Title: To Be Called
Disclaimer I do not own Buffy, Angel, or Glee and the characters there in, please do not sue me. -Xander Harris-
May 25, 2011
He had been watching her for months. She had been called just before Christmas on her 17th birthday as all slayers were called now, and boy was being called a crappy gift for any young girl. For her though… it might be beyond crappy, it was likely that this new destiny was the cruelest of hands that could have been dealt to this girl.
The one eyed man watched, as was his duty, as the girl hurried from the high school. It was the last day of the year and if fate had its way it would be the last day she attended McKinley High School.
He was supposed to have made contact in December, the week after she had been called when he arrived in this little Podunk town. It had been Christmas Eve though and he had hesitated. He had watched her through the window of her living room as she sat with her family to dinner. This was the child that could have been Will and Tara’s in another life, a little girl who was the whole world to somebody, a girl who had a bright future, or rather had a bright future. And there he was with orders to derail her life, crush her dreams, and break her heart on Christmas Eve no less. He had refused.
Giles and Wesley had railed against him; the longer he waited the more it would hurt her in the end. Better to start her new life as soon as possible so that she could adjust instead of delaying. He told them that one more Christmas, one more Chanukah where she was just a normal girl with an extraordinary future was the least that they could give her. In the end though, Giles and Wesley were right. One more Christmas became one more New Years, and then a Valentine’s day with her friends even though she was alone, and then he’d learned that she was in a choir of sorts, and that they needed her, for Regionals, and then Nationals. He could give her a trip to New York with her friends, and he blamed the giant teen with the dopey smile for the fact that it hadn’t been a win. Time was up though. He had to tell her and had to escort her to Cleveland before Giles lost all of his patience and sent someone else.
As much as he hated it he had to be the one to tell her, to make her understand. He owed her that much. -Rachel Berry-
The team was mad at her, even Mr. Schue seemed angry at her and Finn even though Finn had kissed her, not vice versa. Despite the fact that they had gone to New York without songs because Mr. Schue was incompetent. It was ridiculous. At least she had Finn. Except… she wasn’t even sure she wanted him. She didn’t want Jesse but did that automatically mean she wanted Finn Hudson? She… she wasn’t sure but she might have moved on. She had let go of Finn there on the Gershwin stage with Kurt by her side. Finn was a nice boy and she had wanted him but… he wasn’t her dream.
Rachel waved at Kurt, who was thankfully part of the very small minority that weren’t mad at her. The slight boy smiled and waved back and then made the ‘call me’ motion with one of his hands before he slammed the door to his SUV, glared at Finn who was slumped in the front seat, and then peeled out of the parking lot without a backwards glance.
She sighed and dug in her purse for her keys. She had just grasped them when a throat cleared behind her. She shrieked and whirled around. She screeched again when she caught sight of the eye patch wearing man-pirate who stood with his hands held up.
She fumbled for her can of mace and declared with more conviction than she felt, “I will mace you if you step any closer… Mister!” He had startled her to be sure but on the off chance that he wasn’t a criminal of some sort she didn’t want to be rude.
The man’s lips quirked in to a grin as he actually took a step backwards, “Relax kid. I’m not here to hurt you.”
His voice wasn’t threatening and his eyes… well eye was sincere. Still Rachel removed the mace from the purse and held it in front of her.
“I would like to believe you sir but what possible reason could you have for approaching me alone in a… deserted parking lot.” Rachel’s eyes flicked to and fro before she muttered under her breath, “Oh dear…”
The man shrugged, “I needed to talk to you, away from people. I needed to explain some things to you.”
Rachel tried to quash her curiosity, “What things?”
The man’s friendly smile slid off his face and a regretful expression took its place, “Why don’t you put the mace down kid? We both know you can kick the crap out of me if you really need to.”
Rachel’s eyebrow ticked up, “I beg your pardon?”
The man pierced her with a no nonsense stare, “The reason you had to quit your Krav Maga classes? The increase in speed, appetite, and strength in the last few months? I’m here to explain it all.”
Rachel’s grip on the mace loosened as she stared up at the man, “…The dreams? Can you explain the dreams too?”
The man’s good eye widened, “You’ve had dreams? How many?”
This man had the air of an authority figure and so Rachel answered promptly, “It’s always the same dream but I’ve had it at least ten times since before Christmas.”
