fredless: (Default)
Fred took the stairs from the emergency exit just near her office, enjoying the way her footsteps echoed. There wasn't any particular system to them, more an easy 1, 4-3, 2-1, 7 and then stop ---

Gait that was meant to match her thoughts and not the other way around. Fred was thinking right now. She trusted her feet to eventually catch up. They'd never let her down yet, not even here. And Faith was more than just a Slayer. A lot more actually. And ever Fred was surprised at how much of it she still had at times. Especially in herself.

She figured that there was all sorts of machinery humming underneath the simple cinder block walls that made up the stair well. Her lab probably made a good bit of it. Defenses and weapons and the stuff to catch the unawares. Fred glanced up at a nearby corner. Were there cameras tucked there? Did they think she was one of them? The unawares?

She wasn't.

She hadn't been for a long, long time. And that was -- good. Ok even. She'd found it, her stride. The point were thoughts and steps caught up. And where she stopping looking back, and liking the girl she was better. Now was finally winning out.

But even that wasn't why she was smiling.

She had a very important paper, with very important data for a very important person.

To a point. The main reason being it was time she faced her again.

And pushing open the door to the floor with the executive offices, Fred was somehow not surprised that she wasn't going to be hard to find. Had anyone told her that was annoying yet?

"Eve," she pronounced brightly, all stride and smiles and a No. 2 pencil tucked up in her hair.

"Remember that chat we had, about my budget?"

The paper was delivered neatly into the other woman's hands, a lone fold cutting the information in half.

"I was just coming to tell you how much better I did this time round. I didn't miss it by near that."

Less stride, all smile now. Feet planted firmly on the ground.

"I missed it by twice as much."
fredless: (Default)

It's not brushed, it's not yours and it's nothing that's real. Real things have hair, not animals. Not cows. Things that have names, have hair. Hair that has to be washed and dried and combed and cared for. It's soft and yielding, curls wrapping around a person's fingers like independent creatures. Friends that never go away. Up close, in the ends, there's a thousand colors when the sun strikes it just right. And the scent of it, just washed. Clean and fresh and smelling just like apples.

...what are apples?

Hair. They're like hair and neither of them?

Are yours.



I'm not really here.

Tucked in. Tucked up. Tucked out of sight.

I'm inside my room and under the table and please don't look at me.

Because there's nothing to see at all.

I look in the mirror and no longer see me.

So how could you?



I've got to hold it together, to hold them together.

Everything hurts and everything's hard, but that doesn't mean it can't get better. I've just got to be strong until it does. Be strong for them the way they've always been strong for me.

My chin's up.

They're too busy, to hurt to ever see but it's up. I know it. I feel it. I'm going to be like them. If I can't be like them I'll make sure the bills get paid and the power stays on and weapons get put away and there's food in the fridge if we're ever hungry again. And when later comes, because we'll get there? I know we'll get there? We can look back together and they'll see how strong I was, for them.

And they'll be proud.


Read more... )
fredless: (Arms crossed by noelia_g)

Fred slipped into Lorne's office on feet used to getting around quietly. Of course, the subtle entry then seemed that much more defeated by the loud echo of the door clicking back into place. Both her hands settled behind her and wrapped around the handle. She was either chastising it for being so noisy, or steadying her own resolve. It was a matter up for interpretation, and most likely the opinions would vary depending on who you worked for.

"Do you really think we don't know what they're doing? Splitting us up again, making sure we all got them when we were in separate rooms?"

They'd waited a week. A week for everyone to get settled. To get used to their cars and their offices, their budgets and their tools. Until the phone was an already more tempting way to talk, as opposed to crossing an entire building. An entire gianormous building.

"Did they think that we wouldn't talk? That we didn't know what we were getting into?"

It seemed as if Lorne was finally catching up with her. He smiled, and Fred stepped closer. It was an old, familiar habit in a new, distracting place. It felt good.

"Well I don't really know Freddles," he offered. "I don't really think I put my nose on that until now."

He was lying.

Fred didn't need to be like Lorne to know it. And actually, she was all right with that. It wasn't as if he was directly trying to manipulate her. Not really. Which already made him better than most of the people in the building. And Fred didn't think he was a part of some already-formed plan to....

