An Unexpected Visitor
by Kimberly

Knock, knock...

Willow reluctantly pulled herself off of the couch she was studying on and answered the door to see someone who was on her "never expected here list". One Miss Cordelia Chase. "Cordy, what are you doing here?

"What I can't visit an old friend?" Cordelia asked huffily.

"Um...we were never friends Cordelia." Willow answered no at all sure what in the hell was going on.

"Okay, yeah...well you got me there. But I really did just come to see you." The snippy tone was gone, replaced by an uncharacteristically kind one

Willow opened the door all the way and stood back to allow Cordelia entrance, but didn't actually invite her in, just in case. Cordelia smiled and walked in. Looking around the Summers' home she commented, "I thought it would look a lot different, what with... everything...that's happened."

"We kept a lot of it the same so it would still feel like home to Dawn." Willow answered as she sat back down on the couch. "So why did you want to see me?"

Cordy gave a sad smile, Willow just couldn't believe that she would visit just for that, to visit, though given their past she couldn't blame Willow her weariness, but it saddened her...a lot. "Well, it actually has do with what you told me on the phone a while ago." At Willow's blank stare she continued, "When Harmony came to L.A."

Realization dawned on Willow, "you came back to Sunnydale to talk to me 'cause I came"

Cordy turned on the couch so she was totally facing Willow. "I never hated you, you know, even after the whole Xander thing happened, I never hated you."

"Um...huh?" Willow's poor mind was desperately trying to keep up with the conversation, but Cordelia wasn't making it easy for her.

"I'm sorry I was a bitch to you since...well since like kindergarten."

"Ah...okay?" Really what do you say when your worst enemy for 12 years say's they're sorry?

"I did it...well because I was jealous...I realize that now."

"Jealous...of me? Why?"

Cordy chuckled and then answered, "oh well let me name the ways... you're absolutely breath taking loves you..."

Willow cut her off, "please Cordy, you're practically a model! And I know you didn't do so hot in school, but we both know that was just part of your image, you could have had better grades than me! And..., everyone loved you in school, there was practically a cult Cordelia!"

Cordelia just gave her another sad smile; "you ARE gorgeous Will, but your breath taking beautiful where it counts, inside. And people didn't love me in school, they feared me. they really loved, you were just to darn shy to see it then."

" came all the way to Sunnydale to tell me this?"

"You know why I dated Xander?"

Poor Willow was lost at sea again, "huh?"

"It took me a really LONG time to figure it out...but I dated him 'cause ultimately I knew I couldn't have who I"

Willow was totally speechless after Cordy dropped that bomb on her. Not even a trusty babble came forth; she just sat there staring at Cordy.

"Xander was closer to you than anyone. And I figured if I dated him, I'd be accepted into the Scooby gang...accepted by you. Of course I didn't realize any of this then, I just thought I was going insane or something." Cordelia flashed Willow a bright smile. "But I dated Xand and had an excuse to be around more and things were good, until you guys got snatched by the baddies and Oz and I came to the rescue. And even then, not knowing that it was you I wanted, you I loved, it was you I couldn't take my eyes off, you who I felt unreasonably betrayed by. I didn't figure it out then, I don't think I could have handled it if I did, but I knew enough that with these weird feelings that I couldn't be with Xander anymore, that's why I wouldn't forgive him. But don't get me wrong...I did love him, that happened somewhere along the line, but it wasn't always...I didn't see forever when I looked at him.

"And after high school I went to L.A. it was sort of an eye opener, being around such diversity, and it was okay, people were just themselves and it was...okay. Then Doyle gave me the visions, giving me a purpose in life, something I hadn't had before, and I was okay. And then one day Willow Rosenberg comes out of the closet to me, and CLICK! Things started to snap into place in my head for the first time I understood with a clarity that almost scared me. I was in love with Willow Rosenberg."

Willow just looked at Cordelia for what seemed like forever. She could see the raw honesty in Cordy's eyes, and knew how hard it must have been for her to come here and confess all of that. But the only thing Willow could think to say was, "I have a girlfriend."

Cordy gave what was now a familiar sad smile, "I know, and...I may have found someone myself, but I I needed for you to know, I never hated you, but I've come to loath myself for what I put everyone through 'cause I couldn't figure out my own head. No one deserved it, and I'd apologize to all of them, but my vacation is only so long."

Willow smiled at the small joke, but her mind was a whirl with all the new information. Cordelia Chase loved her...HER! She just couldn't fathom that. Cordelia took in the stunned features and far away look in Willow's eyes and decided it was time to give Willow time to think; after all it had taken her a lifetime to figure everything out.

