Title: Pain Author: Coru (JediCally@yahoo.com) Rating: PG to PG-13 Spoilers: Up to 'The Wish' Summary: Cordelia's empty. Just a few moments during 'The Wish'. From Challenge In A Can (http://www.dymphna.net/challenge/challenge.html). Cordelia, Hollow, Phone Disclaimer: I am poor. I own nothing. Buffy and all characters belong to 20th Century Fox and Joss Whedon. So there.

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It was supposed to make it stop hurting.

That's what the spellbook said. It would make the pain go away. Take away the memories, let her close her eyes without seeing Xander and-God, it was her own fault. She should have known better than to hang around those losers! If she'd listened to her mind instead of her hormones, none of this would be happening. She wouldn't be feeling so...empty. It felt as if someone had ripped into her and pulled her insides out -and not because of the stab wound either. She angrily tossed the stupid photo scraps and herbs into the trash, clenching her fists until her nails dug into her palms.

'If only I'd landed three inches lower,' she thought dejectedly. She could only imagine it wouldn't hurt like this if she was dead. The thought shocked her. 'I did not just think that.' She looked across the room and stared at the mirror, the disgust clear in her hard brown eyes. 'Why do I let him get to me? I'm Queen C not-' Her thoughts were interrupted by the phone ringing. She narrowed her eyes and ignored it, knowing full well who was on the other line. 'Xander. Begging me to talk to him. Like hell!'

"Cor...I'm sorry." The familiar voice said quietly. "You don't have to pick up, even though I know you're there. Just...hear me out. I know how mad you are. What I did-God, I can't imagine how you must feel. When Spike had us down there...we thought we were going to die. It wasn't about love, or sex, or anything like that...I don't know what happened. I know that's no excuse but...God, when I saw you fall-I couldn't think about anything except...how life wouldn't be any good without you Cor. I thought I was gonna lose you and I just...couldn't breathe." There was a heavy sigh on the other end of the line. "I'm sorry Cordy. I can't ever make up for it, and I don't expect you to forgive me, but I'm sorry." The answering machine clicked off, and she knew that was the end of it. He wouldn't call again. She could forgive him now or never, he wouldn't ask her again.

She swallowed hard and with a heavy sob she fell back onto her bed, curling herself into as tight a ball as she could manage without losing the small pillow she clutched in her arms. It soaked up her tears deep into the night...but she didn't call him back.

Finis