A Brand New Sunnydale
by blondehockeyfan

Buffy Summers was pissed. She was pissed off and sad, and it was all because of her parents. Divorce. The big D word. Buffy hated that word. None of her friends had parents that were divorced. She had to be the outcast. And to make things worse, she and her mom were moving. To some hickville town named Sunnydale. Did they have any idea how hard it was going to be for her to move the summer before high school? No, all they care about is themselves, she thought bitterly. Besides all that, some weird old man caught her after school one day when her dad was late picking her up and he totally freaked her out talking about Slayers and vampires and demons. He was a weird one for sure. He said she should be prepared for the day she was called. What the hell did that mean? Ugh, life can really suck sometimes. They were leaving in two days for Sunnydale and she was only going to have a month to meet people. Most of her belongings had been packed away in boxes scattering the house. At least she had her big going away party tonight. That was something to look forward to. It was going to be tough though. Leaving her now ex-boyfriend Pike behind. They broke up right after Buffy got word of the move. They had talked about it and decided long distance wasn't really the thing for them. She scowled at the last box of stuff she packed and kicked it for good measure. Well, she thought, at least Mom took me guilt shopping.


Buffy came bounding downstairs early about a week after they moved in and joined her mom in the kitchen for coffee.

"Hi honey." Joyce gave her a warm smile.

"Hey mom." Buffy gave mom her best California girl smile and grabbed a mug from the cabinet.

"Any plans for today?"

"I was hoping to hit the beach for a few hours. I need to work on my tan. Is that okay?" She asked hopefully. Joyce smiled widely and nodded. "Sure, do you want a ride?"

"Okay, I'll just walk home when I'm done."

The two Summers women shared the morning paper, both silently wondering how many wild dogs Sunnydale really had.

A few hours later, Buffy spread her towel out on the sand and removed her shorts and tank top. She adjusted the straps to her red bikini before applying her tanning oil. She grabbed her headphones and slipped them on and relaxed in the sun.

An hour later, she sat up and grabbed her bottle of water from her backpack. A group of six teenagers caught her eye. She watched as the two guys of the group began tossing a football back and forth as the four girls got settled for sunning. A tall brunette girl in a skimpy white bikini caught her eye. She had the perfect body. Long legs, perfectly toned stomach, she was gorgeous. Now, Buffy had never been with a girl before, though thoughts of girls had crossed her mind before, but something about this one had her attention. She watched them enviously as she turned to her stomach and began flipping through a magazine. Through her headphones she didn't hear the male voice call out to her until it was too late. Suddenly a football came flying by her head and she nearly screamed. She ripped her headphones off and stood up to see one of the guys jogging her way. He was wearing a sheepish grin as he approached and she couldn't help but give him a tiny smile.

"Hey, sorry about that, my buddy doesn't know his own strength sometimes."

Buffy smiled wider. "It's okay, it just startled me."

He grinned and stuck out his hand. "I'm Riley Finn."

Buffy shook his hand. "Buffy Summers."

Riley walked a few paces and picked up his ball before turning back to her. "Are you new? I've never seen you around before."

"Yeah, my mom and I just moved here from L.A."

"Cool, I can imagine it must suck to come from L.A. to Sunnydale. This place pales in comparison."

Buffy shrugged. "I'm sure I'll get used to it."

Riley turned and waved his friend off when he started to shout about the football and turned back to Buffy and eyed her towel. "Do you wanna come join us? I know it can be hard to meet people when you're new. The guys won't mind."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, grab your stuff."


Buffy threw her clothes, headphones and water bottle in her backpack and grabbed her towel. She followed Riley to his friends. Buffy gave a shy smile at the rest of Riley's friends and they sent smiles back.

"Guys, this is Buffy Summers. She just moved from L.A. Buffy, this is Cordelia, Harmony, Aura, Anya and Angel."

She gave them a small wave and grinned when the hot brunette almost bolted up from her towel and grabbed her hand. "You moved from L.A.? That is so cool. I would kill to live near that many shoes."

Buffy smiled and before she knew it, the girls had her dishing on everything L.A. The guys went back to football and they spent the next few hours lounging on the beach. Angel and Riley left together in Angel's black convertible and Anya offered Buffy a ride home in her 4Runner with the girls. Before they dropped her off they managed to convince her to make an appearance at the Bronze with them that night. Buffy was practically beaming when she came home. She made new friends. They were friends like her old friends. And, geez, she was going to have a few problems hanging out with Cordelia for sure. She was hot. It had been difficult to say the least to keep her eyes off the bronze skin shown off by the bikini. Buffy began humming quietly to herself as she headed for the shower. She figured Sunnydale wasn't half bad after all.


Rupert Giles was a happy man. His flight had just touched down and he was about to put his life's training to work. He was going to be a watcher. The council had learned that sometime in the next two months, a new slayer was going to be called. In Sunnydale, California. The Council set him up with a job at the high school as librarian and he was thrilled. Of course the idea of living on a Hellmouth was a bit disturbing, but he took it all in stride. Yes, he was a happy man.


"So how do you guys all know each other?" Buffy asked Cordy. The two were sitting at the group's usual table at the Bronze waiting for the rest of the crew to show up. .

"Well, Angel and I have known each other for ever. He lives a few houses down from me and we were always forced to go to parties in our neighborhood." Cordelia rolled her eyes dramatically. "Really boring. It was just a bunch of stuffy adults showing off their money. He and Riley got to be friends a few years ago. They played football together in junior high and they play on the varsity team together now. Harmony and Aura have been friends of mine since we could walk. They're kind of shallow, but we've known each other so long, we kinda got used to it. Anya just moved here last summer and we met her in school. Anya is really the only one of my friends that has a unique thought. The guys are cool, but sometimes I wonder why I hang out with Harmony and Aura."

"Probably because they agree with everything you say?"

"Yeah, probably." Cordelia said with a smile. "Although, Anya has a tiny problem with her current crush status."

"What do you mean?"

"See that guy over there?" Cordy pointed to a group of teens in a booth across the club. "The guy with the dark hair and goofy smile... Xander Harris. He's king of the dork squad and Anya has been crushing on him for like six months. I don't get it."

"He's kinda cute in a goofy way, I guess." Buffy noticed with a small shrug.

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Ugh, him and the redhead, Willow, have been friends for ever. We were all in kindergarten together. They always tell loser ass stories about Xander stealing Willow's Barbie and something about a yellow crayon. It's lame."

Buffy watched the other group as they all laughed at something one guy said. "Who are the other two?"

"Oh, Jessie and Spike." Cordy rolled her eyes dramatically.

Buffy raised an eyebrow. "Spike?"

"I think it's a nickname. He just moved here a few weeks ago. He's a pain in the ass; he's always talking shit to Angel."

"How do you know so much about him if he just moved here?" Buffy asked with a tiny smile.

"Oh, please, this is gossip town USA. Everyone knows everyone else's business. It's a small town curse."

"Great, I can't wait to hear what's being said about me." Buffy wondered warily.

Cordelia smiled widely. "Trust me, you moved from L.A. and you hang with me and mine...nothing but good will be said about you. Angel and Riley practically own the school, which means so do we, by association."

"Good to know."

The two shared a grin and Buffy found herself watching the people on the dance floor. One couple in particular caught her eye. A drop dead gorgeous brunette was dancing with some guy that looked like he'd been hiding in a cave for the last twenty years. He was dressed like a cheap knock off of John Travolta in Disco Fever. Yuk. The girl could move though. Buffy kept her eye on the couple and a few minutes later the rest of her friends showed up. Harm and Aura immediately dove into somebody's fashion mistake, they of course demanded the attention of everyone at the table, so Buffy was distracted for several boring minutes. She soon felt her gaze travel back to the dance floor. She was surprisingly disappointed when she saw that the girl had disappeared. She found herself getting dragged into countless idiotic conversations about celebrities and fashion. Buffy had no problems with any of that stuff; she just found that it got old after a while. She noticed a similar look of boredom on Cordelia's face, and Anya was too busy staring at Xander to even acknowledge her friends' conversation. Riley and Angel grew weary quickly and moved to the pool table to play a few games.

After a few hours, the group split up and headed home. Buffy knew then and there that she liked Cordelia. She could tell that there was someone deeper on the inside that she refused to show and Buffy found herself wanting to know more about her. She absolutely loved Angel and Riley. Anya was sweet, but utterly distracted non-stop. She honestly couldn't stand Harmony or Aura, but would play nice since they were supposed to be friends. As she crawled into bed later that night, she tried to figure out the best way to deconstruct the walls Cordelia built around herself. She smiled happily at her new life and drifted into peaceful slumber.


Giles wasn't a slayer. He had never been a slayer. At this point he felt sorry for the girl that was the slayer. He had been on patrol for almost two hours and had managed to stake five vampires. He was tired and sore and he was praying to whoever would listen that his slayer would be called soon. If she hadn't been called already. He had spoken to Quinten Travers earlier and was assured that there was no new slayer. He was about to head home when he heard a scuffle in the alley. He looked around and realized he was coming up on that silly dance club the teenagers of this town frequented. The Bronze... what a bloody stupid name. He grabbed his stake from his jacket and did his best to locate the scuffle. He ran down the alley and found a Vampire trying to feed on a young girl. She was doing her best to fight him off and was doing quite well. Giles managed to sneak up on the vamp and stake it before it could bite the girl. She was surprised to say the least when the bumpy headed guy she was fighting disappeared into dust and she was left facing an older man with a wooden stick.

"Are you alright?" Giles asked as he tucked his stake back in his jacket.

"Yeah, five by five." She replied as she wiped some dust off her leather pants. "What the hell was that thing?"

"A vampire."

The girl bust out laughing until she realized he was serious and she raised an eyebrow. "Very funny, is that like a trick you and your buddy play on young girls in creepy alleys?" She made a motion with her hand at the fairly creepy alley they were standing in.

Giles scowled. "No! Don't be ridiculous; I'm old enough to be your father. He was a vampire." Giles rolled his eyes and removed his glasses to clean them.

The girl gave him a wry look. "You want me to believe that vampires are real?"

"They are real. But what you choose to believe is up to you. Now, if you are alright, I would suggest you go home and strength in numbers always seems to help." He gave her a frustrated wave and turned to leave.

"Do it again." She called out after him, and he stopped before turning slowly.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Do it again. The dust thing. If it's real, do it again." She placed her hands on her hips and gave him an expectant look.

"I certainly will not."

"Okay, then plan B is for me to follow you home and hope you come across another. I thought that was wicked and I wanna see it again." She shrugged and fell in line behind him.

Giles rolled his eyes and heaved out an exasperated sigh. "Fine, we'll find another."

She grinned triumphantly. "Cool."

"And you are?" He asked as the two made their way out of the alley.

"Faith Cooper."

"You must be new around here."

"Yup, me and my pops just moved here about a few days ago. He's an artist and he's got a bunch of his stuff that's gonna be put up in a new gallery in town. We moved from Boston to San Francisco, but I got kicked out of my school for fighting all the time. Sunnydale high is the only school that would accept me." She grinned wickedly and eyed him a bit. "Who are you?"

"Rupert Giles."

"So how do you know about all this vampire stuff?" She asked as she gestured wildly with her hands.

"I am what's called a watcher. I was sent here because a new slayer is to be called in the next month or so and I wanted to be prepared when she was called."

"What's a slayer?" She asked curiously.

"She is a warrior chosen to fight the forces of darkness. She has super strength and incredibly quick healing powers. She is meant to help wipe the forces of evil from the Earth."

"Wicked cool, G-man. So what, is she not pickin' up her phone or something?" She asked as she stuffed her hands in her pockets. He drew his eyebrows together. "I don't follow."

"You said she was gonna be called...why hasn't she been called already to do the dirty work?" She hopped on the balls of her feet and jabbed a few times at the air with her fists.

"There is a slayer already. My sources tell me that a new one will be called here in Sunnydale in the next month."

She shook her head and raised an eyebrow. "Okay, I must have missed a turn, cause I'm lost."

"There is a slayer, but she is in China right now. In order for a new slayer to be called, the current girl must die...and her death is foretold in ancient prophecies at the hands of a Master vampire. Once he is free and kills the slayer, he will be on his way here to open the Hellmouth."

"Lost me again, G."

"The Hellmouth is a center of mystical convergence. Anything evil is drawn to it and Sunnydale just happens to sit right on top of it." He said warily and Faith raised an eyebrow in amusement.

"Man, I'm really glad we moved." She said sarcastically as she shook her head.

The conversation didn't get much further due to the vampire rising from the grave. Faith stood back as she watched him pull himself from the ground and fight with Giles. After a few punches and kicks, Giles struck the heart with a stake and he turned to dust. Faith let out a low whistle and Giles noticed a very impressed look on her face and it made him smile a bit.

"Do you believe me now?"

"You don't really leave me a choice...besides at least I know that if my believing sends me to the looney bin, at least I'll have company." She laughed a bit, but scowled at him playfully when he remained serious.

"Well, I've found that most people around here tend to forget most of what they see and rationalize what they can't forget, so I don't think we'll be locked up any time soon."

She nodded absently as they walked out of the cemetery. She bit her lip and sighed. "So, you're supposed to help this slayer fight evil right?"


"Can I help?" She asked slowly, with a hopeful expression on her face.


"Yeah, it seems like the right thing to do. Plus, I can fight. Maybe you can train me to fight better." She shrugged slightly and trained her gaze on the ground.

He gave her a small smile that she missed, as she was apparently looking for something in the grass. "I suppose we can arrange something." At this, her head snapped up and she grinned widely.

"Cool deal, well, I guess I'll see ya around G-man."

"Goodnight Faith."

Giles smiled to himself as he watched Faith walk away. He had always prided himself on being able to read people and he sensed that Faith was a good person deep down; she just needed a little guidance and support. Watchers are experts at guidance and support, so he figured he would help Faith. He felt maybe she needed it.


"Ugh, I can't believe we start school next week, it's so lame." Buffy and Cordelia where sprawled out on Buffy's bed flipping through magazines. The radio was playing a random song in the background and a cool summer night breeze swept in from the open window.

"True, but the upside is the whole high school thing." Buffy offered lamely.

"Yeah, but it's just four more years of stupid, horny guys and bitchy, backstabbing girls."

Buffy smiled and shook her head slightly. "Wow, see I knew you could shed a positive light on just about anything if you put your mind to it."

Cordelia gave her a mock glare. "Bite me, Summers."

"Sorry, biting usually isn't my style." Buffy raised a playful eyebrow and grinned slyly.

Cordelia felt butterflies in her stomach at the thought of Buffy biting. "Oh really? What is your style?"

Buffy tapped her chin with a finger thoughtfully. "I'm more of a nibbler to be perfectly honest."

Cordy rolled her eyes and smacked Buffy lightly on the arm. Buffy grinned and switched her position so she was sprawled out on her stomach. They both heard the door open and close downstairs and Joyce call out to her.

Buffy glanced at Cordy and raised an eyebrow. "Ready to meet mom?"

Cordelia gave her a grin and hopped off the bed. "Trust me, any mom is better than my mom."

Buffy gave her a sympathetic glance and headed downstairs. She found her mom in the kitchen making tea and the two girls wandered in, Cordelia sitting on a stool at the island and Buffy hopping up on the counter.

"Hey mom, this is Cordelia Chase. Cor, this is mom." Cordy grinned her thousand-watt smile and extended her hand. "Nice to meet you."

Joyce gave her a warm smile and took the extended hand. "Nice to meet you too, Cordelia. I've heard a lot about you."

Cordelia raised an eyebrow at Buffy who did her best to look innocent. "Good things I hope."

Joyce chuckled lightly. "Nothing but." She gave Cordelia her patented mom smile. "So are you as excited as Buffy is about starting high school?" Joyce asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

Cordelia shrugged and smiled. "It has to be better than junior high, I guess anything is better than junior high, so I don't think it will be that bad." She shrugged again and leaned forward and rested her elbows on the island. "So, Buffy told me that you work in the new art gallery in town."

"Yes, actually, it just opened so there's a lot of work to be done. A new artist from Boston will be putting up quite a few of his prints. He has a wonderful reputation."

"That's great. I'd love to stop by once everything is set up. I love art galleries."

Joyce smiled widely, liking Cordelia immediately. "Well, feel free to stop by anytime once we're up and running."

"I will." Cordelia said with a grin. Buffy suddenly hopped off the counter and grabbed Cordelia's hand.

"We have to run mom, we're gonna be late meeting everyone."

"Okay, go have fun, it was very nice to meet you, Cordelia."

"Thanks, Mrs. Summers, it was great to meet you too. Have a good night." She called out over her shoulder with a wave as Buffy pulled her from the room and out the door. Joyce smiled her mom smile as she watched the girls leave. She was thrilled that Buffy made new friends so fast. It was one less thing that she had to worry about. She made herself a cup of tea and settled in for the evening, smiling her mom smile all the while. (Wow, total Dr. Seuss moment.)


Cordelia was uncomfortable. It wasn't a feeling she was used to. When your parents are rich, your life becomes very comfortable. You have great clothes and cars and credit cards and life is very cushy. Cordelia liked it that way. But lately she'd been having feelings that had her a bit on edge. She had a tiny little crush on someone and it was turning bigger everyday. Now, usually that wouldn't be a problem for Cordelia. She was rich, gorgeous and smart. Guys would literally line up around the block if she wanted them too. But this crush was something different and she hated it. She knew she was alone and couldn't talk to anyone about it. Her friends would freak and disown her. Nope, she was alone in her grief. She had a crush on none other than Buffy Summers. She thought back to the day they all met her on the beach. Cordelia saw her a mile away. At first she almost felt sorry for her because she had to sit by herself, but the thing that had her floored was the fact that Buffy sat there on the beach, by herself and was completely comfortable doing it. Cordelia herself could never have done that. She needed lots of people around to feel secure. That was probably due to the fact that her parents were never around, so she needed to have people around her to feel loved because she never really felt like her parents loved her. Buffy seemed different than all her girlfriends anyways. She didn't always agree with Cordelia and at first it pissed her off. But she found it fun sometimes to get in stupid playful arguments with someone. She also felt like Buffy genuinely cared about her and her friends. Usually, the girls would sit around and talk about superficial crap while the guys would ignore them, but Buffy actually wanted to get to know them. Yup, Cordelia had a crush. You might even say she had feelings for Buffy, because for the fist time in her life, Cordelia actually felt like someone wanted to get to know her just because. Not because she was rich and popular and beautiful. Of course, in her opinion, the jury was still out on whether or not Buffy liked her, but she was Cordelia Chase, she could win anyone over. And she would, dammit. She would have Buffy Summers, whether she liked it or not. Hmph. With that thought, she picked up the phone to call her friends. Its time she had a nice friendly get together with her crew and a lot of drinks while mom and dad were still in Rome for the summer. Cordelia Chase never loses.


Angel came over to Cordy's a few hours later with the alcohol she requested. They hopped in his car and headed to the store to pick up some munchie food, mostly for the guys, since the crap they ate goes straight to the hips.

Cordy sat silently for a moment, staring at her hands in her lap. "Angel, can I ask you something?"

Angel glanced over and saw her expression and knew she had something serious on her mind. "Sure CC, what's up?" He gave her a small encouraging smile.

"Do you have a problem with gay people?" She asked tentatively. His eyebrows shot up in a look of utter confusion. "Gay people?"

Cordelia nodded. "Yeah."

"Uh, no. My cousin Jake is gay remember? He was like a brother before he moved away. I have no problems with gay people...why?"

She fidgeted for a second. "So you wouldn't have a problem if Riley or Anya was gay right?" She looked over at him, with a hopeful expression.

"No, especially Anya...gay girls are great." He wriggled his eyebrows suggestively.

Cordelia rolled her eyes and slapped his arm. "Angel, don't be gross."

He held one hand up in mock surrender. "I'm just kidding. Seriously though, you know you're like a little sister to me, what's up?"

Cordelia sighed. "I think I have a crush."

Angel smiled slightly and raised an eyebrow. "Really? On who?"

"Promise you won't freak?"

"Yes, CC, just tell me, I won't freak or say anything, so spit it out."

"It's Buffy." She braced herself for the blow out.

"Buffy?" He raised his eyebrows and smiled. "I have to say, you have great taste in girls, she's cute and sweet, good choice." He gave her a cute lopsided grin and she gave him a small smile in return.

"I just don't know if she likes me." Cordelia furrowed her brow for a moment, rather sadly if you asked Angel.

"I have seen her check you out a few times." He offered with a smile.

"Really? Hm, that's good news, although lots of people check me out, it doesn't mean they like me, it just means they like the way I look."

"Since when is that not enough?" He asked carefully. She sighed out wearily. "I don't know...I feel like you're the only person who really knows who I am and you don't like me for the same reasons anybody else does. I feel like she likes to hang with us because she likes us, not because we're popular and have money."

"Well, from what I've heard from her, her and her mom don't have a ton of money, I don't think it's that important to her."

"So what should I do?" She began chewing on her lip absently.

Angel shrugged. "Well, we're having everyone over tonight, you should test the waters."

"How do I do that?"

"We can play a few drinking games and get stupid like we always do, especially if we play wheel of intoxication. I'll help...the first dare I get, I'll dare her to kiss you and see if it sparks something."

"Hmm, that's a good point, but you can't make it obvious, we have to get everyone kissing everyone."

"We'll be very sneaky don't worry. Plus, we can all get trashed and stay at your place. Me and Ri can take the guest room with separate beds, Aura and Harm can take second spare room, Anya can have the small spare room and you can get Buffy to share with you. It's perfect."

Cordelia grinned her thousand-watt smile. "Oh, good thinking. Thanks Angel...for everything. It's good to know I have you on my side."

"Anytime, CC. You know I love you." He drawled out playfully.

Cordelia rolled her eyes and smiled at him. "I know, I love you too ya big mush."

Once Angel and Cordy returned from the store, they made a few pitchers of margaritas and put them in the fridge. Riley arrived shortly after and Harmony and Aura arrived a minute after him. They got to work with drinking out by the pool. Buffy was the next to arrive and Cordelia felt butterflies in her stomach when she ushered the blonde into the kitchen for a drink. Cordelia was nervous and she hated being nervous so she ushered Buffy outside as another knock on the door signaled Anya's arrival. After a few hours Buffy was getting very curious about Cordelia's odd behavior. She seemed to be nervous and she picked up on a few strange glances exchanged between Cordy and Angel. She finally grew tired of the strange behavior and grabbed Cordelia's hand and led her inside.

"Where are we going?" Cordelia asked confusedly.

"I want to talk to you for a second."

"Okay, let's go upstairs." Cordelia said as she nodded towards the stairs.

Buffy nodded and followed Cordelia upstairs to her room. Once the door was closed Cordy stood with her back against it as Buffy sat on the bed.

"Cor, are you okay?" Buffy asked, eyeing her friend carefully.

Cordelia felt a flutter of anxiety rush through her stomach. "Yeah, I'm fine, why?"

"Well, you just seem to be acting funny and I just want to make sure you're alright."

This confused Cordelia more, nobody cared about if she was okay, except Angel. "Why?"

"Why?" At Cordelia's nod, Buffy gave her a comforting smile. "Because you're my friend, and I care if something's bothering you. I just hope you'd tell me if something was."

Cordelia felt her heart flutter slightly and tears prick her eyes. Buffy saw her expression and stood and pulled the brunette into a hug. "Cor, what's wrong?"

"Sorry, I'm fine. Its just Angel is the only person who's ever cared about me before." Cordelia murmured from Buffy's shoulder. The blonde felt a flutter in her stomach as Cordelia's warm breath trailed across her neck.

Buffy pulled away and held the brunette at an arms length. "Does this have something to do with him? I've seen you two exchange a few weird looks tonight."

Cordelia shook her head. "No...it's just...I kinda told Angel something earlier. It's kind of a personal thing and he helped me."

Buffy thought about that for a moment as she chewed on her lip. She glanced up at Cordelia. "Do you wanna talk about it?" She asked hesitantly.

Cordy moved away from Buffy and sat down on the bed. She grabbed one of the stuffed animals beside her and played with it for a minute. "I kind of have a crush on someone, but it's not a normal crush." She admitted quietly.

Buffy saw the worry on Cordelia's face and moved to sit next to her on the bed. "What do you mean normal?"

Cordelia took a deep breath. Okay, moment of truth. Here goes nothing. "It's kind of not on a guy." She winced visibly, waiting for the inevitable freak out bomb. When it didn't come, she glanced at Buffy hesitantly. Buffy had a silly smile on her face, and Cordelia instantly relaxed.

"So you like a girl?" Buffy asked carefully, hoping Cordelia wouldn't think she was being a smart ass.

The brunette nodded slowly and kind of sadly. "Yeah...I can understand if you are freaked and never want to talk to me again."

Buffy rolled her eyes and gave the other girl her most encouraging smile. "Don't be stupid, Cor. I've had crushes on girls before. With the wide array of loser guys that I've dated in the past, it's kinda hard not to crush on a girl once in a while."

Cordelia stared at her with a look of astonishment that Buffy found to be adorable. "So you aren't freaked?"

Buffy gave her a little grin and shook her head. "No, silly. I am curious to know who it is though." Buffy raised an eyebrow playfully.

Cordelia felt her stomach drop and panic was evident on her face. "No way, Summers, Angel already thinks he can play matchmaker, I don't need to you play too." She gave her best stern look to the blonde sitting next to her.

Buffy decided to draw her big guns...the pout. "Aw, come on Cor, please tell me?"

Cordelia almost smiled at the adorable pout, but held her ground with her resolve face. "Nope."

Buffy set her face in a premiere pout and Cordelia's heart almost melted at the sight, so she grabbed a pillow from the bed and smacked Buffy with it.


Buffy grabbed a pillow and soon an all out pillow fight was underway. The pillow fight soon turned to a tickle fight, which almost turned deadly since both girls where ridiculously ticklish. Finally, Cordy used her deceptively strong thighs to pin Buffy below her. She looked down at the beautiful blonde sprawled out under her and her heart rate increased dramatically. For her part, Buffy might have thrown the match just to end up pinned under the most gorgeous girl she had ever seen, but she was planning on keeping that to herself. Both girls where breathing a bit heavy and Cordelia had to keep herself in check and not just lean in and kiss Buffy. In the moment that the two girls locked eyes, it was like magic. They both felt something pass through them that caused a shudder. Buffy unconsciously licked her lips and watched as Cordy's eyes grazed over her lips with the action. She smiled shyly and to Cordelia it was one of the cutest sights she had ever seen. Both girls turned their heads as they heard Riley yelling to them from downstairs, so they both reluctantly got up and re-joined their friends downstairs.

Angel worked out the sleeping arrangements later and he watched Buffy's eyes light up a bit at the thought of sharing Cordelia's room with her, and he smiled to himself when he saw this. The group eventually drifted off to their respective bedrooms and got ready to sleep. Buffy followed Cordelia into her room for the second time that night, after almost having to be carried inside. She closed the door behind her and stood hesitantly watching the brunette wander around finding sleeping clothes for both of them. Once they were both changed, they climbed into bed and shut off the lights. They were silent for a few minutes, but neither fell asleep.

Cordy finally turned on her side, facing Buffy and broke the silence. "So, you've really had crushes on girls before?"

Buffy shrugged. Yeah, a few back in L.A. Nothing ever came of them though."

Cordelia's interest was piqued again. "Why not?"

Buffy let out a long sigh. "My friends were super uptight, so I figured they would disown me if I ever told them about it."

"I know the feeling." Cordelia said sadly.

Buffy shook her head. "I don't think everyone would disown you. Harm and Aura might wig, but then again, they always follow in your footsteps, so who knows, they might start dating each other."

Cordelia's face scrunched up in distaste and Buffy smirked for making her squirm. "Eww, okay, bad visual place." She was silent a moment. "You don't think they'd disown me?"

Buffy shook her head and gave the brunette a reassuring smile "No, Angel and Riley absolutely adore you. They aren't that shallow. Anya doesn't care one way or the other what's going on with anyone as long as she gets what she wants. You know it doesn't bother me, so I think you're in the clear."

Cordelia nodded and was silent a minute. But, being Cordelia, curiosity got the better of her. "So you've never done anything with a girl then?"

Buffy smiled recalling a memory. "I was about two seconds away from kissing another girl once, but my friends burst in and almost caught me. Other than that, nope."

"Hmm." Cordy was trying to keep her calm exterior, but she was jumping for joy on the inside that Buffy had thought about girls before.

Buffy's interest suddenly decided to make an appearance. "Have you?" "Nope."

Buffy decided to see how far she could push this issue. "Ever thought about it?"

"Maybe once or twice." She said airily.

Buffy smirked. "With your mystery girl?"

Cordelia smiled and the tip of her tongue peeked out between her pearly whites. "Maybe."

"Tell me who she is." Buffy said with a grin.

Cordelia resumed her resolve face and shook her head with a tiny smile. "No way."

"Please?" Buffy tried the pout one more time.

"Nope." Cordy smiled.

"Why? Do I know her?" At this point, Buffy's heart was about to beat out of her chest.

Cordelia smiled lazily, drawing it out because she knew Buffy was eager for information. "Maybe."

Buffy gripped Cordelia's arm lightly and tugged on it a bit. "Cor, tell me. You tell me yours, I'll tell you mine."

At that, Cordelia sat up in the bed and grinned down at the blonde next to her. "You have a crush?" She asked playfully.

"Maybe." Buffy decided two could play at this game.

Cordelia decided that her stomach couldn't take much more of this game. "Okay, how about you tell me yours, then I'll tell you mine."

Buffy eyed her carefully. "Promise you'll tell?"

Cordelia rolled her eyes and tried to play cool, but her insides were in knots. "Pinky swear."

The girls did a short pinky swear with a tiny giggle.

Buffy was silent a moment. "Promise you won't wig?"

"Promise." She replied quickly, eager to know who this crush was.

Buffy took a deep breath. Okay, moment of truth. Here goes nothing. "You."

Cordelia was elated at the one simple word that tumbled out of Buffy's mouth, but she had to be sure, so she played dumb. "Me what?"

Buffy rolled her eyes as she sat up and met Cordelia's eyes. "I have a crush on you doofus."

Cordelia could hear the words, but she had to be sure. Extra sure. This was her heart she was playing with, and nobody played with Cordelia's heart. "Me?" She asked again as she smiled shyly.

Buffy met her gaze softly and nodded. "Yes you."

"Really?" Again with the reassurance.

"Yes." Buffy said with a soft smile that assured everything in Cordelia's heart and head.


"Your turn." Buffy teased with a small grin.

Cordelia took a deep breath. It's now or never, Chase. "It's you." Now it was Buffy's turn to be elated, but she played dumb, just like Cordy, just to be sure. "Me?"

"Yes you." Cordelia gave her a sweet smile and tucked a stray strand of blonde hair behind Buffy's ear.

"Wow..." Buffy said with a smile.


Buffy caught Cordelia's dazed expression and panicked a bit. "But look, if you're not ready to act on anything, I'll understand. I know you're afraid of your rep getting trashed and I understand that. Me being new, I don't have a rep, so it really doesn't matter what I do. But if Angel and Riley have as much pull in the school as you say they do, then you really don't have much to worry about and-"

"Summers, shut up." Cordelia said sweetly as she placed a finger over Buffy's lips.

Buffy dropped her gaze to her hands and blushed. "Sorry, I babble sometimes when I'm nervous."

"It's okay, it was actually kind of cute."


"Yes really." Cordelia smiled. "I don't know what I'm ready to do to be honest with you. I talked to Angel and he's totally cool with it. I know Riley will be too. It is true what you said about Anya, Harm and Aura, but I just don't want to rush into anything. I haven't actually felt like this before."

"Felt like what?" Buffy asked curiously.

Cordelia dropped her gaze to the blanket on the bed and traced the pattern with a finger. "Having actual feelings behind a crush. Usually I go for the hunky guys with their flashy cars, I like you because you're sweet and funny, don't get me wrong, you're beautiful, but there's more there that there ever has been and I don't want to rush it."

Buffy felt her heart flutter at the beautiful comment and she gave Cordelia a warm, comforting smile as she grasped her hand lightly. "Okay, we can take it super slow and just see where it leads us. I won't push you into anything."

Cordelia almost cried at Buffy's utter sweetness. "Thanks Buffy."

"You're welcome." She replied with a smile, lying back down.

"Can we cuddle?" Cordelia asked softly as she snuggled back under the blanket.

Buffy grinned widely. "Yay! Definitely, cuddling is good."

Buffy turned on her side away from Cordelia and instantly relaxed as a slender arm wrapped around her waist.

"Night Buffy."

"Night Cor."


"Why people would willingly move here is beyond me. Don't get me wrong, Summers, you're cool, but that Spike guy is a weirdo and there's another new girl who apparently likes to play dress up with mommy's dominatrix wear." Cordelia told her friends as she placed a tray of margaritas on the table by the pool.

"You mean that girl we saw at the Bronze last night?" Angel asked from the pool. "She seemed okay. Certainly not bad on the eyes, right Ri?"

"Got that right. Definitely a hottie."

"Ugh, she was skankalicious. Am I right?" Cordy raised an eyebrow to the girls spread out in lounge chairs around the pool.

"Oh yeah, she was totally weird." Harmony agreed.

"Yup. Total skank." Aura chimed in.

Anya scowled from her chair as she grabbed a drink. "She's trying to steal my geek from me...did you see the way Xander was drooling all over her?"

Cordelia rolled her eyes and sighed. "Anya, you really need to get over this geek fetish of yours. Seriously, forget about Xander. He's just a little boy." Cordy sat up and looked at her blonde friend. "In junior high it was okay to date high school guys, but now that we're in high school, we need to set out sights higher." She grinned and said dramatically, "College men."

Buffy smiled as Angel and Riley rolled their eyes and went back to playing basketball in the pool. She knew that Cordelia was putting on a front for her friends.

"So, back to school bash at the Bronze tonight? It is after all our last night of freedom before the hell of school begins." Cordelia asked with a groan.

"Yup, I'm there." Buffy said with a grin.

The rest of the crew agreed and settled in for a long day of sun, tequila and apparently, gossip. Buffy wondered silently if hanging out with Harmony and Aura was doing damage to her brain. Oh well, she thought, can't be any worse than skin cancer or liver disease. Ah, to be young and blissfully ignorant.


Faith eyed her enemy carefully and decided she wasn't backing down from this fight. The two locked gazes in a staring contest that would put medusa to shame, but neither would fold.

"Just one."

Faith rolled her eyes and sighed dramatically. "No way, Dad. Nope, I'm drawing the line. This is high school, no more pictures on the first day of school."

Brad Cooper grinned at his little girl, wishing in moments like these that his wife, Sarah, had lived to see their little girl so grown up. "Fine, I know you're at a 'fragile' age right now and any parental mishaps could turn you to the dark side, so go." He gave her a charming grin and tousled her hair. "Go on, you're gonna be late, kiddo."

Faith grinned back at her father and reached in to peck him on the cheek. "See ya Pops." She gave him a small wave as she grabbed her backpack and raced out the door. He watched her run up the street for a moment before heading back to his art studio to finish a few prints for the gallery in town.

Faith slowed her pace to a carefree saunter after a few blocks and pulled her bag around so she could grab the packet of M&M's in the small pocket of her backpack. She slung her bag back around and adjusted the straps before ripping the package open and dumping the candy into her hand. She picked through the multi-colored candy, discarding any that were yellow. She hated any form of yellow M&M's because of the stupid TV commercials. The peanut M&M was always yellow and she hated peanuts, so she was against all yellow M&M's. She wondered briefly if that made her racist on some level, but before she could explore it any further a male voice brought her out of her thoughts.

"Are you leaving a trail so you can find your way home?"

Faith turned and found a cute, but goofy looking guy jogging casually to catch up with her. She grinned at his joke and shook her head. "Nope, I just don't like yellow M&M's."

He shook his head in mock shame. "Some might consider you a candy racist." He grinned a lopsided grin that Faith found slightly contagious, so she smiled and rolled her eyes.

"Well, don't expect me to throw on the white sheets and start burning yellow M&M's on a cross or anything."

"That's a good thing too, have you ever lit chocolate on fire? Talk about yuck." His features soured slightly as if remembering a bad experience.

"Sadly, I have and you got the yuck part right." She gave him a grin. "I'm Faith Cooper, I'm new."

He grinned again and jutted a thumb to his chest. "Xander Harris. Where are ya from?"

"Originally from Boston, but we moved from San Francisco. I kinda got kicked out and Sunnydale was the only high school that would take a delinquent like me." She gave him a wicked grin.

"Ooh, I might actually have someone to cause a little trouble with now." He shared her wicked smile and drew his fingers together mocking Mr. Burns from the Simpson's. "Very interesting." He quipped in the perfect Burns drawl.

Faith laughed at this. "You are too funny, X." She paused to toss a few pieces of candy into her mouth and offered him the bag. He grinned and snagged a handful. "How long have you lived here, anyways?" She asked.

"Sadly, my whole life. Never had the pleasure of a big city." He shrugged as he tossed the candy in his mouth.

"It has it's good and it's bad. Although, I find people around here to be kinda nosey." She said with a small scowl.

Xander smiled apologetically. "Yup, us small town folk are always looking for some juicy gossip."

"It wouldn't be that bad, but all these weird women have been dropping off pies at my house." Her face twisted into a confused expression.

"So you live with just your dad then." He stated pointedly.

She raised an eyebrow. "How did you know?"

He rolled his eyes and made a few weird gestures with his hands. "It's pretty standard practice when a single man moves into town...all the eligible 'ladies' come a knockin'."

"Eww, well they need to knock elsewhere. I haven't seen one yet that deserves my dad."

Xander gave her a nod. "Ah, so we're a little overprotective are we?"

"No. I just don't want my pops dating some reject loser woman." She scowled at him playfully.

They continued their playful banter until Xander caught sight of someone.

"Will!" He waved her over. Faith smiled at the pretty redhead that came over. "Will, this is Faith Cooper. Faith this is Willow Rosenberg, my life-long pal and all around bestest buddy. Faith's new." He added with a wink at Faith. "Oh, and she gave me candy."

Willow smiled widely. "Hi, it's nice to meet you."

"You too, Wilma."

"Um, it's Willow...Will-ow." Xander specified with a goofy grin. Willow just blushed.

Faith slapped him on the arm and grinned. "I heard ya, X, I just gave her a nickname is all."

Xander smiled sheepishly before grinning widely. "So what's your nickname than, miss smarty pants?"

Faith thought for a second and shrugged. "My old buddies used to call me Coop."

"Coop it is then." Xander grinned at the two girls as they headed down the hall.

If one was to stand in that hallway at that moment, one might hear the beginnings of a babble from the redhead. Actually, one certainly would hear a babble from Willow. She always was nervous around new people, especially new people who looked like Faith. Yup, this would turn out to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


Buffy was spread out on her stomach looking through a magazine as Cordelia went through her closet to find something to wear out to the Bronze. The two had been spending every afternoon together for the past three weeks and had been growing very close. They were still very insistent about taking things slow...so slow in fact, they hadn't even kissed yet. The reason behind this little fiasco was the fact that both girls took first kisses very seriously and they both knew their feelings could grow into something more and wanted that first kiss to be phenomenal.

Cordy suddenly peeked her head out of her closet. "Did I tell you I talked to Riley today?"

"About what?" Buffy asked absently.

"About us, silly." Cordelia rolled her eyes and ducked back into the closet.

At this, Buffy sat straight up on the bed, the magazine abandoned. "You did? How did it go?"

"Great, just like you said it would."

Buffy smiled, obviously relieved and resumed her former position. "See, I told you he would be cool about it." Buffy flipped a few pages and thought for a second. "So Harmony and Aura are the only one's who don't know, right?"

"Yup, but I'm telling them at the Bronze tonight, so expect some fireworks."

Suddenly, Buffy's eyes almost glazed over and she smiled widely. "Ooh, pretty."

"You are such a dork." Cordelia shook her head and smiled fondly.

"Yet, you continue to hang out with me, what's up with that?" Buffy asked with a raised eyebrow.

"I can do anything I want." With that comment, Cordelia stuck out her tongue.

"And why is that?"

"Cause, you and I, my dear, will rule the school in due time. We're about three seconds away from it, and the fact that we're both going to be cheerleaders will only help matters, so in turn, we can do whatever we want and nobody can say anything." Buffy gave Cordelia an amused grin and went back to her magazine as Cordy changed so they could go out.

An hour later, Cordy was sitting at their table at the Bronze talking to Harmony and Aura, while Angel and Buffy shared a slow dance, trying to give them some space.

Buffy looked up at Angel and gave him a warm smile. "I'm really glad you're okay with this Angel. I know it means a lot to Cor." She said softly.

"I love CC like a sister, and I think you're good for her." A sly grin came over his features as he looked down to the tiny blonde in his arms. "Although, you know if you hurt her, I'll have to kick your ass right?"

Buffy grinned up at him. "Of course...it's absolutely the brotherly thing to do in this situation." Her features softened slightly as she glanced over his shoulder and saw the three girls arguing. "You should know that I wouldn't hurt her though. Not deliberately anyways."

He gave her a comforting smile. "I know you wouldn't."

Buffy nodded absently as she watched Harmony and Aura get up from the table and exchange a few short words of good-bye before they stormed out of the club. She tapped Angel on the arm and nodded in Cordy's direction.

"Come on."

The pair weaved through the crowd and approached Cordelia slowly. Buffy could see that she was visibly upset, so she slid into the booth and pulled the brunette into a hug. Angel decided to grab a drink and give the girls a minute alone.

"You okay?" Buffy asked carefully.

Cordelia sniffled and nodded her head. "They are so stupid and simple minded."

"It's okay, Cor, they'll probably realize they were being stupid and you guys will make up soon." Buffy gave her a hopeful smile and grasped her hand lightly.

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "No, I don't care about them, it just pisses me off that after all these years, they're going to abandon me for something this trivial." Cordy replied, almost bitterly. She saw the hurt flash over Buffy's features and instantly retracted. "I don't mean you and I are the trivial thing here, Buffy. I meant who I choose to date shouldn't come between friends who have known each other all their lives."

"Well, I don't have to come between you at all, if that's what you want." Buffy's eyes fell to the table sadly.

Cordelia saw the hurt in Buffy's eyes and swore that she would never be the person to make her sad like that again. "No. I want the opposite. If they can't deal, then they weren't really my friends anyways. I have you and Angel, Riley and Anya...you guys are true friends."

Buffy met her gaze with hopeful eyes. "Really?"

Cordelia's features broke out into a huge grin. "Yes silly."

Buffy smiled that shy smile that Cordelia found adorable and before she could process the thought, she brought her hands to Buffy's face and cupped in gently.

"You are so worth it." She said softly.

Cordelia leaned in slowly and brought her lips to Buffy's in a sweet and innocent kiss that felt all encompassing. It was slow and gentle and everything a first kiss should be. When they parted, Buffy brought a hand up and brushed a few errant strands of hair out of Cordy's eyes and smiled. Cordy grinned and leaned in for one more small kiss. She pulled away and brought her lips to Buffy's ear.

"You wanna dance?" She breathed out, and was delighted when a tiny shiver passed through the blonde.

"Thought you'd never ask."

More than a few Sunnydale high students witnessed the couple's first kiss. The males in the room came close to a minor coronary, while the girls took note of the fact that the most popular underclassman was now dating another girl. Of course Angel and Riley's popularity grew by the minute with the guys in the room and more than a few girls considered lifestyle changes. One thing was certain...next week's gossip would certainly be juicy. Yummy for them I guess.


Cordelia practically ran out of her second period class and in the process, came close to bowling Buffy over, who was waiting for her outside the door. They exchanged a grin and moved down the hall side by side.

"Yuck, I totally hate my anatomy class." Cordy said with a scowl.

Buffy nodded in agreement and rolled her eyes. "Ugh, me too, we already have a project assigned. It's only the third week of school."

Cordelia gave her a teasing smile. "Okay, you win. No projects yet for me."

"Plus, I was assigned to work with Willow and Xander. They're coming over tomorrow after school so we can work on it." Buffy wasn't sure how she felt about that, so she left it alone.

Cordy gave her a sympathetic look as she stopped at her locker. "Oh, that sucks. I feel bad for you. We're still going to the Bronze though, right?"

"Yeah, we're only working on it for a few hours, just so we can figure out what we're gonna do for it." Buffy shrugged as she glanced down the hall and saw Angel and Riley approach. She watched with a mixture of confusion and awe as the entire student body seemed to part for the two guys. They didn't take notice as they laughed at something or other, tossing a football back and forth. They both grinned as they approached the girls.

"Hey Buff, Cordy." Riley said with a mock bow.

Buffy grinned and slapped him lightly on the arm. "Hey Riley."

"Hey Ri." Cordy replied as she dug through her locker.

"So girls, cheerleading tryouts next week right?" Angel asked as he leaned against the locker next to Cordy's.

Cordelia grinned widely as she shut her locker door. "Yes, which reminds me Buffy, we should practice this weekend."

Buffy nodded with a grin. "Sounds good to me."

"You know that both of you are a shoe in right?" Angel asked both girls as they made their way down the hall. "I talked to Allison and she told me last week that she thinks both of you are perfect for the squad."

Buffy glanced from Cordelia, who was grinning madly, to Angel, who appeared oblivious to his weight at the school. "Who's Allison?"

Cordelia grasped her arm excitedly. "She's the captain of the varsity squad and probably the most popular girl in school." She jutted a thumb at Angel. "Angel used to date her."

"So why don't you guys hang with her?" Buffy asked.

Her three friends exchanged a look and both Riley and Cordy looked to Angel. He rolled his eyes. "I can't stand her. But she's hot and all the guys on the team want her, so I hooked her up with Andy and now they seem to be inseparable."

Buffy took a moment to process this and shrugged slightly. "Oh." The thought that Angel couldn't stand someone seemed strange to the tiny blonde, but she shrugged it off figuring that she'd hear the rest of the story later from Cordelia. The group split up and headed in different directions for their next class. She almost ran into Willow as she rounded the corner and the redhead immediately blushed. "Sorry."

Buffy gave her a bright smile. "It's okay. Are you headed for Algebra?"

"Yeah, I was just waiting for Xander. Cause this is his locker and he told me to wait here for him."

Buffy's smile widened. "Okay, well I'll see you in class and don't forget about tomorrow night."

Willow smiled shyly. "I'll see you later Buffy."

Buffy gave her a wave as she moved down the hall and into her next class. She thought about Willow and Xander for a moment as she waited for the bell to ring. She knew they were both incredibly sweet people and she was slightly jealous of their close friendship. She wished that she'd known someone all her life like the two of them and Angel and Cordelia. She couldn't complain though. She did have a group of great friends to hang with. She couldn't complain at all, especially since her teacher came in as the bell rang and she was swept off into knowledge land. Besides, who would she complain to anyways?


Buffy, Xander and Willow had their books and papers spread all around Buffy's bedroom the next night trying to get started on their project.

"Okay, so we have to pick a body system and describe its purpose and do a model right?" Buffy asked as she flipped through her book, trying to locate the appropriate chapter.

"Right, and I thought since you two ladies are better with the books and I'm better with my hands, maybe you could do the book stuff and I'll take care of the model." Xander shot them his best hopeful grin.

Willow gave him a fond smile and rolled her eyes. "You just don't want to read, Xander."

"Well, one might say that." He offered sheepishly.

Buffy grinned at the two of them. "It's fine by me." She said with a shrug.

Willow admitted defeat and picked up her book. "Fine."

After working for a few hours, the three decided to call it quits, since it was Friday night. Buffy was surprised at how well she got along with both Willow and Xander. Sure they were dorks by Cordelia's standards, but they were still nice. The phone rang as Willow and Xander were packing up their books and Buffy grabbed it on the second ring.


"Hey Buffy."

Buffy smiled unconsciously hearing Cordelia's voice. "Hey Cor."

"I'm just getting ready to leave, are you gonna be down there soon?"

"Yeah, I'm just going to change and I'll meet you there."

"Okay, I'll see you in a bit then."

"Okay, bye."


"You're going to the Bronze tonight?" Xander asked as he slung his bag over his shoulder.

Buffy nodded as she placed the phone back in its cradle. "Yup, not much else to do around here."

"We can walk you if you want, we're headed there too." Xander gave her a goofy grin. "Hopefully by now you've learned that Sunnydale isn't the safest place after dark."

"Yeah, I've seen all the stuff in the paper about gangs and PCP, and dog attacks. But, I would like the company, I just need to change first."

"Okay, we'll wait downstairs." Willow said with a smile, pushing Xander from the room.

"Okay, great."

After a short walk to Willow's house to drop off backpacks, the three made their way into town. Xander managed to keep both girls giggling the entire way and Buffy knew she liked both of them. They arrived at their destination and called out good-byes as Buffy went in search of her friends.

Buffy, Cordelia and Angel were in their usual booth at the Bronze when Faith arrived. Buffy watched her as she moved languidly through the club, winking at a few guys and moving through the crowd of dancers, stopping a few times to dance with a few lucky guys, but only for a second. She left the poor boys on the dance floor and joined, surprising to Buffy, Willow and Xander at their table. Buffy watched as Xander and Faith exchanged a few words and Faith turned her gaze to Cordelia and she winked and blew a kiss to her with a smug smile plastered on her features. Cordy caught the 'affection' and flipped Faith the finger before sending her own smug grin to the other girl.

"I'm guessing you and Faith aren't big on the love these days."

Cordelia rolled her eyes and glared at Faith again. "She is such a bitch. She thinks because she can pull off the whole bad ass look, she should back it up with a smart ass mouth."

"So, it's safe to say you two are friends then?" Buffy asked with a silly grin that Cordelia couldn't resist returning.

"Don't make me smile Summers, I want to be pissed off at her."

"Why? Come on, don't let her ruin our night out, let's dance instead."

Buffy stood and held a hand out to Cordelia, who took it and slid out of the booth. Angel watched with an amused grin as the two headed to the dance floor. Angel had known Cordelia long enough to know that she was a bitch. But he loved her anyways, mostly because she wasn't a bitch to him. She was to pretty much everyone else though. He always became frustrated with her over the years, when new people came into their group of friends. She always acted like Queen of the Universe and they willingly fell in line behind her. Angel was pleased at the new development between Buffy and Cordy, at least Cordelia felt like she could be herself around Buffy, and not the person she was around everyone else. Buffy was good for Cordelia, that much was certain...especially right now, because said blonde was currently restraining Cordelia from what looked like fighting with Faith. Angel got up from the booth, leaving his thoughts about Faith for another day. By the time he made it through the crowd, Faith and Cordelia had taken their fight outside. He exited the club and approached the girls cautiously. He noticed Xander, Jessie and Willow standing together, near Faith and Buffy was standing close, but slightly behind, Cordelia.

"What are you gonna do, prom queen, kick my ass?"

"Damn right I will, nobody calls me a bitch to my face and gets away with it."

"Would you like it better if I called you a superficial whore instead?" At that comment, Buffy stepped up.

"Hey! Cordelia's gonna have to wait her turn, cause I think I might kick your ass for that."

"Oh really, blondie? Think you can take me? Come on, I'll give you a free shot...on the house."

"Don't mind if I do."

At this point, the Buffy and Faith were standing nose to nose. Just as Buffy brought her arm back to take a swing at Faith, something hit them both. They both suddenly felt dizzy. For her part, Buffy felt like she could hear her heartbeat in her ears. Her hands started to tingle and she felt a weird buzzing on every inch of her skin. She felt the strangest tingle on the back of her neck that was about to make her crazy. Faith felt like she was about to explode. She could almost feel the blood surging through her veins. She felt a weird rush of something shoot through her spine and just as quickly as Buffy threw her punch, she instinctively raised an arm to block it. Cordelia, Angel, Willow, Xander and Jessie all stood practically dumfounded as they watched the fight between the two girls escalate. The speed at which they punched, kicked and blocked was phenomenal and they were stunned that these two could fight like they did. They all came to individual conclusions that night that revolved around the exact same thought...never mess with Faith or Buffy, unless you want your head smashed into an alley wall, just like Buffy was demonstrating on Faith right about now. After a few minutes of watching the fighting, Angel felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned and saw a stunned Riley standing behind him.

"You think maybe we should break them up?" He asked, never taking his eyes off the two girls.

"Yeah, give 'em a minute though." Angel replied absently, turning back to the fight, cocking his head slightly.

Riley nodded and they watched on. After all the male fantasies were taken care of, the four guys standing around managed to get the girls separated and into their respective corners. Jessie and Xander began dragging Faith away, but she turned and glared at both Buffy and Cordelia.

"We're not done girls, we're only getting started." With that, she pulled out of the hands holding her and sauntered out of the alley.

Cordelia, Angel and Riley stood staring at Buffy as she collapsed on the ground and put her head in her hands.

Cordelia knelt beside the blonde and put a hand on her back, running her fingers up and down her spine softly. "Summers, are you okay?" Buffy shook her head to clear it a bit and rubbed her eyes. "I don't know. I feel kinda funny."

Angel crouched down and grasped her arm lightly. "Maybe we should get you home. Come on I'll give you a ride."

Buffy looked up at him and smiled. "Thanks Angel."

Cordelia kept her eyes trained on the blonde. "Is your mom home Buffy? If you feel weird, maybe you shouldn't be alone."

"No, she's at the gallery all night, she said she wouldn't be home until tomorrow." Buffy glanced up at Cordelia and gave her a shy but pleading smile. "Will you stay with me?"

Cordelia felt her heart flutter slightly and she smiled softly. "Of course, come on, let's get out of this alley and get you home."

Angel and Cordelia helped Buffy to her feet and Cordy wrapped an arm around her waist to keep her steady. They got Buffy to Angel's car and took off towards Rovello Drive.


Faith was sprinting through Sunnydale like a madwoman. Ever since she left the alley, she felt like the energy encased in her compact body was about to split her in two. She assured her friends that she was fine and took off. She had been running full tilt for twenty minutes and barely felt winded. As she approached an intersection, she turned right and headed through the gates of Shady Acres cemetery. She had no idea why...her body was acting purely on instinct at this point. She upped her pace and began hurdling headstones like an Olympic athlete and kept right on going. Faith grinned as she approached a clear patch of grass and began doing round off back handsprings and flips as she ran. She did a final flip and hopped up on a headstone and lit a cigarette.

"I don't know what the hell is going on, but I love it."

She may not have known what was going on, but somewhere in Sunnydale a certain watcher was getting some very interesting news regarding his new slayer. Or should I say, slayers.


Angel made sure both girls were safely inside Buffy's house before pulling out of her driveway. Cordelia watched him drive off and turned towards Buffy, who was acting a bit strange. She watched as the blonde shed her coat and tossed it over the railing before heading towards the kitchen. Cordelia followed suit with her jacket and trailed the blonde into the kitchen. Buffy had the refrigerator door open and had her head half way inside.

"Are you hungry? I'm starving."

"Nope, can I get a water though?"

"Sure." Buffy grabbed a bottle of water and handed it to her before turning back to the fridge. "Oh, yummy pizza."

Cordelia sat at the island in the middle of the room and watched her friend with slight concern. She had never seen two people, let alone girls, fight like Buffy and Faith had battled earlier. She didn't think Buffy even knew how to fight.

"Buffy are you okay?"

Buffy scrunched up her forehead in thought as she set the pizza box on the counter. She chewed on her lip absently for a moment before lifting her gaze to a set of chestnut eyes watching her carefully.

"I don't know what happened back there." She paused for a second and pushed some hair behind her ear. "It was weird, all of a sudden something came over me and my body took over where my brain left off. I was punching and kicking Faith without even thinking about it. I don't know how to explain it."

Cordelia gave her a sympathetic smile and reached out grasping Buffy's head lightly, pulling the blonde closer so she could kiss away the crinkles in Buffy's forehead. "Tell ya what, let's just veg out and stuff ourselves silly, watching stupid infomercials and corny movies. Then we can sleep in and figure all this out tomorrow, sound good?"

Buffy smiled at her gratefully and leaned in for a light kiss. "Sounds perfect. Thanks Cor."

Cordelia smiled and kissed her softly. "No problem, Summers. Come on, let's eat."

Buffy was forever sworn to secrecy regarding Cordelia's calorie intake that night. But Buffy would never tell. After stuffing herself about four pounds past silly, Buffy wrapped her arms around Cordelia in her bed and the two drifted off to sleep. Actually, to be more specific, Cordelia fell asleep and Buffy lay awake staring at the ceiling wondering why she suddenly felt like a caged animal, desperately trying to get loose. So, she untangled herself from the gorgeous body beside her and headed downstairs to pace. All night. No sleep for Buffy. And a tired slayer, I mean blonde, is a cranky blonde. (We know what she is, but she doesn't)


The rain poured down on the streets of Sunnydale the next morning and nobody was happy about a perfectly good Saturday being wasted with rain. Angel pulled the top up on his car and backed out of the garage. He pulled down the street, heading towards the Espresso Pump for his typical Saturday coffee. As he approached downtown, he spotted police cars and a truck from the morgue. He caught sight of Faith standing next to an older man under an umbrella and pulled over to see what was going on. He stepped out of the car as one stretcher was being loaded into the back of the truck and he caught sight of blonde hair peeking out from the sheet. When Faith caught sight of him, she gave him a small sheepish smile, probably remembering the way she acted the night before and was feeling kind of silly.

"Hi Faith."

"Hey Angel." She gave a small nod to the man standing with her. "This is Giles. G-man this is Angel. He's a good pal of your girl Buffy."

Giles gave her an exasperated look and turned to Angel with a small smile and extended his hand. "Nice to meet you."

Angel shook Giles's hand and furrowed his brow. "You know Buffy?"

Giles nodded. "I work at the library at school, I know many of the students."

Angel nodded and gave a small nod towards all the commotion. "What's going on here?"

Faith glanced up at him, but dropped her gaze to the ground, kicking a pebble with her boot. "Harmony and Aura were attacked by dogs they think. They died." She added quietly.

Angel's eyes got wide. "What?"

Faith stuffed her hands in her pockets and met his gaze. "They got attacked when they left the Bronze last night. Some jogger found them this morning and called the cops."

Angel stood in shock for a full five minutes before Faith finally snapped him out of it. He said a quick good-bye to both of them and ran across the street.

Giles and Faith watched him leave and Giles turned to her. "We need to talk to Buffy."

"Yeah." She looked at the ground and fidgeted a bit. "Look, G-man, I'm sorry. If I'd known what was going down last night, I woulda skipped the drama with the cheerleaders and done something to help those girls. I screwed up."

Giles gave her a comforting smile. "Faith, you had no idea that what happened last night was you being called. You turned into a slayer in a heated moment and usually in those moments, your body will run on instinct. You had no idea. I'm not disappointed in you."

She looked up at him hopefully. "You're not?"

"No." He readjusted his glasses and sighed. "I think we should be on our way. I doubt if Buffy will be as receptive to the idea of becoming a slayer as you were."

Faith rolled her eyes dramatically. "Dumb blonde."

"Faith." Giles said with warning.

She raised her hands and gave him a small grin. "I know, I know. We're a team now and we need to get along, for the sake of humanity and all that."


Buffy grabbed the phone on the second ring, having been up all night, the phone was a welcome interruption from the infomercial marathon that seemed to be on TV at the moment.


"Hey Buffy, it's Angel."

"Hey, what's up?"

"I need to talk to you and Cordy, can I come over?"


"Okay, I'll be there in fifteen minutes."

"Okay, see ya then."



Buffy hung up the phone and stared at it for a moment, hoping that she'd imagined the worry laced in Angel's voice. She shrugged it off and headed upstairs to wake Cordelia up. She almost gasped as she took in the sight of Cordelia asleep in her bed. She was tangled in the sheets and had the most adorable look on her face. Buffy eased the door shut and slid onto the bed next to the brunette. She propped herself up on her elbow as she swept a few strands of hair out of Cordelia's face. Buffy smiled lovingly as the brunette stirred under her touch. She watched, almost captivated as Cordelia's eyes fluttered open and her sleepy chestnut eyes focused on her.

"Hey." Buffy whispered.

Cordelia smiled in response and pulled Buffy close. Morning was her favorite snuggle time and she intended on using it wisely.

"Angel's coming over."

Cordy scowled and stretched slightly. "Why? It's Saturday, I want my morning cuddles."

"I know, I do too, but he sounded weird. He'll be here in fifteen."

Cordy pouted slightly, and Buffy took the opportunity to kiss the protruding bottom lip lightly. Cordelia smiled slyly and wrapped her arms around Buffy tighter. She trailed her nails up and down the blonde's back lightly and smiled triumphantly when she got a shiver from her. They remained snuggly until a knock on the door downstairs roused them from the bed. They both trudged downstairs and Buffy opened the door for Angel who walked in with a tray of coffee and a box.

"Sorry to get you up early. I brought coffee and doughnuts as a peace offering." He smiled hesitantly holding the aforementioned items up in front of him, using them, hopefully, as a shield from the morning terror that was Cordelia Chase.

Cordelia grabbed her coffee as she passed Angel on the way to the couch and yawned as she flopped down with an unusual lack of grace. Buffy smiled warmly at him and thanked him quietly as she accepted her coffee and followed Cordelia to the couch. Angel set the box on the coffee table and sat gingerly next to it.

"I got some bad news this morning." He started carefully.

That small confession was enough to get the full attention of the two girls quietly sipping their mochas.

"Apparently after they left the Bronze last night, Harm and Aura were attacked. They're saying it was a wild dog attack."

Buffy was silent, praying that this bad news didn't end the way she'd been reading most 'wild dog attacks' did in Sunnydale.

Cordelia sat up a little straighter and looked Angel dead in the eye. "Are they okay?"

Angel let his gaze drop to the floor for a moment before returning it to the dark eyes about to stare holes in his head. "No. They were being taken to the morgue when I saw them."

"Oh God."

Angel pulled Cordelia into a hug and she clung to him for a long time that day. Buffy remained silent for most of the day. She couldn't help but feel partially responsible for Harmony and Aura's deaths. If she'd never said anything to Cordelia about her feelings, she never would have had a fight with her friends that caused them to storm out of the club last night.

Three days later, both girls were buried in Restfield cemetery. Cordelia had taken a few days off from school and had spent every night since Buffy's fight with Faith at her house. Buffy found it strange that the day Harmony and Aura died, Faith showed up on her doorstep with an older man who needed to talk to her. She turned them both away explaining that someone close had died. Giles understood immediately and left with no further action or explanation. He and Faith began training a bit. It consisted of a lot of Giles talking, mostly about vampires, and Faith listening. They went on patrol those nights and as they were heading into Restfield the fourth night, a recently sired platinum blonde vampire and his newly sired ditzy blonde were leaving. L.A. sounded good to both of them. Small towns just plain sucked. Too bad for Aura, though, she just had her neck snapped. Spike said she talked too much. Ha, just wait til he gets a load of Harm. Then again, he always did have a thing for blondes.


A few days later, Cordelia, Buffy and company were at their usual table in the quad eating lunch. Cordelia was watching with great interest as her girlfriend consumed more than everyone combined at the table. She took in the sight of the blonde and became a bit concerned as she noticed something. "Have you lost weight, Summers?"

Buffy looked up from her third slice of pizza and nodded. "Yup, eleven pounds in a week." She furrowed her brow for a moment. "But I'm constantly hungry, I don't get it."

Cordelia gave her a comforting smile and kissed her temple lightly. "Maybe you should see a doctor. That can't be right."

Buffy shrugged. "I feel fine, for the most part."

Cordelia rolled her eyes and propped her chin on her hand. "So you feeling fine is being starving all the time, losing a ton of weight, not sleeping, fidgeting constantly and getting those tingles that you get from time to time?"

Buffy suddenly looked up and scanned the quad. "Speaking of tingles." She murmured.

Cordelia followed her gaze. "Again?" She asked quietly.

Buffy nodded absently as she caught sight of Faith walking towards them. Faith seemed to have lost her confident swagger as she approached the table slowly. Buffy and Cordelia both glared at her and the others watched with interest.

Faith gave Buffy a tiny smile. "Um...the librarian, Mr. Giles said he needs to talk to both of us in the library."

"Why?" Buffy asked shortly.

Faith shrugged and averted her eyes to anything besides the hazel ones boring holes in her skull. "Don't know, he just said he needs to see us after school."

Buffy felt bad for being bitchy, but she didn't really care so she continued. "So why did he send you? Can he not tell me himself?"

"He caught me in the hall and asked me to ask you." Faith paused uncomfortably. "So can you be there?"

"Yeah, whatever." Buffy replied dismissively.

"Cool, I'll let him know." Faith departed with a tight smile and

Buffy sat staring after her, wondering why the tingles she felt seemed to be going away as Faith left. Cordelia's hand running up and down her back brought her back to reality and she gazed at her perfect girlfriend and smiled warmly before moving in for a tiny kiss.

"Yay, can't wait for school to be over." She rolled her eyes and pushed some hair out of her eyes. "I wonder if that will make the day go by quicker." She considered absently. Buffy shrugged it off and finished off her lunch just as the warning bell sounded to get them herded back to classes. The group stood and discarded their trash and Cordelia grabbed Buffy's small hand in hers and the two made their way to gym class.

A few seemingly quick, for Buffy at least, hours later, Cordelia was standing with Buffy outside the library.

"Are you sure you don't want us to wait? I know Angel won't mind." Cordelia asked, brushing a few small strands of hair away from Buffy's beautiful eyes.

Buffy smiled softly. "No, it's okay, I'll walk, I need to burn off some energy anyways."

"Okay, but call me when you get home and let me know what all this is about, okay?" Cordy asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Sure." She leaned in for a kiss that ended up becoming a bit more passionate as the seconds ticked by. Buffy pulled away, slightly flushed and smiled at her girlfriend. "Bronze later?"

Cordelia grinned widely. "Absolutely. Be good."

"Always am. See ya sweetie."

"Bye honey."

The girls shared a grin over their goofy lovey dovey-ness and shared one final quick kiss before Cordelia turned and sauntered away. Buffy watched her go for a moment before taking a deep breath and pushing through the library doors. She found Faith and who she figured was Mr. Giles sitting at a table in the middle of the empty library. They both looked up as she entered and Giles stood with a smile and approached her. "Buffy, I'm Rupert Giles, please come in and sit down." He motioned with his hand at the table where he had been sitting.

Buffy approached the table cautiously. "Okay. What's going on here?"

"Sit down and I will try to explain everything." He gave her a reassuring smile.

Buffy gave him a tight smile and moved further into the room. She glanced at Faith, who appeared to be nervous, as she dropped her backpack and jacket on the floor next to her chair. She sat down and immediately crossed her right leg over her left and began tapping her foot rather rapidly.

Giles sat in the chair opposite hers and folded his hands. "Buffy, do you remember the night in the alley when you and Faith fought?"

Buffy nodded. "Yup, it's not something a girl tends to forget. Why?"

He glanced at Faith quickly and returned his gaze to the blonde in front of him. "Do you recall any strange feelings you had before you started to fight?"

She narrowed her eyes. "What is this all about?"

Giles held his hands up and gave his best comforting smile. "I promise I will explain everything, I just need you to answer a few questions for me."

"Fine." She sighed. "I was just standing there about to hit Faith when something just came over me and it felt like my body just took off on it's own. I didn't even mean to really fight with her, my body just wouldn't stop. It was very strange."

He nodded and considered his next question carefully. "Have you ever heard of a slayer, Buffy?"

Buffy furrowed her brows as her gaze flickered between the two people at the table. "Only once...some guy came up to me back in L.A. and rambled on about slayers and vampires and demons. I just ignored him, I thought he was crazy." She shrugged.

"Well, I'm going to try to explain all of this to you, but I need to ask you to keep an open mind and allow me to finish before you say anything, alright?"

"Sure, explain away." She said with a tiny wave of her hand. Buffy sat listening to Giles go on about the Watchers Council, slayers, vampires and demons for about twenty minutes, and when he was done, she just stared at him.

"You actually want me to believe that I'm a slayer and so it Faith, and vampires and demons are real and Sunnydale is sitting on the mouth of hell?" She glanced from Faith to Giles and back to Faith. "You believe him?"

Faith nodded and glanced at Giles. "It's true, B. I saw it with my own eyes, hell, I've dusted a few vamps myself in the last few days. He's all truth."

"So if this is all true, why are there two of us? You said a Chosen One. Singular." She emphasized her point by holding one finger up to him.

Giles removed his glasses and began cleaning them. "Yes, well, the fact that two potential slayers where in such close proximity when the spell was released comes into play. The coven in England cast the spell so that if a slayer dies, the new slayer automatically gets called. All potential slayers have the true power of the slayer inside them, but it's behind a closed door. The spell just opens that door and the power comes flooding out. The two of you being as close as you both said you were allowed the spell to activate you both. That's why there are two of you. This is the first time this has ever happened, I can assure you." He added while replacing his glasses.

"Does that explain the weird tingle thing I get every time Faith is close?" She looked at the brunette. "Do you feel it?"

"Yup. It's wicked weird. You'll feel a different one when you're close to a vamp. It isn't quite as nice. It feels kinda like an itch you can't scratch. Until they poof that is." She added with a tiny grin.

Buffy furrowed her brow trying to take in all this information. "Well, what if I say I don't want to do this? I mean, Faith obviously likes it, why can't I just let her take the Chosen status?"

Giles stood up and began to pace back and forth. "Well, regardless, you'll still be a slayer, and just as you can sense vampires, they can sense you. You won't be able to turn your back on this. Evil will fight its way into your life, literally and figuratively."

Buffy slumped down in her seat, defeated. "So, I'm stuck then?"

Giles gave her a small smile. "I'm afraid you are. I'm not going to lie to either of you, being a slayer is dangerous. You will risk your lives on a daily basis, but the reward is saving humanity. I'm sure at times, you will be called on to save the world. You should consider yourself lucky that there are two of you. A slayer's life can be quite lonely. At least you have each other." He offered hopefully.

Buffy and Faith both exchanged a long look at this, finally Buffy looked to Giles and sighed. "So, what do we do now?"

He tried to hide his wide smile, but failed miserably. "Well, Faith and I will patrol tonight as usual. I want you to really think about everything I told you and get a grasp on it. We'll start the two of you training tomorrow after school." He paused and removed his glasses. "Buffy, the other thing you must understand is that this is to be kept a secret. You can't tell anyone about it."

Buffy pouted slightly. "But what about our friends? They saw us fighting like crazies the other night and I know Cordelia has noticed all the weird stuff going on with me lately."

Giles sighed and rubbed his chin absently. "Let's keep it quiet for now. If we have to tell them, we'll find a way. This really should be on a need to know basis, and I don't think anyone needs to know right now."

Buffy nodded solemnly and glanced at Faith. "Wanna grab something to eat? I'm starving."

Faith grinned at her sister slayer and hopped up from her seat. "Yeah, let's roll. I'll be back after we eat, G-man so we can patrol."

Giles smiled widely again. "That's fine, you two have a nice time."

"Bye, Giles." Buffy said with a small wave after she collected her stuff.

Faith gave Giles a mock salute and turned to leave. "See ya G."

"Goodbye girls."

Giles watched his slayers leave and heaved a sigh of relief. He was surprised Buffy took everything as well as she did. He guessed that perhaps Faith learning about things early was a blessing in disguise. He doubted that Buffy would have lasted five minutes without Faith telling her everything he said was true. He smiled his little Giles smile and went back to his trusty books for the remainder of the afternoon. Oh! And tea, you can't forget tea.

Buffy and Faith walked along the sidewalk side by side, in complete silence. Buffy had a million questions burning her brain that she wanted to spit out, but didn't know how, considering the girl next to her tried to fight her girlfriend not long ago.

"So, what's it like?" Buffy asked hesitantly.

Faith glanced up at her questioningly. "What's what like?"

"Staking a vampire."

Faith grinned from ear to ear. "Oh, wait until you do it, B. You get hit with this wicked rush of adrenaline and you just fly. Once it's done your whole body is humming."

Buffy smiled slightly at her enthusiasm. "I felt plenty of humming the night we fought."

Faith smiled knowingly. "Yeah, me too." She dropped her gaze to the ground and stuffed her hands in her pockets. "Sorry about that by the way. I know I acted like a supreme bitch. Your girl just drives me crazy."

Buffy nodded slowly. "Well, you drive her crazy too, so you're even. But since we have to do this slaying thing together it wouldn't be a bad idea to lay off her."

Faith thought it over for a moment and shrugged. "I will if she will."

Buffy smiled and nodded. "I'll talk to her, don't worry."

Faith kicked at a stone on the sidewalk and looked up at her blonde companion. "Why does she have to be like that anyways? I mean, I met X and Wilma the first day of school and one of the first things they said to me was to watch out for Queen C. She gave me shit because I dress differently and she gives the two of them shit for nothing all the time."

Buffy's face contorted with confusion. "Who's Wilma?"

Faith smiled and rolled her eyes playfully. "Willow."

"Oh, had me confused there, I thought there was another new girl." Buffy shook her head. "Look, Cordelia can be a bitch, and I know that. But once you get to know her, she's really sweet and really great. I know she picks on you and yours and since I asked you to play nice, I'll ask her to do the same. Deal?"


The two continued into lighter talking territory as they entered the pizza place Faith had picked out. The waiter gave them both strange looks as they sat down and each ordered a large pizza, but they just grinned.

"Have you lost any weight?" Buffy asked once the waiter was gone.

"Yup, close to ten pounds, you?"

Buffy nodded. "Eleven in a week, that's certainly a plus...although my girlfriend thinks I'm a total pig because I eat so much. She wants me to see a doctor." She scowled at the thought.

Faith shrugged absently. "G-man told me that it's a temporary thing for us to lose so much weight. He said the slayer takes over and will mold our bodies into top-notch fighting machines."

"Did he say if this antsyness would go away?" Buffy asked noticing both of them were fidgeting.

"He said it's normal for us to feel antsy. He said we're meant to be on the prowl and hunting and some shit. I've always been fidgety; it's normal for me. Is yours bad?"

Buffy sighed and rolled her eyes. "Yup, I can't sit still for two minutes."

Faith nodded and ran her hand through her hair. "I think my hearing has picked up a bit. I heard somebody walking their dog last night, and I could hear a twig break across the street when I was in the backyard. I can barely sleep, every little sound wakes me up."

"Yeah, I've found my sight has improved, especially at night."

"Yup, mine too. G said all this is normal and will get easier as our bodies adjust to all this crap surging through us. We just need to give it time." She offered with a shrug and a smile.

