Feedback: Yes, thank you.
Spoilers: Through Angel season three's "Heart Breaker"
Distribution: The Blackberry Patch and If you're interested, please let me know.
Summary: Cordelia comes to Faith to tell her that Buffy has died and to bring her a parting gift.
Author's Note: Written for the Mr. Gordo Ficathon for Jay, who requested the following requirements: Cordelia (yes) and/or Faith (yes); UC slash relationship heavily implied (yes) and/or Mr. Gordo hating Spike (well, Spike isn't in it…); an in-depth discussion of a character death other than Buffy's (I hope having both Cordy and Faith makes this a little better, because I do have Buffy's death in there, though I mention another character's death too) and/or a detailed discussion of taxes (sorry!). In addition, there was to be no more than typical affection for Spike by Gordo (no Spike at all), no babies (not one), and no happy endings for everybody at the end (okay). Whew! I hope this works for you.
Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy. Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you. Thank you.
Author's note: POV switches between third person and Mr. Gordo at breaks
Last Will and Testament
The halls of the prison were ugly and cold. No matter how often they were mopped, there always seemed to be a film of dirt covering everything. Thin, weak sunlight filtered through the high, barred windows, leaving everything an almost painfully bleak gray color. Every other hue seemed to bleed away, faded to that same non-color, neither light nor dark, just grimly real. Faith's shoes sounded against the hard floor in dull thuds, echoing in a strangely dead way. The guard beside her escorted her silently, her hand on a nightstick, fingers twitching as though they itched for the slightest reason to use it.
At the moment, Faith really didn't care. She was too confused and curious about being called to the visitors room. Angel had stayed true to his word, dropping in every month as regularly as clockwork with the exception of once at the beginning of the year when he'd had some sort of meltdown. But he'd just visited last week, and the guard had said she had a female visitor. No women ever visited Faith. When she'd first come here, she'd put Buffy's name down on her visitors list, writing the name in miniscule writing as if she were afraid to even suggest the other girl might forgive her enough to one day see her again, and the ink had glared up at her from the paper, an obvious work of fiction.
But now a small hope sparked in her heart that maybe her sister Slayer had come. It was a tiny flicker, but when her heart was nothing but wintery loneliness, the smallest bit of flame became indescribably important. She hadn't been given the name of her mysterious visitor, let alone an explanation of why she'd been permitted to see her when it wasn't visiting day. The guard's face looked sour, as though she were doing this against her better judgment, and Faith knew from experience not to tempt that look with too many questions or she'd be on her way back to her cell.
"In there," the harsh voice barked at her, and she walked cautiously into the equally blank room that was split down the middle with a long table with partitions and chairs, a glass wall between her and whoever she was about to see. No other inmates were there, so total silence filled the room as she took a seat in the cubicle the guard pointed out to her.
She was stunned beyond belief, and her heart dropped a little as that little fire went out, when she saw Cordelia Chase sitting on the other side of the glass. There was something in the other girl's posture that spoke of Bad News, capital letters heavily underlined. Oh, God no. Not Angel…
Faith picked up the phone that hung from the partition and spoke into it, her voice grating from worry.
"What happened?" she asked.
"Hello to you too, Faith," Cordelia snapped into her phone, but her heart didn't seem to be in it. That scared her worse than anything else.
"Look, Cordy, I'm pretty sure this isn't a social call. Something's gotta have gone seriously wrong for Queen C to show up visiting yours truly at the pen," Faith growled back.
Cordelia opened her mouth in a retort, but then closed it again, her eyes going off to the side. "I don't really feel like doing this today. You're right. Something happened. I… Buffy's dead, Faith."
The words hung in the air like a poisonous fog. Faith didn't move, couldn't, and she felt her fingers go numb as the phone clattered to the counter in front of her.
I hadn't been having a very nice time that day, but it had been a bad time for a while. My Girl hadn't been home for so many rises and sets of the big bright thing that I was starting to get a little scared, but I had so many big jobs to do that I didn't have too much time to think about it. Everyone kept coming into Girl's room, and they all needed cuddles. First it was Shiny Fur, but she just stood in the doorway like she was scared to come in, and then she ran away again. I think water might have been coming from her eyes.
