To be Alive or to Live. 2

Chapter Two

Cordelia scrunched up against the headboard of her bed. She squeezed her eyes against the continuous pounding of her skull.

Why wouldn’t it stop? She was doped to the gills. The vision was way over. Angelus was gone, no one was killed, and Angel’s soul was back where it belonged. It was over. Except that Angel was no longer human, she winced, as the pounding intensified into sharp points cracking her skull. She gasped as nausea filled her being.

Cordelia shoved her hands hard into her eye sockets, doing the only thing she could think of to keep her eyeballs from exploding and popping out. She couldn’t take much more of this. “Dennis,” the name came out like strangled sound. “Dennis” Cordelia choked again, knowing that the ghost was hesitant to give her any more painkillers.

The air stilled waiting for the ghost to come to a decision. “Please.” The sound was barely audible. With a sudden whoosh of air, a pill bottle pushed itself against Cordelia’s face. Cordelia squeezed her eyes tighter together as she briefly lifted her hands to grab at the bottle. Her trembling fingers quickly pried open the lid. Cordelia had become quite the expert on how to dispose of a childproof lock. She poured several large tablets in her hand. Cordelia gagged as the large pills made it down her throat.

With a small whimper, she curled up tighter, praying that pills would start working. She knew that they couldn’t make the pain go away, nothing ever seemed to make that go away not completely, not anymore. But all she wanted, all she needed was enough relief to think. Cordelia had to digest all that Lorne had told her or more accurately, what he hadn’t told her.

Oh, god she needed to feel nothing. She ached for the isolation, the separation from her feelings, her pain. That was the only way she could survive, the only way she could live. Live, ha, she winced. What a fucked-up person she had become. The only way she would be able to stay alive, would be stop living. It wasn’t fair; she was just starting to be happy.

Just starting to get to the point, where the people around her weren’t just actors of some world scaled production, actors that she watched and reacted to while sitting safely in the balcony, always there but never a part of the show. She watched the actors live their lives, appreciated their struggles, their pain and joy, but never experiencing those emotions with them, never allowing herself to. Because to experience theirs would mean she would have to experience her own.

And that was not something she could do, or at least something she hadn’t been able to do before a select wonderful few of those same actors became more than bit players, but her friends. They had called for her from their play and beckoned her to join them. And soon she was a part of them, no longer separate, no longer alone. And with that closeness, their pain, became hers, their joy- hers, their sorrow- hers.

It figures, Cordelia Chase couldn’t do things half-assed. But like every other time, she ventured on the stage; she would walk a few steps, reveling in the bond forming and then promptly fall through the trap door. And like always she would get up brush herself off and wonder, why she went up there in the first place. And each time she fell, she would go and sit further in the back row, hiding behind those fuckin’ ugly walls. So why couldn’t she get behind those walls now.

She did it with Xander. Xander the first one to pull her up on the stage, led her a few feet, then watched her drop- standing close with those other actors that she was beginning to feel a part of – Buffy, Willow and Giles, proving that she wasn’t a part of the play, not really, just the audience. She managed to get behind her walls fast enough.

Doyle, called to her, she didn’t go as quickly that time, but she did go, it was too appealing up there under the bright lights, it was warm and welcoming and she wasn’t alone in her fear and isolation. Standing off in the corner of the stage, barely on it was another member of the audience that Doyle had beckoned-a dark man, dangerous, and solemn, watching, weighing, deciding. Cordelia ignored him, he hadn’t called her to the stage Doyle had.

As the play went on, Cordelia moved closer to the limelight, beginning to believe that she just might make it through the show and the man, who was not a man, began to move out of the shadows. His movements began to capture her interest, just as Doyle’s laughter began to weaken her walls. It had been fun, while it lasted. She had almost made it through the first half, before she dropped, but unlike with Xander she didn’t hit the ground. She had been caught and lowered. It still hurt, but the landing had been softer, she still ran up to the back row, but not as fast.

