Disclaimer: I don't own Dollhouse, Echo, Laurence, or any of the characters. They are the property of Fox, Joss Whedon, Eliza Dushku, etc.
Story: Laurence Dominic was told the Dolls couldn't think. Well, he believes otherwise with the Active Doll Echo. Now he's playing cat and mouse games. The question is, who's the cat…and who's the mouse?
Set after episode S1.8 ("Needs").
Spoilers: Definitely, all vague now but there's specific mentions of things that happened in episodes. Major spoilers coming up. EDIT: watch for spoilers for episode "A Spy in the House of Love" (S1.9).
Warnings: Violence, language, sexual situations, etc.
Pairings: Laurence/Echo, Topher/Claire, slight Paul/Mellie, slight Paul/Echo, and slight Boyd/Claire.
A/n: These chapters just keep getting longer and longer, even though I said I wouldn't make them so. Anyways, I'll be in mourning until my sweetheart comes back. Until then, I'll cry in the corner and plan a rescue attempt and to destroy the Attic, while wearing black for grief. And here I thought I would need the whole two weeks to get out of my shock and figure out how to do this chapter….I obsessed until I found a way 10-20 minutes later. Oh, and I summarized the episode sort of, because one I don't have a transcript or the quotes I needed, and two I'm too afraid to rewatch the episode because I'm in pain just remembering it. Besides, I think it's fitting how I wrote it. Remember to read and review! Maybe up to 30 this time (coughhintcough)?
A/n: Do NOT read unless you've seen episode 9.
Happiness in Misery
Chapter Six: Copper for a Kiss
"Let me have a look at your head, Laurence. Boyd hit you against the wall pretty hard earlier," Claire said after frowning at Topher. Boyd took it a step further and cuffed his head.
"Now that I would've loved to see," Topher commented offhand, ignoring the glares thrown at him.
Laurence and Echo slid out of the closet, the former decidedly embarrassed at the situation he'd found himself in. He was less embarrassed when Echo reached out to grab his hand and squeezed it comfortingly.
"So, uh, not 'Hearn'?" Topher threw out on a risk.
Boyd was still staring at Laurence and Echo strangely, though he'd calmed down and was less hostile.
"No, it's definitely not like that situation," Boyd surprisingly said in defense of Laurence.
"Both of you, move farther away," Claire snapped at them. "You're crowding my workspace."
"I'm still a little confused," Topher muttered. "Why were you two in the closet anyway?"
"You were heading over with DeWitt, remember? I had to stuff them in there. Don't want her getting any ideas, now do we?" Boyd glared menacingly at him.
"Huh, right. So you stuffed them into the closet to hide from boss lady…but why were they both here in the first place?"
There was an awkward silence from both Claire and Laurence, with both Topher and Boyd looking at them questioningly. Echo just hummed and sat next to Laurence, holding onto his arm.
"I'm subbing for Boyd since you're subbing for Ramirez…I was with Echo waiting for Claire, so she could be checked out," Laurence explained without any real details he knew they wanted.
"I…let Laurence stay with Echo in my office because there aren't any cameras. So he can spend some time with her," Claire added reluctantly.
"And why would he need to spend time with her?" Boyd's tone turned acid again.
Laurence, Claire, and Topher looked decidedly uncomfortable.
"I…like Echo. More than I should," Laurence bit out.
"I can tell. You were sticking your tongue down her throat," Boyd deadpanned, eyes narrowing.
"DeWitt knows about my attraction to Echo. The time I had with her was shortened because of it, and now DeWitt is monitoring me. I can't spend time with Echo anywhere, because we're being watched and scrutinized. Never mind the fact, all I want to do is spend time with Echo. Even that isn't allowed," Laurence frowned at the thought.
"He's got some nice pictures with her, you know," Topher blurted out.
Claire and Laurence resisted the urge to face palm in the face of idiocy.
"Pictures? What kind of pictures?" Boyd asked dangerously.
