By Janine

DISCLAIMER: All the characters, Buffy, Cordelia, Willow, Giles, Xander, Faith etc. belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Inc., and Warner Bros. I'm just borrowing their brilliant creations. I intend no copyright infringement from my use of their characters, and will receive no monetary or any other compensation for their use, in any form, of the story that succeeds.
GENRE: Buffy/Cordelia
POVE-mail: jbstories@hotmail.com
By: Janine


With everything that had been going on, the gang needed to have some fun, so it was decided that Bronzing was in high order for the night. Buffy would sweep, Buffy would slay, then they all would party, 'cause partying was fun, and that was the whole idea of evening, fun. The place was packed by the time they got there, but luckily they were able to get their usual seats when the people who had been previously occupying them got up to play pool.

"Alright people, who's ready to giggy wit' it?" Xander asked, hopping to his feet and clapping his hands together.

"One order of gig right here," Buffy said rising as well. The sweep she had made before coming was a bust and she had some energy to burn.

"Looks like it's just you and I," Xander said to Buffy. Willow and Oz were cuddling on the couch and didn't even seem to have heard them. "Lucky you," Xander continued grabbing Buffy's arm and tugging her onto the dance floor.

As if on cue, when they got out there the band started a new song. This one was slow, with a pulsing beat, very sensuous. Buffy and Xander worked their way into the middle of the crowd and started swaying. Sometimes together, sometimes separately. Buffy wasn't really paying attention to what she was doing, she was just listening to the music, letting it tell her body what to do. As her mind started to drift and her body freed up she was totally relaxed until she bumped into someone lightly. Turning around to apologize she realized the person she had bumped into was Cordelia. They regarded each other for a moment before Buffy finally started to move again, Cordelia joining her.

For the rest of the song, and the one after it they danced near each other, sometimes together, sometimes not, sometimes touching, sometimes not, but no matter where they were their eyes never left each other. The only time their gaze broke was when the band stopped playing and they were whisked away to their separate corners.

"Was that Cordelia you were dancing with?" Willow asked Buffy when they rejoined.

"Yeah, I bumped into her," Buffy responded somewhat distractedly.

"Have you two finished that project yet?" Xander asked. Cordelia was monopolizing the groups already limited Buffy time. She was suppose to slay then hang out with THEM.

"Almost," Buffy responded turning to face him. "Things keep coming up so it's taking us a awhile. You know, such is the life of a Slayer."

"I hear ya sister," Xander responded.

Buffy listened for a while exchanging looks with Willow as Xander and Oz argued over which Captain was better. The contestants were Captain Kirk and Captain Picard. The verdict according to Buffy was 'boring'.

"I'll be back," Buffy said. "Will, make sure to take notes," She added earning a look from Xander.

From across the room Cordelia noticed Buffy get up and move towards one of the side exits. The current topic of conversation at her table was Ricky Martin's leather pants and she had pretty much exhausted her knowledge of the subject. Mumbling some excuse to the group she got up and followed Buffy out of the building.

"Hey," Cordelia said as she spotted Buffy leaning against the side of the building.

"What are you doing out here?" Buffy asked.

"Looking for you. What are you doing out here?" 

"Fresh air," Buffy responded. She was starting to feel a little claustrophobic in there. Cordelia raised an eyebrow as she looked at their surroundings. "It's better than mass unwashed bodies," Buffy responded dryly.

"I'll take your word on that," Cordelia said. Dancing with Buffy had gotten her kind of worked up.

"It's...." Whatever Buffy was going to say in response was cut off by Cordelia's lips pressing against her own. Buffy responded to the kiss raising her hand and tangling it in Cordelia's hair as she deepened the kiss. "We should definitely go dancing sometime," Buffy commented when they separated.

"Definitely," Cordelia agreed. "But until then," She continued leaning forward again.

Buffy returned to the gang a while later, excusing her absence by saying that she got into a tangle in the alley, which was true in a way. They stayed at the Bronze for another hour or so dancing and playing pool before deciding to call it a night. As they entered the parking lot Buffy spotted Cordelia. After parting with the gang Buffy started to make her way over to Cordelia.

"Hey," Cordelia greeted as Buffy made her way over to her. Oz, Willow and Xander had just pulled away leaving them alone in the parking lot.

"Hey," Buffy responded.

"Hey," Cordelia said again as Buffy joined her leaning against her car.

"I think we've covered this already," Buffy commented looking sideways at Cordelia.

"Right. You want a lift home?" Cordelia asked.

"I've got to make a sweep before I head home," Buffy responded.

"Want some company?" Cordelia asked.

"Oh, yeah," Buffy said smiling.

* * * * * * 

"...so that basically sums up my feelings on the subject of pastels and Capri pants," Cordelia concluded as they headed out of downtown and towards the cemetery.

"That was very enlightening, Cordelia. What's next the history of hot pants?" Buffy asked with a smirk that faded when Cordelia shot her a look. "I was joking, as I've been known to do from time to time. The ideal response would be laughing and praises to my wit, but I suppose the evil eye is also applicable," Buffy said when Cordelia continued to glare at her. "There was that joke thing again," Buffy explained. "Oh come on, I'm sorry."

"Fine. You're forgiven," Cordelia responded. "However, since hot pants are obviously of no interest to you, what do you want to talk about?" Cordelia asked.

"Us," Buffy said as they entered the cemetery.

"There's an us?" Cordelia asked.

"I was under the impression that there was an us," Buffy mumbled. She was beginning to think that perhaps she was placing more importance on whatever they were than Cordelia was, and it didn't sit well with her.

"There's an us," Cordelia confirmed, hearing Buffy's tone. She hadn't meant what she said to come out that way. She was glad there was a 'them', she just wanted to know if that's what Buffy meant. After she spoke they walked for a few moments in silence before Buffy broke it.

"I like you," Buffy said, keeping her eyes focused on their surroundings.

"Yeah, I caught that," Cordelia responded, watching Buffy out the corner of her eye.

"I'm serious," Buffy said. "Girl talking seriously right here."

"I know, I seriously caught that," Cordelia responded. "You know I like you too don't you? I mean you like me, I like you, it works out well that way don't you think?" 

"Yeah, but that not what I meant, well it is what I meant but not what I meant at the same time. It's some weird amalgamate of what I meant and some other meaning," Buffy responded, not really following her own sentence.

"You lost me somewhere after 'yeah'," Cordelia admitted, her brow slightly scrunched.

"I mean that it's more than the fact that you give me 'the down low tickle'. I like think about you and stuff, you know wonder what your doing," Buffy responded.

"I give you 'the down low tickle'?" Cordelia asked.

"Cordelia, focus on the other part of that statement," Buffy told her.

"You mean you've gone past the science fair stage? The experiment's over, and the results are in?" Cordelia asked, starting to get where Buffy was going with all of this.

"Yeah, that pretty much sums up what I've trying been trying to say," Buffy agreed wishing she had gotten it out without sounding like a jabbering idiot.

