And Death Shall Have No Dominion

Summary: The aftermath of Buffy's death and how Giles dealt with it, along with the feelings that came along with it.

Rating: R - Seriously. The first few chapters are PG-13ish, but then torture and pain abounds. (in the emotional way)

Spoilers: Spiral, Weight of the World, The Gift, Bargaining I & II

Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, though at times I wish...please, Joss, I beg you!

Author: E. Quackenbush aka NephilimEQ

Author's Notes: The character of James is pulled from Manchild...if you're an Anthony Stewart-Head fan, you know exactly what I'm talking about!

Part 1 - Distant Memories

Rupert Giles shifted uncomfortably in his airline seat, waiting somewhat impatiently as the airplane taxied into the gate.

There was only so much patience that he had for the infernal machines. How was it possible that it was able to get him from one end of the world to the other in a matter of hours, yet still be uncomfortable? It seemed logical that if you could make the machine in the first place, then you could at least make it comfortable.

He was relieved when he was finally allowed to stand up. As he stood, he felt his back pop. At least it was only one time.

Apparently his training had kept him in better shape than he'd realized.

He grabbed his one bag from the overhead bin, and then walked off the plane, his body weary from the trans-atlantic flight.

As he made his way through the terminal, he felt his body already adjusting to the time difference. It knew this place so very well, but it seemed, just for a moment, that it was a strange land. Nothing was quite the same as it had been before...and, for a brief while, he found himself missing the warm weather of Sunnydale.

He made his way towards the baggage claim to pick up the one bag that he'd had sent. He would send for the rest of his things at another time.

As he walked outside into the dark evening, he glanced around, seeming slightly confused. There was a light drizzle and the way it was reflected in the low level lights was disorienting.

He sighed as he made his way outside to the curb and held back the tears that suddenly threatened to fall without provocation.

The whole plane ride back had been pure torment for him, as his mind had played nearly every memory he had of Buffy back to him, dragging his controlled emotions to the surface. The first day he had met her, the first time he had seen her fight, the first time that they had averted an apocalypse together.

All of it ran around in his mind, taunting him, and was slowly pulling at his emotional walls until they were nothing but broken pieces.

But it was his last memory of her that tormented him the most.

He shook his head, and quickly got into the first available cab, grateful that it had shown up as it had started to snow, and he threw his one bag and his carry-on into the seat alongside him.

"To Bath, please. One-forty-seven Clearview Lane." The cab driver nodded, and then pulled away from the curb. It took all of Giles' reserve to not look back. Looking back might change his mind, and he couldn't change his mind now. Nothing in Sunnydale could hold him there any longer. Nothing.

As the driver took roads that were old and familiar to him, Giles watched the city go by and soon fade to countryside.

Though it was night, he still saw the old beauty that had been lost to his eyes for many years. Several times he wished that he could have brought Buffy here to see it.

She had always said that she loved California, but she had let slip once or twice that missed having the rain and snow that came with the seasons.

He reminisced for a brief moment and then turned his thoughts to the meeting with the Council that he had to look forward to. It was about the same as looking forward to having one's teeth pulled. But he knew that it was necessary...that didn't meant that he had to like it at all. Luckily he had a few days before he had to meet with them.

Not that a few days would make it any easier for him. In fact, all it did was draw out the painful process. Draw it out...just what he didn't want.

He thought for a moment about how they would react to the news. Giles doubted it would go over well.

Luckily Quentin wasn't the actual head of the Watcher's Council; he never had been. He remembered the last time that Buffy had faced Quentin had been a, pardoning the pun, glorious moment.

Buffy. Everything always came back to her. It didn't matter how he tried to escape her memory, it was always there, lurking just beneath the surface, trying to break its' way through the surface. His hand brushed against the bag lying next to him on the seat and he slowly opened it, pulling out what seemed to simply be one of his oxford shirts.

But it wasn't. She had worn it only five days before the fight with Glory.

She had been in the back room and had needed to change into something suitable because her clothes had been torn apart by a demon, and he'd loaned her a shirt.

He remembered her grateful smile as she accepted it and then gone to change. When she'd come out it had sent a stab of emotion through him, but what it was he didn't know.

And now, as he brought the shirt close to him, he could still smell her. He intended to never wash the shirt again. He would never wear it again either. It was the only that he had of her really, besides a few small things that he'd carefully taken from her room without letting anyone else find out. He had almost nothing of hers.

Oh, he had weapons, but they weren't the same thing. Those could be used by any Slayer, but the things he had now reminded him not of the Slayer, but of Buffy.

He pulled out a small box and opened it up, revealing a ring nestled in the center. He brushed a finger against it and smiled.

One of her collection. It had been something of an obsession of hers, those rings. This one in particular. It was one that he'd given her for her nineteenth birthday. She'd worn it almost all the time.

At that thought, he was driven back into the depression of reality. That she would never need to borrow a shirt of his again, that she would never again tease him mercilessly about his fashion choices, that she would never buy a ring again...or wear his ever again. No, it was no longer possible. No longer...never.

Buffy was gone.

Giles couldn't stop a wry smile from creeping onto his face at the way he worded it in his mind. Not dead, but gone. As if she had simply disappeared. The words seemed to be, than the word dead.

But he couldn't deny it anymore. She was dead, and nothing would change that this time.

Part 1/?