Chapter 10: The Wish

Chapter Summary: This wish is gonna be different…and not as bloody.

Timeline: post-season 3, 'Lovers Walk'; the week following the last two chapters.

A/N: Canon change on the powers a vengeance demon has…and one other tidbit from season 1 is different because of the wish.

Warning: Not Willow or Xander-friendly. Please don't leave reviews complaining about how it's OOC for them. This is AU, people!

Thanks to my betas: not this time, so let me know if I missed anything.

Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission. Dialogue paraphrased from .

At the hospital

A few hours later…

Only Giles, Joyce and Oz were left in the waiting room by the time the doctor came out of Buffy's surgery. Shortly after Faith and Lou arrived, they and Harold left; the Ipsens needed to crash in their hotel room and Faith needed to patrol since Buffy obviously couldn't. If Joyce thought it was strange that Willow and Xander weren't there, she didn't say anything.

"Family of Buffy Summers?" a man called out.

Joyce stood immediately. "Here!" When he looked questioningly at Giles and Oz, she added, "They're close friends of the family."

He nodded. "Alright then. Well, Buffy had some cuts and abrasions from the fall, but the main concern for us was where the rebar impaled her. Turns out that it partially went through her spleen. Now normally, that would require us to remove it…and we still may need to do so. Her body has incredible healing abilities, though. Just the fact we didn't have to remove it right away makes me cautiously optimistic about her chances for a full recovery with no further surgeries."

"Can I see her?" Joyce pleaded.

"She's in recovery right now, but she'll be brought to her room shortly. I understand another girl was injured in the same fall?"

"Yeah," came Oz's clipped reply. He wasn't sure which emotion was stronger right now, the need to protect Cordy and Buffy or the anger he felt towards Willow and Xander.

Not at all put off by the brusque tone, the doctor said, "That's the room she'll be in as long as she doesn't have any post-op complications. Just to warn you, though, if you are feeling sick, you need to wear a mask while you're in the room. And at least for tonight, she'll be in a plastic tent to minimize the chances of infection."

"Thank you, doctor," Giles answered for the group since Joyce looked overwhelmed at the mention of a plastic tent. Once the doctor left, he remarked, "Maybe we should head to Cordelia's room then? Oz, would you mind getting me some tea and some coffee or tea for Ms. Summers?" He reached into his wallet to remove a few bills to hand to the boy.

Hearing the choices, Joyce ordered absently, "Coffee, one sugar, please."

Still at the hospital

The next afternoon…

Buffy woke to the sounds of bickering in her room. Actually, 'bickering' would be an understatement for the anger she could practically feel in the air. Now she could understand the phrase, 'tension so thick you could cut it with a knife'.

First came Xander's voice, ranting, "Just because you share the room with her, doesn't mean you get to decide who visits Buffy! We're her best friends and have been long before you and I ever dated! We deserve to visit her!"

Next came Cordy's, cold enough to freeze fire…or hot enough to burn ice, something like that. "You two cheaters deserve to be the ones lying in these beds!"

Then a man's voice Buffy didn't recognize interjected, "I realize you are not yet adults, but perhaps you could attempt civility while in public?" The English accent sort of gave away his identity to her – unless Cordy was hiding something about her dad. Mr. X must be one of Faith's new Watchers.

Attempting to break the mood, Buffy opened her eyes and added her two cents, "Yeah…it's hard to get my beauty rest with all the fighting." She tried to look around the room, but stopped when a sharp pain coursed through her torso. "Yowch! Okay, that really hurts!" she yelped.

Faith chuckled at her Slayer counterpart. "No duh, B. You fell about ten feet, Queen C landed on top of you, and if that wasn't enough, you both had rebar go through you."

Buffy managed to slowly turn her head far enough to look at Cordy in the next bed. "You okay? Where'd you get hit? From what I'm feeling, I'm guessing I got it somewhere near my stomach."

"My thigh. Thankfully it missed the major arteries, but it did break my leg. Well, that or the fall did…I wasn't paying real close attention to the doctor when he explained it to me," Cordy admitted sheepishly.

"You both were very fortunate. If not for your Slayer healing, you would have certainly lost your spleen…if not your life. Pardon me, I haven't introduced myself yet. My name is Harold Ipsen, and this is my wife, Lou," the mystery man introduced the pair she didn't recognize.