"I should go, I'm staying at the Sunnydale Motel if you wanna talk." Willow just nodded absently so Cordy leaned over and gave her a kiss on the cheek. It wasn't any more than a "friend" kiss, so that Willow wouldn't get mad, or feel guilty, or whatever.

Cordelia got up and walked to the door, passing a beautiful, blonde woman, that she didn't know, who was just coming in on her way. But she had a good idea who she was, giving her a friendly smile Cordy nodded and left without a word.

Tara walked into the livingroom and looked at her stunned girlfriend, giving her a quick kiss on the lips she loved so dearly she asked, "Who was that?"

Willow looked up, still deep in her world of thought, she answered absently, "Cordelia Chase...a friend from high school."


Knock, knock...

Cordelia looked up at her ceiling as she silently cursed. It was her day off, if this was Angel or Wes she was going to show them just how bitchy the Queen bitch of Sunnydale could be. It wasn't often anymore she took days off, and tonight she just wanted to sit on the couch and wallow, with a nice glass of wine. It was a good plan, which was being disturbed by the knocking, which was repeated before she had the chance to get up and answer.

"Alright, alright, I'm coming keep your pants on." Without even checking whom it was she pulled the door opened and started talking before she even saw the person standing there. "I don't care what demon is terrorizing L.A. it's my nigh...Willow?!" Cordelia was shocked. The last person she expected to see at her door was Willow Rosenberg. She hadn't even talked to the red head since her confession in Sunnydale. She knew Willow was happy with her girlfriend and that was all she needed.

"Hey." Willow gave a small wave. She looked horrible, it was easy to tell she had been crying recently, and her cloths were wrinkled and in need of washing.

"Jesus, come in, come in. Are you alright?" Cordelia asked in a worried tone as she ushered the other woman to the couch. "What's happened?" She knew something big had happened, the only other time she saw Willow even half this bad was when she came to tell them about Buffy's death.

Willow didn't answer. Tears started flowing from her eyes again. She couldn't stop them; she had given up on even trying to stop them. With her bottom lip trembling Willow pleaded with Cordelia, "hold me?"

"Of course." Cordelia gathered the slight woman in her arms and held tight. She couldn't fathom what would break Willow this much. Sure she had heard about the red head's recent addiction to magic, but it wasn't her place to say anything, offer anything. Although she had prayed for the woman she loved every night. Still, even her addiction, or rather past addiction surely couldn't be the cause for this break down, could it? At a loss for what to do she just held on. Dennis being the kind ghost that he was lifted a blanket over them and dimmed the lights.

Cordelia smiled her appreciation to the ghost and started a gentle rocking motion hoping to calm the sobs coming from the woman in her arms. After a few more minutes she started humming a song that had been a favorite as a child. Some time later the sobs subsided, and Willow's breathing evened out. She had fallen asleep in Cordelia's arms. Moving slightly so that she was in a reclining position Cordelia made herself comfortable, she was obviously going to be here for a while.


"Tara?" Willow asked in her half sleep state.

"No it's just me." Cordelia said softly, her voice barely a whisper.

Willow opened her eyes completely and saw she was practically lying on top of Cordelia, the night before flooded her mind and she lifted herself up. It was true she didn't know what she wanted or expected when she came here, but surely this wasn't it. All she knew was that she had to get away, everything in Sunnydale reminded her of her lost lover. She couldn't stand it anymore, after almost ending the world she couldn't even find comfort in her friends. She had hurt them so much. She didn't know where else to turn.

She hadn't even given Cordelia's confession months earlier a second thought. Things had been happening to rapidly. Anytime she wanted to sit and ponder it something came up. Buffy's resurrection, and everything that that entailed. The problems with magic, her and Tara's separation. The problems with Dawn. Xander and Anya's wedding, or lack of. Her and Tara's reunion. And she had no one to turn to...except for Cordelia it seemed. But she didn't know everything yet. Soon she wouldn't even have her.


"Yep, we established that much last night...that's about it though, why don't you fill me in?" Cordelia said gently, missing the feel of Willow's body instantly.

"I'm...I'm sorry to just show up on you like this...but...I had no where else to go." The confession was merely whispered as Willow lowered her head and a new batch of tears sprang to her eyes.

"No where Willow? I find that hard to believe, what's happened? Does Buffy and Xander know you are here?" Cordelia asked gently as she brushed some hair out of Willow's eyes so that she could see them.

Willow gave a small shake of the head, "no."

