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Surviving Sunnydale Series

5. State Of Emergency

Isn't it funny how people always have a bit of their bodies that they hate, that they would change in an instant? Cordelia used to feel that way about the mole on her cheek, she used to sit in front of her vanity every morning before school and carefully conceal every trace of it. That little distinguishing feature seemed, to her, like the biggest deal ever because it marked her out as being different. The Cordettes got their kicks from rooting out what was different, from cruelly mocking imperfections and squashing self-esteem. God forbid that Cordelia Chase should be less than perfect, at least in the eyes of her clique. Even after her reputation had been dragged through the mud, she still covered that mole up because it was a way of keeping control, on some level, of how she was perceived. Then when she got to LA it didn't seem so important, she was starting over and no one knew her here. She was just an aspiring actress, like thousands of others - and, anyway, it hadn't done Cindy Crawford's career any harm.

Teenage hang-ups were far from her mind now because the way that Faith kissed along her jawline, touching her warm tongue to that tiny birthmark, seemed to chase all those thoughts away. She didn't need the adulation of anyone but this girl, she'd never needed anyone else. Despite the froth and the tactless comments, Cordelia Chase had never been impulsive. She'd spent most of her high school years manipulating opinion, dictating who was popular and who so wasn't, tantalising the hormonally charged opposite sex - she led boys to believe that they had a chance with Queen C, and when they tried, she'd turn them down flat. And boys being boys with their fractured egos used to spread rumours in the locker room, fictional conquests of the then cheerleader, comparing notes on how easy she was.

Cordelia had never been easy, she had far too much to lose and besides, the thought of spotty-backed, oafish jocks thrusting away on top of her hadn't been particularly appealing. The dating of college boys had purely been an exercise in upping her cool quotient but, to them, she was just a small piranha in a big pond, and they especially expected her to put out. Which she never did. Of course, she lost everything she'd worked for when she began dating Xander Harris. Maybe she might have been less resentful about the whole thing if he'd cheated on her with someone with more cool points than Willow Rosenberg. In retrospect, it was the best thing that could've happened to her. When she lost the cushioning of popularity, she finally realised that her self-worth wasn't wrapped up in what everyone else thought of her. That didn't mean she didn't miss it though... To get back to the point, all she'd ever allowed dates back then was a kiss and a grope outside of clothing.

Then Faith came along, all trailer-trash sexuality and no inhibitions. Faith wasn't the kind to settle for just making out - in Cordelia's car, the back row at the movie theatre, holding up the queue for the washroom cubicles in the Bronze, Faith's messy motel room. It wasn't enough for Cordelia either because, unlike the succession of infatuated high school and college guys, she actually liked Faith... but not enough to out herself as the only lesbian (or whatever the hell she was) on the cheerleading squad. They'd had countless arguments about Faith being too obvious in semipublic, only for the slayer to drag her off to somewhere secluded - usually a cemetery, so Faith wasn't entirely slacking off on her duties - to shut her up in the most enjoyable way. Things progressed rapidly, within days Faith had taken Cordelia Chase's much coveted virginity and, within three weeks, had broken her heart. No one suspected a thing, not even the person Faith was crushing out on the whole time. But her father's bankruptcy, having to work part-time to support herself, and the impending Ascension meant she didn't have time to wallow in it. So she shut herself down, resumed her bitchy one-liners and pretended that nothing could touch her. She even went back to flirting with Wesley which was a definite black spot. It took a kiss from him to wake up to herself and their total lack of chemistry.

Letting out a tiny sigh, Cordelia lifted her chin to allow Faith's lips to travel down her neck and she clutched the other girl more tightly. For all they'd been through, and despite this difficult reconciliation, she still couldn't be sure if Faith was here for the duration this time. She still hadn't heard those crucial three words and there remained a horrible doubt that she never would. Faith would never surrender that easily. Then again, did she really need Faith to say it out loud? Couldn't she just be happy with believing that Faith loved her? God, they were living together and Faith was back in her bed. Wasn't that proof enough? Still, she was more than satisfied to go along with this arrangement. She got a little selfish pleasure from coming home from work to find Faith waiting for her. As soon as she opened the door, she'd have strong arms around her and a warm tongue tickling her ear. More often than not they ended up tangled in bedsheets and she just tried not to think about the possibility that Dennis might be watching... It was strangely domesticated but she knew that Faith was restless and that worried her. She needed to speak to Angel.

But that could wait till morning. It could wait forever because all she wanted to do was spend the rest of her days, in this bed, with Faith, being touched in a way she'd almost forgotten. One thing she'd noticed, Faith showed a tenderness she'd rarely seen before. As if the slayer had been holding back all this time. Before, though the sex had been good, it had always been about illicit excitement and instant gratification. Which had its merits. But now there was so much more. They took their time, built the anticipation slowly, kissing for minutes on end and they actually made love. Afterwards Faith would hold her and not say a word. She didn't need to. They'd just look at each other, sometimes for hours, clinging to each other as if their lives depended upon it. It was during these vulnerable moments that Cordelia saw Faith for what she was: a woman-child lost within her own powers and the moral ambiguity that it presented to her. She could see that Faith was the walking, talking, fucking definition of a grey area.

