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 Jezebel
For Beth

"Us girls have to stick together"

Cordelia strides towards me and presents me with the hilt of a sleek katana. The look in her dark eyes is firm, as if she knows I am wavering.

"We can't always be helpless damsels waiting for the men to come save us, can we?"

Her perfect smile challenges me.

I don't want to think that she might be able to read my thoughts as it crosses my mind that, sometimes, if only sometimes, I'd like nothing more than to be rescued and protected. Though I know her gift of visions doesn't actually mean she can read my thoughts, much as she might claim it when she's sure she's right, I am painfully aware that my face has a treacherous tendency to make such powers unnecessary.

Five years in Pylea hasn't made me brave. I think she expected that I'd have acquired some fighting skills from my time there, but I didn't I just ran and hid. I can build things, good things, I can lay traps and find food, so I got by, I endured but always at a distance, always in the dark; face to face against an opponent I still seem to freeze.

I just survived, hunted and scared, scraping by until someone else..., a hero..., Angel, came and saved me.

My face flushes, she must be able to see how close to the surface the urge to just run away from everything, until there are no memories left and it's just quiet, still lingers. And she couldn't understand; she is so strong. I can't imagine her ever hiding behind a man, or anyone.

Cordelia's smile is kind as she proffers the sword again and I take it tentatively; I'd like to be like her.

The sword feels heavy in my hands and I can't seem to get the grip right.

"I don't know if I can do this Cordelia. I'm not very strong"

I feel much more like myself, less weak, since my return; not being on the run all the time, proper food, nice food, tacos, a warm bed, a good night's sleep, having friends, being part of something it's all helped me feel human again but I wasn't exactly the strongest of girls before I left, something about being a science nerd I guess.

She repositions my hands on the hilt, her fingers feel warm against mine and her skin is soft and smooth. I am painfully aware that compared to her I don't have anything resembling a beauty routine and I don't want her notice that my skin is still rough from labouring in Pylea.

"Good sword-work isn't just about strength Fred, it's about speed and dexterity, how and where you connect the blades. Just you watch me whip Angel when we're next sparring sometime if you don't believe me"

That makes sense.

Science is all about the effects of the smallest things, the tiniest variations of the initial conditions in a nonlinear dynamical system can lead to amazing differences in long term behaviour of this system, the popular Butterfly Effect. People aren't so different either. One day can change how you see a person; one simple act can totally transform them in your eyes.


Offering one's blade for engagement by the opponent


All I've been able think about since I was rescued from Pylea, since I was returned from a nightmare world to the harsh lights of LA, and reality, was Angel.

He saved me; how could I not admire him? He is so kind and strong, he is handsome and brave, a heroic leader, a champion. It's only natural that I should feel drawn to him. He can be quiet, I mean he doesn't always like to talk a lot, and sometimes perhaps I talk too much, I tend to babble when I'm nervous, I worry about all those awkward silences but with Angel it's not like that, quiet is okay, it's nice, comforting. It makes sense, really, that he wouldn't want to talk so much; he has so much to think about, so much to bear, of course he's pensive.

He didn't even seem to mind that I pointed a cross-bow at him, I wasn't going to shoot him of course, I just wanted to help him against Charles' old friends but he didn't know that. Or maybe he did, hundreds of years of life probably makes you a good judge of character.

He's the epitome of..., well just the epitome.

Of course, perhaps it was obvious, that Angel wouldn't see me in quite the same way. But he is a gentleman and he makes such an effort to make me feel included, well they all do but Angel I think the most, that it didn't really matter that my feelings were stronger than his.

Being so noble, he was too kind to tell me directly but I don't suppose I ever really expected that Angel would notice me; Cordelia is so radiant, why would he even see me when she's around. She's beautiful but not just that – she's a hero too, a champion, they made her queen in Pylea; if Angel belongs with anyone it's her.

Cordelia was born to be in the spotlight.

And I am happiest in the shadows.

And then he called me beautiful, and sweetheart and, I don't know, some part of me dared hope that maybe he could see me as someone worthy.

I just wanted to look nice, my best for him, for if we went somewhere special, and I wasn't long, I honestly wasn't, but I suppose I am easy to forget when I am not right there.

I saw him with her, not Cordelia, some other woman and I realised just how ridiculous it was for me to think that I could hold his attention for even an hour.

Sweetheart's just a word, isn't it? It doesn't mean you're special.

They didn't see me, too busy, so I ran away. I ran and I hid. I didn't even go to my room, I just found the first small place to curl up, the lift, and that's where Cordelia found me.

She was so gentle, she held me and it was as if she really didn't want to see me hurting. It wasn't just because she felt guilty, although she did at first, but that was just a mistake, because she thought, well I don't know what she thought but she cared about me, she didn't think it was my fault, that I was stupid to have expected anything.

