Keeping Your Distance
by Nikita

Xander Harris.

She gave it all up for him, the popularity, the friends, the confidence. She should have stayed with the college guys and their money and cars, safe in the knowledge that she ruled them all. But instead she had to fall for a dork and get her heart broken. So she had tried to keep her distance from the Scoobies, pretending they meant nothing, and hoping against hope that they didn't realise how much she missed them. They might not have liked her very much, but they cared. And that was something.

Of course, she'd never tell them that. She went about her business, sashaying down the halls, making the same bitchy remarks she always had, but her heart wasn't really in it. It was all defence now, a way to keep them from seeing the pain. It was all his fault. He'd even managed to take the fun out of being a bitch.

Anyway, she hadn't managed to cut them out of her life. They were always there, talking in whispers about some great evil or another, and the worst thing was that she knew. She knew exactly what all the dead bodies were about, all the weirdness and whatever. She knew, and she couldn't just stand by. There was always some big evil that threatened the town... threatened her, more importantly, and as much as she hated to admit it, she cared too.

But it was hard. It wasn't just seeing Xander and Willow, it was seeing Buffy and Faith. She didn't think anyone else had noticed, but Cordelia had a knack of cutting through the crap and getting to the source of things. She saw Willow's growing jealousy of Faith, something that caused Cordelia too much pleasure to be necessarily sane, but whatever, it was about time the red headed nerd knew what betrayal felt like. She caught every glance, ever touch and every smile that passed between them. In time, she felt herself looking for them.

She'd never really liked Buffy. She had dumped Cordelia for Willow and Xander. The dorks. Story of her life. No, Cordelia wasn't good enough for the self- righteous slayer, and she paid that back with venom at every opportunity. The only reason she hadn't gone full out to destroy the little blonde was her annoying habit of saving her life. So she had let it go slightly, and then when Xander came along they had learned to live with each other. Barely.

But one thing Cordelia had never felt towards Buffy was jealousy. Not until now.

Why would she? She was tall, thin, beautiful and smart, although she managed to keep it hidden when needed. Standing next to Buffy, Cordelia still looked like the queen of the world. But there was one thing, one thing that nagged at her, tormented her. People fell in love with Buffy. Head over heels, thud, in love. People didn't fall for Cordelia. Sure, they worshipped her, fell for her image, her style and her life. But not for her. They didn't know who she was. No one took the time to find out.

It wasn't that she was in love with Faith. God no. Cordelia wouldn't have been caught dead with the leather wearing slut. But the way she looked at Buffy, Cordelia would never have admitted it, but she would have given anything to be gazed at that way. To be seen for exactly who she was, and adored anyway. Of that, Cordelia was jealous.

And that was why she was here.

She hadn't exactly followed them, she'd just assumed that this was where they would be after an afternoon's (obsessed much?) slaying. After Faith's "hungry and horny" comment and Buffy's too- nervous denial, she knew this would be the place to work off those energies.

She stood with a hand clasping a drink and watched them. Watched them "dancing" if that was what you could call it. God, she felt like a stalker. She chatted and flirted with as many men as possible, hoping her being there would seem independent if one of them should see her. She needn't have bothered. The two slayers moved in a world that belonged to only them, a world of sensual rhythm and desire, a world they would never leave. Their hips pounded in time with the music, their hands gripping each other's with a strength that would have cause a non- slayer pain.

Feeling slightly flushed, Cordelia suddenly noticed that she had began to move towards them. She stopped abruptly, causing someone to knock into her a spill alcohol on her shirt. She hissed at them before looking down in despair and her wet sleeve. Glancing around, she found that the slayers had left, and sighing to herself, she made her way outside.

She was about to leave when she heard a muffled groan from somewhere in the darkness of the alley. She hesitated for a moment, her ears straining until she heard another, slightly lower this time. Creeping softly towards the sound, she held her breath, almost letting it out in a moan of her own as she craned her neck around the corner and saw Buffy pinned to a wall, Faith pressed against her.

She took a step back and nodded triumphantly to herself. She was right. Cautiously looking around again, she watched the two slayers, their bodies hard against each other, looking into each other's eyes with desire. Cordelia felt a wave of jealousy pass through her once more as their lips met softly, turning in a matter of seconds to uncontrollable passion. They moved against each other, still in their own world, still in perfect synchronisation. Hands moved over firm breasts, flat stomachs pressed together, legs entwined and tongues duelling. Cordelia felt the heat rise in her own body, reflected in the two she saw before her. Gasping, moaning, suddenly becoming too lost to care who heard them.

No one ever fell in love with Cordelia Chase. Not like that.

The heat becoming unbearable, Cordelia turned her eyes away for a second, and saw Angel standing at the top of the alley.

No one ever loved her. Buffy got them all. Cheaters deserved to be punished.