The man let out a curse and pulled out a very expensive looking cellular phone and proceeded to completely ignore Rachel, “Giles!” He turned his body away just so and tried to whisper, “She’s having the dreams G-man,” He paused and waited for the person on the other end to answer and then spoke again, “Since Christmas or right before actually, for as long as she’s been a… well you know.”
He turned and offered Rachel a tense smile and then nodded in response to whatever was being said, “She’s right here actually.”
He addressed her, “Rachel I need you to tell me about the dream alright?”
Rachel eyed him suspiciously but decided that it couldn’t hurt and considering he seemed concerned where her fathers had brushed her off she felt the urge to trust this man-pirate, “They… it is always the same. A woman, in a bed, she’s sleeping and she won’t wake up. I sing and then she does, but only after I stop. Then the scene changes and there is a spray of blood, “Your shirt?” I say… only it isn’t me. The blonde woman dies and it’s wrong, it hurts and I want to fix it. I feel like I can fix it. The woman with the black eyes tells me I can-“
The man cut her off, “You see a woman with black eyes? Are there any other distinguishing features on this woman?”
Rachel shook her head, “Just her eyes, they’re black like ink.”
The man’s eye twitched and he glanced at the phone, “Go on.”
Rachel cocked her head but obeyed, “The scene changes again and the woman in the bed is there and there is a blue light in her hand, “They’re yours now” she says, “They’re for you, for the other half of you.” And then she kisses someone, a blonde.”
The man looked bewildered, “That’s it?”
Rachel’s nodded, “That’s it. It’s never different. Do you know what they mean?”
The man shook his head and punched a button on his phone and spoke into it once it was off speaker, “Giles? Yeah, I’ll bring her in once I’ve briefed her.” He was silent and then his face morphed into a scowl and he growled, “I know Giles, no more stalling. We’ll see you in Cleveland.”
Rachel’s eyes widened in alarm “Wait a minute! You are not taking me anywhere!”
The man smiled sadly, “Once I tell you what you are kid, you won’t have much choice.”
Rachel yelped and brandished the mace again, “What I am!? Look sir you haven’t even thought to give me your name, why on earth would I go anywhere with you?!”
The man shrugged, “My name is Xander Harris and you’ll come with me because you’re a Vampire Slayer.”
Rachel stared before she let out the only thought she could conjure up, “…Huh?” -Rupert Giles-
May 26, 2011
Giles stared across the desk at the young girl who was eyeing him with open hostility and suspicion.
He sighed, “Miss Berry, please understand that you are here for your own good.”
She scoffed, “You’ll excuse me if I don’t buy into that particular line. You have all but kidnapped me.”
Giles felt his eyebrows shoot up in alarm, “We haven’t kidnapped you.”
Rachel crossed her arms and snarled, “You fed my fathers some ludicrous story about me winning a scholarship to this school, which is ridiculous, you can’t win a scholarship to a school you didn’t apply for one. All the while the one eyed pirate,” Spike let out a snort from the corner and Giles spared him a dark glare, “Is subtly implying that if I do not cooperate my dads will be in danger, which I assumed meant you would harm them if I resisted.”
Xander squeaked and defended himself, “I took her to a cemetery and she saw a vampire!”
Rachel scoffed, “I saw a man in makeup who pretended to hit you over the head and then run away all while you were screaming ‘Stake him!’.”
Spike let out a peel of laughter and asked through his giggles, “She didn’t see the bloody fledge’s face shift?”
Xander shrugged his shoulders helplessly and Giles resisted the urge to wipe his glasses off.
Spike stifled his laughter, grunted and then stood up “Look at me Pet.”
Rachel turned to look at the lean vampire; a moment later she reared back as the bones shifted in his face right in front of her and she was faced with the same monstrous visage that the other man had worn the night before.
She leapt from her chair and instinctively put the object between her and the blond vampire.
Spike held up his hands and tried to smile in a reassuring manner, with the teeth the gesture was more sinister that he’d intended, “Calm down pet, I won’t hurt you.”
Rachel hefted the chair and swung it at his face while screaming at the top of her very considerable lungs, “Stay back!”
The chair collided with Spike face and a thunderous crack reverberated through the room.
