Author: Always_A_Queen / Small-Wonders
Rating: T / PG-13
Word Count: Around 3,500
Characters / Pairings: Joshua/Lisa. Anna. Mentions of Ryan, Erica, Kyle and Jack.
Spoilers / Warnings: Takes place (and probably goes drastically AU) after 1x08. Some slight language and a bit of sexual content, but nothing graphic. If you've seen the show, this is probably fine. Un-betaed
Summary: There's already far too much blood on his hands. One-shot. Companion piece to 'Addiction'.
Author's notes: Okay, so a few recent revelations on the show have made one of the aspects of this fic (and Addiction) a little bit off-canon. Ah, well. That's why they call it fan-fiction. This is a companion piece to Addiction, but I don't think that you'll need to read that to understand this. (not that I would exactly mind tremendously if you did.)
Read, Enjoy, and Review!
You can never trust her.
The words of Joshua's fellow Fifth Column V echo in his ears relentlessly.
You can never trust her.
But he does. She can't know that he's Fifth Column, so Joshua makes it look like blackmail and leaves it at that. Worst comes to worst, he'll use her pull to save someone who is Fifth Column.
He lies to Anna.
That, in and of itself, could seal his doom, but Joshua is too worried and elated about the fact that Lisa could be changing. Besides, he would be a hypocrite to turn her in to her mother, particularly when he himself has experienced the same thing she is.
She does, however, seem oddly worried that he would lie for her.
Joshua doesn't know what to make of that.
Lisa fails her second empathy test.
It's more than obvious this time that this is not a problem with Joshua's margin of error. There's no mistake here, no irregularity.
She's changing. Just like he did. Pure and simple. So he tells her the truth.
"John May Lives."
She doesn't speak to him for weeks.
She comes around, eventually.
It happens one day when he's standing at a window on-ship, studying the curious-looking human buildings below. She moves next to him, gently pressing the palms of her human hands against the railing beneath the window.
"I should really report you to my mother."
Joshua says nothing and she turns and walks away. He makes no preparations to leave the ship. He doesn't believe she'll breathe a word of his involvement to Anna. Perhaps that's foolish of him.
Tired of being so guarded all the time. Tired of watching people die in his place. Tired of being so important.
Joshua watches the way Lisa speaks to Tyler, the way she looks at him when she thinks no one is looking. In a way, he thinks, she's the lucky one. Tyler is her escape. If anyone sees her being emotional around him, she can blame it on her assignment. So long as Joshua keeps fixing her empathy tests, no one will suspect her. She's Anna's daughter, for crying out loud – though that doesn't exactly mean much.
Not even her genetics will keep her safe if the truth ever comes out.
"What are we supposed to do?" she asks him one day.
"Nothing," he replies. "You must go on as you always have. There must be nothing that traces you to us. Ever. You can never be discovered as Fifth Column."
Lisa shakes her head. "I have to do something."
"You are. By doing nothing, you're doing something." He leaves it at that.
He feels her eyes following him as he walks away.
She could change everything.
If Anna is overthrown, Lisa would become High Commander. And if she is able to gain the respect of her people, they just might have a chance at both successfully saving the entire human existence and freeing an entire race of V's from their strong connection to Anna's bliss. So long as Lisa lives, the resistance has a chance. They have hope.
Joshua would give almost anything to keep that hope alive. If Anna has taught him anything, it's that trust is a very, very powerful weapon, but Joshua – feeling and somewhat understanding human emotion – knows that she couldn't be more wrong.
Hope is equally as powerful.
And twice as dangerous.
They ask Lisa to kill Anna.
Joshua volunteers in her stead. He can't imagine Lisa possessing the ability to kill her mother, and there is no way she could assassinate Anna and step in to rule the V's in her stead.
Lisa flips out and refuses to let him, going so far as to snap at Kyle Hobbes to prove her point.
Joshua doesn't think he's ever been prouder of her.
"I need you," she explains later, and he finds himself unable to speak.
He needs her too.
Joshua is the one who kills Tyler.
Anna orders him too. He has no choice. It's Tyler or him.
He's killed to protect the Fifth Column before. And somehow he knows that he'll kill to protect them again.
Lisa can never know. Erica can never know. Jack and Ryan and Kyle can never know.
Joshua calmly places the now-clean silver knife on Anna's desk.
"It's done," he tells her simply, waiting for her reaction.
"Good." She almost smiles, but not quite, and then returns to the holographic symbols spread out across the smooth, silver surface before her.
Joshua leaves with a sick feeling in his stomach and the strong urge to drive a sharp object through Anna's not-so-human skull.
But there's already far too much blood on his hands.
His first task after Tyler's death is to make sure Lisa is away from the ship and far, far away from the prying eyes of any V's who do not believe John May lives.
V's do not cry, and they certainly do not mourn over the teenage boys they're supposed to be seducing.
He takes her to a hotel. They rent a room using a fake ID Erica has given him.
When he tells her, Lisa does far more than cry. She doubles over, desperate sobs pouring from her lips.
Joshua wonders if human men also have no idea what to do when human women cry.
"Why?" she asks finally, after her tears are dry – though Joshua notices that her eyes are still red.
"I don't know," he replies. He doesn't. Anna only tells him so much. All he knows is that Tyler 'has fulfilled his purpose'.
"I think I hate her," Lisa says.
Joshua isn't sure he knows exactly how that particular emotion works, but he does know that he probably hates Anna too.
Diplomacy crumbles swiftly.
Joshua watches with an unchanging expression as Anna paces. She doesn't worry. She is incapable of feeling worried. She paces because she claims that something about the motion is soothing and assists her in formulating appropriate responses to difficult problems.
