Thanksgivingapalooza - the Meal
If there was one thing Draco enjoyed, it was good food, and this was excellent. Pevensie and her friends seemed awfully giggly, and he would have checked on them sooner, but he was too busy making sure his pants wouldn’t fit anymore.
“This is really very good, Buffy, Hannah,“ Willow said. “Everything’s very yummy.”
Illyria belched loudly. Xander gave her a look and waited for her to shout ‘more ale’.
“What do we say?” Spike asked.
“More roasted bird,” Illyria growled out.
“Or excuse me,” Spike said. “Also acceptable.”
Verity giggled again.
Moody’s magical eye swiveled over to look at her. Then, it made its way over to her punch cup. Then, he sighed. He made a mental inventory of his hangover potions, and realized that they were all at the farm, and that he didn’t need to worry about hiding them to teach Verity a valuable lesson tomorrow when her head was throbbing.
Giles pursed his lips in an attempt to look disapproving and to quash a smile. He was certain that he hadn’t been very successful in either endeavour.
“It’s not funny and we should not laugh,” Andromeda whispered in his ear, the mirth very evident in her voice.
“I should say not,” Giles whispered back, trying very hard not to snicker.
Buffy glared at everyone, but didn’t say anything. Theo was by her side and had a hand on her knee. It was calming her down to actually be sitting and no longer rushing around getting things prepared. She took a deep breath and put down her fork.
“So, since it’s Thanksgiving, let’s go around the table and each say something we’re thankful for. It’s tradition.”
Willow frowned at her. “No, it’s n--”
“It is now,” Buffy replied with a glare. “Theo, you go first. What are you thankful for?”
“Very clever,” Draco said. “Eloquent.”
“I suppose I’m thankful to work here, and that I get to see you so often,” Theo said.
Spike made a face. “Gross.”
The table rattled a bit because Angel had obviously kicked Spike under it. Spike grunted in pain.
After glaring at Spike, Buffy smiled at Theo. “Thank you. Giles, you’re next.”
This caught the watcher by surprise, as there were three people between Theodore and he. He stood. “I’m thankful for many things. I’m thankful that we were all able to gather here today today, to spend time with those we care about. I’m thankful w-we were able to avert several world-ending events, that the kr’karvek and the vostov’v’k” -- he stumbled badly over the names, and Anya cringed -- “have reached an accord with us and with each other, that we finally took control over the last vestiges of the Old Council’s assets, and that our casualties were not higher this year.”
He surveyed the table, and raised his cup. It was the same green cup that he’d used in Sunnydale, the significance of which was not lost on some of the people assembled for the dinner.
“To absent friends. They may not be here in person, but they are certainly here in spirit.”
Moody raised his teacup in kind and repeated, “To absent friends.”
Everyone else raised their glasses and cups and repeated the phrase.
Giles sat. “Xander? What are you thankful for?”
“Twenty-twenty vision in my eye, and absent friends who have rejoined us,” he said looking at Anya. “Will?”
Several people made choking sounds.
“Without whom, I might have tried to end the world. Again.”
Buffy held up her phone. “Ooh! I text Dawn and asked what she was thankful for and she said...” she trailed off as she pulled the message up. “Oh, here it is. I’m thankful that I’m--
” Buffy sighed loudly. “--not there with all you crazy people. Tell Xander and Spike I said hi.
“I’m thankful the Little Bit likes me more than Captain Forehead,” Spike said.
Angel glared at him.
“I’m thankful to not be in the kitchen any longer,” Hannah said in clipped tones causing Draco to look at her.
“I very thankful for my grandson Teddy and for being with... friends today,” Andromeda said. She did consider Rupert a bit more than a friend, but she didn’t know if he’d want her announcing such a thing with his surrogate children present and her fire-happy nephew at the table.
Giles, for his part, leaned in and kissed her on the cheek.
Andromeda smiled and ducked her head a bit. Willow and Xander exchanged a look.
“I’m thankful for the onions and celery in the dressing,” Draco said. “I love celery. I approve of its use here.”
“Draco, that’s not how this works,” Willow said.
“Well then, I’m thankful for things I can’t talk about yet,” he said.
Pevensie coughed in a way that sounded suspiciously like Luna
, and Draco glared at her.
Giles coughed, and then shifted his eyes over toward Pevensie meaningfully when Draco looked over at him.
Draco gave her this look. Pevensie rolled her eyes and didn’t even try to hide that she was doing so. Alice started laughing so hard that she toppled from her chair.
Xander frowned. He didn’t think it was that
funny. “So, um, Oz? What about you? What are you thankful for?”
“Pop Tarts,” he said. “Breakfast of champions.”
Illyria belched loudly as she saluted him with her glass.
Verity piped up, “I thought that the breakfast of champions was a Snickers bar and a Co-ca-co-la.”
Oz was frowning at the group of five girls Xander referred to as the younglings. Alice could not manage to get back into her chair. When Pevensie tried to help her, Alice only pulled her to the floor as well. This caused Hiran to look panicked and Meredith to start snickering herself.
“Are you guys okay?” Willow asked.
Theo was frowning at them as well, trying to gage what might be affecting them this way.
“They’re fine,” Moody grunted unsympathetically. “I, for one, am thankful for Verity’s Heath, and for her learning some lessons the hard way.”
Verity paled and her eyes became saucers. He knows
The corner of Moody’s mouth curled up. “Don’t expect any help from me in the morning, young lady.”Lessons learned the hard way? In the morning
? Draco was frowning then he looked at Pevensie with an expression that would have made a lesser girl into a melted puddle of goo due to the angry heat in the eyes.