She walked towards him quickly, opening her mouth to confess what she had seen, but nothing...

God, they were perfect.

"Cordelia." Angel said, nodding at her. "I'm looking for Buffy."

Perfect beings, wrapped together, lost in each other. Maybe it was wrong... but it looked so right.

"Buffy? I think she's inside." She said loudly, hoping the slayers would hear her. Angel nodded and turned, but Cordelia put a hand on his arm. "I was attacked."

"You look fine..." Angel said, looking her over.

"Duh. I hit him with a stick." She said, hating herself as she pointed in the opposite direction of the slayers. "He went that way."

Angel nodded and took off in the direction she had said. She looked back once and went back into the Bronze.

It didn't take too long for them to return, dancing again on the floor. Cordelia watched them as Angel reappeared, Buffy running to him and Faith not missing a beat.

She wasn't sure if she had done the right thing, but as she watched them, for a moment far apart, she knew that their separation was worse.

Cordelia swallowed her drink and sighed as she saw them leave, hand in hand.

No one ever loved her like that. But she wasn't about to give up yet.

She'd find another dork.


She couldn't stop thinking about them.

The look in their eyes, the sound of their voices, they stayed with her all through the nights and into the days.

Buffy and Faith and what she had seen. Something she would never be a part of.

No one had to tell Cordelia that something very wrong had happened. The way they acted together after that night was different, a challenge stood between them that jarred their movements, their once affectionate glances suddenly cold and untrusting.

So when she was told that Faith had began working for the mayor, she wasn't as surprised as the others. She saw the look of triumph on Willow's face and the spite on Xander's as Buffy talked about the other slayer, and she loathed them for it. Even Buffy was filled with hate. But then, as Cordelia knew, that was what betrayal did to you.

The only person who seemed to be genuinely regretful was Angel. She doubted that he'd be so upset to see her go if he knew what had been going on between the slayers, of course. But it was her and Angel, the ones that shouldn't have wanted her. But did anyway.

But that was all hopeless now.

So here she was, saying goodnight to Wesley and refusing a lift home. He was sweet. He had money. But her mind was else where. Without really knowing why, Cordelia found herself heading towards Buffy's home. She walked quickly, her speed and strut hiding the nervousness she felt. A nervousness that was alien to the image that was Cordelia Chase. She strode straight up to the door and rang the bell.

Unsurprisingly, the blonde wasn't ecstatic to see her.

"Can I come in?"

Buffy eyed her for a moment and then shrugged, stepping aside to let her enter.

She turned around as stared at the slayer. "No Angel?"

"No." Buffy replied, closing the door and wondering what she was doing here. "Not that it's any of your business."

"Whatever." Cordelia said and got to the point. "I saw you. You and Faith."

At the sound of Faith's name, Buffy's eyes momentarily clouded over. "Faith."

"Yes." She continued. "You and Faith. Together. Very together."

"So?" Buffy said, forcing down the lump in her throat. "You here to tell me how bad I am?"

"Well, yes." Cordelia said, not knowing why she was here, exactly, but telling Buffy how bad she was actually felt like a good plan. "What the Hell do you think you're doing? You're with Angel."

Buffy shrugged. "I'm not going to explain myself to-"

"Yes you are."

Buffy met her eyes for a moment. "Fine." Angel can't have sex. We know this. Faith can."

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "I saw you. You love her."

"I do not!" Buffy exclaimed. "I love Angel! And why the Hell are you here?!"

"I want to know what makes you think you have the right to have them both."


Cordelia stood firm in the wake of Buffy anger and stared her down. "What makes you think you have the right?"

"Fuck you Cordelia." Buffy said, before smirking as a something entered her mind. "What's wrong?" She asked. "You jealous?"

"What?" Cordelia spluttered, kicking herself for being so obvious. "Jealous?"

"Yeah." Buffy said, her smirk spreading to a grin. "You want him?" She moved closer to Cordelia and giggled. "Or do you want her, Cordelia? Is that it?"

For once, Cordelia Chase was lost for words. Instead, she just shook her head.

Buffy watched her intently. "God, I never would have guessed."

"What?" She grunted. "I can't have layers?"

"So it's true?" Buffy breathed. "You like girls?"

"No! Yes.... no..."

Buffy moved closer to her until she was leaning against the wall, a hand on either side of the cheerleader's head. "What did you want her to do to you?" She purred, moving her hand to her neck and running her fingers along its length.

Cordelia stayed silent, refusing to make a decision.

"This?" Buffy breathed, cupping her breast lightly. "You know what she did to me?" Buffy whispered, moving her fingers over a rapidly hardening nipple.

"No." Cordelia gasped, her mind vacating the premises as Buffy moved her body against her's.

