Seeing Clearly
by Angelina

"You really think the big guy'll be into this?" asked Faith, looking doubtful.

"Of course he will! What better to bring him out of his big, broody shell than an artistic outlet for his emotions and lots of bright colours?" Cordelia looked knowingly at Faith; "Being an actress means I understand how the arts can help us to express our feelings without actually saying stuff out loud."

"I see," said Faith, smiling. "So, d'you think that I should express myself with paints?" She pulled Cordelia back against her body and whispered in her ear. "D'you think I'd look good in an artist's smock?"

Cordelia turned her head slightly and cupped Faith's cheek.

"Oh yeah" she almost growled, "Especially if you weren't wearing anything underneath."

Faith grinned at this mental picture and kissed Cordelia full on the lips. The stallholder saw her potential sale slipping away on a cloud of lust so she 'ahemed' her way back into the conversation.

"These particular paints are on special - 10% off plus you get this set of brushes and a water pot free of charge."

Faith looked decidedly peeved at being interrupted mid-smooch but Cordelia's eyes had lit up at the mention of a discount.

"We'll take them!"

She continued to make small talk with the woman while she filled bags with art supplies. Faith made do with holding Cordelia from behind and resting her chin on her shoulder. When the transaction was finally complete, Cordelia and Faith each picked up a bag and walked away, hand in hand.

"You think you got enough stuff babes?"

"Well, if something's worth doing it's worth doing right." Cordelia squeezed Faith's hand. "Isn't that one of your mottoes?"

"Only in some situations C."

Faith said, slipping the arm that wasn't laden with Angel's new hobby around Cordelia's waist, pulling her close for a hug. A second later she felt Cordelia's body go rigid and immediately knew what was happening. Damn those visions. Faith's bag hit the ground only a fraction after Cordelia's did. Cordelia grabbed her head and cried out in pain. Faith caught her as her knees buckled and held her tight, supporting her, feeling every wave of pain as it rippled through the young woman in her arms. Faith hated these visions, probably more than Cordelia did. If there was one thing Faith detested it was the feeling of utter powerlessness that overcame her whenever the girl she loved was wracked with pain and there wasn't a single thing she could do to stop it or make it better. This time was no different and Faith only released the breath she didn't know she'd been holding when she felt the stiffness ease out of Cordelia's body indicating that the vision was ending. People were looking at them. Wondering if Cordelia was alright. Faith paid them no heed, focussing solely on Cordelia. She pushed the hair back off her face gently.

"Hey, you OK Cor?"

Cordelia smiled weakly, she loved it when Faith called her that. However, she usually only used the affectionate abbreviation when she was concerned about her health. She leaned her forehead against Faith's, trying to regulate her breathing.

"Yeah, I'm fine."

"What was it?"

Concern still clouded Faith's dark eyes.

"It was..."

Cordelia stopped as she felt another vision hitting her, hard. She let out a bloodcurdling scream and collapsed to the ground clutching her head before Faith had a chance to catch her. Faith was on her knees in an instant trying to calm the convulsing girl. A crowd started to gather around them.

"Someone call 911!" A voice in the crowd yelled.

Faith was about to protest when she was struck by a frightening realisation. The vision had been going on far too long. It wasn't ending. Cordelia thrashed around on the ground, screaming and crying, ripping Faith's heart out of her chest. Faith somehow managed to manoeuvre Cordelia into her arms where she cradled the hysterical girl, whispering words of comfort which had absolutely no effect. Tears streamed freely down Faith's face as she struggled to hold Cordelia still.

"Come on Cor, shhhhh, I got you...please baby...please...shhhhhh."

Faith's voice was strangled by the sobs that overtook her body. Anger slowly worked its way to the surface.

"Why don't you bastards leave her alone? Doesn't she do enough for you, huh?"

Faith's rage was directed at the sky. The assembled crowd, having no knowledge of the PTB, wondered if her words were meant for the heavens. She went back to rocking Cordelia, speaking to her in a low voice.

"Come on baby, you're scaring me...we both know I don't scare easy...God Cor please, please stop this...I can't stand seeing you like this..."

