"Hey guys. Happy Thanksgiving!"
"Hi Buffy," came the chorus from across the world. It wasn't quite like everyone being in the room, but it was so much better than last year's loneliness. Scotland was the centre of a pumpkin-pie-free zone of frightening proportions.
"Okay. We've got a packed agenda, so we're gonna have to have a full meeting. But I wanted to start with some thanksgiving, if that's okay? I don't see you guys enough, and I thought maybe this was something we could share." Buffy was trying to be matter of fact, but she could see from the expressions on the vidscreens that her closest friends knew how much this brief ceremony meant. It was tough, being the leader. This worldwide beat was isolating, sending her best friends too far away. (Spike, too. He hadn't even been contactable for the past week. But he was fine. She had to believe it.)
"So, I'm thankful for vidscreens. I'm even more thankful for working vidscreens without a minute's time delay, so yay on Taki for getting us sorted. I'm thankful for my friends and colleagues who work with me to keep the world as safe and secure as we physically can." She took a deep breath. "And I'm more thankful than I can say that we didn't lose anyone this year. Long may it stay that way."
"Hear, hear." Only Giles could pull that off. "I'm also thankful that we have SSOs for every single region and squad now. Two years ago, I'd never have believed we could achieve that so fast. Thank you all for your efforts."
"Okay, I'll go." Xander adjusted his eye-patch self consciously, suddenly the centre of attention and certain his face was too close to the camera, as usual. "I'm thankful for Norm, who's been a great addition to the squad and means I get to have every other weekend off. I'm thankful for Mehmet, who still hasn't killed me for my crappy Arabic pronunciation, and every week lies, and tells me I'm getting better. And I'm thankful that this year I haven't had a single relationship with a demon. (Or any other being, but we're going to skip over that for today.)"
"I am thankful for Himalaya-thickness sleeping bags and long underwear. Also for Red Bull," contributed Faith, from Ulan Bator (where it was winter, and 4am). She toasted the group, as the round continued.
"I'm thankful for Lorne," said Angel, late on. "Because without him I'd be den mother to four dozen trainee SSOs. And even the thought gives me a headache. And I'm thankful for Harmony, because without her I'd have to learn how to email. I'm thankful for the whole team, actually." There was a general laugh round the world of the Slayer Council. Angel's team was considered weird even by their pretty loose standards. But somehow, they seemed to work.
There was a cough behind Angel. Someone not on the inner council was trying to butt in.
"Do I get a turn? Because I've got a biggie. I am truly, truly thankful that I'm no longer comatose nor dying." Cordelia smiled into the vidscreen. "Thanks Willow, thanks guys. I owe you more than I can say."
Schmoop ficlet: Counting Blessings