|Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the WB, and lots of
other rich and powerful people own Cordy, Buffy, Giles, and Angel. LittleJohn
and the story are mine. I'm not sure who wrote "Never Tear us Apart," but
INXS performed it. In any event, 'tain't mine.
Note: This is narrated by Cordelia and Buffy, starting with Cordy.
I blew it again, in 1-3. This story was betaread by Danielle, to whom much thanks is owed.
We finally got to the library's front door. I was still sniffling a bit and this bothered me. First, there was the spell; second, it was absolutely RUINING my mascara.
I looked up. Giles sat at a table, studying something on a notepad.
"Giles," Cordy and I said together. We exchanged looks. Giles looked up, thrust the notepad aside, and said "Buffy, you've been crying. Is everything alright?"
Cordy said, "Giles, think a minute. Does Buffy just go off and cry for no good reason?" I don't, actually. Just call Cordelia perceptive girl. She finished, "Of COURSE everything isn't alright. Buffy, show him what you showed me."
"She's in no condition to show me anything, Cordelia," Giles told her with an irritated look on his face. "Come here, Buffy. Sit down and tell me what this is about."
I told him what had happened, everything from the song to the fight in the graveyard, ending with, "So what's causing this? Some kind of spell or curse thingie, right?"
"That seems obvious. But if it's draining your Slaying abilities it would have to be sending them somewhere. They wouldn't just disappear. I-In fact, it's impossible."
He got one of his Big Powerful books from the cage. A spellbook! Giles didn't keep too many of those around. Too much of a temptation on the off chance someone decided to see exactly WHAT the librarian thought was important enough to lock up. Like anyone paid enough attention to the library to notice! Wise up there, Buffy --
Giles explained, "This concerns a group of very powerful spells. There are a number of transference spells in here. Give me a moment."
While Giles read, Cordelia stalked around the room so hard I thought she was going to wear a hole in the floor. I brushed my hair, trying to get out some of the tangles created by the night's activities. It's going to take a good shampoo and conditioner to get my hair back to normal, I concluded. Slaying might be a holy duty, but it was murder on the follicles.
"My hunch was right," Giles suddenly said. "The spell affecting you, Buffy, is a simple but powerful transference spell. In this case, triggered by sound. As it leaches your powers away, it gives them to a nearby candidate for Slaying. This serves two purposes. It weakens you and it confuses a potential future Slayer, whom the vampires may be able to track down and identify."
I said, "Why did it have to be THAT song?" Why?
"It didn't have to be THAT song, Buffy. It could as easily have been a Brahms Concerto, a Cole Porter tune -- or, for that matter, a laugh track. The sound is the important part here. Angel no doubt picked that song because he felt it would distract you until it was too late. And if it wasn't for Cordelia, it may very well have been." He turned to Cordy. "Thank you, Cordelia."
"So, how do we reverse this?"
"I don't know." A vampire burst through the door carrying a portable boombox playing THE song. I jumped back in my chair in panic, then reached down for my bag.
Cordelia beat me to it. She said, "Sorry, visiting hours are over. Come back tomorrow morning." She dodged the vampire's charge and said, "Oh, that's right. You can't. Well then, guess I'll just kill you now."
And she did! What the? "What?" she asked. "All I did was Slay . . . a . . .vampire. Oh God!" She sat down.
Giles said, "Dear Lord, no." Huh? "Let's just put it this way. If what I now suspect to be true IS true, then it is definitive proof that God has a malicious and twisted sense of humor. Come here, Cordelia." She came. "Pick Buffy up the way she did you." Whoa! When did I volunteer for dumbbell duty?
"Just do it." Cordelia reached over, grabbed me under an arm and . . . picked me up! Weightlifter?
"Working out much?" I said. Then I had an idea. I handed her my crossbow and pointed at the globe. She competently fired five bolts at it and hit it twice.
Giles said, "Well, it appears we know who Buffy's powers are being drained into."
