Going Out Together
Title: Going Out Together
Beta By: Starway Man
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel the Series, along with the characters from their respective shows, are owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
Description: The end is nigh, but Cordelia and Xander get a second chance to connect.
A/N: This will be entirely from Cordelia's POV.
A/N 2: This takes place during Buffy Season 3, between the episodes: 'The Zeppo' and 'The Wish'.=====
I sat on the bed in my sunlit bedroom. Judging by the windup clock next to me, I had about three hours left. It was the end of the world, and here I was all alone, hiding in my bedroom like a scared little girl.
The last I'd heard, Mother had dragged Daddy off to Barbados with her newest mid-life crisis, David Junior. Hey, I know he's my brother and all - but I'd taken one look at that baby and immediately known they should have named him Pablo Junior, after the pool boy.
Who knew Sunnydale denial went that
deep? Still, it doesn’t really matter now.
He’s never going to get the chance to grow up, poor little kid.
I sighed; even now, I couldn't help but be bitter over the whole thing. I was all alone, now that the end had come; my parents, my Cordettes and their families, my cheater ex, and his loser friends, all of them were long gone.
That was what hurt most of all, you know. If Oz and I hadn't caught Xander kissing that red-headed harlot, then maybe I'd be somewhere safe with them, instead of here alone. They had to have some kind of plan. They always
Oh, who was I kidding? It wasn't like there was anywhere safe to go around here. Hell, if you didn't live on the summit of the Sierra Nevada, it was safe to say you were pretty much screwed.
I'd tried to get out of town, taking my Mustang and heading down Main Street towards the interstate that led to Los Angeles; only to find it blocked by a ton of cars likewise trying to get out of Sunnydale. It was the same all over southern California, according to the radio - the gridlock apparently stretched as far east as Nevada and New Mexico, maybe even further.
I just didn't see the point sitting there in my car, waiting to die in an eight-cylinder, leather upholstered coffin, when I could just as easily do it in the comfort of my own home. Especially with all of the reports of people being robbed and murdered as they sat in traffic, even some about women dragged out of their cars and forcibly carried off for you-know-what.No thanks
. I may not be a virgin anymore, but I definitely don’t plan to check out that way.
All of the mansion’s staff was gone, of course, they'd taken off to spend what little time they had left with their families. I couldn't help but wince at the irony; I'd spent most of my life looking down my nose at them, and in the end, they had far more than I ever did.
Magda - my former nanny, and Junior's current one - had been the last to leave. She'd begged me to come with her so I wouldn't die alone. I'd told her no; that she needed to spend that time with her grandson, and not worrying about me.
She'd cried a lot, which had caused me to cry a lot too. But in the end she left, too afraid the babysitter would panic and run off. It had been hard enough for Magda after her daughter, Beth, had died. The poor woman had been another casualty of Sunnydale's nightlife.
I blew my nose, finally all cried out. With that out of the way, I was out of things to do. I was kind of hungry, but what was the point anymore of eating? I threw myself back on the bed with a sigh, there was nothing left to do now but wait.
Wait until the Earth turned so that the solar flares - which had already ravaged the other side of the planet, apparently - finally hit Sunnydale.
That's when the banging on my front door started.=====
I sat up on the bed, as someone pounded on the door, screaming something. I couldn't make out what they were going on about, because my bedroom was at the far corner of the house, on the second floor.
I wasn't sure what to think. Was it somebody from high school eager to get a piece of Queen C before Armageddon came a-calling, or was it simply someone needing help? Of course, I couldn't help but snort at that idea. I was pretty much the last
person on Earth you wanted to come to, if you needed help.
Heading out of my room, and down the stairs, I figured I had nothing to lose. I was going to die anyway, so I might as well see what all the fuss was about. When I got to the first floor, I heard a muffled male voice yelling, but all I could make out was my own name for sure.
Grabbing a poker from the living room fireplace, I headed toward the front door. Suddenly, all of the noise stopped. A few seconds later there was a loud curse, and then nothing. I went to the window, pushing aside the drapes, I saw someone in a loud yellow and green shirt picking up a bicycle in the driveway.
There was only one
person I knew who would wear a shirt that
awful. Hope filled me as I ran to the door. Maybe they'd found a way to stop this, or at the very least somewhere safe to go until it was over.
Throwing the door open, I could see the big doofus was already half-way down the driveway. He must have thought I'd already left.
