The Love Boat
by Bobbi Manuel
"Undercover Lovers" Challenge
Author's Note: I have to make this short, so right to it. Thanks to everybody who read and fed me back. Thanks to Kelly, Frass, Monica, and Sal. You guys are great. Thanks to Oral for continuing to come up with these ideas (stop it!). I hate you.
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Giles wasn't looking forward to the upcoming meeting, but he was confident that it needed to be done. Sometimes unpleasant tasks were a part of his job, so he gathered his courage and resolve and watched as the clock ticked its way to 4:15. He knew that was the time they were likely to appear, despite the fact that the meeting was scheduled for four o'clock sharp.
"Are you nervous?"
He turned his gaze to the girl seated across from him and smiled weakly.
"Yes, and you?"
"Yep, but we're doing the right thing, Giles."
He nodded; Willow was right. They'd repeatedly gone over all of their viable options and there was only one thing that was at all likely to work. They had to put a stop to the demon slave trade quickly and to do that, well it was going to require the very best they had.
His mind was busy with the logistics of the case when a smiling Buffy walked into his office.
"Hi, guys! Is this a 'meeting' meeting or an excuse to have tea and cookies together?"
"Gee Buff, it's not like we're savages."
"Hello, Buffy. You're looking chipper."
She sat in the chair next to Willow's, reached for a cookie and took two while Giles prepared her tea the way she liked it.
"Chipper I am. This has been a great day. The new recruits are all pretty skilled and we went through the drills with twenty minutes to spare. That in turn gave me the time I needed to go online while the sale was still in full sale."
"Ooh, you got those cute brown boots?"
"To be in my hot little hands and then on my perfectly shaped little feet in three days time! And there just might be another 'Willow" sized pair on their way too."
Giles winced at the sound of Willow's high pitched squeal of delight. It was a noise he'd become well accustomed to over the years, and yet he still felt as if his ears were at risk of bleeding each time he heard it.
Buffy and Willow seemed unaffected as they hung onto each other and talked excitedly about their latest purchase.
"When they get here, Will, we so have to go out and show them off!"
"We can double date…if you have a boyfriend by then, I mean."
Buffy nodded enthusiastically:
"I'll get one just for the day if I have to. We can go to…"
"So what's the excitement: 'Pastel Nerd' clothing line come out today?"
Faith nodded at Giles as she plopped down into the chair next to Buffy. She grabbed a handful of cookies and crammed two into her mouth, her eyes searching for a beverage.
Giles slid a cup of tea towards Buffy, then turned to pull a bottle of ice cold root beer out of the mini-fridge behind his desk. With as much of a smile as she could manage around the chewed up cookies, Faith unscrewed the cap and swallowed at least a third of the bottle.
Buffy sat looking at her with disgust.
"God, could you be a bigger pig?"
"Yeah, but I like to be on my best behavior when I'm around you."
"Heya, Red. So what's the big?"
Willow looked pointedly at Giles and he followed his cue without delay:
"Now that you two have arrived…there's something we need to discuss."
"Hey, I thought you guys said this was a 'tea and cookies' meeting. No changing it to a real one now."
Faith was clearly not happy either.
"We just met yesterday, why we gotta meet again? And where's everybody else?"
"Girls, if I might explain first before…"
"Yeah, if I gotta suffer, so's Cyclops."
"Xander elected not to be present for this meeting and …"
Faith stood, brushing crumbs from her shirt and grabbing another handful of cookies.
"Been a slice."
She tipped her bottle in a jaunty goodbye, but before she'd managed to take two steps, Giles stopped her from leaving.
"…his presence is not required as yours most definitely is."
Faith sat back down with a big grin:
"Can't blame a girl for tryin'."
"No, but we can blame you for wasting our time."
"Oh yeah, B, sorry to interrupt your 'watching the paint dry' fun."
Giles took control before Buffy could offer her rebuttal:
"As charming as it always is to listen to the two of you insulting one another, I called you here for a most important reason."
They all nodded, Willow too because she was Willow, and Giles dove in.
"We've a situation that requires the two of you to work together in order to achieve a favorable conclusion to what has become an increasingly sordid and dangerous affair."
Faith snagged the bag of cookies from Giles' desk, no longer content to pick over the stragglers on the plate.
"Great, so me and B gotta tag team it. Why the big worry? Not like we don't do it all the time."
"Faith's right, for a shocking change. We handle cases together just fine, so why the dire?"
"The nature of this specific case causes a rather unique situation for the two of you to work through."
Faith was peering into the now empty bag, her expression sad.
"Could you just spill it, G-Man? I'm starving and your little pieces of cardboard are all gone. Jesus, how many'd you scarf up, B?"
"I had two! You're the pig who crammed 90 into your mouth at one time."
Giles took off his glasses:
"Girls, a little focus please."
Faith crumpled up the bag and tossed it into the trash can across the room.
"Score! You guys see how I used the wall to…Okay fine, I'm focused."
Giles glanced at Buffy to make sure he had her attention as well, and carried on.
"This assignment involves the two of you going undercover on a cruise for a week."
Buffy and Faith looked stunned, then smiled and gave each other a high five.
"A cruise?! Hell yeah!"
"Where to? Someplace warm, right, not an Alaskan one? "
"Yes, Buffy, the ship goes to the Mexican Riviera."
That pronouncement led to another Slayer high five.
"Fuck me! So when do we pull out, G-Man?"
"You depart tomorrow, which gives us not nearly enough time as far as the necessary preparations go."
Faith was shaking her head:
"Preparations? Just gotta grab our bikinis and go!"
Buffy was sitting on the very edge of her seat, her faced flushed with excitement.
"Giles, this is so awesome! Were we really good or something?"
"Course we were good, B. We're the best and we're gonna live it up!"
"You girls do perhaps recall that this is an assignment, yes? You're not being rewarded, you've a job to do and you're expected to do it."
The sudden silence of the room had his voice echoing slightly, even Willow looked chastised.
"Damn, G-Man, way to be a buzzkill."
"I'm simply trying to get my two best Slayers to pay attention to the salient facts of this case."
"But Giles, we live in Cleveland and it's winter time. How do you expect us not to be giddy about a cruise to Mexico?"
"Whilst I understand a certain level of excitement, Buffy, it's imperative that we all focus on the difficult task ahead."
Faith leaned back in her chair:
"Still bein' a buzzkill, but I'm listening."
Giles replaced his glasses and shuffled through some papers on his desk.
"There've been a rash of disappearances in the last several months; Willow's the one who first noticed the anomaly."
Willow's excitement was plain to see.
"I was just fooling around with Radisson's theories, applying them to populations in different cross-sections just to kill some time, and the pattern popped right out. Once I started digging, well it became obvious we had a real problem."
"Yeah, happens to me all the time, Red."
"Willow brought her findings to me and along with a bit of conventional research, we were able to find the explanation for the disappearances. The bottom line is simple: Alcar demons are abducting women. We've managed to shut down several of their operations around the world, but we've not fully eradicated their network."
Buffy was in full Slayer mode:
"And the reason for the woman-napping?"
"We'd at first assumed it involved an apocalyptic ritual of some sort, but we were quickly disabused of that notion. It now appears to be a rather straightforward sex slave enterprise."
Buffy's face showed her distaste:
"Okay, gross on a whole new level. So they were taking women from all over the world and now it's just from this boat?"
"Ship, Buffy, and yes and no. They've been targeting cruise ships for quite some time, apparently realizing they're a veritable cornucopia of prospective women. Generally there's a wide range of ethnic backgrounds to choose from in a very small, concentrated area."
"Yeah, look at this!"
Willow pulled out several large poster boards from beside Giles' desk, each complete with colorful hand drawn graphs.
"It's the perfect set-up for them! All kinds of women just floating around waiting to be taken at the Alcars' leisure, all while enjoying the fun of the cruise too."
Faith barely glanced at the charts, and then only because Willow was so clearly proud of her work.
"Okay, so plenty of people around to choose from, no way for the good guys to charge in and destroy'em without a huge scene, but how the hell can they get the women off the ship without anybody noticing? When they hit port they gotta do some kinda headcount before the ship takes off again, and what about when the people never come home from their vacation?"
"All excellent points, Faith. We're not certain about the specifics of any of that, except to say they've perhaps infiltrated the ship's crew and are likely using dark magicks afterwards to cover the abductions."
Buffy was studying the charts, looking more confused by the second.
"Pretty colors, Will. So why haven't we heard of any abductions on the news? If cruise ships are being targeted…"
"Yeah, G-Man, people go missing and they can't keep that quiet for long."
