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One: Buffy joined Cordelia’s group instead of befriending Willow and Xander

Sunnydale wasn’t so bad once Buffy got used to it. It was no LA, obviously, and never would be home the way the big city was to her, but she was adjusting. Adapting. Surviving.

She’d been lucky to fall in with the right crowd almost immediately when she started school and had never looked back. She knew what she was doing in a group like this, the little ins and outs and difficult internal politics were as natural to her as breathing. Almost as natural as slaying was becoming, not that she’d ever admit that out loud. Slaying was something that she did, it could never be who she was. The essence of Buffy was not slaying. She was so much more than that.

She had to be.

It wasn’t easy to keep her slaying separate from her real life and she’d had quite a few close calls where her friends got a little too close to finding out just how much of a freak she really was, but it was nothing she couldn’t handle. She was happy, her mother was happy, and life was good.

There was just one small problem. Tiny, even. Barely noticeable. Not worth mentioning to anyone. Just something that had started to play on her mind a little.

Not often.

It was just sometimes, she found herself a little distracted. She’d catch herself staring at Harmony and wondering what it would be like to just push her up against a locker and make out with her, witnesses be damned. And then she’d remind herself that she’d need to be careful if she pushed anyone against a locker because of her damned strength, and the fantasy would abruptly lose its appeal.

Besides, she doubted that Harmony’s interests went in that direction. She seemed too thoroughly engrossed by the captains of every single sporting team at Sunnydale High to consider dipping her perfectly pedicured toe in the pool of her fellow cheerleaders.

But a girl could dream. And Buffy did plenty of that. She catalogued all of the little moments in every day that she could pore over later. The things she could think about when she was waiting in yet another cemetery for yet another vampire to rise and shine.

Her dreams at night were still filled with death and destruction and darkness, but occasionally this load would be lightened with images of the other girl, her limbs intertwined with Buffy’s, fused on hers, hands wandering in all sorts of new and exciting places. Places that definitely weren’t friendly. Places nice young ladies weren’t supposed to touch each other.

Most of the time Buffy was able to ignore these dreams. She slotted them away along with all her other night-time activities as things not to be considered in the harsh light of day. But occasionally, something would bring them to mind. Some small moment or look or gesture would bring it all flooding back, leaving her flushed and miserable.

It was in the swish of long blonde hair as Harmony leaned in close to whisper a secret. Or the overwhelming smell of the expensive new perfume Harmony had convinced her father to buy for her. It was the bright pink dress she wore to the Bronze and the way she had playfully danced against Buffy for just a minute too long.

Almost long enough for someone to notice.

It was impossible. It couldn’t ever be more than this.

“Buffy! Dance with me!” Harmony cried enthusiastically, drawing Buffy onto the dancefloor and away from all of their friends. “No one can dance like you!”

Buffy smiled and succumbed.

After all, a girl could dream.


Two: Harmony is called as the next slayer instead of Kendra

Buffy stood watching Giles with her hands on her hips, doing her very best to ignore the other occupant of the room. She didn’t need to acknowledge what wasn’t real and she had no intention of acknowledging the new pretender to the throne, as it were.

“Do I need to be here?” Harmony whined impatiently and Buffy rolled her eyes.

“Miss Kendall, please,” Giles said patiently, “this is a matter of some importance.”

“So you say.” Harmony shrugged carelessly. “I still don’t see what this has to do with me.”

“You are the chosen one,” Giles said seriously.

Buffy snorted loudly and stalked across the room, feeling the need to move before she did something stupid. Like challenge Harmony to a fight. She smiled at the thought. Slayer or not, she was pretty confident that she could take her.

“Chosen one?” Harmony echoed sceptically. “Chosen for what? Oooh, is this some kind of special prize deal? Am I going to get some money or something?”

“You’re gonna get something, alright,” Buffy muttered, clenching her fists. “Giles, what the hell is going on here? Since when do Slayers come as a package deal?”

“Buffy, I really don’t know. There’s never been more than one Slayer recorded at any point in human history, this is truly unprecedented. I don’t quite know what to do.”

“I’ve got a few ideas,” Buffy said, watching Harmony darkly. “Look, no harm done, just send Harmony on her way and I can continue on as before. It’s not like she’s seen anything, really—”

“She staked a vampire, Buffy, I think that counts as seeing something.”

“Pfft,” Buffy scoffed. “She only did it accidentally! It was a fluke!”

“Fluke or not, we have a responsibility to help her now!” Giles cried, running his hands through his hair absently. “You’re going to have to help her, Buffy. You know what it’s like to go through this.”

Buffy deflated a little, looking over at Harmony with a new kind of understanding.

“You’re right,” she whispered, turning back to Giles with a resigned smile. “I’ll help her.”

Giles smiled gratefully at her, his relief evident.

“Thank you, Buffy.” He walked across the room towards the phone. “We’ll have to start training immediately, of course, and you should patrol together for the foreseeable future. I’ll call the Council now—"

“Do I get a say in any of this?” Harmony interrupted, throwing her hands up in the air. “I don’t know what you freaks are talking about and I don’t know what happened with that ugly guy outside but I am leaving!”

“Sorry, Harmony,” Buffy said, a smile turning up the corners of her mouth. “You’re one of us now.”

“One of what?” Harmony asked, a look of near fear on her face.

Buffy grinned outright and slung an arm around her shoulder.

“Just wait, Harmony,” she said cheerfully. “You’ve got so much to learn!”


Three: Harmony survived the battle at Graduation and is not turned into a vampire

Buffy walked nervously along the hospital corridor, not entirely sure that she was doing the right thing. It wasn’t that she doubted that it was something that should be done, she just wasn’t convinced that she should be the one to do it. Would Harmony even welcome a visit from her? Or would she rather not see the person who had ultimately enlisted her help in a battle she was woefully unprepared to fight?

