Series Title: 37 By 37
Story Title: La Tortura
Author: Restive Nature
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Angel the Series. They belong to Whedon/ Greenwalt. I also do not own the right to the Dollhouse, which belongs to Whedon and Fox Corporation. This fiction is intended for private enjoyment and no infringement is intended.
Rating: PG-15 (just to be safe)
Type: Crossover Fiction Angel/ Dollhouse
Pairing: Illyria/ Alpha/ Whiskey (Dr. Saunders) No romantic pairings.
Summary: The Dollhouse believed that they had achieved so much, but like a fragile toy, their penultimate warrior was just another plaything in the world of Illyria.
Spoilers/ Time line: Angel- Season 5, Episode 19 “Time Bomb”. Illyria is experiencing disturbances in her time line. For Dollhouse, Season 1 Episode 11 “Briar Rose”. Alpha has infiltrated the Dollhouse with Paul Ballard and is confronting an old “friend”.
Feedback: Always welcome!
Distribution: Ask first please.
A/N: In this fiction, which was just a one off as I watched “Briar Rose”, I had the momentary thought of Illyria showing up in the scene between Alpha and Whiskey/ Dr. Saunders. So in this fiction, Illyria is not only cycling through time, but dimensions as well. I might turn this into a series, of other dimensions she might visit that all connects back to key Angel players. But for now, here's the story as I see it...
When the word torture comes to mind, it is the instruments that one thinks of. The blades, the whips, the cudgels, words... words... words. Perhaps the most torturous creation of all. They have the power to strip, to pain, to cut and belittle. But above all that, the most torturous thing of all... is the anticipation of the pain to come.
Every good torturer knows this.
And those that have had the conventional definition of torture performed upon them?
They know it too.
And what is left when the torture is complete? For a victim, that question may never be answered because truly, does the torture ever end?
“I see you kept my gifts Whiskey,” Alpha whispered in that not so subtle slithering tone he had. It was more mocking, acerbic, but technically speaking, quieter than his usual decibel level when he talked.
All this plus more, ran through Dr. Saunders head as she stared, debilitated in her horror, being confronted by the monster that had disfigured her in her workplace, now, since the intial attack, her home. It was one and the same. The Los Angeles Dollhouse. She struggled to control the flow, the rush of blood through her system, knowing that it should be carrying adrenaline to her extremities to give her the ability to enact the basic biological precept of fight or flight. She knew it would be flight. If the adrenaline arrived, rather than only the fear response as she was experiencing now. Perhaps the time for flight had passed her by, as frozen by the remembered fear, as she was. But before she could accurately decide how to figure out her body and its responses, two things happened to divert her train of thought.
One was the arrival of a strange, blue haired imitation of her.
The second? The blue haired woman said for her.
“You call her Whiskey, not Fred,” the doppleganger announced and Dr. Saunder's wondered whether she had gone clinically insane in the last ten minutes. She couldn't imagine what the stimulant might have been, but there was obviously something. Alpha, the Dollhouse, a woman that looked like her that had just appeared out of some swirling, rippling effect out of a science fiction film? Those alone could be enough if they weren't just symptoms of her delusions. “And her face is scarred,” the woman added, sounding contemptive of the fact.
It seemed enough to shake Alpha out of his intense lock on Claire's own person hood. He spun slightly, not worried about what the good doctor would do, because obviously she had not been and would never be a threat to him. He did an almost double take, glancing between them, at the slim doctor in her modest dress and lab coat, brown hair, scarred face, then to the new Dr. Saunders that wasn't. Brown hair highlighted blue, bright, almost crystal blue eyes with tattooing and henna blue wash on her face, dressed in dark red leather.
“How very interesting,” Alpha smiled, his features morphing into almost a predatory hawk-like mien. “Tell me, when did we start cloning our good little dolls?”
“She is not a clone,” the new one announced, her voice harsher than Claire's, or even the little remembered Whiskey that either Claire's or Alpha's memories could manage. Even when she had been at her best, TaffyTaffyTaffy one of his person's chanted in the recesses of his mind. Well even Taffy hadn't had that... that... Alpha's eyes widened. This new little game was enjoyable, and he wondered, if the art was different every time, would it be different this time. Would it turn out different on the same easel? He was eager to discover the art beneath the colors she had been painted with this time.
He gave no further thought to wondering because it was easy to find out. The scalpel in his hand was rising even as he moved quickly to the new one. There was no fear in her eyes as she watched his approach. But Alpha felt the glitch shimmer inside as every move he made was matched, her countenance remaining the same as she blocked each swipe of the scalpel he made. Every move was precise on each of their parts, until the new one looked bored and flicked her wrist, her hand delivering a blow that sent him flying across the room.
Alpha crashed into the wall, feeling the scalpel he carried with him digging into his thigh as he was unable to control his landing. He popped upright immediately, eyes darting again. “Interesting,” he cooed, eying the wide eyed Whiskey who was now trembling even worse than he alone had caused. The new one would make such a better playmate. Better even than Echo, if she could even perform like this in her Omega state. Alpha had many suspicions, most of the persons inside agreeing that she wouldn't.
The new one's eyes had dismissed him, Alpha realized, as she looked with sharp movements of her head, at the room around them. “I do not know what has brought me too this dimension. It is not correct and I wish to be the one to bathe in your entrails,” she told Alpha. Then she flicked her glance dismissively over the Doll that had become Dr. Saunders. Her head tilted to an extreme angle. “You are as pathetic as the shell. I should kill you for allowing an enemy that close to your face.”
Dr. Saunders lifted a trembling arm to point at Alpha. “H-he did it. H-he... d-did it.” The new one turned back to Alpha, her gaze now assessing.
“You did this?” she demanded and Alpha quickly accessed the memory before smiling with genuine enjoyment.
“It's art,” he nodded. “She was number one. I made her not number one.”
The new one continued to hold his gaze. “It is not unbecoming as a desire.” Her hands went to her hips as she drew herself up regally. “Though the shell tells me you are calling her something that refers to you miserable vermin's bodily functions. You will cease this.”
“She was first,” Alpha reiterated. He didn't understand the connotation the new one gave him. “She is no longer the first.”
“That is because she is a shell as well,” the new one declared. “Perhaps all are shells now that Illyria the God-King has arrived!”
“Illyria?” Alpha breathed in, feeling the shimmer inside again. “I like it!” he breathed out. “You will be my number one.”
“I will not lower my self to anything of the sort,” the new one snapped. “I am subordinate of none! You will be MY Qua ha'zon. Your desire to maim and shed blood speaks well to me. And your form is not unpleasing. Come now!” She waved her arm and the rippling came back as Dr. Saunders felt dark spots speckling her vision. There was pounding noise in her head and without, unclear. It was becoming even more unclear.
She watched, stricken dumb as Alpha dashed towards the ripple and was caught by the other one's arm, thrown through, disappearing. Impossible action clashed against relief that the menace had left. But the other one, the one that wore her face, turned to sneer dismissively at her, “pathetic shell,” before it too disappeared.
Shell, Whiskey, Claire Saunders. The names, the words reverberated through her abused mind and body as the pounding grew louder. “Shell,” Dr. Saunders whispered. “Whiskey. Shell, just a shell.”
No, just a doll. Another toy in the hands of Adelle Dewitt.
And as the security response team broke in to find Dr. Saunders apparently now alone, the woman that very few actually knew who she could be, perhaps God alone among them, crumpled to the floor in a very complete and necessary faint.