"She did everything to me, Cordelia." She said softly, blinking back tears that suddenly threatened to escape. "She fucked me up against a wall, her eyes burning into mine... remember those eyes?"

"Yeah, I remember." Cordelia replied, closing her own.

"It was all in those eyes... I just didn't see until it was too late." Buffy's hands slid to the cheerleader's hips, pulling them roughly against her own. "She slid her fingers into me and she loved me."

"Did you love her?" Cordelia asked quietly. "Do you love her?"

"Does it matter?" Buffy gasped, her lips a breath away from Cordelia's.

"Yes. Because maybe I do."

Buffy giggled. "You love her?" You don't even know her."

"And you do?"

"Yes." She replied, sliding a thigh in between her legs. "I know her."

Cordelia moaned against Buffy's leg, her hips moving slowly. "Yeah?" She gasped, opening her eyes and looking straight into Buffy's. "What was her last name?"

Buffy stopped abruptly. "Fuck you!"

"I thought that's what you were going to do." She said, finally making a decision.

Buffy growled at her, venom filling her voice. "I hate you."

Cordelia smiled sweetly at her. "I hate you too." She said, before leaning towards the slayer and kissing her harshly.

Their tongues fought for dominance, hands stroking each other's flesh, until after a moment, Buffy pulled away and lifted Cordelia's top above her head, and unclasped her bra, pausing for only a second to admire her form, and then slid her hands to her skirt, ripping in down below her hips along with her underwear, leaving her open and naked in the electric light.

She hit Cordelia's hands away as she tried to remove her clothing, and sunk to her knees in front of her.

"What is this?" Cordelia asked. "Some kind of weird power trip? Is this what Faith did to you?"

"Shut up."

"Why? It doesn't feel like l- oh god..."

Buffy slid her tongue along her folds and up to her clit, licking and nipping her gently as Cordelia gasped out into the room. She thrust her fingers inside her roughly, starting up a hard, fast rhythm that had the brunette bucking under her, close to orgasm in a surprisingly short space of time. Buffy removed her mouth and replaced it with a thumb, standing as she felt the cheerleader start to clench around her fingers.

"You're thinking of her, aren't you?" Buffy whispered, breathing shallowly into Cordelia's own. "That's all you'll get from her." She said, and curled her fingers inside her, making Cordelia groan out as her orgasm took her. "She'll never do this to you. Shell never, ever-"

"Oh god!" you..."

Cordelia shuddered underneath her as Buffy removed her hand.

"Now get the fuck out of my house." She said, stepping back from the taller girl.

Cordelia blinked for a second, standing on slightly shaky legs, and then pushed herself up from the wall. She gathered her clothes and pulled them on as quickly as possible, as Buffy sat down and watched her. As she finished, Cordelia looked at her for a second. "This isn't like you." She said.

Buffy shook her head and smiled softly. "You didn't know who Faith is," She said. "But you do now." Buffy walked past her and opened the door. "I just showed you."

Cordelia opened her mouth to speak, but stopped when she saw the haunted look in Buffy's eyes. Instead, she stepped outside and let the door slam behind her.

It only took a second before she heard Buffy's sobs through the door.

Cordelia Chase shook her head and began the walk home.


And that was it for weeks.

Faith was officially the enemy, and Buffy's growing anger was the biggest force in the scoobies' lives. Grief and betrayal mixed so thoroughly in her mind that the end result was hate, and Cordelia could do nothing but stand by and dream of what might have been.

Love what was between the slayers in it's most basic, primal form. It was complete with its pain, hate, desire and passion. Love in the form that Cordelia had never been given, and wanted more than anything. But even that all consuming emotion was not enough to hold them together as circumstance decided to tear them apart.

Buffy acted like nothing had happened, not even ignoring Cordelia, but instead reverting to their usual state of antagonism. Not that Cordelia cared. In truth, she was almost happy about it, preferring not to deal with the gossip or suspicion that would have arisen with a change in their relationship. Cordelia Chase was still an image, an image that made love harder, but life so much easier.

Perhaps she should have been upset, being treated so cruelly at the hands of the one person she had spent so long trying prove she was superior to, or disgusted at her complete loss of control. Or perhaps she should have been hurt by the apparent meaningless of it all.

But she wasn't. She saw Buffy's emotional state deteriorating, and found herself unable to hate the slayer any more than usual, instead experiencing the alien feeling of sympathy.

But she held her head high and pretended nothing was different. And really, everything and nothing was. She danced with Wesley at the Prom, watching Buffy and Angel over the watcher's shoulder and knowing instantly that they were saying good-bye. Cordelia didn't doubt for a second that Buffy loved him as she watched them hold each other close, swaying gently in time with the music, but she also never doubted that it had to end. For the first time, Cordelia pitied the blonde, with so much love in her life, and yet it all hand in hand with so much hopelessness.