"I took Echo to the library for the first time. She saw a picture booth and wanted to take pictures with me," Laurence clarified, sending a glare over to Topher.
Boyd still looked disbelieving, so Laurence hesitantly handed over his wallet. "All the walled-sized pictures are there. Echo has the same ones in her bed, as a filmstrip. I kept the 5x7's at home. And I have an 8x10 of the last one…in my office, hidden in my desk and locked in the drawer," Laurence mumbled, though he could still be heard clearly.
Boyd flipped through the pictures, face turning from furious to more curiosity. His eyes softened up a little.
"Echo looks happy," a small smile played across his lips, before the tender display of affection was wiped off his face and he looked all business again. "Nothing else? You swear you haven't done anything else with Echo?"
"I swear. I've kissed her twice, and the second time was just now," Laurence dared to show a bit of defiance in his eyes, and Boyd conceded, grunting.
"This is all very lovely, but Boyd needs to take Echo back before DeWitt notices anything wrong, I can't stand being in your presence for all that long, and you have work to do, Laurence. I'm sure DeWitt already has piles of work for you to do, not to mention you have to report on Echo's engagement and have to write it up," Claire directed at the three men.
Boyd was about to take Echo away, when she stubbornly stayed still and looked expectantly at Laurence. His face grew warm when he realized what she wanted and he started to lean forward, when an awkward feeling set in and he also realized that they were being watched. Topher, Boyd, and Claire were all leaning forward and watching with various degrees of fascination on their faces.
"Well, are you going to kiss her or not?" Claire demanded.
"How can I when we're being watched like we're in the zoo?" Laurence twitched.
"So?" Boyd looked expectant, strangely pushy about the whole thing.
He stared at them, but they didn't budge. Anxiously turning back to Echo, he tenderly brushed his lips against hers and then pulled back. She hopped off the table and joined Boyd happily.
"That's it?" Topher asked incredulously.
"We're not going to give you a show," Laurence snapped at him, irritated and a little embarrassed.
Topher huffed and Boyd started leading Echo away. She glanced back and smiled at him, and he unwittingly smiled back. That led to Topher and Claire staring in fascination at him.
"What?" he looked at them annoyed.
"Laurence, my man…I don't think you're just attracted to Echo. I think you're in love with her," Topher said in amazement.
Claire just stared in shock.
Laurence just sighed in weariness. "Maybe I am. I don't know right now. I'm just really overwhelmed. I'm going to report to DeWitt, finish whatever work I need to, and just go home."
"Alright, L-man! You go do that. I have to get back and do some actual important work," Topher said as he waved behind him and left.
Both Claire and Laurence sneered at his back and scarily said at the same time, "He's so annoying."
They looked at each other and just shrugged.
He'd reported to Adelle, and she'd callously reminded him that Echo had another assignment that day. Boyd didn't have to take over for Ramirez then, though he was definitely going to have to for the rest of the week, so Boyd could take over for Echo's assignment. However, Echo still had a lesson with Laurence that night.
Even that was rather tense. Adelle had decided to drop by and watch, so Laurence tried to hide his flustered state by coldly directing Echo around. Unfortunately, that caused the Doll to have confusion and a bit of hurt in her eyes, both emotions luckily hid when Adelle focused on her. Adelle left near the end, reminding Laurence that he had to take Echo to the shower before she went to bed.
"Are you angry with me?" Echo asked, hurt leaking into her tone.
"What? No!" Laurence whirled around from his spot to face her, and decided that he shouldn't have done that. Echo was still a Doll, awareness or not, and she was taking a shower.
Face red, Laurence turned back to face the wall.
"You were mean to me all evening…and you won't shower with me," he could tell already, her bottom lip was trembling.
Braving himself, he turned around and walked towards her, keeping his eyes firmly on her face. He ignored the splashing water behind her, some droplets wetting his face and clothes, and grasped her face between his hands. His sleeves were soaked, but he could live with it.
