April 22, 2001

Dear Diary,

I used to have a lot of diaries, but I burned them all up a few weeks ago. Now I have to introduce myself and my life all over again. I think I'll leave that for another time, though, 'cause it's really, really complicated. It'll probably fill half the book.

This is the first time I've been able to write since mom died in February. Usually I like to write when I'm upset, but it was just too hard this time. Whenever I tried I started crying. And also I was still dealing with the weirdness that mom wasn't actually my mom afterall, but my grandmom. Like I told you, it's complicated. She never did find out about any of that. I guess that's for the best.

No one knows who I really am, besides Buffy and Giles.

No one really knows about Buffy and Giles being together either. Well, I think Willow and Tara and Anya kinda know, but Xander's ignoring it. That's easy to do since Giles isn't really big on the PDAs. My point is, they aren't keeping it a secret, but they aren't making a big deal out of it either. I like it this way, 'cause I'm still just getting used to the whole thing, but I like having Giles around a lot too.

I asked Buffy if he's going to move in, and she said they haven't even talked about it yet.

And there goes the smoke alarm. Looks like we'll be having pizza for dinner. Again.

Dawn hopped off her bed and grabbed the phone. She ordered a large pizza with onions and bacon and olives and anchovies. Then she ran downstairs.

"Already ordered!" she announced as she bounded into the kitchen.

Giles was standing on a chair in the middle of the kitchen, turning off the smoke alarm, while Buffy carried in front of her, at arm's length, a blackened pot that was still emitting smoke to the sink. The windows and door were all opened wide.

"Wow. Didja start an actual fire this time?"

"Let's just say disaster was barely averted," Giles said as he stepped down from the chair.

"Ugh. This pot is ruined." Buffy pouted. "Nice going Giles."

"Excuse me? How is this my fault?"

"You were the one who was supposed to be watching the rice."

"I was. You deliberately distracted me."

"How'd she do that?" Dawn asked slyly.

Giles' face turned red. "Uh, she, um... w-we got to talking," he muttered. "What did you order?"

"The usual." Dawn said as she sat down at the kitchen island.

Giles groaned.

"Hey, if you aren't a fan of the anchovies, maybe you should try coming for dinner after the dinner's made. You know, so it has a chance to actually get made."

"No way, then I'd have to cook." Buffy protested.

"Maybe if you want me here to cook you should let me cook," Giles said as he filled up the kettle with water and put it on to boil.

"That's not all I want you here to do," Buffy said.

Giles blushed again.

"I also want you here to do the dishes."

Dawn smiled.

Giles rolled his eyes. "Yes, about that, it wouldn't kill you to hang around and help once in a while, instead of rushing out to patrol."

"You know, some night I might not come back, and then you'll be sorry you gave me such a hard time over a bit of housework."

"Don't joke like that," Giles said very gravely.

Dawn felt all the cheer rush out of the room.

Giles had been much more serious about Buffy's slaying lately. Dawn noticed that if she was at all late coming back from patrol, he started fidgeting and pacing.

"What's the matter?" she had asked him once. "She's not doing anything more dangerous than usual, and we haven't seen Glory since Willow teleported her. She might be stuck up in the Andes for all we know."

"I know," Giles had replied, trying to calm down. "It's just..." He sighed and sat down next to Dawn on the sofa. When he spoke his tone was very distant. "This is exactly what I was afraid would happen. I care too much about her. I can't stand it when she..." he trailed off. He added very quietly, "If anything ever happens to her I don't know how I'll go on."

Dawn liked to think of Giles as steady and stoic; it disturbed her that he could let his emotions control him so much. And it disturbed her that if anything happened to Buffy, she, Dawn, wouldn't be enough for Giles to live for. Not that he had said exactly that, but she could tell from the desperate anxiety that flitted across his expression that it was how he felt.

Dawn preferred to pretend all of that never happened. She searched her mind for something to change the subject to. "So, um, Giles, when are you moving in?"

"What?"

"Dawn, I told you we hadn't got to talking about that yet," Buffy said nervously.

Giles looked at her, confused. "I didn't even know it was on the itinerary."

"Well, do you want to?" Dawn asked.

For a moment Giles seemed at a loss for words. "Do you want me to?"

Dawn smiled a little. "Yeah, I kinda do. It'll be like we're a real family."

"We are a real family," Buffy said. "Maybe not your most traditional style, but one-hundred percent real, not from concentrate famliness."

"I know, but then it would feel like we're a family," Dawn replied. She turned to Giles. "So...?"

"I, um, I-I'll think about it," he answered, but smiled in a way that said said he was leaning towards "yes."

"Good," Dawn smiled back.

Despite all that had been going wrong lately, she was starting to feel like everything might all work out all right.

THE END