But he wanted this. Fred reckoned he might even want this more than any of the rest of him. Looking at her friend she wondered, really wondered, about how much he missed his home.

Not Pylea. They were on the same page about that. But Caritas. So much had happened so fast, and he'd had to move on quicker than anyone should from something that mattered that much. It was so much of who he was. The seeing and the talking and the making things better, in his own way. Sure he was still taking care of them. Fred never doubted that he was looking after her. But a part of Lorne was never happier than when he was working the room.

Wolfram & Hart? Was a really, really big room.

She understood him wanting a little of that back. So she figured he already had too.

"Well I did think," Fred declared with no small amount of conviction. She'd learned from the best after all. "And I do know."

She thought small army of lawyers that'd come to find her in the lab, paperwork in hand. They hadn't seemed to mind when she left after, all the documents still in her possession. As if they knew, no matter what, they could find them.

They could find her.

It was part of the deal after all.

Fred dropped her small cache of papers on Lorne's desk, where it matched up with an almost identical file. A few pieces of stark white, heavily bonded paper scattered free. On each of them was her signature, the black ink seemingly twice as dark as the text she was agreeing to.

They'd find them. She had no doubt about that.

With a small, precise nod Fred left the room.
fredless: (Arms crossed by noelia_g)
It's not like I'm brave. I'm not. Not like them anyways.

I guess it can seem that way, sometimes, from the outside looking in. They seen what I've been and what I've done and who I used to be, and wonder and worry about the who I am now and think -- she's brave and she's strong. Because there isn't any other way she would have made it this far.

But the truth of it is, we're still different. If someone had pulled me aside, and gotten past the part where I told them they were crazy? Had explained just what those five years would be like, what exactly it would mean? I would have run away. As far and as fast as I could from everything that would send me there. I'd still be home, and my folks would still be happy and yes. For Daddy's sake, there would probably be a baby or two in that chest of drawers by now. And it'd be safe.

But even when I got there, it still wasn't about being brave. It was whatever got me from one day to the next. There were so many of them that was nothing but sameness washing over you with the double suns that all I had to tell them apart was notches in the stone. And there were some so -- not that I can't even forget them, not matter how much easier it would make things. I did what I had to. There wasn't a chance to be brave. There wasn't a choice.

I did what I had to.

So I guess there's still a part of me, every morning, waking and wondering if they're going to figure out just how different we are. How I'm not like them, no matter how much we all pretend. It isn't that I don't try. That I don't do everything I possibly can to help. But, well. You just got to look to see how different they are. And how special.

How brave.

I would never, ever want to hurt them. Never. But somehow I have.

Wesley with my words and Lorne with a knife -- though I swear that didn't hurt him anything like knowing the person that held it -- and Charles. Just by being me I hurt Charles. He saw first, I think, before any of the others how I'm not everything they thought. Sometimes when I want to feel better about myself I think that no one ever could be all that. But then I remember what I see in them, and I don't like my thoughts at all anymore. I was my only company for a long, long while. You would think I would be a bit better at it.

So I've hurt myself too. Wesley and Lorne and Charles and even Jasmine. Knowing what I know about her, what I've seen in her and how I loved her and I can't help but think how unkind I've been. How I've betrayed her. So much my thoughts are hurting all over again, because I'm smarter than this. It shouldn't have taken this long and there's more than such a thing as feeling loyalty just because you're told to, or feeling it for someone because they've earned it. Day in and day out, night in and night out they've made most anything possible.

I'm about to shoot her, but that doesn't matter.

She told me.

I'm about to shoot him too, and it does matter.

He showed me.

I just hope that it works, and that maybe even a little after that he forgives me. Because it isn't about being brave. It's about believing. It is about what gets you up, and puts you to bed and makes the days more than just a tick on the wall between. I might not like my thoughts, but I understand them. You've got to take care of what's worth believing in.

I believe in them.

I'm going to help them.

And it'll be ok.

It has to be ok.
fredless: (In the dark by ???)
"Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?"

Fred has lots of words.

She always has a lot of words, truthfully. When she's talking and rambling and stumbling over people and ideas that both seem so much bigger than her, or when she's discovered something new with all the amazing brightness it can bring to a room. When she has found someone that she likes in that way. Not the kind where you have to sort out the whys and hows and how muches, because really. Honestly. Mostly? It's never that complicated, not the liking part. The loving?

