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Human Layers

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Summary: If Buffy and Cordelia had gotten together in S2, what would it have been like? Because the story follows the season pretty much from beginning to end, dialogue is often reproduced as it was in the show.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > RomancePatKFR181240,81554417,0448 Aug 1011 Sep 10No

Chapter Eleven

She flies from a blinding light
And spirals to my heart
I try to find my mind
But don't know where to start

Won't ever
Can't ever find my sanity
Won't ever
Can't ever 'til I hear
Her calling for me

She knows that side of me
Can't help it
Can't help that side of me
Just a little more
Just until I know what I'm feeling
Just a little more to find my sanity

I'm lost in a thousand nights
But sun shines at my feet
I'd walk through a thousand fires
And next to me she'd be

-- "She Knows" by Four Star Mary (a.k.a. "Dingoes Ate My Baby")


______

The cheerleader sat on a crate in the rundown factory, watching apprehensively as her chain-smoking captor paced back and forth. Was he trying to kill her secondhand? And since when did he lose the wheelchair?

If he was going to torture her, she wished he'd get it over with. She'd been here...well, it was now the following afternoon. She thought she deserved a reward for being the obedient captive this long.

It was becoming clearer and clearer that Spike's kidnapping plan wasn't airtight. The only thing he'd told her to do was stay quiet, which was hours ago, and a quick glance around the factory revealed they were alone. She could wait for him to turn away and be in daylight easily.

He must've known that though, because he wasn't going anywhere. He also had to know that she was at the top of the priority list. But since Buffy didn't know he was back in action, it might take a while. What was the deal?

"Are you gonna start acting evil anytime soon?" Cordelia decided to try her luck. "You are a vampire, right?"

"What did I tell you?" He paused in his pacing to snap at her, and then resumed.

"Hey, I haven't said a word since last night...that's like a first for me." She picked at her nails. "Doesn't matter. I'll play hostage, Buffy'll come kick your ass, and then we can go back to worrying about someone who's actually scary."

He walked up to her, speaking with controlled anger. "If your lungs keep on, it’s better for us both--makes my evening strolls less complicated, and you less dead. But I can change the plan if I have to."

"I'm sure." She was flippant because he was just buying time. Even she could see the fear in his eyes. "Just...whatever you're trying to prove, do it some time today? I have places I could be."
______

- Xander's been good enough to get Jenny's mail, and the...the spell arrived while you were in the hospital. I believe it's safe to assume that Angelus is unaware of our plans; if he weren’t, he would've interfered by now. So, ah, we're in the process of tediously translating the text. Once we determine what's necessary, and if we can find someone willing to cast... -

That was the last thing Giles said to her before she left, and he hadn't needed to finish--getting Angel back was an option. A week ago she would've been gung ho about the idea, but she'd lost her ability to be subjective when the demon wearing his face stole her girlfriend. That was the general consensus around town, anyway.

Who else could it have been?

He would be punished...badly. Maybe she’d even kill him.

Concentrating on Cordelia was the only thing stopping her from collapsing. Angelus would do it, end the brunette's life on a whim. She had to find him before that whim hit.

She was surprised Giles even told her. By the look in his eyes, and the way he looked at Miss Calendar, she got the feeling he hadn’t wanted to. Watcher and Slayer were on the same page, but the teacher was more forgiving. Miss Calendar was still able to see the difference between “Man” and “Monster.”

Cordelia had already been missing when she snapped Der Kindestod’s neck. The monster had taken her. From right down the hall.

Buffy was so mad at herself for that. The uneasy feeling that kept spreading didn't help much, either. She didn't know what she'd do if...if something worse happened.

But nothing would. It was going to be okay--she could handle this. Her girlfriend was tough, and would hang in there. Or so Buffy hoped.

This had to be a test. To see how badly she wanted a relationship. Unfair? Most definitely, but she’d find a way to pass. She wanted Cordelia; she wanted them to work. Thinking it could be over before it’d barely begun made her sick.

The next time she said “I love you,” she’d *know* it was more than a high school thing. And that would help when she told her mother.

She just wished they could’ve had that sex.

"Out," Buffy commanded the demonic patrons of Willy's bar as she stepped inside, and those that could, went wide-eyed. "Now."

She stared them down until they began filing out past her and her unwavering, determined stance. Checking to see if she and the bar's owner were alone, she was disappointed when she saw a vampire still having a drink. This really wasn't the day to challenge her resolve.

