Title:  The Confessions of A Somewhat Inept Not Quite Alcoholic

Author:  Harper

Email: Xfjnky2@yahoo.com

Fandom/Pairing:  BtVS - Cordelia/Willow, hints of C/X

Rating:  NC-17.  Its relatively graphic.

Archiving:  This’ll be at http://www.realmoftheshadow.com/harper.htm.  If you’d like it, please ask.  Well, unless you’re a list that auto-archives, that is.

Spoilers:  Doppelgangerland and anything before that, though I play fast and loose with the canon.  Who needs canon anyway?  Just gets in your way sometimes…

A/N:  We all go a little mad sometimes, and apparently I’m not immune to that.  I say this only because I’ve written something rather unlike what I normally write.  Oh well, it was quite fun.  There are some things in here you might not like.  Character abuse.  Character death, of a sort.  Oh, and its got a strange bit of almost-het in it, but don’t worry, I’ve not betrayed my slash roots.  If you’d like to send feedback, I’d love to receive it.  If you don’t, I might have to turn to drink.  Oh wait, already done that, so never mind.  As always, I’m at Xfjnky2@yahoo.com.

“I want you to listen.  I don’t want you to talk, I don’t want you to think, and if you could manage to stay conscious without breathing for a prolonged period of time, I’d want that too.  But, you can’t, and since I want you to hear every single thing that I’m going to say to you, you’re allowed to breathe.  Well, for the moment you’re allowed to breathe.”

Xander nodded weakly in reply, his wide eyes nervously tracing the pacing Cordelia slinking around in front of him.  No, it wasn’t pacing.  Maybe it was more like stalking, because at that moment he felt a little bit like he was the prey and she was the predatory hunter.  Strange, really, considering that it was Cordelia he was observing, but then again, she had managed to incapacitate him.  Well, she’d managed to knock him out with one surprisingly sharp blow to the jaw, and when he’d awoken, he’d found himself duct taped into a chair, completely unable to move anything other than his fingers, his toes, and his head.  He couldn’t talk, either, since she’d gagged him.  Rather tightly too.  The gag was cutting into the sides of his mouth as a matter of fact, but a few attempts at letting her know that had resulted only in producing yet more drool and making sounds that vaguely resembled words, so he’d given it up.  Besides, she’d just said no talking, and until he figured out exactly what was going on, he was going to play Obedient Xander Man.  Well, everybody but little Xander was going to be obedient, but was it really his fault that the little guy got all excited about the fact that his gorgeous ex-girlfriend had tied him up and was currently going all dominantrix on him?  No, he didn’t think so.

“I hate you.”

Cordelia paused at that, looking inordinately pleased with herself.

“There, I feel better.  Its nice to go ahead and get that off my chest, just a little something to get the conversational ball rolling.  You were wasted on me, always pining after girls that you could never have when the one that you did have was obviously far too good for you.  I mean, come on… what’re the chances of someone like you landing someone like me anywhere other than on the Hellmouth, home to the absurdly strange and incomprehensible.  None.  That’s right, absolutely and completely zero chances.”

Smiling wickedly, Cordelia hoisted herself up onto the desk at the front of the room.  It was the computer science room, which she felt was an oddly appropriate place to be.  So many memories lingered here, most of them bad, and she could almost smell them, could almost sense the dark trace of spice they left behind.

“I don’t know what I was thinking,” she mused, eyes drifting off to the side in an unfocused perusal of the windows.  “I mean, you cleaned up fairly well and I was clearly hooked on the whole danger aspect of it all, and you were a decent kisser, but really, it was just, on the whole, an extremely bad idea.  And why I put up with you drooling over Willow and Buffy, I don’t know.  I mean, how utterly sad that was, the way you’d fawn after them.  Couldn’t have them though, not really.”

Absently, Cordelia reached down, picking up a letter opener from the pile of junk on the desk.  It was sharp, she noted, running the edge over the pad of her thumb, drawing a hint of blood.  Bringing the injured digit to her mouth, she sucked lightly, a soft flick of her tongue catching the little ribbon of crimson.

“Not like I could.  Oh, what’s that?  A bit of interest from you?  Don’t understand what I’m getting at?  Let me spell it out for you.”

