DROP DEAD FRED
BY D.M. EVANS
DISCLAIMER: don't own the characters but happy to get to play with them
AUTHOR'S NOTE; never have I had such an instant hatred toward a character so intense I want to quit the show but Fred (and Lorne) are really pushing me to it. this bit of sick silliness came from the dashed hopes of Fred leaving with her family!

Cordy so didn't want to be where she was. Fred could grate on the nerves of Mother Teresa if she were still alive; hell even dead the nun would be irritated by the babbling ex-physicist. All Cordy wanted to do was spend the money she got for making that breath mint commercial on some shoes, hopefully Prada, but Fred had drained Cordy's desire to shop like a hungry vampire at a blood bank. Cordy wouldn't have thought that possible but here they were.

Cordy had completely lost the thread of Fred's conversation if it could be called that. She just nodded and 'um-hmmed' at the right time. Seeing a store of designer clothing, Cordy ducked in hoping to lose Fred but the unceasing babble followed her.

"Fred, could you please be quiet. They're looking at us funny," Cordy snapped. "We can't shop if we're thrown out because you're chattering like a psycho."

"Sorry." Fred hung her head, her pigtails swinging.

Cordy wrinkled her nose. Who wore pigtails? She knew she was being harsh. After all Fred had been lost in Pylea for five years and fashion wasn't a priority.

"How's this?" Cordy held up a multi-colored silk dress with jewel-toned diamonds pattern covering it.

"Very pretty." Fred stared at it. "Twenty yellow, thirty green..."

"Fred, what are you doing?" Cordy dreaded asking. She'd make Wes and Angel pay for making her take Fred along.

"Counting all the diamonds so I can figure out how many can fit on a dress that tiny."

"Fred... never mind. I guess I'll pass on this one." Cordy said, 'thanks for sucking the fun out of this, Daisy Mae,' she added mentally as she put it back on the rack. A blue sheath dress with pearls caught her eyes. "How about this one?"

"It's blue, very blue, like the sky. That's good isn't it? Yes, it's good. Are you going to buy it?"

"Maybe if you just didn't keep up this non-stop babble, Fred. Can't we just enjoy a little shopping in quiet?" Cordy asked. " I can't concentrate so how will I ever figure out if it'll look good on me." She gave up on the blue, trying to find something Fred couldn't rob her the pleasure of.

She was admiring a Coco pantsuits when a man ran in calling out the name 'Jill' over and over in a tone that screamed 'wife-beater.'

"Jill!"

One of the well-dressed salesclerk edged toward a wall. "Dave, what are you doing here? I told you it was over," she said.

"It's over when I say it's over," Dave growled.

"Cordy, I don't like this. We need Angel here to protect us. Yes, I think we should go get Angel and then..."

"Fred, shut up and head for the door. Angel can't help us. It's the middle of the day," Cordy said, shoving Fred toward the front of the store.

"Nobody is going anywhere," Dave said, pulling out a 9 mm.

"Dave, don't do this!" Jill pleaded. "Put the gun away and we'll talk."

"Too late for that." The gun roared and Jill dropped.

Cordy and Fred both shrieked. Fred bolted for the door. Dave whirled and fired again. Fred staggered and fell with a hole the size of a grapefruit blossoming in her chest. Blood fountained out, painting the shoe display red. Fred was dead before she hit the ground. With another cry, Cordy dived behind a display of purses, scanning for a way out. Another gunshot and another sound of a body hitting ground. Cordy listened for several minutes, hearing only her own ragged breathing.

Finally she crawled out into the clear. Dave was dead, with most of his face gone, killed by his own hand. Shaking, Cordy crawled over to Fred, rolling her over. Her eyes had already begun to glaze.

"Oh, Fred."

Cordy got up and started calling 911. She woke up with a start. Shaking her head, Cordy thought for a moment about calling the hotel to check on Fred but realized it was just a dream and let Dennis tuck her back in and went to sleep.

* * *

Gunn wasn't ready to hear Fred sing again. Wesley thought hearing about her future might help settle Fred down but just before they were to go to Caritas Wesley got called to a possession somewhere uptown and since Fred was so excited about seeing Lorne again, Wesley didn't want to disappoint her. Cordy was down in Sunnydale visiting friends and Angel was somewhere doing things Gunn would rather not think about.

