Summary: Cordelia’s never been one to avoid a confrontation.
Characters: Cordelia Chase, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
Timeline: AtS Season 3 post-Double or Nothing
Word Count: ~1,000
A/N: This was written in response to recent discussion in the past few weeks about the disappointing nature of the dissolution of Cordy and Wes’ friendship at the end of Season 3.
Her hands are shaking, but she takes a deep breath and squeezes her fists tight before rapping on the door.
She practiced what she was gonna say on the way over: insults and digs specially designed to make him cry for mommy. She’s gonna hit him where it hurts and she knows how to hurt him, you betcha. Oh, and namecalling—inventive namecalling ‘cause there aren’t enough words in the English language to fully express his special brand of toady slimeball so she's prepared to make up new ones.
She’s gonna let loose and bring on the pain. She’s gonna tear him apart, shred every ounce of dignity and self-respect left in his miserable excuse for a soul, slice him open and rip out his guts, then shove his face in all the ways he’s an insult to humanity till he falls to his knees and begs for forgiveness. He’s gonna look at her and beg for mercy and that’s when she’ll sneer at him and grind him underneath her designer boots.
She wants him stricken with guilt and sobbing in pain. She wants him destroyed. ‘Cause he deserves it. ‘Cause that’s justice. ‘Cause he’s not gonna get away with destroying their family. Not her family. Nuh uh. No way. He’s not getting off that easy. Not if she has anything to say about it.
Then the door opens and he looks right through her and, oh boy, pretending she’s invisible is not the way to play this. Wrong move, bucko. She stares at him, clenching her teeth when he avoids her gaze. He’s all scruffy five o’clock shadow and dull in the eyes, his throat bandaged up tight and his hands hanging like dead weight at his sides.
“Cordelia,” he rasps, his voice a broken whisper, and she realizes he actually does see her for all he’s acting like she’s not even there. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
How dare he act all innocent and oblivious? As if he doesn’t know why she’s here. As if it wasn't the most obvious thing in the world and how dare he?
She jabs her fists against her hips and cocks her head to the side. “So did you get a lifetime supply of stupid juice when you signed up for the I’m A Moron club?” She narrows her eyes and curls her lip in disgust. “Or maybe they were handing out painful irony that day. You know, your refusing to talk to anyone, tragic flaw and oh hey, look this psycho lady you knew you couldn’t trust is slashing your throat so now you literally can’t talk.” She claps her hand to her chest in mocking, dramatic fashion. “Gasp! Shocking! Never saw that one coming.”
He flinches imperceptibly, then hangs his head further down. No response, nope. He just stands there with the guilt rising off him like toxic fumes.
Did I not just say stop playing the stoic silent card? Men. They never know when to quit with the I’m In Pain But Too Strong To Talk About It crap.
Her eyelids twitching with rage, she slaps him—hard—so hard the bones in her hand feel like they’re gonna shatter. (But what’s new about that? Everything inside her’s already broken.) He staggers against the door jam, then slumps like a broken rag doll and the sight of him is so damned pathetic that her heart twists into knots.
Out of nowhere, she remembers the first time she ever laid eyes on him: all debonair 007 style and that effortless pride pushing his spine rimrod straight (to hide all his bumbling insecurities, she’d later find out, not that his perfect posture was ever adequate camouflage for his klutzball ways). She misses the way he used to stand tall, all annoyingly self-righteous and moral and good.
What happened to her best friend? Where did he go?
She feels her face crumple and the tears she’s been holding back, the tears she hasn’t cried ‘cause she needs to be a strong shoulder for Angel, the tears she doesn’t want anyone to see ‘cause if anyone sees it’ll mean Connor’s really gone—(oh god)—those tears slide down her cheeks, all fat and messy. She tries to get a hold of herself, tries to dry her eyes (or at least make her crying look staged and dignified), tries to swallow the knot in her throat, but it’s too late for that and all she can do is whimper, “He was just a little baby. He was so little. How could you?”
Now he looks at her and there’s torment in his eyes.
Good, she thinks, her anger reigniting. Suffer. More suffering. All the suffering. Take it all, you jackass.
He reaches for her. “Cordelia, I—I didn’t…”
Stumbling away from him, she jerks her head from side to side. “No. No. You don’t get to say you’re sorry. You can’t just apologize for this. Not this. You can’t…”
The pain’s so sharp in her chest she almost loses her voice, but she pushes past it, determined to say her piece. She clenches her teeth again and the solid biting pressure steadies her. She grabs hold of her anger and turns it liquid, turns it cold, till it’s ice flowing through her veins. Hello, blissful sweet numbness.
Relaxing her jaw, she stares him down and forces out the words. “I don’t know you anymore. You got that? We’re not friends. You can go to hell for all I care. Actually, you know what, I’m glad you didn’t die. ‘Cause now I don’t have to waste time feeling sorry for you. You’re nothing to me, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.” She pronounces every syllable of his name with careful precision, distant and cool. “You’re not even important enough to hate.”
She doesn’t wait for him to respond, just flicks her eyes down the length of him, sneers in pure, superior disdain then spins on her heels and strides down the hall with her head held high. She doesn’t look back. She just keeps on walking.
(Left, right, left, right, left.)
She makes it to the bottom of the stairwell before she collapses, numb fingers clutching the railing as she slides to the floor. The muffled sounds of her sobs echo against the concrete. She presses her forehead against the wall and splays her hand on top of the cold stone, fingers curving in, clawing for purchase, for something solid to hold onto. But there’s nothing there, so she closes her eyes and hugs herself tight.
Her cryfest only lasts thirty minutes (maybe longer—she’s not exactly keeping track of the time) then she dries her eyes, brushes off her slacks and heads out onto the street.
It didn’t go exactly according to plan. She didn’t say half the things she wanted to say, but she’s sure he got the message. Loud and clear.
Cordelia Chase means business. Don’t cross her or she’ll unleash a load of righteous fury on your ass.
Damn straight. No regrets. Not a one.
Wes wasn’t supposed to see her cry.