Title: Taraxacum Officinale Author: DebC Email: debc@meadowbee.com Feedback: Sure!

Rating: PG Pairing: none

Characters: Fred

Spoilers: none Disclaimers: Fred, like the rest of the characters and concepts on Angel, belong to Joss. Summary: Fred dreams of something she cannot have Author's Notes: This was my first ever fanfic in the Jossverse. Thanks to J and C for the beta and the comments and to Girlflesh for the Fred Ficathon that gave me the opportunity. The dandelion information was garnered from this website:

The cow info was my own knowledge, learned from years growing up on a farm.

Written for Enfaith.

" Taraxacum Officinale" by DebC

"Taraxacum Officinale," she muttered under her breath as rushed about her underground sanctuary. "Dandelions. Nana Burkle always called them weeds. Had to pull them up by the roots all day on visits. Pull until my nails bled. No, Nana, not weeds. They're flowers." She was illustrating her words by pulling roots up from the ground. Her fingers finally did bleed, a reminder of other times.

She spun around and found a clear place on the wall, writing the Latinate word for the fuzzy yellow plant out in her own blood. "Not really flowers. They're actually..." What was the word? It had escaped her mind, apparently. She'd been in Pylea too long. English was running away from her mind, running away into the darkness of her cave. Or floating away on the breeze like the white, fuzzy seeds of the taraxacum officinale when the wind catches them just right. Or when she used to blow them with little, chubby puffed cheeks.

She'd been dreaming about them three whole nights now. Soft fuzzy yellow demon flowers haunting her thoughts, mocking her because she was stuck in some weird hell dimension where she couldn't really see them. But the dreams always felt real. She'd roll down hills bursting with them, her long hair becoming entangled in them on each turn. Fragile yellow petals crushing beneath her body, staining her clothes--in the dream a child's gingham dress like something out of that old television show about the pioneers... and what was that called? Little something? Another thing about her old life that was escaping her--like yellow plant blood. She'd sit up covered in mangled, crushed flowers, yellow stains smudging her face and smelling pungently of dandelion.

She woke up smelling it, too. The earthy sweet aroma hung around her nostrils the same way fog clung low to the ground on a wet morning. Visible and yet intangible. Only this was a smell and smells weren't visible. You smelled them. You didn't see them or touch them.

She wished she could touch them. That would mean proof of their existence outside of her memories. Proof that she hadn't imagined using them as garnish for entire meals made of mud, grass and stones as a child.

"But you really can eat them," she told a spot on the wall of her cave and giggled. "They're very high in vitamins A and C, and have as much calcium as half a glass of cow's milk. Cows..." She stopped and stared at the blood red words on the wall. "Cows eat the taraxacum offincale and digest them through the rumen, reticulum, omasum and the abomasum. Those are the four stomachs that help a cow produce milk. Dandelion flavored milk." She giggled again, louder this time and then clapped her hand over her mouth Just in case someone happened to pass by her cleverly hidden cave and heard her.

She wondered if you could make dandelion milkshakes with ice cream and a blender. Would they be yellow, like the fine petals or green... or gray. Sometimes when you blended things the colors blended. In her mind, they were a pale yellow and had a biting taste to them. Just a hint of vanilla.

Dandelions were powerful little plants. Important. Hecate fed them to Theseus for thirty days before he went to defeat the minotaur. The Chinese use the root to relive tonsillitis and other afflictions by cooking it-- chopped--in two cups of water and sweetening it with juice.

She made a face. "Dandelions have a generally bitter taste." They did; she'd eaten one raw once, on a dare from someone. She couldn't quite remember who that someone had been, but she remembered the face--a small, round childish face with long blonde hair done up in braids. A friend from the world she was forgetting.

"But you can eat them!" she told the empty space around her. "Dandelions are good in... in... soups and pies and pastas and breads and dips... wine...."

A boy she'd liked once had brought dandelion wine to the drive-in. They drank it from Dixie cups with Disney characters on them. Mickey Mouse. She remembered hers had Mickey Mouse on it and they'd drank until the alcohol started eating through the cheap, wax-covered paper." She giggled again. Mickey Mouse had gotten her drunk.

She'd staggered into the house and up the stairs when he dropped her off. Quiet had been the goal... and she'd never reached it. Instead, she'd thrown up all over her mother's fuzzy pink slippers the instant the bedroom door opened. It had made a lasting impression on them both.

"Popcorn and moon pies do NOT go with dandelion wine," she said, and sat down on the dirt floor. She clutched her stomach as if she were going to be sick again, just from the memory.

The French used them in salads, much like some people put in spinach or bean sprouts.

But it is illegal to grow dandelions in Pueblo, Colorado. "They think they're weeds. Dandelions are NOT weeds. They're..."

That word was gone again.

She leaned back and let the back of her head bang against the wall behind her. The words were gone... the memories going. She knew what they were. It was there on the verge of her knowledge, but not there at the same time. It was frustrating, because it was happening all the time now.

The dandelions were important somehow. She wasn't sure why, but they'd been haunting her and mocking her with their existence in the other world... in her other life. They weren't here... not here... but if she closed her eyes, she could see them...

She screwed her eyes a little tighter and reached out, clasping the thin, milk-filled stem in her hand and pulled it up. She brought the yellow circle to her nose breathed in deeply, then rubbed it into her skin.

Dandelions were used in rituals at Samhain. It is said, that if you rub yourself all over--everywhere on your body--you will be welcomed everywhere you go. Before Pylea, Winifred Burkle hadn't really believed in those sorts of things... magic and mysticism and... demony hell worlds.

But now... she just wanted to be welcome... everywhere.

So she closed her eyes and rubbed.