13 September 2010 @ 02:40 pm
Dollhouse fic: Counting Up My Demons; PG-13  
Title: Counting Up My Demons
Rating: PG-13
Characters/Pairing: Adelle DeWitt, Laurence Dominic; DeWitt/Dominic
Disclaimer: Not mine. Not ever.
Summary: She can’t remember who she is, but she remembers enough snippets of her life – the smell of cigar clinging to her father’s coat, the pride she felt when she graduated top of her class, the sweet smile of the boy she once loved – to know with certainty that she definitely isn’t a Juliet.

Notes: Alternate Universe #1’s version of Needs. A sort-sequel for AU #1 can be found here. There will be an AU #1 version of ASitHoL.

Beta’ed by the lovely [livejournal.com profile] just_drifting_6. All mistakes are mine. But do enjoy.

The House is unbalanced.


They call her Juliet.

She can’t remember who she is, but she remembers enough snippets of her life – the smell of cigar clinging to her father’s coat, the pride she felt when she graduated top of her class, the sweet smile of the boy she once loved – to know with certainty that she definitely isn’t a Juliet.

And as they escape this facility in the most cloak-and-dagger fashion, she also can’t help but think that she has done this before and that she isn’t very good at it.

“I’m staying. Someone needs to help these people.”

Echo’s idea is foolish — they had an extremely difficult time escaping unnoticed – and unrealistic (these people have an armory, for crying out loud!) but she doesn’t say anything. The younger woman is stubborn and she knows that it would be no use trying to talk her out of it.

“Be careful,” she merely tells Echo and watches her as she nods her head and turns away from them to go back to the lift.


It’s very much like waking up from an atrocious nightmare, but instead of feeling relieved that she had escaped, confusion and fear crept up to every bone in her body, seizing her, leaving her cold, empty and frightened.

Yet, there is still something reassuring about it.

She pays no heed to the uncertainty, or to the nagging feeling that she would never willingly subject herself to the things she had seen. The gaping hole in her memory is an impediment, but she’s awake, that’s what matters.

She will put up one hell of a fight to stay this way.


“You can drop me off here.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. I remember my life before.”


She doesn’t know how she got here.

That is one of the thoughts that had come to mind when she’d slowly (and cautiously) walked across the foyer of the glass house. She had lied to Victor and Sierra when said that she remembers her life before; quite the contrary. She can only remember bits and pieces, which somehow brought her here, to this large, empty house by the beach.

She couldn’t have possibly lived here (too big, too bare, too… soulless), yet she knows that the balcony will have an excellent view of the ocean, knows exactly where the glasses are and where the secret stash of vodka is hidden.

She goes up the stairs and to the farthest room at the end of the hallway. A slight push at the door reveals a room with a large bed, carpeted floors and white curtains.

She opens one of the windows to let the breeze in. She sits on top of the bed.

Something is in here, in this house. And at the same time, there is nothing. She doesn’t know what pulled her here. And she doesn’t want to know; she fears that it’ll be her end.


“What I’m offering is better than the alternative.”

“Well, I’d rather

“Everybody knows that dying is out of the equation, especially here in Rossum.” Unctuous, arrogant bastard, “We can’t get what we want from you if you’re dead.”

“My brain is much more complicated than you think, Mr. Harding.”

“Adelle.” The way he says her name makes her skin crawl, “I’m sure a handful of geniuses can manage it.”


“Okay, let’s not be too trigger-happy about this”

For someone who has a gun pointed at his face, he doesn’t seem to be afraid. There is a slight look of concern, but that’s about it.

It was instinct that had her scrambling towards the gun hidden behind the side table after a slight noise jolted her awake. It was what brought her pointing said gun at the strange man in the kitchen. And it’s also what is keeping her from pulling the trigger.

The man is exquisitely dressed and there isn’t a strand of blond hair out of place on his head. It had crossed her mind that he might be the owner of house, but her overwhelming sense of trust in him tells her otherwise.

