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November 2013

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Nov. 28th, 2013

How can people be so heartless?

Happy Thanksgiving. It was a nice holiday over all. Turkey, young cousins, nap time and some weird hunting video game that I don't understand. However, out of all of that good stuff, one things really stuck with me this Thanksgiving. You see, I worked this morning, the 5am-1:30pm shift. And for those of you who don't know, I work in a nursing home. My residence mean the world to me. They have become like, a second family of sorts. Making them happy just make my entire day worth while. Well, there is one resident who I will simply call Mr. Smiles.

Now, Smiles has a mental disability. He is like a giant ten year old in an adult's body but he is one of the sweetest men I have ever met in my life. He is always happy. Always. His roommate, who I like to call (in my head) Mr.-Racist-Asshole (another story, another time), likes to make horrible and rude jokes about him. And yet, Smilies never seems to waivers and still smiles and laughs (a part of me wonders if he even understands that he is being made fun of-because I don't think he does).

There was only one time that I never seen him happy (other than today) and that was when he lost his deceased wife's wedding ring. Now, I don't know much about his wife (seeing as she passed on some time ago) but from what I understand she had some disability too, but he loved her very much. He cried for days over that ring until it was found (in the laundry if I recall correctly). From now on, he wears that ring on a chain around his neck.

But I'm getting side tracked. The point I'm getting is about what happened today....and well yesterday. You see, Smiles never leaves the home. He sits in the activity room, putting puzzles together...all day long and only comes out to say goodbye to workers when they clock out and for meal times. He never spends time in his room (although I think that is because of Mr. Racist-Asshole.) He never seems to have anyone visit him and yesterday he was telling everyone that he was going out to visit his step-daughters for Thanksgiving. He was SO EXCITED. I've never seen anyone as excited as he was about seeing family and celebrating the holiday....well that didn't happen. He came to breakfast this morning and I asked him if he was excited to see him family today.

He then said he wasn't going.

APPARENTLY, his jerk-face step-daughters decided "they didn't want to celebrate Thanksgiving with him". His exact words. They promised him a Thanksgiving dinner and then completely bailed on him, leaving him alone, in the nursing home on Thanksgiving. He was so upset and broken hearted. All I wanted to do was bring him home with me and let him have a nice Thanksgiving (I'm not a family member so I'm not allowed to to take him off the premises-or I would have brought him home). I cried.

I just don't get how people are so freaking cruel? I just.....it hurts me to see him so....sad and lonely.

On a side note, I got my stuff from my step-mother. My dad's dresser and my grandmother's quilt...that was never to be used....but had a giant blood stain on it. Yes....a giant blood stain. I don't even want to know how it got there. I mean, who does that?

Sep. 17th, 2013

Sometimes I really hate people

Okay, I'm not one to rant on the internet about my private life. Mainly because I know it stays out there forever and I can never get that back. However, this is a special exception because I'm about to burst. It started out innocently. I asked my best friend if she would design my new tattoo. She did my last one and she is an amazing artist. I sent her the colon cancer ribbon because my dad died of that last year. I asked her if she could put his name, his birthdate and death date in or around the ribbon. She did and it turned out beautifully.

I sent it to my sister via text message because she was talking about doing something similar. I thought she might want to use it too. She never commented on the tattoo design, instead she told me to google something. I did and what I found made me cry and seriously made me want to hit someone.

My stepmother posted an auction online through this company. October 5th, she is auctioning off some of my father belongings. Some things were old and gathering dust, I will give her that but other things are rather personal. For example, my dad owned a business a few years ago. She is selling every bit of that business that is left. She is selling off a kitchen cabinet that actually belongs to my mother and a go-carter that he and my sister built from scratch. She is selling his motorsycle. Then there is things that are smaller but still belong to my dad. Then there are things that "are not listed" and they could be anything. It's like she is erasing that he ever existed.

Not only that but there were certain things in his will that was left to each of us kids. We never got it and most likely never will. For example I was to get a quilt that my grandmother made for me when I was a baby, something she did for all her grandkids. She died when I was three. My half-brother was born when I was six. He doesn't have one and because of that she feels I shouldn't have mine.

Now I have to find someone to cover my shift that day in hopes that I can buy some of that stuff back. Not only that but she can't claim that she needs the money because she just spent two and half weeks in Mexico......

I just...I'm heartbroken. 

Sep. 8th, 2013

Stages of Understanding~Chapter Four

Well, here is chapter four...posted mainly for littleotter73 because she wanted it so soon.

Also, I borrowed some dialogue from season six, no infringement intended.


Chapter FourCollapse )

Aug. 24th, 2013

Stages of Understanding~Chapter Three

A/N Okay, this up a bit later than expected but I hope you like it just the same. All rights belong to Joss and anyone else who may own the BTVS.


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Aug. 7th, 2013

Stages of Understanding~ Chapter Two (2?)

A/N: Okay, this is the unbeta version. Once that is done, I will make the changes that need to be made. All disclaimers can be found in the prologue.

Chapter Two

Sunnydale was bright as it always was. The sun showed no mercy and Giles found that highly ironic. At night the southern Californian town was over run by vampires, demons and anything that children fear lives under their bed. It seemed like the sun wanted to shine as bright as it could to make up for the damage the night caused. England, while still held demons, it was nothing compared to the ones that lived here. Perhaps that is why it felt safe to hide behind the clouds there.


Giles stood outside the Sunnydale airport looking in each direction. He froze at what he saw. Nothing. The tower that haunted his dreams was gone. He has expected that to be the first thing he saw but it wasn't. Something had happened that caused that massive, unstable, metal tower to fall. He briefly wondered if she had anything to do with it. It was an omen of some kind but he wasn't sure if it was good or bad. It could go either way and that scared Giles more than anything else.


He sighed and put his bag into his new silver rental car. He briefly wished he had his sporty red car back and wondered if it was still parked in his space at his apartment or if it had been toed for some reason or another. He never thought to ask Dawn about it. He would know soon enough he thought. Giles opened the door and sat down on the seat only to realize that he got in on the passengers side. He stopped for a moment. That had never happened before. It was a full realization that he moved to England permanently. He never intended to come back to Sunnydale. He may have thought, in a brief off handed way that he would return when his wounds healed but now he realized that he never would have. He was going to settle in to some half life in England. He was going to settle into some habits and set down roots. Slowly his time in Sunnydale would be a distant memory. His phone calls with Dawn would become less frequent and only happen on birthdays and holidays. He most likely would never speak to either Willow or Xander again. He would move on. They all would move on and that seemed positively horrible to him.


Giles got out of the car and moved to the other side and got back in. He paused again. Where to go? He could go to his apartment and get settled but he knew the moment that thought entered his mind he shot it down. Not only did Willow still have his key but he needed to make sure....she was indeed alive again. He needed to make sure that this was real and that he could touch her, feel her, talk to her....be with her. He also knew that if she wasn't and this was some sort of sick joke, it would break him. It was a last ditch effort and his last hope. If it turned out to be fruitless....well, there was no coming up from the deep end. It would be like reliving her death all over again because he allowed himself to hope. Giles didn't know if he could survive that twice.


