And Counting (45)
Somewhere it's still Valentines Day and Lara Croft's 45nd birthday (2013. In Universe.). This is a revised version of my birthday ficlet with Lara and our favorite blonde vampire slayer. Originally posted in 2011. Tweaked because she's gotten 2 years older since I originally wrote this. Based on the original Lara Croft's backstory.
Not exactly a sequel. Hopefully different enough to qualify as a new chapter.FYI:
Story renamed. From "43" to "Birthday Girl"Word Count:
( 1,258 )
"Hey, babe, what's wrong," Buffy asked, watching the tall woman pacing back and forth in front of the large stone fireplace. The crackling of the huge pine and oak logs was a welcome sound, adding to the unexpected coziness of the main hall. If someone had asked her, just over a decade ago, standing on the edge of the Sunnydale crater, what she would be doing on Valentines Day having passed thirty and accelerating, this wouldn't have been it.
"I'm tired," Lara murmured. "Forty-five years old and what do I have to show for it? A huge house full of the trash of a dozen forgotten civilizations. I haven't done anything really remarkable with my life. I haven't found a cure for cancer. Haven't found a way to feed all of the starving children in Africa or elsewhere. All I've done is gone treasure hunting. The press are right. I'm just a glorified tomb robber."
"All that trash? Didn't we have this conversation last year? Sparkly gold, emeralds, and diamonds?" Buffy said, snorting. "Never can have too much of the stuff. And besides, some of that stuff is dangerous. On an apocalyptic level. Who knows how many lives your little treasure hunts have saved by finding them and locking them up." Putting down her large mug of whiskey laced coffee, Buffy stood up and sauntered over to her partner. Stepping into Lara's path, she wrapped her arms around her waist and lifted.
"What are you doing!" Lara said, trying unsuccessfully to escape Buffy's tight grasp.
"Plan B," Buffy said, swinging her around in a swift movement that ended with the taller woman draped over Buffy's shoulder, one arm holding her in place by her thighs and the other fending off her hands as she tried to find leverage to free herself.
"Put me down!" Lara yelled.
"Nope," Buffy said, wishing she could see the blush she just knew covered Lara's face.
"Yes, dear?" Buffy said huskily, giggling at the feeling of Lara shivering at her tone.
"Put me down!" Lara demanded. "Right now!"
"Still no," Buffy said smirking. Hopefully Hilary had come through with her simple requests without any embellishment. This year she hadn't asked him for anything too fancy, unlike last year. He hadn't stopped blushing in her presence for months the last time she'd planned something romantic for Lara.
"Close your eyes," she said
"Why?" Lara asked, grumbling.
"Because I asked you to," Buffy said, carefully carrying Lara out of the main hall and down one of the Manor's many hallways.
"Where are we going?" Lara asked, having apparently given up trying to get away, her arms wrapped around Buffy's waist for stability.
"I thought we'd do something special to celebrate," Buffy said, trying not to be distracted by the erotic feel of Lara's long ponytail brushing against her lower back.
"There's nothing to celebrate," Lara protested.
"February 14th only comes once a year," Buffy said, nodding to Hilary as he held the planetarium door open, keeping Lara turned so she couldn't see him, just in case she gave into curiosity and still had her eyes open. Lara wasn't shy by any means but Buffy knew she'd be embarrassed if she thought anyone saw her being carried around like this. And for her plan to work, Lara had to be focused on just her.
"I prefer not to celebrate Saint Valentines day," Lara said grumpily.
"Not a problem, babe," Buffy told her, stepping carefully in the pitch black room. "Not a chocolate heart or rose petal in sight."
"Where are we going?" Lara asked.
"It's a surprise," she whispered.
"Why are you whispering?" Lara asked, lowering her own voice in response.
"It just seems appropriate," Buffy said, still whispering. Spotting the dim candle in the middle of the room, she carefully lowered Lara to her feet several yards away. "Keep your eyes closed."
"I can walk from the main entrance to every room in the Manor with my eyes closed," Lara said. "I always know where I am in the Manor."
"Then you'll just have to pretend," Buffy said, deciding to not waste a pout at Lara's statement since she couldn't see it anyway. "What did they call it in all those etiquette books you insisted I read before you'd take me to meet the Queen? Oh yeah, 'Impeccable Breeding'," Buffy said.
"Sorry," Lara said softly, reaching out and running her hand softly over Buffy's face, stopping to caress her lips with her fingertips.
"I'm not as sophisticated as you," Buffy told her, taking her wandering hand and pulling her closer until they were touching. "Sometimes I need my illusions," she said. Reaching up she gently pulled Lara's head down until their lips met in a soft kiss.
"Have a seat," Buffy said, after reluctantly pulling back from the kiss. Guiding Lara onto a large cushion before sitting down herself , she pushed a button on the small remote Hilary had given her. Soft, romantic music started playing and bright points of light appeared on the ceiling.
"You can open your eyes now," she said.
"It's done?" Lara asked, looking up at the ceiling, a smile breaking out on her face.
"I convinced them to hire more help and work extra hours," Buffy said. "They finished restoring it yesterday."
"It's beautiful!" Lara said, slowly turning her head to see the entire ceiling.
"Is it like you remember it?" Buffy asked hopefully. The planetarium had been a gift from Lara's father to her mother before Lara was born. It'd been locked up and unused for almost three decades when Buffy had met Lara. It'd taken Buffy a year to convince Lara to have it renovated. From her smile, it was well worth it, she decided.
"Yes?" Lara said, not taking her eyes from the ceiling.
"I believe today is someone's birthday," Buffy said.
"You know how I feel about that," Lara said, frowning.
"We aren't celebrating a certain red themed, Cupid infested holiday," Buffy said. "This is a much more important day than that." Reaching behind her own cushion, she pulled out a small picnic basket. "Everyone deserves a romantic picnic on their birthday."
"You didn't have to do this," Lara said softly.
"When someone surprises you on your birthday, what do you say?" Buffy asked. She'd thought Lara would be used to simple romantic gestures like this by now, but apparently not. She obviously wasn't doing them enough.
"Thank you," Lara said.
"Yup!" Buffy smiled at her and started removing things from the basket.
"What's that?" Lara asked, when Buffy set aside a small squeeze bottle.
"Something for later," Buffy said, winking at her.
"Not even a hint?" Lara asked.
It's a surprise," Buffy said. "You just need to be patient."
Shaking her head, Lara watched the younger woman carefully arrange a bowl of fruit, sandwiches, several plates, and wine glasses between them.
"Can you pour?" Buffy asked, pointing at an iced bottle of wine, and holding up both wine glasses.
"This is a good year," Lara said, skeptically examining the bottle, clearly surprised.
"Don't worry," Buffy said, laughing. "I was given some useful advice."
"I'll have to thank Rupert," Lara said, taking a sip. "This is an excellent vintage.
"How'd you guess?" Buffy asked.
"Hillary would have picked something domestic," Lara said. "And you wouldn't trust anyone else."
Buffy smiled, and nodded, sipping from her own glass. "See, you're not just some old scavenger," she said. "You have hidden depths. Strawberry?" Dipping a large strawberry in chocolate, she held it up to Lara's mouth.
No plans to write more but if I do, it'll be in a year on Lara's birthday (or maybe Buffy's?).