Well now, that's the loving isn't it.

But still, the words are always there. Keeping her company and counting off the numbers of Pi in her head digit by digit, the sort of the story she doesn't mind being lonely in appreciating. Sometimes epics just get that much bigger as their audiences get smaller.

So still she's got them, the words.

Even when she'd forgotten the sound of her own voice, her own language. When there's no one to speak it to and even then, hear it spoken back. They're still there, in her head and in her dreams and decorating her walls. They are always there. They might be the only thing that are, no matter what. matter what.

Until now.

Now, as she's stumbling and crying and cracking all over both of them. Because she sees them, and they see back. Because she's talking to them, and they are talking right back. And not even any voices or words but the voices and words. The ones that matter most. Her parents. These are the words of skinned knees and sweet dreams. Of family and faith, right where it's first found. Where is it born.

It's all there. So many, many words. Breaking over all three of them like a storm and Fred feels through her skirt where they are all soaking the other through. And she still can't say them. Not the words that have always been there. Just in her chest and her throat and it's not moving anymore.

Not anywhere that they can hear.

"Why didn't you come find me, and bring me home."
fredless: (Default)
Fred's hand formed a small, but effectively made fist and pounded it against her pillow. Newton's 2nd Law flitted between various corners of her head as she found a small amount of release in the thwap thwap of down and fluff. It was all together too warm, and warmer still from her frustrations, so she flipped the pillow over. Fred stared thoughtfully at the expanse of white pillowcase that positively loomed, and it obliged by staring right back.

"What are you looking at," she muttered, aware of just how awake her voice sounded. A voice that was nourished into being on sweet tea, watermelon and bbq still edged with the crisp tones of the awfully aware. And awake. She couldn't forget the awake part. Fred's fist connected with the pillow again.

The apartment was strange enough to begin with. Oh sure, it was filled with all the comforts of home and even familiar reminders of her childhood. There was the dresser her daddy had painted over white when she was twelve. The quilt that her grandmother made, And even her old had, which was really mama's hat once removed from when she gardened. But she'd taken a liking to it somewhere between the ages of five and six. And it was Fred's ever since.

But it was still an apartment. Which of course meant that it wasn't the hotel. So the perfectly nice became the overly quiet and no matter how many things Fred shoved into all the spaces? She never could seem to fill up enough to that her voice and her footsteps and ever the space her body took up didn't echo too loudly back. They were all a phone call away. But they used to just be separated by a shout.

It was bad enough trying to fall asleep with things so far apart. But now she was full of the feeling of not close enough. Which is something else entirely. Her skin itched with it. It fired up and down the back of her legs and then up and over her stomach and shoulders in no real order. It wasn't irritating or even frustrating. It was awareness, plain and raw.

And when it was done with her skin it just slid over and took its place in the bed next to her. It was in her pillow and under her quilt and radiating heat and why was she sweating? That couldn't be called anything but annoying. Any other night and Fred could've happily curled up in the middle of her bed to sleep, spread across it in a possessive mattress-claiming angle that left no argument of just who it belonged to. But now there was this negative space. Sitting there, staring like the pillow. Fighting to make it's own claim. The what-was-not was making her itch again.

The want was.

Read more... )
fredless: (Default)
His skin is like green putty.

There's a porous fullness there that reminds you of those odd little creatures you used to leave in water as a kid. The kind that started out as brightly colored pills only to become monsters and dinosaurs and the stuff of other miniature-sized nightmares. Something at the surface of him glistens, like he's bleeding the truth out at you through that brightly hued skin. He's green and you are too, in utterly different ways. He's the direct and literal translation.

You're just the girl untested, only the questions are coming fast now and you don't have any of the answers.

Are you really supposed to trust him?

Does he really know who you are?

And is it safe to actually be standing this close, connecting the pores on his nose and seeing constellations there, like stars in the sky. You close your eyes, and rearrange them with the seasons. Picture yourself half a year from now. Are you your you, or his?

Both, even?

He looks at you and sees someone else. That much is something more than obvious, whatever that supreme state of being is. Whatever's past certainty, that is this green guy. At least, it seems, about you. About whatever concoction he's about to make you taste? He's...

No. No just focus on the more than certain part.

