by Gabriele Schulz

DISTRIBUTION: Solo84, Cap, Dria14, Eskalade, Jess, Sai. Others please ask first.
SPOILERS: actually none
FEEDBACK: My first fic involving character death, so please tell me how I did it.
SUMMARY: Far in the future Giles is at Buffy's grave... B/G
WARNING: Buffy is dead!
DISCLAIMER: The characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Sandollar Productions, Kuzui Enterprises, 20th Century Fox Television, the WB Television Network, and whoever else may have a hold on them. I do not mean to infringe upon any copyrights.
I read 'I lied' by Janine Ose and loved it, but I generally don't like to support either Buffy or Giles committing suicide, when the other is gone, because that would justify all those B/A Shippers who believe Buffy shouldn't move on after Angel left. So in my fic Buffy is dead, and Giles is happily remarried. And now that you expect the worst go ahead and read ;-)
(I guess Buffy's birthday should be the 19th, but since it was never mentioned explicitely I take the 18th (because that's my birthday ;-) )
DATE: 11/18-21/99

"Hello Buffy."

He smiled down at her grave from his wheelchair. They had brought him here to visit her one last time before he would finally follow her. After over 30 years.

Elizabeth Anne Giles

January 18th 1981 - February 23rd 2004


He couldn't see well enough to make out the words, but he could clearly see them in his mind. There was no other inscription for nothing had seemed quite adequate. Buffy was what she had been to all of them and that was why he couldn't have borne not to have this name on the gravestone.

He saw the blurry shade of what must have been fresh flowers. He wondered who had put them there. Willow? No, not Willow, he had to remind himself. She was dead of course. For twenty years now. Her grave was somewhere close by. He looked around him, but didn't quite remember. Where were Xander and Greg? It took him a moment before he saw them. Xander was leaning against Greg. Probably crying.

He sometimes wondered how he could still cry after so many years. He himself had only cried once about Buffy's death and that wasn't grief, but the happiness of the few years they had been given together. Four children in as many years. As if she had known there wasn't much time. He remembered how he had held Xander at Buffy's funeral. He had been the only one who hadn't cried. Willow, Oz, Angel, Cordelia. And Xander had been sobbing in his arms until Cordelia had gently taken over.

It was their child that Xander was crying over now. Sweet little Cassie, who had been as beautiful as her mother and as stubborn and intolerable, if lovable as her father. He smiled at the memory of the vivacious little girl with her long dark hair. Couldn't Xander remember her? Couldn't he be happy for what they had been given even if only for 9 years? And she didn't have to suffer. Not like his poor Buffy. She had been in much pain, but even as she did her last breath she had smiled up at him and he had smiled back, because he couldn't do anything else, whenever she looked at him with her loving gaze. And that was what he remembered. Her smile, her life. He had promised her. Not with words, but it was what she had wanted just as he would have wanted her to go on had he been the first to die. And he had moved on.

He was aware though that it wasn't easy. Not for all of them. Not for Xander. And not for Cordelia. Loosing her daughter to her best friend... no, he had to correct himself, Willow had of course been dead then already, but the demon that had taken over her body had taken the life of Xander and Cordelia's daughter. And losing the child she had been carrying in that difficult time had been too much. She had killed herself a month later.

And for a while it had seemed they would lose Xander, too. He had been the one who had staked Willow, had found his daughter and his wife dead within three months. He was glad that Anna had entered his life by then, taking a little of his responsibility with his children. She had immediately fallen in love with them. Even before she had fallen in love with him. She had given him the time it took to take care of Xander. He had spent much time with him, talking about his work, better times, but mostly just uninteresting, but amusing little things from his own past. And one day, when he had almost given up hope, Xander had started to laugh at one of his stories, before breaking down and weeping in his arms. He had cried so much already, but it hadn't been enough. Life still wasn't easy after that, but he lived on.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Buffy, my dear, I must be depressing you. And it's not as if you don't know all of this. I bet Cordelia is right by your side now and you're exchanging insults. If she's not combing Cassie's long her. A hundred brushes a day."

He smiled. He was looking forward to seeing them all again. He knew that he would die soon. They all knew.

"Soon you'll be with her again," his wife had told him, not in any way jealous, and as so often he thought, how much he loved her, something he hadn't thought possible after Buffy's death.

Xander and his son approached him.

"Shall we go home, Dad?"

"Not yet."

Greg nodded and he and Xander left him alone, walking past the graves arm in arm. It made him smile as always. He clearly remembered the day when aged 16 Greg had just casually mentioned between two bites of toast, that he was gay. He hadn't been surprised. Neither of them had. Liz had just looked over the book she had been reading and said "I knew that." to no one in particular. That had been it. It had been more difficult for Xander. He wasn't gay, but the thought that there was something else beside his interest in women had been strange.

