Author's Notes: Something slightly different for Lara Croft's 46th birthday (Valentines Day, 2014. In Universe.). Based on the original Lara Croft's backstory by Core Design. Not necessarily compliant with recent Tomb Raider backstory changes by current owners Square Enix. With the addition of a certain blonde slayer.
Word Count: ( 1,525 )
Buffy reached down and grabbed the hand of her grinning companion, pulling her up the last few feet to the top of the cliff.
"Having fun?" she asked.
"Yes," the slim brunette said, taking deep breaths of the desert air while turning in a circle.
"Better than last year?"
"Different," Lara said. "Challenging and exciting, but in a different way."
"Good answer," Buffy told her with a wink. "Thought you'd like this."
"What's up here?" Lara asked, examining their surroundings, a large, flat, rock strewn plateau sheltered between three mountains rising several thousand feet above the desert floor.
"A picnic?" Buffy said, slipping off her haversack.
"What else?" Lara asked, watching Buffy pull out an impossibly large blanket and basket from her small pack. "Some day you'll have to tell me where you got that," she said.
"It's a secret," Buffy said, grinning. After laying out the blanket on a smooth section of ground, she opened the basket and took out several items wrapped in brown paper, plates, silverware, two wine glasses and a bottle of wine. Lastly, she carefully removed several large plastic containers from the basket. "Have a seat," she said, pointing at the blanket, before opening the wine and setting it aside.
Lara gracefully sat on one corner of the blanket. Removing her climbing shoes, she crossed her legs, and leaned forward to watch her lover continue setting up the picnic.
Opening one of the brown paper packages, Buffy revealed a large sandwich, carefully placing on a plate in front of Lara. "Your favorite," she said.
"How did you manage that?" Lara asked, leaning down to examine the large sandwich. If she didn't know better, she would have thought it was from her favorite pub in Dublin, though that had burned down some years ago.
"I might have connections," Buffy said proudly, opening the other brown paper package to reveal a large corned beef sandwich, which she placed on her own plate. "Wine?"
"Yes, please," Lara said, nodding as Buffy showed her the label. It was an excellent vintage, only a year younger than herself, from a small French winery that had been her mother's favorite according to her diary. Picking up one of the wine glasses, she held it out for Buffy to fill, and then performed the same for Buffy.
"What gave you the idea for all this?" she asked, between bites of the delicious sandwich.
"Other than your birthday?" Buffy asked. "I'll show you after."
"There's more?" Lara asked.
"I think you'll like it," Buffy said, working on her own sandwich. "These are really good," she said, licking her fingers when she'd finished hers. "Harry's does excellent sandwiches. They get the Slayer Seal of Approval."
"My father first took me there for my birthday one year," Lara said, unable to not watch her. "How did you find it? The original pub burned down years ago."
"One of the London girls is related to Harry," Buffy said. "She set me up."
"I'll have to thank her when we get back," Lara said.
"Definitely," Buffy said in agreement.
"Ready for dessert?" Buffy asked, pouring the last of the wine into Lara's glass.
"Please," Lara said, after taking a slow sip of wine.
Buffy popped the lid on the larger container. Carefully tilting it, she removed a large slice of cheesecake and placed it on a clean plate. Opening the other container, she scooped out a handful of small strawberries and placed them around the cheesecake. She then topped it off with fresh chocolate whipped cream, and dark chocolate shavings. Handing the plate and a clean fork to Lara she proceeded to put together a similar creation for herself.
"Go ahead," she said, nodding at Lara.
"Thank you," Lara murmured before scooping up a strawberry with a forkful of cheesecake and chocolate.
Buffy smiled at her before attacking her own plate. Finishing before her companion, she watched her enjoy the strawberries and cheesecake.
"You know just how to spend the day," Lara said, putting down her plate and fork. "How do you do it?" she asked, stretching out on the blanket, her bare feet resting in Buffy's lap.
"I was inspired," Buffy said, gently massaging one of Lara's feet. "Every year, I just have to think about a certain someone and it comes to me. This year it said - let's go climbing and have a picnic. And maybe something else."
"Like what?" Lara asked.
