Queen Of Sorrow by Lara
Summary: A post-RoF short from Cordelia's point of view.
Spoilers: Rain Of Fire, Season Four.
Notes: A continuation of Pain and Ashes. Please be kind...
don't need you...//
Cordelia closed her eyes, trying to block out those four words. Her breathing came in gasps as she continued to cry. The sheets were torn off the mattress as soon as she came back to the loft and thrown to the side. Her nails dug into the old mattress as the sobs ran through her body.
She felt dirty. She felt like dying.
She felt like a moron.
The world didn't end. Nothing happened. Her life wasn't over.
Her life *was* over.
He hated her. She saw it in his eyes. The hurt. The fear. The pain. The anger. It all merged into the one thing that drove people into destruction. Hate. He hated her with his heart and with his soul. Nothing could change that.
Cordelia felt a hand on her shoulder. Her head lifted ever so slightly. The hand was cold. She slowly turned towards the person. "Ang-" She stopped herself, staring into blue eyes. Not brown. She sat up, moving away from Angel's son. "Connor."
"Cordelia." Concern filled his eyes as he sat next to her. "Are you alright? You left in a hurry and I could barely keep up-" His eyes narrowed. "What did he do to you?"
She smiled bitterly. *Now* he starts calling Angel his father. "Nothing. He didn't do anything." He moved closer to her, and she moved back. His hand went to hold hers, and she pushed it away. "Connor. I'm fine."
The boy looked at her. "You've been crying. What's wrong?"
Shaky hands wiped at damp skin. "N-Nothing. I just...I miss my apartment." She lied. She was such a fake.
His eyes lit up slightly. "You still have an apartment? Can I go see it?"
Cordelia closed her eyes painfully. "I don't have it anymore. Angel had to rent it out." She sighed. "I was gone for a long...he couldn't pay for it anymore."
"But you can get it back." She stared at him, not sure if it was a question or a suggestion. "Right?"
"No. People live in there. It would be wrong." A lot of things were wrong. She slowly slid off the bed, standing on her toes as she stretched her legs. "I'm gonna go shower. Okay?"
He stood as well. "I could...join you." He offered. The seductive tone that should have accompanied those four words was instead given in an unsure, almost childish manner.
God help her.
The Seer stared at him incredulously. Where did he learn to say something like that? She had never gotten like that around Angel and unless it was Gunn and Fred...of course. She lowered her gaze. "No."
Connor didn't try to hide the hurt. He remained silent for a moment. "Why."
She walked across the room towards the shower. "Because I don't love you." She replied, delivering the line as icy as she could before disappearing. She heard him exhale sharply before leaving the loft. She felt horrible. Another person hurt by her. At least she kept it in the family.
Cordelia walked to the small makeshift stall, turning the knob around. The tiny room was cold, and her jaw clenched as her hand moved under the running water. The water was either hot or cold. There was no in between. Hopefully she would get blessed.
She stripped her clothes off, dropping them to the frosty floor. She walked over to her radio resting on the window still, and turned it on. Some song her mother used to listen to. But it wasn't Stevie Nicks this time. Someone re-did it.
A smile appeared on her face for a mere moment. All the things that had happened in the past night and all she thought of was a stupid song. There was the old Cordelia.
She stepped into the stall, letting the hot water hit her. It didn't seem so hot then. More like lukewarm. Her head dropped back, the water running down her face. Down her neck. Down her body.
She could still feel his hands on her. His clumsy hands. His various attempts to get a reaction out of her during it were nearly laughable, and she didn't even bother to help him out. He had moved and touched as gracelessly as humanly possible. His hands fumbled over her body as he traveled up on top of her. His lips had tried desperately to meet hers in some sort of gentle, innocent embrace- and she didn't allow it. So he kept trying as he moved. His attempts at pleasuring her were so bumbling and uncertain.
He didn't take after his father in that.
He didn't have the same light feel. The same tantalizing movements. The same slightly overconfident attitude of a man who has had years of experience.
She was wrong. He wasn't like his father. It didn't run in the family.
Deep in her mind, she was hoping Connor would resemble his father in every way. Not that it could've made what she did any more excusable. Nor would it have made her feel any better.
It wasn't Connor's fault. He wasn't the one who started it. She did.
What was she thinking?
Cordelia herself didn't know what went through her mind that night. It sure as hell wasn't "Hey, the world is ending- let's fuck!"
Far from it.
Her behavior was unforgivable. She had told a man she loved him and always would. Then she slept with his son. She didn't even know why.
She saw Angelus. She saw him for what he really was. Not what Angel had told her or what she had seen in Sunnydale. It wasn't watered down this time. It was up close and in living color. She was there and she was terrified.
She saw what Angelus could and would do to her if she had the chance.
She saw the hurt on Angel's face when she told them they couldn't be together.
The New Cordelia couldn't give in to her emotions and desires. The New Cordelia needed to be strong and focused.
The New Cordelia sucked.
Cordelia felt the tears begin again and she struggled to stop them. Her hand blindly reached for the shampoo bottle on the floor next to the shower stall. She found it, bringing it into the shower. One finger opened the top, and her hand opened to pour the thick liquid. And she stopped.
She dropped the bottle, stepping out of the shower. Her head poked into the other room, looking around for any sign of Connor. When she didn't see him, she dashed across the room. The cold air hit her wet and very naked body, and her jaw once again clenched tightly. She reached the pile of boxes that held her belongings and shuffled through them.
Clothes. Jewelry. Journals. Pictures. Shoes. Books. Undergarments.