The blond vampire roared in pain, “Bloody hell! Why you little chit-”
Giles had rushed around his desk by now and placed himself between the terrified Slayer and the angry vampire, “That is enough! Spike shift back please and Rachel please put down the chair.”
Rachel didn’t listen while Spike scoffed. The baby Slayer brandished the chair and for a moment Giles was certain she would bash his head in to get to Spike, much the way Buffy might have during her more volatile moments with the bleached vampire.
He was grateful for Xander who managed to catch Rachel around the waist and swing her around, forcing her to drop the chair.
“LET ME GO!” She lashed out at the young watcher and caught the man just bellow his working eye.
He held tight though, “Calm down Rachel, you’re safe here.”
Spike, whose face was smooth and handsome again, muttered mutinously, “At least one of us is…”
Giles glared at him and nodded to the door. Spike scowled, stepped around Xander and Rachel and slouched from the room muttering about ‘crazy slayers’.
Gingerly Xander set Rachel down and stepped away so that she couldn’t brain him with a chair if she decided she wanted to inflict more damage. It was a surprise when Rachel seemed to settle down considerably as soon as Spike was out of the room. She even righted the chair she had managed to weaponize.
She let out a slightly diva-ish huff and sat, smoothing her ruffled skirt in the process.
She spoke in the least sincere voice Giles had ever heard, “I apologize for what some might classify as an over reaction to discovering a vampire in their midst.”
Giles assumed she meant that she herself didn’t feel it was an over reaction and of course Xander had to speak.
“Actually for any vamp that isn’t Spike or Angel, an over reaction is fine.”
Rachel only nodded and then address Giles completely, “Say I believe you… what does this mean, my being a Slayer?”
Giles did his best to smile gently at the young girl, “It means you will need to stay here and train, at least for the summer and a portion of the school year. You must learn to control your strength and you also need to learn how to recognize vampires and demons alike.”
Rachel paled, “Demons?”
Giles replied apologetically, “Yes. There are many numbers of species of demons that share this plane of existence with us, and while a small number of them are friendly, the vast majority is evil.”
Xander rubbed the sore spot under his good eye where Rachel had hit him as he spoke, “Preach.”
Rachel seemed to deflate further with every syllable Giles uttered, her voice was tiny when she finally commented, “Why… what about New York? What about Broadway? I… I have plans, dreams. I can’t miss school, not if we want to make Nationals again this year.”
Giles cocked his head curiously, “Nationals?”
Xander answered for Rachel, “She’s in a Glee club, Nationals it the big competition at the end of the year.”
Rachel huffed, “Nationals is at the end of the year but to qualify we have to make Sectionals and Regionals as well.”
Giles looked to Xander who shrugged, “She’s kind of their star.”
Giles sighed and rubbed his brow, “When is your first competition?”
Rachel sat forward eagerly, “Early December. That is when we usually have Sectionals. Invitationals are earlier but to be honest they are a bit of a joke, even without me the team should be fine.”
Giles looked at Xander who actually seemed like he was silently pleading with him to give in to the young girl, “…I don’t know Rachel, such a sort time might not be enough, you’d have to buckle down and truly apply yourself.”
Xander cut in, “It should be a problem Giles, Rachel has a 4.0 GPA and she was a lot, and I mean a lot, of extra curriculars.”
Giles glared at Xander, “Thank you for your input Xander,” He schooled his face and dismissed the younger man, “I think it would be best if you waited outside while I speak to Miss Berry alone.”
Xander’s chest puffed and he snapped back, “I’m her Watcher.”
Giles sat back and instead of addressing Xander he smiled kindly at Rachel, “Rachel, would you excuse us for a moment?”
Rachel hesitated for a moment before her ingrained respect for authority figures kicked in and she quietly left the room.
As soon as the door latched shut Giles spoke, “I am seriously reconsidering assigning her to you Xander; you’ve grown too emotionally attached to her.”
Xander snorted, “You are the last person that should lecture me about growing attached to a slayer.”
Giles shook his head and shot back, “She’s a sixteen year old girl Xander.”
Xander’s good eye widened and his face redden in anger, “That’s sick Giles, she’s younger that Dawnie for Christ’s sake!”
Giles folded his hands. He hadn’t really thought that Xander would form that kind of attachment but as the head of the school and the Watchers’ Council he had to check, even with Xander.
He gentled his tone, speaking as a father rather that a superior to the boy who was like his son, “Explain it to me then Xander? Explain to me why it took you months to approach her.”
