As In Life
By Janine Ose

Author:  Janine Ose
E-mail:  user157159@aol.com
Rating:  G
Spoilers:  None
Distribution:  B/G Shippers and Cap's site (everyone else please ask first)
Disclaimer:  All characters belong to Joss Whedon, 20th Century Fox, WB and Mutant Enemy. 
Summary:  A very angsty, tragic look at what could happen in the future.


    The wind blew harshly through the streets, whipping her hair about her face and her coat around her legs.  Stuffing her hands deeper into her pockets, she bent her head and continued silently towards her destination.  At one point she stopped and withdrew something from her pocket, balancing lightly on the balls of her feet as her stalker approached from the shadows.  In the blink of an eye he was gone, disappeared into the wind, and she continued on her way.  The streets were deserted, most of the houses empty and devoid of life.  Hard to believe that this cold and desolate place had once been her home.  That children had played in the streets and birds had sung in the trees.  That had all changed one summer day long ago.

    Memories clouded his mind as he gazed out the window.  There wasn't much to look at now.  No couples strolling down the street, no dogs chasing bright balls and no children playing hopscotch or tag.  He used to enjoy watching them, envying slightly the normalcy of the lives they led.  Turning from the window, he shuffled over to the sofa and sat down.  Looking around him, he laughed bitterly.  His books were stacked neatly in boxes, waiting to be shipped the next day.  Funny, at one time he had relied so heavily on those dusty tomes.  Searching them for clues as to what would come.  Often he fell asleep with his head resting on one or another.  But for all their wisdom they had failed him when he had needed them most.  Failed to provide him with the one small bit of information he needed to keep her safe.  He hadn't realized until that day long ago, hadn't realized how much he loved her until she was gone.

    She gazed up at the lighted window, trepidation visible on her pretty face.  To a casual observer she would have looked like a young woman gazing longingly up at her lover but those who got close enough to see her eyes told a different story.  Her eyes told the tale, the tale of a love lost long ago through a cruel twist of fate.  They spoke of the pain and sorrow that haunted her no matter how far she ran.  And they spoke of the hope that maybe, one day, all would be set right in her world. 

    He sensed her watching and got up to open the door.  Leaving it open he returned to his seat and waited patiently for her to appear, like a ghost of a time long past.  Briefly he wondered why she had come but he shoved that thought aside.  She had come for him.  No matter how far she ran she would have been told of his imminent demise.  Tears filled his eyes and he blinked them away.  To see her one last time, it was his greatest wish and his greatest fear rolled into one.  To be able to tell her what he should have long ago, to touch her face, to see her smile that had the power to light up a room like the sun.  A shiver of apprehension ran through him.  She was close, so close now. 

    She climbed the stairs slowly, her thoughts a jumbled mixture of the past and present.  She had tried to sort out her emotions on the trip here but had ended up more confused than before.  Love, fear, pain, sorrow, they all collided and stirred together within her until she could no longer tell one from the other.  Stopping for a moment, she leaned against the wall and closed her eyes.  No, that wasn't quite true.  One stood out from all the rest, so clear and pure she could almost feel it warming her soul.  Love, it filled her heart and eased the pain she had carried with her for so long.  Maybe, for just one hour, she could be whole.

    "Come in," he said quietly when she reached the door.  The sound of his soft voice caused tears to fill her eyes and she slowly entered the room.  "I knew you'd come," he whispered.  Moving towards him, she knelt before him and took his hands in her own.  "I came," she replied.  Smiling slightly, he gently stroked her hair with a shaky hand.  "You still hunt."  She nodded.  "Always.  You taught me well."  Leaning into his caress she took the time to look at him.  His hair was grayer and he had lost weight but he still looked the same.  The same green eyes gazed at her and the same shy smile quirked his lips. 

    "I needed to see you, just one last time," he managed to whisper.  "To tell you how much I loved you."  She could hear his heart slowing and a bloody tear ran down her cheek.  "I love you too," she sobbed.  "I'm so sorry," he choked out.  "I failed you."  She shook her head vigorously.  "You didn't fail me.  You loved me and kept me as safe as you were able to.  You had no way of knowing what was coming."  She stroked his cheek with her hand.

 "You know why I came?" she asked quietly.  He nodded.  "I know."  A shiver ran through him at her touch.  "Have you made your decision?"

    Her words were soft, barely audible but he heard them, and the meaning behind them.  Was he going to kill her or love her?  His heart pounded wildly in his chest as he considered the options carefully.  It was a moot point really, he had made his decision months ago, as soon as he found out he was dying.  Swallowing past the lump in his throat he nodded.  Planting a soft kiss on her forehead, he turned his head slightly to the side.  His last conscious thought as she gently slipped her fangs into his vein was that it hadn't hurt nearly as much as he expected it to.

    They sat on the hill overlooking Sunnydale, watching as the sun began to rise.  Buffy lay her head on his shoulder and raised his hand to her lips, gently brushing her lips over his knuckles.  "I love you Giles," she whispered softly.  He smiled, his arms gathering her tightly to his chest.  "I love you too Buffy."  And as the sun slowly bathed them in its glow he whispered, "As in life, we are in death, together."  His words floated on the breeze as the fine dust mingled and settled down on the town they had once called home.

END


Hope I didn't weird you out too much.  This is way off base compared to what I usually write but hey, ya gots to try new things once in a while, especially when your muse is screaming at you to write what she tells you.

Janine