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The Shipwreck Dialogues

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Summary: Three dialogues with Cordelia --- Buffy, Xander, Riley -- concerning the Buffy/Riley breakup.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > DramaMediancatFR1334,060032,01530 Jun 0730 Jun 07Yes


Disclaimer: Joss owns all. Ave Joss. The songs quoted at the beginning of each chapter belong to the artists, who are credited as quoted.

Author's Note: An older story, told in all-dialogue form, about the Buffy/Riley 'shipwreck, so set seasons 5/2 Buffy/Angel.


Look who did it to you
Joker over there with nothing to do
Don't let him get through
Keep on doing what you do
Why don't you listen to my little pep talk
Instead of what that person said
And now I'm gonna open up the window
And you will come in off that ledge
You work too hard to take this abuse
Be on your guard jerks on the loose
Jerks on the loose
Jerks on the loose

--The Roches, “Keep on Doing What You Do/Jerks on the Loose”

“I, I need to talk with someone. Someone who’ll tell me the truth.”

“Anytime, Buffy. The truth is my stock in trade. God, you sound awful. What happened? Your mom --?”

“Mom’s fine – mom’s fine. No, it’s Riley. He’s gone. And I think it might be my fault. That I wasn’t treating him fairly, that I was being selfish.”

“You can be a little selfish. Actually, you can be a lot selfish.”


“Doesn’t mean you’re being selfish now, though. Spill the details.”

“How can I? It’s such a long story – well, a couple of nights ago – after mom got out – I found Riley in an abandoned section of Sunnydale. He was paying – he was paying vampires to suck his blood.”


“Tell me about it. Anyway, I took off – came back the next day and torched the place.”


“PLEASE don’t interrupt – sorry for yelling. It’s just, this is hard enough as it is, and –“

“I’m sorry, Buffy. Go ahead.”

“Riley came the next day. Explained what was going on – he started because it gave him a taste of the dark side, gave him a taste of what I ‘wanted.’ Like with Angel. Then he said he kept up because they needed him. Like I, apparently, didn’t. Then he said he was going to Belize at midnight to kill demons unless I could give him a reason to stay. And I wanted him gone. He’d betrayed me. So he left.”

“Buffy –“

“That’s not all. Xander came at me a few moments after. Wouldn’t let up. Told me how stupid I was being. That all I’d been doing was using Riley, that I was holding back, afraid to love him after what I’d gone through with Angel. I accused him of doing the same with Anya, and he told me this wasn’t about him. And I realized, I thought I realized, that I did love Riley and didn’t want him to leave. So I chased after as hard as I could – and his helicopter flew off right before I got there. So the two men I’ve loved in my life both just left. Did I drive Riley away? Cordy? You can answer now.”

“First off, the fact that he was LETTING – no, PAYING – vampires to drink him shows that his salad was short a few greens, no matter what else. That lets you off the hook for some of it, okay?”

“But, what if I drove him to it?”

“One word for that, Buffy: BULLSHIT! That’s like saying you ‘drove’ a man to drink or you ‘drove’ a man to shoot himself with heroin. Nuh-uh. Riley was cheating on you with vampires. His motives were major-league weird in the first place, and saying he kept doing it because of need is his way of saying he did that because he saw a problem and he didn’t want to talk about it with you. Which if he loved you was something he damn well owed you.”

“He did love me. That I’m sure of.”

“Well, he sure had a bizarre way of showing it.”

“I guess.”

“Don’t guess here, Buffy. You came to me for the truth. This is the truth. You have three modes when it deals with guys you’re attracted to: Reluctant approach, deliriously in love and bitter and angry self-inflicted pain. Well, now you’re in mode three. And when you’re in mode three, no offense, you’ve been known to run off to Los Angeles for a few months. This is when you get all self-absorbed. DON’T.”

“Cordy –“

“You wanted my advice, right? Well, that’s what I’m giving. I’m not trying to hurt your feelings. Know that.”

“I – I do.”

“Good. Now, Riley wasn’t getting what he thought he deserved out of you, so he went and let vampires bleed him for cash, and then he has the nerve to come back and say you drove him to it?”

“He – and Xander –“

“Xander should learn to mind his own goddamned business. Go on.”

“Well, they say I was using him. For comfort, for support, for sex. And then I expected him to get lost when I wanted alone time. That I treated him more like a dog than a person. Except for the sex part, I mean.”

“You didn’t need to clarify. Now comes the million-dollar question. WERE you afraid to love him?”

“I don’t know, Cordy. I do know that for the past few weeks or so I’ve been kind of neglecting him –“

“While your mother was in the hospital for a brain tumor. God! You are so selfish, spending time with your brain-tumored mother at the expense of your boyfriend. I bet you didn’t spend as much time with Giles or Xander or Willow either, did you? God, what a bitch.”

“OK, now you’re being sarcastic.”

“Do you think?”

“I’m still not sure –“

“Look. If you want to stay miserable, stay miserable. I’m just trying to help you like you asked. One final thing. You said you told Xander he was doing the same thing with Anya. I’m guessing that means you thought he was treating her like an object and not a person, right?”

“Yeah. But he went right to her after he got done rimming me out and pledged his undying love.”

“Figures. Never mind that. Don’t you see what he was doing?”


“He was PROJECTING, Buffy. He was taking his fear of what was going on between him and demongirl and putting it on you and Riley. HE was the one who was afraid he was using someone. HE was the one who’d never told her how much she meant to him. Not you.”

“But I hadn’t –“

“Did you love Riley?”


“Did you show him?”

“Well, I guess, apart from recently – yes.”

“Had you told him?”

“Yes. I think – I’m not sure.”

“Damn. Did he tell you?”

“Um, the same?”

“There you go. That one’s a draw unless your memory clears up. Look, Xander was afraid, not you. He just convinced you with his . . . passion, his seriousness about it.”

“Are you SURE, Cordy?”

“Look. If you want me to say you were all miss goody-goody and never did a thing wrong, I can’t. I know you too well for that. But the vampire hookers tip it in your favor all by itself, and the rest of it stands as not proven at best. Sure, some of it was your fault. But RILEY was the bad guy here. Not you.”

“Doesn’t make his heading off to Belize any easier.”

“I know. Well, if you still think he’s worth it – and that’s an if the size of Beverly Hills – wait it out. He won’t be in the jungles of Central America forever. And if he isn’t – well, time may not heal, but it sure scabs things over. You of all people should know that.”

“Yeah, I guess. Thanks, Cordy. I feel a little better.”

“Good to know. Sure you’ll be okay?

“Eventually. I’m glad I called you.”

“I’m glad you did too, Buffy. Just remember that it wasn’t nearly all your fault.”

“I’ll try.”

“You do more than that or I’ll come down there and kick your ass from there to Sacramento.”

“You know, I do believe you would.”

“Damn straight.”
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