Surviving Sunnydale Series
1. Farewell To The Boys
I've had it with high school boys, Cordelia Chase thought with an inner growl as she stalked down the corridors of Sunnydale High in her Manolo Blahnik pumps and leopard print Prada purse. Thanks to Xander lowest-of-the-low, like, totally below the gutter, Harris her life was the Hellmouth. She'd sacrificed the last vestiges of her popularity only for that loser, no, maxi-loser, to cheat on her with Willow Rosenberg. Of all people. A geekette. A geekette who could babble for America. And, hello, did he ever notice what Willow was wearing? Fluffy sweaters do not a honey make. Willow Rosenberg was like the... like the... Chelsea Clinton to Cordelia's Cindy Crawford. No competition. And, still, Xander had chosen Willow over her.
How clueless could he be? Cordelia was the best thing that had ever happened to him in his charmless life and he'd betrayed her. Dumb as well as a loser. She would never forgive him for making her the laughing stock of the entire school. Most people had, if not forgotten then grown accustomed to Cordelia's newfound status as a social pariah. Most people left her alone. Except Harmony and her clones who took great delight in reminding Cordelia of her bereft state at every opportunity. To think she'd once considered those pea-brained sheep her best friends. She'd taught them everything they knew about fashion and boys and how had they repaid her? Snickering behind her back, dishing out catty one-liners to her face. All she could do now was to show them that she had dignity and poise, something those two-faced bitches would never have.
Why did she have to fall for Xander Harris? It wasn't that she'd loved him really. Danger had brought them together and that was about all. God, what was she thinking? It was obviously some huge lapse in judgement. She'd always prided herself on her unrivalled taste but Xander Harris was like some hideous Sears blot on the unblemished idyll that was her Donna Karan life. So what if that life had been superficial, she'd been happy right? She'd been May Queen, the most popular girl in the school, chased by every boy on the football team. Now she was lucky to get a date at all.
Cordelia Chase hated high school boys. So she was determined to focus her energies and considerable charms elsewhere. At the moment, that elsewhere was Wesley Wyndham-Price. Even his double-barreled name just said 'classy.' With his impeccable manners and good breeding, he was a cut above anything else in this wannabe town. He was the kind of man that she could bring home to meet her parents and not be ashamed of. She wondered if he was part of the aristocracy... She could picture him living in some sprawling country pile, Duke Wesley of a quaintly-named British place... smelling slightly of stables and horse manure. Ick. He was brave in a bumbling kind of way, which was quite endearing if not exactly fulfilling of any James Bond fantasies.
Oh, who was she kidding? Wesley was wetter than a damp dishtowel. Turning up at the library in cocktail dresses on the off-chance that Wesley might be there, could she be any more transparent? Everyone saw through that for the ruse that it was, an incredibly juvenile but totally justified attempt at getting back at Xander. She'd wanted to make him so insanely jealous that he'd come crawling back to her on his hands and knees, begging her to take him back, just so that she could laugh in his face with its big ears and even bigger eyebrows. Ha. Ha. She'd wanted to hurt him like he'd hurt her, to humiliate him in front of his friends. That's right, they were his friends not hers. For a brief time she'd been one of them, well, nearly one of them. She'd never been an 'official' card-carrying Scooby, she'd never been initiated into their weirdo little club but she'd always had a secret, grudging admiration for their friendship. Much as she hated to admit it, she actually liked hanging out with them and, God her credibility was plunging here, Giles, pretending that they liked her and actually wanted her around. In her own small way she'd been contributing to saving the world on a daily basis, all without chipping her nail polish if she was lucky.
Freaks. She didn't need them, she'd never needed anybody. Because she was blessed with great genes – there was no point in feigning modesty – girls envied her and boys wanted her so she expected to make enemies. But she was tired of the bitching, the snide comments, and the sheer falseness of it all. Sure, in the past she was as totally fake as the rest of them but she liked to think she had insight now, she could see past their petty little games. She'd even had enough of insulting Xander... and she never thought she'd tire of that.
With that disturbing thought in mind, she sailed through the library double doors. She liked to show up occasionally, under the premise of seeing Wesley, just to remind them all how wronged she was by her association with Buffy and her friends. No, it was a lie, she still enjoyed belittling Xander. It was one of her few pleasures in life. Almost as rewarding as a sale at her favourite boutique. Her resolve fell when she saw Faith lounging with her feet on the table, flipping lazily through a magazine. Cordelia peered through the window to Giles' office, hoping that either the librarian or Wesley might be around. The thought of being alone with Faith didn't exactly fill her with good cheer. Wesley wasn't the soul of discretion and had told her about Faith's turning psycho and killing the deputy mayor. Plus, she'd witnessed the mess Faith had made of the Watcher's face. Purple just wasn't his colour.
