I'm going to get some artwork for it from the watchersdiaries art-a-thon. Squee!
You probably all know the summary by now; Spike is a Jivaro head-hunter, Buffy is the Prime Minister of Iceland, Giles is an anthropologist, Feigenbaum is a bunny. This chapter is pretty short but curiouswombat thinks it is a good break point and I'm happy with that. Here comes teh Spuffy and teh Riley-bashing to appeal to the lowest common denominator at ff.net; I hope you will like it too.
Savage Beauty Chapter Seven
Tony Harris thumbed through ‘Diplomacy For Dummies’ and muttered to himself. “Brazil. Hmm. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Chaired the ‘Action Against Hunger And Poverty’ conference. Friend of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Dammit, he’s a pinko.” He lifted his head and frowned at Riley Finn. “We don’t want President Somersdottir linked to pinko Brazilians.”
“She’s a Prime Minister, not a President,” Riley corrected him. “Just because this guy she’s taken up with is a Brazilian doesn’t mean he’s going to be a Commie as well. It was the Brits who brought them to the reception, remember? He might be a good old capitalist cattle rancher.”
“He’s an Indian from the rain forest, dumbass,” Kennedy said with an air of calm superiority. “He’d chop the heads off cattle ranchers if he got the chance. They’re the enemy.”
“Which reminds me, you seem to be doing a bit of sleeping with the enemy your own self,” Ambassador Harris frowned. “You. That guitarist friend of Somersdottir’s. He’s a guy.”
“Yeah, I had noticed,” Kennedy replied, rolling her eyes.
“Well, you’re supposed to be the Secretary for Gay Issues,” the Ambassador pointed out. “What are you doing with a guy? Are you looking to lose your job?”
“I like short people. He’s short. And cute and funny and good with his tongue. What’s not to love? And, about the job, are you seriously thinking of giving me the push for being straight? That’s gonna go down about as well under this administration as Monica Lewinsky did under the last.” She stared levelly into the Ambassador’s eyes until he looked away.
The Ambassador shuffled uncomfortably. “Anyway,” he said, “we need to do something about the Prime Minister’s boyfriend. My no-good son’s liaison with her secretary is coming in handy after all. I hear she’s meeting this Brazilian at the Blue Lagoon lunchtime. Get along there and see what you can do to torpedo the relationship before it gets under way.”
Riley frowned. “I’m not trained in Naval ops,” he said. “You need a Seal for that.”
Kennedy grinned. “Or a walrus?”
“Bloody cold,” Spike muttered nervously. “Dunno if I could bear going in the water.”
Buffi laughed. “The water is warm. It comes out of the ground boiling hot. We use it to generate power, and to run the heating for the city, and then it comes out into this lagoon still nice and warm. You will like it. It is as warm as your Amazon river.”
“Got any caymans in it?” Spike asked.
“What are caymans?” Buffi asked.
“Sort of crocodile,” Spike explained.
“No, no caymans,” Buffi assured him.
“What about piranha? Got any of them?”
“No, we have no piranha in Iceland,” Buffi replied with a smile.
Spike frowned. “You poor sods. Would you like some?”
Giles tried to avoid looking at Drusilla but his eyes kept being drawn inexorably back towards her. Her bikini was miniscule. Only to be expected, he supposed; she was Brazilian, after all. He slipped hastily into the water where the physical signs of his appreciation would be less obvious. A score of Icelandic males followed his example for the same reason.
Drusilla stood at the side of the water and stretched. One young man gasped, went bright red, and dived under the surface. A portly man in his fifties collapsed clutching his chest and sank. The lifeguard who should have rushed to his assistance stood stock still, mesmerised, until a woman shouted at him and kicked him into action. Eventually Drusilla entered the water and the men of Reykjavik rediscovered the ability to turn their heads.
She swam to join Giles with an easy graceful stroke, as at home in the water as a giant otter. “Lovely warm water,” she remarked. “The volcano gods smile upon us.”
