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Dearly Beloved
by GylzGirl



Disclaimer: Fox et all owns Buffy and co. I only own my story.
Rating: G
Pairing: B/G somewhat
Type: Angsty. I've been told to give a tissue warning.
Notes: Thanks to Karen for the beta

*************

How many times did I dream of this day?

“Dearly Beloved. We are gathered here today…”

Yes. But how many times did I dream I would be sitting in the front row and not standing up there at the altar?

“…join this man and this woman…”

Truthfully? I imagined both equally. If I’ve learned to know one person perfectly in my life, it is myself.

“…in the bonds of Holy Matrimony…”

Myself and just possibly one other.

“If there be anyone with just cause…”

I have earned this seat with my cowardice. I have lost the right to allow my heart to force me to speak now what should have been said so long ago. I have lost the right to say ‘I do’ to anything today.

“The rings please…”

I will forever hold my peace. After today, it’s all I’ve got to hold on to.

“…let no man tear asunder…”

The way they’re smiling at each other. The love in their eyes. If only I’d been braver. If only…

“You may now kiss the bride…”

I feel like I can’t breathe. I feel like I might cry. I feel like laughing at my own stupidity. I feel like throwing up. I feel like killing all these smiling, clapping people around me…even as I smile and clap.

They’re walking down the aisle now, hand in hand, man and wife. I feel so empty. Somebody, get me through this somehow. And though I wish to run from this place as if it were on fire, my legs somehow find their way into the reception hall.

A receiving line has formed. People are stopping to shake their hands; to kiss and hug the bride and groom. I wait nervously at the edge of the room. Somebody, get me through this somehow.

I take a deep breath and when the line disperses, I notice the bride and groom part. It is then that my courage finds me again.

“Buffy!”

“Hey Giles!”

We kiss. I’m careful not to linger. We hug, and I’m a little less careful here.

“When do you leave?”

“Tomorrow. And you?”

“Tomorrow night.”

“You’ll stay in contact, yes?”

“So long as you do.”

“Good.”

I think we must both know that we’re lying. Barring an apocalypse that a 2% world population of Slayers can’t handle on their own, and the occasional Christmas card, this is it. This is the day we walk out of each others lives. Oh god.

“Well… I should…”

“Yeah, me too…”

We hug again. This time it’s tighter. This one last time. Somebody get me through this somehow.

“I love you, Buffy.”

“I love you too, Giles.”

I don’t think we mean it in the same way, but it relieves some of the sadness to have said it. Even more, to have heard it.

We part and I turn instantly and close my eyes. I’m trying somehow to imagine how different things will be now. It’s amazing how much space a truly special person takes up in your life and when they’re gone…

I told myself I wouldn’t watch the bride and groom ride off in the limo, but it will be my last glimpse in person. It will be infrequent photos from now on. I make my way to the front steps of the church and begin waving with everyone else. The tears are coming now, I can feel them. Fortunately, I’m well camouflaged amongst the other well-wishers. That at least is no disguise. I do wish them well. I do wish them happiness. It’s not all that I’ve wished for, but it is what will have to do.

When I turn back to the church, I see Xander in the crowd. He smiles as he approaches me.

“Hey Buff, why the tears?”

I sniffle and wipe my eyes with my hand. “Oh, you know, weddings.”

He hugs me close and escorts me back inside.
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