“Let’s just… please just put the gun down.”

She’s inclined to listen to him. He’s vaguely familiar, his presence soothing, and she knows that she’s seen his face before. This unreasonable feeling of trust mostly tells her that she cannot trust him.

But she has no choice.

She lowers her weapon, “We both know I can’t shoot you, even if I want to,” she says. She bites back a defeated sigh and with a derisive tone, asks, “Are you here to take me back?”


The longer she stays in this state of awareness, the more she remembers. Not the most important things, no, but she’s had enough flashes of memory to remember what she did before all of this, how she knows the things she knows, what had gone wrong. She remembers the pain, the humiliation, the fear… and the knowledge that they won’t succeed in getting what they want from her


They watch each other warily—she has seated herself behind the counter, while he stands by the sink at the other end of the kitchen with his hands crossed in front of his chest. He had brought her lunch and a bottle of water, but she hasn’t touched either.

“Did the experiment fail? Is that why you’re here?” she asks. She knows that she’s at a disadvantage here; she’s going to accept everything he says as true.

“This isn’t an experiment. I was ordered to check on you.”

His eyes are blue and cold. He seems the type that can kill people just because he’s following orders.

Yet, she struggles against the very strong instinct to believe him outright. “Really? An Active escaped from their facility and instead of bringing her back, they ordered you to check up on her? Come on,” she says, quirking a brow. “Playing dumb doesn’t suit you.”

His brows furrow and his chin juts out slightly. She doesn’t look away and holds his gaze.

After a few seconds, he lets out a sigh, “Some of you were acting out. They… imprinted you back to your bodies but without the memories. This exercise is to prevent you from being sent away.”

“You mean to the Attic?” she asks. A mild look of surprise passes through his face but she ignores it. “And the goal of this exercise?”

“You have to fulfill your innermost desire.”

She tilts her head to the side, “Interesting,” she remarks, “And what, my dear sir, is my innermost desire?”

“I wouldn’t know,” he replies, his frown growing deeper. “But they were afraid you were going to kill yourself.”

“And they made you come here because you’re the only one I would trust. Why would I kill myself?” She isn’t the type to kill herself. She’s quite sure of that.

He gives her a look, “I wouldn’t know,” he says again. He motions to the brown paper bag he brought her, “Aren’t you going to eat?”

“How can I be sure it’s not laced with sedatives?” She’s actually quite hungry; she hasn’t eaten anything since this morning.

“Because it’s not,” he replies, almost with a smirk. When she merely stares at him as a response (she believes him, but it’s better for her to not say anything), he frowns once again and shakes his head, “Do you want me to take a bite, so you can be sure?”


He doesn’t hide his displeasure with the task but he does what she asks. He takes one half of the sandwich and takes a rather large bite.

He starts chewing, “Chicken,” he says, and nods his head in approval. After a while, he opens his mouth wide to show her that he had swallowed the bit of chicken sandwich he had eaten.

“Happy now?” he asks.

She stands up from behind the counter and joins him on the table. She takes the half-eaten bread from his hand and starts eating.


This unfortunate chapter of her life is because of Alzheimer’s disease. That dreaded illness. If she wasn’t so stubborn, if she didn’t truly believe that she could find answers, this would never have happened.

If she had just let it go.


“How did you know?”

She takes a glance at him. He’s hovering by the French doors, leaning against the doorframe. He’s looking at her like she’s an escaped circus freak. She should be at least mildly affronted, but she isn’t.

“You're awfully cryptic,” she remarks.

He draws his eyebrows together, making that glint in his eyes fiercer, and he crosses his arms over his chest once again. It’s a very defensive stance, she thinks. Why is he so angry?

“How did you know I’m your handler?”

“Handler? Is that what they call you nowadays?” she asks, raising both her brows. The expression on his face doesn’t change and she’s feels compelled to answer, “Why?” she asks.

“Why are you asking me why? It’s not like you're going to remember anything I’ll say at the end of the day,” he shoots back impatiently.

