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30 March 2008 @ 10:29 am
Fic: Even Job Got A Break Eventually  
Title: Even Job Got A Break Eventually
Author: : xlivvielockex
Rating: : PG13
Pairing: Cordelia Chase/Charles Gunn
Prompts: Written for missambs for hetfic_minis who wanted Afterlife, hair, and snark. And wanted no fluff.
Summary: Set after The Thin Dead Line. Cordelia tries to find some kind of meaning and hope.
Word Count: 1,652
Author's Note: A HUGE thanks to my beta, boy_named_susie. I am not sure what I would do without her being able to beta my shit at the last minute. I love you, Sarah!

For a place that most days seemed like hell, LA was a religious Mecca. There were so many places to worship and different kinds of worship that you needed a Thomas Guide to navigate them all. So after weaving her way in and out of at least a dozen houses of God, Cordelia finally stopped in one, collapsing in a bench. She crossed her arms on the back of the bench in front of her, resting her forehead against her arms. She let out a sigh. It wasn’t that she was drawn here, but rather, that this was the last place she had come to before her exhausted body screamed at her to stop.

Every place was the same. She didn’t feel any sort of spiritual awakening inside herself. It all felt so empty. She had more of an emotional reaction to a sidewalk sale along Rodeo than she did to walking into any of the churches, synagogues, and parish halls. Even seeing celebrities at the Scientology Center didn’t rouse any sort of feeling in her. She let out a deep breath, raising her head, and looking towards the front of the church. Jesus on the cross – she could relate right about now. She was suffering for her sins, and her disciples were oblivious. Angel – he had a big fat name tag that said Judas on it for sure.

Religion had never been much of an issue or topic growing up, unless you were praying to the Almighty Dollar. It had “God” written on it, so it was good enough for her. Crosses and crucifixes had been in vogue since Madonna, so she never gave it a second thought when she slipped one on. And the last thing she wanted to do when she lost everything was to put her faith in the being that had destroyed her world. How she ended up cruising the churches of the greater Los Angeles area was a mystery even to herself.

It was strange to her that no priest or nun or whatever they had here hadn’t come out to greet her and size her up for a donation. That had happened at every other place. Maybe because this place was so close to the less than glamorous parts of LA. People that came here were probably here for hand outs not hand ins. She sat up now, running a hand through her hair. The silence was comforting. It wrapped her like a blanket, shielding what was waiting her just outside. She had visions that were killing her, a city of people she couldn’t help, a friend in the hospital, and another friend that she would like to see turned into food for a Dust Buster.

When she heard the voice, she almost jumped out of her skin. “Hey Barbie, what you doing here?”

She didn’t need to turn around to know who it was. The voice was too familiar to her, after all these months. But she turned around anyway. Suspicion was one of the few colors that she did not wear well. “I read in Cosmo that churches are a great place to meet single guys.” She flashed him a smile, one that didn’t quite reach her eyes, one that she didn’t believe.

“Doubt you are going to meet anyone in here that meets your standards.” Gunn moved to take up a seat next to her on the bench. “Last place the gangs and drug dealers haven’t taken over.”

She nodded at his words though most of it was foreign to her. She thought, through her limited experience and watching television, that at least religion was sacred. Apparently nothing was here. “So why are you here?”

“Anne asked me to pick up some donations. Guess somebody donated some furniture. She needed me and my truck.”

“Well, that place sure could use it. That couch we put Wes on smelled like bong water and marshmallows. Don’t ask me why marshmallows, maybe stoners just like to eat them when they get high.”

He chuckled lowly. “Better keep your voice down. You’re gonna wake up the old priest. Right about now is his dinner and falling asleep in front of the old black and white tv time.”

“Thank…you know…whoever for small favors. I’ve spent the day getting assaulted by guys who look like they should be on the cover of Pedophile Monthly. This was the last stop on the Cordelia Church Tour, and I was hoping it would be a solo one. No autographs.”

“Why you hitting all the churches? You running for Mother Theresa or something I don’t know about?”

