Spark by Queen Mab
Summary: Cordelia walks.
Spoilers: Rain Of Fire, Season Four.
Notes: I didn't walk alone on this. Many thanks to Anni for helping to flesh this out. Kelley helped me find my voice and gave me the courage and confidence to do this (and to do it again), so this story is dedicated to her. * Thanks a million, Kelmit! * The song "Spark" belongs to Tori Amos.
road before her was dusty and barren of life, as was the road behind her. Well, barren except for the horned
donkey following her. Barren was good, she thought to herself. Let's keep
There was no sound, not even her footsteps. As for the weather, well, there really wasn't any. After all, how can you have weather when there was no sky? The terrain was flat and the sand silky beneath her bare feet.
She had been walking for some time now. She had somewhere she had to be, things she had to fix.
She stopped for a moment to admire the way her toenails shimmered in the sun. Yes, she decided, I like this polish. *Stop it*, she admonished herself. She didn't have time for this. Distract her; confuse her, that's what *they* wanted to do to her. Well, they wouldn't succeed. She felt strong and confident that she would get there on time and everyone would be happy again. She had to; the alternative was unbearable. She turned her head and looked over her shoulder-yes, that damn donkey was still following her. She supposed she should be worried. She shook her head with a slight smile; no one could harm her. Not here.
"Nope, ya can't hurt me here, stupid donkey!" Yelling at the donkey probably wouldn't solve anything, but she thought she should let him know that this was her turf. Just in case.
Still, she picked up the pace. Just in case.
For seven days and seven nights she walked, all the while assaulted with images of *there*. Images of herself. Images of him. Oftentimes she wept at the utter despair and desolation she saw. *How could it be? How could she be that lonely girl?* She began to doubt herself as she walked. No time for doubt though, doubt would only slow her down. *Buck up, Chase. There are worse things than being alone.* She understands that now.
She understands what it's like to have your innards removed and replaced with nothing. She understands despair, beginning with the soft shadow cast over your soul, to the rain of fire destroying everything in its wake. She understands that something is very, very wrong and somehow it's all her fault. She could- *would* -fix it. If only she could get there in time.
She stopped, turned around and yelled at the donkey, "I'm gonna fix it! I didn't come all this way to fail!"
No response, nothing indicating that the donkey understood her. Undiscouraged, she continued walking.
Just ahead, a loggerhead turtle was making its way to her, swimming across the sand. She wasn't at all surprised; she'd been talking to animals quite frequently during her journey.
"You're a long way from home, aren't you?" she asked, her head slightly tilted.
The turtle, sporting a fuchsia bandanna, shook his head at her in annoyance and replied in a familiar voice, "This *is* home, and princess you're running very late."
"I know. I'm walking as fast as I can."
"Well, you're gonna have to walk a lot faster than that honey bun. It may be too late; it's already starting to rain. And when it rains it pours. You walked out on the Powers. Can't believe ya did it, kiddo. No one walks out on the Powers. And while we're on the topic of walking, did you *have* to pick a turtle as your dream manifestation of me?
The turtle's presence was already starting to irritate her, eating steadily away at her nerves. Was he here to help or to distract her? No matter. He walked too slowly and talked too much. She should have gone with the March Hare.
"Sugar Lump, I get the whole green thing, but a *turtle*? Why not something quick and spry? Seriously sweetness, there are frogs and grasshoppers and cute little lizards, but a tur--?"
~Agreed~. The turtle said no more after her sword purposefully pierced his head. She would make her apologies later; right now she didn't have time. She resumed her pace until she realized she didn't have to walk at all. She was moving without moving and she was almost *there*.
~6:58 are you sure where my spark is...~
~here, here, here~
*There* has become *here* and she sees the damage. Feels the damage, her belly swollen with bits of him. Her baby, her boy. Twisted around her and inside her. Too late. She was too fucking late. The cards had been dealt and her hand was littered with despair. Her eyes opened. She found herself in Connor's bed, her sword still in hand. She whispered a name.
" Skip. "
As if on command, the Powers horned lapdog appeared. "Hey, there! Didn't think you'd get here so soon."
"I got here too late." She replied, rubbing her hands on her stomach. She swore she could already feel the new life inside of her.
"You're lucky you got here at all."
"Really? Did they think you could stop me?"
"We tried. Unsuccessfully, but hey-it's the thought that counts. Besides, you couldn't really kill an innocent baby, could you?"
"Wanna bet? You don't know me, Skip. Not really."
"I know that you're not capable of taking an innocent life."
"Unless that "innocent" life is prophesied to kill Angel's son."
"Cordelia, Connor is the destroyer. Do you know what that means?
"Yes, and I don't care. Don't you get that? I. Don't. Care. He's been through too much."
"Again, Connor is-"
"I'm not talking about Connor, Skip"
"He knows. You made sure of that, didn't you?" Her stomach twisted-- the baby or uncoiled rage? It really didn't matter, as long as it kept her standing. She rose from the bed, her hand still gripping her sword. Rage it was and it was quickly replacing despair.
"He knows alright. Didn't take it too well, though. Not that we expected him to, I mean you did have sex with his son."
"Not me. Her."
"Cordelia, it was you. Through all of it, it was you."
Cordelia approached Skip slowly, shaking her head. "How can you say that, Skip? You took away all that was me--my spark--and left me hollow. It wasn't me. I couldn't do that, I wouldn't-no matter what was at stake."
Skip took half a step back as Cordelia approached. "We knew that. But it still had to be your decision, free will and all. We had to make sure that the Tro-clan would be conceived and there was only one way to do it and it still be your decision. So we meddled a bit." Skip shrugged as he said this, as if what they did was okay.
"Funny how vital memories are to humans," Skip continued. "Have to admit, we were kinda worried that you still had some of that infamous Cordelia Chase constitution left in you, but then you came through for us like you always do. You gave up just like we predicted you would and in your despair you turned to Connor. And here we are."
"Here we are." She echoed. "Well, you've accomplished your goal. Taking away my memories then giving them back. Oh, and let's not forget making me afraid of Angel by showing me his evil past, a surefire way to achieve perfect despair. But don't you for one friggin' minute think that it was "free will". Your idea of free will is a perversion."
As she spoke she held her sword in front of her, its steel blade pointing at Skip. Not without a small measure of pride, she noticed that her hand was hardly shaking. Skip didn't seem to take notice of her stance, and instead continued with his "what a GREAT plan it was" speech.
"Perfect despair was the only way we could get you to do what you did. And the Angel visions weren't our fault. You did that yourself when you helped him get his destiny back. Everything has a price. You had to see who you really saved."
She stood silently, lowering her eyes and her sword, absorbing what he was telling her.
"And Cordelia, that wasn't his evil past. It was his evil future."
Her head snapped up, her eyes coldly meeting his. She understood.
~If the Divine master plan is perfection maybe next I'll give Judas a try.~
Cordelia knew what she had to do. Knew that there could be no more "meddling." Knew that this was war and she would be the one declaring it. She also knew that she might have to fight this one alone. But, as she had previously concluded, there were worse things than being alone. Would she have a chance to atone, to be forgiven?
Swiftly she swung her sword and expertly sliced off his smiling head. Forgiveness was overrated.
"Smug bastard. I liked you better when you were a donkey."
Contact Queen Mab