But as well as she read people, as well as she thought she knew them, nothing prepared her for Graduation. Buffy walked through the day with her emotions forced far down inside her. She quit the council, sacrificed her self and Faith for Angel, and did what she had to do. They fought together, all of them, in the last battle of their childhood. That night it was the way it had always been, side by side, united against evil. They put it all behind them, their differences, their anger, their pain, and for a moment, it was them against the world. And afterwards, they stood outside the schools ruins and said good-bye to it all, the way it had been and they way it never would be again.

But it wasn't over yet.

Cordelia made one last trip to Buffy's home that night, unable to leave without saying anything. Buffy opened the door with no surprise on her face and stepped aside, and Cordelia walked in and up to Buffy's room without saying a word. Inside, with the door closed, she sat on Buffy's bed and watched her pack away weapons silently, Buffy's movements slow and deliberate as she waited for Cordelia to speak.

But she just sat watching her, wanting to know everything, and not wanting to ask. Tired of waiting, Buffy sighed and turned to her, knowing exactly what was on her mind.

"I didn't have a choice." She said, as if she was trying to convince herself.

"I know." Cordelia nodded, wishing she could hate her. It would make everything so much easier.

Buffy started crying almost as soon as she heard her speak, surprised by the lack of judgement in her voice. She closed her eyes as the horror of the night came back to her. Sliding the knife cleanly into her flesh, Faith grinning at her as she jumped from the roof, determined to kill Angel even if it meant dying herself. "You should have seen her. It was like she knew, like she was expecting it." She whimpered. "Maybe she was."


"And then she helped me. God!" Buffy shook her head, smiling weakly. "She helped me! Even after that, even after everything. What did I do wrong?" She whispered, her pent up emotions finally running free. "I didn't want this. She didn't want this."

Cordelia reached out and took the slayer's hand, pulling her gently towards her. Reluctant at first, Buffy allowed herself to be pulled towards her, and letting go, she found herself in Cordelia's arms, lying on her bed with her head resting on the brunette's chest. Cordelia stroked her hair gently as Buffy cried softly against her. "It wasn't your fault." She whispered, sadness filling her voice. "You did what you had to do."

"You were right, you know." Buffy gulped through her tears.


"I loved her. And I never told her."

Cordelia held her tighter and nodded softly. Me too, she thought, but decided it wasn't what Buffy needed to hear. "I'm sure she knows." She said, without really believing it.

Buffy smiled weakly at the lie. "Yeah. Maybe."

It took a moment for Cordelia to speak again. "I'm leaving."

Buffy almost laughed. "Everyone leaves." She said with a shrug. "You know what?"

"What?" Cordelia asked, running her hands over her shoulders slowly.

"This is all very weird."

"Yeah, I know." She giggled. "Buffy?" The blonde looked up at her, her tears finally slowing. "Do you still hate me?"

She smiled in understanding of her need for normalcy. "Yes." She said, with mock- seriousness.

"Me too." Cordelia grinned.

They smiled at each other for a second, before Buffy moved above her and kissed her gently. Looking into her eyes, Cordelia nodded slightly, and pulled her towards her once more. Faith's presence floated around them like a ghost that could not be ignored as they moved slowly over each others bodies, grateful for the closeness of another human being. Naked and warm together for what they knew would be the only time, they said good-bye and refused to make promises, promises neither of them would want to keep.

They stayed like that for hours in the dim moonlight, holding each other tightly, not wanting to leave the strange world of comfort.

Because as long as they held each other, they held a connection to Faith.


After she'd gotten home from Buffy's house that night, she'd finished packing, picked up her suitcase, and just left.

No promises, no apologies, just out the door and onto a bus. But things don't end just because you want them to.

She'd honestly meant to leave them all behind, find a new life, new friends, maybe even a new Cordelia, but LA was hard place to live, and becoming a star doesn't just happen over night. So she found herself working for Angel instead. Not that it was all bad. Well, apart from demon pregnancies, mind numbing visions and the danger of her boss turning evil, of course. And then, just as she'd begun to forget, Buffy turned up.

But not for her.

Not that she wanted her to come for her of course. Cordelia Chase had found a new dork, complete with laughable dress sense and lack of money, and she certainly wasn't looking to start anything with Buffy. No. It hadn't even bothered her, seeing her again, wanting to talk with Angel. Whatever. No big. No ties. No regrets.

It hadn't meant anything. At all.

And it seemed Buffy thought the same, and that was a good thing. They hardly even looked at each other, let alone spoke, and that was just what Cordelia wanted. In fact, she probably wouldn't have thought about it at all if Doyle hadn't decided to turn into a big hero and die. She probably wouldn't have thought about Buffy and why she didn't love her like she loved Angel, or Faith. She wouldn't have noticed. And why would she? It wasn't like she loved Buffy.

