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FIC: Again

Title: Again
Words / Rating: 800 words / G
Characters: Darla, Lindsey
Spoilers: Through Ats 2.1 "Judgment"

Written for eilowyn in the minor female character round of genfic_minis. She requested comfort food, retail therapy, and pet peeves. They're all here, at least in spirit.

~~~~~

The first time Darla rose from the dead, it wasn’t like this. The first time, it was liberation: from the seizures that left her trembling and bruised, from the denouncement in public by men she knew so well in private, from threat of violence or starvation.

She held her face to the shower spray, willing it to wash away the grime she felt clogging every pore. Natural, she supposed, that a creature reformed from dust would find some of it under her fingernails. Natural that her hair, recalled from what parched void she declined to guess, would fall stiff and ragged as straw.

Whatever void it had been, it had been dark; her head ached with every glint of light.

She twisted the water off. The worst of the water wrung from her hair, she crawled into one of the shapeless one-piece dresses hanging in the closet – perhaps there’d been concern she wouldn’t remember zippers or buttons – and stepped out of the bedroom.

“Darla.”

She betrayed nothing at the sound; some habits, she was realizing, had survived even the void. “Lindsey.” She turned to smile on her foppish boy keeper.

He would have been appetizing once. She might have let him kiss her before he died.

“So,” he said. “Sleep, a shower. Thought you might like some real food next.” He lifted an eyebrow at the bowl of warm grainy mush – gruel, they’d have called it once, and as enticing as it sounded – and smirked. “On the Wolfram and Hart dime, of course.”

Thin strips of daylight stabbed through the blinds. She felt the resentment of every muscle fiber at its sudden reexistance, and the three days she’d slept since she’d been escorted to this room could not begin to make up for three and a half years without.

But those boyish eyes were sizing her up, still undecided on whether she was predator or prey, and there was only one tolerable conclusion.

Darla smiled. “That sounds perfect. And then you can explain some more of this... plan you have for Angel.”

He offered his arm, and she took it. Even in the hideous sensible shoes, her feet were still unsteady; better he felt her weight on his arm occasionally than watch her sprawl on the carpet. She matched him on the stairs, step for step. At the lobby door, she felt him watch her face the streaming afternoon sun. She strode out into it, unhesitating.

It was warm. Of all her memories of life and unlife, of habits and motions and sights, this she’d forgotten.

After only two blocks Lindsey guided her into a restaurant, small, dimly-lit, not as exclusive as she’d expected.

“To drink?” said Lindsey.

“Chocolate,” Darla said without even thinking. She felt Lindsey’s eyes on her “Hot chocolate,” Darla clarified.

Lindsey watched her, warmly skeptical.

Darla had won something, she realized, in that walk down the crowded sunlit sidewalk. It wasn’t fear, was barely even respect, but it was something to build on later. “The first time I drank chocolate, it was from the cup of a French courtier, mixed with cane sugar and vanilla and served hot. You can’t imagine the sensation.”

Lindsey listened, his smile amused at her nostalgia, his eyes underestimating her still. That was useable, too, in time. “Of course fifty years later there was a chocolate house on every street corner and any common gentleman could drink it, but I had it first.”

When the waitress came by, unrefined, insipid, Lindsey ordered chocolate, too, and offered Darla suggestions for her entrée, as Angelus learned early never to do. He was easing her in, she realized. O fragile blossom she, who could not yet bear more exacting scrutiny than that of these accountants and aides and lawyers who had not yet made partner. He would regret it, she decided, one way or another, even if he never knew what it was he regretted.

When the waitress had gone, Darla glanced down at her dress, even grimmer now than when it hung in her closet, and said, “I hope your firm doesn’t expect me to impress Angel like this,” she said. “After...” Dinner? Lunch? Lazarus’s first meal? “After eating, maybe we could see about making me presentable. Try on some dresses. It’s amazing what a little death will do to a girl’s figure.”

He laughed, assent readily given, suspicions of her weakness further allayed.

Darla drank her chocolate, funded by her own personal keeper, and thought: whatever this resurrection was, it was not liberation.

That, she would have to seize for herself. Again.

