by Queen Zulu
"So what was that all about?"
"Faith, wake up!"
She started upright, reaching in one fluid motion for the knife in her boot before recognising that her feet were bare and at some point she'd been wrapped in a blanket as she lay on the couch. Tangled, she nearly fell off before coming completely awake. "What? Is it a demon? Do I gotta slay?"
"No, come and see." Joyce smiled and held out her hand. As if I'm her kid or something, Faith thought, and allowed herself to take it. Looks like B never got back last night. Jeez, what if she's--
"Come and look, Faith. It's snowing!"
Faith shook off the bad thoughts and walked out onto the front porch with Buffy's mom. She shivered at the sudden cold, feeling it shoot through her, and extended her arms out to the falling flakes. It was past sunrise, by her internal Slayer-clock, but the sky was dark with clouds.
"Wow, I didn't know you guys went all White Christmas out here," she said, hugging herself a bit in the wind but reluctant to go back inside. "It's like Boston, almost." Boston, but better. You wouldn't freeze your face off after ten minutes in this. And here, there were places where she'd be welcomed in out of the cold. Not many, but still...
"It hasn't snowed like this in ages," Joyce said. "Maybe we should break out the skis before Buffy's winter break is over."
Faith glanced over her shoulder. "You guys ski? That's wicked cool."
Joyce nodded. "Well, not since we moved here...Hank used to take us, back before...Well. Buffy always enjoyed skating, but she never turned down a ski weekend. All our equipment's still in the closet. Except I think my poles may have been used to fend off the undead a couple of months ago."
"Yeah, I heard about that. Zombies. Wish I coulda been there." She turned back to watch the snow falling, staring up the street in the direction Buffy had taken last night. She was starting to shiver, and Joyce was huddling in the open doorway, but neither of them said anything about why they weren't heading back inside. "I went skiing once," she said, softly, leaning against the porch post. It had been a class trip pretty soon before she dropped out--one of the only ones she'd ever managed to sneak away with. She forged her mom's signature on the forms and funded herself with the cash from half a dozen stolen wallets. She'd had no clue how to ski, but it was mostly about getting away for a couple of days, pretending like she was leaving forever. Finding out how much she enjoyed it was just a bonus...after she suckered a few lessons from ski-lunks wanting to 'improve her form', she had actually managed to escape into the rhythm of it. There was hell to pay when she got back--
"Faith--" Joyce hesitated, then asked, "Would you like to go with us? Skiing?"
Faith started and turned around, giving up her watch on the empty street. "For real?" She stopped, then started talking fast enough to outpace Willow at her worst. "I mean, uh, I don't wanna mess with your and B's holiday. And, I really can't, I got no cash, you know? And no stuff. Plus I guess there's the slaying, somebody's gotta keep on top of it if you guys are going out of town. And maybe B doesn't really want to do the best-bud thing with me, she'd probably want to go with Red. And I'm a pretty crappy skier."
Joyce smiled. "Sounds like you're sure."
"Right." The clouds were starting to break up now, strands of pale sunlight leaking through. There was nearly a foot of snow in the yard, pretty freaky for South Cal, and the wind was still icy. Faith shuffled her feet through the dusting of snow on the porch. Her feet were throbbing with cold, and she wondered how she hadn't noticed it before. "Anyway, looks like any vamp coming after you is kissing daylight by now. I better be getting back."
"Aren't you going to wait for Buffy? We still have gifts to open."
"Yeah, well, I got stuff to do, y'know." She didn't want to see Buffy. She didn't want to wait for Buffy, and know to the second how long she'd been gone. "I'll just get my jacket."
They stepped inside, closing out the sudden winter, and Faith hunted for her boots while Joyce got her coat from the closet. "So, anyway, I wanted to say thanks, y'know, for inviting me," she said quickly, and edged towards the door. She opened it to find Buffy standing there, just reaching for the knob.
"Oh, Buffy, you're back!" Joyce rushed into the hallway and hugged Buffy. "Good, now you can help me convince Faith stay for presents."