All in all it just makes you dizzy and scattered, like the broken glass he was just poking around while muttering in a language that you didn't understand at all. You're nervous and you tell him so.

He touches your tongue like he knows you. The hesitation there isn't the stuff of discovery and meetings, it's a fear of failure. It's everywhere on him, a blanket of worry.

The bitterness of it sizzles in your mouth, finding whatever tastebuds are meant not to like it and settles on top of them to the point of burning. Saliva instantly coats your tongue and teeth and the roof of your mouth. The reaction is only meant to protect, but you are choking on yourself.

Choking on the you that comes back so swiftly your knees jerk. It isn't waves or sliver-sized memories coming back in whispers. There is a place you no longer were, and a place you came back to. It's sudden and hurtful and real.

Because the you that's back knows that it is not just that you were made to forget.

It's that you wanted to.
fredless: (Lost and Found by Buffyreed)
He's a monster.

He's not the villain in the story book or the crooked politician or the men with dark eyes that do even darker things to you in the most midnight blackness you have ever, ever known. No, he's a monster.

He's only a monster.

That shouldn't be comforting. If you were as smart at the walls of your stone house suggesting, whispering their wisdom at night? You'd be scared out of your wits -- the very last wits that you possessed. But you aren't, because he's only, just a monster.

There's rage and anger and strength and teeth. Because really, there's no missing the teeth. But there also isn't any plotting and hurting and ripping you apart from the inside out. He just wants to rip and rend and bite. It's just the body he's after, and if there's any sort of anguish in his eyes? Well, it's not your own.

Don't look to deep though, cause then you find your own anyway, all by yourself.

No. No he's just a monster.

And there's something almost seductive about that.

The blood's slick in your hands, ragged flesh catching up under your fingernails and tugging at places you try and forget. It's all sinew and muscle and it still connected to bits of you as you connect with him. It's your turn to seduce him, pulling him up off the stranger from the ground. Pulling him back to you and your stone walls. He isn't their monster, he's yours.

Yours and you don't want to share. It's not them you're saving, it is yourself. Not that they see that. You see though. You see your monster, simple and raw and real. You can identify him, categorize him and define him through and through. As confusing as this world is, as lonely as it is? As much as failure's your friend now, for every attempt gone wrong food that's not write and names that are lost?

You look at your monster, know what he is.

And it feels like he knows you back.
fredless: (Default)
Some people live in a house on a hill
And they wish they were someplace else
There's nobody there when the evening is still
Secrets with no one to tell

Sometimes Fred didn't understand the world.

For all her learnings and education and the hundred upon hundred of thoughts that seemed content to roost up in the recesses of her mind? For all she'd seen and done and loved and had the rules of the world rewrite themselves right in front of her? Because when she added up all the hurt and loss and blended it with self discovery -- all done with the simple energy of the shivers down her back and up her arms as all the ideas collided?

She still didn't get it.

Because all she knew was when she was lost in Pylea, she would have given almost anything to have someone -- something even -- to talk to that would actually talk back. More importantly, to listen with. The most complicated, wonderful amazing of dances that took two people and four ears and a whole lost of hearing and very little talking. Heck, even more than four ears. She'd learned since then not to judge.

But either way, it's amazing what got said then.

But she got back, and there was all this stuff. Cell phones and chat rooms and internet conferencing and voice mail and billboards and blogs and ...

Why wasn't anyone saying anything.

Why wasn't anyone sharing anything.

She didn't get it.

Her walls did though. Those four lovely walls, with all the room in the world. For her story and her fears and her life. It listened without any ears at all. It wanted to know about the her she was, not was, or was supposed to be. So.... many different Freds.

But only one her. One room.

And it was enough.

Read more... )
fredless: (Default)
or 'An Ode to a Sweater'

Everytime she went to wash it, Fred always wondered at the wisdom of it. All the initial fears from when she first got a lab of her own always came creeping back. What if she did it wrong, by doing it, well -- right? Was there some sort of combination of laundry detergent and softner mixed well with the spin cycle and then rinsed that would somehow take all the magic right out of it? Was it possible for everything that made a thing the thing that it was to get lost? Fred knew that the answer to that was yes.

But then, the sweater's owner wasn't exactly one for following the rules. Could textiles be taught his philosophy?

Because it was always ok.

