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Story Notes:
The title of the story is inspired by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's book, On Death and Dying, which introduces the five stages of grief.
October 21, 2004
Bath, England

When he opens the door and it's her - wide, uncertain eyes and a self-doubting smile that's more like a grimace - he's quite certain he's dying, by the way his vision whitens and tunnels and he can't breathe.
 
The sunlight swims too bright around him, so warm it hurts her eyes. His hair is shot with white and the wrinkles that crisscross his too-thin face are deeper, but it's still Giles.
  
So much the same; dark rushing over until she can't see the sun again and it really is like drowning. Hysteria (fingers twist and bruise purple) tears the edges of longing sharp and jagged.

The silence rises black and thick like smoke, and the voice in the dark says alone, alone.

Then he says her name, so softly.

"Buffy?"

His voice is shaking and he's afraid she hasn't heard him.

She's looking straight through him, and he wonders bitterly if somewhere on the other side of him she can see the man she came for.

He means to call her to him again, but she shifts, and she isn't where she was, but wrapped around him.
 
He's suddenly unsure; this dream is so much like the others. Certainly, he smells her overly-sweet shampoo and hears the tell-tale pop when she squeezes too tight, but he knows he's already half-gone and doesn't put it past himself anymore.

His heart presses out of his chest and his lungs burn.
 
It's when she pulls back just enough to look him in the eye, and he knows she sees him and him only, something tells him it's a dream he won't wake from. Oh, fuck it all, he thinks, and he's relieved that his death is sweet, at least.
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