Dead Waiting
by Buffonia

The hallway is thick and smoky, but Buffy has learned to not breathe deep in this place. A steamy fog infiltrates the barrier of her lips, filling her lungs. She coughs and wonders who is fucking the Fofumidus demon tonight. Because it used to be her until she complained to Madame Meretricis about not being able to breathe when the thing got its rocks off. Damn smoke. Bad memories. She quickens her pace down past the rows of doors.

Fixing her long braid, Buffy deftly twists and tucks the long blonde strands into their entwined perfection as she strides to the front of the building. The air is somewhat clearer here but not pleasant enough for generous inhalation.

"You've got ten minutes 'til your next client, Toots."

"I only need five, Vicki," Buffy shrugs, in an effort to casually admit her own immunity to this gig as she pulls on her vinyl coat with ease.

She steps out back to the employee lounge, between the dumpsters, and closes her eyes. Buzzing traffic at the alley's mouth generates a makeshift breeze. She takes it in, expanding her chest, before lighting up a cigarette. The instant nicotine rush lightens her head, increasing the dizziness from her present hunger. It feels good. Like she could fall and break her head open and just giggle madly.

The pink skirt is so tight that she can only squat beside the brick wall. Crouch down and puff away. Some break. The door crashes open and then closes just as violently, causing Buffy to glance over at the racket. One of the youngest girls is muttering to herself.

"Shit," Kandi curses shakily. She is holding her face and cussing some more under her breath. Buffy squints at her. She's about four years younger than Buffy is. In human years, at least.

Buffy's gaunt cheeks pucker in even more as she exaggerates her last drag on the cigarette before chucking it. She stands and smoothes out her matching vinyl skirt. When Kandi sees the blonde slayer, she stops and her eyes go wide. "Oh. Sorry Buffy, I didn't know—"

"He hit you again," says Buffy, walking to her coworker.

"N-no. This?" Kandi rubs the darkening circle beneath her middle eye. "I kind of forgot some of his, um, money." She laughs nervously. "He just gave me a little reminder is all."

"A post-it note is a little reminder," counters Buffy. "*That* is a black eye."

"No big. Got two more," Kandi says, forcing a weak smile. As her facial muscles tighten, a green fluid trickles from the violated eye.

"You're oozing."

Kandi reaches up and fingers the slime. "Shit!"

"Come on, we'll clean you up." Buffy takes her arm and starts pulling the young demon towards the building.

"But you're on break, aren't you?" she protests. "Don't worry about me."

"I have to go wash up before my three o'clock anyways," says Buffy. The slayer turns and spits some nicotine flavored saliva onto the ground then wipes her mouth with a vinyl sleeve. "Let's go."


"Keep looking up," Buffy orders, wiping at the goo with a wad of toilet paper. "Up, Kandi."

"Thanks for this," Kandi says, rolling her eyes skyward obediently. "It's really nice of you."

"Don't mention it." Buffy folds the white squares and continues dabbing. "To anyone."

"Oh I won't, don't worry," Kandi smiles conspiringly. "I get how you have to keep the whole tough slayer image thing going."

"Don't look down, keep your eyes up," Buffy stresses.


"He really got the million dollar hit, didn't he?" Buffy thinks out loud.

"No surprise there," Kandi sighs. The sigh is tired and self-satirical. "He's logged the practice time." Her gaze flickers again to Buffy.

"Up Kandi. At the fucking ceiling. The thing you stare at all day? Look at it some more."

Kandi giggles. "Sorry."

"You should tell Em."

"What?" Jerking her head out of Buffy's grasp, her eyes go round in shock. "No way! If Madame found out I was working on the side, she'd throw me out on my tail. Then I'd be totally screwed. I'd be a dead girl streetwalking. Which kinda freaks me out, even though I'd probably be better off."

"Don't say that." Buffy's forehead wrinkles in disgust. "You don't want to die."

"Why not?"

"Because death isn't the answer, Dawn."

Three blood red eyes blink in simultaneous confusion. "Huh?"

It's already said and Buffy can't wish away a simple slip of the tongue. Buffy looks down at the cracked tile floor and blinks. The cracks are filled with dust and dirt. But as Buffy stares, the cracks seem to become soft with life. Slits between the tiling look like wounds. And the grime is dried blood. And the floor is an arm. Bathrooms are always filled with death. "So dirty," she murmurs.

"Are you okay, Buffy?"

The blonde doesn't look up. Her stare is blank and white and pale. "I gotta...go. Three. Three o'clock is here." She turns and hurries out of the bathroom. Into the enveloping stench of the hallway that is thick with the life and demon sex. A welcome distraction from the restroom's scent of death.

