Author's Notes: At long last, a new chapter! I've been updating Nonsense mostly lately, in case you were wondering why this story was just sitting here, dormant, and getting that icky green scum around the edges.
"Buffy?" Dawn asked tentatively when she reached the top of the stairs. She head the shower running. "Are you really in the shower?"
She heard Buffy's voice say irritably from the other side of the door, "No, Dawn, I'm brushing my teeth. I just like the way the shower sounds."
Dawn lost a little of her fragile confidence at Buffy's sarcastic tone. "Buffy," she said, "I'm sorry."
"What's that?" Buffy said. "I can't hear you."
"I'M SORRY!" Dawn screamed as loudly as she possibly could. "I'M SORRY I'M SORRY I'M SORRY!"
"Could you speak up? I think you've been hanging out with Willow a little too much. You're talking quiet."
Dawn suddenly realized that Buffy could hear her perfectly. She just didn't want to listen.
"You know what? Fine. I'm not sorry! I never really was! I just don't like you to be mad at me!"
"Oh, like you care," Buffy grumbled. The water shut off and Dawn head Buffy get out of the shower.
"Willow told me that if I want the rainbow, I have to put up with the rain," Dawn said. "I'm trying. I don't like it."
The bathroom door opened and Buffy stuck her head out. Her hair was wet and stringy and she was wrapped up in a navy blue towel. "Dolly Parton said that, right?"
Buffy made a disgusted noise. "Great. Now my best friend is quoting a woman who has her chest insured." The door shut again.
Dawn made an angry face and stomped off to her room, slamming the door as she went in. A few minutes later, she heard Buffy do the same. Not to be one-upped by Buffy, Dawn opened the door again and then slammed it shut. She heard something thump in Buffy's room. Dawn picked up a stuffed animal and threw it at the wall, then stomped her feet as hard as she could against the bedroom floor and screamed. When she finished, she flopped down on the bed and fell asleep out of pure exhaustion.
"Earth to Buffster. Come in, Buffster."
"Huh?" Buffy snapped out of her trance-like state and looked up to see Xander.
"I asked you why Willow isn't sitting with us today," Xander said.
"Oh," Buffy said. She ticked her gaze around the lunchroom. There was Cordelia, sitting with Harmony and the cheerleaders and the jocks. There were the Goths, the drama geeks, the swim team, and the nerds. Where was Willow?
"She's eating in the library," Xander said, as if reading her thoughts.
"I—I have to go," Buffy said.
"Okay," Xander said with an "I-know-there's-more-than-you're-telling-me" tone of voice.
"It's nothing, really," Buffy insisted.
"Mm-hm." He regarded her dubiously. "Can I have your fortune cookie if you're done eating?"
"No," Buffy said, snatching the cookie. "I like fortune cookies."
"That's unfortunate for me," Xander said. "Get it? "Un-fortune-ate?"
"Uh-huh," Buffy said distractedly, making her way out of the cafeteria.
"I just don't want to get stuck in the middle of you and Dawn," Willow said. "That's all."
"That makes sense," Buffy replied coldly. "You already seem to have picked sides."
Willow arched an eyebrow. "That isn't fair."
"Neither is the fact that you'd rather side with my sister over me, your best friend!"
"Girls," Giles said quietly, "this is a library. Perhaps you should…"
"Shut up, Giles!" they said in unison, and then they went back to arguing.
"You're overreacting!" Willow yelled. "Not everything has to be about you, you know."
"Oh yeah, everything's all about me," Buffy said sarcastically. "I get to do whatever I want. Did it ever occur to you, Willow, that I don't patrol because it gives me the giggles?"
"Right, right, I'm sorry," Willow said just as sarcastically. "I just forgot that we're all supposed to do what Buffy wants and none of us are supposed to run our own lives."
"Perhaps if you talk this out…" Giles tried. He was ignored.
"How dare you talk to me like that?" Buffy demanded. "I thought you were my friend, Willow!"
"And I thought you were my friend too."
"I guess not."
"Just don't talk to me."
Both girls sat down at the library table. After eyeing one another angrily for a minute, Buffy spoke up. "Giles, tell her to get out of my library."
Giles cleared his throat. "Willow, erm, it seems—"
"Tell her it's a free country," Willow shot back. "Or maybe she doesn't know that because she's always cutting history."
"Tell her what I do is more important than a dumb old history class," Buffy commanded.
"I am not your bloody pony express!" Giles shouted, then retreated to his office.
Xander entered the room, witnessed the scene, then took a step back. "Whoa," he muttered. "Is it just me, or is it chilly in here?"
Neither girl said anything.
The library door opened and the click-clack of high heels announce Cordelia's arrival. "Oh, geez," she said. "What's going on? Is the world ending?"
"I'm not sure," Xander said. Then he asked the girls, "Where's Giles?"
"Don't ask me," Buffy said bitterly. "Ask Willow. She seems to know everything."
"Tell Buffy I can hear her."
"Why don't you just tell her yourself?" Xander asked, slightly puzzled.
"Duh, Mr. Get-With-The-Program," Cordelia said haughtily, walking toward Giles's office. "They're not talking to each other. It's something we girls do." She knocked on the door. "Giles, you can come out. There's a sane person in the library now." She glanced at Xander. "Plus a really geeky one."
"Hey!" Xander, Willow, and Buffy all said at once.
"It's true," Cordelia insisted, stepping away from the door to let Giles through.
"You know what? Enough of this. I'm leaving." And with that, Buffy stalked out of the library.
Cordelia sighed. "Uh-oh. Cranky Slayer. I actually pity the vampire community."