“Are you lot DRUNK
?” he all but shouted.
“Malfoy!” Moody leaned closer and murmured, “Not at the table.”
“Yes, Draco. Do let’s not attend to this now. What’s done is done.” He looked at him pointedly, as if daring the younger man to defy him.
When the smoldering glare -- but no further outbursts -- came from Malfoy, Giles announced, “Perhaps we should cut this short and begin.”
Once this had been accomplished, Giles asked, “Buffy?”
She had been ignoring everyone up until this point. The drunk slayers, the bitching vampires, and all the inane conversation going on around her was just noise. “I really don’t think you want me saying anything right now, Giles. As far as I’m concerned, everyone can finish eating. Preferably in silence.”
Buffy had only eaten half of her plate anyway. The food was good, especially what Hannah had worked on, but now that the exhaustion of trying to make this dinner perfect hit, she just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep for a week.
Draco was stabbing at his food and glaring at Pevensie.
“Bird’s already dead, Draco,” Oz said.
Willow was looking nervous. She kept glancing from Buffy to Draco to Pevensie. She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t need her connection to the slayers to know Buffy was upset.
Moody smirked. An idea had popped into his mind. He got Giles’ attention across the table and with a few well-placed, subtle hand gestures, conveyed to the other man that he wanted to speak to him later.
Giles nodded back.
Oz looked from one man to the other then frowned at his plate.
“Have I said everything’s delicious, Buffy?” Xander said awkwardly and in an overly loud tone. “Mmmmmm, yummy.”
Several people chimed in with yeses and yummy sounds - like that was going to help.
She rolled her eyes. “That’s what you sound like when you try Dawn’s food. So don’t even go there.”
“Where did they get the alcohol?” Hannah whispered to Draco.
He’d been thinking the same thing when something in the doorway caught his eye - Tindy.
“You didn’t,” Draco said with wide eyes.
“Tindy is remembering that Master Draco likes the firewhisky in his punch for gatherings.”
Draco’s mouth was hanging open in shock. “Done in by my own house elf. Tindy, unless I specifically tell you to, do not spike the punch again.”
Oz started snickering. He was trying not to, but... this was really funny.
Andromeda started coughing - trying to cover laughing. Spike was not so discreet. Angel kicked him very hard, but Spike kept laughing.
Giles had a look on his face that spoke of stifling a laugh as well.
“This isn’t funny,” Draco said.
“Oh, darling nephew,” Andromeda said. “Yes it is... because it’s you. This would only happen to you, and it’s not really your fault. You’re one of those
Blacks. Your mother will deny it, but she has incidents like this as well.”
Draco frowned. He wanted this meal to be over. Now.
After everyone sat and ate in awkward silence for an amount of time that was actually quite short but seemed excruciatingly long, Giles asked Buffy what she had used in the cranberry sauce to sweeten it up.
Buffy gave a short, direct answer (orange juice) and kept eating.
After another awkward silence, Moody had commented on how the white and the dark meat had both been cooked perfectly, which, in his experience, was difficult to accomplish without magic.
Buffy muttered something about aluminium foil under her breath.
Eventually, the conversation started up again, albeit in an extra polite, stilted fashion. Draco, of course, alternated his glare between his aunt, his slayer, and his elf, which amused Andromeda to no end. Moody began asking Xander about his travels, which got many more of the people around the table engaged, and before long, Buffy was feeling marginally better. Not that she wasn’t still irked that everyone got blasted, but at least this seemed more like a Thanksgiving ought to be.
Willow was feeling that while Buffy would say the meal hadn’t gone as planned, it had still been one of the best Thanksgivings she could recall because they were all together.
Draco was the only one who seemed quite upset still, but Willow would speak to him later. This had not been his fault, and she knew that was what he was thinking - he’d ruined Buffy’s dinner and she was going to be angry with him for keeps over it.
Moody found Giles in the kitchen, helping Xander and Oz with the cleanup. He was bent over the stainless steel sink scrubbing out the roasting pan.
“Harris. Osborne.” the old auror nodded to each in turn.
“Ah. Moody. You had something you wanted to discuss?” Giles looked up and paused in his efforts.
“Don’t we have house elves for this sort of thing?” Moody looked around curiously.
“Yeah, normally,” Xander responded. “However, Buffy is a traditionalist and insists on the menfolk cleaning up since the womenfolk cooked.” He went back to picking the remaining meat off of the carcass. “It’s best not to argue when she gets this way.”
Oz nodded in agreement, but made no other comments. Sometimes not talking was best.
“I see,” Moody said noncommittally. “I was wondering if you had any objections to an early morning workout tomorrow for the younger girls who got into Tindy’s punch. Verity knows better, and I dare say that calisthenics with a hangover might just dissuade them from partaking in the future, and perhaps letting someone know about the punch being more traditional in nature.”
Giles shut off the water. “Opinions?”
“Feel free to borrow Alice,” Xander said. “And as upset as Hannah looked, I would say getting Meredith is a safe bet too.
“Draco might want to deal with Pevensie himself,” Oz said. “They have a unique partnership.”
Xander nodded. “I get the feeling him punishing her would definitely have more of an impact.”
“You have my blessing,” Giles told him. “My grandmother once made me dig fence post holes the morning after I came in pissed out of my gourd at 3 once. I dare say a workout will be just what the doctor ordered.”
Moody nodded. “Thank you. I shall go and discuss this with Miss Abbott, and I will see the girls dark and early.” He grinned. It was most definitely not the most benign expression Giles had ever seen.