Holding My Heart
By WatcherWatcher

TITLE: Holding My Heart
AUTHOR: WatcherWatcher (Katie)
DISTRIBUTION: Anyone that wants it can have it, as long as you let me know (Phyler1013@hotmail.com) and as long as my name and e-mail stay attached to it.
RATING: R, for one measly bad word...
KEYWORDS: Post-ep for The Gift
SPOILERS: It's a big spoiler-palooza for The Gift.
SUMMARY: Continuation of a scene in The Gift
FEEDBACK: This is my first Buffy fic, so I would like to know whether I should bother again if my muse decides it wants to play again. I will accept all kinds of feedback, however I reserve the right to believe only the ones I choose. E-mail to Phyler1013@hotmail.com
DISCLAIMER: (to tune of 'pretty fly for a white guy' with apologies to the offspring) You know it's kinda hard just to have some fun today. Our subjects are not mine, but I'll use them anyway! I may not have a hit show, I may not skills, But I had my fun with them and I got my cheap thrills! There's no debate, Joss Whedon's great! He knows you need not sue me, I will find my fate. So if you don't like, then you can take a hike Cos I don't care, yeah I don't care!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: EW started it! "Yes Katie... read the transcript to The Gift" Thanks babe... It's 1:30 A.M. and I HAD to finish this before I could sleep... damn you with your plot bunnies... Thanks to Nola as always for helping me out. Couldn't do it without you! Also, thanks to Papa Andy for helping with the title. Any mistakes are my own. It's not beta-ed and hasn't even been spell-checked. Piffle.

His heart was screaming at him as his mind was emptied of all thought. He had seen her fall, heard the sickening thud as her body hit the hard ground and felt the force of impact that sent shockwaves through the earth, yet he still couldn't believe she was dead.

The sounds around him faded out. No longer could he hear the pain of those around him. His entire existence was focused on the still form of his slayer. What remained of his rational mind told him that she was dead, that even her slayer strength wouldn't have been able to protect her from such a trauma, yet in his heart, he had to believe that there was some hope.

He slowly moved towards her, desperately seeking any outward sign of life and finding none. Choking back a sob, he dropped to his knees beside her and extended a hand to feel for a pulse. He hesitated for a second, afraid if he touched her, that it would somehow become real, that he wouldn't just wake up in his bed reeling from yet another nightmare.

As his fingers found her throat, he noticed that she was warm. Surely she must be alive if she were warm. He applied a gentle pressure at first, but when he felt nothing, he pressed harder, unwilling to believe that there was truly nothing there. There had to be something, she couldn't be dead. He felt his breathing quicken and the world started to spin around him. Then he felt the hand on his arm.

"Giles. Stop. She's gone."

"GET AWAY!" He struck out blindly at the person next to him before he realised what he was doing.

He turned his head to the side and saw a scared looking Willow standing a few feet from him.

"Willow, I'm sorry... Please... just go a-and take Dawn with you. All of you, leave." He felt a moment of guilt for sending them away, but he needed to be alone, before he did something that he would regret.

He waited for a moment as he heard the small group shuffle off into the distance before he reached out once again to Buffy.

His knuckles traced her cheek lightly and he felt the warmth there that would soon be replaced by the feel of cold, dead skin. He barely noticed as his tears came, slipping down his cheeks and clouding his vision. He kept trying to tell himself that it wasn't real, but he found no comfort in his self-made lie. His slayer was dead, and there wasn't a Goddamned thing he could do about it. He had failed in his duty as a watcher, and he had failed in his duty as a friend.

His hand moved from her cooling cheek to her hair. He gently smoothed it from her face, thinking how pissed she was going to be when she woke up and found her hair full of debris. He stopped at that thought and mentally chastised himself. Who was he kidding, she wasn't going to wake up. This wasn't some fucking fairy tale where a kiss from Prince Charming would fix everything. His slayer, his reason for existing and most importantly, his friend was dead.

Suddenly, it truly hit him. She was dead. His shoulders began to shake as silent, uncontrolled sobs tore through his body. He blindly reached forward and pulled her lifeless body towards him.

He wrapped his arms tightly around her and buried his face in her neck. He held her as tightly as he could and cried into her long, blonde hair. He had never experienced pain like this before. Not emotionally after Jenny had been killed and not physically at the hands of Angelus. This was an entirely different kind of pain. His wounds had healed, he had learned to love again, but what he was feeling now transcended all previous experiences.

He was in pain, and right now, the feel of her body against his was a small comfort to him. He remained there as his tears subsided, one hand tangled in her soft hair and the other rubbing gentle circles on her back, aware of nothing but the feel of his slayer.

Slowly, he started to notice activity around him. People were milling about like insects. For a while, no one dared to approach him. He paid no attention to any of the emergency personel around him or to the small group of worried friends.

When he felt her being lifted from his arms, he offered up no protest. He simply dropped his arms into his lap and stared numbly at the ground in front of him.

"Come on Giles. It's time to go home." The gentle touch on his shoulder brought him back to reality and he slowly raised his gaze to meet the concerned stare of Willow.

She extended a hand to him and helped pull him to his feet. Looking up at his face, she saw he was watching Buffy getting zipped into a body bag. She placed her hand onto his back and slowly led him away.

As he walked, Giles realised why he felt so empty. From the moment he had met her, Buffy had held his heart. She still did, and had taken it with her into death.