After what seemed like an age the squeal of an ambulance siren mingled with Cordelia's cries of agony. Paramedics got out and coaxed Faith into letting them take Cordelia from her arms and strap her onto a gurney, she continued to scream and cry. Faith was also in pain. More so than when Buffy had sliced through her gut with her own knife. This pain was much worse. It was the pain of loving someone. Love was accompanied by fear; fear of that person being hurt, fear of that person leaving, fear of that person no longer being in your life. Faith had never experienced these feelings before. As she stepped into the back of the ambulance she looked into Cordelia's wide, wild eyes. Cordelia did not see her; she was seeing other things, forced to witness terrible things that Faith wanted to protect her from. Pain and fear gripped Faith's heart and squeezed until she thought she might die from it.

The ambulance doors were closed and the siren started up again. Faith sat holding Cordelia's hand. She was not reassured by the fact that they were heading for a hospital. She was only more frightened by the knowledge that the doctors wouldn't be able to do a thing for Cordelia's suffering.

"I'm gonna help you." She knew Cordelia couldn't hear her but she felt the need to say the words out loud. "I'm gonna help you, I promise."


At the hospital Angel crashed through the swinging doors. He stopped at the information desk.

"Cordelia Chase?" he demanded.

The nurse tapped something into her computer and Angel had to calm himself down to stop his vampire face making an appearance. The nurse looked up from her screen.

"She was just admitted, the doctors are with her now, you can wait in the...wait! Come back! You can't go in there."

Angel ignored her and ran in the direction of the heart-rending screams he could hear. He barged into the room where 4 medical staff were attempting to restrain Cordelia and administer drugs.

"You can't be in here sir."

Again he ignored the voice. He went to the bed and grasped Cordelia's arms, trying to stop her flailing around.

"Cordelia! Cordelia!" he shouted, trying to get her attention.

But she did not or could not hear him. Her cries were cutting through him like a knife. He allowed the doctor to push him aside and inject something into Cordelia's arm.

"Drugs won't help her," he mumbled softly.

The doctor fixed him with an annoyed stare.

"That's what her sister said, do you two know something you're not telling us about this young woman's condition? Because if you do it would be in her best interests to tell us immediately. I don't know what else we can do for her."

Angel shook his head slowly.

"No, she has seizures from time to time but not like this." The doctor's words sunk in. "Her sister?"

The doctor nodded. "She came in with her in the ambulance, she was very upset - I thought we were going to have to get security to restrain her." She sighed, "Understandable, it must be terrifying to see someone close to you in a state like this."

"Where is she?" Angel asked, knowing that if seeing Cordelia like this was hard on him, it would be...he couldn't even imagine how it would be for Faith.

"She's in the relatives room where you're going to join her," said the doctor as an orderly came and ushered him out and along the sterile corridor into a small dark room.


At first he didn't see Faith but a small movement in the corner of the room caught his eye. Faith was huddled up in the corner, hugging her knees to her chest. Her face was hidden, bent down with hair falling over it. She was rocking herself back and forth.


He approached her cautiously, he didn't want to startle her or aggravate her in any way. She didn't look up.

"I couldn't help her."


"I was so useless, I just sat there holding her and she was in all this pain and I couldn't do a fucking thing and then they made me leave her in that room alone with those doctors and they're not gonna be able to help her."

Her voice was full of venom and self-loathing. She eventually looked up at Angel with a tear stained face.

"Can anyone help her?"

This time her voice was small, a whisper from a very frightened little girl needing reassurance. Angel kneeled down next to Faith and put his hand on her shoulder.

"We'll help her." His voice held more conviction than he felt. "There must be a way, someone's doing this to her and we'll find them and..."

"Beat the shit out of them." Faith finished.

"We'll do whatever we have to do to get her back."

Faith nodded back at him, her big brown eyes trusting in what he was saying, because she had to believe it. Suddenly she moved forward and fell into Angel's arms sobbing pitifully. Angel held her tight, rubbing her back in comforting circles.

"I can't lose her Angel, I need her, she's...hell she's the reason I'm still here, the reason I'm not in some shallow grave somewhere or a loony bin or the big house...I need her, I love her so much."

"Me too," said Angel, realising it for perhaps the first time.

Cordelia was his friend, he loved her, he needed her. But he knew his feelings were insignificant compared to Faith's. He also realised what a lot of people had forgotten, that Faith was just a young girl who needed love, despite her hard-ass outward act. Faith's sobs were easing off now and she pushed herself away from Angel, wiping her face with her sleeve.

