Title: Invitation to a Closet

Author: audrey hepcat

Rating: On the whole, this fic is rated PG-13; however, some chapters will contain more mature content (sex, language, violence, etc.) and, as such, be labeled as R or NC-17.

Pairing: Xander/Cordelia

Summary: "As far as the fish tank called Sunnydale High was concerned, Xander was an algae-sucking bottom feeder, and Cordelia, in all her terrible beauty, was a tiger shark, sleek, aggressive, and susceptible to fits of unprovoked rage." A collection of short stories examining the relationship between Xander Harris and Cordelia Chase before, during, and after BtVS and AtS.

Disclaimer: I do not own anything Buffy the Vampire Slayer-related. I only wish I did.

You Give Me Fever (set after BtVS, S2E02)

Xander Harris wasn't just a cretin; he was King of the Cretins. And he wasn't just a loser; he was the most hideous breed of loser humanly imaginable. He was a social bottom-feeding, fashionably anorexic alpha-nerd the likes of which Sunnydale High had never seen before and would probably never see again. Ever. That's how big of a doofus he was. And yet, for some truly inexplicable, unfathomable, just plain crazy with a capital K reason, Cordelia Chase could not stop thinking about him! The way he walked, the way he talked, the way she wanted to run her fingers through his poorly-conditioned hair and bite his bottom lip till both their teeth turned pink.

"Oh, my God!" Cordelia squirmed between the crisp, clean sheets of her mahogany four-poster as images of Xander Harris and his cocky, crooked grin danced against the innerside of a darkened eyelid. This could not, should not, would not happen to her. No way. Nuh-uh. It went against all things holy and fashionable, and she wouldn't allow it! She was Cordelia Chase, after all, and Chases had no time for plebeian scum, even if said scum did have freakishly adorable puppy dog eyes and a sense of dumb-luck heroics that made her go all wobbly in the knees. Because in the end, knees could be replaced, but dignity? Dignity was like trust, hard to gain and impossible to win back.

Cordelia got up from bed. She stripped off her pajamas. She took a shower so icy cold, she nearly became a Cordypop. She brushed her hair for twenty straight minutes while scream-singing "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" at the top of her voice. And when she crawled back into bed and snuggled down under the duvet, Xander Harris was still staring at her!


Cordelia threw back the sheets and flung her bedroom door open with enough gusto to crack plaster. (What-ever. If Daddy could afford to buy his new mistress an even newer BMW, then he could afford to have Juan Pablo smear some PolyFiller on the walls.) She ran down the stairs faster than her feet could carry her and went straight to the kitchen sink. She poured herself a tall glass of water, gulped it down. The feverish feeling was still there, so she tried another. And another. Nothing was working. Maybe she should just pluck out her eyeballs with a fork and rinse them in the next glass! Or maybe she should channel her inner Queen C and forget all about Xander what's-his-name and the way he saved her from a starring role in Bride of Frankendarryl. All she had to do was think unsexy thoughts, and everything would be butter.

"Okay, unsexy thoughts. Unsexy thoughts…"

—Her head an umbrella of corkscrew gnarls after that dumb nightmare spell.

—Mommy Dearest and the Persian pool boy boning on the neighbor's swing set.

—Principal Synder in a sheer, lace teddy with his mouth smeared red.

Eww! And yuck! And more eww! The Xander Fever was breaking, and it was breaking fast. There was a God…

Cordelia grinned the fierce grin of a woman possessed as she dumped the water firmly into the sink, turned, marched back to her room, shut the door tight, and went back to bed. She closed her eyes.

"Do you mind? We're talking here."

Xander's voice gushed from the walls, and Cordelia's legs began to giggle beneath the covers. She could feel the higher parts of her brain close up shop as a wave of pure, animalistic lust pierced its way down her body. The way he'd talked to her tonight, all harsh and dismissive, was just so… hot?

No. No, no, no, no, no.

