Title: Silent Hands, Stained Heart
Posted: Feb 07
Rating: PG-13/R for language
Content: Cordelia POV
Summary: Cordelia is forced to confront her unrequited love for Angel on Valentine’s Day.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Please ask first
Notes: Unbeta’d and totally off the cuff. For Gabriella for kicking my butt and getting me to think about a holiday fic. Sorry I couldn’t join in the official Stranger-Things Valentine challenge, but thanks to the snow day I’m having, I managed to get something on paper. I hope you like it.
Thanks/Dedication: for Gabriella
He stains me. Like red lipstick smeared on my heart, and I can’t get it out.
Just putting away his warm clothes from the dryer while he showers is killing me. Why did I say yes? Sometimes I ache for the old me. The one that would have told him to haul his lazy, dead ass down the stairs and do it himself. Never really caring if my words stung as long as they were honest.
But the big, seeping wound in his side stopped me. I felt sorry for him and, yes, I felt an urge to heal him with love. My love.
The only way he’ll ever allow me to love him is by doing these little things for him. Things that any nurse, maid or long-suffering wife would do for a clueless husband. The only difference is they know their love is returned even if it’s just a soft caress on the shoulder or a tender kiss goodnight.
I get a mumbled “thanks” if I’m lucky or a hearty pat on the back for a job well done if he’s feeling especially goofy.
Gee, Monty, if this is love I’ll take the llama and a nose bleed behind door number two instead. At least I’ll have something warm to hold and the bleeding will be on the outside.
“Out damn’d spot.”
But, he’ll never take anything else from me. He can’t or maybe just doesn’t want to. Because of her.
And now as I place his sweater folded carefully and lovingly (and stupidly) by my hands in his drawer, I see her even there. It’s bad enough his eyes fill with thoughts of her at night as he gazes up at the stars and sighs. Longing for her. Aching for her hands to touch him when mine are so ready to be given. Mine are already here and his.
They are my hands that are now touching the card he hid and obviously intends to give to her tonight. On Valentine’s Day. The day for lovers.
Which we’re not but they are.
“What’s done cannot be undone.”
That’s why he’s showering and humming so loudly. Happy little prick.
God! How can you love someone and hate them so much at the same time?
That stain on my heart burns at times like these. Times when I know I am nowhere in his thoughts. When he is consumed by images of blonde hair and emerald eyes and strong but delicate fingers. Fingers that scorch him where he longs to feel heat. Stroking him. Wet lips surrounding him.
The asshole probably jerked off in there just thinking about her. Well, that’s one thing my hands won’t be doing for him. He can wash his own dead swimmers down that drain.
I pull my hand back from the card as if it’s biting me. And it is. With it’s cute little bouncing puppy and red hearts swirling around the sparkly “Will You Be My Valentine” words.
Kind of a dorky card if you ask me. Not what I would expect him to give to the love of his life. Where’s the poetry and the lace? That’s what she gets. His heart, his soul, his every loving thought. She gets the poet and the Prince Charming.
But not this. She doesn’t get this. The dork is mine!
I shove the drawer shut because I know I’m about to grab it and rip that damn puppy into a million pieces and stuff it down his warbling throat. Man, I’d love to do that. And with every piece I rammed in his mouth, I’d tell him all the reasons why I’m the one he should love.
Maybe by the time he swallowed the millionth piece, he’d get a clue.
Probably not, though. He can be pretty dimwitted and stubborn. He’d probably just think I’d lost my mind, pat me on the head and tell Wesley to take care of my little problem.
And then he’d skip off to Sunny Hell and her. At least he’d have to puke up every single piece of that card to give it to her.
Despite the pain, I can’t help but laugh at that image.
“Cordelia? Is that you?” Angel asks from his no doubt steamy bathroom.
Damn. Me and my quirky sense of humor.
“Yes, it’s me. I…uh…I just brought up your clothes like you asked.”
“Oh, thanks. Just put them on the bed for me, okay?”