The girls chatted for a few more minutes until their pizzas arrived and were scarfed down. The waiter looked impressed when he removed two empty pizza trays. Once they paid and were outside, Faith grinned at a random thought.

"Ya know, I bet we could have wicked games of hide and seek with this tingle thing once you get into patrol."

Buffy broke out into a grin. "Ooh, that would be fun. Will Giles be with us when we patrol?"

Faith rolled her eyes and nodded. "He said he wants to come with the first week or so, just to make sure we aren't in over our heads, which is stupid in my opinion. I left his ass in the dust more than a few times the other night. Watchers are meant to watch, slayers are meant to slay."

Buffy gave her a silly grin. "How very observant of you."

"Bite me, blondie." Faith replied with a playful scowl.

Buffy grinned and glanced at her watch. "Crap, Cor's probably worried, I should call her. You Bronzing tonight?"

"Yup, after patrol, I'm meeting X and Wilma. You?"

"Yeah, see ya there?"

"Yup. Later, slayer." Faith grinned and headed off towards the school.

"See ya, Faith."

Buffy turned and started walking home slowly; trying to wrap her brain around everything she'd learned that afternoon. She decided for now to keep the slayer stuff to herself. She didn't want to lie to Cor or her friends, but she didn't want them to think she was a freak and abandon her either. For now, she would just have to think of something to tell them in regards to the situation this afternoon and figure out a way to get out of spending afternoons with Cordelia, since she would be training. By the time she made it home, she figured she had a good enough story to tell her girlfriend and headed for the kitchen once she was inside. She found a note with a twenty- dollar bill on the counter and knew right away that mom would be out for the night and left her money for pizza and a movie. She grabbed the phone as she opened the door the fridge and dialed Cordelia's number.


"Hey." Buffy replied.

"Hey, how are you?"

"I'm okay. You?"

"Good. So what was up with the secret meeting this afternoon?"

Buffy winced slightly. "Actually, I'd rather talk to you in person, wanna come over? Mom's gone for the night."

"Sure, I'll be over in a bit. You sure you're okay?"

"Yeah, Cor, I'm fine. I'll be better when you're here though."

"Aw, isn't that sweet? I have my very own sap factory."

Buffy scowled. "Hey! Fine, no more sappy from me. Hmph."

"I'm only kidding, you know I love it. I'll see ya in a bit."

"Kay, bye."


Buffy hung up the phone and went upstairs to change. She grabbed a pair of gray workout pants that were fairly loose and a form fitting red tee shirt with tiny sleeves. Once she changed she headed back downstairs and flopped down on the couch. For the first time in a week, she felt like sleep might actually be a possibility that night. She flipped the TV on and sprawled out finding a comfortable position on her stomach. About ten minutes later there was a knock on the door and it opened to reveal Cordelia's face peeking in.

Buffy looked up and grinned, feeling enormously comforted by the other girl's mere presence.

"Hey, come in."

"Hey." Cordelia came in, doting a similar outfit, black workout pants with white stripes down the legs, sneakers and a plain white tee. She looked amazing to Buffy, who rarely saw her this dressed down. Cordelia plunked down on the floor, sitting Indian style in front of Buffy and she leaned in for a kiss.

"Is everything okay? Ya seemed kinda weird on the phone."

"Yeah, it's just been a long day and I'm glad you're here."

Cordelia reached out a hand and played with a few strands of silky blonde hair. "Wanna tell me what's up?"

Buffy remained silent for a few moments as she had an inner debate about whether she should lie or tell the truth to Cordelia. She absolutely hated lying, and she knew if Cordelia eventually found out what was going on, it would most likely end up causing more problems for both of them. She finally decided on the truth, and it scared her half to death to think about Cordelia's reaction.

"Hey." Cordelia said softly, seeing the inner turmoil in Buffy's eyes. Buffy met her gaze and found Cordelia's stare to be welcoming and comforting to her. Buffy took a deep breath and sat up fully on the couch.

"Remember how you were worried about everyone's reaction when you told them about us? You were afraid they would disown you and think you were weird?" Buffy glanced at Cordelia nervously and the brunette nodded, silently urging her to continue. "Well, I kind of have to tell you something, and I'm afraid that you might disown me and think I'm a freak, so I'm kinda scared right now, but I want, no, I need to be completely honest with you about it, good or bad."

Cordelia pushed away the terrifying thoughts coursing through her brain and gave Buffy her most encouraging smile, reaching out and grasping her hand lightly. "Summers, just tell me. I've seen and heard some of the weirdest things growing up in Sunnydale, you'd be surprised what doesn't stun those of us who have lived here forever. Just tell me."

Buffy gave her a small smile and squeezed Cordelia's hand lightly, very lightly, very, very lightly. Slayer strength and all that. She took a deep breath and sighed out. "As you know I went to see Giles, the librarian, after school with Faith. It turns out he knows a lot about what's been happening to me lately. He has a job at the school, but he really works for an organization in England called the Council. He was sent here to watch over me and Faith. It turns out, the reason we went so crazy on each other and fought so well last week is because we're what's known as slayers. With Giles's help, we're supposed to fight against evil. Here in Sunnydale, because apparently this town is sitting on the mouth of hell." Buffy winced waiting for Cordelia to run out of the house screaming about her being a total weirdo.

"So you guys fight vampires and stuff?" Cordelia asked expectantly with an eyebrow raised.

Buffy sat stunned looking at the brunette like she had a second head.

Cordelia rolled her eyes and grasped both of Buffy's hands in hers. "I told you, living in Sunnydale forces you to believe in the Boogey man. They must think that we're all completely retarded when they make up stories about wild dogs and gangs and stuff. Too many people, who are only attacked at night, have been found dead and they all mysteriously have two bite marks on their necks and no blood left."

"So you know about vampires?" Buffy asked, completely baffled.

Cordelia nodded and tilted her head. "Yup, I've been attacked three different times coming home from the Bronze, Angel and Riley somehow always manage to fight them off and we escape." She said proudly.

"So you don't think I'm a freak?" She had to ask, she had to make sure.

Cordelia gave her an impish grin. "Well, aside from the fact that I think you're a little too fascinated with fire, no. I think you're brave and noble for wanting to fight against all the scaries out there. But I don't think you're freaky or anything. I've heard vampires mention the slayer before, they have major wood for you guys, let me tell you."

Buffy raised her eyebrows at that comment. She thought for a moment. "Well, actually, there was only supposed to be one. The spell or whatever backfired and now we have two."

"You and Faith?" Cordelia asked, her voice dripping with disdain at the second name.

"Got it in one."

Cordelia's features soured slightly. "So you actually have to hang with her now?"

"Yup, actually, that's why I got back so late, we grabbed pizza and talked a bit. She's not that bad." Buffy offered hopefully.

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "I still think she's a bitch, sorry, I know that you're gonna have to get along with her and stuff, but don't expect me to."

"Nope, although, could you play nice? For me?" Buffy pulled out the puppy dog eyes and Cordelia rolled her eyes, obviously immune to their powers.

"I will if she will." She agreed reluctantly.

"She will, I already asked her to." Buffy gazed at the gorgeous brunette on the floor in front of her and a smile immediately graced her lips. "You have no idea how glad I am that you're not running out the door screaming about me being looney."

Cordelia grinned and kept her looney joke to herself but suddenly a thought occurred to her and she turned serious. "I'm just glad you decided to be straight with me. It means a lot that you're honest about big stuff."

Buffy smiled shyly. "Giles said specifically that I wasn't supposed to tell anyone, but I knew I couldn't keep this from you. But would you mind if we kept it quiet from Angel and Riley for a while?"

Cordelia sighed, not liking lying to her best friends, but ultimately felt she had no choice. "I will because you want me to, although, they're pretty much gonna take the news the way I did. They've come face to face with this stuff too."

"I know, but it's supposed to be kept quiet and I probably will have to tell them eventually, I told you mostly because I knew I would have to give you some explanation about my whereabouts after school and some nights."

Cordelia scowled. "So, this is going to cut into our time isn't it?"

Buffy gave her a sheepish and apologetic smile. "Yes, to a certain extent, but I'm not gonna let it come between us, I'll make plenty of time for you." She added with a nod.

Cordelia smiled triumphantly. "That's all I needed to hear."

Buffy grinned and leaned in for a small kiss. She paused for a moment as she remembered something. "One question though."


"When Angel came over last weekend and said a dog attacked Harm and Aura, you guys knew it was vamps?"

Cordelia shrugged. "I figured as much, and I'm sure he did too, he probably didn't want to freak you out about it and I didn't either, so I just agreed with it."

Buffy smiled warmly and tugged Cordelia off the floor and onto the couch next to her. "It's kinda weird to think that we both tried to hide the same thing from each other, don't you think?"

Cordy grinned. "Just trying to protect you is all."

"Well, I'm a big slayer now, so we can be honest about it from now on."

"Deal." Cordelia agreed with a nod.

"Kiss on it?" Buffy asked impishly.


Cordelia leaned over and kissed Buffy gently. Buffy snaked a hand around Cordelia's neck and pulled her closer, deepening the kiss. Buffy moaned at the softness of Cordelia's lips, yet the utter passion behind them. Cordelia smiled into the kiss and opened her mouth allowing Buffy's tongue to enter. Buffy dipped her tongue into Cordelia's warm mouth and felt the brunette's hands slide through her hair. Cordelia leaned back and caught her breath for a second and locked her gaze with the Buffy's darkening hazel eyes. She eased herself up and slid a leg over both of Buffy's and gently settled her weight on Buffy's lap. Buffy placed her hands on Cordelia's thighs and leaned in for a searing kiss. She began trailing small kisses down Cordy's jaw, to her neck. She sucked lightly on her pulse point, eliciting a small moan from the brunette on her lap. She pulled away and as she gazed up at her girlfriend. Her breath hitched in her chest and she felt a wave of emotion pass through her entire being. Cordelia ran her fingers through Buffy's hair gently and kissed the slayer's forehead softly.

"You are so beautiful, Cor." Buffy breathed out.

Cordelia smiled sweetly. "Honey, if I'm beautiful, then you're stunning."

Buffy gave Cordelia a loving smile as she gazed up at her. "Stay here tonight?"

Cordelia grinned and kissed her girlfriend lightly. "There is no place I would rather be."

"Mmm, good." Buffy moved her hands from Cordelia's hips to the small of her back and slid her fingers under the fabric to find smooth skin. She watched as Cordelia closed her eyes and bit her lip, biting back a tiny moan. Cordelia allowed her head to fall back slightly and Buffy seized the opportunity to kiss the brunette's throat lightly. Buffy tightened her grip and suddenly stood up, bringing Cordelia with her, who gasped at the sudden movement. She quickly grinned and wrapped her legs around Buffy's waist as the blonde turned and moved towards the stairs.

"Wow, this slayer thing is something I could get used to." Cordy said with a grin, wrapping her arms around Buffy's neck. Buffy just smiled impishly and kissed Cordelia as she ascended the steps. Once she reached her bedroom, Buffy kicked the door closed with her foot and moved to the bed. She leaned over and placed Cordelia on the bed gently, but was surprised when the brunette didn't release her arms or legs. Buffy kissed her quickly. "I'm gonna hit the lights." Cordelia smiled and kissed Buffy gently as she relinquished her hold on the slayer. As Buffy moved across the room, Cordelia shed her sneakers and socks, and slid her workout pants down her legs before she crawled under the blankets. Once the lights had been shut off, Buffy moved back to the bed and slid her pants off and slinked into bed.

As soon as she was between the sheets, Buffy pulled the brunette closer to her, immediately wrapping her arms and legs around her. Cordelia allowed her hand to trail up one of Buffy's legs and it made a final stop under the fabric of a tee shirt at the small of Buffy's back. Buffy finally managed a full night of sleep that night, wrapped pleasantly around her girlfriend with a smile gracing her features as she drifted off.


Ethan Rayne stepped out of his car and grinned as he took in the sight of Sunnydale high school. He watched the students leaving for the day as he made his way across the street. He finally managed to find the library as he weaved his way through the corridors. He peered through the circular window on the door and watched his old pal Ripper as he took his slayer through a sparring drill. Ethan had to bite back a laugh as Giles was sent flying through the air and landed on a nearby table.

He pushed the door open and sauntered inside. "Well, some things never change, it seems as though I remember you spending a lot of time on your back in the library back at the academy, Ripper."

Buffy and Faith watched as Giles rolled off the table and moved slowly towards the other man in the room.

"What are you doing here Ethan?"

Ethan smirked. "What, I can't pay old friends a visit?"

"I'm not your friend." Giles almost growled out.

Ethan laughed loudly and waved him off. "Don't be so British you old tweed, I just stopped by to say hello to my new neighbors."

Giles glared at the other man. "Neighbors? You live here?"

"Yes, actually. I just bought a nice old house, this town in quite lovely." Ethan replied with a wide smile.

Giles suddenly lunged towards Ethan and grabbed him by the front of the shirt and pinned him against the wall. "You listen closely Ethan, I don't want any trouble from you. If you so much as breathe in the wrong direction, I will personally see to it that I finish what I started years ago."

Ethan grinned, not letting his fear be shown as his old buddy Ripper made an appearance. He pushed Giles's hands away and moved away, heading for the door. "Don't worry, Ripper, you won't be seeing much of me." He grinned wickedly and mumbled to himself. "Although your slayers might." With that he flung the doors open and sauntered out.

Faith leaned over to Buffy and whispered something in her ear that made her giggle through the disgusted look on her face, and Giles swung around to face them both. At his glare, both slayers moved back into fighting stances and resumed their sparring. Giles moved to his office to make tea, but parted with a final thought to the two girls fighting furiously. "You two will patrol alone tonight, and be careful."

Buffy and Faith grinned wickedly, happy that they would finally be free during patrol.

"Come on B, let's eat before we go. I'm starving." Faith said as she tugged the blonde out the door.

"Mmm, me too." Buffy paused for a moment. "But please keep comments like that about Giles to yourself, you almost made me lose my appetite.

Faith laughed loudly and slung an arm over the blonde's shoulders as the Chosen Two made their way out of the school. That must have been some nasty comment for Buffy to lose her appetite, hmm, wonder what she said.


Buffy scanned the cemetery looking past headstones and mausoleums trying to locate her target. She closed her eyes and tried to hone her senses and she finally picked up on a familiar tickle on the back of her neck. She grinned and took of running in the direction of a large crypt with a cross on the side. As she approached, she saw a blur of movement and took off. Sprinting as fast as she could, she leapt over headstones and finally made a jump, tackling her opponent to the ground. "Ha! Got you, you're it."

Faith was about to reply when both girls heard a rustling close by. The got up slowly and tried to keep themselves hidden. The watched as six vampires pried open the door to a crypt and moved inside. The slayers exchanged a look and moved slowly and quietly, working out a plan as they moved.

"Okay, you take one side of the door, and I'll take the other, we can do a one two and catch the first two out the door by surprise, then we only have two each." Buffy whispered quietly as they approached.

Faith nodded. "Got it."

The slayers moved into position and waited. A minute later, the first two vampires were out the door and turned to dust before the others knew what had happened. The two slayers squared off with the remaining vamps and five minutes later, the slayers were surrounded with six piles of dust. Buffy gave Faith a high five and bent down to retrieve a stake she had dropped.

"Hey Faith, check it out." Buffy picked up a large amulet from the ground and handed it to the brunette slayer, who turned it over in her hands, examining it carefully.

"Huh, guess we give this to G-man in the morning. Wonder what it does."

Buffy eyed the object warily. "I'm not too sure I wanna know. Wanna get outta here? I think I've had enough for tonight."

Faith shrugged. "Sure, wanna hit the Bronze and see if anybody's there?"

"Sounds good to me. Let's go."

Faith stuffed the amulet in her jacket and the two made their way to the club. Once inside, the two slayers separated almost regretfully and headed to opposite sides of the club. Buffy approached her table and greeted everyone before pulling her girlfriend to her feet and then to the dance floor. The two shared a grin and wrapped their arms around each other exchanging a sweet kiss.

"Hey." Buffy drawled out playfully.

Cordelia grinned. "Hey, how was patrol?"

Buffy shrugged. "It was okay. We caught a group of vamps stealing an amulet thingie and dusted all of them. So we have to report to Giles in the morning."

"But you were careful right?" Cordelia asked.

"Yup, just a few bumps and bruises, nothing major." Buffy reassured her with a kiss.

"Mmm, good."

Buffy leaned in for another quick kiss and caught the brunette's eyes. "I've been thinking a bit and there's something I need to ask you."

"Okay, ask away."

"Do you wanna go to homecoming with me?" Buffy asked quietly.

Cordelia broke into a wide grin. "Absolutely."

Buffy grinned and kissed Cordelia lightly as the two moved to the music in the club. A few minutes later, Angel interrupted with a tap on Cordelia's shoulder.

"Hey CC? Can I talk to Buffy for a second?"

"Sure. You two be good." She kissed Buffy lightly and headed back to the table. Angel wrapped an arm around Buffy's waist as she draped an arm on his shoulder.

She eyed him carefully for a moment. "What's up Angel?"

He furrowed his brow for a second and looked down at her. "Well, I've noticed that you and Faith have been hanging around together lately."

Buffy gave him a small but slightly confused smile. "Yeah, she's actually pretty cool once you get to know her."

Angel opened his mouth to say something, but snapped it shut. He pursed his lips for a second before sighing. "Well, see I've been thinking about her a bit lately. I mean, she's hot and she seems to be nice."

Buffy grinned, she knew what was going on. "Angel? Do you wanna ask her out?"

Angel became slightly flustered and shrugged. "Well, I was thinking about asking her to homecoming. But I don't know if she'd go with me."

"Well, I have heard her say that she thinks you're yummy." Buffy teased lightly with a silly grin.

Angel raised an eyebrow and smiled. "She thinks I'm yummy?"

Buffy rolled her eyes and gave him a grin. "You are. And yes, she thinks so too."

"So should I ask her?" He gave her a worried look.

Buffy gave him her most encouraging smile. "Yes, you should, I'm sure she'd say yes."

Angel took a deep breath and mentally psyched himself up. He grinned at Buffy and released her to approach Faith. Buffy smiled fondly at him as she watched him move to the other side of the club. She moved back to the table and found Anya and Cordelia in the middle of a heated debate.

"Anya, I can't believe you asked him to homecoming." Cordelia exclaimed with a sigh.

Anya rolled her eyes. "Why? I think he's cute and I think I love him."

Cordelia's fists drew themselves into a ball and she had to restrain herself a bit. "Anya, he is a total loser. You can do so much better." She glanced up at Buffy and her features softened as the blonde slid into the seat and kissed her temple lightly.

Buffy smiled warmly at Anya. "So, you finally asked Xander to the dance?"

Anya nodded and Cordelia's head whipped in the direction of her girlfriend. "Wait, you knew about this?"

Buffy nodded, obviously oblivious to the horror in her girlfriend's voice. "Yes, I had to do that project with Will and Xander and Anya asked me to ask him if he had a date yet because she wanted to ask him."

Cordelia sighed dramatically. "And you support this?"

Buffy grasped both of Cordelia's hands in hers and caught her eyes. "Cor, honey, remember, just because you don't approve of who your friends are dating, doesn't mean you should judge them for it."

Buffy gazed at her girlfriend hoping she would think about the way she was acting. Cordelia caught on quickly and gave Buffy a small nod. Buffy smiled softly at her and kissed her quickly.

"Well, Anya I hope you and Xander have a great time. Maybe all of us can share a limo or something."

Anya smiled at Buffy gratefully; thankful she didn't have to listen to any more of the Queen's rant. Buffy winked at her, leaning back into her girlfriend and watching Angel approach the table with a small smile on his face.

"I'm guessing that was a yes?" The slayer asked with a tiny smile on her pretty features.

Angel nodded and smiled. "Yup, I have myself a date."

"With who?" Cordelia looked from Buffy to Angel, her confusion was evident to both of them.

Buffy braced herself for the blow and winced. Angel caught Cordelia's eye and grinned widely. "Faith."

Cordelia sat stunned for a few moments and closed her eyes, shaking her head. Buffy squeezed her hand lightly, trying to silently keep her girlfriend calm. When Cordelia opened her eyes, she found her girlfriend's hazel eyes watching her carefully. Buffy gave her a small smile and Cordy rolled her eyes and sighed. "We were talking about all of us going together and sharing a limo, so if you and Faith would like to join us, I'm sure we'll have a great time."

Angel smiled at Cordelia and dropped a kiss to the top of her head. "I think that sounds like a great idea, thanks CC."

Cordelia smiled up at her oldest friend and shook her head lightly. "So we're all going to the bonfire next Friday right?"

Buffy's featured glazed over as she looked at her girlfriend. "Bonfire?"

"Oh Jesus, Summers, not the fire thing again." She smiled at the blonde fondly. "There's always a bonfire the night before the dance. Some weird ass tradition."

"Pretty." Buffy murmured absently with a tiny smile on her face.

Angel and Riley looked from Buffy to Cordelia wearing matching looks of confusion. She rolled her eyes and shrugged. "I have no idea." The two guys shrugged and they launched into a conversation about the bonfire and their dates for the dance. Cordy reached out and played with a strand of honey blonde hair as she split her attention between the two guys and her girlfriend, who still seemed to be distracted with thoughts of fire burning through her brain. Cordelia wondered briefly if that was normal, but shrugged it off and pushed the thought away. Buffy did like fire though.


Buffy sat in the kitchen nervously, waiting for her mother to come downstairs. She had decided that it was time to clue her mom in on her relationship with Cordelia. Since the two would be going to homecoming together, she figured she couldn't really hide it from her mom anymore. Buffy sat, fidgeting, reading the paper, making coffee, anything to keep her nerves at bay. She thought for a few brief seconds about making breakfast, but her culinary skills would probably end up killing them both, and Buffy wasn't about to check out anytime soon, so she sat. Fidgeting. Waiting.

Finally, Joyce joined her daughter and knew something was wrong the second she saw her. She'd read enough books to know that if she ignored her daughter's fidgety presence, she would eventually spill.

"Morning honey."

"Morning mom."

Joyce made a cup of coffee and sat across from Buffy at the island, scanning the paper. Buffy finally decided to spill a few minutes later, not being able to take any more of this.

"Mom, I have something I need to tell you."

"Okay, sweetie, you know you can tell me anything."

"You remember Cordelia right?" Buffy asked, and her mother nodded, waiting for the rest. "Well, we've been hanging out a lot lately and we both sort of realized we kind of had feelings for each other. We've kind of been dating for a few months now and we're going to homecoming together." Buffy statement started slow, but she soon found the words to come pouring out her mouth quickly as she braced herself for her mom's reaction. Joyce smiled at her daughter's confession, almost grateful that she wouldn't have to worry about her teenage daughter dealing with pressure from boys who only had one thing on their minds.

"Well, Cordelia seems like a very nice girl, and the two of you seem to get along well, so I'm happy for you." Buffy gaped at her mom, wondering briefly if she'd been possessed or something equally weird. They were on the Hellmouth after all.

"That's it?"

"Buffy, don't get me wrong. I am a bit surprised that you are dating another girl, but if that's what makes you happy, then who am I to say anything about it. Although, this is a small town, and not everyone will be as open minded about this as I am. I know you're a strong person and I hope you don't let small minded people get the better of you." Joyce gave her a warm, loving smile. "Just be careful, that's all that I ask"

Buffy pulled her mom into a hug and wiped away a few tears. "Thanks mom."

"You're welcome honey." Joyce pulled out a few pots and pans and started making breakfast. "So I suppose we should go out dress shopping soon?"

Buffy grinned at her mom, thankful that she'd been so great and nodded furiously at the shopping proposal. The two settled in for breakfast and discussed dress options for the rest of the morning, until Buffy moved upstairs to call Cordelia and tell her the great news.


Angel pulled his car up in Faith's driveway and ran his fingers through his hair nervously. It was time to meet Faith's father. Brad Cooper had been less than thrilled that his freshman daughter was asked to go to the homecoming dance with a junior, so he and Faith made a little deal. She could go with Angel to the dance, but only if he met him first. So of course, she agreed. Angel was nervous. Most of the girls he had dated to this point had been snotty rich girls and their parents didn't care one way or the other who their daughter was going out with, as long as he had money, so he hadn't met too many parents. He heaved out a nervous sigh and got out of the car, approaching the house slowly, trying to keep his cool.

He knocked on the door and was met by Faith, who appeared to be slightly dressed down. She had on a pair of faded jeans and a yellow tee shirt, with her hair pulled up in a ponytail. Angel smiled when he saw her, thinking that she'd never looked better to him.

Faith smiled shyly. "Hey Angel, come on in"

"Hey Faith. You look nice."

Faith rolled her eyes. "I look like a scrub, but thanks. You look good too." Angel had on a pair of khaki shorts with a blue tee shirt and flip-flops. He moved inside and Faith led him to the kitchen where her dad was waiting. Angel gave Brad Cooper his best charming smile as the two approached.

"Dad, this is Angel O'Connor, Angel this is my dad, Brad Cooper." Brad extended a hand to him with a smile. "Hey Angel, it's nice to meet you."

Angel smiled and took the hand. "You too Mr. Cooper, I've heard some great things about your artwork."

Brad smiled widely. "Oh really? Who from?" He asked curiously. "Oh, and please call me Brad."

Angel smiled and nodded. "Actually, a good friend of mine, Buffy Summers. Her mother works at the gallery in town and thinks your work is great."

Faith seemed oblivious to the slightly dazed expression her father's face wore, but Angel smiled to himself as he picked up on it. "Ah, Joyce is a real sweet woman, she says a lot of nice things."

Faith was slightly confused. "Dad, you know Buffy's mom?"

Brad rolled his eyes and smiled fondly at his daughter for being slightly overprotective. "Yes honey, she works at the gallery and has been helping me put up some of my prints."


Brad turned to Angel. "So Faith here says you play football?"

Angel nodded. "Yeah, I've been playing on the varsity squad for three years now."

"Really? What position?"


Brad's eyes lit up. "I used to QB when I played too."

Faith rolled her eyes as her father began going into his 'good old days' speech and prayed Angel wouldn't think she was a total loser after meeting her father. She loved her dad dearly, but he could be a bit on the crazy side sometimes. She tuned the next twenty minutes out as she thought about slaying and battle strategies. Once the trip down memory lane was over, the three talked for another half hour, until Brad finally decided that Faith had been subjected to enough parental abuse and gave his OK on the dance.

Angel said good-bye to Brad and Faith walked him to the door. "Sorry about my dad, he can be a bit too much sometimes."

Angel shook his head. "No, he's fine. My dad can get a bit 'glory days' sometimes too."

"So, he didn't dissuade you from wanting to go to the dance did he?" Faith asked cautiously.

Angel smiled and shook his head. "No, not at all. Both of my parents are crazy, your dad seems cool."

"Artists usually are." Faith said with a smile.

Angel paused at the door and gazed at his hands. "Hey, do you wanna grab a cup of coffee with me?"

"Right now?" Faith asked with a grin.

Angel shrugged. "Sure, unless you have other plans."

"No, I'd love to. Let me tell dad and grab my stuff, I'll be out in a second." Faith grinned and jutted a thumb behind her.

"Okay, great. I'll wait in the car."

Angel grinned to himself as he climbed back into the car. He was completely relieved that meeting Faith's father had gone so well. A minute later, Faith came bounding out the door and hopped into the car and they took off towards the Pump, chatting carelessly along the way. Now, if Faith had been a good little slayer, she would have taken her surroundings a little more carefully. If she had looked just a bit harder she would have seen a certain 'friend' of Giles's hanging around watching the two of them as they drove off, but Faith being Faith, wasn't always cautious. Ethan smiled to himself, now he knew who to go through to have some fun with both the slayers, and he intended to do just that.


"Dad, just promise you won't go overboard with the pictures."

"I promise sweetheart, relax."

Faith and her father were in the car on their way to Buffy's house. The slayers decided since they only live a few blocks from each other, they would meet up and let the parentals take pictures together and spare them all some time and sanity. Cordelia and Angel would be riding in the limo over to Buffy's together since they lived close and they could get pictures done in one foul swoop. Brad pulled his Jeep Wrangler into Joyce's driveway and the two got out and made their way to the door. Buffy answered breathlessly and waved them both in.

"Hi Mr. C. Faith, you look great." Buffy said with a grin.

Faith blushed lightly. "Thanks B, you too."

Faith was wearing a pale blue, floor length dress with thin spaghetti straps and had her hair down with the sides pulled back. She looked stunning. Buffy was wearing a floor length white satin dress that had several thin straps crossing her back and had her hair swept up with a few strands pulled down to frame her face.

"Brad, Faith hello, please come in." Joyce said as she swooped in from the kitchen and closed the door behind them.

Faith gave her a wave and a smile. "Hey Mrs. S."

"Joyce, how are you?" Brad asked with a grin. Joyce gave him a warm smile. "Fine Brad, yourself?"

"Fine. Don't our girls look great?" He asked as he waved towards the two girls.

"Yes, they look lovely. Faith, your dress is gorgeous."

Faith blushed again. "Thanks."

Joyce and Brad immediately pulled out cameras and clicked away like there was no tomorrow. Both the slayers were ecstatic when there was a knock on the door, signaling the arrival of their dates. Cordelia and Angel were whisked inside and more pictures ensued. Buffy practically drooled over Cordy's dress. It was, of course, floor length and black. Form fitting until it got to the waist and it flowed a bit more. She had her hair pulled up to match Buffy's and she looked gorgeous. Angel had on a black suit with a black shirt and vest and a white tie. He looked hot.

Brad and Joyce had a field day with the four teenagers and almost had to be restrained when their cameras got close to being out of control. Faith leaned over to Buffy. "B, I gotta give you something really quick. It's slayer related."

Buffy nodded. "My room."

The slayers excused themselves for a moment and headed upstairs.

Faith held out a thin black strap with Velcro once the door was shut behind them. Buffy eyed it warily. "What's this?"

Faith lifted the side of her dress to her thigh and Buffy saw a similar device strapped to Faith's thigh with a stake hanging in it. "So we can keep a stake on us in these dresses. Just in case."

Buffy shrugged and slid her strap into place, and placed a single stake in hers carefully. "I just hope I don't sit down wrong, that would hurt."

Faith laughed and shook her head. "Just make sure the pointy side is down."

Buffy nodded and moved back to the door. "Come on, we'll be lucky to get outta here alive."

"See? Another good reason for stakes."

Buffy laughed and the two made their way back downstairs and ushered their dates outside and into the limo before either parent could object. Joyce and Brad watched as the limo pulled away with similar looks of happiness yet a touch of sadness since their babies were growing up.

Joyce saw Brad's face and smiled, knowing how he felt. "Would you like to stay for a cup of coffee?"

"I'd love to." Brad smiled and followed Joyce into the kitchen.

Ah yes, parents letting their little girls go. They definitely had something in common. And those common things led to five or six cups of coffee and talks that went well into the night. They didn't mind however, both of their girls would be staying at Cordelia's after the dance. Little did they know, so would Riley, Anya, Angel and Xander. Cordelia figured a party after the dance would be fun. Even though her friend's annoying dates would be there.


"I wonder if Faith is jealous about Angel having to dance with Allison?" Buffy asked as she danced with Cordelia.

"Well, it's kind of a tradition for the homecoming King and Queen to dance together." Cordelia said with a shrug.

"I know, I just feel kinda bad for her. Now she has to sit out and listen to Anya bore Xander to death." Buffy said with a small grin.

"Well, too bad for him, we have to listen to her go on and on all the time, so now it's his turn."

Buffy shrugged and leaned in to kiss Cordelia lightly. "You really do look amazing, Cor."

Cordelia grinned. "So do you, Summers. I love the dress."

Suddenly Faith came barreling over and tapped Buffy on the shoulder. "B, G-man needs to talk to you, like right away."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Now? Can he not give us one night of peace? Is it vamps?"

Faith's eyes bugged out of her head and she gave a slight nod in Cordelia's direction. Buffy rolled her eyes at her slaying companion. "Faith, Cor knows about everything, relax. I don't need an aneurysm from you tonight."

Faith looked from Buffy's knowing expression to Cordelia's smug smile. "You told her?"

"Yes, she told me Faith, and I was completely understanding and don't think either of you are weird or anything, so hurry up and do what you need to do so I can get back to dancing with my girlfriend." Cordelia waved them off after stealing a kiss from Buffy and wandered off to find Anya.

Faith slapped Buffy on the arm. "I can't believe you told her. G said we had to keep this quiet." Faith failed to mention the fact that Angel had found out about their little secret.

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Faith, I had to. She would've wondered where I was and why I couldn't hang out with her because of patrol and training and stuff. Don't worry about it. Now where's Giles?"

Faith smirked. "Oh, shit, he's not even here." She said with a lazy wave of her hand. "I had to think of something to say around your girl that wouldn't scare her or piss you off, but still get you away so we could take care of a little problem."

Buffy looked around carefully. "What's the problem?"

"A few vamps decided to crash." Faith said as she moved towards the back of the gym.

The slayers took care of the crashers before they could feast on a few unsuspecting classmates of theirs and returned to their dates quickly. Cordelia rolled her eyes as she watched the duo approach. "It looks like you two snuck off to make out or something, you're all disheveled."

Buffy gave her an apologetic smile and a kiss. "Sorry sweetie, it's not easy to fight in a dress."

Cordelia gave Buffy a warm smile. "It's okay, I'm sure you'll make up for it later." She leaned in for another kiss. "Where do you hide a stake in that dress anyways?"

Buffy gave her a sly smile. "That's for me to know and you to find out." She replied pulling her girlfriend to the dance floor for the final song of the night. Faith watched with an amused expression until she felt a tap on her shoulder. She swung around and found Angel smiling down at her.

"Do you wanna dance? It's the last song." He asked as he extended his hand to her.

Faith grinned up at him and took his hand. "I'd love to."

After the group dropped off Riley's boring and extremely annoying date, he and the rest of the crew gave the driver Cordelia's address. Her guests for the night all got their duffel bags from the trunk and made their way inside the house. They all split up and moved to separate rooms to change into more comfortable clothes and reconvened in the kitchen. Cordelia and Buffy began making drinks as everyone else made their way out to the spacious patio and pool area.

"Ya know, I think Angel really likes your pal."

"Good." Buffy replied as she gave the brunette a grin and leaned in for a kiss. "Ya know, I'm really proud of you for being so great to Faith tonight. Not just for me, but for Angel as well. And I agree. I think he does like her."

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "She's not that bad, I guess."

"See sweetie, I told you."

Cordelia rolled her eyes again and waved it off. "Well, don't expect us to turn into shopping buddies or anything."

Buffy smiled. "Of course not. Not buddies anyways. Pals maybe. After all, pals are just friends, buddies sleep together."

"Okay, then that's a big no on the buddies part." Cordelia gave Buffy a sweet, gentle kiss and handed her one tray of drinks as she took the other. "I'll be your buddy though." She purred out softly.

Buffy just about dropped her tray of drinks. She watched stunned for a second as Cordelia kissed her nose and headed outside. Buffy finally snapped out of it and headed out after her girlfriend. She placed the tray of drinks on the table and grabbed one for herself. She moved to a lounge chair on the patio and settled down into the oversized cushions. She watched as Riley and Angel tossed a football back and forth and Xander sat off to the side with Anya watching them almost wistfully.

A few moments later, a pair of long, tanned thighs were blocking her view of the boys and she allowed her eyes to travel up the form standing next to her. Cordelia grinned down at her and in one quick movement she managed to place herself between Buffy's legs, leaning back against her. "You don't mind if I sit here do you?"

Buffy slid some of Cordelia's hair away from her neck and placed a soft kiss on the exposed skin. "Nope, not at all."

They both watched as Angel was momentarily distracted by Faith and missed the football thrown to him and it bounced off his chest and landed by Xander's feet. Angel grinned sheepishly as Faith burst out laughing. Xander grabbed the ball and stood up, heaving it in Riley's direction in a perfect spiral. Riley and Angel gaped at him for a moment and he grinned under the attention.

"Harris, I didn't know you had an arm. Why aren't you playing on the team with us?" Riley asked as he made his way closer to the boy seated on the steps of the deck.

Xander shrugged. "I dunno, I never really thought about it."

Angel thought for a moment. "Ya know, I could talk to the coach. My back up QB, Steve broke his leg last weekend and we had to bring up the kid from JV. He's really not that great. I could see if coach would give you a try out if you want."

Xander's eyes got wide and a smile crept onto his face. "Really? You'd do that?"

Angel smiled. "Yeah, we can't have a bad back up. You'd get to practice all the time and you'd probably replace me when I graduate after next year."

Riley stepped up next to Angel. "We could practice with you too. You'll need to know all the plays just in case the big A-man here gets hurt."

"Riley, don't you dare jinx Angel like that, we're actually good this year." Cordelia called out from her chair.

Riley smiled sheepishly. "Sorry. But we really can help if you want."

"That would be great. Thanks guys."

Cordelia rolled her eyes at her two best guy friends, wishing sometimes they weren't such nice guys. Now she would be forced to not only hang with Faith, but Xander too. "Angel needs to keep his mouth shut sometimes."

Buffy continued playing with Cordelia's hair from behind her. "Why? Xander's a nice guy, Cor."

"I know, he just grates my nerves sometimes and now we have two members of the dork squad hanging with us because of Angel." Cordy rolled her eyes and heaved a sigh.

"I'm sure you'll survive sweetie." Buffy said with a tiny grin. Cordelia stretched her arms up and wrapped them up around Buffy's neck. "I know, I'm just waiting for Willow to come bouncing through the gate only to find out that Riley's been dating her secretly or something."

Buffy laughed and trailed her hands up and down Cordelia's arms lightly. "After hanging out with that stupid bimbo Riley brought to the dance all night, Willow would be an improvement in my opinion."

Cordelia burst out laughing. "She was an idiot wasn't she?"

"Yes, she was. If I had to hear one more stupid story about hardware stores and clocks I would've staked myself."

The evening turned out to be fun for all involved, even though Buffy nearly gave Cordelia a heart attack after Faith challenged her to a little diving contest. Both slayers were drunk and Faith climbed onto the roof and did a somersault and a dive into the pool from fifty feet up. Buffy, who never backed down from a challenge, climbed up after her and copied the move with perfection. The two slayers stunned everyone with their wild antics again...everyone but Cordelia, who came close to having a stoke when Buffy leapt off the roof. Strangely, Angel didn't seem too fazed either. Anyways, Buffy ended up spending most of the remainder of the evening sitting outside Cordelia's bathroom calling out apologies after the brunette locked herself in there, completely furious with her girlfriend. Once she did come out, Buffy made it up to her with a million kisses and super slayer snuggles. And of course she had to promise that she wouldn't leap off tall buildings into swimming pools ever again. Geez, some girls can be so touchy.


"So G-man, have you figured out what that amulet does yet?" Faith asked as she and Buffy strode through the library doors.

Giles looked up from a large book on the table. "Yes actually, and it's a good thing the two of you retrieved it when you did."

Buffy dropped her stuff and plunked into the chair across from Giles. "Why, what's it do?"

"It's used in a ritual to open the Hellmouth." He stated as he went back to the book.

Buffy eyed the amulet warily. "Are you sure we should have it then?"

"Yes, I assume the vampires that were looking for it worked for the Master who needs it to perform the ritual."

Faith thought for a moment. "So this Master guy wants to open the Hellmouth, right?"

"Yes, and doing so will spill out forces of evil to overtake the world."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Oh, goodie. Why don't we go after him?"

"Well, the two of you could do some reconnaissance in the sewers...I only wish we could get our hands on the plans. It would make things easier." He said, furrowing his brow.

"Wilma can get that for us." Faith said absently as she picked at her shirt.

Giles eyed her with confusion. "Wilma?"

Faith rolled her eyes. "Willow. Willow Rosenberg, she can do just about anything with a computer."

"Do you think she would help us?" He asked with a small smile. Faith shrugged. "I can ask, I'm sure it won't be a problem."


"So, back to the amulet. What are we gonna do about it?" Buffy asked.

Giles looked up from his book and removed his glasses to rub his eyes tiredly. "Well, I have done some research and I found a spell to destroy it, I just need to gather the appropriate ingredients."

"So, when do you think you'll have everything?" Faith asked.

"I should have the last few things in the next week or two. I had to special order a few items and they may take some time to arrive. I must warn you both, the Master will be looking for both of you for taking the amulet, so on patrol, you need to be extra careful."

Buffy took a good look around. "Where exactly is the Hellmouth, Giles?"

"To be specific, it's directly below us right now."

Both slayers jumped up from their chairs and moved further away from him. "Here? In the library?" Buffy asked.

"Yes." He stated absently.

Faith smirked. "Maybe that's why nobody but us is ever in here. Maybe normal people can sense something we can't."

Giles rolled his eyes. "I doubt it, I just think the youth of this country is far to obsessed with those blasted computers and the Internet." Faith and Buffy exchanged a wry look as they reclaimed their seats, hoping Giles wasn't planning on going into another boring babble about the evil of computers. "I do want you both to know that I think you are both doing a wonderful job so far. I'm impressed with the level of discretion you have both shown."

Buffy and Faith wore similar expressions of guilt that Giles picked up on immediately and he let out a frustrated sigh. "Honestly, can you two not keep anything quiet?"

"I had to tell Cordelia. I had to. She's my best friend and my girlfriend; there is no way I could keep it from her. But she's totally cool." Buffy offered with a wide hopeful smile.

Giles rolled his eyes and nodded before shifting his gaze to Faith.

"Angel and I went out for coffee a few weeks ago and there was a scuffle that he wouldn't let me check out alone, so he trailed along behind me and saw everything."

Buffy's head snapped in Faith's direction. "Angel knows?"

"Yeah, B. He didn't tell you?"

Buffy scowled. "No, I'll have to have a little chat with him."

Faith laughed and shoved Buffy good-naturedly. "Aw, be easy on him, B. He's a good guy, besides, he got X on the football team."

"I'll bet Cordy knows that he knows." Buffy said with a frown.

"She does." Faith replied absently.

"What!" Buffy exclaimed as she stood up.

Faith shrugged. "I heard the two of them talking about it a few days ago."

Giles, who had heard enough, cleared his throat loudly to get the attention of his slayers. "Yes, well, if the two of you are quite finished, let's begin training and be sure to be careful tonight."

The slayers gave him matching sheepish grins and moved to the other room to change into workout clothes. Giles went back to his books as the girls worked out and heaved a sigh of relief when they left for patrol. Honestly, why one Earth did the slayer have to be a teenage girl? He shook his head wearily and went back to research.


Cordelia arrived at Buffy's house and knocked on the door. She normally just let herself in, but she noticed Buffy's mom's jeep in the driveway, so she had to be polite. The door opened to reveal Joyce who smiled widely when she saw Cordelia.

"Hi Cordelia, come on in."

Cordelia gave her a warm smile. She loved Buffy's mom. "Hey Mrs. Summers. How are you?"

Joyce pulled her in gently and gave her a small hug. "I'm fine dear, how are you?"

"I'm good." She smiled as she followed Joyce into the kitchen.

Joyce poured herself a cup of coffee. "Would you like some coffee honey? Buffy's not ready yet, I think she's still in the shower."

"No thanks, I'm fine." Cordelia sat at the island watching Joyce wander around making a fresh pot of coffee.

"I'm going to need all the caffeine I can get tonight, I'll probably be at the gallery all night." She smiled at the brunette. "Buffy told me you made the varsity cheerleading squad, congratulations."

Cordelia smiled widely. "Thank you, I'm really excited about it."

"Your parents must be very proud of you." Joyce commented as she took the seat across from Cordelia.

Cordelia's eyes turned sad as she dropped her gaze to her hands. "I haven't really seen them since I made the squad so they don't really know yet."

Joyce stood from her seat and moved around the island, pulling Cordelia into a warm hug. Cordelia felt her chin quiver lightly, but she held her emotions back. "I'm sorry honey. It must be tough having your parents gone all the time." She pulled back and held Cordy at an arm's length and swept a few strands of hair from her eyes. "If you ever need anything, you come to me. Even if you need some motherly advice, I'm always here to listen."

Cordelia gave her a shaky smile. "Thank you Mrs. Summers. That means a lot."

Joyce smiled warmly and resumed her position on the other side of the island. Cordelia took a deep breath and wiped away a small tear before she stood up. "I'm gonna go see if Buffy is ready yet." She smiled at the woman who, in only a short time, had been more of a mother to her than her real mother. Joyce nodded and began getting ready to leave.

Cordelia smiled at the amazing kindness that both Summers women seemed to possess and realized she was incredibly lucky to have them both in her life. As she got to the top of the stairs she heard the shower running and the sound of the radio playing rather loudly. She heard Joyce call out to them that she was leaving and Cordelia called out a response, knowing Buffy hadn't heard her. She stood at the door for a moment, as she heard Buffy's voice singing along with the song she was listening to and her face broke out into a huge grin.

She knocked on the door and called out to Buffy as she opened the door slowly. "Summers, come on, I'd like to get to the Bronze sometime this week if that's okay."

Buffy's head peeked out from the shower curtain and she grinned when she saw Cordelia. "Hey, sorry. Patrol ran late, you must have gotten here just after me. I'll only be a minute." She grinned impishly and raised her hand; she curled her index finger in the universal sign for 'come here'.

Cordelia matched her girlfriend's grin and took a few steps until her face was inches from Buffy's. Buffy leaned in and captured the brunette's lips in a searing kiss and Cordelia felt her body temperature become almost uncomfortably hot. The steam from the shower did little to help as she pulled away from the blonde, who grinned wickedly and ducked her head back in the shower. Cordelia sighed and closed her eyes for a moment, trying desperately to get her hormones under control. She turned and began fixing her make up as Buffy began singing again.

Cordy stood for a few moments listening to the sweet sounds of her girlfriend's voice and a huge grin began to grace her features. "Summers, you can really sing." She called out loud enough for Buffy to hear over the roar of the shower.

"You think so?"

"Yes! You have a great voice."

"Thanks." Buffy began singing again and Cordelia went back to her make up. A few minutes later, the shower shut off and Cordelia watched through the mirror as an arm snaked out to grab the towel on the bar. The shower curtain slipped open and Cordelia almost gasped at Buffy's figure draped in a towel as she stepped out of the shower. Buffy grinned wickedly as she took in the look of lust in her girlfriend's eyes and she took a few slow, seductive steps closer to the brunette. Cordelia's nostrils where assaulted with the sweet scent of strawberries and vanilla as Buffy pressed her towel-clad body snugly against her frame. Cordelia drew in a deep breath and smiled as Buffy raised her head and gazed up at her through her lashes.

"So, you liked my singing, huh?"

Cordelia sucked in a shaky breath as she gazed into the gorgeous hazel eyes in front of her. "Uh huh."

Buffy smiled sweetly and reached in for a kiss, knowing good and well she wouldn't get too much vocal action from her girlfriend at the moment. She snaked her hands around Cordelia's neck as the brunette grabbed her hips and tugged them closer to her own. Their lips met in a fiery, passionate kiss, as their tongues dueled for dominancy.

Cordelia raised her hands to Buffy's hair and she ran her fingers through the damp strands gently, each stroke brought out a fresh waft of the strawberry scented shampoo the blonde used. Both girls where wildly aware that their hormones were getting a bit out of control, so they each took a step back.

"Do you have any idea what you do to me, Summers?" Cordy asked breathlessly.

Buffy let out a shaky sigh. "I think I have a pretty good idea."

Cordelia sighed and moved towards the door. "I'll just wait downstairs."

Buffy nodded, slightly dazed. "Okay, I'll be down in a minute."

Cordelia retreated to safer ground downstairs and waited for Buffy.

Twenty minutes later the two were out the door and headed to the Bronze. They found Riley and Angel at their usual table with a few guests. Xander, Faith and Willow were sitting with them. Buffy grasped Cordelia's hand as they made their way over and sat down.

"Ah, Buffster and Corduroy how are you ladies tonight?"

"Corduroy?" Cordelia asked with a glare.

Xander smiled sheepishly and turned to Riley. "So, run that last play by me again."

"Hey, B, have you two figured out Halloween costumes yet?"

"Not yet, we're still working on it." She grinned at the couple. "What are you guys going as?"

Faith and Angel shared a wicked grin. "Bonnie and Clyde, baby." She replied with a smirk.

Buffy laughed. "That will be so cute." She glanced at Xander and Anya. "What about you guys?"

Xander gave her a goofy smile. "Well, I'm going as a giant bunny and Anya is going as a clown. We figured we'd scare each other silly."

"You're afraid of clowns?" Cordelia asked with a smirk. "I thought the bunny thing was weird."

Xander scowled. "Well, they're scary." He shuddered. "Very scary." He glanced back at Buffy. "Hey, you two could go as Thelma and Louise."

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Yeah Harris, great idea, me and Summers can get all dirty and not wash our hair for a few days. Then we can put on week old clothes and drive a car off a cliff. Great idea." She spat out with a sarcastic grin.

Buffy gave Xander an apologetic smile and stood up, bringing Cordelia with her. "We're gonna go dance."

Cordelia trailed her girlfriend to the dance floor and wrapped her arms around her, feeling immensely comforted immediately. "Sorry."

Buffy gazed up at her and kissed her lightly. "What for?"

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Being a bitch to Xander."

"Honey, I don't think it's me that you should be apologizing to." Buffy said carefully.

"I know, he just drives me nuts sometimes." Cordelia said with a tiny scowl.

"I know baby, but just try not to let it bother you. It's pretty obvious we're gonna be seeing a lot more of him, so we might as well get used to it, right?" She asked as she gazed up at Cordelia, who had a dazed look on her face. "Cor? What's wrong?"

Cordelia snapped out of it and kissed Buffy gently. "You called me baby." She replied with a soft smile.

Buffy blushed and smiled shyly. "It just kinda slipped out."

Cordelia grinned. "Well, I'll be the first to say that I wouldn't mind if it happened to slip out again."

Buffy smiled and kissed her again. "Ya know, I was thinking about Halloween...maybe instead of dressing as a couple, we should just each get separate costumes, but they can be sexy." Buffy wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

Cordelia laughed and kissed Buffy's forehead. "You are such a doofus, Summers." She smiled wickedly at her girlfriend. "You might have something there though. We would be the hottest couple here."

Buffy and Faith had been reassured that Halloween would be quiet on the freaky front, so they knew they could relax for at least one night. Little did they know, a certain wizard in town was planning his first tiny funfest with the slayers and their friends. He grinned when he thought of Ripper's reaction to his little prank.


"I really hope Giles doesn't kill Ethan." Buffy said with a sigh as she wandered into Cordelia's room after changing out of her costume.

"I think he would have if Angel and Faith had been arrested or someone had been hurt." Cordelia replied as she pulled the pins out of her hair, letting it flow down her back.

Ethan Rayne decided it would be fun to cast a little spell on the slayers and their friends at the Bronze. And surprise, surprise, everyone turned into their costumes. . Angel and Faith came close to getting arrested for trying to rob the Bronze. Xander and Anya spent the entire night hiding in the bathrooms after seriously scaring each other silly. Riley, who was dressed as an Army commando, nearly killed Angel, trying to stop him and Faith from robbing the club. Buffy and Cordelia were dressed as swingers and came too close to sleeping with about six different guys each.

Willow, who wasn't wearing a costume, saved the day when she decided to find Giles, since she'd seen him with Faith and Buffy before and he found Ethan and nearly killed him Luckily it was only a temporary spell and it wore off leaving a few people feeling either very foolish or very creeped out. It had been a long night.

"I can't believe you almost slept with Jonathan." Buffy said with a small grimace.

Cordelia nearly gagged. "Yeah, well that little weasel should have known something weird was going on. He knows we're together and why on Earth would I try to sleep with him anyways?" She scowled and crawled into bed. "Guys are so lame."

Buffy grinned impishly as she creeped into Cordelia's bed next to her. "Good thing I'm not a guy then."

Cordelia grinned at the slayer and pulled her in close as soon as she could get her hands on the blonde. They fell into peaceful slumber quickly, while across town, two terrified teens were wide awake trying to keep the certainty of nightmares away.


Buffy slipped her key into the lock and slid the door open. It was late and she was exhausted, more of the Master's minions had attacked the slayers out on patrol and she was so ready for bed. She locked the door behind her and trudged up the stairs. She eased her bedroom door open and drank in the sight before her. Cordelia was asleep in her bed, as she usually was after a late patrol. The only light in the room came from a small lamp next to the bed, and it draped a soft hue over the long, slender frame in her bed. The sheets were in tangles around Cordelia's ankles and the brunette was clad in only a small white tank top and a pair of pale blue panties. Buffy shed most of her clothes and grabbed a towel from her closet. After a quick shower, she changed into a similar outfit and slid quietly into bed, drawing the sheets up around them. Cordelia stirred slightly. "Mmm, Buffy?" She murmured sleepily.

Buffy drew herself up on an elbow and kissed Cordelia's forehead gently. "I'm here baby." She whispered.

Cordelia kept her eyes closed and smiled a sweet, sleepy smile as she drew the slayer closer. "You okay?"

"Yeah, no problems. Just go back to sleep." She murmured quietly as she kissed the brunette softly.

Cordelia nodded and wrapped her body around the slayer as the two drifted off to sleep.


"So you mean to tell me that was the Master? That stupid ass vamp who looked like he was wearing lipstick was the big bad?" Faith asked with a laugh.

Giles smiled as he shook his head. "Yes, that was the Master."

"That had to have been the funniest damn thing I've ever seen when he was runnin' around squealing like a pig in heat after B set him on fire." She said as she doubled over in hysterics.

Buffy giggled with her sister slayer. "See, I knew my love for fire would come in handy one day." Buffy smirked at Cordelia and stuck out her tongue playfully.

"Very well done, Summers." Cordelia replied with a grin. "Your pyrotechnics will surely get you into the college of your choice one day." She grinned to herself thinking about how she had to drag Buffy out of the sewers as she stared, completely captivated with the blaze earlier that night.

Faith grinned at the slayers' job well done defeating the Master. "Hey boys and girls, let's get outta here and have some fun. We've done enough work for one day."

Angel smiled fondly at her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, dropping a kiss on the top of her head. "You did good Faith."

She grinned up at him and stole a kiss. "Thanks, big guy, you too."

"Hey what about me?" Cordelia asked with a raised eyebrow.

Faith burst out laughing again. "Yeah, Queeney, you did great. I loved the way you screamed like a six year old in a haunted house and ran around like a fool to distract him."

Cordelia scowled at Faith until the giggles became contagious and she rolled her eyes in defeat. "Screw you then."

Faith smirked. "Sorry, that's B's job, not mine. Right blondie?"

Buffy rolled her eyes and grasped Cordelia's hand. "Come on, Cor. Let's go."

Faith tugged Angel along after her as she trailed the other slayer, calling out apologies along the way. Giles shook his head as the four left the library. He raised his eyes to the ceiling and asked whoever out there, again, why the slayers had to be teenage girls. Although, he had to admit, they did kick ass and take names. Yup, another job well done for the good guys.


"So, you and Angel seem to be quite the couple lately." Buffy noted as she and Faith wandered around Shady Acres.

Faith shrugged, trying to appear stoic, but Buffy caught a tiny smile on her lips. "He's a really great guy, you know that. Plus, he's totally cool with the slayer gig, and not too many guys would date a girl that could kick his ass."

"It's not like he's a wimp though Faith." Buffy pointed out.

"Oh, I know. He can totally hold his own, he was so proud of himself when he dusted that vamp a few weeks ago in the sewers." She replied as her tiny smile turned into a tiny grin.

Buffy smiled at the memory of Angel standing over a pile of dust with a stake clutched proudly in his hand. The slayers had been skeptical about bringing Angel and Cordelia with them to fight, but the duo insisted, stating, as Cordelia so eloquently put it 'Anything Mr. Tweed over here can do, I can do, gimme a stake and a cross, I'm coming.' She grinned in spite of herself. "Cor may need a bit more work though."

Faith chose, wisely, to keep biting remarks to herself. Past experience taught her not to go treading into those waters with Buffy. "How are the two of you anyways? Still sickeningly sweet as always?"

Buffy grinned like a fool and shoved Faith. "We're not sickeningly sweet...just sweet with a side of sugar."

Faith smirked. "Just a side of sugar?" She implied wickedly.

Buffy gave her a mock glare. "Yes. Just a side...for now anyways." She added with a grin. She glanced at Faith with a raised eyebrow. "You and Angel are still 'just a side' too right?"

The dark slayer rolled her eyes and sighed. "Sadly yes, but I do intend to turn him to the dark side soon if you must know." Faith grinned wickedly.

Buffy's pretty features soured slightly. "Okay, just be sure to not tell me when it becomes a full-blown meal."

Faith burst out laughing and slapped Buffy on the arm. "You got it, Princess." She tossed an arm over Buffy's shoulders as the two sauntered confidently into the night, daring anything to challenge the Chosen Two.


"Hey, do you guys want to go up to Big Bear for a long weekend after Christmas? My parents said it was okay if we wanted to use the cabin to go skiing." Cordelia asked the group at lunch. Much to Cordelia's surprise she had actually started to get along with both Willow and Xander. Of course, Xander's cool points went sky high after he joined the football team, but he still grated Cordelia's nerves. She did seem to find herself liking Willow more and more. The redhead was genuinely a sweet person, so Cordy gave her a break and they all hung out together frequently. Besides, they all had one thing in common. They each had a friend, or girlfriend that somehow managed to risk her life on a nightly basis and they all shared in the fear that goes along with it. Not a lot of people could share that with them.

"Ugh, skiing is so lame, CC, you really need to try snowboarding, it's so much better." Angel said with a yawn.

"Angel, you snowboard? I've always wanted to try that. Can you teach me?" Buffy asked with a grin.

Angel nodded. "Yup, it's really easy once you get the hang of it."

"So that's a yes then?" Cordelia asked with a fond smile. She glanced at Willow and Xander. "You guys are included in that invitation too by the way."

Willow and Xander both broke into wide smiles. "I'm there. I never pass up an opportunity to get outta my house." Xander said with a nod.

Cordelia eyed Willow pointedly. "Will?"

Willow blushed under the scrutiny of the Queen and she smiled and nodded her head shyly. "I'm sure it will be okay. Thanks Cordy."

Cordelia smiled warmly. "Sure. Oh, and if anybody's parents get weird about supervision, just tell them my Aunt and Uncle live next door and will be keeping an eye on us." She grinned wickedly. "They do actually live there, but about an hour away. It's close enough."

Angel turned to Xander. "Hey Xand, if you don't have skis or a snowboard, I have an extra set of each, with the boots if you need to borrow something."

Xander grinned widely. "Thanks, that would be great."

"Willow, if you want to borrow skis or anything, just let me know, my mom has three different pairs that she never uses."

Willow blushed and nodded, but before she could say anything, Faith came bounding up to the group and plunked herself down on Angel's lap, kissing him quickly. "Hey, what'd I miss?"

"We're all gonna go skiing after Christmas at Cordy's parents place in Big Bear." Angel replied with a grin.

"Sweet, count me in." She grinned widely. "I think I got kicked out of every resort in Boston growing up, they didn't really like it when you would pelt people with snowballs as they came down the mountain to see who could make the most people fall."

Cordelia gave her a very pointed look with a raised eyebrow and Faith instantly held up her hands in mock defeat as she grinned. "Don't worry, Queeney, I'll be good." She grinned at Buffy wickedly. "Hey, B, have you ever wondered if you could make yourself into a human snowball and roll all the way down the mountain?"

Buffy burst out laughing as Cordelia cringed, hoping it wasn't an enormous mistake asking everyone to come along. She just prayed that Buffy's slaying companion would at least pretend to hold true to her statement. We'll just have to see about that.


Two days after Christmas, Angel and Cordelia picked Faith and Buffy up at Buffy's house. Angel had swapped cars with his father so they would have a bit more room and a safer drive into the mountains. Buffy called out her good-byes to her mom as she slid into the backseat of the Range Rover with Cordelia. She grinned and leaned over for a kiss as they pulled away from her house. "Mmm, hi." She drawled quietly.

Cordelia grinned. "Hey you."

"Are we meeting the others at Riley's house?" She asked Angel.

He nodded as he gripped Faith's hand in his. "Yup, they're taking Anya's car to make the trip easier. As long as it doesn't take us long to get out of town, we should be there at sunset."

Faith craned her head around and glanced at the two in the back. "Hey, C, Angel said this place has a hot tub."

Cordelia grinned as thoughts of her and Buffy streamed through her brain. "Yup, it's on the back deck. It has room for ten, so we should all fit."

Faith grinned widely. "Wicked. Hey thanks for brining us all along, I'm psyched."

"No problem, but you and tweedle-dee over here need to promise to be good." She said as she jutted a thumb to the blonde next to her.

Faith furrowed her brow for a moment. "Does that mean I'm tweedle- dum?"

Buffy burst out laughing. "I always was the smarter one."

"Oh, give me a break Twinkie, I am so the smarter one." She replied with a smirk. "I aced that anatomy mid-term, what did you get?"

"Hey! I got an A. I'm just as smart as you, and I can kick your ass."

Faith rolled her eyes. "Whatever blondie, I'm gonna leave your ass in the dust once we hit the slopes."

Angel exchanged a humorous look with Cordelia in the rear-view mirror and she just shook her head. How these two could shut their mouths for five minutes was beyond her, let alone shut up long enough to save the world. She didn't know how they did it.

Two and a half hours later, the two cars pulled up outside a huge two- story cabin settled on a spacious area of the mountain. The slayers watched as Anya and Xander immediately flung themselves from her car as soon as it stopped. It seems there was still a bit of left over Halloween fright and they could barely sit in the same room with one another.

Cordelia ushered them all inside and they took in the utter beauty of the enormous house. "Okay, Summers and I will take the master bedroom down here. There are four rooms upstairs, two have double beds and two have two singles, so you guys take your pick. There's a bathroom for each two rooms up there and another down here. The kitchen is that way next to the living room, and the hot tub is outside behind them on the deck."

Buffy grinned at her woman taking charge as she headed back to the car to grab hers and Cordy's bags, skis and her rental snowboard.

Once the cars had been unpacked, the group settled in for the night. Angel started making a huge fire as Cordelia made some drinks and the others wandered around keeping themselves occupied until the slayers began their nightly antics. Faith was out on the deck smoking a cigarette when Buffy came out to join her.

"That is such a nasty habit Faith, you really should quit."

Faith shrugged as she took a final drag and tossed the butt over the railing. "I know, I'm trying. I have cut down you know." Faith turned to look back into the house through the wide windows that graced the side of the house. "Ya know, I was thinking."

Buffy smirked. "Oh geez, get the crash helmets ready."

Faith slapped her playfully. "No seriously. I was thinking about Wilma." She gave a nod in the direction of the house. "You know now as well as I do that she's a really sweet girl, but she's just too damn shy."

"She really is sweet." Buffy said, following Faith's gaze inside.

"Anyways, I figure the only thing she's lacking is a bit of confidence. You and Queeney have enough confidence to fill a football stadium, maybe you guys could help her out."

Buffy cocked her head and glanced at Faith. "Help her out how?"

Faith shrugged. "Well, you know me, I'm not big on the girlie, but you two are. I though maybe you guys could help her out a bit, maybe a make over or something, just a nudge in the right direction."

Buffy beamed at the thought of a make over. "I'm sure Cor would love to help, and you can count me in." She paused for a moment. "But do you think Will would go for it?"

"Maybe, I'm sure between the three of us we can get her to try just about anything." She grinned widely. "Besides your girl gave everyone those mammoth gift cards to the mall for Christmas, maybe when we get back we can all go out shopping or something."

Buffy gave Faith a silly grin. "Aw, Faith you are so cute when you want to be."

Faith scowled and slapped her on the arm. "Hey, shut it B, I'm not cute. I'm dangerous."

Buffy burst out laughing. "Faith, you are too funny." She grabbed the brunette's arm and dragged her inside. "Come on, let's have some fun."

An hour later, Willow was seated at the vanity in the master bedroom with Cordelia looming over her. The three girls had finally convinced Willow to allow them to change her image a bit, and Cordelia decided that a hair cut was first on the list.

"Just not too short, Cordy."

"Willow, relax, I've done this plenty of times. I'm just going to give you a few layers to frame your face and thin it out a bit. I'll give you some longer layers and it will be just below your shoulders. Trust me."

Willow glanced from Faith who was grinning madly, to Buffy who was nodding her approval, to Cordelia who was waiting for the okay. The redhead finally nodded and Cordelia got to work.

"So Queeney, you aren't gonna join us with the snowboards tomorrow?"

Cordelia nodded her head absently, trying to concentrate on her cutting. "Nope, I'm sticking to skis."

Buffy's eyes widened as she thought of something. "Oh, Faith that reminds me, the guy at the rental shop gave me a thing to put on the board to help when I get off the lift, can you show me how it works?"

"You mean a stomp pad?"


"Sure, come on, I'll help ya." Faith replied with a nod towards the other room.

Willow and Cordelia watched the slayers exit. Willow had an amused grin on her face as they left. "Those two are a funny pair."

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Yeah, too bad Buffy devolves into a goofy little kid when Faith is around."

Willow laughed lightly. "I heard about their diving contest after Homecoming."

"Please don't remind me, I've spent the last two and a half months trying to forget." Cordelia replied with a shake of her head.

Willow smiled softly. "Thanks for doing this Cordy, I really appreciate it."

"It's no problem at all, that's what friends are for." Cordelia replied with a smile.

Once Cordelia was finished she took a step back and admired her work with a grin. Willow sat stunned at the vanity. She couldn't believe how a tiny haircut could make her look that much better. She looked amazing.

"Wow, Cordy. I look..."

Cordelia smiled warmly. "You look beautiful." She pulled the redhead up from her seat and began dragging her out of the room. "Come on, let's show you off. Oh, and we can all go out to dinner tomorrow night and we can dress you up. You are gonna be so hot."

Both girls were momentarily distracted by a scream and a bunch of voices yelling a second later. Cordelia clamped her eyes shut and counted to ten before exiting the room. When they emerged in the living room, Buffy was helping Faith to the couch and was in the middle of yelling at her. "...And second of all, next time the mood strikes to show off your moon walk skills, don't do it on the railing of the deck!" Buffy paused and let go of Faith as she noticed her girlfriend enter the room. She grinned sheepishly. "Faith fell off the deck." Her eyes fell to Willow, and immediately got wide. "Will! You look so amazing!"

Willow blushed lightly at all the attention, and soon found her blush deepening as every single person in the room stopped what they were doing to gape at her.

"Doesn't she look great?" Cordelia asked her friends.

The three guys in the room remained stunned for a moment longer than the girls who all immediately began going on about how amazing she looked.

"Wilma, you look so totally hot." Faith grinned as she ran her fingers through Willow's hair a few times.

Anya gave her a huge grin. "Willow, you really do look great. Nice work Cordy."

The group took it relatively easy that night, knowing they would be up early to hit the slopes, so there were no crazy antics from the slayers and drinking was shockingly kept to a minimum.

Cordelia awoke the next morning with a pair of hazel eyes watching her carefully. She gave Buffy a sleepy smile as she pulled her in close, looking for morning snuggles. Buffy burrowed her face into Cordelia's neck and kissed her lightly. The two pulled themselves as close as humanly possible and they reveled in the sensation of silky skin sliding together as legs and arms intertwined.

Later that afternoon, Cordelia and Angel stood waiting at the bottom of the slopes waiting for the two slayers. A few minutes later they watched as the pair raced their way down the mountain. Buffy had picked up snowboarding extremely quickly and before she knew it, she and Faith were racing down the slopes at blistering speeds. The duo came to a stop in front of Angel and Cordy with wide grins on their faces. Buffy snapped her foot out of her bindings and hobbled over to her girlfriend.


Cordelia gave her a warm smile and a kiss. "Hey, we're gonna head back to the house, do you two wanna come?"

Faith and Buffy exchanged a glance. "Actually, I think we're gonna go a few more times, is that cool?"

Cordelia shrugged. "Fine by me, just make sure you're back by seven so we can make it to dinner in time. We have reservations."

Buffy grinned and nodded leaning in for another steamy kiss. Faith gave Angel a grin and kissed him sweetly. "So, we'll see you guys in a few hours then? Come on, B, I'm ready for another race."

The two slayers headed back to the lift as Angel and Cordy began walking back to the house. "Hey, Angel, can you give me a lift to the store? I need to pick up a few things."


Once they arrived back at the house, the climbed into the Range Rover and headed to the store. Cordelia grinned to herself as she thought about her plan. Did she have something special planned for Buffy tonight.


Once everyone was showered and dressed they piled back into the trucks and headed out to a classy restaurant down the road. Xander eyed the place carefully as they approached. "This place looks a little too fancy for me."

Cordelia grinned and reached into her purse. When her hand emerged she was holding a credit card. "See, that's why I have this and dinner is on me tonight...or should I say daddy."

Willow kept her gaze on the ground until Faith sent her a light hip check. "Chin up Wilma, if you're gazin' at the ground, you won't see all these hotties checking you out."

Willow blushed, but raised her head and did in fact find more than a few gazes sent her way. Faith gave her a knowing nudge and a grin as she slipped her hand in Angel's.

After dinner, the group headed for the hot tub with two pitches of margaritas. They all soaked their tired muscles in the steamy water as they drank their pain away.

Cordelia leaned over to Faith. "Hey, do me a favor and keep Buffy busy for a half hour okay?" She paused for a moment. "Just don't do anything crazy."

Faith grinned and nodded. "No problem, Queeney. A half hour it is."

Cordelia gave Buffy a quick kiss and stepped out of the hot tub. "I'll be back."

Buffy nodded with a small smile and turned to Faith who was poking her with a finger in the shoulder, demanding her attention.

Faith could barely keep Buffy's attention for the half hour that she promised Cordelia, and the blonde stepped out of the steaming water and shivered at the snow that started to fall. She grabbed her towel and dried off, stepping inside. She furrowed her brow and checked the common rooms of the house, not finding her girlfriend anywhere.

She finally moved to the bedroom door and opened it slowly. Her eyes got wide as she took in the sight of Cordelia stretched out on the bed, in a red silk bra and matching panties. The room contained probably a hundred tiny, lit candles, draping the room in a soft glow. Cordelia gave her a grin and motioned her closer. Buffy felt her heart flutter and she dropped the towel to the ground, moving closer to the bed closing the door behind her.

She moved to the foot of the bed and crawled up slowly. She moved up Cordelia's body dropping a random kiss here and there as she moved up the gorgeous body beneath hers. She finally reached the brunette's mouth and leaned in for a fiery kiss. Cordy allowed her hands to trail the exposed skin on Buffy's back and she trailed her nails softly down her spine. In one swift motion, their positions were reversed and Cordelia hovered over the slayer. Cordy moved her hand to the strap of Buffy's bikini and pushed the strap off her shoulder and kissed the damp skin lightly. She trailed a dozen sweet kisses up to the slayer's neck and sucked lightly on her pulse point. Her lips felt Buffy's pulse quicken and she nipped lightly at the skin before her tongue darted out to soothe the flesh. Buffy allowed her hands to trail up Cordelia's stomach and her hands gently cupped her breasts as her thumbs grazed her nipples lightly. Cordelia dropped her head back and Buffy leaned in trailing tender kisses down her throat. Cordelia gazed into the hazel eyes of her girlfriend and watched how they seemed to darken with desire as the seconds ticked by. She leaned down and kissed the slayer gently before her lips began to move south. Cordelia trailed gentle, but searing kisses down the slayer's compact body. She moved from the blonde's neck to her collarbone and kissed down between her breasts. Cordy spent a few moments at Buffy's navel, swirling her tongue around.

"Cor..." The slayer breathed out softly.

Cordelia slid back up the slayer's body slowly, retracing her kisses in the opposite direction. She gazed down at her girlfriend lovingly as she swept a damp strand of hair from her face. "Yeah, baby?"

The slayer met her gaze evenly and furrowed her brow lightly. "Are you sure you wanna do this?"

Cordelia gave her a sweet, comforting smile. "I'm absolutely sure. Are you?" She asked before she sucked on Buffy's lower lip lightly.

Buffy nodded and cupped her face gently with both hands, holding the brunette's attention. She lifted her head and gave Cordelia the sweetest, most gentle kiss she could muster. "I love you." She admitted softly.

Cordelia felt a wave of emotion surge through her spine and felt tears prick her eyes. "I love you too." She whispered, not trusting her voice.

The two shared a loving kiss and their eyes remain locked, chasing away any fear or anxiety. They undressed each other slowly, kissing and caressing gently as they did. Buffy allowed her hands to lazily trail the other girl's body as she leaned in for a smoldering kiss. She smiled into the kiss when Cordy moaned as her hands trailed across the brunette's breasts and tickled her nipples lightly. Cordy placed a thigh between Buffy's and leaned in close allowing both of them to feel the contact.

Cordy broke the kiss and leaned her head back as a tiny whimper escaped her lips. Buffy seized the opportunity to lean forward and place several blazing kisses on the other girl's neck. Cordy leaned back into the tiny slayer and the full contact of their bodies added another fevered moan to the other various heated sounds coming from both girls. Buffy held Cordelia close as the friction brought them both closer to the edge.

"Cor..." The slayer moaned quietly, catching Cordy's eyes with her own, silently pleading.

"I'm here baby, I'm here." Cordelia whispered softly.

Soft kisses were exchanged as their eyes locked and foreheads pressed together lightly until Buffy was sent over the edge. Her release was enough to have Cordy writhing in pleasure and she soon collapsed fully on top of the blonde. She rolled off of the slayer and cuddled in close to her. Buffy lifted a hand and brushed a few strands of hair away from Cordy's face gently. They shared a fevered, passionate kiss before Cordelia rolled over and pressed her gloriously soft frame against the slayer. Buffy pressed her cheek against Cordelia's back between her shoulder blades and breathed in the sweet sleepy scent of her girlfriend.

As she drifted off to sleep wrapped around Cordelia, Buffy murmured one last thought. "Love you, Cor."

"Love you too, Summers."


After four blissful days of snow, nights of drinking and hot tubs, the group returned to Sunnydale feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the second semester. The girls used their gift cards from Cordelia wisely when they made an all day affair out of the mall to get Willow some new clothes. Cordelia, Buffy and Faith all shared a similar grin when they thought of the reaction to Willow's new look.