"And you want to know how far along in the project I am? If I've reached any conclusions?" Cordelia asked looking over at Buffy who just nodded at her and waited for her answer. "I'd say our data corresponds."

"Really?" Buffy asked smiling.

"Yes, really," Cordelia responded returning the Slayers smile. "So where do we go from here?"

"You duck, and I slay," Buffy said pulling a stake out of her waistband and moving around Cordelia to intercept a vamp who had just risen.

Cordelia stepped back and watched as Buffy and the vampire started to fight. It was only a matter of minutes before Buffy dusted the thing but during that time Cordelia realized that both of them being girls wasn't going to be the main obstacle in their relationship.

* * * * * *

As far as demons, and vampires, and openings to hell went the next few weeks passed by relatively uninterestingly. Buffy staked a total of about four vamps, and amazingly pathetic ones at that. So while everything on the slaying front was boring there were other areas of her life that just kept getting better and better. She and Cordelia had spent at least sometime together everyday and were getting closer and closer. Seeing the other girl had actually become the highlight of Buffy's days. The project excuse had only worked for a few more days after the incident with Faith, and after that they had to start being more inventive with finding ways to see each other. Ways that usually involved Buffy starting patrol earlier and finishing later.

Things on the physical front had cooled down slightly. While they sometimes got a little too involved in what they were doing, they decided that it would be best if they waited. Not only was this type of relationship new for both of them, but the emotions they were experiencing  were much more powerful then anything they had felt before, making their connection new and exhilarating, but also frightening. Not to mention that the incident with Angel and one with Cordelia's parents had reminded them that they had to be more careful about when and where they engaged in certain activities. Buffy hadn't known that it was possible to get dressed in under sixty seconds until the night Cordelia's parents came home from their vacation in Palm Springs.

"Do you think that all the fighting we've done over the years was just the result of unresolved sexual tension?" Cordelia asked as they snuggled into Buffy's couch. The TV was on, but neither of them were watching it. Joyce was at the Gallery working on a new Egyptian exhibit which would keep her out till the wee hours of the morning so they had the house to themselves. 

"There's a thought," Buffy said looking up at Cordelia. "If that's true then that means that the Homecoming thing was like what...foreplay?" Buffy asked remembering that something had been crackling in the air that night.

"Hmm..." Cordelia said sniffing Buffy's hair. "Please tell me that's not your idea of foreplay. I couldn't afford it. Do you have any idea how much that dress cost?"

"I seriously doubt that," Buffy told her leaning into the taller girls touch. "Besides I think you already know what my idea of foreplay is."

"That I do," Cordelia said, smiling as she planted a small kiss on Buffy's neck. "This is nice." Cordelia continued a moment later. "Having someone to talk to, or not talk to, someone to just be with."

"Can't you do that with your friends?" Buffy asked. She still hadn't been able to really wrap her mind around the relationship Cordelia had with Harmony and the crew. Sometimes she could swear that she didn't even like them. "Well not this exactly," Buffy said gesturing to their intimate position, "but to talk to and stuff?" she finished.

"Those sheep? All they do is follow and bah all day long. If any one of them ever had an original thought it would cause their brain to overload. I would hate to be responsible for that," Cordelia responded.

"Why do you hang with them then?" Buffy asked genuinely interested. She had observed Cordelia in her natural habitat and when she was there she didn't seem happy. It was more like indifference bordering on aversion. At least when she had hung out with her and Scooby Gang she had been able to be herself, something she seemed to be missing now.

"Why did you hang with your crowd in L.A?" Cordelia asked remembering the references Buffy had made about her life before she came to Sunnydale.

"I didn't know what real friendship was like until I came here," Buffy responded truthfully. What she observing with Cordelia and her group was a lot like what she had been like with hers in L.A. She didn't even really miss them when she had moved to Sunnydale. At first she missed the security that came along with belonging to a group, but she didn't really miss the group. Now she could hardly imagine life without Willow, Xander, Giles, Oz, and Cordelia.

"I didn't know what real friends were like until I started hanging with you guys," Cordelia admitted. It had been a totally new experience for her to be around them, they actually cared about each other, protected each other, and when she joined in they cared about and protected her. It wasn't about who could upstage the other, or who had the best clothes, it was about being together, having people around that you wanted around, and she liked it. She never would have come out and said it, it wouldn't have been in character but she liked being their friend. "And well, you know how that turned out," she continued.

"So you went back," Buffy stated. It wasn't an accusation, just a fact. In truth she understood why Cordelia would have gone back, why she would've have been angry with them.

"I couldn't stay," Cordelia said, remembering the pain and loneliness she felt that day in the hospital. "At least they never hurt me, not until I left the fold and even then it didn't compare. It couldn't," Cordelia continued her voice lowering. Buffy turned around so that she could look into Cordelia's eyes, see the pain that had been caused.

"I didn't know about what was going on," Buffy said not breaking their gaze. It was very important to her that Cordelia know she didn't take part in the deception.

"I know," Cordelia admitted. "You were cast out by association. It wasn't personal."

"I figured," Buffy said shifting so that her face was only inches above Cordelia's, before she slowly lowered her head to bring their lips together in a gentle kiss. "I can't promise that you'll be hurt by one of us again, but I can promise that it will never be intentional and that after all is said and done we will be there. I will be there. That's what friendship, love, and feeling is all about. I care about you, more than I can say," Buffy told her.

"You'll be there?" Cordelia whispered.

"I'll be there," Buffy responded with absolute certainty. Cordelia looked at her for a moment then raised her head bringing her lips to Buffy's once again.

Once the kiss broke Buffy took Cordelia's hand and lead her up to her bedroom. Cordelia followed her quietly, each girl knowing exactly what was going to happen, and each anticipating it, wanting it, craving it. The past few years, the past few weeks, the past few days all culminating on the small climb to Buffy's room until both felt like they almost couldn't take it anymore. The need to touch each, to be together, becoming overwhelming. Buffy reached out with a steady hand opening the door to her room, closing it once Cordelia was safely inside.

"What about your mother?" Cordelia asked when Buffy turned to face her.

"She's at the gallery, she won't be home until dawn and that's even if she bothers to come home at all," Buffy responded, steering Cordelia towards the bed.

"Good," the brunette responded raising her hand to Buffy's face before bringing their lips together. There was no fanfare this time, they both knew what they wanted. Not breaking the kiss, she gently pushed Cordelia into a sitting position on the mattress and straddled her thighs. Cordelia moaned and began to move her hands up and down Buffy's sides only lightly brushing her breasts. As Cordelia's hands made their way under her shirt Buffy reached for Cordelia starting to unbutton her shirt. It was becoming extremely important to both of them that they feel the others skin.

Buffy stopped her administrations to lift her arms so that Cordelia could lift her shirt over her head. Once she was freed from the garment she returned to the task of removing Cordelia's shirt. Once she had all the buttons undone she leaned forward and kissed her as she slipped the shirt down off of her shoulders. They both moaned as their breasts touched each others, the delightful friction causing their kiss to become frenzied. Wanting, needing to feel more, Buffy moved her hands to Cordelia's back undoing her bra. Leaning back slightly so that she could see Cordelia's face Buffy pealed the lacy garment off and tossed it to the side. Leaning forward once again she crushed her lips to Cordelia's and moved her hands up to caress her breasts. Cordelia groaned into her mouth and arched into Buffy's hands.

