quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Echo Omega)
[personal profile] quinara posting in [community profile] queerlygen
I couldn't decide whether to post this or not, considering it will probably become out of date with the new season starting tomorrow(!!) and it isn't really substantial enough to stand on its own as a story, but what the hey? It has queer people in!! (Um, I should say that this was a cheeky self-prompt - asexual Claire Saunders hangs out/has a chat with Echo's dominatrix imprint.)

Title: The Silence of Wendy
Author: [personal profile] quinara
Universe: Dollhouse
Type of Work: Fic
Contains: Very oblique Claire/Boyd in one paragraph.
Word Count: Approx. 1600
Summary and Notes: This fic is not about Wendy or Becky or Stacy. It's about Echo. Set just before the end of Omega

The Silence of Wendy.

Seeing Echo like this bothered Claire more than it really should. She acted like she did in her doll-state, same curiosity on her open face, but now she had speech. She could move like something dangerous.

“Whiskey,” she said as Claire finished stitching her wound. “I remember you.”

It was odd how much like hers that name felt. After no less than a couple of hours. “That's...” What? Nice? Disconcerting? The most ridiculous thing she'd heard all year? It was probably best to concentrate on the task at hand. She needed more gauze.

Echo addressed her even as she turned away, “You love it, being like this.” She didn’t stop, not even as Claire ducked her head coming back from the supply trolley. “You always did.”

Carefully Claire applied the dressing. “And that surprises you?” When forced to, never answer a question, always ask one back. She learnt that... Somewhere, not in med school.

“Hey. Look at me.”

Touching down the tape along Echo’s skin, Claire finally looked up, squinting a little in the bright light above their heads. The curiosity in Echo’s eyes had morphed into something more pointed, more angry; her hair hung round her shoulders like a mane. It made Claire step back, heels sounding out two clacks on the wooden floor.

Echo continued, accusatory, “Do you even care whose body you're filling?”

Claire held her head up, straightening her coat around her shoulders. “I do,” she replied. “But I’m almost certain she doesn't care about me.”

“Why wouldn't she?” Of course, Claire thought as she watched the Echo’s hands grip the cushion of the bench she was sitting on. Echo had met Caroline; she'd told everyone at the debriefing. What a strange experience that must have been.

“I saw my file,” Claire replied, letting some her defiance show. She’d seen the basic data of her file; that was enough. “Whoever I was before, she was one of the first actives here. She almost certainly wasn't recruited from a hospital.” Did Echo know that much about Caroline's past? It seemed not; her face was blank. “I trust she knew what she was doing.”

At that Echo sprang forward, turning with the suppleness of a sabre, moving in complete silence. “Not you too.” She shook her head, and for a moment Claire wondered how much control that knife-wielding assassin could gain over the other personalities. “Don't tell me you think someone can give themselves up to this? Contractually become a slave?”

Claire didn't answer straightaway. She gathered her tools and began the process of cleaning them a safe distance away, readying them for the autoclave. “It's not my place,” she said at last, placing her forceps on the tray, “Nor my inclination to question what someone might want to do with their body.” The buttons for the setting she wanted fell from her fingers without her having to think. “Trying to imagine the sum of someone else's reasoning is difficult if not impossible. The perception of pleasure alone varies from person to person with an almost infinite...”

When she turned back, Echo had her hand on her hip, head tilted slightly to her body and a pout on her lips.

“Wh...” Claire began, but was cut off.

“We got the feeling it was me you wanted to be talking to.”

Leaning against the counter, Claire swallowed back a sigh and changed her question, “Who are you?”

“Catie Arnold,” the woman replied. “But I got a certain group of friends who call me Lady Hades.” She smirked at Claire's raised eyebrow. “What? So I read a little Greek myth on the weekend. I got a life outside my dungeon, you know.”

“Well...” She didn't, not really. It was slightly upsetting.

The pout grew more pronounced; it would have been funny if it didn't suit her. “Hey, hey, we ain't having no crying here.” Catie popped back on the bench, slinging one leg over the other with the sort of oozing sexuality Claire was sure she could never emulate. “The other girls, they're throwing up their hands at you, wanna know how anyone can sign away their soul.” She leaned forward, leisurely rolling back her shoulders. “But that's ultimately what bugs you, right? What if you want your soul signed away? What if you wanna free-fall for a while in someone else's hands?”

OK, so now she was talking to a dominatrix about souls. This week... Well, actually it was looking up.

“'Cause, see, we were talking to Caroline a while back, and someone took a head-count of us thinking you can't sign yourself into slavery.”