For those who took notice, and most of them did, the students at Sunnydale high were close to shock as Willow made her grand appearance with the rest of the crew on their first day back at school after Christmas break. She still found it hard not to blush under their intense scrutiny, but she had the support of Faith, Buffy and Cordelia as they moved through the halls.

Cordelia grinned widely at the new development. "See, Will, you're a total hottie."

Faith slid up next to the redhead and linked an arm through hers. "Yup, you could probably take your pick of the bunch if you wanted."

Later that day, Willow and Cordelia were in the quad with the slayers at lunch, trying to find a guy for Willow.

"What about him, Wilma?" Faith asked the redhead as she pointed to a guy across the quad.

Willow shook her head. "No."

"Him?" Buffy asked as she pointed out another guy.

Willow grimaced. "Ew, no."

Cordelia furrowed her brow as she took in the skinny selection of guys to choose from. "Him?"

Willow shook her head again. "Nope."

"Do you see any guys of interest?" Faith finally asked with a sigh.

Willow blushed lightly. "Actually I think I might be more interested in girls to be honest."

Faith raised an eyebrow and grinned. "Really? Well, I have noticed more than a few girls take after Queeney and Princess B over here when it comes to lifestyle changes. I'm sure we could find you a cutie."

Willow shrugged. "Well, I'm not ruling out guys completely, I just don't want to rule out girls either."

"Ah, going for a hundred percent of the population instead of forty- nine. You're a smart cookie, Rosenberg." Cordelia added with a nod.

Before anything further could be said, the girls were distracted by Xander, screaming at the top of his lungs as he ran through the quad. Anya was trailing after him yelling something about stuffed animals and costumes. The four girls exchanged a look of sheer confusion. Well, three did. Cordelia, as always, knew exactly what was going on.

"What in the hell are those two up to now?" Faith asked the others.

Cordelia bit her lip to keep from laughing. "Well, Anya got pissed off because some idiotic bimbo was flirting with Xander this morning so she left him a gift in his English class. I don't know why she cares anyways, those two have been terrified of each other since Halloween." She paused and sighed. "Anyways, she left a red clown nose on his desk. She keeps one in her locker just in case. Anyways, he decided to retaliate and left a stuffed bunny on her desk in her chemistry class. Of course, he keeps one around for the same reasons. Those two have completely lost it."

The girls all burst out laughing at their friends' utter goofiness.

"Man, it feels good to be back." Faith said with a shake of her head.

The students of Sunnydale high were not disappointed on their first day back from break. The rumor mill was already running full-tilt with Willow's new look, and her new crowd certainly didn't disappoint when it came to odd behavior either. Xander and Anya certainly filled their weekly quota


"Have you ever heard Summers sing?" Cordelia asked Faith one night at the Bronze.

Faith grinned widely. "Yup, that girl can belt with the best of 'em, why?"

"I've been trying to get her to do something in public. But of course, she refuses to join the musical, she won't sing in the talent show and completely snubs the idea of singing here on open mic night. I was thinking with dual pressure she might cave." Cordelia replied with a wicked glint in her eye.

Faith smirked. "Ah, now I see your plan." Faith sat for a moment thinking to herself and suddenly her eyes lit up. "Hey, I know how to get B to sing here. You know as well as I do that she never backs down from a challenge. I'll get up there and sing next week and bet her that she won't."

Cordelia grinned from ear to ear. "See, I knew you could put your slayer induced challenges to good use."

"What are you two grinning at?" Buffy asked cautiously as she approached the table. She knew anything that had both brunettes grinning like they were could only mean trouble for her.

"Nothin' B. Me and Queeney here were talking about me singing at open mic night next week."

Buffy grinned. "Have you ever heard this one sing?" She asked her girlfriend, jutting a thumb to the other slayer as she took a seat next to her. Cordelia shook her head. "She is awesome. I know you said I could sing, but this one has some pipes."

Cordelia quirked an eyebrow. "Really?" She smirked to herself. "Hmm, I could have a singing, slaying duo on my hands. You two should form a band or something."

Faith grimaced at the thought. "Yikes, no way Queeney, the whole band thing is so not me. I'm not a big fan of organized anything."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "She speaks the truth. Faith has doesn't know the meaning of the word 'plan'. She just flits all over the place, doing whatever she wants."

Faith snorted and shoved Buffy playfully. "Hey, I'm not the only bad one here, blondie. Remember that fight in the cemetery when you nearly got your neck snapped by that group of idiotic vamps when you decided to yell at me for not being able to be on time? When it was you that was late?" Faith gave her a smirk. "Oh, and what about that time that you got your ass kicked and nearly got stabbed for running off without me because I had to pee so bad I almost burst my bladder all over the sidewalk."

Buffy winced and buckled down for the storm.


At the look of fury on Queen C's face, Faith bolted from her chair, shooting the blonde slayer apologetic glances as she left. Buffy decided that she should get used to calling out apologies to her girlfriend through locked bathroom doors. It was slowly becoming a habit. Ah, the rumor mill would be full of brand spankin' new tales tomorrow.


"So, B, you and Queeney seem to be extra tight these days, what's the deal?" Faith asked as the two wandered around on patrol.

Buffy shrugged with a tiny smile on her face. "Nothing big, just love."

"You're in love, huh? Nice." Faith nodded her approval with a grin. "Have you told her?"

Buffy blushed slightly. "Yup. We both said it one night up in Big Bear."

Faith thought for a second and suddenly she put all the pieces together. "You did it, didn't you?" She asked with a wide grin.

Buffy's deepening blush answered Faith's question for her. "Wow, moved on to the main course before me, nice going, B."

Buffy smacked her playfully. "It wasn't a contest, Faith."

Faith smirked. "I know, I just figured I'd lose it before you." She paused a moment and nodded as something occurred to her. "I guess that's why Queeney asked me to keep you occupied that night...did she have some big romantic scene set up for you?"

Buffy sighed dreamily. "Yeah, she had a ton of candles and lingerie, it was so incredibly sweet with the snow falling outside and the fire in the fireplace." She heaved another dreamy sigh. "It was perfect."

Faith was impressed with the Queen. She cared about her blonde slaying companion and she felt like they were more like sisters than anything. Faith was glad that Cordelia was taking good care of Buffy. "So, did you say it before or after?"

"Before. And after."

Faith nodded. "Did you guys spend all night all cuddly and stuff afterwards?"

Buffy frowned slightly. "No, actually...we kinda just fell asleep."

She froze in her tracks for a moment and winced at how awful that sounded. "God, I am so lame."

Faith felt bad for her blonde companion and squeezed her arm lightly. "Hey, don't sweat it, Twinkie. I'm sure if you talk to her about it, she'll understand." Her brow furrowed for a moment. "Besides, she hasn't seemed bent outta shape or anything since we've been back. Maybe she isn't worried about it."

Buffy nodded absently as she cursed herself for being an insensitive idiot to the girl she loved. She spent the remainder of patrol trying to figure out what to say to her girlfriend to make things right.


"Hey Summers?"


"I wanna ask you a favor." She replied lazily as she drew her fingers through the blonde locks splayed across her bare abdomen.

Buffy kissed the skin directly below Cordelia's navel and propped herself up in her girlfriend's bed to look at her. "What's up?"

"I want you to teach me to fight better."

Buffy gazed up at her with a warm smile. "Why?"

"I dunno, I figure since Angel and I helped out with the Master thing, maybe you and Faith could help us fight better so we could help out more. Maybe help with patrol or something." She stated quietly, hoping the blonde wouldn't think she was being stupid for asking.

Buffy grinned fondly and shifted her position so she was face to face with the beauty in bed with her. "I don't know about patrol just yet, but I would love to help you with the fighting." She paused and leaned in for a kiss. "It would make me feel a bit better to know you could defend yourself."

Cordelia furrowed her brow slightly. "I don't just want to defend myself, I want to be able to help you guys fight."

Buffy leaned in and kissed away the tiny crinkles in the brunette's forehead. "I know baby. Let's just take it slow, okay? One step at a time."

Cordelia nodded. "I just figured since cheerleading and football are over for this year, Angel and I could focus some time on becoming more battle ready."

"I'm glad that you wanna help, Cor. It means a lot to me. I just don't want to see you get hurt, you don't have super healing capabilities." Buffy eased out carefully.

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Okay, I understand that, but I'm not going to break, you know I'm stronger than I look. Besides it would keep me in shape for cheering next year."

Buffy smiled softly and kissed the brunette lightly before resuming her position with her cheek pressed against the warm, taught flesh of Cordelia's stomach. "We start Monday then."

Cordelia grinned, loving that she'd won and the two remained silent for a long stretch of minutes, simply enjoying each other's warm presence. Buffy slowly eased herself up and managed to place herself between Cordelia's thighs as she looked down into the chestnut eyes below hers. She settled her weight on her forearms and brushed away a stray strand of hair from Cordelia's face. "I've been thinking a lot lately. I feel bad about something and I've been meaning to apologize for it."

Cordelia leaned in and kissed her softly. "Summers, just spit it out. We've done this confession thing before and both lived to not tell the tale, so just spill." Cordelia got to the point, but her words came out in a soothing fashion that eased Buffy's nerves immediately.

"I've been thinking about that night up in Big Bear and I realized, strangely through Faith, that I may not have gotten my feelings across to you properly." She paused and shifted her weight slightly. "When I told you that I love you I meant it... wholeheartedly. But I feel bad because I acted like a teenage boy by saying it and sleeping with you and then falling asleep."

"Buffy, I fell right to sleep too. Don't feel bad." Cordelia would have gone on, but Buffy's eyes said that she wasn't finished, so she stopped talking.

The slayer smiled appreciatively before continuing. "It's hard sometimes because as a slayer I have to keep my emotions guarded carefully when I fight. If I start thinking about you or my mom or our friends, I could get distracted and end up hurt, so I have to keep that part of me closed off." She paused for a moment, choosing her words carefully; she wanted desperately to get this right. "Sometimes I'll be brushing my hair, or walking down the hall at school and I'll think about you and my heart literally skips a beat in my chest. I know if I let myself think too long, I'll burst into tears because of the emotion that I feel every time I think about you." She paused again to take in a shaky breath. "I almost feel like we were cheated. I feel like the human heart doesn't come well enough equipped to handle the massive emotions that come with being in love." She allowed the thought to linger a moment and smiled shyly. "Well, at least I don't think mine does, because all it takes is a look from you and I feel like my heart might actually explode."

Despite Cordelia's rapid blinking, a few tears managed to escape her eyes. Buffy leaned in and carefully kissed them away. "Did I say something wrong?" The blonde asked quietly.

Cordelia let out a cross between a laugh and a sob as she kissed her girlfriend gently. "No, baby, you said everything right, it's just that you finally managed to vocalize exactly how I feel and it makes me so incredibly happy to know you feel the same."

Buffy grinned widely and kissed Cordelia tenderly. "I just wish there was a better word than love. I feel like love is too small a word for what I feel." She thought silently for a moment. "Maybe we should think of a random word that only we know that encompasses everything we feel for each other."

Cordelia smiled fondly at the endless wonder that was her girlfriend. "Any ideas?"

Buffy shook her head. "Nope, you?"

"How about cross?" She asked as she ran a finger over the silver cross around Buffy's neck.

Buffy smiled. "It seems fairy appropriate, considering a cross has saved my life once or twice." She gave Cordelia a silly grin. "Just like you."

"Aw, there's my little sap factory." She grinned and leaned in for a kiss. "Cross it is then."

The two shared a silly, loving grin as they pulled each other close, planning on using the entire night to show each other how much they cross the other. Anyone who said nobody could match a slayer's stamina had obviously never met Cordelia Chase.


"Alrighty, Cooperstown, it's your big night, you nervous?" Xander asked with a grin as he approached Faith at the bar of the Bronze.

Faith grabbed her water bottle as she slung a pile of bills on the bar and gave him a confident smirk. "Nope, tonight's about B anyways not me."

"What are you talking about? I thought you were gonna sing."

Faith rolled her eyes. "X, you know this is all a big scam to get B on stage tonight, right?"

"It is?" He asked incredulously.

The brunette slayer laughed loudly and slapped him on the back lightly. "Yeah, Queeney wanted to get B to sing, so we figured if I did it and challenged her to, she would."

Xander's face contorted from confused to mischief as the plan was revealed to him. "Ah, how very sneaky of you both." He glanced around the club and grinned. "It's a busy night too, you two are gonna knock 'em dead."

A half hour later, Faith's friends watched from their booth as she took the stage. She smirked at a few loud whistles and hollers, but her face switched to a sexy grin as the lights came up and the music started. Her voice came pouring out through the speakers as she sang to some rock song that Buffy had never heard before. She was captivated by the way Faith had every single person in the club focusing all available attention on her. She was clad in her leather pants as usual and had on a slinky red top that left little to the imagination. Buffy glanced around and smiled as Angel practically drooled in his drink. She leaned over to Cordelia, who was watching with an expression of utter shock. "Told ya she had pipes."

Cordelia gave her a grin. "She's amazing, but you could sing her into the ground. It's no contest, Summers."

They all watched in astonishment as Faith wrapped the crowd around her pinky as she did her thing on stage, nobody could argue she was damn good. And the crowd let her know it once she was done with a thunderous applause as she hopped off the stage and joined her friends. She strode right up to Buffy and faced her with the most confident smirk she could muster. "Beat that, blondie."

Buffy gave her a mock glare and shrugged. "No problem Faith, you just watch. I'll show you a singing slayer." With that, Buffy turned on her heel and went off in search of the music manager.

Faith turned to Cordelia who was looking at her with admiration that she didn't seem to notice. "See, Queeney, I knew she wouldn't back down." She jutted a thumb at the retreating blonde and smirked. Faith raised her eyebrows when Cordelia didn't answer. "What's up C?"

"Buffy said you had a good voice, but Faith, you were phenomenal. Seriously, you were great."

Faith blushed slightly. "Thanks." She replied quietly. She smiled at Cordelia before turning to Angel and flopping down in his lap.

A moment later, Buffy returned with a smug look on her face.

Cordelia gave her a confused glance as she sat down. "Are you gonna sing, Summers?"

Buffy gave them a wide grin and nodded. "Yup, there's a few people before me, so I have to wait." She pointed a finger at Faith. "You just wait, Cooper."

Buffy and Faith's friends all found this to be the most enjoyable challenge between the two slayers thus far. Though, they remembered the main reason they never came to the Bronze on Thursday nights. The rest of the people who hit the stage just plain sucked. After suffering through a few horrible renditions of Hootie and the Blowfish and TLC, they were all relieved when Buffy took the stage. The lights came up about half way, bathing Buffy in a deep blue light as she sat on a stool in the middle of the stage, with the mic on its stand. Any hints of nervousness faded away as soon as the first notes of piano filtered from the speakers. She locked gazes with Cordelia as she began to sing.

Lying beside you here in the dark
Feeling your heart beat with mine
Softly you whisper
You're so sincere
How could our love be so blind

Buffy allowed herself to be drawn into the song as she closed her eyes and belted it out. It was entirely evident that Buffy felt completely at home in front of people when she sang.

We sailed on together
We drifted apart
And here you are by my side

Anybody who was listening, and that was currently everyone in the club, could hear the emotion in Buffy's voice as she kept her eyes trained on the brunette watching her.

So now I come to you with open arms
Nothing to hide
Believe what I say.

So here I am with open arms
Hoping you'll see what your love means to me
Open arms

Cordelia's mouth hung open as she experienced Buffy singing for real. Sure, she was great in the shower, but this was real. The brunette was completely blown away.

Living without you
Living alone
This empty house seems so cold

Wanting to hold you
Wanting you near
How much I wanted you home
But now that you've come back
Turned night into day
I need you to stay

Cordelia felt tears prick her eyes as she listened to the words of the song and the way Buffy's voice cracked slightly as emotion poured into her voice with the last line.

So now I come to you with open arms
Nothing to hide
Believe what I say

So here I am with open arms
Hoping you'll see what your love means to me
Open arms

There was a moment of sheer silence before the crowd went absolutely frantic over the small slayer. She smiled shyly and moved from the stage to the booth with her friends. They all immediately dove into compliments and Faith bowed playfully. "Okay, you win the award for 'best slayer on the stage', B. No contest in my mind, damn girl."

Cordelia cupped the blonde's face gently and kissed her. Buffy was surprised to see unshed tears in her girlfriend's eyes. "Buffy that was so incredible. There really are no words."

Buffy blushed under the attention and compliments from her friends.

None of them seemed to notice the stares they received as they made a hasty exit, trying to escape further torture from more awful singers. Yippee for them, a few more rumors to fuel the fire.


"Hello Ripper."

Giles turned at the sound of the sultry female voice behind him and nearly dropped his cup of tea.

"Jenny." He stated with a touch of awe. She gave him a slow smile and sauntered further into the library. "How have you been? I hear your slayers defeated the Master with no problems."

Giles gaped at her for a moment. He was reeling slightly. "What are you doing here?"

"The Council sent me." She said as she eased herself up on the edge of a nearby table.

Giles raised his eyebrows and suddenly snapped out of his shock. "The Council sent you? For what?"

She shrugged languidly. "Well, after you left I did some work with them in the magic department and they sent me to help you."

"Help me with what?" He asked, suddenly a frightening thought occurred to him. "Did they make you a watcher?"

Jenny burst out laughing and shook her head, dropping her sexy 'tude. "No, I'd need an accent and a stuffy suit for that."

She paused and her face fell grimly. "Something's coming, Ripper. Actually, someone. And they say she's got potential to have big power."

Giles eyed her wearily. "Oh Lord, it's not another slayer is it?" He rolled his eyes. "I have my hands full with the two I already have."

She laughed again. "No, it's a witch. Born into a line of fairly powerful witches before her. I've been told that she could be swayed in the wrong direction and I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen." She shrugged. "She won't be here for a few months, but I thought it would be wise to make sure I'm prepared when she arrives."

He nodded slowly. "How very un...you-like."

"It is, isn't it? To be perfectly honest, they scared me when they told me how powerful this girl will be and it's vital that she plays for our side." She said solemnly.

He gave her a small teasing smile. "She must be something else to actually scare you. I seem to remember you to be quite fearless."

Jenny instantly picked her 'tude back off the ground and slung it on. "Oh don't worry, I haven't forgotten how to be adventurous. But a power this big can't be ignored." She paused and gave him a wink. "I hope you haven't forgotten how to be adventurous."

Giles blushed lightly and began to get flustered. Luckily for him he was saved as the two slayers and their other halves came through the door. Xander, Riley and Willow trailing along behind them. The slayers noticed the new presence first and stopped in their tracks, causing a five-person pile up behind them.

Both slayers eyed the woman talking to Giles carefully, almost as if they could sense something about her. Buffy glanced from Giles to the woman and back to Giles. "Who is this?"

Giles gave her a comforting smile and waved them all in. "This is Jenny Calendar. She was sent by the Council to help."

Faith's eyes narrowed slightly. "You're not a watcher." She couldn't shake the feeling that something was not entirely right with this woman.

Jenny grinned widely, and that simple action caused both slayers to relax slightly. "No, Faith, I'm not. I was sent to guide someone who will be arriving in Sunnydale shortly. She's a witch, and so am I. I'll be sort of like her watcher."

Xander grinned his goofy grin. "A witch watcher? I wonder if that's as fun as it sounds."

Giles and Jenny exchanged a look and looked at Xander with matching wry expressions. He grinned sheepishly and moved to a nearby chair and plunked down.

Faith gave Jenny an apprehensive look. "How do you know my name, anyways?"

"I read both your files. They include pictures." She replied with a shrug.

Buffy, who was still weary of this new woman, glanced at Faith and moved in closer to Giles. "I'm getting a weird tingle in here. Giles, she's making me tingle." Buffy almost whined quietly as she pointed to Jenny.

Faith burst out laughing. "Princess, you really need to keep that to yourself." Everyone exchanged looks of exasperation at Faith's joke, so she scowled at them and hopped up on the table next to Xander. "Same boat, X. Need an extra paddle?"

He stuck his tongue out at the room and turned to Faith haughtily. "It seems that great comedic minds think alike. Let them suffer humorlessly."

"Buffy, those tingles you are referring to are your body's way of letting you know when supernatural beings are nearby. They alert you to the presence of vampires and demons. But they will also sense supernatural power in humans. That's why you feel it. It's the magic." She offered with a hopeful expression. She really didn't want to start off on the wrong foot with the slayers.

Faith and Buffy exchanged another short glance, and with a small nod, they relaxed and everyone else took seats around the tables. Jenny smiled and turned to Giles. "So, Ripper aren't you going to introduce me to everyone who isn't a slayer?"

Giles shot her a tiny glare. "Please refrain from calling me that." He rolled his eyes when her grin widened and pointed everyone out as he introduced them. "This is Cordelia, Angel, Xander, Riley and Willow. They know everything, so no need to hold back information for their sakes." He added with a pointed look at his slayers, who recoiled slightly. Giles was still kinda pissed about everyone now knowing about the three of them.

Jenny gave them all a warm smile that reminded them of Joyce Summers in the tiniest of ways. "Well, all I can say is that I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work with all of you. I've heard a lot about the progress of the Chosen Two. I hope you'll let Rupert and myself tag along on your patrol tonight."

The slayers nodded and smiled politely until Jenny and Giles' backs were turned and they shared a devious smile. They had to have some fun, after all. They thought of it more as an initiation than anything else. You can't just walk in and expect everything to be fine and dandy. Ah, those poor slayers, they had no idea who they were messing with. They'd certainly be surprised.


"Hey, B, you beltin' it out tonight?" Faith asked as she arrived at the Bronze with Angel.

Buffy was at the front talking to the manager when they walked in. "Yup, I'm gonna sing a few different things tonight."

Faith smiled wide with approval. "Nice. When are you on?"

"Ten." She grinned at them both, secretly loving performing on stage every week. "You guys gonna stick around?"

Angel nodded with a wide grin as he wrapped his arms around Faith's waist. "Of course, that's the only reason we're here on Thursdays."

"Thanks guys." She leaned in and hugged them both, grateful for their support. She jutted a thumb over her shoulder. "Everybody's here. Giles and Jenny even showed up...I think they like each other." She mused quietly before shaking it off.

Faith and Angel said their good luck's as they moved into the club, leaving Buffy to her previous conversation. They found the whole gang at their usual table and said a round of hellos. Angel pulled up an oversized armchair to the end of the table and sat down first allowing Faith to arrange herself on his lap.

"I can't believe we only have a month left of school, this year flew by." Xander said gleefully.

Willow frowned slightly. "It's sad. I'm gonna miss it over the summer."

"We know, Will. Don't worry, we'll keep you so joyfully busy for three months that you won't even realize what you're missing." He grinned widely. "Besides, we won't be freshman anymore, that's enough for me."

Willow gave him a small smile as she leaned back in her chair. She took a look around at the amount of people that were in the club and she smiled widely. "I think Buffy's made quite an impression. This place is packed."

"She is gathering a small fan base. I really think she needs to join a band or something." Cordelia noted.

Giles smiled as he looked around. "She does have a following, that's for sure."

The group chatted happily until the lights went down and Buffy took the stage. She ended up singing three different songs that night. Cordelia watched with an enormous fondness as her girlfriend took command of the stage and every person watched her undividedly. Jenny sat in the booth next to Giles and watched one of the Chosen Two sing on stage and she was baffled. She had no idea slayers could be such natural performers. Ah, if the council only knew what one of the slayers was up to...they'd have a field day with this one. But, they were in England drinking tea and eating scones as the slayer wowed everyone again and gained a few more faithful followers.


"Man, Ms. JC back there has some wicked chops in the magic department." Faith noted as she glanced over her shoulder and back to Buffy. "Don't ya think, B?"

Buffy nodded vigorously with a tiny scowl on her face. "I agree, she nearly lit my ass on fire though. She needs to watch those fireball spells."

Faith burst out laughing. "I think that's the first time you said 'fire' and didn't have that spacey expression on your face." She paused for a second. "Maybe you should remember that next time you see her flingin' those things around. You had the funniest damn look on your face when they came shooting outta her hands. I thought you were gonna pee all over yourself." Faith laughed again and shoved Buffy playfully.

"Hey, no teasing. She burned my leg and it hurt." Buffy said with a pout.

Faith gave her a mock pout back. "Aw, is little B hurt? Maybe you should ask Queeney to kiss it better when you get home." Buffy scowled deeper and smacked Faith on the arm. "Kiss my ass, Coop."

The slayers continued their playful banter as the two adults trailed along behind them, re-hashing fond memories for both of them. It was all quiet on the scary front, and all four knew what that meant. Trouble wasn't too far away.


"I would like to propose a toast. Here's to us, the freshmen, for surviving out first year of high school with very few scars and to the rest of you for helping us out along the way." Cordelia stated to her friends as they sat around her pool the day after school got out.

They all raised a glass in a toast and sipped at their margaritas and daiquiris. The school year had ended with very little fanfare.

Although, it remained to be seen if Xander would get caught for dying the football field yellow and painting 'Class of '99 Rules!' in bright red paint. He had to get in one last freshman prank and so far he was in the clear.

For Buffy, the year had turned out to be much better than she could have hoped. She had a girlfriend that she loved beyond comprehension, a noble purpose in life, a group of amazing friends and family that truly cared about each other.

Cordelia got a bit misty as she recounted the year. She felt incredibly grateful for the friends that stuck with her through a rough time and the new friends she'd made. Buffy had of course been the bright spot, filling her life with a love she had never known existed. And she had helped fight the good fight. She felt proud.

Angel was looking forward to his senior year at school. His last before total freedom. He watched his oldest friend grow into an amazing person over the last year. He was incredibly proud of who she was becoming. He was very content with his life and very thankful.

Faith thanked her lucky stars for more than a few things. Her being chosen, meeting Xander and Willow, gaining a sister-type in Buffy, Angel, and even the Queen. She had it good, and wasn't gonna let anything take that away from her.

Xander and Willow were still feeling slightly stunned when it came to their sudden rise to Sunnydale popularity. It was scary, but they felt confident in their long-time friendship to get them through it.

The group had grown in size, but didn't stretch any individual relationships too thin. They had faced a lot of good times together and a few scary and silly times too. The two slayers somehow had become the center of this family-like group. Their struggles, triumphs, destinies and even stunts had forged a bond between the most unlikely people...but they all knew it was special.

Buffy gazed carefully at Xander for a moment and smiled. "So you have detention three days a week for two months?"

Xander grinned and rolled his eyes. "Yup, Floutie wanted to suspend me for a few weeks, but Coach talked him out of it. Although he wasn't too happy that one of his freshmen back-ups dyed the field, so he was all for detention."

"X, it's only the first day of school and you have detention. I'm so proud." Faith grinned and slapped him on the back gently. Angel furrowed his brow slightly. "So, you have detention for an hour three times a week? Coach is okay with you being late to practice?"

Xander grimaced, remembering the coach yelling at him. "He said if I was suspended for two weeks, I wouldn't be able to play this year and he wants me on the team, so detention goodness it is." Riley leaned back in his seat and smiled. "At least we don't have practice today. It's too hot, I'm all for meetings on days like today."

Angel and Xander nodded their agreement.

"Hey, is it just me, or does the school smell funny today?" Willow asked with her nose crinkled up.

Buffy's eyes got a bit wide. "Yes! It smells like fish. Did you do that too, Xand?"

His features soured slightly and he shook his head. "No. I don't like pranks of the fishy variety. They're yucky." He paused a moment. "Anything smelly, really...I stay away from those."

"Burning chocolate turned you off of the smelly variety?" Faith asked with a grin.

He nodded sheepishly. "Yes."

The warning bell suddenly rang and the group headed back into the school to begin the new year. The rest of the student body couldn't wait to see what the group had in store for them this year.


Jenny pushed her way through the library doors later that day to find the slayers sparring while Giles split his attention between critiquing the two of them and reading another dull book. She had been given a teaching position at the school so she could be closer to her witch when she came; she was now the computer teacher.

"She's here."

The slayers stopped and exchanged a glance, wicked grins plastered across both their faces.

"Umm, Martha Stewart?" Buffy asked with a wide, toothy grin.

Jenny rolled her eyes, resisting the urge to rise to Buffy's bait. "No."

"Oh! Mia Hamm?"

Buffy shot a curious glance at Faith, who shrugged with a self- mocking grin.

Jenny shook her head and moved further into the library. "No. My witch. She's here, in the school right now."

"Your witch? Aren't you being a bit possessive?" Buffy asked with a silly grin then shook her head with mock shame. "Giles wanted a witch for himself, but no, you had to go and stake your claim first."

Jenny closed her eyes a moment and shook her head. She gazed back at the blonde slayer, who had an eyebrow raised in a playful challenge. "Buffy?" she started sweetly. "Do you remember that talk we had a few days ago?"

Buffy gave her an impish grin. "The one where you said fire can be dangerous? I told you that it wasn't my fault...Faith tickled me and I dropped my drink." She gave Faith the evil eye. "I can't help it if flaming Dr. Peppers are hazardous to incredibly flammable patio furniture."

"Actually, I meant the one...nevermind," Jenny said as she rolled her eyes and admitted defeat for now, knowing she wouldn't get her point across to the slayer who was in much too playful a mood to listen. She shook her head and turned back to Giles, who decided the conversation between the three women wasn't going anywhere fast and had turned back to his book. "I saw her today. She's a new student. Her name is Amy Madison. I read over her file. Apparently she had a few fire related problems back at her old school."

Upon hearing this, Buffy immediately released Faith from a playful headlock that had ensued when she became bored with Jenny's explanation. "Fire?"

The other three occupants of the room all rolled their eyes at the blonde slayer, who had a wistful look on her face and a tiny smile that worried them all just a bit. Faith cast a weary eye at Buffy and turned her attention back to the witchy watcher lady. "What did she do?"


Xander liked making funny faces. He usually made them when he was at home in front of his mirror, where nobody could see him making an idiot of himself. Today was a special exception. He was sitting in detention switching his facial expression between incredibly bored and scrunched up disgusted-ness. Of course, the extreme case of boredom led to the face that expressed his disgust in the whole concept of him missing football related stuff to sit in a room that was far too hot and smelled vaguely of fish. He studied the other six students in the room for a few minutes. The first was Sheila the schizto, who apparently had detention for her entire high school career for a stunt that involved the school pool and Principal Floutie's car; she was a genius when it came to pranks, but way too scary for Xander. There were two guys sitting side by side in the back who looked completely stoned, another guy who was carving something into a desk with a very large knife, and a girl who appeared to be drunk and was singing something about watermelon and sheep. The one that caught his eye was a blonde girl sitting by the window a few seats ahead of him. She was obviously new, since he'd never seen her before, but there was something about her that Xander found very attractive. He did like blondes and she didn't look scary, besides that, how much trouble could a cute little blonde get into? He may have found himself a suitable partner in crime.


"She burned the school library down?" Giles asked incredulously. "As in all the books being reduced to ash?" He pulled a few books closer, as if trying to protect them.

Jenny smiled at his gesture and shrugged. "That's the story. It amazes me that one tiny little blonde girl could be so destructive." Buffy cleared her throat none too conspicuously, and Jenny paused and rolled her eyes, shifting her attention to the slayer. "Besides a slayer, I mean."

Buffy grinned widely and she and Faith finally took a seat, wanting to know some juicy details.

Faith furrowed her brow, not liking the idea of evil classmates. "She's not destructive in a bad way though, right? You meant in a teenage, witchy kinda way, right?"

"Yes, I don't mean that she's evil, just a bit rambunctious. I'm sure she's a very sweet girl." Jenny gave her a wide smile.

Giles had his brow furrowed and was stacking up a few books. "Just in case, perhaps we should get a fire-proof box to keep all the valuable texts in. Some of these are one of a kind and I would hate to see them burned up."

The slayers both rolled their eyes, and just as they were getting up to resume sparring, both Angel and Cordelia wandered in. Both slayers immediately perked up and moved in for kisses all around.

"Hey gorgeous, how was practice?" Buffy asked with a grin.

"It was fine, thanks, Buffy," Angel replied with an impish grin as he hugged Faith.

Buffy laughed and rolled her eyes playfully before she turned back to her girlfriend. "Okay, as for the other gorgeous athlete in the room, how was your practice?"

Cordelia grinned and placed a light kiss on the slayer's lips. "Great, I may get junior captain this year."

Buffy beamed at her. "That's awesome. So you guys are doing this whole `practice before tryouts' thing all week?"

Cordelia nodded her head and shrugged. "Yup, it seems kinda pointless to me, but who am I to deny anyone of my invaluable cheering experience?"

Buffy grinned. "That's my girl. Always helping those in need."

Angel glanced between the two slayers, excitement written all over his face. "So, can we train? I've been waiting all day to get back to after school sessions."

The slayers exchanged an amused grin and went to the weapons cage. They withdrew two long swords each and handed one to Angel and the other to Cordelia, who appeared to be just as excited about training. Giles and Jenny did the adult thing and split their attention between the dueling pairs and boring business babble.

Of course, Xander and his incredible timing made an appearance a few minutes later. The slayers were demonstrating a few moves to the other two, who were trying to mimic certain fighting techniques as Xander and an unfamiliar girl walked in.

Suddenly, everyone stopped. The slayers noticed a supernatural presence first and their eyes shot to the door, eyeing the girl carefully. Angel, Cordelia and Giles noticed their faces and turned to see what they were staring at. Jenny smiled widely and moved closer to the two at the door. Xander was shooting off sheepish and almost apologetic glances in every direction, to the slayers, the girl he was with and to Jenny and Giles.

The girl stood looking tense as she took in the sight before her. Two small, but apparently fierce, girls were swinging swords at each other wildly, while two other teens with swords watched and mimicked their movements. Her eyes finally landed on the dark haired woman who was grinning and she felt something inside her stir and she relaxed as she recognized the feeling. She smiled tentatively at the woman that was approaching slowly. "Hi," she said with a shy smile and a small wave.

"Are you Amy Madison?" Jenny asked her softly.

Amy nodded. "Yup." She glanced around the room and noticed a strange look on everyone's face. She hoped they hadn't heard about her fire escapades.

"Hi, I'm Jenny Calendar. I guess you can sense that I'm a witch as well."

Amy nodded again. "Yeah, I can sense a lot of power in this room." She eyed the slayers carefully and turned back to Jenny. "It's not all from you though. I had no idea people played with swords in the library after school...remind me to write that down just in case I need a place not to hide in the event of an emergency," she remarked with a small, sarcastic smile.

Faith smiled as she watched the girl and rolled her eyes. "This is the super witch you've been all wiggy about, JC?"

Jenny chose to ignore Faith and gave Amy a comforting smile as Buffy elbowed Faith in the ribs and silently chided her. Faith caught the looks from the others and smiled sheepishly at Amy. "Sorry, Maddy, I have a big mouth and an even bigger foot, which prevents said foot from fitting in my mouth to shut me up."

Amy's face turned into an easy smile, she immediately liked both Jenny and this dark haired girl. "It's okay, I have a tendency to say stupid things in front of new people, which is why I tend to keep my mouth shut more often than not."

Faith gave her a wide grin. "I'm Faith Cooper, aka, Coop." She paused thoughtfully for a moment. "Or Tweedle-Dum if you ask Queeney over here," she added with a thumb and a grin to Cordelia.

Cordelia rolled her eyes, but she had a small smile on her lips. "Queeney, as Coop so eloquently put it, is me. I'm Cordelia Chase, and this," she tugged on Buffy's hand, drawing her closer. "Is my girlfriend, Buffy Summers, aka, Tweedle Dee." She rolled her eyes again. "They're kind of our very own dastardly duo."

Amy couldn't help but grin. She felt enormously at ease instantly and she liked all these people so far. They seemed to be like a family of silly, dysfunctional siblings (not the couples, obviously, eww).

Faith grabbed Angel and gave Amy a nod in his direction. "This is Angel O'Connor. My very own stud muffin."

Buffy and Cordelia immediately burst out laughing, causing Faith to shoot them dirty looks and smack Buffy. The blonde slayer grinned. "Stud muffin?" She glanced from Faith to Angel, who was scowling playfully. "Don't get me wrong, Angel, you are muffiny, but to hear the word `muffin' come from Faith's mouth as an endearment was a slight comedic overload."

Faith continued shooting dirty looks to her sister slayer and the Queen until Giles and Jenny both cleared their throats simultaneously, causing all six teens to look at them.

"Perhaps we could all sit down and discuss our situation. Amy, we should know a bit more about your powers and there are a few things you should know about everyone else here."

Faith grinned widely at Amy and rolled her eyes, jutting a thumb at Giles. "You'd think since he was British, he'd be more polite.

That's Giles." She stuck out her tongue at him and all he could do was sigh.

Amy smiled shyly again and nodded as they all took seats around the table.

Before anything could be said, Willow came bursting through the door with a huge grin on her face and holding a blue flyer in her hand. She grinned at Buffy and waved the paper around as she got closer. "Look, Buffy! There's a band and they're looking for a singer and you should try out, cause you like to sing on stage and you're good at it, and we all know that you secretly love being in the spotlight and-" Willow was cut off when she noticed two things. Number one, everyone was looking at her with vague amusement, so she must have been babbling, and number two, there was a blonde girl she'd never seen before sitting at the table with her friends. She stopped in her tracks and smiled sheepishly, placing the flyer in front of Buffy and patting it a few times. The slayer grinned widely at Willow when she took a seat next to her without another word. She loved her Willow.

"Wilma, this is Amy Madison, Maddy, this is Willow Rosenberg." Faith glanced at Jenny with a playful grin. "She's the one JC's been all uppity about all summer."

The two girls shared a smile and Amy felt something very warm emanating from the redhead. She was now thinking that detention all week had been worth meeting Xander and his silly, but sweet friends.

Half an hour later, Amy was sitting in mild shock. She glanced at the two slayers, who were whispering and giggling to themselves and wondered how two relatively small girls could be destined to save the world. Giles was basically asking her to help them fight. This motley crew fought evil and they wanted her help. She didn't really know how she felt about that. She knew about a lot of the freaky things that existed in this world thanks to her magic, but she'd never sought it out to fight it. Amy knew this was a relatively big choice to make and she would have to think about it some. Although, it did sound kinda fun, plus she would get to hang out with Xander, and that was a plus...he was kinda cute.

She glanced at Jenny who was watching her with caring eyes and she gave the woman a small smile. "I hope you'll give me some time to think about it. It's not like I have a problem with fighting evil, cause I don't. It's just that this is a lot to take in and I just need a little time. I hope that's okay."

Jenny gave her a warm smile. "Of course, Amy. We know that this is a lot to think about and it probably sounds dangerous, but what you also have to understand is the fact that your power is very easy to sense for those on the other side. Even if you decide that this isn't your fight, they may decide to make you their fight. What we can give you is somebody to watch your back. We're a team and that goes both ways."

Amy glanced around the table and saw everyone wearing the same proud smile and she thought it might not be so bad after all. "So, you would help me with my spells and stuff?"

"Yes, I would be more of a mentor than anything. Just making sure that you have someone to talk to and if you need help with anything, I can give you a hand," Jenny said with an easy smile, knowing she'd won the girl over already.

Amy nodded and thought for a few moments. "So what would we do?" "Well, we could work on your focus and concentration, we can make sure that you have everything at your disposal for everyday healing spells and perhaps fireball spells in the case of vampires." Amy's face contorted to a cross between shame and mild amusement at the prospect of a fireball spell, knowing it was something similar that caused the fire in her old school. She decided to give it a shot and see what happened. Besides, she was new and these people seemed really great. "Okay, I'm in."

Jenny beamed. "Great. We can start immediately if you're free this afternoon."

"Sure," Amy replied as she smiled shyly.

Faith and Buffy shared a glance and stood, moving to resume training. As they moved past her, Faith laid a hand on Amy's shoulder and the witch looked up and was met with a grin. "Welcome to the team, Maddy."

Amy smiled and nodded. "Thanks."

Buffy, Angel and Cordelia all gave her a grin before they moved to pick up where they left off. Giles went back to his book and Willow and Xander began babbling excitedly about the flyer still on the table. A few hours later the group split up and headed out of the library to go home.

Xander jogged to catch up with Amy, who was walking ahead with Willow. "Hey, Amy?"

She looked up and smiled. "Yeah?"

Xander took a deep breath and clasped his hands. "Do you think it would be okay if I walked you home? I know you're a witch and have super mojo on your side, but Sunnydale isn't exactly the safest small town on the map."

Amy grinned and nodded. "Sure," she replied.

Xander smiled and extended his arm and Amy looped her arm through his. The rest of the group watched with fond smiles as the two headed towards Amy's house. Buffy glanced at Willow and watched as the redhead looked happy for her friend, but she also appeared to be a bit sad. The slayer wrapped an arm around Willow's shoulders and sent her a light hip check.

"You okay, Will?" she asked.

Willow nodded, a sad smile playing on her lips. "Yeah, it's just that I've been Xander's best friend forever and I get the feeling he won't be around as much."

Buffy shook her head and looked Willow in the eye. "Xander still loves you and he'll still be around, girls don't come between best friends."

Willow smiled and nodded as she and the rest of the group headed home.


Once the kids left the library, Jenny glanced at Giles. "They're really good kids, ya know."

Giles glanced up and smiled proudly. "Yes, they are. To be honest with you, I wasn't sure I was qualified to handle two slayers at once, but they really have surprised me over the last year."

Jenny smiled fondly. "You never were one to back down from a challenge, Rupert." She raised an eyebrow and regarded him for a moment. "Where they really that bad?" she asked, absolutely itching to find out some juicy details from before her time on the Hellmouth. Giles sighed as he closed his book and placed it on the table. "Well, in all honesty, Faith and Buffy hated each other. Cordelia and Faith hated each other. Willow and Xander hated Cordelia and vice-versa. They didn't always get along like they do now and it was a bit much to handle at times."

Jenny nodded thoughtfully. "So, I'm assuming after they were called, Faith and Buffy began to get along and when Faith and Angel started dating it pretty much merged the two groups?"

Giles smiled and nodded. "Yes, that's it exactly."

Jenny grinned. "They're pretty easy to read. But none of them had any problems with Buffy and Cordelia dating?"

Giles sighed and shook his head. "No, none of them did.

Apparently, a few of Cordelia's old friends weren't pleased with the idea, but they were killed by vampires, so they didn't have too much time to voice their opinions."

"Oh." Jenny paused for a moment and smiled thoughtfully. "Those two really don't know how good they have it, ya know...the slayers I mean. If they had any idea how the last slayer lived, they'd probably see life in a completely different way," she commented quietly.

Giles nodded sadly. "I don't think Faith and Buffy even realize how remarkable it is to have two slayers simultaneously. The fact that they each actually have someone who understands what it's like to have the body of a warrior, but the heart of a girl is remarkable. They really are lucky."

Jenny gave him a warm smile. "You're pretty lucky yourself, Rupert. The fact that your slayers are extremely sweet girls is a blessing in itself."

Giles smiled and nodded. "I know. Believe me, I know."

The two shared a smile and packed up to head home. They both realized how lucky they were to have not only each other, but an incredibly sweet bunch of kids to look out for as well.


"So what are we doing back here again, Spikey?"

Spike had to physically restrain himself from staking the idiotic blonde next to him in the car. "We're here to kill the slayers." Harmony giggled and flipped her hair over her shoulder. "Oh, yeah." She paused and her face fell. "How are we going to do that? There's two of them."

Spike rolled his eyes. "There's two of us you stupid git." His jaw clenched tightly and he thought about how her voice reminded him of fingernails being dragged across a chalkboard.

Harmony giggled again and rolled her eyes. "Oh yeah, I forgot." She pecked him on the cheek and smiled up at him. "Do you have a plan yet, Spikey?"

"Not yet, but it'll come." He grinned wickedly. "We'll find a way to take care of the two little girls."

The two blonde vampires made their way back into Sunnydale and pulled up outside a dark mansion. Home sweet home, Spike thought to himself. It feels good to be back.


"So have you guys been friends long?" Amy asked the group as a whole. They were all seated at the usual table at the Bronze later that night.

Cordelia and Faith exchanged a smirk. "Do you wanna take this, or should I?" Faith asked with a tiny grin on her face.

Cordelia grinned and waved her hand around. "It's all yours."

Faith nodded and rubbed her hands together, prepping herself for her tale. Buffy and Cordelia exchanged a grin...and a kiss, but that's beside the point. "Well, we'll start with the King of SDH. That would be Ace over here." She jutted a thumb to Angel who rolled his eyes but smiled nonetheless. "Angel is the star quarterback of the football team and was both the Homecoming and Prom King last year. He and his life-long pall, Queeney," She nodded to Cordelia seated beside her. "Who is obviously the Queen of the kingdom, and soon-to- be head cheerleader and the girl I used to hate...the two of them pretty much rule the school. Angel's been buddies with Prince Finny since junior high and Queeney has known, and used to hate, X and Wilma all her life." She paused and grinned wickedly. "Then enter the two raving beauties...me and Princess B. We both moved here last summer and hated each other. She and the Queen fell in love and the kingdom was almost sacrificed, gasp, when me and B got called to do this slayer thing and were forced to hang out and get along.

Anyways, through various incidents of all of us risking our necks, we all kinda meshed and the rest is history." She finished her dialogue with a prim and proper head nod.

Xander leaned over to Amy, who looked a bit confused. "She's easier to follow once you get used to the nicknames," he told her with a goofy grin.

Amy giggled and nodded. "That was a very interesting story." She looked around at the other teens in the club and noticed more than a few stares sent their way. "But why does everyone stare at you guys so much?"

Cordelia and Faith shared another look, and Faith nodded for Cordelia to answer this one. "Well, there's a few reasons for that. First, it's true about Angel, Riley and me kinda being the ringleaders of the school, although, it's more them than me, I'm more included because I've known Angel forever. The second would probably be because the Tweedle twins tend to get a bit feisty sometimes and have no problems with being rowdy in public. Third, before she moved away, Anya and Xander were constantly acting like total nut jobs and had the tendency to chase each other around school screaming bloody murder at least twice a month. Fourth, Summers sings here every week and has caused half the student body to fall in love with her because of it, even though she's mine; which technically could be another reason all together." She paused and shook her head. "I could go on, but we might be here all night. If you're gonna be hanging with us, you might want to get used to it."

Buffy gave Amy a silly grin. "None of us really care that we're circulating through the rumor mill constantly, which ironically tends to cause more rumors."

Cordelia quirked an eyebrow as she leaned in closer to Amy and caught her gaze. "Speaking of rumors...I hear you have a thing for fire," she remarked with a wicked grin.

Buffy nudged her gently. "Cor," she warned lightly, not wanting the new girl to think Cordelia was a total bitch.

Amy fidgeted slightly under the scrutiny of the Queen, who waved her girlfriend's warning off, and she shrunk back slightly. "Well..."

"Don't worry, you can tell me. My girlfriend over here seems to have a small fixation with fire, I'm used to it." Cordy gave her an encouraging grin, urging her to spill.

Buffy scowled. "I don't have a fixation with fire...it's just a tiny crush."

Cordelia rolled her eyes dramatically. "Please, Summers. Every time somebody mentions the word fire, you get all glazey-eyed and start muttering to yourself." She smirked at Amy. "All I get from her is `pretty' and she's totally lost."

Buffy gaped at her girlfriend. "I am not!"

Cordelia shot Buffy a tiny glare. "Baby, you almost burned my house down with your flaming Dr. Peppers and you just stood there drooling like a puppy while the fire department almost broke down the door." She paused as her face shifted into a fond smile and she kissed Buffy lightly. "That's why I always keep a fire extinguisher handy when you're around."

Buffy pouted and shifted her gaze to Amy and gave her a tiny grin. "She exaggerates." Buffy gave Cordelia a playful nudge. "Although, Amy, if you wanna share your experiences, I would be happy to listen." Buffy's tongue peeked out between her teeth as she grinned.

"Did you really almost burn her house down?" Amy asked with a curious grin.

Buffy shook her head. "No, it was more the patio furniture. Flaming Dr. Peppers and freshly lacquered furniture do not belong anywhere near each other."

Amy laughed and shook her head. "Well, see, I didn't exactly mean to burn the school library down. Me and a friend were in there for English and instead of doing research, we were discussing the natural fire hazard that is a library. He bet me that books were fireproof due to the fire hazard issue and I obviously had to prove him wrong. So I lit a book on fire. One turned to two and two turned to twenty and before I could do anything to stop it there was no more library." She smiled sheepishly. "I was only proving a point."

The rest of the table burst out laughing at this. Amy knew they weren't laughing at her, just at her stunt and she fell into laughter herself.

"G-man is gonna have nightmares for weeks just thinking about all his precious books going up in flames."

Once her laughter had calmed, Buffy glanced at Xander and then at Amy. "So, what were you doing in detention today? It's only the first day."

Xander grinned, having already heard the story, and Amy smiled sheepishly again. "Well, I like to make things fun, so I snuck into school last night with a few buckets of fish and threw one in every class." She shrugged and smiled. "I figured it might cause school to be delayed or postponed or something. Apparently it didn't work. Anyways, a security guard caught me on the way out and Floutie gave me detention for a few weeks. He wasn't thrilled." Buffy shook her head and glanced at Xander. "Sounds like you have your own Bonnie now, Xand."

Xander grinned, and at Amy's confused look he went into the Halloween extravaganza from last year. Cordelia finally stood up and pulled Buffy with her and the two headed off for a dance with Faith and Angel not far behind. Cordelia slid her hands around Buffy's waist to the small of her back and held her slayer tightly.

"Summers, I have to say, you are looking extra sexy tonight," Cordelia purred out softly.

Buffy grinned impishly. "Thanks baby, you too. That skirt looks amazing on you."

Cordelia grinned and kissed Buffy lightly. She wrapped her arms around the slayer's waist a bit tighter and the two began swaying to the rhythmic bass. The crowd at the Bronze was larger than normal for their back to school bash and the two found it almost oppressively warm in the crush of bodies surrounding them. Their hips gyrated in perfect synchronization as the lights danced over the crowd. Buffy leaned in and placed her lips to Cordelia's ear, barely touching. "I love you," she drawled out, sexiness oozing in her voice.

Cordelia caught Buffy's eyes gazing at her almost hungrily and she recognized the glint immediately and grinned. She leaned in to capture the slayer's lips and eased her tongue into Buffy's mouth. Buffy allowed her tongue to roll over Cordelia's in a sweet, tantalizing curl.

Her slayer senses allowed her to experience everything just a bit more, she could smell Cordelia's perfume mixed with a hint of sweat, she could taste the cherry coke on her tongue, she could feel Cordelia's heartbeat increase as they danced. It made every sensation that much sweeter.

As they relinquished their kiss, Buffy allowed her head to fall back slightly as she danced. Cordelia was completely awestruck at the absolute perfection of the girl who captured her heart. Her honey blonde hair was pulled up messily (in a stylish way of course) with a few carefully pulled strands framed her face. Her eyes closed and lips parted slightly. A light sheen of sweat coated her skin allowing the lights to cast a shimmer off its surface. The slayer was wearing a white top that was close to backless and only had a few thin straps holding it on. She wore a very tight, very short black skirt and the cutest pair of strappy heels.

Cordelia knew she wasn't going to last much longer with Buffy looking like she was, so she grabbed the slayer's hand and the two threaded their way through the crowd. Once outside, Buffy pulled Cordelia into another searing kiss and as they pulled away, they upped their pace, knowing they would barely make it home before they ravished each other.

"Summers, can I ask you something?" Cordelia asked as she ran her fingers through the blonde locks splayed out across her bare abdomen. "Sure, baby. What's up?" Buffy asked as she kissed the skin below the brunette's navel tenderly.

Cordelia paused for a moment and collected her thoughts. Buffy shifted and moved so she was lying on her stomach next to Cordelia and gazed at her questioningly. "Do you ever worry about us breaking up?" she finally asked softly.

Buffy gave her girlfriend a frown and shook her head. "Never. I think it would hurt to bad to even think about," she whispered, not completely trusting her voice. "Do you?"

Cordelia's chin quivered and she locked gazes with the intense hazel eyes gazing at her. "I can't stand the thought of losing you, baby."

Buffy cocked her head to the side and gazed at Cordelia with a slightly worried look on her face. "Why do you think I'm going to leave you?"

Cordelia shrugged and looked away. "I don't know...I'm just afraid you're gonna wake up one day and you won't want to be with me anymore."

Buffy's gaze softened and she kissed Cordelia lightly. "Cor, no. Honey, where's all this insecurity coming from?" she asked softly. Cordelia wiped away a stray tear and shook her head. "I can't help it. My parents are never around and they're supposed to be the ones that love me unconditionally. The only people that have ever paid attention to me where the maids and nannies that were paid to and the only person I have been able to count on my entire life is leaving for college next year, so I honestly don't know how else to feel. What if you find someone that you want more than me who's less maintenance than I am or something?"

"Cor, I don't care what I have to do or say, I'm going to make you believe that I am never going to leave you. I know we haven't been together for that long, but I know in my heart and my soul that I love you. You are my everything." Buffy paused to kiss Cordelia's chin lightly. "I think I'd die without you, although I never plan on testing that theory cause I'm not letting you go, ever. You are the most beautiful person I've ever known. Inside and out. I know you haven't always shown people everything inside, but I feel so incredibly lucky that you've shown your heart and soul to me and I will never, ever take that for granted. As long as you want me, I'm all yours," she stated quietly as she brushed away a few tears from Cordelia's cheeks.

The brunette smiled a hopeful smile as she gazed at her girlfriend and when she really looked into Buffy's eyes, she saw everything she'd always hoped and prayed for when she finally fell in love. Those incredibly intense eyes that make you feel like you're the only person in the room where telling her that there was no reason to fear. She decided to take a chance and finally let her heart feel the contentment of becoming truly vulnerable to someone for the first time in her life. Once that weight had been lifted from her heart and her head, she allowed herself to be wrapped up in slender, but deceptively strong arms and be held as she drifted off to sleep.


"Okay, so we need shaving cream, ten jars of pickles, a twenty-four pack of toilet paper, four bottles of shampoo, twelve traffic cones, and a large dead fish."

Amy looked up at Xander, wondering what these items would have to do with the newest prank he had planned. She gave him a grin. "Okay, grocery store?"

He nodded as he scrunched his face up in thought. "Actually, if you get the cones, I'll get the rest of the stuff and meet you at the school in an hour so we can set up."

"Okay. See ya then."

"Oh, actually, I need to get some flour too, ooh and some plastic forks," he added with a grin.

Amy nodded and grinned back. She and Xander then took off in two different directions to prepare for their latest stunt. Xander found himself grinning as he strolled through the streets of Sunnydale. He definitely liked Amy and he could tell that she might like him a little bit too. This new development in his love life was enough to keep him grinning through his shopping trip that afternoon.

He figured he had some very useful information in his pocket at the moment. Knowing the addresses of his and his friends' least favorite teachers could come in very handy. He wasn't planning on destroying anything; he was just having some teenage boy fun for the sake of the general population of the school.


"Hey baby," Buffy chirped out before she kissed Cordelia quickly and sat down at their table in the quad. She turned her attention to the only male at the table. "Hey Angel?"

He glanced up from his magazine and smiled. "Yeah?"

"I was wondering if you could teach me how to drive. I have my permit and I'm allowed to drive with a licensed driver, but my mom doesn't really have time to teach me." She gave him the puppy eyes. "Can you?"

Angel shifted in his seat looking uncomfortable, he loved his car. "Um...are you sure you want me to teach you?" He paused and frowned. "I may not be the best teacher."

Buffy turned her pout up a notch. "Well, you're the only person I know who's old enough to teach me." She stuck out her bottom lip. "Please?"

"Okay!" He waved his hands at her frantically. "Just please stop with the eyes, I can't take it."

Buffy grinned triumphantly. "Yay! Thanks Angel." She turned to Faith. "Have you not used the pout to get what you want from him?"

Faith smirked. "Nope, no need...I have my own methods." She glanced at Angel and they shared a wicked grin.

Buffy saw the look they gave each other and quickly decided to change the subject. "Okay...we're all gonna do homecoming this year, right?"

She was met with collective nods around the table and tried desperately to ignore the looks Angel and Faith were exchanging. She had no problems with it, but she considered Angel to be her big brother type and didn't really enjoy thoughts of him and sex, especially since she considered Faith to be more like a sister than a friend. She decided that was kinda gross if you really thought about it, so she just erased all images from her mind and rested her head on Cordelia's shoulder, smiling when the brunette ran her fingers through her hair absently as she finished her homework.


Xander, Cordelia, Riley and Angel pushed their way through the library doors to find Faith and Buffy sparring. The slayers halted their actions and moved in for kisses from their lovers.

"I see how it is, no love for Xander," he called out sarcastically as he sat at the table nearby.

Riley smirked as he took the seat across from Xander. "Well, you could always ask Amy out, I think she likes you."

"Really?" He looked up at the girls. "Ya think?" The girls all nodded.

"Xander, she's a really sweet girl, you should ask her out," Buffy said as she gasped Cordelia's hand and moved to the table. "Oh, you should ask her to homecoming."

"Maybe I will," he replied proudly. He caught sight of something in the book in front of him. "Hey, check it out, blind, deaf and dumb, just like the play."

Faith and Buffy exchanged a confused glance. "The play?" Buffy asked.

"Yeah, we have a play we run called blind, deaf and dumb." He glanced up at their confused faces. "A football play."

"Oh." She glanced at Faith. "We knew that." She moved to peer over Xander's shoulder. "It's a spell. Huh, I wonder if it makes one person all those things, or if it's three different people."

Riley shuddered slightly. "I don't wanna know." He reached over and closed the book. "Maybe we shouldn't play with these things anymore."

Angel gave him a grin. "What's the matter, Ri, you don't like magic?"

"Well, since last Halloween, when you and I almost killed each other, I've been kinda weary of it."

Angel grinned wider and gave a nod to Faith. "Don't worry, Aiden over here doesn't like it either."

Buffy gave him a confused glance and looked at Faith, who was blushing slightly. "Aiden?" she asked them both.

Angel shot Faith an apologetic glance and she rolled her eyes. "My middle name...he thinks it's cute," she glared at Angel for a moment. "It's supposed to be an `us' thing...as in not used in front of other people.

Angel cowered slightly and held up his hands in surrender. "Sorry, baby. It slipped."

"So you guys are all coming to the game Friday night right?" Cordelia asked Buffy and Faith, changing the subject without missing a beat after picking up on Faith's discomfort.

Buffy grinned and kissed Cordelia gently, wrapping her arms around the cheerleader's slender waist. "Yup, I wouldn't miss my girl doing her thing. We're gonna come after a quick patrol. Will and Amy are gonna meet us there."

"Where are Willow and Amy, anyways?" Xander asked.

"They're helping Jenny and Giles with something," Buffy replied as she glanced at Faith. "Do you know where they went?"

Faith shook her head absently as she hugged Angel tightly, obviously forgiving him. "Nope, I thought it was your turn to pay attention."

Buffy shrugged and she and Faith went back to sparring. Cordelia and Angel joined them after they changed and it was a fairly quiet, non-eventful afternoon for the gang...they never did figure out what happened to Will and Amy...ya think on the Hellmouth they'd have been a bit more concerned. A one-track mind will do that to you sometimes.


"Buffy, I was planning on having Faith and her father over for dinner Thursday night, would you like to have the rest of your friends over?" Joyce asked.

Buffy gave her a confused glance. "Why are you having Faith and her dad over?"

"Well, I know you and Faith are friends, and I thought it would be nice. Brad and I have gotten to know each other better through the gallery and I thought it would be fun," Joyce replied with a shrug. "Besides, I haven't had a chance to see you sing at the Bronze and I thought after dinner we could all go down to watch you."

Buffy paled slightly. "You want to come to the Bronze to watch me sing?"

Joyce caught the look on Buffy's face and smiled as she patted her hand gently. "Don't worry, honey, I won't sit with your friends and embarrass you or anything. I would really just like to see you perform."

"No, mom, you won't embarrass me, I just didn't think you'd want to go to the Bronze." She shook her head and smiled. "I think it sounds like a great idea, I'd love to have everyone over and then go out. I'll tell everyone tomorrow."

Things couldn't be that bad having everyone over for dinner could they? But why Faith's father? Buffy shrugged the thought away and began thinking about Cordelia to take her mind off everything else.


Cordelia eased her front door open late one night, praying her mother was already asleep. She cringed when she heard her parents yelling at each other in the kitchen. Her mother, Emily, glanced into the foyer and saw her and stopped.

She stalked over to her daughter, staggering slightly and pointed a finger in her face. "Where have you been? Out with another jock acting like the slut you are?"

Cordelia hardened her eyes and put her emotional walls up, staring at her mother. "No, I was out with my friends."

Her mother sneered. "Friends? More like fuck buddies," she said with an angry, drunk glare. "You're just a whore."

Cordelia swallowed her tears and gave her mother a bored look. "Are you done? As interesting as your opinion of me isn't, I'm tired and I need to go to bed."

The slap of her mother's palm against her cheek rang out in the spacious foyer and Cordelia closed her eyes and bit back a yelp; she wouldn't give her mother the satisfaction of seeing her pain. Emily Chase glared at her daughter with obvious disgust and Cordelia turned on her heel and marched out the door. She jumped in her car and sped her way over to Buffy's house. Tears flowed freely as she made the relatively short drive to the slayer's house and she did nothing to hide them.

She pulled her car over in front of her girlfriend's house and noticed Joyce's jeep wasn't in the driveway and she was slightly relieved. She didn't want to have to explain the beginnings of a black eye to Buffy's mom. She knocked on the door and a minute later Buffy answered and gasped when she took in the sight of the cheerleader. Her hair was mused and her make up was streaky letting Buffy know she'd been crying. The slayer could already see the swelling to Cordelia's face.

Buffy pulled Cordelia in the door and held the crying girl tight. "Baby, what happened?" she asked as she pulled away and kissed Cordelia lightly. "Vamps?" she asked softly.

Cordelia shook her head as a new batch of tears began to fall. Buffy traced her thumb over the slight bump on Cordelia's face and pulled her into the kitchen. The slayer didn't push her girlfriend for any information as she got an ice pack together and handed it to her. She knew Cordelia would talk when she was ready. Buffy guided the cheerleader upstairs to her room and they both changed into boxers and tee shirts. Once they were under the blankets, Buffy pulled the brunette close and held her tight.

Cordelia reveled in the absolute sense of safety and security that came with having Buffy taking care of her. She sighed lightly knowing this was truly the only place in the world where she felt completely safe. She rested her head comfortably on Buffy's chest and slid an arm around her waist under her tee shirt and simply breathed in the scent of the slayer. The pair remained silent as Buffy ran her fingers through Cordelia's hair gently, doing anything to ease her girlfriend's nerves. Cordelia glanced up at Buffy for a moment and frowned. "My mom hit me," she stated quietly. Buffy's jaw clenched and she held the girl in her arms a little bit closer and kissed the top of her head. The slayer tried to control every urge in her body telling her to march over to Cordelia's house and beat the living shit out of the bitch. "Has that ever happened before?" she asked carefully.

Cordelia nodded against Buffy and sniffled as a few tears escaped. "She's a really mean drunk. I came home late and she asked if I was out fucking some nameless jock like the slut she thinks I am."

Buffy blinked back her own tears as she heard the broken edge Cordelia's voice had taken on. She tilted Cordelia's face up a bit and kissed her lightly on the lips. The chestnut eyes staring back at her looked so empty and cold, she almost didn't recognize them. Buffy moved from her girlfriend's embrace and got off the bed; she felt it was time for Emily Chase to learn a lesson, slayer style. "Summers, don't," Cordelia pleaded softly as she leaned over and grasped the blonde's hand, pulling her back towards the bed. Buffy turned to face her girlfriend and gazed at her for a long stretch of moments. Buffy closed her eyes and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. She finally nodded and slid back into bed. One of her hands moved to brush some of Cordelia's hair from her eyes and her heart almost broke when the brunette flinched. Buffy pulled her hand away and kissed Cordelia again. "Baby, I would never hurt you, you know that right?"

Cordelia nodded sadly and her eyes fell away from Buffy's again. "Sorry, I just get a little wigged afterwards."

Buffy cupped Cordelia's face with one hand and ran her thumb over her bruised cheekbone lightly. She leaned in and kissed the lump tenderly and she could almost see her girlfriend's walls crumbling down as her chin quivered and tears swam in her eyes. Cordelia finally broke down completely and sobbed defeatedly for a long stretch of minutes in Buffy's arms as the slayer held her tight. Buffy did her best to control her more violent urges as she allowed her girlfriend to cry in her arms. She couldn't help but feel completely helpless in the situation she was in at the moment. Once her tears subsided, the brunette looked up at the slayer sheepishly. "Sorry, I didn't mean to lose it. I hate how she always does this to me."

Buffy shook her head and kissed her lightly. "No. Baby, don't ever apologize for breaking down in front of me. You are always, always safe with me," she whispered softly. "As long as I'm with you, nobody will ever hurt you. You're safe here, it's just you and me." A tiny grin appeared on her face. "Are you sure you don't want me to kick her ass for you?"

Cordelia laughed and shook her head. "No, that would be too messy, I think it's better to let her drink herself into a coma." Cordelia glanced up at Buffy with slight fear in her eyes. "Promise you'll never hurt me, Buffy. I wouldn't be able to handle it," she confessed quietly.

Buffy shook her head and kissed her tenderly. "Never. I promise," she replied softly with another kiss. The kiss deepened and Buffy brought her hands up and wrapped them in the cheerleader's hair. Cordelia pulled her close and rolled them over completely so the slayer's weight was resting comfortably on top of her. Buffy moved her lips to Cordelia's neck and sucked on her pulse point gently. The cheerleader slid her hands under Buffy's shirt and began sliding it up slowly. The slayer shifted her weight so the item could be removed and it wasn't too long before the rest of their clothes had joined the shirt on the floor. Buffy rested her weight on her forearms and slid a thigh between her girlfriend's and Cordelia instantly reacted, sliding her leg up so Buffy would feel the same pressure. Their pace started out slow, but desire soon took over and they began rocking to a rhythm only they could hear. Foreheads brushed together softly and lips lingered teasingly as they were each brought to the edge of ecstasy. It wasn't long before Buffy was sent crashing over the edge, totally succumbing to the rolling waves of pleasure. As soon as her girlfriend hit the edge, Cordelia was close behind her, leaving them both completely blissed out. Their gazes locked as frenzied heartbeats and breaths slowed but they refused to relinquish their hold on each other. Both girls could feel love swirling deep inside clutching their hearts in a vice-like grip and the clung to each other like a lifeline. Tiny, tender kisses were exchanged as the need for words was no longer present and Buffy finally rolled off of Cordelia and pulled her close from behind. They remained silent for a long stretch of minutes allowing their bodies to relax and slow down as they simply held each other.

"I love you so much, baby," Buffy mumbled softly as she pressed a cheek to Cordelia's back between her shoulder blades.

"I love you too, Summers," Cordelia murmured back tenderly as she snuggled back into the slayer's warm, comforting embrace, praying Buffy would never let go.

"Can we just stay like this forever?" Buffy asked as she kissed the back of Cordy's neck softly.

"I will if you will," the brunette replied with a sleepy smile.

Buffy grinned impishly. "Good, then it's settled. No moving from this bed forever."

"That could get kinda messy if you think about it," Cordelia pointed out with a grin.

Buffy grimaced. "You might have a point there, baby."

Cordelia rolled over and wrapped herself around the blonde in bed with her and hugged her tightly. She knew that she had never in her life been as happy as she was at that moment and wanted to make it last as long as she could. "Buffy, I want you to know that I'm yours. I trust you with my heart, my soul, my body, my life... everything. I love you with all my heart and I would do anything for you, no questions asked. I wish I could say it better, but you really are my everything...my happiness, my love, my life, my heart, my soul...everything. I don't know what I did to deserve you and your love, but whatever it was, I want you to know that I feel truly blessed to be the person that loves you and has you to love me," Cordelia stated softly.

Buffy gazed at her girlfriend tenderly and saw that her eyes were completely unguarded, showing the slayer everything she'd said was the God-honest truth. She kissed the brunette with a fiery passion that left them both slightly breathless and held Cordelia's eyes. "Baby, I can't imagine how I've lived my life without you. I've never felt so incredibly whole before. I feel like nothing could bring me down or hurt me or break me as long as I have you with me. You give me so much strength and so much clarity that I don't know how I survived without you."

The pair shared a sweet kiss and cuddled as close as humanly possible until they both fell asleep, safe in each other's arms.


The next night rolled around and Buffy, Cordelia and Joyce were putting the finishing touches on the dinner table when the doorbell rang.

The door cracked open and Faith's head peeked in. "Hello?" she called out.

Buffy turned, waving Faith and her father in with a smile. "Hey, Faith. Hey, Mr. C, come on in guys."

Faith and Brad walked in and Brad handed a bottle of wine to Joyce. The two adults began chatting happily as they moved into the kitchen. Cordelia watched the two retreating adults carefully as a tiny niggling of a thought appeared in the back of her mind. She shook it off when Faith cupped her chin gently to get a better look at her black eye. "This why you weren't in school today, Queeney? Damn, your mom's got an arm, huh?" Faith shook her head. "Bitch."

Cordelia looked accusingly at Buffy who shook her head emphatically. "I didn't say a word."

Faith gave the cheerleader a sheepish grin. "Ace told me." She averted her eyes from the Queen's and gave her a small shrug. "He didn't think you'd mind. I won't say anything, it just pisses me off."

"Pisses you off?" Buffy asked angrily. "It was all I could do not to march over there and kick her ass myself." She glanced up at her girlfriend. "Are you sure you don't want me just to get in one good punch for you?" she asked with a grin. "It'll teach her a lesson she probably won't forget."

Cordelia rolled her eyes and shook her head before kissing the blonde. "I'll let you know when I change my mind. Besides, they left again this morning for Mexico and won't be back for a month."

The three girls were distracted when the bell rang again and Xander peeked inside. "Anybody home?" he called out playfully.

The three girls rolled their eyes and Buffy waved them in. Xander, Amy and Willow all paraded inside and the group began babbling aimlessly. Angel and Riley showed up a few minutes later and the last to arrive had been Giles and Jenny. Joyce had found it a bit strange to invite two of the kids' teachers, but she figured in probably wasn't a bad thing to have two teachers at school looking out for all the kids so she happily invited them all along.

More than one teenager noticed some interesting things happening between some of the dinner guests that night. Buffy watched Giles and Jenny carefully throughout dinner and it became glaringly obvious that the two liked each other. They tried to be conspicuous about casual glances and light `accidental' touches, but anyone could see it a mile away.

For her part, Cordelia watched Joyce and Brad with increasing interest. She was the Queen after all and no relationship or crush could slip under her radar. She knew that something was going on between the slayers' parents and it made her grin when she thought of the way the Tweedle Twins would react to that juicy bit of information.

Amy was busy watching Riley for a good part of the night. She found it to be kinda cute the way he looked at Willow, but it was slightly disheartening the way Willow appeared disinterested with him. She'd been there before and she hoped it wouldn't cause any friction between her new friends if his feelings became more apparent to Willow and she had to let him down.

As dinner wound down, the group prepared to hit the Bronze for Buffy's show and they all piled into the various vehicles in the driveway. Once they arrived, Buffy and Faith exchanged a glance and both rolled their eyes.

Buffy grasped her mother's hand and Joyce turned to her with a smile. "Mom, you guys go ahead in, Faith is gonna help me warm up out here for a minute. The guys will take you to our table."

Joyce nodded and smiled. "Okay honey. Just be careful. I don't like the two of you girls standing around in the alley at night."

Buffy and Faith waited until their parents were inside before they took off to take care of a few vamps in the area. The rest of the group headed inside and took their seats at their table.

Ten minutes later, Buffy took the stage and grabbed the mic, smiling broadly at the thunderous applause coming from the full house. "Thank you guys for coming out tonight. The first song I'm singing is one that I want to dedicate to someone that is so incredibly important to me. My heart belongs to her and I wanted a new way to say it, so I want to do that through this song.

Understand I had to change a few words since it was originally done by a guy but, Cor, this is for you."

Buffy locked eyes with her girlfriend and saw a few tears shining in her eyes. Buffy herself felt a few tears threatening to sting her eyes but she blinked them back as the music started.

You say you've seen too many things that turned out to be too good to be true.
Against your better judgment opened up your heart, til you found the joke was on you.
Looking out on the rest of our lives, if we're gonna be together or apart,
About the only way I know how to come, is right straight from my heart.

Cordelia listened to the words to the song and she was blown away at the raw emotion, not only in the words, but also in Buffy's voice as she sang. The blonde never took her eyes off Cordelia for one second as she poured her heart out through the music.

I want you now, I'll show you how, I can be the one you need me to be,
I've been around, but now I've found, that you're the only one for me.
Say you'll never fall again, you won't subject yourself to such pain.
But if you give me half a chance I win, I'll never leave you standing out in the rain.
But if you think that I can look you in the face and lie right through my teeth,
Then turn around and walk away
I cross my heart, girl I care for you, when I look into your eyes and I say,
I want you now; I'll show you how, I can be the one you need me to be.
I've been around, and now I've found that you're the only one for me
I need you so, I can't let go, gonna be all I can be
I want you still, I always will, cause you're the only one for me.

As her daughter continued to sing, Joyce watched the way Cordelia and Buffy gazed so lovingly at each other and she knew her daughter was deeply in love. She could tell it was a two-way street as far as their love went and she was incredibly touched.

Buffy gave another stellar performance on stage and more than a few people were touched by the open display of love between the two girls. Afterwards, the adults left the kids to their own devices and it was another typical night on the Hellmouth for all involved.


"It is really cold tonight," Amy commented with a shiver as she pulled her jacket around herself tighter.

Faith and Buffy exchanged a glance and shrugged. Willow stuck her tongue out at the slayers and turned back to the blonde. "They seem to have thermal layers. Their bodies automatically adjust to any type of weather." She gave the two a playful smirk. "I'd really like to do some experiments on you two, your bodies are so strange." "Wilma, don't make me hurt you," Faith warned playfully as she gave the redhead a sarcastic glare and turned back to the football game. "So, Maddy, tell us what you think about X."

Amy smiled, a slight blush creeping into her cheeks. "I think I kinda like him. He's so sweet and goofy. I keep thinking he's gonna ask me out, but he ends up stuttering and shifting his attention to something else."

"It's because he's afraid," Willow commented quietly. "Cordelia used to throttle him every time she caught him getting turned down, and now he's a bit shaky." Willow made sure to use a tone to let them all know she wasn't being critical of the new Cordelia.

