WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT?
It had been a beautiful day out, the sun was just beginning to set, and people were laughing and kids playing. The air was crackling with a mirth and good humor which was rare in a twenty cemetery town like Sunnydale. The good humor however was not shared by a lone girl walking down the street. Hands stuffed into her pockets, head down, she walked without looking, without purpose. She was lucky in one aspect however, she didn't have to watch out for people running into her. There was something about the girl, what you might call her aura, or presence, that caused people to move out of her way. "The wave effect" as she and her friends had taken to calling it.
As she passed by the playground the girl looked over at the children on the slide, and the swings, and the teeter totter. She watched as they tried to get one last swing, or slide in before it was time to go home, before it got dark. She watched them with a wistfulness that one would not have suspected a person as young as she was would be able to produce. Soon the adults started to hurry the kids up, they wanted to make sure they all got home before dark. The townspeople had learned a long time ago that it was no longer safe to stay out once the sun had gone down, and they now made every effort to be securely in their homes by the time it happened. It was an unwritten, unspoken rule in Sunnydale. But there were a lot of things that went unsaid in Sunnydale so it wasn't surprising. The girl, who was all too familiar with the workings of her town, frowned at the hurried display then continued on her somber walk.
By the time the girl reached the town square the sun had gone down completely, blanketing the town in darkness. There were still people out and about but they were only teenagers and adults, the young ones had all been tucked away. The people who were out however weren't ignorant to the dangers of the night and were all in large groups, putting credence in the saying, 'security in numbers'. A few of the people recognized the girl as she walked by them alone, but were not worried for her, they knew that she could take care of herself. If she was known for one thing, it was that.
The girl crossed the street with the intention on entering the cemetery when she noticed a figure off to the side of the road kicking her car tire and yelling at it. As the girl noticed the figure the figure noticed the girl and called out to her.
"Buffy!" Called the figure. The girl, Buffy, walked over the car.
"Having a little car trouble Cordy?" Buffy asked even though she had already spotted the flat tire.
"No, it's fun for me to be crouching in the gutter in the middle of the night," Cordelia responded kicking the tire again just for effect.
"It's only eight o'clock," Buffy observed, slightly amused by Cordelia's exclamation. The girl had a knack for exaggeration, Buffy would admit that.
"Whatever," Cordelia responded absently. It really wasn't so important what the time was, as that she was crouching in the gutter. That was the part of her statement Buffy was supposed to focus on. "Damn American cars, I told my parents we should have gone German."
"Do you want some help, or should I leave you two alone?" Buffy asked with a smirk. She really had no intention of leaving Cordelia stranded, although the other girl probably deserved it. Besides, if Cordy ended up getting bitten or something, it would just mean more work for her.
"Vampire Slayer and auto-mechanic, is there nothing you can't do?" Cordelia asked sarcastically though she desperately wanted the other girl's help.
"Clog dancing. The wooden shoes hurt my feet," Buffy responded in character as she moved towards the back of the car. "You do have a spare right?"
"Yeah, but I can't operate that step thingie," Cordelia answered moving to the back of the car and opening the trunk. "Instructions for an atomic bomb would probably be simpler to decipher."
"Don't worry about it, you don't have to operate the step thingie," Buffy responded closing the trunk once the debutante had removed the tire. "Just slip the tire on when I lift the back end of the car up," she instructed. At that remark Cordelia raised her eyebrows and looked over at Buffy doubtfully. "Just do it," Buffy said in response to the look. She couldn't believe it, she saved the world on a weekly basis yet Cordelia had trouble believing she could change a tire. It was ridiculous, it was so Cordelia she would have laughed if she wasn't depressed. Besides she didn't know how Cordelia would respond to it. She really had no desire to verbally assaulted at the moment. That was what school was for.
After a moment mores hesitation Cordelia rolled the tire around to where the flat was and waited for Buffy to raise the car up. Once it was up Cordelia took off the ruined tire and put the new one on.
"Don't take your time or anything," Buffy commented once she had placed the car back down. Sure she was a Slayer but holding cars up wasn't exactly fun for her.
"Aren't you like paid to be strong and lift things?" Cordelia asked dusting off her hands.
"I'm not paid to do anything," Buffy responded dully, dusting off her jacket. She had no life, she had no money, she had no recognition. She had problems though, she had plenty of those.
"Well, thanks for the lifting and stuff," Cordelia responded. There had been a subtle change in Buffy's demeanor and she wasn't sure how to interpret it or respond to it. Not that she was usually a big fan of etiquette.
"No problem, at least I KNOW I helped you," Buffy responded putting her hands back into her pockets and heading across the street. The cemetery awaited, the undead really hated it when you were late. They were grouchy buggers.
"You help a lot of people," Cordelia said locking the car and heading after Buffy. She had no idea why she was actually following her and trying to be nice, but she was and she didn't want to expend the energy necessary to stop.
"Like who?" Buffy asked surprised that Cordelia was walking with her. Except for the week before, when Cordelia had helped out with the research that had eventually linked Faith to the Mayor, she had barely spoken to her, unless of course it was to insult her.
"Like that guy that time that had the thing, and that girl that was like dead or something...and the fishpeople," Cordelia answered not really being able to remember the details, only that most of the time it was yucky and usually ended with her ruining some article of clothing.
"That makes me feel so much better," Buffy responded sarcastically. She wondered if Cordelia could have possibly vagued that sentence up anymore?
"I was only trying to help," Cordelia responded, somewhat insulted.
