Id Pro Quo
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"Goddamn B, did we just kick ass or what?"
"I'd say ass was kicked on a level of total ass kickiness."
"That'll teach the fuckers, even though they're dead."
Buffy put her stake back in her jacket pocket:
"Death…the ultimate teacher."
They gave each other a high five and began walking.
"So how's it feel to be back in Cali, B?"
"Right now it feels pretty good. Before and probably after, it's kind of mixed."
"Yeah, feels like that for me, so I can imagine how it's hangin' with you."
The smile Buffy gave her was wistful:
"It's good to be home though."
They walked on in silence, the kind that only the best of friends could comfortably share. And as crazy as it sometimes seemed to outsiders and insiders alike, Buffy and Faith were exactly that: the best of friends.
After the fall of Sunnydale, they had finally figured out a way to co-exist that eventually led them to a total reconciliation. It had taken a lot of work by both girls, there'd been numerous fights and many moments where it had all seemed nothing but hopeless, but it turned out that neither of them were willing to let it go. Not this time.
The bottom line was simple: they liked each other, they always had, and it still felt as if they were meant to be fighting side by side. So they stuck it out and for once the stars aligned, or were shoved into place as Faith later claimed, and the Slayers refused to give up. A vicious argument would occur obviously signaling the end of their relationship, but an hour or two later, someone would knock on someone's door and the welcoming smile they received would ensure that their struggle towards friendship would continue.
Now almost four years down the road, Buffy and Faith were friends. Good friends, tight friends, the kind of friends who knew they could rely on each other for anything. Looking back at what they did to each other when they first met, it seemed as if it had happened to two other people. It had nothing to do with them, was nowhere near the easy, comfortable friendship they now had, and it was rare when their past ever even crossed their minds.
Faith flung her arm around Buffy's shoulders as they walked through the cemetery:
"Okay B, we gonna hit the town now?"
"I don't know, should we?"
"`Should' we? Fuckin' right we should! We just kicked all kindsa ass, got our job done with three days to spare. This is a vacation now, baby, and we're gonna live it right the fuck up!"
Buffy's smile lost any sadness it had been holding as she looked at Faith:
"Do you think Giles will let us?"
"And how's he gonna stop us? Red's outta touch for like six more days, he gonna scold us home?"
"Hey, don't underestimate the power of the `Watcher Guilt Trip'. Those things have been known to kill."
"Yeah, maybe when ya nail one Slayer with'em, but not when ya aim it at the two Original, Accept no Substitute Ones. Baby, they ain't invented the thing that can take us."
Buffy began laughing:
"That's totally true."
"`Sides, why shouldn't we get some time off?"
"Well, we did just save the world again and all ahead of schedule…Okay F, I'm in!"
"That's my girl! C'mon, I know just the place. Seen it when we were walkin' here."
Twenty minutes later and they were having a blast: dancing, laughing, fending off potential suitors, and drinking themselves silly. Buffy only ever drank fruity drinks or beer and tonight the beers were two for one, so she was all over that. Faith had her Jack Daniels flying and neither Slayer could imagine how they could possibly be having a better time.
They eventually had their fill, and a few other people's too, and they made their way back to their hotel sweaty, drunk, and happy.
Faith was determined to call Giles and tell him he couldn't stop them from having a vacation, so the two of them sat side by side on Faith's bed as they called him.
"Hello, Giles here."
"This is G-man, Faith."
"Ah yes, I recognize your voice, Faith. Is something…"
Buffy leaned in even closer and reached for the phone:
"Faith, let me talk."
Faith pushed her away:
"Watcher, this is a Slayer strike. Consider us strucked…stroked…striked!"
"…Faith, are you perchance intoxicated?"
"No, per Jack Daniels. Point's this: we're not reportin' for duty."
"Faith, let me talk to him."
Once more Buffy reached for the phone only to be pushed back again:
"I see. May I please speak with Buffy?"
"Why ya wanna talk to her?"