A few darks and lights later, Rusty Fur and Shaggy Fur Boy came in, and I was so happy to see somebody that I just about popped my stitches, but then they started talking really loud, saying things that I didn't understand about lee gal gar dee ens and putting things in store edge. Rusty Fur wanted to let things stay. She said that she could fix it. I looked around real close, but I didn't see anything broken. Shaggy Fur was kind of angry and said some things can't be fixed. I wanted to say that if they needed a needle and thread or some glue, Girl's Big One always kept them in a drawer in the food room, but they wouldn't have heard me.
Later, the Quiet One came in the room. She just sat on Girl's sleep place and looked around. She looked sad. Then she picked me up and cuddled me, and water was leaking out of her eyes just like Shiny Fur's. Then she did something strange. She put me in a cardboard box with some of Girl's jool ree and carried it down the stairs. There was a girl there who I remembered seeing before a whole long time ago. Girl called her Cor Dee, but sometimes she called her other things. Her fur was shorter now, though, and she looked sort of sad like Quiet One.
"Here," Quiet One had said. "You're sure it's not a problem for you to get this to them?"
"Duh. I work with the guy. He may have run off to Tibet after he heard what happened with Buffy, but he's got to come back eventually," she said, grabbing the box I was in. "I'll make sure he gets the stuff."
"W-w-what about…," Quiet One began to say. I could tell Cor Dee made her a little nervous.
"Yeah, yeah, I'll handle Faith too. It's so not in my job description, but it's no big deal… unless Angel thinks it's worth a bonus when he gets back, in which case it's a big deal," Cor Dee said, but her voice was sort of scratchy like Quiet One's was after her eyes leaked. "So… I guess that's it?"
"That's all she said in her will," Quiet One said.
"Kay, then. Uh, I really am sorry," Cor Dee said as she went towards the door to the big world without walls.
"We all are. Thank you for doing this," Quiet One said as she shut the door.
I got a bad feeling.
"Faith?" Cordelia said into the phone. "Faith, are you okay?"
Faith sat absolutely still, staring in front of her but not seeing Cordelia. For some reason it never occurred to her that it could be Buffy. She'd come down here hoping that maybe she'd finally see her today, only to find out she would never see her again.
Cordelia rapped loudly on the glass, and Faith shook her head, bringing herself back to reality. She picked up the dropped handset and put it back to her ear.
"How? Vamps?" Faith asked, the world still reeling.
"No. Something about a god and a portal and worlds bleeding together and universal chaos and somebody trying to bleed Dawn, which may I just say, ew. I don't really get it myself, but the upshot of it is that Buffy died saving people," Cordelia said, looking uncomfortable. "I guess I've got to give her credit for that."
"How's Angel taking it?" Faith asked.
"Not really sure," Cordelia said, her expression turning slightly annoyed. "He flew off to a monastery in Tibet right after he heard the news. Big, dumb running-away guy."
"Angel's a monk?" Faith asked blankly. "Well, I suppose dating-wise there wasn't much difference, but still…"
"He didn't become a monk," Cordelia said clearly into the phone, over-enunciating. "He just went to stay with them for a while, but I don't know when he'll be back, so I got the job of dropping off something Buffy left you."
Faith just continued to stare, her features slightly slack. "The guards are letting you give me something?"
"Don't ask me. Wesley's the one who arranged the whole thing. I think it might have involved getting rid of some particularly icky demon who was floating around in the laundry room. Here. I've got it with me," she said, rummaging through a large designer handbag until she pulled out a little stuffed pink pig.
Cor Dee took me in a car a long, long way from Girl's house. When the car finally stopped, we were outside of a big building with lots of holes for light. We went in the door into a big room that sunk down in the middle, and she put the box with me in it on a round chair. After that, she took out the jewelry. There was a ring that had hands and a heart and a hat on it. My Girl had always liked that one, but she hadn't worn it for a while.
"Okay, that and the books, which I bet Buffy never cracked, go to Angel. And she left me," Cor Dee said as she took a necklace with a dangly thing made of two crossed pieces out of the box and hung it on her neck. "The Goth look so isn't me, but she was right about one thing. I can use all the extra protection I can get. That just leaves you, little guy."