Cordelia had kept stopping to look back at who had helped her. It had been Angel. The broody dark actor, who just couldn’t decide if he wanted to be part of the play or just watch the play. But for a brief moment, he had become the play, at least for her. So, she kept turning back to watch him. Angel stood there, now alone on the stage, part of the play, but not wanting to be, she had seen his decision, she watched him walk towards the side stage preparing to get off.

Not to join her, in her flight to the back row or behind her own walls, but to some other dark and lonely place. For the very first time, she recognized and felt kinship with one of the actors of the play that was her life. She began to ache. And with that feeling, her ascent into the audience was halted. Cordelia called to him, but he didn’t listen, he kept moving away. Until it happened, until they realized that Doyle had not only left them both stranded but left Cordelia with his visions. In an instant, Angel veered from his destination and yanked Cordelia back on the stage.

So, they both remained, maintaining their self-protection, but giving all for the other. Angel kept her from the trap doors and she kept him from walking off stage. That need to keep Angel with her, became her reason that she willing stayed on the stage. That purpose, began to weaken her barriers. Then the crasher came, no one called him or drew him to the stage, he just came, bringing laughter and friendship with him. It was hard to resist.

With Wesley, the show became more real, harder to ignore. Angel smiled, Cordelia laughed. The walls were weakening fast, and with their dissolution, came love. At first Cordelia didn’t recognize it, she hadn’t felt it before not really. She thought the words, even said them to herself before, but she had never felt them, not really. With Xander she had just been reacting, maybe if Xander hadn’t led her to the trapdoor and watch her fall in, she could have felt it, but that didn’t happen- so if she had felt it, it was as gone as quickly as the acknowledgment.

But what she began to feel for Angel, even more than Wesley was love. Wesley brought her friendship; Angel brought her security, friendship, and a purpose. Not just the visions, but him. He needed her, her Cordelia Chase; no one ever needed her, like he had. The walls were almost gone. Until, it happened. Something always happened. And like a fool, she hadn’t even seen it coming. Angel opened the trapdoor and without a by your leave pushed her through it.

Oh god, how she had wanted to vault up to the balcony of that theater and stay hidden in the shadows of the back row, with the walls firmly in place. But the walls, were no longer there, just bits and pieces, she tried to put it back together she could have done it but Wesley and Gunn, some one else that just showed up, wouldn’t let her leave, they couldn’t stop Angel, but they could stop her. So, for them she came back, walls up, the remnants held together with weak glue, but giving her the distance she needed to remain on the stage.

Then Angel appeared, overwhelming everything, trying to fix the trap doors, trying to bolt all of the locks, trying to make the stage once more safe for her. And it worked, she felt safe again. She felt needed again. She loved again, or rather the love that had never left, but had been pushed away beat like a jack -hammer against her makeshift stone barrier. And that love remained too strong for the granite, even when Angel pushed her again. She tried and almost made it, but Angelus, the loss of Angel’s humanity it was too much, this time the love and the pain destroyed any self-protection she had. It was gone. And with it, her protection from the visions. Because, Cordelia knew that Lorne was right.

Without the walls, the visions were killing her. Her love for Angel was killing her, because it prevented her from rebuilding.

Cordelia sat up from her huddled position. Anger, she needed anger. No, she slumped again, anger wouldn’t help. Anger meant she felt something. She needed not to feel. Cordelia curled tighter, she didn’t want to be that person again, the person who stood on the outside and just watched, separate and safe. She wanted to feel, even the heartbreak because that meant she was truly a part of life, living, not just surviving. Cordelia had spent the better part of her life hiding from her feelings; she didn’t want to do it anymore. But she had to if she was to continue as a seer.

And that was more important than she was. “Everything is more important than I am; it’s just not fair,” the voice of a small girl whined.

Cordelia shoved that voice aside. Whine, Whine, what was she seven again. She grimaced.

