Title: Refuge

Summary: What if Spike wasn't the ex-lover that came to comfort Buffy in End of Days?

Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy or any of the characters, places, or name etc.

Rating: PG

A/N: Short Buffy/Cordelia piece set during the last couple of episodes of season 7.

"You're not gonna save the world sitting brooding in here." Buffy's attention snapped to the woman who had walked in to the bedroom of the house she had took refuge in.

"If you need someone to save the world go talk to Faith." She replied bitterly, pulling her legs in close to her chest. "I'd only let you down."

"You've never let me down before." Buffy laughed at her old friend's words.

"Yeah, I did."

"Several times, actually, but hey, who's counting?" The young woman smiled as she received a weak smile from Buffy. Sitting down on the bed next to the blonde she sighed.

"You have to fight this war Buffy, whether people like it or not, you're the one who can lead them there, not Faith."

"How'd you find out they kicked me out?" Buffy quizzed. "Why are you here?"

"I know a lot of things now." The young woman replied cryptically. "I know if you looked any more sulky you could give Angel a run for his money." Buffy laughed.

"How is he?"

"Not to good. But he's gonna be ok."

"How are you? Aren't you supposed to be in a coma?"

"Actually I'm dead." Cordelia answered breezily as though it were no big deal.

"Dead?" There were tears in Buffy's eyes and Cordelia wiped them away with her thumb as she caressed Buffy's cheeks.
"It's not so bad. Things are a hell of a lot clearer now that's for sure."

"I'm sorry." Buffy mumbled from where she was buried in Cordelia's shoulder. "I shouldn't of let you go." Cordelia sighed.

"We were just kids Buffy. We both had a lot to deal with. I don't blame you for ending what we had."

"What did we have?" Buffy was all too aware that her lips were too close to Cordelia's for her own comfort.

"A year of mad passionate love, amazing sex and comfort." Cordelia laughed as Buffy blushed.

"Is it wrong that I'm still so damn hot for you even though you're dead?"

Cordelia thought for a moment. "I don't know. I mean, my body's dead, but my soul's still here."

"Not moving on to the big pearly gates?" Buffy only half joked. "It's real nice there. You'll like it."

The brunette shook her head. "Got some things to do first, heaven can wait."

"Same old Cordelia."

"Different Buffy." The slayer was stunned by the comment. "The Buffy I know, and love, wouldn't be sitting here just because some fifteen year old told her she couldn't do her duty. Those kids don't know a thing. You were taking down the Master when you were their age. Faith's the only who gets it, the only one who knows what it was like to live on the hellmouth full times. But she couldn't hack it. My Buffy could."

Buffy seemed to have regained a defiant glint in her eye, a spark that told Cordelia she was about to meet the old Buffy again. "This is my war."

"Welcome back." Cordelia pulled her closer to kiss her.

It had been over four years since the last time the two girls had been so close and the feel of the other woman's warm lips on her own was comforting enough to allow Buffy to forget about the First and the potentials and everything that had gone wrong in her life since Cordelia had abandoned her.

"Good luck." The dead woman whispers in her ear as she pulls away.

"You too. Who knows maybe I'll be joining you soon."

An impish smile graced Cordelia's lips as she stood up to leave. "Remember I said some things are clearer? Well let's just say I know how it all turns out."

"Wanna give me a clue?"

"You're not done baking yet. I'll see you again when you're done."

"How long will that be?" Buffy stood up to hold her old lover. "I don't want to lose you again."

"It's ok." Cordelia soothed as she held the smaller slayer. "It's all going to be ok."

As the blade pierces in to her stomach Buffy drops to the floor, she can hear the First taunting her but she can't concentrate on it due to the pain sweeping through her tired body. "Hey, I know having something shoved through your stomach isn't really a barrel of laughs, but it's not your time yet, so move your ass!"

"Always knew just what to say." Buffy mumbled to herself as she pushed up with her hands. She knew the bitchy ex cheerleader was right though. She couldn't just give up on her birthright. She got to her feet and continued to wage the war she'd fought for almost eight years. It was time to end it.

She could hear the shouts and cheers of the potentials around her and a weak smile graced her lips as she lay on her seat, clutching her wound. They'd stood on the crater that was Sunnydale and then drove off, looking for a fresh start. Faith knelt beside her sister slayer and looked beside her where Cordelia sat, unseen by everyone except the two slayers.

"You won B. Took out the hell mouth for good." Buffy nodded, her breath getting shorter. Faith held her hand and squeezed it lightly. "It's ok, it's over now Buffy." Buffy's eyes darted to where Dawn sat at the front of the bus. "She knows you're hurt B, but it's ok, she's got us, me and the rest of the gang, I'll take care of her."

"Hurt my sister and I'll kill you." Buffy smiled as Dawn walked up the bus to stand by Faith, wrapping a comforting arm around Faith's waist. Xander, Willow and Giles followed, most of the old gang surrounding her.

"No worries, I'd never hurt her, you just look after Queen C." The others looked puzzled as Faith nodded towards the 'empty' seat beside the other slayer. Buffy smiled as she laid her head in Cordelia's lap.

"I love you all and I'm so proud of you." There were tears in her eyes from the pain and the realisation that she'd finally finished baking. She didn't need to fight anymore. " Is it time to go?" Cordelia nodded.

"Yeah." The others, except Faith, looked shocked to see the young brunette suddenly standing by Buffy, looking no older than seventeen. Buffy closed her eyes, her hand going limp in Faith's and when she opened her eyes she was seventeen again, the time when she and Cordelia had first fell in love, and she was standing beside Cordelia looking down at the others and her still body.

"Great, I have ninety's hair." Buffy joked as she looked at her reflection in the mirror. "I'm so going to hell."

Cordelia took her hand and shook her head. "You're going back to where you belong."

"Where's that?" Buffy asked as they started to fade from the mortal world.

"With me."

End.