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This story is No. 2 in the series "Penultimate". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Wedding. Pain-killers. Slices of tomatoes. Second story in the Penultimate series

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > West Wing > Cordelia-CenteredNorwegianneFR1311,164023,9191 Mar 041 Mar 04Yes
Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters of the television shows Angel or The West Wing.

Timeline: After Syringa Vulgaris

A/N: Second story in the Penultimate verse. Oh, and if you’re a big believer in the fact that Josh and Donna are ultimately destined to be together, you should probably turn around right about here.

Title: Pulmonary

A wedding.

A wedding where he’d been the maid of honor.

A wedding where the groom was a man Josh knew he’d never met sober.

A wedding where the bride could go on and on about her boss’ sensitive system.

And Josh wasn’t allowed to drink alcohol.

Technically it had been the doctors who had called it, but Donna did her best to enforce it.

Sometimes getting shot could really take the fun out of your year.

Still, he’d been allowed the concession of being Donna’s maid of honor.

Why shouldn’t he?

After all, she was one of his best friends, and he was one of hers. He kind of figured that it was his right to be her maid of honor.

Actually he preferred the title Best Man, since Josh knew that he was indeed the man.

But a cousin of the groom held that title, and Josh was stuck being the maid of honor, something CJ had revelled in when she had sent out that brief statement to the press.

None of them worked at the White House anymore, but having CJ deal with their press was indubitably a much better deal than if he should try his hand at it.

Sam had asked him if he had to wear a pink tux. Josh hadn’t deigned it with an answer.

Pink tuxes were for girls, or sissies.

He had a blue one.

And now he was sitting alone in a corner at the society event of the year.

Because he wasn’t allowed to do strenuous exercise, like dancing, just yet.

His mother was off somewhere dancing with Leo, and if that wasn’t enough to drive a man to drink then what was?

Josh was so occupied in his own thoughts that he barely noticed the brunette in a black gown who settled in the chair next to him.

Not until she kicked of her shoes and spoke.

“Weddings suck.”

“That’s a way of putting it,” Josh muttered and turned to look at her. “Are you a friend of Donna’s or Marbury’s?”

“His cousin’s date. I’m Cordelia Chase.”

“Wussley something or another?” His mouth could usually be relied on to get him into trouble. Why should that be any different after the coma? “I’m Joshua Lyman. Josh.”

“Yeah, Wesley can be quite the wuss at times,” she smiled at him. “But then he goes and does something so incredible for you that you find it hard to believe.”

“Have you been together long?”

“Oh, we’re not together. We’re co-workers and he’s one of my best friends.”

“I thought you said he was your date.” Josh was beginning to feel the effect of the painkillers disappearing, and a headache was coming in its stead along with vague pains elsewhere. He winced.

“Well, he didn’t have anyone else to ask. Besides he knew I’d been itching to go to a wedding. Sometimes a girl needs to believe in fairytale endings, you know. Fairy tale ending of the normal kind, and not the ones where they want to cut of your head or have you com-shuck with someone.”

Josh rubbed his head and nodded.

“Hey, do you have a head-ache?”

“Yeah,” he mumbled. “I was shot some time ago, and the meds just lost effect. Granted I was shot further below, and that hurts as well, but… what are you doing?”

“Getting you some of my medication. I have a lot of headaches. Aha,” she held up a pack. “Now these are strong, so you can’t drink anything.”

“That won’t be a problem here.”

“I don’t think they’re too harmful to the rest of your medication, at least my doctor never asks about stuff like that. But he’s pretty out of this world most of the time.”

“I don’t care, I just want to wave to Donna and Marbury when they leave for their honeymoon, and be able to relish in the sight of Leo’s face.”

“Who’s Leo?” she asked curiously as she poured some water into a glass and handed it to him. She then put the pitcher back on the table.

“He used to be my boss. Now? I don’t know. If I look out on the floor I’ll be reminded that he might be my stepfather.”

“And he doesn’t like John?”

“There’s some animosity there, thanks.” He opened his mouth tossed the pills in and gulped them down with the water she’d provided. “Also he really likes Donna. I think.”

“Well, John is a bit much at times.”

“Wait,” Josh’s head shot up from the resting position he’d laid it in on the table. “You don’t find him dreamy and the accent adorable?”

“God, no,” she laughed. “Two of the most boring men I know have almost that kind of accent.”

“Oh.” Josh was beginning to feel tired. “How strong were those things?”

“The painkillers?”


“Strong enough to kill monster-headaches. Why?”

Josh’s head fell down and he began snoring.

“And I’m thinking Wesley won’t like this very much,” Cordelia muttered.

What was she going to do?

This was not what she had intended when she had handed over the pills.

Maybe they were stronger than she thought?

Then why the hell did they do such a lousy deal of keeping her headaches away?

A light kick to his shin did nothing.

Nor did a hard kick.

Cordelia rolled her eyes and grabbed one of his arms. The least she could do was tilt him to the back of the seat so that he didn’t slobber on the linen.

Or the plate his head had been placed at.

She lifted some slices of tomato off his face and stepped back to gaze upon him.

Yep, he was presentable.

If you had no hearing.

This was the reason for her lack of social life. Every time she met a guy, something happened.

He turned out to be a vampire, a demon, a fixer-upper, a fraidy-cat, or a prissy watcher. This time she met a nice guy, who’d had a respectable job, and she’d gone and made him fall asleep.

Could she escape before Wesley found out and had blackmail material for the next century, or two, should Angelus escape and turn the two of them?

She seriously considered just leaving him there. The charitable thing would, of course, be to look after him, so that no one took advantage of him.

Of course that was not the Cordelia way. At least not most of the time.

She snorted, and grabbed a napkin.

Sorry about the pain-killers, Sleeping Beauty… I guess I didn’t know how strong they were, really. When you wake up again, you could try calling me? I’m just going back to my hotel.

Since I don’t know how strong they are, maybe I shouldn’t wait for a call tonight. But call me. Anyone who calls Wesley Wussley has a high number in my book, at least when I’m in this mood.

Cordelia Chase.

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The End

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