Whatever, my grey area, she thought with a possessive inner growl. Which was quickly followed by an audible one as Faith's mouth found a nipple. Instinctively, she arched into the mouth that she often watched in fascination - whenever Faith noticed she would smile, tilt her head a little and give that 'come on' look, eyes so dark that they just ate you up. Hands trailing down her ribs now... Faith still had her silver thumb ring on, the one Cordelia had given to her last year, and the coolness of it against her skin made her shiver. She remembered the day she'd surprised Faith with the gift, the amazement only showing in the raising of Faith's eyebrow. No 'thank you', just the slayer's welcome tongue down her throat and, later, slow screwing at the motel before Faith started her patrol. One of the few times it hadn't been rushed. Days later she found out Faith was working for the Mayor and she couldn't exactly ask for the ring back, even when she needed the cash. She'd never felt so foolish or so betrayed in her entire life.

Cordelia was trying not to dredge up the past. Faith was here now, reformed (maybe), loving her like she never had before. A hand slipped between her thighs, parting her intimate flesh, distracting her from painful thoughts. All thought altogether, actually. She was being filled and stroked and kissed and, God, Faith really was damn good. Soon she could feel the pressure building, starting from the base of her body and spreading outwards but she didn't want it to end yet, she wanted to cry because she so didn't want it to end. She screwed her eyes shut, as if that could delay the inevitable but Faith was saying something, low and oh-so-sexily.

"Look at me," Faith said roughly, "I wanna see you come." And Cordelia did as she was told, eyes latching onto Faith's and hanging on for all she was worth. The slayer was smiling at her, so beautiful, so damn cute, so... Oh God. And she came, lifting her hips high off the bed as Faith covered her mouth and swallowed the scream. Minutes, maybe hours passed as they kissed, Cordelia's tongue tangling with the other girl's, Faith's fingers still inside because it was the most intimate connection they could have.

****

Cordelia let the warm jet of water wash the sweat and sweet scent of sex off her body. She tipped her face towards the water, savouring the heat on her skin, before reaching for the bottle of shampoo. Just as she was lathering up, she heard the faint peel of the telephone in the bedroom. "Faith, will you get that?" she called out. Still the phone rang. Huffing as she wiped the soap out of her eyes, Cordelia grabbed a towel off the hook and stepped out of the shower, splashing water everywhere. "Faith? Hello, will you answer the phone!" Padding over the carpet, leaving a trail of damp footprints, Cordelia went into the bedroom just as Faith was picking up the receiver.

Faith grinned slightly, as she took in the sight of the actress in a skimpy towel. "Hello?" Cordelia watched Faith's eyebrows knit together. "Yeah. Who is this?" The slayer suddenly paled, knuckles white as she gripped the receiver. "What? How the fuck did you get this number?" Faith was raging now, in a way Cordelia hadn't seen for a long time. "No way. Fuck you asshole." With that, Faith slammed the phone down violently before yanking the cord out of the wall.

"Faith?" Cordelia said hesitantly. The other girl was just staring at a spot on the wall and she was shaking with anger... and something else just beneath the surface.

She jumped slightly at the sound of Cordelia's voice. "Huh?" Faith glanced at her, eyes open but closed at the same time. "Some crank caller, babe. It's nothin.'"

"What did they say?"

Faith reached for her jeans and pulled them on. "Look, will you drop it? It doesn't matter."

Still, Cordelia persisted. "Oh, please, you've got a hair up your ass about something." She took a few steps towards the slayer. "I thought we agreed, no more lies."

"I said drop it!" Something crazy was sparked in Faith because she grabbed the phone and threw it across the room, making a huge dent in the wall. God, how was she going to explain that one to the landlady? But Cordelia quickly dismissed that out of hand when Faith directed enraged dark eyes at her. She stalked up to the actress dangerously. "Why don't you listen to me? Huh?" She grabbed Cordelia by the shoulders and shook her for emphasis. "Still think you're too good for me, is that it?"

The bitch in Cordelia simply reacted. She slapped Faith, hard, across the cheek. And, ouch, that really stung her palm. Instantly, Faith raised her fist but she stopped just short of the actress's face as if an invisible force field prevented her from making contact. She stared at Cordelia, her face white with shock, with remorse. "Shit, C, I'm sorry, god, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean..."

"Don't you ever do that to me again," Cordelia hissed, despite the panic in Faith's eyes. She could see the split second of indecision on the slayer's face and then she bolted, just grabbed her jacket and shoes and ran out the door. When the door slammed shut, Cordelia felt the air forced from her lungs, as if she'd been punched in the gut and she wanted to scream and shout and beat... something. Instead she stumbled over to the bed, buried her face in the sheets that smelled of Faith and cried so hard that no sound left her lips.

Continued in 'Through the Dark'