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Divided Heart

by starlet2367

Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 11:55 AM

     Title: Divided Heart
     Author: starlet2367@comcast.net
     Rating: PG-13 I think there's a cuss word or something.
     Summary: Post-ep for Spin The Bottle.
     Spoilers: Through Spin The Bottle.
     Disclaimer: Nope, not mine.
     Distribution: Stranger Things and Nothing Fancy for now.
     Maybe elsewhere later. Please ask if you'd like to archive it.
     Notes: Yet another down and dirty post ep. Picks up where
     SpTB left off.

"I can't, Angel." Oh, God, I can't. Not when my memories are swirling, pounding. Not when I've seen the darkness.

She feels him leaning into her from across the divide of months and empty memories. Knows his yearning like she knows her own.

"Cordy. Were we in love?"

God, yes, Angel. We were in love. We were crazy, head-over-heels, gone for each other, and that's what I was trying to tell you when--"We were."

Before.

But now she can't. Can't rush into his arms, can't even look in his beautiful, soul-filled eyes. Not when those other eyes, deadly, demonic, have awakened within her.

She smells sulfur and blood. Tastes it, bitter and burning and metallic as the unguent Lorne tapped onto her tongue.

She knows now how pure evil tastes.

So she runs, driven by that malevolent gaze. Stupid boots--heels too high, toes too tight for fleeing--trip her down the stairs. She stumbles, barely managing to catch herself on the rail. Good thing; white pants stain so easily.

She laughs, an unhinged giggle, and slams out the front door. Only she, Cordelia Chase, would think about clothes when faced with that hell-beast.

The courtyard flashes by, and she smells lemon trees and the fresh, pink blooms of the camellias. Her memories continue to surface like an island springing forth from the sea. Out the gate and past the alley dumpster, and now it's sour garbage and car exhaust. She clenches her fists and runs, harder, faster.

"Were we....? Were we....? Were we....?"

She remembers now, how they stripped her memories with an offhanded brush of their giant, golden hands. Punishment for meddling in the affairs of lower beings. It was a convenient side effect that it freed her to oversee the Child without prejudice.

His existence was foretold but its outcome remained uncertain. She was sent back to protect--or murder--depending on the path Connor chose. Savior or Destroyer. If he chose wrong, she'd not only be tasked with taking him out, she'd face Connor--and Angel--on the battlefield.

The force of her feet on the pavement vibrates her teeth, her breasts. The breasts Angel cupped so reverently that night at the ballet; the same ones Connor pawed in his sleep.

God--Connor. He touched her body; kissed her. Her baby boy--

Her stomach lurches. She falls to her knees on the sticky concrete and vomits in an acid rush, and who gives a shit about stains on your pants when you've got stains this dark on your conscience.

She needs to be alone. To find a place she can sit and think. No soulful eyes, no grasping hands.

She stands shakily, wipes her mouth with the back of her hand. Those eyes--whatever they belonged to--flash before her again and the chills that cover her back aren't from the night air.

The gaze presses against her like an unseen breath, hot and feral on the back of her neck. She runs.

Past comic book shops and Vietnamese takeout counters and ends up on the corner next to a shoe store she recognizes. Looks up and there's her apartment building, so familiar, so right. She is through the courtyard, up the stairs and at her door. "Dennis! Dennis, it's me!"

The door swings open and she's across the threshold and into the hall when a strange man comes out of the bathroom, frantically zipping his pants. They stare at each other, open-mouthed, until he manages to ask, "Uh, can I help you?"

She blinks, confused. "I-- This is my place." Definitely her place, she thinks, as the lights flash, the TV changes stations. Books are flying off the shelves and she catches one in mid-air. "Dennis, stop. It's okay, I'm okay."

The apartment goes silent and she feels his ghostly arms around her, his face against hers. Safe, home--

The man looks around, wild-eyed. Then he focuses on her, and his gaze is anything but friendly. "Look, I don't care who or what you are, but I want you out of my house NOW." He steps forward, and she suddenly realizes he has her by a good 50 pounds and 6 inches. She could beat him, but it would be work. And she's so tired.

"I--" She closes her eyes. "I'm sorry," she whispers.

And she runs down the stairs, ignoring the way the door slams two, three times. Ignoring Dennis's plea for her to stay.

She stops in the courtyard and bends over, pressing her hands to her knees. Sobbing as she tries to catch her breath. She takes in the oozing flow of late-night traffic. Of stop lights and street lights, Asian restaurants and shoe stores.

She closes her eyes. Warrior for the Powers. Seer blinded by love.

She looks once more at her old home. Presses a kiss to her fingertips and then to the air. "'Bye, Dennis."

And now she's homeless.

Can't go back to the hotel. Can't look at Angel and not want to crawl into bed with him and take shelter. Because if she does that, and it turns out she has to fight him--

"Fuck you, Skip."

She wraps her arms around her waist and walks slowly toward Connor's apartment.

All she can do is leave love behind.

END


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