She took me out of the box and put me on a big table. There was a girl sitting underneath it.
"Hey, Cordy," she said. Her voice sounded funny, but it was nice. "You have a good trip?"
"Yeah, Fred," Cor Dee said. "Wanna come out from under the table?"
"Oh, I'm real comfortable right where I am, thanks," said the voice kind of quickly, and the table moved around like maybe she bumped into one of the legs. The moving knocked me off the table, and I fell down on the floor.
Suddenly I was looking at a girl with long brown fur and big brown eyes behind circles of glass. She was eating something that smells spicy that was sort of shaped like the moon is sometimes.
"Hi," I said.
"Well, aren't you cute," Brown Fur said, picking me up. "Oh, was he Buffy's?"
"Yeah. She left him to Faith," Cor Dee said. "I'm going to run him out to the jail later this afternoon, but first I'm changing these clothes. I'm definitely not wearing my good shoes to a penitentiary. God knows what I'd get on them."
"Yeah, that's smart," Brown Fur said as she held me.
I saw Cor Dee's feet click away across the shiny floor, and Brown Fur held me closer. When it was all quiet again, she started shaking. I think she was scared.
"I was alone a long time," she said to me. "I don't like being alone too much anymore. It gets too quiet."
"I don't like being alone, either," I said. "But we're together, so we aren't alone, are we?"
"I miss Angel," she said. "I feel safer when he's here, and I don't know when he's coming back."
She squeezed me a little tighter, but she seemed less shaky.
"Do you live under the table?" I asked.
"I really should start walking around the hotel," she said. "I mean, Gunn and Wes and Cordy say I'm safe here and all, but it's still kind of scary, you know?"
I just listened. I do that good. Little by little, Brown Fur started to come out from under the table, but she'd started shaking again, and she gripped me tighter yet. Finally, she was sitting on the round chair in the middle of the big room. She still seemed pretty frightened, but she looked proud too.
"Well, look at that," Cor Dee said as she came back in the room. "The pig got you out from under the table. I was going to try a trail of tacos next."
"Yeah, well, he's a really nice little pig," Brown Fur said as she smiled at me. "I sure hope he'll be okay."
"Fred. He's a stuffed pig. I'm sure he'll be fine," Cor Dee said as she put me in a cloth bag on her arm. "I wonder if they make striped uniforms in his size," I hear her say as she zips the zippy thing shut over me.
It was dark for a long time, and I couldn't really hear anything. Then suddenly someone opened up the zippy thing, and a different face was looking down at me. It was a woman, and I smiled at her, but she didn't smile at all. She reached around through the bag, but the only thing in it was me.
"Okay," she said. "I don't know how you got clearance to do this, but you're clean."
Well, of course Cor Dee was clean! She didn't smell at all except for some purr fume! What a funny thing to say. But then the zippy thing went zip again, and it was dark for a little while. I wondered if it was sleep time.
Then the zippy thing opened again, and Cor Dee took me out and sat me on a white table in the middle of a big, cold room. There was a big piece of glass in front of it, and on the other side was a girl. Hey! I knew her! That was Wild One! Eeek! Cor Dee! Help me!
Faith looked at the little pink pig sitting on the table on the other side of the glass. His cheerful color, the innocence about him stood out like a rose in a garbage dump in this place. Still, she couldn't help thinking he looked kind of scared, too.
"Buffy left me Mr. Gordo," Faith said. It wasn't a question. She knew the stuffed animal very well. When things had first started out between her and Buffy, she used to hang out in Buffy's room sometimes. Faith had snickered at the pig, teasing Buffy about the big, tough Slayer who still slept with a stuffed animal, but Buffy had laughed and said that Mr. Gordo was her favorite thing, and she wasn't about to give him up just because some people thought she was too old for toys.
"Faith, I've been at this game longer than you, and, believe me, Slayers need to have as much comfort as they can get," Buffy had said and squeezed the pig affectionately.
"Yeah," Cordelia said, breaking into Faith's memories. "Buffy had a will. I guess it started around the time Miss Calendar died."
"Who was Miss Calendar?" Faith asked.