A black box.
Cordelia grinned and plucked the box from the pile. Clairol hair color. Chocolate brown. She remembered Angel saying he liked that color on her. Her natural color.
So be it.
She nearly slipped as she ran back to the room. Her hands shook slighty as she opened the box and emptied the contents onto the floor. She hesitated, and then dove in. The plastic gloves were placed on her wet hands. The contents were opened and mixed. The dye was placed in her hair.
She paced impatiently as she waited for the time to pass. Her hands fumbled nervously while she walked around the bathroom. She passed the small mirror Connor had stole for her and stopped. Her eyes focused on her body.
What was it about her that caused father and son to stare at her like she was some goddess? What was it about her that made them go to great lengths to please her?
She didn't care.
That Cordelia sucked.
Cordelia glanced at her watch and jumped to the shower. It was time. She washed the dye hastily from her hair and scrubbed at her body simultaneously. She kept washing herself until she felt fully satisfied.
Not clean. She would never be clean.
The woman stepped out of the shower, grabbing the scratchy towel and drying herself. It left a certain amount of irritation on her skin, but she didn't care. She massaged her mane as she walked into the other room.
New clothes were put on. Blue jeans. Simple white shirt. Plain black boots.
The towel rubbed at her hair. She tried to dry it as fast as she could. Rough material against soft locks. The old Cordelia would never let such a towel touch her hair.
This wasn't the old Cordelia. It wasn't the new Cordelia either.
She was going to show Angel.
Her feet thumped against the wooden floor as she ran across the room to the bathroom. Her head appeared in front of the mirror. Chin length dark hair. Pale skin. No makeup. Dark, dead, dull eyes.
Cordelia smiled, trying to force her eyes to light up. Nothing happened. The grin disappeared.
She let out a shaky sigh, pushing her damp hair from her eyes. "C'mon, Cor..." She mumbled, straightening up in front of the mirror. "Smile. Smile, smile, smile." She tried once more, her lips parting and her teeth showing. Nothing happened. The smile faded.
"Dammit." She closed her eyes.
//I always wanted to be a prince...//
The smile slowly crept on her face. She opened her eyes. For a mere moment, she saw herself three years ago. Back when she was still somewhat innocent. Back when she could make find the bright side in anything. Back when her sole purpose was to make Angel smile and that was it.
Back when she wasn't stupid and pitiful.
Back when Angel didn't look at her like a demon he had to kill.
Cordelia lowered her gaze, the grin long gone. She left the bathroom and walked back to the other room. She strolled aimlessly around the loft, not knowing what to do. She could go back to the hotel and try to deal with Angel and the guilt or stay there and deal with a young boy who knew nothing about anything.
Either way she lost.
Her chin started to tremble as she sank to the mattress.
They were all going to hate her. No matter her hair color.
Her hands started to comb through her locks, trying to calm the fly- aways. Maybe Angel would see her and see how she wanted things to be back to normal. How she wanted to become his devoted Seer again. How she wanted him.
He wouldn't see.
Cordelia wiped her eyes roughly, sniffling slightly. Her life was over and there was nothing she could do to change that. She messed up. Big time.
Nothing would change that.
He hated her.
She looked up, seeing Connor's lean frame in front of her. "Y-Yes."
He stared at her hard, his eyes on her hair. "What did you do?"
"Dyed it." His face told her he didn't know what she was talking about. She smiled slightly. "I...I put it back to the original color. Like in the pictures?"
The boy smiled slightly. "Oh." His face turned serious. "You don't love me."
Guilt filled Cordelia. There was so much hurt and puzzlement in those words. She didn't even have to try to read his blank expression. How could she say that to him? "I'm sorry...I didn't mean that."
"You do love me?"
"Not the way you want, Connor." Her voice grew firmer with each word. "I love your father that way. Not you."
Connor frowned, anger filling his eyes. "Then why did we...why did you-"
"I don't know." She interrupted, her eyes meeting his. It took all her strength not to look away. "It was a terrible, terrible mistake and it won't happen again." He didn't answer her, just continued to stare. "Do you understand, Connor? It won't happen again." After a long minute, he nodded. She nodded in return. "Good. I'm glad we understand each other."
He lowered his gaze. "Did you change your hair for him?"
Cordelia froze, trying to think of an acceptable answer. "No." Such a fake.
"He will like it." Connor muttered, keeping his eyes purposefully on the ground. "He would like any color on your hair."
She lowered her eyes to the floor as well. She could hear all the pain and confusion in his voice that had controlled Angel's just hours before. And she didn't know how to react.
She could try to comfort him. But then he might take it the wrong way.
She could try to console him with words. But that might be too cruel.
Finally, she touched his hand lightly. His head jerked up. "I care for you, Connor." She whispered. "But I can't hurt Angel. Not anymore."
He stepped back. "Then go to him."
Cordelia stood, her heart almost breaking. He was nearly shaking with pain, and she could do nothing to comfort him. "Connor-"
"GO to him."
She hesitated, the tears threatening to rise yet again. Finally, she nodded and left the loft and left the boy she had felt the need to watch over and to protect. It wasn't her job anymore.
She climbed down the metal ladder as quickly as she could, the bars cold and almost slippery. She had to go to Angel. She wasn't alone.
Her feet hit the ground steadily and she ran out into the street. The streets were dark and empty. Nothing but smothering craters and destroyed cars. She had to go to the hotel and see Angel. She wasn't alone.
She jogged down a few blocks before stopped in her tracks.
Cordelia Chase had nowhere to go.
She was alone.