She held me and I felt like I could breathe again.

She was sweet and sympathetic. She held my hand and explained how Angel's ‘dark and broody' demeanour always reeled the girls in, she said she'd even fallen for it once though her raised eyebrow suggested she wasn't very proud of this episode of her life.

She told me how Angel is doomed to be alone, how the curse means that he can't have love, or any of that and how it's easier for him to keep himself shut off.

She suggested that it was safer to try to think of him as just the boss and try to mock him like the rest of them do and she gently squeezed my fingers and smiled as she offered to help point out his flaws.

But she still couldn't explain who the woman was, or what Angel was doing with her, well that was kinda obvious, but why he would just forget about making plans with me like that. It didn't seem like him. At least I don't think it seemed like him.

It wasn't him. It wasn't him kissing that woman; it was some old man, Marcus, who had been using an Algurian body-switching spell to steal the bodies of young, handsome men. It wasn't him that called me beautiful or sweetheart either though, he is very fond of me, he cares a lot about me, Cordelia said, but that's as far as it goes, as far as it could go even if there wasn't anything more, not that there is.

So when Angel came to tell me all this, after he'd recovered from having his body switched, and me bashing him over the head, I was ready and I didn't fall apart like before, I could look him in the eye, well almost, and say that I understood.

She saved me from making a fool of myself again; she protected me. She is so kind and strong, she is beautiful and brave, chosen by the powers to bear the gift of the visions: a champion, standing next to Angel, fighting the good fight. So I guess it's only natural that I should feel drawn to her.


"Are you even watching me Fred!?"

Cordelia's looking at me with mock exasperation.

"Just follow me."

She raises the katana, swings it smoothly upwards and performs a set of pivots whilst arching the blade in front of her in perfect, graceful but basically deadly

I try to copy hesitantly but the fear of tripping whilst holding a giant and lethally sharp weapon kinda makes me nervous, and when I am nervous I get clumsy, which seems like a bit of a vicious circle, so I stop.

"Maybe you could just teach me some defensive parrying first?"

"Sure. Maybe I am rushing you a little...remember though, demons aren't big with the honour thing and they rarely wait around like villains in a kung-fu movie, nobly attacking you one by one so you're gonna need to get some offensive moves sooner or later"


Prise de Fer
an engagement of the blades that forces the opponent's weapon into a new line

Kye-rumption: Two heroes meeting on a battle plain, fated to be together. Seeing Cordelia and Angel together, doing anything, but especially when they're fighting, always makes me think of that.

Not that Angel seems to recognise that, or at least if he does he won't tell me about it. I suspect he's just doing that stoic, martyred, doomed to walk alone thing Cordelia was telling me about, but it doesn't matter because he can't fight this; it's fate, Kye-rumption.

I want to see them happy: together and happy. They deserve it, they work so hard. It has to work out between them. It has to because it is so much easier to want them to be happy together than to think about what I could want for me.

And for all Angel's denials and objections I thought it was working, destiny was weaving her magic and in exorable forces were in play.

Then Darla came back.


I don't exactly know who Darla is: well I know she's a vampire, and not one with a soul like Angel; and that she's Angel's ex, not the one that died and came back again, well except that she did die and come back again, twice actually if you count when she became a vampire, maybe he's got a thing for women that won't stay dead... which doesn't bode well for Cordelia, but they have fate, Kye-rumption, on their side so it really doesn't mean anything. And that's not the point.

The point is that sometime recently, after she came back from the dead, Darla and Angel had sex, which was bad, because, well I am not exactly sure why it was so bad. I mean, it's probably partly because Darla's evil but also, well, Cordelia seemed rather upset about it. She was angry with Angel about how he treated Darla, and not that she'd say it outright of course, but obviously she's pretty wounded about him lying to her. So I guess that's what was bad about it, the lying, the lying and the impregnating. Not that, I suppose, the latter was a predictable outcome.

I think it's lovely how protective Cordelia was over Darla, so solicitous and gentle: sitting her down; getting her water, well actually I got the water but she thought of it; tenderly brushing Darla's hair off her face; and all the time lambasting Angel.

About how he lied and how he used Darla to make himself feel better, about how he swore he'd never do such a thing.

Not that I blame Angel, I am sure he had his reasons and like he said, it was a dark time for him, and well I wasn't there then, I was in Pylea, having my own dark time, not that I slept with any evil blonde vampires, though that wasn't so much of an option given that I was on the run, living in a cave in a land with no vampires, and not that I'd want to anyway... It's just I know Angel, and he's one of the most honourable people I've met and he wouldn't have, couldn't have, done that if he wasn't in a very bad place.

