by corrupt-blondie

After making a panicky 911 call, Buffy made her way back to Cordelia prone form. There were tears in Buffy's eyes, "Please, Cordy... don't leave me."

How could she just loose Cordelia when she just found her? When Cordelia sent her away, Buffy was consumed with her thoughts. About halfway to her house, the blonde slayer came to the conclusion that she wasn't going to give up her relationship with Cordelia as she had done with Angel. Buffy ran full speed back to Cordelia's apartment ready to talk to Cordelia when she found her love convulsing on the sofa.

Buffy held Cordelia's cold hand, choking back a sob she whispered desperately, "Don't leave me."

The door opened and two paramedics appear with a gurney and their supplies.

The one EMT with dirty blonde hair motioned for Buffy to get back and the other bulky paramedic went to work on Cordelia's body. He checked for a pulse and when he found that there was none he started doing CPR.

Buffy stood on the other side of the room with numbness coursing through her body. She noticed the bulky paramedic stop CPR and the dirty blonde EMT unbuttoned Cordelia's shirt. He put the patches of the defibrillator over the woman's heart and her right flank just over her ribs. They shocked her and the machine said no pulse, so the paramedics did it again. By the fourth jolt of electricity, much to Buffy's joy, the machine announced there was a heartbeat.

The two paramedics lowered the gurney and placed Cordelia's body on top. They strapped her in and headed out.

"Could I go with her?" Buffy asked in a small voice.

The bulky man looked at her, "You family?"

"No," the slayer answered, "her parents are out on vacation and I'm... her best friend."

"Okay. You can come," The smaller EMT said with sympathetic eyes.

In the ambulance, the bulky man looked at the dirty blonde EMT, "I tasted alcohol when I gave her CPR. We should start a stomach pump."

Buffy sat there in bewilderment. Cordelia drank alcohol? Apparently Cordelia was right when she said that Buffy didn't know her. She watched as the smaller man stuck a tube down Cordelia's mouth and the bulky one started an IV. The bulky man turned Cordelia's body to the side and placed a bucket near her mouth as the blonde technician pumped air into the cheerleader's stomach.

Finally reaching the hospital, the paramedics rushed Cordelia to the doctors that were waiting for her. Buffy followed them until she wasn't allowed. When she saw the doors close she turned and sat on a hospital chair. This was one of the very rare times when she felt helpless. Give her an apocalypse anytime, but when it came something of natural order she was absolutely useless.

Her mind started to wander and she realized that so much has happened in the last 24 hours. First she saves Cordelia from a demon, then when Cordelia was dressing her wound they kissed, that kiss led to possibly one of the best experiences of her life. Then she announces to Cordelia she loves her, but Cordelia sends her away. When she comes back, she finds Cordelia's body jerking and shaking. Finally the paramedics come, they get a heartbeat going, and manage to bring Cordelia from critical to serious. Buffy sighed with only one thought in running around through her mind, Cordelia better pull through this.

Buffy thought to call Willow to let her know where she was. Finding a payphone, Buffy dialed the redhead's number.

"Hello?" Willow greeted.

"Hey Will," Buffy replied.

The amateur witch said, "What's up, Buffy?"

The blonde slayer sighed forlornly, "Cordelia's in the hospital. I'm here waiting for the doctors to come back."

"What? Why?" Willow asked in a concerned voice.

"I don't know exactly," Buffy was perturbed by that fact, "I stayed over her apartment. We argued the next morning, and when I came back... she was convulsing."

Willow was confused, "Apartment? Stayed over?"

"I'll explain everything. Just... just can you come here," The petite blonde whispered softly.

"Got it," Willow stated, "I'll be there as quick as I can. See you then, Buffy."

"Bye," Buffy hung up the phone.

After that, Buffy went back to the chair she was originally sitting in and stared at the wall and that's how Willow found her best friend about 15 minutes later.

"Buffy?" Willow questioned softly.

The slayer in question was brought out of her reverie, "Hey."

"All right," Willow took a seat next to Buffy, "What's up?"

