Disclaimer: Supernatural -> Kripke, BtVS -> Joss.
Time-line: The Prom
, BtVS and In My Time of Dying
Because I haven't seen it yet.
Xander strolled down the street on his donut run. As he passed April Fools, Cordelia's fascination over a dress piqued his interest. He could've sworn it was the same one she was admiring a week ago. He inspected it. Yup, definitely the same. Cordelia Chase had refrained from buying clothes. This was a moment in history that would cause people to look back in awe.
It was partly his selfish nature and his glutton for punishment complex that prompted him into the store. He snuck up behind her, "Okay, how long does it take you to buy a damn dress?"
Cordelias' eyes widened as she spun around. She was caught. He knew, he had to. He was just toying with her. Well, two can play at that game...
"Xander! I, uh... I'm considering things a little more carefully nowadays. I don't want to get stuck with another dud." Take that,
Cordelia's pride smacked before it packed its bags and left.
As Xander opened his mouth to retort, Cordelia braced herself for the truth to come out. "Well this should work for you. It positively screams nympho."
Wait, that wasn't right. He should be rubbing it in, hitting it home. A thousand slutty hooker jokes he'd utilised in the past, not to mention the countless times he'd flat out implied she was a bitch, and now he went with a "Nympho" one? Was it possible he didn't know?
A flicker of hope sparked in Cordelia as she readied her reply that would hopefully rid the store of Xander before someone else - Oh God no, Stacey! Get back, back I say!
"Is this a customer or a friend?"
"Neither," Xander replied. "Just stopped by for my daily helping of bile."
Stacey looked at Cordelia and nodded over to the counter. "So you better get back to work and quit goofing. Mrs. Finkel so has it in for you."
As she departed, Cordelia imagined a support beam falling from the ceiling directly onto her head. Her imaginary revenge was short-lived as Xander commanded her attention.
"You work here?"
She sighed. "Yes. Yes, I work here."
He was lost. "But, uh... why?"
No way out but through; "Because I'm trying to buy a dress."
"But don't you already have all the dresses?"
Cordelia felt it bubbling up inside her, despite how much she tried to quell it. The truth was about to come out, and Xander - Xander! - of all people was the first person to know.
"I have nothing, okay? No dresses, no cell phone, no car. Everything's been taken away because Mommy had a little secret she neglected to mention to anyone... for the last eighteen years, give or take nine months."
"Eighteen?" Recognition lighted his eyes as he looked at Cordelia anew. "But that would mean-"
Cordelia cut him off before he finished. She couldn't bear to hear someone else say it, so she beat him to it. "That's right, Daddy isn't really Daddy. Mom thought it was best that no one knew. But low and behold, she put my birth certificate in the same place Dad put his "supposed" social security number. And when the IRS came to investigate - boy did they find something interesting!"
Xander's mouth opened and shut, like he was mimicking the fish he'd just been slapped with. Cordelia, propelled by the need to finally have the truth known (through no conscious decision of her own), helped him out.
"Satisfied? Are you a happy Xander now? I'm broke. I can't go to any of the colleges that accepted me. And I can't stay home, because Maurice
," the name was stretched with four parts hatred and one part hurt, "Doesn't want to waste what little money they have left on some charity daughter that isn't even his."
When Cordelia had finally finished, it took Xander a few seconds to articulate a response. "Uh, wow," was apparently the best he could manage.
Slightly hurt that Xander didn't offer comfort (like the lovable soul that he was) and not willing to show it, Cordelia stayed on the offense. "Yeah, neato. Now you can run along and tell all of your friends how 'Cordy finally got hers'. How she has to work part-time just so she can live in a rundown motel and get up two hours early so none of her friends will notice that anything's up. How her biological father apparently wants nothing to do with her and won't even return her call. How she's been here for over a month and she's still no closer to getting that prom dress she had to put on layaway
As she turned away, she remembered yet another thing she hadn't managed to rant about in her horribly miserable life. So she turned back for one last comment.
"And, how she has to wear a name tag. Oh, I'm a name tag person. Don't leave that out, the story just wouldn't have the same punch."
What happened next shocked both of them, but Xander's reflexes kicked in fast and he pushed Cordelia out of harm's way to fight off the strange creature, which they later found out to be a hellhound. Buffy, as per usual, saved the day. But it was Xander that saved hers when she was about to leave work and Stacey brought over the dress. When she saw his name on the tag, there was an affection too sharp and strong to name, but Cordelia was never more grateful in her life. And it had less to do with the fact that she now had a dress, and more to do with the fact that someone had cared enough to actually do something this nice for her, when it seemed that everyone else was kicking her to the kerb.
It was that night when she thanked Xander for his gesture that she decided she didn't need a family. They were shallow and selfish and self-invested. And yet somehow those she had associated with long enough to call friends were always there when she needed them. Even when she was mercilessly mean and lacerated them with her barbs, they always pulled through. Thicker than any blood she had.
No, Cordelia decided, she'd do just fine on her own. She was Cordelia Chase - or, whatever the hell her last name was now - and she didn't need to waste her time moping after a family that couldn't be bothered to return her call. She'd make her own mark, and she'd do it her way. Maybe go to L.A. and try acting. After all, she already knew she had the looks, and if Pamela An. could do it, why couldn't she?
She scrunched up the piece of paper that held her only connection to a family she'd never known and threw it in the bin.
When Dean Winchester finally managed to crack his father's voice mail, he found something much more shocking than a cryptic message from one Ellen Harvelle.