TITLE: My Immortal

AUTHOR: Erin Giles

RATING: PG - 13 (just to be safe)

PAIRING: B/G

SPOILER WARNING: Set After 'The Gift' so everything up to and including that episode.

DISCALIMER: None of the characters mentioned belong to me; I'm just borrowing them because I'm not smart enough to make up my own characters! And none of the lyrics belong to me either, can't write songs to save myself.

DISTRIBUTION: Fanfiction.net other than that please ask!

SUMMARY: Song Fic. Giles is trying to accept the fact that Buffy is dead but can't seem to grasp the concept.

NOTES: The lyrics are those of the song 'My Immortal' by Evanescence (Brilliant band!)

FEEDBACK: Always welcome but if you're going to scorch my tail feathers at least make it helpful!

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MY IMMORTAL

*~*~*~*~*

"I'M SO TIED OF BEING HERE

SUPPRESSED BY ALL MY CHILDISH FEARS

AND IF YOU HAVE TO LEAVE

I WISH THAT YOU WOULD JUST LEAVE

BECAUSE YOUR PRESENCE STILL LINGERS HERE

AND IT WON'T LEAVE ME ALONE."

*~*~*~*~*

He was so fed up of facing his empty flat and having to go to the Magic box each day and put on a brave face. He didn't have the strength to do it any longer and sometimes on nightly patrols he wished that some random vampire would end it all. He knew that was the cowards way out and he had come so close to it at one point. He had goaded the vampire into biting him and then had sunk into its arms as it drank hungrily. He'd been saved though, a cloud of dust forming in front of him as the figure of Xander Harris appeared through it, a horrified look upon his face, trying to deny what he had just seen happen.

He was scared with her gone. Scared it would be the end for all of them. And in that moment the vampire had held him, bringing him closer to death, he had been scared to die. He had suddenly changed his mind, no longer welcoming the darkness that seemed to rise up in him so suddenly and he had not been able to do anything about it.

The darkness seemed to creep back so quickly though now that he was left alone in his flat again. He was scared to go to bed because of the monsters that lurked under it and he was scared to lock the door now; something he had been scared of since he was a child.

He wanted her to walk out the door, to just leave him with his own guilt and hollow emptiness. He couldn't stand her just watching him with her sparkling blue-grey eyes from where she stood by the window. He knew she had to leave and he hated that she still stayed, haunting him as if it was his fault. As if he could have stumbled the last few metres with his outstretched arms and caught her. Or he could have reached the top of the tower and been the one to stop Doc from reaching Dawn. She didn't seem to have blame on her face though as it glowed in the moonlight, and then continued to glow when the sun rose in the morning, never fading. She never moved either, just watching him, taking his job from him that he longer had and no longer wished to have.

Sometimes he looked away, tears forming in his eyes, willing her to go, waiting for the door to open. Yet even after long pauses where he thought he had heard the door open or someone say goodbye over his painful sobs he would turn back and still find her there. Watching him silently.

*~*~*~*~*

"THESE WOUNDS WON'T SEEM TO HEAL

THIS PAIN IS JUST TOO REAL

THERE'S JUST TOO MUCH THAT TIME CANNOT ERASE."

*~*~*~*~*

He had been in and out of hospital so many times in the past fortnight since the unfortunate incident he had almost lost count. He had reopened the wound in his side at least twice and had received more concussions that humanly possible, alcohol being a factor in his pain. The last straw for Willow though had been the so called accident with the vampire, causing her to insist that he spend the night at the Summers' where her and Tara had now taken up residence to watch over Dawn. He couldn't do it though, just like he couldn't bring himself to watch over Dawn. He just couldn't walk over the threshold and surround himself in her.

As Xander had poised outside the door with him, he had taken pity on the aging Englishman and suggested he would be more comfortable in his own bed and to satisfy Willow, Xander would sleep on the couch. Xander had made some crack about a guy's night in, but Giles could see past his humour that he used to mask his feelings. The truth was, Xander welcomed the company of someone after spending several nights on his own in his flat with no one to keep him company because everyone else had responsibility, or was in hospital, or was busy wallowing in their own misery on the other side of town.

He hadn't slept that night, his stomach throbbing painfully as well as his heart. He couldn't chase away the pain anymore. There was just too much now. It seemed to have built itself a little nest inside him, growing with each year as more eggs were laid, until this year where there wasn't a square inch of him that didn't ache dully of painful memories. And if, in the unlikely event, he ever had a chance to forget anything he had the scars to reminds him.