"Xander!" I screamed as loud as I could. Oh, please
let him hear me!
He turned his head so suddenly the front wheel went sideways, and both Harris and the bike fell to the ground. I ran towards him, uncaring of my bare feet. I wasn't going to let a few rocks keep me from making sure my...cheater ex...was okay.
Oh, yeah. Here comes the insanity part of the festivities. I was wondering when it'd show up.=====
I reached Xander just as he'd finished untangling himself from the bicycle, a ten-speed that looked like it cost more than his father could make in a month. I shook my head; I had to stop thinking like that. "Are you okay?"
He tossed the bike to the side and turned to face me. It looked like he hadn't slept or shaved in days. "Yeah, Cor, you just caught me by surprise." He gave me a sad smile. "Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I was kinda hoping I wouldn’t find you; that you were long gone from here."
I didn't like the sound of that at all. "What do you mean?"
"Those helicopters that flew over the town a couple of hours ago? I thought you, and the rest of the people around here, might have been flown out to high ground."
I got what 'around here' meant, the rich people. "So what made you change your mind?"
Xander sighed. "We - my parents and I - were stuck in traffic on the I-62, and by chance we ran into Aura and her family in their Land Rover. She told us your parents were in Barbados along with your baby brother, but not you..."
"So, what, you grabbed that bike and came back to Sunnydale? Why?" I shook my head in disbelief.
Xander shrugged. "I wasn't going to leave you alone, not at a time like this."
I slapped him across the face as hard as I could. I couldn't believe he'd done something so stupid
. "You moron! Wait a minute, what about the rest of your little band of losers?!"
He shrugged. "Giles took Buffy, her mom and Faith with him to England with this Council teleportation spell, or whatever it was; I think the plan was for them to join the rest of the Tweed Brigade in their mass evacuation to another dimension, and then they’ll come back once all the excitement’s over.
As for Angel...well, not that I really care of course, but I heard he’s gone deep underground, like all the rest of the vamps around here. Odds are he’ll survive what’s coming...but he’ll starve in the aftermath, just like his undead buddies. Talk about poetic justice after everything that happened last year..."
"I don’t get it. Why didn’t you go with Mrs. Summers, the Wonder Twins and Mr. Passive-Aggressive Earl Grey Attitude? And what about Willow and Oz?" Not that I actually cared about that little hussy, of course...
"Well, as for question number one, funny thing about the Council - for all their speeches about being the ‘guardians of humanity’ and all that crap, the teleportation spell Giles had wouldn’t work when the G-man tried to include me, Will and Oz. No excess baggage civilians allowed," Xander said sardonically.
"As for question number two, funny thing about being a werewolf - apparently, the only thing that can kill them is silver. That’s why Oz finally bit Willow and then carried her off to his van; guy said something about heading cross-country as far as possible. I think they’ll live through this...well, as far as I know a werewolf can’t die from drowning, anyway."
"And Willow was okay
with that?" Something about that scenario just didn’t seem right to me.
"I figure she would have been...if I hadn’t knocked her unconscious before Oz inducted her into the Lon Chaney club," Xander admitted, looking down. Then he looked back up at me.
"Had to be done, Cor. There’s no way Will would have left me behind, and I knew for a fact that Oz wasn’t interested in my becoming the next American Werewolf in Sunnydale. So I did what I had to do, this morning...and hopefully, one day, Willow will be able to forgive me for it."=====
In my heart, I knew he was right, but seeing him here and now brought a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, there was some kind of chance for us too. "What about everyone else we know at school?"
"Who knows? I guess there's a chance they'll find somewhere to ride out what’s coming, but myself, I really doubt it." Xander shrugged. "There just wasn't enough time."
"Research?" I asked, already knowing the answer.
"Sure," Xander replied bitterly. "Us, and everyone else in the know on the planet looked. But there's absolutely nothing magic-y about it, it’s just fate..."
Fate? Yeah, right.
I knew about solar flares from Science class, of course; how they’re like totally unpredictable, both in strength and duration. I even vaguely remembered something about solar activity occurring as part of a cycle, how we were supposed to be in the middle of an active period right now.
Ultraviolet radiation, X-rays, cosmic rays and God knows what else kind of particles hitting the atmosphere, disrupting radio communication and causing auroras.
