The day started like any other day. The sun shone, bright and fresh in the midday sky, as water still glistened on the grass from the previous nights rain. Students ran across the yard, excitement etched on their faces as they laughed with their friends. While others hid in the corners of the large, crowded courtyard, willing themselves to disappear from the minds of their tormentors, praying for the day's end.
"Okay Anya," Xander took a nervous breath, "Are you ready?" The blonde nodded, tightening her grip on the hard plastic. "Are you sure? You don't have to be nervous... if you're not ready, we can do this another time. Just let me know." His eyes darted around, scanning the area.
"Xander!" The young woman rolled her eyes, "Quit stalling... now give me the key," she impatiently held out her hand. "You said I could drive, so hand it over." He reluctantly dropped the small metal key in her palm, and tightened his seatbelt for the fifth time.
Anya had been pestering him for the better part of the week about driving, and after long consideration... and a few unnerving ultimatums, he finally gave in. Of course, being smart enough not to teach his girlfriend how to drive on the busy road, he opted for the school parking lot instead. Though at the moment, as he watched all the potential victims running through the streets, he was starting to regret his choice of location.
The sudden jolt from the car as it moved forward, shook Xander out of his reverie and he once again checked his seat belt.
"See," he wiped his sweaty hands on his jean-clad thigh, "Isn't this fun?" The car jerked, then stopped, then repeated its movements as Anya slowly moved around the parking lot. "Slow and easy," he whispered more to himself than his girlfriend.
Anya nodded, her eyebrows drawing together as if gathering her thoughts. "This sucks," she pressed harder on the pedal, grinning when the car virtually hopped over one of the speed bumps. She cackled at Xander's horrified expression as the car jumped over another bump in the road.
"Anya!" Xander yelled, pressing himself further into his seat and staring, panicked, at the driver. "Slow down! You're going too...," his words were swallowed when the vehicle jerked, the breaks screeching loud as the car stopped completely.
Taking a minute to push down his breakfast, he noticed that the smile on Anya's face had been replaced by annoyance.
Several feet in front of the car, the queen herself, Cordelia Chase stood, scowling through the window. The tall brunette remained silent, but continued glaring daggers toward the blonde driver. Her eyes briefly focused on Xander, and the young man, cowardly averted his gaze. Without so much as a mumbled 'dork', she smirked at the boy before stepping onto the curb to join the rest of her cronies, who had started to giggle at the display.
Pulling off, Anya skillfully circled the parking lot as if she'd been driving for years, a wicked glint in her eyes as she stopped a short distance from where Cordelia and her friends stood on the sidewalk.
"Anya," Xander warned as if he could read his girlfriends mind, but the blonde barely flinched, nor did the grin on her face lessen. Though Xander continued to plead, his voice never reached Anya's ears. Her eyes, glued on the large puddle of water near the curb, glazed over as the gas pedal connected with the floor and the car sped off toward its target.
"Looks like Anya just bumped herself up on Cordy's list," Buffy laughed as she and Willow watched the soaked brunette scream with fury.
"Too bad she couldn't get the entire car over the curb," Faith joked from behind the girls. It was the end of her junior year and though the guests for graduation hadn't started to arrive yet, she'd shown up early for one specific thing... well that, and the free food.
"It's all set," she grinned, staring at the sparks as she flicked her lighter repeatedly.
"Morning Ladies," a shrill voice startled them. Faith fumbled with the lighter, trying to shove it back into her pocket. "What are you doing on campus, Ms. Spencer," he directly eyed the brunette, "You of all people should know that this picnic is specifically for graduating Seniors only."
Faith tried to speak up, but was interrupted. "I'll see you at six o'clock, Ms. Spencer," he cut in quickly, leaving no room for argument. The young woman cursed inwardly, forcing a tight smile until Snyder was out of sight.
"So anyway," she shook off her agitation, as if the conversation had never happened, "like I said, it's all good. Spike said he'd look-."
"Wait... wait... Spike?" Buffy questioned, unbelieving. "Are you sure you can trust him?"
Faith only shrugged, "Well, if he screws up, we'll just pin the whole thing on him. I'm sure he'd be more than happy to take the heat, seeing how his reputation of being S.D.'s biggest 'bad ass' spiraled down the tubes when he started dating Cordelia."
