The song is "Daniel" by Elton John.

*****

The radio played softly in the small apartment.


"They say that Spain is pretty though I've never been Well Daniel says its the best place he's ever seen
Oh and he should know, he's been there enough Lord I miss Daniel, oh I miss him so much

Daniel, my Brother you are older then me Do you still feel the pain of the scars that won't heal

Your eyes have died but you see more than I Daniel your a star in the face of the sky"

Rupert Giles listened to the words of the song for a moment before turning off the radio and checking on the sleeping girl on the couch. He pulled the covers up over Dawn and went into the kitchen to turn on the kettle. He was thankful to see her finally sleeping. A small group of mourners in a private ceremony had buried Buffy late this afternoon. Willow had left shortly after to go to LA and give Angel and the others the news in person.

The knock at the door surprised him it was rather late for company, he answered it quickly so the noise wouldn't wake up Dawn. He was even more suprised when he found Riley Finn on his doorstep. One look at Riley's and he knew that Riley alrady knew about Buffy's death. The soldiers appearance reflected his own, his eyes red and full of pain. His clothes disheveled from travel, Giles guessed. "Riley," he said softly and led him to the kitchen, "Tea?"

Riley shook his head, "No thank you. I need to know Giles. I have to know how?" He asked his voice cracking slightly.

"Four days ago, in a battle with Glory." Giles explained the whole story to a stunned Riley.

"So she sacrificed herself for Dawn?" Fresh tears rolled down the younger man's face.

"Dawn and the world." Giles replied proudly. "She is a true hero, Riley. I know that doesn't ease your pain any but it's true."

"Where is she buried?" Riley asked wiping his face with his shirt sleeve.

Giles gave him directions and walked him to the door. "Thank you, Giles."

Riley started walking towards the cemetary. He was so lost in his grief that he bumped into someone on the sidewalk in front of him knocking a bottle the man was holding to the ground. The broken glass seemed to glow in the moonlight, and the smell of bourbon assaulted his nose.

"Excuse me. I'm sorry." Riley apologzed.

"Bloody hell." The man said as he knelt on his knees by the broken bottle and began to sob loudly.

"Cheer up Charlie, it was just a bottle of booze. I'll buy you another." Riley said quickly he was in a hurry.

The man on the ground looked up at him and instant recognition hit both men, "Spike."

"Finn." Spike looked up at the hated rival and lost it. "Cheer up? How the hell am I supposed to do that? She's dead! Don't you know that you idiot! Buffy is dead." Spike slammed his hands on the pavement the broken glass cutting deep into the palms, blood ran down his arm as he held them up for Riley to see, " Blood - her blood, she sacrificed herself and I couldn't save her." He sobbed loudly again.

Angry, Riley yelled back at him, "I know she's dead, Spike. I know," he wanted to add more, but the misery of the vampire on the sidewalk was so heartwrenching he couldn't bring himself to say another hateful word it seemed like a dishonor to Buffy to argue now. "I'm going to the cemetary." He said quietly turning from Spike.

Spike stood slowly wiping the blood from his hands on his pants legs, "I'll go, I'll show you where she is."

Riley nodded and the two walked in silence to the cemetary, Riley followed Spike to a fresh grave. Several sprays of flowers decorated the soft mound of freshly turned dirt. "Did she suffer?" He asked softly.

"No." Spike answered him "When I got to her....after. I tried to wipe the smudges from her face, and she looked peaceful, serene. I think it must have be painless."

Spike winced at the memory of his howling with grief, how he had made his way to her still warm body and cradled her in his arms. There was no breath, no heartbeat just her lovely face pale and still. He didnt' know how long he had held her, but he remembered Giles easing Buffy out of his arms and Willow and Tara taking him to shelter because the sun was rising.

He closed his eyes and shook his head to clear his mind, "No, she didn't suffer."

"That's good." Riley mutter under his breath as he continued to stare at the grave. "I should have been there."

Spike didn't reply to the last comment, he turned and walked from the cemetary. leaving Riley alone with Buffy.

Riley sat down at the foot of the grave and scooped up a handful of the dark dirt. It sifted through his fingers as hot, bitter tears flowed freely down his face. Buffy lie under the dirt. His bright, witty, brave and oh so noble Buffy. Dead, no more brilliant smiles, no more turn of that blond head shining in the sunlight, no more private jokes. No more Buffy. "I love you." He said out loud, "Did you know that? God help me, I loved you and I left you. And now you're gone. Did you forgive me, Buffy? Were you still angry with me at the end? I need to know!"

The silent grave lay in front of him offering no answers, no comfort to the desperate man sitting at it's edge. He looked up into the moonlit sky, "I need to know!" He called out loud again. The stars offered no more answer then the grave. Riley removed a small box from his jacket and opened staring at the diamond ring. He had bought the ring before all the hell in he and Buffy's relationship had broke loose and had decided to propose, it never happened and he had carried the ring with him to Belize. He lay the box at the head of the grave. With a heavy heart he turned from the grave, knowing his question would never be answered.

Riley Finn learned from his mistakes though, he understood that he had learned a hard lesson and in Buffy's memory if he was ever lucky enough to love another woman, he would never let her go, he would stick with her through thick and thin, he would never leave someone he loved again. He pulled his jacket tighter around him as he left "the one" to her final rest.



The End