With a sigh, Buffy paused outside the room she knew Harmony was in. She looked down at the chocolates she had picked up on impulse and shoved them into her handbag, embarrassed. This was Harmony, for god’s sake. She wasn’t trying to impress her or win her favour. She only wanted to check in, make sure she was okay, and thank her for her contribution to the battle against the Mayor at graduation. That was all. She would do the same for anyone.

So why aren’t you? a traitorous voice whispered inside her head. Lots of survivors just waiting for a little special attention.

Resolutely ignoring this, she opened the door to Harmony’s room and walked in.

“Harmony?” she said quietly, unsure if the pale girl in the bed was asleep. “Are you awake?”

Harmony turned her face towards her, and Buffy gasped, unable to stop herself. It wasn’t the first time she’d seen someone who survived a vampire attack, of course, but there was something especially unnerving about seeing Harmony so pale and listless.

“Buffy?” Harmony croaked, sounding confused. “What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to check on you,” Buffy replied, taking a few steps closer to the bed. “See if you needed anything.”

Harmony didn’t say anything, she just continued to stare at her. Buffy cleared her throat nervously and sat down in the chair next to the bed.

“I spoke to a doctor,” she continued, aiming for calm and instead landing on indifferent. “They said you should make a full recovery.”

“They gave me a transfusion.”

“Yeah,” Buffy shifted awkwardly in her seat, “you lost a lot of blood.”

“Gee, I wonder how,” Harmony snapped. “Oh, that’s right. I fought in your stupid battle. I should’ve known that nothing good could come from listening to you.”

“Well, technically you listened to Xander,” Buffy said reasonably. “He’s the one that recruited you to fight—”

“To fight for you!” Harmony said loudly. “I’d never have fought for Xander Harris.” She tossed her head irritably. “Ew.”

“But you’d fight for me?” Buffy asked, unable to hide her extreme scepticism. “Since when?”

“Does it matter?”

Buffy watched her in silence for a moment as Harmony deliberately avoided her eyes.

“I guess it doesn’t matter,” she sighed eventually. “Do you want me to leave?”

“The least you can do is entertain me!” Harmony snapped, glaring. “It’s your fault I’m in here, remember?”

“So I’ve heard.” Buffy slipped a hand into her handbag and pulled out the box of chocolates. “I brought you this.”

“Chocolates?” Harmony asked, reaching out a hand to take the box.

“Chocolate makes everything better.”


Four: Post-Chosen

Buffy never really felt like she got the hang of normal drinking, not the kind that everyone else seemed able to engage in. Where they could drink a glass of wine with dinner or go out for a few beers with some friends at the end of a long work week. Unfortunately for Buffy, she tended towards an all or nothing approach in drinking as much as in anything else in life. Her memories of drinking were rarely pleasant, and she tended to avoid them where possible. She chose instead to recall the better things that occasionally came along with her drinking, a fun evening with her friends, a minor and entirely healthy loosening of her inhibitions, a prop to play with when she felt awkward.

Like right now. She’d been trying to think of a way to let the guy attempting to chat her up gently and hadn’t been able to get a word in at all. He was far too busy telling her about his stock options or something equally fascinating about his job in finance. As if that were the way to garner her approval. And so, she stared absently into her half-finished white wine and tried to remember why she’d thought it would be a good idea to go out tonight anyway. She was only in town for a couple of days and had reasoned with herself that LA was the perfect place for her to try to get back into the swing of things socially. Have a few drinks and a harmless fling before she went back to the real world of training new slayers and rebuilding her relationships with her friends and Dawn. Important stuff. Things that mattered. She had purpose and her purpose would never be to listen to some ex-frat boy wax lyrical about how much money he made in a month.

“Buffy?”

Buffy nearly fell of her chair as she spun around to face the person who spoke.

“Harmony!” she cried loudly. “What are you doing here?”

“What does it look like?” she scoffed. “I’m here to meet someone.”

Buffy narrowed her eyes at the vampire suspiciously.

“Meet someone for what?”

Harmony let out a tinkling little laugh and sauntered past Buffy to the man sitting next to her.

“Hi,” she said breezily, placing herself firmly between Buffy and him. “What’s your name?”

“G-greg,” he stammered, sounding bewildered. “Do you two ladies know each other?”

“Of, Buffy and I go way back,” Harmony said, trailing a hand along the lapel of his jacket. “And we’ve got so much catching up to do.”

“Harmony—”

“So how about you just get lost, huh?” Harmony finished calmly, giving Greg a shove until he vacated the chair. Harmony sat down and faced Buffy, a huge smile on her face. “So, tell me everything! What have you been up to?”

Buffy just gaped at her, trying to inch her fingers towards her hidden stake without drawing her attention.

“Don’t bother, Buffy,” Harmony said cheerfully, grasping her hand tightly in one of hers. “I’m not here to eat!”

“So what are you here for?” Buffy said, allowing Harmony to hold her hand in place for now.

“I’m here to have some fun.” Harmony leaned forward. “Are you any fun?”

“Not for vampires, as a rule,” Buffy said quietly.

“Is that a new rule?” Harmony asked innocently. “Because from what I hear—”

“Never mind what you heard,” Buffy snapped. “But if you’re not here to kill, there’s nothing for you to worry about. I’m not going to bother you.”

“No?” Harmony pouted prettily and Buffy’s gaze shot to her lips, quite against her will. “That’s a shame.”

“What do you mean?”

“I was kinda hoping to be bothered by you.”