She snorted when he said that, looking at him. “Yeah, I am just trying to boost my points to get into Heaven. Right now, it is going to be like trying to get into Skybar. St. Peter will be there with his headset, sunglasses, and clipboard. ‘Sorry, Ms. Chase, you aren’t on the list.’ Please. Do I look like saint material? Not in this outfit.”

“You’re really avoiding the questions more than usual tonight, ain’t you?” He kept his dark eyes on her and she felt like they were looking right through her. They were stronger than any MRI or CAT scan or PET scan. He could bore his way right into her brain, seeing all the damage. He had opened her up, spilled her out, and she was scrambling to put herself together again.

“I am here because of what happened to Wes.” The lie came so easily. After months of lying, one more to add to the stack wasn’t such a big deal. If she had put any faith in the guy on the cross with the bad taste in underwear, then maybe she would have felt a twinge of guilt about lying in a church.

Gunn fell silent then. He sat back, keeping his eyes forward. Cordy counted off the seconds that he was silent. She was used to men who kept quiet. It was a man thing really. Even the manly gay ones seemed to clam up whenever you talked about deep stuff. When he finally spoke, it was like he was shattering the silence of the church just with a few words. “Yeah, been thinking about that too.”

“Pretty much sucks that we can get killed by demons and vampires. Now we have to worry about zombie cops too? I can’t even drive around town anymore without worrying I am going to get pulled over and instead of ticket, get the barrel of a gun.”

“Think it was pretty taken care of though.” She could tell it was a veiled attempt at making her feel better. She appreciated the gesture, and if she was really here for that, then it might have helped.

“Yeah. But I am hoping I can convince Yahweh not to let it happen again.”

The silence fell once more between them. It wasn’t the uncomfortable silence of a date going badly but instead was the silence of two people who were comfortable enough to be quiet around each other. Once more, it was Gunn who broke though the calm.

“I think about it sometimes, where I am going. Like to think I’ve been fighting the good fight but…” He trailed off.

“But what? Please don’t tell me that you would trade your soul for one moment of perfect happiness cause that one is done and tired.”

“No. Not going to trade it.” There was something in his voice, something just behind it, filled with emotion that was threatening to break out over the surface.

“Gunn, hey…I might seem like this totally put together ice queen but I do have a hidden side here. I have depth. What is going on?”

He chuckled, brushing off that momentary crack in his defenses. “Nothing, Barbie. Just thinking about where I am going after this.”

“Well, if I get into Heaven, I will totally sneak you in through the backdoor. You know, if you aren’t like knighted or whatever they do for saints.” She reached out and took his hand. His hand felt good against hers, the skin warm and a little rough from too many hard times and not enough good ones.

He smiled and she hoped it was from the touch of her hand. Or it could have been from her clever wit. She kind of hoped that it was a combination of both. They both needed a smile right now. They had been cast out into the cold and almost lost someone who was important to both of them.

“I never told you, but I dig the new haircut. New haircut, new agency. Though, really, you need to be getting on my side about the Gunn Agency.”

Her hand pulled out of his, hitting him lightly against his shoulder. “Not even. Gunn Agency is way too predictable. Chase Agency all the way. Besides, we need a beautiful face to bring in new clients.” She closed her eyes, flashing one of those perfect smiles, and posing just slightly.

He chuckled once more and in her mind, she could see him shaking his head just slightly at her actions. “I got a deal for you, Saint Cordelia, you help me with the couch and I will buy you some burgers.”

She opened her eyes, looking at Gunn for a moment, perhaps really seeing him for the first time. She nodded her head. “That sounds…really good oddly. I’m starving.”

“Until English is out of the hospital, it is just you and me, girl.” He said as he slid out of the booth. He offered his hand to help her out.

She slipped her hand into his and once more gave him a wide smile, genuine this time. She might not have had a lot of faith in God or Jesus or even The Powers That Be, but right now, she had plenty of faith in a man named Charles Gunn.
Current Mood: listlesslistless
Deb: Cordy Work Sucksdamnskippytoo on March 31st, 2008 01:51 pm (UTC)
If I'd remembered you were supposed to pinch me I would have remembered to do the fic! ;p

It wasn't your responsibility. I just can't believe how completely it left my mind!