In full, slayer-intimidation mode, she walked up to him, and grabbed the collar of his shirt. "Here, let me help you find the door."

Briefly she considered hauling him to the sewer entrance, but then she pretended he was Angelus. He burned up rather quickly. Vampires were fragile.

Willy was fragile as well, which was why he ducked behind the bar. "Guy was one a’my best customers, ya know." He poked his head out.

"Business'll survive." She leaned over the counter.

"So, uh, need somethin’, kid? Or did you just chase away my regulars for the fun of it?" His nervous queries got no replies. "Which is totally cool by me."

"Where’s Angel's new place? And don't try to weasel outta this, or haggle, because I'm so not in the mood."

"This about your lady-friend?"

Hopping over to the other side, she then drove him back, eventually slamming him up against the jukebox. "Really wanna see my mean side, Willy?"

"You're always mean," he cringed. "And I think I have a hernia."

"About to get a whole lot meaner."

He hadn't seen that look from her before. "Okay, okay--I'll tell ya. On the house."

Buffy loosened her grip. "Knew you had a generous bone somewhere in there."

"Yeah, sure do, and you almost broke it."
______

Spike had just about reached his limit.

"You kidnapped me to make Buffy think Angel did it?" Cordelia wanted to laugh, but held it in. "Why don't you kill him if you hate him so much?"

"I tried, all right? The bugger's a cockroach that won’t bloody die." His desperation was obvious. "My whole un-life he acted better than me, always Dru's favorite."

Fists clenched tightly, then unclenched.

"Slayer's the end of the line, believe me, but the bird's dedicated. Capable, she is."

"It's a 'jealousy' thing? Oh my god. I can't believe...you are *such* a loser." Standing up, she was glared at. "What happens if Buffy can't do it?"

"Oughta have more confidence in your lady...life hangin’ in the balance and all that," he reminded her.

The now pissed off brunette got in his face. "You could've sent my girlfriend marching off to her death."

"Risk I was willing to take, yeah," he smirked.

"Have you always been a coward, Spike? Or is it just seasonal?" He “vamped,” but she didn't flinch. "If she dies, I'll--"

She felt the blow of the supernatural slap, and then was on the floor, jaw aching.

"Join her? Say the word, pet." He picked her up, flung her over his shoulder, and carried her into what was once Drusilla's room. "See if that 'Good Guy' streak of luck ran dry in a bit...meantime, you're gonna belt the hell up."

"You dumb ass!" She yelled back in defiance. "You're gonna be so staked! Put me down!"

He obliged, setting her on the bed. Cordelia was quickly creeped out by the surrounding doll collection. Spike grabbed a sheet, tore it in slices, and then proceeded to tie her hands together. She wanted to be out of here, yet if there was a possibility Buffy could die coming after her, she'd rather take her chances with the lame excuse for a creature of the night.

Aside from being one of the rare, selfless thoughts she'd had in her short lifetime, it wouldn't change anything, but still, it led to an important revelation (how come those always seemed to happen when she was bound?). All she’d begun to picture her future to be, the slayer was in it--the stubborn, strong, weak, funny, serious, bitchy, whiny, complex, beautiful slayer. She'd truly fallen...despite her better judgment, of course.

“Love” was a term meaninglessly thrown around in high school, that was hardly unknown. But they were the real deal, she could feel it. If only because of the simple fact that Cordelia Chase didn't tend to put the well being of many people ahead of her own.

And they hadn’t even had sex yet. That alone was going to get her through this.

"What if she finds out it was you?" Cordelia asked.

"Then you'll find out how much she fancies your pretty head."

Another slice was used as a gag.
______

"You're not going, Giles," Buffy told him, gathering weapons. "Want me to list reasons why? ‘Cause I can."

She examined an axe blade that could've been sharper.

"I won't argue. I realize there isn't time," he said, and the slayer was grateful.

He knew the shape he was in, and it was bound to infect his judgment. But he also feared that would happen to her. That she'd get careless.

Cordelia was alive and depending on her--she was going to be everything but careless. She was going to do whatever it took, even if that meant losing Angel.

Plus, besides holding her girlfriend hostage, Angelus had to pay for all of the deaths he was responsible for, all the pain. All the evil she couldn't prevent.

Miss Calendar was lying on the couch, her leg propped up on pillows, concernedly watching them both. There was more to be said, and she hoped Giles would before the kids returned. They were going as Buffy’s backup, despite her objections.