Moving off of Cordelia, Buffy stood up, ignoring the girl's moan of protest. She decided that she had too much clothing on and was going to rectify the situation immediately. Trailing her hand down her stomach Buffy reached into the waistband of her pants and pulled them down slowly stepping out of them. Looking up she noticed Cordelia's gaze fastened on her. Reaching around to her back she unhooked her bra letting it drop to the floor. Cordelia had centered herself on the bed now and was watching Buffy's every move with avid attention. Reaching down once again Buffy bent to remove the only article of clothing she still had on. Slowly she peeled off her panties and stepped out of them moving back over to the bed.

"Your turn," she said bending over Cordelia to kiss her softly. "Let me," she said when she felt Cordelia's hands moving to take off what was left of her clothing. Moving her hands down to Cordelia's waist Buffy unbuttoned her pants then slid down Cordelia's body until her head was at her abdomen. Grasping the waist band of the pants and underwear Buffy tugged them down and off her feet before moving back up to join Cordelia.

Once Buffy was eye level again Cordelia rolled them over so that she was on top and dipped her head to trail kisses along Buffy's neck and collar bone, nuzzling slightly. Buffy had the most tantalizing, soft skin and Cordelia couldn't get enough. Continuing her downward trek she stopped at Buffy's right breast licking the area around her areola before taking the erect pink nipple into her mouth and sucking it while with her left hand she squeezed and pinched her left nipple. Buffy moaned and turned her head to the side arching into Cordelia's mouth and hand. Cordelia continued to assault Buffy's breasts alternating between left and right for a few minutes before continuing on her way down.

"Cordelia..." Buffy started.

"I want to taste you," Cordelia mumbled before dipping her tongue into Buffy's navel and flicking.

"Uhhh..." Buffy moaned leaning back as Cordelia continued down. Reaching Buffy's sex Cordelia moaned as the scent wafted up to her.

"You're so wet," Cordelia commented softly as she nudged Buffy's legs apart. Laying in between the other girls legs Cordelia learned the answer to a question she had been trying to figure out for ages. Buffy was a natural blond. Pushing the thought aside, she reached out a finger coating it in Buffy's nectar then drew it into her mouth and sucked her finger clean.

"Ummmm..." The brunette moaned before leaning forward and dipping her tongue into Buffy's honey warmth. Parting her lips with her fingers Cordelia licked the length of Buffy's sex collecting all of the ambrosia that she could find.

Buffy's hips jerked at the first touch of Cordelia's tongue, and gave a full fledged buck when the girl started to lick her. The sensations were overwhelming, she had lost total control of her motor skills her body was doing whatever it felt like which seemed to be pushing forward to meet Cordelia's mouth. The sounds Cordelia was making while she feasted on her only exciting Buffy more.

"Oh...yes...Cor..." Buffy wailed as the girl slipped a finger into sopping opening.

As Buffy's hips started moving faster Cordelia added another finger being careful not to hurt her lover. Continuing her pumping motion Cordelia moved her lips up to take Buffy's throbbing clit into her mouth, smiling at the enthusiastic reaction the move got from Buffy.

"Ohhhhhhgodddddddd," Buffy moaned as Cordelia started to stroke the length of her clit while pumping her fingers faster. She was so close, she could feel her orgasm building. When Cordelia sucked her clit into her mouth pulling on it Buffy exploded, pelvis bucking up into Cordelia face as a kaleidoscope of colors exploded behind her eyes. As her orgasm continued to flow through her body Cordelia kept up her ministrations drawing out Buffy's orgasm as long as possible.

When Buffy's body stilled Cordelia kissed her way up Buffy's body placing a soft kiss on her lips as she waited for her breathing to return to normal. When Buffy opened her eyes she was greeted to Cordelia's smiling face.

"You are without a doubt the most amazing creature I have ever laid eyes on," Cordelia said lifting her head off of Buffy's shoulder to give her a kiss.

"Shouldn't that be my line," Buffy said smiling. She could taste herself on Cordelia's lips and found it to be incredibly erotic, not to mention stimulating.

"I like touching you," Cordelia said trailing her hand up Buffy's side. "It makes me happy," Cordelia continued unconsciously moving her sex along Buffy's thigh.

"I bet I know what'd make you happier," Buffy said trailing her hands down to rest on Cordelia's hips which were now moving steadily along her thigh. "Do you like that?" Buffy asked watching as Cordelia's eyes started to close. The girl simply moaned in response, her hips picking up pace.

"Buffy," Cordelia murmured a minute later as she lowered her lips to Buffy's. She was starting to lose it, her hips moved faster and faster and she could feel a tightening in her stomach. "Yesss..." Cordelia drew out as her head dropped to Buffy's shoulder. She was almost there, just one more, "BUFFY!!!!!" She called out throwing her head back as orgasm ripped through body. Buffy continued to hold her tightly as her hips bucked against her and her body shook until finally Cordelia collapsed against her.

Once Cordelia's breathing returned to normal she lifted up her head so that she could see Buffy's face. Their eyes meet and they stared into each others eyes for an eternity before Buffy reached up and placed a series of small kisses all over Cordelia's face.

"I've never--" Cordelia started to say but Buffy interrupted her.

"Believe me,  I know," Buffy said softly placing her fingers over Cordelia's lips.

"What about--"

"It wasn't like this," Buffy said knowing that Cordelia was referring to her and Angel. The two experiences were almost completely different and not just because of the boy/girl thing. As a vampire Angel's body temperature was always a few degrees lower than a human's leaving him cold to the touch at all times. What she had just shared with Cordelia was warm, and passionate, loving, and alive, and Buffy said so trying to find someway to express what she was feeling.

Cordelia merely smiled and kissed her on the forehead. She understand how Buffy could be at a loss for words, she was too. She was so completely filled with feelings, with emotions but she had no idea how to express them in words.

"Stay here tonight?" Buffy asked not wanting to let her go. In fact she didn't think she could.

"Where could I go that would be better than this?" Cordelia asked.

"Disney Land?" Buffy offered. That always seemed to be a suitable suggestion.

"Trust me, the Magic Kingdom's got nothing on you," Cordelia answered with a smile.

"Sweet talking will get you everywhere with me Ms. Chase," Buffy said rubbing her hand up and down Cordelia's arm.

"I know," Cordelia responded before leaning down and kissing Buffy again. It was going to be a long, enjoyable night.

* * * * * *

As Buffy opened her eyes she smiled and thanked the Lord it was Saturday. And while she was at it she thanked the big guy for the girl she was curled up against. Happy was an emotion Buffy had been becoming less and less familiar with since being called but laying there she was undoubtedly, sickeningly happy and she loved it. Was reveling in it. When she had had to send Angel to hell the year before she had felt like her insides had been ripped out, and the despair that had overcome her seemed absolute. After her very unsuccessful summer vacation/dealing cop-out, not to mention the miserable attempt to move on with Scott around Homecoming she had started to think that she would never love again, never feel passion again. And she didn't realize it until very recently but those unconscious thoughts had been creeping into reality causing her to distance herself from others, to run. Her relationship with Cordelia had changed that however, she loved and was loved in return. With Cordelia she felt passion, she felt happy, she felt alive.