Should he go to her home? He was certain he knew the way because he could drive there with his eyes closed....hypothetically of course. No. It was just before sundown. The chance of her being home was slim. Then where? School? No, he was certain she had enrolled yet. To soon for that. The Bronze? Was it even open at the moment? Shopping? Patrolling? The Magic Box? That was it. The most logical place to look for his slayer would be the Magic Box. When she was alive that is where she spent a good portion of her time. Giles smiled and turned the car on. He knew the drive and as he grew closer and closer to his destination he became nervous. Everything he ever wanted could be moments away, or not. It was a gamble and he didn't know if he would come out a winner or not.


The drive to the Magic Box was only about fifteen minutes however, it seemed much longer. When he parked outside of the shop he had to take several deep and long breaths. His hands shook and for what seemed to be the first time in years, he wished he still smoked. Giles needed something to calm his nerves and he wasn't sure if anything else would do that, other than seeing....her. When he was able to collect his thoughts, he stepped out of the rental and looked at the shop. He took on last deep breath and started to move on foot in front of the other. He reached the door and opened. He heard the familiar ding of the bell.


“I'm sorry but we're about to.....close.” Tara's voice sounded but drifted off when she saw who it was.


There had been movement in the shop but it stopped once they heard the bell as well. He saw all the normal faces. Anya was standing behind the counter at the cash register, counting the money she had made for the day. He almost cracked a smile when he saw her do her money making dance. His eyes shifted to Xander, who wore a broad smile. His hands were stuffed into his pockets and he rocked on his heels. Willow stood next to him with excitement in here eyes and an expectant look on her face. Tara stood beside her lover with her arms wrapped around the red-head's middle. Dawn was sitting at the table with a book opened in front of her. Giles assumed in was school related since she had a notebook opened beside the text book. She smiled widely and waved at him. He noticed how Dawn's eyes shifted from him to the women who stood in front of her. Giles allowed his eyes to follow her gaze.


There she stood. Her hair still had the same golden tint to it and her skin was sun kissed. She wore a white tank top and a pair of jeans. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail. Her head turned and when she noticed him it was as though the world had paused. She sucked in a breath and she saw his shoulders relax. He smiled that small smile that made his laugh lines show. He took a step further as did she. Nobody said anything as the two came closer. Nobody even breathed until they heard Giles's voice.


“Buffy.” It came out almost like a prayer. There was relief in the name. It was the first time he allowed himself to say her name. When she had died he shined away from anything that reminded him of her. When he would talk on the phone with Dawn, the teenager learned not to even simply breath Buffy's name. The first time he heard her name was when Willow called him to tell him she was back. However, her name had not left his lips since the day of her funeral.


“Buffy, that’s me.” Her voice was light and timid and Giles just smiled wider. He reached out his hand and placed it on her shoulder. He gave it a tight squeeze. Buffy reached up and placed her hand on top of his. Their eyes were locked and suddenly Buffy rushed forward and wrapped her arms around him. Giles held her close and kissed the top of her head. Buffy squeezed him around the middle and Giles sucked in a breath.


“You're still remarkably strong.” He said breathlessly. With that Buffy pulled away and looked at Giles worriedly. Her eyes were wide and she touched his chest quickly to make sure she didn't break anything valuable. Shock and a small bit of desire rippled through him as he felt her small hands touch his chest. Giles raised his hand and took hers into his. His thumb rubbed over her knuckles gently before giving her hand a gentle squeeze. “I'm all right. It's incredibly good to see you, despite the pain.” He joked but both could see between the lines. That was when he got a real good look at her. There were dark circles under her eyes as though she hadn't been sleeping. She was thinner than he could recall before and there was a certain nervousness and fear in her features. However, before he could comment, Dawn popped up beside them and threw her arms around Giles.


“Giles! I've missed you.” Giles blushed at the affection that the young teenaged girl was showing him. He opened his mouth to speak but Dawn wouldn't allow that. “Well, I'm sure you have loads to tell us but I just finished my algebra homework and Xander offered to walk me home. Isn't that right Xander?” Dawn said with a smile plastered on her face.


“What?”


“You're going to walk me home, right Xander?” The brunette said through clenched teeth. Xander took the hint and smiled. He grabbed Dawn's backpack and textbook. He swung the blue bag over his shoulder before walking up the single step and over to the trio. He held out an arm and gave Giles an one armed hug. “It's good to have you back.” He whispered and gave Giles's shoulder a squeeze. Giles smiled that sheepish smile again and Xander saw his embarrassment before turning to Buffy. “Don't worry Buff, I will make sure that young Dawnie here gets home safe.”


“Thank you.” Buffy looked at Dawn and gave a small stern look. “Behave.”


Dawn rolled her eyes but could wipe the smile that was plastered on her face. She had been waiting for this moment since Willow told them that Giles would be returning. She knew here sister wasn't happy and would give anything to see the light in Buffy's eyes again. She knew that the two of them loved each other hopelessly. Before they were both too stubborn to admit it until it was too late, now they have a second chance. She could only hope that they didn't waste it and she fully intended to give them a nudge in the right direction.


“You girls coming?” Xander asked over Buffy's shoulder to Willow, Anya and Tara. Anya shook her head in the negative while Tara pulled her arms from her lover and smiled gently.


“I'm in. Willow?” The redheaded witch nodded. Tara grabbed their bags and walked over to were the others were. Willow followed. Tara stepped slightly in-between Buffy and Giles to give the British man a hug. “Welcome home.” Giles smiled gently at her and gave his thanks. Buffy stood back and watched her friends greet her watcher. She wanted nothing more than to be alone with him. She wanted nothing more than to hear his voice and his words of comfort. Buffy knew she had missed him but her heart was about to burst with just home much she really had yearned for him.


Once Tara stepped away, Willow took her place with a look of expectation written all over her features. Giles took a moment to really look at the young women who he knew since she a mere teenager. Willow had changed so much in those few years and Giles honestly didn't know if he should hug her or shake some sense into her. He was grateful that Buffy was alive and that there was a change to have her in his life again, because his life was less meaningful without her. However, what Willow was getting herself into was dangerous and he knew that she had far to fall and most likely break herself upon the landing. He knew this because he took the plunge in his youth and it ended with the death of a dear friend. Yet, it wasn't only the damage that Willow could cause herself but the damage that has already been done to Buffy that worried him.


“Hello Willow.” His voice was gentle and affectionate. She gave him that small Willow wave and he could still see the old Willow behind the magic. He stepped forward and gave her a small and gentle hug. “We'll talk later.” The witch beamed and nodded. She looped her arm through Tara's arm and gave Buffy a small hug. The group of four headed toward the door before Giles turned back and looked at them. “Willow? Do you have the key to my flat on you?”