Buffy sighed, "You know how I told you I had feelings for Cordelia?" When Willow nodded, Buffy continued, "Well I kind of acted on those feelings last night." Her best friend looked shocked but she was happy for Buffy, "I was patrolling when I came across this demon about to attack Cordelia. It was the bad part of town, so I didn't understand why she was there. She told me her father lost all their money because of tax evasion, so he went to jail and her mother left her to fend for herself. Cordelia resides in a studio apartment, and she took me there to fix up a cut I got from the demon. She was about to put her kit away when I kissed her. We went into her room and well..." Buffy blushed, "the next morning we argued and she sent me away. I told her I love her and she replied that I didn't know who she was." The blonde slayer held back a sob, "I came back about 15 minutes later, and I saw her there. Her body was withering and convulsion and I couldn't do anything. Then.." Buffy stifled a tiny whimper, "then she just stopped moving."

Willow took it all in, but when she regarded Buffy's emotional stated, the redhead gathered her best friend in her arms. As soon as she felt human contact, it made all the emotions running through Buffy's body real. She couldn't hold I back any longer, so she bawled and whimpered, and sobbed.

It seemed like forever before the doctor came through the doors. Buffy and Willow instantly stood up while Buffy wiped her eyes to rid herself of the tears.

"I'm Dr. Stevenson," the doctor looked at the two young women, "you family?"

"Family friends," Willow answered, "her family is out of Sunydale on vacation."

Dr. Stevenson gazed at them for a moment before mentally shrugging, "Well, Ms. Chase seems to be fine," the blonde woman let out an audible sigh of relief, "she unconscious at the moment, but that's from an overdose of prescription drugs," the two women's eyes bugged out in shock but the doctor continued, "there was traces of Prozac, Ativan, Ultram, Diazepam, and Ambien in her bloodstream. None of which were prescribed for her. Then there was alcohol in her system and cocaine."

Buffy just stood there, staring at the doctor like her grew a second head, not believing Cordelia would use drugs and alcohol. However, she went back to the scene where she found Cordelia's body. There was empty capsules of pills, an empty bottle of whiskey, and a rolled up dollar bill with a mirror that had remnants of white powder. She really didn't know Cordelia at all. That thought alone made her stomach churn and her heart stop for a brief moment.

"When she wakes," the doctor added, "I'm going to recommend her for a psychological evaluation."

"Okay, doctor," Willow replied, knowing Buffy wasn't going to talk after the load of information she just digested. "By the way, my name is Willow Rosenberg and this is Buffy Summers."

He acknowledged them and turned to leave before Buffy spoke, "Can... can I see her?"

The doctor looked hesitant, but one look in the blonde woman's eyes told him that she needed it, "Sure, but it will be limited. She's in room 217."

Buffy turned to Willow and asked in a whisper, "Walk me there?"

"Of course," Willow stated as she wrapped around the smaller woman's waist in a sign of comfort.

They made the walk in silence, and as they made their way to room 217 Buffy was reluctant to walk in at first. However, she swallowed the feelings that held her back and entered the room where the woman she proclaimed to love rests.

She gasped upon seeing Cordelia lying on the hospital bed. The cheerleader looked so frail and cadaverous compared to the Cordelia she first met in sophomore year. There was all these machines hooked up to her, but Buffy made her way next to Cordelia's motionless form. The slayer grasped the larger, well-manicured hand into her own and she just stared at the brunette.

"You were right," She spoke softly, "about not knowing you. I knew parts of you, and I love those aspects of you. That faŤade of yours was easily detectable, and I wanted to know what you kept hidden from everyone. I'm jealous of Xander," Buffy let out a chuckle at her statement, "he got to know you more than any of us. Then when you broke up... you became distant from us, but who came blame you?" The slayer let out a sigh, "I never knew that you were in that kind of pain... the drugs, the alcohol and all the other things that I probably don't know about. You wanted me to stay away from that... the agony you were in..." the petite blonde trailed of.

