"Listen, you pea-brain, I told you that I did not want to go to the Bronze tonight. Don’t you ever listen to me?!" Cordelia yelled at Xander.
"Well, maybe I don’t listen to you because all you ever do is bitch, bitch, bitch! ‘Oh, your clothes don’t match. Oh, I wouldn’t be caught dead there. Oh, all this slaying stuff is really hell on my nails.’" Xander yelled back.
Willow looked at Buffy, who was sitting across from her in the library. Moments before, Giles went into his office and closed the door on Cordelia and Xander’s fighting.
"I think they are getting worse," Willow told Buffy. "We can barely go five minutes without those two fighting with each other."
"And not just making snide remarks to each other, either," Buffy replied. "These seem to be all out fights."
"Maybe it’s the full moon…nah, that isn’t for another week," Willow said, thinking of Oz. She got a mushy smile on her face just thinking about Oz.
"Earth to Willow," Buffy said, waving her hand in front of Willow’s face. "Come in, Willow."
Willow shook her head and look sheepishly at Buffy. "What?"
"And where were you just at, my girlfriend who has a boyfriend who just happens to be a werewolf…boy, that was a mouthful."
Willow and Buffy laughed together as Cordelia and Xander continued to fight behind them.
"…and another thing, I think you are the lousiest kisser ever! I mean, pu-leez! My dog slobbers less than you do!" Cordelia yelled.
The room suddenly got very quiet.
Xander looked at her, his face bright red, with a mixture of hurt and fury. He then turned on his heels and slammed out of the library.
Willow and Buffy looked at each other. "Geez, Cordelia," Buffy whispered.
"Oh, and what do you know, Miss ‘I save the world so I am the greatest,’" Cordelia said bitterly before
leaving the library as well.
"Do you think one of us should go after Xander?" Willow asked, concerned for her best friend.
"No," Buffy responded. "We better just let him be. After all, I am even embarrassed for him. Imagine how he feels."
"Yeah." Willow sighed, looking forlorn at the thought of Xander’s hurt.
Giles stepped out of his office at that moment, looking around at the lack of yelling. "What did I miss?"
"Cordelia was just majorly harsh on Xander," Buffy responded.
"Have either of you noticed that they have been getting into more and more fights recently?" Giles asked, sitting down next to the girls.
"Buffy and I were just talking about that," Willow responded. "It can’t be the full moon, that’s next week."
"Maybe you should do some research, Giles, into why this could be happening," Buffy said.
"Actually, I think it may just be that Xander and Cordelia are beginning to realize that they are not right for each other, after all," Giles responded, taking his glasses off and cleaning them.
"Well, that would be nice," Willow said under her breath. Buffy, hearing her because of her slayer abilities, replied "I hear and agree, Willow."
Xander reached his house and went up to his room, slamming the door so hard the movable handles on the "Out to Lunch" clock on his door spun wildly. Xander crashed onto the bed, staring up at the ceiling, thinking murderous thoughts about Cordelia. He glanced over to his nightstand, past the clocks, and looked at the picture of him and Cordelia at the Bronze. He picked it up, running his finger over Cordelia’s face before throwing the picture across the room. It crashed into the wall, shattering glass all over the floor. He turned over onto his stomach and began to cry.
"I think they are actually getting better," Willow said to Buffy over the noise.
Buffy nodded her assent to Willow, tapping her foot to the music. "Wanna dance with me?"
"Sure," Willow replied. The two girls went out onto the floor and began to dance.
"Look, there’s Cordelia," Willow said snottily, nodding towards the door.
Buffy turned with her arms in the air, not breaking her dance. Cordelia was standing near the doorway, looking around nervously. She was wearing a pair of old jeans and a sweatshirt.
"What in the world is Cordelia wearing?!" Buffy exclaimed to Willow.
"Wow!" Willow said, staring at Cordelia. "She has never looked that bad…well, maybe, except for the time after Marci attacked her…"
Cordelia spotted the two dancers and made her way to them. "Hi, guys," she said uncertainly.
"What do you want, Cordelia?" Willow said snidely.
Cordelia looked down at the floor. "Have either of you seen Xander?"
"Now, why, if we have seen him, would we tell you?" Buffy asked, just as snidely as Willow.
