Variations On a Theme
By Arkin

Rating: PG
Summary: A little pain… for both.
Note: The first part is after ‘Becoming.’ The second is 3 season or up. They contradict. Live with it.
Disclaimer: Not mine


Part one: HIS

She had left his number with the land lord. "In case of an emergency".

He looked over the little apartment. It was as clean as she could make it, and still it was filthy, years of gore refusing to part from the walls and floor.

He set himself on the bed slowly, looking at the object in his hands. He had thought the dry cleaners had lost it. It was his favorite jacket, dark gray and rather thick. But when the M.E handed it to him he said that it was what she was wearing. The blood stains on the front and the back could hardly be seen through the dark wool, yet it shone out to him, screaming at him.

'You failed.'

That she had taken his jacket, worn it, was a silent testament to how lonely she was. That the tweed of an old man was what her soul depended upon stung him.

He lay on his side, clutching the jacket to him. It smelled like both of them, his books and tea, her shampoo and sunlight, if sunlight had a smell.

He couldn't stop the tears. He had dreamed of seeing her, smiling, crying, anything. Not like that. Not on the cold metal bed of the M.E, her bright blue eyes closed. Forever.

And it was his fault. How could he have let her go on for so long without finding her and bringing her home? How could he have gone through this area, this STREET, and not sensed her, alone in this roach infested apartment?

He failed. She left him forever. He would pack her things and arrange for her to be buried in Sunnydale. Her mother would want everything, and he would give it to her. But not the jacket. He would keep that, the only proof that at one time she had something of his, as she would always have his heart.

**

Part two: HERS

Buffy sat against the head stone, clutching it with one hand while her head rested on it. The sun had set almost half an hour before but she hardly noticed. Or cared. Tears slid down her pretty face, landing on the ground.

‘Do you even have a cross?’

Buffy ignored the young man as he came to sit beside her on the ground. ‘This is suicide.’

Still nothing from her but tears.

He sent a hand to caress her cheek. ‘I’m very sorry, Buffy.’

To his surprise she leaned into his touch. ‘I miss him so much, Wes.’

‘I know.’

‘I don’t want to do this without him. I… I don’t want to be alone.’

‘You’re not alone, Buffy. You have your family and your friends.’

‘I feel alone. Without him… all I ever asked for was that he stay with me. Why couldn’t God give me that? Just one thing, Wes. Was that so much to ask?’

She didn’t deserve this. ‘No, it’s not so much. It’s not much at all.’

‘Then why can’t I have that? I want him here, Wes. I want him to glare at me and try not to smile when I make fun of him and I want him to be the one that holds me when I cry!’

Still it was Wesley’s chest she rested herself against. ‘I can’t take this. Not without him. I don’t want to.’

‘No.’

‘I want to be with him.’

‘No. He gave his entire life to keep you safe. Studying, training you… he died for you and you owe him more than this. He wanted you alive and the least you can do is honor his wish.’

She was a sorry thing to look at; her cheeks stained with tears, the large tweed jacket she was wearing covered with dried blood. His blood. He let her wear the jacket that night, she was cold. When he died in her arms he marked it with his blood. She hadn’t gone anywhere without it since.

Now she clutched it to her has she struggled to hold back the sobs. Wes was right. Giles died to protect her. it wouldn’t be fair to die now. She had to stay, to show her respect, finally, by honoring his own wish for once.

She looked down at her hands, and at the thick material of the jacket. For once, it did to hold back the cold.

END