Claire let her hands slide into her pockets, at ease. She was curious now. “And you said?”

Another smirk. This woman smiled rather a lot more than Claire had expected dominatrices to smile; though presumably this was her time off. If she ever got time off. “Well, I said no, 'cause that Caroline chick needed cheering up, but what I really meant to do was get the question qualified. I thought Miss Penn might be up for it, but she went wimping out on me.” As she paused Catie ran a hand her leg, seeming to enjoy the feel of her body as she pressed her thumb into her calf. “Way I see it,” she continued, looking up again, “you can sign up for anything you want, but you always got a limit on the contract. Then the status shimmies right back to sitting in the quo. You wanna be a slave? You be a slave, but you don't never become one. You play the role till everybody's satisfied. Your rights don't go nowhere. It's give and take, tempo rubato, you know what I'm saying?”

“I do.” And she did, one imprint to another.

Catie squinted with a cheeky sort of approbation. “All right,” she purred. “Now we're rolling... 'Cause I know my girl Echo don't want you to go sacrifice yourself on the altar of whoever you were before. She just wants you to check out how you got here, make sure it's on the up and up.”

“It's not that simple,” Claire insisted, shaking her head.

“But you said you saw the file.”

She was sharp, this dominatrix. Claire hated that she could be surprised by that. All the same, she wondered how she was going to explain it, how much the idea of working out her past repelled her. To know every little reason why she'd been made the way she was, to potentially be given the option to change it... No matter that her identity had been constructed on a computer screen it still felt like giving in. She was happy the way she was and had faith that Whiskey was too; what right did Echo have to be appeased? She didn't owe her anything.

Clearly it was time to ask another question. “How do you feel,” she asked, curling some hair behind her ear, “knowing you were created as someone's fantasy?”

Catie accepted the parry with a shrug, tossing her hair back lazily over her shoulders. “I can deal,” she replied. “Doing better than Susan and Alexa now the gig's out in the open. Brannock needed someone he could trust; I ain't gonna question why the only person he could was someone who forgot about it after.”

Claire nodded slowly. Of course that made sense. “So you're OK with it.”

Deciding something, Catie tilted her head for a second, before nodding. “Sure.”

“It doesn't bother you that you didn't know at the time? When you were... On the engagement?”

“Maybe I'd have liked it laid out on the table.” Catie shrugged again. “But in the end, it wasn't relevant, not to who I was. Not to who I am.” She smiled almost a proper smile this time, her lips nearly parting. Her eyes danced. “And I see what you did there, Doc. Nice move. Not quite the same though, 'cause we ain't talking about you, are we?”

They weren't, not really, but Claire still didn't know how to reply.

Then, suddenly, Catie leapt off the table, her movements losing some of their litheness as she clearly morphed back into Echo. “Why won't you do it?” she demanded, her voice harsh. “What have you got to lose?”

Claire blinked, rushing to come up with a response that wasn't to do with how rude it was to throw someone out of a conversation. They hadn’t finished. What came blurting out was short and clipped: “You don't get to tell me what I must or mustn't know about myself.” How many people would she have to say that to in her life?

Echo’s fists clenched, eyes full of rage. “Whiskey isn't you!”

“She isn't you either!” Claire shouted back. She’d never had her hormones tested, never queried medically the ‘reason’ why she was a happy atheist virgin. She refused on principle and this felt the same. Echo did not control her and could never be as close to Whiskey as Claire was. It wasn’t going to happen.

For a long, measured moment there was silence. Stalemate. Until –

“Uh, Echo?”

Boyd was at the open door, knocking lightly to announce’ his presence. Claire felt herself flush as she met his eyes; he must have heard what was being said. She cursed herself for caring what he thought of her, but still she didn’t look away. Eventually he looked to one side, cleared his throat and addressed Echo, “Are you ready for your – ” What did it mean that he couldn’t finish the trigger? Was it because Echo seemed so human now?

Or maybe it simply wasn’t necessary, not when Echo would give in anyway. “Yeah,” she said, brushing past Claire with an aura of sullen defeat. “I’m coming.”

Claire watched her go, an unpleasantly warm feeling of pride in her gut.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-24 10:22 pm (UTC)
deird1: lilac flowers, with text "how do they rise up" (Default)
From: [personal profile] deird1
Awesome.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-26 06:18 am (UTC)
evilawyer: young black-tailed prairie dog at SF Zoo (Default)
From: [personal profile] evilawyer
I must get my hands on this Dollhouse, because this fic is fascinating.

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