Cordelia glanced up at the two, tears running down her cheeks. "Never mind," she mumbled before turning and hurrying away.
"Wow," Willow said, watching after Cordelia.
"Yeah, wow," Buffy echoed her. They both looked at each other, nodded, and went after Cordelia.
*Not now,* Cordelia thought as she ran to her car. *I can’t take it!* She jumped into her convertible and sped off into the night.
Buffy and Willow saw Cordelia’s car driving off at a reckless speed, which was semi-normal for Cordelia, and Buffy wished for the millionth time that she was able to drive.
Giles was sitting in the library, as usual, when he heard someone come enter. He looked up from his book and saw Xander standing there, looking grim.
"Hey, Giles," he said, sliding into a chair. "Got anything for me to do?"
Giles looked at the young man across from him. *He looks so sad,* Giles thought concern flowing through him. *They are becoming so precious to me, as if they were my own children.* He reached over an laid a hand on Xander’s arm. "Are you alright, Xander?"
"Me? Yeah, I’m fine. What could possibly be wrong?" Xander replied with little inflection in his voice. He stared off into the stacks.
Giles watched Xander for a few moments. "Well, then, I do have something you can do if you wish. You can look through the stacks and see if you can find anything on a woman named Vivian Montgomery for me."
Xander turned to Giles, who notice the tears welling up in the teenager’s eyes. "Sure." Xander got up out of the chair and headed towards the stacks.
Giles sighed, wishing there was something he could do or say to make Xander feel better. *Maybe I’ll go and get some of his favorite snacks. Yes, that is what I shall do.* With that thought, he stood up and headed out the door towards the cafeteria. "I’ll be right back, Xander," he called out upon leaving.
Xander, not really listening, stood staring into the book, his teary eyes making it hard for him to see.
No one answered.
"Oh, well, I guess we’ll wait," Buffy said, going over to the weapon’s locker and opening it. "Let’s see, what do I want to play with tonight? Hmmm."
Willow shook her head at Buffy and made her way over to the computer. "Hey, Buffy? Do you think Cordelia is ok?"
Buffy picked up three stakes and began juggling them. "I don’t know Will. But she does drive that way all the time, so we probably have nothing to worry about." Buffy suddenly stopped juggling and tossed the stakes into the locker. She went over to Giles’ office and pulled out her punching bag.
"True," Willow said, logging onto the computer.
Buffy set up her bag and began working out. Willow read her e-mail to Buffy’s grunts of exertion.
Giles walked into the room at that moment holding several different types of Hostess snack cakes. He looked up to see Buffy and Willow looking at him oddly.
"For Xander," he said, setting the pile onto the table. "Where is he?"
"Didn’t know he was here," Buffy said, grabbing a cupcake from the pile.
"Xander?" Giles called out. No answer. "Xander, where are you?" Giles walked to the stacks and looked around.
"Is he up there?" Buffy asked, checking in the cage.
"I does not look like it, Buffy. He must have left when I stepped out to get the food," Giles responded, returning to the group.
Buffy shrugged her shoulders and went back to working out with the punching bag.
He did not answer.
"Oh, well, I guess we’ll wait," Buffy said. Xander heard the sound of the weapon’s locker being opened. "Let’s see, what do I want to play with tonight? Hmmm."
"Hey, Buffy? Do you think Cordelia is ok?" Something in his chest tightened when he heard Willow say that.
"I don’t know Will. But she does drive that way all the time, so we probably have nothing to worry about." He heard Buffy reply. *Good, he thought, maybe she’ll get into a car accident.* Xander took an astonished breath at the cruelness of his thoughts. He quietly backed away from the stacks, sat down and leaned against one of the bookshelves.
"True," he heard Willow say. He heard the door to the library open.
"For Xander," he heard Giles say. "Where is he?"
"Didn’t know he was here," Buffy replied.
"Xander?" Giles called out. He didn’t answer. "Xander, where are you?" He heard Giles walking up to the stacks and made sure Giles could not find him.
"Is he up there?" Buffy asked.
"I does not look like it, Buffy. He must have left when I stepped out to get the food," Giles responded. Xander heard him walk back downstairs.
