Posts tagged allison.
Force of Habit
From Poolwatcher: Prompt: “I believe we lied, even though we said it was the truth. We were never in love with each other, it only felt just the same.” Pairing/character of your choice.
“It’d be just like you,” she said, quietly, and it scared him because she never said anything quietly. “God, Church, I’m leaving in the morning. Can’t you just give me a proper sendoff without making me question this?”
“I never made you question it,” he said, “You’ve always done that by yourself.”
Allison laughed a low, sarcastic chuckle, and Church frowned. “Don’t make this out like I’m imagining things. You’ve always liked ideas.”
“What does that have to do with anything?” he said, confused.
“You love the idea of me.” She sighed in an I-don’t-want-to-fight-anymore way. Church knew it well.
“Where’s the harm in that?” he said as he leaned over and kissed her forehead. She didn’t respond. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” she echoed.
RvB Drabble: Film Reel
He hunted for a film projector for six months. One of those old players with wheels that click and turn and always seem like they’d catch and freeze the moment in time. He used to work at a vintage movie theater, one summer when he was sixteen. He wanted money for a car. He loaded the films and listened to the whir and purr of the machines as lights danced across the room from the projector.
He never bothered to get one after that summer, forgetting about the money he wound up spending on new technology and the car he never bought and the hum of electronics he always vaguely thought he should record so he could fall asleep listening to them.
The letter came, delivered by two men in uniform, and he took it quietly. Wordlessly. He read it and his hands naturally found their way to his computer, to the file from his camera, to her face. It played as he read the cordial, formal, stiff letter, apologizing for taking his world. His whole world. It echoed as she laughed and said “you’re going to make me late!” and “I hate goodbyes.” He thought about how he wouldn’t say it at the funeral, either. Goodbye. He’d never say it.
Six months later, he had a projector and a custom roll of film. Something more physical than data streams and words, backlit screens and small memory sticks. The film reel was big enough to hold, had a weight to it. Had a feel. A curve and a crevasse and a coldness that came with metal as he pressed it to his lips.
He loaded it in and her face was there, on the wall, smiling at him and waving away the camera half-heartedly. Her face was trapped in this metal form that whirred and clicked and if he closed his eyes, he could pretend it sounded like her breathing when she slept. He watched it once and packed it all up, all the sounds and lights and weight of it in a small chest as old as the technology he insisted on using, put out of sight but never out of mind.
When he saw Agent Texas for the first time, alive in that weird way she was made to exist, he thought it wasn’t that much of a stretch from that old film reel he kept in his office. Texas moved and purred and clicked just like he’d grown to think of her, of Allison, in that wooden box.
She was just as cold, too.
RvB: Deja Vu (Allison AU)
“Are you okay?” the woman asked, helping Wash settle himself into a chair. He had grabbed the nearest stable thing, the wall, and staggered a few steps back when she had greeted him in that impersonal, polite way bar patrons greet each other - a nod of the head.
“Yeah,” Wash struggled to get out through the haze of memories. “You just… really remind me of someone.” He paused to look at her. “Have we met before?”
She considered him, his face and graying hair and lines where he’d spent too much effort not smiling. “I don’t think so. I don’t remember you, and I have a pretty good memory for faces.” She extended a hand, in an odd and slightly uncharacteristic show of what resembles friendship. “I’m Allison.”
Wash froze. Epsilon had been out of his head for months now and yet the echo of his mantra remained - Allison is dead. Allison is right here. Memories floated up, memories of this woman and this face, slightly younger, this hair, longer and darker, those muscles that hid beneath her thin shirt, the nights that Epsilon remembered where all he could do was feel her next to him in the darkness. Wash’s fingers prickled with the sensation of her warm skin as he gripped the arms of the chair, knuckles turning white. “A-Allison?” he repeated.
“You sure you’re alright?” she said, a skeptical brow making its way north.
“David,” Wash coughed out. “I’m fine,” he said, the response mechanical, practiced, convincing. He was fine enough to be ordered on shore leave. He was fine enough to have two weeks of rest after his reintegration had completed. He was fine enough to be on vacation, which he knew was just another test to see how well he deals with life now. One he wasn’t sure he could pass, staring at this woman, at Allison. “He thinks you’re dead,” he said before he realized the words had formed.
She studied him. He didn’t expect shock or fear or worry, because he knew this woman, he knew Allison. He knew her reaction would be calm. Collected. An inspection. “Who?” she finally said, the word lowering the temperature around Wash’s skin. Were those goosebumps?
“Leonard.” He didn’t see any way around it.
