Since it was a Bank Holiday this week in Britain, I won't get to see the latest Season 8 comic until tomorrow. I gather it's been as controversial as usual... So to take everybody's mind off the furore, here is a fluffy, funny fic I wrote recently.
You may spot that it has something in common with the last one I wrote last week, 'In The Night', although this one is very different in mood. And also mostly non-porny. Mostly.
Title: Going Shopping
Characters: Buffy, Willow, Xander
Setting: Early Season 8
Warning: adult concepts
When you're living in a seret base in Scotland with over a hundred Slayers, shopping trips take on a whole new meaning...
The Land Rover jolted as it went over a particularly deep pothole in the road, and Willow flung her arm out to stop herself toppling over. From the driver's seat, Xander called out an apology. But Willow replied cheerily "I'm fine!", then turned over the next page of the printout in her lap and whistled in awe.
"Teabags: six times four hundred and forty? You get through two thousand, six hundred and forty cups of tea per month?"
"Did you just calculate that in your head?" Buffy, riding shotgun up next to Xander, sounded as awed as Willow had been.
"Um, yeah. That's a heck of a lot of tea."
"Personally," chipped in Xander, "I think we should throw it all into the sea in Inverness harbour. It would be the patriotic thing to do."
"Could we dress up as Indians?" asked Buffy perkily.
"I think you'll find the correct term is Native Americans."
"No, Indians. I'd look cute in a sari."
"Annnyway.. next item: coffee, 750 gram tins...why don't they use English measurements in England, anyway?"
"This is Scotland, Will."
Buffy snorted with laughter. "Don't you dare let any of the locals hear you say that."
"I can take 'em. buh... fifty? Fifty 750 gram tins of coffee? Wouldn't that weigh more than me?"
"I never make statements on women's weight", replied Xander cautiously, "But there's a reason we always bring at least one person with superstrength along on these shopping expeditions."
"But how do they drink so much? Wouldn't they all be so hyper, they'd explode?"
Buffy laid her head back on the seat rest so she was gazing up to heaven - or at least, to the car roof - and sighed. "Dawn drinks coffee."
"So? She's an adult now, she... oh. Oh."
"Exactly. Half that coffee is for her, the rest is for all the rest of us."
"Yikes. Though I hope she doesn't drink so much she gets hyper, 'cause that might be, uh, spectacular."
"Never again, at least."
Willow shook her head and skimmed over the next few lines.
"'Kay... mm-hmmm... wow...yeah...goddess, Buff, no wonder you turned to crime to pay for all this."
"That wasn't the reason..." Buffy protested weakly. but Willow's eyes had been caught by the next item on the list.
"Towels... how many? How on earth can you get though that many towels in a month? Do you use them for some kind of Slayer training exercise or something, seeing how fast you can rip them apart?"
Buffy giggled. Xander concentrated on his driving.
"Wrong kind of towels. It's apparently Britspeak for pads."
"Oh! That makes more sense. So you buy them for everybody?"
"Well, if you look at the next line down, that's tampons. And we've a couple of girls who are special snowflakes, and--"
"I can't listen to this conversation."
Both Buffy and Willow ignored him.
"... so we agreed it was simplest to just put out bowls in the bathrooms and let people grab a pack when they needed one."
"Okay. I was actually gonna ask you about that, 'cause I flew here so I had to travel light, and I'll probably be 'on' next week, so..."
"Help yourself. Some of the brand names are different here to the States, but I think the actual products are the same. Do you still use--"
"Definitely can't listen to this conversation!"
"I thought you'd be used to it by now, Xan, living in a castle with a hundred women?"
"Why do you think I always volunteer for these shopping trips? To get away from this sort of talk!"
Buffy petted his shoulder. "Poor baby. You know, some guys would be jealous of you."
"Some guys are dumb."
Willow grinned smugly. "Preachin' to the converted here." She turned the page.
"Okay, eight dozen batteries?! I saw you had a Wii set up in the common room, but surely you don't get through that many batteries in a month?"
To Willow's surprise, Buffy blushed and didn't answer, so Xander filled in for her.