He couldn't erase the pain that had built up inside him. He didn't have enough time left to right all the wrongs and sort out the jumbled memories of his past. He didn't even have anyone to help him with that and he was no longer growing old gracefully.

*~*~*~*~*

"WHEN YOU CRIED I'D WIPE AWAY ALL OF YOUR TEARS

WHEN YOU'D SCREAM I'D FIGHT AWAY ALL OF YOUR FEARS

AND I'VE HELD YOUR HAND THROUGH ALL OF THESE YEARS

BUT YOU STILL HAVE ALL OF ME."

*~*~*~*~*

In his minds eye he could see her, crying. Crying because she had lost Angel, crying because she had lost her mother, crying because of him.

He could remember all the times he had made her cry.

The day, now nearly four years ago, that he had told her that she would go up against the Master and die. He had tried so hard to disprove it, but she had inevitably found out.

The day that they had lost Jenny Calendar and they had both knelt in the alleyway and cried in each other's arms. Again that had been his fault, merely because she cared about him and he had been selfish enough to try and leave her.

The day, in which he had, with the help of the Council, put her through those brutal tests that had ended badly for the both of them. He hated himself for that even to this day. He still couldn't quite believe what he had done.

The day, not even three weeks ago, that he had laid breathing slowly and deliberately as if they were his last few breaths as she stood holding his hand. He had told her how proud he was of her and on reflection he must have put the fear of God in her, as it sounded so like the speech of a dying man.

Yet no matter what day it was and what horrible thing they had to face, he had always been there for her. He had always been able to help her through the times, even if it had been him that had caused the tears to flow.

He had always tried to be beside her to fight everything she had come up against. He had not let anything stand in his way. Even with concussions, broken limbs, stab wounds and wounds that went beyond the physical realm he had always been there by her side. He would not have had it any other way. Even when she tried to push him away he had not let it happen. Yet after nearly a year of neglect he had decided he was no longer needed, and he wondered now if it would have made a difference if he had gone back to England last year. Would it mean she would still be here now?

He knew he would never of left though. He could never have brought himself to do so. He realized now that she was the only reason he had lived for. And now that she was gone he was left to exist, without purpose, without anyone to watch. He was reminded painfully of the time she had fled to L.A. after sending Angel to hell. He had been lost then as well, but at least then he had had the hope that she was alive.

He had seen the body this time and he had laid it to rest in the ground. There was no denying that she was dead. And yet he didn't think he would ever move on. He felt like a father who had lost his daughter, her hand wrenched from his grasp and he had not been quick enough to respond to his empty hand. His daughter lost in the throng of people forever. No amount of calling her name would bring her back.

He smiled sadly to himself as he raised the glass to his lips in the darkening room that was empty save for her. Even in death she still held his heart, and always would. She had been placed above all else a long time ago.

*~*~*~*~*

"YOU USED TO CAPTIVATE ME

BY YOUR RESONATING LIGHT

BUT NOW I'M BOUND BY THE LIFE YOU LEFT BEHIND

YOUR FACE IT HAUNTS MY ONCE PLEASANT DREAMS

YOUR VOICE IT CHASED AWAY ALL THE SANITY IN ME"

*~*~*~*~*

He remembered the time she had walked through the double doors in Sunnydale High School's gym, her prom dress looking beautiful wrapped around her in flowing pink waves. He remembered the days leading up to it and how he had been so against the Prom but the joy it had brought into his heart to see her smiling, forgetting about everything for that one night. Pure pride had washed over him that night, seeing her receive her 'Class Protector' award and then seeing her dancing with Angel made him happy, and the infectious happiness seemed to spread throughout the Scooby Gang like wildfire.

I"I'm over the whole Buffy gets a perfect High School moment."I

He had seen she wasn't over it though, and she had got her perfect High School moment in that hall that night, even with Hellhounds trying to spoil it. He had watched her dance, basking in her happiness that would surely never last long, but he realized as long as she was happy so was he.

Until now.

He imagined she was happy somewhere, at least that was what he hoped. He had been left here to sort out everything, to continue on the fight while Buffy got her peace for the good she had done in the world. He was still bound by his duties as a Watcher and the Council had not relented in trying to contact him. Their last attempt at reaching him at the Magic Box had caused one Council representative to tell Anya that if Rupert Giles did not contact the Council within the next day, then they would be making their way over to America to track him down personally. Giles hadn't even reacted to this alarming piece of news that seemed to set Willow and the others into a panic, as it dredged up memories of past meeting. His only input to the conversation that followed had been to say let them come. He wasn't afraid of the Council anymore; they couldn't put him through anything more painful than what he was feeling at the moment.