Xander barely resisted the urge to roll his eyes.  Cordelia had always been the resident Head Bitch/Drama Queen, and it was so like her to indulge in theatrics when she’d so obviously gone insane.  Really, there was no other explanation for it.  The debutante had finally cracked, had thrown whatever bits of sanity that she’d been perilously clinging to by the wayside, and now he’d been tied down by a psychotic bitch.  And hey, that didn’t do anything to calm down little Xand, now did it?


He tried to pull his attention back to the topic at hand, eyebrows narrowing as he pieced together what Cordelia was saying.  Willow?  This had something to do with Willow, and in some other way than the whole ‘you cheated on me with the vapid bitch’ spiel that he had been preparing himself for all this time?  Yeah, he was interested…

“Wanted her, didn’t you?” Cordelia continued smugly, smirking broadly now.  Xander had always hated that look, the one that always made him feel like he was a stupid, silly little boy and that Cordelia was obviously his much smarter, much more sophisticated superior.  He’d never gotten over that, no matter how many times he was subjected to it, and that was saying a lot because he’d seen it quite frequently when they were dating, and often in some fairly delicate situations, which he hadn’t appreciated at all.  Oh, and there went little Xand… coward.

“At first you didn’t think you did, not when you spent half of your waking hours trying to calm down your Buffy induced raging hard-on.”  And then she was back on the floor, was standing right in front of him, looking down at him seductively, her loose shirt pulling away from her skin to reveal a good bit of utterly appealing cleavage, and little Xand sprang back into action.  The movement brought about another smirk, and Cordelia let her hand drift down, slowly scratching one long fingernail against the fly of his jeans, sending little shivers coursing through his body.  “But then… then things changed, didn’t they.  You started to see her, to look at her as something other than the geeky little girl who was carrying around an extremely flattering crush on you.  It was good for your ego before, wasn’t it.  You knew, knew that she had a thing for you and you exploited it, used it and used her to prop up what little was left of your ego after it became more than apparent that they’d be serving Sno-Cones in Hell before Buffy Summers ever even looked at you twice.”

She was still tracing that single digit up and down the fabric stretched tight over his arousal, the rasp of her nail against denim reverberating through his ears, and Xander closed his eyes, praying fervently that he wouldn’t embarrass himself but somehow sure, probably from years of actually being Xander Harris, that it was something that he couldn’t escape.

“And so you decided that you’d want her too, that you’d finally take her up on what she’d been offering all those years.  Only, I beat you to the punch, you know.  She was mine first, and I was, quite fittingly, her first.  Did you know that?  Didn’t think you did, which makes it feel even better to know that you do now,” Cordelia gloated, clearly recognizing exactly when it hit Xander, when he figured out just what she was saying.  His eyes widened and his nostrils flared in surprise, his shoulders jerked roughly back against the seat and his body… well, suffice it to say he hadn’t made it through the evening without embarrassing himself, and Cordelia licked her lips in delight, tasting her sweet triumph in the air.

“Bet you’re wondering how that happened.  How does anything happen?  It just does, and then you realize that its happened and you move on.  Not specific enough for you?  I’ll tell you where it started, how about that.”

She moved back, pulling a chair out from behind one of the student’s desks, the screech it made as she drug it across the floor rankling up Xander’s back, causing the hairs at his nape to stand up and little shivers to rush in a river of goosebumps up his arms.  Cordelia didn’t seem at all affected, just swung it into place so that she was sitting facing him, a few feet away.  She took her time arranging herself, crossing her legs just so and smoothing down the fabric of her skirt, and by the time she was finished he just wanted to scream at her to go ahead and get it over with.

“You remember when Spike first came to town, when he crashed parent-teacher night with his band of bad-skinned thugs and forced us all to go into hiding.  Remember how Willow and I wound up in the janitor’s closet?  Of course you don’t.  You were probably too busy running scared to remember anything like that.  But, I digress…”

Oh, the smirk again.  God how he hated that smirk.

“We got through the attack, we got through my entreaties to God, and after two hours of wondering whether or not we were going to die, I was about ready to say fuck it all and head on out.  I mean, so what if I got vamped?  By this point I was tired, dirty, and hungry, and the possibility of looking as good I as did at 16 for all eternity wasn’t an especially bad prospect in light of those facts.  But, Willow wasn’t too keen on the idea, and so I stayed, leaning back into my own little corner of the closet.  Oh, how’s that for a bit of poetic irony for you.”

