Notes and disclaimers: Characters property of Mutant Enemy, et al. Not for profit ever. Written for femslash_minis. Set shortly before the Zeppo. Thanks to Missy and Tigs.

CARPINTERIA SANG IN ME

It was completely unfair that on a Saturday when Cordelia had planned to exfoliate and tan now that stomach was finally healed, she had two horrible surprises right in a row. The first was that the maid was nowhere to be found and thus Cordelia had to answer the door. It was not Conchita's day off; Cordelia knew that. The second surprise was who was waiting at the door, all skanked out in the best Sears had to offer for trailer trash Slayers.

"Faith? What are you doing here? Door to door press on tattoo sales to pay for your little motel room?"

"Ha ha. I need to ask you a favor." Faith took a deep breath like it was painful or something. "There's this demon in Carpinteria who has this amulet and you have a car. To take me down to Carpinteria."

"You couldn't just stand by the highway and pull down your pants? Aren't sex-starved truckers how you usually get around?" Cordelia eased back from the door. She really didn't want anyone to see her talking to Faith.

"I would, but time is apparently of the essence or something. Come on, Cordelia, you don't want the world to end. All the malls would go away."

"Like you said, ha ha. You don't know anyone with a car?"

"Giles took his to Oxnard and, uh, Oz and his van are off to Montecito. So that leaves me and you." She rolled her eyes and even looked a little awkward.

Ah, Cordelia thought. The people she didn't hate – Oz and Giles -- were off in their lame rides – with the people she did hate like Buffy, Xander and Willow -- and Faith was the one left whom she didn't loathe on sight. Much. "Is it really the end of the world or just something big the Slayer doesn't feel like fighting without her stupid amulets?"

"Would they make me come talk to you and spend the day with you if it weren't the end of the world?"

Cordelia thought about it and said, "Go around back to where my car is. I need to change into something that I don't care about getting all gross with demon junk."

She closed the door and went upstairs. She walked by an empty space on the wall where that ugly Diebenkorn had been and catalogued that fact away in her mind. Far away. In her room she found a pair of faded jeans and a button down shirt in last year's green she would never wear in Sunnydale.

Faith was actually waiting by the car. "You don't know how to break in or were you being polite?"

"Being polite." Faith smirked. "Just thought I'd see how long I can last."

They both managed ten straight minutes of politeness by not saying a single word. Then Cordelia said, "Carpinteria? That place is even more of a craphole than Sunnydale. I thought the demons liked Sunnydale because of the Hellmouth. Why is Demon Guy living away from here in a town even lamer than ours?" She was a little curious.

"Hell if I know. Giles says go, I go. He gave me a description of the guy and there's some bar he likes, I saw the picture of the amulet, I'm set."

"You're like a little soldier girl, aren't you? At least Buffy sometimes complains or makes fun of Giles when he gives her these stupid things to do," Cordelia said.

"Hey, I mock. I complain. I leave town all the time, you don't see Buffy doing that, do you?"

"Yeah, but you come back." Cordelia reached down and turned on the radio. "Let me know when we're close to this bar."

Naturally, Faith let her know by jabbing her in the ribs, pure class as always. The bar turned out to be in some typically dark alley in the back with one of those hidden doors. The demons always loved the best places.

"Oh, this is so going on my list. My incredibly long list of horrible dives I have been to and awful people and not-people I have met because I was once stupid enough to say hi to Buffy Summers." Cordelia winced at the sight of the bar stools Faith was perfectly happy to set her ass down on.

Faith said, "Could you keep your voice down? I don't want to break a nail before I have to."

"Oh, sure, like you've ever had a manicure in your entire life." Cordelia rolled her eyes and waved to the bartender. "Might as well get something out of this."

Faith said, "Two whiskies," to the bartender and smirked as she pulled out some dirty dollar bills. "I got this. Like paying for gas."

Cordelia said, "Any chance I could get a whiskey sour at least? I don't do whiskey straight."

"Cor, it's a demon bar. You see anything there you want making your drink sour?"

She looked at the back of the bar where it looked like half off day on fetal pigs and other squishy gross things. And possibly blood, which, gross. "Okay, then."

After three glasses, she'd stopped caring. Faith, of course, was dancing in her seat to the completely lame country music playing out of the jukebox and then she stopped. "There's our guy," she said quietly.

"Your guy, you mean. I don't do the violence part. I do the driving part."

"Watch me," Faith said. She even wiggled her ass a little as she walked away. She would have looked better in nicer jeans, Cordelia thought. But she did look nice.

The violence part went quick for once and Faith swaggered back tucking the amulet in her front pocket. "Let's blow this clambake, Princess, we're done."

Cordelia thought about standing up and watched the room waver. "But we can't blow. We can't. I can't drive like this. I'm totally drunk. I'll hurt my car. It's mine, do you understand that? And I did like, volunteer stuff, to help the community and other much less popular people and talk about drinking and driving. It's bad. And it could hurt my car."

Faith grabbed Cordelia's arm and pulled her up. "God, do you ever shut up? Fine. But let's get out of here."

"Fine, fine. Like I want to hang around here, anyway."

They walked a few blocks until they were out of the skuzzy part of town and had arrived at the crappy part of town. "What are we going to do?"

"I don't know, how long until you're sober enough to drive your car?"

"I don't know." Cordelia sat down on the curb. "We should do something. You got your amulet thingy. Let's think of something to do in Carpinteria. Oh, wait, there's nothing to do in Carpinteria. Do you know anyone in this town who isn't boring or sleazy?"

