Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

A Year In London, Give Or Take, And The Exploration Of Certain Guidebook-Reported Sites And Reactions To Same
By Twinkledru J.
For KindKit

[As opposed to Kew Gardens,] Columbia Road Flower Market (see Shopping) has just the one English climate, but you can fantasize planting your ideal English garden among the overflowing, blooming stalls here and buy horticultural accoutrements to take home.

The whole affair of this market is an explosion of color and sound and movement -- in which case, really, it would probably be simpler to say that it is merely an explosion, and there are times when things are quite nearly chaotic enough to simply deserve the term.

There are the flowers, naturally ('naturally', dry 'ha ha', he can pun right along with his Slayer when he wishes), but there are the people, as well -- voices and shouts and laughter and really, he is frankly very much inclined to wonder why his people enjoy (or are alternatively burdened with) such a reputation for stiffness and formality when there is as much color in the clothing of the visitors to the market as in the flowers themselves which are the objects of those visitors' searches.

Frankly he is grateful when he finds Oz at last, sitting on a bench with a pot of herbs and a little flowering cactus beside him.

"I'm thinking Prickle would be a good name," Oz says, pointing to the cactus.

"Well," Giles says as they walk towards the tube station, "it's certainly less work than a pet."

"Oh, no, that's the beauty of her," Oz explains. "She is a pet. Just a really chill one."

"Her?" Giles asks.

Oz nods. "I think Prickle is a girl cactus."

"Ah," Giles says, and begins turning his pockets out in search of his pass.


Shakespeare's Globe Museum is, in one sense, so new it's only just finished, but it's also London's oldest stage: a reconstruction of the Bard's "wooden O" on its original site (give or take a few yards) using original materials and building techniques. This great and slightly moonstruck idea of American film director Sam Wanamaker's has -- incredibly -- now become reality.

Between Dawn's studies away from home and the surplus of Slayers, Buffy is now mostly -- happily -- aimless, but Giles was nonetheless shocked when one of her new hobbies resulted in Oz bringing home a poster for A Midsummer Night's Dream with Buffy and a girl who is not a little Amazonian back-to-back.

They could afford seats, but there's something rather kitschily, campily, earnestly charming about standing with the rest of the groundlings, and though he knows that she's noticed them leaning against the stage, drinks next to their folded arms, she gives no sign of it, and he is surprised, if somewhat shamefully so for of course she could be beautifully dedicated when she wished it, at this professionalism.

The summer evening is balmy, and there is a sheen of sweat on her skin, but she gives no sign of discomfort, though that may in part be the Slayer tolerance. Giles is surprised that he did not think to laugh at the line that she is fierce though she is little, and must mark it up to Buffy's being Hermia and not Buffy and thus he does not find himself automatically reflecting on just how true it is.

After the show, of course, she is no longer in her heavy Elizabethan costume with its layers and layers of skirts. She nods at them during the second curtain call (which he calls it in his mind despite the lack of a curtain due to this being a projection stage rather than a proscenium) and so they wait, milling about just outside the fanciful gates. It's not a long wait before she comes barrelling out onto the path and laughs as she hugs Oz, the corners of whose mouth, Giles notices, turn up as he closes his eyes and returns the hug before releasing her to Giles, so that the latter might have a hug of his own from the beaming, bouncing Buffy.


Hampstead Heath, in the upscale north London neighborhood of the same name (Hampstead tube stop), is all rolling hills and dells and ancient woods, good for long contemplative walks. On summer evenings, you can pretend you're the poet Keats, who lived nearby, and sit under a tree listening for a nightingale's liquid warbling.

That's what the guidebook said, anyway, but it's autumn now, not summer, and also, it's morning, not evening. Approaching noon. He's pretty sure nightingales are more evening-type birds. Not that he really knows, but that's the third point -- Oz actually isn't sure what a nightingale sounds like, anyway. So he might hear one anyway but he wouldn't know it.

It's a nice walk, though Good for getting lost in, as the guidebook promised, so that's something he can vouch for if he's ever asked. It's a nice morning, too, which probably helps make this a nice walk.

Not much is said, which is cool with both of them. Not better, but not worse either; just cool. Oz has found that it's not common that you find someone with whom you can just be silent, so there's a certain coolness to having done so in Giles.

Which is really what makes this so cool in general.

A breeze comes along, and Oz shrugs into his jacket.

"Are you cold?" Giles asks.

Oz shrugs his shoulders again, but more pointedly this time, not in the putting-on-his-jacket way. "Not really," he says. "Just cool."

Which is true.


Camden Lock is the Seattle-in-the-late-80s of London: It's a flea market that ate a neighborhood. On weekends, the high street's crawling with whatever that slacker demographic's called now; other days, you can still get tattooed, pierced, or drunk, or buy a pair of cheap boots before installing yourselves in a smoke-hazed former Irish pub with a pool table.

There's kind of a trade-off in effect here. The winter thing means it's not as crowded. It also means that there aren't as many of the cool little food stands, like the Argentinean one or the one with the sugar cane juice. They might have actually been the same stand, Oz doesn't really remember.

"Ah," Giles says, and sighs. "I should have remembered -- in the winter, there's not as much choice of food to be had. There are more places further on, though, out of the wind, too, which is a damn sight better than standing out here and eating by the bridge."

Oz nods. "Cool," he says. They continue through the cobblestoned labyrinth of the market, Giles's hands deep in his pockets, the ends of Oz's scarf fluttering in the wind.

"If nothing else," he adds after a few more yards, "there's sushi at that place."

"Ah yes," Giles says, nodding. "Of course, that place."

People say, Oz thinks, that gulls sound like they're lonely, but he doesn't really hear it in the occasional cries of the ones along the canal. He's always thought they sound more like they're laughing.