Tilting her head up she noticed two dark eyes regarding her thoughtfully.

"Morning," Cordelia offered giving Buffy a tiny smile.

"Hey," Buffy responded continuing to look into Cordelia's eyes. They had these little specks of gold in them that she loved. She could probably spend at least an hour just staring into those eyes without being bored.

"You okay?" Cordelia asked carefully. Buffy had seemed deep in thought when she woke up and she was praying that the girl wasn't having second thoughts about what they had shared the night before. She didn't know what she would do if she was because she had fallen, she had fallen hard.

"Better than okay," Buffy said with a smile shifting up to place a soft kiss on Cordelia's lips.

"No regrets?" Cordelia asked once Buffy had settled again.

"None whatsoever," Buffy told her. "You?"

"What's a regret?" Cordelia asked with a smile, kissing the top of Buffy's head. She was too happy for words and she knew it showed on her face. "Do I look and sound as goofy as I think I do?" Cordelia asked thinking that there was more sap in her than in a maple tree.

"Yes," Buffy responded with a equally goofy grin. "But don't worry, I think it's cute and that's really all that matters."

"Well good then," Cordelia responded. "How would you feel if I told you thatà" Her sentence was interrupted by the ringing of the phone. Buffy looked at Cordelia torn between wanting to hear the rest of what the girl was going to stay and having to pick up. When Cordelia nodded in the direction of the phone Buffy relented and picked it up.

"Hello?" Buffy asked trying not to sound as irritated with the caller as she was.

"Buffalicious!" Xander greeted on the other end.

"Hey X," Buffy said.

"What are you doing today?" Xander asked. "Nothing? Great. Cause I've got two irresistible words for you. Point-n-Putt," Xander responded not waiting for an answer.

"Point-n-Putt?" Buffy asked thinking that that wasn't two words, more like two and a half, or something like that anyway.

"I know, I know. It sounds to good to be true, but I assure you it is one hundred percent genuine," Xander said barely able to control his excitement. "Oz and Willow are aboard, so what do say? Can we add a Slayer to the list?"

"Xander--" Buffy started but was interrupted.

"Did I mention that CC is invited too," Xander piped up.

"No, no you didn't," Buffy told him slightly surprised. They were no longer being hostile to each other, but she still figured she had a way to go before they were inviting Cordelia places themselves.

"Well she is. So...what's the verdict?" He asked. He hadn't really discussed this with Will and Oz, but puzzlingly it seemed that Buffy and Cordelia had meshed/bonded in some way and if they wanted the Buffster to come along for the ride, it meant CC was coming too. He didn't pretend to understand it, he just went with the flow, because that's what cool guys did.

"I'm there, but I'll have to ask her," Buffy responded.

"What? She's there?" Xander asked surprised. He realized they were know what you would classify as friends, but bosom buddies?

"No," Buffy responded quickly. "I meant I'll call her when we're through and let you know," Buffy continued. "Time? Place? Do you want fries with that?" 

"One O'clock at...are you ready for this...Point-n-put," Xander said.

"Very droll," Buffy told him. "I'll call you back later. Oh, and make sure to keep a leash on the stinging wit, it could hurt someone," she warned before hanging up the phone.

"I take it that was Xander?" Cordelia asked.

"You take it right," Buffy said shifting so that she was facing Cordelia. "You up for some mini-put? We've been promised a slap happy time."

"I can't. I promised mom I would help set up for my cousins baby shower," Cordelia responded regretfully.

"Alright," Buffy said in response not to happy either. "Listen, we'll be at the library around eight before heading for the Bronze. Meet up with us?" Buffy asked hopefully.

"Done," Cordelia responded.

"Good," Buffy said with a smile. "Now that we've got that settled...how about breakfast?"

"Breakfast would be good," Cordelia said as she leaned down to kiss Buffy.

"I was really thinking more along the lines of pancakes."

"I like my idea better," Cordelia responded, smiling as Buffy leaned in to kiss her. She really liked winning.

* * * * * *

Mini-putt was an interesting experience. Who knew Xander could be so deadly with such a little stick? They headed to the library later on as usual, Giles still wanted them to do some more research on the Graduation Day, he was just spacing it out now. As it was, they were unlikely to find out anymore than what they already knew, but it was worth the shot. They were all in pretty good moods as they entered the school, especially Buffy who was paying less attention to her surroundings than usual. As a result she missed the dark figure who hid in the bushes and followed them to the school.

Cordelia barely managed to sneak out of the baby shower alive, as she had slipped out the garage door she could hear her family start to talk about Martha Stewart and her tips for plant care. She had shook her head and said another thank you for she knew without a doubt that participating in that conversation surely would have killed her. She still didn't understand how it was possible for a room full of grown people to get so excited over plants. They were going on and on about how they would get up early and lightly spray the plants leaves in the morning, and how the moisture sticks were the greatest thing since unsliced bread was re-invented. She actually wished she had gone out with the Scooby gang. That was mostly due to the Buffy-factor of course, but what they were doing had to have been better than what she was. Putting her car into park she picked up her bag and headed towards the doors of the school to meet the gang.

"Cordelia..." A voice sing- songed. Turning around Cordelia saw Faith slowly walk out from the shadows to her side.

"Faith," she said carefully.

"Little late for you to be at school isn't it?" Faith said continuing her walk towards Cordelia. "And on a Saturday no less. That's what I call dedication."

"I guess. I'm just looking for--"

"Buffy," Faith said flatly. "I know," she continued now circling the other brunette. "Everybody's always looking for Buffy. Popular girl isn't she?"

"Well it depends whose gauge you're using I guess," Cordelia responded, starting to wig. Something was definitely up.

"Buffy gets the mom, Buffy gets the Super Friends, Buffy gets the boy, and now..now Buffy gets the girl," Faith said standing in front of Cordelia. "Sounds pretty popular to me," she continued. "Popular, popular, popular. We are definitely going to have to do something about that. So who to start with, hmm? Well, I kinda like Mrs. S, she's the only one around here who treated me kinda decently, the Super Friends are much more trouble than they're worth, and Angel...well I tried that already and it didn't work so hot. Which leaves?" Faith asked.

"The girl?" Cordelia guessed.

"That's right," Faith said smiling slightly. "Do you know who the girl is?"

"I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess...me," Cordelia said, really not liking where this was going at all.

"You're on a roll tonight Cordy," Faith said.

"Why me?" Cordelia asked. Except for that one night there was no reason for Faith to think that she was friends with Buffy and gang again.