Her eyes widened, for a second, a glimmer of recognition, of-of fear? Fury? Denial? Wash wasn’t sure. “You’ve got the wrong girl,” she said with such finality that it betrayed her lie.
“No, you’re Allison. You’re the one.” He stood up, willing his instincts to ignore the warning etched on her face. “You have to tell him. You have to show him you’re alive.”
“I’m not that Allison.”
“He still loves you!” Wash blurted out, desperately. He reached to grab her arm to drive his point home, but found it had already moved, was already moving, the fist connecting with his face, the blurred vision into darkness, the vague sound of footsteps leaving the spot.
He woke up, having collapsed in the chair, the bartender handing him a glass of water. “Where did she go?” he asked quietly, wincing at the tender skin around his cheek bone. That’s going to bruise in the morning.
The bartender looked at him. “You guys lovers or something?” he said, pushing the glass of water up to Wash’s mouth.
“Something,” Wash muttered, knowing his two weeks of “vacation” just got very specifically busy.
queen-of-france asked: "Oh, Lilian/ I should have run/ I should have known/ Each dress you own/ Is a loaded gun" - Depeche Mode, "Lilian"
Something that fell through the cracks with Tex was Allison’s ability to dominate every war, every form of fighting she ever cared to get in. Leonard Church thinks fondly to the first time they met, the next time he saw her in that unforgettable dress, makeup, everything, how she reeled him in with a brief, non-committal smile, how he didn’t have a choice because she had won this battle, this war, before he even knew it had started. He remembers how Allison could change and carry herself depending on what her passion dictated, what she wanted, and looks at Tex with her one-track soldier mind, looks at what his memories of Allison have become and reels from admiration to resentment of this empty, almost-there echo.
RvB Drabble: Where Credit Is Due
He stopped laughing and joking when she did, an informal letter of condolences sealing his eternal frown.
He always thought he inherited her passion in a way, he had been so unfocused before he met her and he saw how efficient and direct everything she did was, including him.
He thought that maybe the way she interacted with him for all that time was why he stopped seeking approval, and decided that a lack of direct opposition was the same thing as express permission - it was exactly what she had always assumed as well.
He had her to thank for the fact that when someone finally criticized him, he could shut them down, he could get so wrapped up in ideas and motivations and reasons and justifications that by the time someone realized he needed to be stopped, there was no other possible course of action; he had her to thank for the unadulterated conviction an obsession with a memory offered.
When he really thought about it, Leonard Church could trace back every habit and trait he has to her.
queen-of-france asked: "I saw her body organ/ She was laughing while pressing the keys/ She said my favourite book was dirty and /'You shouldn't shout, you can read'" - The Knife, "Forest Families"
The way she moved was music. It felt so odd, since her apartment was so bare from any kind of instrument or player, she was so content to sit in silence, but Leonard realized she was never sitting in silence, not really. Every small movement a short, quiet note, every violent motion a sudden rush of horns, every muscle relaxing a relieved string, Allison was a symphony.
It was the hardest thing to get right about her. The Allison that had appeared along with Alpha, the Omega, Tex, she had Allison’s thoughts and words and, to a certain point, her memories, she had her smile and expression and attitude, but she so obviously, inescapably lacked her music. Allison was an orchestra and Tex was a rock band, and he could never quite completely hide the look of disappointment when his Agent moved, and moved wrong.
recoveryone asked: Red vs. Blue!
I already did Tucker for this, so instead I’ll show what I think Tex/Allison would look like :) Tiny nose, tiny mouth, looooong dark red hair that she usually wears up. (Also, eye shapes. I like her eyes flat on top and drooping down.
RvB Drabble: The Devil in the Details
He told himself it was normal to compare the two, on some level. She’d caught his eye with her stance, so much like Allison’s, and that deadly thirst to prove herself. He thought that’d be ok, that if he could control what she does, then the same desire that killed Allison might just keep her alive.
Of course there were differences. She was so much like her, like the memory of her, that he used those small oddities to make sure he remembered who she was. Which one she was.
Her hair was so bright. Allison had red hair - longer - but her shade was more like blood. Where her hair was bright and violent, like the woman who owned it, Allison was more subdued, more the quiet fury that owned her actions so often and so completely.
This new woman was reactionary. You don’t get to being where she is without a bit of ambition, but in everything she did it was obvious it was a reaction to something external. Often it was reaction to orders, reaction to success, to disappointment. She reacted like an animal, instinctively and without pause, but she also reminded him of the fundamental difference between animals and humans, because as instant as her reactions were, they were also deliberate. They were planned with a human mind, trained to keep up with her instinct, trained by the threat of death to adapt until she could make sure she got out alive, every time.