Besides, Buffy left again. And it was all in the past. No point even thinking about it. No Buffy, and certainly no Faith. Her life was different now, with a purpose, helping people... not thinking about what could have been. She tried to ignore it. She tried to forget. She tried not to remember Faith and Buffy and Buffy and her and her and her daydreams. She really tried to forget falling in love.

She was almost doing quite well with that way of thinking, when out of the blue, the person she had been ignoring most showed up and tried to shoot Angel in the back. And then, then everything came flooding back.

Funny, she saw her for a few seconds, and her mind whole being was suddenly awash with feeling. Hate, love, anger, confusion, joy... and yet she couldn't form a single thought. She just stood and stared. It wasn't until much later that day that one all consuming realisation formed in her mind and refused to go away.

Faith was back, and she hadn't even looked at her.

Cordelia wasn't big on guilt, she'd been living with the guy who was madly in love with the girl she had slept with not that long ago, after all, but that thought... that thought made her feel bad.

She should be concerned for Faith. For Angel. For Buffy.

Oh god... Buffy...

That was all it took to make her realise that she cared about her. All it took was Faith. It brought all those old feelings back, of wanting to be a part of what they had, the fact that they were still thinking about each other long after they had forgotten her. When Giles called and Angel mentioned her name, she momentarily lost the protection of apparent indifference she always held around her. Maybe she cared, but letting people see that was something that scared her. "Is she OK?" She had croaked out, trying and failing to cover up the fact that she actually cared. Damn.

And it got worse.

Faith took Wesley off and tortured him nearly to death, and all Cordelia could think was that Faith had hardly even noticed her. An elbow in the face, that was all she was worth. She wasn't a part of this, they didn't want her involved.

But Cordelia Chase doesn't give up easily.


She stood up at her desk with a start as Angel walked in with Faith, looking like they had met a pack of vampires on a very bad day.


Wesley walked in behind them looking even worse. Cordelia put her hand over her mouth and suppressed a squeak.

The ex- watcher shot her look and sat down as Angel took Faith to the elevator, leaving Cordelia with the sight of Faith broken imprinted on her memory. She turned back to Wesley and opened her mouth to speak before closing it again as she took in the full extent of the damage Faith had done.

"He wants to help her." Wesley stated, his voice clear. "The police are not to be called.

"But she..."

He nodded and rested his arm gingerly on the desk. "She did..." He closed his eyes. "But... but I trust him."

Cordelia shrugged. "He's the boss." She said, her mind in turmoil as she looked at her friend. "Are you OK?"

"No. But I will be."

"I think... he knows." She said carefully. "I mean-"

"Cordelia," Angel walked back into the room. "I need to talk to Wesley."

Cordelia looked at him and suppressed a glare. Nothing to do with her. "OK." She said. "I'm going to..."

Angel pushed past her as Wesley let out a hiss of pain.

Taking advantage of the distraction, Cordelia slipped out of view and headed downstairs quietly.


She stood outside the door and pressed her ear to it cautiously. Nothing. Going against everything her mind was screaming at her, Cordelia pushed open the door and poked her head around it. Still nothing. She cursed the door as it creaked against her weight, pushing slowly until she could slip her slender figure inside. Her breathing stopped momentarily as she looked around the room. Nothing at all.

Confusion, panic, fear, adrenaline. They all shot through the seer in a wave as she crept over to Angel's bed, the sheets crumpled and creased, indicating the turmoil that gripped the slayer. She had looked so dead. Deader than Cordelia could have ever imagined. She wondered how she had looked to Buffy.

She trailed her hand over the sheets and sighed. How had they ever allowed this to happen? Maybe she could have done something... anything. Bending over, she pressed her face to the indented pillow, breathing in the scent there. She almost expected to smell Buffy... but no. Just Faith. Faith... Breathing deeply, she committed it to memory, wishing that she had had the chance to breathe her in before. Before all this...

"What the hell are you doing?"

Cordelia jumped away from the bed as Faith's voice came from somewhere behind her. She whipped round, an excuse forming on her lips, but no sound came out as she took in the sight of the slayer.

Faith stood wrapped in a towel, her dark hair dripping and clinging to her neck and shoulders as she looked at Cordelia. Shower. Right...

Cordelia's mouth opened and closed like a fish as Faith walked towards her, still sure, still confident. This was Faith's last strength, she realised. She could probably taste the arousal radiating from the seer in spite of her fear, knowing that this was something she still had power in. Cordelia's certainty grew as Faith stepped towards her and nodded slowly.

