Buffys Christmas Carol
DISTRIBUTION: If you want it, take it. Just let me know where its gone.
FEEDBACK: It is the Season of Goodwill, you know. Be kind.
SUMMARY: Giles has a very strange dream or is it?
DISCLAIMER: Not mine, sadly. Please dont sue me, I have no money. Joss owns Buffy, A Christmas Carol is by Charles Dickens.
NOTES: Just a little bit of madness that seized my mind and wouldnt let go. Enjoy, (I hope). For this fic, the Gang have started their first year of college, Cordelia left for LA. Willow and Oz are together but Xander and Anya have split up, and she has left town. Im not sure when Buffy was born, so forgive me if I get it wrong. If it sounds rushed, thats because it is. I wanted to get it finished for Christmas.
Rupert Giles was dreaming. He hoped. Living on the Hellmouth and battling the supernatural, he had reserved judgement about believing in ghosts, but at ghosts which featured in famous literature, he drew the line. And yet there was one hovering directly in front of him. He could see straight through it to the fire he had lit not an hour before, and yet it was definitely there. It looked pretty much as Dickens had described it - some strange mixture of little child and old man. Despite his pinching himself several times, it hadnt gone away and he hadnt woken up. And to add to his general bewilderment, it was speaking to him.
"I am the Ghost of Christmas Past," it said, in a high voice, assertive, yet with a slight quaver. "I have come to help you."
"But I believe in Christmas, and that it does great good," said Giles, feeling foolish. "I thought you only appeared to those who didnt. Why are you here, with me?"
"There is something that you might learn, through me and my fellows, which will make this Christmas better, for you and for another. On that premise, will you let us teach you?"
"Of course," said Giles, thinking that if it was a dream he might as well play along. "Teach me. I will learn all I can."
"Then close your eyes," the spirit whispered, blowing on his forehead. He did so, and the ghosts breath seemed to increase, whipping around him like a hurricane. Then, it settled again. At the ghosts command, he opened his eyes again, but could barely believe what they told him. He was at his family home, and his father and grandmother were sitting, watching a younger version of himself playing under the Christmas tree, shaking his presents in the vain hope that they might rattle. After a few attempts, he was satisfied that they could neither see nor hear him, and he settled down to watch the scene. His father moved over and crouched beside his younger self.
"Open this one first," he said, producing a small package from the recesses of his suit. The boy eagerly scrabbled with the wrapping paper, and pulled out a thick book.
"Oh, whats this? The Watchers Handbook- Ive never heard of it." The boy said, sounding a little disappointed.
"Its not just a present, its your inheritance, your birthright," said his father, proudly. "It is your destiny to follow in my footsteps, to become a Watcher, for the greater good of mankind."
"But I dont want to be cramped in an office with dusty books all day like you!" wailed the boy, quite upset. "I wanna be a fighter pilot and have adventures!"
"But you will have adventures," said his father, coaxingly. "You will learn to defeat demons, and stake vampires, and to fight with all sorts of weapons. If you work hard, you might one day be assigned a Slayer, as I once was, and your grandmother before me. It would be a great honour to this family. If you are assigned a Slayer, youll have all the adventures you can stomach, Rupert!"
"But-" protested the boy again.
"No buts," said his father, cutting him off short. "It is the beginning of a new life for you now Rupert. After the new year, we will begin your training. Now," he said, his voice softening again, "open the rest of your presents."
The scene faded away as the boy descended on the other parcels around the tree, and Giles found himself back in his armchair, the ghost hovering before him. He remembered that Christmas well. Often, during his Ripper years, he had cursed that day as being his ruination.
"Now," said the ghost in its high voice, "think carefully. Do you regret what happened then?" Giles thought long and hard. The perils he had endured, and the heartache. The sight of his Slayer smiling at him. The times when they had saved each others lives.
"Not for a minute," he said, firmly. "I wouldnt change it for the world."
"Then," said the spirit, "you have learnt all that I can teach you. Farewell!" And it departed, leaving him alone in his armchair again.
Giles blinked at the flickering flames of the fire, not knowing whether he was awake or asleep. He wasnt given long to think, however, before he realised he was not alone. A huge, jovial man with a long red beard was sitting next to him.
"I am the Spirit of Christmas Present," he boomed. "Will you learn what I can show you?"
"Of course," said Giles, now thoroughly bewildered.
