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[personal profile] indri
SUMMARY: Giles and Ethan, the electric Kool-Aid funky Satan groove year, in the early seventies. Rated M. Spoilers to Band Candy. Acknowledgements and disclaimers.


Ethan felt unwell but also restless. His mind wouldn't let him go to sleep. He wanted to see Randall, get a few words of reassurance from him, feel calmer and then get some sleep. Instead he was tense, awake and weepy.

There was shouting and screaming from below: Diedre throwing Tom out of the house. Ethan thought it was a little too late for that.

The electricity was still off, so he sat in the dark, trying to work out what had gone wrong. The spell had been fine; he was sure of it. It had been just like all the other times they'd cast it, apart from being outdoors, and having the new boy there, and starting with someone other than Rupert. The chant was the same, the pentacle was the same. Being outdoors shouldn't have made a difference. Philip had been surprisingly competent. And what difference should it have made, who got to be possessed first?

Ethan tried to think of something he could do to relax. He didn't feel like sex at all, or hash, so he pulled out a pack of cards. He did the simplest, calmest spell, a pick-the-card illusion. There was nothing to it, except the small, low link to the magic, that sense of warmth and connection. He drew a card and got the two of diamonds. He drew another card, cast the spell, and again got a two of diamonds. He kept drawing cards and kept casting the small spell until he was able to sleep.


Rupert wandered around the house, a little before dawn. It was quiet now, apart from him. Adrienne would be fast asleep at that hour and Ethan, who might not be, wasn't answering his door.

In the drawing room were the remains of the night-before-last's party. All the food had been cleared, but there were still a few empty and half-empty bottles. Rupert felt ill just looking at them.

From the window he could see the moonlit garden and the scudding clouds above. And he could see the long, black car parked opposite the house.

He pulled on his boots and his jacket and went across the road. It was Stockton.

"We got a call last night," said Stockton, through the wound-down window. "We wondered if you needed any help."

"It's done," said Rupert. "We, we took care of it."

"We have a file here, if you need it." Stockton poked a manila folder through the wound-down window. "Looks like quite a monster. We're on standby." When Rupert didn't take the folder, Stockton put it back down. "I'm on standby."

"It's gone," said Rupert. "We didn't need your help at all."

"Well, good for you," said Stockton, although his expression was one of surprise. "Are you sure--"

"Quite sure," said Rupert.

When he got back to his room, he found Diedre trying to open his locked door. She backed away from him a little.

"I want you gone too," she said. "I want you out of here."

"No," he said.

She looked afraid. She looked afraid of him. She went back down the stairs.


It was probably day, but it was hard to tell in Randall's room when the curtains were drawn. Ethan stood there, looking at all of Randall's things. Randall's paintings, Randall's clothes, Randall's records: Ethan could tell you which items had been brought over from San Francisco, which had been acquired while they were in Cricklewood, and which had been bought since. There were a couple of books and a few photographs older than the rest, from when Randall had lived on the east coast of America.

There was a beanbag lying between the mattress and the wall, because Randall liked to smoke sitting up in bed. A brass Mexican ashtray sat on top of a Moroccan cushion. Next to the bed was a small pile of books -- a beat poet anthology, a coffee-table art book, and an introductory guide to cricket that an old boyfriend of Ethan's had given to Randall. The pile of records were next, too many titles to think about, but there was a space on the floor where the record player used to be, encroached upon already by the slow avalanche of his clothes. His weed and gear were in a biscuit tin under the window, and his long-neglected magical paraphernalia was dusty next to it. Then there was an easel, paints, and various art-type tools that Ethan had never bothered learning the names of.

There had been nothing wrong with the spell.

Down on the first-floor landing, Diedre was packing. Adrienne stood next to the window.

Adrienne said to him, "Tell her not to go back to her parents."

"Don't go back to your parents," Ethan said, automatically. Then he thought about what he'd said. "Of course you don't want to do that. Why would you do that?"

"I don't want to be here any more," Diedre said.

"What about us?" he said. "Do you want to leave us alone?"

"What went wrong with the spell?" she asked him.

"Nothing," he said.

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March 2013


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