Disclaimer: I don't own them... if I did, I'd be posting this from my private jet as I'd be flying to Belgium :P
A/N: The tittle is a shameless spoof of CorruptedSmile's series "Love is..."
Buffy woke up happy. It was her week off. Giles had gone to England for a week, the baby-slayers were on a field trip with Faith, and Angel came to Cleveland to take over her slaying duties. She had planned a week of sleeping in, shopping and just generally relaxing.
She went to the kitchen and had a big breakfast (which Andrew made for her, because she was not allowed to ever approach his cooking utensils again after she almost burned the kitchen down trying to make Giles a cup of tea). Just when she was deciding what to do first (go clothes-shopping or shoe-shopping), Dawn came to find her.
“Hey, sis,” she said. “Giles told me to give you this letter when you wake up.”
Buffy groaned in distress. It was her week off. Surely Giles wouldn’t make her do anything, would he? She opened the letter and the first thing she noticed was the ink colour.
“Dawn,” she said slowly. “Why did Giles write me a letter in pink ink?”
The young brunette shrugged. “I think one of the minis keeps replacing all his pens with colourful gel-pens. He was complaining about it last week.”
“That is a bit disturbing,” admitted Dawn. “What’s it say anyway?”
Buffy skimmed through the letter quickly. “He needs me to plant "Papaver Rhoeas" whatever that is. He wants me to plant them all over the backyard and he said they should be fully grown by the time he gets back.” She frowned. “I’m not an expert, but don’t plants need some time to grow?”
“Maybe you could ask Willow to help you?” suggested Dawn.
“Yeah, I can do that.”
“Do you need any help?” asked Dawn sweetly. Buffy was instantly suspicious.
“You want to help me? Why?”
Dawn looked at her innocently. “You’re my sister. It’s your week off. If I help you, you’ll be done sooner.”
Buffy nodded reluctantly. “I guess so.”
“Good. So you call Willow and I’ll get the seeds.”
Willow came to Cleveland the next day.
“You have to see the letter, it’s all weird like,” said Buffy showing her the letter. “It’s written in pink glittery ink.”
“That’s weird,” agreed Willow. “Why did he capitalize U in colour?”
“I dunno,” said Buffy. “Maybe he’s trying to give me Britishness lessons. He’s always trying to get me to speak ‘proper English’.”
“Makes sense,” said Willow. “So what does he want you to do?”
“He wants me to plant some seeds. Dawn has them.”
The redhead nodded. “Why do you need me?”
“He wants them grown by the time he’s back.”
Willow frowned. “That’s not a lot of time.”
“Then we best get started.”
Giles was tired. The meetings in London were frustrating and his flight was long and exhausting. He just wanted to go home, have a nice cup of tea and relax. However, it was not to be. He was collected from the airport by a worried looking slayer. He asked her what was wrong, but she wouldn’t answer. When they pulled into the driveway, they were approached by Mr Smith, the grumpy old neighbour.
“I don’t know what you’re doing with these children, but I don’t like it. I’m not one to poke my nose into other people’s business, but you’ve gone too far. Planting drugs! Shameful!”
Giles sighed. “Mr Smith, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I assure you that there are no illegal items inside our house.” ‘Other than the lethal weapons that you don’t need to know about.’
Mr Smith just glared harder. “You’re not fooling me. You’re using these children to grow opium. I’ve seen it. And don’t think I won’t call the police.”
“Mr Smith,” said Giles. “There is no opium in that house. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just come from England and it’s been a rather long flight. Good day.”
An hour later found Giles in his study sipping tea. He said hello to the baby-slayers, but had yet to see Buffy and Dawn. Well he’d see them eventually – his children weren’t very good at staying away from him. He took his cup and walked to the window.
‘I do wonder why Mr Smith was so sure we’re growing opium.’
He looked out the window and froze. There was a sea of red stretching before his eyes.
Buffy was having a good day. She had bought three new dresses and several new pairs of shoes – one of them were without high heels even. She only bought those because Giles got mad if she went to slay in high heels. Also, she could get the Council accountant to give her the money for them by claiming slaying expenses.
She came home happy and ready to show her new clothes to the minis and Dawn. However, the moment she stepped into the house one of the slayers approached her reluctantly.
“Mr Giles want to see you.”
“Giles is back?” asked Buffy excitedly. She hurried to his study. “Giles, you’re home!”
