I don't own any of these characters: one belongs to CousinMid and is used with permission, but the others and the setting (even a smidgen of dialogue) are blatantly and shamelessly borrowed and adapted.
Permission granted to archive at:
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Otherwise, please don't repost or archive without asking first.
(Owing an immeasurable debt to a friend, and offering thanks to Cousin Mid, Tracy Sue, and lots of people from IRC, including JR` who said, "No way!".)
Time: Begins where Black Buddha II left off.
"I'm glad you're staying." Tracy was sitting beside Vachon's chair. They were facing each other, so closely that they were almost touching.
"So am I."
For a moment she thought that he might kiss her, then the moment was gone.
"I think I'd better go," Tracy stood up.
"You don't have to rush away," Vachon put his guitar down, turning to watch her.
Tracy paused, trying to conceal her distaste as she looked at the abused furniture and the dusty surfaces, "Well...."
Amused, Vachon watched her insult his home with a glance. He stood and walked toward her, suggesting, "We don't have to stay here. We could take your thrill-a-minute vehicle out for a spin." He shrugged, "What do you usually do for fun?"
"I like to go out to eat," Tracy's jaw dropped for a moment, as she realized what she had said. She pressed her lips together and shifted from one foot to the other, trying to find somewhere to look.
"I don't think that would be a very good idea." Vachon was behind her, playing with her hair. He replied softly, "What else?"
"Well that's better...."
Tracy turned towards him, and her eyes widened. He could almost pinpoint the moment when her imagination combined the image of sitting alone with him in a dark theatre with the memory of watching him kill Vudu.
She backed away from him as he offered, "But I really don't feel like a movie tonight, is there anything else you like to do? Something really fun?"
relieved, she thought a moment, then grinned, "There is one other thing, but you'll laugh."
He smiled, pleased that she was starting to relax a bit, "Come on, tell me."
"Well, I like to play mini golf. Hey," Her mouth curved into a wide grin; "I know this all-night place with a mini-golf course and driving range. Sometimes I go there to take out my frustrations on a few buckets of balls, or play a round or two."
"You're right," he snickered, "That *is* funny."
"Hey, you asked." Tracy stiffened,"I've enjoyed golf ever since I was a kid, I just don't get much time to play, so I settle for mini golf when I get a chance. It's fun."
"Mini golf it is, then," He grabbed his leather jacket. "Let's go," he said, as he shrugged into it.
"You're kidding, right? Somehow I just can't picture you under the lights with a putter."
"Hey, how bad can it be?" he started to lead her out, "Come on, there's still some time before sunrise, and we have a game to play."
"All right," Tracy shook her head, and turned toward the door.
Following behind her, Vachon mused, 'At least the company's okay, and the view is perfectly acceptable.' When they got to her car, he decided that she needed to feel more control of the evening so he offered her keys to her, looking as innocent as he could manage.
She slammed her hand into her jacket pocket, giving him a glare as she snatched her keys from his hand. "I suppose you thought that you were going to drive?"
"I did, but I decided that you'd have to be unconscious for me to pull that off."
"You got that right!" She got behind the wheel, laughing at the exaggeratedly injured expression on his face as he settled into the passenger seat.
"What? You don't trust me?" he grinned.
"Nope. Why should I? No, don't answer that, I'm starting to enjoy this and I don't want to spoil the mood. Put your seatbelt on."
He grimaced, and pulled the seat belt out to fasten it with a flourish, "Happy?"
She laughed and started the car, nodding, "Yep."
He smiled, pleased with himself, at the relaxed expression on her face. 'She really does have a nice smile.'
When they arrived at the garishly lit Putt-O-Rama, he cringed at the sight of multiple 'oh-so-cute' castles and creatures. "Tracy, do you really like to spend time at a place like this?" His long hair and leather jacket were not going to blend in here.
"Come on and give it a chance, you might like it," She said as they got out of the car. "You just stay here, and I'll get us set up."
Vachon got out and leaned against the fender with his arms crossed over his chest. He looked around unhappily at a part of the night world that he had not paid much attention to before. What kind of people came to a place like this? And at night? He shook his head in wonder at the assortment. This was definitely *not* his usual sort of hang-out.
One person in the crowd did seem to be familiar. She didn't appear to recognize him and as she glanced away, he ducked back into the car and slumped down in the seat. In a moment, he peeked out of the window and saw that she had turned away and appeared to be leaving. He noticed that, like him, she had an air of almost trying too hard to fit in. She had long, dark blonde hair and was dressed completely in black. He remembered where he had seen her before and muttered under his breath, "What's she doing here?"
Just then Tracy returned with a small card, two battered looking golf balls, and a pair of putters. reluctantly, he accepted a one of each from her. He stopped himself before he looked around for anyone else that he knew. The chances of being recognized in this crowd recognizing him were very slim indeed and all that looking around would make him seem suspicious.
"Okay, now what?" He tried not to let his annoyance show.
"The whole idea is to use the putter to hit the ball into the hole. You count the number of times you hit the ball to get your score. When we get to the end, the winner is the one with the lowest score."
"I haven't exactly been living under a rock," he growled, "I was just wondering how we decide who goes first."
"Hey this was your idea! How was I supposed to guess that you already knew how to play?"
"I'm sorry," Vachon rolled his eyes.
Tracy laughed, "I guess that you're just full of surprises. Since you know all about it, you play the practice round first."
She led him to the start of the course. She put one ball down, and indicated the "target", a short distance away, across a brief expanse of artificial turf.
Vachon had the general idea because he had seen the game played as a standard joke on afternoon reruns of sitcoms. He had never actually played before so he felt a little awkward as he lined the head of the putter up behind the ball. He tapped it softly and it rolled gently toward the shallow hole, slowing even more as it reached the rim, where it paused briefly before it dropped gracefully in.
Grinning triumphantly, Vachon looked up at Tracy. He laughed at the look of amazement on her face. "We do have pretty good hand-eye coordination Trace." He grinned, "Didn't you know?"
"Uhm, I guess I just didn't think about it. My turn." Tracy put her ball down, and looked up to see him leaning casually on his putter, watching her. She carefully prepared to hit the ball, but glanced up at him at just the wrong time. She hit the ball a little too hard, and at the wrong angle. It rolled past the cup to bounce gently off of the barrier.
Vachon tried to stifle his laughter when he saw the disgusted look on her face, "Awww, c'mon Trace, it's only a game."
Tracy set her jaw, and walked over to tap the ball into the hole, "Okay, then. Let's play the first hole."
Vachon didn't like the determined look in Tracy's eye. He decided that maybe showing her up would not be a good plan tonight. As tempted as he was to show her up, he began to miss a shot or two, keeping his score just a few points higher than hers.
After they had played for a while, she was scowling even more, "You're letting me win, aren't you?"
Vachon blinked, "Of course not, Trace. Why would I do that?"
"Vachon! Don't you dare patronize me." Tracy was clearly getting angry.
He glanced pointedly at the still dark eastern horizon, "Trace, I'm really going to have to go soon, sunrise is getting pretty close."
"Really?" she said sarcastically. "I thought we still had lots of time?"
"Sorry," he shook his head.
Sensing her chances for revenge evaporating, Tracy looked wistfully at the next hole, "Okay, I'll take you home."
She collected the gear to return, and they headed back to her car. In a few moments, they were in front of the church.
"It's too bad you had to go home," She stifled a yawn, "I really was having a good time."
Laughing, he kissed the tip of her nose, "Me too, but maybe you need to go home even more than I do." He touched her hair and her neck gently before he got out of the car. "Take care, Tracy," he said softly as he turned away.