Timeline: Set during the break between seasons 4 and 5
Summary: Renfaire makes Giles grumpy… until two women help him out
Pairing: G/Anya friendship, hints of eventual B/G romance
Category: friendship fic, humor
Distribution: If you've had my permission in the past, you have it now. All others, ask and ye shall receive.
Feedback: Constructive criticism always welcome. Praise abjectly sought.
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Joss, Mutant Enemy, etc., etc., etc. I just let them have all the fun Joss won't. I own nothing except my twisted mind which you really don't want. Please don't sue. Notes: This is my first of two fics for Summer of Giles, 2013. Huge thanks to the ever-fabulous Fabrisse for the plotbunny. And yes, I have spent a lot of time at Renaissance Faires. In fact, I met my husband at one… but I never lost sight of the ludicrous anachronisms.
Giles snorted to himself as another girl walked by, her overemphasized breasts wobbling like a pair of fried eggs nearly up to her chin. He barely noticed the rustle of a heavy skirt next to him until Anya spoke.
“I knew I shouldn’t have worn the velvet,” she complained. “It’s hot and it crushes, and I don’t think all these hay bales are doing it any good.”
Nevertheless, she sat on the bale next to Giles and did her best to pull stray bits of straw out of her ruff.
“That’s why I chose to come as one of the merchant class,” Giles said. “Not that anyone would recognize me as such around here.”
He gazed into the distance where Willow wore a vintage Gunne Sax dress and a homemade hennin. The dress was a calico print of pink roses on a navy blue background with tiny white polka dots. The long skirt featured a deep self-ruffle trimmed with several layers of pink ribbon and white lace while the bodice had a faux lacing between the waist sash and the Queen Anne neckline. Her cropped red hair was on vivid display under the pink hennin and rose printed scarf depending from it. Next to her, Tara could be seen in a fantastic robe of emerald green covered in mystical symbols. Giles wondered where she’d found such a garment or what made her think it appropriate for the period.
Buffy wore an embroidered peasant blouse of indeterminate ethnicity over a pair of leggings tucked neatly into high-heeled boots. Her first purchase at the Renaissance Faire was a jaunty red velvet Tudor flat cap trimmed with an ostrich feather. Riley dressed more or less the way he normally did when out of uniform, except for the Robin Hood cap Buffy had insisted he buy and wear ‘to get into the spirit of the thing.’ Xander resolutely wore his civvies, but he and Buffy gnawed on matching turkey legs and did their level – if painfully inaccurate – best to ‘speak forsooth like the natives.’
“They’re doing it all wrong,” Anya said with a mournful shake of her head. “I tried to tell them what people wore in 1588, but none of them would listen. They should have listened.”
“No, I can see that,” Giles replied. “Then again, most of the people working here don’t have it much closer, do they?”
“Not a single standing ruff or peasecod doublet in sight,” she sighed. “And who told all these girls that hot pink shifts pulled down to their nipples were proper for this period? Besides, the only codpieces I’ve seen have been on two comic actors and you. It’s unfair. Men are getting to ogle breasts they wouldn’t have seen then and I don’t get to look at emphasized penises that I would have seen.”
Giles delicately adjusted himself so his codpiece was on slightly less obvious view.
“What I can’t get past is the food,” he said. “Turkey legs and frozen bananas dipped in chocolate? And nobody in Europe knew that tomatoes were edible in 1588!”
“I miss the real food from this period. Mmm… egg yolks in rosewater syrup are quite delicious,” Anya said. “But when I tried to make them for Xander, he thought it was weird. I don’t think I’d better try spiced beef marrow pastries. He’d lose it. And then no sex for days.”
The two sighed unhappily. Then a thought occurred to Giles.
“You know how to make spiced beef marrow pastries?”
“Please! I made them for Lady Jane Grey and she begged for my recipe. Of course, before I could give it to her there was that unfortunate thing with the Seymour brothers and usurping the throne and well… oh well.”
They were silent for a moment.
“Still,” said Giles, “if you ever felt like making any….”
“You’d be the only one who would eat them with me,” she snorted. “Not really worth the trouble.”
Giles squinted into the distance again. Buffy was being heralded for her skill at the archery booth. He smiled with pride. Buffy was very talented, and she looked like she was having fun, inaccurate though her version of Elizabethan England was. He frowned a little when he saw Riley take up the bow. Not that he didn’t have the right to play the same games… just… he shook his head. It was fine if Riley shot some arrows, too. He would probably have done the same thing if….