Amy looked from Willow to Buffy and back to Willow. "Okay, I don't get that whole thing with the three of you. Why did you guys not like each other?"

"Well, we've known each other since kindergarten and we were all friends. She and Angel have always been best friends and as we started getting older, the two of them got to be more popular. She kind of realized that more people would like her and want to be around her if she made fun of me and Xander. So we formed the `we hate Cordelia' club and everything kept getting bigger as we got older." Willow shrugged sadly as she gazed at her hands.

Amy had a confused look on her face. "So, what happened?"

"The thing you have to understand about Cor is that she grew up with nannies and maids, who only paid attention to her because they were paid to. They never liked her because her parents turned her into a spoiled brat. Once she started gaining popularity, she finally felt like people liked her and she wasn't going to do anything to sacrifice it, so she clung to it like a lifeline and made fun of two people she'd known all her life." Buffy paused to glance up at her friends. "She isn't really a bitch deep down, she was just terrified of being alone," she admitted quietly.

Amy gave Buffy a comforting smile and rested a hand on her shoulder. "She's been nothing but sweet to me since I've been here." Amy suddenly grinned. "Maybe just a bit nosey, but nothing bad."

Before anyone could say anything more, their attention was pulled to the football field. They all watched in confusion as Angel stood making wild hand gestures, Xander was wandering around on the opposite end of the field with his hands up in front of him and Riley was beating his hands on the sides of his helmet.

Buffy caught Cordelia staring at her with a scared look on her face and she and Faith immediately moved down the bleachers to where the cheerleader was standing.

"Summers, what's going on with them?" she asked, her voice etched with fear.

Buffy looked to Faith, who appeared to be as confused and frightened as she was. They watched as team doctors moved onto the field and started talking to the three players. Only to add to the confusion, suddenly two vampires ran onto the field, directly through the mass of players, coaches and doctors and deposited a body on the field before running away.

Faith and Buffy exchanged a glance and took off. As they watched the slayers leave, Amy, Willow and Cordelia heard Buffy call out to them to find Giles and Jenny.


The two slayers returned to the library to find the rest of the crew doing research. Faith moved to Angel's side and sat next to him. "You okay, Ace?"

Angel simply nodded mutely and kissed her lightly on the lips. She glanced up at Giles. "So what's up with the three amigos?"

"Coop?" Xander asked looking around the room.

She looked at him with an expectant expression. "X, I'm right here. What's up?"

He furrowed his brow. "I can't see."

"I can't hear!" Riley boomed out loudly. He turned to Angel who was gesturing wildly and Angel placed his finger over his lips to tell him to be quiet.

Buffy and Faith both looked to Giles and Jenny, who were looking through a stack of books. "G-man, what the hell is going on with them?"

"Apparently, Xander managed to activate a spell causing him to go blind, Riley to go deaf and Angel to turn mute." He shot an annoyed glance at Xander, who missed it since he couldn't see. "We're trying to locate the book he used but since he can't see it, we don't know if we have the right one."

Jenny looked up at the two slayers. "Did you two take care of the vampires from earlier?"

"Yup, they're just dust blowing in the wind, who did they drop off on the field?" Buffy asked.

Giles sighed. "Principal Floutie." He removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes tiredly. "Apparently it was two former students who killed him...well, vampire students."

"Actually, I think now they fall under the `former students' and `former vamps' category," Buffy replied with a smirk.

"So how did the spell get cast in the middle of the game?" Faith asked as she gripped Angel's hand in hers.

"They were in the huddle, coach called for the blind, deaf and dumb play we run and I guess when Angel said the words, they triggered the spell cause I suddenly couldn't see anything and everyone started yelling and stuff."

"Well, me and Riley saw the book too, so maybe we can help," Buffy said as she took a seat next to Xander.

"Good, that would be helpful," Giles replied.

"Hey, G-man, I'm gonna go out and do a quick sweep, just to make sure everything is running smooth on the scary front," Faith said as she moved to the weapons chest.

"Want me to come with?" Buffy asked her slaying partner.

Faith shook her head. "Nah, you stay here with the three amigos and figure out what book we need to get them back to normal. It's cool."

"You sure?" Buffy asked.

"Yeah, B, I'm good to go." She moved back to Angel's side and kissed him quickly. "I'll be back, okay?"

Angel nodded and grabbed a sheet of paper and scribbled `be careful' on it. He pointed to it as he looked up at Faith raising his eyebrows.

Faith grinned and kissed him again. "Don't sweat it, Ace, I'll be fine." She gave the group a wave and headed out, leaving the rest of the group to do the bookwork. Faith was definitely not a book girl and not much could ever make her into one.


Amy watched from her seat at the library table as Buffy moved behind Cordelia's chair and began massaging the cheerleader's shoulders. Cordelia looked up at the slayer and it was so incredibly obvious how much in love the two of them were. You could see it in every touch and every look. Amy found it so incredibly cute when Buffy leaned down and whispered something in Cordelia's ear that made the brunette giggle and the slayer leaned in and kissed her tenderly. Amy turned to Willow and nudged her lightly. The redhead looked up with an eyebrow raised. Amy smiled and nodded in the girls' direction. "Those two are really in love aren't they?" she asked the redhead softly.

Willow grinned and nodded. "You have no idea. If you had known Cordelia before she met Buffy, you'd be blown away by how much she's changed since they got together."

"Was she really that bad?" Amy asked curiously.

"I hate to say it now since she's been so great since she and Buffy got together, but she was pretty bad," Willow replied with a slight wince.

Amy nodded and she and Willow watched the pair for a few more moments, adoring the way the couple was so sweet and tender towards one another.

Buffy whispered in Cordelia's ear again and kissed her lightly before she looked up. "I'm gonna go back Faith up, I have a bit too much energy tonight."

Giles nodded and Buffy called out good-byes as she headed out.


Faith was strolling through the cemetery bored out of her mind. She hadn't found one vamp to dust yet and it was getting kind of old. She hopped up on a headstone and twirled her stake around a few times. "Here, vampy, vampy, vampy, come out, come out wherever you are," she called out.

When nothing happened she sighed and continued to sit. She nearly jumped out of her skin when she felt a light tap on her shoulder. "Jesus, B, don't do tha-" Faith stopped when she turned and saw Spike and Harmony standing behind her grinning.

"Hello, pet," Spike said with a grin.

Harmony suddenly frowned and stomped her foot on the ground like a two-year-old. "I thought I was your pet," she whined out.

"Well, if it isn't my two favorite bottle-blonde vamps. How are you two, are you guys a couple now?" Faith asked with a smirk.

Harmony's scowl deepened. "Bite me, skank."

"Sorry, sweetheart, isn't that your job now?"

"Well, don't you have a big mouth," Spike drawled out as he cocked his head.

Faith rolled her eyes and hopped off the headstone, moving into a defensive position. "So are you two actually going to try to kick my ass, operative word being `try', or were you planning on annoying me to death?" Faith asked sweetly.

The two blonde vamps grinned and for some reason Faith didn't like that look, she started to move on instinct, circling the two.

Spike's smile grew wider as he pulled out what looked like a pistol from the waistband of his jeans and aimed it at Faith.

Faith snorted. "A gun? That's pretty lame, even for a vamp."

"Night, night, slayer," Spike called out as he pulled the trigger.

A tiny dart came flying from the barrel of the gun and landed directly in Faith's carotid artery. She yanked it out clumsily and dropped it to the ground. Spike and Harmony grinned as they watched the slayer sink to her knees and pass out.


Faith awoke a few hours later. She was surprised she woke up at all. She figured she was vamp food. The brunette blinked rapidly trying to take in her surroundings and when her vision cleared enough she could make out Angel's face.

He looked down at her and smiled tenderly. "Relax, Faith. You're safe," he said gently as he brushed a few strands of hair from her face.

Faith blinked a few more times and brought a heavy hand to her eyes to rub them furiously. She looked around and realized she was in the library in Giles's office lying on the couch. "Ace, what happened?"

"Shh, just relax. Spike shot you with a tranq gun and he and Harmony were feeding from you. Buffy caught them just in time and brought you back."

She smiled a tiny smile. "You have your voice back," she said hoarsely.

Angel grinned down at her and kissed her lightly. "Yeah, don't worry, baby, you're fine, we're all fine."

She smiled and nodded. "What happened to Spike and Harmony?" she asked after a minute.

Angel heaved a sigh. "Well, Buffy managed to dust Harm, but Spike got away. He said he had big plans for you and Buffy."

Faith nodded again and brought a hand to her neck where she felt a large gauze bandage. "I can't believe I let those two loser vamps bite me. That is so lame."

Angel leaned in and kissed her again. "Don't worry about it, you couldn't have known that Spike was going to drug you just to try to kill you."

Faith nodded again and the pair looked up when there was a knock at the door. Buffy peeked her head around the corner and gave Faith a sympathetic smile. "How are you feeling?" she asked softly.

Faith smiled and shrugged. "I'm alright, thanks to you, B."

Buffy smiled and moved into the room sitting on the couch next to Faith. "Yeah, well consider it payback, you've saved my ass a few times too," Buffy replied as she grasped Faith's hand in hers.

Faith nodded and grinned up at Buffy and Angel, a hopeful expression on her face. "Can I go home now?"

Buffy and Angel burst out laughing and Angel nodded and leaned over to pick Faith up. "Yup, let's get you home, baby."

"Take good care of her, Angel," Buffy called out as the pair headed out of the office.

After assuring Giles and Jenny that she was okay, Faith left with Angel still carrying her and the rest of the group congregated around one of the tables.

Buffy looked up at Giles, her brow furrowed with thought. "Hey, Giles, can I ask you something?"

Giles nodded and took off his glasses. "Of course, Buffy."

Buffy nodded and stood up. She paced back and forth a few times before she spoke and came to a stop behind Cordelia's chair and began playing with her girlfriend's hair. "What if I had been too late tonight? What would have happened to Faith if I hadn't shown up?"

Giles sighed and leaned back in his chair. "Well, Buffy, they probably would have turned her into a vampire. I hate to say it, but it's probably true."

"So she would have been turned evil?" Cordelia asked with a frown as she grasped Buffy's hand in hers.

Giles shook his head. "No. That's the one loophole the coven added to the spell. If a slayer is turned she will become a vampire, but she retains her soul, which keeps her from turning evil."

Buffy looked up at him questioningly. "She would have kept her soul?"

"Yes," Giles replied. "The coven wanted to make sure that no slayer could be turned and used for the side of evil, but of course the vampire drawbacks still apply."

"Would she still have her slayer powers?" Buffy questioned curiously. Giles nodded again. "Yes, not many vampires know of the loophole, but the ones who did discover it after one slayer was turned, found out only when it was too late and the slayer/vampire killed them. The slayer would keep her powers and gain the increase in senses and strength. She would be virtually unstoppable"

Cordelia shot a warning glance up at Buffy. "Don't get any funny ideas up there, Summers," she warned lightly.

Buffy's face contorted into a grimace and she shook her head. "Eww. Eternal life in the dark drinking blood? No thanks." She moved back to Cordelia's side and kissed her lightly. "Not the life for me, don't worry, baby." She glanced back up at

Giles. "So, a soul is what keeps vampires from being evil? Why don't we just stick a soul in all the vamps and have them fight on our side?"

Jenny turned in her chair and looked at Buffy. "Well, Buffy there are a few reasons for that. The spell itself is extremely difficult. If you mispronounce one word or the voice inflections are altered at all, the vampire's body could be altered in such a way that it may never accept a soul." She paused for a moment. "It's also very hard to locate the appropriate ingredients to do the spell, they're all very rare items. It takes a lot of time and effort to perform."

Buffy nodded and thought to herself for a moment. She looked back at Jenny. "Has it ever been done?" she asked curiously.

Jenny nodded. "Yes, actually. About eighty years or so ago, a slayer fell very deeply in love with a man and one night he was turned and killed by a group of vampires. When the slayer found out, she was completely distraught and sought out some of the most powerful witches in the world to save him. He ended up killing most of them and destroying many of the items used in the spell, but in the end, he was given a soul." Jenny stood up and began pacing. Giles knew of the tale, but Cordelia, Buffy, Riley, Willow, Xander and Amy were all on the edge of their seats listening. "During his time without a soul, the vampire tortured and killed many of the slayer's family and friends. He hated that he had been human and a good man and wanted to destroy his only link to his human, souled life. The guilt he carried after he was given the soul turned him mad and he enlisted the help of a very powerful man to extract his soul so he wouldn't feel so guilty." She paused again and smiled sadly at the teens. "In the end, she had to kill him. But, the spell has been done and I'm sure there will be a case in the future where it will be used again."

"That is so sad," Willow muttered quietly.

Jenny nodded. "It is."

Buffy stood up and pulled Cordelia with her. "Well, Jenny, as wonderful as that bedtime story was, I think it's time for us to go."

Willow and Amy stood up as well and called out good-byes as the four girls left the library with Xander and Riley right behind them. Jenny looked over to Giles who had a fond smile on his face. She gave him a questioning grin. "What's up, Ripper?"

"You love telling the story of your grandmother, don't you?" he asked.

Jenny nodded and leaned back in her chair. "Well, she was pretty amazing from what I hear. The only slayer to have a child."

Giles nodded and stood up. "Well, let's hope she is the only slayer to have a child as long as we're alive."

Jenny grinned and stood as well. "I second that. Could you imagine either one of them with a baby?"

The two shared a laugh as they left the library and headed home.


Buffy leaned against the doorframe of Cordelia's bedroom watching the brunette concentrate on her homework. The slayer fought off the urge to move to Cordelia's side and kiss away the worry crinkles in her forehead and instead watched from a distance. She cocked her head to the side when Cordelia looked up from her book and leaned her head down to rest in her hands. After another minute of watching her girlfriend, Buffy approached and rested her hands on Cordelia's shoulders lightly, massaging the tight muscles. Cordelia instantly relaxed under the familiar touch and she leaned her head back against the blonde's stomach to look up at her girlfriend. Buffy smiled fondly and leaned in to kiss the brunette seated in front of her. She took in the bags under the cheerleader's eyes, one still slightly hidden by the healing black eye she was still sporting. Buffy watched as Cordelia closed her eyes and her worry crinkles disappeared as her strong hands worked out the tight, tense muscles in Cordelia's shoulders.

"You okay, baby?" Buffy asked softly before leaning down to place a tender kiss on Cordelia's forehead.

Cordy nodded slowly. "Just tired."

"Wanna go to bed early tonight?"

Cordelia tensed up again as she opened her eyes and moved away from Buffy's hands, standing up to stretch. "I can't, I have a bio paper due tomorrow and I'm only halfway done."

"Need some help?" Buffy asked with a small smile.

Cordelia demeanor suddenly changed dramatically and she shot the slayer a glare. "Contrary to popular belief, cheerleaders do have brains...me included, so no, I think I can handle a paper on my own," she snapped.

Buffy reeled back slightly. "Baby, I know you're smart, I just thought if I gave you a hand, you would be done quicker and we could play."

"Thanks, but I think I have it under control," Cordelia replied hotly.

Buffy pouted, not understanding her girlfriend's behavior, and Cordelia rolled her eyes at the pout causing Buffy's stomach to clench a bit. "Cor? What's up, why are you being weird?"

Cordelia sighed heavily and began pacing. "I'm not being weird, I'm just tired and I have this dumbass paper to write, so forgive me if I can't play right now."

Buffy nodded sadly and turned from the room without another word. Cordelia felt her heart sink as she watched the slayer leave. She knew she should have stopped her, but she just had way too much to do, so she sat back down at her desk and continued working on her paper alone.


Buffy spent most of the night lying awake on her bed thinking about Cordelia's behavior. She knew she shouldn't get too worked up about their little spat, but she couldn't help but be worried about it.

She and Cordelia never fought. They were almost infamous at school for their utter perfection as a couple. Granted, this wasn't a monumental fight, and they'd had little tiny arguments about stupid stuff like what movie to see, but it still bugged her.

She remained awake for the rest of the night trying to ignore the tiny voice in her head telling that Cordelia was getting tired of her, just like everyone did. Her dad left her, her mom rarely spent time with her and once her friends realized that hanging out with a slayer was a bonafide death wish, they'd probably leave too...they all left.

Buffy got up from bed early to run and clear her head, but it didn't do much but stretch her tired muscles. After a two-mile run, she returned home to shower and change for school and set off for her day, praying Cordelia was in a better mood.

When she arrived at school she stopped at her locker before heading to the library and when she opened the door, a pink envelope fell to her feet. There wasn't a name on the front but she opened it anyways. It was a sappy card from Cordelia. On the inside she found the explanation she'd been hoping for.


Sorry I acted like supreme bitch number one last night. My mom called to bitch me out about my life in general right before you got there and she made it perfectly clear that I was only good for one thing and let me tell you that it had nothing to do with brains.

She makes me so crazy and I'm sorry I took it out on you. I shouldn't have and I'm sorry. If you forgive me, meet me at my locker, if not, I guess I'll see you in English.

I'm sorry and I love you,


Buffy smiled and tucked the card into one of her books before heading to her girlfriend's locker. Cordelia was wearing the world's guiltiest look on her face as the slayer approached. Buffy smiled when the cheerleader pulled a single red rose from behind her back and held it out. "I guess you forgive me?" she asked hopefully.

Buffy grinned and kissed her lightly. "I don't really have much of a choice, I think I love you too much to stay mad at you."

"Good news for me I guess," Cordelia replied with the most adorable smile Buffy had ever seen.

Buffy gazed at her girlfriend, standing in the hall looking almost shy, with the morning sun flooding over her basking the brunette in the most radiant light. Buffy reached a hand up and caressed her cheek lightly and Cordelia leaned in for a soft, tender kiss.

She rested her forehead against Buffy's lightly; so close their noses smooshed and lips brushed together teasingly. "I love you so much, Summers."

"Love you too, baby girl."

Cordelia smiled and they shared a few more kisses before heading to the library hand in hand and back to normal...if, of course, normal is utter relationship perfection. Hey, it can happen, I've been there, so don't be pessimists in regards to true love.


"What is with you two today? You've gone all `love is in the air'," Faith questioned with wild hand gestures as the group sat at lunch that day.

Buffy and Cordelia exchanged a small smile and Cordelia turned to Faith. "If you really must know...me and Summers had our first real fight and now we're doing the standard lovey-dovey make up stuff," Cordelia replied.

Faith grimaced. "Sorry, I love ya both, but I really don't need to hear about your making up `stuff'."

Xander grinned and held out his hand to Faith. "Pay up, Coop. Less than a year, you owe me twenty."

Faith slapped Xander on the arm and the two of them shrunk back guiltily under the intense glares from the couple.

"You bet on when our first fight would be? You two are awful," Cordelia remarked as she rolled her eyes.

Faith held up her hands in defense. "Look, Queeney, if you must know, we made that bet when you two lovebirds got together for real... when me and X didn't like you. Don't get pissy, I'm the one losing twenty bucks."

Cordelia shot Faith a playful glare and rolled her eyes again. Buffy leaned in to kiss her again. If they were gonna bet on their first fight, the least she could do was make them jealous of her incredibly sweet and sappy relationship. After all, turnabout is fair play.


Cordelia leaned back in her lounge chair as Buffy sat down in front of her and leaned back. Cordelia started playing with the slayer's hair as they all sat on Cordelia's patio by the pool late one night. "Hey, I was thinking we could have a girls night on Friday, what do ya think?"

Buffy craned her neck around and smiled. "Sure, me and Faith can just do a quick sweep and meet up with you guys."

Cordelia gave Buffy her best pouty eyes and a hopeful smile. "Or we could all go and then just us girls could come back here."

Buffy grinned and kissed her quickly before leaning back into her girlfriend. "That too." She ran her fingers up and down Co

rdelia's thigh lightly. "Where are your parents this month?" Cordelia's face fell slightly and she sighed. "They went to Mexico, business stuff with dad and mom thinks she's in need of a vacation." She waved her hand around in a dismissive gesture and rolled her eyes, trying to appear as if she didn't care. "Please."

Willow exchanged a sad glance with Buffy and she turned back to the brunette. "Cordy, are your parents ever home?"

Cordelia shrugged again and fidgeted slightly. "On occasion, usually once every month or two for a week or so. Mom has to get in her monthly berating of me and dad has to gain his daddy points by spoiling me."

Buffy gave Cordelia a sympathetic smile and leaned back and kissed her lightly. "I love you, Cor."

Cordelia smiled back weakly. "I know. Love you too."

Buffy turned around slightly and hugged Cordelia tight. She nuzzled her face into the brunette's neck and whispered something in Cordelia's ear that made her giggle and the brunette kissed Buffy tenderly.

Angel turned to Faith and Willow and rolled his eyes playfully. "Those two are so..."

"Sickeningly sweet and utterly adorable?" Willow supplied with a grin. She raised an eyebrow at the pair. "You two have had your share of incredibly sweet moments too so leave them alone."

"Okay, the party man has arrived, the festivities can now begin!" Xander called out as he, Amy, and Riley made their way out to the patio from the back door of the house.

"Sweet, you brought us a stripper?" Faith asked with a grin.

Xander shot her a mocking glare. "Sorry, Coop, I am the party man. No strippers here."

Cordelia rolled her eyes, but smiled nonetheless. She was beginning to grow very fond of Amy and even Xander when he was around Amy. After much debate, the group decided on a night on the town was in order. A movie, then dinner, then Bronzing. Ah, life was good for all involved.


Cordelia ushered her girlfriends into the house after patrol and they all moved into the kitchen. Cordelia moved to the fridge and removed items to begin making drinks. "So what do you girls feel like doing tonight?"

"Truth or dare?" Willow asked with a shrug.

Amy and Faith both scrunched up their faces and Willow stuck her tongue out at them.

"I think we should play the bowl game," Buffy said with a wicked grin.

"The bowl game?" Amy asked her. "What's that?"

"Everyone writes down five or six questions on a piece of paper and we put them in a bowl. They can be any questions you want, stupid silly ones or super personal ones. Nobody knows who wrote them and we each take turns picking a question and you have to answer truthfully. You can also write out questions to a specific person. We used to do three generic and three directed at someone."

"Ooh, that sounds like it could get interesting especially if we're drinking," Cordelia said with a wicked grin.

"I think personally that we should play a few drinking games first, then play B's bowl game, that way we don't waste any time with the `what's your fave color' questions."

"Works for me," Buffy replied.

Once the drinks had been made, the girls got situated outside by the pool to play their drinking games. It didn't take too many games of `asshole' and `golf' to get the five girls tipsy and they soon found themselves placing their questions into a bowl to play Buffy's game. The blonde slayer began the game and picked out her first question. "Okay, `where's the strangest place you've ever done it?' hmm," She glanced at Cordelia who had a tiny grin on her face. "Shady Acres."

"Oh, B, you guys did it in the cemetery?" She grimaced. "That's a bit to weird for me even."

Buffy blushed. "It was a slow night." She passed the bowl to Willow, seated on her right.

Willow grabbed a slip of paper from the bowl. "Alright, `are you a virgin? If so, what's the farthest you've gone, if not, who was it and how old were you?" She blushed lightly. "I am a virgin and the farthest I've gone is second base." Willow blushed again at the light teasing from her friends and passed the bowl to Faith.

The brunette slayer grinned and grabbed a question. "Okay, `how many people have you slept with?" Faith shrugged. "Just Angel. So that's a big fat one and only."

Cordelia grinned and slapped the slayer playfully. "Aw, Coop's a one man gal."

Faith rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue. "Bite me, Queeney. You've only had one, so it's not like you can talk."

Cordelia raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, but I don't ooze sex from my each and every pore like some leather clad slayer types."

Faith gave the Queen a tiny playful glare. "What does that have to do with anything? I like leather, plus it keeps me from getting all banged up during patrol."

Cordelia considered this for a second and cocked her head to the side, studying her girlfriend. "Summers, you should really think about getting some leather, your ass would look amazing in leather pants."

Buffy beamed. "Thanks, baby, I might just do that."

Willow rolled her eyes and smiled at the utter cuteness between the couple. "Alright you two, let's keep fantasies quiet for now, we have a game to play and it's Amy's turn."

Amy grabbed the bowl and picked out a slip of paper and grinned. She raised her eyes to Buffy and gave her a wicked smile. "I got off easy, this one's for Buffy. Okay, `is Faith's theory about slaying makes you hungry and horny actually true?"

Cordelia raised her hand. "I can answer that with a monumental yes all around." She gave Buffy a wicked smile and jutted a thumb at the blonde. "At least in her case."

The smile on Buffy's face confirmed Cordelia's answer and Amy passed the bowl to the cheerleader. She grabbed a question and burst out laughing after she read it. "Okay, `spit or swallow?' Ha, neither, I guess." She glanced at Buffy with an impish grin. "Well, I guess technically that would be swallow. Your turn, Summers"

Buffy rolled her eyes and tried to get rid of her blush. She grabbed her question. "Okay, `Faith, what's the best thing that's ever happened to you?"

Faith only thought for a split second. "Moving to Sunny D. I met you guys, Angel, got called and suddenly had this totally wicked family that I belonged to...no contest." She grinned widely and handed the bowl to Willow. "Your turn, Wilma."

Willow grabbed a slip of paper. "Um, `what is your best childhood memory?" She paused to think for a second. "I guess that would be meeting Xander. We always stuck together and over the years he became like the brother I never had." She shrugged lightly and handed the bowl to Faith.

Faith grabbed her question. "Okay, `have your parents ever caught you making out with anyone?" She grinned wickedly. "Angel and I were about three seconds away from getting busted by his mom a few weeks ago, they came home early from a party or something. I never knew I could get dressed in under thirty seconds til then." She handed the bowl to Amy who grabbed her next question.

"Alright, `Are you a virgin?" Amy's face fell slightly. The alcohol didn't provide her with enough quickness to mask the hurt in her eyes, and her four friends caught it immediately. "Um...I don't know to be honest."

Buffy and Cordelia exchanged a quick questioning glance and when they turned back to Amy, Cordelia placed a hand on Amy's arm gently. "How do you not know?"

Amy fidgeted slightly and stood up. She began pacing behind her chair, rubbing her hands together nervously. "I guess technically I'm not, but I like to think that I still am. I don't think it really counts if I didn't really have a say in if I did it or not."

The other four girls exchanged shocked glances and turned to the blonde still fidgeting and pacing.

"What do you mean, Amy?" Buffy asked carefully.

The blonde witch took a deep breath and let out a heavy sigh. She chewed on her bottom lip for a moment before training her gaze on the ground. "I was raped."

At the admission, the other girls got up and Buffy pulled her into a hug as the others rubbed her back or smoothed out her hair gently. "Maddy, if you don't want to talk about it, we'll all understand."

Amy smiled sadly and reclaimed her seat around the table. She pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs. "It...it's really not a big deal. The guy who did it lived down the street; his parents were my parent's best friends. The first time he did it-"

"The first time?" Cordelia interrupted, her face a mask of fury. "How many times did this happen?"

The muscles in Amy's jaw clenched a few times and she dropped her gaze to her hands. "Three."

Willow gasped. "Oh my God."

Faith glanced around the table at her friends' stunned faces and got up from her seat crouching next to Amy and grasping her hand. "Shit, Maddy, why didn't you say something to your dad?"

Amy shifted uncomfortably and her fidgeting got worse. "The guy threatened me." Her voice wavered and cracked slightly. "He kinda... he hit me a few times and held a knife to my throat and told me that if I told he'd kill me. So I kept my mouth shut."

Buffy's mouth fell open and she stared at Amy, tears forming in her eyes. "Oh God. How old were you?"

Amy wiped a stray tear from her eye and she sniffled. "I was twelve the first time, thirteen the second and fourteen the third."

Faith's eyes had turned darker with obvious ferocity. "How old was the fuck who did it?"

Amy's chin quivered and she leaned her head over on Cordelia's shoulder, who immediately began running a hand over her hair gently. "He was four years older than me. He went away to school so I didn't have to see him anymore." She wiped away a few more stray tears and sniffled again. "So for the last few years I've tried to just move on and try to get it out of my head."

Cordelia put her arms around the blonde and held her tight. "Honey, I don't think this is the type of thing you can ignore." She pulled away and held Amy at an arms length, staring her straight in the eye. "You should probably tell your dad and maybe he can get you in to see somebody who can help you." She brushed a few strands of hair away from Amy's face. "Don't get me wrong, we are all here to talk to you about it if you need to, but there's really only so much we can do. You might want to talk to a professional."

Amy's demeanor suddenly changed from incredibly sad to enormously scared. "I don't know if I could tell my dad. I mean, it's been two years. Even if I did, he'd probably catch the first flight to Chicago, where he's going to school, and kill him"

Faith shrugged. "So, the prick deserves it."

Willow exchanged a glance with Faith. "I agree, but I doubt Amy's dad needs to go to jail because of some stupid bastard."

Amy shook her head a few times and sniffled again. "It's really not that big a deal guys. It doesn't really get to me most of the time."

Cordelia gave her a sympathetic smile and hugged her again. "When does it get to you though, that's the real question."

Amy shifted in her seat and gazed down at her hands. "Mostly when I was with my ex. I got a little skittish sometimes. Well, burst into tears is probably more accurate, but it's no big deal."

Buffy stood up and hugged Amy around her neck from behind, resting her chin on top of Amy's head gently. "Honey, it is a big deal."

Amy sat silently for a few moments before she finally sighed and nodded. "I know, that's why I've been kind of hot and cold with Xander. I would hate to scare him by freaking out when it's not him that's done anything wrong."

"You could always talk to him about it," Willow offered hopefully. Amy snorted and rolled her eyes. "Yeah, that won't scare him off or anything. I'm pretty much damaged goods, not too many guys leap at the chance to date a girl that's been through that."

Cordelia shook her head and squeezed Amy's shoulders. "Sweetie, first of all, you aren't damaged goods. Don't ever think of yourself like that. It wasn't your fault all that stuff happened, plus you were just a kid when it started. Second of all, I think Xander is much more mature than any of us give him credit for. Sure, he acts like the big class clown, but deep down he's a really sweet, caring, understanding guy and I have a feeling he'd handle the news fairly well."

Faith nodded, a fond smile playing on her lips. "Yup, X is a really stand up guy, I totally agree with Queeney."

"I know he's a great guy, but this is still really new and I don't think it's a good idea to weigh a new relationship down with so much so soon."

Buffy reached over Cordelia to grasp Amy's hands in hers and gave them a gentle squeeze. "That's true, but relationship aside, Xander's still your friend. We all are, and part of being friends is being honest about the big stuff and I'm sure if you went into a talk with him as a friend, he would take the news really well. Well, as well as can be expected. You should just sit him down and tell him you guys need to have a friend to friend talk and tell him about it. Then, you two can work it into your relationship and he can help you through everything."

Willow nodded her agreement. "Xander isn't a typical guy either. I mean, he is a guy which means sex is on his mind every three seconds, but he would never ever be the type to push you into anything too fast. I think having female friends growing up had a lot to do with that. Sex is important to him, but it isn't everything."

Amy nodded and wiped her tears away and gave her friends a sheepish smile. "Okay, no more about this, it's too depressing."

Faith grinned and ran back into the house only to emerge a few minutes later with a bottle of Jack Daniel's and five shot glasses. "Time to have some real fun now that we have all that bonding shit outta the way."

The rest of the girls groaned half-heartedly but each picked up a glass once the alcohol was poured. They toasted and each threw their heads back with the shot. Faith smirked as she watched Amy squint her eyes shut, Willow nearly gagged, Buffy licked her lips and Cordelia scrunched her face up. "Good girls. One more then we can really have some fun."

The second shot for everyone went down a bit easier for all and Cordelia ran into the house and turned the patio stereo on with some techno music. When she returned to the patio she was carrying a box of Kix cereal in one hand and a bucket of beer in the other. Each girl grabbed a beer and sat back down.

Faith suddenly grinned wickedly and Buffy caught the look and smiled in anticipation of the fun that Faith was about to think up. The brunette slayer stood up and motioned for everyone else to do the same. "Come on, let's go for a walk."

The others shrugged and followed Faith down the street until they reached the parking lot of a grocery store. Buffy and Faith immediately ran to the line of shopping carts and Buffy hopped in one while Faith ran her around the parking lot. Cordelia sat contently with her beer and box of Kix and stuffed them in her mouth by the handful as she watched Amy and Willow join in the shopping cart fun.

She leapt to her feet when Faith's cart hit a curb spilling Buffy out into a bush. Faith fell to the ground laughing as Cordelia ran over to find her girlfriend sprawled out in a group of bushes laughing her drunk ass off.

"B, are you okay?" Faith managed to spit out around her hysterical laughter as she stood up.

Buffy wiped a few tears of laughter away and nodded. "That was fun, Faith you wanna try?" the blonde slayer asked as she extracted herself from the bushes.

Faith nodded and grinned. "Yeah! I always wondered what it was like to fly." "I said try you silly, drunk bitch, not fly," Buffy called out loudly as she shoved Faith playfully.

"I heard you the first time you dumbass, but you did some good flying there and I wanna try," Faith replied with a grin.

Cordelia, who normally, or should I say soberly, would have put a stop to this behavior, shrugged and moved back to her seat on the curb to watch the fun. Faith jumped into the cart and Buffy took off pushing her at full tilt. As Faith was sent sprawling into another patch of bushes, Cordelia spotted a car pulling into the parking lot.

She scrambled up quickly. "Guys! Come on, someone's coming we might get in trouble."

The other girls took one look at the car and hurried to hop from their carts and the five girls took off through the parking lot to get away from the fast approaching car. They could hear male voices making whooping noises as the car approached and in their less than sober states it never dawned on them that they had two superheroes and a witch in the group to keep them safe.

They ran back to Cordelia's house as fast as they could and they all collapsed into huge fits of laughter as they returned to the patio. Faith immediately filled the five shot glasses and the girls lined up for another. No nasty faces were made at this point since they were all pretty blazed.

Cordelia stumbled up from her chair and looked around frantically. "Hey! We forgot my Kix in the parking lot," she mumbled drunkenly.

Instead of replying, the other girls began another conversation entirely and soon the box of Kix was forgotten. Faith and Buffy began wrestling in the grass a few minutes later and the other girls ignored them as they began talking about something else random. All in all, the night was filled with random conversations, silly stunts and a heap of female bonding. All five girls knew they had strengthened their friendships that night as they all passed out sporadically in various parts of the house. Cordelia finally reached her drinking limit and Buffy had to carry her upstairs.

The majority of their night was spent in the bathroom. Buffy spent a long night alternating between holding Cordelia's hair back as she threw up and listening to the brunette whine, cry and moan about the evil of JD and Kix.


The next morning, Cordelia stumbled down the stairs in boxers, a tee shirt and her sunglasses. She heard voices in the kitchen and found the Tweedle Twins making breakfast and singing along with the radio. Buffy caught sight of the staggering brunette and made her a cup of coffee as Cordelia took a seat at the counter. "Hey baby, how ya feeling this morning?"

Cordelia lowered her glasses enough to glare at the two slayers. "I hate you both and your slayer non-hangover abilities."

Faith tried to hide her smile and turned back to breakfast. Buffy went to the cabinet and grabbed three aspirin and handed them to the brunette with a tall glass of water. "Here baby, these'll help."

Cordelia glared at the blonde and took the pills before resting her head against the cool marble counter. Willow stumbled in a few minutes later looking like she was about to puke in her shoes and Buffy gave her the same antidote. Once Amy made her way into the kitchen the girls sat down to eat. The two slayers dug in, not feeling any effects from the alcohol as the other three girls stared at their food. After managing to eat a few slices of toast, the girls all showered and lounged around the pool nursing their hangovers, or in the slayers' case, lack thereof.

"Wild night last night, girls?" Angel asked as he, Riley and Xander wandered out back. Faith hopped up and gave Angel a kiss and Xander moved to sit next to Amy and the two began talking quietly. Buffy was painting Cordelia's toenails when the guys arrived and she called out hello to the three of them. It looked like another day of sitting around the pool for the gang. No wild antics or silly events to report.


As Angel approached Cordelia's locker on Monday morning, an old, familiar sight greeted him, but it was pleasantly skewered with different faces. He stopped and leaned against one of the lockers in the hall and watched his best friend with her friends. It was almost ritualistic that he and Cordy met at her locker every morning and he thought back to last year. Cordelia would be standing with her groupies with a huge, fake smile and blank eyes as someone ranted and raved about how great she looked. She would put on her cheery face as she talked about some guy and his car and her friends would all giggle like the sheep they were. Now, it was a completely different picture. He cocked his head to the side, smiling when Faith said something to Cordelia and the slayer laughed loudly as Cordy rolled her eyes and smiled giving Faith a look that said `you're losing it'. At least those looks were playful these days. He was picking up on something different between the five girls...he couldn't put his finger on it, but they certainly appeared to be extremely comfortable around each other. More so than usual. He saw so much life in Cordelia's eyes and her smiles were completely genuine.

Faith noticed him standing there and gave him a grin. "Whatcha lookin' at, Ace? See something you like over here?" she asked with a playful smirk.

Angel grinned and approached his girlfriend and kissed her lightly. "Only you, baby."

The pair joined their friends and they all made their way down the hall, not taking any notice as the crowds seemed to part and hands covered mouths to deter their voices from carrying their rumors to the ears of the most talked about teens at SDH.


Faith balanced her weight carefully, looking for the right opening to attack. As she ducked a punch, she found her chance and spun around aiming a kick for Buffy's head. When she apparently missed, her momentum carried her around in almost another complete circle before she tripped over her feet and fell face first into the ground. She suddenly heard very childlike laughter and when she looked up, she was faced with what appeared to be a four or five year old girl, laughing at her. The little girl had long, blonde hair and bright hazel eyes, and she was dwarfed in a navy tee shirt that extended past her feet. The tiny blonde girl looked down at her with a cocky smirk and her little hands on her hips, waiting.

Faith's face showed utter confusion as she stood up and looked around. "Who are you?"

The girl grinned. "I'm Buffy." Her little tongue peeked out the side of her mouth as her face shifted into a thoughtful expression as she gazed up at Faith. "Who are you?"

Faith grinned for a moment thinking about how cute Buffy was as a kid, until she realized that her slaying companion was a little kid and she began to get a bit worried. "I'm Faith," she replied absently.

The now older slayer quickly got her mind in gear and tried to think about where everyone was, she was trying desperately not to panic. Angel, Xander, Riley and Cordelia all had their respective practices, which she knew, thankfully, should be over by now. Jenny and Giles had a faculty meeting and Willow and Amy had gone to the magic shop in town to pick up some supplies.

"Dammit," she muttered quietly, wondering what she should do until they get back.

Buffy looked up at her with a wicked glint in her eyes. "Dammit!" she called out deviously.

"Hey, no bad words from you, Twinkie." Faith shot her a tiny glare. Buffy pouted, and that tiny action melted Faith's heart. The little girl reached her hands up in the universal child code for `pick me up', and Faith rolled her eyes and scooped the tiny blonde up in her arms. "How old are you anyways?"

Buffy stuck her thumb in her mouth and with the other hand she held up four fingers. She pointed a finger at Faith and raised her eyebrows in question. Faith grinned. "I'm fifteen."

Buffy giggled and pulled her thumb out of her mouth. "You're old." She smiled shyly and wrapped a tiny hand in Faith's ponytail. "But funny." She looked up at Faith and smiled. "Twinkie?" she asked hopefully.

Faith laughed and moved into Giles's office, where she knew he kept a secret stash of candy and she grabbed two jolly ranchers and held one out to the girl. Buffy grinned and took the candy and unwrapped it before sticking it in her mouth. Faith followed her lead, never before realizing how hard it is to unwrap candy with a kid clinging to you.

"Hello!" Cordelia's voice rang through the library and Faith heaved a sigh of relief. She walked back into the room and Cordelia's face broke out into a grin as she saw the little girl.

"Hey, who's this?" She moved in closer and tickled the girl's tummy, causing a rash of giggles.

Faith smirked. "You don't recognize her, Queeney?"

Cordelia shot her a confused glance. "This isn't your daughter or anything is it?" She turned back to the girl. "What's your name?"

The little girl brought a finger to her own nose. "Buffy."

Cordelia burst out laughing. "Coop, that is the cutest thing, did you teach her to do that just to mess with me?" She glanced around. "Where's Summers? Is she in on this too?"

"Buffy Summers," the little girl stated, staring pointedly at Cordelia with her little finger still touching her nose.

Faith stood, still with Buffy in her arms, and waited. She knew Queeney would figure this out without her help. Cordelia stared at her, clearly waiting for the `gotcha!' part of the prank, but it didn't come. She looked at the little girl more carefully. She was wearing Buffy's navy workout shirt and one single sock; the other was on the floor with a pair of sneakers and workout pants.

Realization hit Cordelia when she looked into the little blonde's eyes. She had Buffy's eyes. She was Buffy. "Oh no."

"Dammit!" Buffy exclaimed with a wide grin. Faith shot her another warning glare and the blonde rolled her eyes. "Sorry." Not sounding the least bit sorry.

Cordelia opened her mouth to say something, but she was cut off as Angel and Riley came barging through the doors yelling about something. The two girls couldn't make out any words since both guys were talking frantically at once. Faith and Cordelia turned to them only to find Riley and Angel standing at the door and Angel had a little dark haired boy in his arms.

Cordelia groaned rolled her eyes. "Please tell me that's not Xander."

Both guys began talking wildly again until the Queen held up her hands to silence them. "Just one of you explain."

"We were in the locker room after practice getting dressed and all of a sudden, boom, we had baby Xander with us and had to tell everyone he was my little cousin. Luckily nobody saw the big bang," Angel explained.

"Bang!" Buffy yelled, wanting more attention.

The guys finally took notice of the tiny blonde Faith was holding and moved in closer. As they approached, Faith felt Buffy squirm in her arms and she set her down on the ground. Buffy immediately hid behind Cordelia, wrapping her tiny arms around her leg. "No."

The four teens exchanged a confused glance and Cordelia turned and knelt next to the little girl. "Hey, sweetie, it's okay, nobody's gonna hurt you."

Buffy's little chin quivered as she glanced from Cordelia to the two guys and back to Cordelia. She shook her head and a tiny tear escaped down her cheek.

Cordelia felt her heart strings pull and wrapped Buffy into a hug and picked her up. She felt the little girl's heart hammering wildly against her chest as she held her close. "It's okay, baby."

"CC, is that Buffy?" Angel asked in bewilderment.

She nodded and continued whispering soothing words to the trembling child in her arms. Cordelia exchanged a glance with her friends and moved into the office with baby Buffy and Faith. She sat down on the couch and Buffy still refused to let her go. She buried her face in Cordelia's neck and sniffled.

Cordelia ran her fingers through Buffy's hair as the child wiggled around getting comfortable. She glanced up at Faith who was watching them intently. "What happened?"

Faith shook her head and heaved a sigh. "I dunno. We were sparring and I did a quick spin kick and missed. I fell over and when I looked up, baby B here was laughing at me."

Cordelia furrowed her brow and dropped a kiss on the top of Buffy's head. "Spell?"

Faith shrugged. "I dunno. It was just the two of us here."

"I guess we just wait for Jenny and Giles." Cordelia craned her neck so she could see the other room and saw Riley scampering off finding a hiding spot amongst the stacks of books with a huge grin on his face. Seconds later, Angel went running by and acted similarly. She grinned at the two of them playing with baby Xander and glanced back to Faith. "She doesn't like them very much...I wonder why."

Faith didn't hear Cordelia because she was wrapping something else around her brain. "I wonder if somebody cast the spell so they could take out baby B as a kid. She'd make an easier target like this. Maybe we have a new big bad in town?"

Cordelia thought about that. "Well, why would they cast it on just one of you? You said you were both here. I'm assuming if whoever did this wanted you both as easy targets, you'd both be babies."

Faith nodded absently as she looked out the window to watch the three boys play. "Maybe JC or Maddy messed something up with a spell and it affected them?"

Cordelia shook her head. "Unless Jenny is casting spells in the middle of a faculty meeting and Amy is just muttering things walking down the street, I doubt it."

Faith shrugged again. "I guess we wait then."

"Dammit," Buffy muttered out, shooting Cordelia her best puppy dog eyes. Cordelia felt the urge to scold the girl slip away as she took in those adorable eyes. She had always been relatively immune to the blonde slayer's pouting powers, but Buffy as a baby was too much. She bit back a grin and pulled Buffy close and kissed her forehead gently. "Just sit tight baby girl, we'll get this straightened out."

The two teens sat in relative silence until they heard Willow and Amy enter and both of them began cooing over baby Xander loudly. Faith watched through the window as Amy picked Xander up and tickled him. The little boy barked with laughter and he rested his head on her shoulder as Willow and Amy got the scoop from Riley and Angel. The two girls and Xander, safely in Amy's arms, entered the office a minute later and Willow immediately moved to Buffy, still in Cordelia's lap, and cupped her face gently. "Oh, look at you. You are so adorable. Aw, baby Buffy and baby Xander are too much on the cuteness scale, I think I'm having a maternal moment."

Buffy looked up at her as if deciding if she liked Willow or not, and slowly a small, shy smile crept onto her lips. "Who are you?" she asked placing her tiny index finger on the redhead's nose.

Willow grinned. "I'm Willow." She pointed to Amy and Xander. "And that's Amy, and her friend is Xander."

Buffy gazed at all three of them separately and after a few moments she nodded and tucked her head back into Cordelia's neck. Cordelia looked up at Amy. "Can you sense anything from them?"

Amy nodded. "Oh yeah, they have magical residue all over them. It was definitely a spell."

"So, I guess this means I find the bad guy and kick his ass," Faith said absently as she watched Angel and Riley talking in the other room, too terrified to go near Buffy and scare her again.

"Kick his ass!" Buffy called out.

"Twinkie," Faith said in a warning tone, looking at the little girl with a raised eyebrow.

Buffy lifted her head and the four girls could see a mischievous glint in her eyes. "Sorry," she said, this time at least sounding a teeny bit sorry. She glanced at Faith with a hopeful expression again. "Twinkie?"

Faith laughed and nodded at the girl before sticking her tongue out and she laughed harder when Buffy mimicked her. "See, she's always been a copy cat." Faith moved to the candy bowl and plucked out two more pieces of candy and she handed one to the little blonde.

Cordelia watched with amusement as Buffy unwrapped her candy carefully with her tongue peeking out of the corner of her mouth in concentration. "What do you say, Buffy?"

"Thank you, Faith."

Xander suddenly squirmed out of Amy's grasp and ran back into the other room. The girls watched fondly as he tugged on Angel's jeans and begged him to play hide and seek again.

A few minutes later, Giles and Jenny emerged into the library to find a tiny little boy running around after Riley and Angel. The two older boys stopped and did some explaining and the two adults moved into the office where the girls were still waiting.

Buffy took one look at Giles and terror swept through her eyes. Her chin quivered again and she tried desperately to move in closer to Cordelia. "No. Please no."

Giles looked shocked at the way Buffy looked at him and it made him feel rather ill. Cordelia caught his gaze apologetically. "I don't think she likes M-E-N very much." Spelling the word, so Buffy wouldn't know what they meant. She pulled the trembling girl tighter and kissed her head lightly. "It's okay baby. I'm here."

Giles furrowed his brow and nodded sadly as he moved out of the room to join the other males. He got as much information from Riley and Angel as he could and Jenny gathered all she could from Faith and the girls.

Once they had the full story Jenny motioned for Faith and Amy to follow her and the three went into the other room.

"Well, Faith I want you to patrol as usual tonight. Jenny and I will come along." Giles was interrupted by Angel.

"I'm going too. Just in case," he said in a tone that everyone knew he wasn't taking no for an answer.

Giles nodded. "I'm going to have Cordelia take Buffy home and stay with her. I would suggest that Faith, perhaps you and Amy could stay with them overnight, just in case something happens" Amy and Faith nodded and he turned to Angel and Riley. "I was hoping one of you could take Xander for the night. It appears that Buffy is terrified of men, so I think it would be best if he stayed with one of you."

Angel nodded. "I'll take him. CC can take Buffy to her place, that way Faith and Amy will be close to all of us." He turned to Riley. "Can you take him while I'm with Faith on patrol?"

Riley nodded. "Yeah, I'm sure I can keep him occupied for a few hours."

The group worked out the last of their plans and split up to leave. Riley and Angel left with baby Xander, and Willow grabbed the remains of Buffy's workout clothes and stuffed them into the slayer's backpack. Giles moved back into the stacks so he wouldn't be seen by Buffy as they left.

Jenny moved back into the office and explained the plan to Cordelia and Willow. "Do you want me to drive you girls home?"

Cordelia nodded. "Hey, Will, do you wanna run by your house and grab some stuff and we can all just stay at my house? My parents are gone for a few weeks, so we don't have to worry about explanations."

Willow nodded and suddenly her eyes went wide. "What about Buffy's mom? How are we gonna explain this to her?"

"Will, calm down, Buffy's mom left this morning for some business trip, she's gone all weekend."

Willow sighed and smiled. "That's good. Okay, let's get going then."

Cordelia stood up, with Buffy still clutched to her. The tiny blonde waved to Faith over Cordelia's shoulder as they left. "Bye, Faith," she called out softly.

Faith grinned. "Bye, baby B," she replied with a wave.


Cordelia managed to get out of Buffy's death grip long enough to buckle her into the backseat of Jenny's Explorer. She climbed in next to the girl once she was buckled in and they left for Willow's house. Buffy gazed up at Cordelia. "Delia? Are we going to your house?"

Cordelia smiled fondly at the girl. "Yeah baby, is that okay?"

Buffy nodded and stuck her thumb in her mouth.

After a short stop at Willow's house, they arrived at Cordelia's. Jenny rolled down her window. "We'll all need to meet up tomorrow to work through this some more, maybe you can call Giles in the morning?"

Both girls nodded and headed inside after calling out good-byes. As she drove off, she smiled as little Buffy waved to her over Cordelia's shoulder, her thumb still in her mouth.

Faith looked down at the little blonde girl, looking bored with her Barbie doll. She suddenly grinned widely. "Hey, I have a fun idea."

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Oh geez. Here we go."

Faith ignored Cordy and knelt down to Buffy's level. "Hey, B? You wanna play a game?"

"Yeah!" Buffy looked up at her with wide eyes and a huge grin.

Faith nodded and grinned up at Cordelia. "Okay, I need a blanket and a helmet."

Willow grimaced. "Oh no. The Tweedle twins are at it again."

"Trust me, she'll be fine and she'll have fun." Faith gave them a lazy wave of her hand as she smirked.

Cordelia gave Faith a warning glance as she turned to find the items Faith had asked her for. She grabbed a blanket from the bedroom and threw it at Faith as she moved to the garage. Cordelia managed to find one of Angel's old football helmets and she tossed it to the slayer when she returned.

Faith knelt down and put the helmet on Buffy and then grabbed her blanket. She spread the blanket out on the tile floor. "Okay, baby B, sit down on the blanket and hold on tight, okay?"

Buffy nodded and adjusted the helmet after she sat down. She made tight fists around the edge of the blanket and looked up at Faith expectantly.

Faith grinned and grabbed the two corners of the blanket closest to her and she began tugging the girl along behind her. Cordelia, Willow and Amy watched from the steps as Faith dragged the girl around the spacious foyer of the house. Buffy squealed with delight as Faith ran around in big circles, tugging her in every different direction.

Cordelia watched with new admiration for Faith, she had no idea the slayer was so great with kids. Her brow furrowed in concern as she thought back to the afternoon in the library. "This whole thing with Buffy and guys is still bugging me...did you see the way she looked at Giles? She was terrified and she looked at Angel and Riley the same way."

Willow nodded sadly. "Well, I doubt it has anything to do with them specifically...Buffy's only known them for the last year and nothing traumatizing has happened since then." She replied quietly as she tried to figure out what was going on with the blonde slayer.

Amy thought back to the afternoon. "She didn't seem to have any problems with Xander. I carried him in the office and she didn't get upset." She frowned. "I think it's just adult men."

Cordelia's brain was working full tilt trying to figure out why her girlfriend at four years old would be so scared. A sickening thought occurred to her suddenly. "Oh, Jesus, do you think it had something to do with her dad?"

The three girls exchanged the same disgusted look and Cordelia suddenly started getting angry. "If that son of a bitch hurt her, I'll kill him myself."

Willow exchanged a concerned look with Amy over Cordelia's head. "Cordy, we don't know that anything happened, we'll just have to wait for big Buffy to come back and ask her about it." She paused and thought for a second. "I've never even heard Buffy mention her dad, have you?"

Cordelia shook her head mutely, still trying to think about Buffy's fear of men. Maybe she could get the tiny slayer to talk to her about it. She decided that would be her best bet for now, until she got her Buffy back and could ask her about it. Cordelia pushed the thoughts aside and turned her attention back to the slayers. Faith was now running around with Buffy, who still wore the football helmet, on her back giving her a pony ride. Although, to Cordelia, it seemed more like a dinosaur ride, the way Faith was running. "It seems that Coop is quite the babysitter," Cordelia said motioning to the two slayers.

Willow grinned. "I think it's cute."

"Do you guys think we should get her some clothes that fit?" Amy asked as she watched the slayers. "She looks kinda silly in that giant tee shirt."

Cordelia's eyes suddenly lit up. "Shopping definitely sounds fun." Her face suddenly fell. "But what about the whole man thing?"

"Maybe two of us could go and just pick stuff up for her," Willow offered. "That way we don't have to chance it."

"What's this do?" a little voice interrupted them. All four girls looked over to see Buffy holding Faith's Zippo lighter in her hands. Before the girls could stop her, she flicked the flint and stood transfixed as a tiny flame was ignited. "Pretty," she murmured quietly.

Buffy stuck her tongue out as Cordelia snatched the lighter away, but her attention shifted quickly as she took her helmet off and turned it around backwards before putting it back on. Cordelia shot a look at Faith, who was quietly laughing non-stop at the little girl. Faith caught her look and bit her lip. The slayer shrugged. "What? I think she's a trip."

Their attention shifted back to the little girl, who was now singing loudly, her voice echoing around in the large helmet, and running around into walls since she couldn't see anything. The tiny blonde giggled madly every time she fell down and the other girls could hear bits and pieces of her singing. "...Twinkie bitch, I'll kick your twinkie bitch ass..."

Cordelia shot a glare in Faith's direction and the slayer smiled and shrugged sheepishly. "I may have said something along the lines of `son of a bitch' when she yanked on my hair."

"Son of a bitch!" Buffy squealed as she hit another wall and fell to the floor laughing.

"So, who's on shopping detail?" Willow finally asked as she bit back a grin, choosing to ignore the little girl swearing.

"Can I have a spoon?" Buffy's little voice echoed out of the helmet.

Faith began laughing loudly. "Twinkie, what do you need a spoon for?"

"So I can eat a Twinkie," Buffy's voice replied, as if it was a stupid question.

Cordelia grinned in spite of herself. "Baby, are you hungry?"

The four girls watched as Buffy turned her helmet around, causing some blonde locks to be pulled into her eyes. "Pizza?" she asked as she held up her hands to Cordelia, wanting to be picked up.

Cordelia swept the tiny girl up and tickled her lightly. "You want pizza?"

Buffy nodded, causing the helmet to shake up and down on her head. "Yes, but can I have a spoon?" She gave them a wicked baby smile. "And fire?"

Cordelia shook her head. "No fire," she replied, setting the little girl down. "Fire is dangerous."

"What's up with her and fire?" Faith asked with a grin.

"Son of a twinkie ass bitch!" Buffy replied loudly between giggles.

Cordelia shook her head, a small smile on her lips and turned to the other girls. "Okay, Willow, you and Amy go out to get clothes, I'll order a pizza me and Faith will stay here with her." She grabbed her purse and dug through it, she pulled out her credit card and handed it to Willow. "Here, take this and just get a bunch of stuff for her and Xander. We don't know how long they'll be like this, so it's best to stock up."

Amy and Willow nodded and turned to leave when a voice stopped them in their tracks.

"Hey!" Buffy yelled to them. They both turned to see Buffy holding her arms out. "Hugs?" she asked sweetly.

After a round of big hugs, the two girls were out the door and left the tiny terror to the two brunettes. Buffy gazed up at Cordelia and smiled shyly. "Delia?"

Cordelia gave her a grin, she adored that nickname. "Yeah baby?"

"Can we go swimming?" she asked hopefully.

Cordelia shot a questioning glance at Faith, who shrugged, and smiled back at the blonde. "Sure baby. Let's see if we can find you something to swim in."

The three girls headed upstairs to Cordelia's room to find swim attire. Cordelia tossed a bikini to Faith who left to change in the bathroom. She suddenly remembered something and walked out of the room and pulled the string to the attic. Once she climbed the steps, she managed to locate an old box of her clothes. After searching through it, she found one of her bathing suits from childhood and headed back down the steps. She returned to her room to find Faith hugging Buffy close and spinning the two of them around in circles.

"Faith?" she called out teasingly, causing the brunette to stumble a bit and stop.

The slayer grinned and set Buffy down. They both watched as the little girl teetered a bit on dizzy legs and eventually collapsed in a fit of giggles.

"Why don't you order pizza and I'll get the wee one changed."

Faith nodded and ruffled Buffy's hair as she wandered from the room. A few minutes later Buffy and Cordelia, both clad in bathing suits, joined Faith by the pool. The air was still warm and dry, and the afternoon light was starting to turn the sky a mix of pink and orange shades. Faith had been rummaging around in the pool house and managed to find a pair of floaties for Buffy to wear in the pool.

"Faith will you sing me a song?" Buffy asked as she paddled her way through the pool.

Faith cringed and rapidly tried to think of a way out of singing. "How about you sing me a song?"

"Okay!" she scrunched her face up in thought and suddenly started singing loudly. "I want a twinkie bitch, your twinkie ass is a bitch. Fire for your twinkie bitch ass. I want a twinkie ass bitch, I want a twinkie ass bitch."

Faith laughed as the tiny slayer continued to sing about a twinkie ass bitch and she glanced at Cordelia, who was sitting on the edge of the pool with her feet dangling in the water. "So, Queeney, does this mean you're a twinkie ass bitch?" she asked with a smirk. Cordelia shot the slayer a sarcastic smile and shook her head. "I suppose so...although I don't think I've ever even had a twinkie," she thought absently. Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Mom thought they were too fattening."

Faith gave the cheerleader a sympathetic smile and continued to play with Buffy in the pool until Amy and Willow returned and the pizza arrived.


A few hours later, Buffy had been fed and given a bath and was lying in Cordelia's bed. She was curled up in a tiny ball under the blankets facing Cordelia, who was stretched out on her stomach next to her.


"Yeah baby."

Buffy gazed up at her with wide innocent eyes that melted Cordelia's heart. "Where's my mommy?"

Cordelia gave her a sympathetic smile and kissed her head. "Honey, she had to go on a trip, she'll be gone for a few days. Until then, you can stay with me, does that sound good?"

Buffy nodded and curled in closer to Cordelia. The brunette rolled over on her back and pulled the little girl closer and wrapped her arms around her tightly. She ran her fingers through the tiny slayer's hair and kissed the top of her head. "Buffy?"


"Can I ask you something?"


"Do you remember us being in the library today?" Buffy nodded, and Cordy continued. "Do you remember the man with the glasses?"

Buffy shivered slightly and cuddled in closer to Cordelia. "Yes," she replied in a small, shaky voice.

Cordelia kissed her on the head again. "It's okay baby." She rubbed small circles on the little girl's back gently, trying to keep her calm. "Did you not like that man?"

Buffy didn't make any indication that she was going to reply, other than slipping her thumb in her mouth and gazing up at Cordelia sadly. "I'm not supposed to talk about it," she managed to get out around her thumb.

Cordelia felt hot tears prick the back of her eyes and she blinked a few times to keep them from falling in front of Buffy. "Who told you that?"

Buffy's gaze fell away from Cordelia and she shook her head lightly. "I'm sleepy."

Cordelia nodded and kissed Buffy's forehead again. "Okay, baby. Get some sleep, I'll be right downstairs and you just yell if you need anything. Okay?"

Buffy looked up at her with sad, scared eyes. "Stay?"

"Of course. Do you want a stuffed animal?" she asked with a tiny smile.

Buffy returned the smile and nodded. Cordelia grinned and leaned over the bed, grabbing a stuffed bear she'd tossed off the bed earlier. "Here ya go, baby."

Buffy smiled a sweet baby smile and closed her eyes as she snuggled back into Cordelia's warm, comforting embrace.


In a dark warehouse somewhere in Sunnydale...

"Are you sure?" Spike asked his contact on the phone.

"Yup, some local wizard cast a spell on her."

"And she's been turned into a baby?" Spike burst out laughing.


"You're sure?" the platinum vamp asked.


"Okay, keep an eye on her and let me know where she's staying."

"You got it boss."

Spike hung up the phone and grinned madly. The slayer was a tiny baby. They were making this entirely too easy.


Jenny knocked on Cordelia's door the next day and a minute later she was greeted by the sight of Willow, still in her pajamas, looking a bit weary. Jenny gave her a teasing grin. "Baby slayer keeping you on your toes?"

Willow nodded and rolled her eyes. She stepped aside and waved Jenny in. As she stepped into the huge house she could hear commotion in the kitchen. The two made their way back and Jenny burst out laughing when she saw Buffy.

The tiny slayer was running around the kitchen wearing giant black boots and a huge superman tee shirt. She had a wooden spoon in each hand, a football helmet on her head and a towel around her neck acting as a cape. Buffy was singing cheerfully and using the spoons to tap on her helmet loudly as she paraded around, unknowingly knocking random things down as she went.

"I see she leaves a terror trail wherever she goes," Jenny noted playfully as she stood at the door of the kitchen. She nodded towards the slayer. "I guess she dressed herself this morning?"

"I hate to be a bitch, JC, but you are just a bit too chipper this morning," Faith mumbled tiredly from her stool at the counter. "Son of a bitch!" Buffy yelled out as she began spinning around in circles drumming frantically on her helmet.

"Twinkie!" Faith scolded her, raising an eyebrow.

Jenny grinned. "So, tell me how it's fair that you yell at this poor little girl for repeating all your bad words."

"It has to be a kid thing, how is it that they always know which words are bad?" Willow asked as she sipped her coffee.

Buffy giggled and began dancing and jumping up and down. "Twinkie bitch, twinkie bitch, I'll kick your ass." she sang out as she danced around the kitchen. "I'll kick your twinkie bitch ass."

"Buffy Summers!" Cordelia finally scolded, pointing her finger at the girl. "No more bad words little girl."

Buffy gazed up at her with angelic eyes and a silly grin. "I'll kick your chipper bitch twinkie ass?"

Faith almost fell out of her chair she was laughing so hard and the rest of the women found it hard to keep a straight face, let alone be mad at the tiny slayer. Cordelia picked her up and moved her face inches from Buffy's. "Baby, no more dirty words okay?"

Buffy rolled her eyes in a dramatic baby way and finally nodded her little blonde head. "Fine." As soon as Cordelia set her down, she was off and running again.

Jenny took the seat at the counter next to Faith. "Have you heard from the guys this morning?"

Cordelia nodded as she slid a mug of coffee over the counter to Jenny. "Yup, apparently Xander is as big of a terror train as Buffy is."

Jenny smiled. "Well, Rupert is over there right now, he wants to get blood and hair samples from the kids to see if we can figure out what kind of spell was cast."

Willow and Amy both perked up at this, but Willow spoke up first. "Can I help with anything? I might be able to run a few more scientific tests."

"Yeah, and I might be able to help you guys with the magic stuff."

Jenny grinned widely and waved an accusing finger at them both. "Are you sure you just don't want to get out of babysitting detail?"

Both girls looked slightly ashamed and dropped their heads. A few minor expletives were mumbled good-naturedly and somehow baby Buffy picked up on them.

She stopped in her tracks and gazed up at the two girls. "What's a wench?"

Jenny raised a playful eyebrow at the two girls and they both seemed to scowl at the tiny blonde. "I see Rupert's use of British cursing is rubbing off on some of you," Jenny said as she received two very sheepish grins and she rolled her eyes nodding towards the door. "You two get ready, you're coming with me." She cast a weary glance at Cordelia. "I will need to draw a little blood and get a few strands of hair from the tiny terror."

Cordelia winced and nodded her head. "I'll try to hold her still."

Jenny nodded and rummaged through her bag. She brought out a tiny pair of scissors, a small needle and a plastic bag. Cordelia managed to grab Buffy and pull the slayer into her lap as she sat down on the other side of Jenny. She gently removed the helmet from Buffy's head and placed it on the counter.

Buffy craned her head around to look up at Cordelia and the brunette could tell the tiny slayer was scared. She smiled at Buffy and grasped her hand. "It's okay baby, I'm right here. Ms. Jenny needs to give you a little baby shot. I know you'll be brave and if you're good we can go to the toy store today, okay?"

Buffy nodded and did her best to put on a brave face. Jenny grasped the slayer's arm carefully and wiped it with alcohol before gently piercing the skin with the needle. She winced visibly when Buffy cried out, but smiled when the blonde remained brave for them. Jenny capped the needle and grabbed the scissors, cutting off a few strands of honey blonde hair and sliding them into the plastic bag. "Good girl, Buffy. You were so brave, I'm very proud of you. Buffy smiled shyly and she glanced back up at Cordelia, who was grinning proudly down at her. "That's my brave baby." Cordelia kissed the top of her head and released the squirmy slayer, who immediately replaced her helmet and began running around again. Willow and Amy reappeared, fully dressed and ready to go.

"Twinkie bitch baby ass wench!" Buffy squealed lying on her side on the floor using her legs to propel herself around in circles. "Baby twinkle bitch ass baby!"

"Buffy!" Willow, Cordelia, Jenny and Amy exclaimed. Faith had spit out her coffee all over the counter at the squeal from the baby slayer and was laughing hysterically.

Buffy stopped her spinning and met each woman's eyes slowly as a sly grin spread across her baby features. She banged her helmet-covered head on the ground and tapped on the floor with her spoons rapidly. Jenny looked at Amy and Willow, who were grinning in spite of themselves. "Are you two ready?"

Willow and Amy nodded and turned to leave, but a yell from Buff halted them in their tracks. The three women turned slowly and gazed down at the tiny blonde with a super pout on her face and her arms outstretched. "Hugs?" she asked softly.

The sight was enough to melt anyone's heart and all three women gave Buffy huge hugs and kisses before they left.

Cordelia looked from one slayer to the other and sighed heavily. "Hey, Faith? Why don't you go over to Angel's and grab Xander. We can take them both to the park and shopping or something."

Faith nodded. "Sure, just make sure she doesn't make up any songs while I'm gone, that was the funniest thing I've ever heard," she said with a grin. Faith turned to Buffy and picked her up. "Okay baby B, I'm gonna go get Xander and we're gonna go out and have some fun, so you be good and get dressed okay?"

Buffy nodded excitedly. "Okay, Faithy." She wrapped her tiny arms around the brunette and hugged her tight. "Hugs," she sighed out contentedly.

Faith grinned and set the girl down before heading out the door and down the street. Damn, that kid is funny, she thought with a grin.


Back to somewhere in Sunnydale...

"Okay, you know what to do right?" Spike asked.

The man nodded. "Grab the baby slayer when the other slayer isn't looking right?"

"Yes, and bring her here. Don't screw this up."

The man nodded and exited the mansion, headed for the playground.


"I wonder if those two were that nuts as kids, I mean B is one crazy ass kid," Faith muttered as she and Cordelia watched the two kids play from a bench near the playground.

"If they were, I don't know how their parents survived them growing up. Buffy's only been little for twenty four hours and she has me ready to pull out my hair."

Faith smirked. "At least she's entertaining, I thought I was gonna die laughing at those songs she keeps singing."

"Well, she needs to quit with the songs, now she's teaching them to Xander, it's kind of embarrassing the way all those parents keep shooting us dirty looks when they belt them out in public," Cordelia replied with a scowl.

Faith laughed and turned her attention back to the two kids. She watched carefully as Xander climbed the jungle gym and began hoisting himself up to places he shouldn't be. "Xander!" she called out in a warning tone as she stood up.

He looked up at her and lost his balance for a moment and fell to the ground. The two girls rushed over to him and he began to wail loudly. After twenty minutes of Band-Aids and kissed boo boo's, Xander was finally calmed down. Faith picked him up and held the little boy close and looked around for the little blonde terror.

She and Cordelia both began to panic as they looked around frantically and didn't find the slayer anywhere.

Faith handed baby Xander to Cordelia. "Here, take him to the school and tell JC and Maddy that B is lost. They might be able to do a locator spell to find her. I'm gonna keep looking, okay?"

Cordelia gave her a pleading glance. "Faith, please find her."

"I will Cordy, don't worry. I won't let anything happen to her," Faith promised as she took off to look for the little blonde slayer.

Cordelia took off running towards the school with baby Xander in her arms. Just as she reached the front doors of the school, there was a bright light and she fell over. The reason she fell over is because Xander turned back into big Xander and her carrying him pulled her down.

Cordelia heaved a huge sigh of relief as she got back up knowing if Xander was back, so was Buffy so she didn't have to be absolutely frantic over the possibility of somebody having her baby. Buffy would certainly take care of anybody trying to kidnap her now.

"Um, Cordy? Can I borrow your jacket?" Xander asked sheepishly as he tried to use little boy clothes to cover his bigger, manly parts. Cordelia grimaced, hating that she'd never again wear one of her favorite jackets and took it off and handed it to him looking the other way.

This is wrong on so many levels, she thought cringing.


"So Spike hired someone to kidnap you so he could kill you as a baby?" Xander asked Buffy incredulously.

Buffy nodded with a tiny grin. "Yup, and let me tell you, he had the funniest look on his face when I turned back into me again. He almost cried when he saw me."

Xander shook his head with a grin. "But it wasn't him who cast the spell on us?"

"Nope, he just thought he could cash in on our misfortune." She shrugged. "Giles and Jenny are still working on who it was that cast it."

"Buffy you were the cutest thing I have ever seen. Every time we left you made us all give you hugs with this big pout on your face, it was adorable," Willow gushed with a teasing grin.

Buffy decided red was her color tonight, since her friends decided to tease her for every tiny thing she'd done as a baby. She had been blushing for two hours now.

"Hey, B, do you remember your `I'll kick your twinkie bitch ass' song?" Faith burst out laughing just thinking about it. "That had to have been the funniest damn thing I have ever heard. It was so damn cute."

Buffy nodded with a small smile, gazing down at the table. "Yeah, I remember everything." Her features turned slightly sad. She glanced up at Angel and Riley and gave them a hopeful look. "I hope you guys aren't mad about me being all freaked out."

Angel and Riley immediately shook their heads and gave her warm smiles. Angel grasped her hand lightly from across the table. "It's okay, Buffy, you don't have to keep apologizing for it, we understand."

She gave them both grateful smiles and turned her attention back to her hands. A lot of old, awful feelings had resurfaced during the time she was a child and she was having problems putting them back where they belonged. Buffy had almost completely forgotten about how terrified she was as a little girl. She hated how she had treated three important men in her life because of it.

Cordelia tuned out her friends' conversations and watched Buffy carefully. She'd only returned to her adult self yesterday and they hadn't really had a chance to talk about everything that had happened. She hated the way Buffy's tiny face would flash through her mind, looking terrified and remembering the way she shook when she was in the presence of a man. Cordelia wished desperately that Buffy would share her problem with her, but so far, the blonde had dodged all attempts to open up about it. She reached for Buffy's hand and leaned in and kissed her temple. "Wanna dance?" she asked quietly.

Buffy turned to her and smiled before kissing her lightly. "Love to."

Once on the dance floor the two wrapped themselves around each other and swayed slowly to the music.

"Hey, you never told me how you knew my name," Cordelia said softly. "I mean, Faith called me Queeney and Angel called me CC, but you called me Delia."

Buffy shrugged and kissed her lightly. "I just knew. Don't ask me how, I somehow knew who you were, I guess that's why I needed you so close."

Cordelia gave her a warm smile and kissed her tenderly. Buffy looked up into Cordelia's eyes, watching her carefully, and the blonde frowned slightly.

Cordelia dipped her head and gazed directly at the blonde. "What's up, baby?"

Buffy's face suddenly broke into a smile. "You called me baby so many times. God, Cor, you were so great. I just remember being terrified and you held me tight and called me baby and I felt so safe in your arms."

Cordelia smiled softly and kissed Buffy gently on the lips. "That's the way it should be. When you hold me at night all I feel is safe." She eyed the blonde carefully. "Summers, do you wanna tell me what all that fear was about?"

Buffy dropped her gaze and furrowed her brow slightly. "I'm not sure I'm ready," she admitted softly.

Cordelia ducked her head to catch Buffy's eyes and gave her a comforting smile. "It's okay. I just want you to know that you can tell me anything." She paused to brush an errant strand of hair from Buffy's eyes softly. "Part of being in love, in my opinion anyways, is sharing painful stuff. That way you know, no matter what, that somebody knows what you're going through. I may not understand it, or empathize with it, but I can sympathize with it and give you lots of hugs and kisses and be here for you to talk to about everything." Cordelia paused and gazed at Buffy for a moment. "I love you, Buffy. All of you. The Buffy I have now and the baby Buffy I had for a few days, I love all of you and I just want you to share yourself with me."

Buffy ducked her head when a rebellious tear escaped her eye and she closed her eyes to get herself under control. A few moments later she met Cordelia's eyes and smiled happily. "I love you, Cor." She leaned in to kiss the brunette. "Can we go somewhere else? I don't really want to do this here."

Cordelia nodded and grasped her hand, pulling her towards the exit. As soon as Cordelia's bedroom door was shut, Buffy began kissing the brunette with a fiery passion. Cordelia grinned into the kiss, suddenly realizing how much she'd missed big Buffy. Cordelia pulled away and hit the lights, throwing both girls into darkness as they quickly undressed each other and fell into bed. Yes, I like my Buffy better, Cordelia thought. That was one of her last coherent thoughts for hours that night as Buffy needed to remind her over and over again how much she'd missed her.


"So if Mickey and Minnie are mice, and Donald and Daisy are ducks, what is Goofy?" Buffy asked Cordelia later that night. She was leaned up slightly against the headboard of Cordelia's bed, with her girlfriend sprawled out on top of her running her fingers through Cordelia's hair.

Cordy kissed Buffy's shoulder lightly. "A cow."

