Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

By Kassie
For C-N

"I think Fred might have a tapeworm." Wes looks up from his book, pushes his glasses up, and clears his throat. Before he can pipe up with fifty reasons why Cordelia's remark is patently ridiculous, she ploughs on. "It could happen. I mean, she spent years rolling around in the mud. Pylea could have tapeworms."

"I suppose it would explain a lot. I can't fault your train of thought, however I wonder what caused you to consider medical parasites." Cordelia figures Wes is surprised every time she has anything on her mind besides nail polish and shoes.

"She just ate three plates of enchiladas, Wes, and I can see her ribs through her shirt." She points a finger over the counter towards the lobby where Fred currently crunches fried tortillas and swills syrupy sweet iced tea.

Wes watches the show for a few seconds, Fred's desiccated body obviously protruding from her size 0 clothes. "She will fill out, Cordelia. She was starving from a steady diet of grubs and sticks."

"Whatever. It's totally been months. I've gained five pounds trying to get her to gain weight. It's a tapeworm." Wes snaps his book closed, gives Cordelia the eye and stalks away, afraid this tirade might really disrupt his reading schedule for the day.

Propping her head on her palms, Cordelia leans over the check-in counter and watches Fred have a fiesta-themed tea party by herself. She offers portions of beans with cheese to nonexistent companions, laughs at jokes no one made, and sings a happy chorus of some song Cordy doesn't know. Fred's obvious insanity reminds Cordy of the days when she thought Buffy was off the rails. Fight evil? How totally nuts could one girl be?

Fred fades to half-real as Cordelia tries to imagine Buffy back from the dead. Did her hair and nails keep growing? Did she crawl out of her grave with talons and six inch roots? There is a little triumph there, because did Buffy really think she was fooling anyone into believing she was a natural blonde? She doesn't feel bad about that because, hey, she's alive again, so she's a target just like any other. In her head only, though, because Cordelia's learned about tact, learned some lessons about what's appropriate, and what's not. And mocking Saint Buffy, who died so everyone else could live, out loud is sort of beyond acceptable even if Cordelia has some really good one-liners on the topic of one-upmanship and over-achieving.

Fred makes loud, sucking sounds with her straw as her drink runs out, and Cordelia remembers the last time she saw Buffy before she died. How thin she was, how frail she looked. Not too different from Fred. Cordelia felt bad for hating her so much in high school. When she truly believed Xander was her one true love and Buffy and her cute nose and round cheeks had wiggled her Slayer booty into her man's heart and ruined Cordelia's life. The last time she'd seen her, Buffy's cheeks were hollow and her nose seemed almost too large on her angled face. Cordelia doesn't think she would have taken long to decay to dust in the grave, there was so little to her.

"Cordy?" Fred approaches the desk while Cordelia tries to imagine Buffy in her grave, the same Buffy who saved her life when Cordelia didn't believe in vampires, the same Buffy who sent Angel to hell, who saved the world from the Mayor, who used to give Cordelia the purple jellybeans when they stayed up until dawn researching. She remembers one of the many times when they were surely all going to die a horrible death with their insides on the outside of their bodies, and Buffy had said 'You're so pretty, Cordy. I wish my hair was shiny like yours.' For no reason than that they were all going to be dead anyway, and Cordelia had replied 'If you didn't bleach it until it turned to straw, yours might be shiny too.' Buffy had scrunched up her cute nose and laughed with her head thrown back, laughed until Cordelia joined in and they collapsed in a heap, entwined together on the ground of some dirty basement.

Kept laughing at the dust on their faces and cobwebs clinging to their eyelashes until their lips met in a sudden but not surprising way, because they were about to die and no one would ever know.

"Cordelia? Don't worry, Angel will be back soon to fix everything. Don't cry." Fred's glasses glint on her ferrety face, and her hair is long, longer than Cordelia's was before she cut it off.

"Do you want to get some ice cream, Fred?" Cordelia knows there's no card at the corner Hallmark that says "Glad you're not dead anymore, thanks for helping me stay alive long enough to find my point in life," but she's gotten pretty good with the computer, and when she and Fred come back, she might make one herself.