"Because you're a bit difficult to…"
Buffy made a frantic grab for the phone:
"Help Giles, I'm being held costume!"
"That's hostume, you nut!"
They both began giggling until they started coughing. Once that crisis passed, Giles attempted to garner someone's, anyone's, attention:
"Faith…Buffy, are you there?"
"Yeah G-man, whaddya need?"
"I need to know what happened to the nest of…"
They high fived again as they sat side by side, but Buffy missed Faith's hand and hit her hard on the cheek. She crashed to the floor, but not before Buffy was able to wrest the phone from her grasp as she fell.
"My turn, F! Hi, Giles."
"Buffy, might I get a report with a tad more coherence?"
"Why do you think I was trying to get her to let me talk?"
"I can't say I'm entirely clear as to what…"
Her voice came out in a whisper:
"Giles…Faith is drunk. She's sprawled out on the floor as we speak."
Faith got to her feet:
"Only `cause you're so hammered you can't do a fuckin' high five!"
"Hold on, Giles. Faith's going to kill me."
There was the sound of a scuffle, then more giggling.
"So I gather you won the battle?"
"No, she fuckin' didn't!"
"I did win, Giles, but then we comprised!"
"Yeah, we're sharin' the phone, G-man. We com…comp…compromated."
Giles sighed with exasperation:
"Are you in your hotel room?"
"Yep, Faith is too."
"Jesus B, how drunk are you? He's askin' about me. I'm in my room, Giles."
Giles spoke slowly, enunciating each of his words carefully:
"All right, you are both to stay in your room until tomorrow morning. Under no circumstances are you to leave, not for any reason."
"You're not our boss, Giles!"
"Yes Buffy, as your Watcher I am indeed your `boss', and I am ordering you…"
"Yeah? Well watch this then!"
He heard a rustling sound, then Buffy's unrestrained laughter.
"Faith, pull up your pants! Don't look, Giles. She's mooning you and I don't want you to see because you don't deserve that…most of the time."
"Yes, thank you."
Faith began howling.
"What in the world is…"
"Full moon, baby! Werewolf here."
The Slayers began laughing again and Giles sat as patiently as he could, waiting them out. It was Buffy who finally came back to the phone:
"Giles, what did you call us for? I need to go, there's a werewolf in my…Ow! HAHAHA! Stop biting!"
"I didn't ca…Oh for God's sake, I was wondering how your mission was progressing."
"Faith, stop, I'm reporting on our mission! Okay, well, let's see…Hey, we killed them all tonight. They're dead as doorknobs!"
"Yeah, fuckers are toast and we're not comin' home `til our time's up!"
Giles sought confirmation:
"Are you saying the Stravain demons are…"
"D-E-D. What are you, goin' stupid?"
"Ooh, Giles, I forgot to ask: we're calling to tell you that we're not coming home until this assignment's over and we don't care what you say!"
"Yeah, G-man, we don't care what you say!"
"Girls, of course you can stay. You both certainly deserve some time off."
Buffy's voice increased to an uncomfortable level, forcing Giles to shift the phone away from his ear:
"So we can stay?! Thanks, Giles!"
"Yeah G-Man, thanks! Wasn't sure you was gonna let us."
"You're quite welcome, but please promise me that both of you will stay in your room."
"Knew there had to be a catch! Listen pal, there's no way me and B are stayin' in this room for three fucking days!"
"Not for…Faith, just until I speak to you again tomorrow morning."
Buffy answered first:
"Fuck,what an ass kisser, you are!"
"I am not!
"Yeah, whatever, B."
"Don't worry, Giles, I'll keep Faith here."
His voice sounded resigned to the insanity of the call:
"Yes, I'm sure you will, Buffy."
"No she won't! Gonna be me doin' the keeping. You stay in the room, B."
Their voices drifted away from the phone again:
"You're not the…the……the something of me, F!"
"The Watcher of you, dumb ass."
"Dumb ass? Well I `m in charge of you, so there, stupid butt!"
"Right, B. You can't even sit up straight."
"Because you're leaning all over me!"
