Best Served Warm
You've been waiting over a year
to use that line?Title:
“Best Served Warm”Author:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel the Series and characters thereof belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Kazui Entertainment. The Terminator, T2, and characters thereof belong to Orion Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Warner Bros, and James Cameron. Everyone else belongs to their respective owners too, except for my original characters, whom I suppose belong mostly to themselves.
This is a work of derivative fiction. All persons, characters, names, places, locations, entities, personages, and/or deities contained within are purely fictional, or fictional representations thereof, and any resemblance to any real persons, characters, names, places, locations, entities, personages, and/or deities are purely coincidental, or they are used in a purely fictional manner.Summary:
Christmas is a time for spreading joy to your fellow man, as long as he's not dirty, smelly, gross, or otherwise lame.Type:
Romance, Comedy, Urban FantasyChronology:
Takes place during BtVS “Amends”Pairings:
Xander Harris and Cordelia ChaseAuthor's Note(s):
My version of what might have happened one Christmas, if the ME writer's hadn't had their heads planted firmly up their rear elevations.
A part of the "Life in Sunnydale" non-series.
Best Served Warm
by Ironbear_______“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves.” ― Eric Sevareid_______
Cordelia smirked inwardly as Xander turned instantly nervous upon seeing her and Gwen sit down on the couch across from him and Willow. Following Xander's gaze, Willow became just as flustered, which made the moment even sweeter.
Or it would have if Cordelia hadn't seen the hurt look that Xander threw her way when he thought she wasn't looking...
Looking anywhere except at Cordelia, Willow more or less stammered out, "Oz and I had planned... but I guess that's
"Ah. Me, well, I'll be enjoying my annual Christmas Eve camp-out," Xander said, rolling his eyes. "See, I take my sleeping bag outside and I go to sleep on the grass."
' Cordelia thought, 'In Sunnydale? Why don't you just hang a sign around your neck saying Free Snack and hang out in the park, Xander?
Not that she
cared, of course...
Jerking her head toward the stairs, Cordelia stood, followed by Gwen. Gwen moved off immediately, but Cordelia paused for a moment, torn between an impulse to say something about Xander risking becoming vampire chow, and a desire to take advantage of the obvious insult opportunity coming up.
"Gee, that sounds fun," Willow said.
Xander shrugged. "Yeah, I like to look at the stars, you know?" he said, "Feel the whole nature vibe."
Letting a smug smile flow across her lips, Cordelia narrowed her eyes and said, "I thought you slept outside to avoid your family's drunken Christmas fights."
The pained and hurt look that Xander gave her momentarily froze the smug smile in place before she recovered.
"Yes. And that was a confidence I was hoping you would share with everyone," Xander said, his lopsided grin turning as sarcastic as his tone.
' Cordelia thought. 'He's right. I shouldn't have let that slip out.
Recovering quickly, Cordelia shrugged. "Well, I'll be in Aspen. Skiing. With actual snow," she said.
"I hear that helps," Buffy said, coming up to them.
"It must be a drag to be stuck here in Sweatydale, but I'll be thinking of you," Cordelia said, smirking at them, "Okay, I'm done."
Putting on her best self satisfied smile, Cordelia turned and strolled off, gathering up Gwen with her eyes and a sharp jerk of the head.
'Well, there was no part of that that wasn't fun,
' she thought, 'Except for the parts that weren't. And damn it, so
what if I let slip a confidence? The cheating jerk so deserved it
She could still hear the three of them as they headed down the stairs into the lounge proper, pausing to let Oz slide past them on his way up.
"She certainly has reverted to form," Buffy was saying.
"It's not her fault," Willow said. "Mm, after what happened, we gotta cut her some slack."
'Gee thanks, Willow,
' Cordelia shook her head, irritated. 'How nice of you to allow that I have a
right to be pissed off at the two of you.
' Wouldn't have been so annoying if it hadn't been for the slight note of condescension in the redhead's voice...
Buffy's voice stopped her right at the doorway leading from the lounge out into the Quad. "Hey, Cordy? Wait up a sec?"
Her back stiffening, Cordelia stopped as Gwen paused in the door, holding it open. Gwen gave her a curious look, and Cordelia shook her head.
"Go on," Cordelia said, "I'll catch up in a minute."
"Okay," Gwen nodded and pushed on out into the courtyard.
"What?" Cordelia turned as Buffy came up to her, frowning slightly.