"Sorry," she mumbled, embarrassed to have shown her emotions to Angel, emotions she normally reserved for Cordelia in the safety of their apartment.

"Don't be sorry Faith, we can both be strong for each other when we need it. You needed it just now."

At that moment there was a soft knock at the door and the doctor popped her head in.

"Can I interrupt?"

Faith was on her feet in a second. "Is she OK? What's happening? Can I see her?"

"Well, she appears to have calmed down a lot, but she is still experiencing the seizures. However, she's no longer crying out or convulsing. We don't think this is a reaction to the drugs we gave her as they would have acted much earlier than this but we don't know what else it could be. She's still not responding to speech or touch, it's like she's looking at something we can't see."

The doctor looked down, ashamed that she couldn't tell them more, the girl's sister looked heartbroken at this news.

"Can I see her?" Faith repeated in a shaky voice.

The doctor was about to say no but there was nothing further that could be medically done for Cordelia. Why not let her sister be with her? She nodded her agreement. Faith turned to Angel.

"You coming?"

"No, you go be with her. I'm gonna go see if Wesley has come up with anything else. I'll be back later. Call me if anything happens."

Faith nodded, looking like a lost, scared little girl again. Angel reached out and pulled her into a hug.

"She'll be OK, we're gonna help her, remember that." He whispered in her ear.

When he released her she looked at him and nodded once. Then she turned on her heel and headed to Cordelia's room. Watching her go, Angel sent up a silent prayer to anyone who was listening that his words to Faith didn't turn out to be lies.


Faith took a deep breath and stepped into the room. She tried not to look at all the hospital paraphernalia that surrounded Cordelia's bed. She walked over and stood next to Cordelia's prone figure. Her eyes were still open. For some reason Faith had expected them to be closed. When the doctor had said she'd calmed down, something inside Faith had hoped that she was sleeping peacefully. Unfortunately this wasn't the case. Cordelia was staring straight ahead of her, unfocussed eyes wide, seeing nothing and yet seeing so much. She was quiet now but was obviously still in pain. Her breathing was erratic and every now and then a whimper would escape from her mouth, letting Faith know when the worst of the pain hit her. Faith looked down at the restraints holding Cordelia's arms and legs. She doubted they were needed any more as Cordelia wasn't moving at all.

Faith slowly bent down and kissed Cordelia's forehead gently. She moved her head so that her nose was pressed against Cordelia's cheek. The tears had come again and she needed to be close to her at this moment. Cordelia gave no indication that she knew Faith was there and that tore Faith up inside. She wanted Cordelia to look at her. She wanted to see the love and the acceptance and the trust that her eyes always conveyed. Each time Cordelia's gaze fell on Faith her stomach tightened; no one had ever looked at her the way Cordelia did.

For a while Faith had fought against her feelings for Cordelia, feeling herself to be unworthy of love from anyone, let alone someone like Cordelia. But in her own inimitable style, Cordelia had told her to wake up and smell the coffee before the pot was empty. Want, take, have had been Faith's mantra in a past life. Cordelia had changed all that, showing her there was more to life than quick sexual gratification and empty relationships. For the first time in her life Faith had not just jumped straight into bed with the object of her desire, she had waited for the right time and it had been the most wonderful experience of her life. Cordelia was not experienced in that department but in spite of, or maybe because of that fact, she was the most skilled lover Faith had ever had. Perhaps it was because she was actually IN love with Cordelia, Faith mused. Maybe that's what makes the difference. Sure she'd enjoyed sex before but it had always been about getting off, she had never cared whether or not her partner was enjoying the ride. But now she would gladly fulfil Cordelia's needs forever and a day if that's what she was asked to do.

Faith sat down on the edge of the chair that was next to the bed. She reached out and took Cordelia's hand awkwardly, as the restraint didn't allow for much movement. She laced her fingers through Cordelia's, trying to force their connection through to the mind she knew was trapped inside this unresponsive body. Squeezing the hand gently she began to speak.