Buffy raised an eyebrow at Faith. "Not staying for presents? Where's the real Faith and what have you done with her?"
Faith shrugged and backed away from the door. "Nothin'. How'd it go with, uh, everything?"
"Score is Buffy: one, Evil: I'm boring, full of myself, and ineffective." Buffy bounced into the living room and held her hands out to the coals in the fireplace. With the encouragement of Joyce's motherly glare, Faith tossed her jacket in the direction of the closet. Kept her boots, though. Faith slumped back onto the couch where she'd spent the night. Looking down at Buffy, she could see that the whole story wasn't getting told any time soon. Despite her easy words, Buffy's eyes looked red from crying. Not something Faith was really good at noticing, ususally. But if Buffy wanted to avoid, Faith was willing to play along--for now.
"So, you wanted me to stay, are you gonna open what I got you?"
Buffy spun around, a huge smile spreading over her face. Faith shifted, trying to hide her answering smile. She spent the night with Angel and left you to rot, she yelled at herself. She didn't even want you here in the first place. But seeing how a single word about her presents caused happiness return to Buffy's eyes made it too easy to forget. She was already tearing through the scraps of newspaper Faith had tied around her gift. Tossing the paper aside, she held up the stake like it was the Holy Grail or something.
"A new Mr. Pointy," she declared, as if a million stakes hadn't gone through her hands in the last few years. "Thank you, Faith. I'll save it for a special vampire."
"Yeah," Faith said. I can think of one 'special' vampire. Shut up, she likes it. "Don't go getting mushy on me, B, that thing's meant for using, it's not like I want you to set up a shrine or anything."
"I think it's very thoughtful." Joyce brought out a plate full of turkey leftovers from the kitchen. "Here, Buffy, eat, you missed dinner last night. Faith, did you want some breakfast?"
Faith nodded. She was pretty much trapped here, now, but it wasn't like she had plans. In fact, it was kind of nice, exactly what she'd hoped would happen last night. Maybe they could finally get over this whole thing between them, Mrs. Post and Angel and all that crap. Maybe she could finally relax. She reached over the arm of the couch to mooch some turkey cold cuts from Buffy's plate, and grinned when she got her hand firmly slapped. She stared at Buffy and waggled her eyebrows as she licked her fingers clean. Buffy stuck her tongue out in return. Yeah, this definitely had possibilities.
"Now, girls, I know you want to dive in to all the presents," Joyce said, "but I have an even better idea. Buffy, Faith and I were thinking it would be wonderful to take a ski weekend, the three of us, maybe over New Year's. What do you think?"
Faith started to object, but Buffy's squeal of excitement interrupted her.
"Wow!" Buffy jumped up, nearly spilling the turkey sandwich she'd piled together. "Really, Mom? Can you get the time off? Ooh! Can there be a hot tub? And really incredibly obscene amounts of hot chocolate? Can Faith really come?"
"I can't--" Faith started, and was immediately at the receiving end of two Summers glares. This was not happening. And yet... "I can't ski so hot," she finished lamely.
"No problem," Buffy said airily, waving away the objection. "You've got Slayer strength and co-ordination. And if that's not enough, I'm a great teacher."
Faith sank back on the cushions and watched as Joyce and Buffy proceeded to plan the next week of her life. She was going away with Buffy. To a ski lodge in the mountains. With a hot tub. Over New Year's Eve. Shit.
The line between amazing and disaster suddenly seemed a hell of a lot thinner.
Faith jiggled with the radio dial to see if she could get less static and more of the techno dancebeat she'd chosen. At last, giving up with a sigh, she slumped down in the front seat, knees on the dashboard, and drummed her fingers along with the heavy bass. Behind her, she could practically feel Buffy pouting--call it a Slayer connection or just the way she always knew what B was getting her panties in a knot about (all the more reason not to wear them, in her opinion, but try telling that to Little Miss Modesty). That, and she'd seen how Buffy had to contort herself in several unmentionable ways to fit in with all the gear they'd stuffed into the back of the Jeep. But she wasn't gonna let that pout get the better of her this time. She was strong. She'd just pretend she had no idea she was the target of B's laser stare. She was just gonna sit here, mind her own business, and silently count down to the explosion.