"I was just-"

Faith shook her head, and with one step, pressed a finger to Cordelia's lips. "I know what you were doing. You think I never noticed the way you looked at me and B?" Faith smirked at her and trailed her finger down her neck. "You guessed." She shrugged. "You might be smart Cordelia, but you're not subtle."

"So?" Cordelia choked out. "I was interested."

"I bet you were." Faith grinned. "Thought about us a lot, didn't you? Alone in that big house, no Xander to take your mind of us. Tell me, Cordelia. Tell me what you did when you thought about us."

"Fuck you."

"You'd like that, wouldn't you?" Faith smirked, her hand sliding around her breast, cupping her lightly.

"What do you want me to say?" Cordelia snapped, her brain struggling to form thoughts. "I had enough of this power game crap with Bu- Bu-"

Faith froze. "Buffy?" Her eyes burned into Cordelia's as she realised what she had said. "Buffy. She fucked you."

Cordelia bit her lip in fear.

"Tell me." Faith said, her voice dangerously calm. "Tell me."

Cordelia stood stock still, unable to speak as she looked at the slayer.

"Tell me!"

Jumping again, Cordelia nodded, tears forming in her eyes from fear, and from loss. "We... it was after Graduation." She gasped out. "I went to her house. I wanted to confront her about you."

Faith's eyes softened slightly. "Me?"

"Yes. I thought..." She paused, unwilling to give the slayer that much power, even if it would ensure her physical safety. "I don't know what I thought. I just wanted to know what had happened. And then she showed me... showed me..."

Faith moved her mouth to the seer's ear and breathed out slowly. "Showed you what?" She asked, the knowledge of what happened making Buffy seem closer.

"You." Cordelia said, feeling her body respond as Faith's hand moved over her breasts. It all came down to power, and Cordelia suddenly felt like she had none. She looked at Faith as the slayer brought her lips close to her own, almost seeing the ticking of her brain as she struggled on the line between the past and the future. She could still hurt her, she knew that, but there was something about seeing her with some of that confidence she used to have. That confidence that had been ripped from her that night. Cordelia couldn't bear to take it away again. She had once been so free, so wild, so alive. She wanted to give that back... and besides... she still believed... she still believed, in spite of everything, that she loved her. She couldn't help herself. Through her fear, through her growing feeling of helplessness, she cupped Faith face in her hands. "I never stopped thinking about you. I couldn't." She whispered, resisting the urge to close her eyes to the blow to her heart that could so easily come.

Faith watched her speak, an unreadable expression on her face. "Don't make this what it's not." She said, pulling her quickly, hard against her. "It's nothing." Her lips met Cordelia's harshly as her hands left her chest just long enough to slip under her top and unhook her bra.

Cordelia sighed against her, thoughts of "right" and "wrong" and "what if", all pushed out of her mind. Her hands ran over the slayer's back as she gasped, her nipples caught in Faith's firm touch.

Faith caressed her flesh, her breathing shallow as she closed her eyes and leant against the seer. Her teeth grazed over her neck, muttering "nothing" over and over and she pulled and rolled her hard nipples in her fingers. Through her ragged breath, Cordelia caught the words, and although she knew she shouldn't, she pulled Faith's face up to her own again.

"Please..." She whispered, her eyes fixed on Faith's closed ones. "Please, look at me."

Refusing, Faith's right hand ran down her stomach, searching blindly for the buttons on her pants. She snapped them open easily and yanked them down over her hips.

"Please!" She pleaded as Faith fingers brushed over her wetness. She knew this feeling. She had felt it herself. "You're touching me and thinking of her!" She cried against her ear as Faith ran a fingers gently over her folds. "Faith!"

The slayer's eyes snapped open and she looked at her with anger growing in them. "OK, Cordelia." She hissed, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "I did it all for you Cordelia." Faith slid a finger roughly over her swollen clit, drawing a gasp from the seer's throat. "I new you wanted this. This was how it was meant to be." She slipped a finger inside her roughly, making her cry out. "You and me, Cordelia."

Fighting back tears, Cordelia moved against her hand, helpless with desire, with arousal. This was wrong...

Faith slid another finger deep inside her and started a rhythm that had her bucking against her hand. "It was always just you." Faith growled, slamming her fingers inside her and stroking her firmly. "You and me, I wanted you for so long-"

"Don't... please..." She whimpered, hating herself for being so weak.

"What? You don't want to hear it? But I never said it, and I should have." Faith said, her own voice threatening to break. "Everything I did, I did for you. I never stopped thinking about you." She slammed her fingers inside her deeper and pressed down on her clit with her thumb. "Cordelia... I fell in love with you... and I was just a fuck against a wall. How do you like it now?" She said, a tear slipping down her cheek. She felt Cordelia tighten around her fingers, ad gulped. "I love you. I always did, I always will..."

Cordelia came hard against her, her eyes soaked with tears as she heard Faith's words.


