August 25, 2012 – No Beard Day

Summary: **Part of the 2012 LiveJournal's Twisted Shorts August Fic-A-Day** series, also known as the 'Wacky Holiday Series'. Buffy gets some advice from an angel.

Challenge: for the livejournal 2012 August Fic-a-Day Challenge.

Warning: Sad one, but I tried to inject a little humor to lighten it up a bit.

Timeline: pre-series for BtVS; vague for HtH, but change the dates so they line up. Another one where the timelines almost matched without moving them.

Disclaimer: BtVS/AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy. Highway to Heaven characters belong to William F. Claxton, Victor French, Dan Gordon, Kevin Inch, Michael Landon, Michael Landon Productions and Genesis Entertainment. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

Itasca Community Hospital

Oct 18th

The doctors and nurses simply pushed Buffy out of the room as they started to work on her cousin, Celia. With all the commotion, nobody saw where she went to, but when she heard the doctor say those words: 'Time of death…' she took off running.

It wasn't until she was in a small park across the street that she stopped running. She didn't know exactly what death meant, but she did know that when it happened to somebody, you never got to see them again. She never saw Grandpa Summers or Grandma Williams after they died, and now she would never see Celia.

'It just wasn't fair!' she screamed in her head. Why did Celia have to die?!

Buffy remembered the things that people said after her grandparents died. Stuff like, 'At least they had a good long life' or 'She/He was ready to go'. Even if that was true – which Buffy didn't think it was – they couldn't possibly say that about Celia. She didn't have a long life and she certainly wasn't ready to go. So why?

She was brought out of her thoughts by a man grumbling to a friend about his face. The other man just grinned and said, "You promised, Mark. If I was able to get the car running in under two minutes, you'd celebrate any holiday I wanted you to."

Mark just growled again and snapped, "I thought that you would pick something normal…like Thanksgiving or Christmas or something, Jonathan. I thought you wouldn't even know about holidays that didn't include Him."

Seeing Buffy sitting there on a swing, Jonathon turned to ask her a question, "Hi there, don't you think he looks good without his beard?"

"What does that have to do with a holiday?" Buffy asked, momentarily forgetting about her grief and anger.

"Today's 'No Beard Day' and I thought Mark might look good without his beard. By the way, my name is Jonathan," he introduced himself. He could feel Him saying that this girl needed help to become a force for good later in her life. It was up to him and Mark to help her understand that some things happened for a reason…even if it didn't seem like it at the time.

Buffy looked skeptical about telling the strange men her name, but figured that since they were in public, she could take the chance. Plus there was something about Jonathan that felt…light? It didn't make sense to her, but she found herself holding out her hand and answering, "Buffy. I don't know what he looked like before but he looks nice this way. He probably would look better if he stopped rubbing his chin like he could pull it back out, though."

Jonathan took the swing next to Buffy and kept talking to her, "So why are you out here all alone?"

Her face crumpled at the reminder. "My best friend and cousin just died. We were going to live next to each other forever and be famous archeologists together. Why did she have to die? She didn't have a long life and she wasn't ready to die!" she cried out bitterly.

"We don't always have the answers," he confessed. "Sometimes things happen that we don't think should have. But sometimes, the understanding for those things comes years later when we least expect it. You'll hurt for a long time, but don't let that hurt keep you from honoring Celia's memory. You can make a difference in the world, Buffy, so don't let your anger keep you from doing it," Jonathan said the words given to him, even though he didn't know why he was saying them.

9 ½ years later…

After she was fought Der Kindestod, Buffy recalled the conversation she had with the men in the park the day Celia died. It suddenly occurred to her that she never told them the name of her cousin. How did he know it?

A/N: You could say this is part of the same 'verse as the Scarecrow and Mrs. King story 'August 7th – National Lighthouse Day'. Doesn't have to be, though.