Buffy raised a playful eyebrow. "A cow? Huh, I always thought he was a dog."

"No, Pluto is a dog, Goofy is a cow. If Goofy was a dog he wouldn't wear clothes. His girlfriend is that other stupid cow, Bessie or something," Cordelia murmured.

"Well, if he's a cow, why does he have floppy dog ears and whiskers?" she asked with her brow crinkled in thought.

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "I have no idea."

Buffy grinned impishly and Cordelia instantly recognized the glint in the blonde's eyes. In one quick movement, the slayer was hovering above the brunette. She leaned down and kissed her gently. "What kind of answer is that, hmm?"

Cordelia matched her girlfriend's grin. "One that lets you know that right now, I really don't give a damn what Goofy actually is."

Buffy stuck out her tongue playfully and pulled her body up so she was straddling the brunette below her. Cordelia decided to have some fun and slowly trailed a finger down her own body until she reached the apex of Buffy's thighs. She gently eased two fingers inside her girlfriend and the blonde instantly let her head fall back as she started to rock slowly, matching Cordelia's rhythm. Cordelia watched, mesmerized as Buffy's lips parted slightly to accommodate her body's need for more oxygen, her eyes slid closed and the slayer's beautiful, sweet body was all hers. Buffy slowly leaned forward, gently resting her forehead to Cordelia's and holding her weight up on slightly outstretched arms. Her lips hovered directly over Cordelia's, barely touching, the brunette inhaled the short pants of breath coming from the slayer's sweet lips. Buffy released a strangled moan as Cordelia added pressure to the tiny bundle of flesh with her thumb. Cordy knew she was close.

"Cor..." Buffy breathed out.

"Come on baby, come one more time," she murmured quietly to the slayer.

Within minutes, the slayer's body tensed and she arched back releasing a cry of pleasure. Buffy rolled off her a moment later and sighed contently as she snuggled up to Cordelia with a wide grin on her pretty features.

"Good?" Cordy asked with a smirk.

"Best ever," Buffy replied hoarsely. "Your turn?" she asked with a mischievous glint in her eyes.

Cordelia grinned. "Whenever you're ready."

Buffy gave her a wicked grin and slid slowly down the brunette's lithe body. Cordelia suddenly felt Buffy's tongue and she lost all coherent thoughts. Her heels dug into the mattress and she clenched her fists into tight balls around the bed sheets as the slayer brought her to the edge of ecstasy. A few minutes and countless moans later, the two were snuggly again. They remained quiet for a long stretch of minutes, simply enjoying being close to each other.

"Love you, Cor," Buffy breathed out softly.

Cordy smiled tenderly and kissed the top of the blonde head next to her. "Love you too, baby girl," she replied with a grin. Her baby Buffy thoughts from before suddenly came swarming back and she felt her stomach knot uncomfortably. She knew she had to ask, but it wasn't something she was looking forward to. "Are you sure you're not just trying to distract me from asking again why you were so scared of men as a baby?" Cordelia asked knowingly.

Buffy blushed slightly and her eyes turned sad. "Are you sure you really want to know?"

Cordelia kissed Buffy's chin tenderly. "Baby, I honestly can't get your little terrified face out of my head and it hurts my heart every time I see it."

Buffy curled up as close as she could to her girlfriend and Cordelia felt a light shiver pass through Buffy's body. She kissed the blonde head next to her and ran her fingers through her hair. "It's okay, baby, I'm here," she said softly.

Buffy was quiet for a long stretch of minutes and Cordelia waited patiently for the blonde to talk. She did everything in her power to make Buffy feel as safe and comforted as she possibly could. When Buffy finally spoke, her voice had taken on a haunted edge that Cordelia had never heard before and it chilled her to the bone. "It was my dad."

Those four words spoken caused a fire to erupt in Cordelia's heart and she felt hot tears threaten her eyes as she felt Buffy shudder again.

"He did things that dad's aren't supposed to do to their four year old daughters. It wasn't anywhere near as bad as what Amy went through, but it wasn't exactly pleasant. He used to threaten me and tell me that if I told anyone I'd be taken from my mom and he'd hurt me, so I didn't ever tell. It lasted for about six months. The day before my fifth birthday was the last time he did anything, I don't know if mom found out or something in his brain finally realized what a sick son of a bitch he was being, but it stopped." She paused to take in a shaky breath. "I somehow managed to put the memories away and got back to normal and my dad started treating me like I was a princess. He spoiled me to death and over time I guess I forgot what had happened. Maybe not forgot, I don't know if I'll ever forget, but I got over it." Her voice had dropped to a broken whisper and Cordelia held her close, unable to keep her own tears from falling.

"Baby, I'm so sorry," Cordelia whispered as she brushed a tear away from her face. "I don't know what to say."

Buffy snuggled in deeper to Cordelia. "Just hold me," she whispered back and gazed up at Cordelia with sad eyes. "Please?"

"Of course." Cordelia hugged her tight and kissed her on the top of the head lightly.

Eventually, the two girls fell asleep and somehow managed to keep the nightmares away. It must be the snuggles...natural nightmare repellent.


"Hey, B, can you handle a solo patrol tonight? Me and Ace kinda wanted to go out," Faith asked Buffy as the pair headed to lunch.

Buffy nodded. "Sure." She grinned suddenly. "What are you guys gonna do?"

"He wants to take me to dinner and a movie," she replied with a light blush.

Buffy grinned wider. "It's no problem at all." Her face contorted into a sort of grimace. "Maybe I'll get Cor to come with, she's been bugging me lately to let her come."

"She is doing much better, you have to admit," Faith offered. "Maybe just give her a crossbow and tell her to hang back. Just watch out for Spike, I have a feeling he isn't finished pretending he's going to try to kill us."

Buffy giggled at the thought of that idiotic vamp desperately trying to be the next big bad...what a joke. The two slayers joined their friends at their table in the quad and sat down. Cordelia leaned in for a quick kiss as Buffy sat down next to her.

"So, do you guys wanna do Big Bear again this year?" Cordelia asked the group. She exchanged a private smile with Buffy as they both thought about their fast approaching first anniversary.

"Big Bear?" Amy asked as she looked around the table.

"Yeah," Cordelia replied. "We have a cabin up there and we went last year after Christmas, we were gonna make it an annual thing."

Amy nodded and smiled when Xander nudged her gently. "You have to come, we had a blast last year," he told her with a grin.

She smiled back at him and looked back over to Cordelia who was giving her an expectant smile. "Sure, I'm in."

"I'm there," Faith added.

"Me too," Willow piped up.

Angel, Riley and Xander all nodded and Cordelia grinned widely. She glanced at Buffy who was feigning disinterest and she nudged the slayer. "Summers?"

Buffy shrugged breezily. "I'll check my schedule," she replied as she checked her nails. At Cordelia's glare, she held up her hands and grinned. "Baby, of course I wanna go again."

"Good, we're all in then," Cordelia said with a wide grin. She had something special planned for the two slayers as far as Christmas went and going out to Big Bear was a part of the plan, so Cordelia was extra excited about their trip this year. The warning bell suddenly rang and the group got up to head to their next class all talking excitedly about their winter break.


"Will you quit messing with it, Summers," Cordelia scolded as she slapped Buffy's hand away from her shoulder.

Buffy pouted and drew her hand away. "I can't help it, it hurts."

"Crossbow bolts usually do when they're stuck in your shoulder." Cordelia rolled her eyes and tugged Buffy inside the house.

Buffy followed Cordelia into the house and up into the brunette's room. "Well, get it out, it hurts."

"Quit being such a baby," she said in a teasing tone.

Buffy pouted deeper. "Now this is exactly why we don't play with crossbows in the car. Someone could get hurt."

Cordelia rolled her eyes again and pointed to the bed. "Sit, I'll go get the first aid kit."

Buffy stuck her tongue out at Cordelia, but sat on the edge of the bed nonetheless. A few minutes later, she returned and moved next to Buffy on the bed. "Okay, I'm gonna have to snap the end of this off so we can pull it out, just sit still." Buffy nodded and Cordelia moved behind her and snapped the end of the bolt off. "You ready?" At Buffy's nod, Cordelia moved back in front of her girlfriend and held the bolt in both hands. She glanced at Buffy again, who nodded and braced herself as Cordelia yanked the bolt out of her shoulder. Buffy cringed, but didn't cry out and Cordelia kissed her quickly. "That's my brave girl," she said teasingly, knowing Buffy would remember her saying that to her when she was a baby.

Buffy's face held little amusement as she removed her jacket painfully. She gripped her shirt and tried to remove it as well, but it was a bit too painful.

"You need help?" Cordelia asked gently. She could have teased, but it was her fault Buffy was in pain.

Buffy nodded, her puppy dog eyes making another appearance.

Cordelia kissed her tenderly and pulled out a pair of scissors from the kit. "I think it's safe to say your shirt is a casualty of the fight." She cut the material slowly and helped Buffy remove it completely before moving to clean the wound in her shoulder.

Once the wound was clean, Cordelia looked down at her girlfriend and smiled fondly, brushing a few strands of hair from the blonde's face. "Does it hurt?"

Buffy rolled her shoulder a bit and shook her head. "A little, it's not bad now that the bolt is out."

Cordelia's grin widened and she moved closer and straddled Buffy's lap. She wrapped her arms around the slayer's neck as the blonde's hands slithered around her waist and they shared a deep kiss. "Good, I'd hate to hurt you."

Buffy grinned and slid her hands up Cordelia's shirt, moving the fabric up as her hands ascended. She finally slipped the garment off and threw it to the side as Cordelia leaned forward, spilling them back on the bed. Buffy managed to roll them over and she hopped up and quickly discarded her and Cordelia's jeans. She crawled back up the bed, slowly moving her body over Cordelia's. She dropped a few random kisses as she moved up and stopped at the brunette's lips pulling the brunette in to a heart-stopping kiss filled with the promise of things to come.

After hours of incredibly amazing sex, Cordelia propped herself up on her elbow, head in hand and watched the prone slayer sleep. She absolutely adored the way Buffy's lips protruded slightly while she slept and the cute way her hair fell across her forehead. Cordelia trailed her fingertips down the slayer's exposed spine lightly as she watched the love of her life sleep peacefully. She knew she could spend hours watching Buffy sleep, but instead, she curled up close to her girlfriend and joined her in la-la land.


Two days after Christmas the group piled into two cars and headed back up to Big Bear for another vacation packed with fun and utter relaxation. For Christmas, one of Cordelia's gifts to Buffy and Faith had been brand new snowboards with matching football helmets. Cordelia had gone to a special painter to have the helmets painted with their Tweedle nicknames on the side. She'd had a similar image put on their snowboards as well and both girls were psyched about trying their new boards. Buffy bought Cordelia a bunch of traditional gifts like clothes, picture frames with cute photos of the two and CD's. She'd kept one gift to herself and had planned on giving it to her girlfriend on their `anniversary'.

They had given a lot of thought to the actual date that they got together, but neither could really put a solid date to it. They decided that December 28th was as official as it was going to get. Buffy had been saving her money for months to get just the right gift for Cordelia for their anniversary. After searching store after store, she finally decided on a ring. It was a white gold band with a cross engraved on it. In the center of the cross was a small diamond. On either side of the cross was a `B' and a `C', so it looked like B cross C. Buffy was extremely proud of herself for her choice of gifts and she desperately hoped Cordelia would like the ring.

Buffy found out on their anniversary that Cordelia had been thinking along similar lines. The cheerleader had purchased a white gold cross with a diamond in the center of it. She'd had it engraved on the back. `12/28/96, my life, my love, my heart became yours'. Buffy was blown away by the gift and she was relieved when Cordelia loved her ring.

The group spent another four days drinking, playing in the snow, relaxing in the hot tub and enjoying some quality time with those they loved the most. The slayers kept relatively calm, although Faith finally did attempt to turn herself into a human snowball and roll down the hill, which kept Buffy laughing for days. Cordelia used at least four rolls of film capturing every memorable moment she could, because she figured life really couldn't get any better than this.


"Okay, you guys have to help me convince Buffy to join that band," Willow said conspiratorially to her friends one morning in the quad.

Cordelia suddenly grinned. "Is this the band that has the guitar player you seem to be eyeing?"

Willow blushed. "He is cute and he's so nice. He has great hands, I love his hands."

"Have you talked to him about Buffy joining?" Amy asked the redhead. Willow nodded, a shy smile gracing her lips. "Yeah, I talked to him the other day, he said he's seen her sing at the Bronze a few times and they would love to have her join."

Cordelia gave her a grin and pointed across the quad. "Isn't that him right there? You should ask him to join us."

Willow blushed lightly and smiled. "You think I should?"

"Yeah, why not, Wilma? You know you're a hottie and he'd be flattered if you asked him," Faith said with a playful nudge of her elbow.

Willow's blush deepened even more and she grinned. "Okay, be right back."

Faith grinned leaned over to Cordelia. "She is so damn cute. If I wasn't so into guys, I think Oz would have some competition."

Cordelia grinned and smacked Faith playfully. "Whatever, Coop, I know how nuts you are about Angel."

Faith nodded with a light blush as she looked around. "Wonder where he is."

Cordelia shrugged. "No clue."

A minute later Willow returned grinning madly with Oz in tow. "Guys this is Oz, he plays guitar for Dingoes Ate my Baby. Oz, this is Xander, Amy, Cordelia, Faith and Riley. Buffy and Angel appear to be missing in action, you'll meet them later."

Oz gave a small wave and a smile. "Hey."

The group called out hellos and the two took seats around the table. Amy looked at her watch and out to the parking lot. "Where are Buffy and Angel?"

Cordelia shrugged, looking around slightly worried. "I have no idea, they better get here soon. Snyder's gonna grill Summers if she's late again."

Riley piped up to the newest member of the table. "So, you guys are looking for a singer for your band, Oz?"

"Yeah, our last singer, Devon got attacked by some wild dogs a few months ago. They never found his body, it's kinda weird," he told them with a slightly confused expression.

They all exchanged nervous looks. "Oh, that's um...tragic," Cordelia murmured with a tiny smile.

Before more could be said, a loud screech from the parking lot captured the attention of everyone in the quad. Angel's car came to a blistering halt and Buffy scrambled out and began running for what appeared to be her life. She was frantically yelling apologies over her shoulder as she ran, but they fell on deaf ears as Angel stormed after her screaming `Gas right, brake left!' at the top of his lungs as he chased after her. The crowds parted for the two as they went barreling into the school and their voices finally faded.

After a minute of utter silence in the quad, Faith smirked. "I guess Ace started teaching B how to drive."

The group managed to get back to conversation, about the band and other random things when Faith leaned over to Amy. "I'm getting a weird heebey jeebey from Oz, is it just me?" she whispered quietly. Amy shook her head, but didn't say anything, not wanting to make Oz feel uncomfortable. Faith nodded and refocused her attention on the conversation until the warning bell rang and they all headed off to class.

Ah, the rumor mill would be full today, a new member of the most talked about crew in school and all the screaming drama with Buffy and Angel. It looked like a whole new set of rumors was about to be fired up.


"Hey guys, I finally got that film developed from Big Bear," Cordelia told her friends as she joined them at their table in the quad one morning.

Everyone perked up a bit as packets of pictures were passed around the table. Cordelia had decided to get enough prints that everyone would have a set of all the pictures she had taken and they all found quite a few they liked. Amy found a bunch of pictures that were frame-worthy. She found a few of her and Xander in the hot tub, on the mountain, and them snuggled under a blanket on the deck. One of her favorites was of all the girls sitting on the steps of the cabin with the guys seated behind them. A neighbor of Cordelia's parents had stopped by to say hello one morning and she had been kind enough to take the picture for them.

"Cordy, have you ever thought about becoming a photographer? Some of these pictures are amazing," Amy complimented as she flipped through another stack of pictures, stopping to look at a picture the cheerleader had taken of Buffy. The slayer was standing on the porch leaning against the railing staring out at the mountains. The sunset caught her profile in such a way you could see the sparkle in her eyes and you could practically see the love and happiness pouring from her.

Cordelia did something unthinkable and blushed at the compliment. Buffy found it absolutely adorable. "I don't know if I've ever thought about it seriously. I just love taking pictures," Cordelia replied.

"This one is adorable, Cor," Buffy told her girlfriend as she leaned over. The picture was of Faith and Angel. Angel was sitting in an oversized armchair and Faith was in his lap with her arms wrapped around his neck as they snuggled under a blanket. They were looking at each other laughing about something and it was incredibly obvious they were deeply in love.

"Thanks, baby," Cordelia replied with another light blush.

They continued flipping through the huge stacks of pictures until the warning bell rang and they headed off in separate directions to go to class.


"Mmm, Summers?" Cordelia murmured sleepily as Buffy moved further into her room.

Buffy smiled and leaned over the bed to kiss her temple lightly. "Just me, baby, you can go back to sleep."

Cordelia turned over in bed and her eyes flew open, sleep forgotten, as she took in the sight of the slayer. Her hair was disheveled and her jacket was torn in a few different places. She had a deep gash across her forehead and Cordelia knew the rips in her coat could only mean more injuries she couldn't see.

"Buffy, what happened?"

Buffy shrugged lightly, pretending she wasn't in pain. "We got jumped by a bunch of vamps and a demon with big ass claws."

Cordelia saw right through her and jumped out of bed in an instant. "Take off your jacket, you need to get cleaned up. I'll be right back."

Buffy rolled her eyes and pouted. "Cor, I'm fine."

Cordelia raised an eyebrow and pointed to the bed. "Zip it missy, sit, lose the jacket, I'll get the first aid kit."

Buffy grimaced in pain as she struggled to remover her jacket. Cordelia returned with a white box, a bowl filled with warm water and a few small towels. She dipped a towel in the water and gently wiped away the blood on her forehead. "Hold this here."

Buffy opened her mouth to protest, but Queen C made an appearance through a very pointed glance and a raise of the eyebrow, so Buffy snapped her mouth shut. She held the rag in place as Cordelia sized up the wounds. Buffy had a large gash across her left shoulder blade and another across her right arm. She had a long slice along her waist on her right side. "Okay, I can't get to these, you're going to have to take off your shirt."

Buffy sighed. "Cor, I'm fine."


Buffy stuck her tongue out at Cordelia. "Fine."

With minimal assistance, Buffy removed her tee shirt and Cordelia moved behind the slayer and began cleaning the wound on Buffy's shoulder. Buffy felt an odd mixture of pleasure and pain as Cordy lightly traced her fingertips over her skin. She bandaged the wound on her shoulder and moved to her arm. Once that was bandaged she crouched down to get a better look at the wound on Buffy's waist, it appeared to be the worst of them all.

"Does it hurt?" she asked the slayer as she trailed her fingers over the skin surrounding the gash.

"Not too bad...only when I move. It'll be gone by tomorrow."

"I'll be gentle."

"I know you will."

She took her time bandaging the rest of the minor wounds and made sure she used the lightest of touches. "Come on Summers, its bed time for all injured little slayers."

Buffy nodded and stood up. After she changed, they settled into Cordelia's bed and the brunette's arm instantly wrapped around Buffy's waist. The slayer smiled and leaned into the embrace. "Why so late getting in tonight?"

Buffy's eyebrows furrowed for a moment. "I wanted to do some thinking," she replied softly.

Cordelia cringed slightly. "Your dad?"

Buffy nodded. "Yeah. I have this place where I go to think sometimes. It's over in the park, there's a cluster of trees and in the middle there's a little pond, nobody ever goes back there at night, so it's quiet."

Cordelia smiled and kissed Buffy's shoulder. "You're telling me about your secret spot?"

"Well, that way you always know where to find me." Buffy shrugged it off as if it was nothing, but they both felt like it was something fairly big.

"What if you don't want to be found by me?"

"I'll always want to be found by you."

"Aw, sap factory, I thought I'd lost you."

Cordelia moved her hand to trail light patterns on the slayers exposed arm and felt her shiver lightly. She leaned in and placed a light kiss on the back of the slayer's neck and was rewarded with a slight sigh. Cordelia watched as Buffy's arm disappeared under the blanket and found its way to her outer thigh. Buffy began trailing her fingertips over the skin that was exposed. Cordelia moved her hand to the strap of Buffy's tank top and pushed the strap off her shoulder and kissed it lightly. She trailed a dozen sweet kisses up to the slayer's neck and sucked lightly on her pulse point. Her lips felt Buffy's pulse quicken and she nipped lightly at the skin before her tongue darted out to soothe the flesh. Buffy's hands began to creep towards the hem of Cordelia's shorts and she rolled over in bed suddenly so they were face to face. She searched the chestnut eyes before her and smiled before she leaned in for a tiny kiss. She smiled at the tiny creases in the brunette's forehead and lifted a finger to trace them. Under the slayer's light touch, those crinkles instantly vanished and Buffy leaned in and kissed the smooth surface. Cordelia leaned up on her elbow so she was hovering just above the slayer. She dipped her head down and moved to Buffy's neck, placing kisses up to her jaw and moving to her mouth. As she kissed the slayer she backed down to the mattress and pulled the small blonde down on top of her. As Buffy moved her mouth to Cordelia's neck, she felt hands moving to her tank top and those hands moved north under the fabric. Buffy felt like she could melt under the touch and had to claim the lips of the gorgeous girl beneath her.

Soon, desire overtook both girls and impatient hands discarded clothes as they ached to feel skin. It looked like it was going to be another long night for the slayer and her girlfriend. Silly, horny teenagers.


"Willow, can you bring Oz to the library today?" Amy asked the redhead as they headed for their advanced English class.

Willow raised an eyebrow and shrugged. "Sure, why?"

Amy fidgeted with her books for a second. "Maybe we're mistaken, but Faith, Buffy and I have sensed something from him, we can't tell what, but Jenny and I want to do a power divination spell, just to make sure he's okay."

Willow's eyebrows scrunched up in thought. "You guys sensed something from Oz?"

Amy nodded. "Yeah, he has power, but I can't tell where he's getting it from. Or it could just be that someone cast a spell on him and I'm getting my mojos mixed up." She shrugged. "But the Tweedle twins are sensing something too. I'm sure it's nothing bad, we just need to check."

Willow looked concerned but she nodded. "Okay, I'll bring him by, I'll have to think of some excuse for it."

Amy thought for a second and grinned. "Just tell him Giles needs to talk to him about something and let him think of a lie."

Willow shared her friend's grin and nodded. "Very sneaky idea...I like it."

Amy grinned as she listened to Willow begin to babble about her newest crush as the two headed into their class. It was good to see Willow with a romantic interest and it didn't really seem to bother her that he had some kind of mystical presence. They all assumed he was harmless and since three of her best friends and a teacher were of the mystical variety it shouldn't really bother her. The halls where buzzing a bit more once word got out that Willow had a thing for Oz and the rumor mill was pleasantly supplied for the week.


"Okay, why is everyone standing around out here?" Cordelia asked as she and Buffy approached their friends in the hall.

Xander and Amy exchanged a quick grin that went almost completely unnoticed.

"They're saying that someone super glued all the classroom doors shut and they can't get in any of them. They just announced that if they aren't able to get in, we get a day off," Willow replied with a frown.

Cordelia instantly turned to Xander and Amy and quirked an eyebrow. "Looking for a day off, are we?"

The pair feigned innocence. "We had nothing to do with this... although I have to say it's of the goodness for us, maybe we can hit the beach or the pool." Xander gave her a nod and grinned.

The group stood around for a few more minutes until the PA system buzzed and the principal announced that classes where cancelled for the day. Cheers erupted in the hall and everyone scrambled to get out before they changed their minds.

As they headed to the parking lot, Cordelia turned to her friends. "So, do we want the beach or the pool?"

After a minor debate, they decided to hang out at Cordelia's for the day.


"So you decided to try out for Dingoes?" Willow asked the slayer as the two headed into the library after school.

"Yup, since apparently all of you have decided that either I audition or you will bug me til the day I die, I figured it couldn't really hurt."

Willow grinned widely and began getting excited. "That's great, Buffy. You're gonna be in a band, with groupies and you can go on the road and have a tour bus and we can all be your roadies, even though I can't really lift much, but Faith and Angel and Riley could cause they're all strong, and I've gone on a babble rant, haven't I?"

Buffy smiled fondly and nodded. "Maybe just a bit."

Willow blushed. "Sorry," she mumbled.

Buffy threw an arm around the redhead's shoulders and shook her head. "No big, that's what makes you Will," Buffy replied. "So, how are things with you and Oz? Any progress?"

Willow suddenly grinned widely. "I think they're going great. He asked me out for tomorrow night. I have a date. A real date."

Buffy grinned. "That is so great, Will. Before we know it, we're gonna be on double dates."

Willow raised an eyebrow. "Or triple dates. Xander and Amy seem to be making some progress as well."

"Those two are adorable," Buffy replied with a tiny grin thinking about how Xander's `goofy-cute' points had doubled since he and Amy started dating.

Faith arrived a moment later and the slayers began sparring. Willow sat with Giles and Jenny as they researched a few demons that had been spotted. Like always, kissing ensued once the three athletes joined the group.

"Do you guys know where Amy is?" Jenny asked once everyone got settled.

"Yeah, her dad got her a job working at the drugstore so she had to go fill out some paperwork," Xander replied, not looking up from his book.

Jenny nodded and went back to her reading. Amy joined the group later and it ended up being a fairly uneventful night all in all.


"Ya know, I've discovered that Sunnydale people are weird," Faith told Buffy as they pair wandered the cemetery one night.

Buffy cocked her head to the side. "How do you figure?"

"Think about it, none of our friends freaked when they found out about slayers and vamps, Wilma is dating Toto and he's a freakin' werewolf. She's dating a werewolf...that doesn't seem weird to you?"

Buffy scrunched her face up in thought. "Maybe it's just all of us that are weird, maybe it has nothing to do with Sunnydale."

Faith shook her head. "Do you think the shit we go through on a daily basis would fly anywhere else?"

"Maybe L.A., but that place was a little weird anyways," Buffy commented absently, she suddenly gave Faith a funny look. "How did you get Toto out of Oz, just out of curiosity?"

Faith burst out laughing suddenly. "That was easy, I just clicked the heels of my ruby red slippers three times and said `there's no place like home' and it was all good."

Buffy rolled her eyes and shook her head, sending Faith a pointed look.

Faith rolled her eyes and shrugged. "I dunno, as soon as I heard his name, I thought of the Wizard of Oz, and since a werewolf is kinda like a dog, he became Toto."

Buffy laughed. "Aren't you worried he's gonna get offended that you call him by the name of the dog in a movie about witches and munchkins?" Buffy paused for a moment. "Although, we do have witches...let's just hope none of us get turned into tiny people that like to sing about lollipops."

"Don't even freakin' jinx us like that, B. You know better," Faith said with a pointed look. She suddenly caught sight of something and moved past Buffy.

Buffy followed Faith until the two of them came upon an old- fashioned bathtub sitting next to a crypt. The slayers exchanged a confused, yet amused look.

"What in the world is a bathtub doing out here?" Buffy asked. Faith suddenly got an idea and the look on her face let Buffy know it. The blonde grinned in anticipation of the new fun that Faith had thought up with the tub. "Come on, B, gimme a hand with this, I have an idea."

Buffy grinned wider and moved to one end of the tub so the slayers could move it. "Where are we going with this, Faith?"

Faith gave a nod over her shoulder. "My house, I need to do a few things before we can play with it, but I promise we'll have some fun in a few days. Let's go," she ordered with a grin.

Buffy nodded and the two headed to Faith's house with the bathtub. A few of the brave Sunnydale citizens caught sight of the two tiny girls walking through the streets of downtown with their bathtub.

The slayers' friends caught sight of the duo as they waited in line outside the Bronze for the slayers, who were meeting them after patrol. As soon as she saw the two tiny girls and the bathtub, Cordelia shook her head and rolled her eyes, not even wanting to know about the trouble Faith was going to get her girlfriend into this time.


"Hi, Amy."

Amy turned around to find a dark haired guy behind her she'd never seen before. She gave him a cautious smile. "Um, hi. Do I know you?"

He gave her a big smile. "My name's Jonathan, and I think you can help me."

She furrowed her brow and regarded him carefully. "Okay, what's up?" "You know Cordelia Chase, right?"

Amy could tell something was weird about this guy. She gave him a confused glance. "Yeah."

Jonathan gave her another fake smile. "Well, see I've been in love with her for a long time now, but since she met Buffy, she hasn't been dating anyone anymore. I need your help to convince Cordelia that she should take another look at me."

Amy grimaced and shook her head. "Sorry, Cordy and Buffy are the single most adorable couple I've ever seen, and they're my friends. I won't do anything to mess with that."

Amy turned to leave, but Jonathan's voice stopped her again. "Ya know, it's rough being new and meeting new friends, I would really hate to see you lose those friends."

She turned around and glared at him. "What are you saying?"

"Let's just say I know a little about your past, and I'm sure your new friends would find it rather interesting." Jonathan gave her a cocky smirk that made her want to slap him, but she refrained. She tried to ignore her stomach turning at the threat behind his words. "They know about me being a witch and about the library." She decided to try playing dumb.

He rolled his eyes and smirked wider. "That's not what I mean."

Amy's stomach dropped and her eyes got wide. "No. Nobody knows about that. It was kept quiet."

"I have my sources," he replied smugly.

She shook her head again and held her hands up. "I won't do it." He gave her another big grin and shrugged. "Okay, well, I'll just head over to the library and have a little chat with your `friends'. See ya later, Amy."

She cringed and clamped her eyes shut. She rubbed her eyes furiously. "Wait! Okay, what do you want me to do?"

Jonathan turned back around and approached her smugly. "I want you to do a love spell on her. Make her see me."

She glared daggers at him and sighed in frustration. "Fine, meet me after school in the science lab, we'll do it then."

He gave her one last smirk. "Thanks so much for your help, Amy. See ya later." He gave her a mock friendly wave and a smile as he retreated down the hall, whistling as he went.


Buffy gazed at her friends nervously. "I don't think you guys should come to the audition. I'd feel weird."

Xander gave her a goofy grin and slapped her on the back. "Come on, Buffinator, we're your bestest buds, we're there for moral support and all that."

Cordelia rolled her eyes and gave Buffy a grin. "Besides, I'm going whether you like it or not, Willow's going because of Oz, we might as well make it a group outing."

Buffy sighed in defeat and shrugged. "Fine, it's not like I could talk you out of it anyways."

Cordelia grinned and kissed Buffy lightly. "That's my girl."

They all looked up as Amy moved into the library looking incredibly sad and close to guilty. Faith took a good look at her and cocked her head to the side. "Hey, Maddy, where ya been?"

Amy looked up absently as she sat down. "Huh? Oh, I had to talk to a teacher about something."

Faith exchanged confused glances with the rest of the crew and placed a hand on Amy's arm. "You okay? Ya look kinda dazed, you haven't been playing with fire have you?" she asked with a tiny grin. Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Hello, doofus, that's Summers that gets all glazed over, not Amy."

Faith grasped her heart playfully. "Ouch, the Queen has spoken."

Willow gave Amy a hopeful smile. "Hey, Amy, we're all going to the Bronze after school to cheer Buffy on for her big audition, wanna come?"

Amy became slightly flustered for a moment and looked away. "Oh, I can't...I have thing magic thing I need to work on with Jenny."

Buffy shrugged, sort of relieved at the fewer number of spectators at her audition. "Okay, we'll meet you there later tonight though, right?"

Amy shrugged lightly and fidgeted a bit. "I don't know, I'm not feeling great today, I think I might skip tonight."

Xander put an arm around her and kissed her cheek. "Aw, want me to hang out with ya and take care of you?"

She forced a smile and shook her head. "No, Xander, it's okay, I'll probably just crash, you guys go and have fun." She kissed Xander lightly and gave a small wave as she got up. "I'll see you guys tomorrow, good luck, Buffy."

Buffy gave her a smile. "Thanks. See ya."

The rest of the group called out good-byes and watched the blonde witch leave the library. They all exchanged confused looks wondering what was going on with Amy.


Amy walked out of the school later that night feeling awful. She just helped with a stupid spell to make her new friend fall for a total moron who needs magic to get dating right. Well, either way they would've disowned her. If they found out about everything back in Seattle, they'd never speak to her again. She headed home with a gnawing in the pit of her stomach and she just prayed that the slayers wouldn't kill her.


"Hey, B, why is Queeney hangin' all over Jonathan? Did he pay her to hang with him or something?"

Buffy shrugged sadly. "I don't know, she's been over there all night."

The two slayers watched as Cordelia was hanging all over Jonathan that night at the Bronze. Buffy should have been in a celebratory mood, she made the band, but suddenly, Cordelia shifted all her attention to Jonathan as soon as he arrived at the club. She finally decided enough was enough. The blonde slayer stood up and approached her girlfriend slowly. She watched as Cordelia hugged Jonathan and laughed at something he'd said. Buffy grasped Cordelia's arm lightly and the brunette turned giving her an annoyed look. "What's up, Buffy?"

Buffy frowned. "I was gonna head home, wanna come with?"

Cordelia rolled her eyes and looked back to Jonathan to give him a quick, apologetic glance. She turned back to Buffy, her gaze cold. "Actually, I'm having a good time here, so feel free to leave us be."

Buffy glared at Jonathan and pulled Cordelia aside. The brunette shrugged her hand off. "Do you mind?"

"What is going on with you tonight?" Buffy asked in a small, hurt voice.

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Buffy, it's not like we have to hang out every night, okay? I do hang out with other people on occasion."

"Cor, this is Jonathan we're talking about. The same guy who practically raped you last Halloween when we dressed as swingers. Why are you hanging out with him?"

Cordelia gave Buffy a smug grin. "Look, why don't you do us both a favor and go home before one of us says something we regret." With that, the brunette turned abruptly and left the slayer staring shocked after her. Buffy stood bewildered for a moment before she turned and headed home.


Amy sat in the science lab the next day at lunch with everything she needed to undo the love spell; she never should have messed with these magics anyways. Someone would end up getting hurt again. She lit the flame and began chanting as she felt the magic swirl deep inside.


"Hey Giles, have you seen-" Buffy stopped short when she took in the sight of Cordelia passionately kissing Jonathan in the library. Cordelia looked up and smiled smugly at Buffy. "Can you give us some privacy please?"

"Cor..." Buffy managed to spit out, standing completely stunned at the sight in front of her. She felt the urge to vomit and she turned and ran back out the door.

Jonathan smiled up at Cordelia and leaned in for another kiss. Cordelia gave him a sexy smile and just as she was leaning in, something hit her and she jumped back.

"What the hell is going on?"

"Come on, Cordy, you know you've wanted this as long as I have."

"Oh, in your wet dreams you stupid shrimp. What the hell did you do to me?"

"It was nothing, just a little spell your friend Amy wanted to try on you."

"Amy did this?"

"Yeah, she came up to me and asked if I could help her. I told her no at first but she threatened me with magic, she said she'd hurt me and my family, so I told her I would."

Suddenly the thought of Buffy gaping at her kissing the mini freak entered her head and she gasped. Buffy saw her kissing Jonathan and she had acted so smug and uncaring. Shit! Time for some major damage control...Amy and Jonathan would both have to wait. She took off out the door in search of her girlfriend, praying the title still held up.


Amy knocked on the door to the computer lab. "Jenny?"

Jenny looked up and smiled, gesturing to the desks in front of her. "Hi, Amy, come in."

Amy walked into the classroom and shut the door behind her. She sat in a desk in the front row as Jenny tapped away on the computer on her desk.

Jenny looked up and saw the pain emanating off the girl. "Is everything okay?"

Amy shook her head sadly. "No."

"What's wrong?"

Amy was silent a minute. She finally took a deep breath. "Do you know why I really left Seattle?"

Jenny smiled sympathetically. "Yes. I was given a copy of your file."

"So you know about my ex-boyfriend?"

Jenny nodded. "Yes, that information was all in there. They sent me to help you to make sure that type of thing doesn't happen again. It hasn't, has it?"

Amy's eyes went wide and she shook her head. "No, no. But I may have done something I shouldn't have."

Jenny sighed and took a seat at the desk next to Amy. She placed a comforting hand on her arm. "Okay, just tell me everything and I'll help you fix it."


Buffy was wandering the streets of Sunnydale alone. She had tears streaming down her face, but she didn't care who saw her. She moved quickly through the park and headed to her favorite alone place and hurried through the bushes before she completely broke down. Cordelia was the best thing that had ever happened to her and she was so in love it hurt. She fell more and more in love with the brunette every singe day. Cordelia cheated on her. She almost would have felt better if the cheating hadn't been so intimate. It sounded weird, but she would prefer her girlfriend having drunken, faceless sex with someone rather that have her kiss someone that passionately. Kisses can be intimate in ways that sex can't be. You don't have to have any feelings for someone to sleep with them, but to kiss someone the way Cordelia was kissing Jonathan. That took intimacy on some level. She still couldn't fathom what she saw. Her girlfriend, the love of her life, her first love and...well her first everything. They took care of each other and loved each other, was it all a joke to Cordelia? Did she want Buffy to be humiliated in some way? What if it was all a game to Cordelia, maybe she really was the bitch that Willow, Xander and Faith all thought she was. But, it seemed to Buffy, that took some serious acting chops and one big ass bucket of lies. Cordelia wasn't like that. She was different...smart, sexy, sweet, caring...she was all of those things to Buffy. Cordelia was Buffy's everything.


"Where is everybody?" Faith asked as she looked around.

Willow shrugged, her brow furrowed slightly. "I have no idea. I haven't seen Amy, Buffy or Cordelia since before lunch."

"Me either," Xander replied as he shook his head wondering where his girlfriend went.

"I hope everything's okay," Willow murmured worriedly.

Suddenly Amy and Jenny walked through the doors. Amy appeared to have been crying and Jenny looked perplexed. "Where is everyone?" Jenny asked looking around.

Willow gave her a shrug. "No idea. We haven't seen Buffy or Cordelia since lunch and I don't know what happened to Giles or Angel. What's going on?"

Amy took a deep breath and sat down at the table. "There's something you guys need to know about me."

"Okay." Xander said gently as he grasped her hand in his.

Faith nodded and gave her an encouraging smile. "You can tell us, Maddy, we're your friends."

Amy forced a smile and nodded slowly. "Okay, I know I told you that I left Seattle because of the whole thing with the library burning down and all the other stupid stunts I pulled, but that's not all of it. A few years ago I started to get really into magic. My mom had left me all these old books in her will. Anyways, I started getting really powerful and I got sucked into the magic, almost obsessed." She paused to take in a shaky breath. "Anyways, I found my boyfriend cheating on me last year and I was so high on power that I nearly killed him and the girl he was kissing. It was like I wasn't me; the magic had taken over my body. I'm not saying it wasn't my fault, because it was. I never should have messed with that stuff, but after that, my dad had to get me out of Seattle, so we came here." Amy continued to stare at the table and her friends sat stunned for a moment.

Faith finally shook her head and put a hand on Amy's arm. "Holy shit, Maddy, you should've told us about this, we could have helped you."

Amy shook her head sadly. "I was afraid of losing you guys, I didn't think you would understand it."

"We may not understand what that's like, but we can be there for you to talk about it," Willow said softly.

"This makes everything worse now." Amy mumbled looking at Jenny, who gave her an encouraging nod.

"What do you mean, makes everything worse?" Faith asked, glancing from Jenny to Amy.

Amy cringed and fidgeted a bit. "I didn't think you guys would accept me if you knew about my past, and I was planning on keeping it quiet until you knew me better. I was afraid of being all alone again and that stupid bastard Jonathan used that to blackmail me into casting a love spell. I did it last night, but I felt so guilty that I broke it during lunch today."

Willow furrowed her brow. "A love spell? Who did he want to fall in love with him?"

Amy braced herself for the final nail in the coffin. "Cordelia. Jonathan came up to me after lunch and told me that Buffy saw the two of them kissing in here at lunch right before I broke the spell." Xander let out a low whistle and shook his head. "Now I see why they aren't here. Oh man, we have a big problem now."

"Okay, Xander, you take Amy home, I'll see if I can find Angel and the two of us will go out and find Buffy and Cordelia, okay?" Willow asked as she stood up. She turned to Jenny. "If you see any of them, just tell them to call Xander and Amy and I'll check in with them, okay?"

The rest of the group nodded and headed out following Willow's orders.


Cordelia and Angel, who was never found by Willow, spent nearly all night searching for Buffy, but they never found her. They searched Buffy's house, the Espresso Pump, the Bronze, the library and even Buffy's secret place, but didn't find her anywhere. They headed back to Cordelia's house late that night after looking for Buffy all afternoon and Cordelia finally broke down. Angel held her as she cried and tried to be as supportive as possible.

"Angel, she's never going to talk to me again. God, she is the best thing that's ever happened to me and I lost it."

"CC, it wasn't your fault, it was a spell. I'm sure once Buffy gets over the initial shock of everything, you guys will be better than ever."

"Why would Amy cast a spell like that on me? I mean, we accepted her into our group immediately, no questions asked. We all knew she caused a bit of trouble at her old school and it didn't bother us and then she goes and stabs me in the back."

"She really doesn't seem to me to be the vindictive type. I don't understand why she would to that either. Look just relax and try to get some sleep. We'll figure this all out tomorrow."

Cordelia nodded absently and crawled into bed, still fully dressed and Angel remained in her room all night, sitting in a nearby armchair.


The students at Sunnydale high were confused the next day at lunch. Buffy and Faith's group wasn't sitting together. Cordelia was sitting at one table, splitting her attention between staring longingly at Buffy and glaring at Amy. Buffy was at a second table crying. And Amy was at a third table looking like someone had run over her dog. The rest of their friends seemed to be circulating around the three tables. They would spend ten minutes tops at each table before moving to the next. There was one constant at each table though. Angel never moved from Cordelia's side, Xander stayed with Amy and Faith stayed with Buffy. It was almost like their circulations had been planned and the rest of the students were completely intrigued. The rumor mill was spreading quite a few tales and just a few happened to include thoughts that Buffy was hitting Cordelia, Cordelia was cheating on Buffy with Faith, Amy was cheating on Xander with Willow and Oz and Riley were involved in the mess somehow. Nobody said one cruel word about Angel, they knew better than that.


Cordelia managed to catch up with Buffy in the hall two days after the kiss. The slayer had been doing everything in her power to avoid the cheerleader "Buffy, please talk to me."

Buffy shrugged off Cordelia's arm and kept walking. "Cordelia, I honestly can't be around you right now, just leave me alone for a while."

Cordelia's chin quivered slightly as she upped her pace to keep up with the blonde. "Buffy it wasn't my fault."

Buffy suddenly spun around, causing Cordelia to almost collide with her. Buffy gave her an icy glare and did everything in her power to resist the urge to scream at the brunette in the hall. "Well, forgive me if I can't get the image of you shoving your tongue down Jonathan's throat and smiling up at me like the smug bitch that you apparently are." Buffy gave her another glare and turned back down the hall.

Cordelia trailed after her. "It wasn't my fault, it was a spell, please let me make it right."

Buffy held up a hand and shook her head as she continued down the hall. "No. Just back off, Cordelia. I mean it. Just stay away from me for a while."

Cordelia stopped and watched her girlfriend head into a nearby class and the cheerleader turned and headed for the parking lot. By the time Cordelia reached her car she had tears streaming down her face. She drove home and crawled into bed. A few hours later, Angel stopped by, just to keep her company.


"Hey, G-man check this out," Faith called as she sauntered into the library with Angel. The two were carrying a large rectangular box.

Giles looked up and removed his glasses as he stood. "What do you have there, Faith?"

Faith shrugged. "Dunno, me and Ace were on patrol and we spotted some vamps stealing this from some crypt."

Giles moved slowly towards the box and snapped the latches. As soon as the last latch was sprung, the box flew open and a large metal hand flew out of the box and latched on to Angel's throat.

After a struggle, Faith finally managed to get the arm off of Angel's throat and back in the box safely.

She placed a hand on Angel's neck gently. "You okay?" he nodded and sucked in a few deep breaths. She turned to Giles. "Okay, what the hell is that thing, G?"

Giles shook his head, eyeing the box wearily. "Faith, I have no idea. We'll have to begin researching it right away."

Faith plunked herself in the nearest chair and furrowed her brow. "Why the hell would a bunch of vamps want with a wacky metal arm anyways?"

Giles flipped a few pages of his book and looked up at them. "Where they run of the mill vampires?"

Faith and Angel both shook their heads. "I don't think so, they seemed pretty organized and they had a bunch of tools and a get away car. I don't remember seeing anything like it before. It was a little too put together," Faith replied.

Giles began flipping pages again as he sat down at the table. "Well, we can only assume they are working for someone who needs this for something. I'll begin research and perhaps you and Buffy should have a few others help you with patrol until we figure out what this is used for."

Faith exchanged a glance with Angel and he nodded. "Well, we were thinking that anybody who wanted this stolen is still gonna want it, maybe one of us should keep an eye on it, just in case, while the other patrols."

Giles nodded absently as he read. "Yes, you have a point. It probably would be wise to divide our resources in this particular case. Good thinking, both of you."

After locking the arm up for the night, Angel and Faith left Giles to his books and tea and headed home to catch up on the latest in the Buffy and Cordelia debacle.


"Well, let me be the most recent to say that this whole situation really sucks. I don't know what the hell really happened but I intend on finding out," Faith remarked as she kept her gaze circling between the three separate tables her friends were seated at. It had been a week since the kissing incident and all the separation was beginning to get to everyone.

Willow looked up at her questioningly. "Faith, what are you gonna do?"

Faith smirked, rather evilly, and stood up. "I think it's time I had a little chat with Jonathan. It's only been a week and I'm so sick of all this everybody running in three very distinct directions. It's gonna stop. I refuse to let a little spell fuck with our lives like this."

The others watched as the slayer took off towards the school building. They all exchanged worried glances, not knowing what lengths Faith would go to in order to fix this problem. They only hoped she wouldn't go overboard.


Faith grabbed Jonathan from the mass of students and slammed him against a locker. She got right up in his face and sneered. "Alright, ankle-biter, what the hell did you do?" Jonathan stared at her wide-eyed for a second before doing his best innocent look, which was fairly pathetic to Faith. "What? Faith, I didn't do anything."

She slammed him a little harder and moved her face a bit closer. "You listen to me you slimy son of a bitch, my friends are hurting and I seriously doubt Amy cast that spell just to fuck with us, so if you tell me now, I won't kill you."

Jonathan gaped for a moment and trembled slightly. "I didn't do anything, she threatened me."

Faith laughed for a second. "That's funny." Her face instantly reverted back to a sneer. "You're not fooling me pipsqueak, I know you've had a major jones for Cordy since at least last year when you almost got her to fuck you when she was turned into her swinger costume. She wouldn't willingly cheat on Buffy and if you don't tell me the deal, I will seriously mess you up." She moved her lips right up to his ear and lowered her voice, whispering darkly. "Do you have any idea how miserable I can make you without even touching you? And believe me, there are far worse things than dying. You better spill, right now before I start to get mad."

Jonathan waved his arms around frantically. "Okay! I blackmailed her, I just wanted Cordelia to notice me, I didn't mean to hurt anyone."

Faith pulled back and glared at him for a moment. "You sick fuck. There are so many things wrong with that, I don't even know where to start." She grinned a grin that caused Jonathan to gulp audibly. "Now comes the fun part, you get to fess up to both B and Cordy. Then you will apologize to those two and Amy." She moved back in and lowered her voice again in the same threatening tone. "And if you so much as breathe in Cordelia's general proximity, I will see to it that children are no longer an option for you...and I won't do it quick either. Got it?"

Jonathan nodded desperately. "Yeah, got it."

"Good. Be in the library after school and be prepared for fireworks little man." Faith released him and waved with a wicked grin on her face as she sauntered off.


"Okay, X, I need you to make sure Maddy comes to the library this afternoon, I'll make sure B's there and Angel you have got to get Queeney there. If everything goes according to plan things will be right again, or at least more right than things are now." Faith looked around for Buffy as she set her plan in motion.

Xander nodded and clapped his hands together. "You got it, Coop, I'm sure I can come up with something to get Amy there."

Willow gave Faith a sly grin. "What's going on, Faith?"

Faith returned the grin and spotted Buffy. She took off calling out, "I can't explain right now, I have to talk to B, just make sure they're there after school."

Faith headed after Buffy leaving Xander, Angel and Willow in the hall. The three shrugged and headed off to find the girls they were looking for.

Later that afternoon, the whole crew was in the library when Faith walked in behind Jonathan. Cordelia and Buffy immediately glared at the two of them and Faith grinned. She shoved Jonathan forward and he stared at the floor for a moment. At her friends' protests, Faith just held up her hands to silence them and she nodded in Jonathan's direction.

He gazed at the floor for a moment before stealing glances at the slayer and her girlfriend. "It was my fault that Amy cast that love spell. I just wanted Cordelia to notice me, but it's obvious that she's in love with Buffy. I blackmailed her into doing the spell. I threatened her with your friendships and I hope you don't blame her for my mistakes." He glanced up at Cordelia. "You won't hear another word from me. From now on, I'll totally leave you alone." He looked down at the floor. "I just wanted to apologize to all of you for any problems the spell caused. If you want to blame someone, blame me." He glanced up at Faith, who nodded, and he left the library with his head hung. Everyone left in the library glanced back and forth between Buffy and Cordelia, all waiting for someone to say something.

Buffy finally stood up and looked at Faith. "Can you take care of patrol tonight? I need to go home."

Faith gave her a dejected nod and moved to the table, sitting next to Angel and resting her head on his shoulder. Cordelia scrambled out of her seat and took off after the blonde and caught her in the hall.

"Buffy, wait. You heard what he said. It's his fault."

Buffy suddenly spun around. "Do you still blame Amy?"


"Do you think after this you can trust Amy completely?"

"I don't know. I'm still kinda pissed about the whole situation, but it wasn't her fault."

Buffy gave her an expectant look. "Take those words and put them in my mouth." She gave Cordelia another glance and headed out of the school. Cordelia watched her go thinking about Buffy's statement. It didn't make her feel much better, but it gave her a tiny bit of hope. She knew she needed to talk to someone about this, but she didn't know who. Suddenly, the answer came to her and she headed out to her car.


"Cordelia, hi how are you?"

"Hey Ms. Summers."

"Honey, I told you to call me Joyce."

"Right, sorry." She glanced around. "The gallery looks great. It looks like you've done a lot of work since I was here last time."

Joyce gave her a wide smile. "Thank you. So how have you been?"

"Not too good actually. I was hoping we could talk for a minute."

"Sure, honey, you can talk to me about anything, let's go back to my office."


The two headed back to Joyce's office and closed the door behind them. Cordelia sat down on the plush couch and fidgeted slightly. She looked up at Joyce, her chin quivering slightly. "Buffy and I are kind of having a problem."

"Okay, you can tell me about it, I promise to remain objective and impartial."

"Well, there's this guy at school who's had a crush on me for a few years now and a few days ago he did something to me that didn't allow me to control my actions."

"Did he drug you?"

"I don't really want to get into too many details, but it was something very similar." She paused to take a deep breath and wipe a few stray tears away. "Anyways, he kissed me and since I didn't know what was going on, I kissed him back. Buffy saw the kiss and now we're in a fight."

Joyce gave her a comforting smile and pulled her into a hug. "Oh, honey, I'm so sorry. Does Buffy know that you weren't thinking clearly?"

"Yes, but she still isn't really talking to me."

"Well, Cordelia this is a tricky thing. I know how much you and Buffy love each other. I'm sure she was shocked by the sight of you kissing someone else and given time, you two will be fine." She grasped both Cordelia's hands in hers and gave her the mom smile. "Let me tell you that I've never seen Buffy as happy as she's been in the last year and I know that has a lot to do with you. My daughter adores you and I can clearly see you feel the same way about her. That means more than either of you really knows. Just give it time and it will work itself out."

Cordelia nodded and the two talked for a few more minutes before the brunette headed home. Halfway home, she decided to take a pit stop and pulled up to Willow's house. The redhead looked rather surprised to see Cordelia on her doorstep but she pulled the door closed behind her and stepped out onto the deck.

"Cordy, are you okay?" Willow asked gently.

Cordelia shrugged and moved to sit on the front steps of the house. "I'm just bummed that Buffy still won't really talk to me."

Willow smiled sadly and took a seat next to the brunette on the porch step. "I'm sure if you just give her time to really process what happened, you guys will be fine. I can imagine it was hard for her to see that and I'm sure if the roles had been reversed you would have been pretty upset too."

Cordelia nodded and the two sat on the porch silently for a while, Willow knowing that her friend just needed someone to listen and be there.


The entire group was in the library the next evening waiting on patrol assignments. They had decided a larger group would go out to patrol and a smaller group would stay in the library guarding the metal arm. Giles decided to stay to do more research while Jenny could assist with magic in the field.

"Alright, I would like Faith, Angel, Xander, Oz, and Willow to go with Jenny. Buffy, I want you to stay here with me to protect the arm along with Riley, Amy and Cordelia. It would be our best bet to have a slayer and a witch on both fronts, just in case."

Cordelia glanced over at Buffy, who appeared to be less than thrilled about the patrol assignments. She hoped this would give her a chance to talk more to the blonde slayer.

The field crew left to begin patrol while the rest of the gang dove into the books. Cordelia tried to keep her focus on the task at hand, but found herself staring at Buffy. The slayer did everything in her power to ignore the weight of the brunette's stares, but it was too intense. Buffy shot Cordelia an annoyed glance, and Cordelia decided enough was enough. She stood up and grabbed Buffy's arm and dragged her up into the stacks.

"Hey, do you mind? Let go."

"Perhaps you should heed your own advice, Buffy. Let go. Let the one stupid kiss between me and Jonathan go. It was a spell; there was nothing I could do to stop it. It wasn't my fault."

Buffy opened her mouth to speak, but Cordelia quickly covered her lips with a finger. "Just let me say what I have to say and if you want to continue hating me, then you can." She raised an eyebrow at Buffy, who rolled her eyes and looked up at her expectantly. Cordelia took a deep breath and let it out in a huff, causing her cheeks to puff out. "Okay. Before I met you, Summers, I was miserable. Sure, I had social status and fake friends that hung on my every word, but I pretty much hated the fact that I was being completely fake. Then you came along and made me feel like I didn't have to be that person anymore, that people would love the real me. I...I was terrified to take that leap, but I did it so I could have a chance to be with you, and it was the best thing I've ever done in my life." She paused to take a deep breath, and she wiped a stray tear from Buffy's face. "You gave me a chance, despite what people said about me and you were patient and loving and sweet and gentle. God, I had no choice but to fall in love with you. I'm so in love it hurts sometimes because you are so incredibly amazing and caring. You let me be me, and that is the most unbelievable thing anyone has ever done for me. The thought of not having you in my life, not being able to hold you and kiss you and hug you, it kills me...it literally makes my heart stop for a second. I'd die without you, Buffy. Please, let me make this right. I love you, more than life itself and I will never hurt you again."

Buffy's chin quivered and after a few agonizing moments, the slayer finally pulled her girlfriend into a fierce hug and broke down. "Cor, I love you too and I understand it wasn't your fault. I just kept seeing him kissing you in my head and it hurts so bad."

"I know it does, baby, but it wasn't me. I would never hurt you on purpose. I love you too much," Cordelia murmured quietly as she hugged Buffy tight. She felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders and everything that had been making her crazy the last week was finally gone.


"Mmm, Cor?" Buffy mumbled as she rolled over in bed. She was met by silence as she rolled over completely and noticed Cordelia's side of the bed was empty. She blinked a few times as her eyes adjusted to the dim light in the room. Only a small lamp was turned on with a scarf draped over it, dimming the light slightly.

She glanced at the door as it opened a bit and Cordelia slipped into the room. She was wearing only Buffy's discarded pajama top. Only two buttons were done up leaving little to the imagination underneath. Her hair was slightly mused and stripped of her make up, she looked amazing. "Hey," she whispered.

Buffy gave her a sleepy grin. "Where'd you go?"

"Had to get some water."

Cordelia crawled into bed and straddled Buffy's thighs. She rested her weight on the slayer's strong legs and grinned a coy grin.

Buffy rested her hands on the smooth, tan thighs of the brunette and traced her thumbs over the surface softly. Cordelia reached out and traced Buffy's jaw with her index finger. She moved up to her cheek bones, then her eyebrows. Buffy grinned up at her and held her arms out, wiggling her fingers in a `come here' motion. Cordelia gave her a tender smile and leaned her weight forward. Buffy pulled her close, wrapping her arms around the brunette. Cordelia rested her cheek against the slayer's shoulder and inhaled the sweet, sleepy scent of her girlfriend.

"I've missed this," Cordelia murmured quietly.

Buffy ran a hand through Cordelia's hair. "Missed what, baby?"

"This. Having you in my bed and sleeping with you...well not sleeping, sleeping, well yeah all the aspects of sleeping with you that I can get," Cordelia replied with a tiny smirk.

Buffy grinned and kissed the top of the brunette's head. "I missed you too, baby."

Cordelia sighed with contentment and she soon fell asleep wrapped in the strong arms of her girlfriend, reveling in what she'd missed so much lately.


"Amy, what are you doing here?" Cordelia asked as she opened her front door.

Amy gave her a nervous smile. "I kinda wanted to make sure we were okay with the whole spell thing."

Cordelia thought for a second and pulled the door open wider. "Come on, we can talk out back."

Amy gave the Queen a grateful smile and the two moved through the huge house and got situated on the patio out back. Amy took a deep breath and collected her thoughts. "I'm sorry," she said softly, not looking up at the brunette. "You have no idea how bad I feel about everything that happened with that spell. I never should have done it and I feel so horrible that you and Buffy were fighting because of it. I know you guys have been so incredibly great to me being new and I totally betrayed your trust with that spell."

Cordelia gave her a nod and scrunched her face up as she thought. "Why did you do it, Amy. You should have just told us about that stuff with your ex. We're all really understanding about mystical stuff, you should have told us."

Amy nodded sadly. "I know. I was just terrified that once you guys found out, you'd think I was a freak or something. I was practically an addict and I almost killed someone. I didn't expect you guys to understand it at all."

Cordelia gave the blonde a sympathetic smile. "If there's one thing I understand, it's how it feels to be afraid of having your friends ditch you for something. Just promise you won't do anything like that again, because I can be a bitch if I have to be, and when it comes to Buffy, I won't hesitate."

Amy nodded and gave the cheerleader a grateful smile. "Trust me, I've learned my lesson. I promise it won't mess with everyone like this again."

Cordelia smiled and stood up, pulling Amy into a hug. "Come on, I was just about to go pick Summers up so we can head over to the Bronze. I think we all need to celebrate things being back to normal."

Amy gave the Queen a grin and she nodded, following the brunette out front and to her car. Now, friends of the slayers should know better than to say everything is back to normal, cause that's usually when the fun begins...guess they need more time to really understand the mystical side to Sunnydale.


"B? You here?" Faith called out as she opened Buffy's front door and walked inside.

"In here, Faith," Buffy yelled back from the kitchen.

Faith followed Buffy's voice back to the kitchen and found the blonde slayer and her girlfriend seated at the island in the middle of the room.

"Hey, Coop," Cordelia said with a smile.

Faith grinned. "What's up, Queeney. How are those first aid classes going?" she asked the cheerleader.

Cordelia grinned widely, she was so proud of herself for taking first aid classes so she could help out if someone got hurt on patrol. "They're great."

Faith grinned again before turning back to her slaying companion. "Okay, B, today's the day you've been waiting for."

Buffy regarded the brunette slayer for a moment until she realized what Faith was saying and she smiled. The blonde raised an eyebrow in question and Faith nodded with a huge grin on her face that was quickly matched by Buffy.

Cordelia looked from one slayer to the other and groaned. "Why do I always get a stomachache when I see that look, I hate that look. That look means trouble."

Buffy leaned over and kissed her quickly. "It's okay, baby. Don't worry, at least we have helmets this time."

Cordelia silently chided herself for buying those stupid helmets, she should have known they would encourage the slayers into more stupid stunts. The cheerleader trailed the two slayers from the house and she would have burst out laughing if she hadn't been so worried. In Buffy's driveway was the bathtub the slayers had found during patrol. Four off-road wheels had been added to the legs of the tub and it had been painted with `The Tweedle Twins' on the side. A short towrope had been drilled into the front of the tub so it could be wheeled around easily.

"Wanna give it a try, B?" Faith asked eagerly.

Buffy nodded and ran back inside.

Faith did her best to ignore the very heated, pointed glare being sent her way, care of Cordelia. The slayer finally gave up and glanced over at the Queen. "What's up, Queeney?" she asked. "Faith, don't you think you two are a little old to still be enjoying these stunts?" Cordelia asked with a raised eyebrow.

Faith paused in thought for a moment. "Look, C, I want to tell you something that my dad told me a long time ago. Before I was born, he was going to school to be a lawyer. He told me that he had always been the class clown and he always acted like a total goof. Eventually he got tired of stuck up suits giving him dirty looks and decided to pursue a career in art, his true love. Anyways, the point of my story is that he told me that no matter what I decide to do with my life, whether it be a doctor or a clown in the circus, he told me to never take myself too seriously because it's only going to give me a heart attack too early in life." Faith paused and shot the Queen a look. "I took that advice to heart and I figured since most slayers don't live to see their twenty-first birthdays, I should live it up while I'm here. I may get a bruise or a scratch here and there, but that crap heals. I just like to keep things light and have a good time while I actually can."

Cordelia gave Faith a warm smile and pulled the slayer into an unexpected hug. "I'm sorry, Faith, you should never stop living like that. My dad is the stuffy suit and I never see him. You're really lucky to have a dad like the one you have. I didn't mean anything bad by it, I just don't want you or Summers to get hurt." Faith blushed for a second until Buffy re-emerged with her helmet. Cordelia trailed the two slayers up to the top of Buffy's street and watched with a fond smile as the two took turns pushing each other down the hill in the giant tub. She grabbed her camera out of her car and took a bunch of shots of the two in the tub flying down the street.

A few painful crashes ensued in the hour or so that the two played, but there were no serious injuries to report.


"So you figured out the wonder arm, G-man?" Faith asked as the patrol group returned to the library and she dropped into a chair with an unusual lack of grace.

"Yes, we did actually," Giles replied as he took a seat at one of the tables. "It's a piece of a demon; he was always thought to be a legend from many, many years ago." Giles paused a moment and began quoting the book. "He was brought forth to rid the Earth from the plague of humanity, to separate the righteous from the wicked and burn the righteous down. He was called the Judge."

Buffy gave him a skeptical look and pointed at the box. "The arm is the Judge? Seems kinda small and strange," she joked with a smirk on her face.

Giles shot her a tiny glare. "No, this is only a part of him."

Faith raised her hand from her chair and waved it around in the air. "Okay, confused slayer here. I still need some background, what's the deal?"

Giles sighed heavily and looked her straight in the eye. "He couldn't be killed, an entire army was sent against him. Most of them died, but eventually they managed to dismember him, but not kill him."

"The pieces were scattered, buried in every corner of the planet," Jenny added quietly as she emerged from the office.

Angel nodded slowly. "So now all the pieces are being brought here." "By Spike, they were his guys," Faith said as she looked up at Giles. Giles shook his head and sighed again. "He is stupid enough to do it."

Willow scrunched up her face in confusion. "Do what? Reassemble the Judge?"

"Bring forth Armageddon," Jenny replied gravely.

Faith thought for a second before looking at the two adults. "Can the arm be destroyed?"

"No, not with any weapon forged by man, he was indestructible," Giles replied as he removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose.

Buffy nodded, her mind in battle mode already. "So our only hope is to keep the arm away from Spike and dust him before he can get it back?"

Giles nodded. "That would be the best plan of action for the time being."

Faith nodded and clapped her hands together once. "Okay then, we protect the box at all costs until we figure out a way to destroy the arm...or Spike. Whichever comes first is fine by me, and let's hope it's Spike," she said with an evil grin.

The rest of the group nodded in agreement as they prepared to head home for the night. Giles had Jenny and Amy put a protection spell over the weapons cage where the arm was being held and when they were done, they left school for the night, each hoping and praying Spike would be destroyed before the Judge could destroy all of them.


"I still can't get over how great you guys are after only practicing for like a month," Willow gushed to Oz about the band at lunch one day. She and her friends had been invited to watch practice the night before and Willow was still blown away.

Oz smiled and kissed her lightly. "Well, we'll get better. Buffy has a great voice, Kate's drumming has improved and Dave has been practicing a lot lately."

"Oz, you're a great guitar player, don't forget that," Buffy told him with a smile.

Oz shrugged and Willow swatted him on the arm playfully. "He's being modest," she told everyone. Willow turned back to him and smiled. "You're so cute when you're modest."

Cordelia and Buffy shared a grin and the slayer rested her head on her girlfriend's shoulder. She smiled and closed her eyes when Cordelia ran her fingers through her air a few times. With her eyes closed, she missed the little brunette girl sit down at their table next to Oz.

"Hey, Oz," she said with a bright smile and a wave to everyone. "When are you guys playing at the Bronze? I loved your new songs so much, I can't wait to see you guys for real."

Oz smiled widely. "Thanks, Kaylee. We'll be playing every Thursday starting the first week of school."

Kaylee grinned and continued to gush until Faith suddenly arrived at the table and gave the girl a confused look. "Who the hell are you?"

Kaylee looked up at Faith and smiled brightly. "Kaylee Johnson. I'm a huge fan of Dingoes. I was just asking Oz when the shows are starting at the Bronze."

Faith gave her a disgusted look and shook her head. "That may work on them, cupcake, but you're practically sitting in Toto's lap and that to me looks like flirting. He has a girl already, move it along."

Kaylee blushed and forced a smile, completely embarrassed. "Sorry, I just wanted to know when they were playing out."

Faith snorted and ignored the death glare from Buffy she was getting. She turned to the Queen and jutted a thumb at the girl. "Crush?"

Cordelia became slightly flustered at being put on the spot. She shrugged and held up her hands. "Coop, leave me out of this one, you're digging your own."

Faith waved her hand dismissively at the Queen and turned back to Kaylee. "Did ya get your answer yet?" she asked with false sweetness.

Kaylee nodded and stood up. "I gotta go. Good luck practicing this summer, guys." With that, she walked away, her face still red from feeling like a complete ass.

As soon as she was out of sight, Buffy turned to Faith and stared at her, completely shocked. "Faith, what was that all about? She was just asking about the band."

Faith snorted again. "If that's what you wanna believe, Princess, go right ahead." Faith shot a pointed look at Oz. "She wants you, dude. Be careful, those groupie types are bloodhounds."

Oz gave her a tiny smile and turned to Willow and whispered into her ear for a minute. Her face shifted into a warm smile and she kissed him lightly. The both stood up and said goodbye before they headed off to hang out for a while before the bell rang.

As soon as they were gone, Faith turned to Cordelia and raised an eyebrow. Cordelia nodded. "Yup, big time crush on him." Her eyes narrowed slightly. "I don't like her much."

Faith shot a proud smile to Buffy, who rolled her eyes and smiled. "Very good, Faith. All you need now is gaydar and Cor can call you mini-me. I'm sure she'll help you with picking out a new wardrobe."

Faith glared playfully and stood up, moving closer to Buffy. The blonde recognized the look in Faith's eyes and she shot out of her seat and took off. Faith chased her until the two were out of sight, leaving their friends laughing after them. Yup, you guessed it, many more rumors sprang to life with lunch that day.


The next few weeks passed with sporadic attacks on the slayers and the library by Spike and his men. They managed to keep him fended off every time until late one night Buffy and her patrol group returned to the library to find everyone passed out and the arm missing. Buffy took off towards Spike's hideout to do a little recon and found that the Judge had been assembled completely. When she returned an hour later, the library group was re- cooperating from Spike's attack and Buffy told them about Spike's whereabouts and the fact that the Judge had been resurrected.

"So now Spike has the last piece of the Judge, we're screwed," Buffy said as she finished re-capping her recon mission with a groan.

Giles thought for a second and grabbed one of his books and flipped through a few pages. "We may have some time. When the Judge is first risen, he's weak. He gains power by sucking life forces from humans."

Faith grimaced. "So you're saying he needs to feed?"

Giles nodded. "In a sense, yes. Spike will most likely take him to a heavily populated place to gain the most power he can get all at once."

"Well, there's really only one option here in Sunnydale," Cordelia muttered as she fixed her hair.

Xander looked at her expectantly when she didn't continue. "And that would be?"

Cordelia rolled her eyes and held out her hand examining her nails. "The mall, doofus."

"What about the Bronze?" he asked her in a child-like tone, sticking out his tongue.

"Closed tonight, boy-wonder," she replied with a smirk.

Xander nodded and grinned sheepishly. "I knew that."

Buffy shook her head and looked at Giles. "You guys seem to be forgetting the `he can't be killed' part of the plan."

The group was suddenly silent pondering a completely different problem.

"Wait, I may have an idea," Riley piped up excitedly a moment later. Faith gave him an expectant look. "What's up?"

Riley thought for a second and looked up at Giles. "Giles, you said this Judge was a legend. Like from hundreds of years ago right?"

"Yes," Giles replied.

Riley stood up and began pacing as he worked out the details in his head. "Well, if you think about it, the weapons they had back then consisted of swords and daggers, no wonder they couldn't destroy him."

Jenny stood up and moved in closer to the pacing football player. "Riley, what are you suggesting?"

He suddenly grinned, he had it. "Well, remember when I was turned into a commando last Halloween? I still remember everything, I might be able to get on the base."

Buffy and Faith suddenly grinned widely. "Are you planning on stealing a tank or something?" Faith asked with a wicked glint in her eye.

Riley smiled and shook his head. "Maybe not a tank, but something with a lot more fire power than a sword, I can bet that would stop him."

Giles began nodding and he stood up to retrieve another book from the shelf. "You might very well be onto something, Riley. How can we help?"

Riley glanced at Buffy and cringed. "I'll need Cordelia for this."

Buffy shot up from her chair and gave Riley a very defiant look. "What do you need Cor for?"

Riley held his hands out in a peaceful gesture and backed up a step. "Buffy, relax, it isn't dangerous, but we will also need a vehicle," he replied with a glance at Willow.

"No problem, I'll call Oz and see if we can borrow his van," the redhead supplied as she headed for the phone.

"Okay, so what else do we have to do?" Jenny asked.

"Cordy, I need you to wear something trashy and meet me at my place tonight around seven, okay?" he asked the two girls.

"I'm going too," Buffy told him in a no-nonsense tone.


"No, Riley, I'm coming," she interrupted. "I'll stay in the van, but I'm going."

He nodded, knowing better than to argue with the slayer regarding her girlfriend. "Okay. So tonight at seven?" he asked. The rest of the group nodded and he stood up. "Okay, I have a few things I need to do, I'll see you guys later."


As the elevator door dinged, Cordelia was slightly on edge. She was worried about all of them getting fried in the Judge's life- forceapalooza. Buffy stepped out of the elevator first, calling out orders as they went. "Okay, you guys stay back, damage control only. Faith, you give him the warning bell and I'll deliver the knockout punch, got it?"

The group nodded and moved into place. As they approached the main stairway they noticed the giant blue demon standing at the top with his hands out at his sides. Spike was standing behind him with a smirk and a cigarette, waiting for the fireworks to begin. Just as the group was moving into position, a bright red beam came shooting from the Judge's hands connecting everyone around him in a web of power-sucking magic. Faith stepped up and aimed her crossbow, letting a bolt fly that hit the Judge square in the heart.

The giant blue beast looked up as his mojo stopped suddenly and he yanked the bolt from his chest. "Who dares?" he bellowed out as he looked around.

Buffy suddenly stood up on top of the concession stand near the theatre and smirked at the Judge. "Did that get your attention?" she asked with a grin.

"No weapon forged can stop me," the Judge called out to the group. Cordelia watched panicked as a man in his twenties began to sneak up behind the Judge, but before she could say anything, Buffy hoisted the rocket launcher on her shoulder.

"That was then," Cordelia heard Buffy say.

Cordelia didn't have time to register a thought as she suddenly sprang from behind the counter yelling frantically at the guy to move away.

"This is now," Buffy finished as she pulled the trigger on the launcher. Just as her finger released the trigger and the rocket flew from the device, she caught sight of Cordelia running into the line of fire. Before she could even react, she saw Faith running from the opposite direction and the brunette slayer slammed into the cheerleader knocking her out of the most devastating path of the blast.

"No!" Buffy screamed frantically as she saw both Faith and Cordelia fly through the air from the impact of the rocket in the mall. She dropped the rocket launcher and scrambled through the debris rapidly as the sprinklers suddenly turned on and she found Faith sprawled out on top of Cordelia. Faith rolled over slowly and Angel moved to her side immediately. Buffy fell to her knees next to her unconscious girlfriend and immediately checked for a pulse. It was there, but it wasn't strong.

"Cor! Come on baby. Wake up, Cor. Baby, come on, come back to me," Buffy mumbled to Cordelia. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she looked up at Giles with terrified eyes. "Call an ambulance," she ordered frantically.

Giles nodded and moved towards a payphone. "Collect all the pieces of the Judge you can, all of you," he ordered as he moved past the group quickly to call the ambulance. The rest of the crew began picking up the pieces of the Judge and placing them in separate containers. Ten minutes later, the paramedics arrived and everyone but Buffy, Angel and obviously Cordelia and Faith had been given instructions for disposing of the Judge. The injured girls and their significant others were whisked off as quickly as possible to the hospital in the screeching ambulance.


Three hours later, Buffy was seated next to Cordelia's hospital bed holding the brunette's hand in both of hers. Cordelia ended up regaining consciousness in the ambulance, but her injuries were severe enough that she was going to be a patient at Sunnydale's finest hospital for a few days. Once Cordelia had been checked out by the doctors, she'd been given a sedative and it knocked the slender girl out quickly. The blonde slayer had sent her friends home and she and Angel remained to keep a watchful eye on their lovers.

When Buffy awoke the next morning, she was greeted by an amused set of chestnut eyes cradling her in a warm, tender gaze.

The slayer stood up and stretched her tense, cramped muscles and moved to Cordelia's side, kissing her lightly. "Hey, baby girl. Feeling okay?" she whispered softly.

Cordelia nodded and smiled. "Yeah, whatever they keep pumping into me has me as high as a kite. I feel fine."

Buffy giggled and slid into the hospital bed, pulling her girlfriend close. The slayer's demeanor changed suddenly and after a moment she gazed up at Cordelia with tears swimming in her eyes. "Baby, promise me you won't ever do that again...you could have been killed."

