A/N: BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon, Witchblade is owned by Top Cow. I write this for fun not profit, blah, blah. Argghh, I wish my muse would sometimes get a grip and focus. I recently watched the Witchblade anime, and then I was working on another of my BtVS fics and doing research when I stumbled upon the character summary of Cordelia and how she was originally intended to serve as a dramatic foil to the series' main character Buffy Summers. So what if she was more than just the foil in Buffy’s social life in high school, but also a supernatural foil as well?
For the first time I drove myself to school. There was nothing like this feeling of empowerment and freedom that tingled through me. No longer was I subject to either of my parent’s schedules, I could just get in and go wherever I wanted to in town, and could even with prior notice drive down to LA now. I couldn’t wait to see my girls’ reaction to the car either. It was a nice second hand convertible that looked like it had just come from the showroom floor and for that personal touch my father had even put on custom number plates. It was a birthday present, after all.
I pushed down on the accelerator to get a bit of the wind in going through my hair. The California sky over Sunnydale was a perfect cloudless blue, with seventy five degree weather, and I was wearing my favorite shirt – sleeveless with white lace and collar complemented by designer pants and shoes. The ensemble tastefully flattered and accentuated – I loved looking good and I loved only having the best.
My dad was loaded, what with his shipping business, and we made no excuses for our wealth. We wanted the big mansion on the outskirts of town, so we got it, fixed it up to our tastes with a large pool, high walls to ensure privacy and even built an extra smaller house on the property where the house staff lived very comfortably. The same could be said for everything else we had. We didn’t need to compromise on quality, so why should we?
I turned the steering wheel and the sun drenched buildings of Sunnydale High came into view. The white cream colored two floor building complex shrouded with evergreen trees and dark green hedgerows was already bustling with arriving students. I followed the street past the front façade and merged into traffic of those students who had their own cars as well, and drove into the parking lot, snagging a spot from under the nose of another car, who honked in irritation.
“You snooze you lose, loser,” I muttered with satisfaction as the car was forced to look for another parking spot.
I cut the engine and pulled out my keys stuffing it into the Gucci purse and stepped out. Heading towards the parking entrance of the school building, but I had company waiting for me.
I felt another glint of satisfaction as the four girls who I considered my posse stood there, gobbling with awe.
I rolled my eyes, “Really Harmony, it’s a car.”
“Not just any car, girl,” my best friend, Aura shook her head with a smirk. “That’s one smoking hot convertible.”
“Did you seriously get your plates custom, Cordelia?” Aphrodesia whipped her long auburn hair out of her face. “Queen C?”
“Daddy insisted,” I shrugged nonchalantly.
“I’m so asking for a convertible from my dad,” Gwen folded her arms assuredly.
Yes, this was my gang. The one thing we all have in common, we come from rich families and shared similar opinions on most things in life, especially on how we shouldn’t have to act all humble. I dare any person who was suddenly given a loaded bank account that they wouldn’t eventually act the way we do. I really didn’t know what was with this sudden trend that those who were rich had to put on this air of modesty and downplay their advantage. As if being rich was shameful somehow. We were also the Sunnydale High Cheerleaders, and I was the Captain, having recently won the race for the position when the previous Captain graduated. Of course, I had to recruit my pals as well into the team.
It was only natural selection at work - we were the hottest girls in school, as simple as that. I had held auditions of course to keep up the appearance of fairness and did find a few gems there to add to the crown that was the team.
All of it added up to the fact that – naturally – we were now the social trendsetter and dare I say it, rulers of the school. It was as if the rest of the school revolved around us. What we wore became the in thing for the rest. A word from any of us and who we chose to hang around with instantly became popular. We strode down the halls and nobody got in our way. It was as if we were royalty.
I gestured for my posse to follow and we entered the school. A quick visit to our lockers to gather our books, which was interrupted by yet another jock asking me out. Seriously? That was the third one this week and they were all on the football team, each seemingly trying their luck. I knew their roster and they were seemingly taking turns.
