Canon Character Section:
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Character Name: Winifred 'Fred' Burkle
Fandom: Angel the Series
Canon Point: Smile Time --> Paradisa
Debt:Class A: 3 years
Class B: 312 years
Class C: 5 years 7 months
GRAND TOTAL: 320 years 7 months
Canon Character Section:
Personality:Fred is a complex blend of light and dark, and even though more attention is given to her lighter, brighter aspects -- it would do her a disservice to ignore the rest.
It is important to note that Fred had an extremely positive, stable childhood -- what many would identify as 'normal'. She had two present, loving parents that encouraged her growth and supported her decisions. From the choice to shorten her own name, to her ultimate choice to leave home to enter a graduate physics program in California. Partly from her own nature, but also from her home environment Fred places a high value on love and friendship. She is fiercely loyal to those she commits herself to, and views them as part of her chosen family. She would do anything for them.
Fred is also insanely curious -- sometimes to her own detriment. It is that curiosity that would ultimately contribute to her death. But before then it presents itself in other ways. In high school she gravitated towards complex conspiracy theories and explored illegal drugs. She feels compelled to touch and explore things, to know them for herself. She asks a great deal of questions -- both verbally and internally -- and is the sort who's mind never stops. She also enjoys building things with her hands, creating something that did not exist before. All this contributed to her changing her major from history to physics.
Her time in Pylea (unknowingly banished there by the professor she adored and idolized) affected her on a deep, emotional level. This was a girl that truly grew up surrounded by love, confident in her parents support and comfortable in her own skin. Even in the AtS comic series, well after Fred's death deeper flashbacks continue to give evidence of that. She had her steady high school boyfriend who carved their name into the oak in the backyard. Took dance lessons. Had a mother who drove the school bus and understood her love of the library, often picking her up there at the end of her route. She intended to study history in college but ultimately found her true calling in physics -- a change she trusted her own heart enough to follow. All after one guest lecture.
But in Pylea --- all that was taken away. She went from a complete immersion in love to a complete lack of it. At first, when she arrived in Pylea is was jarring -- but still something to be explored. Her curiosity was always fierce (and would eventually contribute to her death) and that was no less the case there. She walked. Touched. Explored. And eventually stumbled directly into her captor's hands.
Human were cattle. Degraded. Abused. Forced into literal slavery. The silver necklace her father had given her at graduation was literally ripped from her neck and taken away -- only to be replaced with a collar literally designed to bring pain and death. If could induce a simple shock. Or? Explode, and kill the wearer. And that never left her. She wore it always. Watched friends suffer with theirs, some ultimately die. She was able to explain to Cordelia very thoroughly what that kind of death looked like -- and undoubtedly lost people she cared about that way.
Ultimately, despite her delicate physique, Fred was strong. And able to manage the work. It was the emotional isolation that took the most brutal toll. She was eventually able to disable her collar and to escape her owners. But the isolation only grew that much more extreme when she was forced into dark caves to survive, and to scavenge the countryside to eat. After growing up in a home full of love and sound she spent years with no one to speak to. Literally no one. Other than the occasions she would shout and carry on into the caves, her only reply a dull echo. Eventually Fred forgot her own name. Put away all the smaller, finer details that made her her. Because the very things that infused her with the strength to survive -- family, love, their unwavering support -- also had to be forgotten so that she could continue on doing so. Because if not the loss of them could become crippling. She became the 'girl that dreamed she had a name'. The wild one standing on the hill. The woman that wrote her thoughts on the walls because it was the only medium left to her when conversation and companionship was taken away.
But ultimately? She did survive.
She initially, at least, remains that girl after she is rescued and brought to LA. She still hides under tables and writes on walls. Because that was easier than facing just how much Pylea had changed her. Again, this wasn't shyness. It was a woman forced to surrender much of who she was to survive, and still not quite able to own just how deep that ran. Fred wasn't prepared to just how bright and hollow and foreign the world she once openly walked in had become. And the changes that place had wrought in her. But the woman from before still existed, and the arrival of her parents were the spark that initiated her revival.