Leaning his forehead against hers while staring into her eyes, he felt the rivulets of water dripping onto his hair and down his face and neck.
"Echo, I am not angry with you. That lady that was here? She doesn't like it when I'm affectionate with you. We'll both get in trouble if she catches us like that. But I'm sorry I had to act like that towards you. Don't be sad, okay? I didn't mean it. I'm sorry."
"But you won't shower with me…"
"Echo…I can't. It's just…I won't take advantage of you."
It wasn't just what could happen if they'd shower together. Laurence wouldn't shower with her because Echo wasn't aware enough to realize she would be uncomfortable bathing nude and with a man. He wasn't going to take advantage of that to shower with her.
"Just finish up, okay? I have to take you back soon."
Echo didn't answer, just turned her back to him to face the water. He sighed and stepped towards her, getting completely soaked as he wrapped his arms around her nude body.
He kissed the back of her head, whispering, "I'm sorry."
Stepping away, he walked away and went through the entrance, his ruined and wet clothes dragging and pulling him down with the heavy weight of the water.
After he'd escorted Echo back in silence, he was glad for the emptiness of the House, considering his sopping wet appearance as he trudged through the building to his office. He sat in his chair and contemplated everything that had happened to him. Pulling out his wallet, he caressed his thumb against the leather. He flipped it open and stared at the pictures he'd fondly put in there, pausing at each one to admire.
Frowning to himself, he decided to just go home. Walking resigned to his car, he slipped in and ignored his clinging clothes and the fact his seats were going to be wet as well. He was about to close his door when he heard someone call out to him.
He reacted violently, automatically pulling out his gun and pointing it at the intruder. Then he saw Echo with frightened eyes and standing a little far out in the parking lot, and he lowered his gun and tossed it to the backseat, holding his hands up peacefully and advancing towards her slowly. He didn't like her being scared of him…
"Jesus, Echo. You scared the shit out of me," he muttered, pulling her close and hugging her to him. "And what are you doing here? You're supposed to be in bed."
"I wanted to be with you," she mumbled into his shirt.
She remembered his car. There was no way she could've met him at his car unless she remembered it. She couldn't have followed him as he had been too far away from her, so she had to have remembered the location of his parking and which car it was.
And never mind that. He couldn't take her back now. He'd be questioned why she was out, and it'll all look suspicious. It would be easier to sneak her back in in the morning.
Wrapping his arms around her, he rushed her to his car, looking around them anxiously for any bystanders. Seating her in first, he took his seat by the wheel and revved up his engine.
"We'll go to my place, okay Echo? You can sleep there tonight."
She smiled softly at him, and he realized that she didn't seem at all like a Doll any more. Around him, she seemed just like another person.
"Are you upset with me, Laurence?" she asked as he drove them out of the garage and into the street.
"No…Actually, I feel really happy right now," he said truthfully, glancing at her tenderly.
A blush grew on her face, and he was so fascinated at how real she seemed…how much like a person she was, even in her supposed blank slate.
She leaned on his side and wrapped her arms around his waist, staring out the front window. They drove like that all the way to his home, even as she fell asleep on the ride there.
"Echo…Echo, wake up," he caressed her shoulder.
She slowly opened her eyes, sitting up with a yawn. "We're here?"
"Yeah…just a simple apartment," he told her, and he walked to the other side of his car and opened the door for her.
She stepped out and grabbed his arm when he offered it, letting him lead her to the elevator to his floor and then to his apartment. It was an expensive apartment, actually. More like a condominium. But Echo didn't need or probably cared for the details.
Inside, she stared around in wonder, even though it was bare of anything personal. There was a fish tank next to the balcony, and some plants settled around here and there. A flat screen TV was in front of the off-white furniture set in the middle of the living area, which was carpeted in a rosy hue. There were steps leading up from that to the rest of the room, which was covered in a mahogany glossy wooden floor. The black and white tiled kitchen was in the right corner, near the entrance to the balcony and next to the entrance to the master bedroom and bathroom. Closer to the entrance of the apartment and the living area, was the entrance to the guest bedroom and the main bathroom to the left.