Yelled loudly enough into the phone by both voices to make him wince:
"Please just stay in your room and check in first thing tomorrow. I'll expect a full report then."
"Yeah, and we'll also tell ya what went down here tonight."
"I'm telling him now! Giles, it was two for one beers all night long!"
"Yeah, and the JDs were one for one, too!"
Buffy's voice became even more excited:
"Our drinks were like the Three Musketeers!"
"Oh man, I fuckin' love Robin Hood, even though the guy playin' him's kinda sissy."
"He sort of is, but I really love Batman."
"Me too! Great show with that kick ass song and cartoon at the start…Hey, who ya callin'?
"Me? No one, why?"
Giles hung up, feeling his own hangover starting even though he hadn't had a drop to drink. He couldn't help smiling though.
The next day the Slayers awoke slowly, somewhat hung over as their bodies fought to return all systems back to normal. They showered, ate a bigger than normal breakfast, and then feeling much more human than they had a right to, they reported in properly to Giles.
He was happy with the good news that the latest threat had been eliminated so thoroughly, and he granted them a well-deserved one week vacation without hesitation.
"Yes, `really', Buffy. I fail to understand why the two of you act as if I'm some sort of ogre who never lets you have any time to yourselves."
"`Cause that describes you to a T, G-man. It's about time your stingy ass…"
Buffy pushed her away from the phone:
"We really appreciate it, Giles."
"You are most welcome, your irritating cohort however…"
"She appreciates it too, and don't worry. We won't spend too much while…"
"Damn B, what's that?"
"Buffy? Buffy, is something amiss?"
"No, Faith's just kidding around about…"
"It's the company card, Watcher, and that bitch is smokin'!"
Giles didn't sound at all amused:
"Yes, my, how very witty. I can always rescind the offer and…"
"No! No rescinding is necessary. We'll be good."
"Very well then, and please, no more drunken calls."
"Slayer's honor. Thanks again!"
"It's more than earned, the two of you have been doing exemplary work. Have a lovely time."
Buffy hung up and glared at Faith with pretend irritation:
"Way to go, funny girl. You almost blew our vacation before it got going."
"Oh yeah, right. He's got a great sense of humor under alla that tweed and you're his girl. No way's he gonna pull the rug out from under."
"You know he loves you too. He lets you say all kinds of stuff to him, and if I tried to get away with any of that…"
"B, B, take a good look, baby. A bod like this earns me all kindsa leeway. Giles might be old, but he's not…"
Buffy's hands flew to her ears:
"Stop! Do not finish that sentence!"
"Oh c'mon B, told ya the guy was hot when I first met him and not a damn thing's changed `cept…"
"Unless you're trying to make me hurl right here, stop! You're talking about Giles, my Giles!"
Faith nodded seriously:
"Yeah, you're right, B. So tell me: just how good's `your' Giles in the sack?"
They ended up at the pool. The hotel was on a strip of shops and a quick perusal of a couple of nearby stores netted them two bathing suits and all of the other required pool necessities. It didn't take long before they were ensconced on two lounge chairs, sipping lemonade next to a colorful umbrella.
"Damn, now this is livin', yeah, B?"
"Yep, definitely a shiny new improvement on our normal living."
"Could stay here a year and never wanna…"
The Slayers looked up to see a beautiful young woman standing in front of them holding a book, a towel, and a can of Coke.
"Could I sit with you guys for a while? That jerk over there keeps bothering me."
They all looked across the expanse of blue water to see a young Adonis staring over at them, and Buffy whistled softly:
"Are you sure? He's gorgeous."
The girl smiled:
"Yes, he is, but he can't seem to take `no' for an answer."
Faith sat up a little straighter:
"He bein' an asshole, `cause…"
"Not really. He just won't accept that I'm gay, so I figured there was safety in numbers."
"Gay numbers or girl numbers?"
"Either one works for me. I'm Donna, by the way."
"I'm Buffy, she's Faith."
"Hi. So do you guys mind?"