Annoyance flashes on her face, “True, Mister…” she trails off. His name is at the tip of her tongue, but for the life of her she can’t remember it. She continues, anyway, straightening her posture,

“Most of the time, you don’t see me as a person, more like a robot to be programmed. But as you said a while ago, I am myself, except that I don’t have my memories,” she says sharply, “So, if I could ask you to treat me as a person for this day and not some mindless zombie, I’d appreciate it.”

It’s difficult for her to talk back to him like this. She feels like there’s something blocking her senses and it takes all her effort to push it back.

He stares at her for a long time before he looks away. She returns her gaze back to the beach. He probably doesn’t know what to do with her

Her innermost desire—that’s the goal. And she can’t think of anything.


She raises a brow and looks back. He’s looking at her again. “Pardon?”

“My name.” He says, “Laurence Dominic.”

Lorenzo Domingo.

She brushes that tiny thought away (why is she translating his name to its Spanish equivalent, anyway?). She loosens up slightly.

“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Dominic.”


Her lab is in shambles. Papers, hard drives and equipment have either been burned or destroyed.

She played her hand, she lost. This is the consequence. The end of her.

They fooled her into doing the research, killed her fiancé, and, when she discovered what they had done, tried to mesmerize her with their technology. And all for this tiny glass vial in her hand. This is what they want.

She opens a drawer from her desk and takes out an unopened packet of syringe. She takes a deep breath.

They’re not going to get it.


“Why are you asking so many questions about the Dollhouse?” His brows are drawn together and he’s looking a bit puzzled with her choice of topic.

“I don’t know. But then, what’s the harm, Mr. Dominic? Considering I won’t actually remember what you’ve told me?” she answers. She’s comfortable with him frowning at her like that. It is strangely soothing.

Mr. Dominic shrugs.

“Are you worried that they’re listening to you?” she asks, angling her head to the side.

“I’m not bugged.”

“Then what are you worried about?”

“It’s like talking about company secrets to a stranger.” He replies, “It feels wrong.”

She observes him very closely. He does seem a little uncomfortable talking to her.

“Why not think of it as you talking to company... property? After all, I am company property,” she notes wryly, “Think of it as you talking to a company car, who can talk back.”

“That’s very Knight Rider of you.”

“Knight Rider?” she asks, giving him a blank look.

He sighs and shakes his head. “Never mind.”

They both fall silent. She likes him and she knows that this feeling is more than what was programmed for her to feel. The ease she feels around him is real. She doesn’t know how she knows. She just does.

After a while, she turns to him and asks, “Would you mind accompanying me to the beach, Mr. Dominic?”


“Hello, Juliet.”

She feels different. Her eyes blink for a few minutes, adjusting to the brightness of the light around her. There’s a boy standing in front of her, smiling at her.

“Did I fall asleep?”

“For a little while.”

There is something wrong with her. Something very, very wrong.

“Shall I go now?”

The boy smiles even wider, “If you’d like.”


They walk barefoot in the sand, with Mr. Dominic falling half a step behind her. She doesn’t need to look back just to check if he’s there.

She takes in a lungful of air. They haven’t spoken a word to each other since they left the house. The easy silence between them is, oddly, reassuring.

“Does the company like going through these kinds of diagnostics on their… guests?” she asks.

“I think this is the first time,” he replies dryly, “They weren’t too worried about you shooting up a liquor store or something.”

She lets out a small laugh, “That’s quite melodramatic”

“Well, yeah,” Mr. Dominic says, almost in a defensive tone, “It’s possible.”

She smiles and lets the crash of the waves punctuate the silence between them.

“You know, I never really thought you’d turn out to be British,” he says, suddenly.

“Really?” She takes a sideways glance at him.

“You’re in the LA branch. I didn’t think they’d… import people.”

“Sierra’s Australian.”

He makes a face, “And here I was, thinking that they wouldn’t run out of people in LA.”

