Eggnog is dangerous. Very dangerous.
Giles’s eggnog was deadly. Dead-ly. Buffy didn’t know what he made it with. Okay, sure, eggs and ultra-heavy fresh cream and spice things, yeah delicious, but Buffy suspected he used magic as well. Thank goodness for the Slayer metabolism: this stuff put pounds on if you sniffed it. Was that rum? Whisky? Both? She had another drink.
Giles was already on his second glass. About three-quarters of the way through his first he’d favored them with a version of “Silent Night, Holy Night” that had made Buffy want to cry. Then he’d spoiled the effect by giggling at her.
Giggling? Not a shocker from Giles these days. The thing with Xander had totally made Giles lighten up. Once Buffy had stopped wigging at being the only entirely (no, really, entirely!) straight Scooby, she’d had to admit it had worked out. They’d rubbed off on each other. Xander was confident and competent; Giles was relaxed and happy. Win.
Christmas was at Giles’ farmhouse this year, with real snow on the fields outside. This was the first time Buffy had had a natural white Christmas, one where the snow lasted for more than fifteen minutes of vampire-preserving divine intervention. She liked this one better. It was real. The air was cold in her nose when she was outside, the fire hot on her back when she came in. And she was with the people she loved best.
This evening they were sprawled on the floor by the fireplace, warm and giddy with their glasses of eggnog. The hearth was huge and the fire high. Dawn was off caroling with her village friends. It was just the adults tonight.
Giles’ head was in Xander’s lap. Xander alternated between stroking his hair and rubbing his chest. The sight made Buffy feel warm in another way. The first time she’d seen them kissing, Buffy’d had another minor freakout. Not a bad one, just a moment of dizzy arousal when she realized that seeing two guys was pretty neat. Buffy knew that in many ways she’d led a sheltered life. Blood, guts, demons: her resume looked great there. Human beings doing fun things together: she was still a trainee.
Willow sat up from the floor. “Hey, Giles, can I have some of that nog? Only, not so much as you’re having?”
Giles got up and went into the kitchen and came back with a half-full glass for Willow. He’d topped up his own. Buffy could see they were in for quite a night. Maybe he’d sing some more. She pulled off her boots and carried them where they’d be out of the way, dodging him neatly as they passed each other in the center of the living room.
“Mistletoe!” said Willow, pointing.
Giles and Buffy looked up. Xander had hung mistletoe all over the house earlier in the day. A bunch was suspended from the broad beam directly over their heads. Buffy took a polite step backwards. “You don’t have to if you’re not, you know, into kissing women any more.”
Giles handed his glass down to Xander. “Good Lord, Buffy, of course I still like kissing women. Spent my life chasing them. Get back here.”
Buffy stepped back, and Giles kissed her. Her first thought was that he tasted good. Nog, cinnamon, rum. His hands were warm on her back, his tongue hot in her mouth. Giles. Tongue. In her mouth. Demanding. Dipping her backwards. Whatever this kiss was, it hadn’t been what she was expecting. Buffy went weak at the knees.
He released her, and she tumbled onto the rug more or less where she was. Giles gracefully curled back down to his position with his head in Xander’s lap.
“Okay, Xan, I see the attraction.”
Giles preened. Xander grinned. “You see what the advantage of older men is. Lots of practice.”
Buffy made a little whimpering sound. “Yeah. Oh do I see. How much practice, anyway?”
“Twenty-eight years. No, wait, that’s sex. Snogging, thirty-two.”
“Lost it at twenty? That’s late,” said Willow. “I mean, for a guy who went around being called Ripper.”
“Made up for the lost time, love,” Giles waggled his eyebrows. Buffy stifled a giggle. This was priceless.
“Wait, wait,” said Willow. “Was that with a girl or a guy at twenty?”
“Girl. Fellow student. Rachel. Lovely. Intelligent. Well-read. Wonderful night with her.” Giles’ lips twitched up in a dreamy little smile.
“When did you lose your virginity with men?” Buffy said.
“When I was forty-eight.”
“But you’re forty-eight now.”
“There you go.”
“So Xander was…” Buffy snorted into her eggnog, then got control of herself enough to finish. “Xander was your first?”
“Brilliant deduction, that. Full marks to the Slayer.”
“No way. You didn’t with Ethan?”
“He wanted to, but I was uninterested. In him, anyway. Bloody psychopath.” Giles had another swig of eggnog. Xander took the glass from him, tasted it and made a thoughtful face. Xander had never been much into drinking, in Buffy’s experience. He’d been sipping from a bottle of water instead.
“Which do you like better? Men or women?”
“Wrong question,” said Giles promptly. “I like Xander best. Then you two. Then the rest of the world somewhere far down the line.” He waved a hand vaguely.
“You like us?” Willow sounded doubtful.
“Yeah, them?” Xander poked at Giles’ chest.
“Oh, don’t pretend you don’t, Xan. I saw you and Willow in the library, more than once. Had to work bloody hard to make enough noise so I wouldn’t have to catch you. And we all know about you and Buffy.”
“Yeah, okay, but that was pre-Rupert. Before I discovered tweedy book guys.”
“You have always had excellent taste. These two women are the best possible women, if we were to decide to enjoy women for a bit.”
“Which I don’t believe we’re doing right now, since we’re still into the enjoying each other thing. At least that’s what you said last night.”
“It’s Christmas, Xan. Relax. Kiss the women. Kiss me. Have some eggnog.” Giles demonstrated with another long swallow from his glass. Then he pulled Xander down for a long sloppy kiss.