"Do you like it?" he asked contentedly, settling his arms around her, and holding her from behind.
She nodded her head enthusiastically. He smiled against her brown locks of hair and repeatedly kissed up and down her neck.
"I'm glad. I have to change, Echo. I'm soaking wet and it won't do well for me to stay in wet clothing."
"I want to wear your shirt," she said hurriedly.
He looked at her in confusion
"I mean…can I wear one of your shirts to bed?" she mumbled, her face turning red again.
Laurence affectionately pecked her forehead. "Of course."
He'd changed into gray draw-string pants, leaving off his shirt, and rummaged through his drawers for a shirt Echo could wear. He heard her enter just as he found an old Metallica shirt he'd gotten a long time ago. It was worn down, but perfect and comfortable for Echo.
He lifted it up and turned to her, backpedaling when he saw she was naked.
"Echo, what are you doing?!"
Her face was red again and she held out her hand for the shirt. Carefully handing it to her, he looked away when she put it on. He only looked when he was certain she was clothed.
"Echo, where's your other clothing?"
"I folded them and put them away," she said simply.
"Don't you want to wear them too?"
"No. I-I just want to wear your shirt."
"I haven't worn that shirt in years, but it's still pretty comfy," he changed the subject uncomfortably.
"It still smells like you."
He had no answer to that, but he tensed when Echo stepped closer to him and placed her soft hands flat against his bare chest. He couldn't breathe with her hands splayed out like that, intimately touching him. Laurence let her trace his front, lightly caressing his skin and tickling him slightly. Her face looked so focused and he watched her determinedly explore his torso with her hands. The same hands that danced onto his shoulders and delicately held onto them, staring up at him with curious and gentle eyes.
She leaned forward and placed a light kiss on the middle of his chest and then looked back at him for a reaction. Seeing none, she leaned up and pecked his lips. Swallowing harshly, Laurence leaned down as she leaned up and returned the kiss, moving to hold her close.
Their kiss turned more passionate until he was practically ravishing her mouth and he'd unconsciously moved them to his bed, with him lying on top of her. He'd only noticed their position when he was made aware of the hard bulge in his pants. He forcibly put a stop to the whole thing, jerking his lips away and holding himself above her with his arms. His head hung next to the juncture between her neck and shoulder in shame, and he could still inhale her scent, driving him insane and making his head heady with it. He was breathing harshly and trying to calm himself down, feeling his body overheated and too excited.
"I'm so sorry, Echo. I went too far. I went too far," he mumbled against her skin, entire body trembling in regret.
She wrapped her arms around him and whispered soft assurances into his ear, brushing her lips every so often against it. When they'd both calmed down and felt less aroused, they both sat up on the bed and faced each other.
"Your shows," Laurence muttered, eyes averted to the navy blue sheet covers.
Laurence cleared his throat, "The shows you liked. I've been watching them and kept them recorded. Would like to watch them all and get caught up?"
He could tell already how happy that made her before she answered yes, and they spent the night watching all the shows Echo had gotten into but couldn't keep up with in the Dollhouse. When they'd fallen asleep, Echo was wrapped comfortably in his arms and he had buried his nose against her neck.
They'd been lucky that time, and no one had caught either of the two. But Laurence had no idea his luck was about to run out.
It was just after the last engagement he had to supervise Echo over, and Boyd was going to finally return. Adelle was gone for the day (as if he didn't know that she was meeting Victor as Miss Lonely Hearts, it was part of his job to know these things) and Laurence was left in charge. Everything seemed normal.
"Laurence," Claire appeared at her office door, a grimace on her face, and interrupting his time with Echo.
"What's wrong?" Laurence sat up alarmed.