"Why? Because your Buffy's new play thing," Faith responded savoring the surprised look on Cordelia's face. "Surprised I know huh? I'm not as dense as the Super Friends, I've had people watching Buffy, which to my surprise meant they were also watching you. Who would have thought it? Wonder Woman and The Super Bitch." Faith moved closer, seriously invading Cordelia's personal space as she continued, "She likes you, you know? If I had to hazard a guess I would even say love. Ya see when my peeps told me about you two, I just had to go take a look for myself, and I'll be damned if it wasn't true, goo goo eyes and all," Faith said making a face. "Well I'm telling you I couldn't be happier about this revelation, if Buffy hadn't fallen for you I might not have gotten the chance to pay her back, but know I'm going to use you to play her just like she played me," Faith finished reaching for Cordelia. "Goodnight Cordelia," she said before putting the rag over Cordelia's face.

* * * * * *

Buffy glanced at the door again then looked at the clock. It was past eight thirty, Cordelia should've been there. Currently it was just her, Willow, and Xander in the library, Oz had to take off earlier for a gig at the Bronze.

"What's with the looks, Buff?" Willow asked noting how her friend kept checking the clock and looking at the door.

"Nothing, just restless I guess," Buffy responded. It was somewhat true.

"I..." Willow started to say but stopped when Buffy stood up.

"What's that?" The Slayer asked to no one in particular.

"What?" Willow asked looking around not seeing anything out of the ordinary.

"On the floor by the door. It's a piece of paper or something," Buffy said, walking over. "It wasn't there before." Willow got up and followed her.

"What's going on? Is it fun stuff?" Xander queried, coming down from the second level.

"Buffy thinks she's found something," Willow told him. By the time Xander got down there Buffy had picked up the object, an envelope, and was starting to open it.

"No," Buffy said quietly after having read it over a couple of times. "Dammit!" she swore crushing the piece of paper.

"What is it?" Willow asked, surprised by Buffy's reaction to whatever was in it.

"A ransom note," Buffy said darkly. She was starting to pace.

"Ransom? Who?" Xander asked looking around the room taking stock. All he had was Juicy Fruit and if they wanted that they could have it.

"Cordelia," Buffy said not bothering to look at him. "Faith has her," she added as an afterthought.

"Why Cordelia?" Willow asked, surprised by Faith's choice in victims.

"Because she knows that I'll come after her," Buffy responded. "When are Giles and Wesley due back?" 

"Anytime now," Willow responded. The two Watchers had gone to Sunnyvale the neighboring city to pick up a shipment of books earlier that day and were suppose to meet them at the library.

Buffy nodded and headed over to the table to sit down. She needed to think. She couldn't believe this was happening. What was there some unwritten law in the Slayer's hand book that said 'thou shalt not be happy ever, but if thou doest manage to procure happiness it shall be taken from thee forthwith'? They were just getting started, she could still feel Cordelia's arms wrapped her, hear her voice whispering in her ear after they finished making love, could see her face as clearly as if she was standing in front of her. She wasn't going to lose that, she wasn't going to lose Cordelia, she couldn't, it was as simple as that. She loved her and she was not going to let her go. And she did love her, Buffy realized, she really did.

"Buffy," Willow said softly, approaching her friend carefully. It had been over ten minutes since Buffy had gotten the letter and  she hadn't said anything since asking when Giles was due back. "Buffy," she said again when there was no answer. Buffy heard her this time and looked over at her with unfocused eyes. What Willow saw in those eyes startled her, there was anguish in them, real and true. The only time she had ever seen a look close to this on Buffy was when she told them how she had sent Angel to hell. Willow could understand that but this, this was just Cordelia. She knew Buffy would be upset, and try her hardest to find the brunette, but agony? Over Cordelia? "Buffy, what's going on?"

"We have to find her," Buffy said, her mind still a million miles away.

"I know that. We will find her, but what's going on?"

"What do you mean?" Buffy asked focusing on Willow for the first time since she sat down.

"You can't see you but I can. You're a mess," Willow said concerned. "I know you're worried... but it's only Cordelia."

Buffy laughed sadly. "Yeah. It's only Cordelia," ,he said shaking her head. "That's the point Will."

"Explain. I don't understand," Willow pleaded softly. She knew Buffy had gotten closer to Cordelia over the past weeks but she had also seen her remain cooler in much tougher situations.

"I can't," Buffy said not even knowing how to began telling her friend what she was feeling. First of all how did one let it slip out nonchalantly that one was in love with a girl ones best friend had referred to as 'mean, evil and skanky'? In fact how does one tell ones best friend that she is in love with another girl, let alone explain that one invested so much hope, love, and possibility into said relationship that one didn't think it was possible to go on if something happened? It was only Cordelia, that was the whole point.

"Yes you can," Willow said. "Haven't you learned anything over the past year. Secrets don't do anyone any good, all they end up doing is hurting. You say you're so alone, that nobody understands but how can we understand when you won't tell us what's going on? How can we be there if you push us away? I don't know what's going on Buffy but I can almost certainly guarantee you that telling will make it better, and that we'll be here to work through it together," Willow said. Whether her attempt to get Buffy to open up would work she didn't know but at least she had given it a shot. She wanted to help, but she could only do that if her friend wanted it, accepted what she was offering. "You really care about her, don't you?" Willow asked after a moment of observing Buffy. The other girl hadn't answered her question and Willow had noticed that far away look in her eyes return.

"Who would have thought it, huh?" Buffy asked. "But yeah."

"She'll be okay," Willow told Buffy. She wouldn't pretend to understand the bond Buffy and Cordelia had seemed to form over the past few weeks, but it was apparent to her that her friend was in distress and she would do whatever she could to ease that.

"What if she isn't?" Buffy asked.

"She will be. You'll save her," Willow said confidently. "You always do."

"What if I can't this time?" Buffy wondered out loud.

"I will not allow for that kind of negative thinking," Willow stated. "You obviously want her back, so if you want it bad enough, and you go after it you'll get it. Do or do not Buffy, there is no try," Willow continued. 

Buffy looked up at her and smirked. "Thanks Yoda."

"The Force is with you," Willow said, smiling.

"Luke, I am your father," Buffy said in her best James Earl Jones impression, smiling for the first time since seeing the letter. "Now that we've gotten the heart to heart out of the way, we have to find her," she said, getting serious again.

"Giles and Wesley will be back soon," Willow offered.

"Maybe not soon enough. Faith is not stable, who knows what she could be doing to her. She talked about cutting into me with just a bit to much verve. She had to know Cordelia is back in or she wouldn't have bothered with her, which means she'll do things to her specifically to hurt me," Buffy said realizing with a chill that it was true. "I can't let that happen."

Xander who had wondered back over to the girls seeing a discussion taking place, was about to respond when the doors to the library opened and Angel walked in hurriedly. Three sets of eyes turned to him as he stopped, then started to pace in front of Buffy.

"Buffy...I don't know how...something's happened...it's Faith, she's...she's got Cordelia," Angel said in his usual breathless whisper.

"I know," Buffy said tossing him the envelope. "Do you know where they have her?" She asked after he finished reading it.

"The docks in the abandoned cannery," Angel responded. "I'll take you there."

