Written: July 1, 2008
Title: The Loser Wins
Disclaimer: I don't own them or make money from them.
Summary: Casual gaming at the 4th of July Picnic at the Slayer Academy becomes interesting when the loser wins.
The annual 4th of July Picnic at the Slayer Academy in Cleveland seemed to become a bigger and bigger affair every year. What started as a few blankets placed strategically on the side of the hill near the pond for evening firework viewing transformed into a big shindig where parents came to visit and tables and chairs were rented to accommodate the festivities.
For the past two years Buffy thought that maybe they should scale things back a bit. The financial burden wasn't a factor; the school was funded completely by the new Watcher's Council. But the fact that Buffy needed to play the gracious hostess as well as event coordinator, well . . . she really just wanted a 4th of July party where she could sit back, relax, and be an observer. Still, the slayers - especially the younger ones - loved the picnic, and even more they loved that their parents were able to take part in it.
Luckily for Buffy, Andrew and Dawn agreed to take over the planning committee this year. Surprisingly, they'd done a bang up job. There was more than enough food and beverages to go around, there were games and contests going on continually, and cheer was certainly not in short supply.
In fact, Andrew had been so thrifty in planning that he'd actually managed to arrange a private firework display right on the school property.
For her part, Buffy was mostly reclining back in her pink and purple lounge chair in her short-shorts and white tank top, relaxing in the sun and enjoying the good vibe of the day. Faith was nearby as she always seemed to be these days, having a cold bottle of beer and enjoying the fact that Andrew didn't seem to be bothering her for a change. He was too busy leading games in the nearby field.
Buffy sipped from the beer bottle that Faith had brought her, observing the slayers as they partook in a potato-sack race. It was amusing to watch sixteen young girls hopping along for dominance while their parents lagged helplessly behind.
And the three-legged race, well . . . let's just say that more than one slayer ended up carrying her less athletic parent across the finish line.
Both Buffy and Faith smiled at one another as their gazes met across the short distance, a comfortable silence surrounding them. There were no more awkward silences between them. They'd left their tumultuous past behind in Sunnydale and built a steady friendship in its place.
Growing sexual tension aside, they had no problems to speak of.
That was, except for Andrew who came jogging up to them with his megaphone in hand, blocking out their sun and crushing their hopes of a peaceful, Andrew-free afternoon.
"Ladies, we need one more team for the water balloon toss," he panted, out of breath.
"So you do it," Faith said casually. "Team up with Dawn if you're so anxious to get it started."
"I've already found a partner, but we still need one more team. Caitlyn and her Dad have to sit out a few games. He claims to have a sore ankle, but I think his pride is more hurt after being carried through the three-legged race," Andrew explained.
"There's no one else?" Buffy asked, shielding the sun from her eyes with a hand over her brow.
"No. I practically had to beg Kennedy to partner up with me. I also had to agree to take her off of dish washing duty three nights this week."
"Shit, Kennedy is your partner?" Faith asked, sitting forward in her lounger. At Andrew's nod, she stood up and took Buffy's hand, pulling her up as well. "We're gonna have to play too, B. He pops a balloon on her and there's gonna be bloodshed. Can't have that in front of the parents, it's bad for enrollment."
A short walk across the field later and Buffy and Faith found themselves facing each other a few feet apart with all of the other teams in the same position in two straight lines.
"The rules are simple and easy," Andrew said over the megaphone. "The first rule of the water balloon toss . . ."
". . . is never to talk about the water balloon toss," Kennedy said quietly but loud enough for all of the slayers and Andrew to hear.
"Actually, no. You can talk about the water balloon toss with whomever you wish. Dawn will be taking pictures as a memento for the girls," Andrew replied, confused and obviously missing her Fight Club reference. "The first rule is not to let your water balloon pop. If it does, you're disqualified and you step out of the line to let everyone else continue. The second rule is that both partners must take a step back after each successful catch. And third, if your balloon hits the grass and doesn't pop, it's still a good toss. However, you're not allowed to roll your balloon on purpose. Does everyone understand these rules?"
Parents and slayers alike nodded and clapped, excited to get the game started. Andrew put down his megaphone and ran into position across from Kennedy. Willow picked up the megaphone and prepared to start the game.
"When I say 'go', you may begin. I'll say 'go' again once everyone has caught their balloon or moved out of line. Ready? Go!"
All partners began at that, an array of colored balloons crossing the line from one side to the other. Of course it was easy at first, as they were only standing about five feet away from each other. The real fun began when they really had to start tossing far.
"Piece of cake, B," Faith said as she easily caught the small yellow balloon. "We're totally gonna mop the floor with these young punks."
Everyone managed to catch their balloon the first time, so both rows simultaneously took a step back and waited for Willow's prompt to go again.
"The trick is to be gentle," Andrew said, coaching Kennedy who was holding their small red balloon. "Don't squeeze it too hard, and let it just
roll out of your hands in a soft arc. We can . . ." Andrew was momentarily stopped as he caught a red balloon with his face, which caused him to splutter and cough. Kennedy stood opposite him with a huge grin on her face, ignoring the amused looks of everyone else in the contest.