"I got lost. I got lost, and they did terrible things to me, but, but it was just a storybook. It was just a story with monsters, not real. Not in the world but - but if you're here and you see me then - then it's real! And it did happen. If you see what they made of me... I - I didn't mean to get so lost!"
Who she is now? Is clearly not who she was. And Fred knows it.
But she starts to come out of it the same way Fred ultimately makes decision to be strong and supportive for her friends. She chooses to do so. In same same episode just referenced, the foundation for the choice is made is a speech she gives about everyone's role within Angel Investigations.
"It's what he does. Angel's the champion, and Wesley's the brains of the operation, Gunn's the muscle and Cordy's the heart, and I'm..."
At that moment she is unable to identify her role, and that directly contributes to her initial decision to leave and return back to Texas with her folks. But after a demon mystery solved, and the realization of where her future lies? Fred starts to answer that question.
And finds her place.
She is going to be 'the glue'.
Considering the darkness witnessed in Pylea, and the pain and torture she certainly suffered there? It isn't always easy. But because of her past, and the strong foundation provided by her parents Fred is perhaps better suited to serve in that role than anyone. Angel's father is seen in canon to be distant and demeaning (even if Liam did antagonize him). Cordelia's parents non existent in their role and her father's tax evasion eventually forced her to LA with nothing. Wesley's father was verbally abusive and perhaps physically as well. And Lorne's parents openly hated him and his choices. Fred, on the other hand, knows and understands the importance of family. How beneficial, how needed it can be. Fred would not openly give up her family at home if she did not sense the opportunity to find and build a new one in LA. And she is fiercely protective of it. We see this in her conversation with Wesley in his hospital room where she tells him never to return after the kidnapping of Conor -- she is distraught at his lack of faith in them, and the family the had built together. We need it further still when she tasers Conor himself after they discover his duplicity in sending Angel to the bottom of the ocean -- and threatening the family's patriarch.
But through all her seasons Fred makes the active choice. To be better. To be stronger. To fiercely support her friends and family and hold them together as best she can. It isn't easy. But it is also everything she knows.
Though Fred suffered some very real, very serious traumas in her time in Pylea, she ultimately survives them with her mind intact. This is a great testament to her strength. She was physically tortured there and forced into hard labor, and the horrors of her life there forced her to mentally withdraw for a while. Her life before became a fairy tale and place of forgotten words and names. While this allowed for her survival, it also painted the image of a girl that was seen to be delicate and in need of protection. But is cannot be forgotten that ultimately she is a survivalist. She hid bodies and foraged for food and and survived a life that killed countless others before her. There is a core strength that is important, and she survives with her ability to love intact. Though it takes some time to find herself again she emerges not afraid of life, but simply more aware of its possibilities. Both good and bad.
'I'm so sick and tired of my chin being up.'
Removed from her labs and her sciences and her school, Fred was initially at a loss what she could bring to her new home at Angel investigations. Everyone else there seemed to have something key they could contribute. Eventually she came to feel compelled to be the support system to everything else. The importance she places on loyalty and family compels her to create a safe and positive places for the friends she has come to love -- something she senses they did not have. It is in her nature to stay positive even when things are falling apart, and to be as supportive as possible. She will keep her smile in place in the worst of time, holding on to that determination until she quite literally shatters. She is strong until the small moment she is not -- and then she demands of herself that she pull herself back together again. Until her chin is again up. She has self-identified this as something she can bring to the team and almost she almost desperately clings to it.
Fred also had a strong sense of justice -- though one that was somewhat warped be her time in Pylea. She is more than willing to not simply kill the professor that sentenced her to Pylea, but to send him there himself, knowing he would suffer and eventually die painfully. Her sense of right and wrong has been altered through her experiences. There is darker, harder edge to her that most of her friends do not see. This fault is two-sided. It is not what they want or expect from Fred, but it is also Fred sensing those expectation and doing her best to fit within them. But the harder, darker aspects of herself are always still there -- just beneath the surface.
Powers/Abilities: Fred is completely and utterly human, though she is extremely intelligent.