"Ummm...this is kind of weird, I don't know if you can hear me but I have to talk to you or I'll go crazy. Fuck, now I don't know what to say...I guess I should just tell you what I'm thinkin' huh? I'm scared Cor...I've never been so scared...I guess this is the reason that I never let anyone get close before, I was afraid that this would happen...well not this exact thing but somethin' bad. Bad stuff always happens around me...I tried to tell you that but would you listen? Nope, not you...not Queen C. I wanted you to stay away from me so you'd be safe...maybe I shoulda just left LA and you would have been OK. But I was selfish, I wanted to be with you so I stayed and I let you get close and now you're...I'm sorry. I'm feelin' all sorry for myself again."

Faith sniffed and looked up, hoping for some sign that Cordelia could hear her. But there was nothing, just the same vacant, haunted stare as before. Faith looked back at their joined hands.

"I...I should have told you this long before now...I love you Cordelia...I know I haven't said it out loud but I guess I hoped you knew...I tried to show you...oh God please tell me you know I love you..."

Faith stood now and placed her head on Cordelia's stomach and cried. Faith had never cried so much in her life as she'd done that day. She held on to Cordelia's torso and wept for a long time. As her crying subsided she stayed in the same position feeling comforted by the closeness. She traced a pattern on the bed-sheet, directly above where Cordelia's scar was. She knew it by heart, a circle of scar tissue where an iron rod had pierced all the way through, miraculously missing anything vital inside. She had a matching wound on her back. Faith often wondered what she had been doing the night Cordelia was hurt - why wasn't she there helping in the search for Xander and Willow? She closed her eyes in shame as she came to the realisation that she was probably out screwing some random person instead of helping the people who had tried so hard to be her friends. Maybe if she had been there things would have been different, maybe Cordelia wouldn't have been hurt. Even then she knew that Cordelia had feelings for her but she'd played with them cruelly, just as she did with everything.

Faith tried to think of that period as another lifetime, separate from what she had now. Sometimes she succeeded. Usually when she was curled up in Cordelia's arms or when she was fighting a vamp and winning - for the side of good. But a lot of the time she couldn't forget the things she'd done. Cordelia tried to convince her that she was a different person now, if Cordelia could forgive her why couldn't she forgive herself? She stood back up and arranged some stray hairs on Cordelia's brow. She marvelled at Cordelia's beauty, even in here, under harsh hospital lighting, with hair matted and red ringed eyes Cordelia was the most beautiful creature Faith had ever seen. She gently stroked Cordelia's smooth cheek.

"Hey...sorry I lost it for a bit there...I just hate seeing you this way and not being able to do anything about it...but we are gonna help you, Angel and Wesley are looking for a way to help you right now...I promise we'll get you back...we all need you back..."

To prevent herself from dissolving into tears again Faith decided to change the subject.

"Hey, I told the nurse I was your sister and she believed me...even said there was a resemblance...funny how people see what they want to see...sisters, yeah right, we'd be arrested for the stuff we get up to quicker than Angel can down a blood're so beautiful Cor..."

Faith leaned down and kissed Cordelia's cheek. She was startled by the sound of the door opening and abruptly stood up straight.

"Angel! Did you find anything? Is Wesley with you?"

"Wesley's...Faith there was an explosion at the office and..."

"Oh God, he's not...he's not..."

"No, no, he's OK, he's a bit worse for wear. He's in a room along the corridor."

Faith breathed a sigh of relief.

"No change in her condition?" Angel enquired.

"No," said Faith dejectedly.

"OK, we're gonna have to leave her here for a while, me and you have somewhere to be."

"But I don't want to leave her alone..."

Angel cut off her protests. "Look Faith, we're running out of time, we have to do something quickly or we may not be able to help her." Faith nodded. She leaned down and kissed Cordelia again, whispering something Angel couldn't quite hear but could guess what it was about. She stood up again.

"OK, let's go."


Faith paced impatiently. Back and forth and back and forth. She needed to be doing something and all Angel had told her to do was wait. Wait for him to come back. Waiting was not one of Faith's favourite pastimes. Where the hell did he go when he saw these PTB guys? And why couldn't she go with him? Just as she thought her head might actually explode with frustration a bright flash of light signalled Angel's return. He was carrying a scythe covered in blood.

"Jesus! What happened? Did they get rough?"

"They're dead" Angel kept walking and Faith fell into step beside him.

"You killed them?" Faith asked incredulously.

"No, they were dead when I got there, the thing that killed them is the thing we need to find."

" do you know this if they were already dead?"