She walks dazedly to the last door at the center of the corridor. Best room in the building. Hell, best space on the block. Because she's the prize piece of ass. The slayer that can't be killed, but you can ride her like hell for a shiny nickel. Wasn't that the punchline? Buffy can't remember what the fliers said. Something like that, she's sure. But that was a few years ago and Buffy has trouble remembering things from last week.

The novelty of her presence was nearly gone now. Demons had swarmed back then, paid, fucked her. The stupid ones tried to attack her after realization of the moment set in. She killed them easy. The smart ones just grinned and pushed her to her knees. She only killed those ones a few times. Until management had a word with her. Can't kill the customers. You can beat'em 'til they bleed and screw'em 'til they smoke (Ugh. Fofumidus demons) but you can't kill them unless they ask.

When she opens her door, it isn't some veiny, naked demon with a hard on waiting for her. It's worse.

"Cordelia?" Buffy's heart stops. Then flutters rapidly. Erratically. Blood rushing through her ears with pounding heartbeats. Damn, her chest hurts.

The young woman is wearing a white suit jacket buttoned just below her shadow of cleavage. Her pants are white too and cropped above the ankle. Buffy wonders how she could wear such a bright suit out and into this place without getting a speck of dirt on it.

"Wow, you recognized me. Which means you're probably drug free," says Cordelia as she rises from the bed. She's smiling, but it must be a forced smile, because no one ever smiles when they see Buffy. They run or they sneer. They never smile. But Cordelia's pushing a thousand watts with that smirk as she moves towards the slayer.

Buffy steps back. Keeping the distance. "You-you're Cordelia," Buffy repeats slowly. Brow creasing and eyes moving around the room in disbelief.

Cordy pauses and raises up her hands in mock surrender. "Okay, drugs aren't being ruled out anymore..."

"You're Cordelia. And you're here. And you're...blonde."

"And ironically it looks more natural than yours." Cordelia smiles again and brushes her hand over her own shoulder length honey blondeness. "Funny world, huh?"

Buffy closes the gap between them with one stride and a hard left hook. It's a satisfying thud as Cordy hits the floor.

"Apparently the hair is a sensitive subject with you. I respect that." Still calmly sarcastic, Cordy pushes herself up. They are facing each other now. Smile to seething frown. As a quick slayer fist beams toward her, Cordelia miraculously dodges it and takes hold of Buffy's wrist. Buffy is powerless and still glaring but Cordy just arches a brow in reply.

"How did you get in?" Her hazel eyes are wild with fury. "No human could have walked through that door. Not even if they paid a thousand bucks."

"You're probably right," Cordy nods and tightens her grip on Buffy's arm.

Buffy winces. "What are you?"

"Your three o'clock."

The smug way that Cordelia says it, through her white tooth smile, makes Buffy burn from the inside out. She wants to smash that smile with a metal bat. She wants to see those pretty teeth scattered on the stained carpet. She wants Cordelia Chase to slowly bleed to death from the toothless holes in her gums that would be there if only Buffy had a goddamned metal bat. Because Buffy doesn't want to feel the want that comes with wanting to fuck. But it's there. That good down low tickle. Thanks to Cordelia and her smile and her holier-than-thou new suit.

When she reaches out again, it's to pull Cordelia to her lips. Slayer mouth devouring the taste of Cordelia Fucking Chase's tongue in her mouth. As they kiss, Cordelia doesn't release Buffy's wrist. Instead she reaches behind her own head and grabs hold of Buffy's other hand. As Buffy is pushed onto the bed, her expression is quizzical at best.

"Me? But aren't you the client?" Buffy is all flustered and breathing heavy and just trying to clear up the confusion. Not protest. She's stripping quickly, pulling off her jacket in one fluid motion.

"Actually you are *my* job of work at the moment," Cordelia explains while slowly undoing diamond studded button after diamond studded button of her crisp suit jacket. "You see, Buffy, I got a promotion." The jacket is off and Cordelia is bare breasted and beautiful. Buffy is already naked, having torn free of her own clothes moments ago, so she reaches out to help Cordy with her pants.

Cordelia allows this and continues her nonchalant explanation as the pants slide down her legs and she steps out of them. "You're a warrior. We need you in warfare, not whore fare." The tiny blonde scoots back on the mattress and Cordelia climbs on.

"We?" Buffy looks up into Cordy's eyes.