"Sorry," Buffy told her sincerely. Cordelia nodded though Buffy couldn't see it and they continued to walk in silence.
Every once in awhile Cordelia would look over at Buffy and sigh. She had so many things to consider. First of all she was wondering why she had followed the girl into the cemetery, she hated the cemetery--as most normal people did, and secondly she was wondering why Buffy looked so sad, she looked like someone had killed her dog or something. It bothered her that the other girl was upset, and that annoyed her. After all Buffy and her Scooby gang had the been the cause of her exile from the popular crowd, not to mention that since the Slayer had come to town she had broken more nails and ruined more dresses than in her entire life before, and that included the family's annual camping trip. Or as she liked to think of it, 'hell week'.
"What's with the tragedy mask?" Cordelia asked finally. The silence was getting to her. She was starting to think and that led to wrinkles.
"Is that seriously your question?" Buffy asked incredulously turning to the girl. "Were you not in the mansion a week ago?" Images of Faith and Angel rushing through her brain. She could almost feel the knife pressed to her throat again. That night had gone so wrong, it had all gone so wrong.
"Oh, so it's about Faith and your boyfriend acting all psycho and trying to torture and kill you," Cordelia surmised thinking that that would indeed suck.
"Do you even think about what you're going to say before the words come tumbling out of your mouth?" Buffy asked, stopping and staring at Cordelia. She wasn't being sarcastic either, things just seemed to pop out of the brunette's mouth without her knowing, or caring. Even when she was trying to help, she was insulting. Like at her homecoming party, when Cordelia jumped into her shoes and referred to her as a freak of nature. Did she actually think that was helping?
"Are we back on that tack thing again?" Cordelia asked. They had been over this and she decided that it wasn't worth the effort.
"Why do you even care?" Buffy asked, tiring of the conversation. "What are you trying to do anyway, get some new material or something?" She continued starting to walk again. Truthfully it was the only reason she could think of that would have made Cordelia follow her out there.
"I don't know, but I do," Cordelia responded surprising herself. "Who would have thought it?" She asked shrugging her shoulders. Buffy looked at her for a moment, looked into her eyes trying to find the insincerity in the statement but there was none. Just honest curiosity, and even a little empathy. Cordelia wasn't the only one surprised.
"Alright," Buffy said slowly, "I'll tell you," Buffy said beginning to move again. At the time she had spotted Cordelia by her car she was desperately lonely, and needing someone to talk to but not knowing who. Not knowing who would understand, or be willing to listen, so when Cordelia offered to be that ear Buffy found herself helpless to resist. Stranger things had happened, afterall she did live on a hellmouth.
* * * * * *
Buffy pulled her jacket on, grabbed her bag and raced down the stairs into the kitchen. Opening the refrigerator she took out a carton of orange juice and poured some in a glass, drinking it quickly. For the first time in a long time she had slept fitfully, too fitfully seeing as how she was now rushing to get ready for school. Talking to Cordelia had really helped if not ease her mind, then to lighten the burden. She had actually been really surprised, when she had started to talk to Cordelia the night before, she hadn't really been sure what to expect from her, but as she talked Cordelia had patiently listened, commenting every so often but for the most part just being there.
"Buffy are you ready?" Joyce called from the foyer. If Buffy was ever on time for anything she probably would've had a heart attack. The girl was even a week late being born.
"Yeah mom," Buffy responded picking up her bag and heading out of the
"You're rather energetic this morning," Joyce commented as they walked through the door. She definitely wasn't complaining though, anything that put a smile on her daughters face couldn't be bad in her opinion. Unless of course it was a demon, she really hoped it wasn't a demon because they had been through that whole thing already.
"You know me, can't wait to fill my head with all the knowledge school provides. Knowledge and cheesy fries," Buffy responded locking the door. Joyce looked at her for a moment before entering the jeep then shrugged. Sometimes it was better to just accept what came out of her daughter's mouth without too much thought. She had learned that it led to headaches.
* * * * * *
As Buffy slipped into English class with a third of a second to spare, she idly wondered why it was that when you were late the bell seemed to sound three times as loud. Taking her seat she looked at the guy beside her trying to see what he had done for homework. It wasn't like she had done it or anything, but if she at least knew what it was it would help when it was time to make up yet another excuse as to why it wasn't done. Looking over to her right she spotted Cordelia looking her way and gave a little smile which much to her surprise was returned.
"Today we will be looking at Hamlet's 'to be or not to be' soliloquy," the English teacher started. Her name was Mrs. Engle, or so Buffy thought, she was really going to have to start paying attention to those things, that and start showing up for class. She figured that knowing her teachers names, and showing up for their classes couldn't help but endear her to them. Of course this was her last year at Sunnydale High so learning their names now probably wouldn't have helped her anyway.
Once Mrs. Whatshername had finished reading the soliloquy she started dividing the students up into pairs despite such eloquent objections to it like, "What the hell is this? Kindergarten?", which was voiced by Moose the schools quarter back. It was because of students like him that Buffy was assured she would not be the worst student in the class. As for her partner she ended up being paired with Cordelia. A few days ago this would have seemed like a punishment/death sentence to her, but she was pretty sure that it would out okay now. Buffy had learned that Cordelia actually wasn't so bad when she wasn't shooting venom.
Half an hour or so later the bell rang and Buffy began to pack up.
"How about you come over to my house tonight and we work on it?" Cordelia asked sidling up her desk. Buffy jumped slightly then looked up at her. She couldn't figure out how someone wearing three inch heals could walk so quietly.
"Sounds good to me., Buffy said standing up. "What time?"
