H.G.O.G.A in the ‘Brary
"You got the tix already. Why don't we go together?" Faith suggested, as they took a break from sparring in the library to replenish fluids.
"The tix" to which she referred were to the school's homecoming dance at the Bronze.
Buffy closed her water bottle, smiling gratefully at her sister slayer. "I don't know about that."
She knew the reason Faith was offering. Because she had no date. Between the bus crash and the election campaign, Veronica was kind of consumed at home, so she wasn't getting her hopes up. But Faith didn't know she had a girlfriend yet. And her girlfriend didn't quite know how hot Faith was yet. Even with platonic intentions, it could get...messy.
"Come on. We'll find a couple studs, we'll use 'em and...discard 'em. That's always fun." The brunette took a swig from her bottle.
"Um, see, the thing is...my life's been stud-free, happily free, for a while now, so..."
Or it had been until Angel fell back into the blonde's life, which again, Faith didn't know yet. No one did.
Giles emerged from his office, then. "Are you both sure--?"
Someone's voice stopped him.
"Is it true? Does Carrie actually go here? Because that'd be awesome. She's the last autograph I need to finally complete the can."
Buffy knew that voice. Veronica Mars had just pushed through the doors of the Sunnydale High Library--a.k.a., "Scooby Meeting Central"--and was giving the place a look-see.
The petite slayer tried to walk over as nonchalantly as possible, but couldn't keep the broadening smile from breaking out. "You're addicted to stealing from Tom Hanks...you have a problem. What if he didn't make movies?"
Veronica shook her head as if to banish such a horrible thought. "That's a world I don't wanna think about...you know Zoltar's my comedic rock."
Next thing she knew, she was in her girlfriend's arms, and there were lips, tongue, and lips and tongue. After, she smacked her lips together like she just had a tasty meal.
"Solid 7.8. Pretty good. Though, full disclosure? I was hoping for perfect tens."
Buffy smirked. "Tens are how?"
"Shouldn't be able to feel my face. I mean, it's been a relatively long absence...your heart *could* be a little fonder."
"Maybe if I wasn't doing all the work, and someone started remembering that making out is a two-person thing..." Buffy complained, and Veronica stuck out her tongue. "Hey."
"Hey." Then the detective saw perspiration. "Have you been sweating to the oldies again?"
"Been holdin' out on me, B," Faith interjected from her spot over by the book cage.
This drew Veronica's attention, and following a split second appraisal of the Bostonian's form and cocky grin, missiles were armed. She looked to her girlfriend with raised, "What do we have here?" eyebrows.
"Looks like you were both sweating to the oldies...all of them. Richard Simmons would be thrilled."
Buffy tried to say something, tried not to look guilty (because really, was omission that big of a crime?), but every time her mouth moved, no sound came. Except when she whimpered and went to hide by Giles, who was still wiping his glasses at the office door. Veronica went over to Faith.
"That would be Veronica, I assume?" He asked.
His charge nodded mutely. She looked at the door. "Does that lock?"
Veronica seemed to study the quite sexy (and much, much more butch than either of them) Faith. She cocked her head to one side, then a few seconds later, cocked it to the other. At one point, she seemed to cup the air in front of her chest, and frown. Then she moved, getting both side angles.
"Your girl have pills she isn't poppin'?" Faith wondered. "Not sayin' it ain't a great view..."
Buffy wisely didn't answer, considering she was trying to disappear. Which she did, backing into the office.
Veronica kept researching for a good thirty seconds more, and then she stuck her hands in the pockets of her jeans, and bit the corner of her mouth.
"Hell. The one time I forget to pack a tape measure." Beat. "If you still want an escort to the ball--who'll don the appropriate, feminine attire without protest--best show yourself."
Buffy poked her head out. Only her head. "What...kind of attire?"
She didn't trust it. Could've been a trick.
Ralph Macchio's a Bitch
"Just feel better when I get my strength back," said Buffy as she sat at the kitchen island, trying fruitlessly to open a jar of peanut butter.