She's just so powerful and implacable, like a tigress or a hurricane or a Fury, well no, nothing like a Fury, they're just vengeful, although from what Cordelia says they also seem to have a thing for Angel's dark and broodiness.

So now there's Angel, and Darla, and the baby, the possibly world-ending baby and Cordelia. I don't think there's a Pylean word for that kinda mess, and the Pyleans had words, and dances, for everything.

And now I don't know what to want.


"It's very kind of you to take the time to try to teach me all this, Cordelia"

And people can be so kind, but you mustn't mistake kindness for something else, for something more. It's not good to have expectations, expectations are always too high. That's the trouble, you can't ever let your guard down; it seems like it's one thing, but it's not, it's another thing entirely.


Attacking in one line with the intention of switching to another line before the attack is completed.

Say the words...

"Can I ask you something?"

And it's out there, too late to take it back, I don't even know why I wanted to talk to her, no good can come of it, her and Angel are meant for each other, at least they are if they could let themselves see it. I just..., I think, I just wanted to share a secret, bond with her, two girls shopping, chatting, feels so normal, except I chose the worst possible secret to share.

And all too clearly I recall the last time I made such a move, the last time I had the audacity, the stupidity, to tell someone so unsolicitedly how I felt.

The county fair, the eggs, that stupid ride.

I was 16, he was 15 and half, I think that was important, Lane Fitzgerald, I'd had a crush on him for two years. He was nice to me, friendly, I thought that meant something more, until I told him, swaying above the earth in that precarious car, almost upside down, I think the fear made me careless, made me feel I had nothing to lose. I'd never have even gone on that ride if he hadn't wanted someone to go with, I thought it meant something, it was a chance to be alone with him, a chance to tell him how I felt and have him explain how he'd always felt the same, because being popular and confident he'd have been too shy to tell me before. Except of course he didn't, he just squeezed my hand and told me I was sweet. I am sweet, not sexy, not hot, not anyone special, just a friend, probably. I couldn't even look at him; luckily the swaying basket was a sufficient excuse to screw my eyes shut and avoid that pitying gaze.

This is a mistake, just like it was then. Two years I waited to tell him how I felt, two years I weighed up all our interactions and concluded, wrongly, that it was worth a shot, worth baring my soul. I've only known her a few months, how could I be so hasty?

And she replies...

"I think you guys are perfect for each other."

She smiles encouragingly

"I have magic powers, remember?"

It's immeasurably important that she doesn't know; that she never knows. If she doesn't know she can't give me the speech, the sympathetic, gentle, heartbreaking speech of the person who, by not wanting to hurt you, proves themselves so deserving and wounds you more. I don't want to hear that speech again, once, with Lane, was enough, she helped me avoid it with Angel and now she's helped me dodge it again, by offering me an escape route.

She didn't suspect, but now she needs a response. Who does she think would be perfect for me? It must be Charles, he's so handsome and attentive to me, and well he's hardly a consolation prize...It won't be too hard to try to see him like that.

So I reach deep inside for that feeling, that skittering enthusiasm of falling in love, that shy glance away to hide my eyes and protect my pride.

"It -it's not like we've said anything or..."

Stalling. So why do I like her? I mean, what do I like about him? How does he make me feel? I feel safe with him. He takes charge, he's a born leader; he reminds me of Angel like that.

"But he's so sweet... and commanding"

With Charles it's easy and I don't feel uncertain, I like that. He calls me gorgeous and he has this way of looking at me...

"And I feel so comfortable around him..."

But she'll expect something, some nervousness, that flutter of fear when you don't feel secure of their affections.

"I mean, I don't even know if he feels..."

I am looking away, I don't want her to see me and I don't want to watch her face as she realises she's right. I don't want to see that my ‘crush' doesn't disappoint her.

I think she's convinced. Being shy has its advantages sometimes.

"He feels"

I know, well I thought I did, but now that I am trying to consider Charles as a real possibility suddenly I am uncertain. So I ask...


She smiles that confident smile; she's really pleased for me. There's not a hint of hurt or wistfulness in her gaze as she affirms

"Oh, there is definite feelings. We find the right outfit for tonight, there may be actual feeling."

I smile, like I am comforted and convince myself I have just been given what I most wanted, and why would I not want him? He's lovely. So now my uncertainty isn't just for her or at least it wouldn't be if she hadn't taken such pains to make me sure that he feels for me. And now I know what I have to do.



Her sword point quavers inches from my throat.

"You let your guard down, you were distracted and you lowered your weapon. Don't make it easy for me."

Cordelia takes the swords and returns them carefully to the weapons cabinet and turning throws an encouraging glance at me.

"That was good for your first time,"

She looks at me keenly, appraisingly then smiles.

"I think you might get me next time"

But as her eyes slide away from mine towards Angel conversing intently with Wesley I know that I won't.