Faith wiped her hand across her own face as she pulled out of the seer, and stood back as she watched her sink to the floor and weep. "I've... I've got to finish this..." She said, averting her eyes and pointing to her towel, which was threatening to come off. She looked at Cordelia for a second and shook her head, turning and leaving.

Left alone, the seer wiped her eyes and pulled on her clothes. "She was right." She said loudly, unsure of whether or now Faith could hear her. "You fucked up, Faith." She said, her voice wavering with anger and hurt. "She'll never come back to you. You hear me? Never! Why would she?!" She spluttered, pulling open the door and walking out. She stopped for a moment, and listened. Nothing. "You'll never make it better." She said, storming out, full of hate for herself and the slayer. "Never."

She walked out, past Angel and Wesley who were still engrossed in conversation, went home, got into bed, and burst into tears again. She pulled her knees up to her chest and wept, her eyes looking through her tears to the empty space next to her in the bed. It was never about her. She cried and shook her head. It could have been so good... but it was over. Maybe it had never even begun.

As she lay down and wiped the tears from her eyes, she would have been surprised to know that her actions were mirrored by two other girls, not so far away.


God knows how she'd managed it, but tired and angry, Cordelia had managed to drag herself to work the next day. She had stood outside, calmed herself and plastered a smile on her face, and walked in like nothing mattered. She was good at that, years of practise.

But it was harder than she remembered, and so as Angel and Wesley had argued, she'd fixed up some papers, and made Angel sign them, putting in a throw away remark or two for good measure. Just so they knew she didn't care. Then she'd gotten the hell out of there before she had to deal with Faith.

Then she'd spent the entire day pacing up and down in her apartment, pausing occasionally to stare at the phone.

Things had been easy once, no guilt, no regret. Nothing but the comfort of being admired. But somehow, the real Cordelia Chase refused to remain hidden. Not that everyone knew that. Just a chosen few... She shook her head and looked back at the phone. She couldn't hide the fact that she needed... someone.

But where had that got her? Here to LA, fighting demons instead of becoming famous, getting hurt instead of... hurting other people? She sighed. She wouldn't have changed back to that, not even if she could.

By the time the sun had set, the anger inside her had dwindled to a aching stream of pain, pulsing though her veins every time she pictured the dark haired slayer. She hadn't deserved it, she hadn't... expected it. Cordelia shook her head again softly. What had she expected? To be able to save her? For Faith to tell her she loved her? It all seemed so stupid. Faith hadn't let Buffy in, why would she open up to her?

So caught up in her thoughts, she almost had a heart attack when the phone finally rang. She snatched it up and heard Wesley's voice as she held her breath, unsure of what she wanted to hear.

"She's in jail." Wesley sighed, still in pain from the events of the previous day. "She gave herself up."

Cordelia slumped down on the couch. "Why?" She asked, half hoping that Faith had mentioned her name.

"Well, Buffy turned up-."

Cordelia felt her heart leap into her throat as she heard a knock at the door. "Buffy." She whispered, the thudding in her chest picking up speed.

"Yes." Wesley went on. "She turned up and had a fight with Angel... Cordelia?" He asked, concerned as he heard the seer's breathing suddenly become laboured.

"I have to go." Cordelia replied, looking at the door as if she could see through it. "I'm glad you're OK. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Yes but-"

She hung up the phone and stood, calming her breathing with difficulty as she walked to the door and placed her fingers on the handle.

She steadied herself, and pulled open the door quickly. No surprise what so ever.

"Busy?" Buffy asked, looking like she was about to collapse with exhaustion.

Unsure of what she felt, Cordelia shook her head mutely and stepped aside, motioning to the couch with her hand. Buffy walked past her and sat down on the edge of the cushion nervously.

Walking slowly towards her, Cordelia mirrored her position on the couch, her feelings warring with each other in her brain. "Is... are you OK?" She asked quietly, starting to wonder if the slayer was there for her this time.

"Yeah, I think so." Buffy nodded. "I was just on my way back and... Your light was on..."

Cordelia nodded, knowing perfectly well that Buffy had had no idea what her address was. So she was right... unless Faith had said... uh oh.

"What happened?" She asked, her voice overly confident. "With Faith. She's in jail."


OK... Cordelia drummed her fingers on her knee as they sat in a nervous silence. Then they both blurted out each other's names at the same time.

"You first." Cordelia smiled weakly. "What?"

Buffy sighed and sat back slowly. "I came here wanting to hurt her." She said softly. "And all she could ask was how to make it better. And I don't know if she ever can."

"Do you want her to?"

Buffy smirked briefly before letting her face fall back to a frown. "I don't know. I really don't."

"I guess that's what it comes down to." Cordelia shrugged. "She'll try, as long as you let her." She would have let her... but this wasn't about her. It never had been.