Her strength had been sapped by the injected, chemical concoction Giles secretly administered for the Council's rite of passage test that they forced her to endure. Because she was lucky enough to have reached eighteen years of age. She still didn't know if she could trust him again, but that he got fired standing up for her, helped.
So, powers on hiatus, face bruised and cut, and now she couldn't open a jar. In front of everyone. Her mom stood behind and to her right, Veronica behind and to the left, Oz was over in the corner near the sink, and Willow was at the island's far end. Xander stood opposite her, on the other side of the island.
He held his hand out. "Give ya a hand with that, little lady?"
She begrudgingly gave it to him; she was against birthdays from here on out.
"You're loving this far too much."
"Admit it--sometimes you just need a big, strong man." He turned and turned his wrist, putting all his strength into it. "Heh. Uh, Will, gimme a hand with that?"
All females present shot him a bemused, "Big, Strong Man, huh?" look.
Willow twisted it off easily, then set it down. "Or a ‘Me.'"
"Know which one I'd go with," Oz commented.
Willow smiled, then after a beat, frowned in uncertainty, turning her head towards him. "A-a ‘Me,' right?"
"Not that we'd judge if...you know," Xander jokingly reassured. "'Cause you'd make ‘gay' cool."
Blond heads focused on him, warningly.
"Cool-er. *Er*. Over on our side. Your side's already...yeah. It's Xander's ‘quiet time.'"
Veronica moved a little so Buffy could see her without turning.
"I'm the one who'll be loving it most. Because as long as your metachlorian count's low," Buffy's girlfriend got her karate chops prepared, "that long distance, ‘Karate Kid' marathon from last weekend is finally gonna start paying dividends. Who's waxed off now?"
She moved her hands around menacingly, before doing her best Ivan Drago. "I will break you."
Perhaps the high from her first, vampire staking a few nights ago hadn't worn off.
Buffy just stared a moment, then slid the jar over. "Make me peanut butter and jelly. I'm injured," she smiled evilly. "My mom says you have to."
Joyce shrugged. "She *is* injured."
A double team was one thing, but Veronica had no choice but to lower her arms upon parental interference. What a cheap tactic.
"Shoulda waxed on first." Xander critiqued, ending "quiet time."
Oz concurred. "Rookie mistake."
Why Kate Beckinsale Should Stay Out of Dark Alleys
"Whatcha doin' there, Mac-y?" Veronica inquired as she walked up to the Slushie Booth, seeing Mac sitting inside while Cassidy fought with the machine.
"Keepin' Beaver company," answered the hacker with a broad smile.
"That sounds fun." She was happy for her friend, who was now apparently part of a couple.
One of the many couples milling about Neptune High's transformed, outdoor cafeteria. She was part of a couple, too. But today she was just one. Usually that didn't bother her, going it solo, adrift in a sea of high school hormones. Which she had to navigate to recover a stolen cashbox and clear her name. At least she knew how to do that--she did so daily.
Mac smiled impossibly broader. "That's ‘cause it is."
Then she kind of looked past the detective, her smile becoming a grin.
Veronica didn't get a chance to turn. A hand grabbed her in the rear...by her belt buckle. When she smiled, her tongue pressed behind her teeth. No one else would dare, not even Dick.
"Better be who I hope you are. I've got ‘Sexual Harassment Panda' on speed dial." On that note, she felt the grip loosen, so she turned. And frowned. "You're not Kate Beckinsale."
"That's a bad thing since why? My face would be all swollen and bruising and...'Michael Jackson'-nosed," Buffy responded to that, grumbling. "From the constant self-punching. Forever."
"And ever?" Veronica asked in child-like wonderment, followed by an audible and visible wince. "Swear it wasn't premeditated. ‘Keira Knightley'? *Right* there. On the tip of my--"
She edited herself just as her girlfriend's arms crossed. "And coming in at #4 on the list of phrases not to use when you've decided the ‘L Word' might be onto something..."
