Giving Thanks
By Gileswench

Title: Giving Thanks
Author: Gileswench
Date: 11/18/00
Spoilers: Through Season 5, thus far
Summary: What are the Scoobies thankful for this Turkey Day?
Rating: PG
Pairing: Buffy/Giles suggestions. Okay, they're blatant.
Distribution: Gabi if she wants it, UCSL, all others ask and ye shall receive
Feedback: Constructive criticism always welcome. Praise abjectly sought.
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Joss, Mutant Enemy, etc., etc., etc. I just let them have all the fun Joss won't. I own nothing except my twisted mind which you really don't want. Please don't sue.
Dedication: To Solo84. Thanks for getting me started in fanfic. Without you, I never would have done it.

"Let the second annual Scooby Thanksgiving commence!"

Buffy brought the turkey out to the table with a flourish. This year, the festivities were being held in the Summers residence for two reasons:

1) there wasn't sufficient room in Giles' apartment with the added presence of Joyce, Dawn, Riley, and Tara and:

2) the destruction after the first Scooby Thanksgiving had nearly gotten Giles evicted. While there was little chance of another army of angry Spirit Warriors crashing the party, everyone felt it would be a good idea to hold the meal in a place where nobody could end up homeless if they did.

As the group found their places at the table and sat down, Giles raised his glass.

"I should like to propose a toast to our lovely hostesses who have been working so hard on this magnificent feast all day long..."

"All week, you mean" Dawn interrupted.

"I stand corrected; all week long. May all three enjoy good health, long life, and great happiness."

A chorus of "hear, hears" and "amens" circled the table as Buffy shot Giles a dazzling smile.

"When I was growing up, we had a tradition in my family" Joyce began. "Before we started eating Thanksgiving dinner, we had a moment of silence so we could all think of what we're thankful for. I think it would be nice to revive that tradition."

"Good idea, Mom. Let's do it." Buffy was pleased to see nods from around the table.

Everybody bowed their heads automatically, as if in prayer, and this is what they thought:

XANDER: I am so thankful that I'm out of that basement. And Anya. How in the hell did I get so lucky? Sure, she's not every guy's dream girl, but she sure is mine. Then there's all these great friends, and my new job. Plus the whole we haven't been sucked into hell yet vibe. I'm loving that. And it's great to see Giles looking so much happier. Everybody thinks it's just the shop, but I think it's a Buffy thing. Ever since she started training again, he's been a whole new person. I was getting worried. Every time I went to his place for a while, I smelled booze. Now he's back to mainly tea. I'm glad he and Buffy are back together where they belong. Whoa, did I really just think that? I think I did. Well, stranger things have happened, as in witness me and Anya. God, if you're up there, maybe you could give them a little nudge? That could be my Christmas present. And I can't begin to say how thankful I am that I don't have syphilis again this year. I cannot tell you how much fun that was not.

ANYA: Xander. I'm thankful for Xander. What else? Okay, I'm thankful that I have a job. It's a good job, and Giles is a much nicer boss than I thought he would be. He lets me do the money parts, which I like. He even seems to like me now. Even Willow seems to like me more than she used to. I guess I'm thankful for that, too. I like them all. Except Riley. I don't like that he was one of those commandos. He makes me nervous. So I'm thankful he and Buffy won't be together too much longer. When she dumps him, he'll go away. Then Buffy will need a new man. But not Xander. She can't have him. She could have Giles. He's not with anyone and he's lonely. And he likes her. I know it. He smiles more and says nice things when she's around. She likes him, too. She just hasn't figured it out yet. I think she will soon, though and then I'll have another thing to feel thankful for.

WILLOW: If I have to, I'll do this. But at least this part isn't about destroying indigenous cultures, so that's a good. I'm so thankful for Tara. She's wonderful. And I'm thankful her poophead father didn't drag her off to who knows where and make her cook and clean for him for the rest of her life. I'm thankful that I took a chance and followed my heart. It was scary, but it's been the best thing I've ever done. And I'm really, really thankful that my friends all accept our relationship. Accept Tara. I was so worried they wouldn't, but all they needed was a chance. I'm thankful that I have such good friends. Buffy and Xander and Giles are just the best. And I'm actually glad Xand has Anya. Never thought I'd say this - or think, since I'm not talking - but she's good for him. She makes him happy. I just wish Riley made Buffy that happy. She likes him a lot, but I don't think it's gonna last too much longer. I'll be sorry for Riley when that happens, 'cause he's a good guy and I like him, but he'll find someone else and so will Buffy. I'm thankful Giles has the shop and Buffy back in his life. Nothing makes him as happy as Buffy. Come to think of it, there's not much that makes Buffy as happy as Giles does. Hmmm.

TARA: I'm thankful for Willow. She's so beautiful and so powerful, and she loves me. There isn't enough gratitude in the world for that. And our friends. I can say that now: our friends. They stood up to my family even after I nearly got them all killed with that stupid spell. I'm thankful that I don't have to be afraid anymore. I'm completely human, and I have a family. A real one. The kind that stands by you, and forgives you for your mistakes. And I'm thankful they're all safe. Goddess, keep them well and happy for many years to come. Especially Giles. I think he needs it the most. He's happier now than he was when I met him, but there's still something missing in his life and I think it's Buffy. I feel such a powerful bond between them, but they fight it. One day, though, they'll give in. Fate can't be held off forever. I only wish Riley wouldn't have to get hurt by it. He's already hurt by it. I wish him well, but I wish he would leave. Fate will win.

