Life or Death By the Word
By Arkin

TITLE: Life or Death By the Word
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Don't sue.
SPOILERS: Season 4, but not really
Decisions are made and fate is sealed.
FEEDBACK: Yes please!

No more. I can take no more.

I never wanted this. Ever. All I wanted was to live a normal life, be a normal teenager, go to school, then college, get a job, husband, kids…

Than this guy shows up and starts telling me about vampires. Like I really wanted to know? And all of a sudden I’m Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’m a freak, I lose my friends, get kicked out of school….

When I came here it was better. I got new friends, I was doing ok at school. Giles was nice, strict, but kind. Gentle. I liked working with him, teasing him. Basically I liked him. And Willow and Xander… and all of a sudden, being the slayer wasn’t that bad. It was something I did at night, a little after-school training – I felt almost normal.

Then Angel came along, and everything went wrong.

It’s not just that he turned evil, that he killed Ms. Calendar, and Kendra in a way. Or that he tortured Giles. It wasn’t even that he came back and then left.

It was that I paid attention only to him. The worst thing about Angel was something I did. I ignored all of them, my mom, my friends, my watcher, MY DUTY, because he was a hunk, because he was mysterious, stranger. And it was so fascinating…

And so I became interested only in him. And now that he’s gone, I understand that it cost me everybody else.

Most of all it cost me Giles. After years of pain he’s tired of it. Tired of caring and getting hurt. And I can’t blame him. He worked so hard for me and lost so much and I kept ignoring him, acting like he’s there for nothing but me. He was, but it shouldn’t have been that way. I should have paid more attention, treated him like the human he was – he needed love, he needed care. It’s not enough that I feel it, I have to show him. Let him know how much he means to me.

And I didn’t. And now… he still cares. But not the way he used to. It’s more like he’s so used to it he can’t think of anything else to do. But he’s not enjoying this. Sunnydale, me, have both been bad experiences for him.

So he’s leaving.

And I’m falling apart.


Giles took a deep breath. It hurt so much. He didn’t want to leave, not really. But there was so much pain in everyday he spent in Sunnydale… he wasn’t strong enough. He couldn’t stay anymore, couldn’t take another minute of it.

What hurt most of all was the look of utter pain in her eyes when he told her. The fact that her lip began to tremble, that her eyes became teary. But she just said ok. Said she understood. Made him promise to call and write.

And all he could think was ‘Just say it, Buffy. Say you don’t want me to leave, and I’ll stay forever. Just say it.’

But she didn’t.


I want him to stay so much. I want him here for every minute of my life. But I can’t ask him to do it. He’ll feel guilty and stay, and be miserable. It’s not fair to him and it’s so selfish even I can’t do it.

So I’m letting him go. Letting him walk out of my life.

I won’t make it, I know I won’t. I can’t be without him. I can’t FIGHT without him.

Cuz all this time, I think I was fighting for him.

Forget the world. If I die, another slayer comes. She can save them. It’s him. I didn’t want to do it to him.

It was because he was willing to die for me. Because I went there that night ready to die, and he made me want to live again. He had something to die for – me. And if you have something to die for, you have something to live for. And so I did my best to stay alive. If I was all he had to live for, I would stay with him forever.

And now he’s leaving. So I don’t’ have to stay. I can leave. I can have some peace and quiet for the first time in so long…


All he wanted was for her to show that she cared. To come right out and say it. He knew she did, she had proved it in the past. But she never said it. He needed to hear it, and when he didn’t it made something in him rage. And it hurt so much…

Even now, faced with the possibility of him leaving, she didn’t say anything. All his second thoughts about leaving went out the door when she did. If she doesn’t even care enough to tell him that, why does he? To hell with her.

Deep down he knew she couldn’t have guessed. That her letting him go when it clearly hurt her was the greatest sign of her feelings. Loving, caring enough to let go is the highest kind of love. But he wasn’t listening to that part of him. He was listening to the part that needed to hear that he’s loved. And so he picked up his suitcase.


There he is. He’s leaving. He can’t see me here, but I had to see him one last time. Had too… this is the last time. He promised he’d come visit, but I won’t be here then.

The Citroen sits there for a while, not moving, and I start to think that something is wrong with him. But there he goes… out of Sunnydale. Out of my life.

Have a good life Giles, find some love. Some happiness at last.

I turn to the cemetery. Let them have me, if they want. He doesn’t.


Half way to LA international airport, Giles broke and turned back to Sunnydale.


It was too late.