“What? Oh! Yes.” She took her small bag from Tara and dug through it. It was a couple seconds before she found what she was looking for. She took the small cold key off of her key ring and walked back over toward her best friend and Giles. She handed him the key with a wide smile. “The place is exactly same as you left. I went in once a week to dust and make sure everything was okay. The books we used for, you know, the slayage were put back in their proper place, all alphabetized and categorized accordingly.”


“Yes, thank you.” Giles stated and Willow beamed. She waved again and walked over to her friends. The four of them left the store. There was a point of awkwardness between Buffy and Giles, manly because they could still hear Anya behind them. She was the only one of their friends who didn't seem overly pleased by Giles appearance. Buffy tore her eyes away from Giles and pointed to the table. He smiled and nodded. She went over and grabbed her jacket and bag. Giles stepped down the small step and went to greet the shopkeeper, however he kept Buffy in his line of sight the entire time. “Hello Anya.” The ex-demon looked up and narrowed her eyes slightly.


“I'm not leaving. I still have things to do. You know, shop related things. Things that I have to do. Not you. You can't have the store back. You left it to me. You became a silent partner, as in silent and away. As in overseas away. You can't have it back.” Anya ranted and it caused Giles to smile slightly. He missed her ramblings.


“I'm not here to take the shop back. Although I'm sure we can figure out the legality of it all at a later date.” Giles stated but Anya still looked at him as though she didn't believe a word that he was saying. He couldn't blame her, he never did intend to return and had basically given her the entire ownership of the shop. On paper they were partners but in reality, Anya ran the shop. Giles had always been more behind the scenes than working the front line. Buffy walked to the counter and indicated that she was ready to head out. “We'll see you later Anya, and I need not remind you to be careful?”


“You're not my boss. You don't have to tell me anything.” Anya stated and Giles looked down and gave her a small smile. He placed his hand on the small of Buffy's back and began to lead her to the door. “Hey Giles?” Anya called and Giles turned back. “It's good to have you home.” With that the British man offered her a gentle smile and nodded. The two of them headed out of the shop. The sun had set completely and the only light that could be seen was those created by the light posts. He walked her over to his car and her brow creased.


“This isn't your sporty mid-life crises.” Buffy stated and Giles laughed somewhat. He was still getting used to the sound of her voice again and the odd phrases that she sometimes sprouted off. Their eyes locked for a moment before he unlocked her side of the car. He opened her door and allowed her to step inside before walking this own side. The small smile that had been on his lips since he opened the door to the Magic Box slipped when he was suddenly turned and pinned up against the car.


A man with dark hair and a lumpy face with fangs smiled menacingly. The patronizing growl hummed through the cracked lips and the yellowed eyes narrowed. Giles could feel his blood run cold and his heart speed up. He distantly heard the slam of a car door and the putter of feet running. Just as the vampire was about to lean in for the kill, the yellow eyes widened and the face full of lumps slowly turned to dust. Behind the dust was Buffy with a stake held high. Giles slumped against the car and Buffy rushed to him. The stake she had been holding dropped to the ground. She found herself wrapped in his arms and his thumb rubbing gently against her forearm. He leaned in and kissed the top of her head.


“Are you okay?” She whispered to him and she could feel his smile against her hair.


“I'm in Sunnydale for less than two hours and I've been attacked by a vampire. Nothing communicates 'welcome home' better.” He joked and Buffy pulled away but didn't withdraw completely. She leaned against him and looked up into his eyes. There was a moment that passed when Buffy was tempted to kiss him. She wanted to and from the looks of it the same thought was going through his mind. Yet, their lips never met. Instead Buffy looked away and pulled back.


“We should go before some of Mr. Dust's friends come out to play.” Buffy moved toward the other side of the car but stopped when she felt Giles's hand grab hers. He gave a gentle squeeze before pulling her toward him again. It wasn't like the embrace they shared before and wasn't as close. They weren't holding each other but they were close enough to feel the body heat.


“We never discussed our destination, I assumed my flat but.......Where would you like to go?” The question was simple and if not implied. Her home was out of question because there would be too many people there. She loved her sister and friends but wasn't in the mood for them. Places that where public were less than ideal because she couldn't exactly be alone with him. That and the only places that were really open after dark were the movie theater, Espresso Pump, a few shops and the Bronze. None of them were to her liking.


“Your apartment. I'm in serious need of some Giles-overload.” The British gentlemen laughed gently and fondly. The got into the car and headed toward his apartment. The drive was silent, both dwelling on what would have been their first kiss. Buffy was thinking about why she pulled away. She wanted nothing more to lock her lips with his however, she was scared that he would turn away. She was terrified of rejection. On top of everything, she could not handle that.


Giles was, while not happy, glad that she pulled away as well but not because he didn't want to kiss her but because he knew that it was far to soon. It was nice to dream about sweeping in and kissing her passionately but when he saw how fragile she seemed, he knew that it was too soon. There would be time for love, flowers and all types of romance later because now there was a later. He loved her and he wasn't going to miss the chance of showing her. Of course now that he knew she had loved him before her death made him less scared of admitting his feelings.


When they arrived at his apartment, Giles opened the car door for Buffy and then opened the trunk to retrieve his luggage once she climbed out of the car. He paused at the front door before unlocking it, savoring the moment. The last time he was in this apartment was a time of grief and pain. He vowed never to step foot in it again but here he was about to open the door and doing so happily.


“Geez Giles, I know you've been in England for a few months but I'm sure the locks are similar enough to open your own door.” Buffy joked and Giles turned to look at her. All night he had been doing that. He had simply been looking at her in a way that was complete disbelief. It scared him how used he got to her being...dead. He shivered. Giles hated that word. Before, he never really had given it a second thought even though he faced down death so many times. It wasn't until Buffy died that he really took notion to the word. Even Randell's death hadn't hit him as hard.


“Yes, well. I thought I'd never be in this flat again. The moment is....surreal.” Giles's tone was bashful and Buffy relaxed. She reached out and placed her hand on her Watchers forearm. She squeezed and smiled gently at him. The tension that he wasn't aware he was carrying released. From that gentle squeeze, all the months she had been away evaporated. His body was finally realizing that she was back, alive and well. Now he could let go and learn to live again.


“Well, it's good to be back?” Her voice was unsure and scared. Giles gave her a warm kind smile and nodded.


“Yes, you have no idea how good it is to be home.” With that, Buffy lost it completely. She had been trying so hard to keep her emotions in check. The moment he had walked through the Magic Box door, Buffy almost broke down completely. However, she had to check herself. In the Magic Box, it wasn't time for to lose it. Now however, standing outside his apartment door, hearing that he was home, caused the floodgates to open. Suddenly she found herself shaking. She felt a pair of strong hands on her shoulders. “Buffy, are you alright?”