But this? We’re talking activity that’s like totally unprecedented, flares punching out of the sun like human fists and arriving on Earth a day or so later. Flares causing gales and hurricanes and tornadoes in the atmosphere, not to mention tidal waves miles high heading for dry land at incredible speed.
And Sunnydale was built right next to the friggin’ Pacific Ocean...
"So how did your parents take it, when you told them you were coming back to find me?" I asked, focusing back on the here and now.
"I doubt my dad even noticed I left. My mom wasn’t happy, at least not at first. Then I told her I couldn't leave behind the woman I love, and she just shrugged and opened the door for me to hit the road."
I couldn't believe he'd say something like that. "That's not
funny, Xander," I accused. "I thought we were past all the jokes!"
"Who's joking, Cor? Even if I'd thought we had any realistic chance of making it to safety, if you weren't with me - well, what's the point?"
I couldn't help but wonder, was he serious? He had left everyone else behind to come here. "Why-"
I was interrupted when something on Xander started beeping. "What is that?"
"My watch," he told me, as he checked the time. "We've got two and a half hours left, Cor."
"What are we going to do?" I asked softly.
"I figure we've got two options; we can make a run for it on the bike, maybe
find a motorcycle and hope for the best," he explained evenly. "Or, we could go into the house, have a nice last dinner, and spend what little time we have left together."
The big dork frowned. "Well, that’s assuming you’re okay with me staying with you. Hey, if you want me to go, I will! I’d heard that there was gonna be a big end-of-the-world party at the Bronze, actually..."
Which was a typical dumb ass thing for Sunnydale’s citizens, naturally enough. What kind of party would that be, anyway? Probably some kind of Roman-style orgy or something. Well, screw that. There was no way I was going to let Xander humiliate himself that way.
I thought about it; if Xander thought there was any real chance for us to get to safety, we'd already be on our way. Was his idea any different than mine? To sit waiting for the end in my house, rather than in a traffic jam?
"Come on," I told him, holding out my hand. He had given up any (admittedly almost non-existent) chance for safety to be here with me. Xander Harris was an idiot; but here and now, when the past didn’t matter anymore, he was my
idiot. "Let's go eat."
Finally smiling, the dork-head took my hand and we headed back to the manor, leaving the bicycle behind. Ready to enjoy the little time we had left together, even if it didn’t mean anything anymore.=====
Xander was inside the kitchen, rifling through the refrigerator for something that befitted a last meal. His argument had been, why worry about calories now? At this point, I couldn't agree more, so I got busy looking through the cabana for the barbecue utensils.
Daddy had paid through the nose to get the stainless steel set made in Germany. Just so they would go perfectly with the custom-built brick barbecue oven he had installed in the backyard last year. I'd remembered how much he'd bragged about them to his golf buddies, even as they watched
Roberto do all the cooking for them.
As I left the cabana, I saw Xander coming out of the house with several bags in hand. I was guessing he'd found something appropriate for a last meal. I couldn’t call it a last supper; it was barely an hour past lunch.
"How does Porterhouse steaks and baked potatoes sound?" he asked, as he placed his load onto a small table next to the grill.
"Fantastic!" I called to him, eager to eat some real food. Since I suffered from a slow metabolism, I had to work hard keep my body in the perfect shape it was; and that meant no pigging out at all. Now, though, why bother?
"Queen C doing manual labor?" Xander questioned jokingly. "I guess you do see something new every day..."
"Keep it up, dork, and I'll punt your butt into the gazebo!" I threatened him, before dropping the utensils and the half bag of charcoal next to him.
"I hear and obey, your majesty."
"That's more like it." I headed back toward the house, eager to get phase two started. "Now get those steaks going while I take care of some stuff inside!"
As I toweled off from my shower, I looked out my bedroom window down to where Xander was cooking our steaks with a smile. I knew I should be petrified; I could measure my lifespan in scant hours, after all. There was nowhere to go; the destruction arising from the solar flares had to be approaching fast.
Sure, I could crawl back under my blankets and sob some more, but what would be the point of that?
Xander was here. Now. For maybe the first time ever, I was his priority. He'd called me the girl he loved, and I’d believed him; how could I not? Sure, you could argue that he was just saying that; that the stupid ass was hoping to finally sweet-talk me into bed before California went the way of the dodo, go out with a bang and not a whimper - so to speak.