"They said they'd be right back," spoke the blonde.

"And they will," Giles assured, then paused. "Buffy, I know you care for Cordelia..."

"Love." She wondered if the two people knew how strongly she felt.

It was no different than how they felt about each other. Age didn't make experts, not when it came to heart stuff. The emotional one anyway.

Removing his glasses, the Englishman wisely stood corrected. "...that you love her a great deal, and I don't want to say anything that might affect your plan...but, you should be aware of all we've discovered."

"There's more?" She threw her selections into a duffel bag at her feet, and then gave him her full attention. "Tell me."

"The Judge."

"We put him in five, different trash bags, which we then burned...with lots of enthusiasm." Her face fell. "His ashes didn't remake him, did they?"

Giles shook his head. "No, it's nothing like that."

"Then what?"

"He could've caused Angelus to surface; he's the only force I can think of that's powerful enough to break through the magick my people used," said Miss Calendar, noting the perplexed look. "I wasn't there at the mall, but Rupert walked me through what happened."

"Angel got hit." Buffy replayed the events in her head. "Me, he got hit protecting me. It bought time, and I got the shot off."

"Had the Judge held on a few seconds longer, Angel would have been vaporized," her watcher continued.

The teacher took over again. "But instead, his soul weakened just enough for the demon to take over. The curse wasn't broken, only damaged--which is why he's still there."

"But sooner or later he won't be, right? Then it's too late?" The slayer asked, and received a nod of confirmation from Giles. "Does the Judge have anything to do with the spell? You know, because he--?"

"We don't think so."

She should've figured it out, should've known. It made perfect sense, and Buffy knew why they told her. The plan all along was to kill him, but now...

Angel had to watch his hands murder innocents because he’d saved her life. He risked his existence for her, and his “thank you” was death? Didn't seem right.

It wasn't his fault...he didn’t know. Neither did she, except there was guilt anyhow. When it was time, she wasn't sure what she'd choose, but at least she knew the whole story.

Willow came in. "We're, uh, ready. Pl-plus tense, frightened and...sorta really frightened, but, mostly ready." She gave a brave smile. "You?"

"You don't have to..." Buffy trailed off as she watched the redhead's foot tap expectantly on the floor. "Ready and raring." She looked at Giles.

"Be careful," he told her seriously.

"I will." She headed to her friend once she picked up the bag, and then turned to smile reassuringly at him. "We all will."
______

Angelus loved the twentieth century. All the information and news he could possibly want was at his fingertips. As he looked at the headline in the morning's paper again, he smiled. Just when he thought he wouldn't have anything grand enough to give Buffy the proper send off, this was waiting.

And what better way to say goodbye to the soul, then by giving it one, final kick while it was down? Some of the boys were out doing a little, last minute checking, but he planned to have what he needed before dawn tomorrow.

Being confident as he was, it was a bit of a shock to see Buffy and Friends just walk right in. Three of his people surrounded them quickly, but were hit by bursts of holy water from Willow and Xander’s Super Soakers. Then the werewolf, and a girl he hadn't seen before, staked two of the painfully distracted trio. Buffy easily handled the last with a well-aimed, crossbow bolt.

Stuffing the paper underneath the cushions of the couch he was sitting on, he got to his feet, clapping. It took his foe a second to remember she wasn't looking at her friend.

"Three? That's all you had? I was expecting to hafta slay," she taunted, chucking the bag around her shoulder to the gang, and motioning for them to hang back.

As they did, they got in front of Amy.

"You know what they say about good help," he answered with a, “What can you do?” shrug. "If I'd known you were coming, would've given you more of a challenge."

"S' okay, don't beat yourself up." Buffy threw her weapon to the side. "Let me."

"You think you can kill me? ‘Cause I'm betting you'll fold," he predicted.

"Wanna find out?" She offered amicably. "Or, you could tell me where she is, and I might consider reconsidering."

"’She’?" Angelus really didn't know.

The slayer narrowed her eyes. "Cordelia."

He almost laughed. Spike was cleverer than he thought; she was dumber.

"Nice move," he whispered to himself, and said the next part so she could hear. "Don't think I wanna do that."

"Great--thanks for just making this easier."

