*Oh, great, the fuckin' elevator's broken,* grouchily thought Faith. Another quick look at Willow's locator showed to the brunette woman that the small ring on her finger was still stubbornly declaring her prize would be found somewhere higher above in the Pasadena apartment building. Shooting her best evil glare at the warning tape stretched across the elevator doors, Faith started her trudge up the nearby stairs. After the first few steps, a ticked-off Slayer began irritably muttering under her breath: "Get changed into a superwoman, Faith. Get to slice 'n dice lotsa demons, Faith. Get to start the New Council, Faith. Get a phone call yanking you back to work, Faith. Shit, if I don't beat up someone pretty soon, I'm gonna get pissed."

If you might think this was going a little bit too far, consider the fact that nobody likes having their vacation interrupted.

Several weeks ago, Faith had commenced her long-awaited break from her usual duties of working for the New Council by arriving at the Cleveland airport in the middle of a February near-blizzard. Which only increased this woman's grim determination to take the first available flight anywhere with warm and sunny weather. Even if she had to personally hijack the damned plane to get there. It eventually wound up with her landing in San Diego, a city she'd barely heard of, but had been assured by the airport staff to fit her requirements perfectly.

A half-hour after arriving at her beachside hotel, Faith had changed into a near-illegal, barely-there bikini and she was contentedly soaking up some rays from a cloudless sky while sprawled out on the chaise longue placed in the middle of her second-floor suite balcony.

Turning over to even her tan, Faith found a brochure lying on the hotel table next to her chair. Lazily reaching out for this, she read in there a list of activities the hotel offered its guests. Nothing seemed all that interesting, until the Slayer noticed a surfing demonstration/instruction course for anyone about an hour from now. Deciding she might as well check this out after taking a dip in the ocean later on, Faith dropped the brochure back onto the table, next to the frosty glass filled with a frozen margarita. The nubile woman then grabbed her drink delivered from room service by a bug-eyed hotel attendant a few minutes ago, and she blissfully slurped down the chilly alcoholic concoction.

Several hours afterwards, a very astonished Boston native found out that not only was she good at surfing, but she'd loved every moment of it. Faith spent the next couple of days out in the ocean on a hotel surfboard, riding every wave she could catch. When eventually the Pacific showed just why its now-calm waters had been named this, the news of even better waves further north caused Faith to check out of the hotel, rent a car, and go on the road. To be precise, the Pacific Coast Highway. Along the way, she visited all the best spots - Black's Beach, the Trestles, Huntington Beach - while also collecting surfing paraphernalia from the local shops. After cramming several surfboards, wetsuits, wax, and anything else which caught her eye into her car, a happy Faith arrived in Los Angeles, ready to hit the sand as only a smokin' hot Slayer could manage.

Until her goddamn boss finally tracked her down.

Barely restraining her irate impulse to stomp her cell phone into tiny splinters, Faith sullenly listened to Rupert Giles, Director of the New Council, yammer into her ear: "Urgent task, yadda, yadda, yadda, fate of entire world may rest on your shoulders, blah, blah, blah, only person I trust on this, rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb, plus you're the closest one around I can send right away-"

Okay, time to put the screws on him.

Tersely cutting off the tedious explanation of some dire magical thingamajig getting sold on eBay to an unaware buyer located in Pasadena which needed to be speedily recovered before it ate the whole city or turned everyone into lime jell-o or some other fuckin' catastrophe, Faith announced, "I wanna 'nother two weeks' vacation."

A shocked gasp done in proper genteel British fashion came from Faith's phone, followed by Tweed-man's disapproving voice, "Really, Faith, don't you have any idea how vital this is? Not to mention it's going to adversely affect the Cleveland Slayers House break schedule-"

"All I know, from how close you sound to wettin' yourself, that I just changed my mind and you're gonna give me three weeks, instead. Want to go for a full month, Giles?"

A despairing roar of agreement then came all the way from Scotland, "All right, all right, three weeks it is, you bloody woman! Now, move your arse!"

Smugly shutting off her phone, Faith reflected by the end of those three weeks, she should be experienced enough to take on Mavericks, the West Coast location known for its monster surf. Damn, but life was good.

Of course, before then she had to get her hands on some magic doohickey, taking it away from its newest owner by any means necessary. Might as well as head over there right now. Hopefully, by the time she got back to the beach, she wouldn't have missed too many waves.

Oh, and the world hadn't ended.