Author: NotAContrivance PM
A character study of Verity, Elizabeth, and their friendship, both before and after Elizabeth became a genius. Verity's honest with herself.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst - Words: 5,070 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Published: 06-28-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8264569
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So, some angel posted the first season of Wicked Science in English on YouTube, and it was pretty much as awesome as I always thought it would be. And then I watched the second season on Netflix because, well, I needed to watch it, and, like, I couldn't not. And it was so worth it. Like, best weekend ever. So, now that I fully watched the whole thing (also, btw, spoilers for the whole series, not that they're really super direct here), I could go on and on about the various things about the show that struck me, but I won't because I have no one to talk to about it and it really makes me sad. And I'm pretty sure no one will read this. But I did learn several things: 1. Australians apparently say "heaps" a lot. 2. Elizabeth is incredibly more awesome than I already knew she was (but is it weird that I kind of miss her first season bitchiness and evil schemes? She's... different second season, and I'm not sure how much I like it... and I definitely don't like those few episodes where she's like, barely there at all. Talk about upsetting)... 3. I feel like she must be the reason that anyone watched this show because, yeah, Toby's great and all, but Elizabeth is where it's at!
But, basically, there's sadly next to no Wicked Science fiction, especially in English (what, does fanfiction not exist in Australia? I mean, really!). And Google translate just does not do the trick for me. And, as I said before, pretty sure no one will read this because it took me a while to realize there was a category... but I figured I might as well post it anyway because Wicked Science is like a monster that took over my brain as of late, and I wanted to write something else about it now (okay, I really want to write a Tobeth fic, I'll admit it) that I actually knew what was what... only I feel like nothing I do can do it justice. Sadly.
So this Verity fic is what resulted, though I'm not sure you can even call it that because the focus is mostly on Elizabeth, but it's basically why I think they're friends and a bit of a character study on both of them. The Ring of Confidence episode also actually stuck with me a lot because Verity kind of drops some truth bombs on Garth and Elizabeth in that episode, and then she's dumb enough to challenge Elizabeth... but the thing that really got me is, I guess, that Elizabeth does this really horrible thing to Verity that results in her being embarrassed in front of the entire school. Basically because Elizabeth's possessive and always has to be in control. Which, like, okay, generally I love Elizabeth and when she gets back at people for things, and yeah, pride goeth before a fall and all that (Elizabeth's second-season punishments seem more amusing, like something her would-be victims had coming, which is slightly unfortunate), but I still felt like it was a bit harsh. And Verity just kind of... takes it. Like, Elizabeth even comes to talk to her afterward, and you can tell that Verity has to know she's responsible, but she doesn't say a word or do anything about it, and Elizabeth doesn't apologize or anything. And then, like, they're fine by the next episode? What? And, like, for whatever reason, even though saying Elizabeth's name in a blaming tone is practically Toby's catchphrase (it IS his catchphrase... what am I saying?), no one calls Elizabeth on it or says anything about it or anything. Unfortunately this fic doesn't entirely explain that phenomenon, but I guess I tried to explain why Verity would stay friends with Elizabeth despite her...doubts.
Also, I don't own Wicked Science, but that should be rather obvious since obviously there would've been more seasons if I'd had a say, and there would've been some more creative inventions in the second season (I mean, really some of those inventions were more like advanced computer programming projects!). But I digress.
So, anyway, whoever is reading this, I hope you enjoy it (especially if you made it through my crazy ramblings). Review and I might write or post something else... don't review and I still might, but I would really love to hear anything you have to say. Thanks!
A lot of people ask me what I see in Elizabeth and why we're even friends. And, believe me, there are plenty of days when I ask myself that question. I'm not as stupid as everyone likes to think I am, and it isn't easy to just look the other way all the time when I don't agree with what she's doing. Which is a lot because Elizabeth can get a bit... carried away and caught up in her plans so that, well... everything else just kinda gets lost.
They don't really understand who Elizabeth is. You kind of just, well... You either have to accept her or get over it because she isn't going to change. That's Elizabeth's own policy, and if you can't handle it, you might as well get out while you still can. It's always been her way or the highway, don't expect her to protect or consider you and your feelings. And it's funny that a girl so emotional and reactive sometimes shuns physical displays of affection or friendly words, that her emotions can be so naked and plain and easy to read one moment but enigmatic the next. Elizabeth's not one to open up or share her feelings, never has been, but it's like there's this well of pain inside of her, all these feelings she tries to compartmentalize so that she can be more like the utterly rational, robotic genius she imagines in her head.