That one earned a full-fledged smile, and Xander couldn’t help but note that there was something distinctly feral about the gesture.  He was growing increasingly uncomfortable, both with the situation and with his role in it, and for the first time he contemplated the possibility that it might not turn out well for him.  Maybe he should have thought of that before since he was, after all, bound to a chair, but Cordelia had done it and Cordelia was very clearly not a threat.  Sure, she could verbally flay the skin off his bones, but she wasn’t much for real violence.  It was too much of a danger to her nails.  Now though… well, now he wasn’t sure.

“After a little while I noticed it.  It wasn’t like I hadn’t been there before, wasn’t like I wasn’t fully aware of just what the heaviness in the air meant.  I know what it means, when the tension is so thick that you can hardly breathe and you can actually feel the weight of someone’s gaze on you.  It means they want you.  Willow wanted me, and she was too young or stupid or naïve or whatever to know how to hide it,” her smile was bemused now, and Xander had the distinct impression that she was recalling the moment fondly.  For his part, he was extremely disconcerted.  Cordelia and Willow.  Willow and Cordelia.  No matter how he pieced it together in his head, it just didn’t seem to fit.  Maybe, in her apparent lunacy, Cordelia had made all of it up, constructed the whole thing from bits and pieces of harmless remembrances in a mind that was no longer quite intact.

Cordelia sighed, leaning back against her chair as she let the memories wash over her.  “It was okay though.  I looked at her, I mean really looked at her.  I tried to get past the hellish outfit, the awkward jerky dorkiness that pervaded her every move, sentence, non-move and silence, and I looked at her.  Good skin, gorgeous eyes, alluring lips, nice bone structure and hair that, while not stylish, looked soft and shiny and like something that I wouldn’t particularly mind having wrapped around my fingers.”

Pausing again, Cordelia mentally replayed what she’d just said.  “Oh, and people say I have no sense of the literary.  I thought that was wonderfully descriptive, didn’t you?  Down right poetic, even.”

She stared at him for a moment, and finally Xander realized that she wanted him to agree.  So, he did, shaking his head vehemently up and down, very much so into appeasing psychotic Cordelia.

“So, I called her on it, asked her when she was going to tell me.  I almost laughed at her expression, that one of fear and paranoia and anxiety that she gets when she feels backed into a corner.  There was something oddly endearing about her stammer though, about the way she managed to push herself back even further into the shadows.”

She was leaning forward in her chair now, obviously much more into the story now that the action seemed to be reaching some sort of climax, and Xander couldn’t help but be captivated by it.  Maybe it was the near sadistic glee written across her face or maybe it was the fact that she was about to describe some sort of lesbionic interaction between two of the three women that had compromised the majority of his high school masturbatory fodder, but for a moment, he forgot all about exactly where they were and what was going on and merely listened.

Tell you what?” she said, and I knew I had her.”  Even now, years later, Cordelia looked inordinately pleased with herself.

Tell me that you want me,” I said back, and I thought for a minute that she was going to pass out.  It was wonderful, really.  She was sitting there, cowering back into the corner, but I could still see it in her eyes.  She wanted me, she hated me, and she was afraid of me.  Umm, yes… it was delicious.”

Cordelia paused, looking up at him with eyes full of predatory intent, and suddenly Xander was afraid.  He didn’t know exactly what was behind the fear, other than this newly slightly… well, extremely threatening Cordelia.  So okay, he knew why he was afraid, but he didn’t know what he should be afraid of.  Then again, she had been playing with that letter opener a bit too intimately for his tastes.

“Do you know what I did then?”

Xander recognized that as his cue to respond, and so he did, shaking his head vigorously from side to side, reaffirming his ignorance.

With a sleek, panther-like grace, Cordelia slid out of her chair, slinking across the few feet separating them, then crawled into his lap, straddling his legs and nestling her body against his.  He looked down, groaning at both the feel and the visual, eyes catching on the way her already short skirt had ridden up even further, bunching about her waist as she pressed her crotch into his.  It was totally and completely unfair, really, to expect his body to not react to stimuli like this, even if it wasn’t exactly appropriate under the circumstances.

