after the fiasco with Faith. Since she had turned her back on the Counsel. He never noticed any spell on Buffy, but if it was there before he meet her he wouldn't have seen it unless he looked for it. Damn the Counsel! The field watchers had a right to know this. Especially the ones working with or near slayers.
And that wasn't even the biggest secret they had been keeping. No, that was about vampires. Every watcher was told that vampires were soulless, heartless, demonous killers. The truth was vampires were only evil if the demon was given free reign. It was actually a symbiotic relationship between the host and the demon. The demon got to feed and exist without fear of being exorcised, and the host got to live forever and enjoy preternatural speed and strength. Not a bad arrangement really. But if the host was weak willed or mentally unstable the demon took complete control. Angel had been very near a sociopath when he was changed, the curse simply gave him a conscious to control his demon with. Spike had been tortured by Angel until he was unbalanced and simply let his demon take over. But time away from his sire and time with Xander had allowed him to regain his control.
All those lives lost. All those people killed because of the Counsel and its secrets. No more!! One way or another, when this was done the Counsel was in for a surprise. He and Ethan would see to that. Ethan. Another thing that had changed. Giles could admit to himself now that he had never loved anyone as he did Ethan, and he never would. As ridiculously foolish as such romantic drivel was, the ex-watcher knew that for him Ethan was "The One." He'd been young and out of control, and his only fear had been Ethan getting hurt because of it. He really had left to protect the other man. And then when his father had forced him to take his place with the Counsel...they would never have allowed the two of them to be together. They'd have killed Ethan first. He had always suspected as much, now he knew.
But that would not happen. Ethan was his again and no one or nothing was going to take him away. If Angel could accept that he and Angelus were the same person then Giles could do no less with Ripper. He could only hope that a lifetime of experience would help him deal better with the things he hadn't been able to handle in his youth. Ethan would be there to help him. They would get through this. Xander would work the spell and Buffy would go back to Sunnydale. And the rest of them could get on with their lives. And if the Slayer had a problem with that...too fucking bad.