Liaisons With Evil
written by Nyxie for circe_tigana
May 2003, Flashfic Challenge #2 - Ethan/Amy, 1000 words or less (Anything goes but Amy must criticize Ethan's fashion sense)
Takes place during BtVS Season 3, between Band Candy & Gingerbread

The room was still dark, filled with the scent of stale sex and burnt incense when Ethan woke. Moving carefully, he reached for his watch and frowned, squinting at it in darkness that rendered the tiny clock hands nearly invisible, and then clipped it onto his wrist, naked skin whispering against soft sheets as he slid out from between them. The rustle of blankets and a dreamy sigh gave him pause, and he repressed a sigh of impatience as the girl who still lay in the bed stirred, disturbed, perhaps, by the lack of warmth beside her.

Damn but he'd hoped to slip out quietly this time.

Sunnydale. Oh, how he loathed this town. By all rights it should have been a veritable smorgasbord of evil, a field of innocents who were ripe for the pickings. Yet time after time he'd run from here with his tail tucked between his legs, swearing it wasn't worth the hassle, vowing never to return. And time after time, he found himself drawn back again, lured by the promise of chaos and money.

He'd met Amy right after he'd gotten into town this time. Good-looking girl, solidly built, nice tits. No grace, less experience, but then, he didn't care so much about that so long as she was willing and adventurous--which she was. She liked magic, liked to fuck, was willing to do just about anything so long as he would teach her about the dark arts. So they shagged and he taught her some complicated but basically useless spells; essentially, things that could never come back to harm him, and might even cause her damage if she tried to use them against him. And it had seemed a decent deal... at first. But the truth was, he thought as she sat up, sheets clutched to her chest, brown hair in disarray, lately she was driving him completely batshit.

She was getting a little too attached. And a little too skilled at the black arts. He might not be the most successful entrepreneur of evil alive, or even the most successful servant of Chaos, but Ethan could add one plus one, and he always knew when it was time to cut his losses. That's why he'd been alive longer than most of his competition.

And he knew that this development did not bode well for his future here on the good old Hellmouth.

She turned eyes on him that were moody and thick with sleep. "Where are you going?" she asked drowsily, her tone taking on that petulant, slightly possessive note that grated on his nerves.

He took a breath and forced a charming smile out of his repertoire as he slipped into his dress pants. "Got a meeting. No time to dally."

She raised her brows and cut her eyes up at him, and for an instant, just behind the vacant look she so often carried, he saw a flash of something very aware and dangerous. Then the moment passed and she glanced at his hands as he buttoned up his silk shirt, frowning thoughtfully. "You know you've got the fashion sense of a gay man?"

Was that a non-sequitor, a joke or an insult? With her it was hard to tell, but she'd been watching entirely too much Will and Grace if she thought this was how all gay men dressed. Besides, he wasn't gay. Obviously. 'Gay' was so... limiting. He liked spending time on both sides of the fence.

"It's got panache." He shrugged.

"It has nuts?" she asked with a confused frown.

Well, he hadn't picked her up for her brains, after all. "Panache," he repeated, slightly impatient. "You know; style? Elegance?"

"Oh." She was giving him that vacant look again. "Where are you going?"

"I've got a meeting, I told you."

"I thought you were going to teach me another polymorph spell?" she asked, voice sullen and flat.

Damn, he hadn't been prepared for this. "I've--I've already taught you a dozen different ways to turn yourself into assorted vermin," he stuttered, trying to stall her. Then inspiration struck and he changed his tone to one of regret.

"What can I say? I'm trying to save my manly pride." He sighed. "You've surpassed me. I can't teach you anything else."

She stared at him, surprised, face guarded as she tried to decide whether she believed him or not.

"Well, ta luv. I've got to be going." He made for the door, hoping he'd reach it before she recovered.

So close.

"You're lying," she accused, voice growing darker, and he thought he could hear the undertones of vengeance.

"Why would I do that?" He turned and painted his bright smile back on. She might be young, might be stupid and naive, but she was also dangerous. And she was going to screw this deal up for him if he didn't get her off his back. Or maybe just kill him. But she'd never let him go. He searched his mind desperately for something to placate her, and once again inspiration struck.

Of course! Perfect.

"It's true. Much as I'd like, I can't help you anymore." Her eyes darkened and he held up a hand to stay any spells; she had a nasty habit of calling on Hecate, and that never ended well. "But the guy I'm going to see today, he's an expert. Incredibly powerful, knows everything about magic. He could teach you anything you want to know." Not exactly true, but... If this worked out, he'd probably get a bonus from his contact and be rid of her.

She frowned again and gazed up at him from beneath the thin shelter of the motel sheets, suspicious. "Really?"

"Oh yes. I think he'd be a perfect teacher for you. He specializes in... maximizing people's power." Her frown loosened slightly, suspicion turning to intrigue, and he knew he had her.

"Who is this guy?"

"His name," Ethan said with an oily smile, "is Rack."

"And he's going to love you."