She stops walking and looks towards the beach. The sun is setting and she finds the sight it makes against the sky so beautiful.

He’s going to take her back and she won’t be able to do anything about it. A small voice in her head tells her not to worry about it.

She faces him, “I don’t know how this whole…fulfillment of my innermost desires works, but when this is over, and I’m a clean slate once again, just please… don’t let anything awful happen to me. Watch my back, as they say,” she says.

Blue eyes look straight into hers and he nods his head. “Of course,” he says, quietly.

“Thank you.” She gives him a small smile, “It’s getting dark,” she says.

“We should go back,” he replies.

She doesn’t remember the walk back to the house.


“Lollipop, Juliet?.”

She smiles at Dr. Saunders and looks at the bright candies in the jar. She picks the green one and looks back at the doctor.

“Thank you, Dr. Saunders,” she says and walks towards the doors.

She can see Echo taking care of her little Bonsai plant in one corner. Sierra is looking at a picture book by the brown chairs while Victor is having a massage.

She looks up and sees some nicely-dressed people watching them. She wonders why they’re looking at them.

She then looks at the lollipop in her hand. She takes off the little plastic cover and puts the green candy in her mouth.

She likes lollipops. Lollipops make her happy.

music: Love The Way You Lie - Eminem ft. Rihanna
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[identity profile] ladyvivien.livejournal.com on September 13th, 2010 08:38 am (UTC)
Chilling and sweet and wonderful. I was actually wondering only yesterday if you were going to do something more with this 'verse!
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[identity profile] derevko-child.livejournal.com on September 13th, 2010 08:46 am (UTC)
I finished this last week, but I didn't want to post it yet because I just posted the Judith fic.

was actually wondering only yesterday if you were going to do something more with this 'verse!

I am curious to how you've started to wonder about this. Hehe.

Thanks for reading!
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[identity profile] ladyvivien.livejournal.com on September 13th, 2010 08:53 am (UTC)
I really, really love it. I went back and read the first two installments the other day, and I was contemplating asking if you were thinking of writing more, but I didn't want to bug you :D
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[identity profile] derevko-child.livejournal.com on September 13th, 2010 09:03 am (UTC)
Wow. Well, when it comes to this, you can bug me anytime. Lol. I plan on writing at least one more installment for this AU (but with the way it's developing, I don't think I can stop at ASitHoL) and for the rest of the 5 AUs (except for the one with Dominic as a priest because I can't see any other story for it aside from ...and then they both turn out to be spies!) XD
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[identity profile] ladyvivien.livejournal.com on September 13th, 2010 09:08 am (UTC)
I love the idea of Dom as a priest! I had a vague idea of writing a story involving him going to confession and actually having this space where he can talk about the lie he's living (and the badsexywrong thoughts he has about Adelle).

I love your 5 AUs more than I love toast. They're THAT good.

Crap, now I want toast.
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[identity profile] derevko-child.livejournal.com on September 13th, 2010 09:18 am (UTC)
Ooh, that fic sounds like it's going to be a great character piece.

Aw, thanks. It makes me want to eat some toast too. Hmm. Toast.
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[identity profile] fridge-monkey.livejournal.com on September 13th, 2010 10:11 am (UTC)
I love this, so subtle, so horrendous and so beautifully poised all at once. Normally I see dollstate and the back button gets hit, but this AU series feels exactly right, I think your portrayal of their varying uncomfortable thoughts on the idea of the dollstate helps. I'm glad I didn't hit the back button.

I may, from comment stalking, have seen that you're thinking of writing sequels to all the AUs, and thought this was the time to say that I have an unhealthy love for the ballet one. I think it's the best completely AU-AU I've ever read, for any fandom, and I heart the idea so much. Every time you post in the D/D comm I hope it's that...just figured I'd shamefully put that out there.