It always emerged from the wash just fine, and as Fred sorted and folded and hung, she always saved it for last. It wasn't the color or the cut that was important. It wasn't who made it, or what magazine it'd been seen in. Tags and brands were never the point.

It was the way it felt, beaten into softness from the inside out. The thing that happens when body meets clothes and then get about living together. It was layers of contact, world to sweater and sweater to wearer all leaving marks on each other. All sorts, and all kinds. It was fraying and aging but never breaking. Sweaters didn't break.

Sweaters never broke.

There was something to that.
fredless: (Default)
Fred sat on the gymnasium risers, a coltish jumble of ten-year-old arms and legs and neck, each part of her content to growing with its own speed and agenda. Nothing seemed to fit quite right, she might've been a paper doll accidentally crumpled. It hadn't occurred to her yet to mind.

Sure, the boys that her Daddy coached in the local P.A.L. league weren't looking her way, but she wasn't exactly looking their way either. In fact Fred was more than happy to let her box of peanut M & Ms keep her company in the in-between times from when her dad looked her way, and she performed her very daughterly duty of a big smile and wave.

One time she forgot the box was in her hands, and a bunch of her candy escaped mid-wave -- two green ones and one light brown - cut through the air on their unexpected journey. And all Fred could think was that the arc they made? Was really, wonderfully pretty.

They cracked and clattered their way back down to earth, earth in the way of little girls and the risers they sat on. There they teetered, visibly, before slipping though the cracks between and finally falling out of sight. Fred imagined the sounds they made on their journey to be both distinct and specific, even if she supposed they logically couldn't be heard over the clamoring of the game. But she heard them all the same.

Horton heard a Who?

Well Fred heard an M.

And a M.

And then another M.

Two green ones, and one brown.

She stretched out full length on the risers then, the warm part from where she'd been sitting resting just underneath her stomach. The rest of it was alternatingly worn, and less warm, because there really wasn't a lot of cold in Texas. But all of it mostly rough, the fibers of the wood prickly and familiar against her skin. Very litte of the original waxy finish remained, but the patches that did seemed to sparkle by default. If only in comparison.

The air underneath seemed to smell different, less sweat and more stale. Even though Fred knew it hadn't been below. Not that long, not really. Tiny sounds echoed back where her ear was pressed against the grain. The sounds of basketballs on the floor, and the whistles of the lone referee. The various creaks and moans as other people watching moved and shifted and clapped.

Fred wasn't worried though, not for all that the wood groaned. They trusted one another too much for that, too many Saturdays keeping each other company. Who else knew every single waxy patch and odd knot hold, and how far one little girl hat to sink down between one step and the next to let her legs dangle with enough reach to actually kick the underside. No one, that's who.

She even knew how they tasted. One experimental lick, and Fred settled on a mixture of popcorn salt, shoe rubber, and some sort of lemony cleaner. That was three weeks back, when daddy lost the day, 27 to 63.

As she peered through the shadows, Fred could see where all three bits of chocolate had landed, forming an askew sort of triangle. She stayed just like she was then, for a good twenty minutes deciding if when the game was over, and the seats shoved back flat against the way, her lost friends would be exposed again, just sitting there on the floor. Two green ones, and one brown.

Or of the would get caught up in the insides and gears and wheels, lost with the .... three gym socks, five paper cups, and some sort of small toy with suction cups. Oh! And one of those little long, sticky hands, the kind that cost a quarter at the grocery store.

She sort of hoped they escape. Fred eyed the dark underbelly of her sort-of-babysitter once more.


After the game, her smaller hand tucked up inside her father's larger one, they talked about her afternoon as they walked to the car.

"Did you have a good time?"

Fred thought about that for a good minute, her smile screwing up into something half it's normal size in concentration. Finally, and answer.


Her free hand closed tighter about the three objects held there.

Two of them green.

And one brown.
fredless: (Default)
"It's been four days Fred," the voice scolded through the line. "Isn't there a way you could have found a way to your phone before now? You know how your father carries on, worrying so."

Fred twirled the winding cord of the phone around her foot, watching the loops as they caught around her ankle.

"You mean how you both worry Mama," she countered, distance making a certain amount of directness easier. "Sometimes I think it must've been a part of your vows. In sickness and in health, for better or for worse, for worrying, and worrying more."

