Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: They speak not only of cabbages and kings.
Notes: Set sometime during early S5.
Tara has an astronomy class every Wednesday night from 6 to 10 p.m. Willow had thought about adding it to her courseload, but she had already fulfilled her physical science requirement, and then Xander accused her of preferring academics and smoochies to spending free time with him. ("Well, yeah," she had replied, and then he threatened to take away her Snoopy dance privileges. She threw four French fries at him, and then conceded.)
So, on Wednesday nights, Willow joins Buffy, Xander, Riley, and Anya at the Bronze.
Incidentally, that's when Giles joins them as well, dressed down and smiling often.
ii. political science
At first, Giles seems quite distressed to see them drinking beer. Not all of them, after all, are of legal age (in America). Willow pokes fun at him as he shifts uncomfortably in his seat, pointedly looking away from their red, plastic cups.
"Like you didn't drink when you were our age," Willow says.
"I wouldn't have been thrown in jail for it," Giles retorts.
"Right," Willow scoffs. "You didn't do anything illegal when you were young."
Giles splutters, but doesn't respond.
"We don't drive, anyway," Willow points out. "We only endanger pedestrians if Riley trips and falls on one."
One evening, Willow mentions her reading in Contemporary Asian Literature. Giles interrupts her anecdote about Quesadilla Girl to ask about the book.
"It's pretty good," she says, "but I'd appreciate it more without the class discussion."
She rolls her eyes. "If I hear one more person talk about how abstract the writer is... Or geishas!" She waves her hands. "No more geishas."
"It does sound like an interesting book, though."
Willow rummages in her bookbag for a moment, then holds the novel out triumphantly. "Here. Take it."
"I could use some intelligent discussion."
Giles smiles. Accepts.
When she's not dancing, Buffy shares her own version of the topics in European History IV. Peppered with speculation, and occasionally something from an actual textbook, Buffy's explanations are ridiculous, implausible, and occasionally, according to Giles, absolutely right.
Willow is alternately amused and impressed by Buffy's intuitions, but she's almost envious of Giles' ability to recall so much history, and both versions interchangeably.
When Buffy goes off to slay, or dance, she continues the train of conversation, poking and prodding at the lies her teachers told her. (Paul Revere? Demon.) She drinks the stories like wine, and he offers more.
"Do you think Xander ever had a crush on you?"
Giles chokes on his drink. "I beg your pardon?"
"In high school. Did you ever wonder?"
"I, um." Giles clears his throat. "I never thought about it, really."
"You thought Xander--"
"I had a crush on you." She's studying the dance floor very carefully. "In high school."
"Oh." Giles attempts another draught, and manages not to endanger his life in the process. "Oh."
"Not now, of course," Willow rushes to explain. "Because, you know, Tara, and, gay."
"It's not always--" Giles trails off.
Willow sits back down again, after dancing with Buffy for a while. Giles is writing something in a journal. His pen looks heavy and dark.
"What're you writing?" She hops onto her stool and peers at the page, covered with an elegant scrawl of narrow verse. "Poem?"
Giles blushes. "A song, actually." He almost stutters.
"Cool." She hesitates. "Can I see it?"
Giles places a hand on top of the paper, but withdraws it almost immediately. "Of course."
Willow scans it quickly, and tries not to think of Oz. "It's pretty." She hands the journal back.
Giles sighs with relief.
vii. modern language
Once in a while, Giles helps Willow with her Latin. He smiles at her copies of Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis and Winnie Ille Pu.
"I didn't think Latin was still taught in America," he chuckles, then reads aloud, "'At nunc habeo,' dixit vox grunnica.'"
"Not really," Willow shrugs. "It's an independent study."
"Is it?" He sounds impressed. "With the classics department?'
"Mm-hm," Willow replies, biting her pen as she looks from the book to her notes. "And modern languages. I'm supposed to be studying the evolution of French."
"That's quite," Giles pauses, "wide-ranging."
Willow grins. "I'm interdisciplinary that way."
viii. exercise science
A song heavy on bass guitar, but light on most everything else, starts pulsing over the speakers. Willow jumps up. "I love this song!"
"It's not music."
"It's dancing music, Giles. C'mon!"
He sputters a protest, but she ignores him for once, clasping his hands and pulling him onto the floor.
She twists and shimmies her body joyfully, without artifice. Giles simply sways to the beat.
"Don't you love this song?" she shouts in his direction. "You should!"
Giles shakes his head, but he shouts back, "It's enough that you do, isn't it?"
She throws her head back and laughs.
ix. fine arts
Giles is scribbling in pencil tonight, and Willow recognizes the paper, the same kind that Oz used when he wrote songs.
"Writing a song?" she inquires, sliding back onto her chair, drink in hand. "What is it about?"
Giles smiles, his eyes still on the notes. "The same thing every song is about."
"What does it sound like?"
The music tonight is loud, so Giles leans close and hums the melody in Willow's ear.
When he finishes she shakes her head. "Again," she requests. "With words."
Under the bass of the speakers, Giles sings into Willow's ear, and she smiles.
Each night, as Buffy and Riley and Xander and Anya drift back to the table, Giles goes to the bar and asks for the tab. He and Xander will pass the receipt between them, ignoring Riley's and Willow's questions about what they owe.
They usually split the cost of the evening between them, though occasionally Riley will pass them a couple of bills over their protests. If Anya's feeling generous enough, she'll offer money herself, which they know better than to refuse.
If Buffy and Willow make any gesture of opening their wallets, they're scolded roundly.
Until the next Wednesday.