"Oh, just wanted to talk for a moment," Buffy said, "If you have a seccey."
"Fine," Cordelia said, tossing her hair. "What?"
Smiling at her, Buffy moved past and pushed open the door. "Let's go on out," she said.
Rolling her eyes, Cordelia followed as Buffy headed out past the doors. Buffy led the way to the left over to some of the benches along the side of the Quad and paused at one of the pillars.
"Look, if this is about what I said in there... " Cordelia said.
Buffy held up one hand in a 'stop' gesture. "Yeah, kind of. And kinda not."
"Okay... " Cordelia folded her arms over her chest, staring down at the shorter blonde. Arching an eyebrow, she said, "So what is it kind of and kind of not
"Xander's really hurting, you know?" Buffy said, looking up at her earnestly.
"Oh, for... " Shaking her head, Cordelia rolled her eyes and started to turn away.
"And so are you."
Buffy's words stopped the turn before it had even really begun, and Cordelia stared down at her again. "What
did you say?"
"I said, and so are you," Buffy said. "Look, I get
that you have a right
to be angry at him and – "
"I so do!" Cordelia said, her eyes narrowing. "I have every right!"
"What I said," Buffy said, nodding.
"Are you going somewhere with this?" Cordelia said, putting on her best bored expression.
Shrugging, Buffy said, "Look, I get that we've never really been friends. Which is of the good, because we don't really like each other all that much."
Between her anger at Xander and Willow, her irritation and embarrassment with herself over what she'd said inside, and her annoyance at Buffy's presumption, the fact that there was a vague almost familiarity to the words didn't even really register on Cordelia.
She started to speak, only to have Buffy cut her off with another raised hand and an earnest expression.
"But you have
helped to save the world on occasion," Buffy said. "So I'm going to give you some much needed advice."
should be rich," Cordelia said, her eyes narrowing. Tossing back her hair, she looked at Buffy. "Okay, so: lay it on me, oh guru."
"Get over it," Buffy said, smiling.
"What?" it came out in almost an outraged squawk, and Cordelia hastily lowered her voice. "What
did you just say to me?"
"Get. Over. It." Buffy's smile broadened. "Whatever is causing the Joan Collins 'tude? Get over it. Deal. Spank your inner moppet, embrace the pain, whatever you need to do, but get over it. 'Cause pretty soon you're not even gonna have the loser friends you used to have."
So momentarily outraged she couldn't even form words, Cordelia's mouth worked silently several times with no sound coming out.
"Instead you'll just be stuck with all of the ones that aren't," Buffy said, turning slightly to look across the Quad.
Involuntarily, Cordelia turned as well, following Buffy's gaze. Across the Quad, she saw Harmony, Aura, Gwen, and Aphrodesia staring openly at her and Summers, giggling. Or more likely... snickering.
Aura and Aphrodesia hastily turned away from Cordelia's gaze, but Harmony merely gave her a malicious look and an even more malicious smile.
Turning back to Buffy, Cordelia found her voice again. "And I think it's time you started minding your own business, Summers," she said, her voice frosty.
"Way past time," Buffy said, nodding. Stepping past Cordelia, Buffy began heading back toward the doors to the student lounge. Turning back, she gave Cordelia a bright smile, adding, "Just think about it, okay?"
A long buried, nearly forgotten memory surfaced finally for the stunned brunette, and she called after the retreating back of the small blonde.
"You've been waiting over a year
to use that line?" Cordelia said, her voice slightly incredulous.
"Nah." Buffy turned partially back, smiling at her again. "Just seemed appropriate all of a sudden. Merry Christmas."
Grrf! The nerve of that- that- that... Summers!
did she have to throw Cordelia's own words to her
back into Cordelia's
face? It's not like the circumstances were even remotely similar to Buffy's actions that sparked Cordelia's own outrage that time and her initial use of the diatribe.
Or were they?
No. Not even.
Staring after the diminutive blonde, Cordelia scowled, and then shook her head slowly and huffed with her arms folded over her chest. Bitch.
And even more nerve! Taking that damned Xander's side in all of this, like it was Cordelia's fault that he was hurting, and not that- that... jerkface's and that cheating tramp Willow's.
Still scowling, she tossed her hair back, looked over toward the gaggle of giggling Cordettes and began to stalk back over to them – and then made the mistake of glancing sidelong to where Willow and Xander were standing.
And caught Xander looking in her direction with a look of such naked pain and longing on his face that it almost broke her stride and made her stumble. Almost.