“No, Giles, I don't think I am.” With that, her knees gave out and she fell directly into Giles's arms. He dropped his bags and caught her. With his hip, he pushed his already unlocked front door open and all but carried her into the apartment. He kicked his bags inside before shutting the door. He walked Buffy over toward his old leather couch and sat her down. He didn't even bother taking in the scenery because all of his focus was on her.


“Buffy, please tell me what has you in such a state.” His voice was gentle but Buffy could hear the frantic worry behind it. She looked up at him with blurred eyes but she could still see the worry etched on his features. She reached up and traced the lines on his face. She could feel her heart begin to slow down and her tears begin to stop. Buffy pulled her hand away and then looked down at her lap. “Buffy?”


“I'm sorry. I didn't mean to freak out on you like that.” She paused before speaking again. He let out a breath before speaking again. “It's just so hard Giles, being here. Everything is so bright and loud and violent. It's just so hard and I don't know how to survive it.” She leaned into Giles's arms and he welcomed her gladly. It was soothing to be in his arms and it helped the emotions that were scratching to the surface. “I was happy.” She whispered.


“Happy? Buffy, I don't understand.” Her statement puzzled him. When had she been happy and why was it in the past tense? Giles assumed she must have been talking about before she died. He could understand how being brought back from the dead had been traumatizing. From the way she looked physically and how she was sobbing now, he could safely assume that her happiness didn't come from any time after she had been resurrected. “Love, please talk to me.” Her breath hitched and she looked up at him.


“I was in heaven.” Giles stilled and looked down at her. Their eyes locked and neither of them were able to move. Buffy had spoken the words she had been holding back since she had risen and something Giles had been dreading had come to pass. He hadn't known that he dreaded it until that very moment. It had always occurred to him that Buffy could have gone to heaven because he could never fathom her in hell. “Wherever I...was...I was happy. At peace. I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time...didn't mean anything....nothing had form...but I was still me, you know? And I was warm...and I was loved....and I was finished. Complete. I don't understand about theology or dimensions, or...any of it really...but I think I was in heaven. And now I'm not. I was torn out of there. Pulled out...by my friends. Everything here is...hard, and bright, and violent. Everything I feel, everything I touch....this is hell. Just getting through the next moment and the one after that...knowing what I've lost....They can never know. Never. Promise me.”


“Oh Buffy.......” Giles faltered. Buffy looked up at him with watery eyes. He could tell that behind those eyes was determination. His Buffy was in there just lost. He made a vow to find her. He didn't know how but he was going to help her. “I won't say anything but you my dear will have to at some point.”


“No. I can't.” Giles nodded and Buffy felt the sudden urge to back track. She focused on his eyes. Giles was always good at hiding his emotions behind an expressionless face. However, when he was turned into that demon by Ethan she leaned that his emotions were reflected in his eyes. When she looked into those green eyes she saw several emotions, hurt, desperation, disbelief, love, anger and....fury. Buffy pulled away. “I'm sorry. You traveled all this way to see me and all I do is cry.”


“Buffy, it's quite alright. You crying is one of the more pleasant outcomes I've envisioned when I decided to come back here.” The slayer looked at him with confusion. She was alive and that was what most people seemed to be happy about. Everyone was happy to see her back and didn't hold back in telling her. They all knew that she was struggling but assumed she would move past it. Yet, here Giles sat stating he wasn't sure what he would find.


“I don't understand.”


“When Willow called me I thought a variety of situations. Everything from you being zombie or a vampire to this being some sick practical joke on Willow's part.” The slayer looked at him with wide eyes. While Willow may have changed somewhat, she couldn't believe that her best friend would simply call Giles, drag him back for some sick and twisted game. She pursed her lips that where chapped from crying before being able to speak again.


“You're really angry with her?” Giles bent his head. He didn't want it to appear obvious but he was indeed very angry with Willow. Part of him he wished he could just let his emotions out but he knew that it would only complicate things. Before he had every intention of lecturing Willow but now seeing how fragile Buffy seemed, he thought a confrontation with Willow might just rock the boat. A small talk perhaps, when Buffy was occupied or something but not scolding. He would watch her and her use of magic.


“I won't lie and say that I am glad you're alive. That I get to hold you, see you and speak to you. I thought that I would never get that chance again and I won't tell you have losing you wasn't the most painful thing I've ever had to bare because it was. I've never felt as much suffering and despair when you died. I felt as though I lost a part of me. However, knowing where you have been and what you have lost, it kills me just as much to learn that she took that from you. So, yes I am angry with her.”


“Was it really that awful for you? Me being gone?” Buffy's voice was gentle. She could see in his eyes that losing her had been painful. Buffy felt selfish for a moment. She never gave it a thought to what it was like for other people when she died. Since her resurrection, her focus had been on her pain and not on the others.


“Buffy, please don't make me discuss it. Let me enjoy you being alive and let me help you.” She nodded at his voice and looked down. Giles had never been one to express his emotions but he never really pushed her away unless it was of some type of deep pain. What he must have suffered because of her death must have been beyond anything she could imagine. She remembered when Jenny Calender died and how much that hurt Giles. Yet, he didn't leave his apartment were her body was found. When Buffy died, he left the entire town because it reminded him of her. A sense of hope swelled up inside of her. Perhaps, there was a chance he did love her. It took everything Buffy had not to act on that small scrap of hope. It was far to soon.


“Okay.” Giles smiled and leaned in to put a kiss on the top of her head. Buffy inhaled and found comfort in his scent. She missed this. When Giles pulled away their eyes locked. It was like the moment after Buffy staked the vampire. They could feel the tension and it would be so easy for Giles to simply lean in and take her lips with his. Yet, he pulled away. She was far to fragile and it was far to early for any of this. She needed to heal. “Well, I'm beat. I should go home and get some sleep. Plus you have to be jet lagged.” Buffy stood but Giles grabbed her hand. He wasn't ready to let go of her yet.


“Stay.” The slayer looked down at her watcher in surprise. Never before had Giles ever stopped her from wanting to go home. “I can take the couch. I would just feel better knowing you were here.” Buffy sat down but kept her hand still clasped in Giles's. He was running his thumb over her knuckles and it sent chills down her spine.


“Giles I can't take your bed and have you sleep on the couch.” She looked down at their hands that were still tangled together. “Is your bed big? I mean, we could share.” Her voice was timid and shy. She bit her lip like she did when she was pouting. That look made Giles smile. That was something he missed and that look haunted his dreams. It was the dreams where she stood in front of him but could touch him. It was a tease. It was a tease of something he could never have. Now she was sitting in front of him and he could touch her.


“Yeah it is. I mean, we could.”


