Chapter One

Note: I began this fic in 2004 and it has been dormant since I posted the first chapter. I've cleaned it up a bit since then but it's still a piece of my very early writing. From chapter two forward, the style may seem quite different and I apologize for that in advance.

Faith sighed as she looked around the boutique that Cordelia had dragged her into.

She hadn't put up too much of a fight when Cordelia told her that they were going shopping. After all, she figured that she owed the other girl at least that much after the little homecoming incident.

Faith had almost single-handedly arranged for Buffy and Cordelia to be alone in the limo to work out their problems. However, she found out that the hunters had other plans for them and she never intended for Cordelia to get dragged into the mess that was SlayerFest 2000.

So here she was in Fancy's Boutique . . . or, was it Francie's? . . . or maybe Fluffy's? Either way, here she was, serving as a packhorse for Cordelia, surrounded by clothes that she would never be caught dead in.

She didn't mind it so much but she wasn't going to let Cordelia know that. After all, she did have a reputation to protect.

"C . . . you're fuckin killin' me here," Faith whined. "I know you're thinkin' that Slayer-strength makes me the perfect fool to lug around your clothes and shoes and crap, but in reality? This shit is piling up in my arms and getting hella heavy. How 'bout we get this show on the road and hit the changing rooms already."

Cordelia spun around from the clothing rack that she was looking through with a huge grin on her face.

"Aww, is poor little Faith getting tired?" She asked lightheartedly but then got more serious. "Well tough! Learn to deal real quickly cos you and I have a whole day to fill with blissful shopping fun. I wasn't mistaken for a Slayer and hunted through the woods, thus ruining my Homecoming for nothing. And if it wasn't for your little crusade to make me and Buffy deal, it would have been you getting hunted and me having a perfect evening with Xander. So tough it out, cookie, cos you owe me," she said sternly but playfully at the same time.

Faith just looked up at her with a scowl on her face. Cordelia rolled her eyes and continued her search throughout the clothing rack in front of her.

"Oh, and don't even try the pout with me, Tough-Stuff. Buffy invented the pout. She's won the award for the Most Effective Pout the last eighteen years in a row. You can't even touch that one," Cordelia said with a chuckle, eyebrows raised.

Seeing as that Cordelia wasn't giving in, Faith decided that it was time to take measures into her own hands. With a well-planned and perfectly executed stumble, she dropped a dress and shirt to the floor, promptly getting Cordelia's attention.

"God, Faith. Impaired much? This dress costs three hundred dollars! I don't think the owner will be all happy and forgiving if it has dirt all over it." She bent down to pick up the dress from the floor, gathering it carefully in her hands.

Though Faith hadn't expected it, she appreciated the fact that Cordelia had bent over to pick up the clothes. Not only did she get away with not bending over, but she also got a killer view of Cordelia's ass as she stood back and watched.

She couldn't help the snicker that escaped her mouth.

"Very nice, C," Faith stated as she waggled her eyebrows at the still bending girl.

"I know," Cordelia stated with a proud grin. She stood up and placed the fallen articles back on top of the pile in Faith's arms.

"Well, that's enough clothes for me, at least for now."

Faith exhaled as if she'd been holding her breath for ages.

"Thank god, or whoever the hell is in charge of compulsive shoppers. Let's get you into the changing room already so I can take a load off. My feet are barkin' at me."

"Don't say I didn't warn you. I told you that your combat boots weren't exactly fit for shopping, but you were all ‘lah lah lah, I'm not listening.' I swear, sometimes you're just as hard-headed and as stubborn as Buffy. Must be a Slayer thing, cos I sure as hell don't get it . . ."

Cordelia was distracted by Faith, who, in a repeat of earlier that morning, awkwardly had her hands cupped over her ears while sing-songing ‘lah lah lah, I'm still not listening.'

" . . . Very mature. Grow up, Faith. That is so junior high," Cordelia muttered.

Reading Cordelia's lips, Faith decided that she'd won that round. With a smile on her face, she turned and began walking toward the changing rooms. She slowly came to a stop, however, when Cordelia coughed loudly to catch her attention.

Almost as if she was afraid to look, she slowly turned and met Cordelia's gaze.

"What? What, what, what could you possibly want now?" she asked, annoyed.

"Uh, Faith . . . Faithy," Cordelia smiled playfully, "we didn't pick out anything for you yet."

Faith had never seen a smile that bright before and she instantly knew that she was in trouble. If there was one thing that made her weak, it was a pretty girl with an even prettier smile. She'd learned that firsthand when she met Buffy earlier that year.

"No way, Cordy!" Faith groaned. "I didn't sign up to be part of the little fashion show. I barely even signed up to be part of the stage crew. There ain't no way I'm playin' dress-up. Not in this shop, anyway."

Cordelia put on her resolve face and spoke in a stern voice tinged with just the right amount of whine.

"Did it sound like I was asking?" At Faith's glare, she continued a bit less cockily. "Do I have to show you the scratches that are sure to leave scars from when I was hunted because some psycho-sportsmen thought I was you? That's right . . . scars! I'm forever disfigured and you can't even spend one measly day shopping and trying clothes on with me. What would that require, losing an eyeball? A limb? I'm telling you, I'm much better as a complete package."