Xander slumped and breathed out, “This… being the Slayer? It’s the worst thing that could have happened to Rachel. You heard her Giles, she’s got dreams, ambitions and what’s more!? She’s got the goods to actually make good on those dreams. Her voice is amazing Giles… she’s special, like Willow was special, she smart and she’s got this bluntness to her that reminds me of Anya and Cordy, but her eyes? They’re like Tara’s and I just… I wanted to protect her from this,” He waved a hand over the demonic texts that littered Giles’ desk, “All of this… evil. It got all of them Giles, Tara, Anya…” The man’s good eye was watery now, “Cordy…”
Giles cut it, “Cordelia isn’t dead Xander.”
Xander shrugged his shoulders dispassionately, “You’ve heard the doctors G-Man. She isn’t ever waking up.”
Giles felt his chest constrict and he had to clear his throat to speak, “You want to protect her… But Xander, leaving her ignorant of her abilities and her destiny isn’t the way to do that. Once she’s trained she will be able to protect herself and there is nothing to suggest she can’t achieve her goals and be a slayer.” Even as he said Giles knew it was a lie.
Xander knew as well, “She’s having the dreams Giles! She’s in this! She… destiny isn’t going to let her go.” The younger man seemed defeated.
Giles closed his eyes and spoke in a quiet voice, “When Buffy scored so well on her SAT’s? I wanted to call the council and tell them she died. I wanted to let anyone else take up the mantle so that she could live her life free of her calling, so she could go to school and get married and grow old.”
Xander looked up finally, “Why didn’t you?”
Giles leveled him with the words that had hurt to acknowledge years ago, “Because being the slayer and being a watcher is greater than all of us Xander. It is a sacred trust and I couldn’t betray that, not even for Buffy.”
Xander ran a finger over his eye patch, “You know,” His voice was tired, “When Cordelia got out I was so happy, I was thrilled that at least one of us, one of the original Scoobies made it out.” He scowled darkly, “And then she hooked up with Angel and got the visions and then she was more in this fight than anyone ‘cept maybe Buffy. I was so angry. I was furious at Angel for letting her stay, for letting her fight.” He was quiet for a moment before continuing, “I get it now though. She knew. Cordelia knew about all the things that go bump in the night and she couldn’t turn her back on them, on all the people who needed saving. She just wasn’t the type of person to do that.”
Giles nodded in agreement, “She wasn’t.”
Xander looked up and pierced Giles with a stare so naked his soul was bare, “Neither is Rachel. She knows Giles, she knows and now she’ll never be able to turn away, not really. That’s why I waited, that’s why I didn’t want to tell her.”
Giles sank back and regarded the boy, or rather man now, who had been his son for nearly eight years. It broke his heart to have to effectively ruin this young girl’s life and it broke Giles’ heart because he had to ask him to do it.
Xander ran a hand through his hair and huffed, “I know it isn’t your fault Giles, or Buffy’s. And I will train her, I just… don’t ask me to like doing it ok?”
Giles nodded and pressed the intercom button under his desk, “Rachel, could you please join us again?”
A few moments later the door opened slowly and the petite slayer entered the room and took her seat.
The three were quiet for a long while before Rachel finally broke the silence, “I understand that I need to be trained, I understand that I would be in danger if I were ignorant of all the evil that is apparently out there. My friends and my family would be in danger so I do want to be trained.”
Giles sighed in relief and forced himself to ignore the dejected look on Xander’s face, “I am immensely relieved to hear you say that Rachel-“
She held up a hand and seemed to command herself to interrupt him, “I’m not finished,” There was a quiet steel in her voice now, “You can’t force me to stay here, as you said I haven’t been kidnapped so I will stay until November 15th, and then I will return to Lima and to McKinley. That should give me enough time to at least gain a rudimentary understanding of the ‘good fight’” She did air quotes and continued “And seeing as Mr. Schue always waits until the last minute to decide on a set list I will still have time to learn the choreography for the performance.”
Giles took his glasses off, “Now hold on a moment Rachel, returning to your normal life so soon is completely inadvisable. Girls normally spend two years here before they are sent all over the world if they chose to remain an active participant in the fight.”
Rachel’s eyes were sad as she laid her final card on the table, “I’ll come back here for Christmas and after I graduate from McKinley I will return here rather that go on to Julliard or Tisch.”