"She was Giles's girlfriend and part of the Gypsy tribe that cursed Angel. Angelus killed her. She was the first big loss to the Scooby Group, and it hit Buffy really hard. I remember Buffy was sort of upset with her, kind of blaming her for what happened, but when she died, Buffy went through this really big life-searching thing. I think she realized that maybe if it happened to Miss Calendar, it might happen to her too. Sort of a wake-up call. So she made up a will, and she updated it every year on her birthday. It wasn't anything legal; she just wrote down stuff she wanted people to have if she died," Cordelia said.
"She… she had me in a will she made this year?" Faith asked, stunned.
"Yeah," Cordy said. "She made up a new one just after her mom died. She left Angel her claddagh ring and some books, me her cross necklace, Giles got her diaries and Kendra's lucky stake, Xander got her tools her dad had left at the house, Dawn got her clothes, and Willow and Tara got the house and custody of Dawn. And she said this was supposed to go to you."
"I can't believe… She remembered me," Faith said softly.
Wild One didn't seem so wild now. Her eyes were getting really bright, but they weren't leaking. Her face was all scrunched up though. It looked like she hurt. My stuffed animal heart got all soft, and even though I knew she'd done some bad things, I knew my job. She needed help. And that's what I do.
"It's okay, Wild One," I said to her through the glass. "You can cuddle me if you let me come over to your side."
It seemed like somebody heard me that time, because another big one dressed in blue came up to Cor Dee, and Cor Dee handed me to her. The big one almost looked like she was going to smile, but she didn't. She took me out a door and down a hallway and through another door, and suddenly I was on the other side of the glass where Wild One was. The big one handed me to Wild One.
"Thank you," I said, and Wild One said it at the same time.
The big one nodded. "You've got two minutes left."
"Right," Wild One said, then turned back to Cor Dee. "Look, thanks for bringing him to me. It means a whole lot, and… well, just thanks."
Cor Dee was quiet for a second. She doesn't do that often, so it must have been important. "Yeah, well, you're welcome, Faith. Are you… are you doing okay?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm okay," Wild One said. "Tell the boss I'm sorry about Buffy."
"Will do," Cor Dee said. "Maybe I'll see you again sometime."
"That'd be nice," Wild One said.
Then she got up and one of the big ones in blue walked with us back to a room made out of round metal ribbons.
Faith carried Mr. Gordo carefully in the crook of her arm back to her cell. She was still having trouble believing that Buffy was gone, but the little stuffed animal, soft and fuzzy against her arm in the short-sleeved prison uniform, was proof of it. The bright pink of his fur seemed like the only color in the world. She found herself swallowing several times very fast on the walk back, ignoring the catcalls from the other prisoners, many of them making fun of the pig. She didn't pay any attention. She was too busy trying to remember to breathe.
The guard unlocked the cell door, and Faith walked in, only to hear the loud clank of metal as it shut behind her and the clattering of keys as it was locked once again. She stood in the center of the cell for a long minute, still holding Mr. Gordo. She finally sat down on her bunk, pulling Mr. Gordo into her lap, and just looked at him.
She couldn't help it. Faith, toughest of the tough, hardest of the hard, who had told herself over and over in life that tears were for wimps, began to cry.
Wild One's eyes started leaking a lot. I felt bad for her.
"You can cuddle me now if you want," I said very quietly.
The next thing I knew, she had wrapped her arms really tight around me, and my fur was all damp from the leaking in her eyes.
"It's okay, Wild One," I said. "I guess my Girl wants me to live with you now. You can cuddle me anytime you want to, and I'll listen to what you have to say, and I won't tell anyone any of your secrets. I promise. I'm a good pig, and a good friend, too. I'll be your friend if you're lonely."
Wild One sobbed into my fur some more, and I heard what she had to say.
"She didn't forget me. She forgave me," she said over and over again.
After a long time, Wild One started to calm down, and she patted my fur gently. She sort of smelled like my Girl, and her arms were just as strong.
"See?" I said. "Everything is okay."
Wild One picked me up and put me on her pillow, running her hand over my snout, and she smiled a little. I decided she wasn't a Wild One anymore and that I would call her Brown Eyes now.
"I wish she'd known how much I loved her," she said.
I just smiled because I knew Girl would only have given me to someone she loved very much.