A Day of Remembrance

by Mary Beth Nielsen
Copyright 1999

A while back, someone (Kiki?) issued a fic challenge. I didn't respond then because I was in the middle of a huge writer's block. But now, a few months later, here it is. Thanks to Beth for pushing me to finish it. Thanks to Chris Beck and Tony Head for recording the beautiful piece called "Remembering Jenny" from Passion. That sound clip got me through most of this piece. And let me just issue a Major Tissue Warning now. For your own good, have some handy.

I don't own 'em, Joss and Mutant Enemy do. I just borrowed 'em. Please don't sue. Song credit: "I Will Remember You" by Sarah McLachlan off her Rarities, B-Sides, and Other Stuff Album.

Feedback encouraged!

I will remember you.
Will you remember me.
Don't let your love pass you by.
Weep not for the memories.


The sun rose over Sunnydale Cemetery, just as it had every other day. A slight breeze ruffled the grass, adding a chill to the late winter morning. It was quiet. The headstones stood like silent sentries, asking remembrance, serving the dead.

The grave looked just like any other. Perhaps this day it was a little cleaner, the grass freshly cut, the flower vase empty and ready. The caretaker had done his duty the day before, following the schedule that his computer gave him every day like clockwork. It wasn't good business if a grave didn't look nice on its special day.

Business. That's all it was to him. To others, though, it was a day of remembrance. The marker still looked new; only a year had passed. The sun glinted off the still-smooth marble, the shadows of sunrise playing over the engraved words: Jennifer Calendar


It was early that morning, shortly before school started, that the first visitor came. A small, red-headed figure approached the grave slowly, tentatively.

Oz had picked Willow up on the way to school, but he hung back by the van. He hadn't known Ms. Calendar well, hadn't even been in town when she died. But, as always, he was there for Willow. So he waited.

Willow stood quietly over the grave for several moments. Her heart felt like it was creeping up her throat, her eyes stung as she tried not to cry. She blinked several times, and then finally, she began to speak. Softly.

"We miss you. I miss you." She cleared her throat, and started again. "I never got the chance to tell you how much I admired you. I think... I hope... that I've been showing you." Willow smiled slightly. "I found your files. I found your books. I've learned a lot, Ms. Calendar. Thanks to you. I.... I want you to know I'm being careful... well, okay, there was the alternate universe thing... and I'm still having a little trouble with Amy.... but I can float a mean pencil! So... I'm *trying* to be careful. Giles is on my case all the time, lecturing me about responsibility and taking my time and.... he's such a fuddy duddy." Willow wiped a tear from her eye before she continued, "But you know what? He's so much different now, since he met you. Yeah, sure, some of that is because he lost you. But... but I think he's trying to be more of the man you'd want him to be--to honor your memory. I think you'd be proud."

Willow sighed and let silence blanket the area once more. She thought about her mentor -- Jenny's grace, her humor, her love of computers and technology, her bravery -- the woman who was as much an inspiration to her as Buffy.

And Willow cried.

"I did the spell," Willow whispered once she'd composed herself. "I think it's what you would have wanted. To save Angel. To help Buffy. We didn't.... we didn't want you to die for nothing. So I did it. And it worked." Willow took a deep, ragged breath, still trying to keep the tears away, and she spoke even softer. "Something happened, Ms. Calendar, when I did the spell. Something--some*one*--helped me."

As a few tears slipped down Willow's cheeks, she stooped to the ground and picked up a pebble. She fondled it for a moment, sniffling. Then she reached out and placed it on the top of Jenny's headstone -- as a reminder that someone had been there, that Jenny hadn't been forgotten.

Willow smiled, and as she turned away, she whispered, "Thank you."


It's funny how we feel so much, but cannot say a word.
We are screaming inside, but can't be heard.


The noon sun was high above the cemetery as a lone figure stood over Jenny's grave. Xander scuffed his toe at a patch of dirt, his hands shoved deeply into his pockets. He didn't look at the marker.

