Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character/Pairing: Cordelia, Lorne, AtS Ensemble
Challenge/Prompt: sunnydalescribe DC 2: Belong
Word Count: 1,121
Date Written: 17 August 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
“How’d the audition go, Princess?” Lorne asked as Cordelia sashayed into the Hyperion. He started to walk toward her, already sensing a change in the psychic energy in the air around her.
Cordelia flung a hand as though casting something filthy and demeaning away from her. “That casting director wouldn’t know real talent if it bit him in the rear! Just because that other girl wore a lower cut blouse than I did -- “
Lorne didn’t say anything, but the dubious look he cast her attire spoke clearly enough. If the girl who had won the part had worn anything lower, she must have literally been coming out of her shirt!
“Oh, don’t look at me like that! You know very well how LA is! God, I hate this town sometimes! If you don’t sleep with these men, they don’t want you even for a bit part, and some of the women directors are just as bad! It’s about who sleeps with everyone else!”
“Well, honey, that is the Hollywood way -- “ Lorne started.
“I just -- I feel so grubby sometimes, and so . . . so . . . taken for granted!”
“No one is taking you for granted, Cordelia,” Wesley started as he and Gunn came in from the street.
“You don’t know that, English. What’s Angel done this time?”
“Oh, Angel hasn’t done anything.” She glanced at the sunlight streaming in behind them. The sun was barely beginning to go down. “I doubt he’s even up yet.”
“He’s not,” Lorne confirmed.
“It’s just that this town makes me feel so taken for granted! Maybe I don’t belong here! No one wants me! No one appreciates me!”
“That’s not true!”
“No one who matters, Wes! Look, I love you guys, but you can’t give me what I deserve. You can’t give me the role of a lifetime or the mega bucks of a movie star.”
“Is that all that matters?” Wesley had just barely managed to ask, with Gunn shooting a warning glare at him, when Cordelia screamed and fell forward.
All three men instantly sprang into action. Their hands were everywhere at once as they caught at her, steadied her, and eventually carried her to the lounger in the waiting room. Yet when the world settled around her again, the first thing Cordelia saw was Angel patting flames out of his trench coat. “Angel . . . “ She frowned and winced for even that small motion of her head hurt. “What happened?” she asked weakly, leaning back.
She was surprised to find her head in Lorne’s lap. He stroked her hair softly and massaged her temples. She groaned not with pain but with pleasure. It was clear that this wasn’t the first time he’d given a massage! “The Queen fell,” the green Demon explained with a smile, “and her men sprang into action.” He raised red eyes to the Vampire beating out the last flame from his jacket. “Including one who almost got himself burned to a crisp because he couldn’t wait for the rest of us to get you out of the sun.”
Perhaps it was the painful pounding of her head or a trick of the light, but when Cordelia looked at Angel again, it certainly seemed to be blushing. He smiled bashfully at her, and she realized he hadn’t even asked yet about her vision. “47 Herndon Street,” she said, speaking slowly as she recalled the images. “A young blonde girl, a wannabe star,” she continued, having recognized the girl from several of her failed auditions. “She’s going to be attacked by a Vampire, who . . . “ She grimaced again. “ . . . happens to be yet another evil, Hollywood producer.”
“Listen to what you said, brown eyes: evil Hollywood producer.” Lorne stroked her forehead, her hair, and her burning cheeks.
“What are you still waiting for?” Cordelia asked Angel, ignoring Lorne’s remark for the time being.
Angel gazed steadfastly at you. “Are you sure you’re going to be all right?”
“Heads up!” Gunn called.
Angel looked up and raised his hand just in time to grasp the axe that was sailing through the air toward him. “We’ve got it,” Gunn told Cordelia, heading out.
“You rest,” Wesley added, following behind him.
“Make sure she does, Lorne.”
Lorne smiled. “I’ll make sure our Princess is still reigning fine when you return,” he told their worried boys with a smile. He waited until all three had left before looking back down at Cordelia. “Now,” he asked her, “who said no one appreciated her?”
She gave him a weak, little half-smile. “Point taken,” she murmured.
“Is it? Really? Cordy, what do you need the outside world for,” he questioned more gently, “when you already rule over an entire kingdom? All three of those boys gladly stop everything for you at any time, and any of the three would be thrilled to call you their Queen.”
“Maybe -- “
“Maybe?! Sweetheart, Angel jumped into the sun for you! You should have seen it! It . . . It was like something out of a movie.”
Cordelia sighed, her eyes drifting closed. “He’s like something out of a movie,” she murmured.
“Yeah. He’s the golden hero, but you’re his leading lady. You’re all our leading lady.”
“I . . . I guess you’re right.”
“Of course I’m right, honey. Uncle Lorne’s never wrong.” He smiled and stroked her aching head again. “Now you rest and stop worrying so much about what Hollywood wants. If they don’t want you, that’s their mistake, and they’ll regret it one day. But you’re wanted right here. You’re needed right here. You belong right here.”
“Yeah,” she said, beginning to doze off, “I guess I am still Queen C.”
“Of course you are. You’re our Queen, brown eyes, and you always will be.”
And that, Cordelia decided as she slipped into happy dreams of ruling over her men, was truly the role of a lifetime, the best part for which she could ever ask. Lorne held her as she slept, but he made certain she was awake in time to see their boys’ return. Every one of the three rushed straight back to her side, all with the same question perched on their eager lips. She had to assure them all time and again that she was fine. By the end of the night, she was laughing and smiling.
“See what I mean?” Lorne asked, dipping next to her as he whispered the question while they walked out together into the morning sun.
Cordelia flashed him a huge, wide grin, one that had, at one time, been meant to flash across magazine covers nationwide but now was treasured by those she held dearest. “Yes,” she whispered back, “I do. This is where I belong.”
He winked at her. “And don’t you forget it, sunshine.”