Written: December 19, 2010
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, nor do I make any money from writing about them.
Summary: A little bit of culture isn't the real reason for Buffy's visit to Japan.
Notes: Written for the Slayers round of the Femslash Minis community on livejournal. Prompts were video games, lip gloss, and sparring, and no angst or lovelorn-Satsu. Takes place during the comics version of Season 8.
The command center in the Japan slaying cell was surprisingly empty save for Buffy and a few glowing computer monitors scattered throughout it. She was surprised to find that there was no one there to greet her but relieved at the same time; it was really difficult to maintain her leader-ish cool when barfing into a metal trash can.
She'd been there before, a few times in fact, but still felt weird just traipsing through the place. After making her way to the nearest bathroom to brush her teeth - she'd learned to keep a toothbrush with her for these less than fresh occasions - she slowly walked from room to room, waiting for some signs of life. Sure it was night and many of the girls would be out on patrol but . . . everyone? Something wasn't right about that. Any large-scale slaying required a call to headquarters in Scotland.
Just as she was beginning to worry, she heard an all too familiar musical sound coming from a room down the hall. She walked quietly down the narrow passageway and stopped at the doorway, grinning as she leaned up against it and crossed her arms over her chest.
"Stupid plumbers. Stop throwing turtle shells at me!" came a girl's voice from within the room and Buffy couldn't help but chuckle.
"If I've told you once I've told you a dozen times," Buffy began, startling the girl who looked over at her and smiled, "they can't understand you when you talk to them."
"Actually, I think it was just once."
Moments later the race ended to a chorus of 'Luigi is the winner!' and Satsu tossed the game controller to the side, shaking her head in frustration.
"Maybe it's just your time to retire from Mario Kart," Buffy suggested.
"Maybe," Satsu agreed with a head nod, then looked over at Buffy and smiled. "So . . . hey."
A few moments passed and when Buffy didn't say anything, Satsu spoke again.
"Not that I'm not happy to see you but what are you doing here? You're about a week early for your monthly inspection. If I'd known you were coming I would have made sure to have the girls sparring in the gym to impress you with my ability to command."
"I'm already impressed with your ability to command. You've been here for four months and everything is perfectly in order," Buffy replied easily. "What I'm not impressed with is your gaming skills."
"Ouch," Satsu laughed. "She comes out swinging."
"Sorry. I have high gaming standards after living with a nerd and a Xander," Buffy said, grinning. "Where is everyone? If they're not training and they're not slaying, I think you have some 'splaining to do, Miss Commander."
"They've had the day off to go into the city for hanami."
Buffy furrowed her brow in confusion. "Hail Mary?"
Satsu laughed and enunciated the word more slowly, "Hanami. It's a cherry blossom festival. They go and have a picnic with hundreds of other people under the blooming cherry blossom trees. Age-old tradition."
"But aren't there like two dozen cherry blossom trees right here in the courtyard?"
"Yep. That doesn't mean the girls didn't deserve some time off though."
Buffy thought about it for a moment and then nodded. "You're right. They deserve some fun now and again. But the question remains, why are they out having fun while you're sitting here getting your butt kicked by Mario and Luigi?"
"Because I deserve some time off now and again too," Satsu said, grinning.
"And that I understand all too well."
Buffy looked around the room and noticed that it was a bit more homey than she remembered it from four months ago, when she'd spent one last night in it with Satsu. There was a table with a vase on it but instead of being filled with flowers, there was an assortment of daggers sticking out of it. The bed was still the same and she accidentally let her eyes linger on it for too long, recalling the things they'd done on that very mattress.
Her eyes snapped back to Satsu who, instead of looking at her with the old admiration and want she used to, was casually flicking through the TV channels.
Trying not to stare, Buffy looked toward the window and noticed a branch of pink and white leaves just outside. Suddenly an idea came to her. It wasn't often she came to Japan for something other than business; maybe it was time to properly experience some culture.
"I have an idea. Let's pack up some food from the kitchen and go and join the girls for some Hand Money. They won't be upset if they see me if they know I've come bearing tasty goodness."
"Hanami," Satsu corrected, laughing again. "But it's dark out now so we're a little late."
"And the universe once again tells Buffy Summers that she's not allowed to have fun," Buffy complained jokingly. She watched as Satsu stood up and slipped on her shoes, then adjusted her ponytail in a small mirror on the wall.
"If we hurry we can have some fun too," Satsu said, glancing back at her in the mirror. "There's a village just a few minutes down the road. It might be too late for hanami but you can still experience the night festival, yozakura."
"Oh, I've experienced plenty of yowza's with you," Buffy replied coyly, looking at Satsu through her eyelashes.