Except that she wasn't, really. Summers, that was. And taking Xander and Willow's side in things, that was. Well, kind of, except in the way that really wasn't.
Unbidden, a memory surfaced in the back of Cordelia's mind of Buffy's lamer, uncomfortable, and half-assed attempt to talk to her about the whole thing before, not long after she'd gotten out of the hospital. Just before that vampire attacked them and Cordelia got knocked into the garbage right in front of Harmony. And right before that incident with that weird girl, Enya or whatever her name was.
'And so are you.'
Buffy's other words surfaced, against Cordelia's will, and her angry steps slowed.
hurting, damn it. And not just from the mostly healing rebar wound through her abdomen. She had a right
to be hurt, and hurting...
She'd effectively convinced herself that her and that... creep had more than just really hot groping in closets and near death experiences fueling them. She'd pretty much admitted on Homecoming night that she was in love with the idiot, and she'd actually started to think that he loved her back, damn it. And then she found out that he'd been cheating on her behind her back – and lying to her face
about it – with that two faced hussy. His best friend.
And Willow! Okay, Xander had betrayed her. But Willow betrayed her worse – Cordelia had actually started to think that the two of them were putting the past enmity behind them, and starting to actually become friends, maybe. Sh'yeah. Right.
Cordelia's steps slowed even more as she glanced over that way again, seeing Xander react to something Willow said by turning away from her direction to face the redhead, laughing. A bit sourly, it looked like, but laughing, still.
Probably at something the little bitch said about Cordelia.
Dammit. She had
started to love the idiot. Still did. And he had
started to feel the same way about her. She was sure
Xander had no right
to look in her direction with such... naked pain and bereavement and loss in his expression like that. None. Period.
It was his own damned fault
that he lost her and was never ever going to get her back.
That had been really, seriously mean and uncalled for of her to throw his family's drunken laundry in his face for a cheap laugh.
With all of the ammunition she'd handed to him during their year of dating, all of the confidences they'd shared, the idiot hadn't thrown any of them back at her in retaliation. And why not? Not like she wasn't giving him reasons to...
And it's not like it had really made her feel any better for more than a fleeting moment, dammit.
Resolutely, Cordelia focused back on her other friends and lengthened her stride again. Only to pause briefly and slow as she caught another malevolent look in her direction from Harmony, and the mouth movements indicating some snarky remark from the blonde. Right. Some friend Harmony was turning out to be. Acting like it was so so big of her to allow Cordelia back into her own circle again – all the while doing everything she could to undermine Cordelia along the way.
Out of all of them, Aura was the only one who might even be close to considered an actual friend, and she wasn't even putting up more than a half hearted token effort at protesting Harmony's tactics.
Screw this. She didn't need
Turning on her heel abruptly, Cordelia tossed her head again and changed direction – away from Harmony and the gaggle of former Cordettes and past Xander and Willow, toward the entrance to the cafeteria and student lounge.
Striding past the two of them without a glance, Cordelia's own innate self honesty compelled her to examine at least part of her and Buffy's exchange, and her own thoughts from earlier.
Lying cheating bastard of a jerk or not, she really didn't want even her ex to get eaten by a monster or killed by a vampire while sleeping in his backyard, dammit. Or worse – turned by one.
The first thing the moron would do
after he rose would probably be to come after her
The inconsiderate jerk.
Thursday, December 24, 1998; Harris Residence back yard, Sunnydale -
A particularly loud yell from inside made Xander wince. Grumbling to himself, he rolled over inside his sleeping bag, trying vainly to find a more comfortable position.
"Boy, even for you
this is a new low in stupidity," a feminine voice said from over and behind him.
Startled, Xander rolled over and sat up. Or tried to: it took him a few moments to untangle himself from the sleeping bag.
Finally extricating himself, he shook his head at the sight of an immaculately dressed Cordelia Chase standing a few yards away with her arms folded across her chest, looking around his back yard with an expression of distaste. She had a big cross clutched in one hand, and another smaller one on a chain around her neck.
"Cordelia?" Xander blinked at her, nearly dumbfounded. "What are you doing here?"
Cordelia scowled down at him. "Talking to you. Duh."
"Well, yeah, I get that," Xander said. Irritably, he scrubbed a hand through his hair and then across his face, rubbing at his eyes. "I guess my question is more along the lines of why?"
"Sleeping outside. At night. In Sunnydale," Cordelia said, rolling her eyes. "Why don't you just hold up a sign saying 'Hey! Free meal?'"
