Rating: FRC, genfic
Written for summer_of_giles
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.
Here is my offering for today. And yes, Potterdammmerung did suck out my brain, leaving me only with this fragment from months ago. Least it's short.
An alternate universe, an alternate perspective. Post Chosen. Anyone who'd like to take this idea and run with it, just ask.
She watches him, sometimes. He's greyer now, older, infinitely weary. They've been friends, lovers, enemies, colleagues, comrades at arms, strangers over the years. Sometimes all of them at once. She got right with him, then wrong, then right again, more times than she cares to count. For the better part of a decade now, she's watched. Watched as the burdens ground him down to this man she barely recognizes.
She crosses the distance between them now as the crowd disperses, leaving him to stand alone at the grave, gazing off into nowhere. He starts as she lays a hand on his arm. He's shaking so hard, trying to hold it in, to be strong in front of his charges, but she knows better. Without a word, he opens his arms and wraps them around her, but it is she who holds him up.
She’s been with the coven for a long while, ever since she came to help Willow with her magic, and her grief. She’s always felt responsible for that-- that she wasn’t there while her friends’ lives came unhinged; that she didn’t even know Giles wasn’t there, either, until it was far too late. When Buffy called, her voice like ice.
But Rupert feels responsible for much more. He stands now at the grave of another Slayer, one not much older than the child they might have had. Another casualty in the never ending war. He always does this afterward-- gives himself fully to his grief this one time, then takes up his mantle again and carries on. She hates the stiff upper lip bullshit, but she sees why he does it, now. That grim determination has gotten them through more bad nights than she can number.
But she can’t help missing his smile.