Buffy took a calming breath and continued, "I could have helped you. I will help you, but you need to come back to us... to me." The slayer's broke into a whisper, "I love you. No matter how much you want to deny it I do love you."

She was so emotionally drained from the day's events that she rested her head at the edge of Cordelia's bed. Her eye lids grew heavy and she was off into la la land. Buffy never knew she was asleep until she felt someone shaking her. Rousing from her nap, Buffy's foggy eyes looked at Willow.

"You have a nice nap?" Willow asked with a small smile.

Buffy rubbed her eyes a bit before replying, "How long was I out?"

"Half an hour tops," the redhead answered.

"Was there any change with Cordelia?" Buffy mentally kicked herself for possibly missing a crucial moment in her love's condition.

Willow looked sympathetic, "No. I came in here because we have to go and plan on stopping the Ascension of the Mayor."

The small slayer looked torn between staying by Cordelia's side and going with Willow, but she figured she could actually do something with the latter. Buffy got up, placed a small but tender kiss on the cheerleader's forehead and departed with Willow.

Days past and Cordelia never awakened from her drug-induced slumber. That of which took a toll on Buffy's emotional stability, but the slayer knew she had to hold it together for the Ascension Then Angel was poisoned by Faith, and Buffy had to fight her sister slayer which led the brunette into a coma. Buffy, having no other choice, sacrificed herself for Angel because the only cure was Slayer's blood. At one point in time, all three girls were in the hospital, but Buffy was the first to wake. However, Faith didn't have the luxury and Cordelia still was out. Buffy and the others fought the Mayor, blew up the school, and that was the final battle of their childhood. The blonde slayer managed to snag Cordelia's diploma, considering the other girl couldn't collect in on her own. Now, Buffy strolled into room 217, expecting Cordelia to be out. Much to her surprise, the other girl was looking at her with very tired eyes.

"Buffy," Cordelia croaked out.

Buffy's heart fluttered. She never thought she'd get to hear that heavenly voice again, "You're awake."

"That I am," the brunette replied absently, "What day is it?"

"Thursday. You've been out since Sunday," Buffy answered softly.

Cordelia looked dejected, "I missed graduation."

"Nothing to miss," the slayer responded absently, "we fought the Mayor and blew up the school."

"And Faith?" the cheerleader questioned cautiously which put Buffy in a stupor.

She tried to hide the shock, "In a coma. Why do you ask?"

"Before she turned evil," Cordelia took a labored breath, "we were friends. I stayed with her when my parent first lost their money. Her becoming distant from me and pushing me away caused me to leave and get my own place."

"You two were friends?" Buffy asked astounded.

Cordelia looked at her with resigned eyes, "Yet another thing you don't know about me." She paused, taking in her surrounding, "So... since I'm here that's means you know about my dirty little secret."

"Yes, I do," Buffy answered softly, "and I'm going to help you."

The cheerleader looked near tears, "Why would you want to?"

"Because I love you," the slayer stated in a heartfelt manner.

Cordelia brushed-off the statement, "You don't."

"You can't dictate how I should feel and how I shouldn't," Buffy argued deftly.

"You love the image I portray," Cordelia retorted, "not me. No one could ever love me."

The slayer looked aghast, "How could you say that?"

"It's true," Cordelia conceded, "from my parents, to the people I surround myself from day to day."

Buffy took a seat next Cordelia's bed, "Well your wrong. I may not know all there is about you, but some of those hidden qualities show through from time to time. Those qualities is what made me fall in love with you."

The cheerleader looked near tears, "I'm so sorry for ever pushing you away. I... I was just on a path of self-destruction and I didn't want you to go down with me. I wanted you to stay, I really did," Cordelia started to sob and Buffy quickly wrapped the other girl in her strong arms. She could hear faint mumbling that was occasionally interrupted by bubbling hiccups.

Cordelia, not caring that she was breaking down in Buffy's arms continued to mumble about certain thing, "And then Sally told me-"

That got Buffy's full attention instantly, and trying to hide the pin prick of jealously, but her confusion covered it perfectly, "Who's Sally?"