The phone rang in the library. Giles went over and picked it up. "Sunnydale High School Library. Yes, this is Mr. Giles... Good gosh, what happened?…No, I haven’t seen him. Have you tried his home?…Well, if I do see him, I will let him know. Thank you." Giles hung up the phone and turned to the girls.
"That was Sunnydale Hospital. It seems that Cordelia has been in a car accident."
Buffy and Willow looked quickly at Giles. "Let’s go," Buffy said, already heading out the door.
"Right behind you," said Willow. Giles grabbed his car keys and followed the two girls out.
*Noooooooooo,* Xander thought, getting unsteadily to his feet. *I didn’t mean it!* He ran blindly out of the stacks, down the stairs, and out of the library. Giles and the girls had already left by the time he got to the parking lot. He ran towards the hospital.
Buffy, Giles and Willow ran into ICU at the hospital. Giles went up to the desk and asked about Cordelia. "She’s in room two-oh-one. The nurse said we could visit for a few minutes since her family is away," he told the girls.
They entered Cordelia’s room and saw a pale figure lying on the hospital bed. Her head was wrapped in a white bandage, there was an IV in her arm and an oxygen hose in her nose.
"Is she awake?" Willow asked, lying her hand gently on Cordelia’s arm.
"She doesn’t appear to be," Giles replied, looking at her chart. "Oh, my," he said after he finished reading. "She seems to be in a coma. According to this chart, she has hit her head rather harshly. They had to sew up a large gash."
Buffy started to pace the room. "I had better go find Xander. He may be mad at her, but he would want to know about this." Giles and Willow nodded at her and she left.
"I’ll try calling his house. Willow, try to think of any where else he might be," Giles said, leaving the room for the phones.
"Ok," Willow replied, still touching Cordelia. After Giles had left the room, she spoke to Cordelia. "Hi Cordelia. This is Willow. I don’t know if you can hear me or not, but I wanted you to know that I am sorry for the way I spoke to you earlier this evening. I do consider you somewhat of a friend, albeit a pretty snobby one, but a friend none the less." Willow sighed and then proceeded to think about where Xander could be.
Giles entered the room. "He is not at home. Did you think of where else he might be located?"
Willow shook her head. "The only thing I could think of was that maybe he’s at the Bronze."
Giles nodded his head. "Why don’t we head over there and look for him?" Willow stood up and followed Giles out the door.
"Oh, Cordelia," he began. "I am sorry. I didn’t mean it. I was just mad at you. I didn’t mean that I really wanted you to be in an accident." Xander brought her hand up to his mouth and kissed it. "Please forgive me," he whispered.
"No. We thought we’d check inside," Giles said, opening the door. The trio proceeding inside and looked for Xander. Willow asked Oz, who was done for the night, if he had seen Xander. Oz told her no and asked what was wrong. Willow explained briefly and Oz volunteered to help. Not finding Xander there, Buffy, Willow, Giles and Oz returned to Giles’ car and headed back to the hospital.
Xander tried to struggle, but the vampire had him pinned to the chair. Xander’s last thought was before everything went black was *I’m sorry Cordelia. Sorry for everything. I won’t be able to protect you.*
Cordelia saw Xander’s eyes start to glaze over as the vampire continued to snack on him. *I have to do something!* she thought, looking around desperately. Luckily the vampire was enjoying herself too much to notice Cordelia’s movements. She saw a bed pan next to her on a table. She reached over for it and brought it up with what little strength she had and tried to hit the vampire over the head with it.
The vampire reacted to Cordelia’s attempts by letting go of Xander and moving to attack. Xander’s body flopped onto the bed. Cordelia made a desperate sound in her throat as she saw Xander’s inert form. *Xander,* she thought. *I’m sorry. I am so sorry. I didn’t mean it at all. I was just trying to cover up my true feelings. I love you, Xander. I really do.*
The vampire grabbed hold of Cordelia’s flailing arms and pinned them down. As the vampire leaned to bite Cordelia’s neck, she thought *I don’t want to live if Xander is not with me.* She lapsed into unconsciousness again.
Buffy, Giles, Oz and Willow walked into Cordelia’s room to see a terrible sight. Xander lay partially on the bed not moving. Cordelia was lying on the bed as a vampire dressed as a nurse was sucking on her neck.