I think Elizabeth was left with this notion that, if she ever told anyone how she felt about them, if she didn't leave that bit up in the air and keep the suspense... that she'd scare them off or freak them out with how intense she is, and everyone would leave her... and poor Elizabeth would be left with nothing, like she was when her dad left. And Elizabeth can't be weak or emotionally vulnerable like that because she expects people to let her down, and, well... she's never said it (Elizabeth doesn't say a lot of things outside of orders or "evil" plans), but I always got the feeling that she blamed her mother for her dad walking out. Elizabeth's always thought that if she or her mother were stronger, if they'd fought harder to keep him, if they hadn't just let him walk out of their lives, then maybe he would've stuck around. I don't think she's right about that, but I can see why she thinks that, I guess.
She wasn't always like this. She used to be different, nicer, quieter. We both used to fade into the background together, me cowering behind her timid obsequiousness. She used to just be prickly and aloof, the kind of girl who kissed ass and baked teachers cookies and always volunteered, rather than the kind of girl who cut people down or thought up elaborate revenge schemes. She was even more frumpy and prudish, Little Miss Straight-Laced Goody-Two-Shoes, and she never knew how to have much fun. She used to be such a stickler for the rules she all but throws out the window now, never late, never doing anything she shouldn't, never breaking the law. Boring by comparison, really. But, then again, I suppose I always knew that Elizabeth was meant for greatness, what with all that ambition. It just took me a long time to realize that she wasn't content with that life, with going unnoticed.
Especially by Toby. This, all of this, is his fault. I mean, if he even knew how much his actions controlled her decisions... I honestly think he'd be surprised if he realized the depth of it, if he knew just how much of everything she's done was an attempt to get his attention or to make him like her. He likes to selectively misinterpret her because it's easier that way, but I've known her too long not to see through some of her veneers. Elizabeth's walls, her unemotional facades... in most ways they're just like the holograms she uses to protect the lab, a front to protect the truth and keep others out... and sometimes she forgets to activate the forcefield and the traps.
I'm not even sure if she realizes it, but that genius ray changed heaps more than just her brain chemistry. It amplified everything that was there, just beneath the surface, and brought her barely-concealed dark side out to play. On some level, though, I think Elizabeth knows that, because she changed overnight. She stopped wearing her hair up, stopped wearing that old pair of glasses, and started dressing a bit better, a bit sluttier, actually, and wearing make-up. She walked differently, with her head held high like she was proud, rather than chronically hunched over and curling in on herself. Elizabeth started stalking down the halls like she owned the place, and, well, she kind of did.
She was smart before and a hard worker, so she probably would've turned out or more less the same eventually, but the MFE accelerated the process. Elizabeth had always been the smartest kid in class, but now she was, more or less, the smartest person in the room, and that knowledge brought a kind of security that settled into her bones and made her comfortable in her own skin. She'd been awkward before, all gangly limbs and gracelessness, but that purple light imbued her with something else, some kind of inner radiance, some additional spark I can't quite describe. Her flashes of genius were like booster shots of confidence, her own doubt-eliminating ring, and she relished them immediately because they'd confirmed everything she'd ever thought about herself being special and unique and so, so advanced beyond us mere mortals. She wasn't exactly wrong, but Elizabeth has never been one to give others the benefit of the doubt.
I'd be wrong to say that she never had pride, though. Elizabeth's always been two things: prideful and private. And, well, some would say "mean" or "vicious" or a "heinous bitch," but you get the picture. As much as she criticized Dina for her pride, attacking her for that character weakness, Elizabeth can be just as prideful or insistent and every bit as stubborn in her refusal to forgive or forget. Not to mention her refusal to back down from any sort of challenge, especially if she thinks someone's underestimating her sheer force of will or her intelligence. Trust me, I've made that mistake, and it does not end well.