"Winifred," the word cut through the distance. "That just plain on isn't nice."

Immediately she felt guilty. She was tired, and she didn't know how to say that without it sounding less or more than it was. For a girl that told her parents everything, sometimes some of their conversations held a whole lot of nothing. And she had a lot of work to do, including a paper that was due in just two days.

"I'm sorry," Fred offered, meaning it. Even if she didn't really understand why this conversation was so much harder than in should be. "Is daddy even around?"

"He's out mowing the yard. Do you want me to call him in?"

Fred shook her head, as if there was a chance it could be seen all the way in Texas.

"No, that's ok. I have a shift at the library in just an hour or so, so I should start getting over there. I saw the sorting cart last night, it's gonna be a long one."

Some of the books she hadn't even recognized, and Fred prided herself on being pretty well acquainted with a lot of the books there. She played with the chain of her necklace, through her distractions.

"I just call tomorrow, ok?"

There was a hiccup of silence.

"Just don't forget. If I tell him you're calling, he'll keep near that phone all day."

"I won't," the words came easy.

"I promise."


Nov. 19th, 2007 12:38 am
fredless: (Lost and Found by Buffyreed)
"In my own little corner in my own little chair I can be whoever I want to be."

There's girls, she thinks.

All sorts of girls that can do all sorts of amazing things and none of them end up in caves. Castles, sure. Lots of them actually. And towers and dungeons and under glass and wearing it too, and sometimes just outside the caves. But they never go in because they know better or some else knows better but there's always knowing and that is better than not.

Oh, and the sleeping. So many of them sleeping through so much. She's forgotten what a full night's rest feels like, all safe and warm and she's pretty sure somewhere her body's had it before because it seems content to be discontent with what it has now. What tastes like not dry with anticipation for the next time they find her, not feeling the hurts, not thinking through the night and jumping at every little sound.

They have names, the vowels and sounds of them flit about bugs, picking at bits of her in an annoying sort of way. They're here, they seem to be saying, so give a little notice. But the minute she does they fly out of reach, startled.

She thinks there's one that is always being tested, always being pushed. She has a strange name and is always sleeping in the oddest places and on the oddest things. She seems worth liking.

She seems strong.

There's something at the end they always find, and she feels like she's always reaching for it. Even as she can't exactly remember what it is. The pictures are there, of course. Bright colors and glowing smiles. But sometimes they get more and more real and the faces fade into something that looks a little bit like her own reflection in the water. Ir's probably the most worrisome.

Because somehow that's the scariest thing of all.


Oct. 10th, 2007 01:58 am
fredless: (Default)
Setting exercise - Write a scene of your muse eating a meal. Focus on the setting, and illustrate the surroundings that he or she is dining in. It can be in their home, outside, in a restaurant, whatever, but it must be someplace that the muse would IC'ly eat.

It's heaven.

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, the way a voice sounds when it's not shouting at you, they 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 mean 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 crampt 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 holder 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.

One Wish

Sep. 16th, 2007 03:56 am
fredless: (Out of focus by _ladydisdain)
There's something fanciful about wishes that's always appealed to you, even if the sheer impossibility of so many of them tug at your feet in a daunting, determined fashion. It's the undercurrent of reality. The evitable that you take so much stock in. And in the end, it's what has always lead to that bit of grounded practicality in every wish that is made. There's math and measurement. Thoughts becoming point and counterpoint in the busy world in your head. It's an entire saga of chose your own adventure, because there's another fact to be considered. That you've always known.

You like your wishes just a little bit more when they're granted. When they come true.


Once, there's this weekend. There's a lot of 'once's' in your life now, and an awful lot of weekends too. But this one collides together with the rare weekend your folks decide to get away, to some sort of place or the other. You know where, of course. But it wasn't the where of your wish, and not worth considering in just this moment.

Aunt Ellen's taking care of you, even though you don't think you need takin' care of at all. And you're pretty sure that's where the trouble starts. Words like headstrong and overindulged and really, who let's there child run around and call themselves that? No one here must have the sense left God intended them to have. She calls you Winifred just out've spite, and stares at the patched knee of your jeans as if it's the awfullest bug she's ever seen. And all you can think, as you look at that same patch, is you always liked the colors. How can two people be so different, especially where somewhere? You're supposed to be a little bit the same.