Tiny nest of suitcases rammed against who-knows-what...ten...her mom calmly oblivious, eyes on the road...seven...everyone ignoring the puppy eyes and little wounded sighs...four...Faith stealing the front seat from right under her nose when they'd left the house...two...
"I think we should have measured with Faith's boots off."
Right on schedule. Faith threw back her head and rolled her eyes. "Face it, B, you're the shortest. And I called shotgun. To the victor goes the leg room."
"It's really suspicious, actually--how no one's ever seen you barefoot." Buffy nudged Faith's seat with her toe. "I bet you're secretly a midget."
"Yeah, I'm actually two people in one kick-ass costume." Faith glanced at Joyce, but she was carefully not listening--very Sunnydale of her; if you ignored the fight then it wasn't happening. Or maybe it was a parent thing, for car trips. "Y'know, you wouldn't be having this problem if you'd stopped packing after the third suitcase. Jeez, you practically spent more time pickin' clothes than we're gonna be gone."
"Hey, just because you're ready to go once you've tied your bindle--where does that word come from, anyway?--"
Faith froze. So that's what she thinks of you. Tramp. But you knew that, right? So, no biggie.
So why are you here?
Oh, great, she's still babbling about bindles.
She's cute when she babbles.
I said shut UP.
"Yeah, anyway, B, if you have a point, you know, we're all waiting."
Again, the pout. She could tell, even when it happened behind her back. "My point, F, is that it's actually three suitcases and a makeup case."
"Makeup? For skiing?"
Another nudge in the back of her seat, like Buffy was letting her in on a big conspiracy. "It's for the lodge, apres-ski. For all the cute skiing guys."
"Yeah?" Faith glanced again at Joyce. Still nothing. Amazing what that woman could block out without even raising a sweat. "What about soulboy, does he know you're looking to get down and dirty with some snow muffin?"
"I told you Angel and I aren't together like that. Especially since..."
Faith straightened in her seat and twisted to look back at Buffy. Buffy flapped a hand and resettled herself on her luggage, grimacing, and nodded towards her mom. Faith raised an eyebrow. It must be pretty heavy if it could break through Joyce's deaf act. Angel really wasn't her favourite subject, but it looked like B was willing to spill what happened Christmas Eve, at last. Faith turned back to the front, trying to process that. Did she really want to know? Not that she was likely to get a choice in the matter. And why was Buffy going to tell her? She hadn't even talked to Red about it before they left. So...okay. Great. Big confession time. With her. For her. Maybe B and Deadboy were actually going through with the breakup thing this time, and now...
She's not here for you. This is the pity-friend thing, poor Faith alone on Christmas. Her mom invited you, for Chrissakes. She said she wants the ski-boys.
She turned around again. "The hump 'em and dump 'em plan is great, B, but you do know your mom's along on this trip, right?"
Buffy gave a wry smile. "Hey, I said nothing about humping. Again with the diverging life-philosophies. Although..." The smile widened, then, "No. I just need a break from all that codependent, passive-aggressive, and I use the word loosely, 'soul'-mate stuff. Future, not past. That's what I'm focusing on now."
"Oh." Faith shifted uncomfortably. "Well, y'know, if you, like, need to talk...or, y'know, whatever."
Buffy grinned, slamming on the full thousand-watt smile. "Faith, I do believe that somewhere in that mess of sentence fragments was a wonderful thought. Thanks."
God, she's beautiful. And I'm such a corn-dog. "Yeah, well, I'm figuring on getting killed on the hill, so, I'm making back-up plans for the full three days."
"I do not talk that much!"
Faith smirked and Buffy swatted her shoulder. A Slayer-strength swat, but a friendly one. Yeah. She could be comforting. She could do the friend thing. At least that.