Buffy wanted to giggle again at the contrast of Giles’ flushed face with his reasonable tone. “I take it the Ripper is making up for lost time with the boysex, Xan?”
“Modesty forbids me to discuss it,” said Xander. “Though I’m guessing–”
“To hell with modesty. S’wonderful, Buffy. Xan’s mouth is heaven.”
“Guessed right.” Xander’s face was bright red. Buffy tried not to laugh.
“You should try it. Wait, you have. S’women you haven’t tried yet.”
“How do you know?”
Giles giggled. “Know everything 'bout my Slayer.”
“I don’t think so,” said Buffy, giggling back at him.
“Oh? What don’t I know? Tell your Watcher.”
“Nothing to tell. Girls are okay. I just like boys better. It’s no big deal.” She tipped up her glass. Empty. How had that happened?
“Observe the mistletoe.” Giles pointed up. They all looked. Willow, at ground zero. Willow gave a little gulp. “Now kiss Willow. If it’s no big deal.” Giles said the last words with an approximation of Buffy’s accent.
“Why do I have the feeling I’ve been set up?” Buffy addressed her question to the ceiling because she was pretty sure she wasn’t going to get an answer from Xander or Willow. And Giles was still quietly giggling. But she wasn’t the Slayer for nothing. Buffy liked to think she had ten times the courage of your average human being. She knelt up and slithered over next to Willow. Willow met her gaze with an amused and ironic expression.
“Let’s show the boys how it’s done, hey, Buff?”
It was pretty much like kissing a guy, except Willow was about her size, and her tongue was little and pointed and it licked delicately along her lips until Buffy opened her mouth. For the second time that night. And for the second time that night Buffy had the distinct impression that her partner knew a great deal more about this kissing thing than she did. Her job was once again to whimper a little, and imagine those kisses in other places, and melt.
Willow released her at last and sighed in satisfaction. “There! Buffy Summers, first kiss with another woman, aged twenty-two.”
“Well, actually uh, kinda, um, eighteen for that.” Buffy closed her eyes and braced herself.
“What?” from Xander.
“Ohmigawd Faith! I knew it!” from Willow. “Unless it was Cordy. Don’t tell me it was Cordy.”
“It wasn’t Cordy,” said Buffy, obediently. She hadn’t thought about this for years, mostly because it had happened exactly once, had involved peppermint schnapps Faith had lifted from somewhere, and had been followed the next day by a typically Faith “no big, Buff” brushoff. It had been slapdash and high-speed and dirty in a bad way. Buffy hadn’t been able to get near peppermint schnapps since.
“Oh, man,” said Xander. “Two Slayers. Brainlock!”
Giles was counting on his fingers, ignoring the Slayer-on-Slayer discussion Xander and Willow were having. He muttered under his breath.
Xander bent over Giles. “Whatcha thinking, hon?”
“I’ve kissed you and Buffy. You’ve kissed Buffy and Willow. Buffy has now kissed Willow. That leaves just one kiss untried.” He pushed himself up and stood swaying a bit.
“Oh no, you don’t!” said Willow. “Gay, here. No boys.”
Xander bristled. “What was Oz, then? Chopped liver? Or me, for that matter!”
“Aberrations? Uh, help me out here, Buffy.”
Giles took an unsteady step closer to Willow. “So you concede that kissing the occasional man is not so bad?”
“So you can certainly kiss me once.”
“Um, maybe. A little. Just for completeness. And only because I stupidly did not move away from the mistletoe, and I just know that’s the next point you’re going to make.” Willow stood up.
If Buffy hadn’t been watching Giles as if he were a vamp with a sword, she’d have missed the brief glance he gave Xander, eyebrow up, questioning. Xander nodded. Giles’s face cleared, and he moved in for the kill. Or whatever it was he was about to do to Willow. Willow grinned at him, equally feral suddenly, and met him halfway. Too late for second thoughts: They were on each other. Giles bent Willow backwards. Her hair trailed down. This kiss went on for a while, and Buffy thought maybe Willow was giving as good as she got. Judging by the sound Giles had just made, and the way his hand moved down to Willow’s waist and pulled her hips against his. Buffy was willing to rate this about nine of ten on the scorch scale, ten being reserved for the kiss in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Buffy snuck a look at Xander. He was grinning. No insecurity there, just affection.
At last Giles and Willow released each other. They stood for a moment breathing hard, then Giles giggled again.
“All right, then?”
“I will concede that a few men are acceptable. You and Oz.”
“And Xander, mustn’t forget my lovely Xander.”
“And Xander, though I in no way am attempting to sneak kisses with Xander ever again. No hiding in library stacks for me any more, uh uh. He is all yours.”
“I don’t think he was worried about that, Will.” Xander exchanged amused looks with Buffy.
“Oh, I do love you all so,” Giles said.
“Love ya too, Giles,” said Willow.
Giles sprawled back down on top of Xander, not particularly gracefully this time. “Just realized. I’ve got a complete set now.”
Giles smiled wickedly. “A blonde, a brunette, and a redhead. All mine.”
“Okay. You’re off the nog. I’m switching you to water, hon,” said Xander. He handed Giles the water bottle and pushed the nog glass out of Giles’ reach.
“You’ll thank me in the morning. Both hands on it. Drink up.”
1974 words; reading time 7 min.
tags: alcohol, c:buffy, c:giles, c:willow, c:xander, council, england, genre:romance, happy, post-series, scoobies, f:btvs, p:giles/xander, s:cloud_animals