Buffy looked up at him with grateful eyes. She had gone to talk to him a few days after he had seen them at Cordelia's to explain what was going on. She had actually just rambled on and on in jumbled incoherent non-sentences for a while before he stopped her and told her that it was okay. After that she had managed to pull it together and he had listened to her, and supported her even though she knew he still loved her. Things had irrevocably changed between them after he came back from hell, and while it was though, and the transition was no where close to easy, they became just friends. For Angel while painful the truth of this was somewhat easier for him to bare for his tortured soul would not allow him to love another, but he knew that Buffy could and had to move on. She had done so with Cordelia and it made him happy to know that Buffy would love and again and be loved in return. The happiness was shadowed by his own deep feeling of loss so it didn't endanger his soul but he was happy nonetheless and would do everything in his power to make sure that the two of them had everything he and Buffy could not. Cordelia couldn't have known it but in him she had found herself a guardian, well, Angel.

"Let's go then," Buffy said heading for the utility cage to stock up. Buffy had not desired a confrontation between herself and Faith, had wanted to believe that there was still some good, something of the friend she had once had in the girl, but Faith had gone to far too many times. She wasn't going to allow the other Slayer to hurt anymore of her loved ones. She owed them that much.

* * * * * *

Cordelia had regained consciousness about a half hour before, and Faith decided to have some fun with girl. Her mother had always told her not to play with her food, but then again Cordelia wasn't really HER food, she was just the entertainment until Buffy arrived, and of course the scrap she would throw to her dogs. But then again her mother was a drunken whore who cared more about her bottle of Jack Daniel's than her own daughter so Faith didn't put much, well, faith in her mother's words of wisdom.

"So, tell me Cordelia," Faith drawled from across the dimly lit room, "is Buffy a good lay? The girls got so much pent-up energy I bet that when she gets a chance it uncork she's wild ride."

"Spent a lot of time thinking about uncorking Buffy, Faith?" Cordelia asked. She was way beyond hating this girl. She was never going to get the rust stains, from the chains Faith used to tie her up, out of her shirt.

"Enough. You know what I say about slaying, makes you hungry or horny. Patrolling with Buffy usually led to the latter. Never got the chance to find out though, cause she's so much better than me. A murdering demon's fine, but me? No we can't have that. Royalty mixing with the peasant stock, completely unacceptable," Faith said in a caustic tone. It was just one more reason to take joy from torturing Cordelia, she had breached territory that was off limits to her even though she had wanted it, maybe even deserved it by rights of slayage. Buffy could shag a demon and a brainless debutante but not her. That just pissed her off.

"You know what Faith, this 'woe is me' Oliver Twist, 'nobody loves' me routine has really been overdone. Maybe if you stopped killing and kidnapping people you would be more popular." 

"What the hell do you know? You've had everything handed to you on silver-platter. The hardest thing you probably ever do is pick out which Gucci dress to wear. You're like that Veronica chick from the Archie comics, 'buy me this daddy, buy me that!'. I hated that chick! To hell with you!" Faith snarled. "To hell with all of you."

"That attitude'll win you some friends. You've got a real Marsha Brady complex you know? It's all about you, you, you. You piss and moan about how nobody loves you, but when someone genuinely reaches out a hand you bite it like a rabid dog. You messed up with the Scooby Gang, you were in and you messed it up. Grow up, accept it, move on. Buffy never did anything to you but try to be your friend," Cordelia finished. Faith stared at her unable to deny the facts yet unwilling to admit them.

The truth was she had wanted Buffy's help after the whole deal with Allan, she just couldn't open up. Then she had gone to the mayor to try and get information on him and win Buffy back over, but something unexpected happened. The mayor treated her like a princess. She had been expecting him to treat her like dirt like everyone else did, but he didn't. He told her that she did a good job, that she was pretty, that she was talented, and he bought her things and talked to her. It was almost like having a real father. She didn't even realize it, but he took her initial envy of Buffy and subtly turned it into something more, turned it into hate. She could remember when they all used to hang and have fun, but she also remembered how they played her and she was angry, so angry and full of hate at them and at the world that she couldn't think, couldn't see, and someone had to pay for it.

"You do realize you've been kidnapped don't you? You should be nice to me or things could get very nasty for you," Faith responded finally.

"Is this the only way you can make new friends?" Cordelia asked, knowing that no matter how she behaved it wasn't going to change her fate. She could stall it though which is what she was aiming for. Faith got up and walk across the room quickly striking Cordelia with the back of her hand.

"You're really gonna want to shut up now," Faith advised. She had tired of this game.

"What's the matter? Can dish it out but can't take it?" Cordelia taunted, despite the pain her face was in.

"I know what you're trying to do," Faith stated, backing away from her. They all thought that they were so smart, that they could play her like a fucking fiddle, but she wasn't falling for that. She was smarter than they gave her credit for. "You're trying to make me angry so that I'll goof and maybe kill you. Save you from all the pain that is guaranteed to come your way. Well it's not going to work."

"You actually think your going to get away with this don't you?" Cordelia asked incredulously. "Buffy's going to--"

"Buffy's not here! And by the time she gets here you'll be dead," Faith responded cockily. She was certain that it would take the other Slayer at least a day to locate her, maybe more. That was possibly the only good thing about Sunnydale, there were plenty of places to hide.

"Guess again," Buffy responded from the doorway of the cannery. "I would really think about keeping the day job Faith, fortune telling isn't your thing."

"B," Faith greeted with a smile simply oozing hostility, "glad you could make it. If I'd known you were coming I would have tided the place up a little."

"Let her go Faith. This is between me and you," Buffy said hoping to appeal to the girls sense of honor.

"Nah, I think I'll hold on to her," Faith said. "She's kinda cute."

"I was wrong that night in the mansion Faith," Buffy said staring at the other Slayer, her former friend.

"Really?" The dark haired Slayer asked.

"Yeah. You're not a loser," Buffy said. "There's no word low enough for what you are." Faith glared at Buffy for a second before leaning down slightly and hitting Cordelia hard across the face.

"Keep it up B, let's see how much your girl can take," Faith said delighting in the look on Buffy's face as she struck Cordelia.

"You're a coward Faith. Chicken would be ashamed to share a name with you," Buffy responded. "You know you can't beat me, I've kicked your ass enough for you to realize that, so you go after my friends, my family. You're a coward Faith, a crowd who knows that when put to the test she'll fail so she doesn't even try. Tell me, what's it like to have no backbone and know it? I'm thinking it would suck," Buffy said watching the other Slayer closely. She was getting mad, that was good, when Faith was mad she was sloppy.

Faith regarded Buffy for a long moment, she could feel the anger building inside of her like a tidal wave. Faith stomped on the floor broads.

"It's time boys!" She yelled. "I'll show you who's the coward," she directed towards Buffy then charged her. As Buffy ducked to avoid a boot flying at her face ten vamps busted into the room from a door off to the side. Straightening Buffy formed an X with her arms blocking a punch aimed

for her and head butted Faith sending the girl stumbling a bit. By that time the gang had entered the building and were engaging the vamps while Xander moved over to free Cordelia from her bonds. "Bitch," Faith growled before lunging at Buffy again.