Her eyes. Allison always had this glint to her eyes, somewhere between mockery and cruelty. All this woman had behind them was determination. Allison always knew she was the best at what she did. This woman wanted everyone else to know it, too.
She stood at attention in front of him, this woman, every muscle and bone in her body reminding him of one very particular, very unforgettable girl. She stood at attention and awaiting his approval, and for the first time since the woman had walked in he knew what the defining difference between the two women was.
He knew that this woman would be an integral part of Project Freelancer.
For all the ways she reminded him of Allison, this, here, this desire for his word, his say-so, his assertion that she’s good enough, that’s what set them apart. That’s what made this woman invaluable. That’s what made her his, in a way that, he had to admit, Allison never was.
“Carolina,” he said.
“Sir?” the woman said, staring straight ahead, at attention, so much like a memory, and yet so much more than that.
“That’s your name. Agent Carolina.”
“Yes sir,” she said firmly, and the Director of Project Freelancer couldn’t help but smile.
januaryembers- asked: "You taught me everything I know / Wave goodbye, wish me well / You've gotta let me go"
He knew Allison always hated saying goodbye, so he liked to think she’d understand when he vehemently refused to let her go.
Anonymous asked: "I can't always just forget her/but she could try" Pick a pairing.
Tex tried to separate herself from Allison in Wash’s mind (moreso Epsilon’s, but that line had blurred long ago) every time he mentioned the two names together under his breath, but in a sea of memories, “forget” was a far off, unattainable hope.
RvB Drabble: Days Like This
He’d heard how cruel the mind could be. He had experienced it firsthand. From the way his mind would egg him on when he used to argue with her. His own logic telling him he was right, his own mind insisting that logic had a place in this relationship. The way he tricked himself into resenting her for joining the army. The way his mind took the comfort away from the eulogy he was going to deliver at the very moment he needed it most. The way his mind locked the memories away, slowly, efficiently, as if it was to preserve them, as if it wasn’t a coping mechanism that wound up backfiring. The way his brain fixated on the one fact about her, about them, that she had died, and that he’d never be able to get her back. The way his mind orchestrated Alpha so that Tex showed up at the same time, because that was the only way his mind could see her again. The way his mind justified the preferential treatment he showed Tex. The way his mind justified all of his actions, with such conviction, in the face of every opposition - until Tex was gone. Allison was gone. Again.
But the cruelest trick his mind ever played on him are the moments of doubt of all those memories of Allison that were locked away, all those things he remembered aside from her death, all those instances of the two of them together. The mere suggestion that those things were something his mind invented. The slightest of doubts, in his weakest moments.
RvB Self Prompt: In My Time of Dying
She had heard that your entire life flashed before your eyes. She had also heard that it was called “life”.
She had laughed bitterly at the joke and moved on. Now, as she was dying, she couldn’t bring herself to laugh anymore. Her life wasn’t flashing before her eyes. Just as well, she thought, it was kind of a crappy life.
There was one part she wouldn’t mind reliving again, wouldn’t mind seeing a second time. She’d never admit to liking him - loving him - but she’d never need to, either. He knew. He had to.
Dying took longer than she thought it would. Longer than in any of those crappy movies she watched. She could feel her breaths slowing and every time she hoped that this would be it, that the pain would stop. She could feel herself wilt away, slowly, on a foreign planet, surrounded by the corpses of her allies. Looking around her and seeing only the faces of her enemies.
Allison died, slowly, in pain, alone, and with far too much time to think and reflect on her life. She left only a memory behind. Had she been given a choice, she never would have picked that one to be her legacy.
RvB Drabble: Invasion
The first time Wash fully felt Epsilon’s presence was the moment he saw Tex after implantation.
It had only been a day since the procedure. Yes, the AI would be stored in the armor. That’s what they were all told. But the armor was merely a real-time backup. There was a part of the AI that would be stored in you. A part they had to add with the use of a scalpel. A part that can never really be turned off.
They kept everyone for a day after the surgery. Wash could feel Epsilon exploring his brain, and it mostly made him uncomfortable. There was another mind in his, and that mind was hiding from him. He was told that it was normal. That the AI would adjust. That he should report the first conscious activity for their records.
That night he was sitting on the couch in the common room, staring at the random movie that North had dug up from his collection. He was there so he could be looking at something and not have to think. He heard the others joke that he had post-implantation sickness. It had become a common phrase lately, ever since Carolina walked into the room with bags under her eyes and a pale complexion months ago after her implantation. It was the first time anyone had seen her look less than healthy. It lasted three days.