“Hey! Earth to Giles.”
“Hmm…? Yes, Anya?”
“I said the music is driving me crazy. In the entire Renaissance I never heard so many bad renditions of Greensleeves.”
“Nor, I imagine, on so many instruments that didn’t exist yet,” Giles agreed. “You’d think at least one person would learn some other tune written then. I heard one group singing ‘I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts’ and trying to pass it off as a Renaissance drinking song. And just how many belly dancers visited the English court during Elizabeth’s reign? The schedule for this stage alone lists four troupes of them.”
Two head shook in tandem disbelief. Anya cocked her head and took a closer look at her companion.
“You know what, Giles?”
“I’ve decided I like this about you.”
“What about me?”
“That you like people to get history right. It’s nice to see.”
He shrugged and smiled down at his hay bale.
“I just think if one is going to do something, one might as well do it correctly,” he muttered.
“Admit it,” Anya said. “You wish Buffy had listened to you and worn something that goes with your outfit.”
“Don’t you wish they’d all worn something historically accurate?”
“Of course I do… but I wish it more about Xander than anyone else, and you wish it more about Buffy than anyone else. We all want the person we’re closest to dressed to match us. You want to be the prosperous merchant, and you’d like Buffy to be the prosperous merchant’s wife just barely keeping on the right side of the sumptuary laws. Admit it.”
“Wife? Not, say, daughter?”
Anya shot him a disgusted look.
“You have to have a wife before you can have a daughter. That’s biology. Besides, huge age differences weren’t uncommon in this period, you know that.”
“No, I don’t suppose they were,” he said. “Still, she’s happy matching Riley with modern clothes and ridiculous hats.”
“She’s already over him. She just doesn’t know it yet. I can see the signs.”
“You might want to start designing that merchant’s wife’s costume.” Anya stood. “And now I have to go lecture my boyfriend on the proper way to attend a lady in velvet at a dusty fair. I’m hot and I’m thirsty and he hasn’t brought me a single drink.” She paused in her exit. “And maybe sometime I’ll decide it’s worth my while to make those pastries, if I can get some decent marrow bones to work with.”
“Thanks, Anya,” Giles laughed in reply. “Perhaps I’ll make you some Renaissance treat, too… say pickled salmon?”
“Oh my god, I haven’t had that literally in centuries! It’s a deal, Giles. But what will we feed Buffy and Xander?”
“Traditional Renaissance pizza?”
Anya headed off fanning herself regally. Giles laughed and shook his head. He felt another light, less rustly thump on the hay bale beside him.
“Hey. Giles,” Buffy said with a grin. “I was thinking of getting a baked potato. Want one? Just you and me and big tasty spuds.”
“What about Riley?”
Buffy waved her hand airily.
“He found some guy who knows all about guns in this era. So not my thing, but he’s fascinated. I thought I might take the opportunity to hang with my favorite Watcher.”
“You don’t fear being seen with someone too painfully embarrassing for words?”
She looked him up and down thoughtfully.
“I admit it was a little surprising to see you like this, but it’s starting to kind of grow on me. It almost makes me wish I’d dressed up a little more. Almost.”
“What if for next year, I were to make you something appropriate?”
“Get out of here! You’d sew up a costume for me?”
“You have but to say the word.”
“Isn’t that a lot of work?”
“Yes, but it’s work I enjoy. Just think about it. You needn’t make a decision today.”
“Okay, I’ll sleep on it,” she said. “But now I want potatoes and no complaining from you that they didn’t have them in England then.”
“How did you know that?”
“I only slept through most of history, not every single bit of it.”
Giles grinned widely.
“All right. As long as you accept that it’s a foul anachronism, I’ll go along with you.”
“You wash your mouth out.”
“I’ll need some ale for that… though here it’s probably Coors or Budweiser,” he said with a shudder. “And I suppose you’ll want a diet soda?”
“Since you won’t order me a beer, that’ll have to do.”
They got up and headed for the nearest ale stand.
“That costume you’re going to make for me? I don’t want it as fancy as that thing Anya’s wearing. She can hardly move and she looks like she’s roasting. But I don’t want to look like those girls running around with their boobs out, either.”
“No worries. We’ll make you a character from the merchant class.”
“Is that what you’re doing?”
She slipped her arm through his as they walked.
“We’d kind of match, then. Good.”
“Yes, I think that would be quite nice.”