He was so despondent now, drawn back from the world as if he was living outside it, observing it from a distance. He rarely slept anymore, scared do so, but at the same time terrified of staying awake, of watching her standing there in the corner. No matter what happened he saw her. She haunted his dreams by night as he watched her falling time and again, and with each time he was further away from catching her, from saving her. And she haunted him by day, watching him from corners of rooms, from places he least expected her to be.

Only yesterday he had frightened the whole of the Magic Box into silence by going into the training room and finding her there, sitting on the couch, a smile on her face that welcomed him to come train with her. He had lost his temper then, screaming at her to leave him alone. To pass over. To just go! He hadn't even been aware of Xander and Willow trying to restrain him from throwing knives and swords at the sofa. He had eventually stopped, realizing what he had done when she was no longer sitting there on the couch. He had tried not to dissolve into sobs; tried to control his emotions, remembering the time his father had scalded him for crying at his mother's funeral. But he couldn't do it anymore. He had let the young witch hold him in her arms as he returned the hug, grateful of human contact. Her voice continued to resonate in his head though, blond hair falling on his shoulders, her gentle voice consoling him as if the red head had vanished, replaced by her. But it just seemed to make him cry harder.

*~*~*~*~*

"I TRIED SO HARD TO TELL MYSELF YOUR GONE

AND THOUGH YOU'RE STILL WITH ME

I'VE BEEN ALONE ALL ALONG."

*~*~*~*~*

Now, even after three weeks, he was still trying accept it. Still trying to accept the fact that . . .

He couldn't even say her name let alone say that she was . . .

He downed another glass of Scotch and reached for the bottle angrily, he didn't even see the point of pouring the contents into a glass. It would just be more washing up that he wouldn't do.

Maybe, he thought as he lurched to his feet, if he banged his head off the wall repeatedly telling himself what had happened it would finally sink in. He set the bottle down on the work surface and prepared to bang his head off the wall, but something stopped him, some unseen force pleaded with him and so he obeyed. Instead of knocking himself 'til next Tuesday he pulled his coat from the stand and left his apartment.

He walked purposely for twenty minutes until he reached his destination. He stopped quite abruptly at the entrance to Restfield, as if unsure how his legs had carried him here. Maybe it had been a subconscious decision on his part but never the less his feet continued to walk, leading him up the hill and nearer to Breakers woods on the outskirts of Sunnydale.

The town had seemed deserted the whole way over here and quite rightly so for the early hours of a Sunday morning. The sun would be coming up soon no doubt, but it would take longer for people to rise on what had once been recognized in Christian society as a day of rest. But as he stood at the top of the hill where a solitary grave rested peacefully in the morning haze before dawn he realized how very much alive the town was. He could hear the rumble of traffic in the distance, could see the streetlights shining brightly on every street and some flickering in houses where people returned from night shifts.

He felt like an outcast standing at the top of the hill, like he had been the one deserted, but he knew that that was not the case and never had been. He had isolated himself for so long now that even when surrounded by people he knew and cared about he was still all alone. His calling had singled him out, the same way it had her.

His eyes turned on the grave that he come to visit, kneeling in the damp grass beside it, his eyes falling on the flowers someone, no doubt either Dawn or Willow, had left before reading the craved words on the granite stone. His hand traced the name there, trying to make them seem more real as he still tried to deny that he had lost her. He couldn't do it anymore though. It was time to face the music, so to speak.

Buffy Anne Summers was dead.

He swallowed loudly as he realized she was watching him from behind her own headstone. Her face was still glowing, smiling down on him, but he couldn't bring himself to draw his eyes level with hers, instead he continued to stare at the stone.

And suddenly in the moment he accepted the fact that Buffy was dead, he also realized that he was alone in the sight now. But then he had always been alone, and it was his own fault.

He felt the sun rising behind him, prickling on the back on his neck as he drew himself to his feet. His hand rested on the gravestone for a moment,

"Goodbye Buffy." He said softly, his voice carrying in the breeze. He turned away without a look at the transparent figure that had been haunting him for so long and therefore did not see her fading in the morning light.

Rupert Giles pulled the collar of his jacket up as he made his way back home, a cold wind wiping round the hill as it drowned out remorseful words of a farewell that was long overdue.