Giles crammed his glasses back on his face just in time to see Xander’s jaw clench as the man resolutely avoided looking at the young slayer.
Giles spoke slowly, “You… you are willing to return here? To possibly give up your dreams and plans for this… this calling?”
Rachel’s face was stoic though her eyes were shinier than they should have been, “I don’t like and I don’t want to but… I was chosen and I won’t turn my back on that.”
Giles stared at the young girl who sat across from him and finally he saw it, he saw Tara’s eyes, her kindness and gentleness, Anya’s amibition and determination, and buried under all of that he could see Cordelia’s steel, her strength. His heart skipped a beat and for just a moment he desperately feared loosing this child as he had lost them. -Rachel Berry-
May 29, 2011
Rachel sat crossed legged on her bed and examined her hands. They were bruised and bloody from the class she had just come from. For a brief shinning moment Rachel had hoped that this place would be different from McKinley, that these girls, her sisters in destiny would like her, that she might have friends rather than reluctant allies.
It was not to be. She was still Rachel Berry, her vocabulary still irritated her peers, her sense of style still offended most of the girls at the school, and her inability to comprehend certain social niceties was still a huge part of her daily interactions. Worse, the jealousy of her talent had become jealousy of her dreams, the slayer ones, and the attention the two senior Slayers were starting to pay her.
They had tried to put her firmly back in her place during her first martial arts class and in a poorly thought out show of pride she had managed to defeat all of the girls that had set themselves against her. When Faith had pulled her aside after class and asked her what kind of training she had, Rachel had been clear that with two gay dads in small minded Lima she had been enrolled in every form of self defense class her fathers could shuttle her to and squeeze in between her ballet and singing classes.
The fact that she was able to match and even defeat girls that had been around for months? It didn’t make her more popular. It had painted an even larger target on her back.
Rachel sighed and cleaned the blood from her fists before gently wrapping them. She’d take an unholy trinity over thirty jealous slayers any day of the week.
She checked her phone and wilted. No new texts. She didn’t expect any from Kurt who was off on some fabulous vacation at sea with Blaine, so he got no signal, and Mercedes had had her phone taken away right before school ended for going 1200 text messages over her limit.
She wouldn’t have minded a text from Tina or Artie though. Noah would have been nice except all he ever wanted to do was sext and Finn used text speak but she still would have liked hearing from the two boys.
She resolutely set the phone down. It was the very beginning of summer; no doubt her teammates were simply reveling in the lack of responsibility, the responsibility that had all settled on her small shoulders.
The door opened and Rachel flinched as her roommate entered with two of the other girls.
Her roommate, a pretty, willowy blonde named Margaret, or rather Mags sneered down at her, “What are you doing in here freak?”
Rachel stamped down the urge to roll her eyes and replied “It’s my room.”
Mags snorted and reached a heavy hand out to shove at Rachel’s shoulder to send the smaller girl tumbling off the bed, “This is my room skid mark. I’ve been here for four months. If I tell you to go sleep in the hallway you’ll go sleep in the hallway.”
Rachel rolled to her feet and drew herself up, she couldn’t let herself be bullied here, this wasn’t like McKinley. Quinn and Santana hating her guts wasn’t going to hurt her physically, not really, but here these girls disliking her, these girls’ lack of respect could get her killed.
“You can’t make me leave.” She lifted her chin and stared Mags down.
The taller girl lurched forward and loomed over her, “You may be able to take us one on one but do you really think you can take on three of us?”
Rachel was certain she couldn’t, “Why don’t we find out.” She put a dose of Santana’s Lima Heights crazy in her eyes and cocked an eyebrow the way she had seen Quinn do.
Mags and her two cohorts, Abby and Kate, hesitated and for just a moment Rachel thought she had managed to bravado her way out of a beating without backing down. And then Mags’ fist lashed out and caught Rachel in the face. A second passed and then all three girls were on her. TBCTBCTBCTBCTBC
Rachel small body collided with the wall across the hall from her room as she was bodily flung from it.
Mags stood triumphant in the doorway, “Enjoy the hall loser.” She tossed Rachel’s messenger bag at her and Rachel moved in time to avoid being struck in the face with the bag, just barely though.