"Quite true, and that's why we suspect extensive crew involvement as well as the singling out of women the Alcars somehow know won't be missed. We don't really understand, but Willow and I are currently conducting an investigation. Hopefully our contacts will be able to provide us with some concrete information as well."
Buffy was nodding along, despite being clearly puzzled by something:
"Okay, so we don't exactly know what's going on yet, which is always tricky, but Faith and I have handled way worse cases than this before. And while being stuck on a boat with her isn't exactly a dream come true…"
"Yeah, like being around you for days and days is some big treat for me."
"...why are you guys acting all nervous like you need to talk us into going? It's a cruise, I'd put up with Andrew if it meant I had the chance to laze around in the sun at least part of the time."
"Gotta agree with B – what's the shit you're not sayin'?"
Willow and Giles exchanged a look, then Giles blew out a steadying breath and just said it:
"It's an 'Olivia' cruise."
Buffy nodded, still waiting for more information, but Faith understood all too well. She exploded out of her chair.
"No fucking way!"
"Faith, please do me the courtesy of…"
Buffy was nothing but confused as she looked at Faith:
"What's going on? Why'd you jump up like a crazy person?"
Willow tried to calm things down:
"Faith, if you'll just look at this chart, it shows why we need to do it this way."
Faith shoved the chart that was now in front of her face roughly to the side.
"I don't give a fuck what it shows! I've gone along with every stupid idea you guys have ever come up with, but this is askin' too much."
"Would somebody please tell me what's going on here? Who's Olivia and how do you know her, Faith?"
Faith finally looked at her, marveling at how dumb Buffy could sometimes be. She sat back down in her chair, all bad attitude.
"Oh man, blonde is definitely your color, B."
Buffy glared at her:
"Gee, how great: it's time for the 'blonde' jokes. Giles, would you please explain before I beat Faith unconscious?"
"Uh…yes, of course. You see….it's like this, Buffy…Ahh…well, then…"
"It's a dyke cruise, B. A boatload of lesbians."
Willow frantically shuffled through her poster boards before realizing she was going to have to wing it.
"Okay guys, let's just calm down. I mean, weird, slightly homophobic vibe aside, this isn't that big of a deal. You'll be undercover, like really cool secret agents, and there's definitely going to be plenty of downtime for lazing around the pool while you're sipping fruity alcoholic beverages with umbrellas and…"
"And gettin' slobbered over by a buncha chicks."
"Okay, yes, true, and again with the somewhat surprising homophobic thing."
"Giles, why us? Send somebody else!"
He tried to project nothing but a calm professionalism:
"Buffy, there's little margin for error and this is going to be a situation that requires constant on the fly adjustments. Without a doubt we need both of you girls on site."
"So stick us on the boat as crew then or we'll go in as singles."
Giles shook his head at Faith's suggestion:
"I'm afraid that's not possible. We cannot introduce two new crew members at such a late date, it will only arouse suspicion especially when one considers the crew itself is suspect. And our research indicates that the best cover story for the two of you will be as a couple very much in love."
Willow leaned across Buffy, thrusting another chart at Faith:
"If you'll just look at this chart, you'll see how we came to that conclusion. Based on the previous abductions…"
"Fuck your charts, okay? There's no goddamn way I'm gonna do this!"
Willow sat back in her chair, commenting under her breath as she tidied her poster boards into a single pile.
"Okay, but now I'm adding 'meanness' to the whole homophobic crazies."
Buffy finally found her voice:
"We're not homophobic or mean, Will…at least I'm not. I just don't want to pretend to be Faith's girlfriend on a gay cruise. Giles, can't we just send Willow and Kennedy? They're already all lesbianed up and hey, a powerful witch should be able to get the job done with a decent Slayer sidekick."
His hands began massaging his temples.
"I'm afraid Willow needs to be here to coordinate the magic intel we'll be receiving over the next several days, and besides that, the data we've uncovered indicates that using magic is most likely not possible on this assignment. In fact, it was the presence of mystical wards surrounding this particular ship that allowed us to discern it was in fact, the intended target."
"Which I could show you in red, black, and yellow if you'd only look at this chart."
"Willow, enough with the stupid charts!"
Willow sat back again, obviously miffed at Buffy's response:
"And the 'Meanest Gay Basher in Cleveland' award goes to…Ms. Buffy Summers."
Buffy rolled her eyes and Faith picked up the Slayer argument:
"G-Man, you gotta be kidding. Remember last week? Me and B could barely make it through a five hour stake-out without killing each other. How the hell can you expect us to pull this off?"
"Girls, you're making much too much of this. You will merely be pretending to be involved in a romantic relationship."
"Wow, that's a relief! B, we just gotta pretend to fuck each other, Giles doesn't want us to do it for real."
He lifted his glasses and rubbed his hand across his eyes:
"Ridiculous crudities aside, Faith, I should think the two of you would…"
"I've got it! Send Faith and Kennedy instead!"
"What?! Fuck that!"
Both Slayers were on their feet, jockeying for position in front of Giles' desk. Buffy was faster and she pushed Faith back into her seat as she gained his attention.
"They'd be just perfect for the job, Giles, and I'll stay here with Will and do tons of correlating and…"
Faith shoved Buffy to the side, causing Buffy to lose her balance and stumble into Giles' freestanding world globe.
"For God's sake, that's an antique!"
"Stop tryin' to sell me out, B! No fucking way am I gettin' stuck with Kennedy!"
"Hey, that's my girlfriend you're talking about!"
"Yeah? Well, condolences, Red."
Buffy was back, holding the intact globe out in front of her like a bribe:
"Giles, just think about it because…"
He snatched the globe from Buffy's hands.
"Both of you sit down and be quiet!"
They did, like third graders who'd been caught with their hands in the weapons chest. Giles stared at them for a moment, then returned the world to its stand before reclaiming his own seat.
"Buffy, is it not you who constantly complains that Kennedy is, and I quote: 'The least adapty person on this planet'?"
Willow's gasp was audible:
"Buffy! You told me you never said anything like that!"
"I didn't, Will…except, okay yes, maybe once or twice I might have hinted at it. But I obviously didn't mean it about missions that take place on gay cruises with Faith, Giles."
"Well, be that as it may…"
"Kennedy has feelings too, Buffy."
"I know that and I'm sorry, Will, but she's just so stupid whenever something unexpected happens. You're never there when she…"
Faith ignored them as she smiled her most friendly smile at Giles. She looked calm and her voice was more reasonable than he'd ever heard it before. He knew she was trying to look sensible and levelheaded, but all she was managing to project was an insane desperation.
"Giles, think this through. Me and B aren't exactly 'buddy movie' material. No way can we fool anybody that we're in love. I'd probably toss her ass overboard 'fore we even set sail."
"I am sorry, Will! Nothing's more important to me than Kennedy's feelings and I'd so love to see you try it, F."
"Yeah? Works for me 'cause I'd love to throw your…"
Giles stood along with his Slayers who were now standing face to face:
"Buffy! Faith! Stop this immature behavior right this instant!"
"She started it, Giles!"
"Fuck I did! You're the one tryin' to stick me with Trust Fund!"
Willow threw her charts down on the floor as she stood:
"Excuse me, you're talking about the woman I love."
"Guess there's no explainin' taste."
Willow's eyes closed and she began chanting.
"You're just mad at her, right, Will?"
There was no answer and Buffy grew increasingly nervous:
"Jesus Red, can't ya take a joke?"
Giles again raised his voice:
It was an extremely tense minute before Willow stopped murmuring. She gave both Slayers her version of the evil eye, then picked up the scattered poster boards and sat back down in her chair.
"Fine, but I'm going to turn you both into rats if you keep attacking Kennedy and bashing lesbians in general. I don't care what Giles says."
"Bashing lesbians? Who's bashing lesbians? I'm not bashing lesbians, Will, I love lesbians. Lesbians R Me! Heck even my best friend's a lesbian."
"Yeah, that's not overkill, B. Why don't you put on a rainbow tool belt next?"
"Why don't you shut up before I make you, F?"
Giles was massaging his neck as he waited for the chance to get a word in edgewise.
"Any time you're ready, Twinkie, I'm right here."
"For God's sakes, do shut up."
"I understand this assignment's going to be quite the challenge, but it's necessary and you will both need to commit fully to it."
"…Fuckin' oughta be committed."
"Giles, missions that last two days are about our limit, and that's with separate rooms. We'll kill each other if we have to pretend to be girlfriends."
"And you'll stick out like sore thumbs if you don't."
