It's Giles's first Christmas in America and he is missing home.
A Giles-centric gen story.
Written: March 2012. Word count: 1,225.
ENTRY #09 FROM THE PRIVATE WATCHER'S DIARY OF RUPERT GILES.
It is a week before Christmas, my first Christmas in America and I find I miss my home; I miss England more than I expected to. I miss her more than I have done since I first took up residence in Sunnydale.
I think part of if is the excess I see all around me. This is especially true when it comes to people decorating their homes with large Father Christmas's, snowmen and other such things on their roofs together with countless strings of outdoor lights festooned all over their houses and those that don't have large decorations on their roofs have them in their gardens.
They also seem to have this strange habit of leaving their curtains open even when it is completely dark, thus one can easily see into their homes and see the array of decorations they have inside. I wonder how long it takes to put them up and take them back down again, several days at least I imagine.
It is not that I do not like Christmas or Christmas trees or Christmas decorations; it is just that I grew up with far more modest ones. My family were more traditional in that respect. Indeed we used to have a proper Yule log, which we lit on Christmas Eve and which we kept burning for twelve days, as part of the Solstice tradition.
It may sound foolish or quaint, but it is the Yule log I miss most of all. It was such a large part of my family's Christmas celebrations, such a long-standing tradition, it went back more generations than I was able to trace. Of course it would not be possible or practical to attempt to carry on the tradition here, but it does make it seem less like Christmas to me.
I wonder what Buffy and the others would say if I told them about some of the ancient traditions that were associated with the Solstice? If I talked about the blood on the snow to indicate a kill that would keep the family fed throughout the cold months. If I told them how people used to fear the sun would not return unless they kept fires burning. Would they laugh? Would they not believe me?
Of course I would not spoil their love of the season by talking about blood. Far too much of their lives, Buffy's in particular, involve blood. They see far much too much of blood and death, especially for people of their tender years.
Buffy, my Slayer, the girl I love like a daughter; the girl I know I will lose one day. It is inevitable; Slayers do not live for many years. I know that on the day she dies, the day I lose her for good, is the day a part of me will die too. If the Council knew of my love for Buffy, they would remove me from my role as Watcher. Watchers should not grow to care as much about their Slayers as I care about Buffy. But then if the Council knew a lot of things they would remove me.
Willow and Xander should not be involved in slaying; they should not even know about it. Nonetheless, they are involved, they do know about it, and they are helpful and I care deeply about both of them too - especially Willow. In many ways I feel I understand Willow more than I understand any of them. She is smart, she is intelligent, she is in many ways an outcast, although that is less so now that she is Buffy's friend. I confess I do not understand her affinity with computers, but other than that I feel I understand her very well. I see in her the boy I once was.
And as for Angel . . . The less said about allowing a vampire (even one with a soul) to be involved with slaying other vampires, the better. So yes, the Council would dismiss me in an instant if they knew any of these things.
I shall be alone on Christmas Day, how could it be otherwise? It is not as though Buffy can ask her mother to invite a teacher to lunch; Willow's family are Jewish, thus do not celebrate, assuming they are even at home on the day and Xander - well I am not certain about Xander and what he does on the day. And unlike Buffy I am not as fond of Angel as to invite him to spend the day with me. No, I shall be quite happy to be alone. I have plenty of books, I have an adequate luncheon planned, I have a bottle of wine I have been waiting to uncork. The day will be spent in the way I would wish to spend my first Christmas in America.
They say the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray; my Christmas Day ones certainly did and for once it was not because of an attack by vampires or demons.
I had eaten my lunch and washed up and had just settled back down with my book and a glass of wine when the doorbell rang. It was Buffy, Willow and Xander laden down with Christmas cookies and marshmallows, Christmas cake, a chocolate Yule log and bags of sweets.
I made tea for me and hot chocolate for them and tried not to wince as I watched them put the marshmallows into the hot chocolate. I had a piece of Christmas cake and a cookie, whilst they between them demolished most of the Yule log, the rest of the cookies and the sweets. I even dug out my British version of Monopoly and we played that for a while before they jumped up and said they had to go having promised their respective parents they wouldn't be out for long.
Just as they were going Buffy presented me with what I knew was meant to resemble a miniature Yule log and it did. Someone had gone to the trouble of finding a thick branch and cutting it down so that it looked like a small log. I put the fact that my eyes started to prickle down to the fact the candles I had lit earlier in days had burnt so low they were beginning to smoke.
I do not know how they could have known. I had never said anything to them or indeed to anyone. The only place I had mentioned it was here in my Private Watcher's Diary and that was always, when I wasn't writing in it, kept locked up in the desk in my bedroom and I would swear neither the lock on my front door nor the lock on my desk had been tampered with. There was only one person who could possible get into my house and not leave a trace - and strictly speaking he is not a person any longer; the same person I had, just a short time ago invited into my home. Maybe it is time I found a new place for my diary.
On the other hand, I cannot help but be thankful that my first Christmas in America was not as bad as I thought it would be. In fact it was in the end one of the best I can remember.
Entries From The Private Watcher Diaries of Rupert Giles
Entry #01 - Not An Auspicious Start
Entry #02 - She Has Friends
Entry #03 - Buffy
Entry #04 - Willow
Entry #05 - Xander
Entry #06 - Angel/Angelus
Entry #07 - Rupert Giles AKA Ripper
Entry #08 - Judgement Calls
Entry #09 - Yuletide Musings
Entry #10 - Ethan's Return
Entry #11 - Vows To Be Kept
Entry #12 - Zenith Reached
Entry #13 - Might It Have Made A Difference?
Entry #14 - Unfamiliar Territory
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