"Giles and the Incredible Shrieking Man are out training with B," Faith remarked, not looking up.
The urge to defend Wesley never quite made it past her lips. Instead she went on the offensive. "Can you actually read or are you just looking at the pictures?" she asked as she walked up to the table. "Only, I heard that you're mentally challenged."
Faith leaned back in her chair, an infuriating smirk in place. "I can read you, Queen C." The slayer looked up at Cordelia with a provocatively raised eyebrow.
Cordelia gave a doubtful purse of her lips. "And what might your interpretation of the text be, Miss Illiteracy '99?"
"You musta been wicked gutted to lose Xander to Red, huh?" Faith asked with an expression of mock sympathy. "I mean, you got a reputation to uphold and your boy blew it for you." The slayer sighed. "And here was me thinkin' I was a loser magnet..."
The doors opened and Cordelia turned expectantly only to find the smug faces of Harmony and her hags staring back at her. Great, she thought, I have died and gone to Hell. She was stuck in a room with two of the people she disliked most in the world. She only needed Xander and Roseanne Barr to walk in and the party would be complete.
"What is this?" Harmony asked in that irritating, preening voice of hers. "The skank imparting advice to the skankier?" The sheep giggled on cue.
While Cordelia sought an appropriately scathing response, she watched as Faith stood and swaggered towards Harmony. She could see that the blonde girl and her friends were becoming nervous, having probably heard, and perpetuated, the rumours about Faith. The dark-haired slayer just radiated danger and it was strangely... Cordelia frowned, before remembering what her mother had always told her about frowning giving you wrinkles. She clamped right down on that recalcitrant thought. It was thoughts like that that got her into the mess she was in. She was going to train her mind that danger was emphatically not sexy or exciting in any way. Not at all. Not when it was another girl being all... dangerous and... No, no, no, no, no.
Faith stopped about two inches away from Harmony's face. The blonde pulled back so that her chin formed this unattractive triple chin which made Cordelia smirk in satisfaction. "Do you mind, I'm having a conversation with Cordelia," Harmony said, her voice wavering between anger and fear.
"Let me impart some advice to you, Twinkie," Faith said with a sneer then leaned in to whisper something in Harmony's ear. A look of absolute disgust crossed the blonde's face and without a word she fled from the library, her shaking hand hovering over her mouth as if she was about to throw up. Nonplussed, the sheep quickly followed, casting final frightened looks at Faith who merely smiled at them knowingly.
When they left, Cordelia half-rushed up to Faith, adopting a casual tone that masked her intense intrigue. "What did you say to her?" she asked.
The brunette slayer winked. "You don't wanna know."
Now she really wanted to know. And she wanted to know why a little flutter had gone through her chest when Faith winked at her, which was, by the way, really freaking her out. She also wanted to know why Faith had intervened like that when she could so easily have sat back and watched. Verbal sparring she could understand, not this confounding of her expectations. It made her realise that she didn't actually know anything about Faith, she only had the judgements she'd formed from assimilating gossip, and her curiosity was piqued.
"Well, whatever you said, thanks," she said eventually, holding back on revealing the true extent of her gratefulness. It was the first time anyone had ever stood up for her and she was totally unaccustomed to this... liking of Faith for doing that.
"Any time, I hate chicks like that," Faith paused, both she and Cordelia realising at the same time that the former May Queen used to be exactly like that. Harmony was, like, her protégé. "Uh, not that I meant... you know. I'm gonna shut up now."
Cordelia gave a small smile, and she hadn't felt like smiling for a long time. "It's okay, I know what you mean."
In the awkward silence that ensued, Faith thrust her hands into the back pockets of her jeans. "Wes shouldn't be much longer," the slayer offered. "Even if B and the G-man have to carry him back."
"I'm not – " Cordelia stopped herself. "I'll just wait." She'd completely forgotten about Wesley, if the truth be told. At this moment it was a case of Wesley who? As she took the seat opposite Faith, the slayer returned to her magazine - it was the latest issue of Rolling Stone – and she couldn't stop herself watching the other girl. Hello, her mind protested, did the Xanderostomy completely fry your brain? Cordelia Chase did not like girls, not like this, no way. God, there were enough reasons for her to be ostracised without adding to the list. She'd never even owned a pair of dungarees... and she refused to crop her hair.