Gunn had been put on Fred Patrol by default. Too bad he didn't have his boys to hang with any more, that way he could be spared Fred's baffling babble. Not to mention he wasn't exactly welcome in Caritas after his old posse had gone on a rampage.

Lorne had done a good job at repairing the karaoke bar. Gunn sat in the back near the door, trying to ignore Lorne's hostile stares. Gunn couldn't really stand the green little priss but he had to tolerate him to better do his job of killing demons even if it meant dealing with one.

Fred could barely make her way through Patsy Cline's "Walking After Midnight." She kept stopping, giggling, and making running commentary between verses. Finally she wrapped it up and went to Lorne's table to hear her future.

A stench like rotten eggs permeated Caritas, a perfect match for the nauseating d├ęcor. Gunn reached for his boot knife, wondering what kind of nasty was coming through this time. Two demons materialized in front of Lorne and Fred, looking mostly human except for their metallic gold skin. Both carried wicked-nasty battle axes.,

"Who, pray tell, are you and where did you get those killer suits?" Lorne asked, feeling the dark blue and purple fabric.

The creature stepped away. "We're in charge of maintaining the time continuum. You are constantly interfering with that by revealing the future. It stops now," one of them snarled.

"Now just hold on a minute. I provide a much needed service to this city," Loren said, puffing up his chest.

"It's wrong and it stps now. I'll take care of him. You take care of her. She's been contaminated by the knowledge of the future," the creature told its companion.

"I don't like this, Gunn. This isn't good. We need to get Angel. I need help, I think," Fred chittered.

"No one here can help you. Time's frozen for them," the second creature said, raising its axe.

Gunn watched, unable to move as the creatures hacked both Lorne and Fred into pieces small enough to fit through a sieve. The smell of blood filled the room. Gunn couldn't help thinking he wouldn't miss Lorne in the least and the hotel would finally be minus the unending streams of Fred's word salad.

As time snapped back to normal, Gunn woke up. He made himself a promise, no more double jalapeno burritos before breakfast and rolled back over to get in more sleep.

* * *

Wesley had always found libraries to be a source of peace, a respite from the workaday world. It was a place of quiet contemplation and exploring new worlds of knowledge. Granted the library he was just starting to build in the Hyperion was no match for the Watcher's Council's vast stacks of books, but it was a start.

Of course, with Fred 'helping' it was neither quiet not peaceful. She kept up a constant barrage of questions, all about Angel. What colors did he like? Did he always wear leather pants? How did he manage to get his hair to comb up like that? What did he like in girls? Did Wesley think Angel liked her? Could he really never be with a woman again?

Wesley tried to tune her out. He tried to answer her but the questions just didn't stop coming. Why hadn't he brought Cordy to help him instead? She might bitch and moan but it was better than this torture.

He pulled a complex book of math-based spells off the shelf and handed it to Fred. "Have a look at this. The math in here is very complex but the spells are supposed to be extremely powerful. Think you can work on one?"

She bobbed her head, her long colorless hair swinging. "I can do that. I want to be useful. This would make Angel happy, right?"

"I'm sure it would," he said with a placating smile.

Fred grinned insipidly and started working the math out loud. That was still grating but not as much as her non-stop Angel-worship question-fest. He almost finished his research on the Italian wind fairies when Fred announced she nearly had the first spell figured out.

"What does that spell do, Fred?"

"It's a fire spell, I think," Fred said and started reciting the numbers for the spell. "Oops, no, I forgot to take the square root. Let me start again. Is it hot in here?"

"No, it's rather pleasant. Are you feeling all right, Fred? You're beginning to sweat." Wesley peered at her curiously.

"I feel like I have a fever." She mopped her forehead. "I really don't feel well."

"Fred, your skin! It's blistering!" Wesley watched the huge blisters forming, horrified.

"So hot..."

"Fred, the spell. You must have cast it wrong, made it internal. You have to cast the counter spell," Wesley cried.

"I don't know what it is!" Fred squealed then shrieked as she began to smoke.

Wes ran for the fire extinguisher as Fred burst into flames. He was far too late to save Fred but at least he saved most of his books that had been torched by her flailing. He set the extinguisher aside and knelt by her charred corpse.

"Sorry, Fred. If I had only know that spell was so touchy," Wes murmured just before he found himself in bed. Disturbed by the dream, Wes went to the kitchen and put on the tea kettle.