“No,” I waved him off, “I won’t go out with you, try your luck with them,” I jerked a thumb to my posse. Kevin gulped at the intimidating sight and beat a hasty retreat at that point. “Works every time, thanks girls.” They gave each other high fives and satisfied smiles.
We didn’t have all our classes together all the time this year, due to different subject choices, but Aura shared most of mine. She called herself, the ‘token black girl’ of the gang in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner and was actually the only person in the posse I could call a true friend. We could share our problems and accomplishments with each other, no matter how embarrassing or secret. We headed off to English class together and she began to regale me of the latest inside scoop gossip from Hollywood – her mom was a successful producer there. Listening to these stories I was always amazed at how much dirty laundry didn’t make it to the tabloids.
English was filled these days with reading; Shakespeare, Chaucer and Falkner. I found the authors more interesting than their works, but I always did my studying at home – failing at anything was not on my list of things to do. At school I had an image to protect and foster – I was the Queen, hottest girl in school, got my grades and didn't have to be an asocial bookworm like Willow Rosenburg in the process.
The next class was Government, and it was only remarkable in that it held the two dweebs of the school, Jesse Mcnally and Xander Harris. Jesse, a tall gangly boy, made no secret of his crush on me and loudly proclaimed that he would one day sweep me off my feet. Xander on the other hand was the thorn in my side since kindergarten. He was the class clown, and barely scraped passing grades, continuously talked in geek and so enjoyed provoking me. This was the only concession I gave him – he could verbally spar with me and occasionally even outwit me. It was just too bad that he had a chronic case of loser syndrome.
“Dear Cordelia…” Jesse began intercepting me on the way to my seat.
“Give it a rest,” I snapped. “My answer is N..O..”
I pushed him aside and got into my seat. Not bothering to look back and see what he and the dweeb were getting up to.
The day passed in its usual routine – classes, most of them boring, with the only thing to really look forward to being P.E. – where I mustered the other cheerleaders, changed into the maroon uniforms with SHS in bold letters printed on the blouses and led the team through various moves, chants, stunts and cheers. I enjoyed the physicality and dexterity of cheerleading – the perfecting of a routine. I could look and study a move, practice it once and then perform it near flawlessly. The only problem was that I was the only one on the team that could hope to perform the most physically demanding stuff, like a split-lift or a scorpion stretch – not to mention the tosses and dismounts. It left the rest only acting as bases and doing the easiest two-leg stunts that was nothing more than three girls lifting a fourth into the air.
Now I had no delusions that I could walk into a professional outfit like the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders – but I was the best of this pond.
It also left me as the one who was always the most tired and sweaty afterwards, and consequently was the only one who really had to be in the showers afterward so as to not stink the place up. It was here that I would mark as the beginning of the weirdness that would infest the rest of my life.
“When did you get a tattoo?!” gasped Harmony.
I was so startled by the exclamation that I let a face full of shower water hit me in the eyes, pushing some shampoo foam into them. “Arggh.” I closed my eyes reflexively, making sure clean my hand of all soap before rubbing to get the sting out. When I had finally recovered it was to see my posse gathered on my left hand side and they were staring fixedly at my wrist. I pulled up my hand to examine the back of it and…
There was a weird tattoo on my wrist; it was a black teardrop, wreathed in something, maybe branches.
“What the hell?!” I gasped, touching it with my other hand and flexing the skin. “That wasn’t there…”
“Oh, didn’t think you were into that kind of thing, Cordy,” Aura grinned. “You hid it under your wristwatch and didn’t think about cheerleading…”
“I swear that wasn’t there this morning!” I fumed. There was no way I would mar myself by putting ink in my skin with a freaking needle! I didn’t even like the design. How did it get there? My posse just gave me knowing bemused smirks, thinking that I was jerking them around for some reason and returned to their respective shower heads.
I just stood there for a while thinking how it could be possible that someone could give me a tattoo without me knowing or realizing it. None of them made sense. Getting a tattoo hurt – I think – wasn’t it a mechanical needle drilling your skin a thousand times a second to put in ink? The only way would've been while I was asleep at home, then maybe injected with an anesthetic or sedative, then the thief tattoo artist… no. It would take a thief of some skill to penetrate Chase Manor – daddy had a lot of quite valuable artwork after all and had spared no expense in securing the place with a state of the art alarm system.