North’s lasted an entire week.
When Tex walked in, Wash looked at her through his haze. He had a moment to register that it was one of those very rare times when her helmet was off. It had initially surprised people how attractive she was. York commented on it and spent the next few days apologizing for his comment to Carolina, who pretended she wasn’t offended. Tex looked at him and nodded.
Wash gripped his head with his right hand and the back of his neck with his left and closed his eyes as his mind exploded in a foreign memory. He could instantly tell it was Epsilon. It was the intruder, come out of hiding, marking his territory and showing just how large his span was, his command of his host was. All other thoughts, all of Wash’s thoughts, were put aside in the face, in her face, in this memory.
The AI wasn’t a partnership. It was an invasion.
All he saw for a few seconds was Tex. Only it wasn’t Tex, not really, it was a memory of someone who looked just like Tex. A woman who smiled the same way and had the same tired expression. The woman’s laugh rang in his ears and he remembered hearing Tex laugh like that, once, just when North had said something stupid and Maine had come in with a terse quip. The memory’s eyes looked at him, and he knew they were looking at Epsilon but it still felt like they were looking at him, and he wondered if all morning Epsilon had been looking at Wash’s memories, looking into the eyes of CT, or the friendly gaze of York, like they had been looking at the AI. Wash wondered if Epsilon had felt displaced, if it had felt like it was intruding on something intensely personal, because that’s the only way Wash could describe this scene. This memory. This woman. This Tex. Allison.
“What?” a voice said and Wash thought for a second that the memory had been talking. But when he opened his eyes, he realized it was Tex. This Tex. She was looking at him, something between confusion and annoyance on her face.
“Huh?” was all he could manage, shaking the image out of his mind as Epsilon retreated back into its hiding place.
“I didn’t know you knew my name.” She had crossed her arms, which gave her confusion a slightly impatient look. Tex was good at making every look carry an edge of impatience.
Wash froze for a second as he realized he must have said the name Epsilon whispered into his brain out loud, too. “Oh, I must have just read it somewhere,” Wash said with a forced shrug.
“Sure,” Tex said, sounding skeptical. “But call me Tex.”
“Yeah, sorry.” Wash relaxed into his seat again, turning his attention to the movie. “I will.”
He waited another thirty-two hours for Epsilon to say something. Something that Wash could report as his initial appearance. Something, anything, other than that woman.
This time it was much more cordial. The AI manifested itself in the air next to Wash’s armor and corrected three statistics in the lock picking field manual he was flipping through. Epsilon also took the opportunity to personalize the probability of success given Wash’s experience with certain locks.
Epsilon called it past data. Wash knew it was his memories, no longer private. Epsilon had access to everything Wash had ever experienced. And it seemed to be a non-negotiable two way street.
RvB Drabble: Eulogy (pre-Blood Gulch)
He looked around the room slowly, shuffling papers in his hands because he needed something to do. There was the man conducting the service and Leonard was never sure if he was reverend or a priest or a rabbi, it all melded together for him and was never thought important enough to remember. There were a handful of people from her old job, and a couple of people from the army.
He knew he’d be talking to himself.
“I’ve got this speech,” he started, already going off the planned path. He held up the index cards to prove it. “It seems to always comfort families of loved ones who have passed on. I was going to read it. I was going to find comfort in it. But standing here…” he trailed off as he looked at the coffin next to him. Her picture was on a easel on the other side of the room. It was one of those rare ones in which she was smiling. He remembered taking it. She didn’t know he had the camera in his hand.
“I am a scientist. I process things with facts and figures. I know how the universe works. I know how science conducts it. I know the symphony of life because I play it. I thought I knew the symphony of death.
“I thought, as a scientist, I knew that death was merely a stepping stone of life. It was an end point, but it was also a simple diffusion, a way to make life less orderly. I thought I knew that all her death meant was that her energy, her particles, her being were just released into the universe. That everything she was is now everywhere, all around us. That she hadn’t just stopped existing. That her existence was spread to the universe.
“The speech I hold in my hand is far more eloquent. It was not written by me, because I have no time or patience to be a wordsmith. I don’t understand sentences, I understand numbers. I had always thought it comforting, because it was a translation. It took death and grief, these profoundly human, profoundly literary concepts, and translated them for me. It ends by saying that, due to conservation of energy, you can be sure that not a bit of the deceased is gone. Every particle, every breath, every photon that bounced off of their face, they’re still here, they’re still in the universe, still travelling. Still existing. Not a bit of her is gone. She’s just less orderly.