* * *

Angel never knew how to handle tears. They made him uncomfortable and since he was the cause of Fred's, he couldn't begin to cope. Cordy had had a talk with Fred on his behalf once already. He had had a talk with Fred before Buffy's miraculous return and now they were having yet another one. He tried to explain to Fred he loved Buffy and there was no room in his heart for anyone else. He had tried to tell her that in a gentle way several times but it never took. He had to get stern this time. Now Fred was bawling her eyes out.

Angel studied his hands, trying to figure out what to say. Cordy's words about him being Fred's 'big fat hero' still rang in his head weeks later. Maybe she had a point. He'd have to stop letting Fred talk him into eating ice cream. He could hardly strike fear in a demon's heart dragging around a blood belly like he was getting. If only Fred had gone home with her parents none of this drama would have been necessary.

Hearing the click of high heels coming across the lobby floor and hoping for a timely rescue from Cordy, Angel ran for the courtyard door. He realized too late he didn't smell anything warm-blooded behind it. Dru came through the door, cattle prod in hand. With one decisive jab she sent him sprawling. As he lay twitching, she prodded him again and he lost consciousness.

When he came to, Angel found himself tied to a chair with Dru sitting on his lap, cooing to Miss Edith. Realizing he was conscious she looked over her shoulder, giggling. Dru wiggled against him provocatively then twisted so she could run her tongue up his cheek.

"I got you a present, Daddy," she said then slid off his lap and set her doll where Miss Edith could watch.

Dru dragged a bound and gagged Fred over to him. "She talks, talks, talks. And gave Miss Edith a bad headache. Had to make sure she couldn't give headaches any more."

"Dru, let her go."

"But Daddy don't you like your present?" Dru clutched her hands to her chest, giving him a little girl lost look.

"It's very nice, Dru. Now let her go. That would make me feel even happier about my present," he said.

"I'm not done with your gift, Daddy. Do you remember that awful awful fire? It hurt so much. Why did you do that, my sweet Angel?" Dru went back over to him, draping her arms around him. She kissed him gently.

"I'm sorry, Dru. I've hurt you so much. Let Fred go and I'll make it up to you," he lied.

"Let me give you your whole present first," she said, her face morphing.

Dru went back to the bound woman and started draining Fred who squirmed and cried behind the gag. Dru got up, blood dribbling from her sharp chin. She sat back on Angel's lap. She kissed him, pressing the blood into his mouth.

The warm saltiness excited Angel more than he cared to admit. His face morphed in spite of himself. Dru rubbed on him, smiling.

"Daddy likes his present," she purred, swaying as she perched on him.

"Dru, don't do this."

Dru got back up again and propped Fred against Angel. "Drink my boy."

"I can't," he muttered.

"I guess you like your present better this way."

Dru took another mouthful of blood and forced it down him and repeated it until Fred was dead. Dru kicked the body aside and sat on Angel once more. She rested her cheek against his.

"I forgive you for all the burns, my sweet Angel."

Angel woke only slightly surprised he wasn't tied up as Dru's play toy, not that he didn't deserve it. He presonally thought vampires shouldn't have nightmares.

* * *

Fred, overhearing her friends talking about their dreams of her dying, headed out into the L.A. afternoon. She counted out the distance from the Hyperion to Caritas as she mulled over the fact that none of them seemed overly concerned about her multiple deaths. They were even laughing at how they all had the weird dreams of her terrible death. Wondering if it was a sign, Fred just knew she had to find out if she was predestined to die. Lorne was just opening Caritas when she arrived. She raced over to where he was fussing with the margarita glasses and more screamed than sang the first song that popped into her mind, 'Little Bunny Foo-Foo,'; darn those Girl Scout Camps.

"Whoa, little missy. Didn't we have talks about you toning it down a bit?" Lorne buffed his high-gloss nails on a flame red suit jacket.

"They all dreamed about me dying. ALL of them. I have to know my future. Do I die?" she cried,her Texas twang deepening.

"Everyone dies, sweetie. Let me have my afternoon cocktail and we can take a look at this, okay?" he asked, glancing over her shoulder to see a few more early customers who had the look of tourists come to see the demon "make-up" Caritas customers sported. They had huge cameras dangling from their necks as they positioned themselves close to the stage.

"Could ya hurry please? I know patience is a virtue but I don't know if I have the time to be patient," Fred said, resisting the urge to rip his stupid horns off.

