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Rating: FRM (mature persons)
Pairing: Buffy/Giles
Summary: Much needed closure for all after the final battle.
Setting: set after season seven
Disclaimer: These are not my characters. They belong to Joss, Twentieth Century Fox, UPN, WB & Mutant Enemy. This is purely for fun.

Thanks to Catzen and Texaslawaggie for the betas.

Note: This is written for Ladyforash as part of the allthejellies angstathon. At her request Anya didn’t die.

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No one knew where they were going. It didn’t matter, anyway. He wouldn’t be with them for much longer. For now, he hoped to find a place for them to settle down and rebuild. It would be difficult. With the number of young girls that traveled with them, strings would have to be pulled, favors cashed in, identities changed - all to avoid suspicion. He would help as much as possible before he left.

Giles watched Buffy from his seat at the front of the school bus. She moved around, talking to each of the girls, comforting them - a hug for one, whispered words to another. It was like watching an angel.

Once, not long ago, these girls wouldn’t have trusted her. She had taken them to Hell and back, and they had saved the world. That had earned her their trust and respect. Now they expected more from her, needed more from her, and she gave what was needed. She would never admit it, but Giles knew she loved those girls and would give her life for any of them.

“There.” Anya’s voice interrupted his thoughts as her arm blocked his view. “That looks like a good place.”

He looked out the window and sighed. “We can’t stop here,” he protested.

“Why? Because this is the same place I had my little talk with the First Slayer?” Buffy asked, sitting down next to him.

“Yes, exactly,” he answered. “Buffy, this is sacred ground.”

“What better place to hold a memorial service? We need to do this for them.” She gestured to the girls behind her. “They need closure.”

He looked into her eyes and knew she wouldn’t take no for an answer. “Very well.”

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As night fell, they gathered around the bonfire, forming a circle. They all held at least one item, an object belonging to someone lost during their vigil on the Hellmouth. Each of the new Slayers held something from the ones that had died in the last year. Giles knew Dawn, Buffy and their friends would have brought items for Kendra, Joyce, Tara, Spike, and Andrew. He brought with him what they wouldn’t have thought to bring.

Giles looked at what he held in his hands, a handkerchief Jenny had given him, a lock of Buffy’s hair, and a piece of cloth torn from Ben’s shirt.

He looked to Willow and Faith standing to his left, then to Xander and Anya to his right, making sure everything was ready. As Willow threw the first item into the fire, he began to sing. It was an old song without words. No words were necessary. The song itself conveyed the grief they all felt. One by one, they all stepped forward and cast their items into the fire. Some of them joined the singing for a short while as the grief overcame them. The song rose and fell as voices joined and dropped out seemingly at random, until only Giles’ voice remained as he added his offering to the fire. As his voice trailed off to nothing, so did the fire, leaving them to stand in the silent darkness. One by one, they left the circle and walked to the safety of the bus.

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TBC in part 2
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