Puppy Gets A Playmate by Christie Baird
Summary: Slight AU from The Wish. Instead of killing Cordelia in the library, Vamp Willow and Xander take her home...
Spoilers: The Wish, BTVS Season Three
Nothing Fancy, my site - any others, just ask.
notes: To Idiot Jed (Claire) at Stranger Things. Happy Valentines Day hun!
This is the first time I've EVER written this pairing, if it sucks, then I apologise. There *are* some mentions of non-consensual sex. Nothing explicit or anything, I just thought I should warn you... Oh, and sorry if it's not as NC-17-ey as you wanted it to be Claire, I think my smut-muse is in another country this week. Smut and drama ahead though, methinks...
A while ago, she doesn't know when, the days sort
of started to bleed together. It isn't like they have no meaning now, because
every day, every moment that Cordelia Chase is breathing in the air around her
is like an event in itself because she's still here.
She isn't broken yet.
People underestimated her, she always knew that was true. The parts that other people didn't see, the parts with Xander, those were the parts that she was underestimated. There, she could be loving, caring - still bitchy, still Cordelia, but different. Not the same person that everyone expected her to be. She could be Cordy.
Things change though, people change - and the things Cordelia often thought of as constant no longer seem to be.
Xander, for a start. Cheating on her with Willow, his mousy unassuming boyfriend-stealing best friend.
And *her*, Willow. Did she not know that she was messing with Cordelia Chase? Hello, did she have some kind of death wish?
Well, it seems in this dimension she did have. Or at least, if she didn't, she was granted one anyway. Not only dead though, oh no, that would be too simple. In this dimension, Willow - mousy, unassuming boyfriend stealing Willow - is a card-carrying member of the suck-my-blood-gang. And so is Xander.
At first it was ironic that they'd be together here. Of course now, it's just starting to be annoying. In fact, Cordelia's almost sure that Willow's flaunting it in front of her, flaunting her boyfriend (in his mildly sexy evil status) and the fact that he's not really her boyfriend. He's dead, he's dangerous - and so far, he's been looking at Cordelia like she's his next meal.
There's another thing about irony. She probably *is* his next meal. And what a crappy, undignified, not even remotely wonderful way to get a ticket the hell out of here.
Sighing, Cordelia slumped against the wall - they treat her well most of the time, bring her meals, only kick her about if they're really pissed off - and the sad fact is she's resigned to that now. It's like a normal Cordelia Chase day - and that's what's beginning to scare her. What if this, this right here, is her lot in life? What if her destiny isn't inevitable stardom? What if her destiny is being chained up like this and never seeing the light of day again?
What if she's destined to die as though she never lived? Because who would miss her, honestly?
The door creaked and moaned as it opened and Cordelia's head snapped up, eyes darkening with worry. Usually, they go easy on her, providing she keeps her mouth shut, doesn't whine too much.
It's times like this, when she wasn't sure of their moods that Cordelia Chase wished she was broken.
* * * * * * *
"I still don't see how this is a good idea," Xander grumbled, following along behind Willow as they walked down the corridor. "Putting them both together? Spells trouble..."
Her tone was placating, much like someone would use on a child. She loved Xander, obsessed over Xander - but sometimes, she thought that if he would just listen to her instead of questioning so much, life would be just that little bit more fun. "What are they going to do?" She asked, running her tongue lightly along her fangs - she fed not five minutes ago, a child. It was sweet. "Talk about the slayer...? Oooh, scared..." Pausing for effect, Willow shook her head, "No, just bored, actually. The Master said we're to put them together. Like hamsters, in one of those little wheel things."
The underlying implication in that sentence is that they follow orders, Xander didn't like it. He liked being his own vampire - not that it wasn't fun with the Master around now, but still... He liked having freedom. Liked the fact that they could come and go as they pleased - now, everything they do it seems, is for the 'greater good' - and not the 'greater good' that the white hats enforce either. Their own greater good serves a much more dark purpose and for that, Xander is pleased.
Good is so... Over-rated.
Slipping the key into the lock, he pushed the door open. Even if she were trying to escape, she'd be no match for either of them - as was proven in the first week she'd been brought here. She wasn't a slayer, or anything special, she was Cordelia Chase, the same vacuous tramp she'd always been but enough, apparently, to worry the Master of her warnings. "Time's up Cordelia, you're out of here."
Seeing the hope flit across her face is like a drug - hope is the one emotion that captives learn to lose quickly around here. "Well would you look at that," Said Willow, grinning, "She actually thinks we'd let her go."