DAWN: I'm thankful I'll be able to eat in a minute. I'm thankful for third helpings of pumpkin pie. I'm thankful Mom hasn't had so many headaches this week. I hope the doctors will figure out what's wrong soon. It's scary not knowing. I'll never say this to her face, but I'm thankful Buffy's here. I'm glad she moved back in. It's easier to deal with her around, even if she is getting on my nerves with all these new "safety" rules. Maybe she thinks it's important, but I'm not a baby anymore. At least I'm not the only one. She treats Riley that way too. He's getting mad about that. I think he's gonna leave her soon and then she won't have a boyfriend at all. She doesn't even seem to know any guys who don't have girlfriends. Except Giles. Eeeuww! That would be really sick. He's like old enough to be our father. I think he wants to kiss her, though. I've seen it. That would be so gross. But at least he'd stick around, unlike Dad. I'm hungry. When can we eat, anyway?

RILEY: I'm thankful for Buffy. That's it. I can't really think of anything else to be thankful for, which is probably sacrilegious, but it's true. I love her. I only wish that she loved me. I've lost or given up everything for her and it still isn't enough. Before I met her, I had a career, a purpose in life, a set of rules to live by. Now I've got nothing but the most beautiful girlfriend in the world and I won't have her for much longer. I'm not as strong as I was, I don't have any backup, and she won't even let me patrol anymore. So why do I keep hanging on? Because I can't do anything else. She turns my entire world upside-down, and I let her. Now she spends all her time playing jailer to her sister or hanging out with Giles. There isn't even any room for me. So I go drinking at Willie's Place, and sneak out on patrol while she talks to Giles. I know she's keeping secrets from me. Secrets she tells him. She trains with him, confides in him, laughs with him. She's always pissed off with me now, but Giles can do no wrong lately. God help me, I'm losing her to a cranky old English guy. But I won't leave. I love her and I'm going to fight for her, even though I know I can't win.

JOYCE: I'm thankful the headaches have let up lately. I just hope that lasts. I really, really hope the doctors can figure out what it is soon so they can fix it. If they can. God, I hope they can. I want to be here for my girls. They make me so proud. I can't believe how much Buffy has grown up these past few months. She was so lost last year. Now she's finding her path. And Dawn. She won't be my little pumpkin belly much longer. They're both growing up into such wonderful young women. Hank has no idea what he's missing. I'm glad Buffy has Mr. Giles to help her, even if I do find their relationship disturbing sometimes. It's probably a holdover from the way I found out she was the Slayer, but I can't help feeling he has the key to some part of her that's locked away from me. A part of my daughter I'll never know. Still, if, God forbid, something should...happen to me, I know he'll keep my girls safe. He'll never leave Buffy. I'm thankful she has a man in her life who loves her that much.

BUFFY: I'm thankful Mom seems better the last few days. I really hope it lasts. I'm scared about those headaches. I don't think she's telling me the whole story. Or, maybe she is and they really don't know anything. Either way, I'm thankful for every day that she feels okay. And for every day that I can keep Dawn safe. Even if she's not really my sister, she's innocent, and she's helpless, and it's up to me to make sure that crazy bitch-demon doesn't get her. I'm so thankful that I have Giles to talk to. He's my rock. I love the rest of them: Willow, Xander, even Anya and Tara now that I'm getting to know them better. But it's Giles who keeps me going. Last year, when I turned away from him, my world started to fall apart. Now I'm back on solid ground. I should just tell him thanks sometime. That would make him go non- verbal! But I kinda owe him. Okay, let's be honest: I owe him big time. And I should have told him he looked sorta cute in his wizard outfit. Still, it was good he took it off before the buying public arrived. They'd never have taken him seriously, so I did him a favor. Yea, me! And I know Thanksgiving isn't resolution time, but I think I'll make one anyway: I'll let Giles know how much I care more often. Oh, and I'm thankful for super-hunk boyfriend Riley. And that Spike didn't get the chip out of his head.

GILES: I'm thankful for the thing I'm always thankful for: Buffy. She's still here, and well, and more beautiful every day. I'm thankful for every moment she spends with me. I'm thankful I didn't do serious damage to my liver last year while I drank away the pain of being so bloody useless. More than anything, I'm thankful that Buffy stopped me returning to England. Not that I've ever cared for California, but it's where she is. She's matured so much in just these last few months. I keep hoping, and I keep fearing, that one day she will see how I feel for her. Not that she would ever reciprocate those feelings, but I sometimes think it would be nice not to have to hide it. Even if all she did was tell me not to be a foolish old man, at least it would be out in the open. But I can't do that. It would be wrong, and would probably destroy what we have now. Besides, she's in love with young Riley, Super-Commando. I wish I could like the boy better. For Buffy's sake. I shall try harder. She has enough on her plate, what with Joyce being ill and finding out Dawn isn't her sister. And Spike told me about that rumor that Riley is spending too many of his evenings at Willie's Place. I wonder if he was telling the truth. Whether he was or not, I shall have to make sure I'm here for Buffy. I shall always be here for her. I love her too much to do anything else. May all the Gods keep her safe and happy. And, if it's not too much to hope for, may she always smile at me the way she did just now.

As they raised their heads, Joyce took up the carving knife.

"Who wants white meat?"

The End