"Please Willow, tell me what's happened, how can I help if I don't know?"

"You've were here." Willow answered honestly, looking up into Cordelia's chocolate brown eyes and seeing the sincere hope to help there, before she knew it she was telling Cordelia everything that happened. "Tara...we had this big fight, and then I went magic crazy with Amy and Rack...but I got better and I gave up black magic. Gave up all magic. I was doing well, I missed Tara, but we were slowly trying the friends thing. And then with Xander not going through with the wedding and everything happening, somewhere in the middle of it all I got my angel back. Got my Tara back and it was the most wonderful couple of days. I had missed her so much, but Buffy was fighting those stupid geeks and she had beaten them...until the stupid ringleader showed up with a gun...he...he shot Buffy...and Tara. She was just standing there smiling at me, and then there was blood on my shirt and she looked all confused, and oh goddess she just collapsed.

"She...I asked Osiris to bring her back to me, begged him, but he said it was is a bullet to the heart natural at all? And she was just gone, lifeless. No matter how I held on she wouldn't wake up. I...all I could see was red. Blood red. I had Tara's blood on my shirt and I wanted HIS too. So I went after him. Buffy, she tried to stop me, but I killed him...I tortured and I killed him...and she was still gone. It, it only got worse, I wanted the other two of them, and everyone tried to stop me, Giles showed up and he had magic back up and he tried, but I wouldn't let them stop me. I tried to end the world; I wanted all the pain to stop, I didn't want there to be a world without my Tara in it. But Xander he...he said he loved me and wanted to be the first to die if I was going to do it...and something snapped, something inside of me

"I couldn't do it Cordy. I wanted to, I wanted all the pain to go away, I wanted my angel back, but I can't, she's gone and it's killing me inside. I hurt them all so much, I fought Buffy, like really fought, she couldn't even look me in the eye afterward. I had tried to kill her, everyone she loved. I couldn't stay there. Everything...Tara's stamp was everywhere, and no one could look at me...I can't look at me...I had no where else to go." Willow finished her tale and looked down again, not able to see the disgust in Cordelia's eyes.

Cordelia for her part sat stunned. She couldn't believe all that had happened. Without thought she reached out and grabbed Willow, pulling the smaller girl to her in an almost desperate hug. "You can always come here Willow, I will always be here for you...always." For the countless time that week Willow sobbed out all the hurt that was inside of her, she sobbed it out onto Cordelia's shoulder. Cordelia just held her for everything she was worth, her mind reeling.


For the second time that day Willow woke up laying on top of her once highschool nemesis. She had told Cordelia everything, and still the brunette had welcomed her with open arms, she couldn't believe it. She felt safe in Cordelia's arms, safe and calm. And calm was something she hadn't felt since she had held her Tara last. Almost a whole week ago, the last time she would ever hold the blonde Wiccan. And yet, here in the arms of another woman she felt just as calm. Snuggling down a little into the body that held her she whispered, "thank you."

"You never have to say that to me." Cordelia stated softly, "I want to always be her for you, in any way you need, you never have to thank me for complying with my heart's desire."

"So you're not mad at me for showing up and laying all this on you?" Willow asked in a small voice.

"Never, I'm glad you knew you could come to me, I'm glad you did. I wish I had been there to help you through all of that, I'm sorry I wasn't."

"Oh no Cordelia, your home is here now, I'm glad you weren't there, glad you didn't see me like that, the low of all lows...I took a life, I tortured and took a life." Willow's voice was thick with the guilt that was eating her up inside.

"I can never take that back Willow, you can only move forward and try to make up for it.

"How do you make up for something like that?"

"Angel and Faith do it by saving people." Cordelia said gently while running her hand through Willow's hair gently.

"Thought Faith was in jail," Willow stated absently, "and I'm not strong like them."

"Oh Willow to live though the things you've lived through, you are strong, stronger than most. And you may not be able to save people like them, but you can find your own path. You will survive this, and you'll come out stronger in the end for it."

"Will I?" Willow asked in the tinniest voice Cordelia had ever seen.


"Thank you."

"Willow I told you, you never have to thank me, I..." Cordelia fell over clutching her head. Willow started to panic calling out her name. "Shh, shh, love it's okay, just a vision." Cordelia used the endearment without conscious thought. "I should call Angel...I may have to..."

"It's okay Cordelia, this is your destiny, I understand that. I should...go" Willow stated, despite her words she didn't want to go anywhere.

"No!" Cordelia blurted out, "Stay, I should be back soon, I'll just tell them about it and let them take care of it, half hour tops...I promise."

