Author:  Meltha

Rating: PG for some slightly disturbing imagery

Feedback:  Yes, thank you. Melpomenethalia@aol.com

Spoilers:  Set in vaguely late Buffy season three

Distribution: Fanfiction.net, the Bunny Warren, and the 500 Club.  If you're interested, please let me know.

Summary:  As a special day rolls around, the Mayor spends time with an old companion.  This is the sixteenth in the Jewel Box Series, a collection of stories that are exactly 500 words from title to end (a challenge from the 500 Club) and that revolve around a character, an emotion, and a piece of jewelry, a concept from Challenge in a Can.  This time, it's the Mayor, jewelry, and nostalgic.

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.

I Do

"For better or for worse, that's what we promised, isn't it?" he said softly to his companion.  "Yep.  Long time ago, wasn't it, Snickerdoodle?"

The casual observer probably would have thought he was drunk, but the glass in front of him held organically grown, purified apple juice.  However, that same casual observer most likely wouldn't have stuck around long enough to find out since the man, who looked normal and friendly enough, upon careful inspection, was talking to a human head sitting in the cabinet in front of him.  In fact, he was patting the grotesque thing fondly, giving it a sweet smile most people usually reserved for gamboling puppies or grannies doing the Funky Chicken at a wedding. 

"We'd have been married a whole 96 years this very day.  Gosh darn it, we should have a champagne toast, but Faith is stopping by and I don't want to model bad behavior in front of an impressionable young girl like that," he confided to the vacant eye sockets.  "Well, you'd understand.  You always understood.  At least for the first fifty years or so."

The man took a deep swallow of the apple juice and held the remaining dregs up to the light.

"Same color your hair was, Edna Mae.  I remember the first time I saw you, sitting in the church choir and belting out 'Rock of Ages.'  You were off key, but you just had such spirit!  I was completely taken with you right then and there, even though you know I'm not much of a church-going fella.

"I couldn't ask for a happier life than we had those first couple decades.  I remember the smell of your cinnamon bread in the oven when I'd come home at night.  I miss that, you know.  Not the cinnamon bread; well, yes, I do miss the cinnamon bread.  All the stores sell now is stuff loaded with preservatives.  No, I mean someone to come home to.

"I have Faith, though.  You'd love her, Edna Mae.  She's got pluck, just like you.  Too bad I could never have children," he said sadly, walking behind his desk but still keeping eye contact with the skull.  "I know you would have been a terrific mother!  Me, I spoil her.  Bah, she needs someone to spoil her."

Reaching behind his desk, he pulled out a small white box tied with string, fresh from the local bakery.  He opened it and placed the chocolate chip cookies on a clean plate, waiting for his Slayer to gobble them up.  A thermos of cold milk stood nearby.

"Not at good as yours, Snickerdoodle, but then what could be?" he said as he went back to the cabinet. 

He looked down at the remains of his long-departed wife, twisting around his finger the wedding ring that had been there close to a century and remembering the day he'd first worn it. 

"What could be?" he repeated as he clicked the lights off and closed the cabinet door.