“Still, as I stand here, in this room, next to this coffin, I find the translation meaningless. I find all of it meaningless. The comfort I thought would come of this speech is hollow. The idea that she’s still here, still around us, it isn’t a point of relief. It is a point of torture.
“She’s still here but I can’t touch her. Photons that bounced off of her smile are still in the universe, but I can’t gather them and see it again. Her heat that she radiated, I can’t feel it. I can’t know it’s her. This diffusion didn’t make her eternal. It made her indistinguishable. I can’t accept that. She always stood out. She’d never be anything less than extraordinary.”
He paused to look at her picture again. He briefly, distantly, registered the looks of confusion and apprehension that adorned his audience in the small funeral parlor. His hand went out and his fingertips rested on the corner of her coffin, and he thought for a moment how proud she’d be that he’s thinking outside of his narrow box of science. His ears almost rang with her voice, her small, jokingly disapproving laugh, her exclamation of “you fucking nerd” that he grew so used to (and so fond of).
“My conclusion is simple. Grief is not something you can translate. It is not something you can avoid. It’s not something you can comfort. It is merely a state of being. It is a state that I will now carry around with me, for every moment of the rest of my life. She deserves to be grieved. She deserves to be remembered.”
RvB Drabble: Alive in Death, Dead in Living (post s9)
Wash awoke with that one thought being chanted in his brain. She’s dead, she’s dead, she’s dead. He put a hand to his temple and shut his eyes against Epsilon, with no avail. She’s dead.
York stirred in the other bed and turned to look at his roommate. “Everything ok, man?” he said sleepily.
“What happened to Tex?” Wash said clearly.
“Tex.” Allison. “What happened to her?” Allison is dead.
“Nothing,” York said confusedly, sitting up in his bed. “No one’s on mission right now. Not Tex, not anyone.”
Wash turned his head and York heard the urgency in his voice as it traveled through the dark room. “Are you sure?” She’s dead.
They sat in silence for a few minutes. York didn’t dare lie back down until Wash did. “I’m going to get a drink of water,” Wash eventually said.
“Sure, man,” York said as he stared after Wash’s footsteps. “I’ll be here.”
Wash walked briskly to her room. Epsilon chanted his mantra in their mind and after every tap on her door. She’s dead. Knock. She’s dead. Knock. She’s dead, she’s dead, she’s dead. Dead. Knock knock knock kno-
She’s dead. “You’re not dead.”
Tex stared at him for a moment. “No. I was up reading.”
Allison is dead. “Allison is dead.”
She stood there, in full armor, door half open, looking at the mess of a sleepy man in front of her. “You know…another Allison?” she slowly said, humoring him.
“You.” You’re dead. Allison is dead. You’re Allison, and she’s dead, so you’re dead. Why are you standing?
“I’m the only Allison I know. Wash. Is everything alright?”
“No,” Wash said firmly.
“Do you need me to get someone?”
You’re dead. You’re Allison and you’re dead. You’re her and you’re dead yet you’re still talking but I remember when I heard you were dead. It was night and the other memories of you are so blurry and tactile and never visual but this is clear on all fronts, clear in every way, clearer than any memory I have is the memory of your coffin. You’re dead.
And yet you’re here, still talking.
“Wash,” she said and put her hand on his shoulder and Epsilon’s thoughts exploded. He reeled back and put a hand against the wall as he doubled over with a cough. “Wash!”
“No, stay back!” Wash said, staggering back from her. “Stay back.” She touched us. She touched me. She touched me and she’s dead but she’s not dead because she touched me and she’s not touching me but I know she can, because she’s dead but she’s here and alive but her coffin, I remember her coffin, I remember the service and lowering it into the ground but without a body because there was no body and she was dead but she’s alive, alive in death, dead in living.
“Do you need me to go get someone?”
“No,” Wash said, forcing himself to stand up as Epsilon’s mantra changed in his brain. “No, it was just a bad dream. I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.” Allison is dead. Allison is alive. Allison died. Allison is right here. “I’m sorry. Good night, Allison. Tex. Good night, Tex.”
Wash walked the halls for the rest of the night, his steps in rhythm with the four sentences that swam through his mind.
He knew, as long as Epsilon was in his brain, he’d never be able to sleep through the night again. Not with Tex a few doors down. Not with Allison dead, yet alive.
He knew his only reprieve from the torture that Epsilon remembers just became the biggest source of pain for the AI.
Wash knew he was going insane.