You're tucked in her car then, while she runs in the store for milk and eggs. You're not allowed to go in, that's for sure. For she's not managed to clean you up in any real way. So you're pressed up against the side door of the car, ignoring the whole of the cull seat that stretches all the way over till where she'll be sitting again. There's nothing to break the plane, nothing in between. The glass of the window is hot against your cheeks, and as you draw your knees up into your chest? As you try your best to ignore how different she is and this is and even the days are, all two of them in that lonely and crawling weekend. How stark and empty that car is, so different from Mama's bus, full of kids and laughter, gum and pencils and paper -- all victims of childhood distraction? Ellen's empty car, nothing there except from the cross swinging from the mirror. Nothing else, except the else of you, the hollow, tinny sound of her turn signal echoing in your ears?

You wish you could be anywhere else.

Because yes, you do wish it. But also because you know that it's gonna come true. They'll be home soon, and the rest of home will come with them.

Read more... )


Sep. 6th, 2007 12:32 pm
fredless: (Lost and Found by Buffyreed)
"The true magic of this broken world lay in the ability of the things it contained to vanish, to become so thoroughly lost, that they might never have existed in the first place." The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon.

She watches them from far away, metal collar limp and lifeless at her neck, and eyes wide to the scenes that play themselves through over and over and over again. It's like a movie she can't quite remember. The story and the words, and then the people that say the words to the story -- they're nothing but a vague sort of mess in her head now. More than a little forgotten, like everything else. It's on the pile with clothes that cover you whole, names, and voices that sing you to sleep at sight. And even though the pile they make sounds comforting enough, she knows it's not meant for sleeping well.

Some something lingers from that movie. Just one little image. A picture in a picture, of a family slowly fading away. Hands and feet and head and heart all slowly disappearing, lost to the nothingness. That's how it feels here, she thinks. That's what watching it looks like.

They all start out so tall and clean and strong, not really sure what's happening to them. Let's of them determined to find out. But then the collars and the beatings come, the backbreaking work and night that...

Well, it's where the fading starts.

But it isn't just clothes that go away, or heads and limbs. It's what made each of them different. How you could tell any of them apart at all. It's names and smiles and if laughter sounds short or long. What you found funny, on;y nothings really funny anymore. 'Cept yourself, anymore -- in that hard, painful way. Anything that's anything is stripped away. Gone.

Until you're all alike.

And you're all alone.
fredless: (Out of focus by _ladydisdain)
Somewhere along the way, it all went wrong. Not anything that hadn't been said or done before, Fred knew. After all, everyone messed up, or more than a little mauled by life. Sometimes it didn't leave a mark, but more than often it did. Pylea had taught her that. But unlike Pylea, this wasn't a single, sudden even where the right shifted into wrong in a blink of an eye. This was -- septic. A slow sort of poisoning that was eating away at them all, working up along the lines of their limbs. Attacking the people that made this place, this wonderful, amazing place she'd first fallen in love with. That'd made her want to be a hundred thousand different things all at once.

But at slow and messy as the poisoning was? So unlike Pylea? Fred could still trace it back to a single, lingering event.

Wesley leaving.

You telling him not to come back.

He was back now, she supposed. But it was only shadows, it sometimes seemed. Ghosty shadows. Grey shadows. That dangerous blend of black and white that made it so hard to tell up from down, much less right from wrong. The whole lot of them were in a fog so thick, sometimes she didn't think it even matter the sun went missing for as long as it did. It wasn't as if they could see otherwise.

Even her words were wrong.

Fred wasn't so far gone as to not hear her own ramblings, but even they were shorter now. Anf it seemed to her that for all that they used to run a lot longer back -- when? The truths in them used to hit a lot harder too. She was just as grey as they rest of them now. She felt it and she talked like it, no matter how hard she tried.

She looked down at the gun in her hand. It wasn't meant to killing of course, just sleeping. The her from five years ago wondered briefly at the point of it all. The her of bodies and gullies and doing whatever it took to survive was not impressed with this softer, greyer version of herself.

Read more... )


Jul. 6th, 2007 03:05 am
fredless: (Default)
She runs into the lobby and depresses the pedal with one secure punch of her foot. She's nothing but a jumble of limbs and heart, none of the other stuff in between really mattering at the moment. To the outside eye, it might even seem near impossible that her foot connects at all. That she's too rushed, eyes to bright, to ever be a part of the small angular machine at her feet. Just a little girl trying to connect with an even littler thing, and in a room that big? Well, what are the odds after all.