"So how," Buffy said, her own smile near to Veronica's and forgiving of the tongue-slip, "open is your closet?"
Veronica pulled apart the sides of the green jacket she wore, and said low, "Off the hinges--I let it all hang out." Beat. "Didn't think you were gonna make it."
"If my mom asks, I showed three hours later than now. ‘Cause I attended all classes." The slayer's grin didn't seem all that guilty. "And training's out till I'm full-strength."
"You're committing truancy? For me?" Veronica put her "scheming" face on. "Why wasn't I told that I held this kind of power?"
"You and power and knowing you have equals ‘scary.'" Buffy didn't beat around the bush on that one. "Did that need saying? Nuh-uh."
Veronica's response was to hide her mouth behind her hands--pressed together in a prayer position--letting her eyes sparkle with mischief, and the brows above them rise.
"Uh, besides how she nukes the self-esteem of teenage girls across America who've got reflections," Mac piped up from inside the booth, "why else would you hate..."
Veronica turned back around, rapidly gesturing for her to desist.
"...Kate Beckinsale?" Mac finished her question anyway.
"Movies. Three. Two where she's reflection-less." Buffy was ready to go off. "Van Helsing," She counted off on her fingers, "Underworld, Underworld: De-Evolution. They were just...and she...I mean, *one*, fine. I forgave. But *three*? Do your homework!"
There was a vein in her forehead that looked ready to burst, and she looked like she was trying not to strangle the air. She had so much hate she couldn't even get it out.
"Isn't just me, either. One night, for an hour, this vam--"
Veronica cleared her throat loudly to try to stop the tirade before it exposed things that should stay hidden. "She gets it."
"I do?" Mac asked, confused, and she was fixed with a pointed stare. Oh, of course. "I do."
Cassidy didn't. "You do?"
His girlfriend nodded. "I do."
"Come back to me, Jennifer Walters." Veronica's arms made like they were pulling back the air.
To this, Cassidy grinned, and Mac was again confused. "You got that?"
"She-Hulk," he shrugged, and went back to trying to fix the machine. "I think the machine broke."
"The ice is jammed. Just break it up with a screwdriver," advised Veronica, having mastered the art during her shift at the booth.
Buffy's eyebrow quirked. "There's earning of alcohol with Pirate Points now?"
"The tool, honey." Veronica then flashed tongue at her. "Not that Student Council hasn't tried."
"Great," Cassidy said, annoyed. "I just lent it to Jackie."
Veronica's mind was instantly back on the case. The girl was also a suspected, cashbox thief, as she was the now-reviled daughter of Terrance Cook, who might have blown up the bus.
"Jackie asked to borrow a screwdriver? Did you see where she went?"
He looked around. "She was just--"
"Buffy Summers." Principal Van Clemmons had joined them all suddenly, curtailing the search. "I seem to remember expelling you from Neptune High."
"That was a ‘forever' thing?" The expellee asked, in her best "innocent" voice.
Still liked him better than Snyder.
Veronica added, spotting Jackie heading into the school, "And ‘ever' thing?"
"I have money." Buffy pulled out her wallet and showed it off. "To spend. Here."
The detective grabbed her girlfriend's hand and pulled her along towards the bathroom. "Long as she's with me, she won't even burn a Dura-Flame log, Mr. C!"
"No," protested Buffy. "I hafta buy a Pep-Squad Pie then do something where Madison's face's involved. I've been waiting. Years."
"All in good time," Veronica assured her. "Don't you wanna see my office?"
Murder, Mugging and Morons...Oh My
"Let your freak flag fly, ladies!" Dick called after the newly-outted Kylie and Marlena, as they walked down the Neptune High hallway.
Veronica's reaction as she walked up to him? "How progressive of you, Dick."
She might've been disingenuous in her compliment. At least that was one couple she didn't have to prevent the "Pizza Boy Mugger" from blackmailing. She almost wished she wasn't "out," so she could take this case just a little more personally.