"They told me"

"OK, I'm lost"

"I'll explain on the way, we have to go get Gunn to look after Wesley and Cordelia while we go get the scroll back."

"Why? You think they might try to hurt them again?" Faith's voice was high with rising panic.

"I'm not going to give them the opportunity to hurt anyone I care about again."

Angel's voice was so authoritative that Faith allowed herself to be convinced. They reached the car and sped off in some direction that Angel knew Gunn would be.


Angel pulled up alongside Gunn's Mad Maxesque contraption. After calling off his henchman, Gunn proceeded to cajole Angel into exchanging pleasantries with him, Faith was in no mood for this. In a fluid movement she leapt out of the car and grabbed the front of Gunn's jacket roughly.

"Listen pal, we'll kiss your ass later. Right now there's something important we gotta do and we need you to watch our friends while we do it. Got it?"

Gunn nodded, silenced by Faith's impassioned speech. Angel put a hand on Faith's shoulder softly.

"C'mon, let's go." Faith let go of Gunn and climbed back into the convertible, leaving Angel to explain the plan.


Faith and Angel crouched outside a large window, observing the ritual that was taking place.

"I thought the scum bags would be here." Faith whispered.

"They'll show."

No sooner had the words left Angel's lips than the staff of Wolfram and Hart strolled in, as casually as if they were turning up to a board meeting.

"Do we have a plan?" Faith asked, more nervous than she'd have liked.

There was a lot riding on this. Too much. She tried to block it out.

"We kill the big guy and we get that scroll."


Faith struggled to get her head clear. Images of Cordelia in pain kept flashing before her. She couldn't afford to go into this fight distracted.


And without further instruction he launched himself at the window, crashing through it. Faith followed him and the fight that ensued became a blur to her. She was aware of being hit and returning blows but beyond that the only thing she knew was that she had to get the scroll. Vocah had dropped it and Lindsey had picked it up. She started towards him but was halted by the sight of Angel fighting for his life with the big dude in the hood. This was the guy who had hurt Cordelia. Suddenly everything became clear. A fury unlike any other emotion Faith had ever experience rose up from deep within. She hurled herself at Vocah, throwing him off Angel. Once she had him pinned down she unleashed all of her considerable strength, raining down blow after blow on the demon. She was relentless, she wanted him to suffer. Angel, now recovered, witnessed Faith's rage and decided to intervene. Risking non-life and limb, he readied himself and pushed Faith off the demon. He raised the scythe and with one smooth strike, ended Vocah's power.

Faith was on her feet and incensed by Angel's behaviour.

"What the fuck did you do that for? I had him! I wanted to...I was..."

"You were hurting him, not killing him."

"The bastard deserved a lot more pain than he got. I shoulda..."

Faith's rant was interrupted by a flash of white light, reminding the arguing duo what was taking place. After their eyes had adjusted to the light, they saw the huge box containing whatever had been raised being dragged out.

Lindsey stood regarding them smugly. He was holding the precious scroll. Faith made a move towards him.

"Ah ah ah!" Lindsey warned. "Come on now, this is a momentous occasion, let's take a moment to reflect."

"Let's not." Faith's reply was an animalistic snarl.

"OK, have it your way."

Without warning he thrust the scroll into the flames of a ceremonial torch. Time stood still as Faith watched the fire flicker around the edges of the scroll. Her body felt like lead as she tried to make it move. She'd heard that your life flashes before you when you die; hell, she'd experienced it once or twice herself. But as the yellow fingers curled around the parchment a different life flashed before Faith - the life she could have had with Cordelia that wasn't going to happen if the scroll was destroyed. She saw herself and Cordelia strolling along a beach at sunset, opening presents on Christmas morning, lying on the couch watching old movies, spooned together in bed, happy and satisfied. She badly wanted that life.

A bright streak of metal and a scream of agony jump-started time once more. Before Faith was fully aware of what had happened she was plucking the scroll out of the fire, ensuring that it was in tact. Only when she was positive it was unharmed did she realise that Lindsey's hand and wrist had parted company from his arm courtesy of Angel and his scythe. As she watched the lawyer writhe on the ground, cradling his bloody stump, Faith felt nothing. She couldn't even muster up hatred. All she wanted to do was get to the hospital and end this ordeal.