"The powers." Cordy's lips tickle Buffy's with the answer. They are connected at the mouth again. Buffy groans as her limbs go warm and limp. Fingers on her pussy. Fingers in her pussy.

"Oh God!" Buffy cries, bucking up into Cordelia's soft body.

"That's goddess to you," says Cordelia, huskily, as she trails her way down Buffy's neck. Over her breasts. Lick. Nip. Past her bellybutton. Into the dampness. Buffy's jaw opens and closes with incoherent encouragement to Cordelia's swift mouth.

It's all warm again, traveling through Buffy's veins. So warm. Flooding heat. And it takes Buffy a moment to notice the white light that radiates from the demon women who is eating her out. But the room is getting brighter and Buffy can't focus because she's approaching the brink of one hell of an orgasm. Maybe three.

The light tickles and Buffy can feel it as it enters her from Cordy's mouth. A pushing sensation. Shoving all that hardness that's been building in Buffy for years now. Flash of Sunnydale. Of coming home late from work to a dark house. The stairway is soaking wet. Water running from upstairs.

"No," Buffy squeezes her eyes tight and shakes her head. Fighting the helplessness that comes with the proximity of blissful orgasms and painful memories.

"Let it go, Buffy." It's Cordy's voice, but it's in Buffy's head. And it's walking up those stairs with her. Each step that is sopping with pools of water. At the top step, the water becomes pink.

"Can't. No. Can't go in there," Buffy is on the bed and tearing at her own hair and it feels so good that Cordy is there between her legs and in that house on Rovello Drive at the same time. She hates to go into that bathroom alone. The light is on. The only light on in the house and it's bright in comparison. But the door is only open a jar. Water everywhere and it isn't a pretty pink anymore.

"Dawnie..." Buffy chokes on a sob as the white light continues up her neck. She has to go in. Has to. So close to cumming. So close to screaming. So close to...finding Dawn again.

"I'm always here. Keep moving. You're a fighter. Fight this." Cordelia's voice again, yet her mother's words this time.

Push the door open. You know what's going to be there. Submerged in a watery mix of blood and bathwater. Long brown hair floating around her young face. Dawn looks like a silent mermaid with wide open eyes, her form shimmering in the tub. Giles in England. Anya and Xander on their honeymoon. Willow away at rehab. Spike never came back. Buffy all alone with the suicidal little mermaid.

"Dawn!!!" Buffy screams. And she is released. Quaking, bucking; victim to the chill and shivers of getting off. Getting out of that dark place. Into the brightness. And it doesn't stop. Keeps going on and on. One brilliant wave of rolling ecstasy after another. Buffy knows that Cordelia is the light. Just as she is the voice too.

The glowing blanket of luminance is covering them both. Melting the hate and hard spots. Melding and fusing Buffy's core with strength and slayer-steeled resolve. Shattering the hurt like the deceptive glass it is.

Cordy again. "Let it go, baby. Let it go." It's like a deep breath that Buffy's been holding in since the moment she found Dawn's body. And she is suddenly able to exhale.

Cordelia's light is fading.

As the atmosphere dims again in Room Number SixSixSix, Cordelia rocks back on her heels and watches Buffy shake with fresh tears. Finally, letting go.


Hours later, Buffy is still lying on the sheets, naked. Head resting on her palm, elbow propped on the mattress. In awe, she studies Cordelia who is sitting in a worn chair facing the bed.

Buffy is the first to speak. "I went to the Hyperion right when I got to L.A., you know."

"Actually, I didn't know that," Cordy concedes. "Haven't earned my Omniscient Badge yet."

"You weren't there," says Buffy softly. "Neither was Angel."

Cordy averts her gaze.

"There was just this southern girl and her boyfriend. They didn't know where either of you were." She swallows before continuing. "Seemed shaken up about it too."

"I got back a long time after that," Cordelia murmurs. Still looking at the wall.

"And Angel?" Buffy is desperate. She's wanted these answers for years now.

Cordy looks down and then back into Buffy's hopeful hazel eyes. "We never found him."

The mortal weakness of Cordelia surfaces in this moment, accompanied by tears. "I was supposed to meet him but I was detained, to say the least. When I got back, no one had seen him since that night."

Easing herself off the bed, Buffy moves to Cordy and slides onto her lap. She brushes the salt water off her lover's cheeks. No more drowning for the people she loves.

"At least he knew you loved him," Cordelia murmurs. "I failed him."

Buffy kisses her lightly on the lips and closes her boney arms around the crying demon.

"Let it go, baby," Buffy coaxes. "Let it go."