Title: On A Limb
Author: Princess Twilite
Summary: Post, “Lover’s Walk” - Xander isn’t ready to give Cordelia up.
Spoilers: Post - Lover’s Walk.
Disclaimer: None of the characters portrayed in this fic, are mine. I intend to break NO copy right laws.
Web Site: http://thatvisionthing.org/whip
Distribution: Old School, Queen C Scribes, UCSL. Twilite’s Whip. Anyone else, please ask first.
Dedication: For Jenny O, who is keeping C/X love alive.
* * *
That’s what you might call it.
Showing up at Cordelia Chase’s house, after cheating on her with Will. In the process of that, however unintentionally and uninvolved, causing her to run off and fall onto that…
Xander shivered, a wind whipping up his pant legs.
But there he was, his heart pounding somewhere in the vicinity of his neck. Knocking on her door. He wasn’t quite sure what he was going to say, wasn’t sure if she’d just look at him with that icy stare of hers or listen. Hell, he KNEW she’d look at him coolly, her well-drawn lips turning down at the edges. Or worse, staying perfectly still, like she no longer gave a damn.
And older lady, dressed in a shimmering silver beaded gown, answered the door. Her black hair was dressed high on her head, whips of it trailing along her neck and shoulders. Her make up was done flawlessly, and gave the over all affect of a very stunning, but cold woman.
“Alexander,” she said.
Cordelia’s Mother. She’d never been fond of him, it was obvious by the flaring of one nostril; the tilting of a lip. He tried not to take it personally, after all - he wasn’t exactly Boulevard material.
“ Hi, Mrs. Chase. Is…” The door slammed in his face. He frowned at it, with the desperate urge to just start banging and yelling like a heathen. Instead he backed away, looking up at the large, imposing house before him. The trees shifted, branches rustling like a whisper, as the clouds tugged their way through the night sky.
It was then, that he caught sight of her.
She sat curled up at the window seat of her bedroom, a paperback book in her hands. Apparently, she was engrossed in whatever she was reading. It was weird, seeing it. Thought it shouldn’t have been. After all, he was the one who was supposed to know her. Know that she wasn’t exactly who she pretended to be, most of the time. That those rare moments, when her face was clear and open, it told more than the snippy words ever ready on her tongue.
But half of the time, he hadn’t bothered to learn those little things about her, even when she seemed to be offering to teach them to him. And the other half… Well, he’d pretended he DIDN’T know.
The light was a soft gold on her face, making the dark length of her hair catch his eye… made him yearn. She turned a page, resting her chin on her up drawn knees. It made him wish he could see her eyes, just look in them and have them not be so guarded, so empty. Figured that she would be kept from him at that moment, through glass.
Xander stood there for a moment, contenting himself with looking at her, but that was all he’d been doing for the past couple of weeks and his patience was wearing dangerously thin. Everywhere he went, there she was or had been, the scent of her familiar perfume, lingering in the air like a ghost. Cordelia. As beautiful and untouchable as she had ever been. He’d tried, more than once, to talk to her. She only gave him that cool, uncaring look that had his nuts crawling up into his stomach to hide.
Earlier today, he’d caught up with her after school, as she was coming out of the doors. She had stopped when she saw him standing there, hunched against the sun light, hope and guilt pulling at the lines of his face. Taken one look, gave a disgusted sight and walked as far around him as she could.
The frustration in him had drawn to very sharp point and he’d stalked after her, down the cement steps. Before she could beat feet it to her car in the parking lot, he’d grabbed her by the elbow and swung her around, fully intending to have it out with her. Let her smack him, yell at him, whatever. Just get that withdrawn, bitchy, too good for him look of her face.
“ Cordelia,” he’d started, but noticed her wincing, tiny white lines around her lips. Remembering, he glanced down between them, and sure enough her hand had been pressed shakily to her stomach. The wound still fresh. Why she had started going to school so soon after the fall and hospitalization, he couldn’t understand. Unless she felt there was something she needed to prove.
Xander immediately pulled away, his hand jerky back as if her skin had burned him. Shame flooded through, overwhelming the anger. She’d flicker her hair, and walked away, not looking back once as the chest nut fall of it, swayed with each step. Each slow step. But the pain had not stopped her from throwing a little twist to her hips.
She knew all about torture.
It hadn’t seemed right though, watching her go. Letting her. It had just seemed very… wrong.
He’d spent the day walking around Sunnydale, avoiding his house, Buffy, Willow, Oz, everyone. There had been too much on his mind to deal with pretenses, and that’s all there seemed to be around them lately. Maybe he should just wait till dark fell, and the nearest vamp, perhaps Angelus resurface [cause you never know about those things] from the shadows. Yeah, he’d put a sign around his bared neck. EAT ME.
Or maybe not.