"At the risk of starting up the argument that never seems to end lately," Xander said, "What do you care?"
"Well, duh. I don't
, moron," Cordelia said, scowling at him still. "But even if I do hate your guts right now, I don't
want to see you as a vampire. Jeeze."
His dad yelled something inside that was audible all the way out here. Hell, it was probably audible down the block, Xander thought. His mom yelled back, her voice strident, and Cordelia glanced toward the house, wincing.
"I thought you were going to Aspen for the Holidays?" Xander said.
"My parents went to Aspen," Cordelia said, turning back to him. It was probably a trick of the uncertain light, but he almost could swear he saw her face soften a bit as another set of yells came from inside. "I decided to stay here. Because, snow? Who needs it."
"Yeah," Xander said, his tone sarcastic, "All that luxury and white stuff just can't compete with the joy of making my holiday miserable."
A yell followed by a crash came from inside as his mom threw something at his dad. Sounded like she missed. They both winced at the impact.
"More miserable," Xander amended, "Than usual."
"Exactly!" Cordelia gave him a brilliant smile. "Because the spirit of Christmas is all about
bringing joy to your fellow man and all that."
"Oh, for... " giving him an exasperated look, Cordelia said, "Get up."
"Why? So I can get my daily heaping of bile on my feet?" Xander said, sighing. "I'll pass, thanks."
"Oh, for... will you just get up?" Cordelia's tone became even more exasperated. "Come on. There's leftover ham and trimmings at my house. And the maid and housekeeper have gone home to their
families, so it's not like anyone will see you there."
"Gee. And I didn't get you anything."
"Well, of course
you didn't," Cordelia said, tossing her hair. "Not like you
would make any effort at anything."
"Cordy... " Xander looked up at her, exasperated and more than a bit bewildered. "Why are you doing this?"
Sighing, Cordelia looked at him. "What? It can't just be because I don't want even my cheating ex eaten by vampires?"
"I'd think that'd make your entire year," Xander said, starting to smile. "Best Christmas ever!"
"Oh, please," Cordelia said, rolling her eyes again. "Buffy would have to stake you, and get all depressed. Willow would get all mopey and impossible for the rest of the year. And they'd probably blame me
, like it was my
fault or something."
"Me me me. It's all about me."
"Oh, shut up."
"Besides," Xander said, "I'd probably come back as a really bad ass vamp and the first thing I'd do is drain you."
"Oh, yeah. Like that
would happen," Cordelia said, smirking. "In your dreams."
"Hey, I could be a bad ass vamp if I wanted to," Xander said.
"Right. Come on," Cordelia said, wincing again as another exchange of yells came from inside. "I so am not
gonna sit out here all night with a cross warding vamps away from you."
"Oh, fine," Xander said. Grumbling, he finished untangling himself from the sleeping bag and stood up. "I wouldn't want to put you out or anything."
"Too right you wouldn't," Cordelia said, falling into step beside him as he headed toward the gate.
"Mashed potatoes, dressing, sweet potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce," Cordelia said, nodding. "It was a pretty good meal."
"Sounds good," Xander said, holding the gate for her.
"Oh, and don't
get any ideas," Cordelia said, pausing with her hand on the gate. She glared at him. "We are not
back together. This is not
going to be some lame-o fantasy where you get to unwrap your present while she's wearing a skimpy Santa's helper outfit."
"Never crossed my mind," Xander said.
He stopped suddenly as the full impact of Cordelia wearing a skimpy red and white fur trimmed Victoria Secret Santa thingy flashed into his mind's eye.
"Do you really own a Sexy Santa's Helper outfit?" Xander asked, starting to grin at her. He waggled his eyebrows.
Cordelia's glare would smoke paint off of a building. "You'll
never find out."
"Never crossed my mind," Xander said, still grinning.
Huffing, Cordelia made a growling sound low in her throat and stalked off toward her car.
Pausing, Xander called after her, "Wait up a minute after you get the car started."
"What for?" Half turning, Cordelia gave him a puzzled frown.
"I need to make a quick detour up the trellis and into my room."
"To get your Christmas present, duh."
The puzzled frown turning into a full blown puzzled scowl, Cordelia looked at him suspiciously. "I thought you said you didn't get me anything."
~ FINIS ~
A little bit of humor, tragedy, and romance for the Holidays. Merry Christmas, everyone. :)