"Nope, we're on vacation and livin' large."
Buffy smiled and gestured at the empty chair beside to her:
"You can hide out here until Mr. Hunky goes away."
"Hey B, why don't you go for him? Do ya good to get your rocks off while we're…"
Buffy turned red as she looked at Donna:
"Sorry, Faith's kind of got a mouth that…"
Donna was all smiles and all eyes for the darker girl:
"I like her mouth."
She dragged an empty chair over and squeezed in between the Slayers, and that was the start of a four hour flirt fest that had Buffy decidedly on the grumpy side. It wasn't just that Donna was so open about having the hots for Faith, it was that she was so open about having the hots for Faith. She didn't even care that Buffy was sitting right there as she made her play, and made it repeatedly. She just carried on as if Buffy's presence didn't matter in the slightest.
Faith was obviously enjoying herself, giving back just as good as she got, and Buffy quickly found herself the odd woman out. She realized that was mostly her own fault, Faith had tried to include her, but Buffy had steadfastly resisted. She didn't like Donna, didn't like that she'd lied her way into sitting with them, didn't like her braying horse laugh, and she didn't like how she was carrying "Crime and Punishment" around with her like she was reading it. Dostoevsky was so not poolside reading, everybody knew that.
As the afternoon rolled its way toward the evening, Buffy was surprised when Faith stretched and said:
"Guess we oughta be headin' in."
"My room or yours?"
Faith's laugh was soft and completely sexy:
"Donna, baby, c'mon now. Much as I'd like to, me and B got other plans."
Buffy looked at Donna over her sunglasses and saw that she was pouting. The sight did nothing but disgust Buffy, amateurs always did. If someone were going to pout, Buffy felt the least they could do was do it well, and Donna was a far cry from that. Buffy wanted to smack her for her incompetence.
"Hey, no pouting. Maybe another night."
"Okay, but I'm going to be all lonely in room 827."
Faith got to her feet and helped Donna up. She instantly leaned into Faith, draping both of her arms over her shoulders:
"Come by later if you change your mind."
Then with a soft peck on the cheek, she left, a disappointed look on her face as she nodded goodbye to Buffy.
"Ready to head in, B?"
Buffy stood, gathering her belongings:
"You told her we had plans."
Faith scooped up her own stuff, then leaned across and grabbed Buffy's stack of magazines for her before she answered:
"We do. "
Well, yeah. Nothin' specific, but hey, we're on vacation together. Not gonna hang with some hot chick when I got you to tear it up with."
"Oh, I see. So I'm not hot then?"
Faith headed for the back elevator that was reserved for staff only:
"B, you're "B". Not gonna get any hotter. `Sides, didn't see ya runnin' off with the stud who couldn't keep his eyes off ya."
They got in the elevator after a crowd of employees poured out, two of them greeting Faith by name.
"Don't play dumb, Blondie. Donna's boy was creamin' his trunks every time he looked your way."
"Okay, way too much information. Besides, I'm not here to have a one night stand, I'm planning to relax and enjoy myself. Your company's just fine with me."
"So cool, we're on the same page. Head Slayer's gonna hang with the better one."
They exited the elevator and headed down the hall to their room, their eyes quickly adjusting to the darkness of being inside with their sunglasses on.
"I believe that person's one in the same.. But seriously, Faith…I don't want to stop you from you know…."
"Scratchin' an itch? Nah, no big. Just wanna hang with my girl, it's all good."
Buffy smiled as she fumbled the key card into the slot, nearly dropping the items precariously perched in her arms. Faith stood behind her, her arms encircling Buffy's as she helped steady her hand and reinforce her arm strength.
She dipped her head down slightly, her breath breezing along Buffy's neck and bare shoulder:
"Plus B, nobody smells like you. Been outside sweatin' all day and ya still smell all Buffy."
They stumbled in through the open door and pulled apart.
"Well as sweet and disturbing as that is, I'm showering first."
"Whatever, Princess. But gotta tell ya, you bottle that scent and your slayin' days are over."
