quinara: Heads Will Roll: Whiskey from Dollhouse in blue light (Whiskey blue)
[personal profile] quinara
When I saw that [personal profile] deird1 had signed up for Remix Madness, I knew there had to be at least one fic of hers I could have fun remixing - your output tends to flash by me so fast, Mez, that I find it hard to keep up, but you write so much varied stuff! I needed to find something. And what I found was Deep into the Well, the AU of late S5 where Angel and Spike make the choice to save Fred after all. I haven't seen another AU of this scenario and [personal profile] deird1 really grabbed me with it, because it felt like a lot of its darkness came from the same place that the show irked me around Fred's death anyway - that Fred as the (by then) token woman in the Angel Gang was some extra special lovely object that needed to be cradled and protected (or, as it was, grieved over with that extra special type of manpain). So I wondered what would happen with things turned around, with Fred reacting against all that. I have never written Fred, either, so it seemed like a good challenge. Even if this is definitely a dark version of Fred (Amy Acker, I think I owe you an Claire Saunders some inspiration here).

PG-13; ~1000 words; AO3 warning free (but deffo angsty).

Dug Too Deep (Too Many Mornings Mix).

For Fred, the day began the way it always did. She opened her eyes into the orange light of dawn and turned from the smiling face of Feigenbaum to the fearful curve of Wesley’s back. He wasn’t a snuggle-bunny, Wes, as much as he sometimes tried to appear: there was a wound inside him, healed over but scarred like an acid burn; he never slept like he was safe.

It used to frighten her. These days she knew how he felt.

Trying not to disturb Wes, but managing it all the same, Fred climbed out of bed and continued her routine, heading into their large bathroom with its his and hers sinks. They’d started living together – after her illness there hadn’t seemed much point in wasting time, and it wasn’t like they were compromising on space with what they could afford. She would have been more happy about it, but, honestly? Sometimes it felt more like an inconvenience than anything else.

It certainly felt that way as she looked in the mirror, at the woman who should have been dead, and couldn’t even be alone to realise it. She wished she could be alone, to realise and remember, because it was always a private memory.

Angel and Spike. They’d killed thousands for her, were on the verge of killing tens of. And neither of them would fucking tell her.

It had been a habit she would cry as she remembered this, breaking down at the sink before she showered for the day, but she had no tears left. Not for herself, not when she wasn’t putting on a show. All she could do was turn to the toilet when the bile came, and not look at what their gifts of noodles had become since the night before.




She was working on a cure, because there was every chance there’d be a cure, but every day it looked less and less likely. No matter what she tried, what she asked for, what she cried big girly crocodile tears to obtain, she wasn’t getting any results.

That morning her sources told her the plague had reached New York, and with that Fred was almost willing to give up. Within days she would be gathering reports on sea life, dredging up articles on mystical illnesses that could kill across species, the whole time waiting for the disease’s final push up through Cornwall and back to the Well where it belonged. She didn’t have the energy, not anymore. She wouldn’t have it tomorrow.

Stacking the printouts neatly on her desk, Fred sat back in her chair and let the screensaver come, looking out into the empty lab. Sometimes she thought that thing had left something of itself in her, that meant she could feel so tired, so cold – but she knew that really it was only mortal stress, anxiety combined with heavy scheduling; it was stress that was killing her, no more, no less, no matter that it felt the same.

Angel came in as he always did, around 07:45, all sympathetic frowns and shuffling hands. He never read the papers when she showed him them. She’d started writing curses in the footnotes and swears in the line graphs, but he never read them, never heard, no matter how much she spoke.

“I don’t think we can solve this, Angel, I just don’t think we can,” she broke out at one point, sobbing damply into his arms. Didn’t he feel guilty? Didn’t his soul make him so? Couldn’t he feel how the stress was breaking her, how the unknown was wearing her down? “This search for a cure, it’s fruitless – we need to try contain the damage, keep it from spreading, keep it from taking more lives.”

“Anything you need, Fred,” Angel swore, clutching her with his possessive murderer’s hands. “Hazmat suits for your researchers, biohazard teams, you name it and it’s yours.”

For so long he’d said the same thing, and for so long her thoughts had been the same: I want the fucking truth, you fucking fucker. But even that grew wearying.

In the beginning she had blamed herself, felt guilty like anybody would. But she was a rational woman, and it hadn’t taken long for her gut to absorb the truth, that she’d been dying in a bed when all this had occurred; that the choice had been made for her benefit, but nonetheless not by her. She had a duty to put the blood on microscope slides, but it wasn’t on her hands.

It had taken a while for her anger to subside, so consuming it had been when the guilt had passed. Too often she had cried tears of rage, thrown Spike’s best whiskey at the wall and then apologised, all the while completely cognisant of which bottle she’d been picking up. In the end, however, the numbers started feeling meaningless, and the reports seemed more like data than a cause for grief.

The anger, in the end, was just at them. Not for the killing – after all, they’d done all that before – but for thinking she was so goddamn stupid, so silly and ineffectual at her job that she wouldn’t figure it out. That she couldn’t spot a pattern when the ‘virus’ cut a swath no more than a mile wide. For thinking she’d be too busy crying to find out where they’d gone, to plot the co-ordinates and see the perfect path to her apartment.

Now, though, the killing had reached New York, and Fred was beyond guilt, beyond anger. Servitude had sent her insane, but this, this had pretty much broken her. As Angel pulled back from their hug his carefree eyes proved empirically that he was never going to tell her, and she knew right then that she was beyond even love.

She had a plan, because she was good at plans, so she knew how it would go. Another month, and she would spend every cent they had, and then she would get out. Get gone. They thought a Fred was worth ten thousand lives? Well, ten thousand lives were worth much more than them.

.

(no subject)

Date: 08/05/2011 20:23 (UTC)
deird1: Fred looking pretty and thoughful (Default)
From: [personal profile] deird1
It was YOU!

I really did love this one...

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quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)
Quinara

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