Golden Slumbers
by Beth C.

"Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home"

A country code and the phone number all entered through her blurry vision.

He knew who it was almost before he answered the phone.

She always called him first. The person who was once her role model   had now also become the center of her broken little world.

He never wanted to be able to recognize someone by the sound of their crying. But he had been there too many times to witness a breakdown that he recognized the almost silent tears immediately. He could almost anticipate when she would hiccup or gulp for air.

"Buffy?" he asked softly, "Is that you?"

Anyone else would of gotten the strong, still in control Buffy, but it was Giles. He heard the voice that had been tucked away when her father convinced her she was too old for a security blanket and the voice she stopped using at the same time she stopped making her mom check for monsters in the closet. "I can't sleep," she said softly.

He felt as if he failed every time he heard that voice. A continent and an ocean separated them, but he still felt as if he should be able to stop her from needing that voice.

"Can you sing the song to me?" she asked.

It was the same song her mom would sing each night before she died During her first fever as an infant, before her first day of kindergarten, after she got kicked out of Hemery, and at the gates of Heaven Buffy heard that song. It sounded like the blanket her dad had taken away  had felt. It warmed her heart and gave her a few minutes of peace.

Giles sang it to her on the night of her mom's funeral, on his first night in her bed, and whenever she asked him.

"Of course," he said, softly clearing his voice.

"Golden slumbers fill your eyes"

Her deep breathing slowly calmed.

"Smiles awake you when you rise"

She felt the tears slowly dry up.

"Sleep pretty darling do not cry, and I will sing a lullaby"

He imagined holding her in his arms again, her head heavy on his shoulder as he sang the song softly in her ear. He could see himself running his hand through her hair, wiping any remaining tears off of her cheek. Tears started forming in his own eyes from the distance and the loneliness.

"Giles, come home," she said softly. He sighed, "Soon Buffy, I promise, soon."

"Well, your home is here with me," she responded, "I love you."

"I love you too," he smiled, "Now, you have work tomorrow, you should go to bed."

"Sing to me again first," she asked, "then you can be the last happy thing I hear before I go to sleep."

"I will always be here to sing to you. Always."

 

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