That being said, in her case, being a genius came with strings attached, a few unforeseen side-effects like megalomania and the ability to lose sight of the forest and the trees (Elizabeth isn't the only one who can speak in metaphors). Only I guess it isn't quite megalomania if you do actually have the power and influence and materials to do virtually anything you want. Power corrupts absolutely, right? And it totally went to her head, the rush both dizzying and addicting. She went from being a mild perfectionist and control freak to a demanding would-be ruler intent on getting everything she had ever wanted. I'm not sure I can even blame her really... she had so little for so many years, and then to suddenly have all this power, well, she had years of fantasies about what she was going to do with all that influence and talent... and if I'd been in her shoes, I can't say I wouldn't have done the same thing.
I mean, I'd like to, of course, but I can't. So, as much as I can say that I'd almost certainly be nicer than Elizabeth if I were a genius (if I even wanted to be a genius, that is, for anything more than a few moments), I can't say it for sure. I am Elizabeth's best friend after all, and I'd be lying if I didn't say that some of that confidence and meanness hasn't rubbed off on me too. I'm not quite as sadistic as she can be sometimes or as... willing... to hurt anyone who gets in my way with so little regard for safety and everything else... but I like to laugh at other people when they do stupid things. And sometimes I like it when someone who's been horrible to me gets on the wrong end of Elizabeth, and I get to sit back and watch the fireworks as they go up in flames. And yeah, maybe that makes me a bad person, but it's only human.
Elizabeth hasn't had it easy. Neither of us did. Other kids have picked on the both of us since Kindergarten. Easy targets and all, like we were just there for them to say nasty things about and bully around. They singled her out more than me, though, because Elizabeth was louder and more of a suck-up, whereas I knew how to stay under the radar. She did more to be offensive and didn't care who she hurt because, well... Elizabeth's the kind of person who has a log of every personal grievance against her, every hurt, and, hey, she had to wipe everyone's memory to get a clean slate, okay? That's not fair either.
She never had the kind of power or control she wanted, was always subject to someone else's authority, and then overnight she was a genius with a fresh battery full of power and life. She was ignored, marginalized, unappreciated, never listened to or taken seriously, and I get that, believe me, I do, because for a long time she had it worse than I did and for absolutely no reason. She's tried to dissociate herself from who she was before, that victim, that weakling, that doormat who just let everyone walk all over her, but part of that girl is still inside of her. And, like I said, Elizabeth remembers every crime committed against her, and she demands repayment. I can't say I blame her, though, with how awful some of those other kids were to us. When she became a genius, nothing was standing in the way of her getting the revenge she had always wanted.
None of that's why I'm Elizabeth's friend, and I don't suppose it explains why I stay, why I put up with it. "She doesn't treat you like a friend," they say. "That's not what friendship is," they say. "She's twisted, and so are you if you think this is healthy," they say in that pitying tone. And a hundred other things but no one gets it. No one but Elizabeth (because, well, none of them understand Elizabeth).
Everyone thinks I stay because I'm scared. And I am scared, but what person in her right mind wouldn't be? My best friend, who's not even able to vote yet, can do things that the world's brightest minds... hell, that Albert Einstein himself... can only dream of. She can do anything she sets her mind to, and we're all lucky she's aimed so low so far. She could've enslaved the world or brainwashed everyone or become a dictatress (is that the female word for dictator?) or killed anyone who defied her, but she hasn't. And I guess we're lucky there's Toby there as a counterbalance. But just imagine what she could do if she used her intelligence for the greater good!
Sometimes I think even Elizabeth thinks I stay because I'm afraid of her. Sometimes I wonder if she thinks I'm just staying because she's blackmailed me again or because she helps me on tests or because I'm afraid of her revenge. Or, worse still, if she thinks I stay because I'm like an abused dog or wife or child loyal to its abuser, defending the person who beats it 'til the end out of fear of injury... and fear at knowing what else is out there. And I wonder how that makes her feel, if it makes her feel anything.
Mostly because sometimes, when I'm all alone and ask myself why I stand by her, just about no matter what, I ask myself that question. I ask myself if I'm only friends with her because I'm afraid of being alone... and I can never quite come to an answer. Because it's better to have one friend, even if she doesn't always treat you the best, than no one at all.
