Retribution IV: Rest In Peace

by Saber ShadowKitten

Xander stood sullenly next to his girlfriend at the graveyard. *Why did I come?* he thought as he kicked the ground with his toes. *It’s not like I ever really liked the guy.*

Buffy, aided by Giles, set up the headstone next to Jenny Carpenter’s grave. It was Giles idea to place it there. After reading Jenny’s private journal, Giles saw how much she wanted Buffy to be happy and the depth of their love. She had even gone as far as finding a way to re-curse Angel.

"Almost sunset," Buffy said, looking up at the sky.

Giles nodded and stepped away from the newly erected headstone. "Um…would anyone like to start?" he asked.

"I will," Willow said. She moved over to the grave and placed flowers in front of it. "Angel, I know it wasn’t you who hurt me. I’m sorry I had to end your life before we could re-curse you. You were always my friend. I’m sure that your soul is in heaven. Good-bye, Angel."

Buffy took Willow’s hand, squeezing it, tears running down both girls faces.

Giles began speaking next. "Angel, I…er…you will b-be missed. You helped us innumerable times, s-saved our lives j-just as many, and protected Buffy when I c-couldn’t. For that, thank you."

Giles removed his glasses and wiped the tears from his eyes. Both Buffy and Willow went to him and embraced their mentor and friend.

"Angel," Cordelia said, to the surprise of everyone. "I didn’t know you very well, but I did know that Buffy loved you. And if she felt that way, I know you had to have been a great man. Rest in peace."

Cordelia smiled at her new friends, slightly embarrassed. They smiled back with acceptance. Cordelia then nudged Xander.

"Oh, all right. Deadboy…I guess you really are dead now, eh?" Xander received glares from everyone. "Sorry. Angel, you and I didn’t really like each other, but you did help us and, in your own sick, twisted way, you loved Buffy. And that is what was most important."

Xander nodded to Giles. "Buffy, would you like us to wait while you say your good-bye?" Giles asked, arms still around his two young friends.

"No. You guys had better get going. Spike told me he and Drucilla would be here to say their own good-byes shortly after sunset. I want you guys to be long gone by the time they get here," Buffy replied.

Giles nodded and the group headed for Cordelia’s car.

When she could no longer see them, Buffy knelt on the ground in front of the headstone, tracing the letters.

In remembrance of Angel, both good and bad, by those who respected, admired and loved you. May your soul be in Heaven and in peace.

1755-1998. With love: Buffy Summers, Rupert Giles, Willow Rosenburg, Xander Harris, Cordelia Chase, Whistler, Spike and Drucilla.

*Funny,* Buffy thought as she read the dates. *People who read this will think it was a mistake.* Everyone listed, with the exception of Drucilla, had chipped in money for the stone. Surprisingly, it was Spike who had decided what the stone should read. As she thought of her new friend she laughed softly.

Buffy reached into her pocket and pulled out the Claddagh ring Angel had given her. Looking at it’s simple beauty, she remembered when he first gave it to her. She kissed it softly, then quickly buried it near the headstone.

"Oh, Angel," she said. "I’ll miss you. I know you would have wanted me to kill the demon sooner, but it was too hard. I’m sorry it had to end like it did. Please forgive me."

Wiping here eyes with her sleeve, Buffy stood and looked into the fading sunlight. "I hope your view of the sun is beautiful in Heaven," she said. She inhaled deeply as a feeling of happiness stole over her. She smiled. "Good-bye, Angel."

Buffy turned away and walked into the night.

The End