"Well, this is it." Joyce's words broke through Faith's doze and she uncurled from the front seat. Blinking, she looked out of the windshield. The Jeep was parked in front of the biggest fucking so-called 'cabin' she'd ever seen. Which wasn't saying much, but still, the place was massive.
"Finally!" B kicked at Faith's seat. "Come on, out, I want to discover how much physio I'll need before my legs work again."
"Right." Faith stepped out, still staring. The place was three stories of stripped logs, with wide bay windows looking out across the valley, cedar-shingled and just gorgeous. The walk-out was directly under the lift-line, and around the opposite corner, she could see a hot tub set into the balcony jutting off over the dip of the mountain. A light dusting of snow over the steps and railings was burnished bronze by the falling sun.
"Isn't this place amazing?" Joyce put her hands on Faith's shoulders and followed her gaze. "A friend of mine from the book club offered me a few days of her timeshare in exchange for a deal with her redecorating. We get the top two floors, two bedrooms, bath, living room, kitchen...and all the fresh air you can breathe." Joyce spread her arms and sighed. "I'm glad we thought of this, Faith, I haven't had a vacation in far too long."
"Yeah. It's bitchin'," Faith breathed, then backtracked. "Uh, I mean, it's nice. Lovely. Good."
Joyce smiled. "I think you had it right the first time. I'm going to start unpacking. You two come in when you're ready."
"Okay." Faith watched her go, then rolled her neck, stretching out the car cramps. The air was cool, but still, and the sunset was leaving the last of its warmth before night fell. The snow banks absorbed sound, leaving the place amazingly quiet.
A little too quiet. Where was B, who by all rights should still be moaning about her pins and needles? Faith started to turn...
And was blindsided by a stinging faceful of snow. Sputtering, she wiped the slush from her face, and blinked at the sight of Buffy bent over, giggling, another snowball in one hand.
"Oh, you so did not just do that," she growled. Icy water dripped down the back of her neck.
Buffy gasped with laughter. "You turned...right when...and the look on your face..."
"You are going to pay for that, B." Faith bent over and scraped together a double handful of snow, ignoring the burning cold. Buffy's face changed from laughter to worry, and she started backing up.
"You wouldn't. My legs still hurt. It's getting dark. Faith..."
"Hey, you're still holding a snowball. This is just a preemptive strike." Faith took a step forward, crushing the snow into the perfect shape.
Buffy sidled around the other side of the Jeep. "Preemptive...? You've been talking to Giles again."
"You gonna talk, or are you gonna run?"
Buffy ran for the door, but Faith circled the Jeep just as fast, and whipped her snowball. It caught Buffy square in the chest, right where a stake would've gone into a vampire, and splattered over her sweater. Buffy retaliated with the ball she was holding, but Faith ducked it and charged.
"Hey!" Buffy was running in earnest, now. "Come on, that's one each. We're even, aren't we?" she called over her shoulder.
"Not until you eat snow, Summers!"
Buffy floundered through the drifts, breaking through the crust and hip-deep in snow, trying to see how close Faith was getting and still choosing the best direction to flee. Faith, with her trail already broken and several inches of height on her side, closed on her prey quickly and tackled her into a snow bank. Buffy struggled mightily for position, almost slipping out of Faith's hold, but Faith grabbed her wrists and straddled her, cutting off her escape.
"Now..." Faith said, as menacingly as possible. "You are gonna regret so much about the last five minutes..."
Buffy wriggled like a caught fish. "Never!"
"Yep." Faith chose a handful of loose powder and let some of it drift down onto Buffy's face, grinning as she spat and grunted, twisting her hips under Faith's weight. Faith hissed as the contact suddenly became unbearably delicious, Buffy all red-faced and gasping beneath her. She lifted away a little. "Don't start what you can't finish, B," she said, shoved the snow in Buffy's face, and stood up.