But I would’ve noticed that damn tattoo in the shower this morning! How…
I gave up at this point, there was no rational explanation – I had a damn tattoo of a freaky teardrop wreathed in branches around my left wrist that had just appeared out of nowhere.
I don’t often swear, but… what the fuck!
It was late afternoon and driving back home I was already thinking about options on how to get the tattoo removed. I knew they could be taken off with a laser somehow, and that it was expensive. I wasn’t sweating about that part, it was more my parent’s reaction when I had to inevitably show it to them to get the money for the operation. I could imagine it now. My dad would deliver a long series of stern lectures on how that was not how a Chase lady was supposed to behave. That I was blessed with beautiful skin and how dare I tarnish it. My mom, if she didn’t have a bout of fatigue syndrome, would give me these disappointed looks and that she expected better.
No. It was going to be a pain in the ass, but I would rather save up from my allowance then do the laser op on my own initiative and funds while doing my best to hide the tattoo, a wristwatch would do, but perhaps adding some bracelets would also do the trick. I felt satisfied with my plan of action and put the lingering impossible question of how the tattoo got there in the first place out of my mind.
I pulled up outside the large gates of Chase Manor and pushed the remote on car keys. The gates obligingly opened and allowed me entry. The long driveway was bordered by pristinely kept rosebushes with carpets of green lawn stretched across the grounds, with tall trees providing shady spots where I would often spend some time doing homework or studying under. A glance at the garage showed that dad wasn’t back, which was a relief considering the circumstances.
My car didn’t have a spot in the three door garage, but I could park it next to it and there had been a pull-out shelter installed for it. I secured the car and gave a sigh of relief as I entered the cool air of the manor interior. I didn’t want to chance running into my mother or any of the staff so, clutching my hands behind my back I hurried through the entrance hall and up the staircase to the east wing of the house.
I hurried into my room and locked the door behind me with another sigh of relief.
Sitting down in front of my vanity mirror I stared at myself; my shoulder length, curling at the ends, brunette tresses were slightly windswept and wild, having a convertible was clearly going to mean more maintenance. I propped up my left elbow on the small desk of the vanity and examined my mysterious tattoo more closely – yes, definitely branches, and the teardrop looked more like a gem under proper lighting and close scrutiny.
I reached into one of the drawers of the vanity and rummaged a bit before coming away with four bracelets for both wrists, which would sit nice and snugly with minimal movement, combined with the wristwatch, the tattoo was safely hidden.
Satisfied I flung myself onto my large double bed to watch Cable on the television in my room, before moving on to do my homework for the day.
A knock on my door interrupted just as I was almost done with math, “Cordy! Dinner time.”
I glanced at the clock and was surprised at how quickly time had passed by, a glance out the window confirmed that the sun was close to setting, “Coming Mom!”
I bounded out of bed, unlocked the door and bustled out, following in my mom’s wake. Miriam Chase was slightly shorter than I was, with long curling blonde hair and a body that most women would kill for at her age. It was not something that came without a lot of effort on her part though. Mom had her own nutritionist and gym instructor on speed dial and both would often come out to the manor to work with her in person. Her chronic fatigue syndrome meant that she couldn’t exercise and work with any regularity, but since she was her own boss with a lot of minions at the office she could afford to delegate.
“How was school today?” my mom asked lightly.
“Same as usual,” I muttered after swallowing a forkful of my Spaghetti Alfredo. “Cheerleading is coming along nicely, though it’s still a long road ahead before I dare put them in front of a crowd.” She made a polite noise of interest and understanding and went back to her dinner. “Dad not coming home tonight?”
“Had to take a flight to Shanghai, some or other emergency on that side with regards to a major delay in a shipment,” Mom explained.
I nodded in understanding and seeing that my mother wasn’t going to engage in any meaningful conversation, and reached for the nearby remote on the dinner table and switched on the room’s TV. It was currently on CNN and my mom stopped me from changing channels – claiming she hadn’t watched the news today yet.