Okay, so maybe she was making the reason for her visit a little bit more blatant than she'd planned. She still hadn't quite convinced even herself that it was the reason why she'd come in the first place, but seeing Satsu now and the look on her face - raised eyebrows and small smirk, lips glistening from her cinnamon lip gloss - well, yep, consider herself convinced.
"Right, I'll stick to English then. I'm thinking the language barrier is one giant hurdle that's too big for you to cross."
Buffy was confused. Was that . . . ?
"Was that a size joke?"
Satsu laughed, "No, it's just that I'd correct your pronunciation but I think that's pretty much a lost cause with you."
"The lostest," Buffy said with a nod. "Giles has taken to color-coding demons so I don't have to use their names anymore. Now it's just 'the purple and yellow polka dot demon' and so forth. Much easier."
"Does everyone pander to you like that?" Satsu teased.
"Only because I'm often adorable, or so I've been told."
She batted her eyelashes for emphasis and Satsu chuckled softly. Still, it didn't seem like she was going to play Buffy's game - or give in that easily - because she shook her head and started towards the door.
"Come on. We've got to get a move on if you want to enjoy the festivities."
Only slightly deterred, Buffy awkwardly got up from the beanbag and followed Satsu down the hall and out of the house, stopping immediately once they'd reached the outer courtyard. The cherry blossom trees were in full bloom and their sweet fragrance perfumed the warm night air. There were some paper lanterns lit around the perimeter and the whole scene was really just breathtaking.
"Now I can see why you like Japan so much," Buffy said in wonder.
Satsu looked back at her and then glanced around the courtyard as well, nodding gently. "It has its good points. Besides that, I have a good setup here. Work is good. Things are good."
"Everything?" Buffy asked, stepping slowly closer.
"Buffy, if you're asking in your roundabout way if I miss you, the answer's yes but I'm not dwelling on it. Things are going good for me. We parted on good terms and I have no regrets. I like my life. I don't sit and think about the what-if's; I just appreciate what was had and look forward to finding something great again. It won't be with you and that's cool."
"It could be with me," Buffy said quietly, stopping just in front of Satsu and looking into her eyes.
Satsu furrowed her brow in confusion. "Maybe in another universe. A gayer universe," she said, grinning for just a second at that last part. "But you know what I mean. You're a great girl, Buffy. Just turns out that you're straight and I'm not, so I think that means mmph . . ."
Her words were cut off by the soft press of Buffy's lips against hers. Buffy kissed her softly, slowly, but let it grow into something longer and deeper as the seconds passed by. Soon Satsu's arms were around her and things were getting good . . . and that was when Buffy felt hands on her shoulders pushing her back gently until there was a few inches of space between them.
Satsu looked confused but turned on and Buffy instantly relished the taste of the cinnamon lip gloss that was now lingering on her lips.
"In case you haven't figured it out yet, that means I miss you too," Buffy finally said.
"And you're suddenly gay?"
"Well," Buffy began thoughtfully, "I figure that's something I'm gonna need to work out. I expect that it'll require lots of experimentation and homework; studying aplenty. But I'm sure that with some dedication on both our parts, I can ace the oral exam."
Satsu laughed aloud at that and dared to let her hands find Buffy's hips.
"And who would I report your grades to?" she asked.
"God, no one!" Buffy replied looking slightly horrified. "They know why I came here but they can never know my bedroom score. I'd have to kill them all and really, I like my friends."
"So . . . you told them why you were coming?"
"Willow helped me pack my bags," Buffy said with a nod. "Faith is running the Scotland cell for a while. You're getting twenty new girls this week and I figured you could use the extra help here."
"Ah, so you came to take over," Satsu said with a nod, an annoyed look flickering across her face just momentarily.
"You're still in charge," Buffy quickly clarified. "If I can help I will, but that's not why I came here; I know you can handle it on your own. What I came here for . . . is you. I guess the only question now is if you want me here. With you."
Satsu studied her for nearly a minute, trying to find something in her eyes. Whatever it was, she must have found it cos she suddenly took Buffy's hand and started leading her back into the house. Buffy resisted just a little, dragging her feet to slow them down.
"If you're dragging me to the command room to send me back to Scotland, I may have to kick your ass and blame it on a sparring incident," Buffy said as she stumbled along behind her.
"Are you kidding? I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth."
"Then what are you . . .?"
"I believe I promised you yowza," Satsu said, grinning slightly at Buffy's earlier word, "so I'm going to give you yowza before the house fills back up with twenty five snooping slayers."
Smiling, Buffy let herself be led into the house and actually managed to keep up this time, eager to see where the night - and the future - would lead.
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