Cordelia gave her a sad smile and cupped her face gently. "Sorry, honey, I had to. That guy was trying to tackle the Judge, I didn't want him to get hurt."

Buffy nodded sadly and wiped a tear from her face as she sniffled. "Next time, just yell, don't run towards the projectile missile, please?" she asked, her voice cracking.

Cordelia nodded and kissed the slayer lightly. The pair looked up as the door opened and a young, blonde doctor walked into the room. "Well, I'm glad to see you've joined us, Ms. Chase," she said with a grin.

Buffy and Cordelia both laughed as they wiped their tears away sheepishly and Cordy shook her head. "Call me Cordelia, or Cordy...Ms. Chase is my mother," she said as she rolled her eyes. The cheerleader gave a nod to Buffy. "This is my girlfriend, Buffy Summers."

"Hi, I'm Drew Williams," the pretty doctor replied. "How are you feeling today, Cordelia?"

Cordy grinned widely. "Actually, I think I'm ready to go home, I feel fine," she replied with a grin and a nod of her head, wanting desperately to leave.

Drew laughed and shook her head. "Well, we gave you codeine for the pain, so to be honest with you, I'd be a little worried if you weren't feeling great today."

Cordelia pouted and Buffy kissed her temple lightly. "Baby, you really need to stay here until the doctors say you're okay. I don't want anything happening to you."

"But Angel's graduation is tomorrow at noon, we can't miss that," Cordelia whined, desperately trying to come up with something to get her released.

Buffy saw right through her and gave the brunette a pointed look. Cordelia rolled her eyes and nodded reluctantly. "Fine, as long as you stay with me," she told the slayer with a playful pout.

"You aren't somehow related to the girl in the room next door are you?" Drew asked the cheerleader.

"Faith is next door with Angel," Buffy supplied gently at Cordelia's confused look.

Cordelia rolled her eyes and shook her head. "No, she's a good friend of mine though. Why?"

Drew smiled widely. "I think I just heard this exact same conversation next door while I was checking on Faith."

"She isn't thrilled to be here either?" Cordelia asked her girlfriend.

Buffy laughed and shook her head. "No, she woke up in the middle of the night and ripped out her IV, threatening to kick anyone's ass who got in her way. She wanted to leave, but me and Angel convinced her to stay."

"So I'm assuming you won't be healing as fast as she has?" Drew asked with a curious smile.

Cordelia and Buffy shared a quick glance and the brunette shook her head. "Nope, Summers and Coop are the quick healers of the bunch, not me...must be good genes."

"I see," Drew replied with a smirk. "Buffy, you don't remember me do you?" she asked after a minute.

Buffy's forehead scrunched up in thought and she finally shook her head. "Have we met?"

"You and Faith saved my life about a month ago. I was walking home and these creatures attacked me one night. The two of you came out of nowhere and suddenly they disappeared. I never forget a face and when I saw you both here, I traded patients with another doctor so I could take care of her and your girlfriend as sort of a payback," Drew replied with a shrug.

Buffy and Cordelia sat not looking directly at the doctor; neither had a good feeling about where this conversation was going. "They were vampires, weren't they?"

Buffy cursed Faith silently. "I guess Faith was right about people in this town, all of you are weird," she mumbled quietly before facing Drew and nodding reluctantly. "Yup, they were." She paused and shook her head. "How is it that all of you still continue to live in this town when you all apparently seem to know there are vampires here?" she asked incredulously.

Cordelia and Drew both burst out laughing. "I always knew this town was weird, but I didn't know about vampires until that night you two saved me. I really can't thank you enough."

Buffy shrugged. "It's kinda what we do. Don't worry about it." Buffy glanced up at her hopefully. "I hope you'll keep it quiet though, it's kind of supposed to be a secret."

Drew gave them both an easy smile and nodded. "I can keep my mouth shut, don't worry. Just tell me one thing."

Buffy nodded. "Sure."

"What are you two?"

Buffy gave her a defiant grin. "We're called slayers."

Drew nodded again and replaced Cordelia's chart on the end of her bed. "Well, listen, if you two are ever injured, come see me. I'm here all the time and I won't ask any questions. Okay?"

Buffy grinned. "Thanks, it's good to know we have a Doc on our side."

Drew smiled again and slid her pen into the pocket of her white lab coat. "Well, I want Cordelia to get as much rest as she can today. I want to get another CAT scan later, and if it comes back clear, I'll send you home tonight. Sound good?" she asked. Drew smiled when they nodded excitedly and she left the couple and headed back to her rounds.


Hours later, after she'd been cleared to leave, Cordelia sat in the front seat of Angel's car as he drove her and Buffy home for the night. Faith had been released earlier that afternoon and she was at home trying to calm her father down about the explosion at the mall. Once Angel pulled his car into the driveway, Cordelia gave Buffy a tiny kiss. "Give us just a minute, Summers?" she asked quietly.

Buffy smiled and hugged Angel briefly before heading inside the house. Angel watched Cordelia carefully for a moment before reaching over to grasp her hand lightly. "CC, what's up?" he asked softly.

She looked up at him with tears in her eyes and she smiled before hugging him. "Angel, I just need you to know how much I love you and how proud I am of you. You've been my best friend my entire life and you're graduating tomorrow." She paused for a moment and wiped a few tears away. "You've been so great over the last two years with my relationship with Buffy and I just wanted you to know how much that means to me, and how much you mean to me. I love you, Angel."

Angel gave her a warm smile and pulled her into a fierce hug. "I love you too, CC. You just need to remember that we all love you for the real you, not who you were before Buffy. You've done so much growing up over the last few years and I am so proud of who you've become," he told her with a smile as he brushed away a few more tears from her face. "You will always be my very best friend. No matter what, and besides, I'm only going to U.C. Sunnydale; I'll be just around the corner. Okay?"

She smiled and nodded, hugging him again. "Love you, Richard," she said with a grin, using her old childhood nickname for him.

He grinned. "Love you too, Betty," he replied with his nickname for her.

They shared one last tight hug before Cordelia pecked him on the cheek lightly and got out of the car, heading for the house and her waiting girlfriend.


The next night Cordelia threw a huge party after graduation, officially ringing out the school year and officially ringing in her place as the true Queen of school. She had originally just invited the football team, the cheerleaders and the rest of the semi-popular athletes and all around cool people. It seemed to Buffy that the entire population of the school had shown up. Truth be told, they had. They were all relatively desperate to observe the most talked about crew in school in their natural habitat.

Buffy couldn't help but feel so incredibly blessed with her life. She loved Cordelia more than she could put into words and she felt like she'd found her soul mate in the brunette. Faith had become more than her sister slayer, she'd become almost like her real sister. They shared a bond that no other two humans on Earth could ever comprehend. She felt so happy for Willow and Xander and that they had found potential long-term love interests. She loved Amy and Oz already and having two new members of the group was exciting for her. She was the singer in a band that would be practicing all summer so they'd be ready for weekly shows at the Bronze...to her, life really couldn't get any better.

Cordelia watched Buffy fondly for most of that night. The love she felt for the tiny warrior was mind-blowing and she still had problems believing Buffy could love her as much as she loved the slayer. She was sad that Angel would be heading off to college, but she knew it would only be a few years before the rest of them joined him. She was proud of herself as well. She felt like she really had grown as a person and she'd made real friends for the first time in her life that weren't Angel. Angel would always be her best friend, but to have real girl friends that understood girl stuff was so incredibly important to her. The friend that surprised her more than anyone had been Faith. The slayer had risked her life to save her from the blast with the Judge. Cordelia didn't know how she could ever thank Faith, but she was determined to show all of her friends how much they meant to her.

Faith cried in front of her friends for the first time after one too many shots as the realization hit her that Angel wouldn't be around at school anymore. Angel took her upstairs to spend some time with her as the party wound down.

A few hours after the last random guest had left, Xander, Amy, Willow, Oz, Buffy, Cordelia and Riley sat around the pool talking excitedly about their plans for the summer. They knew they had a family worth fighting for in each other, and they'd be damned if they let anyone or anything take that away from them.


"So are you guys ready for your big debut tonight at the Bronze?" Willow asked Buffy and Oz on the second day of school.

The two Dingoes smiled. "I'm a little nervous, but it's mostly because I want everyone to like our music. The stage stuff doesn't really bother me," Buffy replied.

"Actually, that reminds me. I need to find Kate and make sure she called her buddies in L.A. about that show," Oz said as he glanced around the quad. He looked back and Willow and smiled tenderly before kissing her lightly. "I'll be back, okay?" he asked quietly.

Willow nodded and kissed him again. "Okay."

The two girls watched him leave and Buffy turned to Willow with a grin. "So, you guys seem to be quite coupley these days."

Willow blushed. "We just spent so much time together over the summer and I think I fell in love," she replied shyly.

Buffy grinned wider and pulled the redhead into a hug. "Will, that's so great!"

"What's so great?" Cordelia questioned as she took a seat next to her girlfriend.

Buffy turned to her and kissed her softly. "Will is in love with Oz."

"That's so great, Willow. You two make such a great couple," Cordelia said with a grin and a nudge to the redhead.

Willow blushed again and turned to Buffy. "So are you excited about maybe playing in L.A.?" she asked with an eyebrow raised.

Buffy shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant, but her grin gave her away. "Yeah, I never thought when I joined the band that we'd actually get shows outside of the Bronze, but we got lucky having Kate join and her knowing some club owners."

"Are you sure she isn't gay?" Cordelia asked with a quirked eyebrow. Buffy rolled her eyes and kissed Cordy lightly. "Baby, I really don't think she is. She's never said anything to me about it, so actually I really don't know."

"She has to be...how many girls play drums?" the cheerleader wondered.

Buffy shared a tiny grin with Willow at Cordelia's subtle hints of her jealousy. Buffy wrapped her arms around Cordelia and kissed her temple lightly. "I love you, baby girl, and only you," she murmured into the cheerleader's ear.

Cordelia nodded and glanced up at the slayer through her lashes flirtatiously, a wide grin on her face. "I love you too."

Buffy cupped Cordelia's chin with one hand as she ran her other hand through her dark, curly locks and kissed her tenderly.

"Hate to break you two up, but I have good news," Oz said with a grin as he slid back into his seat next to Willow and draped an arm around her shoulders.

Buffy kissed Cordelia one more time and looked at the werewolf. "Whatcha got?"

"We have a show in two weeks at the Elbow Room in L.A." he replied with a grin.

The three girls all began talking excitedly at once about the road trip they had planned if Dingoes got the show.

Faith gave the group a curious look as she approached and took a seat between Buffy and Willow at the table. "What's up with you three? I honestly can't think of one thing that would get all three of you this excited."

"We got the show in L.A." Buffy replied with a grin.

Faith gave the blonde a grin and shoved her playfully. "See? I knew you guys were a shoe-in for that show. Anybody who's heard you guys knows it."

"So, now we can all go on the road trip we talked about," Willow said delightedly as she bounced in her seat with excitement.

"Did you guys give Will caffeine again?" Xander asked as he and Amy approached hand in hand a moment later.

Willow gave him a teasing glare and shook her head. "Dingoes got a show in L.A. and we were thinking we could all go down there to see them and take a road trip."

Buffy leaned over to Faith and gave her a sympathetic smile. "You doing okay?" she asked softly.

Faith nodded. "Yeah, it's probably for the best anyways. He's a big college guy and all that. I still think it's stupid that he breaks up with me so I can date other people. I don't want to date other people, I only want Ace." She rolled her eyes. "Guys are so damn stupid."

"Why in the hell do you think I started dating a girl, Coop, of course guys are stupid. It's because their brains permanently reside in their pants and they never make decisions with the right head," Cordelia interrupted the slayers.

Buffy gave the cheerleader a nudge and Faith smiled sadly. "I know. It still stings though. I thought I would be okay by the time school started up, but I just miss him more."

Buffy hugged Faith tight. "He'll come around and realize he's being stupid. You guys will be back together in no time, Fai."

Faith smiled and shifted uncomfortably now that the entire table was looking at her sympathetically, which she hated so she went right back into the road trip.

Cordelia smiled at her friends as they began to make plans for their trip and she kissed Buffy lightly and stood up. Buffy gave her a questioning look and Cordy leaned in for another kiss. "I'll be back in a sec, okay?"

Buffy nodded and turned back to the conversation as Cordelia headed to the music room to have a chat with a certain blonde drummer girl. She heard the drums singing wildly as she approached the double doors of the music room and stopped for a moment to listened to the tiny girl wail away on the drum set. Cordelia had to admit the girl had talent.

She took a deep breath and pulled the door open and stepped through to find the pretty, blonde drummer for Dingoes beating the drums at a frantic pace. The cheerleader watched for a moment from a distance before stepping closer hoping Kate would take notice of her, because there was no way she could yell over the noise of the drums.

The drumming stopped suddenly as Kate saw Cordelia in the room and the drummer gave the cheerleader an easy grin as she stood up from her kit. "Hey, Cordy. Did you hear about the show?" she asked excitedly.

Cordelia nodded. "Yeah, congratulations."


After formalities had been taken care of, Kate shifted rather uncomfortably. She and Cordelia had hung out a few times since Willow and Cordy had attended quite a few Dingo practices over the summer, but she still got a weird vibe from the cheerleader. "So, what's up?" she finally asked.

Cordelia gave a nod to a few nearby chairs. "I was wondering if I could talk to you for a minute."

Kate nodded and took a seat. "Okay, what's going on?"

Cordelia took the seat across from her and gave her a very pointed look. "Kate, I don't think we know each other that well, but I want you to know that I think you are really a talented musician and I know you're really smart. I have a lot of respect for people with brains...Willow Rosenberg is a good friend of mine, so you know that's true." Cordelia held up a hand to silence a very confused Kate when the drummer opened her mouth. "Just let me say this. The one thing I don't have any respect for is people who openly flirt with people who have boyfriends or girlfriends...especially if said boy or girlfriend is in the general vicinity."

"Cordy-" Kate started, but she was cut off again by the Queen. "Just let me finish. There are more than a few reasons I was given the nickname as the Queen of the school, and one of them is being able to call out a crush before anyone else sees it. A crush has never escaped my radar, and the crush you have on my girlfriend is no exception." Cordelia paused and caught the blonde's steel-blue eyes straight on. "I'm only going to say this once. I don't have a problem with you, Kate, but you need to understand that the one thing in my life that I'm not willing to share is Buffy's heart. I have money and I have no problems spoiling my friends, I'll do whatever I can to help them, but I don't play well with others when it concerns the love of my life...understand?" Cordelia asked. Kate gulped at the Queen. Her words may have been kept friendly, but the tiny blonde drummer easily picked up on the underlying threat in the cheerleader's voice. The drummer nodded, slightly ashamed of how obvious her feelings must have been. She looked up at the cheerleader guiltily. "Cordy, listen, I'm sorry about all this. You know as well as I do that you can't help who you fall for and I wish you could. I got to know Buffy pretty well over the summer since we practiced so much and I didn't really get to know you that well, but I know enough to know that you two are crazy about each other. Even if she knew how I felt, I know my feelings wouldn't be returned and that's okay." She paused for a moment to push some hair behind her ears. "I'm not the type to get between couples anyways."

Cordelia gave her a small smile and nodded. "I just wanted to make sure we're clear." The cheerleader suddenly gave her a look that was slightly warning. "I'm not a good person to be on the bad side of, I always protect what's mine, and everyone knows her heart belongs to me."

Kate nodded sadly again. "I know."

Cordelia sighed, relieved Kate hadn't been a bitch about everything, and she regarded the drummer carefully. "Wanna come join us for lunch?" she asked, knowing she'd gotten her point across.

Kate smiled appreciatively and shook her head. "Thanks, but I really need to practice. I would hate to screw up a potential record deal or something because I didn't practice enough."

The brunette nodded and turned for the door. "Okay, but the offer is always open."

Kate stood up and moved back to her drums. "Thanks, Cordy."

Cordelia smiled in response and headed back to the quad to join her friends. It being the first day of school, Cordelia knew she had to make everyone very aware of the fact that she was still the Queen, whether Angel was around or not, and she was pretty sure she was off to a good start.


"Are you sure my hair looks okay?" Buffy asked Cordelia for the millionth time. She was sitting on the counter in Cordelia's bathroom getting ready for her show.

Cordelia rolled her eyes and kissed the slayer lightly. "Baby, you look amazing. Relax and finish your make-up or you're gonna be late for your own show," she replied soothingly. Buffy nodded and turned back to the mirror. Cordelia gave her a funny look as she leaned over the counter and applied her mascara. "Summers, what's up with the sudden nerves?"

Buffy scrunched her forehead up in thought for a moment and she shrugged. "I'm not really sure to be honest, I think I'm just scared I'm gonna mess up. It's a completely different story when you're singing to live music than a CD."

Cordelia capped her mascara and turned to the slayer sitting on her bathroom counter, wrapping her arms around the tiny blonde from behind and resting her head on Buffy's shoulder. "Baby, you are a born performer. You and the rest of the band are gonna be so great tonight, you've been practicing all summer. You'll be fine, we'll all be there in the front to cheer you on."

Buffy smiled appreciatively before she twisted around so she was face to face with her girlfriend and she pressed her knees to Cordelia's hips, keeping her close. "What would I do without you, baby?" she asked softly as she wrapped her arms around Cordelia's neck.

Cordelia grinned impishly and wrapped her arms around the slayer's slender waist. "Probably shrivel up and die from the lack of love and affection," she replied with a wink.

Buffy matched her girlfriend's grin and leaned in for a fiery kiss. As she pulled away, she gazed at her girlfriend lovingly for a moment. "I love you so much," she whispered softly. "Love you too, baby girl," Cordelia replied with a soft smile. "Come on, we better get going, or you're gonna be late."

Buffy grinned and hopped off the counter and the couple headed for the Bronze for Dingoes' debut show. It was of course a hit and they left people screaming for more. Buffy and, by association, her gang spurred a few more rumor fires, which was surprising since they were relatively calm. Everyone seemed pleased with the show that was put on at the Bronze that night, musicians and the popular crew alike.


"Hey, I have an idea," Faith announced suddenly. Under normal circumstances, this declaration from Faith would have had the rest of the group groaning, but they were in L.A. on a road trip to have some fun after the Dingoes show...oh yeah, and they were drunk.

Buffy looked up at her from the floor, where she was sitting so Cordelia could braid her hair. "Okay, lay it on us, Coop."

Faith gave her friends a grin and nodded her head. "Muscle wrania," she told them.

There was an audible pause before everyone in the room burst out laughing. Faith looked at all of them in utter confusion until Buffy finally got a grasp on her laughter. "Coop, it's wrestle mania, not muscle wrania, you dumbass."

Faith ran that through her mind a few times and she began laughing, which caused another rash of wild, drunken laughter from the group. After another minute, she calmed back down and raised an eyebrow at the group. "Well?"

Buffy grinned, her tongue peeking out between her teeth and her eyes bright from the booze. "I'm in."

Willow pointed a finger at the two slayers and raised an eyebrow. "You two have to promise to play nice."

The slayers shared a grin. "We promise," they chorused simultaneously.

Amy shrugged, a tiny smile on her face. "Sure, I'll play along."

"I'm in," Xander told them.

Cordelia shook her head. "No way am I playing muscle wrania, I'll be the referee."

Angel and Riley shared a grin. "We're in," Riley told them.

When everyone looked at Oz, he shrugged and smiled. "Sure, I'll give it a try."

"Okay, Wilma and Toto are round one, X and Maddy are second, me and Ace are third, and B and Finny can bring up the rear, got it?" Faith questioned.

"Girls against guys? How is that fair, we're a bit bigger than you girls," Riley said with a playful smirk.

Buffy matched his smirk. "Yeah, but it's you and me, Riley...think you can take me?"

Riley's face fell suddenly and he looked pleadingly at Faith. "You two really do need to play nice."

Faith smirked back and pointed to Buffy. "Don't tell me, Finny, you're fighting B, not me." She winked at Buffy, who shot her a wink back, and turned to Willow and Oz. "Up on the bed, kiddies."

Oz and Willow shared a small smile and hopped up on the bed, both moving to opposite corners of the queen size bed. The girls gathered behind Willow to give her some pointers, and the guys did the same for Oz. Cordelia gave them a signal to start and they both approached the other slowly. Willow put up a good fight, but the alcohol and Oz's werewolf strength had her pinned in a few short minutes. Xander and Amy's fight didn't take too much longer since they both knew the other's tickle spots. They both ended up rolling off the bed in hysterics and Xander smacked his head on the next bed over as he fell and quickly decided to take a break. Cordelia had given up on being the referee and decided it would be more fun to take pictures of this particular group event.

"Hold on a second, let's get these sheets and blankets off the bed so nobody gets stuck in them," Buffy ordered before Faith and Angel fought.

Once the blankets were thrown off the bed, Buffy nudged Faith. "Okay, Coop. You and me have to win so we'll be tied, so kick his ass."

Faith smirked. "Did you actually think I was gonna play nice with Ace after he broke my heart?" An evil grin formed on her face. "No way, I'm going all out."

The slayers slapped a high five and Faith hopped up on the bed. The girls began cheering Faith on and the guys cheered Angel on as they began to fight. Their fight was a bit more brutal than the previous two. Faith was holding back to fight Angel, but not by much. They were each thrown off the bed during the fight, and Buffy's slayer hearing picked up on a few choice curses Faith used while she was fighting. Eventually, the girls cheered when Faith pinned Angel to the bed. She grinned widely and took a victory lap around the room, pumping her fists in the air as she went.

Buffy and Riley's fight lasted a bit longer, mostly due to the fact that Buffy didn't have a broken heart to fight for, so she took it relatively easy on him. She had him pinned eventually and as a tiebreaker, Buffy and Angel fought and the girls eventually won. Cordelia managed to stumble drunkenly up on the bed and she stood with a cup in one hand and Buffy's hand in the other, holding it above their heads. "And the winner of Muscle Wrania, '97, is Buffy Summers and the girls team. Yay us!" she exclaimed right before she toppled over and fell off the bed, spilling her drink on herself, and both beds. Buffy bit back her laughter until she was sure Cordelia was okay and began laughing along with everyone else. Once the wrestling was taken care of, they settled down and did some more drinking. Faith and Buffy went on a snack run and brought back more food than any third world country would need to be fed for eternity and everyone dug in to the sugary goodness.

Buffy's head almost swiveled in a complete circle a few minutes later when something hit her in the back of the head. She found Faith smirking at her, a drink in one hand and a cupcake in the other. Buffy reached around the back of her head and when she looked at her hand, it was covered in chocolate. The blonde grinned and grabbed a twinkie off the table. She unwrapped it and took a bite before throwing the rest at Faith. Willow, who didn't see the flying sugar bomb, jumped at the object sailing past her face and ended up falling off the bed as the twinkie splattered into Faith's forehead.

Willow sailing off the bed coupled with the twinkie on Faith's face suddenly caused Buffy to laugh and in turn that caused her twinkie that she was swallowing to exit through her nose. She leapt off the bed and began shaking her head and making strange wheezing noises. Faith seized the opportunity to toss another cupcake her way and before she knew it, there was an all out food fight going on in the room. When they finally got bored throwing food at each other, they decided the ceiling fan made an excellent moving target.

After rather long showers later that night, Buffy and Cordelia crawled under the covers, both eager to simply pass out and Buffy turned to Faith, who was their roomie for the night. "Hey, Coop?" she asked.

Faith rolled over facing her. "Yeah, B?"

Buffy smiled deviously. "I'm assuming that it wasn't accidental that the food fight was started in Angel's room, am I right?"

Cordelia snorted and wrapped an arm around Buffy's waist as she began to doze off. Faith shot the blonde a smirk before she rolled over and passed out. Buffy giggled and when she looked down at her girlfriend, she noticed Cordelia had fallen asleep in a matter of seconds. Her slayer hearing picked up on Faith's snores so she rolled over, completely content with the band's first official road trip and soon joined her two brunette roomies in la-la land.


"Dad!" Faith exclaimed.

"Mom?" Buffy asked staring at her mother.

"Slayers!" the two vamps growled out.

The two slayers rolled their eyes and turned to the vampires behind them. Two minutes later, the girls turned to their parents with confused yet sheepish expressions on their faces. Brad and Joyce stood stunned at the two men who attacked them turning to dust at the hands of their daughters.

"What was that thing, Buffy?" Joyce asked her looking confused and kind of scared.

Buffy gazed at the ground. "A vampire."

"Are you two dating?" Faith asked, still wondering what the hell her dad and Buffy's mom were doing strolling around Sunnydale after dark holding hands.

"I think it's time we all sat down and had a talk," Brad said in a soothing voice. "Come on girls, the jeep is down the street."

The two slayers nodded mutely and the four headed up the street to the parked jeep. The slayers hopped in the back and the adults slid into the front and they headed to the Summers house.

Once inside the house, the group headed for the kitchen and Joyce began making coffee. Once the coffee was made, Joyce handed a mug to everyone and the four of them sat around the table quietly. Joyce exchanged a glance with Brad and nodded. He cleared his throat and looked at the two girls. "Okay, what was all that about back in that alley? What was that thing?"

The slayers exchanged a glance and Faith turned to her dad. "In every generation, a slayer is born..." she started. Faith, with random interjections from Buffy, told their parents about slayers and Sunnydale. She went on for half an hour explaining everything from when the slayers were both called to how they defeated the Judge most recently and the real reason there was an explosion at the mall that night. When she finished the two girls looked at their parents, who wore stunned expressions and they waited.

"So what you are saying is vampires are real and Sunnydale is on the mouth of hell?" Joyce asked a minute later.

Buffy and Faith both nodded mutely.

"Oh," Joyce replied with a frown.

"That would explain all the weird things about this town," Brad rationalized absently as he glanced at Joyce.

"So are you two dating?" Faith finally piped up.

The adult exchanged a guilty look and Brad reached across the table to grasp Faith's hands. "Honey, I don't want to lie to you, Joyce and I have been seeing each other for a while now and to be completely honest with both of you, we're in love.

"In love!" the two slayers exclaimed as they both jumped up from their seats.

"Girls, please sit down for a minute. We know this is a big deal and we won't be making any big changes to any of our lives," Joyce said soothingly. She turned to Buffy. "Buffy, your father and I weren't in love for a long time before we got divorced, you know that."

Buffy lowered her head and nodded sadly. "I know, mom, I just wasn't really expecting you to start dating so soon."

"Well, we've talked about taking things slow so we can all adjust to it and nothing drastic will be done to change our lives. Faith, Joyce and I have both felt relatively lonely over the last few years and we have a lot in common and we get along extremely well," Brad said calmly.

Faith and Buffy exchanged a glance and Buffy looked at both the adults. "Can Faith and I talk about this alone for a while?" she asked them.

Brad and Joyce exchanged a small smile and they both nodded. The slayers got up and moved upstairs clutching their coffee mugs and headed for Buffy's room. Buffy sat on the bed Indian style facing Faith, who took the seat at Buffy's desk.

"What do you think about all this, Faith?" Buffy asked after a few minutes of silence.

Faith remained silent for a few moments before she sighed. "Don't get me wrong, B, I love your mom, I think she's great, but this is just a lot to handle. What if they seriously fall in love and want to get married?"

"We'd be step-sisters," Buffy replied with a tiny smile.

Faith shared her tiny grin and shook her head. "Neither of us have siblings, so if they did get married, that's one thing I'd be psyched about, but to have a new mom? That might take some getting used to," Faith remarked quietly.

Buffy nodded and thought to herself for a moment. "Although, I don't think either of our parents would try to take over the role of the parents we had. All I can say is that I think your dad is really cool and anyone has to be better than my dad," Buffy commented with a slight frown thinking about her dad.

"Well, they're just dating right now, although they say they're in love, we really don't know how serious they are. As long as they take it slow and really give us some time to adjust, I think it could work out. At least I know my dad is dating a really cool lady with a semi-cool daughter," Faith said as she smirked at Buffy.

Buffy shot her a playful glare and nodded. "So, we're okay with this then?"

Faith shrugged. "I don't think we'd really have much say in it either way to be honest. Love is love, you can't help it and you just kinda have to hold on to it when you find it."

Buffy grinned and stood up, tousling Faith's hair as she walked by. "Aw, Faith you are so sweet."

Faith stood up and shoved Buffy playfully. "Shut it, princess, I'm still a bad-ass and I can still kick your ass if need be."

"I only wish they had told us sooner. Waiting until the third week of junior year doesn't exactly help with my concentration in school," Buffy replied with a playful smirk.

"True, you do need all the help you can get...but in this deal you get a built in tutor, lucky you, B."

Buffy rolled her eyes and shoved Faith. "Ha ha, Faith. At least now you have someone to help you with English."

"I know all the English I need to know, B. Bite me," Faith replied with a grin.

Buffy rolled her eyes again and the two headed downstairs to face the parentals. Joyce and Brad looked up and smiled when they saw their girls looking much more calm.

"So, how about I take my three favorite girls out for ice cream," he said with a hopeful smile.

Buffy looked up at him with a tiny smile and a raised eyebrow. "Just so we're clear, now that you know what Faith and I are, you know we're strong. So, if you ever hurt my mother, I'll be forced to kick your ass," she said pointing a finger at him.

Brad laughed and slung an arm around her shoulders. "You don't have to worry about a thing, Buffy, I wouldn't dream of it."

Buffy and Brad shared a grin and Faith and Joyce exchanged a look as they rolled their eyes. Joyce wrapped an arm around Faith and the four of them headed out for ice cream.


"Hey baby," Cordelia murmured softly as she opened her front door. Buffy grinned and leaned in for a kiss. "Heya, gorgeous."

The two moved through Cordelia's house and headed to her room. Once inside, they both flopped down on the bed and curled up close to each other. Buffy began flipping through some pictures from the L.A. trip as Cordy rubbed her back, both of them laughing at a few of the pictures from the hotel.

Cordelia gazed at Buffy carefully and brushed a few strands of hair from her face. "You okay?" she asked softly.

Buffy nodded. "Yeah, I'm fine." Cordelia gave her girlfriend a pointed look which caused Buffy to smile and nod, knowing Cordy saw right through her. "Mom and Brad are dating," she admitted quietly.

Cordelia rolled her eyes internally, she'd known for months. "Do you not want her to date?" she asked carefully.

Buffy shrugged. "I know my dad wasn't great by any stretch, but I'm not sure I'm ready for another one, even if it is Brad."

Cordelia nodded thoughtfully for a moment. "How do you even know they're gonna stay together? It may just be a dating thing."

"They say they're in love...that's never a good sign," the slayer told her girlfriend with a frown.

Cordelia tilted the slayer's head and kissed her lightly. "Are they happy?"

Buffy gazed at her for a moment, trying to be honest with herself and she finally nodded. "They seem to be. Me and Faith caught them walking downtown holding hands. We dusted a few vamps right in front of them and we went back to my house and they said they're in love."

Cordelia gave Buffy a loving smile and kissed her lightly again. "Baby, I think if your mom is happy, you should give her a chance to stay that way. Try to think of it like she didn't want you to be with me, just because it wasn't the norm. Besides, I don't think Brad is the type to try to take your dad's place...even if he was a sleaze."

Buffy nodded and snuggled in closer to Cordelia. The pair remained silent for a few minutes, Cordelia knowing her slayer needed some time to think about everything. Buffy finally looked up at Cordelia with pure love in her eyes and she kissed her chin. "You're right, baby."

Cordelia grinned and stuck her tongue out. "Of course I am, honey. The Queen is always right."

Buffy matched her girlfriend's grin and rolled over on top of her, kissing her sweetly. "What would I do without you, baby?"

Cordelia leaned in for another kiss. "Let's hope we never find out."

Buffy nodded. "Stay in or go out tonight?" she asked as she played with a few dark locks of Cordy's hair.

Instead of answering, Cordelia pulled the slayer into a fiery kiss and rolled them over so she was straddling Buffy's thighs. Buffy's hands moved to Cordelia's shirt and tugged at it impatiently. Cordelia sat up and pulled the offending item off over her head. She reached down and began removing the slayer's shirt as well. Buffy grinned and rolled them over again, dropping tiny, teasing kisses over her girlfriend's exposed stomach, chest and throat. Desire soon took over and the remainder of their clothes joined their shirts on the floor. Many hours later, the two fell asleep, completely unaware that this would be the last night in months that would find them in this particular position.


"Cor?" Buffy called out as she opened her front door after patrol one night.

The house was silent as she moved through the rooms on the first floor looking for her girlfriend, who was usually there. Buffy furrowed her brow and moved upstairs. She checked her bedroom and bathroom, but found them both empty. A tiny ball of fear began to roll around in the pit of her stomach as she picked up the phone to call Cordelia. The tiny ball grew as the phone rang countless times before the answering machine picked up.

Buffy dialed Angel's number at the dorms and he finally picked up on the fifth ring. "Hello?"

"Angel, it's Buffy, have you seen Cor today?" she asked quickly. "I saw her when she was at cheerleading practice when I dropped by to talk to the coach, but not since then. Why, what's up?"

Buffy's fear began to grow bigger as she took the cordless phone downstairs and grabbed her keys. "I haven't seen her all afternoon and she isn't here like she usually is. I tried calling her but nobody is picking up the phone."

"Okay, I'll head over to her house, she might just be asleep," Angel said soothingly, trying to calm the slayer's fears.

"Okay, I'll meet you there just in case."

"Okay, see ya in a few."

"Bye, Angel."

Buffy hung up the phone and took off out the door towards her girlfriend's house at a full sprint, her stomach about to flip-flop out of her body she was so wound up.


Cordelia was burning up. That was the only thought she could process before she opened her eyes. As she opened her eyes to look around, she realized she couldn't see much of anything. It was dark and dusky and she blinked her eyes a few times to clear her foggy vision. Her right eye was swollen almost completely shut and she had a headache from hell. She tried to lick her dry lips, but found a gag in her mouth preventing it. The pain in her wrists was close to unbearable as the ropes dug agonizingly into the soft flesh of her arms bound together. She appeared to be in a cell of some kind. Three walls were thick dark stone, and the fourth was thick metal bars, closing her in. It smelled dank and musty and she picked up on the sound of water dripping somewhere close.

Her entire body was terribly sore and she could barely muster the strength to move into a semi-sitting position. She noticed the towel she'd been wearing on the floor next to her feet and she twisted and contorted to pick it up to try to cover herself, but with her hands behind her back, she had no luck. She began to sob quietly and placed her head on the towel gently so to not disturb the wounds on her face, and she curled up in a ball, praying she would be rescued.

She heard footsteps not long after and she looked up to see four men gazing down at her with hungry eyes. Her chin quivered as they entered the cell and flipped her onto her back. Cordelia squeezed her eyes shut, trying desperately not to cry out as she heard the distinct sound of a zipper and felt a male hand gripping each thigh.


Buffy approached Cordelia's house and found Angel standing on the front porch. "Is she home?" she asked, fear creeping into her voice. "No," he replied softly. Buffy was terrified and her face showed it. Angel reached over and pulled her into a hug. "Buffy, I'm sure she's fine. She probably just had something to do and forgot to tell us."

Buffy nodded. "Okay, can you go get Riley and Xander and look around town? Also, call the gang and have them look too. I'm gonna head to the school since that's the last place we saw her."

Angel nodded and headed back to his car as Buffy took off towards school. Once she reached the doors, she flung them open and tore through the halls. She came to a stop outside the girl's locker room, sensing something. She opened the door slowly and stepped inside as she pulled a stake out of her jeans.

Buffy walked through the rows of lockers slowly, trying to figure out what she was feeling and she came to a stop in front of Cordelia's locker. The cheerleader's bag was sitting open in front of the locker so Buffy bent down to pick it up. Cordelia always had three pairs of clothes with her...always. One she wore to school, one she wore for practice and something to change into after practice. It concerned Buffy when she pulled out all three outfits from the bag. She took another quick look around and grabbed the bag as she headed out towards the library.

The slayer burst through the library doors and found Jenny and Giles doing some sort of research. They both jumped slightly as the slayer came barging in, breathing rapidly. The two adults stood up as soon as they saw her, sensing something was wrong. Giles took a good look at her and removed his glasses. "Buffy, what is it?"

Buffy held up the bag in front of her as her chin quivered. "I think Cordelia's gone missing. I can't find her anywhere and her bag was in front of her locker with all her clothes in it, including what she was wearing today and I checked her house and we can't find her anywhere..." she trailed off as Jenny pulled her into a comforting hug and the slayer burst into tears.

Jenny exchanged a concerned look with Giles and she guided the slayer to a nearby chair and sat them both down. Once Buffy had calmed a bit, Jenny began her questioning. "Okay, when was the last time anyone saw Cordelia?"

Buffy took a deep breath. "Angel saw her when he dropped by to talk to the football coach after school."

"And you found her cheerleading bag outside her locker in the locker room?" Jenny asked gently.

Buffy nodded. "She always has three outfits with her. The one she wears to school, the one she practices in and something to wear after practice. All three outfits are in the bag, but no Cordelia anywhere," Buffy managed to say, swallowing a sob. She looked up at the two adults, her eyes swimming in unshed tears. "I can't lose her...I can't, she's everything to me."

Jenny hugged the slayer again and did her best to soothe the blonde that right now seemed so small in her arms. "Honey, she's probably out somewhere not even aware of how scared you are, I'm sure she's fine. We'll call Amy and have her come down and we can do a locator spell, okay?" she asked softly.

Buffy smiled gratefully and nodded as she sniffled a few times. Jenny got on the phone to Amy on her cell phone and told her the situation. Amy was already with Faith, Willow and Oz at the Bronze and they agreed to meet up in the library as soon as they could get there.

Once everyone arrived, Buffy told everyone the situation and Jenny and Amy got to work immediately on the locator spell. They tried several times to locate the cheerleader, but every time, the spell came up blank.

"I don't understand why this isn't working. Buffy, are you sure this is her bracelet?" Amy asked the slayer as she held up the silver bracelet.

"Yes, Amy, I'm sure. I gave that to her for her birthday last year," Buffy spat out as she paced the floor.

Amy shrunk back and exchanged a glance with Jenny. The two tried one last time to do the spell, but it still came up with nothing.

"Perhaps we should contact the police and file a missing persons claim," Giles offered.

The slayer nodded absently and turned towards the doors when they swung open. Buffy's face fell when Angel, Riley and Xander arrived. "I guess you didn't find her?" Buffy asked sadly.

The two shook their heads sadly and Buffy ran a frustrated hand through her hair and she sighed heavily. The rest of the group exchanged a worried glance as Buffy turned from them and began to cry. Faith pulled her into a hug and held her tight as she cried. "G, why don't you get on the phone to the cops and the rest of us can split up and go out looking for Queeney."

Giles nodded and moved to the phone as the others split up into groups to sweep the town search of Cordelia. A few hours later, the search party returned with no Cordelia, and at this point Buffy was seriously beginning to panic.

"Giles, did you talk to the police?" she asked hopefully.

Giles nodded sadly. "Yes, and they told me to call back after she'd been missing for twenty-four hours, until then, they can't do anything."

Buffy clenched her fists into tight balls at her sides and she clamped her eyes shut. "Dammit!" she exclaimed loudly as she slammed her fist into one of the tables and broke it clear in half. She stood still for a few moments and the rest of the gang was scared to say anything to the tiny blonde.

Amy exchanged worried glances with her friends and approached the slayer slowly. "Buffy, we'll keep trying to locate her. We'll find her."

"You can't find her. Does that mean she's dead?" Buffy asked solemnly as she turned around and locked her gaze with Giles's. Giles held her gaze steady and shook his head. "No, not necessarily, Buffy. There could be any number of reasons, it could be a spell masking her presence, there are quite a few possibilities, but we'll find her. She's a strong person and I know she's out there somewhere waiting for us to find her."

Buffy turned to the rest of the group slowly and met every person's gaze individually and gave them all a very determined look. "I'm only going to say this once, so listen up. I will not rest until I find Cordelia. I don't care if it kills me. I won't stop until she's back with us and safe. I don't expect any of you to do the same, but any help would be appreciated. I don't care what I have to do to find her, but mark my words, when I do, I'm not letting her out of my sight. We have to get her back and I'll do anything to do so. You guys know as well as I do that Cor would do anything for any of you and all I ask is that you do the same for her." With that, Buffy turned and left the library and her friends, who took her speech completely to heart.


She awoke to the sounds of footsteps and fought off the urge to cry. They were back. She could hear them talking about slayers, the only thing she'd heard them mention. She bit back the urge to scream and cry and sob as she thought of what they would do to her this time. They always came back. This time would be worse, because the next time was always worse than the last time.


Buffy was true to her word. She hadn't slept in days and she acted more like a robot than a human being. Her friends were extremely concerned, not only about her, but for Cordelia as well. So far, every attempt to find the girl had been completely fruitless. The police had no leads and no clues. Magic hadn't helped the situation either. Everyone was completely stumped concerning Cordelia's whereabouts. It was almost as if she had disappeared off the face of the planet. Buffy had tried to locate Cordelia's parents, but apparently, they had left their hotel in Germany and gone somewhere else entirely and the slayer had no luck locating them anywhere. Cordelia had been missing for close to seventy-two hours and anyone that looked at Buffy could tell. She'd been keeping herself awake with coffee and caffeine drinks that made her extremely jittery and edgy. Joyce was aware of the situation and gave Buffy permission to miss her classes to search for her girlfriend. The slayer was spending day in and out on the phone and around Sunnydale and other surrounding towns trying to locate the cheerleader, but she hadn't found anything.

Amy approached Buffy in the library on the third day of Cordelia's disappearance and laid a gentle hand on the slayer's shoulder, who jumped and spun around. Amy took an involuntary step back and gave her friend a sympathetic smile. "Buffy, why don't you get some sleep in Giles's office and we can take over."

Buffy shook her head wearily. "No, I told you guys that I wasn't stopping until we find her. I'm not stopping until I have her back; I don't care. Don't you guys fight me on this."

Amy nodded and pulled Buffy into a quick hug. "Okay, Buffy, I just thought I would ask. We're all doing everything we can to find her. She'll turn up eventually."

Buffy nodded sadly and gazed up at her friend. "Amy, what if she turns up in a river or something?" she asked the witch with tears in her eyes. "She doesn't have powers like we do, what if something got her?"

Amy pulled Buffy into a tight hug and rubbed her back soothingly. "No, Buffy, Cordelia is a strong person, powers or not. She's going to come back to you and she'll be fine. We'll find her."

Buffy nodded and turned towards the doors when they swung open and her face fell again when she saw Xander, Willow and Riley walk in the library. Xander and Willow exchanged a sad glance when they saw Buffy's face. The three approached the slayer and the witch and Xander handed a grocery bag to Buffy.

"A brand new batch of caffeine drinks and loads of sugary goodness to keep you awake, Buff," Xander said as she looked through the bag. She gave him a small smile and moved to the library table and pulled out two drinks. Her friends watched as she downed both drinks in a matter of seconds. Buffy stood up and hopped in place a few times to wake herself up. "I'm going back out. Page me if you guys find anything, okay?" she asked as she hurried out the doors before her friends could see her tears.

The rest of the group watched her leave and all exchanged concerned glances. They got back to work for the third straight night, trying to find anything that would bring the cheerleader back to the little blonde slayer.


The tiny droplets of dry blood and sweat smeared together in the dirt were beginning to look like pictures to Cordelia. She could see a dolphin and a tree and an airplane and she knew if she didn't get out of this hole sometime soon, she would probably end up either losing her mind or slowly bleeding to death. Her wrists were bleeding, raw and aching from fighting against the ropes whenever they came. Every new cut and abrasion ended up marred with dirt, blood and sweat, leaving her body throbbing in pain when she moved. She was dizzy and sweaty and in terrible pain. Every time she moved she could feel her ribs grinding together painfully and she knew some of her ribs, a few of her fingers and her nose were broken.

Tiny beads of sweat, mixed with the dirt from the floor, stung her eyes as she blinked rapidly to keep herself awake. It was worse to wake up to an attack then to see one coming, so she desperately tried to keep her eyes open. Her head bobbed down as she tried to stretch the muscles in her neck. She sat with her back against the warm stone watching the door for them. She knew the next time would be coming soon, so all she could do was shut off her emotions and do whatever else she could to get herself through the pain.


The next day was spent much like the last three had been spent for Buffy. She spent all day doing anything in her power to locate her girlfriend, but still had no success. The excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar were beginning to make her sick, but she wasn't concerned for her own health. Cordelia was all that mattered. She moved into the library slowly that afternoon and did her best to ignore the concerned faces of her friends. She moved to the table closest to the door and threw herself in a chair. She glanced up at everyone and dreaded asking the question she was sure she had the answer to already. "Anything?"

The group shifted uncomfortably, and their silence was enough of an answer for the blonde slayer. She ignored everyone going on about thinking positively and keeping her chin up as she sank further in her chair, struggling not to cry.

As her restraint buckled, Buffy leaned forward and held her head in her hands and burst into tears. Faith and Willow moved to either side of the slayer as Amy stood behind her and they all did their best to comfort their friend. They all looked up abruptly as Jenny suddenly came barging into the library. Buffy's heart nearly leapt into her throat as she took in the look Jenny had on her face. The slayer stood up and approached Jenny slowly, almost afraid to have hope regarding Cordelia's whereabouts.

Jenny held the slayer's gaze as she approached and she gave the slayer a slight nod. "I think I may have found something. I don't want to get our hopes up, but I might have something." Buffy was practically hanging on Jenny's arm, urging the woman to continue. Jenny grasped her hand lightly and squeezed. "I remembered how you said you found Cordelia's gym bag in the locker room so I went in there and did a spell to locate magic and I ended up finding a portal in her locker. I think she was sucked in after practice that day."

Buffy exchanged hopeful glances with everyone in the room and she began tugging Jenny from the room with her. "Let's go, I'm going in after her. Come on you guys, now, let's go."

Jenny somehow managed to get Buffy to stop for a moment and the slayer looked up at her questioningly, hopping from foot to foot anxiously. Jenny held her hands up for a moment and turned to Willow. "Willow, I want you to call Oz and have him come down here. If she is in this portal, we're going to need a way to find her and we have no idea where she might be. Oz will be able to help us."

Willow nodded and ran to the phone, dialing Oz's number as quickly as she could. She was almost as anxious as Buffy was to get their friend back. Buffy ran to the weapons cabinet and pulled out two silver daggers and slipped them into her belt and she grabbed a small tranquilizer pistol just in case.

Buffy was about to puke in her shoes with anxiety twenty minutes later when Oz ran into the library. The group quickly headed for the locker room explaining everything to the werewolf about the situation.

"Count me in, I'll do anything I can to help," he said quietly as he shot Buffy a hopeful look.

She smiled gratefully at him and turned to Jenny. "Okay, let's go, send us in."

"I'm going with both of you. We may need to be able to open the portal from the other side," Jenny replied as they moved further into the locker room, stopping in front of Cordelia's locker.

Jenny opened the locker and she began to chant, Buffy and Oz on either side of her waiting anxiously. Suddenly a large swirling mass of energy emerged from the locker and swallowed the three of them whole. The rest of the group exchanged worried glances and they eventually decided to head back to the library.


Cordelia clamped her eyes shut and gritted her teeth as the man on top of her thundered away inside her. A low guttural growl suddenly sprang from her throat as she opened her mouth and bit his shoulder as hard as she could. The man yelped and pulled away, glaring at her as he stood up. He assured his companions with a wave of his hand that he was all right and he grabbed Cordelia off the floor with one hand as he backhanded her with the other across her delicate face. Unable to stop herself, she cried out in pain as his hand struck her face and she fell to the floor, glaring up at him with raw hatred burning in her eyes.

"You bitch, how dare you?" he ground out through clenched teeth. Cordelia glared back at him, blood from his shoulder dripping down her chin. "Fuck you," she spat back at him.

He grinned evilly at her and picked her up again, pointing a finger in her face. "You're lucky we're letting you go in a few days, a month isn't long enough...if it were up to me, I'd keep you down here until you broke. Little girls like you always end up screaming for their mommies by the time I'm done with them. You have a purpose, so unfortunately we only have a few more days to make sure you're ready."

Cordelia glared deeper and spat a mouthful of blood in his face. "Like I said, fuck you."

The man sneered and hit her again, this time, knocking her out cold. He smiled down at her slumped form and exited the cell, wiping his face on his sleeve. "Two more days of that bitch and we're done. Let's go."

His three companions nodded and the four of them stalked off to exit the cavern. The last thing Cordelia heard from any of them as they walked away was `she didn't seem that strong for a slayer'.


Buffy awoke first and she leapt to her feet, taking in her surroundings carefully. She looked up and saw she was in some sort of underground cavern. The walls where caked in mud and only a few sparse torches lit the maze of tunnels heading in every different direction. Her slayer senses weren't picking up on anything so she moved to her two travel companions and shook them both awake. Once the witch and werewolf were awake, Oz took hold of Cordelia's tee shirt they brought along and began sniffing his way around the giant cavern. Once he located the appropriate tunnel, the three took off in search of Cordelia.

Buffy kept her senses trained as they walked, doing everything in her power to keep herself alert in case they ran into any other creatures in the tunnels. She prayed that Oz knew where he was going as they spent countless minutes trudging through the foul smelling tunnels.

After what seemed like a few hours Oz stopped short. "She's close," he said quietly as he sniffed the air a few times and took a look around before heading off towards one particular tunnel. "This way." Buffy and Jenny followed close behind, not wanting to lose their guide in the maze of underground tunnels. After walking for close to another hour, Oz stopped short. He turned to Buffy, who took a few steps closer and she sensed something up ahead. She moved in front of the other two and pulled the daggers from her belt. She crept up on the two creatures slowly and suddenly leapt at one creature as she threw the dagger at the other, hitting the second one right between his eyes, killing him. Buffy was bucked around a few times but she finally managed to snap the other creature's neck and fell to the floor as his body slumped down, lifeless.

Buffy's heart leapt into her throat as she peered into the cell along the wall. Her eyes got wide as she approached the bars quickly and her breath hitched in her throat as she looked down on the badly beaten, slumped form of Cordelia on the dirt floor of the cell.

Buffy called out to Jenny and Oz to stay back and keep an eye out as she searched the guards for keys. She pulled the key ring off the second guard's belt and slipped the key in the lock, flinging the door open. She let out a strangled sob as she took in the full array of injuries to her girlfriend. Cordelia had one eye that was black and blue and swollen shut and her other eye was sporting a relatively fresh bruise. Her lip and nose were bleeding and she had various other cuts and bruises scattered over her naked form. Some were bleeding rather profusely and most of the wounds were caked with dirt and sweat

Buffy immediately knelt in front of Cordelia and checked for a pulse. She found one, but it was weak and slow. She stood and stripped from her workout pants and long sleeved shirt, leaving her in shorts and a sports bra. She cut through the ropes around the brunette's wrists and dressed Cordelia in her discarded clothes.

Buffy picked up her unconscious girlfriend and bit back her tears when Cordelia cried out in pain at the sudden movement. Buffy tried to keep her emotions in check, knowing she had to get them both out of there alive. She hurried back to Jenny and Oz, who both wore relieved expressions and she nodded, urging Oz to lead them back to the portal opening. The three traveled as fast as their legs could take them, wanting out of this place as quickly as possible. Buffy held Cordelia tightly as they weaved through the maze of tunnels. Cordelia began moaning and crying, her voice cracked and her body shaking. "No...m-more...please," she begged brokenly. Buffy bit back a sob at her girlfriend's words and she shook her head. "Baby, it's me. You're safe now."

Cordelia's head rolled slightly against Buffy's chest. "Buffy?" she mumbled out, her voice hoarse and cracking slightly.

Buffy's chin quivered slightly and she dropped a kiss on Cordelia's forehead. "I'm here baby, I'm here. Just relax, Cor. It's over, we're taking you home."

Cordelia whimpered lightly and the sound was enough to break Buffy's heart in two. She unconsciously upped her pace and her companions followed suit. It took a few hours to get back to the portal entrance and they all waited anxiously as the portal once again sprang to life and swallowed them up, sending them home.


Cordelia had gained almost full consciousness by the time they made it back to the locker room. Buffy could feel the brunette shaking violently in her arms and she was almost sad there weren't more of those bastard guards to kill, because Cordelia was terrified.

The three of them burst into the library and were met by Giles, Angel, Xander, Amy, Riley and Willow. Their happiness over finally finding Cordelia was cut short when they took in the sight of her. Buffy rushed her into the office and gently placed her on the couch. Giles and Jenny followed behind her, while Oz relayed everything to the others.


Buffy remained at Cordelia's side as Jenny attempted to heal her, but she became concerned when Cordelia would flinch and push her hands away every time she tried to touch her.

"Buffy, please...just b-back off, okay?" Cordelia asked with a soft, broken voice, barely swallowing a sob.

Buffy felt her heart break as she nodded and exited the office. She grabbed a spare long sleeved shirt from her bag and slipped it on before she slumped down in a nearby chair and began to cry hysterically.

Willow and Amy moved to either side of the slayer and both wrapped her in a hug and let the sobbing blonde cry as they tried to comfort her.


Jenny pulled her hands back from Cordelia's broken, bloody body and sighed in frustration. "That's the best I can do, for some reason I can't heal her fully." Most of the minor abrasions and cuts had been taken care of with the healing spell as well as the bone fractures, but the larger wounds remained open and bloody.

"Perhaps we should take her to the emergency room," Giles stated quietly.

Cordelia immediately reached out and grasped Jenny's arm and she looked down and met Cordelia's terrified, pleading eyes. "Please. No, d-don't take me there. Please."

Jenny nodded and held Cordelia's hand in both of hers. "Okay, honey, whatever you want to do, we'll do, but we have to get you fixed up first. Do you want us to do that instead of doctors?"

Cordelia nodded, but didn't say a word. Giles moved to place a comforting hand on Cordelia's shoulder, but she immediately flinched away, a tiny sob escaping her lips. Jenny looked up at Giles and he immediately moved to retrieve the first aid kit.

"Cordelia, it looks like you may need some stitches, are you sure you don't want Buffy in here to hold your hand?" Jenny asked softly. Cordelia thought about it for a moment and she raised her eyes to meet Jenny's for a brief second until they fell back to the floor. "Willow?"

"You want Willow here for that?" she asked slowly, trying to figure out why Cordelia didn't want her girlfriend in the room with her. Cordelia nodded mutely again and Jenny stood up and moved to the door. "Willow? Could you come in here please?"

Willow nodded and hugged Buffy fiercely before she stood, dropping a quick kiss on the top of Buffy's head, and moved into the office. She looked up at Jenny with questioning eyes.

"Cordelia asked if you would stay in here while I stitch her up. I think it would be good if someone held her hand."

Willow nodded, wondering why Cordelia would want her in the room, not Buffy, but she went along with it anyways, hoping Buffy wouldn't be mad at her for it.


"So, how are you?" Angel asked Faith as he took the seat next to her at the table.

Faith nodded nervously. "Good. I'm good. You?" she asked as she began drumming on the table anxiously with her fingers.

Angel gave her a nervous nod. "Good. I've been pretty busy, but good."

"Good," Faith replied as she fidgeted in her seat.

"Good," Angel echoed, not really knowing what else to say.

Angel picked up on her anxiousness and placed a hand over hers on the table. She smiled at the familiar gesture to calm her down, and it still worked like a charm. As soon as the nervousness wore off, the pain of losing Angel set in again and Faith had to force herself not to cry.

Angel sighed, his heart aching just from the simple touch of Faith's hand in his. He squeezed her hand tighter and gave her a tiny smile when she threaded their fingers together and rested her head on his shoulder.


Giles placed the first aid kit on the desk and moved to close all the blinds in the office before leaving and closing the door behind him.

Jenny took a quick look around. "Willow, grab that blanket off the shelf, please?" Willow nodded and retrieved the blanket. Jenny helped Cordelia to sit up and she took the blanket from Willow and handed it to Cordelia. "We're going to have to remove your shirt to do the stitching, so use this to cover up." Jenny was using the most comforting tones she could muster, completely terrified of scaring Cordelia worse than she already was.

Cordelia nodded as she stood up and turned her back to the two other women as she stripped Buffy's shirt off, clutching the blanket to her chest. She sat in the middle of the couch, facing to the side and Jenny sat down behind her to take care of the most serious wounds that were on her back. Willow sat down tentatively in front of Cordelia and grasped the brunette's hand in both of hers. Jenny pulled out a few items in the first aid kit and got everything prepared. "Cordelia, I'm going to give you two shots. One will numb the skin, and the other is a pain killer, so you'll feel two small pricks."

Cordelia nodded, but refused to say anything as she winced from the needles. She shifted uncomfortably two or three times and waited for the pain meds to kick in. After a few minutes, Jenny applied some cleaning ointment and began stitching up the large gashes in the girl's back.


"I just don't understand, Amy, why wouldn't she let me near her?" Buffy asked in a small, shaky voice.

Amy shared a concerned glance with Faith, who had just taken Willow's place, over Buffy's head and the brunette grimaced at the question. "Buffy, I'm sure it had nothing to do with you. Alternate dimensions are such tricky things; we don't know what's happened since she's been gone, or even how long she's been gone. Oz said you guys were down there for hours, but you came back here ten minutes after you left. I'm sure things between you two will be fine, we all just have to give her time to come to terms with it."

Buffy sniffled and hung her head. "I would never hurt her, she knows that. Never. I'd die before I hurt Cor. You know that and I know that. I don't want her to be afraid of me." Buffy broke down crying again and the two girls beside her held her tight, trying desperately to give their friend the comfort she needed.


Willow winced every time Cordelia did and she unconsciously squeezed her hands in support each time. Cordelia wouldn't meet anyone's eyes, she couldn't. She felt so dirty and weak. Those creatures, she couldn't call them men, they couldn't have been men, they made her betray Buffy and she couldn't even look at her girlfriend, knowing Buffy would see it in her eyes. She could probably smell them all over her. She was dirty and weak and ashamed. So dirty. She didn't deserve her Buffy anymore.

Jenny finished the last stitches to Cordelia's back and placed the bandage over it carefully. "Cordelia, I need to stitch up the wounds on your stomach."

Cordelia nodded absently and turned so she was facing Jenny. Willow moved from where she'd been sitting and pulled up a chair, never letting go of Cordy's hand. "Cordy, you should lie back, it will make it easier."

Cordelia allowed herself to lie back and winced as she leaned on her wounded back. She kept the blanket clutched over her breasts and pulled the rest up so Jenny could examine the wounded skin of her abdomen.

Jenny pulled up a chair next to Willow's so she could stitch easier, and after another small needle prick, she got to work. Willow watched as Cordelia's eyes never left the ceiling and she wished desperately that there were more she could do for her friend. Once Jenny was finished with Cordelia's stomach wounds, she handed the younger girl Buffy's shirt that she'd been wearing. Cordelia turned again and slipped the shirt on carefully. She sat back down on the couch and Jenny examined a gash above Cordelia's eye, running angrily across her eyebrow. She gave Cordy a sympathetic glance. "Just one more and you can go home, okay?" Cordelia nodded and kept her eyes on the ground as Jenny stitched the gash over her eye.


The rest of the gang watched as the office door opened and Jenny and Cordelia emerged. Angel took a few tentative steps towards Cordelia, but she immediately shook her head and stepped back. Buffy watched with a pained expression on her face as Angel retreated to a safe distance.

"Buffy, I want you to take Cordelia home, I think her being in a familiar setting will help her," Jenny said quietly.

Buffy shot her a confused glance as she turned her attention back to Cordelia, who kept her eyes trained on the floor. "If that's what's best for her, that's what I'll do," Buffy replied softly.

Angel handed Buffy his keys. "Here, take my car, I'll pick it up at CC's tomorrow. I can catch a ride back to the dorm."

Buffy nodded and gathered her things. After receiving some care instructions from Jenny, she moved out of the library with Cordelia trailing behind her quietly. They finally arrived at Cordelia's house and Buffy unlocked the door and held it open for her girlfriend. They both moved upstairs to Cordelia's room and the brunette simply stood in the middle of the room looking slightly lost.

"Cor?" Buffy asked quietly.

Cordelia turned and moved back towards the door. "I n-need to take a shower," she murmured quietly.

Buffy nodded as she watched her girlfriend leave the room. She stood there for countless minutes, not having the slightest idea what to do. She wandered around a bit; she turned down the bed for Cordy and set out her favorite pair of silk pajamas. She removed the cross from around her neck and laid it out on Cordelia's pillow, hoping she would catch the meaning behind it.

She took a seat in the oversized armchair on the opposite wall from the bed and curled her legs up under her to think for a few minutes. What could have happened to Cordy that she wouldn't allow Buffy to touch her? She sat and thought about the way the brunette seemed to be completely detached from everything and everyone. Buffy recalled how violently her girlfriend shook in her arms as she carried her through the tunnels. Her poor, beaten body marred with bruises, cuts and awful abrasions. The slayer had to force down the urge to be sick as she thought of those animals hurting her sweet, gentle Cordelia. Buffy sat and got completely lost in her thoughts and when she looked up, she realized that an hour had passed and Cordelia still hadn't returned from her shower.

She moved to the bathroom door and knocked softly. "Cor?" she called out. She could still hear the shower running. Buffy focused her slayer senses and she could faintly make out the sounds of Cordelia sobbing. Hoping she wasn't making a big mistake, she eased the door open and stepped into the bathroom. Through the steam in the room she could see Cordelia hunched in the corner of the shower stall and she was bawling. Buffy felt her heart break again and she grabbed a towel off the shelf and moved to the shower door. As she opened the door, she noticed six different bottles of body wash strewn all over the tile floor and Cordelia's skin was an angry shade of red.

"Cor?" the slayer called out again, trying not to startle the other girl. When Cordelia didn't move, Buffy leaned in and shut the water off. She wrapped the brunette in a towel and carried her back to her room. Once she'd dried her girlfriend off, she applied fresh bandages to her wounds and dressed her in the pajamas. Buffy finally managed to get the brunette into bed a few minutes later. Cordelia didn't speak or give Buffy any indication she knew what was going on. Buffy moved her hand to brush a few stands of hair from Cordelia's eyes, but the brunette flinched away and brought her hands up to protect her face.

Buffy bit her tears back and removed her hand. She turned to light a few jasmine scented candles and shut the light off. The slayer grabbed a blanket and curled up in the armchair, not able to sleep, but not able to leave either.

Buffy could see tears escape Cordelia's eyes as she ran a finger over the cross on her pillow and the pair spent the remainder of the evening awake, but not speaking.


The next morning found the two girls in exactly the same spot as the night before. Buffy called her mom early to tell her they found Cordelia, but never let the brunette out of her sight. Buffy sat watching Cordelia stare at the ceiling, feeling awful on more than one level. She hadn't slept in days, she'd barely eaten anything and she was carrying enough guilt around to weigh even the strongest person down.

Buffy moved from her chair only a few times that day. Once to answer the door to find Angel wondering how they were doing, a few times to pee and one other time to make something to eat for Cordelia. The brunette refused to eat and Buffy didn't push because she knew how her girlfriend felt.

Buffy wanted desperately to hold Cordelia close and comfort her, but the brunette made it clear she needed space, so Buffy remained in the chair near the bed. Cordelia rolled over as the sun began to set and Buffy figured she had gone so sleep. The slayer only meant to close her eyes for a second, but the next thing she knew she was awoken in the middle of the night by a terrifying scream. She jumped up from her chair and moved to Cordelia's side, who was sitting bolt upright in bed. Cordelia began crying and screaming at Buffy to go away and leave her alone. She was flailing her arms around wildly, fending off her unseen attacker from her nightmare.

Cordelia only allowed Buffy to hold her close for a minute before pushing her away and moving into the bathroom to calm herself down. Buffy sat in the armchair again and waited for Cordelia to return and she did a few minutes later. The brunette never looked at the slayer as she crawled back into bed and turned towards the wall. The pair remained in Cordelia's room for the remainder of the day and they both remained awake well into the night. Buffy had to wake Cordelia from a few nightmares throughout the night and it became painfully obvious that it would be a long time before either of them would be getting much sleep.


A few days later Buffy was ordered by her mother to go back to school at least part time, so she got up early and took a quick shower. She changed into fresh clothes and did her best to hide the bags under her eyes with make-up.

"Cor, I have to go to school, but I'll be back at lunch to make sure you're okay, alright?" Buffy asked her girlfriend as she approached the bed cautiously.

Cordelia nodded and turned over on the bed, facing the wall and snuggled further under the blankets.

"I'll have my pager turned on, so if you need me just page me." When Cordelia didn't respond, Buffy turned to leave.

As soon as she pushed through the library doors, her friends were bombarding her with questions. Amy took a closer look and saw Buffy had huge bags under her eyes, her eyes were bloodshot and she seemed to be struggling to keep herself awake. She pulled Buffy out of the group of her friends and led her to a table. She shot warning glances over her shoulder, telling her friends to back off a little. They all gave her sheepish looks and joined the two blondes at the table.

Amy placed a hand on Buffy's arm gently. "Are you okay, Buffy? Maybe you should go home and get some sleep."

Buffy shook her head absently as she stared at the table. "Cor didn't sleep," she mumbled out quietly. "She took a shower her first night home and used six bottles of body wash to get clean and ended up scrubbing her skin almost raw." Buffy paused and spaced out for a second allowing her brain to bring back the face of her girlfriend in her arms absolutely terrified. "She hasn't slept, she's just cried. I haven't slept because she hasn't."

The rest of her friends stood by quietly, not really knowing what to say in this situation. They glanced at each other uncomfortably and finally moved into sit around the table.

"Buffy-" Riley started, but was cut off as Buffy stood up abruptly.

"I should get to class," the slayer mumbled before she walked into Giles's office and grabbed a caffeine drink from the mini fridge and headed to class.


"We have a problem," Giles stated as he entered the library that next afternoon.

The group, minus Cordelia and Buffy, looked up at his words and all internally groaned. Faith glanced at Giles and propped her feet up on the table. "What do we have this time, G-man?"

"A janitor was found dead this morning in the gym." He furrowed his brow in thought and removed his glasses. "It appeared that his body was drained off all moisture. His body appeared to be cracked as if it was dried clay." Giles looked around the room. "Where's Buffy?"

"She went to Cordelia's to check on her. I think we should just leave her alone, I'll pull a solo patrol again tonight, G-man," Faith replied.

"How is she?"

Willow and Amy exchanged a glance. "She wandered into our gym class today, she said she was taking a walk. I'm not sure she's..." Willow trailed off, searching for the right word.

"She's kinda out of it. Her head is obviously with Cordelia," Amy supplied gently.

Giles sighed sadly and nodded. "How is Cordelia?" he asked softly. He was met with collective shrugs. "Nobody's seen her since she was here the night we found her. Buffy won't let anyone near her and Cordelia won't let Buffy near her, I think this is getting a bit too big for all of us," Willow replied sadly.

"Well, it's only been a few days since Cordelia returned, let's give them some time to get readjusted and if it doesn't get better soon, we'll get involved," Giles remarked as he took a seat around the table.

Things were beginning to go from bad to worse and the appearance of a new demon wasn't helping anyone. The group as a whole knew they had to keep things together if they were all going to come out of this alive, so they put on their brave faces and faced another day together.


A few days after Cordelia was rescued, Joyce finally insisted that Buffy go back to school full time. She and Buffy alternated checking up on the cheerleader at various times of the day. Buffy hadn't gotten any more than one or two hours of sleep a night since Cordelia's disappearance and it was beginning to show. She arrived at school everyday looking disheveled and exhausted. Her friends became more concerned every day they saw the slayer due to the fact that she looked worse every day than the day before.


"Ace, what's up?" Faith asked, a tiny ball of fear erupting in her stomach. "Is everything okay?" she asked as she closed the front door and stepped out onto the porch.

"Everything's fine, Faith. I just wanted to stop by to see how you were," he replied softly.

Faith nodded as she took a seat on the porch steps and lit a cigarette. "I'm fine. B and the Queen have more issues than an episode of Oprah, but we're all dealing."

Angel nodded and watched her quietly for a few moments. He still adored the slayer next to him and being here with her, this close to her was driving him crazy. He watched with a fond smile on his face as she blew out a stream of smoke through pursed lips, dimples cutting through the delicate frame of her face. "You started up again?" he asked as he pointed to the cigarette.

Faith nodded. "Yeah, I quit for you and since you quit on me, I really had no reason not to start again," she replied with a touch of bitterness in her voice.

"Faith, don't do this again, please," he begged with a frustrated sigh. "I did this for you. You need to date other people and make sure that I'm really what you want."

Faith glared at him and tossed her cigarette off the porch. "Look, Angel, what you don't seem to understand is, if this is how you do me a favor, I don't want it. Don't say you did this break-up shit for me when I was the one that didn't want it." Faith rubbed her eyes furiously as she tried to calm herself down. She sighed heavily and shook her head. "Ace, I still love you...I'm still in love with you. I need you and I want you...only you. I don't see why that's so hard for you to accept."

When Faith looked up at him, she could see the moonlight swimming in the unshed tears in his eyes. She knew her eyes were watery, but she didn't care as she sat in the cool, fall darkness, staring at the man she loved. Angel reached a hand out slowly and cupped her cheek, gently tracing her jaw with his thumb. The slayer smiled and leaned into the touch before she slid over on the steps and rested her head against Angel's shoulder. The pair remained silent, just enjoying being in each other's company as they sat on the steps and watched the stars.


"How is Buffy doing?" Giles asked Willow and Amy quietly. They were gathered in the library doing research a week after the water- sucking demon had been taken care of.

"She hasn't really slept much since Cordelia disappeared, she isn't eating much and I'm not sure she's big on talking these days," Amy replied softly. "I'd say she's not doing great."

Giles nodded sadly. "How is Cordelia?" he asked carefully. "Have you seen her yet?"

Willow shook her head. "No, she still doesn't let anybody near her except Buffy, but she's not exactly warming back up to her either," she replied sadly. "Buffy said they both sit up most nights, not saying a word to each other. Cordelia sits on the bed, and Buffy in an armchair. They both need the other close, but they don't talk or anything. It's bad."

Giles sighed heavily and removed his glasses. "I think it might be time for us to get involved," he said gravely.

Amy and Willow both looked up at him expectantly. "What are we gonna do, Giles?" Willow asked him.

"I'm not sure yet to be honest with you. It's quite obvious that whatever Cordelia experienced in that alternate dimension was extremely traumatic and in order for her to heal she has to face it."

The girls exchanged a worried glance and looked back to the watcher. "Maybe you or Jenny could talk to her about it. She might be willing to talk to one of you rather than us," Amy supplied hopefully.

Giles nodded and thought to himself for a few moments. "I'll talk to Jenny and see if she can come up with anything."

The two girls nodded and watched him wander back into his office to think over their situation. They both hoped the adults could come up with something, because they were just about out of ideas.


"Jenny, what are you doing here?" Buffy asked as she pulled Cordelia's front door open.

Jenny took a deep breath, hoping she could get past the slayer to Cordelia. "Buffy, I need to talk to Cordelia. It's been three weeks since we found her and it's become obvious to all of us that something needs to be done."

Buffy's eyes turned angry as she glared at the witch. "Are you saying I can't take care of my girlfriend?"

Jenny shook her head and grasped one of Buffy's hands gently. "No, honey I'm just saying that whatever she went through is eating her up inside and not talking about it is only going to make things worse."

Buffy sighed and hung her head. "She won't talk to me, why do you think she'd talk to you?"

Jenny took a deep breath and lifted the slayer's chin so she was looking right at her. "I was hoping she would let me hypnotize her. It's an altered form of magical hypnosis that allows the subject to process what they're saying so they can deal with it on a small level," Jenny replied hopefully. "It won't solve anything, but it could help."

Buffy thought about it for a moment and when she didn't say anything, Jenny reached out to grasp her hand. "Buffy, you told us that you would do anything to find Cordelia, and now that we have, you need to do anything you can to help her through this. I'm not saying this is the answer, but it really might help to open the door. Once that door is open, you can take over, I just want to help her and you know that."

Buffy nodded and looked up at her. "Who would be involved?" she asked softly.

"Well, obviously I would be there. I might need Amy to help out and you can be there too, so it would be the three of us at most."

After a moment, the slayer nodded reluctantly. "Okay."

Buffy stepped aside and let Jenny into the house. The slayer led her upstairs to Cordelia's room where the cheerleader was lying in bed staring at the ceiling. After some initial resistance, Cordelia finally agreed to take part in the hypnosis. She made it clear that only Jenny, Amy and Buffy would be allowed anywhere near her for the duration of the spell, and the girls all agreed that would be the case. Jenny left Cordelia's house feeling better than she had in weeks about the situation with the slayer and her girlfriend and took the first opportunity to call Amy with the news.


"Just remember, Cordelia, if you want to stop, just say so and we will, okay?" Jenny asked the cheerleader.

Cordelia nodded and sighed nervously. "I know."

Jenny gave a nod to Amy and the two began to chant in a language Buffy had never heard before. Buffy gave Cordelia an encouraging smile when the cheerleader gripped her hand and looked up at her nervously. Buffy suddenly felt Cordelia's hand go limp and when she looked down, the brunette appeared to be asleep.

The slayer looked up at Jenny who gave her a nod, telling her this was all part of the spell, and Buffy relaxed slightly and waited for Jenny to begin.

"Cordelia, what can you tell us about the day you disappeared," Jenny asked slowly.

The three women watched as Cordelia's eyebrows scrunched up in thought but her eyes remained closed the entire time. "After cheerleading practice, I went back to the locker room and took a shower like always. I had stayed late working on a new routine, so I was alone. I remember opening my locker and pulling out my bag and suddenly everything went black."

Jenny nodded. "Okay, what happened next?"

Cordelia shifted uncomfortably as she remembered. "I woke up and I remember being hot. I was sweaty and dirty. I couldn't see much when I woke up because it was dark, but I could hear water dripping close by." She paused for a moment trying to remember anything. "When I woke up, my hands were tied behind my back and my eye was swollen shut."

Jenny waited a few moments for Cordelia to continue, but she didn't, so she prompted her a bit further in her questioning. "Do you know what happened then?"

"That's when they came. They always came," Cordelia replied, her voice taking on a haunted edge.

"Where they human?" Jenny asked.

"I don't know. They looked human, but I can't be sure. They spoke English, they kept talking about slayers...they thought I was a slayer. I don't really remember what else they said."