"Are you sure?"


Willow smiled softly, "then I'll be her when you get back."

"Good." Cordelia said with a smile of her own. Slowly she leaned forward giving Willow plenty of time to pull away, and left a small kiss on Willow's cheek, then hugged her softly. "Half an hour."

"Half an hour." Willow repeated returning the hug.

Cordelia got up and grabbed her keys without another word. Once and the door she turned and stared for a long moment at Willow, who returned her gaze fully, then she turned and left. Determined to be no longer than the time period she set out.

Willow watched Cordelia go, at a loss for what to do till the brunet seer returned. The TV flicked on and the remote sailed over to her. Smiling she remembered being told about Cordelia's friendly ghost, and decided maybe TV wouldn't be such a bad thing to take her mind off of things till Cordelia got home.


Knock, knock...

Before Willow even had the chance to consider opening the door if flung open and in walked the last person Willow ever wanted to see, Faith. "Hey Queen C, ya here..." she spotted Willow, "uh oh."

"Faith what are you doing here?! Never mind, just leave before I call the cops!" Willow thought about mentioning the fact Faith was supposed to be in jail right now, but then remembered Cordelia saying something about her being out now.

"Calm down Red, I'm jus' here to talk to C, she knew I was coming over today, guess she forgot to mention it huh? Know where she is?"

"Like I'd tell you! And she didn't say anything about you being here, she would have definitely mentioned that to me, but nope, no mention at all, none..." Willow would have babbled on if Faith didn't interrupt.

"Jesus Red calm down!" Faith said from her spot by the door, she hadn't moved any closer to Willow knowing the redhead would take any move as a threat. "Knowing C she had a vision and it slipped her mind, I'll jus' cruise over to the Big A's. Tell 'er I was here will ya." Under her breath she added, "Though damn sure you were plannin' that any how."

Willow's desire to not be along overrode her common sense and before Faith could leave she called out, "Faith! Wait!" Faith turned and looked at Willow waiting for her to continue. " long have you been..." Willow trailed off not certain she should be asking.

"Out of jail?" Faith asked for the red head. Faith leaned against the door and studied Willow, making her squirm. "'Bout six months now...parole." She added the last part when Willow made a big 'HOW?' face.


Faith turned to leave again but stopped with her hand on the handle. Once again she turned and studied the girl she had once tormented for fun. Something was different now, something was in her eyes that never should have been. "Who was it?" Faith asked in the softest voice she had, so soft in fact she wasn't sure Willow even heard her.

Willow looked at Faith confused she asked, "huh?"

"Who put that look in your eyes?"

Willow was still baffled, what look? "Huh?"

Faith finally came into the room and sat as far from Will as she could and still be in the same room. "I know that look Red, it's the same one I've seen every time I look in the mirror since Finch."

Willow looked down and stared at her feet, "Warren." Her voice was barely a whisper.

Faith, surprised she actually got an answer decided to push a little more, "you would never just...who did he hurt?"

Willow felt tears filler her eyes again. "Shot Buffy and..." a sob. "Tara."

Faith racked her brain trying to remember a Tara. The memory hit her with the force of a sledgehammer. The picture of a shy, blonde woman, who stuttered, and only had eyes for Willow, popped into Faith's head. 'They must have finally gotten together.' "So he shot B and your girl, help me out her Red, what am I missin'?" Faith asked, her voice never rising, staying in it's low, soft timbre.

"Tara's dead." Willow answered in a flat voice; Faith could see the iron curtain fall in Willow's eyes. An iron curtain to keep all the pain in, something Faith was familiar with, in fact this whole situation sounded way to familiar to Faith.

"And B?" Faith was almost afraid to ask.

"I saved her. The doctors and their surgery would have taken too long. So I used magic and removed the bullet, healed her."

"So you got big with the whole magic thing huh, powerful?" Willow just nodded. Faith studied her some more, "so why aren't you there now, surrounded by friends for support?" Faith's tone held nothing but honest curiosity. Willow had never thought Faith capable of being this soft in speech, then again she never thought herself capable of murder either.

"I fought Buffy when she tried to stop me form getting vengeance, fought Giles, almost destroyed the world..." Willow's voice had gone from flat to self-loathing.

"Even so they'd stand behind you...I mean obviously you're giving the mojo up or you would have just sapped me when you saw me walk in..."

"Their eyes were different...I didn't stick around long enough to notice anything else. I buried Tara and came here." Willow explained, or tried to.

"You ran?"

"I ran."

"So what now? Why here?" Faith asked curious as to what Willow would answer.