Her hands were braced against her shoulders, her hips were rocking into his, and it took all that Xander had in him to continue to pay attention to her words.

“I kissed her,” Cordelia whispered, her lips tickling the sensitive shell of his ear.  “Pressed up against her just like this and kissed her.”

Xander gulped nervously.  The mental images that he was getting were combining with the feel of the lush body in front of him pressing into him with such torturous intent, and his heart was racing so fast that he was momentarily afraid that it was going to burst.

“Do you know what happened next, Xander?” Cordelia drawled, pulling back slightly to look at him, taking in the wide eyes and the dark red flush to his skin.

He shook his head again, this time a little more slowly, unable to make his body respond properly to what his mind told it to do.

“I would tell you, but I bet you’d rather see, wouldn’t you?  Do you want me to show you, Xander?”  Her voice was low, her chin tilted down toward her chest and her eyes lit with a nearly searing seductive fire, and Xander nodded desperately, his body already anticipating her touch.

“Such a good boy,” Cordelia praised, leaning down to nuzzle his neck.  The skin there was warm, almost burning her with its heat, and she smiled broadly.

Xander felt the sharp drag of teeth on his skin mere seconds before he felt the twin pricks, and belatedly realized that he’d just made a very wrong move.

But, before he could contemplate the ramifications of his hormone induced bad decision, he was caught up in a web of exquisitely painful pleasure.  Everything in him narrowed down to the feel of Cordelia’s lips against his skin, suckling gently, and as everything started to darken, he realized that he wasn’t in the computer room anymore.  Where he was now was dark and smelled faintly of the harsh acid of cleaning products, and the ragged rasping pant of uneven breathing tugged at his ears.

Suddenly everything grew a little clearer, and he watched, captivated, as the scene below him unfolded.  There was Cordelia, straddling Willow’s thighs much as she was doing to him, and they were kissing.  No, what they were doing seemed to be beyond kissing, with hands tangled fiercely in long tresses and lips pushed together with the brutal sensuality of the truly aroused.

And then Cordelia was sliding down off her perch, was pulling Willow with her, and seconds later the red-head had been pushed down onto the floor.  Cordelia hovered over her, eyes watching the other girl intently as she pushed her sweater up, as she slid her hands over the other girl’s sides until her palms were cupping Willow’s breasts, squeezing them through the thin barrier of lacy white satin.  When she wrangled a moan from the other girl’s lips, Cordelia smiled, then pushed the fabric up roughly, letting it bunch together on her upper chest.  Seconds later she had her lips wrapped around one taut peak, sucking roughly on the skin, while her other hand continued to knead the other breast, fingers plucking the free nipple on occasion, drawing a gasp from the lips of her prey.

He wasn’t sure how long things continued like that, but he watched as Cordelia shifted her attentions, as she left the breast she’d had in her mouth to move over to the other, the normally pale cream of Willow’s skin now a hot, throbbing pink.  A free hand had moved down, jerking harshly at the red-head’s skirt, pushing it up so that it lay in a twisted band around her belly, and he wondered if it was possible to orgasm when you were dead because he was quite sure that he just had.

When Cordelia pulled back this time, she only took a second to survey her work before pushing herself up into a kneeling position between Willow’s spread legs.  Her fingers curled under the waistband of the other girl’s tights, yanking them and the underwear underneath down until both were gone.  Her task completed, she took a moment to drink in the sight before her.  Willow, with her sweater and bra pushed up over her firm, small breasts, nipples still glistening with her saliva, the hard tips a slightly irritated red.  Her skirt was bunched about her waist, leaving her lower torso completely bare, the patch of dark red curls between her thighs glistening with moisture, and Cordelia licked her lips in anticipation.

The brunette slid one hand between those spread thighs, her fingers tickling lightly over a hardened clit before drifting down further, circling Willow’s tight opening.  Without warning, she thrust inside, three fingers moving into a channel so snug that for a moment she was afraid she was going to break something.  She smiled at the other girl’s reaction, at the widening of dark green eyes, at the lips parted to bare clenched teeth, at the momentary tightening of innocent features.  Willow’s breath filled the silence in harsh, aching pants, and Cordelia held herself still, eyes nearly closing at the delicious sensation of all that warm, wet, incredibly soft skin clamping down and trapping her in place.

