by Jo Chen, Giles

Festive ficlet again, again

Title Things Undone
Rating/Warnings PG13 for heavy angst, character death/suicide references. 'Festive' probably not the word for this one.
Words 470
Prompt for minxdelovely who wanted Giles, a candy cane and a Christmas filled with regret.


A Christmas tree for two, designer-clad. No presents wrapped: they would exchange kisses and formally christen the new sound system which they had mutually agreed as their gift to themselves. A pleasant meal, well-cooked: no turkey, no sprouts, no manic group catering. Giles might go to church that evening, purely for the tradition and the music. Olivia would give him a kiss under the strategically-placed mistletoe garland from Flowers by Adrienne. Tomorrow would be quiet, contemplative and loving.

There was no need to make a big deal of Christmas. They were beyond all that, and lacking the big family or small children to make the season specially meaningful. Why should it matter?

Giles looked down at his fingers, clenched around the cane he had absently removed from the tree. An Americanism, candy canes, not something he associated with an English Christmas. He hadn’t felt at home since the tree was decorated. This was why.

He remembered the Christmases, just four of them, from his life with Buffy. The one before he met her but when he knew she was in town; the one where she was tremulously in love with Angel and Giles was waiting for the pain to hit her; the one with the snow, after the inevitable pain had hit and they were living their post-love crisis; and the last one, when Joyce had cooked, and Xander and Willow had both attended, their new college or working lives not quite obliterating old friendships. Buffy had been slowly connecting with that nice lad, Riley Finn. It had been awfully pleasant.

Giles had missed the next one, of course. Olivia would never have understood him going back to California for their first Christmas, and it had not seemed important in any case. He was no longer a Watcher; he needed to mark independence, live his own life.

He had not, of course, known that it would be the last chance.

Hard to believe that they were all gone. No more Summers family. Joyce by tumour; Dawn by violent destiny; Buffy by... what? He didn’t know exactly. Pills of some sort, apparently. It had never seemed important to find out. The outcome was painful enough.

Would she have done better with Giles there? Had there been a way to stop Glory, save the Key, short of killing Dawn? Was it arrogance to think he might have provided additional support to his poor, bereaved Slayer? Probably. But the thought he hadn’t even known, hadn’t been there to try, was impossible to bear.

The candy cane in Giles’s hands had snapped into four. Ruined. He threw it onto the pile in the bin. At this rate, the tree would be bare by Christmas morning.

*
*sniff* No Magic Box? See what happens when you leave town, Giles? Coal for you, mister.

Very well done blue Christmas, m'dear!
*chokes*

"Why would I want to know about the condition of your penis? You're probably not even in the same time zone as me and we will never, ever have sex. Your voice alone is quite off-putting."

"Please hurry up with your orgasm. I have evening plans."

And so forth.

Yes please.
That just shows what happens when Giles follows his own instincts and not Buffy's. Such a depressing picture.

::sniffles::
*sniffles*

This was so sad and angsty and very well done.
One of the things I like about this is that he left Sunnydale when the scoobies were still close enough to their school selves, that he never knew them as messed up adults. So his memories are particularly nostalgic.
As much as he might be regretting their loss, he is mourning the loss of childhood as an idea. And the candy cane has no place there.
At this rate, the tree would be bare by Christmas morning.
Ouch. This was beautiful in a very, very sad way.
Oh that was gorgeous and sad. I understand the metaphorical reasons as to why Giles left (it's about Buffy growing up) and the literal real-world ones (AHS wanting to spend more time at home with family) but it's one of the most painful parts of the show for me - and not out of character, considering he'd been trying to "have his own life" and break away from Buffy since the first episode of S4; but it contributed mightly to Buffy's trauma in S6 and the fracture between them in S7.

I've never considered Buffy committing "suicide" in the course of S6 but you do a wonderful job of imagining what might have been (and what I'm glad never was, including Dawn's death - which I presume is the cause of Buffy's despair here.)