Well, he couldn't resist Gregory. Even at sixteen he was charming in a very mature way. Shy and unbelievably handsome. Over the years there had been more than one girl to comment 'He's too goodlooking. He has to be married or gay.'

Giles chuckled quietly.

He was both now, and Giles wouldn't have believed that he would live to witness his son's wedding to another man. Not in this country. But he had. He had seen that and he had seen his children grow up to have their own children. Well, Matt and Carol at least. Liz had managed to get married three times, but still had no children.

They were all at home now. They had come to say good-bye. He would have to go soon. They would all want to talk to him seperately and he felt tired. What was he going to tell them? What did they expect? He knew that they were looking up to him as if he was wiser than all of them. As if he knew the secret to living happily until the age of 80. But he didn't know the secret. If he did, he would have told Xander. Or Cordelia. Or Liz. Maybe it was just not letting the bad get to you. To eat you up, to take over your life. You had to let love in your life. Give it and take it. That was what he had always done. Or at least tried. It had been easier after knowing that Buffy loved him.

Oh, his Buffy. His memories had faded over the last couple of years. There were so many things he couldn't remember anymore. But Buffy he could always see as clearly as if she were standing right in front of him. Smiling up with that loving gaze.

Could you make love in heaven? And should he be thinking about that? He wondered if he would be young again. The way she must remember him. She had always teased him about his age. Sometimes at the most inappropriate times, such as when they were about to climax, but he knew that she never really thought he was old. Or at least too old for her.

She had been so proud of him. After that first sweet kiss in the front door of what had then been his home, she hadn't hesitated to let the world know she was in love with him. She had beamed at their wedding and he remembered a few whispers, gasps and giggles, when she had put her hands on his butt and pushed her tongue into his mouth after it had been announced that they were husband and wife and that he 'may kiss the bride'. She hadn't cared, just loved the way he had blushed.

She had carried his children as proudly as her wedding band.

Sometimes she had been asked why she didn't wait with the marriage or the children. And she had simply answered "For what?". In him she had found everything she had been looking for. Even if it had taken her quite a while to find that out. But once she had, she couldn't wait - with anything.

Yes, that first kiss had been gentle, but after a quiet "I love you, Rupert Giles." the second kiss had followed and it had been so passionate that he had found himself pinned to the ground within seconds. It had taken all his willpower and condsiderable amount of talking (or actually begging) to make her pause long enough for them to go to the bedroom.

He would never forget the ecstacy of that first time. He hadn't believed it could be that way. So all-consuming. Her soft flesh beneath his. Their bodies finally united - together with every other aspect of their being. They had become *one* that day. Making love was a way to express that unity and he had enjoyed every time. Four wonderful children had come from their union, although he did not pretend that it was *them* that made him cherish their sex. It was the overwhelming pleasure, that had never failed to set a fire in both of them.

He didn't notice the slight chill outside as his body warmed with the memories of thousands of nights and mornings and afternoons, where at the feeling of her soft skin in his hands the only reason for knowing his own name was because she repeated it over and over. He had lost himself in her every time, but she had always found him. He could almost feel her touch, her hot breath on his neck and - elsewhere.


He slowly opened his eyes, an almost-grin playing on his face.

Xander took a close look at him.

"You were having naughty thoughts. And not about your wife, I dare say."

"She *is* my wife."

"Well, not the one waiting at home for you. I think, you've been having very naughty Watcher/Slayer thoughts. Don't try to deny it."

His grin widened and Xander could very clearly see the man Buffy had fallen in love with all those years ago.

"I don't."

Greg started to wheel his father away.

"And I thought guys get to control this when they get older."

"Why? You're not trying to back out of your marital duties, are you?. My son is after all 19 years younger. I hope you can satisfy him at least a couple of more years before you succumb to old age. And don't be ashamed if it does happen. I think he'll be perfectly willing to assist you in any way he can."

Xander blushed furiously, while his husband just smiled.

Somewhere far away and yet very close, Cassie looked curiously at Buffy.

"What are you thinking about, Buffy?"

She stared into eternity a wicked smile playing on her face.

Cordelia, looking exactly the way she had the day Cassie was born, put her hands on her daughter's shoulder.

"I think you are too young to hear that."

Suddenly Buffy's smile turned into a grin.

"Boy, I think even *I* am too young to hear that."

"I think we should leave her alone for a while."

Willow took Cassie's hand and together the three of them walked away.

Buffy closed her eyes and her grin was replaced with a serious, but gentle smile.

"Soon, Rupert. Soon."


Note: Now tell me the truth was it so bad? See? A future fic with one of our loved ones dead doesn't have to be depressing... Just try!