Heaven, Here I Come.
By Renee

PLOT - Giles is shattered after Buffy's death, there's only one thing that will bring him back from the brink.
AUTHOR - Renee
TITLE - Heaven, Here I Come.
RATING - PG13
SPOILER - Set right after Bargaining but in my happy world where Giles never left for England.
DISCLAIMER - Joss and Co. own all the Buffy rights, I'm just playing ( wink wink nudge nudge say no more ) with them.


The room would be completely dark if not for the moonlight shining through his window. The clock softly chimed 11 but he paid it no heed. Time didn't matter now, nothing did, she was gone. He'd lost track of how many days? Months maybe? since she'd been gone. It felt like an eternity, an infinite house of horror with deep throbbing pain every second. He'd found a medicine of sorts though, it numbed the pain if only for a short while. The problem was it was getting increasingly difficult to remove the image of her broken body lying before him.

He hurled his glass against the wall and watched with detached fascination as the amber liquid made a path down it, glass and booze everywhere. A sob escaped, his resolve shattering like the glass. Sinking to the floor, his hands craddled his face as he wept unabashedly. He was a shell of the man he'd been, couldn't recall the last time he'd shaven, was amazed he'd been able to drag himself into the shower once a day. Auto pilot was in control now, it helped him eat, bathe, breathe, it helped him to survive.

___

Her eyes flashed open and it was as though every nightmare she'd had as a child had come true. She realised quickly that she was in a coffin, panic overwhelmed her as air began to fill her lungs for the first time in months. She pounded on the wood above her hoping desperatly that someone would hear. The dull thud of her hands hitting the wood was the only sound that came. Moments before she'd been at complete peace, it was the first time she could remember feeling that way. Now all she could feel was terror, it filled her every sense until she thought she'd faint from it.

'Have to get out' the thought became a mantra as she hit, kicked and scratched with all her might to get free. The dirt filed in like a waterfall as she broke through the top of the coffin, just a few more feet now and she'd be ok. But how could she ever be ok again, she was back here. Her fist thrust into the air and the rest of her followed quickly behind. She threw herself from the grave and lay on the grass staring into her own abyss. The numbness returned and she was thankful for it. She wanted only one thing, to find her way back into heaven but how? Giles would know how he knows everything. On instinct alone she heaved herself up and began to walk.

___

Between sobs, as he sucked in breath, a sound began to break through. It was a steady thump and it seemed to be coming from his door. He hadn't allowed anyone to see him in weeks though they'd tried everything they could think of. Finally he'd ignored them, he no longer answered the door or telephone and the only time he left the apartment was to buy more alcohol. The incessant knocking continued, furious at the interuption he bellowed, "Bugger Off, I'm not home!" The old Giles may have laughed at the absurdness of the situation but this Giles didn't know how to laugh, felt no joy whatsoever. The thumping continued still, 'how thick can some people be?' he thought as he picked up the bottle that was now empty after many hours of taking his 'medicine'. "Dammit leave me the hell alone I told you!" He hurled the bottle toward the door and felt some tinge of relief as it smashed on impact. Still the knocking continued, fed up but looking forward to a fight he stomped to the door, Ripper was in and ready for a tussle.

The door flew open and he opened his mouth to let loose at the intruder but his eyes deceived him. He thought he saw Buffy standing before him. She looked like an angel standing in his doorway lit only by the moonlight. His knees buckled and he fell to the ground sobbing into the night. One look at him and her walls crumbled, she really was back, this wasn't all some strange dream. She slumped down in front of him and let loose a scream that spoke of the horror that overwhelmed her.

Her scream broke through his drunken consciouness and his eyes flew to her small frame.
"Buffy?" It was barely a whisper but it was enough to get her attention. She looked up and stared into his eyes, every feeling coursing through her was written across her face. He reached a hand gently to her, afraid that one touch could make her dissapear in a cloud of smoke. He lightly touched her face and was amazed when all he felt was skin, she was real, she was here! She recoiled from his touch, scrambling away like a wild animal. The shredded mass that was his heart finally gave up all pretense of beating as he looked upon her. She could be better seen in the light from a streetlamp now and what he saw pained him deeply. Her hands were torn up, bleeding, she was covered in dirt from head to toe and he realised now that she was wearing the dress they'd buried her in. His hand flew to his mouth as he realised the truth of the situation. She had somehow come back to life and had to dig herself out of her own grave.

Slowly soothingly, tears coursing down his cheeks, he stretched out a hand to her. At first she made no move but eventually, cautiously she attempted to take it. He looked at her in wonder, his Buffy had never ceased to amaze him, he sent up a silent prayer thankful that his heart had been returned to him. He gently pulled her into his embrace and was eternally grateful when Buffy allowed him to hold her. He let his body wrap her in a cocoon of his love for a time, whispering the occassional "I love you".

