"Broken Bliss"
by Just Human

Feed the author: Justhuman111@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: Joss owns everything but told me to write.
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Cordelia can only ignore things so long before perceptions change
Spoilers: Buffy S1, Angel S1
Author's Coments: Written for the third Lyric Wheel Challenge which needed to occur in S1 Buffy or Angel. Thanks to Yseult deBreton for the lyrics to G. Simmons, "Buried in the Sand," lyrics at the end. Thanks also to Magpie for the beta--I don't always take good advice, so it rather goes without saying that all mistakes are my own. Rosary beads made more than a passing appearance in the fic, and some notes about that are at the end for anyone interested

"Broken Bliss"

The first rosary beads had been begged from her grandmother's jewelry box and were made up of little blue beads that Cordelia had thought were turquoise. They weren't, and with that revelation went the attraction. Doing her all shocked at the younger generation routine, the Hispanic maid had insisted that 'they *weren't* something you just threw out.' Not wanting to piss off the woman, Cordelia had allowed the not-turquoise beads to be draped over the crucifix, hanging on the bedroom wall.

The second set of beads was made of incredibly cheap white plastic. At first she had been excited because they came in a tiny white purse with matching prayer book and scapular for her first holy communion. Later in the church, they lost all appeal because *everyone* had them. Eventually, they were wound into the little tiara and veil that she wore. The regalia had held a prominent place on the dresser until it was slowly pushed back behind trophies, pom-poms, and other cheap tiaras, like Miss Cactus Queen. Over time, the veil yellowed, and the tiara lost any luster that it had had. This rosary--because it wasn't something you threw away--joined the clear beads from her Confirmation, wrapped around the ugly little Pacific Crustacean Queen crown in a vain effort to try and dress it up.

Touching up her lipstick, Cordelia glanced at the little metal crucifix attached to the fresh water pearl rosary that her Grandmother had given her last week. They were a lame congratulations gift for making honor role last marking period. Shaking her head, Cordy remembered thinking that gift certificates for Nordstroms and a trip to LA to spend them would have been a much better idea. But Grandma was Grandma and still all charmed with the idea that Cordelia had asked for the not-turquoise set when she was about five. Cordy considered now that the pearl set wasn't as tacky as the others, and maybe it wouldn't be horrible to hang it from the hook in the back of her locker.

No. The Queen of Sunnydale High didn't give into superstition about monsters roaming the town. That kind of thing was for girls from LA schools with no taste in friends. Mitch had just been pointing out last week that Buffy Summers looked like some kind of religious fanatic with all the crosses, and Harmony had spotted a bottle of holy water in the freaky girl's make-up bag. Cordelia Chase wasn't about to adopt the quirks of losers. You dealt with things in life the same way you dealt with geeks and marching band. You simply ignored them, and they went away.

Besides, there were much more important things to consider than dying young and falling out of someone's gym locker. There was nothing to concern herself with--no need to understand about the weirdness that surrounded Buffy and the library posse. Picking up the "C" imprinted chocolates from the dressing table, Cordelia put on a big smile and went to school to convince everyone that it was the May Queen's smile.


"God! Oh..." It wasn't fair that her own shouting made the pain worse.

"Here, pain killers and water. I've doubled the recommended dosage." It also wasn't fair that he saw her like this and was worried enough to be considerate, to whisper. The vision pain was nothing compared to the inevitable embarrassment that the seizure caused. Former May Queens and actresses didn't fall on the floor and bruise their legs or scrape their arms.

"Cordelia, what did you see?" Fuck you and the hog you rode--Deep breath.

"Downtown, government building, uhm, Department of Agriculture? There was a crate of tangerines that turned into ugly neon-orange eyes." Oh shit. Cordelia opened her eyes despite the pain from the light. "They're going to eat the guy in the uniform." They needed to go; there wasn't much time. Why wouldn't her legs work? "Damn-it Wesley, we're in a rush; help me up!" Shouting -- Bad.

"Cordelia, you should stay. Angel has the car, and we only have my motorcycle. You're in no--"

"Stuff it, Wesley. I'm fine." That was so a lie, but hey, great actress. Something shifted at her neckline, and there was the tiny clatter of not-turquoise beads rolling across the wooden floor. Most of the rosary was still intact; only the second section was wandering far and wide. As Cordelia stared at it, she thought it was kinda funny that she had never really cared about this rosary, since it had stopped being turquoise.

