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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 > RomancePatKFR181240,81554417,0478 Aug 1011 Sep 10No

Prologue

Note: Again, nothing is mine. I make nothing. All Joss and ME. And FOX.
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Sixteen-year-old Buffy Summers stood just inside the doors of her high school library, on the night of the Spring Fling. Her locks were a wet disaster, as was the long, expensive, silk-white dress her mother had surprised her with for the dance. She'd have a hard time explaining that when she got there--it wasn't raining.

To make things worse, she looked like she'd just escaped the clutches of an abusive family member. Or, and this was the slightly less plausible story she was going with, the clutches of a rabid dog. Hey, she *was* bitten.

The lies of the Slayer/Chosen One had a kernel of truth.

Her friends knew the whole of it, who'd already gone on ahead. Xander, despite his usually, jokey demeanor, had saved her life from that...rabid dog. And Willow, Giles, Miss Calendar, Angel (whom she was maybe somewhat infatuated with)...hell, even Cordelia, had been there in the thick.

She and that unlikely group of people had just stopped a 600-year-old master vampire from opening the Mouth of Hell underneath her feet. She'd briefly died--where was her bonus? Oh wait, she didn't get paid to begin with. A selfless, heavy-on-the-responsibility job for a teenager that didn't offer a check? It was insane, but she had no choice. It was her destiny, and she did it, however begrudgingly.

Despite her traumatizing experience, she had to smirk at the destroyed state of the library, as well as at the de-fleshed skeleton of her vanquished foe, lying where the table half-was and half-wasn't, its sharpened wood piercing where a heart had once been. Well, that was what happened when you crashed through skylights.

Time to party--the “Post-Traumatic Stress” could kick in later. She turned to leave when Cordelia came in the other side suddenly. They sort of bumped into each other.

The cheerleader had just suffered through the most horrific ordeal of her life, spent her night with total freaks (not meaning the vampires and the three-headed thing that rose out of the floor), yet strangely, she was in a good, almost pleasant mood. It was bizarre and unsettling...she wanted to be pissed.

If that wasn't shocking enough, the girl couldn't believe what she was about to do.

"You lose something?" Buffy asked, understandably also stumped as to why the cheerleader would set foot in here again. "Because if you did, it probably got sucked into Hell...and why’s your car in the hallway?"

"Um, apparently, there were *vampires* in the parking lot," Cordelia told her, voice somehow still incredulous while being laced with sarcasm.
"What was I supposed to do? Go all 'Horror Movie Victim' and run around like I have no brain?"

Then she realized she had practically begged for a comeback. "Don't even--"

The slayer wasn't in the mood for barbs. "What? You're right--it was a dumb question."

"Good," said the other girl, and sighed. "Look, I didn't want anyone else to see, because I have a reputation to think about, but I just...wanna say ‘thank you.’ For what you did."

She had an expression near to admiration on her face. "I mean, dying so I could live to get a new car--’cause my insurance doesn't cover 'Acts of Satan'--that's like, really selfless."

"The world kinda needed to be saved, too," smirked Buffy, though she was surprised by the genuineness. "Besides, it's, what I do. Unfortunately."

Cordelia seemed a tad annoyed. "I'm showing you gratitude. So shut up and accept it."

They both stood there not knowing what to say. She was sort of fidgeting, arguing with herself until the “Bitch” in her gave, and she hugged the social reject.

"If anybody finds out that this happened--"

"You'll tell the whole school I did Mr. Vermir in the passenger seat of a Beetle just to pass Geometry,” Buffy deduced. “And ‘cause I have absolutely no self-respect, it was in his driveway with door open...when his wife was home."

Beating the world class insulter to the punch, made it easier to deal with the fact arms were around her. "Close?"

The cheerleader released her, pulling back and clearly blown away. "Maybe you actually were popular in some alternate universe."

Yeah, and it was hard to believe Buffy had been in that universe only six months ago. That she’d been a version of the girl she was standing next to. Things seemed simpler then, but...other than all the evil that flocked to this misleading town, it wasn't all bad.

Buffy had good, if a teensy bit quirky, friends, whereas before, only followers. She wasn't that person anymore, even if she wanted to be. Cordelia was welcome to that life.

"Can use it if you want...on the condition that my name, Xander's name, and Willow's, isn't anywhere near," she detailed.

"I’ll consider it," Cordelia said.

They exited the library, and started down the hall.

"I'm sorry about Kevin," the lighter-haired brunette apologized gently.

The darker-haired one was surprised. "How did you...?"

Kevin was a guy she was really starting to genuinely care about, only--as she and Willow discovered--he’d been slaughtered on school grounds by vampires.

The slayer believed she should've stopped it, but there was no way to know. "I notice stuff. You guys were really cute together."

"Well...thanks." Cordelia hadn’t expected that someone would take an interest in the details of her life unless she ordered them to. "And we were, weren't we?"

The girls smiled at one another, walking in silence until they pushed through the EXIT doors at the end of the hall.

"So what're you doing this summer?" Buffy asked.

"My parents promised me we're going to St. Croix...I need to get the hell out of here," exhaled the cheerleader. “And onto real beaches.”

"Me too--s'why I'm going to L.A. for some quality 'Father-Daughter' time."

The slayer was looking forward to that; she wanted to dodge horror for a little while.

"While you're there," Cordelia began to comment, "you should go to a stylist. Do something different. Like dye it."

"You think?" Buffy questioned, touching her hair and giving it thought.

Observing the other girl thoughtfully then, her next question just seemed to slip out. "Do you like it? Being popular?"

“The Queen” mask dropped just a moment, and Cordelia answered, "Sometimes. Do you like being a superhuman freak?" There was no edge to her voice.

"Sometimes."

And sometimes, both had their downsides. Buffy’s first night in Los Angeles would be when the nightmares started, which didn't stop, scarring a little piece of her forever. Then after taking Cordelia’s advice, she’d return for the new school year, a blonde.

The cheerleader would spend the summer bored to tears in Tuscany, not St. Croix. But the boredom wouldn’t just be because her parents were going to force art and architecture on her. There’d be a far less shallow reason for once.
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