Chapter One

Buffy couldn’t help but laugh at the girl in front of her.

“You really think highly of yourself, don’t you,” she asked.

“What? All I said is that I have this wicked ability to make people do . . . things . . . they wouldn’t normally do. Call it a . . . hidden talent,” Faith replied evenly, trying to look as relaxed as possible.

Buffy laughed again.

“Explain. You mean, if I didn’t want to eat this plum,” Buffy held up the plum she was about to eat for lunch, “but you wanted me to, you could make me do it?”

Faith shrugged.

“Nah, that’s not really what I mean. But . . . yunno what? Yeah, I bet I could get you to eat that plum if I really wanted you to,” she added, sounding really sure of herself.

Buffy raised her eyebrows in response.

“Oh really?” She decided to put Faith up to a little challenge, sure that there was no way that she could lose. “Okay, Faithy. Do you dare to prove it?” She asked rather condescendingly.

Faith just shrugged, trying to look uninterested and nonchalant about it. If there was one thing Faith didn’t do, it was lose. No way was Buffy going to best her.

“Alright, B. I’m in. I’ll give you a little demonstration. BUT . . . once I win, you have to let me do another challenge. One that I choose. Deal?”

Buffy thought about it. She had better willpower than anyone she knew. There was no way Faith and her phony hidden talent could make her fold. She smirked as she nodded at Faith.

“You’ve got yourself a deal. Now, back to this totally unappetizing plum that lies before me. I don’t think I want it anymore,” she said, trying to look as indifferent as possible.

Faith looked at the plum as if it puzzled her. “Right, I could see why you wouldn’t want it. Probably rotten. Then again . . .” she picked it up began to inspect it, “it could be perfectly ripe. Perfectly delicious.”

She rolled the plum around in her hands, studying it from every angle. In this case, she had resorted to using basic psychology: she would make the discarded object seem as appealing as possible. She had to rationalize it in her head, making sure that her strategy would work.

‘ If a child, Child A, has two toys, a firetruck and a football, he will choose one toy as his favorite and will discard the second. If Child B comes along and picks up the discarded item, it suddenly becomes a prized possession again in the eyes of Child A. The discarded object is suddenly desired by someone other, so it must have some sort of special value to it, and therefore, it must be reclaimed as the property of Child A.’

Faith smiled to herself, happy with the logic and reasoning that she had just come up with. College was finally paying off, despite what she originally believed when Giles told her she should enroll. She chose to continue in the direction that she started.

“Yep . . . perfectly delicious. Yunno, judging from the texture and softness of this plum, I’d be willing to guess that it’s sweet . . . and juicy . . . and even kinda sugary.”

She looked up at Buffy, who was now looking at the plum as if she wanted it back.

Buffy noticed that Faith had caught her looking, so she tried to appear uninterested. She pulled a rice-cake out of her bag and began to nibble on it.

Faith inwardly smiled, knowing that things were going just as planned.

“Hey B, you sure you don’t want this instead? I mean . . . look at it. It’s pure plum perfection!” She looked at Buffy who kept her eyes on the rice cake but was listening to every word that she was saying. Faith knew that she’d already won, so she decided to go for the big final move.

“Alright B. You don’t want this plum? Fine. I didn’t bring any lunch with me and I don’t have money to buy some.” She noticed Buffy watching her out of the corner of her eye.

Without another word, Faith raised the plum up to her full, dark lips. She opened up her mouth, about to take a huge bite, when Buffy grabbed it out of her hand and sunk her own teeth into it.

Faith smirked as she looked at the petite blonde in front of her, chewing down a mouthful of plum. She knew she was going to win from the beginning, and now she had.

“What?!?” Buffy asked around a mouthful of plum, trying her best to sound incredulous. “I wasn’t about to let you eat my plum, Faith. You eat everything else in my fridge, I’m not about to let you get this too.”

“Whatever you say, B. I still won. You said you didn’t want it, soI said a few words, worked my magic, and now here you are, enjoying plum-y goodness. That was too easy. I’m gonna love the next challenge.”

Buffy shook her head and put the half-eaten plum down on a napkin, giving herself a moment to organize her thoughts.

“No, Faith. There will be no ‘next challenge’. You cheated, thereby giving up your right to claim another challenge,” she said, clearly pushing her luck.

“What!?” Faith yelled. “I didn’t cheat, B. I told you I could get you to eat that plum, and I did. We didn’t establish any guidelines, just the basic goal. Don’t be a sore loser.”

Buffy huffed for a moment, then put on her patented pout.

“What are you gonna make me do,” she asked Faith with a slight whine in her voice.

Faith shrugged, not having given it much thought yet.

“I don’t know yet, B. We’ll talk about it tonight on patrol. Then we can establish your guidelines so that we don’t have to go over the whole ‘sore-loser’ thing again, ‘kay?”

“Fine,” Buffy replied, sounding very much like a scorned schoolchild.

Faith couldn’t help but laugh.

“You’re adorable when you pout, B.”

Buffy looked up at her, taken aback by what she just said.

“Anyways,” Faith continued, “gotta motorvate. Got English Lit & Poetry in ten minutes. I’ll check ya later.”

With that said, she got up and made her way to the building just across the quad. Buffy watched her walk away until she disappeared through the door, then sighed loudly.

“Oh god, what did I get myself into this time?” Buffy said to no one in particular as she gathered up her bag and headed to her next class.

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