Title: Underneath the Drowning Water (Book 2)
Rating: R, for now, going into NC-17 eventually
Summary: Fighting her way back to sanity after Angelus’ attentions the previous spring, Cordelia now has to deal with his return from hell. AU of BtVS s3.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Notes: Part of my Persephone series of fics, this is part 5 of Book 2. The previous four ficlets that make up Book 1 have been organized under a tag and stored in my memories. These are under the same tags. This installment is unbeta’d, and it probably shows. I’m not sure what I have can be beta’d, since it borders on nonsensical.
When Cordelia was very little her father brought back from one of his trips a collection of books, German in origin, that were a telling of faerie tales.
Some she knew already, some not.
Her favorite was the Jabberwocky.
She remembered the illustration in dark pencils that accompanied the text, of large vacant eyes and a wide open mouth. Pterodactyl hands reaching like claws after meat. The forest surrounding the creature was a collection of black smudges.
She never thought of a forest that could be that dark, or a creature that could be so terrifying.
Until she woke up in the woods with Angel running from her as though she was the thing that lived in his nightmares. She watched him go with eyes too large for her face and a mouth opened to devour and hands like a pterodactyl, reaching for him so that she could feel his ribs through her fingers, feet clomping across the dried brush and leaves crackling like a witch’s cackle in her head.
He ran like a scared child and she chased like the monster he’d made her, rage burning like acid bubbles in her brain. She wanted nothing more than the tender meat of his throat in her jaw, chomping, chomping.
His bones crunching, crunching.
She screamed and it came out like a roar, like a chortling guffaw that kept time to her clomping, stumping feet.
She was the Jabberwocky and he couldn’t hurt the Jabberwocky. The Jabberwocky would hurt him.
She reached out and he looked over his shoulder
The lunch bell rang
and the woods disappeared
and the Jabberwocky disappeared
and she was Cordelia again.
Buffy and Xander and Willow and Oz passed her, chattering and laughing, heading towards the exit. Xander dumped his tray into the garbage on his way out and his milk carton fell to the ground, the liquid spilling out.
It was red and unctuous, running ugly across the linoleum.
And then she blinked and it was milk, white and bubbly from the impact. Wholesome.
She felt the ragged edges of insanity like cobwebs pressing against her face, obscuring her vision.
She stood and scraped her chair back, the girls she used to hang with back before Angel killed her sat at their own table made a point of not looking in her direction despite the noise. That root was good and dead, she thought.
She couldn’t be bothered to care. They were a mask she wore anyway. Her first.
She had a new one now, the girl who went crazy and came back from the loony house even crazier.
“Monsters are real,” she whispered as she passed them.
They cafeteria was too loud, though, and they didn’t hear her.