Sighing that she had to do this from a position of weakness, Buffy forged on anyway. "Not exactly how I wanted to meet you. Not sure if it'll be as convincing with me lying in a hospital bed, but what the heck…" Her eyes narrowed and glittered dangerously as she finished her statement, "Hurt Faith and there'll be no dimension where you can hide from me. I've literally gone into hell and back, so don't think I'm joking!"

The Ipsen's eyebrows rose in tandem, not at the threat, but the comment about hell. Lou was glad Faith had at least one friend who cared enough to give a warning like that. "Sounds like an interesting story. We hope to have as close of a relationship with Faith has you have with Rupert," she offered peacefully, holding out her hand to Buffy's uninjured side.

Cautiously shaking the woman's hand, Buffy relented a little. "Okay then."

Willow cleared her throat and quipped with a forced, bright smile, "So…thank goodness for Slayer healing, huh?"

"Yeah," Buffy returned the smile with considerably less enthusiasm. Remembering what she woke up to, she said, "Umm, I appreciate the visit and all, but don't you think that it's kinda tacky forcing your presence on Cordy – given what we walked in on last night? I mean, you could have called or waited until I went home, or at least made sure she was out of the room before you came."

"We're your friends…why are you siding with Cordelia?" Xander demanded crossly.

Buffy wished she was feeling better so she could smack him upside the head for his stupidity. She settled for counting off her reasons with her right hand, "One, she's the one in a hospital bed; it's not as if she can leave because it's uncomfortable for her to be around you. Two, she's my friend too. And three, she's the 'cheatee', not the cheater. I think she has the right to be angry about this. If you guys don't like the consequences of your actions, you shouldn't have done the deed."

Xander muttered under his breath, "Like you're one to talk!"

Whether he forgot about Slayer hearing or not, Faith and Buffy still heard him. "I'll call you when I get home and can have company. Right now I think you should leave before somebody says something worse and ruins any more friendships," Buffy warned with a hard look at the brunet.

After the pair left, Cordy said, "Thanks for taking my side, Buffy. I thought for sure that you would close ranks with them."

"I don't want to choose between any of my friends. Yeah, for a while it'll be awkward, but who knows…maybe someday we'll all be friends again." Cordy just quirked an eyebrow in disbelief, so Buffy tacked on, "Okay, so it'd be way in the future. All I ask is that you don't expect me to badmouth them, 'k?"

"Fine. Don't expect me not to," Cordy retorted.

Buffy chuckled, then winced as it caused another jolt of pain. "Deal."


An hour later…

After they got their drinks and sat down, Willow continued the rant that had been going on since they left the hospital an hour before, "Can you believe her? We're supposed to be her best friends, but she tells us to leave!"

Xander scoffed, "Doesn't surprise me. You honestly expected better of somebody who can't even do her job right? Loyalty means nothing to somebody like her."

"Still…" Willow growled in frustration, "…After all we've done for her! Heck, she wouldn't even be alive if it weren't for you!"

"You know, she probably only became our friend so you'd help her with her homework," Xander suggesting, despite knowing deep down that it wasn't true.

But it had the desired effect to cause Willow's eyes to widen in remembrance. "That's right! That's the first thing she talked to me about!" she exclaimed.

A woman sitting at the table next to them came over and sat down uninvited. "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation. Sounds like somebody scorned you. What did they do?" she asked with a concerned look.

"We had a fight with Xander's ex-girlfriend and Buffy sided with Cordelia instead of us. We're her best friends; Cordelia's only semi-nice to her because…well, not for friend reasons," Willow finished lamely. Despite being angry at Buffy, she couldn't bring herself to mention vampires or Slayers. She also conveniently described the fight in a way that didn't make her and Xander look like the bad guys.

"We even lost our best friend, Jesse, because of Buffy. Apparently she's forgotten that, too!" Xander snarled, piling more wood on the bonfire of Buffy's metaphorical effigy burning.

The woman deflated somewhat, but asked in a hopeful tone, "So you weren't scorned because of a man?"

Willow thought for a moment, then said, "Well, there was Angel. She cared more about him than us."

'Ah, what the heck…the scorned woman I felt earlier doesn't feel as scorned anymore. Might as well do something so it isn't a wasted trip,' the woman thought before saying out loud, "That kind of disloyalty deserves to be punished, don't you think? Don't you wish something really bad would happen to this Buffy?"