Oh, he CAN'T be serious . . . "Cordelia?" I asked. "Cordelia? Cordelia a potential Slayer? Excuse me, what alternate universe have I just stepped into?"
Giles paused. "It gets worse. You also seem to be sharing personalities. Witness the one-liners Cordelia used, and your somewhat -- snappish and emotional attitude. It must be your proximity to one another that you are beginning to share personality traits, and I suspect memories as well. If this continues, soon, neither of you will be able to function. Pardon me a moment." He looked into the spellbook again.
Cordelia sat down across from me and looked at the notepad. Seconds later she threw it across at me and said, "Buffy, look." I looked at it. It was some kind of spell for restoring souls. Restoring souls . . .
That son of a BITCH! All this time he's had a way to restore Angel and he didn't TELL ME? I stormed over, Cordelia right behind me. Giles turned. "Buffy, what --" I picked him up and threw him against the counter. Cordelia said, "You HAD the spell for bringing Angel back to -- Buffy, and didn't TELL us?"
"Yeah!" I said lamely.
"Calm down!" Giles ordered. "There's a good explanation." He sat down on the counter and pulled out of my grip.
"WHAT?" We both screamed.
"Y-your condition is worse than I thought," he said. "No, I'm not stalling. Willow found a disk containing this spell only two days ago. We agreed not to tell you, Buffy, because we didn't want to give you false hope. Willow just finished with the program before she left for the evening, and I've spent the last few hours transcribing it and trying to locate the component."
We both backed off. Giles continued. "The more important thing right now is trying to find a way to reverse or halt the spell that's affecting you. There are two ways --"
"Hello, Giles!" I said. "The most important thing is bringing back Angel's soul! I can wait." Cordelia snatched the spell from Giles' hand and read it, then gave it to me. I looked at it and asked Giles, "Where do I get a Thesulan Orb?"
"You don't," my Watcher said. "What do you think I've been spending half the night doing? Every magic shop in an hour-and-a-half radius that sells them has been either burned down or had its owner killed. Spike, Druscilla and half a dozen of Spike's most experienced vampires were seen heading off towards L.A. late last night, probably to take care of THOSE shops. The closest one I could locate is called, believe it or not, LittleJohn's All-Night House of Magic, in Delano. That's a good two hours' drive, and you don't have the time right now."
Cordelia said, "Of course we do."
"No, you don't -- Cordelia. If we don't find a method of reversing this spell, I don't know what could happen. The two of you could wind up going insane. Or you could switch personalities entirely. I don't know. Why are you so determined -- " He paused. "It must be the spell. It's confusing your sense of priorities."
I fingered the notepad and picked up my Slayer's bag. "Are you with me, Cordelia?"
She nodded. "I'll drive." She grinned. "That should cut at least half an hour off our travel time."
"No!" Giles said, reisgnedly. "If you're determined to go flying off half-cocked, you can at least give me five minutes. There is a simple way of of temporarily halting the effects of the spell. It should last somewhere between three and five hours. The problem is, it's something of a dam. It will hold back the effects of the spell until it dissipates, but once it does, the effects will flood through unpredictably. This doesn't give you a whole lot of lead time. Can I at least rely on you to come back as soon as you have the Orb so I can end the spell?" We both nodded.
Ten minutes later we were on our way, speeding westward.
An hour later we were stopped for speeding.
I'm not sure why, but for some reason saving Angel seemed more important than saving myself. Even after Giles' explanation, I HAD to help Buffy restore his soul. So when she grabbed her Slayer's bag and stormed off towards the door, I instantly volunteered to drive.
Giles got us to wait long enough to cast a delaying spell on us, but then we were off. I was so hot to get to this magic shop in Delano that I zoomed along the interstate at roughly 30 miles over the speed limit.
Buffy was singing "Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer . . ." I chuckled. I stopped chuckling when I heard the siren behind me.
