I'm told it's also Rupert Giles' birthday. I have a ficlet as a birthday present for him.
Title: Eat your darn cake
Blah blah header. Blah blah disclaimer. Blah blah I probably yank season 1 chronology around. Frothy.
FRC at worst. Should be rated "Safe for infants".
Giles ripped open the shipping container. Addison-Wesley, likely entirely boring watered-down history textbooks, but he did love the smell. Freshly-printed books, ink, binding glue. Ah. Not the history texts, but the new algebra books. Giles pulled the shipping slip from its plastic blister on the box and did the paperwork. It wasn't much different from what he'd done at the museum. Only that had been about cataloging shards of pottery, not new textbooks.
It was his birthday today, but fortunately no one knew. He did hate having a fuss made. Especially when the fuss was made by people who barely knew him.
He got out the rubber stamp and the inkpad. Property of Sunnydale High School, in blue-black ink, fifty times on the inside front cover. Stamp. Stamp. Stamp. Thirty-eight. Thirty-nine. Forty.
Forty-three. A prime number. Otherwise entirely un-noteworthy. Giles began attaching inventory tags to textbooks, and also compiling a mental list. A gloomy list. Things he'd really thought he'd have accomplished in his life by this age. Here he was gluing pockets into books. At least he'd finally been given a Slayer.
His mind wandered to his training plan for Buffy. She'd started to listen to him after that incident with the witch, which was something. She'd shown no interest in the esoteric topics or in learning Latin, but her eyes had lit up when he'd shown her the padded quarterstaves. No on crystals, yes on karate.
She was the strangest girl.
The doors to his library slammed open. Giles spun around to deliver a sharp rebuke, but his mouth hung open silently. Buffy, Willow, Xander, and that girl Cordelia were advancing on him. They had a cake on a plate, obviously home-made, with white frosting inexpertly applied. Strawberries were mounded over it. And stuck into it, almost but not quite dead-center, was a single lit candle.
They plonked it down on his circulation desk, on top of a stack of new books, along with a jug of some pinkish liquid and a number of paper plates. Then, to Giles' horror, they began singing "Happy Birthday". Lord, it was exactly the fuss he'd wanted to miss.
Cordelia wasn't singing. She had her arms folded, her eyes rolling, and her foot tapping. Willow was dreadfully flat. Xander was in decent voice, and Buffy, surprisingly, best of all. He flushed darker as it proceeded. By the time it ended, he wondered his ears hadn't turned to crisps, they were so hot.
"Happy birthday, Watcher-guy." Willow hugged him, Xander punched his shoulder, and Buffy made an odd hand-gesture at him.
"How d-did you know? Willow, did you break into school records again?"
"Nope. I did it. Lifted your wallet," said Buffy.
"Bloody hell." Her only response to his glare was a flip of her hair and a bright grin.
Xander handed him a knife, and he held it and stared at the cake, befuddled. Then Buffy took it from him and hacked it through the cake a few times. Chocolate underneath all the frosting and strawberries, Giles noted. Buffy began sliding messy slabs onto plates.
"I made this. I hope you like strawberries," she said, uncertainly.
"I bought the frosting, so that's going to be the best part," said Cordelia.
"I brought punch," Willow said.
"Hey, don't glare at me, G-man. I'm just here to eat it. And guess what? You're gonna eat your cake too."
Xander shoved a paper plate at him. Giles took it and held it, still resisting. His Slayer gripped his elbow and marched him to a chair at the study table, with inexorable strength.
"Cake *and* punch, and you're gonna like it. You should be grateful. We talked Willow out of those little party hats and those honk-y things."
Buffy made a face at him, and he melted suddenly. His Slayer could fuss over him whenever she wished. He grinned at her.
"I love strawberries," he said. "Thank you." She handed him a white plastic fork. Giles ate his cake, and beamed.