"Actually, I was just hoping you'd kill me... But you're probably more interested in talking me to death." Snapped Cordelia, glaring defiantly up at her captors. It was a mistake and a part of her knew it - knew it even as the pair of hands hauled her against the wall - the copper smell of blood making her nauseous.
"I could do that in a heartbeat," Whispered Willow, hands clasped round Cordelia's throat, "But this way? More fun for us. See, we get to make you hurt."
It's not like that's anything different though. Cordelia's resigned to that - the getting hurt parts of the day. What she's not resigned to is the fact that she's going to die here. How could she be? She was the most popular girl in school, she was Cordelia Chase and that meant something.
Except here, in this place, it didn't mean anything. She'd wished for this - wished that Buffy Summers had never come to Sunnydale and she'd been captured by perhaps two of the most sadistic, evil vampires she could imagine.
A moment later and Cordelia's being pulled down the corridor by a fistful of hair, the ends pulling hard and making her scalp bleed. Whimpering, Cordelia gets kicked for her troubles - body curving over to protect itself. She caught herself wishing they would kill her yesterday, wishing they would just put an end to all of this and it made her mad. She was Cordelia Chase, she was not a quitter, damnit!
"Puppy...?" Willow's entire demeanour changed - sexual energy crackling through the air like a whip. "I have something for you..."
Wincing as her head is yanked upwards, her scalp stinging with pain, Cordelia's eyes slid up, a small cry of surprise leaving her lips. "Angel?" There's a vague moment somewhere when Cordelia remembers what he used to be like. All... Broody over Buffy, Mr. I'm-So-Tortured. That last part? Literally true now. He really is Mr. I'm-So-Tortured now.
A moment of hysteria passes where she wants to laugh, throw caution to the wind and laugh at the irony of it all because here, in this world, dorky Willow Rosenberg and almost loveable loser Xander Harris are vampires. Angel, the guy who even when he was brooding looked kind of cute, is lying here presumably having been tortured by aforementioned dork. It's absurd, it's stupid...
And it's all because of her.
She feels the tears before she can stop them - tears are for the weak and Willow loves it. She hears her laughter ringing in her ears before the hand that held the hair Cordelia prided herself on loosened, another coming down to stroke it, softly.
"Don't cry, Cordelia..." Says the voice tenderly, softly... And for a moment, Cordelia just leans into it.
It doesn't last.
Willow laughs and with more force than Cordelia was aware she had, tosses her inside the cell with Angel, tearing a fistful of hair from Cordelia's head.
"Congratulations Puppy. You got yourself a playmate..." Says Willow as the door slams shut. The pair saunter away, leaving Cordelia and Angel alone, Cordelia laying there clutching her stomach.
"I didn't mean for it to happen..." Whispered the brunette, softly, wanting to pick herself off the floor and not look so damned pitiful.
When something moves behind her, Cordelia turns slightly, seeing Angel, hand stretched out to stroke her hair. When he sees her looking, he recoils as though he's been burned.
He's been here longer than her. It's obvious. The marks on his chest, his stomach. Whips. Burns.
"What happened to you?" She whispers softly, "You used to be so..." Her voice tapers off. He won't know her.
"I waited... But she never came. I waited for her... But she never came..."
The first time she looked at him, there was nothing. No light at the end of his tunnel. In his eyes there's a spark - the most insidious emotion of all - hope.
"You know her?"
Cordelia shakes her head. "I... I did. But that place seems like so far away. She... She made it better."
Slowly, the hope she saw in his eyes began to bleed away. "I thought she'd come."
* * * * * *
"Disappointing." Said Willow, frowning as she glared at the screen. He was supposed to have snapped by now, supposed to have given into the bloodlust that must surely have been raging throughout his body.
Not even a graze with his fang.
Angel was holding out. He and Cordelia had done nothing but 'talk' over these past two days. Oh, she'd been there allright. There to have her fun with Angel, let Xander had some fun of his own with Cordelia. Those screams had been the best she'd heard in days and the look in Angel's eyes? Priceless.
Xander had made him watch, unable to stop what was happening to Cordelia - and afterwards, even with her blood spilled if only slightly, Angel had merely stroked her hair as she cried.
Not a hint of fang in sight.
Even though it had been the Master's idea, Willow was starting to dislike it. The pair were confiding in each other, comforting one another when Willow or Xander had paid them a visit.
The thought disgusted Willow, made her angry. Bored.
And when Willow got bored then that, oh that was the time to start worrying.