Patting her pocket to make sure she had a stake there, she charged Angelus, and the fight began. Adrenaline allowed her the first strike--a high, front-snap kick, which, when it connected to his face, forced his arms out for balance as he stumbled backwards. Seeing that he wasn't able to counter, she followed up with another kick. To the stomach. As soon as he doubled over, she round-housed the side of his head.

Rolling onto his back on the floor, he grabbed her ankle, pulled, and saw her fall down face-first. Not wasting time, he got over her and gripped her neck, giving it a squeeze. Predictably she struggled, but he put everything he had into keeping her in place.

The thing about adrenaline? It always wore off. And now he could smell its replacement--fear.

"Gotta do better than that, Buf," the vampire scolded her.

She was lifted as he stood, and out of the corner of her eye, she saw Xander fire. The stream was off-target though, not penetrating his shirt.

"Somebody just tagged himself in," realized Angelus.

Throwing Buffy against the wall, he shifted to his vampiric face, not even bothering to watch her slide down to the ground. He headed in Xander's direction, and was met by two crosses in the hands of Willow and Oz. They all blocked the other girl from him. Before he could focus on that, he noted Xander now brandished an axe, having ditched the gun.

Angelus winced, keeping just enough distance from the blessed nuisances.

"Stay back," commanded Xander, a slight crack betraying his tone.

"What's a'matter?" Angelus questioned. "There a chink in the White Knight's armor?"

"Amy," whispered the hacker, looking back to see the witch nod.

The vampire seized on Willow's lack of attention and swatted the cross away, smiling as her eyes shone with that fear.

"Willow!" The boyfriend yelled, but he couldn't get to her and keep his cross in place.

Xander however, could do something. He swung the axe upwards with all the strength he could muster, and snagged Angelus' chin...to no effect. Sometimes he forgot he was a mere mortal.

His second attempt was intercepted. Angelus got a grip on the handle, then with one, fast yank, he was flung. He dropped to his knees when his legs couldn't move quick enough to keep him upright.

Their enemy examined the axe. "Could be sharper."

It was raised anyway, and Oz didn't have a choice. He was going to jump the vampire, but a voice stopped everything--

"Forget about me?”

Angelus turned just in time to see his sofa come flying at him. Buffy had gotten a running start, and was able to launch it. When the contact came, his knees buckled and he fell back, his legs hanging over the arm. He had also lost the axe, which she caught and was holding against his neck.

"Now d’you wanna tell me?" The slayer asked, and he still had the smug smile. "It’s okay, I'll look myself. And you’ll wait here--right, Amy?"

The gang moved aside, and the witch looked upon him with blackened eyes, energy swirling around her. "Thicken!"

Buffy backed away, and couldn't help the laugh that came when he tried to take a step beyond the couch. Amy’s spell wouldn't let him.

"Watch him, and don't get too close." She began her search. "Cordelia!"
______

"Come on," Spike said looking at the ceiling, wishing the noise upstairs would stop, "follow bloody through for once."

He also wished he could be there to make sure Buffy did, but he couldn't very well leave the girl here alone--this had to be worth it, or he was a goner.
______

"You'll be there for about three hours, so I’d get comfortable," Amy told the vampire, a satisfied smile on her face.

Buffy rejoined them, glaring at Angelus. She'd scoured the place, and Cordelia was nowhere to be found. Waiting for an answer to her unvoiced question, he just started laughing, sending a shiver through everyone present.

"You always fall for it,” he eventually spoke. “And who would’ve figured Captain Peroxide had the ba--?"

When the truth dawned, Buffy opened her mouth to speak but there was no sound.

"Spike?" Willow didn’t have that problem, interrupting. "But he's..."

"Up on two legs, and kinda mad at me. Can't imagine why." There was an evil gleam in Angelus’ eye.

"How come--?" The slayer started, wondering why Willy didn’t tell her the truth.

"What can I say? I'm a pain in the ass--no matter who came out on top, everybody wins." His guests absorbed this information. "Anything else you wanna know? Like maybe...how to do your job?"

Buffy regained her composure. "Nope, got that down."

"So finish it--stake me," her enemy dared. "Then if she's not already dried up..."

"Oz...sword." Not feeling anything being placed in her outstretched hand, she turned to stare at their unsure expressions. Hers was not.

Any objections ready to emerge from their lips, died. But what about the spell they'd been working so hard on? What about Angel?
Angel would probably welcome release, been craving it.