The fight raged on for minutes, Buffy striking Faith, and Faith striking back. Nothing Buffy threw at her seemed to faze her for long. It was like she couldn't feel the pain. All she was feeling was the hate, the anger, and it was driving her on, giving her strength. They had slowly shuffled their way towards a corner while the gang tried their best to hold off the vamps. Thanks to Angel they were actually on top letting Buffy concentrate fully on Faith.

Buffy kicked her in the gut, then spun around, driving her elbow into the small of Faith's back. Faith, ignoring the pain in her back, responded by using her downwards momentum to drop into spin kick causing Buffy to jump up giving her the opportunity to ram the smaller girl into the wall.

"How do you like that?" Faith asked, shoving Buffy against the wall. Buffy responded by kicking her in pelvic area causing Faith to release her and kicked the girls knee.

"I like that better," Buffy said. Faith backed up holding her leg like a wounded animal, watching Buffy.

"Maybe you're right B," she started a sick smile making it's way across her face. "Maybe I can't beat you in a fair fight. But then again lucky for me that I rarely fight fair. I might not be able to beat you but I can kill you, and all your little friends," she said reaching into her pocket and removing a small box. "Plan C. We all go to hell together," Faith said. Buffy stared at the box for a second knowing exactly what Faith planned on doing.

"Move out!" She yelled. "Everybody get the hell out of here!!!" Backing away from Faith she spotted Cordelia trapped in the corner with a vamp and made a b-line for her. Faith smiled and flipped the switch.

"Five seconds B," she cooed. "I'm going to enjoy torturing you for eternity," She continued but Buffy wasn't paying attention. After throwing the vamp to the ground she grabbed Cordelia by the arm and looked around quickly. The door was too far away for them to make it, but she spotted a grotto about ten meters away. It would provide protection from the blast and best of all it was close. Dragging Cordelia with her she shoved the girl into the grotto then covered her turning her back to the blast. Less then a second after they reached their destination there was a rumbling and everything started tumbling down.

* * * * * *

Buffy opened her eyes when everything was quite again. The first thing she noted was a pain in her back most likely from scraps hitting her, but it was good pain. It was pain that meant she was alive. Everything was dark, but her eyes soon adjusted and she could see that they were trapped. The opening to the alcove was now covered with layers of rock, metal and who knew what else. A small whimper diverted her from her inspection of her surrounding however. She was still wrapped around Cordelia, with the other girls head resting on her shoulder.

"Buffy?" Cordelia asked, coughing a little.

"Yeah, I'm here," Buffy said softly leaning her head to rest against Cordelia's.

"Are we dead?"

"No death is much brighter than this," Buffy responded. Cordelia didn't respond right away, opting instead to bury her face in Buffy's shoulder. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. It's all my fault," Buffy whispered as she rocked Cordelia gently.

"It's okay," Cordelia said softly.

"No it's not. You were nearly tortured and killed because of me," Buffy objected, Faith hitting Cordelia playing through her head.

"I know, Buffy. I know what it's like to be in your life, the danger, and I chose to be here. Sure, I could do without the kidnapping, who couldn't, but that doesn't make what happened your fault. I can deal Buffy," Cordelia said softly. "The only question now is can you?" Cordelia asked.

"I can," Buffy responded bending her head down to brush her lips against Cordelia's. Once they broke apart Cordelia moaned softly and rested her head on Buffy's shoulder. "What's wrong?" Buffy asked.

"My head hurts," Cordelia murmured in response. Buffy reached her hand out to touch the back of Cordelia's head and gasped. "That's not making me feel better," Cordelia said.

"Don't worry, you'll be okay," Buffy said trying to keep her voice calm as she removed her hand and wiped it on her pants. When she had reached back her hand had been covered in blood. There was a major cut back there, maybe even a concussion. "I need you to try and stay awake though, okay Cordy?"

"Uh huh," Cordelia mumbled sleepily.

"Cordy? Come on, I need you stay awake," Buffy said moving her hand to cup Cordelia's face.

"I'm tired Buffy," Cordelia said desperately trying to stay awake.

"I know," Buffy said softly. She was starting to get very worried. There was a limited supply of oxygen in the grotto, and she didn't have much room to move around which would make digging their way out very difficult. She also wasn't sure how much longer Cordelia was going to be able to last. "Just concentrate on the sound of my voice okay? I promise you everything will be okay, you just concentrate on the sound of my voice," Buffy said wishing she believed her own words.

* * * * * *

Willow stared at the wreckage that was once the cannery in shock. There were parts of the building still intact but the general sight was one of total destruction. She, Xander and Angel had barely managed to make it out before everything went down. Angel had tried to go in after Buffy, but she and Xander had grabbed him, dragging him out. Dust filled the air around them, and other than the occasional creak of something falling there was total silence. From what they could see they were the only ones who had made it out.

"Come on." It was Angel who broke the silence. Willow turned around to see him heading for the wreckage.

"Where?" Willow asked. She was hardly able to think. There was no where to go, Buffy was gone, Faith was gone, Cordelia was gone. There was no where to go.

"They headed to towards an arbor before the blast, I saw them. The area around there is still intact," He said.

"They're alive?" Xander asked, snapping out of it.

"Probably, but they won't be for long if we don't get them out. There can't be much oxygen in there." Angel started removing rocks from where he assumed the opening to the arbor would be.

"Well then, what are we waiting for?" Willow asked moving over to join him.

* * * * * *

Buffy leaned her head against the wall and sighed wearily. The gang had dug them out just over three hours ago and they had been rushed straight to the hospital after that. The explosion had gotten attention and by the time they were dug out there was quite a crowd gathered around. Buffy didn't mind, though in fact she was glad for the ambulance which had been standing by. Not for herself, but for Cordelia, she had lost consciousness half an hour before they were dug out which wasn't a good thing. Now three hours later Buffy sat in the chair by Cordelia's bedside waiting for her to wake up. The doctors had said that she would fine but she was still out cold.

The gang had wanted to hang around after Cordelia's initial diagnosis, but Buffy had sent them home. They had been working all night and they needed their rest. Not to mention visiting hours were over so they would've just been sitting in the hallway doing nothing. Giles and Wesley had shown up shortly after they arrived at the hospital having heard about the explosion on the radio and knowing that anything blowing up in Sunnydale had to do with Buffy, but she had sent them home as well. Fortunately for Buffy the doctors wanted her to stay over night to see if there was any internal damage they had missed which meant that she got to stay with Cordelia.

Cordelia's parents had left about ten minutes ago and Joyce was due to come back with some things for Buffy any minute. Buffy had actually been very happy her mother was there when Cordelia's parents came in asking about what had happened. Understandably they had found it strange that their daughter had been in a cannery by the docks that just happened to explode with none other than Sunnydale's premiere female hooligan around. Up until then Buffy had had no idea her mother was such a proficient liar, not to mention a creative one. Anyway needless to say that when the door to their room opened Buffy knew who it was without having to look.