By the time we got going, Buffy and I were both ready to chew trees and spit out stakes. Do you know that traffic cop spent HALF AN HOUR writing us the ticket? Half incompetent, half lech, he asked us the same questions over and over again while making sure to take good long looks at our legs. RRGGH! You'd think with all the money Daddy pays in taxes we'd have better people cruising the highways than this Police Academy reject.
We drove dead-on speed limit the rest of the way there. Hurry or not, I wasn't that interested in getting ANOTHER ticket. We hit Delano exactly two hours after we left. Then it took us another twenty minutes to locate Onion Street, then five more minutes to find the store.
As Buffy and I sprinted from the car it occurred to me: WHY was I so hot to restore Angel's soul? He wasn't MY boyfriend! Sure, I cared about Buffy's pain -- and I certainly would have gone rushing off for someone I cared as deeply about -- but Angel wasn't that, for me. Something was telling me that this HAD to be done, way more Buffy's feelings than mine.
Guess we were sharing feelings and memories. Major weird-out. I definitely come down on the side of individuality.
We threw open the door and saw . . . a wizards' lair as designed by Siegfried and Roy. Neon, big garish signs. Towards one side was a section called "LittleJohn's potions o'Love." Color me shocked if any one of them works. It was past eleven, but the guy behind the counter, wearing a white jumpsuit, had a giant nametag that read "LittleJohn." So I'm guessing it's probably him.
Buffy walked up to him. "Okay. Impressive store. Big and showy to please the masses." The man grinned and then frowned. "Now then," she said, "Got any Thesulan Orbs?"
"What would two beautiful young women like you want with Thesulan Orbs?" The man boomed. "How about some nice love potions for the men in your lives?" He seemed to think we were fools.
I said, "A Thesulan orb? Holds souls of the undead? Helps in soul restoration spells? We know what we're looking for, quit treating us like idiots."
The man started to speak. "And -- and --" A wave of dizziness passed through me and Buffy's memories hit me like a tidal wave.
No. Not now. It's too soon.
Cordy zoomed down the highway at speeds that would've made Dale Earnhardt green with envy.
To lighten the mood, I sang, "Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer . . ." It seemed to work for Cordy -- like anything depresses her except no makeup and no boyfriend! -- but it did nothing for me. Then the world's most incompetent traffic cop showed up.
And that test said I should have a CAREER in law enforcement? I'm very lucky Cordelia did most of the talking or I'd've been dangerously close to assaulting a police officer.
Thirty-five minutes the cop did nothing more than leer at Cordy and stare down my t-shirt.
Then Cordelia, the speed queen, absolutely REFUSED to drive above the limit. RRRGHH! Why do the most irresponsible people in the world suddenly turn prim and proper around me?
Irresponsible . . . why was I rushing off to get this orb? Much as I wanted him back, it could have waited until tomorrow. Doing something like this on impulse was so -- so --
Giles was right, we were starting to share personalities. And memories. I suddenly had a vivid and rather pleasant recollection of making out with Xander in a broom closet. I KNEW that wasn't mine.
The car screeched to halt. We ran into LittleJohn's. It was Graceland, if Elvis had been a witch. And standing behind the counter in an all-white jumpsuit was the proprietor himself.
I stormed over to the counter. "Okay. Impressive store. Big and showy to please the masses." He didn't seem too happy. Too bad; I wasn't ego gratification girl. "Now then," she said, "Got any Thesulan Orbs?"
The man said sleazily,"What would two beautiful young women like you want with Thesulan Orbs? How about some nice love potions for the men in your lives?" Exactly the WRONG way to get my attention.
Cordelia said, in that bluntly honest way we've all come to know and -- well, tolerate --"A Thesulan orb? Holds souls of the undead? Helps in soul restoration spells? We know what we're looking for, quit treating us like idiots."
The man stammered, about to say something.
Then a wave of dizziness passed through me and Cordelia's memories hit me like a tidal wave.
No. Not now. It's too soon.