* * * * * *
"I don't think I can do this any more." Whispered Cordelia, softly. Every part of her hurt. Her clothes were torn and as yet, she hadn't had anything to replace them. This last time, Xander hadn't wasted any time on preliminaries - hadn't hurt her enough so that she could push herself away when he forced himself upon her. When he did that now, it got easier to not be there, to not be in that body.
She could be there afterwards, cleaning up, knowing what he'd done.
But it was becoming increasingly easier to not be there during.
This time though, had been different. He hadn't mauled her like he usually did. Instead, he'd pushed her skirt up around her hips--
And Cordelia had screamed throughout.
"I know..." Replied Angel, from where he sat next to her, hand stroking in her soft hair. He could end it all for her in just one moment. It would be easier that way, kinder. The subject had never come up. Cordelia had never asked and he had never offered. He'd made excuses, told himself that if he were to do that, Willow's depravities would only get worse.
He knew he'd never get out of there undusted, not now, not ever. And he also knew that while in here, he'd never be given a reprieve.
He was her play-thing. Her toy.
Her puppy. And Cordelia had been placed in here as his playmate. He knew what Willow wanted. She wanted blood-shed. So, she'd starved him. It was getting harder and harder to be with Cordelia like this, when he could smell blood trickling from the places Xander had used and abused, when he could see her pulse beating so clearly in the curve of her neck.
Today was St. Valentine's Day. A day when usually, Angel brooded more than usual, thinking of all the things he'd done to his victims as Angelus.
They wouldn't have known that, had Xander not told her.
He'd once sent her a card. A little bent out of shape, he'd reminded her as she sat there, fear dancing in dark eyes. Cordelia had snubbed him, laughed at him in front of all of her friends, humiliated him.
Today had been payback.
Today had almost killed her.
Xander and Willow were careful like that. Make it hurt, make you bleed - but never let it end.
"I just want it to stop hurting..."
Her shoulders shook with her gentle sobs and Angel, ashamed, turned his head away, arms circling round her and drawing her close.
* * * * * * *
There was nothing tender about what they did. No loving caresses or soft kisses. It was brutal. It was hard and fast and exactly the way that Willow liked it.
Four fingers slammed up into her, stretching her and making her keen. Willow was forced onto her tiptoes, still watching the screen over Xander's back. Angel might have hundreds of years advantage over her in age at least, but she knew when he was going to cave. When he finally did, she'd vowed she'd be watching, vowed that she'd punish him for killing his mate, even though it had been set up just for that reason, to break Angel a little more and give Cordelia Chase her final depravation...
Having someone she cared about, even fleetingly, end her life.
Willow had decided that though she despised the brunette, she'd miss her. Miss the screams ripping through the cells, miss the times when she really thought that she had a shot of living through this and spoke up, the same caustic wit she'd always had nibbling at Willow's calm exterior.
Her words never hurt, not now. The vampire in her hated the person she once was, mousy, ridiculously polite - always willing to help. There was nothing left of that in her. So when Cordelia spoke out, Willow merely laughed, words bouncing off her skin like they'd never been spoken.
That was weeks ago. Cordelia had never spoken out in such a long time, had accepted her fate, so to speak, with her friend at her side.
Uh, friends, was there anything more sickening? Willow thought that maybe she'd--
Her head fell back, Xander slamming his fingers harder into her and making her lose her train of thought. His fangs had since buried in her shoulder, drawing blood that trickled from the wound. As she felt her muscles beginning to clench around him, Willow gasped, pushing back against him and growling when he left her.
"Shut up, Will..." In a moment, Xander was buried inside of her, pounding inside of her, much like he had Cordelia. They were completely different, fire and ice. Cordelia hot, tight and like velvet around him.
Willow, all but one of those things. This was home. He could slide inside of her and easily tell himself that this was where he was meant to be.
He slammed harder into her, his hips thrusting into her and when finally a scream ripped through the air, Willow tightened around him, watching as the last gasps of air escaped Cordelia Chase's lips...
* * * * *
The dreams haunted him, much like they had a long time ago too. He'd never tasted human blood in so long and now, he hungered for it, like a starving man would for food.
The look on her face was etched on his mind, the calm, plaintive way she'd opened herself up to him as she'd realised what was happening.
She'd wanted it.
Angel had taken it.
He could tell himself that he'd done the right thing, that this was for the best but truth be told, he missed her and now, there was no escape for him. No relief in the company of Cordelia Chase.
When she'd first came in here, he'd given her rules to follow. Don't talk back. Pray that it's Xander who takes you and not Willow.
