For Those Rebellious

For Those Rebellious
by templemarker

Notes: Written for Jaela in Yuletide 2009. Thanks to my girl for last minute epic beta skills. Sierra/Victor, spoilers/speculation through 209. Originally posted here.

***

No one can find them here.

Probably that’s not true, not if someone were truly determined. Or if it was Echo. But it seems unlikely that anyone will find them here, on one of dozens of little unconnected islands with no internet, or television, nor even satellite telephone. All news here is carried by word of mouth.

The funny thing is, Tony–Victor–Victor-Tony can remember being a doll. He can remember the, well, the doll architecture, being blank, being simple. Sometimes she watches him go back into it, center himself or something. It makes it easier on him to be here, when he doesn’t have all his–life. All his life weighing him down.

She doesn’t paint anymore. She honestly doesn’t think she could; even the thought of a brush in her hand would lock her up, send fear down her spine, and she hates being afraid like that. She’s taken up carving instead. The feel of the small, sharp knife in her hand, and the way forms emerge from the pieces of wood she collects feels a little like finding pieces of herself, tucked away in the hidden places in her mind.

When she looks at Victor–at Tony–something moves in her that she doesn’t think she could explain. She loves him, greater than she has ever loved anything or anyone in her life before. It was strange, to check out of life terrified, fucked up on medication, terrorized by that–creature; and to wake up remembering all that, but finding some new depth of feeling making it all less terrible.

She can’t access the people imprinted in her mind, and she doesn’t think she’d ever want to learn how. Too many of them had loved that thing who’d nearly destroyed her, and she had a hard enough time going through a day without remembering something of what came before. Before Tony. Victor kind of could. Echo had shown him how, taught him the basics, but Tony mostly wants to be himself, and she mostly wants to be near him.

On the island, marooned by choice in the placid Pacific, they don’t talk much, but Victor always stays in sight, and she always looks for him. She doesn’t really understand what love is, if she’s being honest. She’s never felt like this before, that she can remember; drawn to another person, their touch, their presence, like the best kind of high.

At night, they duck under mosquito netting and lie close, clothes dropped on the floor to be picked up tomorrow. The heat of Victor’s skin is almost too much, but it lights something inside of her, and she always turns and pulls him close. They kiss like they’ve done it a thousand times before, though Echo told her they never had before they became themselves again. More or less.

She can’t remember wanting things, not like this, before her year of pharmaceutical torture, before the Dollhouse. Now she wants in black and white: eat mango, carve wood, kiss Victor. It’s as though all those things shaved away the extra parts of her, leaving behind something not unlike the doll she’s been told she was. Simple wants, no less powerful for being uncomplicated, define her life now. Sometimes she thinks this must be how addictives feel, paring one’s life down to its barest substance and seeing what’s left.

She doesn’t think Victor thinks like this, as if he’s a viewer of his own life from the outside, but then they don’t talk much about the lives they left behind. She knows everything that happened to Tony, of course, and a lot of what happened to Victor’s imprints. But they ran out of the need to talk some time ago, and now they mostly communicate with little signals to one another. Signals, and in their bed.

They’ve learned a lot over the last number of months; he likes her bite against his skin, she loves riding his tongue. They don’t instinctively know what each other wants, but they’re both quick studies. She doesn’t remember if she was this clever before.

She watches his face when she fucks him, how he can recede into the pleasure if he wants to, and envies him a little. She’s too aware, which is perhaps the greatest irony of her life thus far.

They’re in the middle of having sex when they hear the sounds of chopper blades. It’s about a mile out, and Victor goes still for a moment; then Tony says, “Not military grade. Rossum issue, but the hitch in the rear propeller means it’s a recommissioned copter.”

“Echo,” she says, and Victor nods, pushing her hair back from her face. It’s grown long now; she usually wears it in a braid, but he likes the way it barricades them from the world.

They dress, but not any more than they usually do, and go out on the beach to wait for the helicopter to land. It’s black and shiny and intimidating, but she picks out a little happy face painted near the nose, and doesn’t stifle her smile.

“Echo,” she says, watching the woman step out, M-15 strapped to her back, the usual implacable resolve etched into the lines of her face.

“Priya,” Echo replies, pulling her close. She doesn’t think of herself as Priya, anymore, but she’d not Sierra either. She’s not quite sure where she falls these days.

“Echo,” says Tony, and hauls Echo to him. They embrace like comrades, like brothers-in-arms, and she watches them with a little smile on her face. They were made for war, she thinks sometimes, and Echo is always happier when she’s fighting one. Victor is her devoted second in command.

“You need us,” she says, and Echo nods.

“I didn’t want to disturb you,” Echo apologizes. “But it’s necessary. There’s only a handful of dolls who understand the active architecture. I need you to come play professor.”

“Professor and–?” Tony asks, eyes narrowing.

“Professor and soldier,” Echo says. “You have the training. We need it.”

“We?” she asks.

Echo takes her hand. “There’s more now.”

She looks at Victor, her Tony, who had already made up his mind the moment he heard helicopter blades halve the night sky, and takes a step forward. “Paradise is over-rated.”

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