"Yeah guys, 'Olivia' cruises are all about the sex and romance and love dovey fun stuff. You're going to have to be into it to make it work."
"Hey, maybe me and B could be two chicks rockin' the lesbian bed death! We could sell that easy."
Willow was shaking her head in the negative:
"They're abducting the women for sex slaves, so if you guys act like you don't have any…"
Giles was certain there was a knot the size of small boulder at the back of his neck.
"You two need to appear to be infatuated with one another. It's simple and clean and gives us the best chance of getting the Alcar demons to make their move."
Buffy sighed, wildly unhappy:
"So we're like bait then? We have to draw them to us?"
"If possible, yes, that would be the ideal scenario. But you'll also need to be observant and keep an eye on the other passengers as much as possible. The abductions seem to take place on the ship itself, not at the ports of call, so it will serve our purpose just as well if you can pinpoint who the demons are. We'll then be able to track their movements, and with any luck we'll find out where they're taking these women."
No one said anything until Buffy spoke up, her expression one of resignation.
"Fine, do we at least get to keep our own names?"
Willow piped up cheerfully:
"Yep, you guys are registered as: "Buffy and Faith Lehane."
"Why's her name first?!"
"Why do I have to be called by her name?!"
Willow stayed calm:
"It just sounded better like that, and not many demons know Faith's last name. The good news is we got you guys a great cabin, not one of those tiny, claustrophobic ones."
Faith perked right up:
"'Bout fucking time somethin' went our way. Least we won't be on top of each other."
Willow smiled and let the obvious joke sail by, happy that both Slayers now seemed to be onboard.
"I saw some pictures and they say the new 'Honeymoon Verandah' is really spacious and…"
Two voices yelled out together in a perfect harmony of horror.
"We thought it'd really help sell you guys as a couple, and remember the bright side – totally roomy, no getting on top of each other."
Buffy looked at Willow hopefully:
"Does it at least have two beds?"
"Oh yeah, B, that's real romantic. It's the fucking 'Honeymoon' suite, bed's probably shaped like a heart."
"Shut up, Faith. Like you have a clue what romantic is."
"Maybe I don't, but I know what hot fucking is, so just follow my lead."
"No thanks, I'll skip the trip to 'Skankyville' this time around."
"Suit yourself, Driven Snow."
Giles' head was tipped all the way back against the headrest of his chair, his eyes closed as his migraine started to pound relentlessly.
"Might we stop this pointless bickering and use the little time we've left to go over vital information?"
"I'll shut up if Her Highness will."
"Go to hell, Faith."
"Yeah, I'll be there tomorrow."
"And this ladies, is your elegant and romantic 'Honeymoon Verandah' suite."
Buffy and Faith stood smiling, Faith's arm wrapped around Buffy's waist pulling her in tight against her. Buffy's arm was also around Faith as she leaned into her.
"It's beautiful, isn't it, baby?"
"Yeah, can't wait to test out that bed, B."
The valet nodded, all smarmy friendliness.
"And please remember the staff is at your disposal 24 hours a day. Let me show you around."
Faith pulled Buffy closer until she squealed, then kissed her cheek.
"Not figuring to need anybody else…"
She disentangled herself from a blushing Buffy and handed him a folded twenty, dismissing him before he had a chance to do his job.
"…but good to know the options, Erik."
He smiled as he took the money and did a little bow before leaving. Faith double locked the door behind him, turning to see Buffy placing a tube of lipstick down on the dining area table.
"Fuck, didn't think he was ever gonna leave us alone."
Faith eyed Buffy up and down and made her approach, quickly wrapping her arms around her woman.
They held each other close until the lipstick flashed green and Buffy silently mouthed the all-clear. Faith loudly kissed her own shoulder, then moaned while Buffy stepped away and pulled out a device that looked exactly like an iPod.
"There's more where that came from, baby."
"I'm counting on it, F, but let's look around a little first."
Faith started with the side table, then began feeling under the dining room table and chairs before moving on to examine the desk area across from it. She found nothing and followed Buffy into the living area.
"Place is wicked sweet, yeah, B?"
"It's huge and just look at that view!"
Buffy slid open the glass door and stepped out onto the private verandah, her "iPod" in her hand. Faith joined her, her arms wrapping around Buffy as she nuzzled into her neck. Buffy's free hand covered one of Faith's, the one holding the lipstick. Faith kept nuzzling, looking down until she saw the telltale green flash.
She let go and whistled.
"Even got our own whirlpool and the privacy to use it once we get out to sea."
"I can't believe you got us this cabin, F. It's perfect!"
"You're worth every penny, baby. So what do ya wanna do first? A quickie 'fore we set sail or ya wanna head out and wave to nobody we know?"
"Whatever you want, sweetie. Just as long as I'm with you, I'm happy."
They went back inside and headed to the bedroom. Faith began removing the dresser drawers, her hand sweeping inside the dresser itself looking for any bugs. She moved onto the vanity, feeling carefully along the back and underside, as well as underneath the seat.
"Damn, B, this is rockin'. Even got this little make-up spot for all your stuff."
"And I could die happy in here."
Buffy's voice was muffled because she'd gone into the bathroom and it wasn't long before Faith heard the toilet flush. Buffy came out with a thumbs up – either she'd just done her business or the bathroom was clear too.
They kept up the chatter until Buffy finished sweeping the bedroom and turned off the bug detecting device.
"We're good, no surveillance of any kind."
"Told ya the fuckin' bed was gonna be a heart."
Buffy looked at the satiny cover and winced.
"And so much for our plan of taking turns on the couch."
"Yeah, Erik acts like some extra chairs and free drinks makes up for the screw-up."
Buffy put her bags on the bed and began unpacking.
"I guess that's the consequence of being the first people to…"
"Fuck in this room."
"…to stay in here after the makeover. Stop being so gross."
Faith tossed her bag into the corner, then flopped out full length on the bed.
"You better loosen it up and get with the program. Me and you gotta turn up the heat and grab some attention."
Buffy was carefully hanging her tops in the closet:
"Don't tell me what the assignment is, Faith. I'm well aware of what we're doing here."
"Jesus, take it easy, Your Highness. Why ya got your balls…Oh fuck, you on the rag?"
Buffy turned to glare at her:
"No, I'm not having my period."
Faith folded her arms casually behind her head:
"Guess that's good, 'cept it means your shitty mood's just you without Aunt Flo for an excuse."
"Shut up. God, could this get any worse?"
"Least we got feather pillows."
"And we've also got…"
Buffy ducked further into the closet and Faith practically cringed when she emerged holding two outfits that were obviously their pre-ordered formalwear.
"…these gorgeous outfits."
"Yeah, so I'm thinkin' the 'worse' has arrived."
"Oh, come on. It'll be fun to get dressed up for dinner."
"For who? I'm still willing to sell my soul to get out of it."
"You're being ridiculous. My dress is absolutely stunning and it's going to make me look great. You're going to look good in this too."
"Just shoot me now."
"I'm sure at some point I'll want to. We've also got some slacks and blouses here which according to the tags are called…'Smart Casual'."
"They can call'em what they want, doesn't make'em anything but a pain in the ass."
Buffy hung the outfits back in the closet and grabbed some clothes from one of her suitcases. She glanced at Faith as she approached the dresser.
"Aren't you going to unpack?"
"Nah, can just yank shit outta my bag when I need it. 'Sides, I'm on my honeymoon, clothes are optional."
"So is you getting half of the bed if you aren't wearing anything."
"Aw, was countin' on goin' raw at night."
Buffy pulled more clothes out of her bag:
"Count again. I sleep on the right side, by the way."
"What do ya want: a gold star?"
"No, I'm just telling you now that the right side's mine."
"Sorry to break it to ya, B, but you're not in charge here."
"Sorry to break it to you, but yes I am."
Faith stood up:
"Fuck that! No way did Giles…"
"Look around, F. Do you see Giles anywhere?"
Faith barely managed to stop herself from looking.
"No, so kiss my ass, you're in charge."
"It only makes sense. Someone has to be or we'll be fighting the whole time over everything."
"Yeah, okay, but why's that somebody gotta be you?"
"Because I'm in charge back home."
"Look around, B. You see home anywhere?"
Buffy closed the dresser drawer and went back to her nearly empty suitcase. She pulled out three pairs of shoes and placed them on the shoe rack in the closet, then got to work emptying her second suitcase.
"Okay, flip ya for it."
Buffy turned slowly to face her, her arms full of underwear, but her expression making it clear she was in Slayer mode.
"Just try it, Faith."
"A coin flip, dumb ass."