The guitarist fished around in the bag, finding what she wanted, and handed it to her. Angelus hadn't wavered, still silently challenging her. He even added a cocky smirk in hopes that it’d push her over the edge. She raised the blade.

Then she thrust the metal straight through his neck, until it stuck out the back of the couch, covered in blood. He began gagging and failing his arms, trying to free himself. It wouldn't kill him, but it would be painful for a very, very long time. Her girlfriend was rubbing off on her. She silently apologized to her trapped friend.

What kind of punishment was death for a vampire?

"Rope--we gotta tie his hands," the blonde instructed, and a minute later, he definitely wasn't going anywhere. "If you have any guys left that can stand you, they'll spring you eventually. But, uh, think I'll just grab whatever you're hiding."

She lifted up his leg and removed the paper she'd seen him stash when they entered. Yeah, he was most likely planning something, but it wasn't going to work, because she'd be there to stop it. She'd also get Angel back. Though first she had a cheerleader to save, and an undead, limey bastard to kill.

"We'll have to do this again sometime," remarked Xander, cringing slightly as blood poured from Angelus' mouth.

Somewhere inside that hurting body, Angel was happy.
______

"Honestly, Slayer, was just a--" The swift kick she gave to Spike's groin effectively shut him up. "Oww!" Except for the scream, that is.

Xander and Oz had to turn away.

Buffy bent down to look him straight in his agonized face. "If you so much as *pinched* my girlfriend? Wait and see what I do to the rest of you, Spike."

"She's...upstairs...no harm done..." He told her, and though she left, he wasn't out of danger. Four groupies had weapons at the ready. "Hello all...lovely day, innit?"

The slayer was kicking down the door to Drusilla's room in seconds flat, rushing in to find dolls everywhere. Not to mention a restrained Cordelia on the floor, making muffled exclamations through her gag.

She got down, sat the brunette up, and freed her as fast as super-humanly possible--which was pretty damn fast.

"Buffy?" Cordelia blinked, glad her girlfriend wasn't a mirage.

They stared at one another for an impossibly long time. Until they were hugging like there was no tomorrow. And considering the lives they led, there might not be.

Without even realizing it, both had begun to tear. For Cordelia, whose mascara was going to run, this was a relatively new sensation. She wasn't crying because she’d been afraid for her life, she was crying because she'd been afraid for Buffy's, and now things were okay.

They each muttered unintelligible forms of thanks into the other's neck.

Buffy was crying for much the same reason. For nearly twenty-four hours she was afraid for Cordelia’s life. She wanted to apologize, wanted to grovel, wanted to beg forgiveness. But when they broke apart, her girlfriend wore an expression she knew by heart: “Feel guilty and I'll yell--loudly.”

"I thought he..."

"Did you...?"

The blonde shook her head. "I couldn't, not while we have a chance." She saw a faint bruise below Cordelia’s bottom lip and touched it, frowning. "Did Spike hurt you?"

"It'll cover up," the brunette brushed aside.

Buffy stroked her girlfriend's dark hair. "One day. *One* day, and I couldn’t deal. You shouldn't've been here."

"What do I hafta do to get through the thickness?" Cordelia eliminated the chance for any sort of reply by kissing. "I'm fine."

Kiss.

"We're fine."

Kiss.

"Everything’s fine."

Kiss.

"So knock it the hell off. Did anybody ever tell you how much your ‘Super-Girl’ complex *isn’t* a turn on?"

"Okay, I get it. Turning on starts now,” said Buffy with a smile. “Miss me?”

Each wanted to feel the other, and their kissing reached a fevered pitch; they didn't even stop as they were getting off the floor.

Though as soon as Cordelia remembered the locale, she called it quits. "If this is...you know, leading where it better be...then let's not go there in Crazy Elvira's bedroom." She gestured to the dolls, her breath heavy.

The slayer found the toys just as disconcerting, so they headed for the stairs.

"It’s about damn time--people completely don’t appreciate Vitamin D. I *need* natural light," the brunette informed her. "Just because Spike bursts into flames in it..."

"There's also that annoying ‘skin cancer’ thing."

"Uh, that’s why they sell SPF 30." Beginning their descent, Cordelia lowered her voice. "Are we going to?"

"Uh huh."

"When?"

"Tonight?”

The cheerleader had seen that look before--she was wanted, and it made her suddenly nervous. "Yeah. Tonight."

Everyone came over, relieved, yet not exactly making a commotion. "Don't act all overjoyed to see me or anything," she remarked with a smirk.

