Summary: Giles tries to explain the significance of Bonfire Night to Buffy and her Slayers-in-training. Set after the series.
Prompt: For lj user"whedonland" challenge: "gun powder, treason and plot"
Buffy was glad of the heat from the fire on her face, and the inner warmth that came from being surrounded by what she still sometimes thought of as the Potentials. They were all Slayers now of course, and half a dozen more had found their way to her during the last month.
Slayer-Camps were being formed all over the world, mostly headed up by ex-Watchers, some military types, and few of the more experienced of the new Slayers themselves. This was the first camp, run by Buffy herself. Band-Camp it wasn't, with the emphasis being on martial arts rather than music, tactics over tempo, and stakes rather than snare drums.
Still, there was time to have fun. The campfire made a cosy, safe place for Buffy to instil her wisdom through Tales of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, freely recounting both her triumphs and her tragedies in the hopes these girls would learn from her mistakes. Warm drinks, marshmallows, and even songs gave the girls a release after a fairly punishing training schedule that filled the daylight hours.
"Vampires burning, vampires burning, draw nearer, draw nearer," sung the girls in a parody of the popular campfire song, "In the gloaming, in the gloaming, come sing and be merry."
Buffy sipped her hot chocolate from the ceramic mug clutched between both hands and smiled. She wasn't sure what gloaming was, and had been trying to think of a more slayage-appropriate word to replace it, without success. Still, the song was educational, in that it reminded the slayers that vampires were vulnerable to fire as well as stakes.
Giles, on one of his flying visits – for he was in charge of visiting every Slayer-Camp to check on its progress – polished his glasses on his sleeve.
"Most, er, creative," he offered. "Perhaps some fireworks would be in order, though?"
The girls looked at him blankly.
"November fifth?" Giles asked. "Remember, remember the fifth of November, gun powder, treason and plot?"
Buffy's brow wrinkled in concentration. There were no other Brits here right now, and the all-knowing Willow was off teaching Defensive Magic to a group of newbie Wiccans in Albuquerque, so she was on her own.
"Is it to do with British Independence?" she said at last, knowing it wasn't the right answer but also knowing it was the best guess she had.
Giles sighed. "The British don't need independence," he said. "It's all these other countries that wanted impendence from us that…never mind. It's about Guy Fawkes. He tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament."
"Cool," said Buffy. "Must've made a big bang – oh, Big Ben! That's in the British Parliament, right?"
Giles forced a weary smile at her enthusiasm. "Guy Fawkes failed to blow up the Parliament. Every year since people have celebrated by burning an effigy of him on a bonfire. In later years, fireworks became a popular addition to the tradition, and foods such as toffee apples, jacket potatoes – baked potatoes , to you Americans -and treacle became served at the gatherings."
"Because people were happy he didn't blow up the government?" one of the youngest slayers asked, puzzled.
"It probably made more sense then," Giles agreed. "Although he is sometimes toasted as ' The last man to enter Parliament with honourable intentions."
"Was it taxes? Too many taxes and no Robin Hood?" Buffy asked.
Giles shook his head. "No, no, you see it was religiously motivated, with the Catholic Fawkes wanting to oust the Protestant rule. King James the First was to be in the building at the time, as well as the entire Protestant, and indeed, most of the Catholic, aristocracy and nobility of the time."
"Kill them all and let God sort them out," a red-headed slayer offered.
"Quite," Giles said. "A phrase said to date from the Crusades."
"Religion is messy," Buffy observed. "So King James didn't get blown up and ordered everyone to have a party. Like, 'See this effigy on the bonfire? That's what we do to traitors!' Or, er, treasoners…people who commit treason….Giles?"
Giles looked into his mug as if answers lay deep within the chocolate-y goodness. "Believe it or not you were right the first time. Someone who commits treason is a traitor. Let's forget I ever brought it up," he begged at last.
Buffy shrugged, though pleased with her unexpected linguistic success.
"Any more songs you want to mangle for the cause?" she asked the girls.
And so began a round of "It's A Long Way (To Close a Hellmouth)" followed by "If You're a Slayer (And You Know It)", while some of the slayers started fantasizing aloud about baked potatoes and other such delicacies.
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, gloaming is: noun (the gloaming) literary twilight; dusk. [ORIGIN Old English glomung, from glom 'twilight', of Germanic origin; related to glow.]. So now you know :)
Also, "It's A Long Way to Tiperary" doesn't seem to be a popular campfire song, but we sang it in our guide troop so I included it.