Buffy glared at her, brushed the snow away, then reached for the hand Faith offered to help her up. "You got snow up my sweater," she said, sulking, and tramped back to the beaten path. Faith followed more slowly, trying to ease the chafing of her leather pants--really not the best winterwear--and regain her cool. Away from Buffy, she was freezing, and wet through by the snow-wrassling.
In more than one way.
Jeez, you can't control yourself for five minutes, how you going to last the weekend?
She started it.
Right. That makes it all better, then.
Faith frowned at B's shadow ahead of her, lit by the cabin's windows. "Yeah?"
"I'm sorry I threw a snowball at your head."
"No, you're not."
"Well...not a lot. But some." Buffy reached out as Faith drew level with her and grabbed her hand. "Any outdoor activity earns you hot chocolate, you know."
"It better." But she was smiling again. Damn. Too easy.
"And the snow was scratchy." Wheedling, now.
"Yeah." Faith gave Buffy a light hipcheck. "I'm sorry I dumped you in the snow."
"No, you're not."
"Nope." Faith opened the door to the cabin and let Buffy lead her in. "Not even some."
Joyce glanced up from the romance novel she was reading and gave them a single long look when they came in. "I'm guessing I don't need to know?" she asked mildly.
"Snowball fight," Buffy answered, kicking off her shoes. "So do we get the tour or what? I need clothes from suitcases one, two, and five."
"Five?" Faith asked. She shrugged out of her jacket and tossed it on a stand near the door. "You mean there's more?"
"I packed stuff for you too." Buffy gave her a stern look. "You didn't dress for the weather. I'm not going to spend my weekend waiting on a sick Slayer."
"Nor am I," Joyce called, her nose buried once again in Brazen Desire. "I've had enough of that to last a lifetime."
"Thanks muchly, Mom. Making all that effort to survive the flu seems so worth it now." Buffy rolled her eyes for Faith's benefit and they shared a grin. "The bedroom's upstairs, right?"
"Actually..." Joyce smiled to herself. "I think you'll find what you need down here."
Buffy grabbed Faith and dragged her into the living room in front of Joyce. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?" she asked, practically jumping up and down with excitement.
"What?" Faith asked.
Joyce shook her head ruefully. "I know you're going to want to stay up late and talk about boys and give each other makeovers. And I know that you'd argue about who got the air mattress on the floor. So..."
"Um, I don't--" Faith said, intending to set the matter straight on her participation in these little sleepover rituals of Buffy's, but before she could finish, she got an elbow in the ribs. Buffy glared at her. "Hey--"
"So...?" Buffy lead her mom. "You were saying...?"
"Girls, why don't you two take the master suite? I'll just take the twin bed upstairs. Certainly I don't need the king-size to myself."
"All right! Thanks, Mom," Buffy said, and rushed away to check out the room.
"Yeah, thanks," Faith muttered. The floor sounded safer. But who was she to complain? If this is how B and Red spent their nights...
Joyce patted her shoulder absently, still reading. "You get settled in, and then we can see about dinner," she said.
There was a sudden high-pitched squeal from down the hall. "I think that's my cue," Faith said. She followed after Buffy. Suddenly, an arm snaked out of the room and dragged Faith in by the elbow.
"Look," Buffy cried. "The hot tub is on our balcony." She let go of Faith and bounded across the room. She yanked open the glass doors and danced out, barefoot. "Faith, come on, take a look at this view!"
Faith grinned. There was just no way to not get excited when B was this happy. She sauntered out onto the balcony and aimed a test kick at the hot tub cover. The view was amazing. Buffy was leaning out over the railing, bouncing up to see the road below better, her wet jeans clinging to her, the thin sweater and cold weather leaving very little to the imagination. Which had never stopped Faith before; her imagination immediately went into overdrive.
She laughed. Buffy turned around, surprised, and Faith just shook her head. "You're like a little kid," she said. Then, with a significant look, "You cold, there, B, or just glad to be my roomie?"
Buffy's face became a very amusing shade of red. "I am going to change," she said with as much dignity as she could muster. Which wasn't much, considering how fast she'd crossed her arms.