“Don’t whine so Cordelia, behave, you’ll wake your mother. I really wish I had a boy they don’t whine so.” They hell they don’t, Cordelia grumbled at the voice of her daddy that had filled her head. A sharp pain shot through the fog of the painkillers.

“Why couldn’t you have had a boy? What good is a daughter going to do for my business?”

“Why couldn’t I have had a boy, I didn’t want a kid, you did, family name and such. Blaming me, that went out with Henry the VIII”

* Smack* “Shut up you useless bitch, go back to your bottle. Why in the hell, I married you I don’t know.”

“You don’t?” came the mumbled reply. “How about to give some class to your no body upbringing? Without me, you would me nothing. Who got you your ‘business associates’? Me and my name that’s who. There’s a use for Cordelia, you can sell her off, like my father sold me. Let her be your whore, I’m sick to death of it. ”

* Smack * “You drunkin’ …”

Cordelia lurched upright, jerking to the side of the bed. Dennis moved the trashcan towards Cordelia’s gagging body, just in time as she wretched. “That was not real, that was not real, “ she repeated over and over again, willing the pain behind the gray thick walls that instantly appeared. “Close, but not good enough,” the voice in her head commented sadly. It was older than the first but still childlike. “If you want the walls up than you better remember more.”

Cordelia shook her trembling body, “no, “ she repeated. “ It’s enough.”

“Nope, if you want them back, then you need to remember and soon. How long do think Angel will let you alone. As soon as he walks through that door, your walls will be gone. Good or bad, they will be gone. So, be strong. It will only be for a little while, once you remember, the walls will protect you- like they always have.” The different voice said, it was still hers but it wasn’t the whiner, it was a child’s voice, just colder, calmer. The voice of the young girl that first built the walls.


“We’ll die.”

“Good Riddance.” Cordelia grumbled into her pillow.

“You don’t mean that. Your are a survivor – I made you one. Don’t go all-weak on me now. You want to stay alive.”

“I want to live.”

“No longer an option, you heard the green guy. You don’t build the walls, you die. There is no other way. Die? So what your last memories can relieve what the whole 2 minutes of pure happiness you had with Angel. Guess what it’s gone, even if there was another way. He’s ‘grr’ guy again, not exactly a recipe for true love, not with all of his conditions. Remember.”

Cordelia struggled trying to drive out the memories that were filling her mind.

“Here you are going to needs these.” The cold little girl that she had once been started to hand her gray stone tablets.


Cordelia was seven. Her daddy had come to her, as she was getting ready for bed.

“Cordelia, I understand from you teachers that you have become quite the little ballerina.”

Cordy stood still. Her daddy never came to see her, never showed any interest in her activities. She gave her father, such a smile, filled with surprise, love, and adoration. She nodded.

“My, look at you, you’re as pretty as a picture. I would love to see what you have learned.”

“It’s Sleeping Beauty, I got the part as the Princess,” she said eagerly.

“Of course, you did, no Chase would be anything but the Princess. Tomorrow night, I am having some business friends over. Why don’t we plan on you doing a little performance, then.”

Little Cordy, quickly nodded. “Will Mommy be there?”

“You know mother gets her headaches, she needs her rest.”

Little Cordy’s smile faltered momentarily, but she shot back an even bigger smile. “I’ll dance for her before.”

“Cordy, you know your mother doesn’t like to be disturbed. Now, be a good little Princess and go to bed.”

“Yes, daddy. Daddy will you tell me a story,” she timidly asked. Her eyes widened, she couldn’t believe she asked that.


“But tomorrow, if I do well, then you will.”

Her father stared, for the first time looking her up and down. “You are really quite pretty, and bargaining with men already, yes, you may be an asset, after all.”

Cordelia’s brow scrunched, she didn’t know what her daddy meant.

“Good night, Princess.”

“Goodnight, Daddy.”
The next night was when the bricks began to form.

“They liked me, Daddy. My story please.”