I screamed. And I screamed. Giles' delaying spell was wearing off! I staggered and put my hands on my knees. I raised my left hand to my head.
The magic shop disappeared. We were hurtling through a void.
Dozens, hundreds of memories were flooding through me. Being locked in a closet with Willow -- ice skating with Angel -- kissing Xander -- being betrayed by Ford -- the invisible girl -- Merrick -- "side of Sears--"
We landed on a shifting landscape.
It was a vast featureless plain. It was the library. It was the Bronze. It was the Hellmouth. It was my bedroom. It was my bedroom.
We circled each other.
"Buffy -- the spell ended too soon! What do we do?"
"Whatever we have to to survive, Cordy." A vortex swirled around us; we were starting to become insubstantial. No! We had to stay together!
"Grab my hand!" We said at the same time. Then we linked arms and held on for dear life. The memory vortex kept swirling, dragging us along with it.
Got to keep clear. Got to stay myself.
We spun faster and faster, until we could no longer tell where Buffy Summers ended and Cordelia Chase began.
Xander. Angel. Buffy Summers. Cordelia Chase. Buffy Summers. Cordelia Chase. Buffy. Cordelia. Buffy. Cordelia.
I was Bu- I was Co-
I was -- I was --
I am . . . who I am.
This makes me either God, or Popeye, or the Slayer.
I vote Slayer. I'm not omnipotent,and I HATE spinach.
Who am I? Beats me. My identity crisis will have to wait. I have an orb to get, and a soul to save.
"Are you alright?" The shopkeeper asks. "You both screamed for a second."
"Fine," I say in unison. "Now, have we convinced you we know how to use a Thesulan orb? We're not some high-school dilettantes out looking for a cheap thrill. We have a soul to restore."
He reaches behind the counter and pulls out a bright green stone about an inch in diameter I reach for it and he says, "Not so fast. These things aren't cheap." He's given up the stage act. Thank goodness.
I pull out my platinum Visa. "We don't have time to haggle, Elvis. How much do you want?"
"Three hundred ought to do it."
"Fine," I say in unison. He gives me an odd look, which I pointedly ignore. After he gives me the orb, I tell him, "Word of warning. A group of vampires are busy knocking off anyone within two hours of Sunnydale who has Thesulan orbs. If I were you, I'd close up shop and head east as fast as you can run."
He pales. "You serious?" I nod. "Thanks. Now, if you'll excuse me . . ." LittleJohn turns and runs into the back room. Thirty seconds later I hear a door slam and a motorcycle roar off. I decide to follow his lead, though I do lock the door before I go. If this all works as planned, I'd like to give jumpsuit-boy a magic shop to come back to.
I drive back to town at maximum allowable speed. That cop is nowhere in sight. I read over the spell as I go. It's surprisingly simple, but it does require two people to chant it in unison. That shouldn't be a problem now . . .
Two hours later we're back in Sunnydale. There's a commotion in the road ahead; my God, someone's lying there! I get out of the car and see if I can help. Ten feet away from the two of them, my vampire radar flashes. NOT the first time I've fallen for this trick. The one on the street gets up and holds up a hand.
"We're not here to kill you, Slayer. We just have a message for you from Angel. He has a phrase for you . . . quis custodiet ipse custodiet?"
"Hello? Non-Latin speaking people here!" I reach for a stake and a cross-stake and edge closer.
The other one sighs. "Didn't you plebes read Alan Moore? It means, who watches the watchers? Come alone."
"Giles!" I say. The two bloodsuckers, rather prissy-looking, give a mocking bow and turn to leave. Stupid rookies. Seconds later they're dust in the wind and I'm back in the car and speeding towards the school.
Parking the car in front, I finger my cross and stake nervously and walk up the front steps and into the school.
The song plays in the background, from several different areas around the building, plus from the PA system. Angel must have planned this for a long time.
Buffy's always been such a disappointment to Angel, how can I not continue the tradition? I finger the orb and go over the spell in my head. Unison's not gonna be the problem here.