That brought him here, creeping about beneath Cordelia’s window like a love sick freak. Which, he in fact, might have been. Heaving a sigh, straight from the gut, he bent down and picked up a pebble. Tossing it in his hand, he stared up at her window. He’d never had brilliant aim. To be honest, he’d never had average aim. Even when he’d been a child and played on the little league, he’d been terrible at throwing the ball in the right direction. It would always veer off somehow. Of course, everyone had picked on him about it, but it hadn’t been a big thing to accept, after all, no one from his family showed up at any of the ball games, so who gave a damn?
So, Xander looked at the tree to his right. It’s branches reached out near her window. Plus, it was climbable, and climbing was something he could do. As long as he didn’t look down. Plucking up a few more stones, just in case, he stuffed them in his jeans pocket. Her wrapped his hands around the bottom branch, carefully pulling himself up, using the rough bark as a lever for his feet. Swinging himself up over the branch, he grabbed onto the next one and repeated the process, mindful of the other, smaller branches that he knew enough to avoid.
Three branches later, and her window was only inches above his head. Up this close, his mouth all but watered with craving for her. Remembering the way her smooth, tanned skin had tasted. Felt. It had plagued him many nights lately, when he had so taken it for granted before.
Retrieving a stone from his pocket, he leaned cautiously on the outer edge of the branch, trying to maintain his balance.
He tossed the rock at the window.
It hit the side of the house before falling down onto the stone driveway below, where Mr. And Mrs. Chase had just stepped out onto the walk. They were both dressed to the nines, beautiful, hard people. Xander cursed, sliding further near the trunk, hoping against hope that he wouldn’t get caught. Being dragged into The Sunnydale Police Station and written up on Peeping Tom charges wasn’t exactly his idea of a great time.
Looking quickly at Cordelia, he found her staring down at her parents with that disinterested expression she so often wore. But if he wasn’t mistaken, for a second, just a second… there was a hint of wistfulness. Then it was gone and she was reading again. He might have imagined it all.
Xander stayed very still as her parents slid into the very sleek, black Jaguar.
“ That Alexander boy, you know - they call him ‘Xander’ or some such. He stopped by again today.” He could vaguely hear Mrs. Chase say, her voice cranky. “ Really. You’d think she’d choose wisely, I thought we’d instilled more class and judgment than that.” Mr. Chase didn’t respond. He didn’t appear to be listening at all. Xander didn’t move a muscle, but for a brief sneer, until their break lights had faded from sight. Then he slid forward on the branch again, eyes locked on his goal.
Tossed a stone. Missed.
Frustrated, he jerked another stone free from his pocket, all but growling. He lobbed it as hard as he could at her window, not really thinking… shattering glass had him jerking in his spot on the tree, losing his balance and falling into well, nothing - even as Cordelia startled, jumping away from the broken window as the rock shattered one pane, then another until they all fell in on each other, bits of glass falling outside, the rest against her window seat.
He landed hard on his back in the bushes below, the breath knocked from his chest with the impact. His internal organs bounced around, his teethe slamming down against his bottom lip. Crying out softly, trying to suck air into his lungs, he rubbed a hand painfully over his rips, where they seemed to throb and vibrate from connecting so roughly with the ground.
Very carefully, he dragged himself out of what might have been Cordy’s line of vision. With the tree for cover, he took one careful breath, pushing himself up to lean against it, letting his head rub against the bark of the trunk. His eyes went skyward where the moon laughed a little crookedly through the branches.
“ I hate myself.” He muttered, flinching as he shifted on the ground. “ I really, really hate myself.”
Realizing that it was probably not the best idea to hang around for long, not only because it was night time, and he was likely vamp food, but Cordelia wasn’t the type to just sit around in the house, waiting for danger. She’d be the type to either grab it by its balls, or get out as fast as she could.
Xander struggled to his feet,
trying to make his wobbly limbs cooperated. He groaned, gritting his molars
when a sharp twinge shot from his ankle toward his knee as he stood. Must
have twisted it.
Putting very little weight on it, he began to limp away, hoping he got home before the baddy’s came out to play. But before he could get more than a step, she appeared before him like an apparition, but the hand that slapped onto his chest and shoved him back, hard against the tree, was very real. He could tell, because his abused body gave a little abused whimper.
“ Hi, Cordelia.” Xander smiled at her sheepishly, eyes wide. But she wasn’t falling for the puppy dog face. In fact, she was more in the mood to kick it.
“ Hi. Now get the hell out of my drive way, away from my home, and more importantly, away from me.” Her hair whipped around her face as she shook her head furiously. “ This has got to stop, you can’t keep following me around.”
Hard as steel, there was no softening visible in her eyes.
“ I just want to talk to you. Say…”
Cordelia stepped back, out of the shadows and into the light from the street lamp. It bathed her in a haunting yellow, had him swallowing down an urge or two that she’d only reject.
“ What? How sorry you are?” She shook her head again, rubbing her bare arms as if cold. “ You all ready did that, remember? At the hospital. I thought you understood. Xander, it’s over.” His heart thumped hard, and it hurt more than he cared to admit.
“ What if I don’t want it to be over?” He whispered, so low it dragged raw over his tongue. Her face went blank, frozen, and then she looked hastily away.
“ Your lips bleeding.”
