Rupert Giles sighed as he roamed the grounds around the Summers-Harris home and thought of the precarious hours that had passed and those that had yet to pass until the new slayer was told of her destiny. The atmosphere that had settled was too familiar and far too nerve-wracking for his weary, aging heart. So much that he had to flee to the garden to distance him from the almost dismal.
In the serenity of the blossoming gardens, he couldn't believe that this beautiful, grand estate belonged to two of the most reckless students he had ever known. He had had no worries of Willow, Oz, or Cordelia's future; the three were so confident and tactful, that he hadn't needed to be. Willow and Oz's software company, Full Moon, Inc., was now selling worldwide. Cordelia was the Watcher, and that news in itself was one of the biggest surprises Giles had ever experienced. The aims and responsibilities she had gained had altered her from the superficial girl she had always been to a mature and resourceful woman that was the best in her field. Her profession as a curator to a historical museum had aided her in her work as a Watcher, allowing much of her success to occur so quickly.
No, they didn't give him much surprise at their accomplishments in life. Buffy and Xander, on the other hand, he had had much contemplation on the subject of their future. It surprised him, still, no matter how many times he saw a film written by Alexander Summers-Harris, or his more recently proven talent, read a book written by him, that such maturity and thought content could have ever came from the sarcastic, unsound student he use to know.
As for Buffy, he always feared that in every single battle he set her on and in those that she had brought herself into, that he would lose her. And the fact that he didn't, was success enough for him, but beating the odds wasn't enough for Buffy, Giles had realized, after she became the "norm" she had always wished to become. And perhaps by finding herself in her art, she had achieve the inner peace that they all had lost somewhere along the line while living in and out of the realm of darkness. It was hard to have seen her expression when Cordelia brought the news that Moria was the new slayer. It was as if all that accomplishment to regain the tranquility lost had been in vain.
He had seen one of her paintings at a gallery on a recent trip to New York. Almost the entirety of the painting was done in dark oils that cast an almost foreboding feeling to the mind's eye. Despite its limited usage, the pale oils that made up the rest of the painting were perhaps the most powerful feature in the painting, for the pallid colors created beautiful sovereign images beneath the shadows created by the dark paints. One such image was very familiar to his eyes and his heart, and that was the shadowy face of his past love, Jennifer Calendar.
Seeing her face in one of Buffy's paintings made him wonder what would have been if the dreaded Angelus hadn't killed her? Would they have continued through life together? He often thought of such questions and they were always left to hang silently in the air to never be answered.
Angelus, his demonic face was among those in the shadows and his alter ego, Angel, made up half of that face. The Master, Druscilla, Spike, the Chosen one, Xander, Cordelia, Willow, Oz, Buffy, and even himself, as all was there…the good against the evil and the half face of Angel/Angelus to divide the line. All these images surrounded a maelstrom of purple, black, gray, and white, and the figures drawn to such detail that it is unsure as to whether the vortex is pulling in or pushing out. So suitable was the title of that painting that hung so stately on the wall, so suitable of a phrase to describe their lives. "Obscurus Ad Faciem" … "To Face the Dark."