50: Early the Next Morning, Mercy Hospital, Westside, Sunnydale
“There’s a conspiracy at this hospital.” Cordelia kicked her covers toward the end of the bed. “When I say I’m fine, the doctor is supposed to believe me. Helloooo! Faith, did you hear a word of what I’m saying?”
Looking a little distracted, Faith stopped rhythmically tapping her fingers on the wooden arm of the chair. “Doc is holding you captive.”
The room door opened and Buffy slipped through closing it behind her. “What? So they aren’t going to release you this morning?” She had obviously overheard Cordelia’s rant.
“No,” Cordelia huffed. “Dr. Frumpypants stopped by at the crack of dawn to tell me that 23-hour Observation meant I actually have to stay here that long.”
Faith interjected, “But since she came in after midnight, it’ll be tomorrow morning before she gets her release papers.”
“No,” snapped Cordy.
“Yes,” Faith countered just as quickly. “That debris clipped her in the head. She’s just a little…,” Faith sounded out a cuckoo whistle, “cranky this morning. The doc figured the world could use a break before letting her back out there.”
Hazel eyes narrowed at the sight of Faith’s dimpled smile. As much as she hated to admit it, her head still ached. Sleep hadn’t come easy last night. In fact, she’d been awake most of the night talking to Faith about one thing or another. Mainly Angel and her hope that Buffy found him before he ended up in a dustbin.
Before Cordy could question Buffy about it, she told them, “I thought I’d relieve Faith for a couple of hours before I have to be at school.”
“Yeah,” Faith agreed, “I could use a shower and some clean clothes.”
Cordelia’s eyes widened at the prospect of a couple of hours alone with Buffy. Just great. Not. Buffy flopped down in the other chair, stretching out her legs. She was wearing a cheap knock-off that did nothing for her figure, or significant lack thereof. Cute shoes, though. Glancing down at her orange hospital gown, Cordy figured she would just keep her opinion to herself for now.
Besides, she had more important subjects to cover. “Did you find Angel before he got to Spike and Drusilla?”
“No.” Buffy’s answer caused Cordelia’s chest to tighten up as she held her breath. Faith paused by the door, turning back around to listen. “He was just leaving the crypt when I got there. Kingman’s Bluff.”
“He’s okay, right?” Cordelia’s fingers curled into the pillow she pulled onto her lap. “You don’t look gloomy or depressed enough for it to be bad though you do have dark bags under your eyes.”
Gaping, Buffy got up and walked over to the window where there was enough of a mix of light and shadow to produce a decent reflection. Whining a little, “We were up most of the night.”
“Oh,” and Cordelia’s heart sank at the flood of images that followed. She could still hear Angel’s words ‘After all, you’re not Buffy,’ echoing in her head. “Sounds cozy.”
“They were patrolling, Cor,” Faith pointed out what should be obvious. “I take it Angel dusted those two.”
A little pause followed before Buffy admitted, “No, actually. He warned me off.”
“What?” Cordelia heard Faith’s voice overlaying hers.
Buffy shrugged. “He said it had something to do with Cordelia. That Drusilla saw… well, whatever she saw, it was bad.”
Cordelia wondered if Drusilla told Angel everything she had said back at Trinity Church. ‘Heartache, pain and death will be your prize, sweet kitten.’ Drusilla had shared a vision of that future, one that frightened her. That was only a part of it. The rest was all about Angel.
Each time she saw him, Cordelia felt less and less petrified over the notion of possessing the ability to elicit a passionate response from him. No matter what Angel said after that kiss, he was lying his ass off. She knew when a guy enjoyed kissing her and he was so into it. Just the thought of it made her tingle, wanting more. Those cool lips demanded a response, insistent, urgent, needy, and with just the right amount of tongue. He kissed her with his whole being, mouth and hands, and needy soul. Holding her close with big, skillful hands, stroking her body closer.
Yeah, he was definitely into her. That’s what scared the hell out of her, thanks to Dru’s little chat about the future.
Angel might be into her, but he was did not want to be. He practically barked Buffy’s name afterward, telling her that their kiss had meant nothing in comparison. Liar. He had to be lying. It should not matter. After all, Cordelia Chase was so not interested in Buffy’s cast-offs even if this one could make her melt.
So why did the idea that Angel had spent the rest of last night with Buffy cause her stomach to twist into knots?
“Angel wouldn’t tell me much,” Buffy rambled on. “So we ended up going after the Demon Cop that attacked you. Patrolling together was kinda like old times.”
“Seems like Angel was thinking about old times a lot yesterday,” Cordelia slowly folded her arms over each other, holding on. She glanced at Faith who frowned, but knew what she meant.
If anything, Cordy’s words brought a hopeful little smile to Buffy’s face. “Really? We didn’t talk about us, but sometimes you don’t need to say much, y’know. It was good, though.”
“So you got the demon?” Faith’s impatience was clear.
Buffy shook her head, “No. The goodness was just getting back into old habits.”
“Some habits need to be kicked.”
The two Slayers were glaring at each other. Cordelia sat back on the raised head of her hospital bed and watched their silent little power struggle. Buffy obviously did not like being told what to do, especially when it concerned Angel. A confused pout appeared, vanishing quickly as she told them, “We tracked the demon for a while, but lost the trail.”
“It looked like a man,” Cordelia pointed out, “until his face melted away.”
“Giles said he was in a police uniform. He thinks he’s the same creep that took Karla Brewer,” Buffy explained.
Faith reminded them that their trip to the Police Department had turned up zilch. “The cops don’t even have anyone named Clark on their payroll.”
“Whoever he is, he says I’m supposed to be sacrificed,” Cordelia reminded. “I’d appreciate a little slayage before it gets to that point. Feel free to rip his head off while you’re at it.”
“There’s still time.” Buffy sat down again. “The sacrificing usually happens at the end and Giles says that’s weeks away.”
Cordelia really felt comforted… not. “Gee, thanks.”
“No problemo.” Missing or ignoring the sarcastic little huff following Cordelia’s words, Buffy advised her, “You’ve just gotta keep things in perspective.”