That was the green light for the gang, who hugged her one-by-one. Well, Oz just held up his hand. The blonde stood back and viewed the mini-reunion, taking a deep breath and a very slow exhale.

No matter what her girlfriend said, it could've gone bad. Next time something tried to get to her through Cordelia, it might have more nerve than Spike. Then what?

Willow came up behind her, placing a comforting hand on her back. "She's all safe and sound-y, see? Told you."

"Thanks, Will," Buffy smiled. “Next time” was in the future. "And yeah, I’m glad you guys were there." Her friend smiled back, liking ego boosts. "Amy was--"

"Wasn't she awesome?" The hacker was excited.

"Xander’s in trouble," Buffy concluded, and they snickered. "You sure you're...?"

The redhead swatted her. "Will you stop asking us that?"

Spike cautiously walked over. "Looks like the troupe's all smiles. Got your slag back and what all...*and* in one piece--"

"Hey, take the back!" Willow had been gaining knowledge of British slang so she could understand Giles, and that “s-word” wasn't very nice.

The slayer faced him, crossing her arms over her chest. "You hit her."

Crap. The vampire started to backpedal. "Just tell me I can slip him through my fingers, and I’ll die with a spot of happiness in my heart."

"Heart?" She forced out through a cough. "You mean the one that hasn't worked in like, a century? Because it's *dead*?"

Spike studied her. "You didn't do it." He let loose an anguish-ridden bellow, knowing the answer. "Typical--all Hat and no Cat."

She raised her eyebrows. "Then why are you backing up?"

This was not his day.
______

"I still say you shoulda let me do the ‘cigarette thing’--he could've burned to death internally," said Buffy through gritted teeth.

Cordelia was sitting at the petite blonde's vanity, brushing her shower-dampened hair. She stopped the comb in mid-stroke. Looking past her reflection in the mirror, she rolled her eyes at her girlfriend. Similar remarks had been made ever since they left the factory, and now it was just overkill.

"I’m done buying the act, Buffy, so quit it," she resumed brushing, enjoying the feeling of being clean.

There must have been fifty, different odors in that factory, all of which had one thing in common: Death.

"Okay, so maybe I wouldn't've gone that far," the slayer conceded, lying on her bed, "but it doesn't make the imagery any less fun."

She eyed her sleepover guest. "I think my robe kinda loves wearing you."

The cheerleader smiled, checking out the very cozy, very soft, dark-green robe she was wearing. "I know." Now Buffy’s eyes rolled. "And *you* know I'm right about Spike."

"Yeah..." There was doubt still.

"You don't kill losers; you get them to do whatever you tell them to do," spoke the Queen from experience. "You wanna make him regret 'kidnapping' me--and I’m using the term in the loosest possible way, trust me--you force him to help us. His reputation’s already beyond sad. Plus, he hates Angelus."

Buffy smirked. "What would I do without bitchy, tactless, uber-rational you?"

"D’you really wanna think about your life without me in it?" Cordelia asked back.

“No. Really don’t.”

She got off her bed, went over to the vanity, took the comb from Cordelia's hand, and set it down.

The brunette didn't protest, mainly because she was distracted by the new view in the mirror. "Is that my shirt?"

The blonde nodded. "Borrowed it when I spent the night at your place."

"’Cause you just, *forgot* to bring your own clothes," Cordelia remembered, only half-accusing.

"Next time there’s assassins? I’ll remember to pack," said Buffy, and slid her arms around her girlfriend's neck. "Believe what you want, but I wasn't trying to steal from your walk-in runway...even though you stole from me."

Oh, Valentine's Day--the comfortable sweater and sweatpants.

"You said I could keep them," countered the cheerleader. "And if you want the shirt, just ask."

"You want it back, you can have it back, but first," Buffy leaned over to whisper in her ear, "I hafta not be wearing it."

Cordelia swallowed--it was easy to be the aggressor, but being on the receiving end was causing every hormone to go haywire. "Those pants...are they my pants? They look like...yeah, I think they're mine."

The slayer wore a playful grin. An, “Are you coming with?” grin.

Buffy took her hand, waited for her to rise from the chair, and then led them over to the bed. Then her “take charge” attitude was suddenly gone. All Cordelia could think to do was push back further onto the mattress so they could lay, and after staring at the ceiling a while, they thought it might be a good idea if they could see one another.

They turned on their sides.