Buffy let out a loud sigh and shook her head, sitting back up and staring at her hands with empty eyes. "What do you want her to do?"

"Me?" Cordelia's breath caught in her throat as she realised that Buffy knew.

"I know she fucked you." Buffy said softly, her eyes flicking to Cordelia's. "Didn't she?"

Cordelia stared back at her, guilt rising in her chest again. "Yes." She said honestly. "She did exactly what you said she would. She fucked me."

A hint of sympathy flashed through Buffy's eyes before she turned them quickly away from Cordelia.

The seer stood and walked to the window, her back to Buffy, too tired to hide anything. Not caring anymore. "I don't know why I let her." She said softly. "Maybe I thought I could help her."

"So did I." Buffy stood up and walked towards her. "You still love her?"

Cordelia felt Buffy's hand rest on her shoulder as she shrugged. "I don't know. I guess it doesn't matter."

"I still love her." Buffy said softly. "But she's not here."

Cordelia turned and leaned against the window, questioning the slayer with her eyes. "And I am." She chuckled softly. "Is that why you're here? To replay what we did last time?"

Buffy shrugged. "I don't love you. I never have. I never will."


"But you're part of this, Cordelia." Buffy continued. "I'm... I'm glad you're part of this."

Cordelia watched her, her eyes struggling not to let out the emotion inside. "I want to hate you." She muttered. "God! It was all so much easier. I want to hate you and hate Faith and... I'm just so tired of all this." She shook her head slowly. "I should hate her. I should, and I can't. I can't stop... wishing it was different."

Buffy stepped forward and put her arms around her, hugging her gently. "I know. I wish that too." She whispered, breathing in the feel of the girl she had loathed for so long. Now, the only one who knew...

Leaning into the slayers warmth, the brunette let a tear slide down her cheek. "Why can't everything just stay the same?"

Buffy kissed her cheek gently and took her by the hand, the need for her closeness growing with desire to comfort her. "I want to stay here tonight. I want to forget about Faith." Buffy stroked her hand with her fingers, remembering every fight they had ever had, and wishing she had seen her sooner.

"What? Cordelia spluttered out a laugh, stopping when she saw her eyes wet with tears. "Buffy... I..."

The slayer held hand gently and pulled her towards her body. "I know this isn't anything. I know you don't want it to be, and neither do I. There's nothing holding us together." She said, brushing her hair from the seer's face. "But being near you... no one else understands."

Cordelia sighed, nodding her head. "...I know."

She brushed the blonde's lips with her own, wishing with all her soul that she didn't want her. But it was just a wish.

Buffy pulled her slowly to the couch, down on top of her as her hands reached for her top. The brunette paused, shaking her head and sliding her hands up Buffy's shirt, taking it off gently as the blonde smiled softly in understanding. Sex with Faith could make you pretty nervous, Buffy thought as the rest of her clothing was removed.

Leaning in and kissing her, Cordelia undressed and stretched out beside the blonde, tracing her fingers over her skin as their lips met again, Buffy's tongue sliding firmly into her mouth.

They lay there and kissed for what seemed like hours, trying to lose themselves in each other, trying so hard to forget the girl who had unknowingly brought them together. Hands and tongues caressed each other, heat and desire filling the room, filling them.

As they moved with each other, over and over again, memories flooded through them. Memories of each other... and try as they did to ignore it, memories of Faith and the last time they had been together. Seeking comfort in each other's arms, and finding only Faith.

And the nothingness that had followed.

Their sweat laden bodes pressed tightly together as their breathing slowed, Cordelia ran her hands through Buffy's hair, voicing the decision she had been making all night. "It's over." She whispered. "The next time you need to see Angel or F... anyone, do it somewhere else. I need to stop this, I can't live this way. I'm not going to keep wishing I had... her... you." She paused, looking at Buffy softly. "I'm not waiting around for you to come to me when it suits you. When you need to stop thinking about her."

Buffy looked at her and suppressed her tears at the seer's words, and wondering why she even cared. "I don't want to love her." She said. "I wish... I WILL forget her."

"No you won't." Cordelia stroked her cheek, her voice firm. "And I'm not going to help you try again. Not anymore."

Buffy leaned her head against her chest and bit her lip. "Over." She nodded, tears glistening in her eyes. "But... right now?"

Cordelia leaned down and kissed her forehead softly. "No." She murmured, wrapping her arms around her and leaning back to stare out of the window. "When it's light again."

Holding each other tightly in their arms, the two girls lay in silence, looking out into the slowly brightening sky. They almost forgot her as the sun started to fill the room with light, washing over them and lighting them together for the first time. But they didn't. It wasn't that easy.

Instead, they just held each other.

And wordlessly said good bye.

To be continued