"Eight?" Cordelia asked realizing that Buffy probably had to kill things first.
"It's a date," Buffy responded as they headed out of the room.
* * * * * *
As per usual, Buffy headed to the library after school to meet up with Xander and Willow. The amount of time the three of them spent in the library really was very scary. Pushing through the doors, she spotted Xander sitting in one of the chairs with his feet propped up on the table. Seeing this Buffy came to the conclusion that Giles was either in his office, or out of the library. Probably the latter, since he was like a prissy old woman when it came to people putting their feet on his table.
"Where's Mr. Belvedere?" Buffy asked once she was within acceptable speaking distance. Wesley had to meet with a representative from the council to discuss Faith's situation which meant he wouldn't be around for a few days for which she was eternally grateful. The way she saw it, there were enough people to hate in the world without him working so hard to add another.
"Staff meeting," Xander responded dropping his feet. "I say we go into his office and re-arrange his roll-a-dex. It'll be mayhem," Xander continued with a grin.
"This is Giles' roll-a-dex we're talking about Xander. How much mayhem could ensue? He losses the number for 'Tea bags-R- us'?" Buffy asked taking a seat opposite Xander. "Where's Will?"
"Office. Computer stuff. Almost as boring as librarian stuff, only she has access to nudie pictures should she so choose," Xander responded. "So, you up for some Bronzing tonight?"
"Can't, I'm going to Cordelia's later," Buffy responded blowing on her nails and rubbing them on her shirt. Slaying was murder on her cuticles, it really was.
"Heh, I'm sorry what you just said sounded almost like 'I'm going to Cordelia's later'. You meant you're cooking tortillas later right? You and tortillas?" Xander questioned.
"Who's with tortillas?" Willow asked coming out of Giles's office.
"Buffy's with tortillas," Xander responded.
"I'm not with tortillas. Tortillas and I are not together. I said I'm going to Cordelia's later. Cor-del-ia's," Buffy stressed.
"But she's evil," Willow blurted out. "Mean, evil, and skanky. That's the worst combination. I know, for I have walked in those shoes, not to mention the leather bustier."
"Listen it's not like I'm going over to play scrabble and when it's over we're going to braid each others hair. We have to do a project to do for English class," Buffy explained slightly amused by her friends' chagrin. "Besides, dealing with mean, evil, and yes even skanky creatures is my destiny."
"Our thoughts and prayers will be with you," Xander responded crossing his chest and mouthing a phony prayer.
"You're being rather harsh for someone who used to share smoochies with this evil, mean, scanky, creature," Buffy commented dryly.
"Well sure when you put it that way it sounds hypocritical," Xander said. "But you have to take into consideration the fact she called me 'the boy with no cool'. She called ME 'the boy with no cool'," Xander explained looking plaintively between his two friends.
"How could I have over looked that fact? You're right she must be stopped," Buffy said turning to face him. "Just after we finish the project," She continued with a grin.
* * * * * *
Eight rolled around faster than Buffy had anticipated and she had to cut her patrol short in order to make it to Cordelia's on time. She didn't figure it would make a difference, since vamps seemed to be in short supply anyway. She had never actually been over to Cordelia's house before, but the place was impossible to miss. It was huge. Buffy felt almost like she should be referring to it as "Chase Manor", or something equally as grandiose. There was a winding driveway, and the front was beautifully landscaped, all that was missing as far as she could tell was a fountain with a sculpture of a nude man. Stepping up onto the porch Buffy rang the bell.
"Come on in," Cordelia said by way of greeting once she opened the door. Buffy smiled and walked past the other girl taking in the interior. It was even better inside than outside.
"This place is gorgeous," Buffy commented turning around to face Cordelia, who smiled.
"I'll be sure to tell mother you said that. She decorated the place herself," Cordelia related. "I thought we would work in the living room, it's this way," she continued a moment later. Buffy simply nodded and followed her.
"Do you want anything to drink?" Cordelia asked once they had their books set up.
"Whatever you're having," Buffy answered.
"Alright, I'll be right back," Cordelia said, getting up. Buffy watched her exit the room then turned back to her books. She hadn't really taken notice when she first came in, but Cordelia was dressed in jeans and sweat shirt and it disconcerted her slightly. She had never the other girl wear something like that. They suited her though, especially the jeans which showed off the curve of her hips.
By the time Cordelia returned, Buffy had flipped her book open and was jotting down some notes.
"Here you go," Cordelia said placing a wine cooler down in front of Buffy. She was feeling kind of nervous for some reason and figured that it would help calm her nerves. Besides, she figured that if Buffy was fine to begin with it could only make her relax more which was never bad.
"It's illegal to serve alcohol to minors you know," Buffy commented opening the bottle.
"I won't tell if you don't," Cordelia responded sitting on the other side of the coffee table.
* * * * * *
Once they figured out what angle they wanted to approach the project from Phase I ran relatively smoothly. Surprising each other they worked exceptionally well together. Although it wasn't a surprise, they discovered that their minds operated totally differently, but that they also learned that the differences were complimentary, each of them able to put a different spin on the same thing.
"I don't know about you, but I could use a break," Cordelia commented about an hour later. "I'm starting to go cross-eyed," she added rubbing her eyes for effect. She had actually been surprised when she looked at the clock and saw how much time had passed. Usually homework felt like it was taking longer than it actually was, tonight was the total opposite.
"I'm all for that," Buffy agreed standing up to stretch her legs. She could hardly believe it but she was actually having a pretty good time. "When are your parents coming home anyway?" Buffy asked wondering if they should get rid of the bottles.