Despite the question being asked to Willow, Xander piped up, "Yeah, I wish that she'd disappear forever!"

Fighting the urge to hex the boy silent, the woman turned directly to Willow and inquired, "What about you? Do you wish the same thing?"

Willow almost nodded, then caught herself before she could utter the words. An evil smile crossed her lips as she came up with what she thought would be the perfect revenge. "Hmm…that's not good enough for me."

The woman leaned forward, eagerly anticipating the wish. "Oh yeah? What would you wish then?" she demanded excitedly, mentally picturing lots of bloodshed and mayhem.

"She didn't deserve good friends like us, right?" Willow started. Xander nodded vigorously and the strange woman nodded impatiently. "Then I wish that she got the kind of friends somebody like her deserves instead!" she proclaimed.

"Really?" With a disgusted sigh at the probably blood-free wish, Anyanka, the vengeance demon of scorned women, felt the compulsion from her amulet to grant it anyway, and said half-heartedly, "Done."

As the wish unfolded, she found she wasn't able to completely re-write history – something about the time the wishee spent in a hell dimension blocking any serious changes before that? – so the spell began to unravel the friendship shortly after Buffy's return to Sunnydale.

Wishverse Hospital

Same time…

Setting down the two chocolate boxes she brought, Amy babbled, "I'm so sorry you guys got hurt trying to rescue me."

Buffy waved off the apology, even as she snitched a chocolate truffle. "Don't worry about it, Aims; it's not as if you weakened the stairs we fell through or anything. Just remind me to stake Spike the second I see him next time…save us all a lot of aggravation in the future."

"So when are you getting out of here?" Amy asked the bedridden pair.

Cordy finished swallowing her chocolate-covered cherry, then said, "I'm out this afternoon when my parents show up."

Buffy pouted that she was losing her roommate. "Unfortunately, they want me to stay for another day. Apparently, almost losing a spleen is a big deal or something," she remarked airily.

Almost laughing at the blasé way Buffy was treating a life-threatening injury, Amy reminded her, "That's because they don't know about Slayer healing. Wouldn't it be cool to have a doctor who did?"

Buffy swiped another chocolate and quipped, "Feel free to study medicine then. Maybe you can help the Slayer after Faith…or however many 'afters' it would be before you graduate medical school," she finished rather morbidly.

Blushing, Amy replied, "Actually, I already was thinking about going into medicine. Not sure if I want to be a doctor or nurse though. See, after you saved me from my mother, I knew I wanted to help you somehow. Even with training, I know that I'm more of a liability to you on patrol. Research is good, but Giles is way better at it than I could ever be. Then I saw how often you got hurt and decided that maybe being a nurse would be the way to go."

"So that's why you knew CPR when you, Xander and Angel came to the Master's lair?" Buffy asked. She had wondered at her good fortune to have a friend who could revive her.

"Yeah," Amy answered with a nod. "Started taking a first aid course and the first thing they taught us was CPR."

"Well, it worked out great for me. Maybe we should all learn some basic first aid. It wouldn't help if you were the one who needed CPR next time. Whatta think, Cordy?" Buffy asked, pulling the brunette back into the conversation.

"If we must," Cordy said with a put-upon sigh, then went into full Queen C mode, "I'm still trying to figure out why I'm friends with you guys now that I've dumped the dweeb."

"Maybe 'cause we have to save you almost every week? It's a lot easier to do that if you're already nearby," Buffy retorted sardonically. Realizing that Cordy was still trying to play a roll, she grew serious, and added, "Or you've come to realize that being Queen C isn't as important as what we do?"

"Yeah…whatever," Cordy replied with an almost hidden smile. "Hopefully Mac will get here soon and distract you by hovering over you and tending to your every whim. You've got that boy whipped with a capital 'W'."

Buffy blushed brightly, then denied the charge, "He's not whipped; he's just a concerned friend."

"Where can I get a concerned friend like that?" Amy asked, mentally drooling over the hottie that showed up when Buffy came back from LA at the end of summer.

"I don't know; I met him after my little trip into Ken's hell," Buffy said, then proceeded to tell the girls the story of meeting Mac once she rescued Lily and the others.

A/N: Next…'Earshot'. Yes, I know it doesn't come next in canon, but I want it next anyway. I think Mac's story will be a companion piece since it has a lot of non-BtVS stuff in it. His story will end with him meeting Buffy in the shelter (still have to write it though).