Title: Hanukkah Surprises
Author: Elisabeth
Email: dragonydreams@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.dragonydreams.com
Rating: R
Summary: Willow throws a Hanukkah get together to make some rather important announcements.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Spoilers/Timeline: Takes place during season 4.
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - please ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It would make a wonderful holiday prezzie.

{} = translations

Hanukkah Surprises

"Why are we here again?" Buffy whined, idly spinning one of the dreidels in front of her.

"This was Willow's idea," Xander reminded the slayer. "We went along with your Thanksgiving dinner plans. Now it's Willow's turn."

"But a Hanukkah party?" Buffy protested. "Willow's the only one who's Jewish."

"True," Giles interjected, joining the conversation. "But Willow has always celebrated all of the Christian holidays right along with you. It is about time that you returned the favor."

As Buffy and Xander continued to debate the merits of the situation, Giles slipped into the kitchen. Willow was standing in front of the stove, pouring batter into the frying pan for another batch of latkes. Giles stepped behind his girlfriend, slipping his arms around her waist.

"Mmm," Willow sighed, leaning her head against his shoulder. "How's it going out there?"

"As you would expect," Giles commented. "Buffy is whining about celebrating the holiday and Xander is defending you."

"Yep, that's what I'd expect," Willow agreed. "But this is the best way that I could think of telling them about us."

"I know, darling."

Willow flipped the potato pancakes over, listening to the satisfying sizzle and pop of the grease cooking.

"Buffy's gonna be so pissed when she finds out the real reason for the party," Willow sighed. "The fact that she's already pouting isn't a good sign."

"We don't have to tell them yet," Giles offered.

"Enjoying the sneaking around that much are we?" Willow teased, squeezing his arms.

"Well, it is rather enjoyable," Giles admitted. "It's like sneaking out of the house when your parents are asleep. Except that we are sneaking out from the children instead."

"Need I remind you that I am the same age as those 'children'," Willow chided her lover.

"I'd rather not. It's much easier to ignore that fact when we aren't talking about it."

Turning in his arms, Willow agreed, "And it's even easier when we're not talking at all."

Giles took her unspoken invitation to lower his head and kiss her smiling lips. She tasted of grease, applesauce, sweat and that wonderful underlying taste that could only be described as Willow. Every time they kissed Giles fell a little bit more in love with her, and was always reminded of their first kiss.

It had been a complete accident of course. After a late night of research Willow had fallen asleep on the couch. Buffy and Xander had taken off shortly after Willow had dozed off and, not wanting to wake her, and with Giles' insistence, allowed her the much needed rest.

She had been dreaming. Giles could hear her small whimpers and moans from where he sat reading nearby, occasionally glancing up to watch the beautiful woman sleep. After a particularly low moan, which he mistook to be in reaction to a nightmare, Giles cautiously approached the sleeping woman.

Giles sat on the couch, leaning over to whisper in Willow's ear. "I'm here, Willow," he assured her, caressing her hair in what he hoped was a soothing gesture. "Giles," she called out, not in fear or panic, but in lust. Again, Giles said, "I'm here."

Willow arms encircled him, confirming his presence, even while still asleep. The fact that he seemed more solid that usual began to permeate her dream, yet she refused to wake. Where else could she be this close to Giles? She could almost feel his breath on her neck, she told herself as he continued to speak soothingly to her. Unwilling to be torn away from her dream-Giles, Willow grabbed his head and pulled him into a possessive kiss.

Giles was shocked. He was more than shocked, he was afraid he too was dreaming. Willow had just pulled him into such a passionate kiss that he was helpless but to reciprocate. If this were a dream, he hoped to never wake, for it was only when he dreamed that he could allow himself to believe that Willow could ever want him.

Willow knew that this couldn't be a dream once she felt the passion with which Giles was kissing her. He'd never kissed her like that before in her dreams. Slowly, she opened her eyes, never breaking the kiss, to find that yes, Giles was in fact leaning over her, his lips firmly attached to hers, as he eagerly explored her mouth with his tongue. Willow dug her fingers into her hair, holding him closer, kissing him back with a renewed effort.

When they were equally breathless they finally separated. Once she had retrieved enough oxygen to speak, Willow panted, "What a way to wake up."

"I… I apologize," Giles offered, pulling in great draughts of air.

"Don't," Willow insisted, still incapable of long words. "I obviously wanted it."

Despite the passionate kiss they'd just shared, Giles did a double take. "You-you did?"

"You couldn't tell," Willow purred, running her hand over his back.

"I wasn't sure if it was really me you were thinking about or if I was just… convenient." Giles admitted.

"No, it was you," she silkily told him. Leaning up to whisper in his ear she admitted, "It's always you."

Willow licked his neck, sending a shudder through the older man's body, before placing wet kisses over his pulse point. After a couple of minutes of such attention Giles pulled her mouth back to his, already missing the feel and taste of her.

They spent hours that night kissing and talking. Realizing that they'd both been needlessly hiding their attraction for the other for fear of rejection. They shyly agreed to begin a relationship, but not to disclose this to the others just yet, knowing the reactions they would likely receive. They also wanted to have time to explore this new development in their relationship away from prying eyes and witty comments.

Until tonight…

Xander's voice separated the couple. "Where's the grub? I smell fried goodness, so where is it?"

Smiling at her best friend's hunger Willow called back, "It'll be out in a minute."

Willow gave Giles one last quick kiss before pulling out of his arms. She removed the final batch of latkes from the stove and, after patting them with a paper towel to remove the extra grease, added them to the large pile on a plate. She handed Giles the bowl of applesauce and followed him out to the dining room.