"C'mon." she told Angel on the way out the door. As she got into the car she heard Angel and Lindsey exchange a few words but she couldn't have cared less what was said. She wanted her life back. And she was going to get it.


The journey to the hospital passed in silence. When they arrived they parted without a word, Angel heading for Wesley's room and Faith for Cordelia's. Faith approached the bed with conflicting emotions fighting it out in her stomach. There was hope that Cordelia was going to be OK, but there was terror that it might not work...every now and again hope would look like it was going to win, but then terror would make a comeback and the struggle continued. Cordelia was in the same catatonic state as she had been. Only now she looked worn out - the experience was taking its toll on her.

"Hey baby," said Faith, softly. "Did ya miss me? I'm sorry I was gone so long...Angel had to visit the Power guys and then there was a big fight but we got it!"

Faith held up the scroll even though she knew Cordelia couldn't see it.

"This is gonna stop these visions...and then we'll all get back to normal...well, as normal as we get, what with us bein' weird and all...well not weird but you know, slayers, vampires, seers, watchers...oh God, I'm channelling Willow!"

Faith clamped her mouth shut to stop the babbling. But she was nervous and couldn't help it. Faith leaned down and rested her forehead against Cordelia's.

"I love you," she whispered.

It was amazing how easy it was to say those words when there wasn't going to be a reaction.

"Shall we get started?"

Wesley's voice broke into Faith's mind and she turned to look at him. She held out the scroll they'd saved from the flames, at the expense of Lindsey's hand. Along with the singed parchment she handed him her hopes and her prayers. Everything hinged on this. Wesley knew he was being entrusted with a task of the utmost importance. He looked into Faith's eyes and gave the smallest of nods. He was ready. He cleared his throat.

"Just a minute!"

Faith opened the restraints holding Cordelia's wrists. She picked up one of her hands and held it in both of her own.

"OK, go."

Wesley read the scroll, enunciating each word carefully and purposefully. Faith and Angel kept their eyes locked on Cordelia's face. There was no sign of change at any point during the reading of the incantation.

"...Three times shalt thou say these words, unbind, unbind, unbind."

Before the third unbind had fully escaped Wesley's lips there was a blinding flash of light. Faith's heart was in her mouth as she looked at Cordelia. After a few seconds she was rewarded by a sharp intake of breath and rapid blinking from a very confused Cordelia.

"Cor?" Faith's voice was a whisper.


Cordelia's gaze settled on the slayer. Her face crumpled as tears spilled down her cheeks. In an instant Faith had gathered her in her arms and was hugging her close, rocking her slightly in a comforting motion. Cordelia clung to Faith and cried into her shoulder.

"Shhh, it's OK're OK...I've got you...shhhh."

Faith stroked Cordelia's hair and tried, without success, to hold back her own tears. They sat holding each other for a long time. Eventually Cordelia looked up at Angel.

"I saw them, I saw them all."

Faith released her hold slightly so she could look at Cordelia's face.

"There's so much pain...and suffering...we've got to help them."

Angel reached out and took Cordelia's hand.

"We will, I promise."

He squeezed her hand for reassurance. Cordelia nodded and turned once more to seek out solace by burying her face in Faith's neck. Faith held her tight, a smile brightening her features for the first time since the start of the ordeal.

"Um, we should probably go get the doctor." said Angel.

"I want to come home," Cordelia said quickly, looking pleadingly into Faith's eyes.

"Well, there's no real reason to keep you here now, they've found nothing medically wrong with you." Wesley put in helpfully.

The doctor entered with Angel and was shocked to see Cordelia sitting up, wrapped around her 'sister'.

"Well, Ms Chase, I see you're back with us!"

"100%! Can I go home now?"

"I hardly think so, you've been through a severe psychotic episode. There are tests and examinations to be carried out..."

Cordelia interrupted her.

"You won't find anything."

The simplicity of the statement and the utter certainty with which it was delivered made the doctor stop short.

"Well...I'll have to examine you now...if everything is normal...I shouldn't really...but I'll allow you to go home if you promise to make an appointment to come back for more tests."

The doctor had worked in an LA hospital long enough to know that there was more to life than science could explain rationally. She was happy to accept this but was reluctant to probe any further, preferring to stay in the shadows of uncertainty rather than the stark light of total knowledge. Upon hearing the news that Cordelia could return home, Faith had kissed her in a very non -sisterly manner. The doctor raised an eyebrow, but nothing really surprised her in this city anymore.