"They're not. At least not tonight, they're at a convention in Palm Springs for the week," Cordelia responded standing up as well to work out some of the kinks.
"Sounds like fun," Buffy commented moving up onto the couch.
"Yeah, dad gets paid for golfing, and mom gets to play canasta all day," Cordelia responded joining Buffy on the couch. "You want to watch some TV or something?"
"Sure. It beats the hell out of staring at the wall," Buffy responded turning away from the wall.
"Right," Cordelia said standing up and wandering out to the room. She came back a minute later with more wine coolers and a converter. After pulling open the doors to the entertainment center she rejoined Buffy on the couch and started flipping through the channels.
"How about that," Buffy suggested a few minutes later. The way Cordelia was channel surfing was starting to make her couch sick.
"Xena?" Cordelia asked with raised eyebrows. "Don't you get enough violence in your life without watching it on TV?"
"Professional interest," Buffy responded turning to face her. They stared at each other for a few seconds in a battle of the wills before Cordelia finally relented.
"Know that I'm doing this only because you are my guest," She said putting the converter down. She had actually liked the show when it was good.
"What happened to her hair?" Buffy asked a minute later referring to Gabrielle's new do.
"She cut it," Cordelia answered thinking that that was fairly obvious. She figured that's what happened when you fought vampires daily, the memory was bound to go sooner or later. The human brain wasn't designed to take that kind of constant trauma. All you had to do was look at professional boxing, or the NFL.
"Thanks Albert. I meant why?" Buffy responded. Cordelia shrugged.
"I don't know," Cordelia responded. What was she one of Dionne Warwicks' physic friends? "Maybe her woman likes it that way," she added after a moment.
"I see you've bought into the propaganda," Buffy commented with a smile. She couldn't wait to hear Cordelia's view on this one.
"What propaganda?" Cordelia asked turning to face Buffy. "That time you died you and Willow didn't tongue wrestle on a spiritual plain did you? And when was the last time the two of you took turns scrubbing each others backs in a hot tub?" Cordelia continued.
"There was never a first time but I see your point," Buffy conceded.
"I knew you would come around to my line of thinking," Cordelia said pleased. Winning always made her happy. "Anyway, they make kind of a cute couple," she continued taking a drink. Buffy looked over at her quizzically but she didn't notice.
"I could think of worse," Buffy said finally in response to Cordelia's comment.
"I've had worse," Cordelia responded darkly.
"Xander's my friend you know," Buffy said in response to what she knew was a shot at her friend.
"Would you date him?" Cordelia asked.
"No, but that's not the point," Buffy told her. There were just some people you weren't at all attracted to and for her Xander was one of those people. She loved the guy, she just didn't LOVE the guy.
"Trust me I know all about the POINT," Cordelia responded, and Buffy recognized the reference to her impalement.
"He didn't intend to hurt you," Buffy told her after a moment.
"You know what they say the road to hell is paved with," Cordelia responded shifting in the chair. Not receiving an answer Cordelia looked over at Buffy and saw the look on her face. Silently she cursed herself realizing that that was more than a saying for Buffy. "Sorry, I didn't mean..." She said letting the rest of the sentence hang.
"It's okay, I mean it is a saying," Buffy responded. "We should probably get back to the homework thing."
"Yeah," Cordelia agreed moving back over to the table.
* * * * * *
As Buffy suggested they did indeed get back to the homework thing, and worked diligently on it for quite some time before Cordelia broke the silence. That seemed to be a theme with her.
"You know what? Hamlet is a jerk," she declared.
"You're just figuring this out now?" Buffy asked having come to that conclusion somewhere around Act II.
"No, I mean really. He neglects his kingdom, he beats his girlfriend, he tells off his mother, he kills his childhood friends," Cordelia said ranting. "Sometimes I swear I could just do without men all together," she continued without even thinking.
"Really?" Buffy asked attentively. She noticed that her voice was slightly slurred and realized that they had been kicking back quite a few of the wine coolers.
"Yeah really," Cordelia answered surprising herself with the adamancy of the statement. She was going to have to lay off the coolers.
"Really?" Buffy said again. "Like the show?" she asked curiously as she gestured towards the ending episode of Xena.
"Maybe," Cordelia answered, her brain starting to resister where this conversation was going. In her mind she saw a big flashing red light but she couldn't quite seem to stop.
"Really?" Buffy asked once again.
"What are you stoned? Can't you say something besides 'really'?" Cordelia asked peevishly.
"Have ever you thought about it?" Buffy asked a few seconds later ignoring Cordelia's comments. Sometimes it was best to ignore her when she got all pissy like that. Confrontation only led to more bitching.
"Have you?" Cordelia asked Buffy curiously.
"Well this is productive," Buffy commented in regards to the complete lack of information being exchanged.
"Why don't you just answer the question then?" Cordelia asked her. She had been prepared to let the subject drop before but now she was interested. She knew what her answer was and wanted to know what Buffy's was.
"Why don't you?" Buffy shot back wanting to know equally as bad.
"Fine then. On three," Cordelia stated. "One...two...three."
"Yes," they answered simultaneously.
"Really?" Cordelia asked not being able to resist.
"Yeah," Buffy responded. They were now staring at each other intently from across the table. Throughout the course of the night Buffy had taken more and more notice of how nice Cordelia actually did look, and she was noticing again now. "Have you ever kissed a girl?" Buffy asked finally breaking the silence. She figured it was her turn.