And when I get to that point, when I'm asking myself that question, I feel so empty inside that I can't help but think that there must be something more to it than this hollow, lonely feeling. That my life has to be more than this. That maybe if I ask Elizabeth nicely she can tell me the point of life or what I should be doing or feeling. Maybe I like feeling like I'm a part of something, like I'm useful to her and actually doing something with my life. Maybe being her friend gives me a purpose, I start to think, and maybe this is really all there is.
But that's not it, not entirely. Sometimes I'm afraid of her and the things she makes me do, that's true. More often than not, actually, but I've always been a coward, "scared of my own shadow" as Elizabeth and my mother have always said. I've almost died and been injured and embarrassed and all kinds of things because of my friendship, and those are the things that make me question my decision to stick with her, not that I tell her that, obviously.
I don't just stay because of the past or the good times, and I don't stand with her because of the power or because I'm curious or want to make money. I haven't stayed her friend either because I just can't stay away or because I haven't tried to walk away. And I sure don't do it because it gets me guys or makes me popular or comes with great perks or because she really really appreciates every little thing I do (she'd only tell me that if something was wrong with her, like when she was sick, and she only lets me hug her if I've surprised her or if I'm scared, in which case she usually tries to push me off on Garth).
We've been friends since Kindergarten because we understand each other. I might not hyperfunction, but I understand her better than just about anyone else, even Toby and her mother. She trusts me with important things, and Elizabeth trusts almost no one, much less completely. You know, I'm the only one she ever told about her feelings for Toby, unless she's actually told him to his face sometime when they were alone. I know that shouldn't be a big thing, considering how obvious it is, but I've known since Kindergarten, and maybe I'm the only person aside from Elizabeth who sort of understands the depth of it. I'm not sure she even gets what it means to love someone, that she even knows that that's what's got her feeling so conflicted and acting differently lately.
And, more importantly, I've stayed her friend because Elizabeth has always been mine. Even if she blows me off or makes me do things I don't want to do or kicks me out of her lab or stops speaking to me, one of us always comes back and forgives... and Elizabeth is not a very forgiving person. She might not be there for me in the conventional sense, not like Toby is for his friends or anyone who asks nicely, but I know she has my back and that she'll help me out eventually. Contrary to popular belief, everything she does isn't self-serving, and she does actually do nice things every now and then, even if she has to wrap them in insults so, heaven forbid, you won't actually think she cares or get your hopes up. Elizabeth does so hate being predictable and "nice."
In a way, the nice things she does are worth more because they're so subtle, so covert, and... well, not quite rare, but it's special when she does or says something nice. It never comes when you're expecting it, and when it does, you can't really believe it. It's kind of like a sudden, brilliant burst of sunshine during the storm of the century, completely unexpected and it makes you feel warm and tingly inside.
She said one time that she'd had a lifetime of being nice and that she deserved a few selfish years. She said she was sick of kowtowing and ass-kissing, tired of pretending like she liked people when she didn't. She said she was tired of being ignored, pushed aside, forgotten, and trampled. Elizabeth Hawke was no doormat; after all, that's been my job all these years. "I don't need to do that anymore, Verity. Why should I pretend when I have this power? I don't need to impress any of them, and I don't want to." She said it in this tone that said just how convinced she was that everyone else, everyone who was against her, was beneath her, and I remember envious of her I was in that one moment, how my tongue burned and itched to say something.
You see, when it comes down to it, I'm friends with Elizabeth because I admire her, because I wish I had even half of her courage, her charisma, her... well, just about everything. I'm friends with Elizabeth because she's the most fearless person I've ever met.
And, as a lifetime as a 'fraidy-cat, that means a lot to me. Because I've always wished I could be more like her.
Elizabeth doesn't care at all what other people think. She doesn't give a damn about popularity, and she barely even tries to fit in or disguise her smarts or personality. She hates all sports, doesn't dress like all the popular girls in their barely-there clothes, doesn't laugh or simper to boys to get her way, and she doesn't go out of her way to impress anyone except, perhaps, Toby and teachers. She doesn't care if they say nasty things about her behind her back (or to her face) or if they snub her or if they don't invite her to parties. She doesn't even care much about what teachers or authority figures have to say anymore; their words mean little now that she's so much smarter than they are, now that she can confirm that knowledge.