Appearance:Fred possesses a small frame, one that can often lead people to mistake her for being 'little' -- when she is actually 5'9" and can look most members of Angel Investigations square on. She has wide brown eyes, a clear completion long brown hair that is often curled when it isn't piled on her head and willed into compliance by a pencil or pen. There is an unintentional grace about her when she moves -- not something that is really born of thought or intent. Not that she isn't capable of considering such things, more than her mind is often already fully occupied elsewhere.
If one were to examine her more fully, they would note she also carries multiple scars aged to various degrees -- all remnants from her time in Pylea. However they are mostly always concealed by her clothing and thus not often the subject of conversation. Or common knowledge.
CR AUGame You’re Transferring CR from: Paradisa
How has your character changed from their canon self? Her loss is her 'false' memories Angel implanted. With knowledge of that dark year, including the events of 'The Magic Bullet' she is slightly harder and somewhat darker -- though it does not always show. She also processes knowledge of her future death.
Are they gaining any abilities from their time in game? Did the game setting take something from them? No.
Prose Sample:Fred's very, very sure it's heaven right there in paper colored pleasure, all dyed in the sorts of oranges and reds that aren't really the kind to be found in nature. No, these are manufactured hues for manufactured paper for manufactured foods, which is to say it's been a good five years since she's had anything like it. They're not bright, but the burn her eyes anyway. Her little bits of heaven.
You just stop seeing certain things anymore, and sometimes they cease to be. And you try and remember them. There's taste, and texture, and the way a voice sounds when it's not shouting at you. The way honest to goodness electrical lighting lights up a person's whole being, and they can't hiding anything. From you or yourself. Every facet, every flaw just lit up like a Christmas tree. All you've got to do is look to see. And if in the end you choose to blink and squint your eyes so those lights and lines blur a bit? Well that's on you.
Just like the taco is...on you. Fred can't even be sure who shoved it in her hands. The girl with a tree for a name had taken Angel away to talk about the girl they both knew. Which of course left Fred with a bunch of people she didn't. Know in any well or real way. But they'd listened to the bit about tacos it seemed, and now the small sack filled her hands. They were distracting her and she was distracting them. Back and forth and back and forth because if it's one thing Fred knows? It's listening. And they're trying to listen to the talking going on outside, even if they don't want to admit it. The not admitting it is where the food comes in.
She takes two steps back, then three, then two more. Eating's not something she's accustomed to doing in public anymore, especially with all those eyes on her. Normally there's the part when she has to steal her meal first too, with the running that comes after. So the bag is hugged that much closer even as the back on her knees hit something soft. Fred lands on the small circular sofa with an unexpected woosh of air, mouth drawn up in a nervous bow. She pulls herself even deeper into the upholstery, and that's when Fred revises her religion a bit.
Heaven is brightly wrapped tacos and this particular bit of fabric.
It's old old. And used. And loved. One half of it sits higher than the other just below her, and the smell of it mixes itself up with the beef and tomato in her hands. There's soap, where someone's obviously tried to get a cleaning it. Real, actual soap. Fabric softener too, maybe bits of it left behind by the last person that sat there. So it helps her see a cramped wooden room with dappled afternoon light, filled to the brim with white bits of electrics way part their prime, and a soft, brown woman with more than enough good years left to call her own.
There's sweat, and dandruff, a small burn hole just to the left, and a flash of white where the covering is clear worn away on the right. It's people, and love, and age, and the not-cave, and about all the normal Fred's about to be able to handle in that moment.
It's holding her, and she's holding it right back.
So she opens up her first taco, and steps right through those heavenly gates. Which are somehow made of golden arches topped with a sombrero. It's the not normal in her back again, but she's plenty used to that my now. Fred thinks, sometimes, it might get a little lonely without it.
The taco itself tastes like a test. Will it be a good as she remembers? As wonderful as all those flavors she clung to for so very long, desperate to recreate? It's a taco and a memory and herself. She's going to sink with it, she expects to. Because it can't possibly be what wants it to be. Bits of the wrapper are inside Fred now, because she's eating it that fast. It's a five-year famine coming to an end.
Fred smiles, and it's everything but angelic.
But it tastes right.
Just exactly right.