After a few minutes of that, with a nice hole forming where he worried at the ground, he finally spoke, his voice cracking.

"I wish I had your grace, Ms. C. Your ability to accept what you've done, move on, forgive." He sighed. "Lots of people miss you. I miss you. I didn't even really get to know you. But I've seen what you meant to the others. In life, and well...in death. And...." he sniffled, "and I learned a lot from your death. I want you to know that. I want you to know that I won't let the others forget. What happened." He breathed deeply. "Who happened. No matter what might change. You see, they have your ability to forgive. And that's great. For them. But I can't forget what he did to you. And what that did to the people I care about. And I've screamed and yelled. And they haven't listened. And I've even started to understand why they've moved past it and accept him now. But I can't forget."

He stood quietly for few more minutes. His stomach grumbled. It made him smile. Life goes on.

"I have to get back to school." He gestured off in the direction of the high school. "And I gotta grab some snacks. I missed lunch. And... I don't know why I told you that."

He sighed, gave one last kick at the patch of dirt and turned away, mumbling, "I'll never forget."


I will remember you.
Will you remember me.
Don't let your love, pass you by.
Weep not for the memories.


The shadows grew longer, time ticked by, and another figured marched up to Jenny's grave.

"I brought you a peace lily, Ms. Calendar," Cordelia said, "because ... well... you know roses are pretty much out and .... when I think of you, for some *strange* reason, I think of peace." Cordelia considered that for a moment. "That's kind of odd, when you think about it--considering how peaceful things were before your lies came back to haunt you."

Cordy stood by the grave, her back straight, her head held high. "Look, I'm not going to get all weepy over this. I'm not even a part of Buffy's little gang anymore. Not... really, anyway." At this, she ducked her head, murmuring, "not that they'd want me." She was quiet for a beat, then took a deep breath and plowed ahead. "Xander and I aren't Xander and I. Willow.... well... I'm not even going to go into that little witch's lack of integrity. Oh. I'm sorry. You were friends. Well, anyway, the past year or more has been pure hell for me. You would not *believe* the things I've been through, not the least of which involves being impaled. And after everything that's happened, it feels like I'm right back where I began, only with a lot more knowledge about a lot of bad things I'd never dreamed existed. And now, I feel even more alone than I did before. You ... you were the one person who seemed to ever take me seriously, Ms. Calendar. I'm sorry.... that we never got the chance to really know each other. I'm .... I'm sorry about a lot of things. But I'm really sorry about what happened to you. And I just wanted to stop by to let you know that I was thinking about you."

Cordelia nodded once and stepped forward to place the lily on the headstone.

"Well, I'd stay longer, but I've got to meet Harmony at the mall. There's a big shoe sale and you know, a girl can never have too many shoes."


I'm so tired. I can't sleep.
Standing on the edge of something much too deep.


The last light faded in the west as night crept over Sunnydale. The day was ending, but of course that's when the town really came alive, er, dead. Buffy walked slowly through the cemetery, on her usual path. But with the sun just setting, she was there much earlier than usual. She'd put this off all day but had finally decided that she didn't want it distracting her from patrol. She had enough distractions to worry about these days.

Slowly, reluctantly, she approached Jenny's grave. Her eyes felt huge, like she couldn't open them a millimeter more. Her heart beat hard and fast. Her throat was dry. But she didn't cry.

When she finally spoke, her voice was almost harsh. "I ... I wasn't very nice to you. I blamed you for everything that happened. Maybe you deserved some of it. But.... not all. I just.... Everything I loved was ripped away from me. And maybe there wasn't really anything anyone could have done to stop it, but I had to lash out at something... someone. And you were there. An easy target."

Buffy hugged herself and studied the darkening sky for a moment. When she spoke again, her voice was softer.

"I'm sorry. I had no idea what you were doing. How far you were willing to go.... for me.... for Giles. I knew.... I knew he loved you. I didn't know you loved him so much, too. I didn't know." Her eyes began to moisten, her voice shakier. But still, she refused to cry.