But deep in my heart of hearts, I didn’t believe that. I think deep down, we both knew how that wasn’t going to happen. Maybe if he hadn’t cheated on me with Willow all those months ago, right now we’d both be in my bedroom and screwing each other so hard we wouldn’t even notice when Sunnydale was utterly destroyed...
But that particular fantasy was just that, now; a fantasy.
Still, when everyone else had left me, he had come back. Xander came looking for me. He chose me instead of his parents...instead of Willow. Hey, I’m not dumb; I was able to figure out that if he’d wanted to, Xander could have gotten Willow to bite him the same way Oz had bitten her, so that he wouldn’t have been left behind.
Or else Oz would have done it, if Harris had asked politely; that guy wouldn’t have wanted his girlfriend pissed at him for being petty enough to eliminate the competition, or whatever.
But instead, Xander chose his own path. After encountering Aura and her family, he chose me. I know I should be ashamed of myself for thinking of one-upmanship at this late date, but hey, I’m not perfect; I got a real warm feeling in my stomach knowing that right at the end, I’d finally got Xander away from that red-haired little boyfriend-stealer.
I walked back to the mirror, and did a final adjustment on my hair. I was wearing whatshould
have been my winter formal dress. I'd set aside one of Daddy's tuxes for Xander to wear as well.
The way I saw it, since we were going to die soon, we might as well look our best at the end. Seeing him take the steaks off the grill and onto plates, I grabbed my heels, and headed downstairs, eager to get things moving.
Heading to the kitchen shortly after, I stopped in the doorway, and found him placing everything on plates.
"Wow, Cor," Xander said, almost in awe. "You look...you look fantastic in that dress!"
I smiled at that; unlike my sheep, I could always count on the dweeb for a genuine
compliment straight from the heart. "Thanks, dork, now why don't you go take a quick shower? The water’s not that warm anymore, but you'll survive."
"What about the food-"
"Xander, you stink." I held my nose to emphasize my point. "Besides, I laid out one of Daddy's tuxedos for you to wear. Now hurry up and get back here, before the food gets cold!"
He shrugged and nodded, and headed out of the kitchen toward the stairs. "Gotcha, Cor, which room?!" he called out as he headed for the inside of the house.
"Mine, of course, I'm sure
you remember the way!" Considering the experiences he’d had in there before it had all fallen apart, he damn well better
Twenty minutes later Xander reappeared, freshly showered and shaved. Best of all, he looked very handsome in that tuxedo. I sucked back a sigh at the thought that in another life, maybe we really could have made it work.
"You did a hell of a job, Cordy," Xander complimented me, as he looked around at the brightly candle-lit dining room. "It looks like you really went all out, here."
I smiled at that, glad he'd actually noticed. When we'd been dating, he would never even notice when I'd gotten a new hairstyle. I guessed when it was this close to the end, you really started seeing the little things you never cared about before.
"Yeah, I got Mother's best tablecloth and silver," I told him, as I pulled out the two chairs side-by-side in the middle section of the twelve-foot-long table. "It's not like she's going to be able to complain about it."
"Hey, aren't we supposed to sit at either end?"
"Very funny, dork, now sit down and eat!"=====
"At least my sixth grade science project actually worked
," Xander said, before shoveling another spoonful of potatoes into his mouth.
"Very funny, mister 'what liquid will keep an ice cube from melting the longest?'!" I shot back. "Really, who's going to keep their ice cubes in olive oil when they have a perfectly good freezer?!"
"Oh, like you're one to talk, miss 'generic volcano
'! All that cash your dad put out, and all the lava stuff ended up leaking out the bottom and all over that dress you'd bragged about for days!"
Damn it, I had been so
sure that the volcano Daddy had paid an arm and a leg for would beat Willow's project. Instead, I'd ended up bawling into Magda's hip as I tried to hide my ruined dress, and Willow had won first place instead...
"Well, what about-" I stopped as Xander's watch started beeping. It had been going off every half hour, and it was a sound I'd quickly learned to despise.
I stared at him, as he looked up from the watch. Xander tried to keep a straight face, but I still saw a tiny shudder pass through him.
"We've got thirty minutes left, Cor."=====
I led Xander by the hand up to the patio roof. It was the place I came to tan without a bathing suit, away from the prying eyes of the staff. Now, it was going to be the closest thing to a grave we'd ever have.
After his watch had beeped, neither of us was hungry any longer. Leaving the food and dishes where they were, we'd decided to come up here and face our fate, rather than hide from it.
