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Fred Burkle ([personal profile] walkswithheroes) wrote2011-05-16 11:56 pm
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bad things always happen here.

It isn't the preparation that's the problem.

If it weren't for the fact that the last time Fred rode a bike, she wasn't nearly dragged into a hell dimension, 'just like riding a bike' would be a good analogy for how Fred feels about preparing her speech for council. It reminds her more of preparing her p-dimensional subspace theory than would like, but it's easy and familiar, and she knows how much of a statistical improbability it is that the same thing would happen again. She's read her talking points to just about anyone who would listen: to Spike, to Buffy, to Sawyer, and despite knowing her speech nearly backwards and forwards by the time she walks up on stage, there are still butterflies in her stomach. She still can't shake the memory of the last time.

Still, she presses onward; Fred's been through worse things than a plain old boring old speech. She's seen demons and vampires, decapitations and prophecies... heck, she's even had her life personally threatened a couple of times. This should be a piece of cake. Though, she still takes in a nervous breath as she walks onto the stage for her own turn to speak.

"Hi, everyone," Fred starts, a nervous smile on her face, and she waves, "I'm Fred Burkle. You guys might know me from-- well, maybe you don't know me at all and you're tryin' to figure out who the heck let me run for council in the first place, actually..." she trails off, realizing she's gone far from the point. She really should have written a joke to open with to break the ice.

Only, when Fred looks down at her hands for a second, trying to decide if she should come up with a joke or just go on with her speech, something happens.

She knows immediately what it is. After five years with the collar around her neck, she still feels it there sometimes, the metal on her neck that's been there so long that it's been warmed by her own body temperature long ago, slight weight a constant reminder of how very far from home she is. It's familiar and terrifying all at the same time, and her hands immediately go to her neck when she realizes there's something there that hadn't been there a moment before.

"No, no, no, no," she's saying, crowd forgotten as she takes a few steps back on the stage, eyes wide, legs nearly buckling, "It's not real, it can't be here, it's not real."

She's muttering to herself now, eyes shut, trying to will the feeling away, trying to come to her senses. And then her legs do give, and she nearly curls into a ball there. Maybe it's all been a dream. She never left Pylea, she never left Los Angeles, she never met Angel and the others at all. But the metal against her neck is still cool, still new, like when she'd first gone through the portal.

It doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make any sense.

None of this makes sense.

[Takes place during the council speeches this week. For those of you who don't know, the collar looks like this (couldn't find a clear shot of Fred herself wearing the collar, alas). Warning: it's going to be very difficult to calm her down, and she's not just going to let someone touch the collar at first. Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey in regards to who actually takes off the collar. Email or ping me if you have any questions.]

[identity profile] weary-head.livejournal.com 2011-05-17 04:51 am (UTC)(link)
Dean hadn't even been sure he was going to the speeches until he found himself there at the edge of them. The last council round he'd been nominated, had actually dragged himself onstage and given an embarrassing speech, only to lose in the end. That was for the best, he'd believed it to his bones then as now, but still, it'd stung a little in that way that losing always does.

But he's not sorry to have found himself here again, especially when Fred moves to take the stage. She's cute up there, fingers fluttering at her sides, brown hair tumbling forward into her eyes when she ducks her head, and silently Dean cheers her on. She might be nervous, but she's smart, she's brave and she's got this.

It makes it all the more shocking when she stops all at once, hands flying to her throat. Dean doesn't know what's happening, but the look on her face has him moving at once, pushing past the people at the edge of the stage and vaulting up, on his knees beside her mere seconds after she goes down.

"Fred?" he asks, reaching with both hands to steady her shoulders. "What is it, are you hurt?"

[identity profile] pylean-cow.livejournal.com 2011-05-23 09:39 pm (UTC)(link)
"It's not there. It can't be there!" Fred says, and there's a moment before she even notices that Dean's there, that there's anything other than herself and the hard ground and the collar that shouldn't be there at all. Dean shouldn't be there either. Not there in the cave with the collar. He should be back on the island.