"Not really," Cordelia answered watching as Buffy licked her lips. She wanted to kiss one at that moment though.
"That's not a real answer," Buffy said frowning.
"Okay, once in seventh grade. But it wasn't really a kiss, it was a non-kiss. As far as real kisses go, then no," Cordelia related in a rush. "What about you?"
"No. Almost once, but her parents came home," Buffy told her looking at the wall.She returned her gaze to Cordelia after a few seconds and the girls were left staring at each other, each thinking the same thing but afraid to voice it, afraid that they were misunderstanding the other and what it could mean if they were. Fingers drummed against the table top, hair was pushed behind ears, but at the end of it all two pairs of eyes, one brown and one blue met again and again, waiting. The homework which was spread across the table was long forgotten, both girls preoccupied with the realization that they were standing at a line. They could step away from it, chalk all the talk up to wine coolers and forget the conversation had ever taken place, or they could step over the line and make what they were both feeling very real.
"Do you want to find out?" Cordelia asked, finally breaking the silence. She didn't even know why she was offering. Of all the people to experiment with she never would have guessed she would end up asking Buffy Summers. Besides, if it ever got out that she kissed a girl it could be the cause of an even bigger backspace then the one she had suffered when she went out with Xander. Though not by much.
"God yes," Buffy breathed out. For the last few seconds her eyes had been darting between Cordelia's chocolate brown eyes and her slightly parted lips. When the question was posed, she didn't even have to think about the answer, she wanted it.
"Me too," Cordelia said, sliding over to Buffy's side of the table. Hesitantly she placed her hand on Buffy thigh, "My parents aren't going to come home and interrupt," Cordelia said looking at Buffy intently. She was giving Buffy one last chance to back out. If she really didn't want it then she could say so and Cordelia would go back over to her side of the table and they could forget everything. That was one good thing about living in Sunnydale, the residents were the rulers of denial.
"Good," was all the Slayer said in response. They sat there side by side for a few seconds, each waiting for the other to make the first move. Finally not being able to hold back any longer Buffy leaned forward and kissed Cordelia's lips gently, then pulled back waiting for the other girls reaction. The kiss was light, just a tease really and it worked, leaving Cordelia wanting more. Raising her hand, Cordelia rested it on Buffy's cheek and brought their lips together again. This kiss was firmer, less hesitant, more passionate, and Buffy moaned softly as Cordelia's tongue caressed her bottom lip, sucking on it gently. Cordelia exhaled against Buffy's lips then pressed hers against Buffy's harder as she slid her hand across her back. Buffy moved her hand up to hold Cordelia closer and let her tongue brush against her lips parting them with soft stokes.
Eventually the need for oxygen led them to separate. Parted but still touching they looked at each other.
"Wow," Buffy whispered, her body tingling. She hadn't really known what to expect, only that she hadn't been expecting the electrifying joining she and Cordelia had just shared. She was glad she was sitting down because she was pretty sure that if she was standing she would have swooned. That was totally unacceptable for a Slayer.
"I'd say that pretty much sums it up," Cordelia agreed, a small smile making it's way across her face. She had always thought Buffy had great lips. Now she knew Buffy had great lips and just what they were capable of.
"Really?" Buffy asked smiling herself now at what had become a running joke. Actually she was glad Cordelia was feeling some of what she was feeling because she really, really wanted to try that again.
"Yes, really," Cordelia answered leaning forward and bringing their lips together again.
* * * * * *
"Damn," Cordelia muttered around Buffy's questing tongue as she blindly moved her hand around searching for the ringing phone. Breaking her lips away she pushed the power button, "Hello?".
"Hello... Cordelia? Is Buffy there?" It was Joyce.
"Yes, just a second," Cordelia told the older woman trying to get her breathing under control. Placing her hand over the receiver she looked at Buffy. "It's your mom."
"She always did have impeccable timing," Buffy noted dryly taking the phone from Cordelia. "Hey...yeah...uh huh. No, just homework and Hamlet, Hamlet and homework, the two 'H's'. Yeah, okay...no I just lost track. Yeah, bye," Buffy said pushing the off button.
"You have to go?" Cordelia asked even though she already knew the answer.
"Bingo," Buffy responded shaking her head. "I'm allowed to save the world as long as I make curfew," she continued ruefully.
"Do you want a ride?" Cordelia asked even though she wanted nothing more than for Buffy to stay right where she was.
"That'd be nice," Buffy said, glad that she would have the extra time with Cordelia it would take to drive home. "I, ah, actually don't want to go," she admitted as they started to pack up.
"Well that's a relief since I don't really want you to either," Cordelia said.
"Who would have thought it?" Buffy asked as they made their way out of the living room.
* * * * * *
Buffy lay awake in her bed for a good hour after getting in. She couldn't quite get her mind to wrap around the idea that in less than 48 hours she and Cordelia had gone from being virtually mortal enemies to being whatever they were now would be classified as. It wasn't even the fact that Cordelia was a girl that had her so confused, that had always made sense to her, it was more the fact that Cordelia was, well, Cordelia. They had always had a somewhat turbulent relationship with the occasional moment of concern, like when Cordelia so delicately warned her about her 'Joan Collins 'tude, or like the night before when she had talked to the other girl and she had listened to her. She couldn't deny the fact though that she definitely did have feelings for the her. She was at least able to take comfort in the fact that Cordelia seemed to be feeling the same way she was, or at least close there to by the way she responded to their kissing. There was one thing she though that she was sure of and that was that she was really, really looking forward to English class tomorrow.