But the thing is? It's been a part of her path all along. It's almost inevitable in a way. That's saying a lot for a girl who prefers her rules less firm. Something to be molded and shaped and turned at every possible angle until there's nothing left to learn.

The blade spins through the air, end over end over end until the motion itself is bigger than the object, overtaking it the same way the idea got to her. So big and bright you've got to move with it. Back to the hotel. Back to before. Back to them and well? If it's not back to herself, then its back to the possibility. Which when she didn't have either just an hour before? It's close enough to the real thing so that it's tart in her mouth.

It lands into the beast's head with a solid crack, splitting it like a watermelon and her whole body tightens with pride and infant insects pour onto the floor. A crisis has been averted. The blade found its home.

And she's found hers.
fredless: (Default)
There hadn't been one in her room, so it had taken Fred four trips down the stairs, in the early hours of morning to find everything she needed. She'd tried late at night first, falling back of old habits that sent her scurrying through farms and shacks and homes with a desperate sense for survival. Of course, she'd stopped short, head barely clearing the stairwell at the sight of the activity bustling downstairs.

Didn't these people sleep at night? She might have forgotten a lot of things through the years. The smell of clean, the way whipped cream can tickle your tongue in that airs way, even her own name. But at least she still knew that nighttime was for sleeping. Or at least listening for the things that weren't, curled up in your bed all the same.

But no, they didn't sleep. At least not then. She waited and watched, and observed a sort of early morning exhaustion that struck them all. The hotel fell quiet, and that's when she took action. Pens, and more pens...because she didn't need paper but everything was so empty and she knew it would take a lot to fill it up. Her head was spinning and Fred needed to make sense of it. Desperately. There was food, and water, and even a weapon or three. The important things.

Finally, she had everything. And what followed was simple enough, at least to her.

The wall was blank, and then it wasn't.

Read more... )


Nov. 17th, 2006 09:14 pm
fredless: (NaturalyPretty)
Texas, 1982

Fred curled up her feet underneath her, chin tucked on knees as she played with various bits of grass and dirt that'd gotten caught up in the cuffs of her jeans. She wasn't cleaning herself exactly, more poking around to see what was there. Finding out what'd decided to come along for the ride.

"...but what if you don't want it to come up? What if you want the sun to stay exactly where it is?"

The second step was peeling, and it was about to become more interesting than her current project, she decided.

"Well I don't know about that Fred." That really didn't surprise her so much. Daddy knew a lot of things. But she also asked a lot of questions. "Besides, I'm pretty darn sure there's some rules about that sort of thing."

Well, that was definitely more interesting than hitchhikers and paint.

"What sort of rules?"

He shrugged, and then he tried.

"About when it comes up. When it goes down." There was some motioning with his hand, sweet tea keeping it company. Fred watched closely, eyes wide. "What it does is the middle."

"The middle?"

There was a shrug. Fred thought he was pretty good at those, especially when Mama got talking sometimes.

"In between, what it does during the day. When we can see it." Roger looked at his daughter closely. "Why wouldn't you want it to come up, anyway?"

It was Fred's turn to copy her father, her shrug a smallish sort of echo of his own, with the addition of her knees bumping into her chin. It still didn't make her move.

"Oh, I don't know. Maybe if it's been a really good night, I guess. Like Christmas, or a birthday, or something you don't want to be over. When the sun comes up the next day, that means it's really over, doesn't it?"

"Maybe," her father considered, passing over the tea and putting the glass in one of her hands. "But the next day could be just as good, and besides. There's just rules."


Los Angeles, March 2003

Fred watched as the black uncurled itself, flooding light and color, and all sorts of other things she didn't even have words for down into the city. It wasn't warm yet, not the way it should be, but there was plenty of heat coming from Lorne's smile. The rest would come soon enough.

"...there's just rules."

And maybe it didn't mean that the day before was really over, or even the weeks full of them before that. She could face that, Fred decided, because there wasn't back porches, and grasshoppers either. They'd gotten this far. There were some things you just couldn't stop, and Fred included her friends on that list.

There were just rules.
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