Rating: G, nothing objectionable
Feedback: Yes, thank you. Melpomenethalia@aol.com
Spoilers: I suppose through "Faith, Hope, and Trick" in season three.
Distribution: Fanfiction.net, the Bunny Warren, and the 500 Club. If you're interested, please let me know.
Summary: Giles remembers a lost love. Third in the Jewel Box series.
Author's Note: This story is the third in a series of 500 word stories inspired by Challenge in a Can (http://www.dymphna.net/challenge/) and the 500 Club. The 500 Club accepts stories of exactly 500 words from title to end. Challenge in a Can gave me the idea of having each character react with a particular feeling to a piece of jewelry. In this case, it's Giles and sadness.
Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy. Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you. Thank you.
One year exactly had passed since Jenny's murder. Many things had changed in that time. A new Slayer had been called to the Hellmouth, Joyce knew her daughter's secret, and Angel had returned, ensouled, from Hell. Many changes, but one thing remained the same.
He still missed her every day.
Giles had known tonight would be particularly painful. Willow, Buffy, and Xander had offered to stay with him, tactfully avoiding mentioning why as though saying the words would make it worse. Angel had taken that theory a step further by disappearing. Giles had seen the shame haunting the vampire's eyes in the days leading up to the anniversary, and though part of him felt sympathy for the obviously tortured being, he couldn't find it in his heart to forgive him, not yet.
So here he was, alone in his flat, staring thoughtfully at the remnants of a microwave dinner that had tasted like cardboard and sawdust. He pulled his worn cardigan tighter around himself to keep out a chill as he stood, deposited the plate in the recycling bin, and entered into the living room. For a long time, he sat on the couch and listened to the second hand on the wall clock tick in an unending, monotonous meter.
Eventually, he moved his hand to his jeans' pocket, and his fingers found the small, smooth object he had grown so accustomed to over the last year. Reverently, he removed the necklace and cradled it in his palm. He had never worn it, though he had considered putting it on beneath his shirt when Willow had first given it to him. Healing powers, she'd said, and he'd needed that desperately. But he had decided it would be too difficult to clarify why he was wearing a pink stone around his neck should it ever be revealed. He would have felt obliged to explain where it had come from, and that wasn't a story he wanted to tell at a moment's notice.
The soft pink had been appropriate for Jenny: unabashedly feminine, the color of June rose petals and sunrises painting early morning skies. Sunrises she would never see and roses he would never give her, he thought resignedly. The tip of his finger glided instinctively over the smoothness of the quartz. It had rarely been off his person since that day, and he had a habit of reaching into his pocket and surreptitiously rubbing the pendant between his fingers when he was anxious or concerned.
Giles kept his eyes fixed on the stone for several motionless hours until the clock struck twelve. Then he stood, climbed the stairs to his bedroom, and took a battered cigar box from under his bed. Opening the lid, his eyes rested softly on his grandfather's silent pocket watch, a dried white rose from his aunt's casket, and a locket holding a strand of his mother's hair. Slowly, he lowered Jenny's necklace into the box, paused for a breath, then closed the lid.