“Good.” Buffy stood and pulled him up with her slayer strength. He stumbled slightly but Buffy caught him. She pulled him toward the stairs that lead to his loft. They walked hand in hand up the stairs and toward his room. Both knew nothing would happen but it was a start and Giles knew this would be the last time they shared a bed. It was also the first time that he slept soundly.

Jul. 30th, 2013

Stages of Understanding~ Chapter One

A/N: See prologue for disclaimer.

Chapter One

4 ½ months later....

Giles looked out at the London streets as he did every morning. He sipped at his tea and watched the people from the window of his flat. He looked on not really seeing anything in front of him. It was raining like it was most days and for Giles, it was like the sun was gone, the rain was like a reflection of himself. He never saw the sun anymore because the sun was simply gone. Giles shook his head and turned away from the window. He sipped his tea and looked around him.


There was nothing really special about his flat. Bare walls, one bedroom, one bathroom and a small kitchen. There were no decorations on the walls and he wasn't even unpacked. Giles had no desire to really furnish it either. He sighed. This wasn't home and he knew that. He has lived there for one-hundred and forty-three days and still felt no need to unpack anything. Giles sat his now empty mug in the sink and looked at it. That mug with the wording “Kiss the Librarian” was the only thing he allowed himself to have from Sunnydale. Other than his clothes and books, everything else was left in his flat back in California.


Giles simply couldn't bring himself to get rid of the flat there. Something told him that he might need it later. Although, he couldn't understand why. He had no intention of ever going back to California, unless the reasons were extreme. There was nothing left for him there. Granted, he loved those he left in Sunnydale but without...her....he had no reason to be there. They had their weekly phone calls and for him that was enough.


At first he thought about staying for awhile. He had the store and he was going to stay for a bit to get everything settled. Giles was going to give Anya the bulk of the ownership of the store while he stayed a silent partner. However, after the funeral he simply couldn't do it. Perhaps if Dawn hadn't cornered him and hadn't passed on.....her.... message, he might have been able to stay.


Yet, learning that....she... loved him in return was to much for him too bare. He was gone the next day. He left a note but of course, they met him at the airport. He handed the keys to the flat to Willow and said he left a good portion of his library for their use. The rent was paid up well in advance and when that ran out, he would send them money for it or transfer the lease into Willow's name. He wasn't sure what to do yet and he wasn't ready to deal with it. He would deal with that later.


He moved to England and stayed with his aunt for awhile, before he went to London and rented the first flat he looked at. He talked to an old friend at the British Museum and got a small office job, nothing special. He didn't know if he would stay there long because he was still unsure of a lot of things. The only real clear decision he was proud of was leaving the Watchers Council. He just couldn't belong to such an organization when his reason for living is.....


Giles shook his head again. He couldn't think about that. He needed to stop dwelling on....her. Wherever she was, he knew she was okay. He could feel it. She wasn't suffering and was at peace. That was really the only thing that kept him going. Willow mentioned once about her being in Hell and that was something he couldn't imagine. No. It wasn't possible. The idea that she was suffering was just unimaginable to him. That idea would kill him.


He walked away from the sink and wondered what to do with the day. He wasn't needed at the museum and wondered about having lunch with his aunts. Yet, that didn't seem appealing especially since he was due for Dawn's phone call. Perhaps after that, he might venture out or maybe even try and unpack a few things (although unlikely). Until then he decided on a old book of his father's to read for the day. The only books he brought with him from Sunnydale were the non-demonic ones. The others he left in Sunnydale. He had no use for them anymore. He was done fighting. He lost too much. What he wanted was gone and now he just needed quiet. He felt he was owed that.


Giles settled down on his sofa and opened the book. He fell into the gripe of the pages, one of the few things that haven't changed since he moved back to England, and time flew. There were times when he couldn't sleep because of his dreams and he would get up and read late into the night. He either didn't sleep because he couldn't stand the dreams while other times, that was all he did. Sometimes falling into a fantasy was easier than reality. Books were his release. It didn't take away the pain but made it numb for a while.


It was about mid-afternoon when his phone rang. He knew it would be early, very early in Sunnydale but it didn't surprise him in the least. From his conversations with the gang, none of them were sleeping well either. The only one who wasn't accounted for was Spike, who from what he knew left around the same time he did.


As conversations go, it was always Dawn he talked to. He would talk to her as she got ready for school and then he would talk to either Willow or Xander if he were there. While his conversations with Dawn were long, his conversations with Willow and Xander were always on the shorter side. He felt as though they were hiding something but he honestly didn't really want to know. He knew Willow was misusing magic but he couldn't bring himself to really put in the effort to help her. He just didn't have it in him anymore. He didn't have the strength. Bu...she was his strength and now she was gone. If it wasn't for Dawn he wouldn't even have any contact at all. She was the last piece he had left of......


Giles put his book aside and rose from the sofa. He grabbed his phone and answered it, knowing who would be on the other line. He smiled slightly.


“Hello Dawn.” His voice was gentle as it always was with her. He leaned against the counter and placed his free hand in his pocket. He waited a second for a reply but it wasn't from who he was expecting.


“Giles, its me Willow.” Suddenly, his heart sunk. Willow hadn't called him herself other than the first week he had been in England. She wouldn't call him herself unless something was seriously wrong. Her voice was tentative and small. She only used that voice when she had done something that she knew that Giles wasn't going to be to pleased with.


“Willow is everything all right?” Giles rushed out. His mind going wild with everything that could have gone wrong. He did that, it was a bad habit but he couldn't help but picture every horrible thing that might have happened when he left Sunnydale. If he were a stronger man, he would have stayed but he couldn't.


“Yeah. Everything is fine...but...,”Willow trailed off and Giles held his breath. Whatever was coming he knew it wasn't good. It couldn't be good. There was simply no way for it to be. Willow only got shy and scared when something was wrong and when she was scared of punishment. “She's back.”


“Whose back?” Giles asked. His mind went to Glory. He killed Ben, something he had to live with, but that didn't mean she couldn't find another way back. Has she risen and taken Dawn? Was Dawn dead now too? No, he couldn't think of that. If Glory had risen, he would have been called and on the first flight to Sunnydale. While he knew that Sunnydale was hell on earth for him now, he would have gone back if it meant to protect Dawn, the only piece of.......her....that was left.


“Buffy.” Giles sucked in a breath. That was the first time he heard her name since the funeral. The last person he heard speak her name was Dawn, and he words where to bittersweet. He never even allowed himself to think her name because it was too horrifically painful. “I did some research and found a spell. It took some time to prepare and find all the things I needed but..I did it. I couldn't let her rot in Hell Giles. I couldn't. She doesn't deserve that.”


“Oh dear lord.” That was all he could say. He honestly didn't know what to think. A part of him thought he was dreaming. It wouldn't be the first time he dreamed of her being alive. Yet, the dreams were never in this context. Normally she was standing in front of him. He could never touch her, but she was there. Other times he simply dreamed of her jumping off the god forsaken tower. It was another reason why he left Sunnydale. No matter where he was in that town, all he had to was turn and he could see that damned tower.