"Damn. What is it with you? Do you follow me around for fun, or what?" He tried to be humorous, but like all those other times it was intentional, he didn't pull it off.
"Would it help if I started making out with *my* girlfriend in the hall?"
He perked up at this. "*Yeah*, obviously. I'd so pay."
She nodded, having expected such an answer. Silently, she retrieved her call phone and dialed.
After a couple rings, "Hey, bad time? Because it's been requested that we publicly display our affections. Just thought I'd let you know. There was talk of compensation." Getting a response, she smiled unsettlingly at Dick, but talked to Buffy on the other end. "Didn't even need to guess."
She held the phone out to him. "It's for you."
Dick took a couple steps backward. "I don't want that."
Veronica looked surprised. "You're sure?" She watched him take off in the opposite direction, random pal in tow. "I expect a check to appear magically in my hand by the end of the day!"
Because he owed her for hitting her car. Not because there was going to be H.L.A for cash.
"So," Veronica said to the significantly more pleasant person on her phone, beginning to walk through the hall, "how *you* doin'? Need anything? I.D.s faked? Bodies hidden? I know a good landfill."
Listening, she froze in mid step. "Hold on."
Then she was running into the bathroom. Once inside, she shoved the stopper under the door, before going from stall to stall looking to make sure she didn't see any feet.
"Okay, from the top. You and Faith what?"
#We...on patrol...we killed someone. It was an accident. I wasn't thinking--we weren't. I thought he was a vamp, an-and I grabbed him, and then Faith...I watched him die. God, his eyes were...#
"Give me two hours," said Veronica, not liking the tone in her girlfriend's voice.
#No, it's...don't. You don't wanna be here.#
"Oh yeah I do."
#I'm serious. Faith's losing it, and the cops, they're...I think I'm a suspect. The paper said he was the deputy mayor.#
The teen detective's eyebrows hit the roof. "Deputy mayor, eh? Checking out Sunnydale's back alleys. At night. Either he was hoping Roxanne would put on that red light one more time, or, he knew exactly what he was strolling into. And because I get happy when there's corruption in City Hall..."
As quick as she started to latch onto that bone, she dropped it just as quick.
"Two hours. This? Why support systems were invented."
#Support after. I want. But I'm calling because I need help--private detecting help. Giles talked to the Council...they already knew. Means it was Wesley who spilled. Giles said they'll probably send people to ‘rehabilitate' Faith. I don't trust Wesley, and I *really* don't trust them. Not after my birthday.#
Veronica didn't like the word "rehabilitate." Not in this context.
"Welcome to my worldview," she exhaled. "I'll make a call. You've got a P.I. in your backyard that, luckily, owes Dad a favor. Other than legally trying to change his name to ‘Sam Spade,' he's on level. And the guy can tail like nobody's beeswax. Soon as I haggle him down, I'll text you the address."
#Thanks, Veronica. I'll let you know what's happening.#
Veronica heard the smile. "Damn well better. ‘Cause I still object."
#Support after. Meant that.#
"Buffy? Watch your back."
#Only if you watch yours.#
They hung up with each other. Veronica was even less eager to face Neptune High now. Tempted to screw the case.
She was here trying to solve the mystery of a bus crash she felt guilty over, and more immediately, trying to keep gay students closeted. All while her best friend was there, being a murder suspect. What a great year this was.
Didn't like it. Nope. Nuh-uh.
On her way out of the bathroom though, she still made the call.
Van Morrison Was Wrong
"Um...'You know, Cassandra, from this height, you could really hawk-a-lugie on someone,'" Buffy quoted as they stood outside on the balcony of Logan's penthouse suite.
"Damn it. I knew you'd go there," complained Veronica, looking out at the town of Neptune on "Alterna-Prom Night." "That was mine."
"Hey, I didn't make you pick 'Evita' last turn."
They were out here--Veronica in a strapless, backless, black dress; Buffy in red satin, borrowed from Veronica--passing the time by trying to quote famous, balcony movie scenes. An activity inspired by their current location, away from the predominantly 09er crowd that partied their rich hearts out back inside.