As Buffy's eyes finally closed in sleep, Cordelia was still lying awake in her room pondering exactly the same questions Buffy was asking herself. The truth of the matter was that she had never responded to a kiss the way she did to Buffy's. It was all that she could think about. If she closed her eyes she could feel Buffy's lips pressed against hers, feel the warmth of her body as they pressed together. The fact was that despite her best efforts not to she did care for Buffy, as their conversation from the night before testified to. She had promised herself that after everything that happened with Xander, she wouldn't open herself up to them again, that she wouldn't allow them to hurt to her anymore and she meant to keep that promise. She had actually started to think of them as friends when everything with Willow and Xander went down, and it had left her feeling betrayed and hurt. Now with everything that had happened in the past few days, that was all up in the air, everything was up in the air. As she closed her eyes one last time the only thing that she could be sure of was that she was really looking forward to English class.
* * * * * *
Cordelia made her way hurriedly through the hallway's of Sunnydale High with a single minded determinedness that few possessed, only stopping once when Harmony asked for her advice about a third date 'I'm ready' outfit. She was trying to get to the library because she knew that Buffy would be there. She was always there. She had only seen the other girl for a few minutes in English class before half the class was whisked away to an assembly. It was done alphabetically and Chase and Summers where at opposite ends of the spectrum. She hadn't been able to get the previous night's activity out of her head and it now seemed inordinately important that she see Buffy.
Pushing through the doors to the library she spotted Buffy immediately. She was seated on the left side of the table beside Willow. Xander and Oz were there too, but her attention was focused on the petite blond whose face lit up when she walked in the room. Tearing her gaze away from Buffy she turned to Giles who was standing behind the counter. "I need books. Books to read," she stated as her eyes helplessly drifted back to where Buffy was.
"Sorry CC, Wesley's not here," Xander stated. "You should probably go across the street to the public school if you want to find him," he continued. "He's into younger women," he ended in a hushed tone.
"I've got a better idea, why don't you--" Cordelia started to say but she was interrupted by Giles. She didn't even really like Wesley she was just doing what she did because it pissed Xander off and that made her happy.
"What book are looking for?" Giles asked, stopping whatever Cordelia was going suggest Xander do. He wasn't in the mood to watch a catfight between the two of them.
"Uh...The Edible Woman," Cordelia responded trying to think of a book the man was unlikely to have handy.
"I'll have to look that up," Giles responded moving from behind the counter and over to the card catalogue.
"Haven't you gotten that on computer yet?" Cordelia asked moving to take the open seat at the front of the table while Giles opened up the drawer. "You and one guy in Yemen are, like, the only people who haven't joined the rest of the world in the twentieth century," Cordelia continued.
"Yes, well...you see it's a very complicated..." Giles started then trailed off as he leafed through the index cards. Why couldn't they just leave him alone with his cards and books?
"Well this is fun," Cordelia commented a few seconds later, referring to silence that was blanketing the room like marijuana at a heavy metal concert. "Later on we'll have to get some fluid and embalm each other," she continued earning a laugh from Buffy which immediately caused three sets off eyes to focus on the Slayer.
"What? It was funny," Buffy said defensively looking at each of them.
It took Giles a few more moments to locate Cordelia's book. Once he had found it he handed it over to her, then rolled out the book trolley.
"Researching the night away once more? Don't you people ever do anything that doesn't involve books written in the Medieval times?" Cordelia asked, looking at the cart like it was diseased. This was one thing she didn't miss about hanging out with the gang. She had gone through enough books in one month of hanging out with them to last her a lifetime, possibly two.
"You're welcome to partake in the fun, or I guess in this case it would be the total lack thereof," Buffy offered looking over at Cordelia expectantly. She was disconcertingly delighted that the other girl had come to find her and she wanted her to stay.
"If you insist," Cordelia responded nonchalantly as she took off her jacket. Secretly, she was glad Buffy had invited her to stay. Even though they wouldn't be able to talk about what had happened the night before with the others around she found that being in the Slayers presence gave her the happies. "I'm not promising to actually read them though," she added for effect.
"I wouldn't dream of asking you to," Buffy responded, grabbing two books from the cart and handing one to Cordelia. As Buffy handed out the rest of the books, she missed the doubtful looks her friends were giving her. Since Xander and Cordelia's break up the plan had been to get their dealings with the debutante over and done with as soon as possible, and by inviting her to stay Buffy had just violated the first rule of Cordelia dealing.
"What are we researching anyway?" Cordelia asked once she realized she had no idea what she was looking for.
"Info on Graduation Day," Oz said speaking for the first time.
"It's June 4th, besides I hardly see how your going to find anything about it in these things," Cordelia said receiving looks from her table mates. "Oh, the other Graduation Day, with the guy with no arms, and demons and stuff. Got it."
"Don't Xander," Buffy warned seeing the glint in her friends eyes. She had no desire to see him and Cordelia verbally spare yet again.
"You're right it's too easy. Just know that I had a come back, a good one," Xander said backing down and picking up his book. Opening hers Buffy silently wondered what she had just gotten herself into. She hadn't even really thought about inviting Cordelia to stay, she had just wanted her to so she did. It was becoming clear to her, however, that being around Cordelia alone, and being around Cordelia with the rest of the gang were two different stories. Sighing, she decided that what was done was done, besides, depending on how things worked out with what happened the night before she might just have to get everybody use to having her around again. However that was another story altogether.
* * * * * *
They had been at it for over three hours when Buffy announced that she had to go on patrol. When Buffy announced that she had to leave Giles decided that the rest of them had put in their dues and called it a night. As they were all getting ready to go, Cordelia made her way over to Buffy.