I fight my way through a dozen or so vampires. It gets harder as it goes on, but the vampires are completely unprepared for such effortless teamwork as I show them. I have only one stake left when I get to the library doors. Hey, enough wood in there to build a log cabin, Slaying should hardly be a problem.
"Buffy" slams the door open and "Cordelia" acts nervous and afraid and enters hesitantly behind. There are at least ten vampires in the room, not counting Angel.
Angel looks grandly pleased to see me -- Giles is hogtied and lying on top of one of the tables helplessly -- until he sees "Cordelia." He tells me, "Buffy, I said alone." Then he grins. "No matter. She's not much of a threat anyway. Boys!" Three vampires come and grab "Cordelia" and drag her to Angel's side.
"Now, Buffy," he continues. "Aren't you glad to see me? Come on, give daddy a kiss . . ." He walks over and fiercely, violently kisses "Buffy." He doesn't notice me slowly reach for that final stake that I have under my skirt. Angel wouldn't have expected Cordelia to be able to do more than hold a cross and maybe squirt some holy water. But he doesn't know me.
Before they know anything the two vampires are dusted. Angel whirls around with a "What?" and "Buffy" decks the vamp to my left and rolls hard into the bloodsucker on my right, sending him sprawling. I back up into the cage and smash a nearby chair into bits. Two sharp wooden pointy things. Ooohh, homemade Slayer sticks, gotta love 'em. I fire at the two I just attacked, slaying one and slamming the other oneon the forehead. I rush up to finish the job.
With a towering rage on his face, Angel approaches Giles. He yells at me, "I was willing to let Giles live, but now . . ." he reaches down and firmly grabs Giles' head with both hands. "Cordelia" throws herself at Angel's feet .
"Please, please," I say. "It was my idea. Buffy didn't know. Don't hurt Giles. Hurt me instead!"
"Too," Angel tells me. "Hurt me TOO." He reaches down and pulls me up by the hair, flashes his fangs, and slams me back into the floor. I cry and beg for my life.
While I lie there sobbing "Buffy" is grabbed by two vampires and thrown up against the counter. Try as I might I can't break free. Angel looks up from "Cordelia" and tells me. "Spell finally got to you, darling? I don't even know if I love you any more. You're only half the woman you once were."
"Twice as much woman as YOU can handle," I snarl at his feet and trip him. On the counter, instead of rolling backwards I fall forwards, dragging those two to the floor with me. One's dust in seconds and the other decides to bolt for the door. I take the remains of the chair and toss it at her. I get lucky. A broken arm gets her in the back.
I pummel Angel with my fists, no longer having a stake. He's rapidly recovering from the shock of having "Cordelia" knock him down. I roll away, tipping over the table in the process. Giles smashes into the floor with a thud and a muffled cry of pain, but he's better off there than within Angel's immediate grasp.
This leaves three vampires and their boss. I call out, "Any of the rest of you want to get out, go now. I have more important things to worry about." One of them slides to the edge of the room, around me, and runs for the door. Soon as I'm sure he's gone, I turn back to the other two and sigh.
"You snooze, you lose . . ." I tell them, pulling out my crossbow. I luck out and nail the first one on the first try. "And then you snooze some more." That tears it. The other one runs for it, only to be stopped by a ticked-off Angel, who breaks his neck and leaves him lying there on the ground.
"Good help is SO hard to find these days," I say. "What's wrong? Spike and Dru take the cream of the crop and leave you with . . . well, the cream of the crap?"
"Funny, Cordelia," he sneers.
"I've got an even better punchline," I say, drawing out the orb.
He blinks. "How'd you . . .?"
"What are you going to do, Cordelia, shop me to death?" I throw his comment back in his face. "Visa. It's everywhere you want to be." I hold the orb firmly and begin chanting the spell. He roars and charges at me, but I dodge. Seeing an opportunity, I pick up another chair and smash it over his head, then break for the upper level and behind the tables at the same time.
