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We All have Destinations

Buffy lowered herself carefully to the chair. It had been a long day. Emotionally and physically draining. She had made certain to greet everyone personally, to thank them for coming—for caring.

She watched as her granddaughter fussed around her; wiping down the counter-tops, checking the contents of the fridge, fluffing the cushions on the couch, carefully straightening the already-straight photographs that adorned the mantelpiece, and making certain that she had a nice cup of tea.

"Right then, Nan?" Sarah asked quietly. "You know I could..."

"I'm fine," Buffy interrupted before the girl could offer for the hundredth time to stay. As much as she appreciated the offer she just wanted some time alone. They had all rallied around her the last two days; helping with the arrangements, making sure that she was alright and wasn't left alone. Now she wanted the chance to say her goodbyes to the man she loved. "You go on home to your husband." She watched Sarah's hand ghost across the soft swell of her abdomen before she leant down to kiss her grandmother's cheek.

She was a good girl, Buffy mused, they all were. One photograph caught her eye; it had been taken only the year before. It was his birthday, or at least the one he'd claimed as his. His new birth, that was how he'd always referred to it. They'd gone on a picnic, the whole family—all of his girls and their husbands. It had been a perfect day, warm and sunny and filled with love and laughter. At the end of the day all the girls had crowded around him for the group photo. Buffy, their daughters and granddaughters all laughing and smiling, and his was the happiest smile of them all. Buffy loved that photograph.

She watched Sarah leave; despite her sorrow the girl glowed. They'd found out only the week before that the child she carried was a boy—the first in their family—and Sarah had proudly told her grandfather that he would be named William.

She leaned back against the cushions, sighing wearily as her eyes drifted closed. Today she felt each of her seventy-nine years. It was funny how she'd never felt old before. With him by her side she'd felt young and vibrant. Sometimes it had felt like they could turn a corner and run into Giles, or see Anya hurrying down the street, or her mom watching proudly from the sidelines when the girls received their black belts or at their graduations. Now his absence left her drained and tired in a way she hadn't felt since that first year back on this earth.

Images swam before her eyes; the look on his face as he held a tiny pink-wrapped bundle in his arms for the first time; the cocky smirk when he told her he was going to kill her; light pouring from him as she confessed her feelings for the first time, knowing even as she spoke them that it was too little, too late; the bright Californian sun glinting off pale skin and mocking blue eyes as he taunted her; the soft English sun shining on dark-golden curls as he stood nervously on her doorstep; happy blue eyes shining with love and the rich sound of his laughter as he rolled on the ground being tackled mercilessly by their three golden-haired little demons.

Tears welled before flowing unchecked down her cheeks. While at the same time, a soft smile played across her lips as she allowed herself to both grieve for and celebrate the life of a truly remarkable man. Her truly remarkable man.