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Title: Gludder
Author: Scynneh
Improv 28: half, conscience, bitter, optional
Feedback: Is a delectable treat
Disclaimer: If they were mine, I wouldn't sleep at all.
Fandom: A:ts
Spoilers: General A:ts Season 3 and a few for BTVS.
Author's Note: I seem to have this expanding well of affection for Fred. Ack. But then I thought that Angel/Fred looked yummy, and maybe a bit dark? Eh, and 'Gludder' is 'the sound of a body falling among mire.' (John Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish language 1808).
Rating: R for overall 'eek'. This may strike some as overly dark, but my view of both characters is that they're much more shadowed than their compatriots in the 'Good Fight' may believe.

He goes to the cemeteries for the scent of rotting flesh.

//Tilt the bottle when it is full//

The odor of mortals in their final sleep renews him. This is his aim, to have the rest and a headstone, to let others know that he passed on to what he always wanted,

Fred comes with him; her presence a wisp of madness that he hopes to cultivate, a malicious gardener, and he always did like the fierce blooms. The others believe that he shows her the city, in a purely friendly capacity, now that he has supposedly realized that Cordelia is female. They are wrong, he has known, but it is not the time to break her into pieces, he only has a dustpan for one.

He chooses not to elaborate on their trusting assumptions, and he's given Fred the flowers of the living for the dead, which pleases her and has made Cordelia think that they go to nurseries nightly. She apparently decided that, after the seventh bouquet wilted in its vase on the counter that they were unable to vary their routine, for lack of inspiration, and one evening he found the entertainment paper under his door.

She circles events that she thinks one of them would like, and they never go to any of them.

//The pleasing is always there, never changes, never his pleasure suggested, and he cannot find it in himself to be bitter about human self-centeredness.

Fred adores their outings; she has fallen in love with a small family plot with statues of questionably garbed seraphs.

The shrill wails of the Heavenly ones scrape at his meticulously constructed walls of civilized behavior, and the demon quivers, emitting a hiss of threatening and snapping necks.

Fred does not claim that the stars speak to her, though she has demonstrated a fondness for conversing with shrubbery.

Perhaps a Bonsai for her room?

Fred is a fluttering madness that he would like to covet. Hold, cherish, cultivate, and maybe crush. All those 'c' sounds, and Cordelia, the most unforgettable 'C' he's ever met, would not approve of any of those words.

And her affection is somehow more primitive, the time alone and then not has halved her on the best way to express herself, and somehow, monuments of the deceased release her from indecision.

The touches are always abrupt. As though those fingers have quarreled with mind and wrist and just rebelled enough to get in one caress before they are drawn back into obedient impersonality.

Above him, balancing on the base of pious concrete, she speaks to her personal monster, and as she smiles at him and he sees the frightening pinkness of her gums clash wit her whitening skin. Memory of skulls in a church, the Master's chambers, grins, they know what lies Beyond and aren't going to tell the living.

Oh no.

//Long white bones with the flesh all gone..//

A song that he's heard children singing on the streets for, years. Little skeletons glowing, their dimensions correct if phosphorescent out of street lamp spotlight. But here, babbling Inventor holds his attention.

Words drift down to cuddle him; useless ramblings, today puppets and their satanic origins are the subject; seems that someone has been contemplating the way that certain boy bands are linked with strings of contracts and cash to larger corporate demons, and that eventually, all the puppets, of skin and rags will band together and take over. Ridiculous paranoia, but he loves it.

It's not as if she really cares about what she is saying, just that he is around to listen to her snarl at the world and the television, which has so many channels, and all of them crappy shows. Her language gets progressively more *cave-ish* as her ire rises.

He can feel her quiet dissatisfaction with not being able to fight something when she is ready to tear things apart, and that's when he reaches out to touch a shoulder, the protruding whiteness of bone only just covered by skin, calcified slopes, jagged and yet, exquisite. His hands find the flaring bubbling rage of her to be something to be felt, as he does not feel much more genuine anymore.

*That pampered..oohhhh*, comes from her twitching fingers, and he laughs without sound. Honest in her dislike, that is so *nice.,* not since... He knows that she sensed his focus leaving her, and she shoves at his shoulder, leave-taking, of any kind is not allowed here.

An impression of impatience with his brooding, and a hand slides under his thin shirt. A callus on an index finger twirls in slow exploration over his spine, dipping into hollows between vertebrae, thoracic, lumbar, and stopping at the waist of his pants.

Leather, he really hasn't cared about the rigors of dressing up to play the role of 'souled and penitent' for a while, and his clothes are what he is comfortable in.

He should be disgusted at the way he requires this child's presence, and her body near his, he knows that his conscience, with its 'this is wrong bells, should be sounding an alarm. Why has no one thought to put in some kind of cosmic camera to make sure that the *maybe tame* creatures are not going to take advantage of their responsibilities?

Though, when she suddenly grins, a slash of teeth that might be sharp if he narrowed his eyes, he knows that he is not the only one who should be watched. She looks at him; people not really out of the jungle, her tribe more cleanly connected to their beginnings than anyone would like to think.

He can taste her emotions, as she moves closer, *mine, mine, nobody else wants to know you like I do, with all of the bad with the good and that means-*

She has a claim on him.

Mouth on his neck, under the tangle of hair that is reddened and not brushed, and she finds his ear. Lick and bite. Maybe family? Her breath is an exasperated puff of air on his nape.

Bolder now that he hasn't protested about virtue of propriety, the belt loops traced over and she stops.

Blinks in his face as she leans over him. "Underwear?"

Stares back. "What for?"

Dark smile and she returns to where she is tracing the dips of smoothness.

Her expressions are not like the gentle and consuming hugs that Cordy likes to bestow when she thinks that he might need some comfort of the non-intimate kind, nor the curiously innocent flashes that Buffy gave him when they were still dreaming of something that would never happen. No, she has her own worship, with an *I know what you are* in there that he wants another helping of.

Suddenly, she is done meddling with the buckles and fasteners he has used to armor himself against the world, and moves to face him. More of a straddling, over and taller and *power of fragile limbs.* Her first try at faces touching is very slow, like realtime has slowed down to some strange Matrix-esque spreading of moments.

A rush of smell and taste that is his demon feeling out her intentions, testing for violence, finding that and more heated inquisitiveness. No words, just the contact, the sensation that he can pull all of her sense memories out and knot them together; quilted and then snuggle into that for comfort. Surprise that there is so much of her, normally she is *crouching not catlike, but still hunter* in the corners of the mansion and biting at everyone. She is a lamed Thinker, with permanent markers and fingernails as her weapons.

And she is incredibly primal, something of Ancient Woman, the type that taught fire making or herb gathering to a tribe, or was pushed out to live with the animals. Trembling but strong.

The inventor in the attic his very own mad doctor, minus everything that makes the stereotype ludicrous and untrue. Fred with a dry-erase board, because he won't have chalk dust on the carpet and when she wanders through the hotel with ink like a crusting of blood on her hands, he can let his eyes become unfocused and he sees carnage where there is only subscript and cheese.

Yes, a tree and maybe a dress, she would twirl magnificently in silk.


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