“I’m sorry, but you disappointed me.”

“They clapped.”

“Yes, they were polite, except for Mr. Thomas, he was not happy. He asked that you go sit on his lap and kiss him goodnight, but you didn’t.”

“Eww, daddy, he was gross.”


Cordy winced. She had only wanted to please him and now he was mad.

“Mr. Thomas is not gross and the next time he asks you to sit on his lap you will, understand. No, I cannot read you a story. You’ve upset me.”

“I’m sorry daddy, I’ll be better. I promise.”

“That’s my Princess, Mr. Thomas will be coming to dinner tomorrow night. And no, before you ask, Mother is still not feeling well.”
The next night, the foundation was laid.

Cordelia did as her father commanded. She sat on Mr. Thomas’s lap. She squirmed as his clammy hand rubbed against her knee. “Daddy.”

“Not, now Princess.” Her father said as he looked at her and Mr. Thomas then away.

The clammy hand moved further up, reaching up to the hemline of her costume. Cordelia jerked. Mr. Thomas held her tighter.

“Good evening, gentlemen. Cordelia it’s time for you to go to bed.”

Cordy looked up in surprise and relief, blinking at her tears. “Yes, mommy.”
“What the hell did you think you were doing? Do you know how important of a client Mr. Thomas is?”

“Cordelia is seven years old, don’t even you think that is a little young to be a whore?”

*Smack * “You are crazy and a drunk. If you don’t stay out of my way, I will send you away, for good.”

“You wouldn’t”

“In an heart beat, it’s all the rage- a nice long stay in a sanitarium.”


“Your choice, your room and a bottle or a padded cell.” The door slammed.
The bricks came fast building on top one of another.
Cordelia was twelve. Her daddy came into the room. “Princess, I think it’s time you became hostess of the dinner’s. You know, your mother just doesn’t feel up to it.”


“Yes, you are all grown up know.”

Cordelia squirmed as her father stared at her breasts. She hated them; none of the other girls in school had them. She hated the fact that she had them and that she was taller than everyone else. She fought down her unease. She was her daddy’s princess, better than those nobodies better than anyone.

“Yes, it’s time you joined the adults, you would like that wouldn’t you.”

“I guess, Yes of course, daddy,” she said at his frown.

“That’s my Princess, here wear this.”

“That’s mommy’s.”

“It will fit you, now get ready,” he handed her a strapless form fitting silk dress. “Don’t fret it will give you an unsightly complexion, and tomorrow, I’ll go riding with you.”


“Of course, didn’t you know I bought that mare that you wanted?”

“You did. We can go riding?”

“Of course, but now go change.”

“Yes, Daddy.”
The wall was in place.

Cordelia was fifteen. “Princess, Mr. Reynolds would like to speak to you. Why don’t you go into the study?”

She blinked then nodded. Cordelia, tall beautiful and clad this time in her own form fitting silk gown gave the gray haired man a bright wide smile and led him into her father’s study. Maybe this time she would actually get that red convertible she wanted, but then again, she never did get that stupid story read to her, or go riding with her father. Who cares after this, she would get her car, she swore and the story, the ride, and every other promise that was broken didn’t matter, the little girl who needed them was long gone.


With disgust, Cordelia got off the bed and looked in the mirror. She looked a mess. Crying was so bad for the eyes. Ugh, she went to the bathroom and washed her face. She stared into the mirror there. Better, but not yet perfect and Cordelia Chase was nothing less than perfect.

Not to worry, sleep always cured the deforming puffiness and dark circles around her eyes. She would just sleep and tomorrow everything would be fine. Though, she guessed she better go see that green demon again. It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to see who exactly was her warrior now, before the next vision. Angel or Groo, what a choice, both needy ass warriors who wanted something from her.

Well, tough shit, Cordelia Chase was back and nobody or nothing was going to touch her again. “Good night, Dennis.” Finally, to be able to sleep without any pain.

Chapter 3

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