This story was inspired by the story of the same name by Philip S. I have a very different take on the warning Buffy uttered during "The Gift." I think she meant it. Now, I think it's most likely she would have relapsed into catatonia if Dawn had been killed by the Scoobies or Giles in order to stop Glory-but that'd make a boring story*. If that hadn't happened, I think this would have. I have to recommend Philip's webpage as one having a lot of excellent fiction. *Love to see an interesting one with that premise though.

As always, ME, Joss Whedon, et al., (and not me!) own Buffy, etc.
"I'll Be Watching For You"

by fastpilot

Giles: I imagine you hate me right now. I love Dawn. But I've sworn to protect this sorry world and sometimes that means saying ... and doing things that other people can't. They shouldn't have to.

Buffy: You try to hurt Dawn and you know I'll stop you.

Giles: I know.

Dear Buffy,

This is put to paper with no expectation you will open this letter, and less still that you will read it. I understand.

I must write it, but honestly I do not have it firmly in mind to put it to post. I think it can do little good, and perhaps somehow lead you to me.

I write most immediately to tell you Faith is dead. The Council saw fit to free her from prison on the condition she devote herself to hunting you down. She accepted the freedom, but wasn't actually informed of its conditional nature until already a fugitive in the eyes of the law, and then while in the company of a considerably greater number of Council operatives than she knew, or perhaps she did not care.

She became violent when the full terms were made known to her, and as the song goes, security came through the wall. If you do read this, I want you to know I have never heard anything to make me doubt her desire for some measure of redemption, and I hear from sources inside the Council she passed with her regrets to you for her last words.

On the Council's behalf I am deeply shamed to tell you her grave is unmarked as such. She is listed as Pauper #1843 in the county plot of the Los Angeles County Cemetery.

And again I write to relate my feelings and unutterable regret for the horrid events of last summer.

I know that your love for Dawn is real. I never doubted your resolve or its nature. I acted in spite of it. No weight was ever greater than the few ounces of steel, brass, powder and lead which I had in my pocket that night. I was determined to carry out my plan without assistance, but your fight with Glory evolved in such a way that you had to be distracted-and Willow and Xander agreed to do it.

The Council tells me you found Xander in Miami, they give no details. I do hope the news reports of the massacre of construction workers in Florida do not relate to you. I am in a poor position to offer caution. I hope your journey to find resolution for your life and Dawn's death does not bring you to murder innocents. I can understand my life is irretrievably forfeit. And on some level I do understand that that night, Willow and Xander also spent themselves, in your eyes. They did not know my specific plan, I assure you. But they must have suspected something. You know we had only seconds, I told them to delay you and nothing more. I think I can accept their deaths as well as my own, still a small bill to be weighed against what was bought.

I suspect you to be behind the incident in Miami because Xander told me he was involved in the clean-up efforts there after Hurricane Jake. He did not have Willow's resources to flee, he had to take work before leaving the country. Curious that he refused the Council's assistance when he knew perfectly well what was coming for him. I think in his heart he was of a mind to face you, to speak with you. If it was you, it appears you gave him no chance for it. Pity, that.

I feel a perverse compulsion to warn you about Willow. I suppose I should be wishing her the best of luck.

She's more powerful now than ever when you knew her as a friend. Dark magicks are her shield against you, and a weapon. The Watcher in me urges you to take her unaware if you can. She has the power to kill you instantly if she is prepared. Her and Tara have unhappily parted company; you will gain no advantage by molesting her. She's well out of it.

So is Anya, I think. Anyanka is another story. Xander's death has driven her back to D'Hoffryn. She'll do what she can against you, if she has any human feeling remaining. She may not.

Lastly Buffy, I can accept my death as likely and a small price, but I will try to survive you, to stop you. My grief, and guilt; they weigh heavily on Rupert Giles the Watcher, but Ripper, whom you have met on occasion, is not tired of living.

From the corner of my eye, from reflections in a well cleaned lens. In windows and at rooftops.

I'll still be Watching for you.

In spite of everything, someday, be well,

Sincerely, Ripper