"They were the ones that hurt you?" Jenny asked carefully.

Cordelia nodded as her chin quivered. "They hit me, and kicked me. It wasn't every single day, but it was awful."

Jenny sensed they might be getting in a little too deep, so she backed off for a minute. "Do you know how long you were there?"

Cordelia thought for a moment. "A month. The leader told me it had been a month. They were going to let me go a few days after you found me. He said he was upset I couldn't stay longer because he wanted to break me."

Jenny shook her head sadly and she continued her painful questioning of the cheerleader, doing everything in her power to get the girl to open up so her wounds could begin to heal. She knew the best thing to do in a situation like this was to get the person to talk as much as possible so the hurt wasn't as raw.

An hour later, Buffy closed the door behind Jenny and Amy and headed back to Cordelia's room. She found the brunette sitting up on the bed playing with the ring Buffy had given to her for their anniversary last year. The slayer sat down in her usual seat in the armchair and watched her girlfriend carefully.

"How are you feeling?" she asked softly.

Cordelia looked up at her. "Honestly?" she asked softly.

Buffy nodded slowly. "Yeah. For real, Cor. It's me, you can tell me anything."

"I feel kinda guilty to b-be honest w-with you. I don't like the fact that you guys all know w-what happened down there. I feel like this is my problem and I should b-be the one that deals w-with it," she replied as she clamped her eyes shut, obviously frustrated with her stutter.

"Baby, it's not your fault. You didn't do anything to provoke those assholes. They hurt you, not the other way around," she explained gently.

Cordelia nodded and sighed as she leaned back on the bed and turned on her side facing Buffy. The slayer knew share time was over, so she leaned back in her chair, pulling her legs under her tighter and sighed.


"So, Cordy's not coming back to school?" Willow asked with a frown. Buffy shook her head sadly. "Not this semester, her parents arranged home school. She said she'll be back after Christmas, but she doesn't feel comfortable enough yet."

"What did she tell her parents, B?" Faith asked with a frown.

"Nothing," she replied. "They didn't ask. She just asked her dad if it would be okay and he agreed and his secretary got everything set up."

"Do they even know she was missing?" Amy asked.

Buffy shook her head slowly. "No, they have no idea anything went on. She doesn't want them to know, she's afraid her mom will be a bitch about it. Plus she doesn't really talk about it much."

"So she isn't doing well?" Xander asked carefully.

"After being beaten and tortured day and night for close to a month, she needs time," Buffy replied as her chin quivered. "She'll never be the same again. I can't believe I let this happen to her."

Willow wrapped the blonde into a fierce hug. "No, Buffy, you didn't know this was going to happen. None of us did. It's not your fault."

"She has a stutter," Buffy mumbled quietly as she pulled away from Willow. "She can't sleep through the night, and when she does manage to sleep for a little bit, she wakes up screaming. She won't let me help her. It's awful."

The group exchanged sad and worried glances, not knowing what to say to make things better. They all watched as Buffy stood up and wandered away from the table aimlessly, her heart and head obviously wrapped up in her girlfriend.


You're dirty, you're a dirty whore and she won't want you anymore. You let them touch you. Only Buffy is allowed to touch you where they did and you let them. You're dirty; you're a slut, a tramp, and a whore. She won't want you anymore, she won't want to touch you or kiss you or make love to you anymore, because you're dirty just like your mother said you were.


When Buffy entered Cordelia's bedroom one afternoon, the cheerleader was waiting for her. Buffy smiled fondly when she noticed that Cordelia was freshly showered and dressed in clothes similar to before her disappearance. The slayer took this as a good sign and moved further into the room. "Hey," she said softly as she ran a hand over Cordelia's hair and kissed her forehead gently.

Cordelia gave her a sad smile. "Hey."

"Feeling any better today?"

Cordelia shrugged. "A l-little bit."

Buffy noticed the odd tone of her girlfriend's voice. It always sounded like that when she had something important to say, so Buffy took a seat in the armchair and waited for Cordelia to talk to her.

After a few agonizing minutes of silence, Cordelia finally spoke. "Buffy, I think I n-need some time," she stated quietly.

Buffy furrowed her brow and stared at Cordelia for a moment, completely confused. "Baby, I'm willing to give you all the time you need, you know I won't push you. Obviously, I don't know everything that happened to you, but I'll give you anything I can to help, you know that."

Cordelia shook her head and wiped away a few tears. "N-no, I think I need some time j-just for me." She paused and caught the slayer's eyes. "I think w-we should split up for a w-while."

Buffy's stomach hit the floor at the admission from Cordelia and she simply stared at her for a few minutes not believing her ears. "You're breaking up with me?" Buffy asked, a small sob escaping her throat.

Cordelia looked away and wiped away a few more tears. She gave a slight nod, but kept her eyes on the ground. Buffy began crying and she did nothing to hide her tears. "No, baby, we can't break up, I love you and I know you love me. We're like the perfect couple. I love you. You can't seriously want to break up."

Cordelia stood up and turned to the window, her back to the slayer as she crossed her arms over her chest. She stood for a few minutes as tears slipped freely down her cheeks. She knew she was doing the right thing by letting Buffy go. She knew she would only end up hurting the slayer after everything she'd been through.

Buffy sat in utter shock for a few more minutes until she silently slipped from the room. She wandered home aimlessly and was relieved when she remembered her mom and Brad had gone away for the weekend. The slayer walked inside and moved immediately to the liquor cabinet and poured a shot of vodka. She took three more after the first and plunked down on the kitchen floor. The slayer remained on the floor sobbing until the phone rang. She stumbled up and grabbed it on the third ring, praying it wasn't her mom. "Hello?" she asked with a slight slur.

"B?" Faith asked.

"Faith! Hey." For some reason she was delighted to hear from her slaying companion.

"B, are you okay? You sound plastered," Faith remarked.

Buffy nodded furiously. "Yup, I'm taking shots and drowning my sorrows, wanna come join me?"

"B, why aren't you keeping an eye on the Queen? Did she give you the night off?"

"You could say that," Buffy replied with a snort. "I just had my heart ripped out by the only person I've ever loved and I'm drowning my sorrows. If ya wanna join me, come on over. If not, I gotta go." Buffy hung up the phone abruptly and took two more shots. When Faith, Willow and Amy arrived at Buffy's house, they found her slumped over in the kitchen singing to herself. The three sober girls exchanged worried glances and Faith sat down next to Buffy. "Faith!" Buffy exclaimed as she threw her arms around the brunette slayer.

Faith smiled and shook her head, hugging the blonde back. "Hey, B. What's going on with you tonight?"

Buffy looked up at her friends, her head bobbing slightly from the alcohol. "Cor broke up with me."

Faith winced and hugged Buffy again. "Damn, B. What the hell happened?"

Buffy shrugged lazily. "Dunno. She said she needs time. Time? I'm giving her time, I have time to give her and she wants space. From me!" Buffy mumbled out drunkenly.

Faith stood up and pulled the drunken slayer up with her. She had Amy and Willow take Buffy into the living room and called Angel. She explained the situation to him and he agreed to talk to the Queen. Once she hung up the phone she moved into the living room and found Amy and Willow desperately trying to keep the slayer seated on the couch.

"Faith!" Buffy called out as she held her arms out to the other slayer. "Take me for a drive?" she asked hopefully.

Faith nodded. "Sure, B. We can go for a drive."

Amy and Willow got up to join them but Buffy shook her head. "No, I just want Faith with me. You two stay here, we won't be long."

Faith shot Willow and Amy apologetic glances and they both smiled and nodded. Faith wrapped an arm around Buffy's waist and led her out of the room, grabbing the jeep keys as she left. "We probably won't make it around the block, don't worry, I'll keep an eye on her."

Willow and Amy nodded and watched the slayers leave, both with the feeling that the worst had yet to come.

Faith kept her grip on the blonde slayer tight, not allowing her to trip and fall on her head on the way to the jeep in the driveway. Buffy stumbled as she sang walking towards the car. Once inside, Faith got them both buckled up and started the car. "Whatcha feel like doing, B?" Buffy pondered the question for a moment and smiled. "Bronze?" Faith grinned and nodded, heading for the club with a singing slayer in the passenger seat.


"Kate!" Buffy exclaimed loudly as she and Faith entered the Bronze. The pretty drummer looked up at the slayers and smiled sympathetically at the brunette. "Aw, Faith, you poor thing. A tanked slayer can't be that much fun to take care of."

Faith laughed and rolled her eyes as Buffy began playing with her hair again. Faith steered the blonde towards a seat next to Kate at the bar and managed to get her into the seat before she took a seat on the other side of Buffy. Kate saw Faith yawn and she grinned at the sober slayer. "Faith, if you want, I can keep an eye on her, you look kinda beat."

Buffy looked up at Faith with a huge, drunk smile and nodded her head. "Yeah, Fai, Kate can take care of me, you can head home if you're tired."

Faith considered this for a moment and shook her head. "I'm not sure if that's a good idea, her slayer strength might be a bit much if she gets carried away. I just have to do a quick patrol and I don't want to be out too late."

"I'm stronger than I look, besides, I've seen her tanked plenty of times when we party with the band, I'll take good care of her," Kate insisted gently.

Faith thought it over for a minute and finally nodded. "Thanks, Blondie, it means a lot. Here, take the jeep, I'm gonna hit the cemetery for a quick sweep before I head home."

The brunette took Buffy aside and talked quietly to her for a few moments before turning back to the drummer. "Would you mind dropping her off at home when you guys are done? Me, Maddy and Wilma are gonna crash at her place tonight...she got so freakin' plastered cause Queeney broke up with her earlier."

Kate nodded sympathetically and smiled as the brunette hugged Buffy and headed out of the club calling out good-byes over her shoulder.


Cordelia pulled her car into Buffy's driveway early the next morning, anxious to work things out with her girlfriend. After a long night of crying on Angel's shoulder, she was finally convinced that she was being stupid for breaking up with the love of her life. Cordelia pulled the key out of the ignition and grasped the bundle of flowers tightly as she headed up the walk. As she eased the front door open, she smiled when she took in the sight of Amy and Willow asleep on Buffy's couches. She moved further into the house, stopping in the kitchen and found Faith drinking coffee and reading the paper.

The brunette slayer glanced up and gave the cheerleader a sympathetic smile. "Hey, C, how ya feelin' this morning?" she asked quietly.

Cordelia dropped her gaze guiltily. "I guess she t-told you guys."

Faith nodded sadly and gave a short nod to the flowers in the cheerleader's hand. "Came to make up, I guess?"

"Yeah, I just hope she takes me back...I was a total b-bitch for doing that to her after she's been so great about everything that happened," she replied softly.

Faith gave her a smile and nodded. "I hope you guys can work it out. She's still asleep, but if ya wanna wait, I can make more coffee."

Cordelia shook her head. "Thanks, Faith, but I just w-want to do this before I chicken out."

Faith nodded her understanding and gave her friend an encouraging smile. Cordelia turned and headed upstairs to Buffy's room. When she opened the door, she took a moment to take in the sight of her girlfriend in bed. She found it a little strange that Buffy was sleeping naked, but shook the thought off as she moved to the blonde's side and sat on the edge of the bed.

Buffy stirred under the touch of the cheerleader and a few moments later her eyes fluttered open and she gazed up at the brunette with confusion. "Cor?" she asked sleepily.

Cordelia smiled lovingly at the blonde. "Hey," she whispered back. Buffy sat up and pulled the bed sheet around her naked frame. "What are you doing here?"

Cordelia dropped her gaze. "Buffy, I'm so sorry about last n- night. I freaked out and I have been so messed up in the head lately, I n-never should have broken up with you, I love you so much."

Buffy rubbed her eyes and ran a hand through her hair. "I know, baby. I know you're hurting right now and I know things have been really screwed up lately, but you should be leaning on me going through this kind of stuff, not pushing me away."

"I know, honey. Listen, I know it's gonna take a lot m-more than me saying sorry to make things right again, but I w-want you to give me a chance to try." Cordelia looked at Buffy and gave her a pleading look. "Can you come over tonight? I think I'm ready to l-let you in and tell you everything."

Buffy nodded. "Yeah, I'll come by after patrol."

Cordelia smiled, obviously relieved and she stood up kissing Buffy on the forehead tenderly. "I'll see you later. These are for you," she added as she handed the daisies to the slayer.

Buffy inhaled the sweet scent of the flowers as she watched the cheerleader leave and flopped back down on her bed.

Twenty minutes later, Buffy moved downstairs to the kitchen and immediately headed for the coffeepot. Faith watched as the blonde moved around the kitchen in a slight haze and decided to hold off her questioning until Buffy got settled. Her senses were picking up on something she couldn't put a finger on, so she ignored it and sipped her coffee. A minute later, Buffy sat across from Faith at the island and gave the brunette a sheepish smile. "Sorry about last night, Faith."

Faith smiled and shook her head. "Don't sweat it, B. The Queen broke your heart and you wanted to drown your sorrows. Did you forgive her?"

Buffy shrugged sadly. "I don't really know to be honest with you. The last month has been so incredibly screwed up and she hasn't been letting me in on anything going on inside her head. I just feel so distant from her."

Faith nodded sadly. "Well, I know you said she went through some pretty rough stuff and I can imagine it's tough for her to admit that she couldn't get away from those animals."

Buffy furrowed her brow. "Faith, she knows we don't think any less of her for not having enough power to get away."

Faith held her hands palms up in a peaceful gesture. "I know, B. All I'm saying is that after talking to Ace about this same thing, I realized it's hard when your girlfriend has super powers and you get your ass kicked. It sucks for them because they think we can get out of anything and they feel like they really can't. It can give you a pretty wicked inferiority complex if you think about it."

Buffy gave Faith a skeptical look. "Faith, how do you know about inferiority complexes?" she asked with a quirked eyebrow and a grin.

Faith rolled her eyes and laughed. "Ace is taking psych and he was telling me all about it. My point is, she may feel like she could have done something more to escape and she probably figures you would've gotten yourself out and not been hurt as bad as she was."

"She's right ya know," Amy told the blonde slayer from the doorway. Buffy turned to her with a curious look on her face. "Really?"

Amy nodded and moved to the stool next to Faith and stole a sip of the brunette's coffee. "After I was raped, I felt so weak and so incredibly powerless. I felt like I should have done more to stop what had happened. It really takes a long time and a lot of healing to get yourself out of that victim mentality that gets shoved onto you when you're attacked, whether it be mentally or physically," the witch explained carefully. "It can be worse if you know people who have been through other traumatic experiences and they've recovered quicker than you seem to be."

Buffy nodded thoughtfully. "It's just so hard because I want her to be able to talk to me about all of this stuff and I want to help, but she keeps shutting me out. She told me this morning that she's ready to let me in and I want to believe her, it's just hard."

"Well, I'm sure a lot of her pain is still really raw. She was down there for so long and those animals," she spat out angrily, "hurt her in ways we may not even know about. Buffy, I know you love her, we all do, but you have got to be patient."

Buffy nodded and sipped her coffee as Faith went back to the paper, allowing the blonde slayer to think about everything that had happened that morning. Willow emerged a little while later and smiled when she heard that Cordelia had been by to apologize. "So, did you guys have a fun drive last night? We fell asleep not long after you left," Willow told the slayers a few minutes after she got settled with her coffee.

"Actually, I ended up hanging out with Kate at the Bronze until late," Buffy mumbled quietly.

Faith watched the blonde slayer carefully and noticed something in her eyes, but kept it to herself for the time being. The four girls spent a quiet morning drinking coffee and sharing the paper until Willow and Amy headed home a while later.

Buffy stood up after a minute and stretched. "I'm gonna grab a shower," she said with a yawn.

Faith nodded and gave her a pointed look. "What's up? Having Kate's scent all over you making you feel guilty?" she asked. Buffy's eyes flashed with anger for a minute as she stared Faith down. Faith won the contest, causing Buffy to break and guilt took over. "Faith, she broke up with me and I was so drunk I probably would've slept with anyone who talked to me last night. If you hadn't left when you did, I would have been coming on to you. Don't judge me."

Faith shook her head and held out a hand to the blonde. Buffy stared at the extended hand and finally took it, allowing Faith to pull her into a hug. Buffy's tears fell slowly at first, but she soon broke down and sobbed at her behavior. "She came over here and wanted me to forgive her...all I could think was that she'd break up with me all over again if she knew what happened with me and Kate last night."

Faith held the sobbing blonde and did her best to comfort her. "B, I shoulda taken better care of you, I knew how Kate felt about you and I never shoulda left you there with her when you were that plastered. I'm sorry I let you down."

Buffy shook her head against Faith's shoulder. "No, Faith it was my decision to get that drunk, I know you guys tried to stop me and I shouldn't have had four more shots with Kate at the Bronze...I just didn't want it to hurt so bad."

Faith nodded and held her sister slayer close, rubbing small circles on her back trying to calm her down. "I know, B. Believe me, I know how it feels to have your heart ripped out and staked right in front of you."

Buffy nodded sadly and she pulled away. "I'm gonna hit the shower." Faith nodded and went back to her paper and her coffee, hoping this little problem wouldn't come back to bite someone in the ass and make things worse just when they were starting to look up a bit.


"Are you sure you can get me my slayer blood?" the large, cloven vampire asked the vamp next to him.

Spike rolled his eyes and nodded. "Yes, you sodding prat, I told you I would get us slayer blood and that's what I'll do."

"Do you have a plan?" he asked.

Spike sighed and shook his head a few times, looking out the window of the limo they were riding in. "No, not yet, but I have a few ideas. I just need some time."

The cloven vampire nodded and leaned back in his seat. "Good. The mighty Kakistos shall not be mislead, and you will regret this if you don't deliver."

Spike rolled his eyes again. "Don't worry so much. By the time I'm done, we'll each have a slayer to drain."

The larger vamp nodded. "Remember, my boy, I am weak and need to feed. Slayer blood is the only thing that will heal me fully. Until then, I must eat as much as I can."

Spike nodded. "Don't worry, I'll get us some tasty niblets to snack on...I like `em young and blonde myself."

Kakistos nodded and opened his door once they reached the mansion and he and Spike said hello to their new home in Sunnydale.


Buffy was seated in the large armchair in Cordelia's room later that night. The brunette was snuggled in on her lap, with her head on Buffy's chest and they had a huge blanket wrapped around them. Clusters of candles were spread out around the room, casting a soft glow over both girls.

"It w-was awful. I b-begged them to stop, they wouldn't. I tried so hard to fight them but I wasn't strong enough."

Buffy held her close and kissed the top of her head. "Baby, if you're not ready to talk about it, we don't have to."

"No, Buffy I have to get this out, it's eating m-me up inside," Cordelia replied in a broken voice, desperately trying to control the stutter in her voice. "There's something else I n-need to tell you about."

Buffy nodded and rubbed her back soothingly. "Honey, you know you can tell me anything."

Cordelia considered the slayer's words carefully and took a deep breath. "I'm late," she admitted softly, watching Buffy's face carefully, waiting for the blowout.

Suddenly the blonde's eyes got wide. "Late as in late? As in the possibility of pregnancy late?" Full realization of the confession hit Buffy with the weight of a two-ton brick and all the air escaped her lungs.

"Baby, please don't tell me what I think you're going to tell me," the slayer warned sadly as her chin quivered.

Cordelia lowered her head as a few tears escaped her eyes. "They raped me," she confessed in a broken whisper.

Buffy sat in utter shock at the faint confession from her girlfriend. It all seemed to fall into place as to why Cordelia had been so distant and scared. She felt a surge of anger rush through her veins as she thought of those bastards hurting the love of her life the way they had. She forced the anger down and held Cordelia tightly for a long time.

Not too long after the cheerleader fell asleep, Buffy laid her gently on the bed and covered her up. She suddenly had this overwhelming urge to kill something, and being a slayer, it was pretty easy to find evil to kill.

She stalked through the cemetery in a blind rage. She staked five vamps after beating the life, or un-life, out of them. A wry smile came to the slayer's face when another vamp approached. She unloaded a flurry of kicks and punches as she began to wail in a voice she didn't recognize as her own. She screamed and cried and beat the vamp's face into pulp before a crossbow bolt came flying through the air and dusted the vamp. Buffy looked up with angry tears streaming down her face and saw Faith standing behind her looking worried.

The blonde glared at her sister slayer as she stood up and moved further into the maze of crypts and headstones to find a new playmate.

"B! Wait up," Faith called out after her.

Buffy continued to walk until Faith caught her arm and spun her around. Buffy threw a punch that connected with Faith's cheekbone and it knocked the brunette flat on her ass. Faith sprung to her feet and shoved Buffy. "B, what the hell is up with you? You're going all `misery' on the vamp population, now you're swinging at me?"

Buffy glared at her again and turned around before walking off again. "Go home, Faith. I need to get in a few kills tonight, so you can have the night off."

Faith rolled her eyes and jogged to catch up with Buffy. "No way am I leaving you out here when you're acting like this, what the hell is up with you tonight?" she asked as she trailed after the blonde.

Buffy suddenly spun around, causing Faith to collide with her. "You really wanna know what the hell is up with me tonight, Faith?" she asked with a sneer.

Faith tilted her chin up defiantly. "Yeah, I do."

Buffy glared again, but Faith noticed this one didn't appear to be quite as menacing. "Those sick fucks that kidnapped Cor, raped her. They held her down in the dirt and they all raped her. There were four of them that she remembers...there may have been more. Now, she's late."

Faith stared at Buffy with a wide-eyed expression, completely blown away with what Buffy had just told her. She opened her mouth a few times, but nothing came out as she searched her bewildered brain for something to say...but she drew a total blank.

Buffy sneered and turned away, still determined to kill something else. "Now you see why I'm going all `misery' on evil's ass tonight."

Faith sighed heavily and took off after Buffy again and managed to get her to stop without either of them using violence. Buffy stood and stared at her expectantly, trying to look menacing, but her chin quivering cracked the facade slightly. Faith held up her hands palm up in a peaceful gesture and backed up a step. "B, I know this must be killing you, but beating the shit out of brain-dead vamps isn't gonna make it go away. You need to go home, or to the Queen's house and think about all this stuff. Really wrap your head around it, and tomorrow, go see Maddy." Faith tilted Buffy's face up to meet hers. "Ask her how she got through her stuff and talk to her about it. Go home, B. Let me take care of evil tonight while you go figure out how to take care of your girl."

Buffy looked at Faith with tears in her eyes and she nodded. Faith gave her a sympathetic smile and pulled her into a hug. "You guys will get through this, B. Both of you. You have all of us to lean on, so use us. Okay?" she whispered into the blonde's ear.

Buffy nodded into Faith's shoulder as she sniffled a few times, wiping tears from her eyes. She released the brunette from the hug and smiled guiltily. "Sorry, Faith. You're right."

Faith smiled and squeezed her hand lightly. "No sweat, B. Now head home and do some thinking and tomorrow do some talking, okay?" Buffy nodded and turned to go back to Cordelia's house to keep an eye on her girlfriend. She wanted to be there in case the nightmares started up again. She was praying for a peaceful night so she really could think about everything that she'd learned that night.


"So, two stripes is positive and one is n-negative?" Cordelia asked through the bathroom door.

Buffy re-read the box and nodded. "Yeah, what does it say?"

Instead of answering, Cordelia opened the door a crack and stuck her hand out, giving the pregnancy test to her girlfriend. "I can't d- do it, you tell me."

Buffy sighed and exchanged a nervous glance with Faith, who was there for moral support. She uncapped the test and her stomach dropped when she saw that it was positive.

"Summers?" she asked in a fearful voice.

Buffy eased the door open and closed it behind her once she entered the bathroom. She looked up at Cordelia, who was perched on the counter, and the look on her face gave her away. Cordelia lowered her head and shook it back and forth slowly.

Buffy pulled her into a hug and rubbed her back soothingly. "Baby, don't worry, we'll take care of this, okay? I'll be right beside you every step of the way, whatever you decide to do."

Cordelia nodded into her girlfriend's shoulder and held her tight. "I have n-no idea what to do," she admitted softly.

Buffy pulled away and brushed a few strands of hair from Cordelia's eyes. The brunette flinched more out of habit than anything else and shot Buffy an apologetic glance. The slayer gave her a comforting smile and kissed her forehead. "Baby, I think we should talk to Jenny or Giles since we don't even know if those bastards were human. I think we need their help with this."

Cordelia shook her head. "I'm not keeping it either way, I can't. I can't have a b-baby right now and I couldn't expect you to help me with a baby."

Buffy kissed her lightly and grasped both her hands. "Sweetie, listen to me, if this baby did turn out to be human and you decided to keep it, I would be more than there for you and I would help you in any way I could. Sure it would be a big deal, but I wouldn't back out on us because of it."

Cordelia smiled shyly. "That means so much to me, Buffy. You are the absolute b-best girlfriend I could ever hope for. You've been so strong and amazing throughout all of this and I love you so much."

"Love you too, baby girl," Buffy told her quietly.

Cordelia sighed and shook her head again. "I'm n-not ready for a baby either way, I'm not going to keep it, I can't."

Buffy nodded and pulled her into a hug. "Okay, honey, but we really should talk to Giles and Jenny about this."

"Hey, what the hell are you two doing in there? Are you done yet, I have to pee," Faith called out as she knocked on the door.

Buffy and Faith shared a small smile before opening the door. Faith rushed past them and slammed the door behind her as the pair took a seat on the bed.

"Talk to Giles tomorrow?" Buffy asked with a hopeful grin.

Cordelia rolled her eyes and smiled. "I promise, although I m-may talk to Jenny. Talking to Giles about this stuff would be like talking to my dad."

Buffy nodded and Cordelia curled up in a ball, resting her head on Buffy's lap and she fell asleep within minutes. Buffy tucked her in properly a few minutes later and she and Faith headed downstairs to hang out for a while before Faith went on patrol.


"Are you sure you wanna do this, baby?" Buffy asked Cordelia as they stood outside the library doors.

Cordelia nodded and sighed. "They really n-need to know. I'm having an abortion tomorrow, so they might wonder where I am. Besides, you, Coop, Jen and Giles all know, the r-rest of them should know too."

Buffy nodded and chewed on her lip nervously. "Do you wanna do it, or do you want me to?"

"I really should be the one to t-tell them, but if I get t-too upset, can you take over?" she asked the slayer softly.

Buffy nodded and kissed her lightly. "Of course. Come on, baby."

The two entered the library and everyone looked up. They all smiled widely when they saw Cordelia; they hadn't been informed she was coming to the big meeting, Giles had only told them to show up after school. Everyone got up from their chairs and moved towards the two of them. The group as a whole had seen Cordy a few times recently, but never for an extended period of time. Cordelia shied away from most of the physical contact, which was strange for her, but her friends understood for the most part and sat back down. Once everyone was in their seats, Cordelia grasped Buffy's hand tightly and the slayer gave her hand a squeeze as she ran her thumb over the back of Cordelia's hand.

Cordelia looked up at everyone, but she didn't hold eye contact for very long. She took a deep breath and tried desperately to keep calm. "I know you guys know some of w-what happened to me while I w- was gone, b-but there are a few things that you should know."

Cordelia paused and shifted uncomfortably, she hadn't been in the library since the night she came back and she was kind of nervous and shaky, her stutter only frustrating her more. "Um, m-most of you know that w-while I was down there, I w-was locked up and b- beaten pretty badly. There w-were four creatures that I r-remember, they looked human, but w-we're pretty sure t-they w-weren't. The...well...ah...only r-reason we...know," Cordelia trailed off and shot her girlfriend a pleading glance. She dropped her head in embarrassment due to her uncontrollable stutter that seemed to get worse as she went on talking about what had happened.

Buffy nodded and kissed her hand lightly. "The men, and I use that term lightly, that captured Cor raped her," she stated quietly. "We know they weren't human because now she's pregnant and the baby isn't human. She's having an abortion tomorrow."

The rest of the group that didn't know this sat completely shocked. Angel, Riley and Xander were all stunned and pissed beyond belief. Willow felt like crying and Amy felt like she was about to throw up. "Cor wanted you guys to know all of this stuff because she's gonna be resting for a few days so you might not see much of her. Plus, she felt like you guys needed to know what really happened," she told them quietly.

"Cordelia, I am so sorry," Amy told her, tears shining in her eyes and her heart breaking.

The rest of them nodded, not really knowing what to say. Willow grasped Cordelia's other hand. "If you need anything from us, just let us know and we'll do whatever we can."

Cordelia smiled gratefully at everyone. "I just w-wanted all of you to know the real reasons I'm n-not coming b-back to school right away, I just need some time. I w-was down there for a month and it was hell."

"Do you need us to do anything? Anything we can do, we will," Xander told her quietly, even he had unshed tears in his eyes.

Cordelia nodded and gave him a tiny smile. "No, I just n-need you all to understand that I'm a little shaky when it comes to b-being touched, so don't take offense if I get a little skittish."

Riley reached across the table and laid a hand over hers and Buffy's intertwined hands and gave them both a gentle squeeze. "We're all here for you, Cordy. Just remember that you can talk to all of us and anything you guys need from us, we'll do."

Cordelia smiled gratefully at all her friends and she and the slayer spent a little while longer in the library before heading home to Buffy's house to get some rest for the big operation the next day.


"Is she asleep?" Faith asked when Buffy walked into the kitchen.

Buffy nodded and sighed as she plunked down on a stool across from Faith. "Yeah, they gave her some pretty potent drugs, she should be out for a few hours."

Faith nodded and regarded the blonde carefully. "You okay, B?"

Buffy shrugged and ran her fingers through her hair. "Everything is just really screwed up, I'm not sure I can take anything else going wrong."

Faith leaned across the counter and grabbed one of Buffy's hands squeezing it lightly. "We're all here for you guys so don't be afraid to need us, B."

Buffy gave her a smile and nodded. "I know, thanks, Fai." She dropped her eyes to the counter and traced her fingertips over the surface. "It's just that I still haven't told her about Kate. With her breaking up with me and us getting back together and the pregnancy and today with the abortion, I don't know how to tell her that I cheated on her. She's gonna kill me and hate me forever."

Faith rolled her eyes and raised an eyebrow. "Okay, first of all, you two were broken up, so it wasn't cheating. It was drunken sex that was a mistake. Second of all, she won't hate you. There is nothing you could do to make that girl hate you, you're her entire world."

"She's gonna kill Kate. Granted, it wasn't entirely her fault, but Cor didn't like her much to begin with. This is not gonna sit well with the Queen," Buffy mumbled.

Faith gave her a grin. "If I was Kate, I'd steer clear of you and the Queen for eternity. That is one wrath I would hate to incur."

Buffy matched her grin and nodded. "Me too. But on the other hand, I'll get my very own taste of it when I break the news to her about my drunken sex with the drummer of my band. She's never gonna trust me with Kate again."

Faith shrugged. "Just get a different drummer. Sure the whole girl playing drums thing is cool, but you're pretty much the star of that show."

Buffy shook her head; she didn't have a clue what to do. "I'll figure something out. I just want to make sure Cor is okay after the thing today."

Faith nodded and gave her a sympathetic smile. "I know. But Drew took good care of her. Don't worry about that. Doc wouldn't steer us wrong."

"I know," she replied softly. "She's just gotten so thin and so pale over the last few months and I hate it. I wish I could do more for her."

Faith nodded sympathetically and sighed. "It's just gonna take time, B."

Buffy nodded silently and chewed on her lip absently. She remained wrapped up in her thoughts for a while and Faith remained by her side, sensing her friend needed someone nearby.


"Are you sure you're comfortable with this?" Buffy asked Cordelia as she pulled her mom's jeep into the driveway of Cordelia's house in Big Bear. The couple had decided they needed this trip to themselves this year.

Cordelia nodded and gave her a small smile. "Yeah. We n-need this, Summers. I need to get back to being comfortable with me and w-with you."

Buffy nodded as she stepped from the car and began unloading their luggage. Cordelia unlocked the doors and went to help Buffy with a few of the bags. They had decided to use one of the bedrooms on the second floor, since Cordelia still wasn't comfortable sleeping with Buffy, but they wanted to be close just in case. They left their snowboards and skis at home this year because they really wanted to concentrate on getting their relationship back on track and just spend some time together before Cordelia went back to school.

They got settled and spent the remainder of the afternoon on the back deck curled under a huge blanket. Conversation was kept light and some distance was kept but they still needed and loved each other as much as always.

After dinner, they curled up on the couch and watched the fire as they drank hot chocolate. Buffy finally decided that this was her chance to tell Cordelia about her night with Kate. She knew she ran the chance of ruining their entire trip, but the guilt was beginning to eat her alive.

She shifted on the couch so she could look at her girlfriend as she set her mug on the coffee table. "Cor, there's something I need to tell you," she stated quietly.

Cordelia's stomach tightened at not only the words she said, but the tone of Buffy's voice as well. She turned towards her girlfriend and nodded nervously. "Okay. You know you can tell m-me anything."

Buffy nodded and took a deep breath, she felt tears sting the back of her eyes and she blinked them back rapidly. "Remember the night you broke up with me?"

Cordelia's face fell shamefully and she nodded. "Yeah."

Buffy nodded and she clamped her hands together in her lap, playing with her fingernails. "After I left your house, I went home. I was really upset and I decided to take a few shots. Well, more like ten. Anyways, I got completely plastered." Buffy paused a moment to take in a shaky breath. "Faith called me and she and Willow and Amy came over to keep an eye on me. Anyways, I asked Faith to take me for a drive and we ended up at the Bronze." Buffy stole a glance at Cordelia, who was watching her carefully, wondering where this was going. "By the time we got there, I was so drunk I could barely walk. We ran into Kate," she said softly. When she looked up at her girlfriend again, Cordelia was looking at her shaking her head slightly, a scared, almost warning look on her face.

"No, Buffy please d-don't tell me what I think you're telling me," she cautioned in a shaky voice.

Buffy lowered her head as a few tears escaped her eyes. "Faith left me there with Kate so she could patrol and we had a few more drinks. I was so completely heartbroken and I didn't know what I was doing." Buffy looked up at her, tears shining bright in her eyes and her chin quivering. Her eyes were pleading with Cordelia. "I didn't mean to, I was drunk and I desperately needed someone to need me. I slept with her. I'm sorry." Her tears suddenly broke loose and streamed down her face at a steady pace. Cordelia leaned her head in her hands and her elbows rested on her knees. She kept shaking her head back and forth, not wanting to believe what her girlfriend was telling her. Cordelia remained in that position for endless, agonizing, silent minutes. Buffy was too afraid to say anything that would bring on the wrath of her girlfriend.

After a long while, Buffy finally found the courage to speak. "Cor, I'm sorry."

Cordelia lifted her head slowly and stared incredulously at the slayer. "You're sorry?" she asked, her voice shaking with barely contained anger. "You d-didn't waste any time running off to fuck the first pretty girl you saw, did you? Jesus Christ, Buffy, you fucking slept w-with Kate? The night we broke up? I'm glad I meant that much to you that the m-moment you're free of me, you hand your ass to the first whore that talks to you."

Buffy sat on the couch, cowering under the true, yet hurtful words of her girlfriend. She was beginning to think this confession could have waited until they were in range of someone to come to her rescue in case Cordelia decided to kill her.

"And the shit you put me through w-when I kissed Jonathan because of m-magic, something I had absolutely no control over at all. You fucking slept with someone else!" she bellowed out.

Buffy stood up and glared at Cordelia, her anger suddenly making an appearance. "Look, Cordelia, you broke up with me. You broke my heart after I did everything in my power to help you through everything you went through. I'm sorry I got drunk and had meaningless sex with her."

Cordelia shook her head and pointed a finger at the slayer; a glare set firmly on her face. "Don't you dare use what happened to m-me to justify what you did. I had the shit beaten out of me for d-days at a t-time and those fucking animals r-raped me like I was a piece of meat, not a person. I'm sorry if m-my trauma left you feeling slightly sexually frustrated. Please forgive m-me for getting raped," Cordelia spat out angrily, her stutter only made her more angry at the entire situation.

Buffy's anger bubbled to the surface and she shook her head, pointing a finger at the brunette. "No, you know that's not what I meant. My point was that you broke up with me. We weren't together when I slept with her. It's not cheating if you aren't together."

Cordelia stood up angrily and clenched her fists together at her sides, desperately trying to control her temper, but it wasn't cooperating. "That's not m-my fucking point and you know it!" she yelled, her rage getting the better of her. "My point is that you d- didn't waste any time moving on to someone else. How much could I have m-meant to you for you to do that."

"I was drunk and I had no idea what was going on! Please, your highness, forgive me for not thinking about not hurting you after you ripped my heart out and staked it to the wall!" Buffy screamed.

The sound of Cordelia's palm across Buffy's face was enough to spiral both girls back to reality. Buffy brought a hand to her face as she stared at her girlfriend completely shocked. Cordelia stood wide-eyed for a moment, her mouth falling open as tears welled up in her eyes. She brought a hand to her mouth as she shook her head back and forth. She suddenly took off towards the bathroom, sinking to her knees and leaning over, retching violently in the toilet.

Buffy stood in the middle of the room, her head falling to her hands as she began to cry. Her entire body was shaking violently as she stood there, too shocked to move. She desperately tried to calm down as she took deep breaths and wiped her tears away. She moved into the bathroom slowly and crouched down behind her girlfriend, her knees pressing into Cordelia's hips. She slid her hands down the brunette's arms until she grasped both her hands. Cordelia tried to push her away, but Buffy held on and pulled her back so they were both sitting and the slayer pulled her close as they both broke down and cried.

Buffy whispered soothingly into Cordelia's ear as the brunette hiccuped and gasped, trying as hard as she could to calm down. Cordelia looked up at Buffy with tear streaked, pleading eyes. "I d- didn't mean to, I'm so sorry."

Buffy shook her head. "Shh, I know. It got pretty heated in there. It's okay."

Cordelia shook her head sadly, a few stray tears sliding down her cheeks. "No, it isn't. My m-mom hit me when she was mad and I swore I w-would never hit someone I love, no matter how mad I got. I can't believe I d-did that to you."

Buffy pulled her close and held her tight. "Shh, baby it's okay. I deserved it after what I did."

Cordelia shook her head again and pulled away to look the slayer in the eye. "No. Buffy n-nothing deserves being hit over. Nothing."

Buffy nodded and pulled her close again, kissing the top of her head. "I'm so sorry about what I did."

Cordelia nodded. "I know. I d-don't think I can forgive you tonight, but I will eventually. I just feel like I didn't really mean that m-much to you if you could do that so soon after we broke up."

Buffy pulled away so she could look Cordelia straight in the eye and shook her head. "No. You mean more to me than life itself. I would die for you, Cor. I would walk to the ends of the Earth if that's what I had to do for you. You are my heart, my soul and my everything. You know that."

Cordelia considered her words carefully and nodded, snuggling deeper into Buffy's embrace. "You're my everything too, Summers."

Cordelia suddenly sighed, incredibly frustrated with her stuttering. "And if I d-don't get rid of this damn stutter sometime soon, I m-might have to shoot myself."

Buffy sighed heavily and held the brunette close, kissing the top of her head. "Don't say that, baby. It'll get better with time. All of this will get better with time."

Cordelia nodded and a minute later the two got up off the floor and Buffy headed to the living room while her girlfriend brushed her teeth and washed her face. They crawled into separate beds a while later and both slept very little. Bringing up the past may have healed a few wounds, but with it brought fear, insecurity, nightmares and melancholy.

After four days of sleeping too little, eating too much, talking too much at times, and as much relaxation as they could possibly get, which really wasn't much, the blonde slayer and her girlfriend headed back to Sunnydale. The trip had been good for them overall, but Buffy's confession left a weight settled over the couple that they knew they would have to find their way out from under. Buffy and Cordelia both knew they still had rough times ahead, but they also knew they would face them together.


"Hey, Coop," Cordelia said with a smile as she wandered into the kitchen.

Faith grinned and nodded to the seat across from her. "Hey, Queeney. How was the trip? B said you guys did some pretty serious talking while you were gone."

Cordelia nodded sadly, still thinking about the slap, as she took a seat at the island. "Yeah, w-we got a lot of stuff out and it feels like we're getting back on track."

Faith grinned. "Good, you two are like my relationship heroes. If any two people can get through this, it's you two." Faith's smile faded when she noticed the Queen looked strange. "What's up, C?"

Cordelia dropped her gaze to the floor and shook her head sadly. She lifted tear filled eyes to meet Faith's and her chin quivered slightly. "I hit her," she admitted softly.

Faith's eyebrows scrunched in confusion. "Hit who?"

"Summers. We got into this huge fight and we were screaming at each other. I got so m-mad that I hit her, I slapped her across the face, Coop," she told the slayer with a frown.

Faith shrugged, not understanding what the problem was, she hit Buffy all the time...she got hit back of course, it was just part of the slayer thing. "This is B we're talking about. She's a slayer, C, she can take it."

Cordelia shook her head. "No, that's not the point, Coop. I got into an argument and I let m-my anger get the better of me. I acted like my m-mother would have and I swore I would never do that, even it the person was stronger than me."

Faith nodded and gave her a sympathetic smile. "I get it. Look, Queeney, you and B have been through so much shit in the last few months. I'm sure the slap was just everything coming to a head. Usually things go south before they get better. You two just hit the damn south pole and you'll bounce back. I have never in my life met two people who are so incredibly nuts about each other as you two are and you'll be fine, together and individually."

Cordelia shook her head, a tiny grin playing on her lips. "Coop, you actually have decent advice when you shut your `smart ass' switch off, ya know."

Faith gave her a wink and smirked. "I know, I just hide the good stuff for those who deserve it. And anyone that can put up with all my smart ass shit deserves the good stuff."

"You are such a d-dork," she told the slayer with a smile.

Faith grinned back until she thought of something. "Can I ask you something, C?"

Cordelia nodded. "Sure."

Faith furrowed her brow for a moment and shifted in her seat. "Do you think you and B are gonna be the same after all this?"

Cordelia thought about it for a few moments and sighed. "To be honest, I don't know. It's like things went from bad to worse to even worse and I honestly don't know if things w-will ever be like they were."

Faith nodded thoughtfully. "Are you gonna forgive her?"

Cordelia nodded and sighed. "Of course I am. I can't live without her and everything involving that situation was so screwed up. We were broken up technically and she was drunk, Kate wanted her and there you have it. If I had my way, she would never see the little drummer slut again, but I think that's being a little unreasonable."

Faith grinned. "Yeah, and we all know the Queen is never unreasonable," she said teasingly.

Cordelia laughed and shook her head. "So what's up with you and Angel these days?"

Faith rolled her eyes dramatically and shook her head. "I don't know. He wants me to date other people, and I honestly have no desire to see anyone else. None. I only want Ace, I'm still in love with the big mush ball."

Cordelia smiled slightly and shook her head. "So is he telling you that he won't get back together with you unless you d-date other people?"

Faith shook her head. "No, it's not an ultimatum or anything, he's just keeping his distance. The weird thing is, we keep finding ourselves in situations where everything seems normal again. Sometimes he acts like he used to and then pulls a 180 and acts like a jack ass."

Cordelia gave her a knowing smile and nodded. "He's a man, you can't expect anything less from them."

Faith shrugged and furrowed her brow. "That guy Scott Hope asked me out yesterday," she admitted quietly.

Cordelia gave her a grin and nodded. "He's a bit of a hottie, you should go out with him."

Faith snorted and shook her head. "Can you actually see me with a guy like him? He's mister goody two shoes and I'm so not."

Cordelia pointed a finger at the slayer and gave her a Queen look. "You w-want Angel back, right?"

Faith nodded. "Yeah."

"Okay, so go out with Scott and use that as your opportunity to show Angel you're only into him." Cordelia suddenly grinned wickedly. "Besides, once he hears that you actually did go out with someone else, he'll get super jealous and you two w-will be back together in no time."

Faith grinned, an impressed look on her face. "Very nice, Queeney. It's perfect."

"That's why they call me the Queen," she replied with a satisfied grin.

"Did you order another beheading, baby?" Buffy asked with a silly grin as she entered the kitchen. Her grin faded into a mocking face when the two brunettes looked at her in utter confusion. She smiled sheepishly and shrugged. "I watched Alice in Wonderland last night. Off with her head!" she called out in a silly voice with another grin. She stuck her tongue out at the two brunettes when their faces remained curious and slightly worried.

"You been doin' those drugs again, B? I thought I told you to lay off that shit," Faith told her with a smirk.

Buffy snorted and rolled her eyes. "Yup, that's me. Super drug doing girl." She paused a moment and thought about something. "That kinda sounds like a super hero or something. Obviously not the good kind, cause super drug doing super heroes probably wouldn't be that effective."

Faith and Cordelia exchanged a `what the hell?' glance and they both shook their heads as Buffy rambled on about `super drug doing girl' and the world of good and bad super heroes. The brunettes did their best to ignore the blonde and her rant for most of the night but finally had to pull out the big guns to shut her up. Faith and Cordelia's combined tickle attack kept Buffy quiet for the rest of the night about drugs and super heroes alike.


The rumor mills at school had been heated since Cordelia had stopped attending and the longer she was gone, the more heated they became. Her absence along with Buffy's strange behavior and the general weirdness of the school's most talked about group had everyone talking...obviously; they had to have something to talk about. It had been rumored that Cordelia had been abused by a celebrity after she offered him her body in exchange for drugs, that she'd been kidnapped by various cults and other organized crime groups for ransom and that she'd dropped out to have a baby by a Catholic priest. There were of course other rumors including the rest of the group, mostly Buffy and Faith simply because everyone loved talking about the two feisty girls.

The day Cordelia came back to school, she and Buffy met their friends in the parking lot. The group wanted to be supportive of the cheerleader and they wanted to make sure she was taken care of on her first day back.

The moment Cordelia stepped foot inside the school, the whispering started. Hands covered mouths as hushed voices carried the latest about Sunnydale High's Queen. It had been three months since she'd been at school during the day and it was glaringly obvious to everyone that something big had gone down in her prolonged absence. The Queen had lost her confident strut as she and her friends walked down the halls. Cordelia was much thinner and her usual California girl tan had faded significantly. Visible scars, most of them small, still marred her wrists, neck and legs and her eyes seemed different; her whole demeanor seemed different.

The Queen's eyes had once been shining and bright, she'd always been glowing and smiling as she and her girlfriend walked down the hall. Now her eyes appeared almost haunted, dark and melancholy. Her demeanor had changed from smart, sexy and carefree to nervous, sad and almost shy.

Buffy held her girlfriend's hand tightly as they headed for their classes and Xander and Faith did their best to keep the mood light with jokes. Cordelia did her best to ignore the weight of a hundred stares pressing her down the hall, but it got to be too much and pulled out her Queen C glare. Eyes were averted immediately, causing Cordelia to feel a little better as she and Buffy headed into their English class to start the day.


"Hey listen to the Queen bitch. Aw, she has a stutter, `h-how are y- you guys d-doing', what a freak," a dark haired guy teased Cordelia with his two friends and the three of them burst out laughing.

Before they knew what happened to them, Buffy, Faith and Riley had each of them pinned against a locker and were whispering heated threats in their ears.

Of all the students in the hall, only two, Willow and Amy, saw the Queen's chin quiver. The rest saw her roll her eyes and continue walking as if she hadn't heard them. Riley and Faith each released their bastard and both had to physically restrain Buffy from killing the boy she had pinned against the locker. They dragged her away and she began getting louder with her threats as she moved further from him. "You son of a bitch, if you ever say anything like that to her again, I'll kill you! I'll rip your damn arms off and beat the shit out of you with them until I can think of a more painful way for you to die!" She continued screaming down the hall until Faith finally clamped a hand over the livid blonde's mouth just to shut her up.

"B, relax. Snyder's gonna nail your ass to the wall for that, you have to calm down."

"Calm down?" she spat out once Faith removed her hand. "Did you hear them, Faith?"

"Yeah, I heard the fuckers." Faith thought for a moment and moved so she stood with her arms out at her sides and tilted her chin up slightly. "Take a shot, B. Hit me. You know I'm the only one around here that can take a slayer slug-out, so hit me."

Buffy stared at her incredulously. "What?"

Faith waved her hands around a few times and nodded. "Hit me. I promise it'll make you feel better. Do it."

Buffy shook her head. "Faith I'm not going to hit you."

Faith nodded again and tilted her chin up a bit higher. "Come on, B. Knock the shit outta me, just like you wanted to do to that fuck who made fun of your girl. Teasing her for her stutter when it ain't her fault."

Buffy suddenly reared back and knocked Faith straight across the jaw, sending the brunette flying to the floor. After a moment of staring at Faith, she suddenly snapped out of it and leaned over the brunette on the ground rubbing her face carefully. Faith grinned up at her and held her hand out. "Feel better, Princess?"

Buffy sighed and pulled the other slayer up to her feet. "Faith, I'm sorry."

Faith grinned and nudged her playfully. "Don't sweat it, B. I didn't want to be a bitch, but I was gonna get you to hit me like it or not. I'm just glad you did before I started saying really nasty stuff."

The slayers shared a grin and joined their friends at Willow's locker.

"What did you guys say to those pricks anyways?" Xander asked angrily.

"I told him that if he ever teased my girlfriend again, he'd be eating his balls for breakfast after I ripped them off painfully and shoved them down his throat."

"I said something similar, but it wasn't quite as nice," Faith told him with a smirk.

"I told mine that if he ever said anything like that to Cordy again, I'd beat the living shit out of him every day for the rest of the year," Riley replied, still pissed off someone would talk to Cordy that way.

"Her stutter isn't even that bad anymore, I can't believe they made it sound that bad," Buffy mumbled with a frown. "I'm gonna go find her, I'll see you guys later."

The blonde slayer's friends nodded and watched her go, hoping that little incident hadn't upset Cordelia more than she already was about coming back to school.


"Ya know, I used to think all this rumor stuff was kinda funny. I didn't care that everyone was talking about us because we were just being silly and stupid, but this has got to stop. Everybody talking shit about C after everything her and B have been through is pissing me off," Faith told her friends at lunch later that day as she looked around the quad at curious eyes. She almost laughed when eyes would turn quickly as soon as she looked at people, but she kept her pissed face on to divert them more.

Willow nodded and stole a glance at some of the tables nearby. "I heard someone say that Cordy had to leave school so she could give birth to a Colombian drug lord's child after she sold her body to him for heroin."

"I heard someone else say they'd heard that she was kidnapped by the Irish mob for ransom," Riley told them with a scowl.

They all got quiet as Cordelia and Buffy approached the table and Cordelia rolled her eyes as she sat down between the two slayers. "Okay, I can understand everyone else around here shutting up the second they see m-me, but not you guys too," she told them irritably.

Faith shot her an apologetic smile. "Sorry, C, we're just venting about all the stupid shit everyone's been saying today."

Cordelia rolled her eyes and sighed. "So far I've heard that I was abducted by aliens, I faked my own death, I was kidnapped by evil nuns, I sought refuge with Amish crazies and I w-was held hostage by the Russian Mafia."

"Evil nuns?" Xander asked with a small smile.

Cordelia nodded and shrugged. "Oh, and I apparently joined an evil cult that worshipped tiny sock stealing leprechauns that live in d- dryers and seahorses that live in toilet tanks."

Buffy shook her head, a small smile on her face. "Where do they come up with this stuff?" she asked her friends.

"Do leprechauns actually exist?" Willow wondered absently.

Xander furrowed his brow and waved his finger in the air. "It would make sense if you think about it, how else do you explain where all your socks go when you dry your clothes."

"So it can't just be an issue of the dryer eating them?" Faith asked with a tiny smile.

Xander shook his head. "Nope, too easy. Maybe that works in normal small towns, but not here. There is no such thing as something being logical."

Faith gave him a funny look and smiled. "Do you have any experience in this field, X?"

Xander grinned and shook his head. "Nope, but it would make for an interesting science experiment." He nudged Willow and gave her a grin. "How about it, Will, wanna do some research on this with me?"

Willow shook her head, a small smile playing on her lips. "Sure. Just let me know when you want to start."

Xander held his index finger up in the air and grinned. "Immediately."

"Hey does that mean you two are gonna need some extra laundry to do for this experiment?" Faith asked with a grin.

Willow raised a playful eyebrow and pointed at the brunette slayer. "Don't even think about it, Cooper."

Faith held her hands up in a peaceful gesture and winked at the redhead. "Hey, I'm just offering to do my part for the mystical community."

"Right," Willow teased with a smile.

The rest of the gang giggled and fell back into regular conversation to close out their lunch hour; all of them beyond thrilled that things seemed to be returning to a fairly normal state.


"Cordelia, can I ask you something?"

The cheerleader and her girlfriend looked up from their conversation with Faith in Chemistry as James Bradley stood next to their lab table.

Cordelia rolled her eyes and the two slayers watched carefully. "Sure, why not."

"Is it true you went to Europe to have a sex change operation, but changed your mind?" he asked with a curious expression.

Faith and Cordelia didn't have time to react as Buffy lunged at James, knocking him to the floor. She straddled his waist as she clung to his tee shirt, yelling at him as he remained helpless under the slayer, who looked ready to pummel him at any moment. Faith hopped out of her seat and managed to drag Buffy off the boy on the floor and pulled her to the other side of the room.

"Buffy Summers!" their teacher called out, she was looking pissed. She pointed at the door. "Principal's office right now, young lady."

Buffy grabbed her stuff from the floor and left the class, never taking her angry, glaring eyes from James as she headed out the door for Principal Snyder's office.

Faith watched as Cordelia gathered her books and walked out of the class without another word. She shrugged and gathered her stuff as well and followed the Queen from the room. Faith didn't say a word as Cordelia headed towards the library and pushed the doors open.

Jenny and Giles both looked up as the two girls walked through the doors and gave them both sympathetic smiles.

Cordelia dropped her bag and books on one of the tables and moved into the stacks without a word. Giles watched her until she disappeared and he turned to look at Faith. "Is everything alright, Faith?"

The slayer shrugged and flopped down in a chair. "Dunno, G. Some dick in our Chem class asked her if she was gone in Europe to get a sex change operation and B nearly kicked his ass in class. Queeney left class so I decided to tag along and make sure she was okay."

"Someone actually asked her if she left to get a sex change operation?" Jenny asked in total shock.

Faith nodded and frowned. "Yup. I'm surprised B didn't take his head off. People have been talking shit about C all day. Some ass made fun of her this morning for stuttering in the hall and we nearly had a big ass problem." Faith looked over to the stacks where Cordy had gone and glanced back at the adults. "I'm gonna make sure she's cool."

The adults nodded as the slayer wandered through some of the back stacks and found Cordelia sitting on the floor with her hands clamped in her lap. She was staring at her hands and Faith could see a few tears escape her eyes.

Faith sat down next to Cordelia and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. Faith kept her mouth shut knowing her friend didn't need any words, she just needed someone there. The two girls sat in the stacks for the next hour until school was out and the rest of their friends joined them in the library.


When Buffy opened Cordelia's bedroom door later that evening, she found her girlfriend curled in a ball on her bed. The cheerleader smiled when she saw the slayer, but she remained still. Buffy approached slowly and sat down on the edge of the bed, turning to the side so she could rub Cordelia's back gently.

"Long day?" Buffy asked quietly.

Cordelia nodded. "Yup, I'm exhausted," she replied.

Buffy nodded sympathetically grasped Cordelia's hands in both of hers, turning them slightly so she could get a good look at the healing skin around her wrists. "They look better," she said softly. Cordelia nodded and pulled Buffy's hand to her face, kissing the slayer's palm.

Buffy leaned down and kissed her lightly on the temple and stood up. "I'll be right back," she murmured gently before disappearing from the room.

A few minutes later, the slayer re-appeared and moved to the bed. "Come on," she said as she scooped her girlfriend up off the bed. Cordelia crinkled her forehead in confusion, but a tiny smile graced her lips, wondering what the slayer was up to.

Buffy carried her into the bathroom where a bubble bath was being drawn. The lights had been turned off and candles were illuminating the large room. Buffy set Cordelia down and the brunette leaned against the side of the tub as the slayer undressed her slowly.

Once her girlfriend was seated in the steaming water, Buffy removed her sweatshirt, leaving her in a white tank top. She grasped Cordelia's right hand and lifted her arm from the water, gently lathering the extended limb with lavender scented bath gel. She then used the suds as a massage gel and starting with her shoulder, she began to massage Cordelia's arm. She used her thumbs to work through the knotted muscles and worked her way down to the cheerleader's hand. She repeated the process on the other arm and Cordelia leaned forward so Buffy could lather and massage her back and then her legs. After the massages, Buffy had Cordelia lean back and she washed and conditioned her hair and then she massaged her girlfriend's feet.

Cordelia was then wrapped in a large, fluffy towel and carried back to her bedroom, where the slayer dressed her in boxers and a tee shirt. The cheerleader had remained silent throughout the entire pampering experience; too afraid she would spill her happy, overwhelming tears. Buffy whispered quietly to her the entire time, telling her how beautiful she was, how smart she was, how sexy, sweet, caring and amazing she was. Cordelia felt so completely loved and to her this was the single sweetest thing Buffy could have ever done for her after her first full day back at school.

For the first time in months, Cordelia pulled Buffy into bed with her and the two drifted off to sleep feeling like things were finally starting to look up.


Giles was in the library one afternoon sorting through his books when the doors swung open. He looked up to see a college-aged man walk through the doors.

Giles stood upright and removed his glasses. "Can I help you?"

"Yeah, I'm looking for Rupert Giles."

"I'm Rupert Giles. What can I do for you?"

"The name's Doyle. And I, my friend, have been sent by the Powers That Be."

Giles stared at him incredulously. "The Powers?"

Doyle grinned and nodded. "Yup, see I get these visions, they're meant to aid a Champion. I understand that you have two Champions here, and I'm here to help.

"So, you're a seer?" Giles asked, completely astounded the Powers would send someone to help them.

"Right again."

Giles waved him to a nearby chair and the two chatted for a while until the gang showed up. Giles and Doyle both looked up when the doors swung open and the slayers and their friends entered the library. Buffy and Faith sensed his powers and gave Doyle a careful once over. Giles assured them everything was fine and after the crew had been introduced to Doyle, they went about their usual after school stuff. Doyle was seated at one of the tables with Jenny and Giles and he had his eye on a few girls in the room. He leaned in closer to the two adults and gave a nod towards Buffy and Cordelia. "What's up with the leggy brunette and the blonde? Taken?" he asked with a raised eyebrow and a grin.

Jenny and Giles exchanged a small smile. "Yeah, they're taken," Jenny replied, her smile turning into a small smirk. "By each other."

Doyle's smile suddenly vanished...a moment later it returned in a huge way as his eyes glazed over a bit and he stared into space with a dreamy look on his face. Giles gave him a strange look and Jenny rolled her eyes and shook her head. Amy, Xander, Riley and Willow also gave him a funny look as they took seats around the table. After his fantasies had been taken care of, Doyle glanced at Jenny. "Grandchild of a slayer, right?" he asked her.

She gave him a sly grin. "Yup, how'd you know?" she asked.

Doyle grinned and gave a wave of his hand. "I can feel it. It's some weird PTB thing. Grandma chose magic, I guess?"

Amy and Willow exchanged a confused glance and they looked up at Jenny. "Jenny, what's he talking about?" Amy asked her.

Jenny sighed and leaned back in her chair. "To my knowledge, my grandmother was the only slayer to ever have a child. She was the one I told you about after Faith was attacked by Spike and Harmony," she told them with a smile when Amy and Willow looked shocked. "A slayer's child is so rare that the Powers That Be will grant the child and her line with either the power of the sword, which makes them warriors, or the power of the wand, which makes them witches," she explained.

The two girls shared another shocked glance and gazed back up at her. "Wow, and I thought I was born into a powerful line, but a slayer line must have amazing power," Amy said, completely awed.

"Why didn't your grandmother choose the sword? She was a slayer after all," Willow wondered.

Jenny smiled. "Well, apparently she didn't want her descendants to have to deal with hand to hand battle, she gave us the gift of distance which can be safer.

"Wow," Amy mumbled, still blown away by Jenny's lineage.

"Although, I didn't come into my gift until I was twelve. The Powers decided that was the age the slayer's line gets the gift of their power."

Willow cocked her head to the side. "Why is that?"

"It has something to do with safety. They don't want a two year old to be able to fry anything or beat little kids in their class up," she replied with a tiny grin.

Willow nodded thoughtfully. "I guess that makes sense."

Doyle leaned back in his chair. "Did you have to go into hiding?"

"Hiding?" Willow asked with a frown.

Jenny smiled sadly. "Yeah. I was sent away to live with a foster family from the time I was two until I came into the power. It's very common. My mom was sent into an alternate dimension so she would grow up faster. It's to assure we didn't get swayed to use the gift for evil."

Amy frowned. "That's so awful. Your mom grew up in another dimension?"

Jenny nodded. "Yup. It's for the good of mankind. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the greater good."

"Wow," Amy murmured again, she suddenly snapped out of it and looked up at Jenny. "Did she ever tell you what it was like? I mean, it wasn't like that place Cordy went, was it?"

Jenny shook her head. "No, there are so many dimensions. Some of them are hell dimensions, some are heavenly, and some are just like this world. Time is different, but some places are very nice."

"Wow," Amy murmured once more.

Jenny, Giles and Doyle shared a smile and Willow stuck her head back in her book, absorbing all of this information carefully. For the first time in a long time, she was grateful she didn't have any powers.

The slayers called it a night a while later so Faith could go patrolling and they all split up and headed off in separate directions.


"So you can't come to San Francisco with us, Will?" Buffy asked with a pout.

Willow rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Trust me, if I could I would."

"Mom's still on that whole `get to know each other better' kick?" Faith asked the redhead.

"Yes. I'm surprised she still lets me go to school. The woman barely lets me out of her sight. I didn't know that losing your virginity was this complicated," she remarked with a scowl.

"We'll bring you back some fun souvenirs though," Buffy offered rather lamely.

Willow smiled appreciatively. "I'll be fine, besides, Riley will be here to keep me company."

"Hello, kiddies," Xander said as he took his seat at the table and he looked up at Amy. "Wanna sit here, snuggle bear?" he asked her with a silly grin, using that voice that's only reserved for talking to dogs, babies and your significant other when you're in the mood to be sickeningly sweet.

Amy smiled as she took a seat on his lap and kissed him. "Thanks, baby cakes," she replied in the same cutesy-coupley voice.

The other girls at the table shared a grin. "Wow, B. Looks like you and the Queen have some competition for cutest couple of the school," Faith remarked.

Buffy rolled her eyes. "If they want the cutest couple award, they can have it...me and Cor were going for hottest couple anyways," she replied with a playful smile at her girlfriend seated next to her.

Cordelia shot her a sexy smile and winked. "Oh, we have that one in the b-bag, don't worry...as long as I can get rid of this d-damn stutter sometime this century," Cordelia replied with a frustrated look.

Buffy kissed her lightly. "Don't hate me for saying this, but it's kinda cute," Buffy told her, cringing slightly, hoping Cordelia wouldn't be mad at her for saying it.

Cordelia raised an eyebrow and glared playfully at her girlfriend. "Cute? It's embarrassing. My mom thinks it's hilarious, she d-doesn't miss a chance to make fun of me for it," she replied as she shook her head with a frown.

Buffy looked at Cordelia, completely shocked. "What?" she demanded angrily.

Cordelia winced and silently chided herself for spilling that tidbit with her girlfriend. "It's not that b-bad, baby. She's teased me a few times, no big."

Buffy shot out of her chair, absolutely livid at this point. "I'm gonna kill her. That bitch! I'll kill her. I can't believe she makes fun of her daughter for stuttering after she was raped."

Cordelia stood up and grabbed Buffy by the shoulders, holding her steady so they stood eye to eye. She gave the slayer a pointed look and kissed her lightly. "Baby, calm down. Please?"

Buffy opened her mouth to say something, but she clamped it shut and nodded, her anger and frustration about to boil over. She squeezed her eyes shut and rubbed her temples as she began to pace around the table, doing whatever she could to alleviate some of her anger. The rest of her friends watched as Buffy stalked off in one direction looking beyond pissed off and Cordelia headed off in the opposite direction, looking frustrated and sad.

"Does anyone else feel like we're constantly on an episode of Jerry Springer?" Xander asked suddenly.

His question was met with the faces of his friends looking either shocked, annoyed, or kinda pissed, so he clamped his mouth shut and did his best to hide behind Amy.


"Who are you?" Emily Chase asked as she opened the front door of her house and teetered drunkenly.

Buffy glared at her. "I'm a very good friend of Cordelia," she replied with disdain.

Emily glared back and rolled her eyes. "She still has friends? I'm surprised anyone still talks to her. She's probably fucked your boyfriend, you know."

Buffy's body was shaking with rage at this point and she shoved past the drunken woman to enter the house.

Emily's eyes followed her and she glared. "Excuse me, this is my house. Who do you think you are walking in here like this?"

Buffy spun around angrily and got up in her face. "You bitch. How dare you make fun of your own daughter for her stutter. She can't help that she was traumatized and stutters because of it. You seriously deserve to have your ass thoroughly kicked. And I'll happily volunteer."

Emily pointed to the door, her glare still firmly in place. "If you don't get out of my house right now, I'm calling the police."

Buffy gave her an evil glare and headed for the door. Just as she reached the doorway, she turned and pointed a finger at the older woman. "You listen to me. If you ever touch her again...if I ever see another bruise caused by you, or if I ever hear you've belittled her again, I'm coming back and when I'm done with you, you'll need a stretcher to haul your sorry ass out of the house. Do you understand me?" she asked in a low growl.

Emily gave her an evil grin. "You don't scare me, blondie. If I ever see you in my house again, I'll make sure when you leave; it's in a police car. Bye now."

Buffy left and slammed the door behind her hard enough to cause a few panes of glass to shatter in the door. She balled her fists up painfully as she tried to desperately get her anger under control.

Once she was a few blocks away she stopped and decided to take some of her frustration out on a nearby tree. She unloaded a flurry of punches to the strong trunk of the tree until she slumped to the ground and began to sob. She felt like things were so screwed up and she didn't know how to fix them anymore. Her life just seemed to throw one mess at her after another.

She finally calmed her crying and walked home slowly. She paid no mind to the people on the sidewalk giving her strange looks since her hands were covered in blood, her hair was a mess, she had mascara all over her cheeks...she looked rather crazy to be honest. When she opened her front door, her nostrils were instantly assaulted with the intoxicating scent of garlic, oregano and other Italian spices. She could hear the familiar voices of her friends in the kitchen so she made her way back. Willow, Amy, Xander, Riley, Faith, Angel, and Cordelia all stopped short when they saw Buffy walk into the room.

Joyce came walking in from the dining room. "Here, Willow, I found that-" she stopped short and dropped the pan she'd been holding, sending it clanging to the ground loudly. "Oh my God, Buffy what happened?" she asked as she approached her daughter.

Buffy gave her a sheepish smile. "Nothing, mom. I just had a run in with a few nasties. I'm fine, I just need to get cleaned up."

Joyce nodded, obviously concerned and the slayer turned to go upstairs. Cordelia exchanged a glance with her friends and followed the slayer upstairs to the bathroom. She stood in the doorway as Buffy pulled out the first aid kit from under the sink and leaned against the counter heavily as she sighed, completely unaware she was being watched.

"It's a little early for nasties, Summers. What really happened?" Cordelia asked as she crossed her arms over her chest.

Buffy shook her head, but didn't face her girlfriend. "May not have been a Hellmouth nasty, but she was definitely a bitch."

Cordelia frowned and moved further into the bathroom, sliding up to sit on the counter next to Buffy. "Baby, tell me what happened...for real," she said softly as she ran her fingers through Buffy's hair a few times.

The slayer looked up at her with a guilty expression. "Promise you won't get mad?" she asked quietly.

"Baby, just tell me," Cordelia replied as she began removing items from the first aid kit.

Buffy sighed and removed her jacket, washing her bloody hands. "I went to see your mom."

Cordelia stopped and paled at the slayer's words. "What?" she demanded.

Buffy cringed. "I didn't say anything about us, I just told her to leave you alone."

Cordy raised an eyebrow. "And?" she prompted; knowing her slayer well enough to know that wasn't all that was said.

Buffy lowered her head and continued to scrub at her hands. "And if she ever hurt you or teased you again, I'd kick her ass."

Cordelia lowered her head into her hands and shook her head, knowing there was going to be a showdown once she got home. "Dammit, Summers. What the hell is wrong with you, she's going to kick m-my ass for that. What w-were you thinking?" she demanded angrily, cursing herself for stuttering again.

Buffy looked up at her girlfriend with pleading, ashamed eyes. "Baby, I can't stand that she hurts you. Not only hitting you, which is inexcusable, but teasing you for stuttering. She's a bitch and I just wanted to warm her not to hurt you. I'm sorry. I just wasn't thinking with my head, my heart led me over there."

Cordelia shook her head, still pissed off, but she shook it off for now, not wanting her mother to ruin another night with her friends. She dried Buffy's hands off gently and fixed them up before running a brush through the slayer's hair a few times. Cordelia stood in front of Buffy and helped her fix the mascara mess and gave her girlfriend an annoyed look. "Your heart is too big for your head to handle, Summers. Promise me you'll never do that again."

Buffy nodded and kissed the cheerleader softly. "Promise. She just makes me so mad."

Cordelia smiled sadly. "I know, honey, but d-don't let her get to you too much. If you do, she wins and it's my life mission to make sure she doesn't win...ever."

Buffy matched her girlfriend's sad smile and she grasped Cordelia's hand as they headed back downstairs and joined their friends for dinner. The couple's sad smiles didn't last long once they joined everyone downstairs and they were both able to forget for a while that everything was still a mess around them.


"Faith, can we talk for a minute?" Brad asked his daughter one Saturday afternoon.

The slayer looked up and smiled. "Sure, Pops, what's up?"

Brad took a seat on the couch next to Faith and took a deep breath. "Faith, how are you really doing with me and Joyce dating. Are you really okay?"

Faith gave her father a warm smile. "Yeah, Dad, I'm fine. It was a little weird at first and I wish you guys had been straight with us from the get go, but both me and B are okay with you guys."

Brad nodded. "Good, that's good."

Faith raised an eyebrow and regarded her father carefully. "Pops, what's up, for real?" she asked him, knowing he had something on his mind.

Brad smiled and tousled her hair. "You know me too well, kiddo."

Brad took a deep breath and let it out in a huff before reaching into his jacket pocket and pulling out a small velvet box.

Faith's eyes got wider and a tiny smile graced her lips as she pointed to the box. "It that what I think it is?"

Brad took her reaction to be positive and he nodded as he opened the box. Inside was a gorgeous white gold engagement ring with a half- carat diamond solitaire.

Faith's mouth fell open when she saw the ring and she gave her dad a grin. "Damn, Pops. She's gonna flip when she sees that ring."

Brad watched her carefully, trying to figure out if her happiness was sincere. "Honestly, how would you feel if I asked Joyce to marry me?"

Faith looked up at him with tears in her eyes. "Dad, you know I love Joyce. I think she's great. And you know me and B are really tight, so I have no problems with them. I can see that you're happy and that's really all that matters in this situation. If you did it, I'd be psyched."

Brad pulled Faith into a tight hug. "Thanks, kiddo, you have no idea how much that means to me." He pulled away and held her at arms length before giving her a devious smile. "All I need now is a plan to ask her."

Faith shared his grin and the two began planning the perfect proposal.


"So you're playing Dorothy in the play, B?" Faith asked with a grin.

Buffy nodded shyly. "Yup. I still think you should have tried out for the wicked witch, Fai."

"Nah, all that stage shit is your thing not mine. You can have at it," Faith replied with a smirk.

"So Harris got the part of the Cowardly Lion?" Riley asked with a smirk.

Buffy nodded, a smile playing on her lips. "Yup, I hate to say it, but it's kinda fitting. Remember last summer when we fought those hellbeasts and he ran for his life and tried to hide in one of those giant, blue mailboxes?"

"Buffy, who's playing Glenda?" Amy asked, choosing to ignore the comments about Xander's bravery for the moment.

Buffy thought for a second. "Actually, that new girl, Tara got the part. I talked to her yesterday, she's a really sweet girl."

"Well, if it isn't my favorite slayer from Kansas," Xander quipped as he took his seat at the table and kissed Amy on the cheek.

Cordelia smirked. "Are you sure they cast you in the right part, Harris? I would've thought they would have cast you as the Scarecrow...he was the one with no brains."

Xander stuck his tongue out at her playfully. "You sure you weren't cast as the Tin Man, Cordy? After all he was the one with no heart."

Cordelia rolled her eyes and propped her chin in her hand. "Actually, I wasn't cast at all, I didn't try out, remember?" she replied with a tiny smirk.

As the quip war went on between Cordelia and Xander, Willow leaned over towards Buffy. "So that girl Tara is nice?"

Buffy nodded and gave the redhead a smile. "Yup. It's so sad too; she told me that her dad made her try out for the play because she's so shy. They wanted her to get over her stage fright. She kind of has a stutter and I feel kind of bad for her." Buffy regarded Willow carefully and smiled. "You want me to introduce you two?" she asked with a smile.

Willow caught her look and blushed. "I don't know what it is. Ever since I saw her on her first day, I can't stop thinking about her, and I don't even know her."

Buffy's smile widened and she stood up. "I'll be right back, guys."

Willow watched in horror as Buffy approached Tara, who was sitting alone a few tables away and a moment later, Buffy returned with Tara at her side. "Guys, this is Tara McClay, Tara, this is Willow, Xander, Cordelia, Faith and Riley."

Tara blushed and gave the table a small, shy wave as she took the seat between Buffy and Willow, never taking her eyes off the redhead.

"So, Glenda, what do you think of Sunnydale so far?" Faith asked a moment later.

Tara smiled shyly at the nickname and shrugged. "It's n-not that bad. It s-seems kind of quiet, b-but I like it."

Buffy smiled at Faith's friendliness to the new girl as they continued to talk, and she looked over at Amy. The blonde witch was looking at her and Buffy nodded, signaling she felt the power from Tara as well. Apparently the group was a magnet for those mystically inclined. Buffy grinned when Tara and Willow fell into a quiet conversation by themselves. She launched a larger conversation to the rest of her friends to try to give the two girls some privacy. It was a little known secret that Xander had babble skills of his own, as long as you knew which button to push. Of course though, pushing that button usually led to him and Cordelia quipping their way through lunch, and that was the perfect cover for Willow...so Buffy decided to push some buttons that day.