"Let it be so," said the ghost sweeping his arm across the room. Suddenly, it changed. The place was filled with the Slayerettes, laughing, talking and exchanging gifts. Giles saw himself pull a cracker with Buffy, and was treated to one of her dazzling smiles when she won. As the party wore on, they played games, drank, and generally enjoyed themselves. But Giles and Buffy seemed to distance themselves from the others. Giles watched himself. He was saying something, of that he was sure. Talking to himself was not a good sign. He started to listen in.
"Look at her, all alone. Maybe I could cheer her up. Crack a joke, or ask her to come for dinner sometime. Maybe I could ask her to dance. While Im busy dreaming, maybe I could tell her that I love her. Maybe I could just stay here and sulk, it will probably upset her less."
In her corner, Buffy was also muttering.
"Come over here, dammit, Giles. Dont look so depressed, tell me whats wrong. Oh, for Gods sake, take a hint, could you. Ive been flirting all night, and you wont even look me in the face. Oh please, dont tell me Ive embarrassed him. That would just be too awful. Just my luck, though, knowing how I do with guys."
Giles was still reeling with shock at hearing this when Xander approached Buffy, looking very shy.
"Ummm, Buffy," he said, loud enough for the whole room to hear. "You know its supposed to be the New Year, a new start, etc. etc.?"
"Yes," said Buffy, sounding confused.
"Well, I was kind of wondering .willyougooutwithme?"
Buffy thought for a minute. Then, she looked at Giles, long and searchingly. He smiled, a little regretfully, willing her to do whatever made her happy.
"Sure, Xand," she said, though her eyes were still locked with Giles. No, there was no hurt or jealousy there ..she must have misjudged his feelings for her badly. She turned back to Xander, who was looking like shed smacked him in the mouth. "Sounds like fun, at least."
"Thats what I said." said Buffy, trying to sound cheerful, even though she was really cut up about her Watcher. The people in the room faded away, and Giles was back in front of the fire again.
"Well," boomed the ghost, "Do you regret what happened that time?"
"Undoubtedly," he muttered, still in shock over what Buffy had said to herself. "Was all that really true?" But the ghost had already vanished, and another stood in its place. This one was not transparent- it wore heavy black robes and its face was completely covered. It spoke no word, only pointed to the fire. As Giles leaned towards it, a picture spread itself across the flames.
The graveyard was a lonely place, and would have been scary even without the threat of vampires. The wind was strong as it whistled through the dying trees. To Rupert Giles, it seemed the world was already dead. He knelt before a freshly dug grave. His hair was completely grey, his clothes badly torn The tombstone read
Elizabeth Anne Summers
A strong woman, brave and passionate
Greatly loved, sorely missed
"Oh Buffy," said Giles, weeping openly. "I failed you at the last. One vampire too many. Why couldnt they take me instead? And you loved me, you said. Your last words. Oh Buffy, Im so sorry, you never heard me say how much I loved you and longed for you. Too late now, of course. The others say they need me, they dont want me to leave. Ill be with you soon, though, I can feel it. Goodbye, my love." He fell back to crying again, sobbing and moaning.
"Noooooooooo!!!" screamed Giles, sitting up with a start. He looked around him, and found himself back in his sitting room. He was alone. The ghosts, if they had ever been there, had left no mark of their presence, though the memories were sharp and clear. The fire was dying, and he busied himself with building it up all the while. Whether the ghosts were real, or a vision, or just a dream, they were telling him something. Buffy was his reason for living, and it was high time he let her know. After all, there was always a chance, however small, that she felt the same. Tomorrow, he resolved. No matter what happened, even if he had to do it in front of the entire gang, Ethan Rayne, a pack of vampires and her mother, tomorrow he would let her know how much he loved her. That decided, he went to dig out his copy of A Christmas Carol.
Willow grinned, and began to clear away her equipment. It was by far the most complicated spell she had ever done, and she was understandably proud of herself.
"Whew, Im going to be exhausted for weeks," she commented. "Still, hes just about fully primed. You could go over there now if you liked. Give him his Christmas present early."
Buffy grinned, and blushed. She hugged her friend tightly.
"I might just do that," she said. "Thanks, Will."
"No problem. He needed a little help. Oh, Buffy?"
Buffy paused in the doorway. "Yes?"
"Dont forget the mistletoe!"