No way was Cordelia Chase, state championship cheerleader and trendsetter supreme, wetter than Willow Rosenberg at a software convention because Xander 'I think orange and blue are a good color combination' Harris had ignored her. Sure, he wasn't like the other high school boys, gagging to lick the dirt off her heels if it meant they could carry her books or 'accidentally' graze her boob in gym class. But then, he wasn't like the college boys, either. He didn't have a car, and he definitely didn't have any cool. Hell, he probably didn't even have enough change in his piggy bank to take her out for Taco Bell! And yet, the simple, undeniable truth of the matter was that Xander Harris made her feel things. Naughty, yummy, soft-core porny things. (Not that she was speaking from experience, mind you. Porn was majorly gross, and only losers whose social lives revolved around a bottle of Lubriderm and a box of Kleenex indulged in that freaksome brand of ick!)

Cordelia blew up at her bangs and clutched her pillow to her chest, trying desperately to bring her breathing back under control. Her heart was pumping battery acid, and the space between her legs felt like a flashlight, all pulsing and hot against the coolness of her sheets. She bit her glistening underlip as a hand began sleepwalking down her stomach and past the elastic waistband of her pajama shorts. It was right there, that punishing ache. Now, all she had to do was…

NO! Cordelia Chase did not touch herself over boys who wore Bullwinkle boxer shorts and snorted Fun Dip off cafeteria trays.

She groaned at the ceiling. This whole situation was so deeply and personally unfair. After all, Xander Harris and his retina-melting dress sense had been a fixture in her life since freaking kindergarten, and up until today, she'd never even thought about tearing his clothes off and humping him unconscious. (Okay, so, maybe that first part was a lie. She had, in fact, fantasized about tearing his clothes off once or twice, but that was only because they set new standards for hideous! Sexing him stupid, on the other hand, was never even a blip on her radar.) I mean, sure, she sometimes planned her day around when she might 'accidentally' run into him on campus, but again, that had nothing to do with some sort of vile attraction. It's just, he was the only person in three zip codes who didn't want her as a friend or a fuck, the only person who could get under her skin as good as she got under his. He didn't put her up on a pedestal like some golden goddess, and he definitely didn't lap up her insults like the rest of the pathetic, three-legged puppies. If she called him a moron, he called her a harpy. If she made fun of his clothes, he made fun of her hair. That's the way it had always been. That is, until Buffy Summers came traipsing into town with her oh-so-special mission and dragged him into her demented little playgroup. Not that Buffy and her split ends were cool or anything ridiculous like that, but she did save the world on the regular. And now, Xander saved the world on the regular, too. And dammit, saving the world was hot.

That's right! It was hot. Danger was sexy by definition, not Xander. There was nothing personal about these kinds of feelings; Cordelia would have felt them for Jonathan Levinson if he'd been the one to gurney-surf her to safety! Sooo, then maybe it wouldn't be all that icky to give in to the pleasure principle just this once? Stimulate the fear stimulus, and hopefully, the lust object would change.

Cordelia smacked her lips together and wiggled into a comfortable position. That sounded downright scientific. Logical. Detached. She let the hand resting against her naked thigh creep slowly up and under her shorts. It only took a few minutes of wild imagining before her limbs tensed and then went sluggish.

"Oh, Xander," she whined, her vision blurring from white to red. It felt so good getting him out of her system that she wasn't even embarrassed about yelling his name at the top of her breath. It would never happen again, after all, and even if it did, she'd die before acting on it for real! This weird, Hellmouth-y fascination with the class tweako was nothing more than a dirty, little secret, and with that in mind, Cordelia Chase was finally able to fall into a beautiful, dreamless sleep.

A/N: Well, there you have it: the first chapter of what I hope will be an ongoing series. If you enjoyed reading this half as much as I enjoyed writing it, drop me a line. I love hearing from fellow BtVS fans and am always open to suggestions about upcoming chapters. Plus, not gonna lie, reviews are one hell of a creative catalyst.

Until next time…