"I don't know...I didn't have anywhere else...and I just don't know Faith."

"Up for suggestions?" Faith asked, honestly wanting to help, she knew all too well what it felt like to be where Willow was now.

"From you?!" Willow asked with contempt as if she just now realized who she was talking to.

"You're right, I mean why listen to someone who lost the most important person in their life and let that lead them to murder and the dark side, hurt everyone they cared about to the point none of them could stand to even look at them...someone who went to jail, turned themselves in, paid their time, and is now trying to repent... why on earth would YOU want to listen to someone like that?" Faith's voice held no anger, or condensation. She just wanted Willow to see that they weren't all that different anymore. That she could help if allowed.

Willow looked down ashamed. If anyone knew what she felt, of course it would be Faith. She shouldn't let her old anger cloud her judgment; obviously Faith had changed, for the better. "Sorry." Willow mumbled.

"Don't be, I know you're hurting Red, I know that it hurts so much that at times you can't breathe, can't eat, can't sleep, and when you do the nightmares come. I know what it's like to live those moments over and over again till you want to scream, always wondering what if? If I had done this, or that, would things have been different. And I know what it's like to have no one to turn to, to have closed off everyone who had wanted to help you, spit in their faces. So Red, I ask again...up for suggestions on what to do now?"

Willow looked at Faith with tears in her eyes. Faith had described what she was going through perfectly. Except she had someone to turn to, she had Cordelia...but then again in the end, Faith had had Angel's help. So she guessed they weren't all that different after all. "Please." "Go to Angel, tell him what you can, I know it's hard talkin' 'bout the stuff going on inside, but trust me A will understand. I'm sure he can hook you up with a job, computer whiz you are, and place to stay. Settle down for a while, try life out, and then when the time is right, face your friends again."

"You didn't mention jail...I murdered in cold blood, not only did I murder him, I tortured him first...shouldn't someone like me be in jail... that's what you did." Willow wanted to be told yes. People shouldn't be so forgiving of what she did just because of who she was. She had committed crime, was conscious of it, planned it, and to some extent, at the time, enjoyed it.

"I went to jail 'cause that's how B said I could make things better. That's what she wanted me to do. Truth is with A's help I coulda done with out it. It was time to think and grow, but I coulda done that on the outside, and live up to my destiny while at it. You don't need jail Red, it won't change you for the better, only you can do that..." Faith might have continued her little speech, but was interrupted.

"She's right you know, jail is no good." Cordelia walked over to the couch and sat down next to Willow and squeezed her leg in a show of support.

"How long have you been standing there?" Willow asked as she looked at Cordelia.

"About the time when Faith was giving advice. You should listen to her, scary as it is, half the time she's right." Cordy said the last part with a smirk.

"Half?!" Faith questioned in indignation, "I'm right at least 75% of the time!"

Willow gave their joking a small smile. "So work for Angel huh?"

"Why not, we do." Cordy answered. "And you could always stay here." She said the last part softly, looking Willow in the eyes letting her know that she was there for her.

"Guess I'm moving to L.A." Willow smiled back, letting Cordy know they'd discuss it later with her statement.

"Well ladies I've done my good deed for the day, I'm gonna go do... something." Faith said as she got up and headed for the door.

"Hey wait, I thought you wanted to talk to Cordelia." Willow called after her.

"Done more talkin' today than the last month, that's enough for me." Faith said with a genuine smile, so Willow wouldn't think she minded their little chat. Again she turned to leave.

"Faith!" She turned and looked at the red head. "Thank you."

With a soft smile Faith said, "Anytime...Willow." And then finally left.

"Did it help?" Cordelia asked softly. "To talk to her?"

"Yeah, I think it did." Willow said with a small amount of wonder in voice. Who would have ever thought?

"Good. And I meant what I said Willow, you are always welcome to stay here, and I understand if it's just as a friend."

Willow looked at Cordelia for a long while, and then answered, "I think...I think it would be best if I didn't...for now...would you...will you wait for me though?" Willow asked, she knew if she started something with Cordy now she would always feel guilty for it because she just lost Tara. But in the future, when she was ready...she could see herself happy with Cordelia.

"Of course Willow...I would wait an eternity for you."

"Well let's hope it won't take that long...let's find that friendship we never really had first." Willow gave a genuine smile, it was small, but it was a start.

"Well in that case let's go talk to Angel...pal." Willow stuck her tongue out at Cordy but got up and followed her out. Things were by no means fixed, and she still had to face the Scooby gang again, but this...this was a start. And right now, it's what she needed.