She doesn't care if no one likes her or if she has no friends at all; she can function perfectly fine on her own and better that way, actually. And the thing that really gets me about all of that is that she can just grin and bear it like it's nothing, like it isn't even hard for her. I know it has to be hard for her, having to put up with all that baggage, with no one trusting you or thinking good things about you or expecting you to be nice, to this point where she's kind of just internalized all of it and given in to being who everyone thinks she is... a caricature of herself. Sometimes I wonder if she enjoys it, if she likes playing the villainness because she thinks it's either that or helpless damsel-in-distress, but at least the evil sorceress has magical power and control. And there's something both really admirable and really frightening about all of that.
She doesn't let anything stop her or get her down, and she never has, not Toby's countless rejections, both direct and indirect, not all the world's cruel words, not her parents' general disinterest in her life, not her disgrace at school, not any kind of public humiliation some other kid can think of, not some other unnecessary rule. She's like a phoenix, only her fire never goes out. She doesn't even seem to care or realize how she wears her heart on her sleeve under that pokerface, and that everyone knows more or less how she feels about Toby. Nothing seems to get to her for long. No matter what, she maintains her composure, her sangfroid. She just... she pours more anger into it and sublimates the urge to cry, to give up, to give in. Me, I... well, I never even get started, can't even get past that stage.
Nothing is impossible for her; in a way, I kind of admire her sometimes delusional thinking because she doesn't even let reality constrain her plans, as bizarre and twisted as that is. But she wouldn't be Elizabeth if her mind worked another way, if she really was as logical as she pretends to be. I really admire how unselfconscious she is about all of that because I... could never live like that.
She knows what she wants, and she goes after it until she has it. And she won't stop, can't stop... it's just, like, not in her DNA or something. Elizabeth makes a plan, and she commits until she sees results. Ethics and limits don't frighten or constrain her. It's unbelievable, really.
I remember the day I met Elizabeth. She was fearless even then, the only kid there who wasn't pining for Mommy or Daddy or hugging the wall. Even then Elizabeth was completely contained, already reading, even. I missed my mother, and Elizabeth reminded me of her, all bossy and issuing orders and just the slightest bit deranged. So I played with her because no one else was, and I was a bit more popular then in that at least everyone didn't dislike me, so I didn't think much of it. I had fun, and that was all I needed to know at the age of five.
But, after Recess, one of the other girls, one of the bitchy ones who's popular now, was making fun of me, and I started to cry because she called me a name or said something about my hair. I had this really unfortunate short haircut and my mother had put my hair up in some incredibly unflattering pigtails. Elizabeth was the only person who stood up for me. She told the other girl to knock it off, that it wasn't nice to say that sort of thing, and that she would tell a teacher. The other girl called Elizabeth a baby or something and continued to taunt me, trying to brush Elizabeth off with a shove, crowding me.
Elizabeth, always one to push back, did just that and said, "Why don't you mess with someone your own size?" I was a very small child, and, even then, Elizabeth was tall and scary. The girl started insulting Elizabeth then in a flurry of words, but Elizabeth barely batted an eyelash, merely listening and absorbing the words, waiting until the other girl was out of breath before striking. And then Elizabeth said an insult so perfect, so cutting, using quite a few big words I didn't understand that it entirely shut the other girl up, and she smiled that smug, victorious grin of hers at me as all the other little girls stood there speechless. Then she grabbed my wrist and tugged me along to go play kitchen with her, and I knew we would be best friends. "That'll teach her," Elizabeth had pronounced on the way across the room, her eyes nearly dancing with glee as she shot the girl a dirty look over her shoulder.
And the thing is that, well... I might not stand up to Elizabeth, but I'll stand up for her because I know that, when it comes down to it, she would do the same for me. No matter what insensitive thing she might say, she won't just let someone else hurt me. I know that's a screwed-up definition of love and friendship, but it's what I've got.
And the truth is, that, well... Elizabeth needs me just as much as I need her. She maybe even needs me more because I'm the only one she can really count on... me, I've got other options if I pursue them. I could have other friends if I tried. But Elizabeth, well... who else does she have? Garth and Chainsaw? Toby, when she can count on him? No one she can really trust, that's for sure.
So, as much as I may doubt it, and as much as she might not act like she even gives me a second thought... I'm her only friend. And in the end, that's all that matters, what's underneath the act.
- Loren ;*