Xander jumps like a scalded cat.
It's perfectly understandable really. He'd been tense all night, Cordelia's previous actions winding him up in a way fighting vampires hasn't since that first night. When he's fighting vampires, at least he has Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, at his side. When confronting Cordelia, he's pretty much on his own. Not that he had planned to confront Cordelia. He would have been perfectly happy to go to bed and pretend the kissing had never happened, Teenage Boy cornered by Hot Girl or no, this is Cordelia Chase, and while Xander is much more aware of her than he would ever like to admit, it doesn't mean he likes it.
He was in health class with everyone else when they went over hormones. He knows it's just his body being stupid about Cordelia's, frankly astonishing, curves. He understands puberty and how even the wind blowing can get embarrassing. It doesn't mean anything, that he's attracted to her. A good third of their school is, basically anyone whose attracted to women has to admit that she's gorgeous. It doesn't suddenly make her a good person. And it certainly doesn't explain why she calls out to him in the dawn.
" Down boy." Cordelia teases, and there's something remarkably like fondness in her eyes. It's nothing like any teasing she's done before. At least not in about ten years. Not once there were others and Cordy was suddenly queen of the play ground. Too good to play with the regular riffraff like Xander. Geez, he hasn't even thought of that since fifth grade, once Cordelia had started making fun of his Wills.
Xander feels like someone has poured cold water down his spine at the sight. He should have said something. Warned Willow, Buffy, and Giles. The Apocalypse was coming. Surely, this was a sign, blood in the water, raining frogs, Cordelia chase smiling with easy affection. Something was so very wrong, and hellmouthy, and why, why couldn't he have just let himself get snacked on by a vamp tonight?
Then Cordelia's eyes narrowed with disgust and Xander thought for a second that everything was right in the world. " Why do you smell like Vampire? And...Dust?"
And oh, there goes the world again, twisting left and right, giving him quite the sickening feeling of vertigo.
" Vampires? What Vampires? There are no Vampires here. No vampires of any sort. Vampires don't exist, actually, so there! And what do you mean I smell like them anyway?" Some day's Xander really wishes Willow babble wasn't contagious. This was one of those days. And surely his voice wasn't always this high?
" Don't Start with me buster." Cordelia ordered. Sliding the door open and getting straight out of the car." I've had a really long day. So no games. Why do you smell like Vampire dust?"
This is hardly the first time Cordelia Chase has had to stare Xander Harris down. As usual, Xander's the first to look away.
" How do you even know about Vampires? I thought you forgot all about them!" Xander says, running a hand through his hair in frustration.
" People do that?" She asks, before she can help herself. It's usually harder to distract her from a goal, but if there's something that will wipe knowledge of the threat from her mind, she needs to know. Cordelia growls, frustration growing, won't this day ever end? She's tired, soul deep, dog dead, tired. She'd just wanted to cuddle with her mate or a bit, tuck her head into his pulse point and surround herself with his scent. But nooo, he just had to smell like Vampires.
" Tell me!" Cordelia demanded, glaring with all her wrath. There was a lot of wrath, definitely a lot of that.
" It's Sunny Dale blindness!" Xander admitted." When people don't know what their facing, or looking at something they don't understand, they just forget about it, or act like it was something else. You were attacked at the bronze by vampires a few weeks ago. You didn't remember, you thought it was gang members. "
Cordelia stares at him in shock, a denial on the tip of her tongue. But then she stops, thinks about her memories of that night, how they blurred, indistinct but for what she knew. Or clearly; simply thought she knew.
" How is it you remember then?" This is clearly vital information. Wars are won and lost on information, enemy movements, patterns to be found and exploited, resources, both the enemies and your own. Just thinking about it all is exhausting. But Cordelia is strong. She was before, and she was stronger now. Humanity was at war, though it seemed to have forgotten somehow, and Cordelia was on the front lines now. Her and her mate. She needed to know everything he knew.
" If you have proof..." Xander began hesitantly." I'm not really sure how it works, you'll have to ask G-man, he knows more about things. But I'm pretty sure if it's undeniable, like staring at you straight in the face. If you have reminders. That kind of thing, you kind of can't forget."
Some part of Cordelia relaxes, the part that had been worrying specifically about forgetting. She's changed now, not like she had been. There will be no forgetting for her, of that, she's sure. But now other parts of her have begun to worry about other things. About this war she has found herself in and how she's pretty sure humanity is losing. Especially as most of it doesn't know its at war.
But those are not things she will tackle now. She's tired enough as it is. It's not like her new problems are going anywhere. She's not that lucky.
" And the Vampires smell and the dust?" She asks, finally back to her point. She wouldn't be surprised to find that Xander has fought them, he is an Omega after all, and altruism is the blood of their veins.
" Those things are kind of one and the same." Xander says. "That's sort of what happens when you stake a Vamp. Poof and then there's dust everywhere."
Cordelia nods, Angel hadn't mentioned that, but it's not an oversight she appreciates. He's going to have to pay for that. And then Cordelia will wring out all the information he has, not just the bits about vampires. But there are more pressing matters to attend to at the moment.
Cordelia grabs Xander's arm, spinning him effortlessly and pinning him to the Car. She smiles, feels the dawn coming from under her skin. Lets the light inside her glow just a little too strong. Feels it mingle with the light inside Xander. Not enough to change him, though the temptations there. Very tempting, the strength of Xander's light is beautiful, perfectly complimentary to her own. They will be wonderful together, and soon.
They will bring the monsters in the world to their knees. Cordelia makes a pleased growl, buries her nose into Xander's neck and ignores the frantic beat of his pulse. She knows she should explain, but she's happy where she is and she's made her intentions clear enough anyway. The promise of power the Primal presents is just gravy. The real treat is what she and Xander will be someday.
She only notices Xander had been struggling once it ceases. And she smiles into his neck, lets her tongue flick out to taste his pulse mostly to feel him jolt. Cordelia chuckles. Letting the scent of her mate erase all her troubles and just breathes. Light and content. Her mate is protected, in her arms, the sun is shinning bright and new, lending her strength. Her pack is perfectly fine, tucked away for the night. No matter what comes after, what she learns, or what she once knew and has come to forget, today will be a good day.
She kisses Xander just once, as softly as she dares. She needs her rest, and kissing her mate for a moment too long will bring certain urges to the fore. Urges that aren't conductive to resting at all. Although...Some things are just too nice to resist.
She gives Xander's bottom a firm squeeze. He squeaks, lets out a sound not unlike a whimper.
" Later loser." She taunts, playful and possessive. She watches him in her car mirror until he's out of sight. The half bewildered half terrified expression on his face is very cute.
She drops of the second she gets home, doesn't even bother to change her clothes.
She dreams of wild plains, trusty spear in her hands, her brothers, the clan at her back. And all the while the sun gleams, welcome heat in blue skies.