the pearl

Christmas Dinner

They promised to meet each Christmas, but things got in the way. The newer Slayers had families that needed them. Kennedy's parents held better parties. Dawn moved back to the States and Buffy went with her.

The promises of family Christmases faded quietly.

Giles stopped buying turkeys and bought chickens instead. He set Christmas cards on the mantle, and didn't bother getting the tree out of the attic. His Christmases grew quiet, and peaceful, and gently slid in loneliness.

He called Buffy, and emailed Willow, and wrote to Xander. He turned down invitations from Andrew, and spent the season alone.


The local village was busy, as usual, and the queue at the butcher's trailed out the doorway, people standing next to strings of pheasants and hares.

Giles waited, standing behind busy women ordering giant turkeys. As he reached the counter, ready to order his small chicken, he heard someone calling his name.

He turned, frowning, and then smiled.

Xander stood there, separate from the queue, pointing to one of the pheasants. "Want one of these?" he asked. "I don't know if you know this, I'm a surprisingly pleasant pheasant plucker."

Giles blinked, his mouth open, then, smiled, nodded, and laughed.


As the pheasant roasted, Giles opened a bottle of wine, and observed Xander. He looked tired, weatherbeaten, as if the deserts and the jungles and the mountains had worn away any rough edges, leaving the pure essence of Xander -- the smile, the slouch, the terrible fashion sense.

Xander's face was tan, with wrinkles developing along the edges of his eye and eyepatch. There were hints of grey on his temples, and he took his time getting up. The years had been hard to Xander, as well as to Giles.

But when he smiled, Giles saw the 15-year-old he first met.


Giles served the pheasant, with potatoes and a pinot noir. They sat there, eating it quietly, enjoying the silence.

When they talked, they talked of Africa, and the girls Xander had found, from the Sahara to the Cape. Xander talked of the things he had seen, from the Mediterranean to the South Atlantic, travelling through nations and nature, ghosts and goddesses, demons and democracies.

Giles told him about the others, of their adventures -- the heartbreaks, the tragedies, the wonders. Houses purchased, demons defeated, girls trained and out saving the world.

Dinner comfortably finished, and they sat at the table, talking.


Giles made coffee, and finally asked, "What made you visit?"

Xander was silent as he spooned sugar into his coffee. "I don't know," he said. "I was sending another girl to the school -- Patience Mawikizi -- and I just thought... it's Christmas. I can spend it at a some scary hotel where everyone is at least 100 and prone to wetting themselves, or I could hang out with the G-Man."

Giles laughed. "I can't believe you still call me that," he said.

Xander grinned. "I don't normally..." He paused for a second. "Rupert."

Giles swallowed and looked down at his coffee.


After the coffee, they went into the library, where, surrounded by old books and well-used weapons, Xander relaxed, grinning. "Just like the library back at Sunnydale High, huh?"

Giles smiled. "Yes, I suppose," he said, sitting on the couch.

Xander sat across, and watched him. Giles looked away, staring at things that were old and well-known as if they were brand new. "So... have you..." He swallowed nervously. "Are you..." He paused. "Tonight..."

"I booked a room at the inn in the village," Xander said.

Giles relaxed. "Oh. Good."

Xander nodded, then leaned in. "But I can always cancel it."


If Giles was asked to pinpoint exactly when everything changed, he would not be able to tell you. One moment, they were talking about weapons, the next, Xander was kissing Giles, sliding him down on the couch.

Xander kissed the way he fought -- no real style, no panache, but with strength and directness, as well as an enthusiasm that never appeared in his fighting. His hands gently pushed Giles down onto the couch even as he reclined on top of him.

When he broke for air, he looked at Giles questioningly. "Is this..."

Giles smiled. "Yes," he said softly. "Yes."

This Angel/Buffy the Vampire Slayer story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at