I inwardly grumbled but got back to eating; only paying the barest attention to the news anchor’s voice. I wished it was Friday at this point, and then I could be out with the girls at The Bronze, the local non-alcoholic teen hangout club.
The evening continued as any other in the weekday routine, but my mind would still occasionally wander over to the subject of the mysterious tattoo and it was seemingly all I could think about as I changed into my pajamas and climbed in bed.
I yawned and closed my eyes… falling surprisingly quickly into the deep oblivion of sleep…
Time ceased to have meaning…dreams…thought…I stood on the threshold of a large window that looked out onto a three floor drop below onto damp grass. The stars twinkled overhead and the air was fresh and lively. A slight breeze played across my body and it was a heavenly sensation. I put my hands on the sides of the window –and as my arms came into view they were both covered with silvery steel gauntlets and armored gloves with razor sharp blade talons on each digit. Their most striking feature – a teardrop shaped gem on the left gauntlet. I felt no surprise at their presence on me, I welcomed it, it was like I was wrapped in a soft blanket of power.
My left foot stepped forward and also revealed that my lower legs up to my knees were also covered in skin tight steel armor, my feet were ensconced in an armored high heeled shoe, with blades on the heels. I crouched slightly and sprang out into the air. I felt a jerk in mid-air and metal wings extended from the armor around my shoulders.
I was flying. It was glorious.
I left the building I was in behind me and flew over numerous roads, houses and towards the place where I was sure to find some fun. I hovered for a moment over the trees and slipped down between them without a sound and landed. The metal wings folded in and were swallowed by the sharp pauldrons that covered my shoulders and more metal flowed to cover my neck completely. Tendrils of armor flowed down to cup my breasts and more slivers of metal snaked along my sides and settled there before a final sliver of metal settled between my legs.
I felt rapture and tingled with anticipation at the hunt to come.
I ghosted among the trees and fields of precisely cut stone.
It didn’t take me long to find my first prey. It was waiting over a fresh grave – most likely awaiting its recently sired fledgling to rise. My tongue snaked over my lips as I considered whether to allow a two on one fight. It would certainly be quite thrilling but I couldn’t, not yet. I wanted to have fun too. It was dressed in muscle shirt and jeans and had short blonde hair – the physique was pretty good – it had probably been an avid visitor of the gym in life.
“Oh come on and get out of there already,” it snarled to the ground, kicking the headstone so hard that it almost dislodged from the earth.
I picked up a small stone and flung it to one side and darted silently in the other direction.
The vampire’s head snapped in the direction I wanted, allowing me to get closer behind a tree that was within ten feet of it. I was in plain sight now and leaned against the tree in question casually. The vampire turned its head back and caught sight of me.
It actually jumped in fright for a brief moment, “Whoah! What the fuck?!” I just grinned at it, purposefully pulsing power through my eyes so that it flashed a deep orange. I wanted there to be no thinking that I was just a girl with some armor and other bits pasted on. “What the fuck are you?”
I didn’t answer, but my smile became demented parody of its former self, almost a leer, and I licked my lips again. “I hope you do well.”
“What? Do well?”
I was rushing at him the next moment and slammed a flat palm directly into his sternum. The vampire was sent reeling backward, struggling to stay on its feet and the next moment it’s facial aspect changed as the demon within came to the fore; ridged, rippled forehead, enlarged canines that nearly shot past its lower lip and inhuman eyes that flashed yellow.
It charged at me in a counter-attack. Trying to bull me down to the ground. I flitted away from the tackle in the nick of time, grabbing the passing right arm with both hands and pushed down on its shoulder while lifting the forearm. The vampire was forced into an out of control somersault and it landed rather painfully.
I tutted at it, “Pitiful.”
It snarled, vaulted to a vertical base and unleashed a flurry of rapid punches – the body must have been a boxer in its former life judging by the style and stance. I gave ground, dodging and deflecting.