Finis

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
slaymesoftly
Jan. 24th, 2011 02:06 am (UTC)
I'm loving these minor character stories everyone is doing.
snickfic
Jan. 24th, 2011 02:12 am (UTC)
Aren't they fun? I'm really enjoying them, too.
pennydrdful
Jan. 24th, 2011 02:19 am (UTC)
What a great read! Darla's always been an interesting character, and I like your take on her thoughts immediately following resurrection. Thanks for sharing!
snickfic
Jan. 24th, 2011 04:26 am (UTC)
Thank you! This period in her very long history is one of my favorites. She's going through so many adjustments, mental and physical and moral, and it's one of her most vulnerable times in the entire series.
deird1
Jan. 24th, 2011 02:32 am (UTC)
He would regret it, she decided, one way or another, even if he never knew what it was he regretted.

Oooh. Nice.
snickfic
Jan. 24th, 2011 04:27 am (UTC)
Thanks. :)
ever_neutral
Jan. 24th, 2011 03:00 am (UTC)
Ah, I love this. Fabulous Darla-Lindsey dynamic.
snickfic
Jan. 24th, 2011 04:27 am (UTC)
Thank you! I always thought their interactions had a lot of really interesting layers.
snowpuppies
Jan. 24th, 2011 04:53 am (UTC)
Very nice. I like how the wheels start turning, even before she can walk properly. :P
snickfic
Jan. 25th, 2011 02:38 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed. And thanks so much for running the comm again!
quinara
Jan. 24th, 2011 04:23 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I love this! Resurrected!Darla is pretty much awe-inspiring.
snickfic
Jan. 25th, 2011 02:39 am (UTC)
Thank you!

Yeah, I think this brief period when Darla was human is the most fascinating bit of her entire hundreds-year history. There was so much possible complexity there (much of which, alas, went unexplored while we focused on Angel Issues instead).
rebcake
Jan. 24th, 2011 05:11 pm (UTC)
O fragile blossom she

That right there got me good. She is. She isn't. Anyone who tried to define her will be wrong.

Awesome.

Question: There is a bit of modest towel-tugging after she's already dressed. Perhaps it's around her head?
snickfic
Jan. 25th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm terribly pleased you liked that line.

Eep to the towel-tugging. I'll have to go fix that.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jan. 24th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
I love the second-guessing touches in this - what meal is it, exactly, if you've been dead this long. The luxury and decadence of chocolate, remembering just how exclusive it used to be. You know Darla would want the modern equivalent, as soon as she finds out what it is.
snickfic
Jan. 25th, 2011 02:41 am (UTC)
You know Darla would want the modern equivalent, as soon as she finds out what it is.

Absolutely. It's at least as much about status as it is about taste, even if it's become a comfort food now.

I'm glad you enjoyed. :)
jen_nsync_landl
Jan. 24th, 2011 11:31 pm (UTC)
Nifty, this. It kept me guessing, waiting to see which Darla would emerge in this telling. Perceptive and introspective. And the final line is perfectly Darla.

And now I'm rethinking the character from a very girl!power perspective. ;)
snickfic
Jan. 25th, 2011 02:44 am (UTC)
I think the girl!power perspective is a pretty useful one for looking at Darla, though certainly not the only one. She's definitely shown on Ats as having a lot of strength and determination, and when she submits to others' plans it's for her own private purposes.

On the other hand, she's also bloodthirsty and nasty. *g*

I'm so glad you enjoyed!
staringiscaring
Jan. 25th, 2011 03:40 am (UTC)
Wonderful! Simply wonderful Darla voice. I love reading her POV against Lindsay. There relationship was quite fascinating and you presented it well.
snickfic
Jan. 26th, 2011 02:27 am (UTC)
Thank you! I always found her interactions with Lindsey intriguing, although I suspect she was significantly less interested in him than I was. *g*
shapinglight
Jan. 25th, 2011 10:49 am (UTC)
This is wonderful. Darla is one of my favourite characters ever and I've never seen a fic set in this period of her life before. I love her thoughts here. Lindsey will definitely pay for underestimating her.
snickfic
Jan. 26th, 2011 02:28 am (UTC)
Thank you! I think this brief period while she's human (again) is possibly the most interesting part of her entire history. There was some much potential at this point, so many places the character could go.
ticketsonmyself
Jan. 26th, 2011 12:30 am (UTC)
So very Darla. I love this and the timeframe you chose!

He would regret it, she decided, one way or another, even if he never knew what it was he regretted.

YES.
snickfic
Jan. 26th, 2011 02:29 am (UTC)
Thank you! I think this period right here, while she's human again, is just fascinating.

And yeah, Lindsey never really knew what he was in for when he got interested in her. When it comes to manipulation and mind games she's just way out of his league.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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