"Cleanup first," Buffy said, quickly packing away the remains of their picnic back in the basket and shoving the basket into her haversack.
"And then what?" Lara asked, curious.
"A nap?" Buffy suggested, crawling over to Lara until she was looking down at her.
"Just a nap?" Lara asked, looking up at her.
"We'll see," Buffy said, laying down next to her, and wrapping her arms around the other woman. "If you're good."
"I'm always good," Lara said into her ear in a low voice.
"I've noticed," Buffy said, giggling as she tried to avoid Lara's fingers. "Sleepy-time. Now," she said, closing her eyes.
With a loud sigh, Lara stopped moving.
"Now what?" Lara asked, an hour later as she watched Buffy put the blanket and rest of the picnic things away.
"You might want this," Buffy said, handing her a familiar looking backpack she pulled from her haversack.
"Really?" Lara said, eagerly opening her backpack and pulling out her favorite work tools. Strapping on her Desert Eagles, and her combat knife, she smiled at the familiar weight.
"Yes, really," Buffy said, laughing. "Really, really!"
"So this isn't just a private picnic spot," Lara said, adjusting her backpack.
"Nope," Buffy said with a popping sound. "There's a tunnel that leads to a cave in the center of the mountain that might be a temple. According to ancient Council records anyway. No one from the Council has been in it in over five hundred years."
"Mysterious, ancient temple inside a mountain?" Lara said. "Possibly occupied?"
"Yes," Buffy said. "And maybe. There are several goblin tribes in these mountains."
"Best birthday present ever," Lara said, imitating Buffy's bubbly Valley Girl voice, before bursting into laughter.
"Just for you," Buffy said.
Lara leaned against a large rock outcropping several hundred feet from the temple entrance at the base of the cliff they'd climbed to get to the plateau, watching Buffy push large rocks into the entrance to block it.
"That was a trip and a half," Buffy said, smiling, brushing off her jeans as she approached Lara. "Haven't had that much fun in years."
Lara pointed at the two leather bags at her feet. "Interesting artifacts," she said.
"Yup. Scrolls full of ancient words for the geeks. More dangerous trinkets for your museum, and a magic sword," Buffy said. "Never saw one that burst into flames like that before."
"They can be a bit unpredictable," Lara said. "The older they are the more unstable they become."
"Seemed to work just fine for me," Buffy said, grinning and miming repelling an attack. "Though those goblins didn't seem to want to let me have it."
"Chopping the head of the goblin king off while he was yelling at us might have something to do with it," Lara said. "They weren't too happy with us."
"He was very rude," Buffy said. "No one insults my girlfriend and gets away with it."
"We did drop in on them in the middle of something important looking," Lara said.
"They shouldn't have put a trap door there," Buffy said. "Interrupted my jump."
"I don't believe they built the temple. The design had a distinctly Aztec feel to it," Lara said, "though this is far from the nearest Aztec city."
"You got pictures, right?" Buffy asked.
"Of course. Already uploaded to the Manor," Lara said.
"Good," Buffy murmured. She reached over and pulled Lara's watch close for a look. "Hilary won't be here for a couple more hours. Want to go back in? We were distracted. Probably missed some things."
"In through the top again?" Lara asked, before picking up the bags and carrying them over to their Humvee. "They'll be expecting us," she said, tossing the leather bags into the back.
"It'll make it more challenging," Buffy said. "Or, we could make our own entrance. The sword can cut through rock."
"Where?" Lara asked.
"See that?" Buffy pointed at a dark shadow on the cliff face. "Air vent."
"We'll have to rappel down from the top to get to it," Lara said, after checking it out with her binoculars.
"So we should get started," Buffy said. "Ready for Birthday Adventure, part two?"
"Absolutely," Lara said, pulling her close for a quick kiss.
"You're good at that," Buffy said, returning the favor.
"Couldn't do it without you," Lara said, smirking. "Shall we?" She waved at the cliff.
"Yes we shall," Buffy said, stepping back and slipping on the sword's belt and sheath, followed by the rope and her haversack. "After you, Lady Croft."
"Thank you," Lara said, winking at her. Picking up her own backpack, she led the way to the rock wall, smiling at the sound of Buffy humming the Croft family battle song behind her.