“ Your lip. It’s bleeding.” She gestured vaguely to his mouth, still avoiding direct eye contact.
“ Oh.” Xander gently probed his bottom lips. There was a quick, sharp sting. When he drew his fingers way, they were slippery with his blood. “ I must have bit my lips when I fell out of the tree.” Cordelia nodded, eyeing the broken branches of the tree, where Xander had cut a path through by falling.
“ Only right.” Her lips quirked at him - making his gut clench up. God, he’d missed that little hard edged smile. “ A fall for a fall.” Xander’s face went intensely dark, gloom setting his brow heavy and fierce.
“ I’m so damn sorry, Cordy. I mean it.” A dog barked in the background, but all he could hear was the blood rushing aggressively through his veins.
“ It doesn’t matter…” She hesitated briefly, her mouth open and soft. Then it firmed. “ I won’t let it matter.” Cordelia corrected, tossing her hair back over her shoulder. The wound in her torso pulled and rebelled against the motion, it was also itching, but the doctor had promised that was part of the healing process. “ The fact that it happened, that you kissed her, it just enlightened me on how little you really value me. And I’m worth something Xander. I’m worth a hell of a lot, and I want a MAN,” she emphasized that. “ Who KNOWS it.”
Xander was quiet for a very long time, his eyes blinking as he searched for words. When she would have turned away, left him, his voice stopped her. And deep inside her heart, where she would never admit it, she ached.
“ I don’t know why,” he began slowly, as if he was not used to the language. “ Why what happened between Willow and me happened. I think… Cordy, Willow’s been my best friend since forever. And she’s always been there. On some level, I think I knew how she felt about me all these years, and I WANTED her to. I counted on it. Maybe that’s selfish, but I did.”
Cordelia stopped, listened. Didn’t really want to, but couldn’t help it either. “ And when she fell in love with Oz, I was so shocked, I just… couldn’t really think right. I felt lost, without that comfort.”
“ And you forgot ALL about me.” Cordy added bitterly, arms holding each other snugly against her chest.
“ I admit, I didn’t see you for a while, I was,” another sheepish smile. “ Jealous. But it doesn’t and didn’t take away the feelings I have for you, just because there are some feelings for her, some that will always be there.”
“ And that’s supposed to make me feel good? Make it all better?”
Xander shook his head in aggravation, shoving his hands into his pockets, pulling his jeans tight against his thighs.
“ No.. NO! It’s supposed to be honest. Isn’t that what you want from me?” She didn’t answer. “ Cordelia, I have A LOT of feelings inside me for you, they’re not going anywhere. What I did was wrong, horrible, cruel, and a lot of bad things. I don’t exactly have a wonderful track record with women. My dad… No. I won’t blame it all on him.”
Cordelia smiled at him sadly. “ Point is, I sack at this relationship thing. But I want to make it work with you. I want to TRY. Shouldn’t that count for something?”
“ I don’t know.” Cordy sighed, rubbing tired fingers over her forehead, trying to smooth out the tension. “ I can’t just…”
“ Give me another chance?”
She flinched, but was unaware of it.
“ Men don’t walk over me, Xander. I can’t… let them.”
“ That’s not what I want.” He insisted, stepping forward and resting his hands on her shoulders, as light as a butterfly might. She tightened up, but she didn’t pull away. He nodded in the direction of her house. “ What I do want, is to spend some time talking this through. Can you give me that, at least?”
Cordelia pressed her lips together, obviously considering. He continued before she could speak. “ Look, I don’t know what will come out of it. Maybe we’ll agree to hate each other. Maybe we’ll walk away civil to each other for once,” a pause, where he licked his paper dry lips, the crusted blood from earlier stinging his tongue. “ Or maybe, you’ll realize you’re madly in love with me.”
She snorted and he grinned, albeit ruefully. Cordelia looked into his eyes for what seemed like hours, searching. He wished he could tell if she found it.
Very slowly, she said, “ Okay.” Before he could get too happy, she went on with the conditions. “ BUT, not touching of any kind. Which means hands OFF.” She shrugged free of his grip. “ No kissing, pouting… or that little thing you to with your tongue in my ear.” She raised her eyebrows at his leer. “ Clear?”
Xander quickly wiped the smug look from his face.
“ Crystal.” Slowly, they walked toward her door, shoulders brushing. Something glinted at the corner of his eyes, and he looked down. It so happened that she was bare foot and she had a dainty, silver toe ring on.
“ What about your…”
“ Xander!” She huffed.
“ Sorry, okay.” He let out a disappointed breath, opening the door for her. “ Just making sure.”
When he shut the door behind them, she was all ready headed toward the large kitchen.
“ Oh, and Xander?” She called back, absently.
“ Yeah?” Cordelia turned, her smile quick and wickedly feminine.
“ You’re paying for that window.”
A/N: First Cordy/Xander fic, I’ve never written one before, and wasn’t sure I could, because of my C/A-ness. However, it’s finished, and I hope you enoyed it. It was something I wouldn’t normally write, but it was fun.