If the island even exists. Maybe she never left Pylea, never went to Los Angeles, never went to the island at all.

She looks up at Dean, eyes wide and scared and unfocused.

"You shouldn't be here. You can't be here. You're supposed to be on the island."
Edited 2011-05-23 21:40 (UTC)

[identity profile] weary-head.livejournal.com 2011-05-29 08:32 pm (UTC)(link)
"I am on the island, honey, and so are you," says Dean, "just breathe for me a sec, okay?" Carefully, he lifts his hands higher, settling them over her own in an attempt to peel them away from what looks like a circle of metal around her throat. Whatever it is, it wasn't there a moment ago, which can only mean it's something from home sent expressly to fuck with her.

"It's okay," he says, "we're gonna get this off of you."

[identity profile] dickgout.livejournal.com 2011-05-18 05:33 am (UTC)(link)
"Holy shit," breathes Jason, and because he never fucking thinks before he does, he bolts up there onto the stage. His hands naturally go for the collar and only imagining his sister shrieking STOP at him, as she often has when he gets impulsive, has Jason standing still, hands clenching.

"Fred, sugar, what's all this?" he finally manages instead, making sure all of his bulk goes to blocking her from view. "Well, I dunno what the fuck it is but don't you worry, sweet pea. Don't you worry."

[identity profile] pylean-cow.livejournal.com 2011-05-23 10:03 pm (UTC)(link)
"No! Don't!" Fred shrieks, eyes wide, because for a second, it seems as if he might try to touch it, might try to take it off, but she's seen what happens when they come off. She remembers seeing someone whole and fine one minute and their head completely gone the next.

It's still cold against her neck, like new. It might not be disabled. It's like when they first put it on her, back in Pylea. Except, maybe she never left.

This isn't real. None of this is real.

[identity profile] dickgout.livejournal.com 2011-05-26 04:10 am (UTC)(link)
"Fuck," Jason yelps, and his hands go up in the air. "I won't, I won't." He sucks in a deep breath. "Jesus, what is it?" Okay, try to be reassuring, he told himself. Try to be a big brother type.

[identity profile] pylean-cow.livejournal.com 2011-05-28 03:42 am (UTC)(link)
"It's so we don't run away, that's what they're for," Fred says, and while it may answer his question, answering him wasn't what she set out to do when she began speaking. She's trying to work it through, trying to remember and forget all at the same time.

"Can't take it off. Oh god."

[identity profile] dickgout.livejournal.com 2011-06-04 06:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Jason took a hold of her again, this time much more carefully. He cupped her jaw with one hand and the other was firm on her slender shoulder. "Hey, hey. You're gonna be okay. But listen, you're obviously the brains of this act, so I can't do anything if you don't calm down."

He caught her eyes and held them. "Come on, baby," he said softly. "You can do this."

[identity profile] nobler-things.livejournal.com 2011-05-20 03:09 am (UTC)(link)
If asked, he'd... Well, he'd probably own up to the truth, to be honest. He didn't give a toss about politics, found it rather laughable that there was even an attempt at it in a place like this, so, there was really only one thing worthy enough to drag him all the way out there.


So, he'd found a spot in the back, lurking in that special way only a former creature of the night could do. When she made her way to the stage, there was a ghost of a smile on his lips, warm and oddly proud. She seemed so fragile up there, but he knew as well as anyone how deceptive the cover of that book really was.

But she was also his to protect, as much as anyone had ever been, so when she collapsed, he was already halfway to the stage, elbowing his way bodily through the crowd, likely knocking over a few unlucky spectators along the way.

He vaulted up onto the stage, skidding to a stop on his knees at her side. "All right, love," he murmured, his hands hovering near the odd device now locked around her neck. "Fred, open your eyes."

[identity profile] pylean-cow.livejournal.com 2011-05-24 04:57 am (UTC)(link)
She opens them, not because she's at all convinced that anything is all right, but because she recognizes his voice. Spike. She knows Spike.

But when Fred does open her eyes and notices his hands hovering near the collar, she backs away, pushing her heels against the wood of the stage as she tries to scoot backwards. "Don't touch it!" she shouts, her own hands flying to her neck to rest lightly on the metal there.