“Sure, no problem,” asshole, I add silently.
I want to stay and catch him as he steps through that door hopefully naked with the mist wafting out behind and all around him – skimming his body with ghostly fingers like I ache to do.
Just one time I want to see the Adonis of my dreams in all his glory before I go downstairs and search for the bleach to try to rid this infection from my mind.
But then I’d have to explain myself, and telling Angel I wanted to see his cock before it disappears into her mouth and is forever tainted doesn’t exactly sound like a good time to me.
So I dump his clothes on the bed and mess them up. Then I mess them up more. I’ll be damned if she gets wrinkle free on my dime.
I take one last look at the pile of clothes, the evidence of my love and pain, and turn my eyes to the bathroom door. Willing him one last time to see me – through the wood and the haze and the distance between us – see me.
I taste the wax on the back of my tongue as another coat of red lipstick smears in the silence.
“What’s done is done.”
I can’t stand this. I hear him whistling! He’s coming and I’ll be damned if I’m the lonely, pathetic girl on Valentine’s Day. I’ll be damned if I’ll let him leave here on his way to her thinking he’s the only lucky bastard on earth.
Not that he would care what my plans are today. He’ll probably float down those stairs, eyes twinkling with anticipation, his (MY) dorky smile plastered a mile wide across his face, patting that card in his pocket assuring himself he’s all set. Ready for the big, kissy face reunion. Happy for the first time since the last time he saw her.
Well, screw that. Screw him.
I may be stained, but years of blood soaked clothing has taught me a few tricks about disguising the marks of battle. A strategically placed brooch, an inexpensive yet fashionable scarf, wearing a sweater inside out…who’s going to argue with the queen of fashion?
This is no different. I’ll just turn my heart inside out and stick a pin in it.
Speak of the (devil) bastard, here he comes. Man I’m good. Floating? Check. Eyes all happy and shit? Check. Dorky smile? Big damn check. Her card sticking out of his pocket? Check.
Time for the show.
Shutting down computer, I open my desk drawer and grab my purse. I casually close the drawer, stand and drape the purse strap over my shoulder. One last smooth of my skirt and I turn to face the dipwad. And last but not least, I flash him the biggest fake smile I can muster.
Heart breaking? Check.
“Cordelia? Are you going somewhere?”
Oh, yeah. I’m going as far away from you as I can get. And then I’m jumping off a ledge. Wanna come?
“Duh! It’s Valentine’s Day. Where do you think I’m going?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t think about it. I mean, you didn’t mention anything.”
He looks positively shocked. Like he never imagined I might actually have a life outside of his world. Well, take this buddy.
“Like I need to get permission from you to have a date? Think again, pal.”
“No! Of course you don’t. I just…I mean it never occurred to me…. You have a date?”
What’s with the puppy eyes? Oh, yeah. Those are mine, too, asswipe. So just leave those at the door on your way out.
Speaking of out. I’m moving as fast as I can now. Eat my red soaked dust, baby.
“Yep. Big date. As in man of my dreams. The answer to my prayers. A real man, Angel. Imagine that. Someone of the male persuasion actually interested in me and not…not anyone else.”
I can’t look at his eyes as I say that. I could break and I know it. So I keep my back to him as I head for the door, spouting my lies.
“Oh.” His voice is small for such a big man, and I barely hear it all the way across the lobby.
That’s it? That’s all I get? “Oh?” I’m worth so much more than that.
That one word shatters what’s left of my heart and kicks my ass forward. I stare at my hands splayed on the door ready to push out and away. These hands that loved him with every movement will now do something just for me.
“Yeah. ‘Oh’.” Turning around I dare a last glance. “Don’t worry if I’m not here tomorrow, not that you would. I’ll probably still be…ya know…busy. Have fun in Sunnydale.”
The door swooshes shut behind me. The last thing I hear as my feet run away from the bloody, sticky trail I left across the marble floor is one word.
‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.