Buffy was on the hunt. She didn't bother with quips or fighting with any flare when she encountered a few Vampires here and there. She dusted them almost absently. They were not her prey tonight. Not the target of her focus. And maybe if she'd pause to think about it she would have found it strange. She was focused. Very focused. Senses extended in a way she had never pushed them before. Heart beat calm and steady. Prowling through her territory. She felt the most awake she'd ever been. The most aware.
She needed to find Cordelia.
Needed to beat her. Prove her worthiness, prove her strength. She was the Slayer. She was strong. The strongest on the Hellmouth. She needed Cordelia to know. To understand.
She was stronger, better. So she needed to beat Cordelia into the ground. Show the other girl true strength. Teach her her place.
Cordelia knew it wasn't her best idea. Wandering around the graveyard while low on power? Clearly not something someone with any kind of sense would do. If she hadn't been so angry, so furious, she really wouldn't have. But she was. Angry, that was. Because her stupid loser mate did not seem to understand that he belonged to her now, forever.
She didn't understand. She knew Xander could feel it, the way their lights melded and augmented each other. The way he stood just a little straighter when she was around. It had even been true before she'd changed. Xander had always stood up to her, had always held his ground when they fought. They challenged each other, made the other better. Considering the battle ground she now knew they lived on, Cordelia knew she would need every shred of strength she could muster.
But no, Xander had to go and make it difficult. His very presence could agitate the animal inside her just as easily as he could sooth it. He'd left her feeling off kilter. Her pack was lucky that she had an entire species to work off her aggression on. Otherwise they would have been the ones to suffer her rage. The first Vampire she found died in agony. She tore him limb from limb. First his arms, then his legs, by the time she began to slowly separate his neck from the rest of his body she was fairly certain he'd been glad to be dust.
It was barbaric. The human she was would have been revolted. But the animal in her felt better. Calmed by the prospect of hunting more prey, so she set off in search for more. Wondered how many would die at her hands before she felt like she had earlier in the library. Her mate at her finger tips. Balanced once again. She twirled the stake in her hand absently. A stick she'd sharpened, and briefly wondered why she bothered. It didn't suit her to take easy outs.
Cordelia was the kind of person to make her own way. She always has been, primal or no. Xander would be hers in time, he belonged to her regardless of what he had to say on the matter. He was her mate, it was a truth of their existence. She just needed to show him. Prove that they were meant to be. There had to be a way, she only had to find it.
That was when she scented Buffy. The Slayer was being stealthy. Her particular scent of some floral perfume and graveyard dirt almost blending in. But she stills reeked like Cordelia from their earlier struggle. She turned, rage reignited by the female that her mate was loyal to. Bared her teeth, "Back for seconds?"
Buffy smiled, the pretty parody every cheerleader could recognize for the challenge it was meant to be. Focused as she on her challenger Cordelia almost didn't notice the Vampire coming up behind Buffy. She was tempted. So tempted to remove the competition. Buffy was a competitor for Xander's loyalty if nothing else. But there were lines. There was being the animal she was and becoming a monster. Something she would never willingly be, so she wouldn't turn her mate by force, and she wouldn't tear out the Slayers throat once she was distracted by the Vampire behind her. She wouldn't kill someone who didn't deserve it. Vampires though, those were fair game. Cordelia gave her stake one last casual twirl and launched it into the vampires heart.
Buffy dodged the stake and almost jumped at the familiar sound of a Vampire com-busting behind her, turned just in time to watch it crumble to dust.
"You-you staked it?" Buffy hadn't meant to ask. She'd seen it with her own two eyes after all. But it didn't make any sense. Life had become so much more complicated ever since she became the Slayer. About the only thing that had stayed simple was the distinction between friend and foe.
"I am not your enemy." Cordelia snarls, "Simply your better. But then-that's not any different from before, loser, now is it?"
Buffy gaped, just gaped. Because it's such a Cordelia thing to say. The kind of thing she'd learned to expect from the first girl she'd met in Sunny-dale. If not for the fight in the Library, claiming Xander, and staking a vampire, Buffy would have never noticed how different she had become. It made her wonder how different being a Slayer had made her. Power up aside. She'd always been protective of her friends. She'd always been the best in every gymnastics class she'd ever taken, despite her size, or sometimes, because of it. Giles had said that Primal's weren't evil. Had he been right? Was being a primal just like the Slayer power up?
"You fought me." Buffy murmured out loud.
"I beat you." Cordelia huffed, crossing her arms.
Buffy narrowed her eyes, the danger presented by the vampires fresh in her mind."I have a job to do. Tomorrow morning, rematch."
She'd been surprised by Cordelia the first time, it wouldn't happen again. She wouldn't let it.