Buffy went back to the dresser intent on getting her underwear just right.
"And no, because that's a totally stupid way to…"
"Alright, let's arm wrestle."
"Oh my God, are you five? I am not arm wrestling or flipping coins or playing Eenie, Meenie, Miney Moe' either. Besides, all I said was I want the right side of the bed!"
"It's the way you said it.
Buffy rolled her eyes as she filled another dresser drawer:
"Okay, fine. I'm sorry. Can I please have the right side of the bed or do I have to beat you into a bloody pulp and take it?"
"Yeah, well since you put it so fuckin' nice, B, how can I refuse?"
Buffy took out her cosmetics bag and her final pair of shoes, then zipped up both of her suitcases. She slid them into the closet and put her shoes next to the others on the rack. Satisfied with a job well done, she snagged her cosmetics bag from the bed and went into the surprisingly large bathroom with the heart-shaped Jacuzzi tub.
Faith followed her in with a low whistle:
"Wow, nice john. Check out the tub."
"I know and look at all of the jets…"
"…that are placed just right for fucking."
Buffy looked at her in the mirror with a mixture of awe and disgust:
"Do you have to work at it or does it just come naturally?"
"What? I'm just sayin' this place is set up for fucking."
Buffy shoved her aside on her way back to the bedroom.
"Great. Let's go over the plan. What do you think we should do first?"
"Kiss. Ya know, smash our lips together, stick our tongues in each other's mouths, maybe cop a feel."
"I'm not kissing you before I have to."
"Well then consider this mission blown. B, if we don't practice a little, it's gonna look like we've never done it before."
Buffy flushed, then nodded her agreement.
"I guess you're right."
"So let's practice for a bit 'fore we head out. We got good at the girly handholding pretty fast at the airport."
"Faith, do not start that again!"
"You gotta admit it's pretty sappy to…what'd you call it?"
"We 'entwined' our fingers. It's not some exotic…"
"Yeah, that's it! We 'entwined' forever after, I do, amen."
Buffy's voice rose with her irritation:
"Excuse me for not wanting you to drag me through the airport like I was your little woman."
"If it looked like anything, was that I was draggin' your ass someplace I could fuck your brains out."
"Uh-huh. Well I'm not here to play the part of your 'little woman'. "
"Well nobody's gonna buy me as the 'little woman', so you'd better man up fast."
Buffy was clearly appalled:
"I don't know what kind of relationships you've been in, but no one needs to be the 'little woman'. Haven't you ever heard of partners being equal?"
"First off, Blondie: my 'relationships' have all been 'fuck and go'. Second: no such thing as equals. It's all push and pull 'til you finally got your teeth at their neck and they gotta give."
"Gee, that's just so sweet. I can see why you've had so much success when it comes to love."
Faith grinned and ran her hands seductively down her own body:
"Hey, with the goods as good as this, I don't gotta play anybody's game. I make the rules, change'em when I want, and fuck at will. I'm happy."
"I'm sure you are. Okay, let's get this over with."
She stepped up close to Faith, not exactly looking at her.
"God, this is awkward."
"So which way ya goin'?"
"I'll go left."
"Whoa! Mixin' it up, ya wild woman. Count of three?"
"Fine. One…two…three…OW! I said I was going left!"
"Sorry. Didn't know which left ya meant."
They just stood there, nervous and out of sorts with the tension escalating the longer neither of them moved.
"Come on, Faith. We need to do this."
"Yeah, okay. Start over."
Faith lowered her head and Buffy tilted hers. Just as their lips got to the point of no return, Buffy began laughing and Faith joined in.
"Sorry, it's just…"
"Yeah, it's fuckin' crazy as hell, B."
"I mean, you were moving in and…"
"…and you were waiting and..."
Buffy rubbed a hand across her face.
"This is so hard. What are we going to do?"
"Fuck if I know. Maybe we can pretend we're fighting or somethin'."
"Yeah, that wouldn't exactly be much of a stretch, would it? But the zero sparks between us isn't going to get us noticed either, at least not in the right way. Maybe I should call Giles and…"
She turned away, intending to get her phone when the strong hand on her forearm stopped her. Before Buffy could pull loose, she was whirled around and found herself slamming up against Faith.
"What the hell are y…"
Faith's mouth covered hers and it wasn't tentative at all. It was enticing, knowing, and Buffy fell right into it. Her own lips sent back the delicious pressure, parting slightly when she felt the tongue sliding along her upper lip looking for a way in. Faith entered like she had all the time in the world, her arms wrapped tightly around Buffy's back to hold her in place.
It took Buffy a few beats to do anything in return, so completely was she following Faith's lead, but finally she got busy. Her hands found their way into Faith's hair, weaving and gliding until they were tangled and pulling Faith's head closer. Their breasts brushed against each other when Faith inhaled sharply at the slightly painful tug, and suddenly, just like that – things changed.
Buffy was no longer following, she was leading, and it was Faith's turn to fall into the kiss. Buffy's tongue seemed particularly interested in exploring the roof of Faith's mouth, making her weak in the knees, and her grip on Buffy's back tightened when she felt herself wobble slightly. The fingers in Faith's hair stroked against her scalp, caressing, twisting, and providing tiny blasts of pleasure and pain with every movement.
Buffy's tongue began teasing Faith's, sliding over it, lifting it, and Faith responded. One arm slid downward to Buffy's lower back, forcefully pulling her in tight while Faith's tongue began playing with Buffy's in a perfect rhythm. Time lost its meaning as they stood there, moving together in an impossibly familiar dance.
They broke apart slowly, silently, and it was Faith who managed to recover first:
"And that's how they kiss on 'The Love Boat'."
Buffy nodded, still slightly dazed:
"And they do it very well."
"Yeah, definitely got it goin' on."
"So um…I guess we've got that down."
Faith blew out a long breath:
"Yeah. Key is: no thinking. Just do it."
"Right, no thinking. Just do it."
"Uh…wanna go watch the 'Bon Voyage'?"
"Fresh air and other things not in here sound good to me."
"With ya all the way."
Buffy headed for the door:
"Don't forget the…"
Faith fished a flat, silver circle out of her front pocket and held it aloft for Buffy to see.
"Got it right here! Wait a sec…is this a dime?"
"You mixed it in with your money?"
"How the hell else would I carry it? It's s'posed to look like a coin."
She reached back into her pocket, pulling out a handful of change.
"It's in here someplace…"
"Let me look."
Faith turned away as Buffy closed in:
"Back off, B. I'll handle this."
"Oh yeah, you're doing a really great job so far."
"Ha! Got it!"
Faith's grin was nothing but cocky. She gestured Buffy ahead of her as she opened the door, then reached back to slam the special "door alert" into place. It would stick along the molding unnoticed by the casual observer as it recorded every time someone entered the room. It would tip the Slayers off if any unexpected visitors decided to stop by when they weren't there.
"See? Always gotta make a big deal outta everything. I'm on it, B, so knock…"
The dime hit the carpet as soon as Faith let go of it.
"Faith, would you just let me look for it?"
Faith shoved her further into the hall, then shut the door. Buffy waited almost a full minute, then decided to go back inside. The door was locked. She pressed her ear firmly against the polished wood, but surprisingly she couldn't hear a sound even though she knew Faith had to be swearing up a storm. She waited as patiently as she could for about six seconds, then began banging noisily.
"Hey! Hey! You open this door before I break it down! Faith!"
Two women passed her in the narrow hallway, their look a mixture of surprise and concern. Buffy smiled her best smile, trying to look and sound deliriously happy and in love:
"Sweetie, come on…I'm dying to see."
They smiled at her then, and Buffy's Slayer hearing let her eavesdrop on their commentary:
"Newlyweds. Probably some role playing game."
"Well as hot as she is, I'd be locking her in, not out…Ow!"
Buffy puffed up, preening and smiling as Faith finally opened the door.
"Got it, just like I…What's with the look? Ya seasick or somethin'?"
"We're not even moving yet, how could I be seasick?"
"How do I know? Not like ya don't do weird shit all the time."
Buffy's preening deflated just like that.
"Do you think you could be a little more organized? That's all we need is for you to make a wish and throw it overboard."
"What the hell would I do that for? Not like we're sailing over a well or somethin'."
"Faith, would you just keep it someplace safe?"
"Fine, Blondie, but it's not like…Look alive."
She raised Buffy's hand for a quick kiss as a group filed by laughing and giggling. They all nodded hello as they passed, and both Slayers heard their conversation in the distance:
"Fuck, that is one hot couple."
"Dark and light always looks good together."
"Yeah, especially when they're both drop dead sexy."