"Right, you do that." Faith looked up at the stars. She could pick out Orion and the Big Dipper from her time hitchhiking, but out here they seemed so much closer. She looked after Buffy as she passed to go inside. "Hey, B?" she said quietly.
"What, you want to compliment my ass next?" Buffy asked, exasperated, then mumbled, "I knew should've brought a muumuu."
"No." Faith smiled into the dark. "I just wanted to say thanks. For inviting me. It's pretty much the best vacation I've ever had."
Buffy turned back, silhouetted in the doorway. Faith thought she could see an answering smile, and a hint of Buffy's eyes glimmering in the starlight. "Already? We just got here."
"Well, good. I'm glad you came." Buffy shivered. "But I really am going to change now."
"Okay. And B?"
"You've got a gorgeous ass."
"This..." Buffy paused dramatically and waved a ski pole at the panorama
in front of them, "...is a ski hill."
That changed everything.
For the rest of the day, on the ski lifts, on the runs, in the lodge eating lunch, it was all Faith could think about. Before she'd just been thinking that B was a hottie--that much she'd known since she got to Sunnydale--and that it'd do them both a world of good if they could get down and dirty. Sometimes, maybe, she thought about a date, like, a date date with dinner and a movie and beating demons to a bloody pulp to top the evening off, all romantic and shit. The closest they'd come to that was Homecoming, and that wasn't very close at all, what with B out saving the world again. But screwing was screwing and dating was dating and love was--different.
Love was scary, when you got right down to it. Especially when the girl you fell for had no fucking clue.
When the lifts shut off for the day she was exhausted. All her muscles felt like cooked spaghetti. It was better than a full night's slaying, dancing until dawn, and three rounds in the sack with whoever she'd managed to pick up. It was a peaceful kind of tired, like she was happy and for once she didn't have to fight for it.
Plus, B was still giving out those sappy smiles. Jeez, but she was getting mushy. And enjoying it, for frick's sake.
They were bickering easily by the time they reached the lodge at the end of the day. Joyce came out to meet them, a tall man trailing behind her.
"Girls, I'd like you to meet Mark Hewitt," she said. "We met on the ski lift and got to talking, and he's invited us to his New Year's Eve party tomorrow."
Faith gave the guy a half-hearted smile. He seemed nice enough, in an older, stuffy way, kind of like Giles but not so studly. Mrs. S. was pretty pleased with him, though, she could tell. But hell if Faith was going to go to his New Year's party. It'd probably be full of old people sitting around falling asleep before the ball dropped, listening to classical music and enjoying good conversation.
Buffy gave her an agonized look that said exactly what she was thinking: Boring.
"Uh, that's great, Mom. And, thanks, Mr. Hewitt. But, Faith and me--" Buffy squirmed like a bug on a hook under her mom's stare. "We were going to--uh--do something. With the plans, and all the planning we did. By ourselves. You know. Plans. Can't change them, 'cause then you wouldn't call them plans, would you--"
Faith kicked Buffy's shin to shut her up and smiled sweetly when Buffy stuck out her tongue.
The two adults exchanged glances. Mr. Hewitt grinned. "That's too bad; my son will be disappointed."
"Your son?" Buffy asked weakly.
"Yes. He's just over there--Craig!" Mr. Hewitt waved, and they all turned around.
Faith took him in with one glance: tall, dark, handsome, and constructed mainly from cardboard. Buffy's eyebrows shot up, impressed. Damn it. Her eyebrows were not supposed to be impressed. Neither, for that matter, was the rest of her. She half-listened to them exchanging hellos, then grabbed Buffy by the upper arm and started pulling with Slayer strength.
"Um, excuse us, so sorry, be right back," Buffy called over her shoulder as Faith dragged her away. "What?" she asked when they were across the room.
"Are we really goin' to this party?" Faith looked back at Craig over Buffy's shoulder. He was watching them. She narrowed her eyes at him until he turned away.