"Listen, guys," Willow hesitantly spoke up, "I'm not so sure we should go through with the...thing," she stopped as a teacher walked by, and began to nervously fidget with the hem of her shirt.
"C'mon Will," Buffy lightly bumped her friend's shoulder, though she was also beginning to have some doubts.
"But what if we get caught," the redhead continued, weakly. They'd been planning the entire scheme since Winter break, but now that the day was finally here, she was a bit reluctant to follow it through. It wasn't as if the plan was anything serious... maybe a little illegal, depending on your viewpoint... but overall, it was just a little prank. Just a little something to end the school year with a bang.
"We won't!" Faith sighed. The uncertainty on Buffy's face began to show, prompting the brunette to strengthen their resolve. "Look, you're graduating, so they can't suspend you. The worst they can do is stop you from walking..." She backpedaled after seeing the panic on their faces, "but that's not going to happen, 'cause we're not going to get caught."
"Live a little," she went on, "Oh c'mon, after the four years you've spent in this hell-hole...you're entitled to a little bit of fun! I mean, don't you wanna wipe that smirk from Snyder's little munchkin face?" Slow smiles worked their way onto the girl's faces, and Faith knew she had them.
"Great," she bounced on the balls of her feet, barely able to control her excitement. "Meet me in the gym in about an hour."
"Are you going home?" Buffy called out as Faith turned to leave. The brunette snorted loudly, "No, I'm gonna go hide out in the girl's bathroom for a little while." She winked, snatching a few plastic wrapped cookies from the picnic table.
Just as Faith was about to go, Cordelia limped by, bellowing at no one in particular as the rest of her 'sheep' scurried to keep up. After breaking a heel trying to chase down Anya in Xander's car, the humiliated brunette had no choice but to gather what little pride she had left, and storm off toward the main building.
The girls watched her go with satisfaction, until Buffy noticed Snyder making his way back toward the commotion. "Faith," the hushed whisper caught the brunette's attention. Buffy jerked her head several times, signaling behind Faith's shoulder, but the young woman merely stared at her in amusement.
"Principal Snyder's coming," Willow warned. Faith's eyes shot up as she quickly turned, crouching down beneath the table, before the older man could make eye contact.
"Is he still coming?" A thin white sheet hung over the table on one side, blocking Faith's view of the approaching man.
"Why are you hiding from Snotter?" They all cringed at the loudness of Anya's voice, as she and Xander joined the group. "Shut up!" Faith hissed between clinched teeth, hoping the blonde would take the hint and stay quiet... unfortunately, that wasn't the case.
"Hey!" Anya yelled back even louder. Obviously offended, she prepared to fire back, but the hard glare Faith was sending her, made her think otherwise. Mumbling to herself, Anya looked up just in time to see that Snyder had already spotted them.
His suspicions piqued, eyes twitching slightly, as he regarded the closely assembled group. In all of his years as principal, he'd never been as relieved to see such a group of students graduate, as he was today. His eyes skimmed over each individual, distastefully noticing their smug expressions, full of secrets. There had used to be a time when he could walk the halls, making every student tremble with the thought of expulsion. But times have changed, and now most students welcome the threat, seeing it as a reward, rather than a punishment.
Shaking his head, Snyder inched forward until his shoes scraped against the cloth of Faith's hiding place. The brunette bunched herself into a tight ball and held her breath.
"Cookie?" Anya asked, suddenly becoming nervous, yet not sure why as she twiddled with one of the plastic knives on the table. Snyder once again eyed each person, noticing the subtle way they averted his scrutiny. Certain that he still had his 'charm', he cast a proud, inward smile, but before he could speak...
"Fight!" The excited shout rang out across the yard. Several students rushed forward with the prospect of catching the action. Groaning, the principal cast a final glance toward the group before running off toward the brawl, whistle in hand.
"Too close... way too close," Faith sighed in relief, brushing bits of wet grass from her jeans. "Okay, what's going on," Xander asked, confused as usual. Though he and Anya were very close to the trio, Buffy had been a little disinclined about letting them in on the surprise. Not because Xander would tell everyone, but because they couldn't trust Anya not to. However, now, as the couple stared at each girl expectantly, they had no other choice. Receiving a nod of confirmation from both Willow and Faith, Buffy started from the beginning.