Part Two – You Can't Go Home Again

And just like that, she was home. Standing in the living room of 1630 Revello Drive.

It was her house, except that it wasn’t. Joyce stared at the empty shell of the living room. It was empty except for a few broken bits of unfamiliar furniture scattered across the dusty floor. Broken glass sparkled beneath a jagged hole the size of someone’s head that had been punched through the picture window. The mirror over the mantel had been smashed, and the fireplace was stuffed full of what she hoped were only rags.

She knew that upstairs it would be the same. This wasn’t her home. She’d never lived here. Never come to Sunnydale with her daughter to make a new life.

Somewhere in L.A., or Ohio there was a full grave and a headstone with her name on it.

Somewhere out there, Buffy was surviving without her.

Outside long afternoon shadows stretched across un-mown lawns. Nothing moved.

Oh hell, what time was it?

According to her watch it was 3:05 p.m., October 12 1999. If she’d understood Anya, then the real world Cordelia had arrived at the High School today. Cordelia, who was the only one in this universe who knew who she really was. Joyce hurried out of the house and headed for the high school.


She was so screwed. It was nearly dark, and she was the only one on the street. She couldn’t believe how bad everything looked, downtown Sunnydale was in a complete state of thrashed. Half the stores were boarded up and everything was closed at 4:30 p.m. How far was it to her home? 12 blocks? 14? 50? Her feet hurt. She’d heard of walking shoes but it wasn’t like she’d ever owned a pair. She’d tried calling for a ride but she must have left her cell at home, and the pay phone at the school ate her money and didn’t put her through.

She heard a faint scream. Oh-oh. She started walking faster. She heard something moving in an alley as she passed and felt a sudden cold interest sweep over her. She started to run.

“Cordelia!” Someone shouted behind her. She stopped and turned.

“Mrs. Summers?” Buffy’s mom hurried up to her. She looked every bit as freaked as Cordelia, which was not a good sign.

“We need to get indoors. Come on.”

“Well, what do you know? Cordelia Chase.” Cordelia went rigid at the familiar voice and slowly turned. She stared.

“What is this - some kind of sick joke? Harmony told me you were dead!” She knew her tone was a little strident, but she didn’t care. The shock of seeing Xander was too much.

“Now why would she say something like that? Let's think...” Xander stepped closer, he was really creeping her out with the leather and the eye shadow.

Mrs. Summers was tugging at her, trying to get her attention, but Cordelia was too upset to notice. “Cordelia,” she hissed. “We need to go.”

“Whatever. Listen, you’re her mom, you’ve got to know how to get hold of Buffy.” Mrs. Summers flinched when her daughter’s name was mentioned. “She'll figure out a way to save us. She was supposed to be here and - as much as it kills to say it - things were better when she was around-“

“Buffy - the slayer?” Xander’s face lost its creepiness and for a moment looked like normal, frequently confused Xander.

“No. Buffy the Dog Faced Girl. Duh! Who do you think I'm talking about?”

Xander’s Joe Cool mask slammed back down. “Now that’s interesting where’d a vapid cheerleader like you hear about the Slayer? And I never knew the Slayer had a mom. Why don’t you introduce us?”

“Bored now.” Mrs. Summer’s fingers dug into her arm painfully but Cordelia was too busy processing the latest shock to care. O.K., she was definitely in bizarro world. Willow in bondage gear? And looking pretty good in it too. What the hell!

“Have you got a cross?” Mrs. Summers murmured as Willow slunk towards them. Willow was very very pale, and the red lipstick was way overdone, it made her look like Miss Goth 1999 and –

Oh shit, Willow was a vampire. Xander and Willow; they were both vampires.

“This is the part that's less fun, when there isn't any screaming,” Willow purred as she got way too far into Cordelia’s personal space. Mrs. Summers flinched when Xander smiled at her.

Xander put his arms around Willow and pulled her back, nuzzling her. Oh God. She didn’t believe it. Even here they’re together. She can’t win.

“Play now? One for you, and one for me.” Willow pouted at Xander which was just yuck.

“Yeah. Dibs on the senior, I want to talk to her.”

“RUN!” Joyce yelled, and did. Cordelia was right there with her.

They didn’t get far.

Posted 29 June 2003

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