“I know it is a lot to process, for all of us but she really is back and alive. Last night was her first night back. She is really tired and confused. She just wants to sleep, I guess that is smart. I think Dawn is in there with her, she isn't going to school today.” Giles didn't respond. He didn't know how to. He did the only think he knew how to. He pulled off his glasses and cleaned them. “I should have called earlier, maybe last night but it was crazy here. I mean biker demons and everything and don't take this the wrong way but I probably wouldn't have called you for a couple days but she asked after you.”


“What?”


“Yeah. One of the first things she really asked when she realized she was back, you know because she was confused and all, was were you where. Actually her words were 'Giles. I really need Giles. Were is Giles?' I had to explain that you left and she looked liked we kicked her puppy. I told her that I would call and I'm sure you will come back, I mean its Buffy and-”


“Oh, Willow what did you do?” She didn't hear him.


“She is back Giles. I brought her back. I just couldn't leave her in Hell. I mean, she is confused and I think after awhile she will get back to normal. It will be an adjustment for sure but at least she isn't suffering in Hell anymore. When you get back I'm sure she will perk up. I mean the two of you always had this connection and I get why you left. Tara and I were talking and-”


“Willow! I'm coming home.” With that, he snapped his phone shut.

~~


Buffy looked at the back door that led out into the alley way. Part of her wanted to go out there but she held back. She had just told her friends that she was in Hell, a blatant lie but its what they needed to hear. She couldn't really look any of them in the eye and she was slightly angry with them. She knew they had her best interest at heart. Yet, it still didn't make the ache go away.


She felt as though she simply had a hole inside of her. Like she came back wrong. There was something missing inside of her. Not only that but everything she was experiencing now was just to much. It was too loud and too violent. Every night she had to go out and kill and hunt and it was just too much. These emotions she was feeling were filling her up inside and it was as though she was suffocating. She had nothing to breathe for.


Buffy turned away from the door and looked around the training room. Memories were still coming back to her and she suddenly found herself flooded with them. Giles and her training, sparing, joking, having serious conversations and so much more. This was their space. It belonged to only them. Looking around it had a small layer of dust as though no one had come in here for some time. It was a reminder that Giles wasn't here. Again, that ache grew bigger.


Willow had said she got a hold of him that morning and that Giles was flying back. That made a small bubble of hope swell up inside her. After she dug herself out of her coffin and was sitting in the living room listening to her friends bicker, she realized that Giles wasn't there. That confused her. Now, other than the nightmares and thoughts about her situation, all her focus was on Giles. At first, before the memories started coming back, she knew that she loved a man named Giles. It was the only thing keeping her sane. She didn't know who he was or what he was to her, only that she loved him. Walking through the street, seeing the fire and the demons, wondering if this was hell, she knew that he wouldn't be there. It wasn't until after, when she calmed down, she really started to remember him.


Buffy walked around the room almost in a circle. She was soaking everything up, every memory of him that she could. If anyone could restore any sort of heaven inside of her, he could or at least, she hoped. It was in that moment that she realized that the only thing wrong with heaven was that Giles wasn't there and even that was okay because, one day he would be. It wasn't that she wanted him to die but to simply see him again. Now, after being cast out, she was still waiting.


A few days at max, was all she had to wait. If she could keep it together until then, perhaps she would be okay. With a new determination Buffy headed back into the shop. She smiled slightly at Willow as she passed noting that the other women wore a smile. Buffy only wished she could return it. With that she left the Magic Box and went to pick up Dawn. She told them what she need to tell and now she wanted nothing more than to get out of that shop.

~~


Holding it together was easier said than done. By the time she returned home with Dawn, she received a less than stellar realization that she
had no money. This came from Anya. Less than tactful Anya. They had gone over her financial situation when she felt as though she was about to break. She excused herself and all but ran up the stairs. She found herself in the bathroom looking at herself in the mirror. She gripped the sink until her knuckles went white.


She inhaled deeply and counted to ten. Her heart was racing and she couldn't breathe. Soon her knees gave out and Buffy sunk to the bathroom floor. She gripped her stomach in pain and she found herself crawling to the toilet. She vomited inside the basin. She could hardly hear the knock on the door or someone call her name. She didn't realize that someone was with her until her hair was being held back from her face.


“Buffy, are you okay?” It was Dawn. Her voice was calm and gentle. Her touch was just the same. Out of all of them, Dawn was the easiest to be around. She had no involvement in her resurrection and she was the only one who really seemed to care that she was in pain. Dawn had always been one to notice things when other people didn't. While she could be a pain in Buffy's life when they were growing up because of her being clumsy and sometimes self-centered, Dawn always did have a compassionate side.


“I'm fine.” Buffy stated in between dry heaves. When she finished, Buffy leaned back and allowed Dawn to rub small circles on her back. She sat down and rested her head against the side of wall. Dawn sat down across from her and crossed her legs underneath her. The younger sister placed her hands in her lap while she watched Buffy with a critical eye.


“If you were fine you wouldn't be vomiting in the toilet.” Dawn stated and Buffy shot her an annoyed looked. That only made Dawn smile. How she missed that annoyed older sister glare. “You're not getting sick are you?” That caused Buffy to chuckle.


“No. I'm certain that I'm healthy as a horse.” With that, Buffy broke out into a complete laughing fest. She clutched her stomach and all but fell over. It wasn't one of those happy laughing fest but more of 'I'm at the end of my rope and don't know what to do' laughs. Dawn's eyes were wide and watched her sister fearfully. “I'm so healthy that I can't even stay dead.”


“So that is what this is about.” Dawn stated in a low voice. Her eyes held hurt but tried not to show it. Out of everyone in the house, she understood that her sister was hurting. Everyone just assumed and pushed Buffy to snap out of her funk but Dawn realized that it wasn't that simple. Being pulled out of hell was going to take time to adjust to. She recalled how hard it was on Angel when he returned and it was naive to think that Buffy would fair any better.


“Obviously. What else would it be about?” Buffy snapped and regretted it when she saw how hurt her sister looked. She may be angry but not at Dawn. It wasn't Dawn's fault that she was back and she didn't blame her. Her little sister had nothing to do with it. “I'm sorry. I didn't mean that. It's not your fault I'm here.”


“No. It's okay. I understand.” Dawn stated and reached out her hand. Buffy allowed her hand to be held by her sister's. She was quiet and didn't say anything at first but her mind was reeling. How could Dawn understand? There was no possible way for her younger sister to understand what it was like to be ripped out of heaven. As though she had read her thoughts, Dawn spoke again. “Okay, maybe I don't know what it's like to be brought back from Hell but I know what its like to have to adjust to something huge. So, I understand a little.”


“What are you talking about Dawn?”