"You think you didn't, but you did. Madonna/'Mo'/Esther, post-1992? We've never seen eye-to-eye. And yet," Veronica pointed at her vocal chords, "forced to sing. Hope you hate yourself."
Her fingers drummed on the balcony wall.
"There's always the obvious," Buffy reluctantly pointed out.
Veronica's palm plugged up her girlfriend's mouth. "I'd rather drag a lip plate through the halls of Neptune High, drooling involuntarily for the rest of my four-year sentence."
She freed up Buffy's word hole. "Thought we agreed it was an unspoken rule."
"It is," Buffy reaffirmed. "Ever since they made us watch in English class so we'd hopefully relate better," she continued. "Except it just made hating Shakespeare feel allowed."
Veronica's hand turned in an encouraging, "go on" motion.
Well, after, "A hate equaled only by that which you direct inwards, I'm sure."
"Shut up," Buffy smiled playfully, and hooked her arm around Veronica's. "Anyway, when she's suddenly, yunno, *stabbing herself in the chest*? Over him dying at the end? Was there sense that I missed? She was dumb for loving him in the first place, even. He was so--"
"--DiCaprio?" Veronica nodded agreeably. "Got plenty a'bones I'd love to pick with Baz Luhrmann. Quoting that one means he wins, and I refuse to surrender under pressure."
"Means *I* win."
"Hold your horses, Horatio. Finding a towel this fluffy doesn't happen everyday--ain't throwin' it in," Veronica exhaled.
Never let it be said she didn't go down swinging.
She quoted, "'Mind if I bum a fag?' 'What do I care? You can bum whoever you...Oh.'"
Her scowl then met a slayer's grin.
"Not a movie," Buffy stated the obvious.
"Yes, she came up empty. Unbelievable but true. Thank god the next blue moon is years away."
"So. Win. Me." Buffy couldn't bask very long, because she shivered. "Dressing up leads to chilly."
"Remember the temperature inside?" Veronica asked. "Why, you could almost see frost."
To say they didn't get a warm reception from their peers...would be underselling. Silent contempt, leering and low jeering drove them out here. Didn't help that Mac wanted Veronica water-tortured, and that Jackie and Wallace had abandoned them to get their freak on.
"It's Neptune," shrugged Buffy, taking Veronica's usual line. "And we're putting the 'alterna' in 'Alterna-Prom.' And they're not Marsipan-fans. M'not shocked."
She pulled Veronica away from the balcony and drew her close. "For body heat."
"So... I'm being used," Veronica deduced, all the while snaking her arms around her girlfriend's back. "Guess I'm not shocked, either. But that's otay, 'cause I'm turning us down a two-way street, and getting something outta this--it's a marvelous night for a moondance. Chop, chop, Dumbers."
Buffy frowned. "These shoes don't dance."
"If somebody wants to bop horizontally later, they better learn." Veronica smiled as feet began to slow dance, and shut her eyes, feeling peaceful despite the enemy territory. "Scrappy Doos from Hell notwithstanding? Your prom was actually more traditional. Dunno what that says."
"Huh? I'm thinking about bopping."
There was banging on the sliding, glass door to their right. Dick Casablancas stood on the other side, the straw to his "Party Pig" in mouth. He was exclaiming something. Something less than classy, no doubt.
"You aren't alone." Veronica blanched at the sight of him. "Grabbed a sheet like I suggested, we could be escaping over the side right now."
Buffy's eyes narrowed. "This is my fault?"
"No," Veronica replied, "it's your fault you drew the short stick when it came to superpowers. Because if you hadn't, we'd be flying, and you'd be redeemed."
"Then you'd be Lois. 'Margot-Lois,'" the slayer verbally slayed.
The detective had a sudden attack of acid reflux. "Cease-fire. We're even, Steven." Upset, she groaned. "Only way out's over hot, drunken coals, isn't it?"
"I seriously wish I wasn't wearing these shoes."