“Yes, yes, aahh, yes,” I flashed a wide grin of delight, before grabbing the next punch and in a moment twisted the wrist in a way that it was not supposed to go. The cracking and twisting of bones echoed in the night – the vampire screamed in pain. I pulled it forward off balance and a kick to the midsection sent it twirling through the air to land painfully against a headstone.
I waited patiently for the vampire to get up and it cradled its ruined hand briefly before charging in again. It was now using slashing attacks with such ferocity that its functional arm would be a mere blur of light to someone watching. There was a price to pay for this speed though; it was taking the vampire longer to pull its arm back to chamber another strike. Leaving me more time to move between strikes, as long as I dodged the initial hit, which was oh so nice and challenging.
But he now had a wide open gap in his defenses, I deflected his next slash wide and added power to it, and darted in for a double-handed flat palm strike to the stomach and sternum. The vampire went flying again with all the momentum I imparted, this time clipping a nearby tree, which sent it spinning in mid-air like a top.
The sound of crumbling and collapsing earth interrupted me and a glance out of the corner of my eye showed a hand speared out of the fresh grave and struggling to pull itself out. The injured sire came rushing at me again at this point. I countered by kicking out low at the last possible moment, taking out its knee with a crunch and sending it stumbling to the ground past me as I dodged. The fledgling was halfway out of the ground at this point and snarling, with its demonic visage already out.
I flung out my hand towards it, a spiked ball attached to a chain erupted out and slammed into its skull, splitting it like a fallen watermelon, sending fragments of bone, brains and a tiny amount of residual blood in a spray. The fledgling was effectively decapitated and it immediately disintegrated into ashes with an unearthly scream.
It suddenly felt like bands of steel had been clamped around my arms and upper chest. I looked down to see that the vampire had rather impressively gotten up and had locked its arms around me despite its injuries. It snarled and tried to bite into my exposed back, only to scream in pain as armor had grown in the way of its teeth at the last moment.
It abruptly flung me away and I laughed with delight as I twisted in mid-air and landed nimbly on all fours, digging my blade nails into the grassy earth to brake to a complete stop. The vampire was spitting out blood and teeth – it had clamped down very hard. Tooth enamel was the hardest substance in the human body, but it was like wet paper in comparison to the armor at my command.
“Bith!” the vampire snarled.
“Tut tut, language,” I smirked with wide grin. I sprinted forward as fast I could, the vampire tried to dodge but it was too injured and it’s healing not fast enough. I was behind it in a flash, reaching back and grabbing both arms and lifting the vampire into a crucifix position. A long straight sword blade sprouted from my right gauntlet. “Time to die.”
The arms of the vampire went flying off in either direction, turning to ash, and I whirled around in a pirouette and decapitated it. Only ash fell to the earth.
“Aahh,” I breathed in satisfaction at the kill…
I gasped as I awoke and sat up in my bed. I glanced at the digital clock and groaned as it was barely fifteen minutes before my alarm would ring anyway. What the hell was that dream? It was so vivid! It felt like I actually was that freaky chick with the freaky armor – fighting a…vampire?! Crap, what was going on with my subconscious?
I rubbed my face wearily but paused as I caught the glint of something on my left wrist, not to mention the feel of something unfamiliar on my skin there. I switched on the bed lamp and squinted at the sudden brightness. When my eyes had adjusted I looked…
An elegant steel bracelet was on my wrist, set with a teardrop shaped jewel. It looked exactly like the tattoo, only now it was real. I tried to pull it off at this point – but it would budge no matter how hard I tried. The skin wouldn’t even stretch a millimeter – which was impossible. It was like it had become hard stone around the bracelet. I groaned and slammed a fist into the bed in frustration, there would be no way I could remove the tattoo underneath with this thing in the way.
“What is going on?” I asked in desperation to the air around me, not really expecting an answer, which was why the dark amused laughter that echoed in my ears came as a rather unpleasant surprise.
A/N2: I’m using a fusion of the Witchblade’s powers from different media. Don’t expect Cordelia to be using it perfectly immediately either. Certain elements and characters of the greater Blade-verse will be fused in here. Hope you enjoyed. Please leave constructive reviews – it helps a lot.