"I wouldn't mind doing either one…or both at the same time."
There was raucous laughter, then the voice of reason got the last word in as they faded out of range:
"Forget it, did you see the way they were looking at each other? They got it bad."
The ship was finally underway after the longest, most boring lifeboat procedure explanation ever given. They could now pass muster because they knew where their station was, and the mission was in full swing. Buffy and Faith decided to walk around and familiarize themselves with the ship's layout, as well as get a look at as many passengers and crew members as possible. After an hour they'd seen it all, or at least it felt that way.
"So what about it, B? Any tingles?"
"Not a one."
"Me neither. Damn, I'm dyin' for a drink."
"You and everybody else."
"Yeah, places are packed…Hey, we got our own joint, don't we?"
Before Buffy could answer, Faith stopped a crew member who was hustling by.
"Which way to the lounge just for the penthousers."
"Do you mean 'The Neptune Lounge', ma'am?"
"That's it! Knew it was a planet, Mars, Uranus, somethin' like that."
"Yes, ma'am. It's located on Deck 7."
"We're on four, right?"
"Yes, ma'am. This is Deck 4."
"Thanks. C'mon, B."
Buffy smiled at him as Faith started to drag her away, then remembered.
She said it softly even though the staff member was well out of earshot.
"Oh Faith, you're such a quick learner. Be still my heart."
The lounge was empty except for the concierge. They showed their IDs and ordered their drinks.
"I'll have a beer. Got any Sam Adams?"
"Great, just leave it in the bottle."
"And for you, miss?"
"I'll have a Diet Coke, lots of ice."
Faith smiled at Buffy:
"Go ahead and get us a seat, baby."
Buffy looked around and chose a black leather couch in the corner of the TV area. The TV was on, but the sound was down and that was fine with her. She put her feet up without her shoes touching the cushions, relaxing comfortably. Faith was there in less than a minute and as she handed Buffy her drink, she bent down to kiss her. She had planned to make it a simple peck, but Buffy saw the concierge watching and her free hand went to Faith's neck, holding her where she was as she deepened the kiss.
Faith stiffened slightly, but only for a fraction of an instant before responding in kind. When Buffy let go she moved her legs and Faith sat down with a satisfied smile.
"So, we're finally here, baby."
"Yep, it's totally a dream come true."
Faith took a swig of her beer before she responded.
"Bein' with you, B, is always a dream come true."
She leaned in for another soft kiss, then sat back contentedly, sipping her Diet Coke. Faith pulled Buffy's legs up onto her lap, her hand rubbing casually up and down Buffy's calves. They sat in a comfortable silence, enjoying their beverages and each other's company.
"So what do ya wanna do, B? Dinner's not 'til eight, gives us about three hours."
"Could hit the pool or the casino…Or we could just go back to ours and watch the ocean from our whirlpool."
"That sounds like heaven."
Faith grinned and polished off her beer.
"Let's do it then."
She stood and offered Buffy a hand, then gave her empty to the concierge while he picked up Buffy's glass from the table. Faith signed the tab, then linked her arm through Buffy's when Buffy discreetly, but stubbornly refused to let it go the other way. They walked to their cabin kissing and giggling as Faith unlocked the door and an older couple passed in the hall. Their necks craned as they tried to peer into the fabulous, brand new: "Honeymoon Verandah" suite.
"Sorry bitches, we're full up."
Faith's grin and the way she pulled Buffy closer took any sting out of the comment, and the women smiled as they went on their way.
"After you, B."
They went inside and Faith closed the door. She pulled the "dime" free, nodding when she saw it was still a dull coin color, not the shiny silver that meant someone had been in their cabin.
"We're clear, B."
Buffy didn't waste a second, her irritation evident:
"Stop trying to be the alpha girl."
"Don't 'huh?' me. You're not the boss in our relationship and I am not your little woman."
"Didn't hear you complaining when I gave ya a break and got our drinks."
"Yeah, thanks for the thirty second rest."
Faith stared at the door alert device closely as she squeezed it.
"Stop bein' such a fuckin' baby. You're gonna screw everything up."
"Then stop trying to take charge of me."
"I'm not…This fuckin' piece of shit…Here!"
She tossed the "dime" to Buffy.
"Gotta push his chin, nose, ear, in that order…twice."
Buffy got to work, talking as she did:
"I thought that concierge guy was kind of creepy."
Faith hopped up on the dining room table, her legs already swinging as they dangled, and grabbed a banana from the fresh fruit bowl.
"Seemed okay to me."
"He kept staring at us and…"
"B, you had your tongue down my throat. We're in his rotation for the next two weeks easy."
There was a soft beep and Buffy smiled at her success.
"My tongue was not down your throat. It was just slightly in your mouth."
"Whatever. Odds are there's a 'Be Back in Five' sign on the door and he's jer…"
Faith grinned, her mouth full of banana. She swallowed with a gulp, then tossed the peel into the trashcan.
"So, what do ya think we should do for real?"
"Well, I could use a nap. That all night drilling Giles and Will gave us…"
It took Faith a few moments to control her laughter:
"Yeah, B, they really let us have it."
Buffy chose not to respond, but she wanted to slap the smirk right off of Faith's face.
"I'm just saying that it wouldn't hurt to get some rest now. Once things heat up, we probably won't get much sleep."
Faith didn't laugh, but her dimples deepened as she nodded her agreement.
"Makes sense. I could crash for a couple."
They went together into the bedroom and Faith veered off to use the bathroom. When she came out, she still had her t-shirt on, but she was carrying her jeans which she promptly tossed on the vanity stool. Her boxers had Batman on them.
"Are those Underoos?"
"Lucky I got somethin' on. Wasn't kidding before when I said I don't usually wear anything to bed."
"Do you have any Pokemon ones?"
"Not botherin' me, B."
Buffy went into the bathroom with a smile on her face, and when she emerged she was in her t-shirt and silk pink panties. Faith was already in bed, all snuggled in…on the right side.
They stared for a few moments, then Faith slid over with a grin:
"Just kidding, B. I don't care what side I'm on."
The situation seemed much more intimate than it should have. The sun was out, and although Faith had closed the blinds, enough light still filtered in to make it clear that nighttime had yet to arrive. The king-sized bed was so huge the heart shape didn't really make much of an impact, and there was plenty of room to move around without coming anywhere near each other. The luxurious sheets were crisp and cool, yet soft and inviting, and combined with the pillows that cradled their heads just right, the bed was practically begging the Slayers to go to sleep.
"Left a wake-up call for seven thirty. That give you enough time to get ready?"
"See ya in a couple then."
They both turned on their sides facing away from each other, and yet they were still fully aware that they were sharing a bed for the first time in their lives. Buffy could smell Faith lingering on her pillow and the scent was…well, it wasn't bad, she was willing to admit that much.
She shifted trying to get comfortable and so did Faith. There was a pause and then as if they'd planned it ahead of time, they did it again…and again.
"Okay B, what's with the squirming?"
"I don't know, I guess you're on edge."
"Me? I'm fine, seconds from goin' dow…under. It's you who's…"
"You wish, F! You're the one who keeps…"
"No, it's you who's got the bed rockin' and rollin' like we're out at sea."
"We are out at sea."
"Oh, yeah…guess we are."
They laughed, staring up at the ceiling until Buffy spoke:
"We both just need to relax and stop fidgeting."
"I will if you will."
Buffy offered her hand, Faith shook it and they rolled over onto their sides, both sound asleep in minutes.
Buffy woke up before the wake-up call feeling well rested. She also woke up feeling Faith all over her. Her arm was wrapped around Buffy just under her breasts, her leg was flung over both of Buffy's, and her head nestled snugly on Buffy's chest, just above her nipple. Her breath flowed out evenly, tickling that same nipple with every exhale.
This was the reason Buffy hadn't wanted this assignment with Faith in the first place: the girl never knew her boundaries. She just did what she wanted to do whenever she wanted to do it, disregarding the rules at every turn and constantly pushing Buffy's buttons every chance she got.
Examples didn't come any better than this. The bed was big, humongous even, yet here was Faith…
Buffy had finally noticed – she was on Faith's side of the bed.
Not that there was a legal, officially designated, visibly marked out line, but there was a generally accepted halfway point on any bed, and Buffy was indisputably way over it and onto Faith's side of things. In fact, she was up in her grill, all in her personal space, and there was barely any room left for Faith. No wonder she was on top of Buffy.
