The elevator slowly opened and Giles stepped off. His eyes were immediately drawn to the man standing alone in the middle of the room.
"Hello Ripper. I manage to convince Angelus and his Mr. Doyle that it would be better if I spoke to you alone. I trust the Slayer is still in Sunnydale hunting for Xander and Spike?"
"Yes. I came to speak to Angel about Spike. He seems to have twisted Xander somehow."
"He didn't twist the boy, he loves him. They love each other. It's the Slayer that's gotten twisted."
"What are you talking about? They're here aren't they?"
"Where else would Spike go? And don't try to avoid the issue, you know something is wrong with your Slayer."
"Her behavior has been somewhat..."
"Psychotic? Xander told me what happened. Think for a moment Ripper, how could Spike have attacked her? The implant would've prevented it."
"I had considered that. But that doesn't explain Xander's behavior."
"Ripper, think. Fifteen years ago if someone had attacked you, what would I have done?"
"Oh. Well, yes, of course."
"There have been a few new developments you should know about. First, the implant is gone. When the Slayer arrives she's going to be facing off against a very powerful, very angry vampire, who's protecting his mate. "
"Dear Lord, he'll kill her."
"He may not get the chance. Xander isn't likely to allow her to ever get close to Spike."
"Ripper....the boy's a warlock."
"That's not possible."
"Have you ever looked at the boy? Really looked? Because if you had you would have seen it for yourself. The boy radiates power. What's happened to you? There was a time when you could have spotted the boy from a mile off, but now... "
"Things change Ethan. I simply didn't see. That's all."
"What is it about this child that makes you so willfully cruel? You must have seen what he was, yet you chose to ignore him. To leave him struggling to find his place. Why?"
"Leave it alone Ethan."
"No. I want to know. Why do you dislike him so much? When I was his age, I wasn't that different from...Oh. I see. Well, that explains a great deal. I knew you were ashamed of your past, but I never imagined you were so disgusted by it that you would punish someone completely innocent just for reminding you of it."
"It's quite alright really. Still, you should know I intend to make sure Xander gets the training he needs. I won't leave him to flounder around in ignorance. When I needed a teacher you found me, and no matter what happened in the end, I am grateful for that."
"Ethan I am not disgusted by the past...or you. It's just, I made so many mistakes. I couldn't stand the thought of repeating them. I didn't want to do to him what I did to you."
"You mean abandon me."
"No, leaving you was the best thing I could have done for you. Ethan, I was out of control. I didn't want to take you with me. I left you to protect you."
"And I felt soo much safer all alone."
"Ethan. Such a sweet boy. You were so bloody good. I taught you to be what you are. I taught you to lie and cheat and steal and hurt anyone who gets in your way. I took a beautiful sweet boy, and turned him into..."
"Into me. Ripper taught me to be this. Did it never occur to you that Rupert might have taught me to be something else?"
"You need to speak to Angelus. He can explain what's wrong with the Slayer. If you'll excuse, I have another lesson to prepare for. Good luck...Giles."