Rachel stood painfully and did her best to ignore the pain in her ribs and stomach as she limped down the hall towards the gym locker rooms. She really hoped they hadn’t broken anything, even as she thought it she knew the hope was in vain, her ribs were cracked at the very least. The hot water from a shower might ease the ache. TBCTBCTBCTBCTBC
Rachel wound her wet hair up and set her iPod in the docking station Miss Faith kept in the gym. She put on an instrumental piece and stretched her body before letting the music take her into a dance. She twirled and pivoted, did leaps and jumps, she twisted in the air and as the song changed to a familiar Beyonce tune she switched seamlessly into the Single Ladies dance, imagining Kurt to her left and Tina to her right. She poured herself into the dance and pretended that she was at her old dance studio, and that her old instructor was watching and waiting to critique her efforts.
The song changed again, and instrumental music for Don’t Stop Believing pounded through the speakers. Rachel stopped abruptly and hung her head. Her teammates weren’t here. They had missed their entrance. A moment later and Finn had missed his. She could sing it though. She could sing both parts.
She took a deep breath,Just a city boy….......
She trailed off. Was that her voice now? She sighed and slowly made her way to the docking station. She retrieved her iPod and shut the speakers off. Her bag felt heavy as she hefted it onto her shoulder and limped from the gym.
Absently she wondered where she was meant to sleep tonight. -Connor Angel-
June 1, 2011
He prowled the halls.
He didn’t sleep well at night. He hadn’t slept well since he had tossed his fath- Angel into the ocean. He pushed aside the thought that it might be lingering guilt. He had nightmares, about Angel, about Jasmine, about Holtz, but mostly he had nightmares about Cordelia.
Angel still looked at him funny, like a part of the vampire hated that Connor had laid his hands on her, that Connor had been the one to violate Cordelia’s body like that. Sometimes Xander and Giles looked at him funny too, Gunn didn’t really look at him at all and when Wesley did it was full of guilt, like it was Wes’ fault Connor had done what he did.
Connor sneered viciously, maybe it was his fault. If he hadn’t grown up in a freakin’ hell dimension he might not have been old enough to be used the way he had been.
His body had raped Cordelia’s… He wondered if her mind had screamed and railed against it the way his had.
He realized that trying to kill himself and Cordelia was not the way to convince his dad that he wasn’t nuts. He kinda was though, nuts. It’s just that waking up after Jasmine had been killed and suddenly having control again, suddenly able to move and think for himself, it was horrifying. Here he was, awake and free from the Beast’s thrall and all he remembered was screwing Cordelia Chase and killing an innocent girl. He was a monster. Worse he was a tool, a blunt object to be used and discarded just as Cordelia had been.
He wasn’t even ashamed to say that it broke his mind for a little while. All he had wanted was to spare Cordelia the pain of waking up and remembering everything that bitch had done in her body, everything he had done to her body. The fact that he had about as much control as Cordelia had was irrelevant.
He had nightmares every night. So he didn’t sleep, not often at least. He walked the halls and avoided a certain room were a certain brunette lay slowly dying.
Not tonight though. Tonight he crept slowly towards the room where Cordelia Chase slumbered or rather languished in a coma. He wasn’t sure why he wanted to see her today. Maybe it was that a week ago they had met with the Doc who had stated that her stats were still awful and his latest tests, which he had run the day before the meeting, indicated that Cordelia was getting worse. The Doc was pretty sure Cordelia was a couple of weeks away from the beginnings of organ failure.
Cordelia was well and truly dying. It hurt Connor to think about it.
It was strange really. He actually knew and had spent more time with Buffy, Faith, Willow, Fred, and Dawn and yet there was still a part of him that couldn’t forget that first act of kindness the real Cordelia had shown him before he had gone off the rails and tried to drown Angel and she had disappeared. There was some small part of him, the little boy that was still buried deep down that wished she was his mom. He knew Darla had sacrificed her existence for his but maybe if one of his parents had been human and innately good he might have had a chance.
He ghosted down the hall, hugging the shadows and stopped short when he heard… music? There was music playing in Cordy’s room. He paused at the door and listened to the heartbeat in the room. A moment later and his face scrunched in confusion, there were two heartbeats in the room. Someone was visiting Cordelia.
