XII. A Second Chance

Buffy sat inside the Bronze at the bar, the song from the stage drifting to her ears as she stared into nothing.

[...of all the things I've believed in...I just want to get it over with...tears form behind my eyes...but I do not cry...counting the days that pass me by...I've been searchin' deep down in my soul...words that I'm hearin' are starting to get old...]

She felt like crying. She felt like screaming at the top of her lungs and then going out to take down every single vampire that she could find. Killing until there was nothing left. Nothing left of anything. The words of the song were excruciating to listen to. They were cutting into her with every syllable...

[...feels like I'm starting all over again...the last three years were just pretend...and I said...goodbye to you...goodbye to everything I thought I knew...you were the one I loved...the one thing that I tried to hold onto...]

...and she could take it no longer.

She got up and left.

As she walked down the road, she wished that it was raining. That's how it always happened in the movies. Whenever something bad happened, it would start to rain, reflecting the dour mood. But instead, it was a gorgeous night, mild with a soft breeze. Not at all conducive to her anger at the injustice of the world.

Everything was falling apart. At least, that was how it felt to her.

She found herself in one of the cemeteries, one of the ones that used to be a regular stop for them on their nightly patrols when they patrolled together...and there was the headstone. The one that was big enough to seat the both of them comfortably.

Where they used to sit and talk, away from the rest of the group...the place that was just for them.

Buffy made her way over to it, and finally let the tears fall. She couldn't hold them in any longer, it hurt too much. It had created an actual physical ache that was gnawing at her, begging to be soothed. So she cried. She pulled herself on top of the cool stone, and she cried. The rest of the words the song came at her like hail stones against her conscience.

[...I used to get lost in your eyes...and it seems that I can't live a day without you...closing my eyes, you chase the thoughts away...to a place where I am blinded by the light...but it's not right...]

At that point, the words hit home. The song was right...she couldn't live a day without him. She had no desire to be alive if he wasn't there. Then the earlier lyrics hit her as well.

She did used to get lost in his eyes.

There had always been an intensity about them that had seemed to see everything about her; everything.

[...goodbye to you...goodbye to everything I thought I knew...you were the one I loved...the one thing that I tried to hold onto...]

When they had been reunited when she had come back, he had made all of her thoughts about wanting to be back in her grave completely disappear. All of them. He had made her want to live, and want to be better. She then remembered a conversation her and her mom had shared when she was in the hospital.

"Mom...how did you know you were in love?"

Her mom sighed. "Well, I guess it was several things. First, I started to care about him more than I did myself. And the second thing, was that he made me want to be better."

Buffy was confused. "Better how?" Her mom shrugged slightly. "You know, sweetie...a better person. Though it isn't like that now, I felt for your dad very strongly at one point. He was the man of my dreams." She placed a loving hand on her daughter's face.

"Why do you ask, sweetie?"

Buffy shrugged. "I don't know...I guess, it's because I don't think I ever really have been. It's always been about me, never really about the other person. What if I don't find it?"

Joyce gave her a reassuring smile. "You will, sweetie, you will."

Her thoughts shifted to the memories throughout the years where she had recognized her love for him.

The Cruciamentum...when he was turned back human from being a demon...when he had come back after she'd been resurrected...all of those times.

[...and it hurts to want everything and nothing at the same time...I want what's yours and I want what's mine...I want you...but I'm not giving in this time...]

No, she wasn't going to give in. It wasn't worth the agony. She would take each day as it came, and maybe, just maybe, she could prove to Giles that he could come back and she could still be strong. With that thought, she wiped the tears from her eyes and slid from the top of the headstone.

She walked forward, somewhat blindly as she cleaned the remaining vestiges of moisture from her face, and ran into someone.

"Oh, sorry." She then tried to walk around the person, but hands on her shoulders stopped her.

"Excuse me, what are you-?"

Her words stopped as she saw who it was. It was Giles.

Instead of being on a plane heading to back to England, he was standing right in front of her, in a graveyard, on one of the most pleasant nights that it had been in a long while. His intense hazel eyes seemed to search her soul as they stared at one another, both of them trying to find the words to speak.

Buffy still couldn't believing that it was him.

Just as she was about to ask, he spoke. "I couldn't. I was about to get on the plane, when I just realized...I couldn't do it. I couldn't leave you, Buffy...god, I-I..."

She smiled, tears returning to her face, this time they were tears of joy. "I know, Giles...I know."

He then wrapped his arms around her, pulling her to him, trying to convey all of his emotions in the gesture. Buffy knew exactly what he meant, and she hugged him back as tightly as she would allow herself, making sure not to hurt him. She inhaled his scent, remembering their reunion when she had come back from the dead.

This was better.

Because this was forever. They both knew it, they could both feel it in how the other person held onto them.

He slowly pulled back, his hands still clinging tightly to her waist, her arms still on his shoulders, and stared. He then lifted a hand to her face, mimicking his actions from the previous time. "Buffy, I-I...I love you." The words were the sweetest thing that she'd ever heard in her life. She just smiled.

Buffy then raised her hands from his shoulders to his face, placing them lovingly along his jaw line, drawing her thumbs to his lips.

"And I love you...but you knew that, didn't you?"

He nodded. "Yes, I knew. And you knew that I loved you, didn't you?" She nodded, tears still in her eyes.

In an unspoken decision, they leaned in towards each other. He paused for a moment, their noses brushing each other in a sweet caress, just before their lips touched. He then spoke, his breath brushing against her lips, sending shivers down her spine. "How long, Buffy? How long have you loved me?" He could practically feel her smile.

"Since you were fired...you?"

Her breath against his own sent shivers down his own spine, letting him feel some of what she felt. "Since prom night...you were a vision to me. A woman in every sense of the word..."

As those final words were spoken, she felt him lean the rest of the way forward, his lips finally touching her own. And it was perfect. It wasn't fireworks going off, it wasn't hesitant...it was just right. Two people admonishing the fact that they loved each other in every way possible.

Buffy gave herself over to the feeling, knowing that it was going to be like that for the rest of her life.

His lips caressed hers, telling her everything that she needed to know, everything that she ever would know. That he was her life...that without him, it wasn't possible. And that now that each of them had found and fully discovered their individual destinies, it was time to accept this one. That they were each other's destinies.

Though it sounded ridiculous in her mind, almost cliché, Buffy knew in her heart that it was true.

They finally pulled apart, both of them still breathing steady, and looked into each other's eyes. That was when she saw it. What she had never seen in him for all of these years...true happiness. It seemed to radiate from him, and flow into her where they still held each other.

She was happy...and so was he.

It finally occurred to her where they were standing, and she realized that they weren't exactly in the safest place for heart wrenching revelations.

"So," she said, trying to break the quiet. "Would you like to go home, now? I-I mean, to the house?"

He noticed what she had said, and just smiled. He slid his arm into hers, holding her tightly to his side as they began to walk out of the cemetery. "I'd be delighted to come home with you, Buffy..." At those words, she looked up at him and smiled. Things were going to be okay...they really were.

Because they'd been given their chance...


Part 12/12


(I hope that you enjoyed it! (again))