Summary: Buffy realizes some things about Cordelia.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Notes: I asked people for Writing Assignments. My friend Caroline gave me the assignment of a 3rd party perspective watching a pairing. I lost the pairing part but I think it still fits the 3rd Party Perspective thing.
Cordelia’s scream sent Buffy into a trance. The scream was followed by her body flailing, Angel grabbing around Cordelia’s waist, Wesley and Gunn surrounding them and hunching down as Cordelia and Angel fell to the floor. The screams didn’t stop, the uncontrollable jerks of Cordelia’s body got worse before there was a sign of subsiding.
Buffy heard and saw it all in vivid detail. The fear and pain in the screams, the unnatural movements of Cordelia’s neck, arms, torso and legs. Angel’s attempt to garner control of Cordelia’s body, protect her from the floor of the Magic Box, protect her from something that was attacking her from the inside.
Then there was Cordelia’s eyes. Open the whole time with pure terror and laced with a fear that cut right into Buffy’s heart. Buffy’s hands closed into tight fists, she could feel her nails in her skin as she watched…they called it a vision.
This was Cordelia having a vision…Buffy shuddered at the thought. It was more an invasion. A full body pummeling of pain and evil that poured out every pore of Cordelia…no, not Cordelia. Cordelia ceased to be Cordelia when it took her over. She flailed and jerked, gone was the regal air of Cordelia Chase. She was a vessel for…what did she call them? Cordelia called the people she saw the ‘helpless’. She became them, she was them. Buffy was seeing Cordelia become helpless.
Bitch. Superficial. Tactless. Impossible to ignore. Never ever did she relate Cordelia to helpless. Not Cordelia. She’d never worried much about Cordelia for various reasons. She’d rarely given Cordelia much thought, even after knowing she worked for Angel, that she’d somehow become a carrier of visions. Buffy had never thought…
There was Cordelia again, Angel had their hands locked, they were both on their knees. Wesley and Gunn still around them, hunched down creating a protective circle around her. The focus they had was intimate. Especially Angel’s, he held onto her was staring right into her eyes. Cordelia was talking non-stop and Buffy didn’t doubt that the three men were hearing every word she said.
It was directions, it was about what she’d seen, Cordelia’s voice was softer but full of tears. The kind you never shed but couldn’t help but feel when you saw the ignorant in danger from the supernatural. Buffy knew that sound, she’d felt that compassion first hand. The Slayer in her heard the danger: vampires, a group of them, outside The Bronze, going to attack and turn three teenaged girls.
But Buffy didn’t think to move, she just watched as Gunn and Wesley turned and went to where Giles kept stakes. Buffy watched as Angel helped Cordelia to her feet, his eyes never leaving hers as he sat her in a chair at the research table.
“Are you okay?”
Cordelia rolled eyes and winced. “I’m fine.”
The lie was thick in the air and Angel stared at Cordelia. Buffy was facing his back but she felt the weight of his eyes, intense and full of guilt. Self-recrimination for the violation Cordelia went through – for him.
“I’m fine.” Cordelia’s voice was harder now. Regal. Commanding. She was herself again but Buffy had new eyes when it came to the woman sitting in Magic Box.
The other woman with the four them appeared suddenly, sliding into a chair next to Cordelia. A glass of ice water and two pills were put in front of her.
“Do you want tea?” she asked.
“Fred, I don’t need tea. Why do you all ask me if I want tea?”
Angel was still staring.
“Go. I’ve got water and Fred.”
“Take care of her.” Angel barked it at the woman called Fred.
Buffy understood. It was so clear. All the things that had rankled her, made her angry and she’d felt betrayal about between Angel and Cordelia ceased to be in that moment right before Angel, Wesley and Gunn vanished from the Magic Box.
“Buffy, I hope you understand…I mean I know we are here, in your territory but the visions they are Angel’s.”
Cordelia was looking at her, trying to calm the Slayer she expected to be mad, or run off to join Angel. It hadn’t occurred, not when she was seeing Cordelia. Not when she met Cordelia eyes and saw the hidden pain. Behind the usual confidence, beyond the lies of fine was deep pure pain. Pain from the invasion of the vision, pain due to what she’d seen. Pain that Buffy saw in her own eyes all the time, mirrored in the eyes of Cordelia Chase.
Chosen. Cordelia had been Chosen. Cordelia carried the pain of the world of demons and death in a manner more personal than Buffy could imagine. Cordelia had been Chosen and she carried it with amazing dignity. She carried it without losing herself.
“Well, if you don’t understand get over it. It’s his mission.”
Buffy realized she was still just watching, staring and knew that she looked angry to Cordelia. Defensive and not understanding because she’d been that way since the moment they’d all walked in the door. Especially to Cordelia, the one she’d known who knew Angel better than she did now. It’d burned. But now…now she had no right to question their relationship.
“Do you want some ice cream?” Buffy asked.
Cordelia smiled and turned to Fred. “Ice cream?”
“We’d love some.”
Buffy nodded, took one last long look into Cordelia’s eyes. Eyes of a woman she didn’t know but was in awe of and felt connected to in ways she’d never expected to be. Then she walked away to get the ice cream.