Shoving two of the loungers side-by-side, we laid there together in each other’s arms, facing toward the ocean, and enjoying what little time we had left.
God damn it, this wasn’t fair! I think...no, I’m sure I could have forgiven Xander for his actions eventually! I didn’t want for us to die! Not now! Not like this!
"Cordelia? There it is." Xander pointed with his right hand to something in the northwest.
To me, it just looked like a big blue smudge on the horizon. But I was never one to delude myself. "I never thought it would be like this," I muttered, as I tried to hold back tears.
"I know," Xander agreed, as his chin rested atop my head. The wind had definitely started picking up, it was much colder now. "Thing is, Cordy, whenever I thought about the future? I always pictured you as this huge movie star or something, and I was your trusty man-servant."
"Man-servant?" I asked with a giggle.
"Okay..." Harris said with an embarrassed sigh. "More like the guy that picks up the cigarette butts outside the gates of your palatial mansion."
"That's more like it, you big dork." I brought his hand up and gave it a kiss. Oh boy, just seeing the look in his eyes; I suddenly wanted more. "Just as long as you remember that I'm the boss around here."
"I wouldn't want it any other way, Cordy." Right after that, his damned watch went off again.
Reflexively, I dropped his hand. That timepiece had become the symbol of doom, and I suddenly hated it more than I had anything else in my entire life.
"Five minutes. Probably less, actually," Xander said through my hair, the wind much stronger now.
Grabbing his wrist with both hands, I quickly undid the clasp. I sat up in the lounger, pulled back my hand, and threw the watch as far as I could off the roof. The end was here, but there was no reason to let it laugh in our faces.
"Feel better?" Xander asked as I lay back down.
I let him wrap his arms around me once again, before snuggling into his side. The sun was gone, and the wind a loud roar now. "Alright, maybe a little." It had been nice to have some control back, even if it was just for a few seconds.
There was a flash of lightning, and we both looked to see the blue smudge - the tidal wave of sea water - coming in fast. It grew bigger and bigger with every passing second. Xander was right; it was less than five minutes before the end of the world.
"It'll hit Sunnydale any minute now," Xander said nervously
I screamed and shoved my face into Xander's chest, as a huge flash of light went off to the southwest of us. "Oh, God-!"
When I turned back to look, there was a mushroom cloud - just like the ones you'd see on those old films about the nuclear weapons tests during World War Two. Just then, a blast wave of freezing cold air hit us, nearly knocking us off the patio roof.
"I love you, Cordy. And I'm so sorry I ever hurt you like that." Xander started to kiss me on the top of my head, but I pulled back.
What the hell had I been thinking before? Right now Xander and I should have been in bed together, holding each other tight and not thinking we were about to die a painful and horrible death!
Coming face to face, I pressed my lips against his, eager to get one last smooch with my ex-boyfriend. Hearing the wind quickly turning into a deadly hurricane, I finally came up for air. I looked the doofus straight in the eyes, wanting him to believe what I was about to tell him...
"I love you too, Xander Harris. And I forgive you."
In response, I got that funny old lop-sided smile of his. I was relieved to see that he believed me; because I didn't want Xander to die thinking I didn't feel the same about him, as he did for me.
The roar of the wind had now become deafening; we were blown off the roof, landing painfully onto the patio. Looking back towards the Pacific, I could fully see the tidal wave now. It was hundreds of feet tall, and I couldn't imagine how anyone could possibly escape it.
Everyone around here was going to die, werewolves and vampires and demons aside.
Seeing the tidal wave bearing down on us, impossibly fast, I had to know one last thing. "Do you think there's a heaven?!" I screamed, hoping Xander could still hear me.
The wave was less than five hundred feet away, when my love brought his mouth close to my ear.
"If there's a hell like we know there is, Hellmouth 'n all, then there's got to be a heaven, Cor!" Xander pulled me in tightly against him and I did the same, holding on with everything I had left.
There was brief, agonizing pain as the humongous wall of water hit; I’m pretty sure Xander and I were smashed into the brick wall of the manor, before it all went dark and cold and silent. But it didn’t matter anymore.
They say confession is good for the soul. And now, hopefully, our souls would be together in Paradise forever.=====A/N 3: I started a World War Z style story not to long ago called 'Z War: The Council Interviews'. If you haven't checked it out, give it a try, and let me know what you think.=====THE END