“I'm the Key. Learning that I wasn't always a Summers girl or that I wasn't always a girl was possibly the most difficult thing I ever had to deal with. I mean I felt like I wasn't......real-that I didn't belong here and that I wasn't wanted. I felt as though I wasn't human and that I didn't have a soul.” Dawn looked down at their hands. Buffy was squeezing her's pretty tightly and when Dawn looked back up, Buffy had fresh tears falling down the side of her face. “I don't know if this is how you feel but.....” Suddenly, Dawn felt herself be pulled into a bone crunching hug.


“Oh Dawn, you have no idea how close you really are.” Buffy released her after a moment. They sat and looked at each other but their hands were still clasped together.


“If it helps, I missed you.” Dawn stated and Buffy realized that she had indeed missed her sister. While heaven was...heaven, it still lacked those she loved. It was enough to know that they were well and safe but it didn't help that fact that she missed them.


“I missed you too.” With that, Buffy stood up and helped Dawn up as well. Buffy went to the sink and washed out her mouth. She could feel inside her that her walls were clicking back into place. They were fragile and it was only a matter of time before they cracked again. She glanced up in the mirror and could tell that Dawn was still watching her. “What is it that you needed?”


“Huh?”


“When you came up here, what is it that you wanted?” Buffy asked her sister and Dawn looked down at her hands. She took a few moments before she opened her mouth. However, she had no idea what to say and closed it again. She was nervous and whenever Dawn was nervous, it scared Buffy. Dawn was like Anya in a lot of ways. She wasn't the most tactful person, spouting out whatever popped into her mind.


“Well, see, Willow made a call and..-” Buffy turned and looked at Dawn with wide eyes. Hearing that Willow made any type of phone call sent chills down her spine. Her mind flew into overdrive about everything that could have gone wrong. And of course her mind went straight to-


“Giles?”


“What? Oh. No! It wasn't Giles. Willow hasn't heard anything from him yet.” Dawn drew a breath and looked at her sister again. “Willow called Angel. He wants to see you.” That was a whole avenue that Buffy didn't want to go down. She hadn't even thought of Angel since she has been back. Granted its been less than forty-eight hours but she thought of many things and Angel wasn't even on her radar.


“Oh.” Buffy turned back around and avoided her sister's gaze in the mirror. She shook her head. “No, I don't think I want to see him. I'll call but, I don't want to see him.” To her, Angel was part of another life. It was so long ago that Angel didn't matter to her much anymore. She wished him well but she wanted nothing to do with that part of her life. That part was dead and gone.


“Are you sure?”


“Yes.”


Dawn nodded. She pursed her lips together and started to ring her hands. She did this whenever she wanted to broach a topic that she knew her sister wouldn't like. Buffy looked at her with a raised eyebrow. Dawn would never admit how much she missed her sister doing that even though it used to infuriate her. “What is it? Dawn?”


“Well, I just wanted to let you know, that...well...Giles knows. You know. About what you told me....what you said to me on the day you.....what I mean is that Giles and I-”


“You told him that I loved him.” Buffy stated and a sudden piece of dread filled her. It wasn't that she didn't want him to know, mainly because she was sure that he wouldn't feel the same. It wasn't possible in her mind. Now she was terrified how he would react around her. Would he push her away? Or simply let her down gently? Each option would be extremely painful to her. It wouldn't help the pain she was already in.


“Right after your funeral. He didn't want to hear it. I all but had to restrain him. When I told him, and I only told him because you asked me to....remember?” Buffy nodded but couldn't look at Dawn. Her heart was pounding and she didn't know if she would be able to stay upright any longer. “When I told him, he lost it. He just...broke down and cried. He didn't cry once during your funeral or after. But when I told him you loved him it was just like he lost you all over again only ten times worse.” Dawn was quiet after a moment. “He said things.”


Buffy turned around. She was desperate to know what Giles had said when he learned that she loved him. Granted, she told Dawn to tell him because she was going to die. It was her last dying wish for him to know of her love. She would never have to face his rejection. Now it was a different story.


“What did he say?!” Buffy stated in a much more urgent voice but still Dawn faltered. The younger of the two sisters took a deep breath before she began to speak. All the while, Buffy held her own breath waiting for either rejection or something else. What she got was neither.


“Look, Buffy I love you. I love you more than I expected and not just because you're the slayer or my big sister. I love you because you are who you are. It took you dying for me to realize that but now you're back. I love and respect you and I want to see you happy.......”


“There is a 'but' coming isn't there?”


“Yes. Look I respect you but there is no one I respect more than Giles. I can't betray his trust. Please don't ask me too. He will tell you himself if he wants. I'm sure he will.” Dawn's eyes pleaded with her to accept that decision. It was hard for Buffy to do so but she nodded. Her heart ached for so many reasons and the possibility that Giles may not love her was all the more reason to crave heaven again. She knew that Dawn was more than likely letting her down easy, not wanting to cause her more harm.


“Okay.” With that Buffy went out the bathroom door, leaving a bewildered Dawn behind. She went down the hallway, pausing momentarily at her mother's, now Tara and Willow's, bedroom door. She peered inside but closed her eyes quickly. She remembered a moment of being in her mother's presence and then she wasn't. It was like she was being torn from it.


Buffy shook her head and walked away from the room. It seemed that everything around her reminded her of what she lost. She couldn't handle that. If she had the choice, she would simply forget. She thought that maybe she could ask Willow. Surely her best friend would know a spell to make her forget that she was ever in heaven. If she didn't know, then maybe she would feel better. They always did say that ignorance is bliss. Then she remembered that she would have to tell Willow that she pulled her best friend from heaven and away from her mother. No. That would simply not due.


Buffy may be hurting because of Willow's, Xander's, Anya's and Tara's actions but she didn't have it in her to cause them harm. No, telling Willow was out of the question. Perhaps Giles would help her. It was certainly something worth asking. Giles had no part in her resurrection and would do anything to help her, as he had proven in the past. He knew magic even if he didn't use it very often. He could help her. Then in the back of her mind, she decided that if he didn't love her, she would ask him to erase the fact that she ever had been in love with him at all. Because she didn't know if she could handle his rejection.


She walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. It was about time to start dinner and she thought they had some meatballs in the freezer. When she walked into the kitchen, her four friends where standing around the island talking. They stopped the moment she entered the kitchen. They all looked guilty and it didn't take Buffy long to realize that she had been the topic of conversation.


“Smooth guys. Hardly noticeable at all.” Buffy stated in what sounded like a chipper voice. She was trying to be the old Buffy, the one with the witty retorts and sarcastic comments but they were simply not coming easy. Willow, Xander and Tara had the decency to look sorry and concerned but Anya just rolled her eyes. “Is this a conversation I can join in on or is it unBuffyish?” She saw both of her oldest friends wince and she felt a twinge of regret. They were all silent for a moment before Xander nudged Anya in the side. She gave him an exasperated look before rolling her eyes again. She gave a loud sigh before speaking.


