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Love, Buffy

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Giles felt a knot tightening in his stomach as he sat in front of the monitor at the internet café, clenching and unclenching his fists above the keyboard.

Get a grip old man, he thought to himself, you've faced and conquered all manner of demons, you can master the internet.

"More tea?"

Startled, Giles looked up to see a clerk with raven black hair.

"Um, no thank you miss. As soon as reckon how to call up and print a letter I'll be on my way."

"I can help you with that Mr…"

"Giles."

She smiled, rolling his name over her tongue and leaning in close.

"May I?" She gestured toward mouse, grazing his hand, which he quickly retracted.

He hardly had time to wonder if she-who-was-barely-older-than-his-Sunnydale-charges was hitting on him when he heard the hum of the printer.

"Um, well, thank you very much."

"My pleasure." She collected her teapot and moved away, looking over her shoulder at him and smiling.

Giles folded the pages in precise thirds and slid them into the inner pocket of his tweed coat. Outside the café, he turned and continued down two stores to the Panda Garden. A few minutes later he exited with a paper bag holding spring rolls, pork lo mein, shrimp fried rice and various condiments. Walking back to his flat, he realized that he really didn't miss his car. Well, not all that much.

He hummed as he unlocked his door, setting the bag down and walking over to his crate of records. He flipped through them, pulling out an album, placing it on the turn table and gently setting the needle down.

Would you like to swing on a star?

Patting his breast pocket absently, Giles moved toward his table.

Carry moonbeams home in a jar? And be better off than you are?

He unpacked waxed paper boxes with their metal handles, the sauces and a pair of chopsticks.

Or would you rather be a mule?

Walking to the balcony, he popped open a carton. Lo mein first, letter second. He turned over in his mind their last correspondence. Had he made the right choice in returning to England?

After clipping the last shrimp, he gathered up the boxes, headed to the kitchen and returned with a glass of wine.

Or would you like to swing on a star? Carry moonbeams home in a jar?

Sitting down in the living room, he pulled out the pages from his pocket.

And be better off than you are? Or would you rather be a pig?

He unfolded them, gently easing the creases out. No more waiting to be had, was there?

A pig is an animal with dirt on his face. His shoes are a terrible disgrace.

Dear Giles,

Happy Thanksgiving! We missed you, of course. Xander tried to make it less noticeable by eating your portion - not pretty.

He has no manners when he eats his food. He's fat and lazy and extremely rude.

Following tradition, we watched the Wizard of Oz. By the time we got to "I'll get you my pretty and your little dog too," Willow was into her third tirade about the misrepresentation of witches.

But if you don't care a feather or a fig.

Anya, yep you guess it, waxed on about how the ruby slippers should be silver, fitting with the original allegory about the monetary standard.

You may grow up to be a pig.

When we got to the flying monkeys, I half expected you to wander into the room with your tome on flying animals, explaining that pigs, but never monkeys, can fly.

And all the monkeys aren't in the zoo.

Instead it was just Spike with a pint of pig's blood.

Every day you meet quite a few.

Dawn rounded it out by asking for a puppy "just like Toto" for Christmas. Spike offered her a kitty and…

Sipping his wine, he thought There's no place like home. He removed his glasses and in the blur, he could see them all, especially Buffy. Healthy, maybe even happy again. If so, it was worth being in exile from his home.

So you see it's all up to you. You can be better than you are. You could be swingin' on a star.