Title: Someone Cares
Characters: Giles, Willow
Timeline: Season one, early
Summary: It’s Giles birthday.
A/N: Written for the Anthony Head Birthday Party2013.
Giles sighed as he entered his office. The final bell had sounded and the few students who had wandered into his library had fled as if escaping a sinking ship. He remembered spending time in libraries as a boy, nothing able to pull him from the thrall of a good book. Was he such an oddity that there were no more youngsters like him? But then, that had been a very long time ago.
He slipped out of his jacket before sitting heavily in his chair. It would be a few hours before Buffy returned to train and, though part of him wanted to use that time to get some much-needed rest, the majority knew there was work to be done. Turning to his desk in search of the book he’d been translating earlier, he was momentarily stunned by the sight of what sat atop it. A lovely, little cupcake with a single blue and white candle planted in its center.
“Happy birthday,” the timid voice came from the doorway.
“Willow,” Giles stood, automatically reaching for his jacket.
“Oh, I didn’t want to disturb you. I just thought…”
The librarian smiled, deciding to leave his jacket where it was. “You’re not. It’s just… How did you know?”
“I came across it a little while back when I was looking at your employment file. And it’s not as weird as it sounds because I was looking at all the teacher’s files because of that thing with Xander and the substitute, and I figured we can’t be too careful here on the Hellmouth so better look for anything strange. And it wasn’t ‘cause I was looking for a picture of you or anything like that because that would be weird with you being my school librarian and all, and you really should give them a new one for your file ‘cause that one doesn’t do you justice. And I should stop now because I’m freaking you out.”
She looked up at him with red cheeks and her shy smile, and Giles couldn’t help but grin at her babbling. “It’s very kind of you to remember me, Willow. Thank you.” He gave the cupcake a quick glance. “You know, it’s been so long since anyone’s made any fuss, I’d quite forgotten myself.”
Willow ducked her head and whispered, “I just wanted you to know someone cared. And don’t worry, I didn’t tell Buffy and Xander.”
“I can only imagine.”
“Yeah. They would want to throw a party or something. And Buffy would be trying to make it classy for you, but then Xander would be all with the streamers and balloons and loud music and junk food. Not to mention bugging you about how old you are so they could start with the birthday spankings… And then with the yelling and the chaos…”
“Sounds horrific,” Giles said, but with that little smile that gave away the fact that he didn’t object to the thought as much as he was letting on.
Willow gave him her brightest grin. “I could still tell them, if you want.”
“No, no,” he chuckled. “Better they both focus on the upcoming midterms.” Stepping closer, he nervously shoved his hands in his pockets. “But it is nice to know someone cares. Thank you.”
“I know it is. Happy birthday, again. And, Giles… Thank you for caring about all of us, too.” Willow hesitated for a moment, and then, finding the courage, she rose up on her tiptoes and placed a fast, feather-soft kiss on his cheek. The next moment she turned with a giggle and ran out of the library, her backpack bouncing as she went.
Giles had an amused twinkle in his eyes as he return to his desk. He looked fondly at the pretty, little cake. Yes, his joints were telling him he was another year older. But, as he softly touched his cheek, his heart felt lighter than it had in as many birthdays as he could remember.