“I have been told that I spoke harshly, which I don't agree with. I was being honest. You have no money.” Anya stated while Xander coughed. Anya huffed again before starting over. “I'm told that I should apologize and assure you that your financial situation, while horrible and crappy, isn't hopeless. You have several options open to you. Like bankruptcy. You could file and settle everything! All of your debt would be wiped clean like nothing ever happened! Of course your credit would go down hill and you could never afford anything but on the brighter side-”


“Or you could sell your mother's gallery!” Willow chimed in hopes of overturning Anya's less than stellar approach. Buffy had gone pale and Willow noticed that her friend didn't find bankruptcy a viable option. Buffy looked at her best friend in surprise. “Some people seem interested and are willing to give a pretty decent price for it.” Willow looked bashful and Buffy didn't really know how to respond. She hadn't even given her mother's gallery a thought.


“Yes. That would work too. If you could get a decent price for it.” Buffy could see the wheels in Anya's head turning. The ex-demon may not be the most tactful person but she was good with money. If anyone could help Buffy dig herself out of her money pit, Anya would be the one to do it. Buffy smiled and thanked her. Anya basked in the appreciation. To her, everyone should be thankful for the things she did. “Good, we can go over everything-”


“Later.” Xander chimed in. Anya deflated. She was hoping for more praise but she knew that by the sound of Xander's voice that the decision had been made. Anya was hoping for orgasms later in the night so she knew better than to cross him. Buffy looked at her friend and thanked him. Xander just nodded. Buffy moved toward the freezer and pulled out the frozen meatballs before going off to find some canned sauce. She knew that her friends were watching her. She knew that they were walking around on eggshells all the while trying to push her into normalcy.

She made dinner on auto pilot. It wasn't long before her friends took up friendly banter. They teased and joked around all the while trying not to openly stare at Buffy. She only spoke when asked a direct question. Dawn joined them shortly after. She stepped up to help Buffy with dinner, something the older sister could never remember Dawn doing when she was alive before. Buffy took a moment to really notice the difference in her sister. She had grown up during the time she was dead. Before, Buffy never would allow Dawn to use the stove, afraid that she would burn the house down. Now, Buffy handed her the spoon and told her to stir the sauce and to watch the noodles.

Buffy went to pull out some dishes and headed into the dining room. She listened to the banter in the next room as she sat the dishes down on the mahogany table. She started to clear away some of the papers that littered the table there. She stopped when a paper caught her eyes. it was an application for admissions to Sunnydale University. Buffy picked it up and simply looked at it.

"Willow, can you bring me the silverware please." A few seconds later, the Wicca entered the dining room with enough silverware for all those in the house. Buffy turns and hands Willow the application. "What is this?" Willow looks at it and smile hesitantly.

"I know it seems soon but I picked it up for you. I wasn't sure if you'd be interested or not but it seemed like a good idea. I wasn't going to bring it up tonight or tomorrow but I thought school might be something you want to do. I know you left because you had to care for Dawn and with Glory about but you don't have to worry about that. Glory is gone and Dawn can care for herself while you are in class." Willow rambled with a bright smile on her face and for a moment, Buffy could see the old Willow showing through. The Willow she became friends with so many years before.

"Willow this....thank you but how could I afford to go to school?" Willow bit her lip. It was a whim to pick up the application. She honestly hadn't thought it through. It was just that she was deliriously happy that Buffy was alive and wanted nothing more than to help her get back into her normal routine. At the time it seemed like a good idea but looking back, it might not have been practical.

"Well, if it something you would want to do, we could figure it out. I mean there are options. Financial aid and what not. Loans plus some other things." Willow smiled eagerly and while she knew her best friend was only trying to help, it made Buffy want to yell and scream at her. She just couldn't help but wonder why she was pushing so much. Did she honestly expect her to simply just bounce back and rejoin the living. Buffy was trying but she found it to be far too difficult.

Buffy looked at her best friend and smiled. Willow beamed at the small lift in Buffy's lips. It was obvious that while Buffy was dead, Willow had forgotten what the slayer's real smile look like.

Jul. 21st, 2013

Stages of Understanding~Prologue

Stages of Understanding
Disclaimer: No, I don't own BTVS, wish I did though. All rights belong to Joss Whendon and anyone else who has their finger in the awsome pie that is Buffy.
Rating: R for safety but I have plans for NC-17 later.
Spoilers: All through season five. This takes place during season six.
A/N: Okay, as stated this is a season six fanfic. However, Warren died when his robot girlfriend entered the picture (so his first episode is his only episode.) Yes, no robot Buffy either. Jonathan died in season three in the episode "Earshot". As for Andrew...who knows. Playing D&D in his parents basement for all we know. Spike is not a big character in this. So no Spuffy. I really hate Spuffy.

Prologue
  It was breezy. Not heavy but just enough to send a chill. Then again, being up on that rickety old tower was far colder for them than anyone who was down below. They didn't have the breeze that Buffy and Dawn felt. The odd thing was, neither of them really felt anything. Dawn was to busy listening to Buffy speak, trying to memorize everything about her sister; her hair, her face, her eyes, the sound of her voice. She knew that she would never see her again. Buffy simply felt peace. She made her decision and was okay with it. A part of her was even happy about it. She would be able to rest now. No hellmouth to worry about and she knew those she cared about would be okay.

She could die with that.
  Buffy turned and looked at Dawn. She took a strand of her chocolate hair and pushed it to the side. She wanted to embrace her but knew that if she did, she wouldn't go through with it. Buffy would let the world go to hell. She only had a few moments to say goodbye and she had so much she needed to say.

"Dawn, listen to me. Listen. I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work I have to do. Give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to care of each other. You have to be strong Dawn. The hardest thing in this world...is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me. And tell Giles...tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I'm okay. Tell him, I love him. Like, really love him. That a part of me always has."

  With that, Buffy kissed the top of Dawn's head, turned and ran. She jumped over the small hole in the tower and then dove off of it. She didn't feel any pain. Even though she was dying, she was at peace with it. It was easy to let go. She knew her friends would miss her but in time, she would see them again.
   For Dawn, she didn't understand until she was at the bottom of the tower, looking at her sister's body. Spike was on the ground, howling. For someone who didn't have a soul, it felt as thought his was ripped out of his chest. Xander was frozed and Anya clung to his arm, simply staring on. Willow was crying while Tara was still coming out of her haze.
    For Giles......it was as though the world had ended and Glory had won. For Giles, he had nothing left.

Well, First entry.

I really doubt anyone will read this. It's more of a test run than anything else. Lets see here.....I worked at five this morning which, was better than my 11 to 7:30 shift. I actually had a day to do things! What did I do you ask? Worked on cleaning out my livejournal, changing things and preparing it for SOG. Hmm....I've never really dove into livejournal before. Well, one to trying new things.