"Actually, they have a bowl of batteries set out in the women's rooms too. Or so I hear."
"Huh? but why... oh!!" Willow's eyes went wide, and then she dissolved into a fit of giggles. "Don't tell me they're for, uh, what I think they're for."
"You said it yourself, Will. A hundred young women with superpowers and one man in a castle forty miles from the nearest town?" He nodded sagely. "Yes, they get though a lot of batteries."
"And you give them out for free? That's the sort of perk more employers should offer their staff."
Buffy, still blushing fiery red, muttered something about it being the easiest answer because everybody had kept nagging her to buy them, or asking to borrow the Land Rover so they could go and get more, so in they end they'd decided to just buy in bulk and have done with it.
"I think it's cool. But I'm afraid it's another area where I packed light, so I won't be able to, uh, take advantage of your generosity. Maybe next time I'll come prepared."
Willow grinned cheekily at the look of shock on Buffy's face, but then Buffy stared pointedly at Xander, and looked like she'd have poked him with her elbow if he weren't driving. "Aren't you going to protest about this conversation too?"
"Strangely, no. I could stand to hear a little more about this topic. In as much graphic detail as you like."
Willow's smile was impish. "I wouldn't dare. You'd probably crash the car."
Buffy, sinking down into her seat, asked plaintively, "What happened to shy Willow?"
"She grew up."
"Hey, Buffy, why don't you tell Will about the Big Battery Argument, since we're on the subject?"
"There was a battery argument?"
"You know, my rule on not Slaying humans does have loopholes. In fact it's more of a guideline than a rule."
"If you kill me you'd have to drive yourself, and nobody wants that."
Buffy glared at him, but then spoke with evident reluctance. "It was three or four months after we'd started getting the batteries, and I guess a lot of people, uh, you know, needed new ones at the same time. And we hadn't bought enough, so we ran out."
"Things got ug-ly."
"Honestly, I don't know why it was such a big deal to them. Couldn't they just, you know, use their, um, fingers?"
"You never did get into vibrators, did you, Bu--watch the road, Xander!"
He corrected the car's drift hastily then said, in a voice of studied calmness, "Are you going to tell me how you know that?"
Willow's reply was dismissive. "We shared a room for a year in college, didn't we? But okay, people were mad because you ran out of batteries, but is that it? That's the Big Battery Argument?"
"Oh no, there's more to it than that. Tell her, Buffy."
"If you're so keen on this, why don't you tell her?"
"Not my place. This was one of your big executive decisions as Slayer Supremo, telling them how many sex toys they're allowed each."
"What?!" Willow burst out laughing, but she also looked scandalised. "You can't make rules about things like that! It's... y'know, personal!"
"It's not like that! They can have as many as they want, why would I care? But..." She drew a deep breath, then spoke more calmly. "They were all arguing that some people had taken more than their fair share. There was one girl, uh, dark hair, Italian accent--?"
"Elenore", supplied Xander.
"Thanks. Yeah, Elenore had six vibrators, every one with brand new batteries. Some of the others had a whole bunch too. Don't ask me how everyone seemed to know this stuff about everyone else. But the others were saying they'd taken too many batteries, and it wasn't fair, and they should buy their own if they needed that many, and everyone was yelling. So I had to get decide-y."
"So you rationed their sex toys?"
"I said they could take batteries from the kitty for two each--"
"Actually, Buff, you said one each. It was Leah who persuaded you to make it two."
"Whatever. But yeah, they can have batteries for two vibrators. If they have more than that - and God knows why they'd need them - they have to take the batteries out of one and put them in the other. Or use their own money to get more."
"That sounds like a fair compromise."
"I suppose. I still don't know why Leah was so insistent on making it two; wouldn't one be enough?"
Willow tilted her head on one side and smiled inscrutably. "No... I can see why she'd want enough batteries for two."
"Surely you can only use one at once?"
"Not necessarily." Her smile now was positively wicked. "F'rinstance, you can use one on your pussy and put another one up your ass--"
She never got to add the words "Or so I'm told" because Xander chose that moment to drive the Land Rover right off the side of the road, and Willow had to instantly exert her magic to stop them crashing into the loch far below them...