"OK, you'll have to wait outside while I carry out my exam."

Angel pushed Wesley's chair out into the corridor and Faith reluctantly left Cordelia's side, promising not to go far.

"I'm going to take Wes back to his room." said Angel. "I'll come back to see if you need a ride home."

Faith nodded and Angel turned and started pushing Wesley's chair. After a second Faith spoke.


He stopped and turned back around.

"I just wanted to too Wes...just for everything you guys did and... I mean...thanks..."

Seeing Faith's discomfort Angel stepped in.

"No need for thanks Faith, she's our friend too, she would have done it for any one of us, and so would you."

Faith smiled and impulsively ran to grab both men in a hug, which was pretty difficult with Wesley being in a wheelchair. When she released them they stood in an embarrassed but happy silence until the door opened and the doctor spoke.

"You can go in now, she's just getting dressed."

Angel addressed Faith. "I'll give the two of you a minute while I get Wes settled."

"Sure" said Faith over her shoulder as she sprinted past the doctor.

The doctor looked at Angel, he cringed a little, hoping she wasn't going to ask for an explanation. She shook her head.

"I don't want to know."

And with that she turned and headed off.


In Cordelia's room, Faith stood watching Cordelia get dressed. She hadn't announced her presence. She just wanted to observe the wonder that was Cordelia Chase and thank whoever had brought her back to her from the terrifying place she'd been.

"Are you a peeping-tom in your spare time or what?"

Cordelia's voice startled Faith back to reality. She looked up to see that a fully dressed Cordy was staring at her, an amused and affectionate expression on her tired face.

"Who would I spy on? I already got the hottest girl in the world."

Cordelia smiled and approached Faith with arms outstretched. Faith accepted the embrace gratefully, inhaling Cordelia's distinctive fragrance and revelling in the warm circle of her arms. After a few minutes Cordelia put her mouth next to Faith's ear and whispered,

"I love you too."

This took a moment to compute. Faith pulled back slightly and looked into Cordelia's eyes.

"You could hear me?"

"Mmm hmmm." Cordelia nodded, creasing up her brow, trying to remember. "It's like I could hear you but I couldn't understand the words. So I can remember what you said, it's only now I actually know what you were telling me."


Faith didn't really know how to respond to this. She had poured out her soul, she wasn't used to being so emotionally raw, even with Cordelia. A hand cupped her chin and forced her to look up.

"Faith, I want you to know that you can say anything to me, you can tell me how you feel and it won't ever make me feel any different about you. I know it's hard for you to talk about stuff and yes, I did know that you loved me, I didn't have to hear you say it, but when you did it made me realise how much you cared for me. You dropped your barriers and actually told me you loved me, and that's really special."

Faith listened in wonder. No-one had ever taken the time to speak to her like this. Which was probably part of the reason she found it difficult to articulate her feelings. But with Cordelia she felt secure, she felt safe. Safe enough to allow herself to be vulnerable.

"I love you."

There. She'd said it. And Cordelia was fully conscious and aware. She tentatively looked up into Cordelia's dark eyes. The love and happiness she saw there were more than enough to tell her she had nothing to feel worried about. Without saying another word Cordelia leaned in and captured Faith's lips, trying to convey everything she felt for the slayer into that single gesture. Faith returned the kiss with equal passion and fervour. They broke apart when they sensed that Angel was lurking outside the door, trying to be inconspicuous.

"Let's go home." said Faith.

Cordelia beamed.

"Let's go home." she repeated. "I need to soak in a hot bath for about 3 days, wanna join me?"

"When have I ever turned down an invitation like that from you?"


Cordelia took Faith's hand as they headed for the door.

"Oh, one more thing."

They both stopped.

"I thought you were really cute when you were babbling."

She grinned mischievously. Faith blushed.

"Yeah...well...I've never babbled for anyone else."

"Let's keep it that way."

Cordelia stole another quick kiss before pulling Faith behind her through the door.

Although the experience had been horrifying, both girls came to realise that they felt more content afterwards than they had before. They followed Angel out to the car, engaging in gentle teasing and light petting, heading home to the rest of their lives. Together.