"You're NSA, right?"
He froze up and stared at her, fingering his gun. "What are you talking about?"
"Not now, Laurence! Topher found an NSA chip under the imprint chair, and went to Boyd about it because he thought Boyd was the spy –"
"That makes no sense. Why would you want to warn the spy? The idiot should've reported it to me instead."
Claire shrugged, "He didn't think about it. He just found the chip and freaked out, going straight to who he thought the spy was. Actually, if he thought Boyd was the spy and instinctively was trying to help him, then maybe he isn't all that loyal to the House. Oh, never mind that! Anyway, Boyd told me about it afterwards. And I know you're the NSA spy and that you've just been found out."
Laurence calmly took out his gun and pointed it at her. "And what are you going to do about it?"
She rolled her eyes, "Laurence, do you trust me?"
He looked pointedly at her.
"Alright, let me rephrase that. Do you trust Echo?"
Laurence glanced at Echo, who was staring steadily at him with an unwavering gaze that bolstered him.
"Yes. Of course," he declared firmly.
"Then this is what you have to do and say."
Claire began outlining a plan that made him uneasy, but he agreed was his only choice.
"And Ivy?" he gruffly asked.
"I don't know much about her. She could be Alpha's. She could be DeWitt's. Even Topher doesn't know much about her, and he works with her."
"And you?" he looked at her intensely.
"A spy. Someone working to bring down the Dollhouse," she answered straight away.
"Why? Why put the Dolls through that self-guided journey? Why put Echo through that? Any of them? Are you the one sending Ballard messages?"
She sighed, "After Alpha…I saw the truth of what we were doing. I heard too much, knew too much, and realized I've done too much. That journey was for them to gain the closure they needed. Even if they became aware, they would've suffered through the needs their minds and souls needed to recover from. I knew they wouldn't stop completely glitching anyway. And Echo wanted to free us all. But it was too soon and all of the Dolls weren't in a state they could handle the outside world in. They didn't need freedom yet. They all just needed to get things out of their system. And yes, I'm sending Paul Ballard messages through the Dolls, using your chip. How would you know about that?"
"First contact through Echo. I went after her, remember?" Laurence answered stoically. "So what about…the 'mind suck'?"
"I asked Topher about it. He said that it takes everything out, but a complete copy is made of the person. We can put it all back in afterwards."
"No side effects? I won't…be different?"
"No. The only thing that affects this type of process are the imprints. They affect the person and changes them, so if unless we imprint you, you'll still be the same."
He took a deep breath and tried to sort out his thoughts.
"Are we agreed then?" she asked anxiously.
"Yes. But I don't want to hurt Echo."
"I'm sorry, Laurence. You're going to have to," Claire looked apologetically at him.
He gritted his teeth and turned his back on her, turning to Echo.
"Echo, something is going to happen soon. Something bad. I'm going to have to leave for awhile and no matter what you remember me doing, just remember…I love you," he finally admitted, leaning forward and kissing her tenderly.
Claire turned away, to give them their privacy.
"I need some books on anatomy, Claire," Laurence asked without looking at her.
The doctor nodded and left them alone, leaving after saying, "Topher is calling DeWitt and will be heading to see you soon. Be ready."
"Echo, one last lesson. I'm going to teach you how to strike at non-vital areas. This is important. I need you to remember this, okay?"
The plan went off without a hitch, though not completely perfect and they had to improvise a lot. Laurence was able to cram anatomy into Echo's head, before he'd gone out and immediately been assaulted by a panicking Topher. He played his cue, getting angry at him and threatening Topher within an inch of his life, grabbing Sierra and getting her ready. He called NSA to inform them that he'd been found out and was sending an Active over to grab the file of the spy, and warning them to set up Ivy as the culprit.
What was not part of the plan and was a surprise, was Echo actually volunteering to help and be imprinted. And as he'd stared her down, he remembered her progress and was proud of his girl.
