A Little Ways Back. 11

Part 11

1998

God that was horrifying. Cordelia was in hell. She knew it. High School sucked. How did she not know that when she was there? Sure, she had finally figured out that she was on the HELLmouth, but how come she hadn’t realized how hellish the whole high school experience had been.

She hadn’t forgotten how dating Xander had pushed her from her Queen C pedestal, but the remembered version hadn’t been that bad, she had managed to block out all the whispers and idiotic behavior of her former friends/sheep.

The first time around, Cordelia had held her head high, and gave them her‘I am still Cordelia Chase, superior, don’t you forget it’ glare, now her glare was accompanied by the ‘Jesus, grow up and get a life, don’t waste time being idiots, there’s bad shit out there, being the most popular in a school that’s doomed to blow up, isn’t the be and end all of existence’, roll of her eyes.

Hmmph. God, how far had her life taken her in less than four years, but then she guessed having the visions, being kidnapped, and tortured more times than had to be necessary could do that to a person, hell, she was in her 17 year old body, reliving Trig and Harmony’s pathetic attempt to be Queen H-kidnapped AND tortured, a two for one hellish deal.

Cordelia had half a mind to rip into Harmony, since the real villains of her unbearable plight were unknown and unreachable, and explain very slowly to the dim girl that second ditzy bananas didn’t make very good bitches and that Harmony would make an even worse vampire than bitch in the future.

Harmony’s major sheepish behavior, being the main personality trait that followed her to the undead-life…and the well, the need to kill, but Harmony would still need a crazy bunch of Amway vamp’s too tell her how to do that-the girl was a follower and would always be one.

Then there was Xander, sweet, okay, except she knew where that future went, a stab to the gut and a lovely break up scar as a souvenir. She almost decked him that last time he tried to wheedle her into a closet. Kissing in a closet. God. Okay, it was fun THEN. But now, Cordelia wanted to scream.

She pushed her way into the library. Oh yeah, the gang was all there. She had managed to avoid actually talking to Buffy or Willow for the entire day. Not that she would’ve minded under other circumstances, like three-fours years in the future in LA, but now then, the blonde little slayer was probably going to regale them with an hour full of Angel this and Angel that drama.

And Willow, hell, she’d just stammer and nod sympathetically to every conceived woe of ‘Buffy the Greats’ drama filled life, while Oz gazed adoringly at the innocent looking red-head, not knowing the future. Fool. And Xander would be panting on every word. Call Cordy the fool for not having seeing the ‘what’ of Xander and Willow. Call Xander a fool when it comes out that Willow really liked girls.

Cordelia was so not in the mood for this trip down memory lane and the knowledge that was the outcome. She glanced at the slayer, scrutinizing the blonde’s slopply ponytail. Then again maybe all she would have to hear about was a bad hair day crisis.

Cordelia nodded to their acknowledgments, going to the chair Xander pulled out or rather dragged from his seated position. “Hey. Are we talking yet, or are you still shooting barbs and arrows.”

Cordelia sighed, her inner bitch silenced, he was really cute, a dork, but sweet, well as much as he had been capable of being. Hindsight was so great and unwelcome right now. “Sorry, bad day, haven’t been feeling well.” She gave him a peck on the cheek.

Her heart melted a little at the smile on the boy’s face. Oh Xander. Why couldn’t he have gotten over his slayer and witch obsessions? He was so cute. She smiled genuinely at the young man.

Xander stuttered something and almost fell out of the chair at the bright smile. Holy Jesus. He hadn’t seen that before, it was gorgeous.

“Klutz.” Cordelia laughed softly, straightening him up back in his chair, pulling at his collar. “Fashion dork.”

Xander blinked, as did the rest of the occupants of the room. Cordelia had insulted Xander. Check normal, the smile and tender tone, check uh uh, way odd.

“Um, Cordelia, you aren’t feeling well.” Willow quietly asked never quite sure how the brunette would react.

“Nothing, just …” Cordelia waved her hand in the air. “ I’m okay, thanks though.”

Willow gave a small smile in return at Cordy’s. That was weird. Xander had been complaining all day that Cordelia had been rude and insulting. And Willow knew for an almost fact that the young woman had ducked in the bathroom rather than talk to her and Buffy in the student lounge before lunch.

But now… Cordelia was smiling and almost being nice. Willow shrugged, maybe Cordelia was really sick. Unsure, Willow settled back into her silent boyfriend’s lap.

Xander leaned into Cordelia taking advantage of her surprising pleasantness. “So tonight, the movies, or maybe the Bronze?”

Cordelia scrunched up her face. Okay, she didn’t hate Xander anymore, but that didn’t mean she wanted to necessarily spend quality alone time with her ex-boyfriend, but neither did she want to blast his eager smile.

“How about the Bronze, we all could go?” She asked Willow, Oz, and Buffy. She hid her cringe at her impulsive statement. If Buffy went that meant Angel would probably show up lurking in a corner somewhere. Cordelia’s eyes darted to the dark shadows of the library, searching for the vampire. It was about time for him to show up and blend into the woodwork.