It was amazing how fast a combination of fear and horniness took away the cheerleader's ability to function, especially considering she wasn’t a guy. The number of times she'd had sex was a slightly exaggerated figure, but it had been almost trendy in the past. Not something she absolutely needed to do.

Until now. She *had* to do this. She had to make love to her girlfriend.

But, would she be any good? That was what she was afraid of.

It was their first time, and she didn't want to be so bad that it would be their last. Even though they were both new, she was putting pressure on herself nonetheless. There was going to be pleasure, damn it.

During the quiet, they'd been lightly--not even aware--wandering wherever their hands wished to go. Gaining courage, Buffy, every part of her tense, decided to take the leap and guide them. The fingers of her one hand began to outline the brunette's face, while the fingers of her other wrapped around the cloth that held the robe together.

She listened as her girlfriend sucked in a sharp breath, feeling the small shudder that ran through her. Seconds passed which felt like eons. But then the kiss came.

It came from a smiling Cordelia--the familiarity calmed them. "Go with the flow."
______

A robe, a shirt, a pair of pants, and those layers of clothing usually kept hidden, were scattered somewhere along the floor. Moonlight had found its way into the now darkened bedroom, the window blinds casting a shadow that played across Cordelia's naked back. They failed to notice.

All the girls noticed, all they could notice, were the sounds and movements their partner made as they experimented in new territory.

Buffy reacted to, in her mind, what seemed like a gracious, expert touch. Once the cheerleader discovered that the slayer was going to like what she was doing because *she* was the one doing it, the shyness left in a hurry. She was thoroughly enjoying getting to know the body underneath her.

It helped that she knew what she'd liked, when it was her turn to give.

They were half-covered by sheets. Beneath them, as Cordelia slid her fingers through the only hair still natural on Buffy, the “blonde’s” heels dug into the mattress, her head tossing side-to-side. As sweat cascaded down her forehead, Buffy couldn't hold back the sigh. Or the moan. Or whatever noise it was she'd just made.

She didn't torture Cordelia this much, did she? She felt so tensed. Another hand started caressing her face, which got her to relax somewhat, and open her eyes.

Cordelia, whom she vaguely recognized as girlfriend and lover, smiled down at her.

"Hey."

The word sounded husky and sweet, saying everything, and it also asked permission. Buffy hoped her frantic nodding was clear enough. She mumbled something she wasn't sure was heard, because the brunette had suddenly vanished out of sight.

Within a second, she felt warm breath blowing where she hadn't ever remembered feeling breath before. Then she felt a mouth...and then came dizziness. And spinning.

Not like when she’d been sick, though--this didn't hurt at all.

She knew she was calling out Cordelia's name, but was deaf to her own voice. She knew her hands were grasping a pair of shoulders, but didn’t feel them. She let the waves rippling through her do as they pleased. She let herself be blissfully, figuratively knocked out, and then things began to settle.

Her girlfriend lay beside her, snuggling close and planting small kisses down her arm as she recuperated. It hadn't even had the slimmest chance of being a disappointment. Sex with Cordelia would no doubt be a consistently wonderful and draining experience.

Said person looked directly at her. "I didn't know anyone could do that and look so..." Beat. "You know...beautiful." Hazel eyes rolled, and cheeks blushed. "I'm serious."

"You looked pretty beautiful yourself. Not that that's a new thing..." Buffy amended, loving the afterglow. "I'd a'said so after, but, couldn’t get a word in edgewise."

"There was a flow, I went with it." The brunette's nails lazily traced along the top of the blonde's breasts. “You’re welcome, by the way.”

A throaty chuckle from the slayer. "I love you, Cor." Her eyelids were drooping, and as a result, the next part came in the midst of a yawn. "So much."

"Mm...love you, too." Cordelia pulled the covers up, and then shut her eyes.

Maybe they should've taken notice of those blinds. They could’ve peeked through them, and seen a Jeep in the driveway. If they hadn't been so busy, they also could've heard the front door open. And if they weren't so exhausted, they would've realized there were footsteps on the stairs.

Oh, they heard the bedroom door, but by then it was too late.

Light from the hallway flooded in. It was bright, intrusive--a stark contrast to that of the moon. It illuminated more than the girls had intended to reveal, and more than the intruder cared to see. It made them all become real alert, real quick.

"Mom!”

The End?

You have reached the end of "Human Layers" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 11 Sep 10.

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