Giles was holding her, Giles loved her, she loved Giles, she could feel it in her every breath. She let out a sob, his arms tightened around her as she cried desperatly clinging to him. He was the beacon in the darkness she was surrounded by. She held onto him as if her new life depended on it, he could hold the horror at bay if she just didn't let go. He lovingly picked her up and carried her inside, shutting the door with his foot as an afterthought. He made his way up the stairs with her as gently as possible aware he was carrying a precious bundle, he took her into the bathroom. He laid her carefully down in the dry bathtub and moved to get the first aid kit. Her arms were locked tightly around his neck, he discovered he wasn't going anywhere.

"Buffy luv, please I just want to get some banadages for your hands, I won't go anwhere else I swear."
Reluctantly her grip eased until she finally released him entirely, she shivered and began to rock, the emptiness threatening to consume her once more. He scrambled to get everything then knelt by her side. Giles lovingly attended every scratch until he was finally satisfied that he'd done all he could.
"Buffy, I'm gonna leave you for a few minutes to let you shower ok?" She latched onto his neck in the blink of an eye.
"P...please no, Giles, don't go." The look on her face was all it took to convince him, he'd never seen her so frail or afraid. Even when she'd known it was her destiny to die at the master's hands she'd found courage that had shocked him, it was one of the things he most admired about her. His poor sweet Buffy had none of those reserves now, she'd been through God only knows what and was beaten down.

"Alright sweetheart I'm right here, I'm not going anywhere." He could see her muscles relax and was grateful for the loosened grip on his neck. He scooped her up again and carried her to his room laying her gently onto the bed.
"I'm going to let you sleep for a while alright?"
"Don't leave me Giles, please!" Her hand snatched his own.
"I'll sit right here by the bed, I'll be here if you need anything, just rest ok?" She shook her heard vehemontly, pulling him onto the bed with her.
"Giles just hold me, I...all I see is the wood and the dirt, I feel it. I...I...can't get away from it, I need to feel something else, please just hold me."

Stuttering uncomfortably at her request he begged her to let him call someone else to fufill her wish. It wasn't that he didn't want to, he'd have leapt at the chance before, but not now, not like this. He couldn't risk her finding out how he felt for her in her current condition.
"NO!" She practically screamed the word. "No Giles I want you, I...I...need you. You're the only one I've ever needed, you're my other half Giles. Dont you feel this ...... bond we have, you must? I trust you Giles, I need you, I love you, please hold me."

He saw into her soul and could deny her nothing. Awkwardly he lay down behind her and gathered her into his embrace. She snuggled back into him, revelling in the feeling, the darkness was seeping out of her every pore until a strange kind of peace settled over her. Within minutes her breathing had shallowed and he was relieved to feel how relaxed she'd become. He allowed himself to feel joy, overwhelmed at its sudden return. His Buffy was back, he didn't care how or why for once, the only thing that mattered was she was here now and in his arms. After some time of silently stroking her tangled locks and marvelling at his blessing he finally drifted off.

Minutes, possibly hours later he awoke to her screaming, shaking her gently he began to hum in an attempt to calm her. It worked, she rolled over and the grief of the nightmare eased it's way off her face as she stared at him. She smiled for the briefest of moments and the radiance of it caused him to stop.
She frowned "Please don't stop ...it...it was beautiful."
"So was your smile." He began to hum again and was rewarded with another one. When he finished the last note she fidgeted, obviously anxious to say something.
His hand stroked her cheek, "Luv what it is? You can tell me anything."
Her lip quivered but she whispered the words "I love you."

He smiled at her fondly, "I know Buffy, I love you too."
"No you don't understand," the frustration in her voice confusing him. "I love you Rupert Giles, I'm in love with you." His eyes went wide with shock, she didn't know what she was saying, obviously the trauma was making her say it.
"B...b....buffy I understand that you're under a lot of stress right now so I want you to know that I wont hold you to anything you may say or do."
"Giles I want you to hold me to it, I mean it. I've loved you for as long as I can recall. Remember Olivia?" He blushed as he thought back to when she and Buffy had first met.

"I was jealous of her Giles, I hated her because she got to wear your shirt, she got to kiss you and touch you and it was meant to be me. It's supposed to be me, you have to know that, you have to feel this too." She grabbed his hand and held it to her chest, he could feel her heart pounding underneath.
"This is because of you Giles." She whispered, "I love you Rupert Giles!" as she leant towards him. He pulled away abruptly, "Buffy you can't mean this."
"Tell me you don't love me Giles."
"I can't." She could hear the emotion in his voice, hear the weariness from trying to deny his feelings for so long.
"Then kiss me."
"Buffy I....I need to know this is real, if you woke up tomorrow and regretted anything, I...I...I'd die."
"I know and I do mean it, I love you."

She pulled him to her and softly grazed her lips against his. Giles moaned as she stirred his every sense. Her tongue flicked gently into his mouth and he eagerly stroked it. She smiled as he gave up the last signs of resistance, "Oh Buffy, Lord how I love you, you're my soul."
"And you're mine." They spent hours carressing, delighting in one another, grateful to be together at last. They'd wasted years because of fear or propriety but no more, they'd been given another chance and this time they wouldn't waste it. They'd both found their heaven and it was in each other.