"I've only been here twice, C." Faith tugged Cordelia back to standing. "Got a tattoo once here. Nice guy, actually. You wanna get a tattoo?"

"No." Cordelia paused. "Maybe. What should I get? It won't be ugly like yours, right? Not all barb wire on the arm cause that's lame. I am not Pamela Anderson."

"You are so much fun to hang around with. I don't know why no one wanted to do this."

"Oh, please. I am fun. I was fun. Before Buffy and Xander and Willow. I was the queen of fun. I had friends and I was popular and everyone did what I said. And I'm getting it back, too. Every bit of it. No more stupid Xander." She grinned. "Okay, I want a tattoo."

The tattoo 'place' was the back of some guy's house but at least the needles were new and the equipment looked new-ish. Cordelia picked out a really pretty design and said, "On my back. Like, right here." She rubbed the base of her spine.

The gnarly guy gestured to the bed and said, "You'll need to pull down your pants."

"Of course." She shimmied her jeans down to her thighs after she lay down on her stomach. "No touching except where you need to, buster."

"Nice thong," Faith said.

"You make sure to tell me when visible panty lines are featured in Vogue, okay? Oh, wait, you don't read Vogue. Can you even read, Faith? Also, ow."

"It's gonna keep hurting," the tattoo guy said.

"Faith, you better watch to make sure he doesn't screw up. I'll make you pay."

"Yeah, I'm looking right at it." Cordelia could hear the smirk. "Great ass, Cor."

"You betcha. Three years of cheerleading, it better look good." Cordelia shifted so her head rested on her hands. "Is it okay if I just sleep now?"

"You can sleep through this?" Tattoo guy sounded surprised.

"I can take the pain," she said. She didn't quite fall asleep but she zoned out for the rest of it.

When he was done, she glanced at it in the mirror. It looked really cool. Or it would when the redness faded. And it was only $75. As Cordelia pulled up her pants, she said, "What tattoo did you get, Faith?"

"This one," Faith said. She pulled down her jeans so Cordelia could see the heart and knife on her upper thigh.

"Wow. Have you ever even heard of a bikini wax? Because I could recommend someone."

"Man, you can't even give a compliment, can you?"

Cordelia said, "I totally can. The tattoo is pretty. You're in great shape. But you really should wax your bikini area. I said I'd recommend someone, that's me being nice."

"Are we ready to go yet?"

Cordelia walked a straight line but she wavered a little. "Let's get something to eat."

They got burritos and Faith insisted on eating in the car. "So we can leave as soon as you're feeling sober, okay?"

"Spill anything on the interior and I'll kill you, Slayer or no Slayer. Don't think I can't do it."

They ate in silence though Cordelia had to sip her drink a few times so she didn't say anything about Faith's atrocious table manners. Raised in a barn was probably overstating it.

In an effort to be nice, Cordelia said, "How was your salsa?"

Faith said, "Here, see for yourself." She leaned over and kissed Cordelia, sticking her tongue in straight away. Cordelia must have been still drunk because she leaned into it. She said, "Tastes good. I always knew you were a big lesbo."

Faith made a snarky face and leaned in closer. She put her hand on Cordelia's breast and said, "Real? Push-up bra?"

Cordelia unbuttoned her shirt with one hand and guided Faith's hand under her bra with the other. "You tell me."

"Real. Wow."

"Unlike Buffy. You missed her sophomore year when it was Wonderbra every day in every way. Now she doesn't even wear one half the time."

Faith started moving her hand, much less roughly than Cordelia would have expected if she'd ever thought about this. Which she hadn't. "If you're going to feel me up, you could at least kiss me while you do it."

So Faith kissed Cordelia while she removed her shirt and pushed up her bra and reached down, pushing her jeans open. Faith pulled at Cordelia's underwear and said, "You weren't kidding about that bikini wax thing, were you?"

"Of course not." Cordelia lifted her hips so Faith could pull her jeans down. "Well? Come on."

Apparently that was all she needed to say. Cordelia couldn't believe she was making out with someone who thought Wet and Wild nail polish was a luxury in her car in Carpinteria. But since it was Carpinteria no one would see her. Cordelia arched her back and figured this was her day off, completely. It was very nice.

Faith said, "My turn now, right?"

And that seemed only fair. Faith had to guide her through most of it since Cordelia had only done some light petting when she was drunk at cheerleader camp. Faith seemed okay with it. More than okay.

As they were both getting their clothes back on, Cordelia said, "You don't think we'll be doing that again, right? I mean, I couldn't take you to prom; you're so not that type. And I have to think about prom."

"Yeah, I figured you for a two-beer queer, Cor. Whatever, not breaking my heart here." Faith pulled out the amulet and poked at it. "We ready to go?"

"Totally ready to go." Cordelia started the car. "And I know I'm not breaking your heart, I'm not Buffy."

"As in what? Buffy's the heartbreaker?"

"Buffy's the one you want, duh. It's totally obvious. Not to Buffy, of course, she's only got eyes for Angel, but yeah, duh."

"Shut up," Faith said loudly. "You are so wrong."

"Oh, yeah, and your totally defensive reaction makes that so clear." Cordelia didn't laugh, though, because that would be mean. "Don't worry, I won't tell."

"Me neither, Princess."

They drove back in silence until they got to the high school. "Drop you off here?"

"Yup," Faith said. She walked around to Cordelia's side and leaned in. "Thanks, Cordelia, it was great." She kissed Cordelia's cheek and swaggered off.

Cordelia took a long shower when she got home, being very careful of her tattoo. It certainly hadn't been the worst time she'd ever spent doing stupid Scooby business.

THE END.

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