Willow reached down blindly, one hand wrapping around Cordelia’s forearm, nails biting into the skin they found there as her hips squirmed against the hard floor and she adjusted to the feel of someone inside of her, taking in the oddly painful pleasure of being impaled.

“I always say,” Cordelia whispered, leaning down so that she could place a light kiss on Willow’s lips, hair spilling wildly down over her shoulders and her free hand resting on the floor beside the other girl’s shoulder, bracing her, “that the first time you get fucked, you should really get fucked.  Don’t you agree?”

Willow whimpered, both in reply to the question and because Cordelia had just moved within her, pushing up hard into her, and the red-head wasn’t sure that she possessed any words to use to reply verbally so she just left it at that.  It didn’t matter, really, because Cordelia had a set game plan in mind, and she wasn’t really anticipating deviating from that no matter what the answer was.  So, she didn’t.  Instead she leaned back, resting one hand on the floor beside Willow’s hip as the other continued to thrust into the other girl, each hard movement bringing with it the sound of skin slapping against skin and wringing a moan or a cry or a little scream from the girl on the floor.

Cordelia loved that, adored being in control, and was enchanted by the sight beneath her.  Willow’s eyes were closed, her hands had latched onto the base of one of the storage cabinets, and her body was rolling rhythmically up to meet Cordelia.  The even white teeth biting fiercely into her bottom lip had nearly drawn blood, and occasionally she’d mumble insensibly, long red hair thrashing against the floor.

When Cordelia felt the spasms around her fingers, when she saw the tremors of climax trace their way up through Willow’s body, she pulled herself free, wrapping her arms under the other girl’s thighs and pulling her up.  The red-head was surprisingly light, and Cordelia marveled at that as shimmied into position, sliding slim white thighs over her shoulders, she lowered her head, one long stroke of her tongue bringing the other girl’s taste to her.

Willow shrieked, the touch almost too much on her hypersensitive skin, but soon she was writhing and mumbling again, her hips bucking spastically, and mere minutes later she was wrapped in the throes of orgasm once more, this time with Cordelia’s name slipping past her lips on a scream.

When she finally recovered enough to catch her breath and sit up, looking at Cordelia expectantly, she found herself unable to speak.  In fact, she wasn’t really able to do anything other than blush a deep red beneath the other girl’s knowing gaze, and her eyes dropped to the floor.

“If all that screaming didn’t draw any vamps, then I think its okay to leave now,” Cordelia drawled, her voice full of smug self-satisfaction.  “Come on… I’m so not letting you fuck me on the floor, and you owe me one, Will.”

A sharp slap brought Xander back around, and when he managed to raise his head up, it was to see Cordelia gloating at him, her thumb and forefinger delicately wiping the corners of her mouth, clearing away a slight tinge of his blood.

“And just think, all that could have been yours if you’d played your cards right,” she said on a sigh, stretching her arms over her head and arching her back in contentment, happy now with her belly full of blood.

“Oh, wait, I guess I forgot to let you in on a little secret, didn’t I?” she murmured derisively, catching his look of terror.  “Well, I suppose we’re even now.  You all forgot to let me in on a little secret of your own, didn’t you, and just look where that got us.”

Xander felt the sharp slice of a fingernail against his cheek, flinching as he felt the skin open.  He watched as Cordelia pulled her finger back, sucking away the drop of blood clinging to her nail before swooping down, dragging her tongue over the aggrieved flesh, the cool velvet of the organ soothing his skin even as he felt another jolt of abject horror shoot through him.  This wasn’t Cordelia at all, and he knew with a certainty that he was going to die.  This was what he had to fear.

“She looked so innocent sitting there in that cage. Told me that she’d somehow gotten locked in, and I decided to have a little fun.  After all, I was angry with her.  I’d had you, had flaunted you in her face, knowing that she wanted you almost as much as she wanted me, and then you had to go and ruin it.  Had to go and kiss her, had to go behind my back.  So, I told her how angry I was, lectured her for a bit, and then let her go.  Make-up sex is always the best, you know.  But surprise, surprise… it wasn’t Willow, was it?  No, it was some vampire not-quite-Willow from another dimension, and look what she did to me.”

At this Cordelia pulled back again, her vamped out face looming large above Xander with its bright golden eyes and sharply wrinkled forehead.  He gulped, silently willing himself not to pee his pants and make this situation only that much worse, but it was difficult.  Very difficult.