She showed no signs of waking which was a bad thing because it was keeping her right where she was, but it also meant that Buffy still had time to extricate herself from an embarrassing position. And Buffy was all for extricating, extricate away, especially when Faith didn't have the first clue what was going on. It was her loss and Buffy's gain because when it came to teasing Buffy, Faith was downright merciless even when she didn't have anything solid to go on. There was no way in the world that Buffy was going to gift wrap a fresh round of ammo for her, not when there was the slightest chance that she could avoid it.
She began sliding back to her own side of the bed, moving slowly, but steadily, and it worked perfectly…except that Faith was coming right along with her like a big, sexy leech. She still hadn't stirred, although Buffy knew for sure that their legs had shifted because Faith's knee was now rubbing and applying steady pressure right at…right on…Faith's knee was now resting right on top of "Little Buffy".
Big Buffy was starting to enjoy the sensations, but she wasn't freaking out about it. She hadn't had a boyfriend in a long time and the feeling of someone else touching her was obviously going to be pleasurable. She was a grown woman with all the normal needs a normal woman had, except she had even more of those normal needs than was normal because she was a Slayer. Besides, having another person as hot as Faith rubbing all over her was not exactly a turnoff at any time, although that was something she knew was best kept to herself.
She found her mind wandering to thoughts of what a great kisser Faith was, how the sparks had flown between them, how her mouth had felt so nice, and suddenly Buffy's tingles began increasing.
Okay, one or the other, but not tingles and sparks together.
She risked a smooth and steady push, but Faith barely budged. She merely snuggled in closer, her cheek rubbing right across Buffy's nipple and making it twinge as she murmured:
Buffy had had enough. She couldn't add "twinges" to her rapidly growing "Sexy Feelings" list and be expected to just stay where she was. This time she shoved and slid away together, and she managed to clear Faith. She heaved a deep sigh of relief that was cut short as Faith flopped over onto her stomach and swung her arm over Buffy's waist. She even pulled Buffy closer, but before she could do anything else, the phone rang.
Faith jerked awake:
Buffy quickly snatched the phone from its cradle fully expecting a recording, and was instead greeted with an actual human voice:
"Good evening, Mrs. Lehane. This is Rhoda with your requested seven thirty wake-up call."
"Yes, okay. Thank you."
"It's my pleasure, ma'am. Please enjoy your evening and night aboard the ms Oosterdam."
Buffy sat up on the side of the bed, fumbling slightly as she disconnected the call.
"Seven thirty, B?"
"On the dot."
She looked over her shoulder to see Faith stretching, her shirt riding up a little higher than was decent after all of the sparking, rubbing, tingling, and twinging.
"Man, I slept great. How 'bout you?"
"I had a good nap."
Faith finally noticed that she was in the middle of the bed.
"Sorry if I crowded ya. Not used to sharin' a bed, ya know?"
"It was fine, we never even touched. It's a very nice and roomy bed."
Faith hopped up:
"Yeah, bed's definitely got heart. Get it, B?"
"Yes, I get it, Faith."
She laughed at Buffy's grumpy expression.
"Damn, B, you always wake-up so grouchy?"
"I'm not grouchy."
"Yeah, okay. I'm gonna grab a shower, 'less you wanna go first."
She closed the door behind her and pulled off her top and underwear. She turned on the shower and it didn't take long before it had heated up enough to allow her to step in. The water cascaded down her head to her body, and she felt every rivulet as it slinked along her skin like fingers teasing her.
"What the fuck?"
She was completely turned on, the kind of turned on that usually only happened after she'd been slaying. A relaxing nap didn't warrant the level of horniness she was feeling and she tried hard to ignore it, but as she was soaping up her body, she felt the telltale jolts.
"Jesus, what the hell's wrong with me?"
Lathering the shampoo into her hair only made it worse, and she gave in.
"Must be the sea air. Just rub one out and let dinner take care of the hungry."
The last thought that flitted across her mind before she let go would have made no sense to her at all, even if she had remembered it:
Oh yeah…it's all the right side.
Buffy couldn't have been more relaxed or more content. She was poolside in the warm sun, cruising through the ocean with a glass of lemonade at her side, her sunglasses on, and her suntan lotion oiled body glistening as it soaked up only the good sunshine rays. Cleveland and its cold and unfriendly weather was far, far away, and the best part? Even though she was on assignment, she was still totally within the parameters of her job requirements.
They had decided on their plan of attack last night while dining at the casual Lido Restaurant. Faith absolutely refused to dress up in any way before she had to, and the Lido Restaurant was the only place that didn't have a nighttime dress code. The food was basic, but varied and tasty, and it was just fine with Buffy. Eating outdoors was nothing but delightful with people strolling by and the ship all lit up as it powered gracefully through the ocean. The breeze was warm, yet refreshing, and the atmosphere was fun and exotic.
"So B, how ya think we oughta handle it?"
Faith had finally stopped eating and was leaning back in her chair looking extremely comfortable. She had a bottle of beer in her hand as she looked around.
"Well, I guess we should patrol tonight. I'm not sure about tomorrow."
"We're gonna be lost at sea for the next coupla days, right?"
"They call it 'out at sea'. I don't think we're supposed to be 'lost'."
"But it's just us on the ship yeah? No on or off?"
Faith took a swig and nodded:
"According to G-Man, ship's where the trouble happens."
"Yes, the women are disappearing off the boat, but I doubt it happens on the first day."
"Can't rule it out, but yeah, seems kinda stupid to yank'em now. Just makes more chances to notice they're gone."
"So we agree that it's unlikely anything's going down tonight and the next couple of days?"
"Don't know about that. We're on a lesbian cruise, B, it's all about goin' down."
"Your immature jokes aside, I guess what we need to do is make ourselves as visible as we can over the next two days and draw lots attention to ourselves. Then at night we'll snoop around and see what we can find out."
"Sounds right. Guessing the pool on the Lido Deck's gonna be the best place to show off."
Buffy had agreed, and after an uneventful night spent on the proper sides of the bed, they began.
By eight thirty they were back at the Lido Restaurant where they appeared to be nothing but a typical honeymoon couple on their honeymoon cruise. They were seated comfortably at one of the outside tables as they enjoyed a surprisingly large breakfast. They took their time, exchanging kisses, holding hands, and eating off of each other's plates while looking totally in love.
They relaxed afterwards, browsing through brochures and sipping their drinks. No one heard their comments about Buffy's "make me puke" tea and Faith's "such a pig" seventh glass of orange juice. They sat there with their t-shirts and shorts covering their bikinis, the very picture of happiness, smiling at anyone who caught their eye as they passed by.
The pool deck began filling at around 9:30, so they made their way to two chairs on the end which provided a modicum of privacy. Faith put their towels and magazines on a nearby table, then moved the chairs closer together.
"How's this, baby?"
Buffy took off her shirt, then dropped her shorts, revealing her modestly cut bikini. Faith had no idea why Buffy would ever want to cover such a perfect body any more than she had to, but she also knew it was just her style. Buffy was classy all the way, and no matter what she wore, she looked sexy as hell.
Faith let her eyes follow her, and when Buffy saw her watching, she raised her eyebrow:
"What are you doing?"
"Checkin' out the hottest bitch on this boat."
Buffy smiled at the compliment.
"As long as she's me, I'm good with that."
Faith laughed and pulled Buffy to her, giving her a quick, but passionate kiss.
"Yeah, it's you, B. Always."
She let go of Buffy and stripped off her own clothes, standing there completely comfortable in her tiny red bikini. Buffy let her eyes roam all over her, even though she'd already seen Faith in her suit in their cabin. She couldn't get away with staring then, but now out in public she could…hell, she was supposed to.
Faith was stunning, a perfect picture of a beautiful woman with everything proportioned just right and flowing together into one whole body that would turn anybody's head. She should have looked funny to Buffy; after all this wasn't Faith's usual look, but there was nothing funny about her. She was drop dead gorgeous.
Buffy found herself envying the perfect legs that were tan and fit and shaped so right, they could have fit a square peg into a round hole anytime they wanted to. Her breasts were perky and large, but not too large, and when she turned around her ass was the most perfect ass Buffy had ever seen. Even her feet looked insanely pretty as she kicked off her flip-flops and stepped all the way out of her shorts.
Buffy roused herself, knowing that no one in love with Faith could possibly ignore what she was looking at, and she moved around the chairs and pulled her close.
"You are so beautiful."
And then Buffy kissed her and as it deepened, she boldly pulled Faith closer by her butt, causing several spectators to spectate just as hard as they ever had in their lives. Faith froze for a second from the surprise of being grabbed by her ass, but Buffy didn't ease up at all. She continued to let Faith have it, not backing off until she heard the tiny moan and felt Faith's hands gripping her hips with Slayer strength.