Buffy sprang into action, leaping across the bed and knocking the vampire to the floor. Giles pulled a stake out of his pocket and tossed it towards Buffy. "Buffy, here."
Buffy caught the stake and plunged it into the vampire’s heart, turning her into a big pile of dust.
Willow rushed over to Xander and checked for a pulse. Buffy got up and did the same to Cordelia.
"Are they…" Giles asked fearfully.
Willow was just about to reply when Xander started to move. "Ohhh," he moaned, slowly sitting up. His eyes grew wide as he searched around for the vampire. Noticing Buffy, Willow, Oz and Giles standing there as opposed to a vampire, he sighed in relief and slumped down in his chair. Suddenly, he bolted upright and dove to check Cordelia’s pulse.
"Xander…" Buffy began. But Xander was not listening to her. He started to sob uncontrollably, holding onto Cordelia.
Buffy motioned for Willow, Oz and Giles to follow her into the hall.
"Is she gone, Buffy?" Willow asked, tears forming in her eyes.
"No, she is still alive. In fact, I think we got to her before the vampire actually got too involved. The holes in her neck are pretty shallow and bleeding quite nicely," Buffy replied.
Willow, Oz and Giles looked relieved. They sat down in the hall to give Xander some time before talking to him. Oz hugged Willow and Giles put his arm around Buffy. *They are all I have,* Giles thought, glad that nothing had become of Xander or Cordelia. *I do not want to lose them.*
Xander looked up at Cordelia at that moment, thinking he heard her calling him. She smiled uncertainly at him, looking into his teary eyes. She opened her mouth to say something, but Xander just shook his head. *No,* he thought. *Don’t try to speak.*
Cordelia understood what Xander was trying to do, but she continued anyway. In a very soft, hoarse voice she said "Xander, I am sorry."
"Hush, Cordelia, there will be time to talk later."
"No, I need to say this. I’m sorry for what I said. I hate it when we are really mad at each other…"
"Cordelia," Xander interrupted.
"Xander, look at me," Cordelia said. Xander looked into Cordelia’s eyes and saw deep emotion in them. He smiled sweetly at her, leaned forward and gave her a gentle kiss.
"Xander," Cordelia said. "Don’t leave."
"I won’t, my sweet Cordy," Xander replied. "You just sleep now."
"Xander," Cordelia whispered as she was falling asleep. Xander leaned closer to hear what she was saying. "I love you."
"I love you, too," he replied, kissing her brow, and settled into the chair and watched his Cordelia sleep.
Buffy and Willow looked at each other as Cordelia and Xander started to yell.
"Listen, you big dweeb! I did not say that you looked like a dork in that outfit. What I said was that you resemble a 70’s porn star in that outfit!" Cordelia yelled.
"Oh, yeah?! And how would you know what someone in a 70’s porn movie was dressed like, huh? Is that where you get all your fashion tips!?" Xander yelled back.
Giles shook his head and quickly made his way into his office and shut the door.
"You think they would have broken up by now," Willow said, looking at the two screaming insults back
and forth at each other. "After all, they have been at this for over a month now since the accident."
"Go figure," Buffy said, rolling her eyes. Willow laughed.
"…that’s not what you said last night about my technique! You’re the one who must have been watching 70’s porno movies!" Cordelia yelled.
The room suddenly got very quiet.
Xander looked at Cordelia, his mouth wide open, his face turning bright red. Cordelia looked back at Xander, just as flustered, her face turning just as red. She quickly looked at the floor.
"I…um…that is…" Cordelia stuttered. Buffy and Willow just looked at the two of them with astonished faces.
Xander quickly grabbed Cordelia’s hand and ran out of the library.
Buffy and Willow looked at each other before breaking out into fits of laugher.
"Can you believe the two of them…"Willow gasped out between laughs.
"Who would have known. The dweeb and the Snob-Queen, doing things that can be seen in a 70’s porno," Buffy responded, wiping the tears of merriment from her eyes.
Giles stepped out of his office at that moment, catching the last of Buffy’s sentence. "What is that about 70’s porno’s, Buffy?"
"Oh, Giles, something you are just better off not knowing," Buffy replied, looking at Willow. The two of the bust out into laugher again.
*Kids,* Giles thought, and went back into his office and closed the door.