Giles was about to turn in for the evening when one of the potentials came up to him quickly, panting for breath. He knew something was wrong. Just from the look in her eyes, he knew it was Buffy. Without a word, he followed the girl out of the house and into the chilly English night. They crossed the once green field, now brown and brittle. The dry blades of grass snapping and crushing under their weight.
They came to small gathering of trees where Buffy sat, leaning against a giant oak. She was curled up onto herself, hugging her knees to her chest. Giles stopped several yards away and the girl stopped as well. "She wouldn't tell me what was wrong," the girl spoke. "I think she's hurt."
Buffy was injured, but not physically. Buffy never cries from physical pain. "It's alright," he spoke softly. "Go back to the house. I'll take care of her."
The girl hesitated for a few moments and then ran back to the house. Like she was a child on a playground, always running from one place to another.
He stood alone, feeling almost surreal. The moonlight cast everything into shadows of dark and silver. The crisp autumn air danced around invisibly. The leafless trees loomed like menacing skeletons. He felt like a character from a Bronte novel, coming to rescue his strong but gentle heroine.
Slowly, he walked up to Buffy. When he neared, her head rose from her knees. She looked at him, as if she wasn't sure if he was real or just part of the landscape. "Giles," she sobbed, her arms reaching out to him. He fell to his knees and took her into his arms. She cried into his shoulder, wave after wave of pain poured out of her soul and she could not stop the flood.
Giles held her quietly, not even murmuring soothing words because they where meaningless. What could he possibly say that would remove such overwhelming grief? And besides, Giles was secretly grateful Buffy was finally grieving. All of the others had cried, mourning the loss of everything. Xander has never stopped weeping.
But Buffy had to be the strong one. She was still the slayer and had to show the others how to be strong. How to bury your emotions until one night you are out in the English countryside, sobbing uncontrollably under a barren tree.
She started trying to talk, but the words came out as hiccupping syllables. "Shh," he whispered, holding her tighter, slightly rocking both of them. "You don't need to talk." He wanted to tell her that everything was okay, but it would have been an obvious lie.
"My Mom," she finally cried out and a whole new ache swelled in Giles' chest. "Her grave," she continued, words coming out with her breath. "My grandmothers ring." She clutched Giles tighter, her small hands bruising his arms through his leather jacket. "They are all gone!"
Giles pulled her in against his chest, tucking her under his chin. "I know. I know." He kissed the top of her head. "I won't leave you," he said, knowing it was the truth, despite their past. Buffy was a woman now. She can support herself, in every way. She no longer looks to Giles to make everything magically better, because she knows it's impossible. "I will never leave you."