"Guess I used a bit too much oomph, huh," she said before casually stepping out of line and heading back to her chair in the sun.
Andrew pulled a piece of red rubber from his forehead and tossed it to the ground, barely able to keep the pout from his face.
"Well . . . shoot." He stepped out of the line and went and sat next to Willow, his arms crossed over his chest.
Willow was barely able to hold in her chuckle as she announced for everyone to go again.
Slowly but surely, the sound of water balloons popping and girls shrieking with laughter filled the air as they got further and further from one another.
Buffy and Faith were having a good time of it, barely struggling to keep the small yellow balloon intact.
The contest finally came down to the last two teams: Buffy and Faith against Abby and her mother.
"We've got this one totally in the bag," Buffy said as she tossed the balloon easily to Faith, who caught it just as easily.
They took a step back.
"Yup. Not sure about you but I'm not really up for gettin' drenched by this thing," Faith said as she tossed the balloon back to Buffy.
Buffy caught the balloon and smiled, holding it up proudly.
"Oh, I don't know. I always loved water balloons when I was little. It was a nice way to cool down."
They took a step back.
Buffy tossed the balloon over to Faith who caught it, trying very hard to hide her smirk.
"Just remember that you said that, B."
They took a step back.
With an evil glint in her eye, Faith reared back and heaved the balloon at Buffy like she was a pitching for a pro baseball team. Unprepared, Buffy did her best to catch it but was instantly drenched in water as the balloon exploded all over the front of her. She coughed and spluttered, looking at Faith in mock horror as the water dripped down her cleavage and over her stomach, eventually draining into her panties.
"Hey, look at that; I win," Faith laughed as all of the girls gathered around Abby and her mother, the water balloon toss winners.
"Faith!" Buffy scolded half-heartedly. "We lost!"
"Maybe you did, but I totally win."
"How could you possibly win as Abby and her mom are doing a victory dance just over yonder?" Buffy asked, pulling bits of yellow rubber from her chest and arms.
"Well, B," Faith began and paused, a guilty smile creeping up on her lips, "you're wearing a white shirt."
Buffy froze, then looked down in horror as she realized that Faith was right. Her nipples were hard and wet and completely visible through the flimsy white shirt. Looking up quickly, she only saw the retreating form of Faith who was running away, laughing.
Without another second of hesitation, Buffy took off after her, chasing her over the property in a crazy zigzag pattern that Faith was making to avoid being caught. When they neared the large residence building Faith ran through the back door and into the kitchen.
Only when she found herself backed into a corner did she realize what a monumentally bad move that had been.
"Okay, I give, I give!" Faith said, holding her hands up.
"Oh no, you don't get off that easily," Buffy said. She scanned the room quickly and smiled. In a move quicker than it could be stopped, Buffy grabbed the small hose from the kitchen sink and turned it on, completely dousing Faith who tried her best to shield herself using a dessert tray.
After a few moments Buffy cut off the spray and stood proudly, admiring her handiwork.
"There, now you're wet too," she said.
"I'm always wet for you, B" Faith replied back, a sexy grin appearing on her face as the water cascaded from her hair and down her face, running off her full red lips.
"Another innuendo. I'm shocked," Buffy joked.
"Not as shocked I'd be if you actually responded to one of them sometime," Faith laughed, ringing out her drenched hair.
Buffy laughed too and looked down at her sopping wet clothing.
"Ugh. I thought you said we were gonna win, Faith. Now I'm cold and wet and Mr. D'Orazio totally saw my nipples."
Instead of sitting back and letting the opportunity pass, Faith decided to be a bit more proactive this time. Stalking forward slowly, she kept her eyes locked on Buffy's.
"Well, I could totally warm you up if you'd let me. Might get wetter though, which might not be a good thing," she said, her voice husky as she finally reached Buffy, standing just a few inches in front of her.
"Bad. That would be very bad," Buffy said nervously, unable to take her eyes from Faith's full lips as she found herself breathing heavier.
"Yunno . . . there's a way that we could both win, B. Day's not a total loss," Faith teased, trailing her fingertips up Buffy's arm and causing goosebumps.
Buffy shivered and, instead of fighting it this time, she let herself go with the flow. Leaning up, she pressed her lips against Faith's and closed her eyes, getting lost in the sensation of soft lips moving against hers.
The rest of the afternoon went without a hitch outside at the picnic. When a few parents arrived late, Willow decided to take them on a last minute tour of the residence building. They made their way into the house and toward the kitchen where Willow nearly tripped over her own two feet.
She turned around quickly, just in time to stop the parents from walking in as well.
"Change of plans!" Willow said excitedly. "Let's head out back for the firework display. It's going to be starting just after dusk!"
The parents turned around and started heading back outside, passing Andrew along the way.
"Has anyone seen Buffy and Faith? They're going to miss the firework display," he said to Willow as he tried to make his way into the kitchen.
She put out her hand and stopped him.
"Buffy and Faith are . . . otherwise preoccupied with holiday festivities. I'm sure they're seeing fireworks right about now though."
Andrew looked at her suspiciously, then just over her shoulder at something draped over the kitchen door knob.
"Hey . . . isn't that Buffy's shirt?"
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