“She said she was going to kill me, but when she tasted my blood she tasted herself in it and just couldn’t do it.  And then she fucked me.  Do you know just how good it feels to fuck as a vampire?” she asked, idly tracing a nail over the gaping wounds on his neck, bringing about a flinch each time the sharp tips passed the stinging flesh.

“Its so much better than anything you’ve ever felt before.  And to fuck your sire… well, I haven’t done any comparison shopping yet, but… yummm,” she purred, grinding into him again, this time unconsciously.  He watched as a broad smile spread across her still vamped out face, noting with a mixture of desire and revulsion how it bared the wickedly sharp points of her teeth.

“Not that fucking Willow wasn’t wonderful.  Want to see more, Xander?” she asked, her voice almost sing-song.  She was enjoying this almost entirely too much.

His eyes widened as he shook his head no, struggling furiously at the bonds that held him down, knowing that this time he probably wouldn’t come back.  This time she wouldn’t stop, and he’d either end up dead or just like her, neither of which was very appealing.

“Oh, too bad really.  Now I’ll just have to suck you dry without the pretty pictures,” she hissed, nails digging into his shoulders as she lowered herself down to his neck again, the intoxicating scent of his blood teasing her, beckoning her.

But then, there was something else, something that caused her nose to twitch and her senses to jump to high alert, and she pulled back, eyes focused on the door way, ears straining to catch any hint of sound.

“I can smell her.  She’s coming, and if she’s coming, then trouble is undoubtedly right alongside her.  I’m afraid we’ll have to finish this another day,” Cordelia said, sighing sadly as she crawled off of Xander, looking down at him with a bit of regret.  She would’ve taken such delight in this kill too.  It would have been her first one, and she’d always thought that the first time you did anything, you should endeavor to make it as memorable as possible.  Oh well, she could bemoan the bad timing later.

Bending down, she placed another light kiss on his cheek, lips cold against the burning scratch she’d made earlier, and then she was gone.  He listened to the door snick shut behind her, listened to the sound of her heels against the hard tile floor, and felt himself go limp with relief.

Out in the hallway, Cordelia caught sight of them… Willow, Buffy and Giles.  Smiling, instinctively certain that they didn’t know yet, that this vampire that looked like her Willow wasn’t going to tell them what she’d done, she approached them without caution.

“Willow, sweetheart,” she purred, slinking up to the startled red-head and dropping a light kiss on her lips, well aware of the gasps that accompanied the act but not caring in the least, “I’ve left you a present.  Its in the computer room.  I hope you like it.  I worked long and hard, and even though its not quite perfect, I have a feeling that you won’t care.”

And with that she walked away, smiling smugly to herself.  She so did enjoy upsetting the staid little Scoobies.

Willow stood in stunned shock, vaguely aware that Cordelia had left, vaguely aware of the fact that two very puzzled sets of eyes were currently trained on her, but she couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything about it.

“Uh, you’re probably wondering… I mean, you’re probably a little bit confused about that.  I know I’m confused about that, but you probably want me to explain it and it can be explained, I promise.  I don’t really want to explain it, but I can explain it if explanations become absolutely necessary and I’m thinking that hey, she said she left me a present and I’m all about finding out what my present is so why don’t we all go and see, and then I can explain, or not explain… whichever,” Willow babbled, feeling the hot burn of a blush chasing its way up her cheeks.

That was just strange, and in a slightly unpleasant way.  It wasn’t that she was embarrassed about the little thing that she had with Cordelia.  Okay, so maybe she was embarrassed about it, but that’s not really what was causing her problems at the moment.  No, there had been something definitely not normal about what had just happened, and any time anything not normal occurred, she just knew that it didn’t mean anything good.

“Yeah, I’m thinking that this present idea is a good one, and then later, we can worry about the explaining.  But, presents are always a good thing, right?  And, its not even your birthday,” Buffy babbled in response to Willow’s babbling, also having a not good feeling about how this was going to end up, though hers was probably far more attributable to the fact that she had a feeling that she just really didn’t want to know what the explanation behind all of this was.  It was something that she didn’t even want to begin to think about.  Yes, the no thinking thing was definitely something she wanted to do.