As soon as the food was set down on the table Xander reached for it. Predicting this, Willow was ready to slap his hands away tutting, "Uh-uh-uh. Not yet. First we're going light the Hanukkah candles."

"But Will…" Xander started to protest.

"We're. Lighting. The. Candles." Willow said slowly, heading to the menorah at the head of the table. After rearranging the candles (which one of her friends, probably Xander, had moved around out of boredom), Willow lit the shamash {service candle} and began the prayers. As she spoke she lit the other candles from the flame of the shamash, from left to right. "Ba-ruch a-ta A-do-nai, E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ha-olam, a-sher kid-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-tav ve-tzi-va-nu le-had-lik ner shel cha-nu-kah. Ba-ruch a-ta A-do-nai, E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ha-olam, she-a-sa ni-sim la-avo-tei-nu ba-ya-mim ha-hem ba-zman ha-zeh. Amen." {Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with his commandments and commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah. Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors, at this season, in days past. Amen.}

Xander looked at her expectantly as she finished and Willow nodded her head as she moved to sit beside Giles. Xander immediately grabbed the plate of latkes and placed several on his plate before placing a large spoonful of applesauce over them before passing the plate around the table.

As she waited for the food to reach her, Buffy asked, "So why did you move the candles around? And why didn't you use all of them?"

"The candles are supposed to placed in the menorah from right to left. And it isn't full because this is only the third night of Hanukkah, so only three candles."

"But there's four," Xander pointed out.

"The shamash isn't counted – notice that there are actually nine places for candles and only eight nights of Hanukkah."

The next several minutes were spent in silence as everyone ate.

"So, since this is a holiday celebration, do we get presents?" Xander gleefully asked.

"Did you bring any?" Willow countered.

"Well… ah… not tonight," he admitted.

"That's okay Xan," Willow giggled. "I didn't bring any presents either. I do have some announcements to make though. One for each candle."

"Have you been keeping secrets," Buffy teased her roommate, knowing that she had, but had been unable to discover what they were from snooping.

"Ah, yeah," the redhead blushed. Sneaking a look at Giles to make sure he was ready, she prepared to tell her friends her secret.

"One: I've fallen in love," she admitted, "with a really great guy."

"That's great Wills," and "Congratulations," were the expected, and received, responses. Followed by, "Who is he?"

"That would be Number Two." Giles placed his hand on the table as she spoke, palm up, which Willow took. Raising their joined hands to her lips, she kissed his hand. When she looked back at her friends they were staring with mouths hanging open.

"You're in love with Giles?" Buffy squeaked.

Willow nodded, smiling proudly.

"As am I with her," Giles confirmed.

"How long has this been going on?" Xander managed to ask.

"Um, a couple of months," Willow admitted.

"You've been sneaking around with my watcher for a couple of months?" Buffy asked in a very high-pitched voice.

"Are you sleeping with him?" Xander choked out.

"That is none of you business," Giles pointedly told the younger man.

"Oh God, you are."

Willow's deeper blush was all the confirmation Xander needed.

Burying his face in his hands, Xander said, "I'm afraid to ask what your last secret is."

Sitting up straighter in her chair, Willow squeezed Giles' hand tightly as she proudly proclaimed, "I'm moving in here."

"You're what!?!" Buffy exclaimed.

"Willow has agreed to move in with me," Giles told his slayer, meeting her doubtful stare.

"I know this is a lot to take in at once," Willow said. "And I probably shouldn't have just dropped so many bombshells at one time, but they were all big important things that you needed to know."

"And we're not asking for permission," Giles added when Buffy looked like she was going to object. "Willow and I love each other and we do not want to spend any more time apart than necessary."

"We don't have to be ready to throw a welcome home party yet do we?" Xander cautiously asked.

"No, you don't." Willow smiled understandingly. "Like I said, I know it's a bit of a shock, but I hope that you will be able to accept us as a couple. I love this man," Willow said, turning her attention to said love, "more than I ever thought possible."

Giles' heart felt more full at that moment than ever before. The woman of his dreams was declaring her love to the people who mattered most to her (and him). Focusing solely on Willow, he captured her lips in a soft kiss. The kiss was brief, due to the gagging noises interspersed with "eews" from across the table.

When they turned their attention back to their guests Buffy said, "I may be willing to try to accept you as a couple, but I'm so not ready to see it."

"Do you mean that?" Willow softly asked. "You're willing to accept us?"

"You're two of the most important people in my life. If you can be happy together, I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. Just don't hurt each other – I'd hate to have to kill one of you."

"Deal," Willow grinned. She moved around the table to give her former roommate a hug.

Xander wrapped his arms around the girls saying, "Same here."

"On that note, I'd think it's time to wrap up the evening. I have a Hanukkah present for Willow that I don't think either of you would appreciate."

"Thanks for that mental image," Xander complained. "C'mon Buff, let's leave these lovebirds alone."

After escorting their friends to the door and clearing the table, allowing the dishes to soak in the soapy sink, Willow turned to Giles. "So where's my present?"

"Come with me." He took her hand and led her up the stairs to his – no, their – bedroom. Upon first glance, nothing looked any different. Then she saw it. Under to the window, in a previously unoccupied space, was a beautifully carved cherry wood dresser with a bow on top.

"You bought me furniture?" Willow teased, blinking back tears.

"I bought you a place in my home as you already have a place in my heart."

"Rupert, it's beautiful, and perfect, and looks like it belongs here."

"As do you."

They made love slowly that night, reaffirming the love they shared. Expressing it in the oldest and most intimate ways possible. And as the last candle burned out in the menorah downstairs, their passionate cries echoed throughout the apartment. A reminder that their lives were filled with light and love.


Happy Holidays!

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