Her mind was obviously misfiring neurons or something. That or she'd been so traumatised by Xander's unfaithfulness that she was actually considering... what? Asking Faith out? She didn't even know if Faith was... that way inclined. Then again, hadn't Faith been studying that picture of Britney Spears for, like, way longer than was strictly necessary? Uh-oh, Faith was staring at her now with quizzical brown eyes. Really deep, dark brown with the tiniest flecks of hazel. Cordelia forced herself to look away before she made a total moron of herself. When she edged her gaze back, Faith was absorbed in the magazine again. She tried to be critical, because if she picked apart every little flaw in the other girl then maybe she'd stop entertaining these crazy, freaky thoughts. Too much eye makeup, that shade of lipstick was entirely wrong for her complexion, the outfit just screamed 'Ho's-R-Us,' she was from Boston, and from the wrong side of the tracks (even for Boston.) So, all in all, on paper, Faith was entirely not dollsome.
That's what she kept telling herself but... Faith was quite gorgeous, in a really slutty, cleavagey, leaving nothing to the imagination way. And leather was a good look on her. A very good look. The kind of look that should be criminal. Cordelia shifted uncomfortably in her seat and reached inside her purse for her compact, just for something to do. As she carefully powdered her nose and cheeks, she happened to glance over the mirror and caught Faith looking at her. They both returned busily to what they were doing but Cordelia was rocked and she tried to hide her steady blush under another layer of powder. This was insane, she never even got this way around boys. She closed the compact and put it back in her purse. A glimpse at Faith told her that the slayer was only pretending to read the magazine, staring at the same spot on the page for well over a minute. What the hell was going on here? Well, she knew, she'd been playing these games with boys for as long as she'd been aware of her own beauty. She just didn't expect to be performing this little dance with another girl. Did the same rules even apply?
She glanced at the clock. How long before the others returned and ended this? She really didn't want to end it yet. Not until she'd scored her victory. The other girl's dark eyes lifted from the page and this time Cordelia allowed their gazes to meet, just for a moment, before dropping her eyes demurely. Faith leaned forward, casting aside the magazine, her elbows on the table and a smirk on her face. "Are you gonna keep starin' at me all day?" There was a playful edge to her challenge.
"Why would I be staring at you?" Cordelia replied in a bored tone, rising to the bait.
Faith tilted her head slightly. "I dunno. Maybe you like what you see."
Cordelia smothered a smile. "You think?"
The smirk faded from the slayer's features, her near-black eyes serious and voice low. "I think Xander needs his head read for cheatin' on you."
Speechless, Cordelia stared at Faith. That was probably, no, definitely the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her. If there was any doubt left about her liking the other girl, it was so gone now. She pushed back her chair and rounded the table, leaning down until she was eye level with Faith. "I think... you have the cutest smile." Then she kissed Faith, a tentative brush of lips that blossomed slowly into a fully-fledged kiss as full, ruby-red lips opened eagerly to her own. It was so easy to get lost in the sensation, so much softer than expected, and, look, she hadn't been struck down by lightening for kissing another girl. The next thing she knew, she was pulled roughly onto Faith's lap and the slayer's tongue was in her mouth, doing avid battle with her own. It was then that Cordelia's brain reminded her that she was kissing a girl in the school library, which was, like, such a faux pas. They broke apart in time to hear voices outside the door and Cordelia quickly perched herself on the edge of the desk, smoothing the creases out of her skirt and wiping the excess saliva off her lips. That was quite a talented tongue...
A slightly mussed Buffy and Giles sauntered in with a wheezing Wesley trailing behind them.
"...and that's how the catalogue system works," Cordelia said casually, leaning forward just enough so that Faith had a perfect view of her cleavage.
Faith's eyes were locked on her chest. "Yeah, right. Thanks for explaining that, Cordelia." It was fortunate Faith was way better at slaying than she was at lying, Cordelia thought with a mental roll of her eyes.
Giles exchanged a surprised look with Buffy who just shrugged. Gathering her purse, Cordelia slid off the desk and made her way towards the exit. She just knew that Faith was checking out her ass as she went.
Wesley cleared his throat to get her attention. "Ah, Cordelia, I was wondering if - "
"I have plans this evening," she interrupted and glanced briefly towards Faith. The slayer winked at her. Yep, she could really get used to the little flutter that went through her when Faith did that.
Continued in 'I Turn To You'