MierkeFandom & Disclaimer:
Buffy’s not mine, it’s Joss Whedon’s. I’m just borrowing his world and very thankful for the chance.Pairing/Characters:
Buffy, Xander, Willow, GilesPrompt: Ensemble/any, it's ten years since the fall of Sunnydale - where are they now, who goes back, what happens next?
for the Sunnydale High School 10 Year Reunion Anniversary Comment!FicathonWords:
Every year they say goodbye.
The crater where Sunnydale used to be was bathing in sunlight. Over the years grass had started growing, trees had found their footing. Small insects were buzzing about. It wasn't jungle life by far, but the darkness that had permeated these grounds for so long had finally evaporated.
The town-that-was didn't get many visitors. People tended to avoid evidence of how the world was falling apart. But on this day, four different people came to the hole, sitting down at the edge.
Buffy was the first to arrive, setting herself elegantly down, just outside of the town line. So lost in thought was she that she didn't notice Giles until he was talking to her.
"Strange, isn't it?"
Buffy gave her former Watcher a smile. She noticed the aging around his eyes, but decided that it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Putting down his active role in the Slaying business had done him a lot of good. She had no doubt he worked just as hard now he worked exclusively as Head of the Council, but at least that head wouldn't be concussed anymore.
"Very. It's weird seeing Sunnydale so... peaceful. It doesn't seem true, somehow. All the things that we had happen, here. As if it was all a dream. Or a nightmare, more like."
Giles grabbed her into a hug and she happily let him. It had been a while since they had seen each other. After she had opted to leave England for a sunnier destination, they only talked on the phone now and then. She hadn't realized how much she had missed seeing him in person.
"Can I join in?"
Willow's voice came from behind them and not even a minute later her arms were around the two people on the ground. In her over enthusiasm she almost managed to roll them all down into the crater, but with a little magical help she kept their balance. After a sigh of relief she started giggling and soon Buffy joined in. Giles shook his head.
"It's a miracle I survived all these years with you two."
"That's because you had me to protect you."
Willow squealed and jumped up to hug her oldest friend. Xander twirled her around.
"Love the new eye-patch, Xan."
Xander set Willow down and looked at Buffy, his chequered eye-patch covering his left eye. He put his hand over his heart in an exaggerated thank you, then broke out in a grin.
"Look at you! You look happy!"
"I am!" Buffy smiled and hugged Xander.
"I see the sun every day. Believe me, that does a lot for a person. Life is good, mostly."
Buffy squeezed him tight, taking in the familiar Xander smell before he let her go.
"And you look way better than last year."
Xander had turned to Giles, who was watching the three friends with a smile on his face. He hadn't stood up and now he squinted at Xander.
"Thanks, I think," he replied.
"I say it out of love, Giles," Xander said, as he laid a hand on Giles' shoulder, squeezing it tightly for a moment. Giles lay his hand on Xander's.
"I know," he smiled. "Shall we?"
Buffy, Xander and Willow turned quiet and sat down. The four of them were sitting at the exact place they had stood now ten years before, at the exact place they had sat every year since then. For a minute they didn't talk, all of them lost in memories. Buffy took a deep breath, pulled her bag closer to her and grabbed a box out of it. As she threw the first of the vaguely stake-shaped coneflower seeds into the crater, she said:
"We lost fifteen this year. We lost Maddy, Isa, Toni, Xaviera and Maryann in a near Apocalypse. Teegan and Angeline were killed by vampires. Angeline had only been Called two months before. I still don't understand how she was put on the patrol roster. It shouldn't have happened."
Buffy stopped for a moment to control her breathing. One by one she kept throwing the seeds to Sunnydale, commemorating all the Slayers she had lost. Just before throwing in the last one, she darted a quick look to Willow.
"Kennedy. Killed by cancer."
Willow had a sad, wistful smile on her face.
"She must have hated that."
"She really did," Buffy replied. "She wanted to go out fighting. She was brave up until the end, though. Was teaching the new Slayers until she literally couldn't stand anymore."
Another moment of silence passed. Then Willow called forward her Weeping Willow seeds, the seedpods protected by magic so they wouldn't break until they hit fertile ground.
"We were lucky. We only lost three. Anita and Roni were killed by vampires. Just the standard variety, you know? It always saddens me to realize how many of these deaths still happen that way."
"It only takes one good day," Buffy whispered.
"It something Spike said to me once. When I asked him how he had killed those Slayers. He said that it didn't matter how many vampires a Slayer had killed, or how good she was, because in the end, all it took for a vampire to kill that Slayer was one good day. I guess he was right."
Willow gave her friend a quick hug. Buffy tried to shrug it off, but she held on extra tight.
"Keira got killed in a car accident," Willow continued. "They are still just girls, you know? Sometimes I forget that. They always seem so... invincible."
In the silence Xander took a bag out of his pocket. He blew the first of the hyssop seeds away; his seeds were vaguely eye-patch shaped.
"We lost seven. Amanda and Monica should never have been out together, but we were in the middle of a situation. We can't say for certain, but I think they killed each other. Sometimes these powers seem to drive the girls to insanity."
The others nodded. Willow grabbed Xander's hand and gave him a soft squeeze as Xander recounted the tales of how they had lost the other twelve Slayers.
"We lost two," Giles said, as his primrose seeds got caught in the wind. "Gwen and Tabitha. There was a nest, close by. It didn't feel like a high-danger situation and I made the call to only send three Slayers. I don't think Vi will ever be who she was. She hasn't said a word since."
He closed his eyes in pain.
"It's been three months."
The four friends linked hands and looked over at the town they had left behind. They waited two minutes in absolute silence. Buffy cried and tears were falling down Willow's face. Xander blinked and shook his head, shaking off the tears that were threatening to fall. There was a shine to Giles' eyes that didn't go away, no matter how much they closed them.
After the two minutes, they stood up as one, saying their goodbyes to each other as well as their goodbyes to the ones they had lost.
"Until next year," Giles said and turned away.
"'til next year," Willow whispered and teleported out.
"I'll see you in a year," Xander said, grabbing Buffy into another quick hug before leaving.
Buffy stood there for another moment, her eyes following the now familiar contours of what had once been her home. She never quite knew why they came here and she imagined the others didn't either. But there was no doubt in her mind that it was the right thing to do. With a small, sad smile, she left Sunnydale's crater and all was quiet again. Until next year.
I'm fleeing LJ. This entry was originally posted at at http://mierke.dreamwidth.org/129073.html. You're welcome to reply either here or at DW.