"I don't know. We were invited, like, five minutes ago." Buffy yanked her arm back to herself. "What's the problem? You like parties."
"Yeah, but with your mom there? I'd rather stay in with a bottle of Jack's. And at least the music would be better."
Buffy twisted and stared at her mom, still deep in conversation with Mark Hewitt. "Do you think she likes him?"
"Mom and this guy. Do you think she's looking for, you know, a stand-in kisser?"
Faith shook her head, lost. "A stand-in kisser?"
"For New Year's. For midnight. You know, someone you get to know just enough so that you're not pathetic and alone when everyone around you has someone to kiss."
"I don't know." Faith folded her arms. Of course that was the sort of thing Buffy thought needed planning. Well, who did she expect to step up when the time came, unless it was Meathead over there, doing the polite thing with Joyce and Mark? Or did Buffy figure that they were supposed to be pathetic together? Joyce was touching Mark's arm and smiling. Yeah, she probably wanted to jump his bones, but if she told B that, she'd wig. "Why, is that what you're looking for? A stand-in?"
"Maybe it's a date." Buffy frowned. "Maybe they'll find out they have so much in common, and oh, look, he's from Sunnydale too, and then before you know it he's reading my journal and making spinach cookies for all the minigolfing picnics we go on."
"B, you're not makin' sense." Faith shifted. "Listen, we'll go, okay? Then you can watch 'em the whole time. Fuck if I care." She was about to stalk off when Buffy put her hand on her arm, eyes wide.
Buffy turned her concerned look on. "What if she wants to bring him back to the chalet?"
Disgusted, she shook free. "Then they can knock boots all night long. Face it, B. No matter what you say, everybody gets horny now and then."
"That's not what I meant!" Buffy chased after her. "I mean, ew, that is what I meant, because--yuck! She's my mother, and--I mean--" She stopped, and Faith twisted on her heel to look at her.
"Yeah, so what did you mean? 'Cause I got the feeling we're not even having the same conversation."
"Just--" Buffy took a step forward. "I don't know. I wanted--I mean, this was supposed to be our weekend. Right?"
Faith studied her boots. This was probably about the Post bitch. The part where Buffy says, 'I think we need to talk'. Fuck that. Aloud, she said, "I guess."
"So. Good, then." Buffy was nodding way too much. Finally she seemed to get control of it and smiled up at Faith. "Uh. So do you wanna try out the hot tub tonight?"
Buffy stepped with exaggerated care through the French doors, staring intently at the two huge mugs of hot chocolate she was balancing. "Here," she said. "I made it just the way you like it."
Faith took her cup and took a sip and nearly choked. "Tastes like you used more Bailey's than actual hot chocolate," she said.
"Nah, it's about even," Buffy said with an assuring wave, nearly slopping her half-full drink over her hand. "Whee. Look at my hand be all wavy."
Faith rolled her eyes. "Don't tell me, you made yours just the way I like it, too."
"Yeah. I think I like you." Buffy turned scarlet and continued to peer into the steam rising from her mug. "I mean. I like hot chocolate. I like it your way."
Faith hid her smile by taking a drink. "Damn, B, how much have you had already?"
"Just a few tests. Had to make sure I got it right." Buffy grinned. "All right. I am plan girl. Here it is: You. Me. Hot tub." She nodded along to her thoughts for a moment. "Yes. That's right. The three of us."
"You're probably going to fall in and drown."
"Aww, c'mon, Faith." Buffy turned the full force of pout and puppy-dog eyes on her. "I wanna show off my swimsuit." With a fake whisper, she added, "I got it on sale."
Faith felt her pulse leap in her wrists at the thought. "Okay, you've convinced me. I'll play lifeguard."
"Ha! So there. I win." Buffy started nodding to herself again, and took another big swallow of her Bailey's-laced drink. "Yummy. This is fun. Are you having fun?"
"Oh, tons. B?"
"I think you've gotta go in again if you want to change."
"You too." Buffy stared at her solemnly. "You're coming too."
Don't I wish.