"Hey," she called softly to her mother.

"Hey yourself," Joyce responded making her way over to Buffy. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine mom, we Slayers don't bruise easily," Buffy responded lifting her head away from the wall to look at her mother.

"How's Cordelia?" Joyce asked, looking at the still unconscious girl on the bed. She had noticed that Cordelia and Buffy had been spending a lot of time together over the past few weeks, and she could see that her daughter was worried about the other girl.

"The same," Buffy responded. She was having trouble concentrating.

"What really happened?" Joyce asked a moment later pulling a chair over to rest beside Buffy's. Buffy sighed, she had not told her mother about Faith switching sides, she had hoped to clear everything up and didn't want to concern her mom who had taken a liking to Faith, but it was apparent now that whatever was wrong between them was going to stay that way for quite sometime. Faith wasn't ready to be helped, and Buffy wasn't ready to offer it, at least not anytime soon. Faith obviously felt betrayed by her, but she too was feeling betrayed by Faith, and as long as those feeling existed there wasn't likely to be resolution between the two anytime soon.

"A couple of weeks ago..." Buffy began.

Her mother had left a few minutes before and Buffy was even more exhausted than before. Joyce had found it hard to believe that Faith had turned on them and Buffy had had to go into a bit more detail than she had planned on. When she was finished Joyce had simply told her not to make any rash decision when dealing with Faith siting that she was just afraid and hurting. Buffy understood that and agreed with her mother said but she knew that if Faith went after anyone she cared about again she was going to do what she had to do.

"Bu...Buffy?" Cordelia whispered, her voice cracking. Buffy quickly moved to the side of her bed, taking her hand in hers.

"Hey," Buffy said.

"Are we dead?" 

"Still a no," Buffy assured her. "We're in the hospital."

"Hospital," Cordelia repeated. "Do I still have a head? Cause I don't feel like I have a head?" Cordelia asked.

"Head's still there, beautiful as ever," Buffy told her. "Here," Buffy said handing her two pill and cup of water. The nurse had told her to give them to Cordelia when she woke up to help with the pain. "You should get some sleep," Buffy said once Cordelia had taken the pills.

"Didn't I just wake up?" Cordelia asked her eyes already starting to close. Buffy smiled and released her hand once she was sure Cordelia was asleep and made her way over to her bed. All the days events came rushing back to her and she literally collapsed into bed and then into a dreamless sleep.

* * * * * *

"How are you feeling?" Buffy asked, back in the chair by Cordelia's bedside. 

"Have you ever had one of those headaches that was so bad you wish you were dead? Well, I wish I had one of those right now," Cordelia moaned. She didn't really know what it felt like to have an elephant tap dance on your head, but she imaged it would feel something like what she was feeling now.

"That well, huh?" Buffy asked. She was glad Cordelia was awake and was almost bouncing in her seat.

"What's wrong with you? Why are you so chipper? Woman in pain over here," Cordelia responded testily, rubbing at her stitches. Stupid Slayer healing powers.

"The doctor said not to rub at those," Buffy said, batting her hand away. "And I'm not chipper, I'm medicated. There's a difference, mine is a legal defense."

"Either way I'll take a double dose of whatever you're on," Cordelia said.

"You should be feeling something, the nurse has been pumping stuff into your IV like it was a slot machine," Buffy responded.

"I'm feeling pain. Does that count?" Cordelia asked turning her head to the side and looking absolutely pitiful.

"Poor baby," Buffy said, moving over to the side of the bed and cradling Cordelia's head on her shoulder. "Momma knows child, momma knows," she cooed.

"Stop that!" Cordelia protested squirming slightly but smiling nonetheless.

"You want Auntie Buffy to kiss the booboo better?" Buffy asked once Cordelia stopped squirming.

"Uh huh," Cordelia said nodding her head. Buffy smiled and leaned down, placing a kiss on Cordelia's forehead.

"Is that better?" Buffy asked pulling back so that she could see Cordelia's face.

"That wasn't what I had in mind," Cordelia said looking up a Buffy through her eye lashes.

"I thought you said you weren't feeling well," Buffy said eyeing her suspiciously. "This whole 'ouch my head' thing isn't just an elaborate ploy to get me into bed is it?"

"Since when would I have to come up with a plan to do that?" Cordelia asked.

"Good point," Buffy relented. "Are you sure you're up to it? I wouldn't want to hurt you," Buffy said teasingly.

"I asked for a kiss not wild jungle sex," Cordelia said looking at her. "Besides, I can't feel any worse than I do right now, so what have I got to lose."

"Excellent point," Buffy said approvingly. As she was about to lean forward and kiss Cordelia, for real this time, she was interrupted by a knocking at the door.

"Knock, knock!" Xander called. "The Party Crew has arrived. It has always been a firm belief of mine that if you can't go to the party, the party shall come to you. This is the first time it has actually come trueàbut let's not dwell on that now," he continued sweeping into the room followed by Willow, Oz, and Giles.

Once they were all settled Buffy and Cordelia informed Giles of their perspectives of the previous nights activities.

"Well," Giles begun once they were finished, "I checked with the police this morning and they didn't find any body's in the wreckage. Which means that I think it would be a good idea for us to assume that Faith made it out of the building before it came down," Giles said wiping at his glasses.

"She did," Buffy said quietly. "Make it out of building."

"How can you be sure?" Willow asked.

"I can feel her," Buffy responded. She could sense the other girl still out there. She didn't know exactly how to describe the feeling or even if it was possible to, but she knew Faith was out there. "I guess it's just a Slayer thing," She added absently.

"Well at the risk of being unpopular I've got to say, NUTS TO THAT!" Xander declared, not at all concerned with being popular at the moment.

"As much as it pains me to say this, I'm with Xander on this one. Besides being a walking advertisement for birth control, the girls got some serious issues all revolving around you," Cordelia said directing the last part of her statement to Buffy. Buffy already had demons, monsters, and the fate of the world on her shoulders, she didn't need a psycho Slayer gunning to kill her as well. Her displeasure with the situation was compounded by the fact that she didn't want another obstacle out there for Buffy to overcome. She had become used to having the Slayer in her life, liked having the Slayer in her life, and wanted her to remain in her life as long as possible, and 'as long as possible' was diminished each time some baddie decided they wanted a piece of the Buffy pie.

"Believe me I know," Buffy responded in response to the last part of Cordelia's statement.

"I don't think we should party so hard. Someone might rupture something," Oz deadpanned after a moment breaking the depressing silence which had settled over the room.

"He's right, I thought we were suppose to be getting with the happies, not discovering the different and plentiful categories of dismal," Buffy responded. There was really no sense in them worrying about Faith and getting all depressed, what would be would be. Worrying about wasn't going to do any good.

"Well then," Xander piped up, "who's up for scrabble?"

"Scrabble?" Cordelia asked her headache starting to come back.

"Did I mention I was thinking 'strip scrabble'?" Xander asked innocently. Cordelia moaned, her headache was back with a vengeance.


Continue to Part III

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