It shouldn't be there. the collar shouldn't be there at all, but if it is, she can't take it off. Not now, not yet.

[identity profile] nobler-things.livejournal.com 2011-05-24 05:22 am (UTC)(link)
She skittered away like a frightened animal and Spike lifted his hands up, palm out where she could see them, dipping his voice into a low rumble. That same soothing voice he'd used with Dru, more times than he could remember. All those years of talking her down from moments like this, looking into her eyes and knowing knowing she was seeing past him, seeing something he couldn't.

"Wouldn't dream of it, pet," he said, inching a little closer to her, calm as he could manage in the face of all that terror staring back at him. Truthfully, he was frightened for her. He knew she wasn't the type to get worked up over nothing.

"Fred, I know you're scared, but I need for you to tell me what that thing is. You can do that, can't you?"

[identity profile] pylean-cow.livejournal.com 2011-05-25 03:09 am (UTC)(link)
"It's there, isn't it?" she asks, instead of answering Spike's question. Her eyes are still wide and frightened, though the question should be easy to figure out the answer to, on account of her fingers touching the collar.

So many improbabilities. So many inconsistencies. How could she have thought any of this was real? The simplest explanation is generally the right one, and none of this is simple.

[identity profile] nobler-things.livejournal.com 2011-05-26 02:29 am (UTC)(link)
"It's there," Spike confirmed, shuffling just a bit closer, but keeping his hands at a distance.

"In case you've forgotten, love, I'm not known for my brains, or my patience, so you're going to have to start talking to me before I go and tear that thing off with my bare hands."

[identity profile] pylean-cow.livejournal.com 2011-05-28 04:01 am (UTC)(link)
"No! You can't!" Fred replies, voice suddenly elevated, even though he's already said he won't try to touch it or take it off. "It'll explode. Or implode... implode's more accurate. Either way I'll die. I'll be gone,"

She's looking past him now, seeing him and not seeing him at the same time as she remembers when she first saw what the collar could do.

[identity profile] nobler-things.livejournal.com 2011-05-31 02:10 am (UTC)(link)
"Wouldn't want that, would we?" he said calmly, though he could feel the still novel drum of his heartbeat, pulse thundering frantically with all that adrenaline and nowhere to focus it.

"Fred," he said, watching her eyes glass over, "Fred, look at me, love. We're going to get you out of that bloody thing, but you need to stay with me."
confidenceman: (too bad for you)

[personal profile] confidenceman 2011-05-23 02:50 am (UTC)(link)
Blink and Sawyer would have missed it. But maybe that doesn't matter, because what strikes him first is Fred's expression. He knows that something's wrong in those eyes, terrified and wide, the shape of her body immediately buckling as she staggers back on the stage, and that's all that he needs to start towards the stage as quickly as he can, knocking a couple of chairs down in the process, footfalls so heavy on the stage that they vibrate a second after each step.

Impossibly, the first thing he does is grab for a hand of hers, few touches more intimate and personal than that of a hand brushing along an arm, fingers twining. His free arm slings around her right after, shielding her from the audience as he leans in, murmuring close to her ear.

"Fred. Fred," he says, voice strained but soft. "Fred, you hear me? It's Sawyer."

[identity profile] pylean-cow.livejournal.com 2011-05-24 06:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Sawyer shouldn't be here.

Not here in Pylea. Unless she's just imagining him, like she likely imagined it all. It can't all be real at once. Or maybe she's not.

"You can't be here. You're not supposed to be here," she says, and she looks up at him, eyes still wide and frightened even though she knows his face.
confidenceman: (never you; baby)

[personal profile] confidenceman 2011-05-29 03:33 pm (UTC)(link)
The sudden change in demeanor reminds him of someone. Of Charlotte, he remembers suddenly, the look on her face, one of recognition and fear alike— and for a moment, he forgets that he's on Tabula Rasa, that this island won't continue to toss them through time and leave each of them dislodged. His hand tightens on her shoulder and he shakes his head.