He had remembered her walking in smoothly and professionally, interrogating every suspect he would've gotten to, and was unflinchingly brutal and honest. She singled out Topher's incompetence in the way he would have, and it was a trait of Topher's Laurence always took note of. He'd agree the man was a genius, but Topher was still more like an overgrown kid with his toys. Too excitable and too loose.
And then with Ivy. The girl was incredibly stupid or incredibly too good an actor. Who brags about their abilities in a way that could incriminate them? Either she was playing them all and acting like the intelligent but naïve girl, or she really was the intelligent and naïve girl. It was a shame he couldn't have gotten Echo to interrogate her more.
Boyd was too easy. The man gave the honest truth bluntly and without remorse. But his opinions about what they do in the House have always been known, so it was no secret what Boyd said during his turn to be questioned. It was what made Boyd easily first choice as spy for anyone. Though, Echo easily trusted the man (to conditioning and even maybe a real trust and bond), so Boyd would have gotten off either way.
He felt rather bad for Claire, recalling as like Echo said, the doctor hadn't gotten out since the attack from Alpha. Which made him wonder how in the hell did she become a spy. Still, he could see Claire getting unnerved and distressed in the questioning, knowing some of what Echo had said had gotten to the doctor. Claire did seem lonely, and she did deserve to be with someone. And she did have someone. Topher. Laurence hated the man's guts (okay, maybe he really didn't…but that's a stretch), but Topher did have the slightest of infatuation with Claire, just as she was attracted to him. The two acted like kindergarden kids with crushes on each other, pulling hair and being mean. But Laurence had to admit that Topher was good for Claire. She was lonely and Topher had always been there, even if in the strangest and most annoying of ways.
And then the climax of the day. Echo had pinpointed him out as the spy. He'd laid out all the clues, made all the subtle gestures she would need, and the final bit of unholstering his gun. It felt bittersweet then, fighting her and knowing she'd win and the end would come soon. No mercy for him.
No mercy for the wicked.
She danced beautifully. A shard of glass in her hand, his gun on the floor, and all hand to hand. It was almost choreographed, like this whole plan. Bits and pieces more real than others. And when she struck him twice with the glass, she instinctively cut at nonvital areas just like he'd taught her not too long ago. He didn't know whether it was the man in him or the monster, but he'd slammed Echo against the wall and he'd enjoyed it. Enjoyed it and did it again, imagining that he would have smashed his lips against hers and no one else was there and he would be so close to completion, just as Echo would scream his name in pleasure. And then he'd slipped and Echo was holding him over the broken window, and he swore to God that he'd felt like telling her to do it at the time because he deserved it.
He deserved it for physically hurting her, even if had to for the sake of the plan. He deserved it for using her in this plan when she didn't even have a real clue on what was going on. He deserved it for all the times he'd ever been cruel to her, for the time he almost killed her. He deserved it for wanting her so much. And he deserved it because even then, he just wanted Echo to cling to him and fall over the edge with him.
But she'd held him up and said she wasn't broken, even when he'd said callous words to her before. He lives and they go to Adelle in her fancy little home that she sneaks off to with Victor, playing pretend and fantasy.
And here he is, staring into Adelle's cold and dare he say it –hurt eyes.
"Why'd you do it?"
He spat out the half-cocked story he'd concocted with Claire based on the NSA's parameters for him. He scoffed mentally to himself. Protect the Dollhouse? The NSA wanted nothing more than to bring it down and take the technology for itself.
He growled out something about the Dollhouse being despicable and hurting girls like Echo, something he couldn't mention and was more like how he truly felt about the whole thing.
"Says the man who tried to kill her twice," Adelle smiled mockingly at him.
'No!' his mind was screaming. 'The first time was a mistake! The second wasn't real!'
"And here I thought you actually felt something for dear Echo," Adelle continued to mock him.
Hearing that, Laurence felt like something was shoved into his gut, twisted, and painfully pulled out. Only to discover his heart pierced at the other end.