Buffy laughed and blew Faith a kiss as she disappeared into the bathroom.
An hour later and they were clean, dressed and ready for fun. They ate at a nice restaurant off the main strip, then made their way to a few places that looked promising. Nothing struck their fancy until they found themselves back outside the place they'd visited the night before.
"Whaddya think, B?"
"Well, the beers are still two for one."
"Yeah, and the same kick ass band's back."
"Let's do it, but no way am I drinking as much tonight."
"I hear ya. Come on!"
They linked arms and headed in for a night of Slayer style fun, all footloose and fancy free. By the time they left a few hours later, they were once again sweaty, tired, and happy, but this time leaning more towards tipsy than flat-out plastered.
"Fuck me, I love that joint!"
"Me too! Beer good."
They made their way back to their hotel, enjoying the noise and commotion taking place around them. They got back to their hotel in just a few short minutes and Faith tipped her head back as the night breeze lifted her hair lightly.
"Hey B, wanna hang at the pool a while? Night air feels good to me."
"Buffy likes air too."
She began peeling off her top.
"Whoa! Damn, B, how drunk are ya? Can't just take your clothes off. Tell ya what, you sit here and I'll run up and grab our suits. You can change in the bathroom over there, yeah?"
"Okay, be right back."
Buffy sat happily on the edge of the pool, twirling her legs and watching the water moving into shapes as it splashed around softly.
Buffy looked up:
"So where's Faith?"
"Yeah, the girl whose hip you're permanently attached to."
"Faith not here."
Donna looked at her like she was crazy:
"Boy Einstein, you must be really drunk."
Buffy stood up, several inches shorter than Donna.
"No Ein-stein. Buffy."
"Whatever. Tell Faith…"
Buffy leaned in and began sniffing loudly:
Donna stepped back:
"Ooh, gross. What kind of freak are you?"
"Only Faith smell like Faith…and Buffy."
Donna looked around nervously, seeing she was alone with a weirdo:
"I'm going to go now."
Buffy moved quickly, cutting off her escape:
And with that statement, Buffy shoved her hard into the pool.
"No more Faith. Stay away."
Buffy stalked off, following Faith's path to the elevator. She stood there looking at the up and down arrows, then with a puzzled look, she slammed the heel of her hand against both. Before she could do anything else, the doors opened to reveal Faith wearing a robe over her bathing suit.
"Change your mind, B?"
"Pool not good. Just want bed."
"Yeah, probably best if you slept it off."
When they got to their room, Buffy stood waiting. She was blocking the door as she looked off down the hallway and Faith tried to nudge her aside. When Buffy didn't move, Faith handed her the key card.
Buffy smiled big, then held the key up to eye level. She sniffed at it, then dropped it to the floor without even watching it fall. Her attention was already on the potted plant next to their door.
"Damn B, thought you only had a few tonight. Musta lost track."
Faith bent down and retrieved the key. Buffy still didn't moved and finally Faith shoved her out of the way:
"Move it, baby. Let a real Slayer show ya how it's done!"
Buffy laughed, then clapped when Faith inserted the key card and the door swung open:
"Yeah, that's what they all say."
They got ready for bed in a near silence, except for the frustrated sounds Buffy kept making as she struggled to pull off her clothes. Faith helped her get undressed down to her underwear, then she headed back to her own bed.
"Far as I go. Either figure it out or sleep in'em."
She got into her own bed, turned off her light and rolled so that her back was facing Buffy. The Slayer stood there looking confused, but then managed to slide out of her panties. Her bra was another story and she ended up ripping it off before getting into her own bed.
She tried, but the lamp was too much for her to handle. After fumbling around for a minute, she began growling under her breath and Faith finally rolled over:
"Christ, just lay down, B."
Faith snapped off the light and settled back in:
"No drinking for you tomorrow."
"Yes! Buffy like beer!"
"Yeah, but beer not likin' Buffy. We'll talk it over tomorrow. Night, B."
Faith fell asleep quickly as Buffy lay staring in the darkness.