He was surprised to say the least. He had seen the looks of guilt warring with grief on the assembled faces of the scoobies and fang gang when the doctor had given his grim prognosis. No one was visiting Cordelia. Not lately at least. When they had first arrived in Cleveland Buffy and Willow had visited at least once a week, Giles twice a week, Fred came every morning to brush Cordelia’s hair, Xander read to her from magazines, Gunn and Wesley argued at each other and talked as if she was awake and taking sides. His father, Angel, just sat with her and talked quietly. Slowly though the visits tapered and then stopped completely.
Connor pushed the door open as quietly as he could and slipped into the room. Sitting on the edge of Cordelia bed was one of the slayers. She was the small scrappy one that both Buffy and Faith had taken an interest in.
Connor looked around the room for a cd player or iPod and found none. He rocked back on his heels; the music was coming from her.
She had Cordelia’s hand in both of hers as she painted the slumbering woman’s nails and sang a sad song,...Put on my blue suede shoes and I boarded the plane,
touched down in the delta blue in the middle of the pouring rain…
The room went silent as the words and the melody stopped and Connor assumed the song was finished.
Connor wasn’t sure if he should stay or go. The slayer, this… stranger was keeping Cordy company when her family wasn’t. He didn’t want to scare her off but he did want to talk to Cordelia.
He entered the room fully and let the door swing shut behind him. The noise it made alerted the slayer to his presence. She stood slowly and turned to face him, looking at least a little afraid to have been caught.
He tried to smile at her but it looked more like a grimace because smiling wasn’t something Connor did with any sort of frequency, “Hey.” His voice was quiet as he stared at the girl.
She stared back and replied, “Hello…?”
He ignored her for a moment and walked around the bed to sit in the chair at Cordelia’s beside.
She looked pained, “I’ll, I’ll just go…”
Connor spoke up in a firm voice, “You don’t have to.”
The girl stalled and turned to look at him before sitting gingerly back on the bed and lifting Cordelia’s hand back into hers.
Connor cocked his head, “What color are you using?”
The petite slayer lifted a vial of dark red nail polish, “Diva’s Delight.”
Connor flicked his eyes to Cordelia and then back to the slayer, “It’s nice. She’d like it.”
The girl relaxed and opened the bottle, “I’m glad.”
The youths were quiet for a long while before Connor finally breathed, “I’m Connor.”
The girl looked up from Cordelia’s nails and offered him a subdued but beautiful smile and gently replied, “My name is Rachel.”
Connor offered his best approximation of a crooked grin and looked down at Cordelia, “This is Cordelia.”
Rachel nodded and looked away, “I know, I… I may have read her chart on one of my visits.”
Connor shrugged, “I’m glad someone is visiting her.”
Rachel hummed and turned her attention back to Cordelia’s nails, “I would want someone to visit me, and I’d want someone to care.”
Connor tensed, “We all care about her. We all love her.”
Rachel looked up and said flatly, “You know that, but does she?”
Connor growled, “It’s hard. It hurts to be around her sometimes.”
Rachel softened, “You’re here though.”
Connor felt his eyes water as he looked away, “She… the doctor said she doesn’t have much time left.”
Rachel capped the nail polish and Connor watched as she gently placed Cordelia’s hand down.
After another long while Rachel looked Connor in the eye and asked, “Who is she to you?”
Connor hesitated, how was he supposed to answer that when he didn’t know. Rachel watched him patiently.
Finally he whispered, “She’s my Father’s best friend. She… She is the woman who should have been my mother. If the Powers weren’t complete tools she would have been.”
Rachel stood and walked around to him and Connor was struck by how small she was.
Her eyes were distant, “I have two dads. One is a tiny little Jewish man and the other one is a very large black man. We all know who my biological father is but that doesn’t mean Leroy, the black one, isn’t as much my daddy as Hiram is.”
Connor stared up at her, “What do you mean?”
Rachel turned to gaze down at Cordelia, “Maybe she wasn’t meant to be your mother, maybe she was always supposed to be your mom.”
Connor blanched, “If you knew our history you wouldn’t say that.”
Rachel shrugged and sat on the bed, and Connor was suddenly aware of how pretty she was as her knee touched his as she lifted Cordelia’s other hand.
Rachel opened her mouth and more music came out as Connor closed his eyes,Well I’ve heard that there’s a secret chord, the day they played,
And it pleased Lord but you don’t care for music do ya? TBC