Buffy placed a soft kiss in each of Faith's dimples, letting her hands slide around Faith's body until they met at her stomach. She didn't have the nerve to touch her breasts, so she trailed her fingers to Faith's still gripping hands and pulled them off, raising the left one to her mouth for a kiss before releasing her.
Buffy sat down on her chair and she had to hand it to Faith: her acting performance was perfect. She looked totally lust consumed as she stood there, her eyes burning a hole in Buffy.
"…How much later?"
"Go cool off; we just got here, F."
Faith did as she was told, jumping into the pool and staying there for several minutes. When she emerged she looked much calmer, although watching her lift herself out of the pool and then following the water as it rolled down her body wasn't exactly the most calming thing for Buffy.
She took off her sunglasses as she watched Faith approach.
"Yeah, B. Definitely cooled me right off."
"Good because it feels like heaven out here."
Buffy replaced her sunglasses and casually scanned the pool deck to see if anyone was inordinately interested. To her surprise, there didn't seem to be anyone who wasn't sneaking looks at them, if not outright staring. She didn't appreciate some of the bolder looks. Faith was a married woman as far as they knew, and yet the skanks were staring lustfully at her right in front of her wife. The tramps had some kind of nerve.
She reached for Faith's hand across the tiny space separating their chairs, only to feel it flop around useless and ignored. When she turned her head to look at Faith, Buffy saw that she was on her side, stretching precariously as she tried to drag a table closer to her.
Faith snagged the table, slid it where she wanted it, then looked at Buffy:
Buffy was glaring at her:
"Take my hand."
"Where ya want me to go with it?"
She still hadn't made a move and Buffy knew every bitch in the place was laughing at her predicament.
"Just teasing, baby."
Her slightly wet hand took Buffy's as she leaned her head back all the way on the headrest. She closed her eyes and a mollified Buffy turned to sneer at the tramps, arrogantly raising her eyebrow to deliver the clear message: "She's mine, so back off", only to find them ignoring her.
She relaxed, enjoying the feeling of Faith's thumb slowly stroking the back of her hand. It felt like she was sitting in paradise, and this was the kind of life she could quickly become accustomed to. She had a job that was requiring her to laze around in the warm sun as she lounged in a comfortable chair poolside, Alexa and Denise waiting on her hand and foot.
"Why yes, Denise, I would love some lemonade."
"More ice would be perfect, Alexa."
"No, I don't think I need a hat, but a magazine later would be lovely."
Yep, the mission was definitely a breeze, and an ocean one at that. She was soaking up the sun like only a California girl could, and all she had to do was sip her drink thru a multi-colored straw while occasionally remembering to look Faith's way and whisper sweet nothings or offer her a quick peck. Other than that, Buffy's duties were non-existent.
Only a fool wouldn't love this job. Nobody on Earth could possibly not enjoy every single minute of…
"How much longer, B?"
There was now a shadow over part of Buffy's face as Faith leaned in close, her voice sounding like a little kid who'd reached her limit.
"Faith, just lay back and enjoy the down time."
"Yeah, I already did that."
"I did that…twice."
"So? It's hot, go again."
Faith was shaking her head:
"Only if you come with. When I'm alone, too many girls are on me."
Buffy peered over her sunglasses to look her in the eye.
"And did I not warn you that would happen if you wore pieces of Kleenex for a bathing suit?"
Faith didn't say anything, remembering all too well the conversation before breakfast when she'd emerged from the bathroom in her bikini:
"But I got everything covered."
"Barely, Faith. Which is why everyone will be drooling all over you."
"What's the big? We all got the same parts."
Buffy was incredulous:
"True, but not many of us have them arranged quite like you do."
Faith glanced down at herself and grinned:
"Yeah, I got a bangin' bod, but I also already got my woman."
"And trust me: you're going to get a lot more."
"Let's entwine hands, that'll show'em."
Here in the here and now, Faith wasn't interested in beating a dead horse:
"Maybe you were right, but c'mon…I'm dyin' here."
"B, I'm bored. Alla these chicks are crazy."
"Then you'll fit right in."
"No. Go get something to eat."
"I already did!"
"Ask Denise or Alexa…"
"Buffy, I don't want another freakin' magazine, alright?"
Buffy didn't even bother to open her eyes:
"Sure, it's fine with me."
"Really wanna play it this way?"
"Lie back, you're in my light."
The next thing Buffy knew, there was no light.
Faith was on the chair with her, her body pressing down on top of Buffy's, her hands holding Buffy's trapped on either side of her head, and their faces just inches apart.
Faith was grinning and Buffy wanted to use her legs to knock her off. She had an opening and would have loved to have kicked her overboard, but she couldn't exactly do that with at least a hundred people watching. To make matters worse, several of them were cheering Faith on.
"How's that for grabbin' us some attention?"
"Combined with your postage stamp bikini, pretty good."
"So how 'bout it? Wanna go swimming with me?"
Buffy spoke barely above a whisper, but Faith knew she was serious:
"No, I want to punch your face in. Wanna do that instead, Snookums?"
"Gee, ya sound a little on the mad side."
"Whatever gave you that idea?"
"Kiss her! Kiss her! Kiss her!"
The crowd was cheering them on, pounding on the deck, banging on their chairs and tables. They'd been watching the lovebirds for almost two hours and finally there was some action beyond kissing and handholding. Two hot girls were together on the same chair, and the one on top was starting to move slightly from side to side.
"They want us to kiss, B."
"So I hear."
"Guess we gotta do it. Make it look good."
"You are so going to pay for this later, F."
"Course I am. Now pucker up, Blondie."
Faith's lips descended and Buffy bit down hard enough to hurt. Faith yelped, but she didn't stop or pull away. Her tongue swept in boldly like it belonged, like it was home, and Buffy's resolve to make the kiss even more unpleasant disappeared as if it had never existed.
Faith absolutely knew how to kiss, Buffy would give her that, and there was no acting involved when Buffy wrapped her arms around Faith and bent one of her legs up, pressing it tightly alongside Faith's hip. The kiss intensified and the cheers increased in volume, although neither Slayer heard them.
"Give it to her good!"
"Chicks gone wild!"
Faith finally eased back, her expression difficult to read.
Faith stifled her comment that she was pretty sure she just had, and stood up on legs that were a little shakier than she was comfortable with.
"Help me up."
Spoken so softly, the woman two chairs over heard nothing, but Faith heard her loud and clear. She got back into character, holding her hand out to Buffy with a big grin on her face:
"Wanna go swimming with me now, baby?"
"Among many things."
Buffy took Faith's hand with a smile and stood next to her. Faith turned them toward the still cheering women and took a bow:
"We're gonna be here all week. Enjoy the show."
She then took off at a jog, pulling Buffy into the pool with her. By the time they'd resurfaced, life poolside had more or less returned to normal. They were in the deep end, treading water as they hung onto each other.
"Pretty pleased with yourself, F?"
"Yeah, but a little scared too."
That admission made Buffy laugh against her will.
"As you should be."
"Don't I know it. But c'mon, B, it was so boring just sittin' around."
"I wasn't bored in the slightest."
Faith placed a loose strand behind Buffy's ear.
"Can't be all about you anymore, Princess. Gotta think about your wife now. 'Sides, did I score us some big attention or what?"
Buffy still felt like punching her, but she also found herself amused. Faith was always just so "Faith", and when she was being good, well, there were few things better or more fun to be around.
"Okay, yes, attention captured for sure, but you won't be charming your way out of this."
"What's it gonna take, B? I got some cash back in the cabin."
"That's not going to work either. Just remember, F…when you least expect it."
"Guess I'm really screwed."
"Pretty much, yeah."
"Hmm, might as well go nuts then."
The warning signs were there, Buffy saw them. The wiggling of the eyebrows, the grin that turned slightly evil, the way her eyes lit up…but unfortunately lazing around in the sun for hours had slowed Buffy's reaction time. She barely had time to register the change before Faith went all "Faith" on her and sprung into action.
She shot up out of the water, rising above Buffy with her hand on top of Buffy's head as she pushed her under…hard. As Buffy swallowed about a third of the pool, she was already planning her counterattack. She saw Faith heading for side of the pool to make her quick exit, but there was no way in hell that was happening.
Mindful of blowing their cover by revealing her skills, Buffy stayed underwater, not nearly out of air yet. She kicked powerfully, figuring it was safe beneath the turbulent surface to cut loose with her Slayer strength. Three kicks and she'd zoomed to right behind Faith who probably had a smug smile on her face as she prepared to hoist herself clear.
