Title: Never Say Goodbye
Disclaimer: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and other related characters are all properties of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and other related corporations. No infringement is intended. This story, such as it is, was written as a sign of respect and love for the characters, the show, and their creator. I claim no ownership of the aforementioned show and characters.
Summary: They'd always have their memories.
Feedback: Comments and helpful criticisms are always appreciated.
Cordelia hadn't planned on surviving graduation.
It's not that she didn't want to live. No, that wasn't the case in the least bit. She had just assumed that she wouldn't make it through this fight alive. The world had been hell-bent on ruining her life for the past year, and there hadn't been any sign that it planned on changing its choice of actions.
She had been wrong, though, which was why she found herself sitting beside Xander Harris on the couch in his empty living room.
"Thanks for letting me spend the night," Cordelia said quietly, her gaze focused on her hands as she carefully avoided meeting his gaze.
Xander just laughed. "You're not the only one leaving town as soon as the sun comes up," he said lightly "But I do have to admit that I'm surprised you actually took me up on the offer. I figured you'd turn up your nose, give me some snappy comeback, and then disappear never to be seen again."
Cordelia smiled, finally looking up. "It was either tell you 'yes' or ask one of the others in your little gang for a place to stay," she said dryly.
"Better to take someone's charity than beg someone to give you charity?" Xander asked with a wry grin.
"Something like that," she muttered, leaning back against the couch with a tired sigh.
As she closed her eyes, Xander gave her a calculating look. "Why exactly did you not have anywhere to spend the night?" he asked after a few seconds.
Cordelia let out a dry laugh. "The people I've been staying with told me that I could live with them until I graduated. They dropped me and my suitcase off at what used to be Sunnydale High before skipping town." She paused for a moment and frowned, still not opening her eyes. "I kind of wish I hadn't warned them it wouldn't be safe to stay."
Xander rolled his eyes, but there was an uncertain look on his face as he stared at her. "The people you've been staying with?" he repeated slowly.
Cordelia shrugged. "Distant family," she explained. "They wanted me on their good side in case my dad had money hidden in some foreign account."
"Does he?" Xander asked curiously.
"Who knows?" she replied with a snort of laughter. "Probably. It would explain why my mom disappeared two days after he was arrested and hasn't been heard from since."
Xander started. "What? You've never mentioned that little detail before."
Cordelia finally opened her eyes, and she gave him a tired look. "You never asked."
He stared at her for a minute, his gaze caught in hers. Then he leaned forward as he reached out and gently brushed a loose strand of hair out of her face.
Before either of them was really aware of what was happening, he leaned in a few more inches and pressed his lips against hers. The two of them stayed there for a moment, enjoying the gentle kiss, before Xander suddenly stiffened and pulled away. "Sorry," he said, a sheepish look on his face. "I didn't me--"
He was cut short as Cordelia grabbed his head, pulling him closer so she could kiss him right back.
When she pulled away a few seconds later, he stared at her, blinking in surprise. "I thought you liked Wesley?" he managed to choke out.
Cordelia let out a snort of laughter. "If you'd ever kissed the guy, you wouldn't be asking that."
He blinked a few more times. "If I'd ever kissed the guy, I'm pretty sure my ex-girlfriend wouldn't be trying to make out with me in my living room," he finally managed to retort.
"What are you talking about?" she asked, barely keeping a straight face. "I don't have any problems making out with bisexual guys."
Xander gave her a weak grin, but it faded after a few seconds had passed. "Do you ever wonder how things might have gone if I hadn't completely screwed up our relationship?" he asked softly.
Cordelia flinched slightly, her hand automatically going down to touch the scar on her stomach, but she managed to keep her face almost expressionless. "Well, for one thing, you wouldn't have graduated without knowing anything whatsoever about the opposite sex," she replied casually.
"You'd be surprised at what I know," Xander said dryly. "I'll have you know that I actually have a pretty good idea how to please a woman."
Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Please," she muttered. "Do you really expect me to believe that you're not a virgin?"
Xander tensed a bit, but Cordelia pushed on. "Come on, I'm not that stupid," she said. "The only person on earth other than me who'd even think about sleeping with you is back together with her werewolf boyfriend, so that pretty much rules out the two of you ever getting much past second base."
"You forgot to mention psycho Slayers who are currently in comas," Xander said, his gaze suddenly moving away from her and focusing on a large brown stain in the carpet under their feet.
Cordelia stared at him. "You slept with Faith?" she asked, a startled look on her face
He didn't look up at her words, though he did flinch slightly at her pained tone. "Just once," he replied after a few seconds pause. "It was after you and I broke up, and it just… it happened. Don't ask me how or why or anything like that. All I know is one minute I'm giving her a ride back to her hotel room and the next she's ripping off my clothes."
She stared at him for a minute before the startled look on her face faded into one of amusement. "Ripping off your clothes?" she repeated. "So she pretty much threw you on the bed and told you to follow her every order?"
Xander finally met her gaze, and a surprised look appeared on his face when he saw the amusement flickering in her eyes. "Pretty much," he replied warily.
"And you think a ten minute tumble with Faith helped you know everything there is about pleasing a woman in bed?" Cordelia asked, an impish grin making its way onto her face.
He stared at her. "You're about to start laughing hysterically, aren't you?" he asked with a sigh. "And then you're going to pick up your suitcase and go storming out."
Cordelia's grin just grew broader. "Not quite," she said with a wink.
As Cordelia finished pulling on her clothes, she glanced over at Xander. He was sprawled out on his bed, dead to the world. Shaking her head, she walked over and gently pressed her lips against his forehead. Then she straightened back up and made her way to the bedroom door.
She stopped in the doorway and turned around, smiling just a bit when she saw Xander propped up on his elbow and blinking sleep out of his eyes. "I don't want to miss my bus."
He nodded. "Good luck in Los Angeles," he said, grinning slightly even though his voice was serious. "Keep your eyes open and make sure you have a stake with you, even if you think it'll clash with your dress.
Cordelia rolled her eyes, but she still smiled. "Call me sometime," she said as she turned away. "I'll try to make time for the little people once I'm a star."
Xander grinned. "Maybe you'll run into Angel," he said teasingly. "The rumor is that he was heading toward Los Angeles too."
Cordelia rolled her eyes as she turned around to give him one more smile. "The odds of that happening are slim to none," she said. "In fact, I'll bet you almost anything that I'll never see him again for the rest of my life."
Xander just shook his head and smiled. "See you around, Cordy."
"See you around, Xander," she replied, carefully closing the door behind her.