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Tri ci bach

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Giles takes Anya to Wales, but only after she has checked that there is a sufficiently low number of rabbits in the country considering the green, rain-nourished grass.

They go to cromlechi and then to dry themselves and get warm in old pubs in villages that always start with Llan. He informs her that the prefix refers to parishes. She then points out every example of Viking influence she can spot and snickers when he tries his Welsh on the locals. Apparently he can speak a lot of dead languages and demon tongues, but butchers Cymraeg from the faces of the people he talks to. Buying him Penderyn whisky makes up for his hurt feelings, and if certain things happen after the whiskey has been imbibed, they both enjoy them.

And then, in a farm not far from the breathtaking coast of Cardigan Bay, Anya sees a sign saying 'Cŵn back ar werth / Puppies for sale', and because she wants one more memento of Wales—although Giles thinks that after forking out for Melin Tregwynt brethyn the time for spending is done—he humours her. Or rather, he accepts he can't stop her on this, and follows her, a rare flash of sunlight falling on her blonde hair, making her almost too bright to look at, but he looks anyway.

They have to go slightly uphill and through mud to reach what are puppies by their barking, kept in a run, behind an unglamorous wire fence.

Giles is looking for a farmer, so doesn't look at the dogs, although he hears Anya greeting them with enthusiasm and lavish compliments. There's no one else in sight, so he turns his attention to Anya and blanches.

"Anya, love," he says carefully. "Could you step away from the dogs, please?"

She looks at him as if he's crazy. Two of the dogs, a clear-coloured red, are licking her palms, and another one of the same colour is not far behind. Even though he is gravely concerned, Giles notes that there had to be three dogs. The Welsh love their threes.

"Please," he repeats, knowing it sounds strangulated, but this situation is very much not of the good as Buffy would put it.

His tone of voice reaches Anya and she separates herself from the slobbering pups with apologies and blandishments. Giles takes a hold of her and moves her several yards away.

"Why are you manhandling me?" Anya asks sharply.

"Those beasts," he whispers. "Do you know what they are?"

"Puppies," she answers, clear as a bell.

"Cŵn Annwn. The hounds of hell - of the Welsh mythological hell, at any rate, which is all too real." He knows to be exact in these things, especially around her.

"And I'm guessing that means that they'll do more than laugh at your pronunciation of Welsh or bay in three-part harmony, because you know better than to be all judge-y with no basis." To his relief, Anya has lowered her voice and is taking his concern seriously.

"It really, truly does," he avers.

She sighs.

"They're so cute! But as you're still grabbing my arm, I suppose we're not buying any puppies today."

"I would rather not." Giles admits, releasing his grasp.

"Fine, but you can make up for my disappointment with sex." Anya announces, starting to walk back to their car, which he has to drive as it’s a loan from a friend and Anya seems incapable of remembering to drive on the right side of the road, that is, the left.

It is as much the desire to get to the coitus as to get away from the beasts that makes him hurry behind her.

Later, after they have thoroughly made up for Anya’s disappointment, Giles rather rashly promises Anya that the next cute dog she wants, they will get. After all, it will be a memento of their honeymoon, and Giles did lengthen their odds of surviving to their first anniversary.

He regrets his promise the second they reach Beddgelert.

 

Fin