Prompt #6: Alley

Preemptive Strike

There are very few things about Buffy that Faith doesn't like or can't put up with. She's learned to accept that every time she kisses Buffy, her lips are going to get covered in Buffy's lipgloss. That even if it only takes her fifteen minutes to get ready, it takes Buffy an hour. That it's okay for Buffy to make her wait forty-five minutes while she's getting ready, but if Faith makes her wait for three minutes while she's killing the endgame boss on her favorite Xbox game, there's be hell to pay.

Faith is nothing if not an adaptable girl. Besides, she loves Buffy like crazy so loving everything about her kind of comes with the territory.

But the one thing she absolutely cannot stand is Buffy's need to win. Whether it's jogging with the slayers, playing Monopoly, or even racing Faith upstairs to their room, Buffy always has to win. If she's not the best, she takes to moping or being silently angry which is far worse than actually losing to her in the first place.

Faith doesn't mind losing to Buffy. In fact, she generally benefits from it in one way (sex) or another (well . . . sex). But the thing is, she can't force the others to lose. She's learning this the hard way.

Everyone's decided to have a fun group night out, which is why they've ended up in the world's tiniest bowling alley in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio. The shoes they've had to rent are older than most of them are, but they put the funky old bowling shoes on anyhow and set up the alley, writing their names on the score sheets as two opposing teams. Buffy, Faith, Andrew, and Giles are pitted against Kennedy, Willow, Xander, and Dawn. Things seem fairly balanced . . .

. . . until Faith finds out that Giles has never once held a bowling ball and that Buffy seems to think that a 'strike' is actually called a touchdown.

Yes, really.

Once again she's resigned to losing, but with Buffy on her team she knows that isn't an option. Andrew was on the school bowling team and Faith practically grew up at the alleys in Boston, so they're really going to have to pick up the slack, especially when Buffy gets a gutter ball on her first two tries and Giles loses his grip and sends the ball flying backwards - twice - making everyone behind him dive out of the way to avoid being hit.

"I think the lane might be a little bit crooked," Buffy says under her breath as she comes to sit down next to Faith. At that very moment, Kennedy tosses the ball down the exact same lane and gets a nice loud strike. Buffy's left eye twitches almost unnoticeably. Almost. "Or maybe it's just my ball."

"Here, try mine, babe," Faith says. She gives Buffy the ball and a supportive smack on the ass as Buffy walks toward the lane again.

Buffy stands on the left side of the lane and throws the ball into the right gutter, then stands on the right side and lands the ball in the left gutter. Everyone laughs, including Willow who has to hold the ball in both hands and roll it down the alley like a child. Buffy pretends to laugh along with them but Faith knows that she's silently stewing in her own rage. It's all fun and games but when Mount Buffy erupts, they're all in danger.

Especially Faith.

She has to share a bed with that damn volcano!

Deciding to do some damage control, Faith comes up with a plan. She grabs Buffy by the hand and drags her away from the lane and back to the bar where Faith orders two pitchers of beer for the gang. While the bartender prepares their trays, Faith turns to Buffy and puts on the act of a lifetime.

"So I was thinking," she begins, and despite Buffy's obvious inner tension, she glances over at Faith and waits for her to continue. "The teams aren't exactly fair. I mean . . . two slayers and one pro-bowling nerd against one slayer, one teenager who's afraid to move her feet in her rental shoes, a guy with one eye and zero depth perception, and . . . well, Willow. She's about as good as Giles."

"And your point is?" Buffy asks.

"The point is we should let them win this one. They ain't ever gonna wanna come out with us if we're constantly whupping them. We give them this one, let them have their victory dance tonight, and then next week? We challenge them to a game of flag football in the backyard. That's when we whup them good to set them back in their place."

Buffy seems to think about it for a moment, her eyes focused on their group of friends who happen to be the only people bowling in the entire building. The sound of pins crashing echoes throughout the lanes and Kennedy and Xander give each other a high five as they celebrate their simultaneous strikes.

"I'm in," Buffy replies without an ounce of hesitation. "Besides, I'm so much better at football. You set up the plays and I'll get the homeruns."

She leans up and gives Faith a quick kiss on the cheek, then grabs one of the two trays from the bartender and makes her way back to the gang, a little bit of extra spring in her step.

Faith just watches her and groans softly, knowing that next week is going to be equally disastrous. She holds two fingers up to the bartender and he pours her two shots of Jack Daniels which she quickly downs. He takes the glasses away and she turns back toward the lanes, watching as Buffy lands yet another gutter ball much to the group's amusement.

Chuckling softly to herself, Faith grabs the second tray and heads back toward the lanes, wondering if it would just be easier to let Giles maim her with his backward ball-throwing ability so that they can put off the football game for a few weeks.

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