"Do you want to come over when your finished with patrol so we can finish the project?" Cordelia asked, very mindful of the other three people standing suspiciously close to them. If Buffy hadn't been standing there, she probably would have said something, but since Buffy was indeed standing in front of her, she just waited for the Slayer's answer.
"Same bat time, same bat channel?" Buffy asked shooting a look at her nosey friends.
"Yep," Cordelia responded.
"Sounds like a plan," Buffy agreed. "I'll see you then."
* * * * * *
It took Buffy a little longer than she had anticipated to get to over to Cordelia's. She had finished her sweep and was on her way over to the other girls house she heard a commotion an alley way. Going to check it out, as she was known to do, she spotted a vamp trying to make a happy meal out of a taxi driver. After a few minutes of fighting the thing had actually ran off, and she had to follow it. Needless to say it was a particularly satisfying kill.
"What happened to you?" Cordelia asked as Buffy stepped in the front door.
"El loco vampo decided it would be fun to wrestle," Buffy responded.
"Nude?" Cordelia asked remembering Faith's little story. Oddly it was more appealing to her now that it was Buffy than it had been to her before.
"No, I'm Buffy. Buf-fy," the Slayer responded noticing Cordelia looked a little crestfallen when she said she wasn't nude. Cordelia nodded and led them to the living room. When they arrived Buffy noticed with some amusement that there were Cokes and only Cokes on the table.
They worked quietly if not competently on the project for the next hour. Neither of them were really paying attention to what they doing. They were studying alright, just not Hamlet. Finally alone together they could feel the connection they had last night, and in the library grow but neither knew quite how to bring it up.
"You're thinking about it aren't you?" Cordelia asked though it was more of a statement than a question. She had become freakishly aware of every little noise in the house and it was driving her crazy.
"Yeah," Buffy admitted. "It's all I've been thinking about since you dropped me off last night actually."
"Well it's nice to know I'm not the only one who's been afflicted," Cordelia commented with a smile.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Buffy asked, though she knew what she wanted to do.
"I'd rather do," Cordelia admitted noting the way Buffy's face lit up at the suggestion. All she had wanted to do all day was taste Buffy's lips.
"That's works for me. After all I'm a woman of action," Buffy responded, sliding up onto the couch and waiting for Cordelia to join her. Taking the hint Cordelia climbed onto the couch and leaned over to bring her lips to Buffy's.
As the kiss deepened Buffy leaned back, and Cordelia draped her body over the Slayer's. Buffy moaned and trailed her hand up Cordelia's sides lightly brushing her breast before tangling her hands in the brunette's hair. Cordelia's breathing quickened at the light touch, and she moaned into Buffy's mouth. Encouraged by Cordelia's response to her touch, Buffy untangled her hands from Cordelia's hair and lowered them to her waist. She left them there for a moment as Cordelia lowered her head to suck on her neck, then as the other girl moved back up to capture her mouth Buffy slowly inched her hands under Cordelia's shirt reveling in warm skin she found underneath. Cordelia arched into Buffy's hands as the girl continued to stroke her sides.
"You're driving me crazy," Cordelia murmured.
"That's the idea," Buffy mumbled back, nibbling on Cordelia's earlobe.
"I...." Whatever response Cordelia was going to make was cut off when Buffy's hands found her breasts and squeezed lightly. Groaning Cordelia arched further into Buffy's strong hands and let her own start to wander. Reaching the bottom of Buffy's shirt Cordelia let her hands slip underneath. "More," she whispered moving back slightly so that she could see Buffy's face. Slowly she lifted the tank top over the Slayer's head tossing it to the side. Once the shirt was over her head Buffy looked into Cordelia's eyes which were focused on her partially clad chest. Impassioned by the fiery look in the brunettes eyes Buffy tilted her head up and crushed her lips to Cordelia's.
Soon Cordelia's shirt joined the rapidly growing pile of clothing on the floor and it was Buffy's turn to stare. Her gaze was broken, however, when Cordelia bent down to suck on her pulse point.
"Umm," was the only thing Buffy was able to get out before Cordelia moved further down, dipping her tongue between Buffy's breasts and sucking softly.
"This has got to go," Cordelia said reaching around behind Buffy to undo her bra. Lifting her head up from Buffy's tantalizingly soft skin so that she could concentrate on what she was doing Cordelia froze.
"What's wrong?" Buffy asked seeing the look on Cordelia's face and feeling her body tense. She silently cursed herself thinking that they had gone to fast and Cordelia was having second thoughts. There were plenty of hormones floating around the room, but did care about Cordelia and didn't want to think that she had alienated her or pressured her.
"Angel," Cordelia said. Buffy looked at her for second wondering why she felt the need to bring him up at that particular moment.
"Angel and I aren't together anymore," Buffy started. "What we had was...." She was interrupted by Cordelia before she could continue.
"I'd really like to hear that story sometime, really, but that's not what I meant," Cordelia said. "He's outside the window right now, staring at me."
"What?" Buffy asked shifting so that she could see out the window in question. "Oh," Buffy said seeing that Angel was indeed standing outside the window staring at them. "Um...."
"Should we let him in?" Cordelia asked not really knowing what the etiquette was for a situation like this.
"Yeah. I mean he's got to be here for a reason," Buffy said starting to move into a sitting position.
"He was just faking crazy, right?" Cordelia asked as she reached for her shirt. She may have to let him in but she wasn't going to do it half dressed.