"You have at least a few minutes. Let me have my 'Hummer' first then I'll read you," Lorne said, setting about mixing Frangelico, Bailey's Irish Cream, and Kahlua. Fred waited impatiently while he topped it with Whip Cream.

"Just drink it and I'll sing for you," she said.

"Club business first." Lorne pointed over her shoulder at the UPS man who just came in.

He edged to the bar warily eyeing up Lorne. "Sign for this?" he asked hesitantly, thrusting the electronic pad at Lorne before setting the package on the bar. Lorne signed and the UPS man beat feet.

Lorne peeled the pink envelope off the bar and shoved the package toward Fred. He gave her a small knife usually used to carve up fruit for the frozen drinks. "Open that for me. I wouldn't want to break a nail."

"Okay." Fred turned the package over several times trying to think of the best physic-related means of opening a box.

"It's from the Friends of the Eternal Lord with Multiple Signs Abounding Church of L.A.," Lorne said, reading the card he plucked from the pink envelope. "Have you ever heard of them?"

Fred shook her head, thinking she found the perfect end to slip the knife in to cut the tape.

"Says here, that this is a little gift for us because the signs say this is a haven of the hell-bound and the demonic and can no longer be tolerated," Lorne read sipping his 'Hummer.' His eyes popped when he realized it was a threat. "Fred, stop!"

His cry came too late. Fred's blade triggered the package bomb and Caritas exploded, covering a city block with glass, metal and leaping flames. Several days after the fire, someone from the Friends of the Eternal Lord with Multiple Signs Abounding Church spray-painted the words "Justice" on the ruins of Caritas and Angel's Fang-Gang tried to hunt them down. The forensic scientists identified a few fragments of Fred from her mitochondrial DNA and they were sent back to her parents for burial in Texas. Several papers were written about the other odd DNA evidence found at the Caritas crime scene but no one in the scientific community believed in it.


* * *

Cordy blew across her slice of super pepperoni before taking a healthy bite. "You know, one of us really should take detective lessons or something. What we know about investigating wouldn't fill a thimble."

"That's a bit harsh don't you think?" Wesley asked, burning his lip on the pizza.

"Not really. We couldn't even find those guys who killed Fred and Lorne," Cordy replied.

"She may have a point," Gunn said, plucking off the pepperoni and popping it in his mouth.

"Well, classes are out for me," Angel said, watching his friends polish off their dinner.

"Not if they're night classes," Cordy argued. "I mean, I really didn't care much for Fred but I'm sorry she's dead. I'm sorry we couldn't do anything to bring her a little justice."

They fell silent except for the soft sounds of chewing. Wesley snatched off his glasses and polished them in a way that reminded Cordy of Giles. He put them back on and helped himself to another piece of pizza.

"You may have a point. I guess we could look into it but we're not exactly a normal detective agency," Wesley said.

"Yeah, English, but some of it could probably help us. Can't hurt, right?" Gunn said.

"Right. We can look into what we need to do, I guess," Angel said.

Cordy surveyed the group's grim faces. "This is not much of a party."

"It was your idea," Wesley reminded her.

"It has to be done," Cordy argued.

"I guess," Gunn said.

"So eat it," Cordy demanded in her best queen of everything tone.

They polished off the pizza then headed upstairs to where Fred's old room waited for them. The drop clothes were down and the paint pans ready. Even though Fred had painted over the walls once, she felt the need to scribble all over it again, the exact same story as before. It just wouldn't let go of her.

"Did you get all the photographs of this that you wanted, Wes?" Angel asked, opening a can of raspberry paint; Cordy's idea.

"Yes. I transcribed most of it. I may not be a Watcher any more but I know they would like to know about this. No sense in hiding something that might help a Slayer down the road," Wesley replied.

"You almost wonder if Fred would have been better off if we left her in Pylea," Gunn said.

"Maybe," Cordy said. "At least the kids at Ann's shelter will benefit from all of Fred's clothes."

"I know it's mean to say but I really don't miss Caritas. I don't like dealing with demons, no offense man," Gunn said to Angel.

"None taken."

"I know I won't miss Angel's singing in the least," Cordy said, making sure her hair was all tucked up under a hat.

"Hey. I wasn't that bad," Angel cried.

"Yeah right," Gunn snorted.

"Well, I guess we should get this painting party started," Cordy said. She picked up a roller and began painting the remains of Fred out of their lives.