"He misses you. So much. We all do, but Giles.... he's lonely. He's had a rough year.... not just because of Angel. I.... I haven't been the easiest person to deal with... and ... I think... I think it's cost him a lot. I know it has. But you'd be proud of him, Ms. Calendar. He learned a lot from you, and I think he's handling things better for having known you. I owe you a lot for that."

She stopped and stared at the ground for a few minutes, letting the silence comfort her, letting it fill her ears, her head, closing out the world around her.

"Angel's back, you know. He's better. Will did that for him... for me... for you. I hope it's what you wanted. I hope... you know he's suffered for what his demon did. That he's still suffering. Maybe he'll never suffer enough, I don't really know. It almost killed him, you know. Maybe you do... but I don't believe it was you who tortured him. That's ...one thing I learned about you: even as I was blaming you for my pain--I know your compassion... was limitless. You could never be so cruel."

Buffy stopped again, to gather her thoughts. She blinked away a few stray tears and sniffled.

"Sometimes I wish I didn't love him so much. But because I do, I think I understand why you did the things you did for Giles. It's the same reason I ... I wasn't able to kill Angel for you. Why, even though he did the things he did, I can't push him away now. So many things have happened, so many obstacles thrown in our way, people trying to tear us down, prophecies threatening to destroy us. But ... our love... it doesn't die. How can we give up on that?"

"Things are so confusing now. I want to be with him. I want to shut out the world around us and just let him hold me. When he's near me, the power of his love almost overwhelms me. It's .... it's frightening. And it seems that ..... whenever we get close, something happens to remind us of what our love has cost us and the people we love." Buffy's voice cracked and she wiped angrily at her eyes.

"I guess I just... I want you to know that no matter what happens, I'll never forget what you gave up for us. I hope .... I hope I don't let you down.

Buffy gasped for breath as the tears finally streamed freely down her face, "I don't ever want to let you down."


I will remember you.
Will you remember me.
Don't let your love, pass you by.
Weep not for the memories.


As Buffy stood weeping quietly by Jenny's grave, she didn't notice the figure that approached. As he drew closer, he gently cleared his throat. She jumped, reflexively reaching to pull out a stake, even though she would have been much too late to stop a vampire. She sighed and relaxed when she saw who it was.

"You really must be more aware of your surroundings, Buffy. Especially in a cemetery," Giles admonished, his voice soft.

Buffy smiled slightly, sniffling. "Is there a switch on your Watcher mode, Giles? Can't you ever just turn that off .... even for a minute?" Giles blinked, thrown off-stride by her comment. Then, his face crumbled, his attempt at bravery failing and his eyes filling with a sorrow deeper than words could express. Buffy made a small sound of regret, then threw herself into Giles' arms. His eyes shone with unshed tears as he tried to comfort his Slayer and she, him. He couldn't speak; he had hoped never to break down in front of her ever again. They held each other like that, each offering support for the other's grief, for some time.

Buffy broke the hug, pushing herself away from Giles and rubbing at her eyes. She searched his face for a moment. And she recognized his need for solitude.

"I've said what I needed to say, Giles. I'll leave you with her. I plan to hit the downtown area first, maybe I'll scout out the area around city hall...... If.... you need to find me."

"I supposed I don't need to remind you to be careful." Giles smiled -- that crooked sardonic smile of his that always seemed oddly comforting to Buffy. A reminder to her that he was human, too.

"You, too," Buffy said, then she turned and walked away -- leaving him in a silence so heavy, so oppressive that it threatened to beat him to the ground. It had grown quite dark this night, with the only light a half moon that partially obscured by clouds that had rolled in.

He was alone.


Remember the good times that we had
We let them slip away from us when things got bad
Clearly I first saw you smiling in the sun.
Wanna feel your warmth upon me and I wanna be alone.