Giles pulled nervously at the ear of his glasses, also perplexed but also extremely uncomfortable with the situation.  He adored the little gang comprised of Buffy and her friends, truly he did, but there were just some things about them that he was quite sure he was better off not knowing.  This, well, this ranked right up there at the very top.

“Right then, to the computer room we go,” he said a little too jovially, wanting to get this over and done with so that he could retreat back to his office in the library, brew a cup of tea, and purge all of this newly acquired information from his memory.  He was quite good at self-delusion, having practiced it for quite a number of years now.

“You know, its totally okay with me if we don’t have to go into the explaining part of this whole thing because you know,” Willow continued absently as she pulled open the door to the computer room, not having managed to derail her mind from the one track that it was careening down, “sometimes I think that we over-explain when really no explanation is necessary.  There doesn’t have to be…  XANDER!”

Buffy looked up in confusion at that, the non sequitur pulling her from the trance she’d tried to place herself in to escape hearing any more of Willow’s non-explanatory explanation.  “What’s Xander got to do with this?  Because really, if you’ve all got some strange three way thing going, you can just keep it to yourself.  I don’t need to know.  I so don’t need to know, and I think you’re right about the not having to explain thing.  I don’t need any explanations at all.  I’m living in the dark and happy about it girl.”

Giles broke in then, his voice thin.  “Actually, I think she’s talking about that.”

And then, pandemonium erupted as three extremely startled and extremely worried people rushed into the computer room, tugging frantically on the bonds holding Xander in place.

Buffy managed to get the gag undone, and Xander flexed his jaw in relief, working it up and down in an attempt to get rid of the aching numbness that had overtaken it.

“What happened?  I mean, we saw Cordelia and…” Willow started, only to trail off, that bad feeling returning with a vengence.

“Yeah, well, I saw Cordelia too,” he replied bitterly, feeling a bit woozy from the blood loss.  “VampWillow and Cordelia, two people… excuse me… now two vampires that you really shouldn’t put into the same room, especially when one of the two thinks that the other one is the girl that she’s been…”

“Okay, enough from Xander,” Willow squeaked, her voice rising nearly three registers as she scrambled to cut him off.  “Xander looks in need of immediate medical attention.  I’m saying that we provide Xander with immediate medical attention.  Everybody else with me on that one?  Can I hear three cheers for immediate medical attention?”

“Oh dear,” Giles said somewhat distractedly as he pulled his glasses off and began to clean them with the tail of his sweater, the familiar rhythm comforting him.  “It appears that Willow’s evil twin has turned Cordelia.”

Buffy’s shoulders stiffened, her eyes hardened, and she turned for the door, marching resolutely.  “Well, just one thing to do then,” she muttered, reaching into the back of her pants and pulling out a stake.

“No, wait!” Willow shouted, scrambling for the door, managing to get between it and Buffy.  “We can’t kill her.  I mean, she’s still Cordy and we can’t just go and…  I don’t know, stake her.”

“Then you stay here,” Buffy replied flippantly, scooting Willow to the side and pushing past her.

“I mean it, Buffy,” Willow called out after her, stomping her foot in frustration.  “You can’t kill her.  I… its… this is all my fault, and I can’t let you kill her.”

“And when she starts slaughtering your friends?” Buffy shot back, eyes narrowing as she took in Willow’s slumped figure.

“Yeah, cause she was all about starting with me,” Xander added in, attempting to push himself out of the chair.  It didn’t work though, and he collapsed back into it with a thud, resigning himself from having to watch the action from afar.

Looking back at Xander, taking in the pallor of his skin, the light coating of sweat covering his forehead, and then forward to Buffy, her hazel eyes now dim, mind undoubtedly traveling back in time to when she hadn’t been able to make the same choice that she was now trying to force on Willow, recalling all of the torment her indecision brought with it, the red-head felt tears prick the corners of her eyes, burning into her.

“You just can’t, Buffy,” she whispered brokenly, and with a sigh, the Slayer let her stake clatter to the floor.  Making her way over to Willow’s hunched figure, she wrapped her arms around the other girl, rubbing soothing circles on her back even as she whispered nonsensical words of comfort in her ear.

From her vantage point on the roof of the school, Cordelia merely watched the scene and smiled.  Things were going to work out for her.  She could feel it.


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