Buffy wrinkled her brow. “I need to patrol and….make sure,” her very deceptive delicate shoulders slumped, “make sure that Angelus hasn’t…isn’t.” Her blue eyes saddened, as she was unable to finish.

“Buffy, it will be all right. You…” Willow stuttered her voice encouraging and sad.

“Will be able to kill him….yeah. Me- slayer, Angelus-, evil ex-boyfriend vampire that wants to kill my friends, yeah.” She sadly repeated and then nodded with a forced smile. “How about I just meet you all there.”

“We’ll go with you, then we can go to the Bronze, right, Cordy. Cordy?” Xander glanced at his girlfriend’s silence.

Cordelia sat frozen, the blood drained from her face. She blinked as her stomach twirled and turned forcing it’s way too her throat. She jumped up and ran.

“What?” Xander stood.

“She looked sick. Cordelia was really sick,” Willow nodded to Oz, finally satisfied at Cordy’s earlier nice behavior.

***

Cordelia inelegantly rested her sweating face on the cool porcelain of one of the many school’s toilets. Stupid. Stupid. She was tempted to pound her head into the coolness.

The woman took a deep breath, getting up. Cordelia went to the sink, thankful that classes were over. She could have a moment of peace between the bathroom walls. She splashed water on her face, while sucking in handfuls of water to get rid of the bile that was still tainting her mouth.

Stupid. Cordelia slid against the wall and clutched at her head, the tear flowing freely. It had to be Wolfram & Hart – they just tossed her in different manner to a different time where Angelus could kill her without Angel being anywhere near to save her.

Good god. She hadn’t forgotten but she hadn’t thought about it. She was 17 that meant Buffy was-their birthdays were close together. Buffy and Angel had sex on Buffy’s birthday, and wham what a birthday, getting groiny and releasing Angelus.

Angel didn’t go to hell until, well Damnit, Cordelia wasn’t sure, all her high school years blurred together in her memory. But it was too long away Cordleia did know that. The vampire with a soul was out of her reach again. Cordelia had sworn that she wouldn’t violate the Star Trek’s Prime Directive- and beg Angel to help her, let him know his future.

But, deep down, if she couldn’t have her Angel, she had counted on this Angel as a last resort if she couldn’t figure it out for herself. And now that was gone. He was gone, not only gone but the danger. If she lived long enough, she would see him return beautiful and ensouled. But would she live that long?

Cordelia gulped wiping at her face going back to the sink. She needed to think. What had Angel said? He remembered her, but not who she was. Just that she was a brunette that got away from Angelus in 1898. He had said a gorgeous beautiful spirited brunette. Cordelia wanted to cry again at memory.

She and Angel had been tucked in each other’s arm, his new mark on her neck taking over Angelus’, he softly told her that he had remembered her and that he was so grateful for his love for Buffy, because if he hadn’t fallen in love with Buffy, then when Angelus appeared in Sunnydale, he would’ve known Cordelia from that past and taken her and destroyed both of their futures.

Cordelia took another deep breath. She remembered being irritated that when she first saw Angel, before she knew he was a vampire, his attention had been focused on Buffy. He had been so sexy, it only seemed right that he would be attracted to Queen C, the dating slayer, but now she was as grateful as Angel had been.

She chuckled at the exaggerated pouts she had given, years later, as Angel explained his relief. She had complained, ordered, and begged him to prove that it was her and only her that he loved then. Cordelia pulled down her turtleneck, gazing at the marks that proved Angels’ love and need and hers.

Cordy leaned up bracing her hands on the sink. All she had to do was avoid Angelus. He didn’t want her. Wolfram & Hart had fucked up. And Cordelia had to believe that Angel and her family knew something was wrong and would fix it, save her.

“Cordelia,” Buffy peeked into the door. She hadn’t really wanted to go after Cordelia. But Xander looked so worried. And Willow wouldn’t get out of her chair too comfortable on Oz’s lap and too uncomfortable with checking on Cordelia. So, it was left to Buffy.

Cordy splashed some more water on her face before turning to the slayer. “I guess I am sick. “ she quirked a smile. “Um, could you tell Xander that I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can do a Bronze night, tonight. I’m just going to go home.”

“Sure,” Buffy kind of liked a sick Cordelia. She wasn’t snipping down people’s throats or being a major stuck up bitch. “Um, I’ll walk you too your car, it’s dark. “ Buffy blinked. “Vampires,” not willing to name the one that was worrying her the most.

Cordelia nodded. If Angelus was out there his focus would be on Buffy and whenever Angelus and Buffy met in the past neither seemed to be able to kill each other, Angelus with his arrogance that another day would come and Buffy with her hesitation, until that last day and the sword thrust that sent Angel to hell.

Cordelia paused in the hallway. “Buffy, I’m truly sorry that you’ve experienced Angelus, he’s scary and an arrogant bastard and he’s Angel. I’m sorry.” Cordelia knowing now 100 percent the pain the blonde was going through.

“He’s not Angel.” Buffy glared.

“He is. He just doesn’t have the soul. But the other stuff is still there, the desire to kill, to feed, to possess…but.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. Angelus is not Angel.” Buffy glared, turning on her heel leaving Cordelia alone in the hall.