"I do," he couldn't help protesting.
Adelle raised an eyebrow at that. "Some love. I suppose she's better off without your love then if it means she gets to stay alive and well."
He stayed quiet.
"Bring him to the Attic."
"So what? You're just going to sign my death warrant? After everything?" he spat out.
"Of course. I am just signing your death warrant. Your words," she coolly replied.
He glared at her and was about to retort when she cut him off.
"Were you ever my friend, my confidant?" Adelle surprisingly opened up, staring at him intensely with eyes that showed more of that hurt.
He softened his glare, "Yes."
Both of them stared at each other for a moment longer, both of them saying one thing clearly without even saying it.
It was both their jobs after all, and they were just doing them. Both of them were good at that. It wasn't personal, even if they had been in a way friends.
Echo started to lead him out, and he instinctively relaxed under her touch, even with the knowledge she was leading him to his essential death.
"Take care of Echo, will you?" Laurence pleaded as he passed by Adelle.
"I plan to. She saved the Dollhouse after all," she said, looking at him with a shade of the same guarded trust and like.
Boyd was in the driver's seat and Echo was watching with sharp eyes. He sat there, grinning, knowing he'd lost everything but maybe he hadn't quite lost the most important thing to him.
"What's in store for you, you don't have much to smile about," Echo frowned at him.
"After you beat me to a pulp they're going to erase me. But first they're going to erase you," the irony was so unsettling, and so goddamn funny that Laurence actually found the humor in this whole thing. He didn't know whether he was going insane or close to a break down.
"I can take care of myself," she huffed.
'God, I hope you can. I really hope you can, Echo.'
"I know. That's why I'm smiling. Because one day you'll be erasing them, and even after all this they still won't see it coming. Sooner or later, everybody gets theirs." Wasn't that the truth. And wouldn't he be proud of his girl, taking back what was hers and punishing the rest. Echo would get them all back. He knew it.
"You're strange," she muttered.
He gave her a broken smile. "Because I'm broken. I'm broken in a way you won't ever be and you don't even know what I'm talking about."
This is it. This was really it. He wouldn't see Echo. Not for a long time at least. And that put so much pain in him, he thought he was dying already.
She didn't know how to respond to that, and he knew Boyd could hear everything from the front.
"I love you," Laurence choked out, becoming a crying, pathetic mess. "I love you, and you won't remember that, you won't remember this, and you won't remember me."
And he sobbed like the broken man he was.
Echo was dropped off to be wiped, still disconcerted from the break down and confession of a man she didn't think she knew, and Boyd took a hold of Laurence and led him to get ready for his own wipe.
"Right pants pocket. Keys to my house and to my office. Get everything out for me, please," Laurence muttered to Boyd, face devoid of any emotion and calmly waiting for his execution.
Boyd discreetly grabbed the keys, slipping them into his pocket. "I won't let her forget you," the handler murmured softly to him.
And then it was time.
They were holding him down. Topher was in a panic and moving around with the air of a person who was being pushed and pushed and didn't know what to do. Laurence appreciated his favorite idiot didn't want to do this, but he knew Topher really had no choice in the matter.
Adelle was watching, and she was the perfect example of an ice sculpture.
And so he screamed and struggled, because damn it all, fake or not, he wasn't going to go down without a fight. Temporary or not, he never approved of this technology and didn't want it used on him. He grabbed an idiot's gun, wondering why you would bring it so close to a captive anyway, and fought to bring it to his head. Screw the plan, he had already saved Claire from being discovered as the spy and he deserved to die because he didn't deserve Echo.
Unfortunately, it was wrestled away from his head and he pulled the trigger, only to shoot Adelle.
That was the last thing he remembered before he couldn't fight any more and his head was wiped clean.
"The unabridged Laurence Dominic," Topher uncomfortably showed the copy to Adelle.
"Lose it in the archives," Adelle coldly ordered. "And good job on uncovering the spy."