Faith sagged her shoulders a little and slowly lost the annoyed look that had been on her face.

"Scars?" she asked solemnly.

Cordelia tried to do her best to convince the girl of her disfigurement.

"Yeah! They're puffy and itchy and just plain nasty looking. I mean . . . you may not be able to see them, but I'll never be able to grace to cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition in my cute string bikini. Not that I ever actually planned on doing that, but the opportunity is lost forever!"

After a deep sigh, Faith finally submitted.

"Fine, fine, fuckin-fine. I'm gonna put this crap in the changing room for you and then I'm gonna come back and help you find some stuff for me which is gonna be a real treat, cos," she grabbed a dress from the rack next to her and held it up on display, "purple lacey dresses? Really not my thing."

"Yeah, yeah. Now go, and hurry back. We only have about eight hours left ‘til the shops close down for the day," Cordelia taunted in a sing-song voice as Faith turned and walked away, grumbling.

Before Faith reached the fitting room, she paused at a rack displaying a skimpy black cocktail dress that left very little for the imagination. Knowing that she was out of Cordelia's view, she discretely grabbed the dress and sneaked it into the pile in her arms.

If she was going to be forced to shop all day long, she was sure as hell going to try to get as much fun out of it as she could.

Faith returned from the changing room and found Cordelia standing nearby with a small pile of clothing in her arms. She gave a questioning look to the pile of clothes after seeing that it held lots of bright-colored garments.

"These for me, C?" Faith asked, indicating the pile in her arms. When Cordelia simply nodded, Faith continued. "Yunno, colors and me don't get along so good. I'm more of a black or brown, or even a red kinda girl."

Cordelia chuckled.

"Settle down, Faith. Just because you're trying them on doesn't mean that you have to buy them. I just wanna see how you look when dressed like you're not from the wrong side of the tracks." At Faith's scowl, she changed her tone. "It won't hurt, I promise. And if it does? You can go after the lady that designed them and give her that scowl. It's frightening, really." Before moving to a different rack, Cordelia gave her a quick wink.

For about ten minutes, Faith followed Cordelia around the boutique from rack to rack. She didn't actually bother to try and pick anything out for herself because the one time that she'd held up a pair of black pants that she actually liked, Cordelia grabbed them and threw them back on the rack, making a very distinctive ‘ick' sound.

Faith behaved herself, making only slight grimaces and sighs as Cordelia worked her so-called fashion magic. She stood pretty still as Cordelia would held a garment up to her body, and she even took the pile of clothing out of Cordy's arms so Cordy had better use of both of her hands.

Finally, Cordelia pointed to the changing rooms and Faith took off toward them with a little skip in her step.

She entered the changing area and practically threw the pile of clothes that she was holding into the same room as Cordelia. Sure there was one other room, but a couple of young girls trying on formal dresses had completely taken over it.

Cordelia walked up to her changing room and paused when she saw Faith seated on the couch that was in it.

"I don't think so Faith. I won't have you ogling my goodies while I'm trying stuff on. I get enough of that from Xander; it's the only way he'll go shopping with me. You, missy, can go into the other changing room." She pointed across the way to the other room.

If Faith knew one thing about the other girl, it was that she always wanted, no, needed, to be the center of attention. After all, she had dubbed herself Queen C. There was no way that she'd want Faith to pass all of her attention on to the three girls in the other room so Faith decided to play on that fact.

"No problem, C. I'll just mosey-on-down and ogle the goodies of the three girls trying on dresses in there. No skin off of my back." She stood up and proceeded to pick up the pile of clothing that she had thrown on the couch next to her.

Cordelia scoffed at first, then took a quick glance across the way to notice that there actually was a group of girls in the other room. Cute young girls that Faith would have a field day with.

What was up with that anyhow? Faith couldn't seem to decide which team to play for, and frankly Cordelia didn't care so long as Faith noticed her as the head cheerleader.

She placed her hand across the doorway as Faith was about to walk through.

"Oh, no . . . I'm not letting you go in there with them. This is one of my favorite boutiques and there is no way that I'm getting kicked out of here because you're sexually harassing some girls and trying to get your freak on. You're staying right here with me and you're going to behave, and if you don't? You're gonna see a whole new side of Queen C that you're not gonna like."

Faith waggled her eyebrows as she put on her trademark smirk.

"I don't know about that, C. I like all of your sides, at least from what I've seen so far."

The double entendre wasn't lost on Cordelia who blushed a very faint shade of pink. Faith noticed the other girl blushing and decided to push it a little bit further.

"Aww, pink is a really nice color on ya, C. Tell me . . ." she raked her eyes up and down Cordelia's body, then looked back up to meet her wary gaze, "are your cheeks the only place where you're pink?"

Cordelia visibly tensed up before letting out a short huff.

"Okay, that's enough, Perv-Girl. Put the sexual-banter on hold. There's more shopping to be done and now you're just holding us up. There is no more postponing of the inevitable. Get back in there and let's start the fashion show."

Faith's shoulders sagged and she headed back into the changing room.

Just as Cordelia was about to shut the wooden door, she looked to Faith and got her attention.

"Oh . . . and Faith? You wish," she said with a knowing smile.

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