Giles sighed as she threw herself around his neck. “Yes Buffy, I’m home. And imagine my surprise when I left the car and was assaulted by Mr Smith about growing drugs in my back ground. I of course assured him that there are no drugs in this house.”
Buffy smiled at him. “Why would we have drugs in the house? He’s just being annoying like normal.”
“Indeed,” said Giles. “So then I take a well-deserved shower and have Maria prepare me a cup of tea to take in my study. Suddenly I look out the window and what do I see? A field of poppies.”
“I know, aren’t they lovely?” asked Buffy. “And I had Willow help me to make sure they’ll be grown by the time you come back.”
“What on earth possessed you to plant a field of poppies in our background?”
The slayer looked at him innocently. “What do you mean? You told me to plant them.”
A raised eyebrow was never a good sign. “I did what?”
“Yes,” insisted the slayer. “You told me to plant them. I still have the letter.”
“I told you to plant the poppies in a letter?” A nod. “Buffy, could you please fetch this letter and show it to me?”
Buffy got the letter and Giles skimmed through it.
“It’s written in pink.”
“Why would I write you a letter in pink ink?”
Buffy fidgeted. “Well I thought that the minis were replacing your pens with pink ones. And I didn’t think you’d be afraid of using pink ink – you’re all secure in your masculinity and in touch with your feminine side.”
“I see,” murmured Giles. “And why, pray tell, would I capitalize U in colour?”
“I thought you were giving me Britishness lessons. You’re always telling me to speak proper English.” Buffy decided to go on the offensive. “Also, it says here: There’s a good lass. That’s British.”
Giles sighed. “That’s Scottish – I’m English.”
“Oh… it’s still obviously from you. It looks like your hand-writing. And it has the name of the plant in Latin – who else knows the Latin expressions for anything?”
“Who indeed… Tell me, did Dawn by any chance give you this letter?”
The watched nodded. “Do call her here, please.”
Dawn was getting nervous. Giles had called her into his study and was now pacing around. That was never a good sign. Any minute not he’d start polishing his glasses.
“Dawn, why is there a field of poppies in our background?” asked Giles slowly.
“Because you told Buffy to plant them.”
Giles looked at her pointedly. “Dawn, I’ll ask you to be honest.”
The brunette fidgeted. She was an excellent liar – Spike had taught her well – but she never could lie to Giles.
The watched started polishing his glasses. That was the final drop for Dawn.
“I faked your writing and gave Buffy a letter to get her to plant poppies before you came back, ‘cause I knew you wouldn’t let me plant poppies if I asked you and I wanted it to be a surprise to you and it’s not even the opium poppy and it’s lovely and red and the minis like it so please don’t make us get rid of it.”
Giles raised his eyebrow. He had known Willow and Xander for years, but was still shocked when someone babbled at him like that. Especially if it was Dawn, who was usually quite calm and collected. “Breathe, Dawn. Now, why did you want to surprise me with poppies?”
Dawn took a deep breath and mumbled something that could only be heard by a vampire and even then only if they were focused on listening.
“What was that?”
“I thought you’d like the poppies,” said Dawn slowly. “Especially considering what day it is.”
“What day it is?” Giles was confused.
“It’s the anniversary of the collapse.”
Suddenly the watched understood. He hugged Dawn closely. She started crying. “I just wanted people to remember.”
Giles tried to soothe her. “Thank you for the poppies. I’ll make sure they don’t get rid of them.”
Giles was feeling proud. There was a memorial that night. Those who were there at the collapse all came to the Cleveland house and anyone who wanted could say something about it. The last one to go up was Dawn.
“I’d like to tell you a story. It features our favourite blond vampire. We were sitting in his tomb. I noticed he had a plastic poppy in the pocket of his duster. When I asked him about it he tried to pretend it was nothing, but eventually I dragged the story out of him. He told me how across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I poppies bloomed the next year. Their blood red blooms became a symbol of remembrance. I thought we might do the same here. As long as there is a watcher or a slayer alive we can’t let the poppies stop blooming. That way we’ll always remember our fallen.”
She quietly went off the podium and was presently embraced by the original Scoobies. Slowly and quietly the group moved inside where they talked and laughed and remembered.
And the poppies never stopped blooming.
A/N: This fic is a birthday present for CorruptedSmile. Happy Birthday, honey. I know it was supposed to be a bit of a crack fic, but somehow it turned all serious like. It is totally not my fault :P I hope you like your pressie.