Cordelia stared after the angry in denial blonde. Her hand went back too her throat. Buffy was so wrong. She sighed. She hadn’t wanted to make the slayer mad. Cordelia shrugged. Well history wasn’t changed. Buffy still wasn’t going to be her best friend.

***

Cordelia unlocked her door in relief.

She scrunched her brow at the note on the refrigerator. It was from Marie reminding her that the maid was going to her sister’s for the week and that Cordy’s dinners were in the freezer. Marie also helpfully wrote that her parents called and were staying longer in the Caymans. Cordelia threw the note away.

Before she remembered feeling hurt that her parents had extended that trip, but now she was just glad. Dealing with her parents hadn’t been something she had been looking for to. Caymans. Cordelia snorted. That’s right, Daddy, hide that money so the IRS and your daughter won’t get any of it.

Cordelia stared at the full refrigerator, pulling out Marie’s evening dinner. It looked wonderful and so unappetizing. She slammed the door closed. She had work to do. First though, she needed to find some comfy clothes.

Once clad in her black stretchy pants, her over sized denim shirt and her hair in a high ponytail, Cordelia settled herself on the couch to research the materials she had gotten on her way home from the school. She studied the titles and plopped ‘Back to the Future’ into the VCR.

Cordelia fast-forwarded through the early parts. She didn’t have a time traveling DeLorean, so why bother. She watched Marty McFly’s 1950’s time trip- fast-forwarding through the ickyness of Marty’s mother hitting on him. Cordelia stalled the movie at the scene where Marty’s future dad finally got some balls and slugged Biff. Then, she fast-forwarded to the end.

Cordelia turned the TV off. Marty had changed future for the better. So, did that mean the Star Trek rule wasn’t always sacrosanct. Cordelia scrunched up her face, trying to remember better the sequences of the terrors of Angelus in this time period.

In school, she had overheard some of the male students saying how hot Jenny Calendar was. So, Cordelia could assume that the teacher was still alive. Then again it was the Hellmouth, maybe they were having wet dreams about a dead woman. Yet, Giles hadn’t seemed heartbroken and Buffy had been sad, but not wracked with guilt at her Watcher’s sorrow.

Cordelia bit her lip. Could she go to Ms. Calendar and beg her to get the soul spell and do it before Ms. Calendar or anyone else died. Would getting Angel’s soul back sooner rather than later change things for the worse. Cordelia couldn’t see how. Angel…Cordelia shook her head. Doubts and warnings flooded her mind.

Jenny Calendar’s death, Giles’ torture, Angel’s side trip to hell, his return, his guilt, Buffy’s initial wariness towards him because all that he had done as Angelus were major factors in Angel’s decision to leave Buffy and Sunnydale. Without them happening, would he still go to LA, would he still be a warrior for the Powers, would he have his chance at redemption?

Christ. She was getting a headache. Her eyes widened as she recognized the signs. Cordelia barely got out a strangled shit out before her brain exploded in fire and the vision bombarded her every senses.

Cordelia crumpled on the couch as her hands clenched against her eyes, her teeth drawing blood on her lips to stop from screaming out. Cordelia rocked her trembling body as the pain and images passed through her mind.

Cordelia struggled to her feet, her weight leaning on the arm of the couch, vision gone, but the pain still remaining a sharp pounding that caused white lights to throb against the back of her eyes.

Cordelia willed her body to straighten. She knew this pain. She could handle it. Don’t think about the potion. It wasn’t there, just like Angel’s strong arms weren’t there, holding her soothing the ache away.

She focused on making it up the stairs to her mother’s medicine cabinet. The woman had a pharmacy in there. Something there had to help Cordelia think and function.

Cordelia squinted pushing through the various prescriptions looking for anything with the word codeine in it. Finally, with a sigh, she found a bottle of high dosage painkillers, the red label warning ordering limited use. She took three and slumped against her mother’s bathroom vanity.

Cordelia took deep even breaths, calming the pounding letting the medication take effect. The throbbing diminished enough, making her confident to stand and think.

1998 Cordelia Chase did not have visions. If she told Buffy, then those two kids… Stupid kids. Who makes out in a graveyard in Sunnyhell, why don’t they just wear signs – ‘Free Dinner’? It wasn’t like they were the slayer and Angel sneaking smooches behind the gravestones. Two vampires those lovebirds could handle. But those kids.

Cordelia sighed she wasn’t suppose to have visions. If she saved the couple she would be changing history. But, Cordelia couldn’t believe that the Powers would send her a vision just too screw everything up more or for her too let the victims of her vision die.

Decision made, Cordelia went to her fathers closet pulling out a long jacket. She headed towards her room, slipping on her running shoes, and stuffing her father’s pockets with crosses and spritzers of holy water. Damn, why didn’t she have any stakes or a crossbow? Right, because 1998 Cordelia stayed on the sidelines and waited to be saved.

Stupid girl. Cordelia kicked over her nightstand, breaking off each leg, concealing the impromptu weapons in the jacket and the waistband of her pants.

Part 12

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