The rumor mills fired up again once Tara joined the crew for lunch. They were beginning to run a bit short, so everyone was pleased with the new development.


"So what's the deal with this dinner thing anyways, Coop?" Xander asked her later that week. He and his friends were sprawled out on a large blanket. They had just finished having a picnic lunch on one of the grassy areas of school grounds.

Faith shrugged. "Dad wants to take all of us out to a nice place. He has a new print he's debuting and he wants to show us before anyone else."

"So this isn't the one that's going over to Europe?" Cordelia asked.

"Nope, this one is brand new and we're going to be the first to see it," she replied with a sly grin.

"Faith, I know that smile, what's going on?" Buffy asked as she walked up, taking the seat next to Cordelia and leaned back against a large tree.

"Nothing, B. We're talking about dinner tomorrow night," the slayer said with an innocent expression. She stood up and tousled Buffy's hair. "I gotta run, I gotta talk to JC about something."

The group called out good-byes as they watched the brunette slayer leave and jumped into another conversation altogether.

One by one, the group dispersed and eventually left Buffy and Cordelia alone on the blanket. Buffy watched Cordelia play with a few blades of grass as the breeze blew through her hair gently and the sun gleamed in her eyes.

"So how are you really feeling?" Buffy asked after a few minutes alone.

Cordelia looked up and frowned as she seriously pondered the question. Her eyes fixated on a point in the distance and she swallowed hard, clamping her hands together. "When I close my eyes at night, all I can hear is this pounding." She paused and closed her eyes for a second and took a deep breath. "When I open my eyes, I can still hear it. It's inside my head, but it's them. It's their breath in my ear and I can't, for the life of me, stop feeling their hands all over me." Cordelia paused again and took in a shaky breath. "Sometimes I wish I was still broken on the outside, so I could justify feeling like I'm in a million pieces on the inside."

Buffy wrapped her arms around Cordelia and she was heartened when the brunette didn't pull away from her. Buffy rested her forehead against Cordelia's temple and whispered in her ear, "Baby, I can't even begin to imagine the hell you went through down there. I don't know what to say or do to make you feel better. The only thing I know is that this is going to take time." Buffy released Cordelia and moved closer to her so they were sitting facing each other. "Every day this will get just a little bit easier to deal with. Maybe one day, you'll think about it every five minutes. Then, maybe the next day it will be every six minutes. All I can tell you is that every day from now until you're through this, I'll be right here beside you." Buffy cupped Cordelia's chin and gently eased the brunette's face up so they were eye to eye. "I'll be right here, okay? Always."

Cordelia sniffled as Buffy kissed away a few tears and she nodded. "I love you, Buffy."

Buffy smiled and pulled Cordelia into a warm hug. "Baby, I love you too."

The cheerleader suddenly smiled a tiny, cute smile and she moved so she could sit in front of Buffy between her legs. "Have you been talking to Amy?"

"Busted." Buffy shrugged and kissed Cordelia's shoulder lightly as she wrapped her arms around her girlfriend. "I've never been through anything like this, but she has and she survived it. I wanted to know how she did it and wanna know what she told me?" she asked with a fond smile.

Cordelia smiled. "Yeah, I do," she replied softly.

"She said to take this one day at a time. Given enough time and enough support, which I am more than willing to give, she said one day, it may not be soon, but one day you'll wake up and do your normal daily routine and this won't cross your mind at all. You won't think about it once. Maybe the next day, you think about it, but there will come a time when you can escape from it," Buffy told her girlfriend softly as she held her close. "Wanna know something else?" she asked after a minute.

Cordelia twisted around, looking back at her and she smiled. "Yeah, tell me."

Buffy brought her lips to the brunette's ear. "You haven't stuttered in almost two weeks."

Cordelia smiled shyly and Buffy hugged her tightly around her waist as she rested her chin on the brunette's shoulder. "Cor, you've already gotten so much better. When you first came back, you wouldn't let me touch you. Now look at us. Baby, you are one of the strongest people I know and you have so many people that love you and want to help you. If anyone can get through this, it's you."

Cordelia twisted around a bit to kiss Buffy lightly and she leaned back allowing the slayer to hold her tight and keep her safe. The two skipped the rest of classes and headed to the park to Buffy's spot and remained together for the rest of the afternoon.


The teens looked up from their conversations as Brad tapped on his glass to get their attention. Faith gave her dad a small thumbs-up and he winked in response. Cordelia slid her arm around the back of Buffy's chair and trailed her fingertips over the slayer's shoulder, waiting to see this new painting.

"I just wanted to thank all of you for coming out with us tonight to celebrate. All of you mean so much to Faith and it makes me incredibly happy that all of you decided to take part in this special night with us." Brad moved to stand next to the easel that was covered by a red veil and he looked at Joyce and grinned.

Joyce gave him an encouraging smile and he suddenly flung the sheet from the painting. A collective gasp was heard in the private room of the restaurant as the guests read what was painted on the canvas.

`Joyce, will you marry me?' was written in bright blue paint with two boxes underneath it. One said `yes' next to it and the other said `no'.

Brad grinned as he took in Joyce's shocked expression and he held out a paintbrush to her, which she took with a wide, teary smile. She leaned in to kiss him lightly and moved to the painting.

Everyone in the room held their breath as Joyce stood in front of the easel. Loud cheers rang through the room as a blue check mark was made in the `yes' box.

Brad got down on one knee to place the diamond ring on her finger and when he stood up, he captured Joyce in a huge hug and swung her around in a circle before kissing her. He broke away to hug Faith and then Buffy as Joyce hugged them both tightly as well. The group spent the rest of the night celebrating the engagement and they danced the night away on the small dance floor in the back of the small, cozy restaurant.


Buffy eased her front door shut and tossed her keys on the table after locking the door.

"That's the last time I ever try to slay in a skirt," she muttered to herself quietly as she moved silently up the steps. The slayer was surprised when she opened her bedroom door and found Cordelia sitting on the edge of her bed with her legs dangling off the side. The light was turned off and clusters of jasmine scented candles were placed all around the room.

"Cor?" Buffy asked with a smile as she closed the door behind her. Cordelia smiled and held a finger to her lips. "Shh. Come here," she ordered gently.

Buffy dropped her slaying bag on the ground and slipped out of her shoes before she approached the bed. Cordelia gripped her hips once she was in range and she pulled the slayer in front of her so she was standing between the brunette's legs.

Buffy dropped a light kiss on Cordelia's forehead and she was surprised again when the brunette grasped her shirt. Cordelia began undoing the buttons on the slayer's shirt slowly, keeping her eyes locked on Buffy's. She lifted a finger to silence the blonde when she opened her mouth to protest, just as the last button was undone. Cordy slid her fingers around Buffy's waist under her shirt and pulled the blonde closer as she leaned in to place a tender kiss on her abdomen. Her fingers made their way north slowly and she gently eased the shirt down off Buffy's arms and it dropped silently to the floor. She reached around and unzipped the skirt her girlfriend was wearing and slid it over the contours of her hips until it hit the floor.

Cordelia leaned back slightly and took in the sight of her girlfriend in her lavender bra and a white thong and she reached out to take both of Buffy's hands in hers. She brought the slayer's hands to the hem of the tee shirt she was wearing and when Buffy's fingers gripped the material, she instantly moved her hands and allowed her fingers to dance over the exposed flesh of her girlfriend's taught stomach. Cordelia looked up at Buffy questioningly when the slayer's hands didn't move and she saw that she looked relatively spooked.

She gave Buffy a hopeful smile as she continued to play with her stomach. "I don't think I'm ready to do anything yet, but I just want to feel you. I want to sleep next to you and be wrapped up in only you when I close my eyes," Cordelia explained softly.

Buffy smiled in understanding and she kissed Cordy lightly as her hands slowly and gently removed Cordelia's tee shirt. The cheerleader stood to allow her shorts to be undone and she stepped out of them and pulled Buffy close. Their lips met in a soft, tender kiss that was meant to ease fears and comfort. Neither girl pushed as they removed the last of their clothes and slid into bed. They turned towards one another and intertwined their arms and legs, reveling in the familiar sanctuary they only found in each other.

Buffy felt tears sting her eyes as it finally dawned on her that they hadn't been this close in months and she had missed it terribly. She allowed her hands to trail up and down her girlfriend's spine lightly and smiled when she shivered. Cordelia settled into the crook of Buffy's neck and again reveled in the absolute serenity she found only in the slayer's arms. Buffy allowed her chin to rest lightly on the top of Cordelia's head and her heart swelled almost painfully as she relaxed in her bed with her girlfriend as things seemed to be getting back to normal.


Cordelia suddenly stopped short and let out a tiny whimper. Buffy turned to face her girlfriend and saw the look of absolute terror stretched across her face.

"Baby?" she asked softly.

Cordelia's chin quivered and she raised a shaky hand to point across the street. Buffy turned to see four men and a pregnant woman walking down the street.

"Guys, what's up?" Faith asked once she realized the group had stopped walking. Buffy glanced at her quickly and shook her head signaling she had no idea what was going on and turned back to her girlfriend who was fighting off panicked tears.

"Cor, what's wrong, baby?" she asked.

Faith cocked her head to the side as she heard Cordelia say, "It's them," and she realized they were the men responsible for her disappearance. She glanced at Cordelia questioningly for a moment and when the cheerleader nodded, she took off after them. Buffy glanced around in confusion and took off after the other slayer. By the time she reached Faith, the brunette slayer was pounding one of the guy's faces in from above him as she hissed heated obscenities in his ear. Once Buffy got a good look at the man Faith was hitting, the identities of the men finally hit her. They were the bastards that had kidnapped Cordelia and raped her.

A low, guttural moan escaped from deep in her throat as she began beating the ever-lasting life out of him. She beat him into unconsciousness and then some before she finally snapped his neck. Her breath came out in short, raspy pants as she lifted her gaze to see Faith killing another one of the creatures.

As Faith lunged for the last man standing Buffy called out to her, "Faith, no!"

The brunette slayer looked up in confusion, her eyes blazing with hatred. "What?"

Buffy took a step closer to her and reached a hand out to place on Faith's arm. "I think we should find out what the hell is up with these guys." She glanced at the three guys hopefully. "Can you guys take care of them and we'll meet you in the library?"

The guys nodded and began disposing of the bodies as the girls made their way to the school with the fourth creature, the pregnant woman also in tow. They managed to get the three men dragged into an alley and tossed them into a dumpster hoping they wouldn't be discovered.

By the time they made it to the library, the inquisition had already begun. Angel approached Willow and grasped her elbow lightly. She glanced up at him with tears in her eyes and gave him a sad smile. "What do we have so far?" he asked quietly.

Willow glanced at the blonde slayer leaning over the creature in the chair, whispering quietly to him. She looked back up and sighed. "Not much. All we know is they thought Cordy was a slayer. They confused her with Faith and sucked her into the portal."

Angel nodded and stole a glance at Cordelia and Faith sitting nearby on the steps to the stacks, Faith with her arm around the other girl's shoulders talking to her quietly. He took a full look around and noticed Jenny, Giles and the woman were missing. "Where's the girl?"

Willow gave a short nod towards Giles's office door. "In there with Giles and Jenny. They wanted to keep her away from the nasty."

Angel nodded and lifted a hand to wipe away a stray tear from her cheek. "Why are you crying?"

Willow dropped her gaze and sniffled as she wiped her eyes. "He said some really awful things about Cordy and the other girl they got pregnant. He was being so disgusting."

They both looked up when they heard Buffy release a frustrated yell and kicked the creature in the face, causing the chair he was tied on to tip over backwards and roll a few times. "You better watch your mouth you stupid son of a bitch," she warned in a low voice as she circled him slowly. Her foot suddenly connected with his ribs and he grunted painfully before her foot collided with his face again.

Willow and Angel watched as Cordelia approached the slayer and whispered something into her ear. The blonde looked up at her girlfriend and said something before Cordelia nodded. Buffy nodded as well and reached down to pull the chair upright again and she stood back.

The office door opened slowly and Giles and Jenny emerged from the office to see Cordelia approach the weapons chest slowly. They exchanged a glance and moved to stand beside Faith and Buffy. Everyone in the library had their attention focused on the brunette as she bent down to retrieve a weapon not used as much for the demon population and when she stood up, a black pistol was clutched tightly in her right hand.

She held the weapon out in front of her as she approached the creature slowly. "You sick bastard, do you have any idea what you and your little demon friends put me through these last few months? Not only did I feel completely violated, I also felt ashamed and dirty and worthless. You stole my choice from me and nobody, and I mean nobody gets away with stealing something precious from me." She stopped in front of the creature and placed the muzzle of the pistol between his eyes. She glared down at him as flashes of her attack blazed through her brain and she pushed back the urge to throw up.

The man grinned up at her as his eyes flashed red and his demon tongue darted out for a moment. "You're a whore just like every other woman and you deserved it."

Everyone jumped as a gunshot echoed through the huge space of the stacks. Cordelia stood, demon blood dripping from her hair, her arms, her jeans and her chin, and she dropped the pistol on the floor before heading out the double doors.

Buffy turned to follow her, but Giles stopped her. "Buffy, we still have the matter of the pregnant girl to discuss."

She looked up at him with pleading eyes and pointed to the doors. "Can't Faith take over, I really need to take her home."

Giles shook his head sadly and dropped his gaze to the ground. "Not this time. I'm afraid I'll need you both here for this."

Buffy sighed and nodded, glancing at Angel. "Can you make sure she gets home okay?"

Angel nodded and headed out the doors to find his best friend. The rest of the group left the slayers and Jenny and Giles with the girl to take care of things at Giles's request and headed home somberly, the image of Cordelia blowing a bullet through the demon's skull burned in their brains.


Buffy opened her bedroom door quietly and smiled when she saw the sleeping form of her girlfriend in her bed. She moved into the room further and dropped a tender kiss to the cheerleader's temple before she headed for the shower. She allowed the tiny, warm kisses of water to trail over her tired muscles and wash away all the demon blood from her skin. She washed her hair a few times just to be sure and used two bars of soap to assure she was absolutely free from the yuck factor of the night she'd had. She bypassed the blow dryer and simply towel dried her hair before slipping into pj pants and a tank top.

She was surprised when she entered her room again to see a small lamp turned on and her girlfriend sitting up in bed waiting for her. "You okay?" the slayer asked quietly as she slipped into bed beside her.

Cordelia nodded and curled in close to Buffy. "Yeah, I heard the shower running and I wanted to see what happened after I left."

When the slayer didn't respond, Cordelia looked up and saw a tear escape her eye. She sat up fully and cupped Buffy's chin with one hand. "Baby, what's wrong?"

Buffy shook her head as a few more rebellious tears slid down her cheeks. "We had to kill her," she admitted softly.

"Who?" Cordelia asked quietly, a tiny ball of fear rolling around in her stomach.

"Her name was Erin," she replied, her voice cracking slightly. "The girl who was pregnant. Her name was Erin and we had to kill her. Giles said she was pregnant with the same babies you had, but she had seven and he told us she was going to die either way. The birth would have killed her and the demons would have been born. We had to kill her."

Cordelia's face fell and she pulled the slayer into a tight hug and held her close. "Baby, I'm so sorry. Are you okay?"

Buffy's tears fell at a more rapid pace and she curled herself into a ball and squeezed in close to her girlfriend allowing herself to be surrounded with the peace and serenity of Cordelia's arms. "We should have saved her."

Cordelia shook her head and kissed the top of her girlfriend's head gently. "Baby, you said Giles told you it was the only way. It's not your fault."

Buffy looked up with tears bright in her eyes and frowned. "Cor, what if that had been you? What if we hadn't realized your baby wasn't human, I would have had...kill..." she trailed off as a sob caught in her throat.

Suddenly everything made sense and Cordelia held her girlfriend tightly and did her best to soothe the distraught slayer. Cordelia spent a long night holding the slayer close as she sobbed about the girl she wasn't able to save and she finally cried herself to sleep. She managed to untangle herself from the slayer's arms and legs and got her situated on the bed so she could watch her sleep. Buffy slept restlessly and tossed and turned for a long time.

Cordelia ran her fingers through the slayer's hair and whispered soothingly into her slumbering girlfriend's ear, trying to calm her. Buffy slipped into a deeper, more peaceful sleep and after about an hour, Cordelia managed to fall asleep as well and the two slept peacefully side by side.


"Buff, are you sure you left your ID in my room?" Xander asked as he, Amy, Buffy and Cordelia headed down the hotel hallway. They were in San Francisco and all of them were anxious to have some fun after another great show.

Buffy nodded. "Yeah, Xand, I'm positive."

Xander nodded and fished through his pockets trying to find his key. Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Can you hurry it up, boy wonder? We have places we need to be."

Xander stuck his tongue out at her and finally slid the key in the lock. He flung the door open and hit the light, waving his hands around in front of him. "Ladies first."

Amy, Buffy and Cordelia giggled at his butler voice, but they all stopped in their tracks when they took in the sight before them. Oz's bed was in disarray, and he and Kaylee were amongst the chaos, naked and having sex.

Cordelia shielded her eyes and turned around, completely shocked. "Oh my God! Oz!"

Buffy and Amy turned their backs and managed to get a drooling Xander turned around as well. They heard some rustling and a minute later, a beet-red Kaylee went running from the room.

Buffy suddenly turned around, her shock gave way to anger quickly. "You son of a bitch. I can' believe you would cheat on Willow. Willow! She is the sweetest person alive and you cheated on her. What the hell is the matter with you, Oz?" Buffy asked him, anger flowing off her in waves.

Oz sat on his bed with his head hanging. He clamped his eyes shut, trying to focus his sight after a long night of drinking. Xander and Amy crept out of the room and shut the door behind them, kinda scared of the wrath of Buffy and Cordelia even when it wasn't directed at them. The two remaining girls glared at Oz until he finally managed to focus his sight on them. He dropped his head again when he saw the looks he was getting.

Cordelia glared deeper and pointed her finger at him. "You have two options here, Dog Boy. Either you tell her about this, or we do."

His head snapped up and he stood up from the bed, pulling the sheet around his waist. "Please, if anyone tells her about this, it has to be me."

Buffy shook her head sadly. "You have 48 hours from the time we get home, otherwise we tell her."

Oz nodded somberly and the two girls walked out of the room, leaving him alone for the rest of the night.


The gang was taking it easy in the library one evening since things had been relatively quiet lately. They had ordered a few pizzas and were spread around the room doing research and hanging out. Angel and Faith were hidden away in the stacks having some big talk, Giles, Jenny and Doyle were doing the adult thing and the rest of the gang was eating around one of the tables.

"Titanic was by far the saddest movie I have ever seen in my life," Amy was telling them.

Riley grimaced and shook his head. "I thought the special effects were amazing, but other than that, give me bombs and car racing any day."

"Are you kidding me? It was so incredibly sad, you should have seen Summers here. We went to see it again by ourselves after we saw it with you guys, and every time that sad music played, she was bawling like a baby," Cordelia told them with a playful nudge to her girlfriend.

Buffy stuck her tongue out at the brunette and nudged her back. "I can't help it, I thought it was so sad when she had to let him sink into the water at the end. That would be Webster's definition of a suck-fest."

"Are you guys all going to prom this year?" Willow suddenly asked. Amy and Xander shared a smile. "Yup, we'll be there with bells on...well actually tuxes...well a tux for me, but a dress for Ames."

"Yeah, me and Cor went dress shopping last week and we have our tickets already," Buffy told her with a tiny smile, not wanting to rub it in that they all had dates except for Willow.

"Please tell me Dog-Boy isn't taking the slut," Cordelia warned them with a scowl.

Willow nodded sadly and looked down at her hands. "I saw them buying tickets yesterday. They're kind of a couple now."

Buffy shook her head angrily. "Will, you need to forget about him, he was a sleaze anyways. You're much better than him."

"Yeah, Willow, you can do so much better and I know there are plenty of people who want to ask you to go to prom," Amy told her as she leaned across Xander to grasp her hand.

Buffy smiled suddenly. "Actually, there was a very sweet, very cute blonde asking about you just yesterday if I remember correctly."

Cordelia grinned and nodded knowingly; she was there when this blonde asked about Willow. "Ah yes, very cute blonde." She looked at Buffy with a grin and raised an eyebrow. "I think they would make a cute couple don't you, baby?"

Buffy grinned wider and nodded. "Absolutely."

Willow had a cautious, but curious smile on her face as she glanced between the cheerleader and her girlfriend and she finally rolled her eyes and gave them an expectant look. "Are you going to tell me who he is?"

Cordelia and Buffy shared a mock surprised look and both turned back to Willow with Cheshire grins. "I never said it was a guy," Buffy told her with a wink.

Xander finally caught on and he leaned forward, resting his arms on the table with a grin. "Ah, I assume it's Tara that you speak of," he drawled out in a Dracula accent.

Willow blushed, which had become a rather rare occurrence recently and she bowed her head with a shrug. "I don't know, guys. How do you even know she's into girls?"

Buffy rolled her eyes and gave the redhead a pointed look. "Because yesterday at musical practice she asked if you were single." Buffy tapped her finger on her chin, pretending to think about something and looked back at Willow with a grin. "And she told me she's a lesbian."

The redhead smiled and nodded her head, thinking to herself quietly. Amy suddenly smiled and thought to herself for a moment. "Tara has such a..." she trailed off, waving her hands around in the air thinking of the right word, "warm presence. I don't know if her power feels different to you and Faith, Buffy, but to me it's so encompassing."

Willow looked up in confusion. "She has power?" she asked.

Amy nodded. "Yeah, she's a witch, I didn't tell you?"

Willow shook her head and propped her chin up in her hand, wanting to know more about Tara.

Amy smiled again. "Yeah, Jenny's power is very technical like mine and when I sense it, it fells really choppy but structured, it's hard to describe. Buffy and Faith's feels more smooth and fluid, Oz's always felt really chaotic, but Tara's is so comforting. It feels really soothing and warm." Amy looked up at her friends and noticed they were all looking at her strangely. She smiled sheepishly and shrugged. "Maybe it's a witch thing."

The group all turned when they heard Faith and Angel coming down from the stacks. They both had red, puffy eyes and everyone could tell it must have been an emotional conversation. Doyle's loud, painful grunt suddenly broke through the conversations as he held his head in his hands with an incoming vision. The group gathered around him and Giles and Jenny did their best to keep him stable until it passed.

Once it was gone and he shook off the residue he looked up at the worried faces around him. He turned to Giles with a solemn look as he fished some aspirin from his pocket. "Ever hear of Kakistos?" he asked, his voice slightly hoarse.

Giles nodded and moved to a nearby shelf to grab a book. "Yes, he's an ancient vampire, so old he has cloven hands and feet."

Doyle nodded as he downed his pills with the whiskey in his flask. "Yup, and he's here. The old cemetery near that huge mansion at the edge of town. He's not alone; another vamp is killing for him and bringing back the bodies. Bleach blonde hair, looks like Billy Idol."

The slayers both rolled their eyes. "Spike," they said together, both sounded incredibly irritated.

"I thought we got him in the Judge blast," Xander said, looking confused.

"Apparently not. I wonder what he's up to this time," Willow pondered quietly.

Giles, still reading from the book began calling out orders. "Alright, Buffy and Faith you go take care of him. I want Jenny and Angel to go along just in case." He looked up with a grave face. "You both need to be very careful, it's no mistake he's survived so long."

The patrol group got their stuff together quickly and headed out. Cordelia had put up a fight to come along, but Buffy managed to talk her out of it, wanting to keep her safe so she had to settle for research to keep her mind occupied.


A few hours later, the four of them trudged back into the library looking pretty beat up. Angel was being supported by Faith as he limped into the room holding his side. Buffy and Faith were banged up pretty bad, both had blood stains on their jeans and shirts.

Jenny had a hand on her back looking like an old woman as she moved painfully through the doors.

Cordelia quickly approached her girlfriend and pulled her into the office. "I'll take care of the slayers and you guys take Jen and Angel, then we can talk, okay?" she called out as she closed the blinds.

Faith set Angel down in one of the chairs and Amy moved in to get set up for a healing spell. The brunette slayer moved slowly into the office cradling her right arm. She shut the door behind her and collapsed on the couch painfully.

Cordelia got her supplies situated and she looked from one slayer to the other. "Who's hurt worse?"

She rolled her eyes when both girls pointed at the other so she cleared her throat and gave them both her Queen C look. Faith rolled her eyes and held her hand up in the air.

Cordelia helped her remove her denim jacket and took a look at her wounds more carefully. "Off with the shirt, Coop."

Faith gave her a playful smirk as she stood up and began to tug on her tight tee. "You just wanna sneak a peek at my goodies," she teased the cheerleader with a smug grin.

Cordelia smirked back and took a step closer, challenging Faith in her own way. "Sorry, you're not really my type. I'm more into blondes," she told Faith in what Buffy called her flirty voice.

Faith took the bait and took a step even closer, dragging her eyes up and down Cordelia's frame in her own flirty way. "I refuse to believe that I'm not anyone's type."

Buffy watched, captivated and practically drooling as the two brunettes continued to flirt playfully. She knew her heart completely belonged to Cordelia, but she couldn't deny that Faith was a gorgeous girl. Sure they had more of a sisterly relationship than anything else, but they were in no way related and Buffy definitely had total appreciation for the female form...especially the brunette female form.

Once the playing was finished, Cordelia cleaned and bandaged all Faith's wounds before she pulled a spare tee from Faith's bag in the corner for her. Faith moved to the desk and leaned back in the chair, propping her feet up on the desk to relax a bit.

"So what happened, Coop?" Cordelia asked as she helped Buffy with her shirt.

"That damn vamp is a monster. He's huge and nothing we did dusted his cloven ass. We shot bolts at him and staked him, but no dice," Faith mumbled irritably as she watched Cordelia stitch one of Buffy's wounds across her shoulder blade. "You're pretty good with the needle, Queeney. They taught you all that stuff in that class?"

Cordelia nodded as she snipped the suture off and bandaged the wound. "Yup, I just learned how. They're teaching us all kinds of stuff."

"Sweet." Faith shot her a grin and ran a hand through her hair. "So anyways, he had just finished feeding from those people when we got there, so he was feeling pretty spunky. Spike just sat back and watched him kick our asses all over the damn cemetery," Faith told her with a scowl.

Cordelia took a deep breath to ease her nerves regarding the slayers' safety on patrols and she finished bandaging her girlfriend up. "All done."

Buffy turned around and kissed her lightly. "Thanks, baby."

"No problem, sweetie," Cordelia murmured lovingly as she stood up to replace the first aid kit and find Buffy a shirt. "Promise me that you two will be careful with this vamp, he sounds like he has extra baddie powers," she said with a pointed look.

The slayers shared a grin and a nod. "We promise," they chorused with huge smiles.

Cordelia caught their looks and rolled her eyes, tossing Buffy a new shirt. "Fine, mock me if you wish, but I'm the one that fixes your boo-boo's."

Once Buffy was completely dressed, the three of them shared a smile and they exited the office. Angel and Jenny had both been healed and were both feeling relatively better. They called it a night to get some rest after a short slayer report. Of course Giles being Giles, he stayed to do more research. Jenny remained as well to keep him company and as they left, the group wondered just how much research they actually did on those long nights alone together.


"Please tell me you're not pregnant," Buffy said with a smile as she pointed a mocking finger at her mom. The slayers and their parents were gathered in the Summers' kitchen one afternoon to do some talking at the parentals' request.

Joyce and Brad burst out laughing and the slayers shared a relieved grin. "No, girls, I'm not pregnant, but Brad and I did want to talk to you about something," Joyce replied with a small smile.

"Okay, lay it on us, we're tough, we can handle it," Faith said with an expectant look at her dad and Joyce.

Brad grinned and tousled Faith's hair, earning him a playful glare from his daughter. "We have an idea and we wanted to run it by both of you to see what you both thought." He glanced at the two girls and they nodded, silently urging him to continue. He shared a quick grin with Joyce and turned back to the slayers. "We were thinking about moving in together," he told them after a moment. "We thought Faith and I could move in with you and your mom, Buffy after school gets out and have the ceremony at the end of the summer. We thought it would give us a little time to adjust before Joyce and I get married. What do you think, girls?"

Faith shrugged a small grin on her face. "Sounds good to me, pops. It's not like I'm really attached to our place."

Brad shot her a grin and turned to Buffy with a hopeful look on his face. "Buffy? Does that work?" he asked, praying the blonde slayer liked the idea.

Buffy raised her gaze to her mother and saw the hope and happiness in her eyes. She saw the same reflected in Brad's eyes when she looked at him. She broke out into a wide grin when Faith nudged her and she finally nodded her pretty blonde head. "I can't wait."

Brad and Joyce shared a huge grin and the slayers exchanged a grin themselves, all four of them excited about the new family they would be forming soon.


Cordelia looked around the Bronze anxiously. It was her first time back in the club since her disappearance and she was a little nervous. She was excited about seeing Dingoes again and overall she'd been looking forward to tonight for a few weeks, but she couldn't shake her nerves into relaxation. The school year was nearing a close and she not only had a move to get ready to help with, but a wedding she would be a bridesmaid in as well. Amy gave her arm a squeeze and when she looked up, the blonde was smiling comfortingly. Cordelia returned the smile and wrapped her arm around Angel's waist a little tighter. He squeezed her shoulders a bit and dropped a kiss on the top of her head.

"Buff and Coop are over there, guys," Xander told them as he pointed across the club.

The slayer's looked up a moment later and gave the foursome a wave and a smile as they headed over towards them.

Buffy approached her girlfriend slowly and extended a hand to her as she stopped. Cordelia took the blonde's hand and allowed herself to be wrapped up in a warm hug from her girlfriend, her anxiousness melting away as she stood in the slayer's arms.

Buffy pulled away and held her at arm's length, gazing at her carefully. "You okay?" she asked softly.

Cordelia nodded and leaned in for a light kiss. "I am now," she replied with a small smile.

Buffy grinned and grasped her hand, pulling the cheerleader to their usual booth nearby. The six of them sat down and began chatting for a while until Willow and Riley arrived. The entire table was glaring daggers at Kaylee when she arrived later with a few of her friends. If looks could kill, Kate would have been dead in her shoes when she walked in from back stage and grinned at Buffy. She had been pretty good about steering clear of the slayer and her girlfriend, but she wasn't out of the picture yet.

Buffy leaned across Cordelia's lap to hug Willow tightly when they caught sight of Oz talking to Kaylee. Cordelia slipped an arm around her shoulders and squeezed gently. "You okay, Will?" she asked softly.

Willow gave her friends a brave smile and nodded. "I'll be fine." She stole a glance at Oz, who was laughing at something the brunette said and she turned back to Buffy. "Are you guys going on soon?"

Buffy nodded. "Yeah, we should get started." She kissed Cordelia's temple lightly. "You gonna be okay?" she asked quietly.

Cordelia nodded and kissed her. "Yup, I'll be fine. You guys just have a good show."

Buffy moved from the table to retrieve Oz, all the while glaring at Kaylee, and the band took the stage a few minutes later.

Cordelia found later that she desperately had to keep herself from kicking Kate's ass during the band's first break when the drummer began talking to Buffy about something band related.

"Relax, they're just having some music issues, C," Faith told the Queen a moment later.

Cordelia turned to Faith and rolled her eyes, glancing back at her girlfriend. "I know, but if Kate so much as touches her, I'll kick her ass."

Faith smiled and shook her head, watching the pair as well. "Well, even though I doubt you have to worry about her and B, if you need me, I have your back."

Cordelia shot her a grin and turned back to the two Dingoes. Her smile faded when Kate leaned closer than necessary, grasping Buffy's arm and whispered something to the slayer as she glanced at Cordelia with a smirk. The brunette glared back and headed over towards the two of them.

Faith stepped between the Queen and the drummer and nudged Buffy. "What's the deal, B?" she asked, shooting Cordelia a glance telling her to keep cool, Faith was going to take care of this particular situation.

Buffy frowned and nodded towards the stage. "Kate's having problems getting me in her monitor."

Faith kept her eyes trained on Kate with a warning look in her eyes, but spoke to Buffy. "Well, she's gonna have more problems than that if she doesn't quit this flirty shit with you in front of your girlfriend," she said with a tiny smirk to the drummer.

Buffy gaped at Faith for a moment before she pulled her away shaking her head. "Faith, don't."

Faith rolled her eyes and shrugged. "Don't what, B? Tell it like I see it? Kate knows exactly what she's doing and it's just to get Queeney all riled up so you two will fight. She's a smart one and she's doing it on purpose using any excuse to rub C's nose in the fact that you two slept together."

Buffy clamped her eyes shut for a moment and shook her head slowly. "Faith, that's not what she's doing, don't make it into something it's not."

Faith looked at the blonde with disbelief and shook her head. "B, you must be blind or something. She's doing this innocent flirty shit and shooting C dirty looks just to get her pissed off at you. You know she still wants you, she's been acting like a lovesick puppy for you since you met her. You know it's the truth."

Buffy shook her head in frustration. "Look, the bottom line is that Kate knows me and Cor are stronger than ever and she knows we've all been going through some rough stuff. I told her to back off and if you're seeing something I'm not; I'll talk to her again. You know I wouldn't do anything stupid again to jeopardize my relationship with Cor."

Faith nodded and sighed. "I hear ya loud and clear, B. All I'm saying is watch out for her. She still wants you bad and I have a feeling she'll use everything she's got to get to you. Just watch your back."

Buffy shot her a smile and nodded. "I know, Coop. Don't worry, I won't make the same idiotic mistake twice."

Faith nodded and the pair made their way to the booth with the rest of their friends. Buffy made sure to pay a little extra attention to Cordelia that night as they sat around talking between sets. The band put on another killer performance for the crowd and even got a surprise at the end when a record company rep approached them after the show. The gang spent the rest of the night fantasizing about Dingoes becoming huge stars and the ride that would take them on.


"Faith, can I ask you a favor?" Buffy asked the brunette slayer next to her. They were on patrol together for the first time alone in months and they'd been having a blast all night.

Faith grinned and nudged her. "Sure, B. Whatcha got?"

"I told you about the demo, right?" she asked. Faith nodded as she wandered along; too absorbed in playing soccer with a rock to look up. "Well, I was hoping you could do some back-up vocals for it. You have a great voice and it would sound amazing on a few of the tracks since our voices mesh so well." Faith looked at her skeptically for a moment and Buffy held up her hands. "I don't need an answer right this second. Just think about it. It would mean a lot to me, and I think it would be fun to experiment in the studio a bit."

Faith grinned and nudged her again. "I'll think about it, B."

Buffy grinned widely and wrapped her arms around her slaying partner. "Yay! Thanks, Faith."

Faith smiled and shook her head. "B, I said I'd think about it, I didn't say yes, you know how I am about that kinda stuff."

Buffy nodded and looped her arm through the brunette's. "I know, Faith. I'm glad you're gonna think about it though. Honestly, I was expecting a flat-out `no' from you."

Faith shrugged as the two headed further into the cemetery. "I guess you caught me on a good day."

Buffy smiled and shot Faith a hip check, which was returned promptly, although Faith put some kick behind hers and it sent Buffy sprawling to the ground. That, of course, was the starting bell for the usual slayer-wrestling matches that had been a regular occurrence before Cordelia disappeared.

Later that night, they returned to casa de Summers and headed for the kitchen.

Faith glanced out the window. "It's starting to rain, looks like we came in just in time."

Buffy nodded and stuffed a twinkie in her mouth. "I'll be back in a sec," she called out as she headed off to find her girlfriend. When she reached the top of the steps, she heard music playing in her room. The door was open and Buffy peeked her head inside. Candles spread around the room allowed her to see enough and she leaned against the doorframe to watch Cordelia. She was seated in an armchair next to the open windows. Her chin was propped up in her hand as she watched the rain fall outside. The candles draped the gorgeous cheerleader in a soft hue and she looked absolutely breathtaking. Buffy's heart swelled as Cordelia closed her eyes, taking a deep breath of cool, damp air and leaned her head back against the back of the chair.

"Hey," she whispered, not wanting to startle her girlfriend as she entered the room.

Cordelia kept her eyes closed and smiled, holding a hand out to Buffy. "Come sit with me for a minute."

Buffy smiled and moved further into the room, grasping Cordelia's hand. The cheerleader pulled Buffy down into her lap and wrapped her slender arms around her waist. Buffy began protesting that she was too heavy, but Cordelia just shook her head and held the slayer tighter. "Shh, just sit and listen to the rain with me."

Buffy smiled and draped her legs over the arm of the chair and rested her head against Cordelia's shoulder, snuggling into the crook of her neck. The two of them sat for a while, just being together enjoying the simplicity of listening to the rain pour down outside.

A little while later they were both jolted from their tranquility by the flash of a camera. When they looked up they found Faith standing at the door with Cordelia's camera and a huge grin on her face. "Sorry, it was too cute to pass up. I'm going to bed, you two have a good night," she said as the closed the door with a playful wave.

"Night, Faith," Buffy called out after her.

Cordelia kissed Buffy lightly and the two got up and got ready for bed. They snuggled tightly together allowing each other's presence and the peaceful sounds of the rain to lull them to sleep.


"Faith?" Buffy asked as she peeked her head into Faith's new room. Faith looked up and smiled. "What's up, B?" she asked.

Buffy leaned against the doorframe and jutted a thumb over her shoulder. "Your dad says he has something to give us and he needs you downstairs."

Faith nodded and stood up from the box she was unpacking. "Okay." The slayers began chatting as they moved down the steps and found Brad in the kitchen drinking coffee. He glanced up and smiled when the slayers entered the room. "Sit down for a minute, girls." The slayers sat and both looked up at him expectantly. "I just wanted to give you both something that I think you can use. It's something you'll have to share, but it's something you should enjoy as well," he said as he set a small black box on the island.

The slayers shared a look and Faith reached for the box. When she opened the lid, she found a key sitting inside. Faith glanced at Buffy and then her father, who was grinning madly. "Pops? What's this for?" she asked as she held the key up.

Brad gave her a sly grin. "I know you recognize that key, kiddo. It's the key you've been bugging me for since you were thirteen."

Faith shot her dad a questioning look and he nodded his head, causing the brunette slayer to leap out of her seat with a triumphant yell and she hugged her dad tightly.

Buffy sat, completely confused as Faith ran around the kitchen giving high fives to inanimate objects such as the toaster and the fridge door. She grinned when Faith gave her the look that only meant fun and the brunette gave a nod towards the front of the house.

"Faith, what is that for?" she finally asked.

Faith grinned wider. "The key to the jeep, baby!" she exclaimed proudly.

Buffy sat shocked for a few moments before throwing her arms around Brad and thanking him to no end.

"Remember, I'm giving the jeep to both of you to share, so make sure you share, Faith," he told his daughter with a grin.

Faith suddenly stopped her celebratory dance around the kitchen and looked at her dad with confusion plastered across her pretty features. "Pops, if you're giving us the beast, what are you gonna drive?"

Brad waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. "Don't worry, honey. Joyce and I are going to buy a new car that she's going to drive and I'm taking her jeep."

The slayers shared another huge happy grin and both wrapped Brad into a huge, slayer hug before they ran out of the house and took their new jeep for a drive.


"I don't see why we can't just use the rocket launcher again," Buffy grumbled as she sunk further in her chair.

Riley sighed dejectedly. "If I could get my hands on another one, I would, but I already tried." He paused and looked up. "What happed to the other one, anyways?"

Xander, Faith and Amy all shared a sheepish smile and they all held their hands up in the air. "We sort of turned it into a pumpkin launcher at Halloween...it kinda broke," Xander mumbled, preparing to hide under the table if any yelling started.

Buffy sighed heavily and rubbed her tired eyes furiously. "I guess that's out." She suddenly looked up at Giles, a tiny smile on her face. "Why can't we set him on fire?" she asked with her eyes twinkling at the thought.

"The fire power needed to bring him down would probably burn half the town to the ground," Jenny said with a shake of her head. Faith suddenly sat up straight and snapped her fingers together frantically as a plan began to form in her brain. "Wait, I have an idea. We're not playing big enough," she mumbled as she thought frantically. She looked up with a smirk and nodded. "New plan, kids."

A few hours and a new plan later, the group packed up to head home. They knew sometime in the next few weeks, Faith's plan would be set into motion and they prayed it would work because they were running out of time and ideas.


Buffy leapt from her desk chair as something landed on her head. She pulled the offending item from her head and turned to find Faith smirking at her from the door. Buffy held up what appeared to be a mechanic's jumpsuit and glanced at Faith questioningly. "Your Halloween costume for next year?" the blonde asked with a silly grin. Faith shook her head and produced a similar outfit from behind her back. "Put that on and meet me downstairs," she ordered with a grin. "Bring your helmet and an old pair of boots," she added as she moved to her room leaving Buffy curious about what was going to happen.

Once she changed, Buffy hauled her helmet and boots downstairs to meet Faith. The slayers sat on the bottom step and laced their boots up before Faith held the front door open and the pair headed for the jeep. Buffy's curiosity was piqued again when she saw a large black bag in the back of the jeep.

Faith drove them down the street through the pouring rain for a few miles until she pulled into a parking lot. She maneuvered the jeep through some bushes until she came to a stop, and Buffy grinned at the sight before her.

Acres of nothing but mud stretched out before the slayers. It was being cleared for a new shopping mall and with the fresh rain, it was prime for four-wheeling. Faith hopped out of her seat and moved to the back of the jeep, and Buffy followed behind her, wondering what was going on. The brunette slayer pulled out the large black bag and unzipped it. The first item that came from the bag was a towrope usually used for water skiing. The next item was Faith's old snowboard.

"Ready to have some fun in the mud, B?"

Buffy grinned madly and nodded. "This is gonna be so much fun, Faith."

Faith gave a nod to the jeep. "Okay, you drive first and watch me since I've done this before, kay?" she asked with a grin.

Buffy nodded and hopped behind the wheel of the beast. Once Faith was situated, she gave Buffy a thumbs-up and the blonde slayer floored it. Unfortunately, that caused the tires to spin out and Faith ended up with a face full of mud. Buffy burst out laughing and took her next take off a bit slower.

The two slayers spent the next few hours hauling each other around behind the jeep on Faith's old snowboard. They both took a few nasty spills, but there were no major injuries to write home about. They decided to swing by Cordelia's house on the way home to hang out with her and Angel.

The slayers pulled the mud-soaked jeep up to Cordelia's house and sprung their doors open, hopping out. Luckily for them, the torrential rain washed away most of their muddy footprints on the driveway, so Cordelia wouldn't be that mad.

When Cordelia opened the door, she didn't know if she should laugh or cry. Her eyes got wide for a moment and she turned around calling out for Angel. When he approached and took in the sight before him, he burst out laughing at the slayers. They were both soaked from the rain and had mud from head to toe, both standing on Cordelia's doorstep with huge, proud grins on their faces.

Cordelia shook her head and pointed to the side of the house with a small smile. "Go around back and we'll meet you there," she ordered them.

Buffy and Faith smiled and nodded as they headed for the back patio. When they got there, Angel was waiting for them with the hose and a wicked grin. Cordelia stood under the canopy so as not to get her new camera wet and shot as many pictures as she could of Angel blasting the slayers with the hose, all three of them laughing hysterically.

Cordelia shot a ton of pictures of the three of them, but she focused most of her attention on Buffy. She managed to capture the blonde's shocked expressions, her laughter, her chills and every other facial expression she could get. Buffy looked up at her for a moment and gave her the most heartbreakingly beautiful smile she'd ever seen. Her head was cocked to the side slightly with her hair falling in drenched waves around her face and she had tiny beads of rain dripping from her nose and chin. Cordelia somehow managed to capture it through her lens, knowing it would be an absolutely adorable picture of her girlfriend.

Later, once the slayers had showered and changed, the four of them spent a quiet night playing card games and just hanging out together.


Cordelia looked up as Buffy's bedroom door slid open and the slayer crept inside her room, looking surprised her girlfriend was still awake. She dropped her stuff on the floor and removed her jacket, tossing it over the back of her armchair. "Hey, you okay?"

Cordelia nodded and stood up, pulling the slayer into a warm hug. "Yeah, I just wanted to see you and make sure you were okay after patrol."

Buffy smiled appreciatively at the thoughtfulness and leaned in for a small kiss. "All was boring in the land of the scary and undead. It was kinda quiet tonight so I got to do some thinking."

"What about?" the brunette asked as she reclaimed her seat on the bed.

Buffy pursed her lips for a moment and sighed as she gathered her thoughts before she took a seat across from her girlfriend on the bed. "You still love me like you did before, right?"

Cordelia gave her a confused look, cocking her head to the side. "Before what?" Buffy gave her a pointed, yet gentle look and Cordelia's thoughts were immediately clarified. "Oh," she murmured. She caught the hurt in Buffy's eyes and shook her head, cupping the slayer's face in her palms. "Baby, you are my one and only. I love you now just as much, if not more than I ever have. You know that."

Buffy nodded silently and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "So you still want me like you did before, right?"

Cordelia furrowed her brows wondering where her girlfriend was going with this conversation and she nodded her head, kissing the slayer again. "Buffy, my feelings haven't changed. I realize that I haven't been `Miss touchy-feely' with you lately, but baby, I still want you and love you and need you as much as ever." She paused to regard the slayer for a moment. "What's really going on, Summers?"

The slayer shrugged and shifted uncomfortably on the bed. "It's just that...well...I was thinking that maybe since lately...ya know..." she trailed off, her head dropping and her eyes remained trained on the blanket on her bed.

Cordelia bit back the smile that threatened to spill to her lips and she kissed the slayer gently. "You were wondering when things were gonna be turned up a notch on the physical dial since we're been getting better, right?"

Buffy's head bowed further and she shrugged. "I just thought you seemed to be doing so much better now and you can sleep with me wrapped around you again...dammit, I'm such a bitch. You'll tell me when you're ready."

Cordelia lifted a hand to the slayer's chin and used her index finger to force her girlfriend's eyes up to meet hers. "The thing is, Summers, I think I'm ready. I've been thinking about it a lot...well, a whole lot lately and I just wanted to be sure that we're both ready to sleep together again."

Buffy shook her head. "Cor, I don't want to rush you back into anything. I'm sorry I even brought it up, if it takes years to get back to the way it was, I will completely understand." She paused a moment and shook her head again. "Well, maybe not exactly the same as they were, but you know what I mean," she added softly.

Cordelia nodded slowly and leaned forward to kiss the slayer gently. She pulled away slightly and rested her forehead against Buffy's lightly. "I know."

Buffy nodded and smiled sadly. "There's just a few things I have to ask before we go any further, in a physical sense as well as in this conversation." When Cordelia nodded, Buffy continued. "This may be a really weird question, but I need to know if there's anything I can do to avoid reminding you of the attack. Anything at all."

Cordelia's chin quivered and her heart swelled almost painfully in her chest. She smiled lovingly at her girlfriend and kissed her tenderly. "You are so good to me," she murmured softly. Buffy smiled and raised an eyebrow to her unanswered request. "Um...I know it would make me feel better to be on top at least until we're more comfortable being together again," she confessed quietly.

"Done," Buffy replied without a second's regard.

Cordelia smiled appreciatively and bowed her head. "A few times they came at me from behind and grabbed me so I'm a little uncomfortable with being held onto from behind." Buffy nodded silently, mentally making a list in her head of things to remember. "I just need us to go slow...ya know, ease back into things. That's all really."

Buffy smiled at Cordelia's willingness to try to repair the seemingly last affected portion of their relationship and she kissed the brunette softly. "I'll tell ya what. You can dictate everything if you want. You decide how far and how fast and I'll take my cues from you, okay?"

Cordelia pondered this option for a moment and shook her head. "I don't think that's the right way to go about this particular problem, honey. Let's just take things slow and I'll let you know if I'm not ready for something, okay?"

Buffy studied her girlfriend carefully and nodded, giving the brunette a stern look. "Baby, you just have to swear on my life that the second you don't feel right about anything, you tell me and I'll stop. I don't want any guilt or bad feelings between us about this, okay?" Cordelia, for the millionth time in the last three years, thanked her lucky stars for the amazing girl sitting across from her on the bed and she nodded, not trusting her voice at the moment. Buffy leaned in to kiss her again. "As long as you promise me that, I'll be fine with any slowness that needs to take place."

Cordelia lifted a hand to her chest and made a crossing motion over her heart. "Promise."

The pair shared a kiss and a smile before getting ready for bed and settling in for the night.


"Hello?" Faith mumbled as she picked up the phone. It was a little past three a.m. and she was wondering who the hell would be calling her at this hour.

"Faith," Angel's voice broke across the line sounding pained and shaky.

Faith sat up suddenly. "Ace?" she asked frantically.

"Hello, pet," Spike said teasingly.

Faith jumped from her bed and began getting dressed as she cradled the phone between her ear and her shoulder. "Spike, what do you want?" she asked angrily.

Spike chuckled. "Listen up, slayer. I'm the one making the rules here, so you need to pay close attention or your boy here's gonna get it."

"Spill it, bleach boy, now," she ordered as she pulled her shoes on and ran to Buffy's room to wake her up.

"Meet us at the mansion near Shady Acres in twenty minutes, you and the blonde have something we want and if you want your boy back, you'll give it to us."

Before she could say anything else, the line went dead. She explained the situation to Buffy and the two slayers grabbed some weapons and bolted from the house, cursing the fact that Xander had their jeep to work on it. They both took off at a full sprint towards the mansion at the edge of the cemetery.

They slowed their pace once they reached the old mansion and managed to get a peek inside through one of the windows. They saw Angel tied to a chair in the middle of the room with Spike and Kakistos talking quietly in the corner.

"Do we have a plan?" Buffy whispered.

Faith shook her head and crept to the front door. "Nope. We just go in and kick ass, praying we come out alive."

Buffy rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Faith, we can't go in blind like that, we'll get our asses kicked and you know it."

Faith spun around and looked Buffy dead in the eye. "It's Angel, B. We can't just leave him here, we have to help him."

Buffy saw how desperate Faith looked and finally nodded. The pair moved to the door and opened it slowly keeping their senses tuned.

"In here, slayers," Spike's voice rang out a moment later.

They shared an annoyed look and did their best to hide their weapons as they moved into the next room. The two vamps were smiling widely as they stood next to Angel on either side of him.

"Spike, let him go," Faith practically growled out through a clenched jaw.

The platinum vamp grinned and shook his head playfully. "Nope. Here's the deal. We both want slayer blood, my buddy here needs it, and I'm just aching for some juicy bits from the likes of you two. You give us the blood, we give you your boy. That's the deal. Leave now and we kill him."

The slayers shared a look, both had a similar plan forming and they moved towards the vamps. As soon as she was close enough, Spike grabbed Buffy roughly and pulled her close. She resisted initially, but gave in trying to remember what was at stake.

Her fingertips rested on the top of her stake in the waist of her jeans as she tilted her head to the side for the vamp. She winced in pain as his fangs dug into her neck and she grasped her stake fully in her hand. Her eyesight was swimming from the loss of blood and she became slow and unsteady as she pulled the stake out and turned quickly, burying the wood in Spike's chest. A moment later, he dissolved into dust and the two slayers turned to Kakistos, who was grinning at them.

He was now standing behind Angel with a knife to his throat. "Don't do anything stupid, slayers. Try that with me and I'll kill him slowly, and you'll have just enough blood left to watch him die."

Buffy collapsed to her knees as she brought a shaky hand to her neck to try to staunch the bleeding. Faith began to panic when the vamp nicked Angel's throat enough to make him bleed, but not enough to kill him. She stole a glance at Buffy, who was crawling around on the floor, trying desperately to keep a hold on her stake and her consciousness as she moved closer to their enemy.

Faith made a decision and moved in closer to Kakistos and cocked her head to the side. She rested a hand on Angel's shoulder and he gripped her hand in his. "Ace, if he gets us, promise you guys will get him for us."

Angel looked up at her with wide, disbelieving eyes and shook his head wearily. "No, Faith, don't do this for me. Let him take me, get Buffy out of here. Once he kills you, he'll kill me and Buffy as well. If I die, you and Buffy live. Go now."

Faith gave him a teary smile and squeezed his hand before glaring up at the massive vamp. "Do it before I change my mind."

Faith squeezed Angel's hand tightly as the vampire's fangs sunk into the tender flesh of her neck and began to drain the life from her.

Just as she began to get dizzy and the room began to spin, a huge crash came from the other side of the room. Faith had just enough time to pull away and shove Angel out of the path of the jeep before it crashed into the huge vampire. The huge new four by four stake attached to the front of the beast rammed the mammoth vampire straight through the heart and they all watched as he collapsed before turning to dust in front of them.

As her vision grew darker, Faith saw Xander, Giles and Riley standing above her yelling, but their voices were cloudy and unclear. She closed her eyes for a moment hoping everyone would be safe and the new slayer would be good enough to keep her loved ones safe from harm.


The first thing she saw when she opened her eyes was a set of concerned chestnut eyes watching her carefully. A smile crept to Cordelia's lips as her girlfriend awoke and she was on her feet in an instant, grasping Buffy's hand in hers. Buffy blinked her eyes rapidly trying to clear her foggy vision. She looked up at Cordelia with confused eyes. "What happened?" she asked softly, her voice raspy and cracked.

Cordelia shook her head. "Shh, baby, don't talk. Spike did some damage to your vocal chords, Drew told me to make sure you don't talk too much until they heal."

Buffy nodded and raised an eyebrow, trying to silently urge her girlfriend into talking about what was going on. Cordelia smiled and pulled her chair closer. "Faith and Angel are fine. Everyone is okay, so don't worry about that. Spike and Kakistos are dust. Doyle had a vision about you three dying by his hand...or his mouth, whatever. Doyle called Giles and Giles called Xander since he knew he was working on the jeep with Riley and they all headed to the mansion and saved the day."

Buffy smiled and nodded, squeezing her girlfriend's hand lightly. Cordelia leaned down and kissed her a few times on the lips and once on the forehead. "Drew said Angel will be out of here tonight, but you and Coop need to stay a few days." She paused and lowered her head, trying to be strong, but a few tears escaped. "You died, Buffy. Your heart stopped for a few seconds before they shocked you back. Baby, you died," she told the slayer brokenly.

Buffy's chin quivered at her girlfriend's anguish and she tugged at her hand, motioning for Cordelia to get into the bed with her. She eased herself into the bed gently, trying not to disturb the slayer in any way and they wrapped their arms around each other and held each other close.

It wasn't long before the slayer fell asleep in her girlfriend's warm embrace and Cordelia remained awake for the rest of the night watching her girlfriend, alive and breathing, sleep peacefully in a drug induced slumber.


"So are you sure you're feeling okay?" Cordelia asked her girlfriend. Buffy gave her a nod and a smile. "Baby, I'm fine," she replied hoarsely.

Cordelia frowned at Buffy's poor voice and kissed her lightly. "I just want to make sure. You aren't sore or anything?"

The slayer shook her head and curled up to her girlfriend tighter under the blankets of her bed. "Slayer healing does wonders...except for my vocal chords apparently."

Cordelia smiled tenderly at the slayer and wrapped her arms around her tighter. "I think it sounds kinda sexy."

Buffy raised an eyebrow and lifted her head to face the brunette fully. She was caught off guard when she saw the familiar flame of lustiness in Cordelia's eyes. It had been months since they had been together and Buffy had almost forgotten how those eyes caused her blood to travel south and make her breath hitch in her throat. She smiled and kissed Cordelia teasingly, looking up flirtatiously through her lashes. "Oh really?"

Cordelia's breathing seemed to increase slightly due to the look the slayer had given her and the incredibly sexy rasp in her voice. She nodded mutely and seized the slayer's lips in a slow burning kiss. The kiss seemed to engulf them both as their hands began to roam feeling out familiar yet seemingly new curves of each other's bodies and when it broke, both girls were slightly out of breath.

Buffy closed her eyes a moment, burning this moment into her brain as one of the best in her life and she smiled as her eyes opened. "You have no idea what you do to me."

Cordelia smiled coyly and her fingers suddenly found the buttons of Buffy's pajama top. The slayer remained still, not knowing how far to go until the top was completely undone. She gazed at her girlfriend carefully for a moment. "Whatcha doing over there?" she asked playfully, trying to keep things light.

The brunette smiled sexily and removed the item from her girlfriend's body. She slowly undressed the slayer fully before removing her own clothes and pulled Buffy into another heart- stopping kiss. She rolled them over slightly until she was hovering about the gorgeous body beneath hers and she looked deep into the set of hazel eyes watching her closely. "Buffy, I meant what I said a few weeks ago about being ready. I realized that I don't have anything to be afraid of. You are the last person on this Earth that would ever hurt me and I feel like I've had this hole inside without that closeness we had before." She pressed a gentle finger to the slayer's lips when she saw Buffy attempt to protest. "Listen to me, sweetie, I love you and I know, every inch of my depths knows, that you love me too. I want us to be that close again and I want to trust you and have you trust me...please."

Buffy bit back the sting of tears in her eyes and she smiled. "Anything," she replied simply, knowing she could never deny Cordelia anything...ever.

The brunette smiled lovingly at her girlfriend and leaned forward to capture her lips again in a slow, deliberate kiss. As their bodies moved rhythmically together, they felt as if they were sliding over the edge into the chasm of light that can only be brought on by the touch of a lover so sincere that it would hurt your heart to feel the love incased inside. Breathing in the air that your lover exhales. Senses so heightened that the tiny glint of candle lights reflected in the others eyes became a beacon back to reality. The scent of jasmine and arousal intertwined became intoxicating.

Becoming one. Being so in love with each other that their heartbeats were synchronized and every touch was laced with a fire so deep it almost scorched. But the touches were so gentle that they could never scorch. Only heal. Foreheads with little crinkles pressed together and two sets of eyes so transfixed on the other it was borderline trance-like. The fear that if they looked away, they might never see those eyes again. That very thought stole every ounce of air from their lungs and they felt they could die on the spot. Sweat soaked bodies pressed so tightly together that they appeared to be melded together. Not a breath of air between them. They fit so perfectly together it's as if they were specifically made to only fit together. Feather light kisses graced each set of lips so sweet that it tasted like a new dawn or a fresh rain. No other being on the planet was meant to possess either soul the way they possessed each other. Binded by love. Forever. A small cry of pleasure from the blonde and a tiny moan from the brunette and the world stood still. For a moment it was them. No other sights or smells or noises. Two bodies, two minds, and two souls bound together so tightly that even death couldn't separate in that instant. For either of them to say I love you would be an understatement. Saying anything at all at that moment would be an understatement...so hazel eyes and chestnut eyes remain locked and phantom touches said all that needed to be said. Two souls...complete.


Cordelia checked her mailbox quickly before she left the house to go to Buffy and Faith's for the night. She was still a little wigged about the fact that her girlfriend had died and been brought back to life so she was spending as much time by her side constantly reassuring herself Buffy was alive and well. She sorted through a stack of letters from the IRS for her parents before finding the two letters she'd been waiting for all month. She opened the first letter and nearly fainted when she saw she'd made a 1460 on her SAT's and she shoved the second letter into her back pocket and headed to the slayers' house.

"Summers? Coop?" she called out as she walked in.

"In here, baby," came Buffy's still hoarse reply.

Cordelia smiled unconsciously at just hearing Buffy's voice and she dropped her bag, heading for the kitchen. She found the slayers sitting at the island eating pizza and she kissed Buffy lightly before taking a seat next to her.

"Hey," Buffy purred out softly. Her voice was still damaged a bit and she scowled when her `I'm trying to be sexy voice' came out sounding scratchy and not very sexy in her opinion.

Cordelia smiled nonetheless, she thought it was sexy. "Hey, baby girl," she replied with another kiss.

Faith rolled her eyes, but she was secretly elated that things between her soon-to-be step-sis and her girl were getting back to normal. "Well, Queeney...SAT's?" she asked with a raised eyebrow. Cordelia grinned. "1460, you?" she asked as she ran a hand through Buffy's hair.

"1410," Faith replied with a shrug.

Cordelia gave her an approving smile and turned to the blonde next to her. "And you?"

Buffy gave her a shy smile. "1474," she replied softly.

Cordelia squealed in delight and hugged her girlfriend tightly. "We are so awesome," she replied with a huge grin as she sat back down. "We could be like the next Charlie's Angel's or something. We're all smart and sexy and we kick ass...well, you two do, I'm just here for my looks."

Buffy grinned and rolled her eyes. "Actually, I think that's already in the works and Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore are already signed."

Cordelia shrugged and gave a wave of her hand. "Ah, oh well. So, I think we should hit the Bronze tonight to celebrate, you two in?"

The slayers both grinned and nodded. "Amy and Willow are both all about celebrating, but apparently Xander was pretty down about his scores," Buffy told her with a cringe.

"What did he get?" Cordelia asked.

Buffy and Faith both shrugged. "Dunno, Queeney. He wouldn't tell anyone."

Cordelia frowned for a moment thinking about Xander, but she smiled a moment later. "Well, he can always take them again, and we can go out tonight to cheer him up."

"I'll give X and Maddy a call to let them know, be right back," Faith said as she headed to the living room.

Buffy leaned in for a tender kiss after Faith left and looked up at Cordelia with proud eyes. "What's a brain like you doing with a thug like me?" she asked playfully.

Cordelia gave her a fond smile. "They say opposites attract. Besides, I'm not the only brain, you did better than I did."

Buffy blushed and pulled Cordelia into a hug, sticking her hands into the back pockets of the brunette's jeans. The slayer looked up at her girlfriend and gave her a curious smile as she pulled the envelope from behind her. Cordelia's eyes got wide and she reached for the letter, but Buffy pulled it away. "What's this?" she asked as she scanned it carefully. "Better portrait dot com?" she asked with a glance at the brunette.

Cordelia sighed and gave Buffy a hopeful smile. "I entered a photo contest for a portrait and that's their response probably telling me I suck and my SAT scores will come in handy for a real job one day."

Buffy looked up with a wide smile. "Baby, I didn't know that. Aw, Cor, why didn't you tell me?"

Cordelia blushed and shrugged. "I wasn't sure it was any good."

Buffy handed her back the letter and gave her an expectant look. "You gonna open it?" she prompted.

The cheerleader scanned the envelope for a moment and shook her head, shoving it back into Buffy's hands quickly. "I can't...will you do it for me?" she asked quietly.

Buffy nodded and gave her a quick kiss. She opened the letter and began to read it aloud. "Dear Miss Chase, we are delighted to inform you that your stunning portrait won first prize in our latest contest and will now represent the state of California for the national portrait competition for amateur photographers, blah, blah, blah." Buffy paused and looked up at Cordelia with a huge grin. "Baby, you won first place, that is so amazing!"

Cordelia stood stunned for a moment until she snatched the letter from Buffy to read for herself. After a moment she looked up and Buffy pulled her into a huge hug.

Faith came in a minute later and found Buffy spinning Cordelia around in circles and wondered what was going on now. She hugged the Queen tightly when she found out the news and the three girls spent the rest of the afternoon chatting excitedly about all the fabulous news that day.


"So, Will you got 1520, Cordy got 1460, Buff got 1470, Coop's at 1410, Finn got 1380, and Ames brought in 1330...damn, you girls are not only hot, but you're smart, too," Xander said with a grin that was almost genuine...about 90 percent genuine, he was still a bit jealous.

"X, will you please just tell us what you got?" Faith almost whined as she nudged him.

Xander shook his head. "Nope, instead I will wander off to find new friends that share my lack of brains."

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Do you have them with you, Harris?" she asked.

Xander nodded. "Yup, they are currently under lock and key in the safety of my wallet. They're taking the place of the money I don't have and apparently will never have because I will be working at Double Meat Palace for the rest of my natural born life."

Cordelia shared a look with Buffy, and then Faith and suddenly all three women pounced on him, tackling him to the floor. Cordelia grabbed his wallet while the slayers held him down. She pulled out the paper and glanced over it for a moment before giving Xander a look. "Harris, you're whining because you got 1190? That's a perfectly good score. You'll get into college with that."

Amy gave him a proud smile and hugged him once he got up. "Babe, that's great! 1190 is a fabulous score, why were you so worried?"

Xander shrugged and draped an arm around her shoulders once they were seated again. "I dunno. Your scores are all super high, and I just feel like a tool sometimes because you're all super witch and you guys are slayers and I'm just a dumb football player."

Surprising everyone, Cordelia reached across the table and grasped his free hand. "Xander, you're not just a dumb football player. You are smart and funny and athletic. You always have a joke to make us laugh when things get too deep. You're a really great guy and if you would just let yourself see that, you'd be amazed."

Xander stared at her for a moment; completely shocked Cordelia felt that way about him. His face suddenly formed an appreciative smile and he squeezed her hand lightly. "Thanks, Cordy."

She smiled again and shrugged. "Me, Riley and Will apparently missed the boat for super powers too, so it's no big deal."

Buffy stood up from the table a moment later. "You guys need anything? I'm gonna grab another drink."

Once she'd received drink orders, the blonde headed to the bar and Cordelia watched her from her seat with a loving smile on her face. It shifted into a scowl when she saw Kate slide up next to the slayer, too close for Cordelia's comfort and the pair began talking. Her anger grew when the drummer shot a smirk over her shoulder and laid a hand on Buffy's arm. She stood up and marched to the bar, moving to Buffy's other side and wrapping an arm around her waist.

"Hi, Cordy," Kate said with a tight smile.

Cordelia gave her a short, very fake smile and turned back to the slayer. "You wanna get out of here soon?"

Buffy kissed her lightly and nodded. "Yeah, just give me a minute to talk to Kate about the band and we can do whatever you want, baby."

Cordelia nodded and kissed the slayer again and noticed Kate's smirk still in place. Once her girlfriend sat back down with their friends, Buffy turned to Kate. "So, what was your idea?"

Kate grinned widely. "Well, I was just thinking that instead of selling our CD's, we should give them away. The more people that hear us, the better."

Buffy sighed and took a sip of her water. "Kate, to be honest, I'm not sure I even want Oz in the band anymore. After what he did to Willow, I don't think I can stand to be around him."

Kate tilted her head and squeezed Buffy's arm. "How is it any worse than what you did with me?" she asked with an eyebrow raised. Buffy shot her an annoyed glance and she pulled her arm out of Kate's grasp gently, resting it back on the bar. "Kate, what happened with us was a drunken mistake. I'm sorry. I think you're great, but me and Cor are back together and my heart is hers, you know that."

Kate's smile turned into a sexy smirk and she trailed a finger down Buffy's arm. "Look, Buff, all I'm saying is that Oz was in the band first and he didn't do anything worse than you did." Kate paused and caught the slayer's eyes dead on. "I still think about that night we had together. It was amazing. Your fingers in my hair and scratching down my back. I'd give just about anything for a repeat of that night."

"Too bad she's mine and you'll have to keep your fantasies about my girlfriend in your head, drummer girl," Cordelia broke in with a smug grin as she approached. She glanced at the slayer. "You ready?"

Buffy nodded and grasped Cordelia's hand, glancing back at Kate. "See ya, Kate."

Kate gave them a small wave and smirked at Cordelia when the slayer was turned around. "Bye girls."

The slayer and her girlfriend said good bye to their friends and headed outside to go home. Buffy became concerned when she kept trying to make small talk in the car and her girlfriend would either nod or shrug, not saying a word.

The silence got to be too much to bear and as soon as they were upstairs in Buffy's room, the slayer turned to her girlfriend. "What's up, Cor?"

Cordelia shook her head and began changing into pajamas. "Nothing," she replied in a tight voice.

Buffy sighed and sat down on the bed running her fingers through her hair. "Baby, you know I only want you."

Cordelia rolled her eyes and sat down in the desk chair, turning to the slayer. "Does the bitch know that?"

Buffy rolled her eyes internally and gave her girlfriend a pointed look. "You know I've talked to her about everything and she knows that we're back together and what she and I did was a mistake."

Cordelia shook her head and sighed. "Summers, you may have told her that, but she doesn't want to hear it. The looks she gives me when the two of you are standing together and you aren't looking are really starting to piss me off."

Buffy's cell phone interrupted the pair and the slayer sighed and dug through her bag to find it. "Hello?" Buffy met Cordelia's eyes and cringed slightly. "Hey Kate, what's up?" She listened for a moment and nodded. "I can be there." She nodded again and shot her girlfriend an apologetic glance, getting an eye rolling in return. "Okay, I'll see you tomorrow. Bye."

"Little drummer girl can't get enough of you it seems," Cordelia told her with a shake of her head.

"Cor, let it go. She and Oz and Dave met up after we left and they want to practice tomorrow. It's no big deal, we are in a band together," the slayer told her, her annoyance over this situation growing by the minute.

"I understand that, Summers, but she needs to quit being such a smug bitch to me about the fact that you fucked her," Cordelia said with a glare, growing more angry her girlfriend was defending the drummer. Buffy clamped her eyes shut and sighed heavily. "Cor, please can we let this go? I really don't want this ruining the rest of our night. I love you and only you, you have nothing to worry about."

Cordelia sighed and stood up, gathering her things together. "I think I'm gonna go home tonight. I'm not feeling too great."

Buffy frowned and shook her head. "Cor, come on, don't let this mess with us. Kate's just being a bitch, let it go."

Cordelia shook her head and kissed the slayer lightly. "I'm fine. I'm just gonna head home and get some rest."

Buffy rolled her eyes and clenched her jaw, her pride rearing its ugly head. "Fine, if you're gonna get like this I'll just see you tomorrow."

Cordelia nodded and opened the bedroom door. "Just call me when you and Kate are done...whenever you can fit me into your schedule."

Buffy let out a frustrated sigh and followed her girlfriend out the door and down the stairs. "Don't make it sound like I'm picking her over you. You're the one leaving and I have practice tomorrow, don't do that, Cor."

Cordelia flung the front door open and marched out to her car, throwing her stuff in the backseat before she spun around and faced her girlfriend. "Look, Summers, just go back inside and I'll go home and we can both cool off. I really don't want us to start saying things we're going to regret tomorrow."

Buffy shook her head angrily. "Why don't you just accuse me of wanting to fuck her again. That's pretty much what you're implying. Just say it to my face. You and I both know you have doubts about me staying faithful, why don't you just say it to my face, Cor."

Cordelia took a step closer and gave the slayer an angry glare. "Are you asking my permission this time? How thoughtful of you, at least this time it won't be a fucking secret you keep for weeks."

Buffy glared at Cordelia and shook her head angrily. "Just go home," she managed out through clenched teeth.

Cordelia shot her another glare and got in her car and sped down the street. Buffy watched until her taillights had faded and she soon began taking out her frustrations on a few nearby trees. A moment later, she clenched the stake in the waist of her jeans and headed off to find some late night companions to kill.


The next day after her practice with the band, Buffy bypassed a ride home and instead made her way over to her girlfriend's house. When Cordelia opened the door, she didn't look happy and Buffy could tell they weren't done yet.

"Hey," she said quietly.

Cordelia turned around and left the door open without saying anything. Buffy rolled her eyes and followed her girlfriend into the house back to the kitchen. Cordelia sat at the table and sipped her coffee while Buffy grabbed a mug for herself.

"Are you still not talking to me?" Buffy asked once she was settled across the table from Cordelia. The cheerleader shrugged and continued scanning the newspaper, pretending to be disinterested.

Buffy began getting angry again and she sighed and shook her head. "Cor, can we please handle this like grown ups instead of being so childish about it?"

Cordelia shot her a glare and closed the paper. "What do you want to talk about?" she asked looking bored.

Buffy clenched her jaw and shook her head. "Last night and our stupid fight maybe?"

"I really don't feel like talking about it," she told Buffy quietly.

Buffy sighed in frustration. "Cor, why are you making such a big deal out of this, it's not like I want her and I'm flirting with her or something."

Cordelia sighed heavily and ran a hand through her hair. "Look, Summers, you don't get it. Not only do you know that she's being a bitch to me and shooting me dirty looks, but you let her. You don't seem to care and when I get upset about it, you defend her."

Buffy shot up out of her chair and shook her head angrily. "I do not defend her!"

Cordelia bolted up as well and pointed a finger at the slayer. "Don't even try to tell me that you don't defend her when I get pissed off about the bitchy looks she's been giving me. You brush it off saying she's just being a bitch and that's bullshit!"

Buffy shot her a glare and turned to leave. She spun around when she got to the kitchen doorway, shaking in barely controlled fury. "Look, Cordelia, I've done nothing but try to show you that you mean everything to me, but you have got to let this thing go. If you can't get past this stupid mistake I made then we're never going to make it."

Cordelia clenched her jaw and shook her head. "If you can't understand what her behavior is doing to me and how it makes me feel, maybe we shouldn't be together."

Buffy stood and stared at her incredulously. "You want to break up again?" She shook her head in disbelief, pointing her finger at the brunette angrily. "Don't you dare wake me up tomorrow telling me that things have been messed up and your head was all over the place. I don't want to hear it if it's gonna be like that."

Cordelia shot her an angry glare and shook her head. "I'd hate to have to wake you up after another fun night with Kate, so you really don't have to worry about that. Tell the drummer girl I said hi by the way."

Buffy shook her head, almost sick at the comment the brunette made. "You can be such a bitch." With that, she spun around and left the house.


The slayer and her girlfriend remained broken up for the summer. Cordelia ended up going to Spain with her parents for the summer and Buffy and the gang remained in Sunnydale. Riley graduated with honors and moved into a house off campus with Angel and joined him at UC Sunnydale. The two of them received regular phone calls from Cordelia throughout the summer to check up on everyone and they could both tell she was absolutely miserable without Buffy. But she refused to swallow her pride and take her friends' advice to call the slayer and make up.

Buffy spent most of her summer hanging out with the gang by day and slaying by night. She ended up quitting the band and told Kate to stay away from her for good. She was miserable without Cordelia around and spent most of the summer a complete zombie, running on autopilot.

Angel and Faith ended up getting back together after watching their best friends' relationship fall apart and they finally realized they should truly take full advantage of the time they could be together and not let anything silly or trivial stand in their way.

Joyce and Brad's wedding brought the entire group back together for one big bash before school and it was a beautiful ceremony.

Cordelia and Buffy barely spoke the entire night, still not knowing what to say to each other. The melancholy undertones were there, but not entirely noticeable as everyone just tried let go and have a good time.

Their school year had ended on a relatively low note. Cordelia's disappearance had been the event that started everything on the downward spiral it seemed to be on. They had defeated both Spike and Kakistos and that had been a huge victory for them, but their group as a whole had lots of problems within and they all prayed it would be fixed and back to normal by the time school started for their senior year.