“Umm, quite,” Giles responded. “A much more pleasant manifestation than if they had chosen to incinerate us with a pyroclastic flow, I must say.”
“Should we move closer to Spike?” Drusilla suggested.
“I do think that we should give him some space,” Giles said. He frowned. “Unless it is still your attention to disrupt this potential relationship?”
The corners of Drusilla’s full lips drooped. “No, I accept that it is the will of the spirits,” she sighed. “I had thought that once he met her face to face he would realise that she was not worthy of him, but when I saw her I realised that she is indeed special. Spike is lost to me. The Slayer is all over him.”
“Yes, she is, isn’t she? I’m not sure what Iceland’s laws are regarding public displays of affection in the geothermal pool, but they’re probably in danger of breaking them. I sincerely hope, for Miss Somersdottir’s sake, that there are no paparazzi present. Perhaps we should move closer after all.”
“We should. Miss Edith has warned me that there is danger and I must protect them.”
“Danger?” Giles shook his head. Everything was peaceful and placid. How could there be danger in a place like this?
Riley wasn’t an expert swimmer. He could get from point A to point B without drowning, but that was about all. His initial surveillance of the Brazilian guy disconcerted him slightly. The South American could swim like a fish. Buffi seemed to be impressed, dammit. Making the guy look like a dork wasn’t going to be easy.
Okay, time to fall back on plan B. He readied the underwater camera and moved in.
Spike dived, swam underwater on his back, thrust his head between Buffi’s legs, and surfaced with her legs over his shoulders.
“You’re beneath me,” she spluttered happily, waving her arms to keep her balance. “But shouldn’t you be the other way round?”
“Mmmph!” Spike replied. His words were muffled because his face was pressed tight up against her belly. His hands were supporting her bottom to prevent her falling.
“I know this is fun,” she said as sternly as she could manage, “but it would look very bad if anyone took pictures and they appeared in the newspapers. It is not an appropriate way for a Prime Minister to behave.”
“Mmmph sod them mmmph!” Spike mumbled.
‘Perfect,’ Riley thought, and raised the camera. There was something hanging from it, obscuring the lens, and he frowned. He pulled away the obstruction. A scrap of bright pink cloth, in the shape of a couple of tiny triangles and some slender straps.
A piercing shriek rang out from just behind him, and he spun around. A beautiful dark haired girl stood there in the waist deep water, topless, her arms clutched defensively over her breasts. “Help!” she yelled. “That man has pulled off my top and now he is trying to take photos of me! Stop him!”
“Hey! What are you talking about?” Riley protested.
Burly Viking types loomed on every side, scowls on their faces. Fists were raised menacingly.
“I never touched her, I swear!” Riley said. The Icelanders looked at the camera held damningly in the American agent’s hand and growled. “I know how it looks, but it’s not like that! Really. I’m just trying to take embarrassing pictures of your Prime Minister, that’s – oops. I shouldn’t have said that, should I?”
Spike stood at the counter of the self service restaurant and scanned the menu board. There were no Portuguese translations of the dishes, only Icelandic and English, but he could read English reasonably well and so that wasn’t a problem. Not that it would have been much of a problem anyway; the choice was somewhat limited.
‘Cod and French Fries.’ ‘Smoked Cod’. ‘Boiled Cod with Potatoes.’ ‘Boiled Cod and Rice’. ‘Smoked Cod, Boiled Cod, Sauerkraut, and Salt Cod’. ‘Cod, Potatoes, Cod, Cabbage, and Cod’. ‘Cod Surprise’. ‘Cod Pieces’. ‘Crispy Cod Balls’. ‘Cod Cheesecake’. He was beginning to see something of a pattern here.
Cod was obviously a favourite dish among Icelanders; but surely Buffi must be tired of it. He found a couple of non-Cod dishes hidden in obscure corners of the menu, made a choice, purchased the meals and returned to the table where Buffi was waiting.
“What are we having?” she asked, smiling broadly. She was enjoying just being an ordinary girl for the day.
“Thought you might be a bit fed up of cod,” he replied. “I got a sole for you, Buffi.”