Wesley was gathering weapons instead of helping her up. He *thought* he was going without her. Pushing the throbbing headache down, Cordelia climbed off the floor and found her feet, wishing they were in sensible shoes for a change.

Why did his hands feel strong and steady on her arm? This wasn't the way it was supposed to be. Everyone had a place, and Wesley's was not supposed to be the strong and comforting. Really, there was a distinct place for him that involved being bookish and clumsy. "I'm sorry about your necklace. Are you sure you should go? I can manage it on my own." Tensing her arm, Cordelia nearly pulled away, but that was stupid because they were a team and needed to work together.

"Thanks, Wes, but I'm going." Tapping her forehead, "I know what the soon-to-be-eaten uniform guy looks like." Important part was to hide the pain, pretend it wasn't there. If no one could saw it, it didn't exist.

"Cordelia." Wesley's tone told her that she needed to pretend harder. "Cordy, the bike--you'll have to hold on and-"

"And I'll hold on!" Gently pulling her arm out of his supportive hold, Cordy took a few wobbly steps, remembering lessons with high heels and books on her head. "Can't loose me that easily, ex-Watcher guy; besides, you're good. I know you won't let me fall." Internally, Cordelia winced when she involuntary smiled at his reaction. Smiling was apparently painful. Tell the boy that his tie was on straight and this little cartoon light bulb went off over his head, letting you know that all was right with the world. Somehow, it made you feel good even if you didn't give a crap about his ugly tie.

"Come on, Wes. Time's wasting and the monsters are real. We're not exactly cut from hero stuff tonight, but nobody facing killer tangerines thinks it's bad when the B-team shows up." He nodded, face etched with concern. Despite that, he hefted the weapons bag, leading the way out.

The bits of broken rosary beads were gouging marks in her hand because Cordelia was clutching it so hard. No vamps tonight, so no real need for even the tiny metal cross. Hesitating over the wastebasket, she remembered the old admonishment. Mrs. Gonzales said that there was hope in praying the rosary. Cordelia had no idea how you were supposed to do that, and she was pretty sure you couldn't stop an army of vamps with one tiny cross. But you never knew. Stuffing the broken bits of hopes into her pocket she locked the office door.

"And Wesley, no freaking way I'm wearing that pink helmet."



Thanks to Yseult deBreton for the lyrics.

Buried in the Sand (from the album A Time) G. Simmons (SOCAN) performed by The Fables (http://www.thefables.com/a_time.html)

There's an old old story that everybody knows

'Bout a man who built his house upon the rock

An old old story from a long time ago

Before the hands of time become a clock

A straight forward meaning, a simple solid plan

But some lack of understanding

Kept my head buried in the sand

Then I got no problem

I can wash my hands of the consequences man

There's an old time saying I know you heard before

The truth it hurts but ignorance is bliss

Without so much as weighing the consequences out

We back away from pain towards a kiss

Sunlight can blind you, sunlight makes you see

And when it's hard to face the music

You keep your head buried in the sand

Then I got no problem

I can wash my hands of the consequences man

There's nothing to concern me

No need to understand

Did what it was you told me

To keep my head buried in the sand

Then I got no problem

I can wash my hands of the consequences man


Selected Notes about the Rosary.

The rosary has an enthusiastic following in the Catholic Church. To someone unaware of the spiritual and meditative practices, it often appear that people praying the Rosary are simply doing an endless litany of the Hail Mary, occasionally interrupted by other prayers. To devotees, it is a meditation tool from which they can contemplate the life of Christ in the form of the Sorrowful, Joyful and Glorious Mysteries.

The fifty beads of the main part of the chain are broken into five decades. The second decade, mentioned in the fic, has the following correspondences:

The Sorrowful Mysteries: Scourging at the Pillar --Mortification of the Senses

The Joyful Mysteries: The Visitation --Love of Neighbor

The Glorious Mysteries: The Ascension --Hope

Apparently in my years since becoming heretic and a happy animist, the Luminous Mysteries have been added, which didn't play a part in the story. More information about the Rosary can be found at http://www.rosary.org


Feed the author: Justhuman111@hotmail.com

Close this Window to return to the Fiction Index