PG, gen. Written for drunken!Giles Christmas ficathon 2004. Buffy is thoughtful, Giles is drinking, and there's snow.
Out in the snow, the grass was bristly and dead, making brief pinpricks through the blanket of white. Buffy prodded it with one toe and was rewarded by the crunch of crackling vegetation. Through the window behind her, she could hear the buzz of conversation and the odd snatch of song, and if she concentrated she could recognise the sound as Dawn, Andrew and Faith singing along to the Muppet Christmas Carol.
“Room for one more?” asked a voice close at hand, and she jumped.
Giles chuckled softly. “Shouldn’t have startled you, what with those super-enhanced senses of yours.”
She ignored that. “Come out,” she suggested.
He nodded and swung easily out through the open window, perching himself on the ledge beside her. “Nice out here,” he said. “As opposed to inside where there is touching and inappropriate singing.”
She considered it. “Isn’t that the other way round?”
“Quite possibly. I object to being subjected to objectionable glove puppets.”
“Whatever you say, my dear, you’re in charge now.”
Buffy grinned to herself. “Watcher-mine, I begin to suspect you may be drunk.” She paused. “And I also begin to suspect I may be talking like you. ‘I begin to suspect’, gotta be one of yours.”
“Tea,” he said. “I drink tea. Tea that may have an added ingredient, admittedly, but tea.”
Buffy reached in through the window and grabbed the mug, taking a delicate sniff. “Wow,” she said. “Who knew you could brew tea in alcohol?”
“Give me that.” He gave her an aggrieved look and took a sip. “Better.”
She shook her head, smiling. He was quiet for a minute, busy warming his hands on the mug, and she stared out across the lawn at the horizon, heavy with thick night cloud. “It’s going to snow some more,” she said presently. “Back home – in Sunnydale, you know – it only snowed that one time. We literally only got snow when the Powers That Be stuck their more-divine-than-thou noses in.”
“It’s the same here,” Giles replied, taking another sip. “The coven in Devon are right at this very moment chanting skyclad to ensure a white Christmas for all. A white Christmas,” he repeated, becoming somewhat reflective, “because the world is really one of those, one of those, what do you call those things, globes with snow in them?”
“Yes, those. They chant for three days and three nights and shake up the world, and the skies fall and the angels fall and the bookies’ odds fall and we wake up on Christmas morning to the wildest dreams of Bing Crosby.”
“Giles,” said Buffy affectionately, “you make no sense.”
“No,” he agreed, “but when did I ever, really.” His hands were shaking slightly, and he set the mug down on the frozen ground. His feet touched the ground, but Buffy’s didn’t; she was swinging her legs back and forth with all enjoyment.
After a minute, he began to sing, and she leant back against the glass and didn’t shut him up. The alcohol lent his voice a faintly slurred, pleasant quality and she found herself missing the notes of the guitar under it.
“I’m pretty sure that was supposed to be O Come All Ye Faithful,” she said finally.
“Latin,” he said, “makes no sense, but the church approves. You should learn it.”
She thought she’d surprise him. “Maybe I will.” Off his look, she added, “What? It’s not like I’m the Slayer any more. I’ve got time.”
“Time flies like an arrow.”
“And fruit flies like a banana,” Buffy supplied helpfully. “And here was me thinking you were one of those meaning-of-life drunks.”
“There never used to be time,” Giles said without looking at her. “I never had time to do things. Watchers don’t have time. You’re born a Watcher.”
“No, you’re not,” said Buffy indignantly. “You’re born a Slayer.”
“You’re born a matched pair,” was the only slightly slurred reply, and Buffy could recognise truth when she heard it. “You’re a pair. Then one of you gets lost, like a, like a sock in the, um, washing machine, and then you’re not a matched pair, but you’re still a pair.”
Buffy nodded. “You find odd socks in the laundry sometimes,” she said. “Dawn used to keep them all in one drawer, in case we ever found the other one.”
“And did you? Find the other ones, I mean?”
Buffy frowned. “I think you’re sobering up.”
He wouldn’t look at her, looking out at the giant snow globe world. “Did you?”
She relented. “Yeah, sometimes. Then Dawn took them out of the drawer and put them with all the other socks.”
“Let’s go back inside.”
She grinned. “Okay.”
He opened the window and swung through, light on his feet – was he drunk or sober and teasing, Buffy wondered – and she followed. Giles made straight for the fireplace, sitting happily beside it with the empty mug of tea by his side. She caught his eye, and he mouthed ‘socks” at her.
“What do you-” she began to ask, but was cut off.
“Hush your mouth,” Faith ordered. “It’s just at the good part.”
“Shut up!” snapped Dawn, but she was smiling. “Just watch.”
Buffy watched. On the screen, snow was falling over a city – uncannily like reality, where snow was falling over countryside – and was then obscured by the soft green visage of a frog.
Kermit said, “God
bless us, every one.”
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