P.S. I adore your fic, seriously, (and your art, and your Better Off Ted crossover stuff...I could go on) would it be okay if I friended you?
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[identity profile] derevko-child.livejournal.com on September 13th, 2010 11:04 am (UTC)
Thank you for your kind words :) It's difficult to write the Actives in their doll state especially when you know they're not totally innocent and blank as we've been led to believe.

Oh, the ballet AU. I'm so glad that got a lot of positive response. That was my crackiest and my most favorite of the thirteen I made. <3

It's okay if you friend me :D Gotta warn you that this is where I unleash my crazy, so... yeah. :D
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[identity profile] cold-queen-5.livejournal.com on September 13th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)

I love the hints and allusions to why she is where she is, and I love that she's still Adelle. I was a little iffy when I got to the line about Dominic liking the way she smelled, just because she IS a doll at this point and we all know how handlers being attracted to their dolls ends up. (To be fair, I don't care if they were Joss' OTP for the show, I always found Echo/Paul creepy.)

Still, I can't resist them together. If you continue in this universe, you know I'm there! (I can't wait for ASitHoL!) (That looks naughty. Damn acronyms.)
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[identity profile] derevko-child.livejournal.com on September 14th, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC)
I was a little iffy when I got to the line about Dominic liking the way she smelled, just because she IS a doll at this point and we all know how handlers being attracted to their dolls ends up.

Lol. Don't worry, I have the tendency to not kill off my fave characters as much as possible (actually, thinking about it, I don't kill anyone as much as possible), although I do put them through hell. -_-

Thank you for reading :D
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[identity profile] rogoblue.livejournal.com on September 13th, 2010 02:46 pm (UTC)
I find it very satisfying that Juliet wanted to be treated like a person by her handler for one day (noting also that a walk along the beach was an excellent way to end said day). Very satisfying. And for him to watch her back, of course.
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[identity profile] derevko-child.livejournal.com on September 14th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you find it satisfying. Initially, after finishing the fic, I felt like the ending was a bit of a "what wat", but I finally decided to let that ending be because it works.

That bit on the beach was suggested by a friend. I asked her what can be an effective way to start the fic and she was all, "and then they walk on the beach and then she falls unconscious, the end!"

Thank you for dropping by. XD
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[identity profile] oltha_heri.livejournal.com on September 13th, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
She’s comfortable with him frowning at her like that. It is strangely soothing.
THEIR RELATIONSHIP DYNAMIC IS ETERNAL ACROSS REALITIES! I love how you detail that in these fics, with him walking behind her and all. It's lovely.

“Well, yeah,” Mr. Dominic says, almost in a defensive tone, “It’s possible.”
Love you Dom.

I really do love this verse, and I think what you've revealed is a really in character way for her to get to a doll like state.
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[identity profile] derevko-child.livejournal.com on September 14th, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC)
I've been afraid of putting too much of their dynamic in too soon because my thoughts would tread between, "Hit them with the obvious, won't you?" and "Naaaaaaaaah. D/D dynamics all the way!"

I really do love this verse, and I think what you've revealed is a really in character way for her to get to a doll like state.

Thank youuuu :D
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[identity profile] darling-ashes.livejournal.com on September 13th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
I love this AU. I adore that Adelle is still Adelle (even underneath her dollstate) and that the situation leading up to her entering the Dollhouse is completely realistic.

Also, on the D/D front, I love that he promised to protect her (plus, him being surprised that she's British).

Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!
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[identity profile] derevko-child.livejournal.com on September 14th, 2010 02:50 pm (UTC)
Lol, Adelle made sure that her reason for entering the Dollhouse is realistic (she took my muse hostage and refused to let her go until I come up with a proper and acceptable reason-- the reason why it took me so long to write this. lol)

Thank you for reading :D
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[identity profile] mermaid88.livejournal.com on January 25th, 2011 09:47 pm (UTC)
this is so what i think happened after the finale--rossum corp. won, turned all of the 'rebels' into Dolls. but since i just read and not write (exept my oneshot "price of eternity"), i just wait for writers to agree with my thoughts, lol. and yes, i'd love to see this go further.
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