That first time Willow had taken her, Cordelia had cried for an hour straight, her insides bruised and torn where the vampiress had hurt her. After that, her cries had subsided to tiny sobs, barely there, only heard through the enhanced hearing Angel sometimes considered as a curse in itself.
It was poignant that today of all days, he'd killed her.
St. Valentines Day. That brutal treatment of Xander's becoming her last...
"I just want it to stop hurting..." Whispered Cordelia, softly, her face buried into his chest.
Her shoulders shook with her gentle sobs and Angel, ashamed, turned his head away, arms circling round her and drawing her close.
For a moment, he didn't speak. Couldn't. Couldn't give her this, not when the reality was that he was going to lose the one thing that kept him going now.
He had to though. How could he not?
"I can make it stop," He murmured, quiet enough for it not to be picked up on the cameras that he knew were there.
Her face turned up to him and there, right then, was the reason he was doing this. He could live through this, she couldn't.
Sooner or later and she'd turn into another Drusilla, a human version. It would drive her crazy and that, to Angel, was more cruel than anything Willow or Xander could ever do.
In that moment, he cursed her innocence, for no-one should have any left after what she'd been through.
"I can make it stop." He repeated.
She understood. "Oh... But... What about you?"
He didn't answer that, for fear of what he might say, for fear of begging her to reject his offer. Instead, when Angel spoke again, his voice was soft, filled with a regret that he couldn't voice. "We'll have to make it look real, Cordelia."
"You'd do that for me?" She whispered. She understood that over these past months, they'd become friends. Understood that while Angel had been alone, he'd almost gone crazy. Yet he was willing to make it stop. "Why?"
"Because..." Angel faltered and sighed, "Because I hate seeing what they do to you. I hate knowing what they'll make of you..."
He didn't mean a vampire and Cordelia knew it, he meant Drusilla - meant the guilt he'd been carrying with him for hundreds of years was still eating away at him.
"I'm not Drusilla."
"But this way you can make up for it..." Said Cordelia softly.
Angel nodded, "D-do you want this?" God help him but he wanted her to say no.
A solitary tear made its way down her cheek and Cordelia nodded. A life without hope was a living hell and slowly but surely, Cordelia knew that they'd take away what little they had left.
They'd take away Angel and she couldn't live with it...
"I'm sorry." She said quietly, "I just--"
"Sshhh..." Angel interrupted, hugging her again. "I know. It's okay, Cordelia."
Her body still lay there, the puncture wound in her neck having dried up.
Cordelia was cold.
He didn't want to believe it, but he'd had no choice. She was the first person that had started to mean something after Buffy. She was his life, his hope and now, he had nothing and the look on her face was still etched in his mind, her final words.
"Cordelia...?" He didn't speak more than that, just stood, at the other side of the cell. From behind, he heard her breath catch and knew she was crying. "It's okay." He said softly, "I'll be all right..."
Years of practice, battling with Angelus, Angel was an expert at trying to exercise control. It wasn't hard - just as he had to force the demon down, he had to force himself to turn on her, to walk on over there and feed from her. Make it real.
He spun, knowing that their eyes were on him from wherever they sat when they watched. He stalked towards her, crossing the length of the cell in two short strides and grabbed her, hauling her to him. As his fangs punctured her skin, it wasn't Cordelia who cried out, it was him - the noise muffled against her shoulder.
And when he pulled back, saw the terrified look in her eyes that he was going to leave her, not do as he'd promised, Angel felt the tears hot and wet against his cheeks.
"Angel, it's okay..."
But it wasn't. And it wouldn't be unless he did as he'd promised. This was all Angel had left to give her, no hope left, the only thing he could give her was peace.
His hands raised and though he knew he was forfeiting his own future, whatever that may be, he did it.
Her neck snapped easily, her body falling to the floor almost weightlessly.
Falling to his knees, Angel hugged her until her body went cold, hand stroking through her hair. For a moment, he could almost pretend that she was still there, still with him.
He didn't let go of her. Not when Willow came down, bite marks in her shoulder and a smirk on her face to wish him a Happy Valentines Day. Didn't let go of her even when the blood he'd been denied for the past few months came. Letting go would mean admitting she was gone and Angel couldn't, not yet.
When he closed his eyes that night, he realised something. The things he'd done on this day a hundred years ago, they'd hurt - the memories enough to almost cripple his soul.
Nothing compared to this.
While Cordelia had been alive, she'd been his hope, the thing that kept him going in here.
He'd killed her.
He'd done the right thing, but he'd killed her and somehow, Angel knew that in the next hundred years, the one face that would haunt him the most would be the face of Cordelia Chase, the friend he'd killed on Valentines Day.