Faith would assume all Slayerness was out and that Buffy would have to swim like a normal girl, which would give her more than enough time to leisurely pull herself to safety. While it was true that was one version of how things could go, in the reality they were currently existing in…well, Buffy regretted that she wouldn't be able to see Faith's face in the upcoming seconds. If only someone would take a picture.
Faith's arms left the water, obviously in preparation to lift herself from the pool, but Buffy was in charge now, even though Faith didn't know it yet. She was going to find out who the new boss was in approximately a fraction of an instant.
To the casual observer, it simply looked as if Faith didn't have the necessary arm strength to pull herself clear. It was a bit of a mystery since she'd already done it at least two other times, and also adding to the confusion was how fast her expression had changed from a cocky satisfaction to an: "Oh shit, I'm dead" look.
Below the water, Buffy had a firm grasp on the bottoms of Faith's bikini and she was holding her right where she was. She pulled up sharply and heard what sounded like a tiny, muffled, very un-Faithlike squeak as she delivered the wedgie. Faith tried to turn, but Buffy's other hand was firm at her hip preventing her from moving much at all.
Faith's legs were still free though, and she kicked out with her own Slayer strength and speed. Unfortunately for her, Buffy had been waiting for just that move and the second Faith's leg snapped at her, Buffy shot back with her hands grabbing onto Faith's ankle. She pulled and jerked Faith under the water, and while Faith was busy swallowing her own share of the pool, Buffy calmly hoisted herself clear.
She didn't go far, preferring to sit on the deck with her legs dangling in the pool. It was like taunting a great white shark with a flailing seal: a dangerous move for anyone except for the woman doing the taunting. For her it was a game, a fun and exciting one where the outcome wasn't set in stone.
Her opponent was her equal and even though Faith couldn't risk blowing their cover by retaliating above the water, that didn't mean she wouldn't try something else. Buffy was smiling with anticipation, feeling more alive than she had in forever, and when Faith finally broke the surface, Buffy's grin was huge.
"Hi, baby. Good swim."
"The best, B, 'cept for my suit ridin' up a little."
Faith's brown eyes were lighter, like they'd absorbed the sun and were shining it back at Buffy. She ran her hands along each of Buffy's legs, tightening threateningly when they reached her ankles. Buffy braced herself, but Faith's eyes met hers and she laughed:
"Smug little shit. Think you're safe, yeah?"
"You say that like it's a bad thing…and 'yeah'."
"Not a 'bad' thing, more like a 'Buffy' thing."
"You know what they say, F."
Faith's hands were sliding back up Buffy's legs slowly, like they had every right to be there.
"Fuckers say all kindsa shit. Which one ya thinkin'?"
"Never start something you can't finish."
Faith's eyes flared at the arrogant challenge in Buffy's.
"Yeah, guess that's true."
Her hands went to Buffy's thighs and suddenly turned to steel. There was no way to pull loose without making a scene, and besides what could Faith really do to her?
Buffy realized the stupidity of that question just moments after she'd asked it and felt Faith's lips on her still damp skin. She kissed her way up Buffy's legs slowly, alternating sides as her lips and tongue burned a path of pure fire up her captive's body. She kept going higher, advancing at a glacial pace that did nothing to calm the situation.
As she approached the last decent height before crossing into "You Can't Go There in Public" her eyes met Buffy's…and then she went higher. Buffy jerked – surprised, shocked, and totally, one hundred percent turned on.
With a sharp nip on the inside of Buffy's right thigh and a last lingering swipe of her tongue, Faith eased back down into the water. Her hands trailed a return to where they'd come from, and it took all of Buffy's willpower not to scooch forward and chase them.
"Was always good with the finish, B."
Faith then dunked under the water and pulled herself up to sit next to Buffy on the deck. They sat there looking at each other and it took a few moments before they realized that the pool area was almost silent and almost every eye was upon them.
"What? You girls never seen somebody on their honeymoon before?"
There was some laughter and applause as the pool popped back to life and Denise approached them somewhat timidly:
"Can I…um…can I get you guys anything?"
"Just a cold shower for me. You, B?"
"I think we're leaving now, Denise."
"Yeah, my wife got sexstroke from layin' out too long."
Buffy smacked her on the shoulder, making Denise smile. They got to their feet and went back to their chairs to gather their stuff.
"Thanks for waiting on us. Please thank Alexa for us too."
"I will, and it's been…a pleasure."
She still had a smile on her face and her eyes said she'd more than enjoyed her time with them. Faith gave Buffy a towel and smoothly snuck a fifty into Denise's hand.
"Make sure Alexa gets half, yeah?"
"Yes, ma'am! Thank you, ma'am!"
They decided to take the stairs back to their room just two decks below.
Buffy held open the door and let Faith head into the stairwell first:
"Right this way, big tipper."
"Hey, G-Man gave us the bucks, just another way to make people notice us."
"I'm not complaining. I love blowing the Council's money at any time."
"I heard that! The cheap bastards…'cept now it's just Giles, and he's not so much cheap as stingy."
When they arrived back at cabin, the maid was just finishing up. They waited out of her way in the hall, making sure to kiss and giggle when she appeared. She smiled at them as she left and as soon as they had the door closed, the lipstick came out, followed closely by the iPod.
Faith checked the "dime":
"Yeah, just one person."
She tossed it to Buffy to reset, and rushed into the bedroom. She came out more than a little on the dejected side:
"Shit, you were right, B."
She took the "dime" and stuck it back into place while Buffy tried not to laugh at her sadness.
"Yeah, they only leave chocolate at night for the turn down service."
"Sucks. Rather have it 24/7 'stead of this fresh fruit they keep givin' us."
"I like the fruit."
Faith rolled her eyes:
"Course ya do, but who the hell wants fruit if you can score chocolate? And what the hell's a 'papaya' anyways?"
"Right, must be some stupid Cali thing. So what do ya think?"
Buffy blushed slightly, but she answered right away:
"After that display, I think it'd look funny if we didn't stay in here for a while."
"Yeah, no way are we not fucking right now."
"How long do you think we should…"
"Well, if one of us was a guy, we could head out in fifteen. Gotta figure two chicks are gonna go for multiples and then cuddling."
"Better make it two."
Buffy nodded and headed for the bathroom:
"It's my turn to shower first."
Faith flopped down on the freshly made bed.
"Can probably order room service in an hour."
"That'd be great, I'm starving."
"Just gotta sound breathless like we just been nose deep."
"I'm just sayin'."
"That's your problem: you're always just saying."
"Go on, willya? Like to get the chlorine outta my hair."
When Buffy came out twenty minutes later, she was in the plush and comfy bathrobe provided for her "relaxing pleasure both on board and at home".
"All yours…except you're not here."
She walked out of the bedroom and found Faith sitting on their private verandah. She was staring out at the sea thoughtfully and Buffy held her breath not wanting to spoil the moment. The sun was on Faith, yet part of her was in shadow.
She looked beautiful, dark and light, and when she tipped her head back to let the sun fully illuminate her face, she was literally breathtaking.
She jumped slightly, then turned her head to Buffy.
"Yep, and I used up all the hot water."
Faith got to her feet with a smile:
"No chance, B. This float's way too big to let one shower screw it up for the rest of us."
Buffy stepped outside through the open door and went to the railing:
"It's beautiful out here."
"Yeah, nothin' but water and sunshine. No way can your troubles catch ya out here."
Buffy breathed in deep, smelling salt, sun, and Faith.
"You ready for some looking around tonight?"
Faith joined her at the railing:
"Yeah, hopin' against hope we run into a vamp or two."
"Somehow I doubt they're on our sunny cruise."
"Hey, girl can hope."
They watched in silence as the water sliced past in waves until Faith broke it up:
"I'd better get in there."
"Do we have any fruit left or did you eat it all?"
"Kept ya in mind, B."
They went back into the cabin and both headed for the bedroom.
"After we eat, was thinkin' we could hit the casino. 'Sides the fun, you can be my good luck charm when I bet too much."
"Okay. I like the slots."
"Yeah, of course you do."
Faith veered off for the bathroom laughing.
"What's so funny about that?"
"Because it's not real gambling. It's all girly and wimpy and totally you."
"And what do you like to play, Tough Girl?"
"Poker and blackjack. Craps kinda rocks too."
"And that's totally you. Go shower."
"Saved the papaya for ya, Princess. Chow down."
"I'll be nose deep before you know it, F."
"Oh, I'd know it, B. Trust me."
She laughed all the way into the shower.