"Uh, actually Echo…" he cut himself off.
"Echo what?" Adelle's voice turned sharp, though he could tell that she seemed to actually know what he was about to say.
"She…wanted to be imprinted."
"Do you want me get her scrubbed?" he nervously asked.
"What? No. Of course not. Echo just saved the Dollhouse."
He fidgeted beside her. "Well, we don't have to worry about Laurence turning out to be like Hearn." Though, like Boyd said, he didn't think it was like that bastard at all.
Adelle frowned. "No. That man was more dangerous than Hearn ever was. He had feelings for her."
She turned and walked away in thought. Topher stared after her, hiding his shrewd thoughts.
She'd known immediately about Laurence and Echo, and there had been no real chance at hiding it from her. Claire had spotted right away that Laurence was attracted to Echo, and maybe even something going on between the two. Topher had taken awhile, he had known Laurence had some intense fascination and interest in Echo ever since the Alpha incident, but after the pictures he'd known that Laurence was actually attracted to her. It was only after seeing Laurence smile genuinely at Echo that both Claire and he realized, it wasn't just attraction or something so base like that. Laurence actually loved her.
Adelle was a whole other ballgame. She'd known that it wasn't just attraction that led Laurence to Echo, even before Claire had spotted the attraction. Adelle had known that it was more than that, more than simply lust. She'd known even before Laurence had started to act out and anything solid had formed.
She had never thought it was only attraction.
Boyd uncomfortably entered the good as dead man's office, looking around the nicely kept and polished interior. His new office…he hadn't even needed Laurence's key. He was still concerned with not being Echo's handler any more, but the most important part right then was staring him in the face.
This was Laurence Dominic's office and he felt like he didn't belong when it was supposed to be his now.
Boyd shivered, remembering not too long ago how Laurence was mind-sucked and was now being prepped to go into the Attic. He didn't think he could change anything now. He probably never would.
The office was impersonal, but it was decorated to Laurence's tastes. And he could see the little things, new additions that did make the office personal. He had a feeling they were too new, and there because of the recent addition of Echo to Laurence's life.
There was the strange placement of an acoustic guitar next to the couch, and he could see it in his mind. Echo would have been sitting on the couch, long made to have a permanent indent in the cushion that screamed it was her fault it was there, and Laurence would have been at her feet, calmly strumming a song for her.
He took out the other key he had gotten from Laurence and went to his desk. Unlocking the drawer, he slid it open and cautiously reached for the corner peeking out. He tugged on it and curiously looked at the content.
It was the last picture of the two in the series of photos they'd taken. A smile inadvertently crossed his lips and he examined the photo in more detail. Laurence looked content and at peace, with his eyes closed. Echo was poised over him, leaning on her hands on his chest, kissing his nose. She looked happy and just as content.
He was sure Laurence had wanted him to get this picture and hide it, unsure of who would have taken over his job and potentially discover it. But Boyd was the Head of Security now, and he could use this picture to help him keep his promise to a dead man.
He knew Laurence told Echo about the filmstrips in her bed, and he could take over with that, but now he had this photo to help him as well.
He would miss a happier Echo.
Started 4/14/09 –Completed 4/18/09
A/n: Don't forget to join DH wiki! Yes, still waiting for anyone to do a LaurencexEcho fic. I will make something shiny for you! Oh, and good news seems that Laurence is supposed to be in Briar Rose, though I don't know how. So I hold out hope for him, even though I mourn.
Sanestar: No problem on the mention. I honestly thought no one was reading this until you reviewed, so…and yes, I love that line too. I'm obsessing over Laurence overall. I cried. I'm still not over it. But there's hope yet. He wasn't killed and they still have a copy of his mind. How'd you like the twists, eh? I considered making this AU, but I kept thinking on it…
I was trying to make Laurence happier and instead I ended up making him more miserable…the title is so ironic now it isn't funny…