Half a lifetime of fruitless searching, and everything he had ever looked for appeared one Sunday morning in his own apartment. Whether it was salvation or his downfall, Ethan could not tell. But it was certainly glorious.
It would have to be a boy, of course. It was always a boy. The wiry body in jeans, the soft mouth innocent-looking enough to make you want to corrupt him as badly as you possibly could. Musician hands you wondered could touch bodies with as much skill as they played the guitar. Ripper's certainly had.
But this boy doesn't look like Ripper. He is ginger-haired and short and all Ethan can think of at first is how he wants to peel his shirt off just to see if the freckles run everywhere. Map them with his mouth.
Ethan, my boy, you are becoming quite the old lecher.
As if by magic (and Ethan certainly would have included this boy in his three wishes if he ever found a genie in a bottle) the boy had appeared in Ethan's apartment one early morning when the city of Madrid was only beginning to wake. Still hot though, scaldingly hot, the heat trailing in through his window along with the noise and exhaust fumes from the street below.
His apartment is small and cramped; barely enough space to do magick in. After the first night he was forced to put a ward up against the cockroaches and insects, having woken up itching all over and with tiny bites adorning his body. Certainly not the grandeur he always envisioned for himself.
Nor was it particularly dignified either for a sorcerer having to earn his living through love potions and protection amulets to the locals. Dull work, apart from the occasional vengeance spell.
But Ethan never cared that much for dignity. Self-preservation above all.
Still, there lies a sweet taste of satisfaction in that Rupert's young protˇgˇ came to him first. Unlikely that he'd ever get to exalt any punishment towards Rupert in person now, but this carried potential to be even better. Succeeding to get revenge from half the world away.
He watches the boy over steepled fingers. Appearing cooly condescending was a trifle difficult with tendrils of sweat pouring down your back and face, but Ethan manages, if barely. "I take it you are here for a love potion then? Or perhaps a small incantation to drive off the fleas."
It's apparent what the boy wants, of course. Still didn't mean Ethan wouldn't make him beg for it first. Settling back in his chair, he listens while affecting an impassive face.
The request was simple. Something to control his lupine side. A cure for it, if possible.
The boy continued to speak of Tibetan monks and herbal cures, briefly mentioning the shaman which had referred him to Ethan. He did not beg, nor did he demand. He merely asked in the same tone as one would ask someone to pass the salt. If there was a cure available.
Ethan was actually confident he had the means to provide a cure. Tempting to refuse it to him, though, if not for the fact that it would be a kick in Rupert's face. Succeeding where he failed.
"And why, exactly, do you wish to rid yourself of it? A dual nature can be quite an advantage."
Regrettable that the boy could not enter his own services. Janus favoured duality. More importantly, the primal nature of the wolf would easily be able to access the elements of chaos magick.
For a brief moment, he allows himself to imagine the possibility of the two of them; just like he had once been together with Ripper, raising demons just for the hell of it. Just to see if they could. They had been foolish and they paid the price for it, but for a while it had been glorious.
But unlike a certain Rupert Giles, he didn't particularly feel like repenting his "sins" and waste the rest of his life away as a high school librarian. No, a thousand times over, he'd rather be practising magick in a dirty apartment above an alleyway in Madrid. Causing a little trouble every now and then. Actually having fun.
"Not to me."
"Oh, very well then. But you should be aware that everything comes with a price."
The boy considers. "You're asking me to bite you?"
Normally, yes. But in this case it might be a little risky.
Ethan snorts derisively. "Hardly. You should know I'm not the type to run around starkers in the woods. Lacks class."
The boy smiled faintly. "You want to poison all the Spanish candy too, huh?"
Touchè. A less then successful enterprise, Ethan was prepared to admit. But at least he got to embarrass Rupert for a bit in front of his beloved little brat Slayer. Certainly made up for all the trouble it had given him.
"I take it our mutual friend Rupert has warned you about big, bad me. Well, I'm not the Devil wanting your soul, boy." The body would do well enough. "I'm offering you a genuine trade. Tit for tat. I can provide you with the cure you seek. Rid you of the curse."
"Oh? What makes you so sure?"
"I can smell whenever you tell the truth." The boy paused, then seemed to make his decision. "Still not sure who's the Big Bad Wolf here... But I'm in." And his clothes were dropped to the floor.
Ethan rose unsteadily from the chair, stepping quickly forward, and oh God, the boy really was freckled all over. And as they are falling towards the floor, he feels the boy clutching at him, nuzzling his throat, a pink tongue darting out to lick at the thin sheen of sweat between his collarbones. Nimble hands yanking his clothes down.
And suddenly Ethan isn't sure either who's the wolf. He feels the boy's lips move against his throat, mouth curving in what might have been a smile.
"Why, grandma, what a great big--"
The nerve of the boy. Ethan silences him by biting down on his shoulder, hard, because he is marking him now, and the wolf inside the boy would know what it meant.
"All the better to fuck you with."