"Fred, we're still here, we're on Tabula Rasa. The hell do you think we are?" Sawyer's eyes travel to her collar, and he looks for some way to undo the device.

[identity profile] scoobys-heart.livejournal.com 2011-05-24 03:12 am (UTC)(link)
Not really being into politics, Xander had never really paid attention who was on the council, except to vote for people he knew would make good leaders. Despite this, he often tried to at least catch a few of the speeches, just to see where people felt the island was going.

When he saw Fred on the list, he knew he had to stay for hers. She may have worked for Angel but he couldn't hold it against her and thought of her as a friend.

He was already grinning, amazed at how brave she was for just being up there as she began. And then it felt like he blinked and there was a collar around her neck and Fred was shutting down on the stage. Xander didn't even think before he was out of his seat, heading up for the stage.

"Fred. Fred? Hey, come on, look at me." He said as he jumped up on the stage and slowly started for her, not wanting to spook her further.

[identity profile] pylean-cow.livejournal.com 2011-05-25 02:37 am (UTC)(link)
"It's not there. It's not there. It's not there. It's not there, is it?" Fred says, eyes still squeezed shut, wanting to look down for the collar, wanting to reach for her neck again, but afraid of what she might see or feel there.

It's all so impossible: the island, Angel, Los Angeles... Occam's Razor says that she should still be in Pylea. That she never disabled the collar and any minute now, someone's going to push a button and shock her and it'll be back to work. Back to starving all over again.

[identity profile] scoobys-heart.livejournal.com 2011-05-25 11:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Xander kept moving slowly forward until he could reach for her hand. He didn't dare touch the collar, having had enough experience with magical items to know that touching was never of the good. Who knew what it would do to Fred or him?

"Well, I can't answer that if I don't know what 'it' is. But unless 'it' is something other then the silver thing around your neck, I have bad news."

[identity profile] pylean-cow.livejournal.com 2011-05-28 03:31 am (UTC)(link)
"Oh god, it's real. How can it be real? How can it be here?" Fred replies as she looks down and confirms what Xander's said. But if it's here, then she must be somewhere else, right?

She's still in Pylea.

"You're not supposed to be here." she says to him.

[identity profile] scoobys-heart.livejournal.com 2011-05-30 03:59 am (UTC)(link)
"Because the island has a sicker sense of humor then Sunnydale?" Xander really didn't know what to say to that because well...it was the island, where anything could happen. Especially what you least want.

But then he blinked as Fred seemed to change gears and left him one step behind. "Here? On the island?" He held her hand and moved closer. "Fred, where do you think you are right now?"

[identity profile] chose.livejournal.com 2011-06-01 03:24 am (UTC)(link)
She's heard the speech countless times now, enough so that Buffy practically has it memorized herself. Much like Willow, Fred can never be too prepared, and tiring though it got at the end (more than once she remembers urging the brunette to relax) she has been happy to help. As Fred takes the stage, Buffy flashes a smile and a quick thumbs-up for support, both eager and hopeful to hear the speech delivered at last. Eager and hopeful, however, were dire mistakes on her part: she should have known better than to wish for the best. Taking a page out of the Sunnydale Book of Mass Terrorization, the island delivers unto Fred a gift that from the looks of it is not at all well received.

At first, she thinks nothing of the pause, assuming it to be a bout of nervousness — Fred is prone to stammering, after all — and no more. Only when Buffy looks up to offer another meaningful glance of support does she note the expression on Fred's face, the brand new (and rather vulgar) accessory around her neck. Buffy doesn't need to know what it is to know that it's bad; Fred has fought the forces of evil with the best of 'em and she's nothing if not courageous. She shudders to think what might bring so intense a look of fear to her eyes, then scolds herself for having time to shudder at all, pushing her way through the crowd not a split-second later.

"Fred!" Calls Buffy as she hoists herself up onto the stage, immediately falling to her knees at Fred's side. "Hey, hey, Fred, look at me," she presses, grazing her shoulder lightly. "Fred, what's wrong?"