"That girl," he sighed, "has the most amazing fortitude, Jenny. She survives things that.... She never ceases to amaze me."

"You, however, never ceased to shock me." He smiled briefly, in spite of his grief. But then he sobered quickly.

"I'm sorry I haven't been here. So many times, I've started to come visit you. Especially this summer, while Buffy was gone. And again when they revoked my Watcher status. I needed... I wanted to talk to you. But ... I couldn't. It hurt... too much." His eyes shone with tears. He removed his glasses and started to clean them. He hesitated for a moment, then used the cloth to dab at his eyes. He put the glasses in his pocket and started to speak again.

"I went to every single Sunnydale High School football game this fall. Dreadful sport. And a dreadful team. They had the worst quarterback with the worst pass completion percentage in the county and horrible rushing yardage and... you're laughing at me right now, I'm certain of it." His eyes twinkled even as they filled with still more tears.

"Oh Jenny. You had such a passion for everything American. You embraced so many things." He sighed. "I miss that. You kept me on my toes and refused to let me wallow in my own British eccentricities. Buffy ... she was such a shock to my system. But you... you showed me your world. You showed me that there was nothing wrong with with letting go and having a little fun. I'd lived in such fear of that for far too long."

He swallowed, then continued, "And when I lost you, I thought I would shatter into so many pieces. If it weren't for Buffy and how much she needed me, I might have."

"And now, when my world is threatened again, when Buffy is in serious danger from Faith and the Mayor and she's in turmoil over Angel, and when I'm forced to help Buffy in secrecy, so carefully, and so ... diplomatically with that.... Wesley...creature." Giles took a deep breath. His chest shook as he let it out and his voice wavered. "I miss you so much."

He fell silent. He listened to the breeze through the trees. He felt his heart beat. He wished he could force that heartbeat into the ground and into her body. He wished he could bring her back.

"I want to say that I have no regrets. But I can't." His jaw tightened. "I regret that we couldn't stop him before he got to you. It often angers me that he's walking this Earth while you rot in it. Until I see the pain in his eyes and the unabashed love he has for Buffy, and I'm reminded that it's what you would have wanted."

He sighed, and his voiced softened once again. "I regret all the time we wasted being angry with one another. I regret that we never made love. I regret that I never got to feel your bare skin against mine, to hold you as the sun rose through the windows, or to smell your hair while you slept in my arms. I want so much to hold you right now." He breathed deeply and fought to maintain control.

"Most of all, I regret that I never told you that I loved you, Jenny."

Giles took his glasses out of his pocket and put them back on. Then he took the rose quartz crystal that Willow had found in Jenny's desk and placed it next to the pebble and the lily that rested on the headstone.

"I will always love you," he whispered.


So afraid to love you.
More afraid to lose.
Clinging to a past that doesn't let me choose.


Angel stood in the darkest shadows of the trees at the edge of the cemetery and watched Giles leave, just as he'd watched Buffy earlier. He'd go no closer; he had no right. But he wanted, no, needed to be here tonight. To be near. He wanted more than anything to go to each of them and offer comfort and apologies.

Platitudes, all of it.

His heart was full of remorse and pain. But nothing would bring her back, nothing would fix what his demon had done. He remembered all of it. Buffy would say it wasn't him. Sometimes, he wasn't so sure.

Apologizing was entirely too simple, and trying to do so would only cheapen her memory, what she'd given them, and what he'd cost them all. Instead, he embraced his sorrow and swore never to forget. He felt a sea change coming. He still wasn't sure why he was here; who had given him this second chance. He still wasn't sure he deserved it or the forgiveness that some had given him, not only for what he'd done but also for how. But sometime soon, he'd have to make some choices.

Jenny had been willing to risk her life to make amends. He owed it to her to do the same.


Once there was a darkness, a deep and endless night.
You gave me everything you had, oh you gave me light.

I will remember you.
Will you remember me.
Don't let your love pass you by.
Weep not for the memories.

The End.

Back to SunS Fanfic.