Slowly I circle the room, incanting the spell. He moves towards Giles, but without breaking stride I smash him in the head with my sprayvial of holy water. He backs off and paws through my Slayer's bag, but as he pulls out a knife he drops to the floor and screams.
Faster and faster I chant; tighter and tighter I circle. He curls into a ball and his body wracks in pain.
Then, finally, I'm done.
A few seconds later, Angel gets up from the floor and says, weakly, "Buffy?" Tears in his eyes, he comes over and hugs me fiercely, then turns around and shakes my hand. "Thank you, Cordelia."
"Please," I say. "Young love. Tragic romance. Who WOULDN'T want to help bring that back?" I walk over and, using both bodies, tear the ropes bonding Giles. Angel walks over as if to help, but Giles flashes him a look of pure hatred -- a look soon replaced by sadness.
"Go," he rasps. "Leave now. I apprehend intellectually that it was not YOU that killed Jenny, but --"
"I understand," Angel says wearily. He turns to "Buffy" and tells me, "And what about -- us?"
"Right now there is no us," I say. "This doesn't mean there won't be again. We'll talk about it later, once we've all had a chance to recover." He hugs me again.
"I love you," he says.
"I love you," I tell him. "Now get." In fact, I've already forgiven him. But Angel's strong enough to get through this, and Giles -- may not be, yet. I owe him. Angel walks out the door and turns and smiles to me as he leaves. I briefly return the smile. He knows.
I turn to Giles and say in unison, "And as for my identity crisis -- don't bother. I like it better this way." He's not surprised, but I wouldn't have expected him to be. Giles may have many flaws, but being slow on the uptake isn't one of them.
"Buffy and Cordelia have the right to lead individual lives."
"They will. Just with one mind." I give him an impish grin. "Besides, think of all the fun you'll have trying to train two Slayers . . . "
Giles groans and throws up his hands.
And then what?
Willow, Xander, and Oz don't know everything. Xander nearly killed me, showering me with kindness and begging forgiveness for having dared to be out of town so fervently that I finally had to literally twist his arm to get him to stop. Willow and Oz were just confused. They were even more confused when "Cordelia"and "Buffy" started patrolling together, with Giles' blessing.
They all think Cordelia's Slaying because Angel's spell was halted with her having a portion of the powers, but that's a lie. Only Giles nows the truth, and he's not telling.
All the research he's done shows that the spell is now unreversable. He feels horrible, even though I've told him repeatedly that it's my own fault anyway.
I have their strengths, and their weaknesses. The strengths appear to outweigh the weaknesses.
One question he refuses to consider is the question of souls. Not Angel's, mine. In essence, Angel's soul was traded for the souls of Cordelia Chase and Buffy Summers. So is my soul a blend of theirs? Or is it a new soul, with theirs having been freed to whatever reward would await them?
I don't know. And quite honestly I'm not sure I want to.
So who am I now? God only knows. "I" don't even have a name.
I'm Buffy Summers. I'm Cordelia Chase. I am both, and neither.
Star Trek moment much?
I love Angel deeply. I also love Xander, something Cordelia was a long
way from admitting to herself, much less him. It is a strain
trying to maintain two separate personalities, so I don't do it much anymore. The spell serves as a very convenient excuse for the
Slayerettes, but our parents are confused as all hell. Nothing I can do about that.
Each of my bodies has only half the strength and sense -- but all the skills, now -- of Buffy's. Giles says it's something about Slayer skills being learned, but I don't really care.
I'm more effective than Buffy ever was, despite that handicap. I am literally one person in two bodies; the teamwork is unstoppable. I got Spike and Dru moments after they returned from their little sabbatical to LA. Spike had just started walking again, too. Such a pity.
In other words, I've become the joke Kendra and Buffy made to Spike:
Two Slayers. No waiting.
And they'll never tear us apart.