"Yeah. He was just faking," Buffy said pulling her own shirt over her head and walking over to the window. Nodding to Angel she motioned him towards the sliding doors in the kitchen. By the time Buffy had the door open Cordelia was standing behind her.
"Hello Cordelia," he said in his trademarked soft voice.
"Hey," she responded after a second not really knowing how to act. I mean what did one say to the vampire ex-boyfriend of the girl one was just groping?
"I...ah, there's trouble in the town square. I stopped by the Bronze and Willow said you were over here, ah...studying," he explained keeping his gaze locked on the floor. Although it didn't really show, he was not at all expecting to see what he saw.
"What's the up?" Buffy asked not to comfortable with the situation herself. She hadn't talked to him since that night at the mansion and this wasn't helping that 'not so comfortable around Angel' feeling.
"It's Faith," he said looking up now. "She's leading a coterie of vampire's around breaking into stores. It looks like they're trying to stock up on supplies."
"I should contact Giles," Buffy said, already slipping to Slayer mode.
"Willow said she was on it, they're probably already on their way over," Angel responded. "I was sent to get you, which I guess I have, so...I'll just wait for you...." He motioned towards outside then headed back out the sliding doors.
"You really should get paid for this," Cordelia said realizing that their night was shot.
"I've got to--"
"I know," Cordelia said. "I'll drive."
* * * * * *
It was around midnight by the time Cordelia pulled up in front of Buffy's house to drop her off. The face-off with Faith had not been fun. By the time they arrived, the vamps had vandalized about four stores and were well on their way to filling up their goody bags. Faith had been hiding out in the shadows until Buffy showed up, only coming out once the fighting had started. At the end five of her ten vamps had been dusted and the rest had formed a semi-circle around her. The only thing she had said was, "Graduation Day. Me and you, B. Then we'll see who's the real deal," and they had taken off.
"Are you okay?" Cordelia asked once she had parked in the Summers driveway. Buffy had been quiet the whole ride and she was worried. Buffy had come to mean a great deal more to her than she was willing to admit over the past few days.
"I will be," Buffy responded tilting her head so that she was looking at Cordelia. "Are you okay?" she asked. She had noticed Cordelia get pushed to side during the fray and had wanted to go over, but she'd had her hands full at the time.
"Yeah," Cordelia answered. She had actually broken her watch but it didn't seem so important at the moment.
"I should probably get going. Mom's probably freaking," Buffy said though she made no effort to actually get out of the car.
"Probably. Freaking isn't a good look on parents, usually leads to grounding and lectures," Cordelia agreed not really concentrating on what was coming out of her mouth. She was beginning to think that maybe Buffy was onto something with that. "I'll see you tomorrow right?" She asked after moment.
"Yeah," Buffy responded. "We've still got to finish that project," she added with a smile. Poor Hamlet, he'd been so neglected those past few days.
"Good," Cordelia said smiling as well. Knowing that she would see Buffy tomorrow made her forget all about the fact that her favorite watch had been ruined. After a moments hesitation Buffy leaned over and softly kissed Cordelia on the lips.
"I'll see you tomorrow," Buffy said opening the door this time. Cordelia said goodbye and waved as Buffy made her way to the door. Once she was inside Cordelia put the car in reverse and backed out of the driveway smiling.
* * * * * *
Cordelia looked up as the doors to the cafeteria opened up and Buffy walked in. Just as the brunette's eyes had been drawn to the Slayer, Buffy looked over at Cordelia as soon as she walked in the room. Their gazes held as Buffy crossed to sit with the gang only being broken when Melody directed a question at Cordelia. Regretfully Cordelia turned around asking the girl to repeat whatever insipid question she had asked.
"Hey Buffster," Xander greeted as Buffy sat down next to Oz.
"Hey yourself," Buffy responded. "What's the sitch?"
"Whatever the opposite of the festivities we were discussing last night," Oz said snagging a fry from Willow's plate.
"Ah, yes, the joy that is Faith," Buffy said making a face. She still couldn't believe that the other Slayer had turned on them. Sure things hadn't always run smoothly, and they did have differences in their approach to doing the job, but there was nothing so wrong that would have warranted Faith turning on her. At least she didn't think there was. After the incident with Allan, Buffy was sure that if she could just get Faith to open up she could've helped her deal, after all she understood more than anyone what Faith was going through. Like she had told Willow, in another circumstance it could have been Faith. But after their fight in the mansion Buffy realized that whatever problems Faith had went way beyond her and anything that had happened to her since she arrived in Sunnydale. But despite all that had happened, there was still something there and Buffy was not looking forward to their next confrontation.
Buffy listened with half an ear as her friends talked about the night before, and traded ideas on what they would like to do to Faith if they got their hands on her, but she wasn't up to Faith-bashing herself and found her attention drawn to Cordelia where she was seated across the room. The brunette was leaning against the back of her chair with her legs and arms crossed, and Buffy could tell that she was beyond bored with whatever was being said. However, knowing the girls she was sitting with that didn't surprise the Slayer at all. Every once in a while Cordelia would look over in her direction and they would hold each gaze until their attention was demanded elsewhere only to return again a few minutes later. It was during that time that Buffy realized whatever they had embarked upon that night in Cordelia's house had gone beyond the experimentation stage and crossed into full fledged emotions. She wasn't sure exactly what she would classify the emotions Cordelia was bringing up in her as, only that they were the good kind, and as Cordelia looked over at Buffy once more, the Slayer knew that whatever she was feeling was being felt by Cordelia too.
END PART I
* * * * * *