Joshua doesn't know how Anna will form a response to the entire human race turning against the V's and demanding – by the capture and detainment of several high-placed V officials – that they leave and never come back.
Anna stops moving and gazes out the window at the ground below. The words she utters next scare Joshua more than anything else.
"To hell with diplomacy."
With a flick of her wrist and a push of a button, Anna carelessly obliterates several towns with populations that don't rise above a thousand heads before the human leaders even know how to respond.
'Peace' talks between the races resume again.
Joshua doesn't think he believes in peace.
Being essentially trapped on-ship is difficult for both him and Lisa.
There's no escape, no outlet. Sometimes Joshua feels like he has thousands and millions of emotions coursing through his body during one single second, and if he doesn't do something – smile, cry, laugh, yell, anything! – he's going to go crazy.
Or maybe he already is.
"It's time Lisa started birthing soldiers."
Joshua wishes he could raise his eyebrows. Instead, he tips his head in confusion and keeps silent. Knowing Anna, she will explain what she means – and why she's telling him this – in a moment.
"You've known my daughter a long time, yes?" She's circling him now, and Joshua's stomach sinks. He now thinks he knows where this is going.
He's right. She leans over and sniffs the side of his face. "You're suitable. Strong. Smart. I could find stronger, but travel between ships nowadays has become complicated."
"I understand." And he does. Anna's obviously thought this out.
Anna just barely nods, turning away from him. "Tomorrow, then."
A wave of her hand dismisses him.
Joshua decides that waiting is the hard part.
His eyes calmly take in his surroundings as he stands at attention, hands clasped behind his back, feet shoulder length apart. It's cool in the room, particularly since he's already discarded his gray jacket.
When Lisa finally enters, he sees the fear and anxiety in her eyes immediately and an emotion he now knows is 'empathy' grows in his chest.
So he tells her it'll be okay. She'll get through this. He'll help her.
It's not that he's done this before – honestly, he's never had a need to – it's more that he's had the foresight and the presence of mind to participate in a slightly-awkward-yet-frank-and-honest discussion with Ryan about the differences between V and human mating rituals.
So it isn't exactly that he's prepared for what is about to happen, more that he's armed with quite a bit of too-much-information type knowledge.
Once he starts kissing her, however, all that knowledge completely and totally slips his mind.
She's pure, unaltered bliss.
Joshua can't explain or describe it any better than that.
And he wouldn't dare try.
"Are you okay?" he asks her later, trying so hard not to let his concern show in his voice.
Lisa's head bobs up and down. Her fingers stretch out and travel down the side of his face, trailing along his cheek as her thumb brushes across his lips. It's a feathery touch that feels so much more intimate than anything they've done during the past hour.
"I think so," she whispers as he bends over to kiss her again.
She lets out a tiny groan as she pulls away, pressing her cheek to his. "My mother," her voice is ragged.
"I know," Joshua fiddles with a strand of her hair as he studies her. "I'll leave and let you rest."
"Joshua!" She grabs his hand before he can get very far. When she speaks, her voice comes out in a tiny, nervous whisper.
The second time it happens, Lisa looks less frightened.
Rather, she walks up to him swiftly, lifting herself up on her toes and curling her arms around his shoulders. With her human lips inches from his ear, she murmurs, "Do me a favor?"
She's too darn intoxicating this close. "What?
"Make it go on forever?"
Naturally, he can't follow that instruction literally – for several reasons – but he does his best.
"Lisa has turned against me." Anna intones, and Joshua notices the way her fingers stretch towards the silver knife resting on her desk. "I wasn't sure at first, but it has come to my attention that she is feeling. More than she should. She wasn't ready for Tyler. I pushed her too hard."
Joshua feels his heart sink. This is it. He wants to lung at Anna. Drive the dagger she means for Lisa deep into her chest…but he keeps his composure. "Would you like me to take care of it?"
Anna's eyes jump up to meet his.
"No," she says, perhaps too quickly. "Of course not. She is my responsibility; I will take care of her. But I must wait until after she births this next batch of soldiers."
Joshua nods and slips out of Anna's presence as she begins cleaning and sharpening the silver weapon in her hands. In the hallway he exhales a breath he hasn't realized he is holding. Lisa is safe for at least few more days and Anna doesn't suspect him at all.
He's too good at this.
Anna requests his presence when she kills Lisa.
Ostensibly, to dispose of the body. Anna doesn't want anyone on the ship to know that Lisa is feeling human emotion, so she plans on spreading a rumor that her daughter is needed to help diplomatic relations on the London Mothership.
Joshua is grateful. Lisa doesn't need to know anything. There is no need for her to put up a fight – he can.
And he does.
He's not a soldier. He cannot protect exactly Lisa like she needs to be protected, but there's no way he will let Anna hurt her, even if it means he'll die in her place.
So he slams a metal surgical tool he'd keep hidden beneath his jacket into Anna's skull. Not exactly a death blow, but it knocks her over and peels back the layer of human skin on the back of her head.
Anna's shrill, high-pitched screeches of pain echo through her chamber, and Joshua watches as she hisses at them through her thin, yellow-green fangs.
Joshua knocks her backwards with the heel of his boot.
"We have to go," he whispers numbly, "Someone's probably already heard that."
They use the one shuttle Anna's been hiding from the humans for the past month to get off the Mothership.
Erica and Ryan meet them once they've landed. Erica gives them clothes, money and passports and tells them to stay off of the radar as much as possible. "Keep her safe," she orders Joshua.
"I will," he swears.
And he does.
They skip from motel to motel, from an infested mattress to one with squeaky bedsprings.
They spend their nights sleeping. They spend their days constantly on guard. It's a stressful and unhealthy way to live. Joshua often awakens in the middle of the night to hear Lisa fitfully tossing and turning.
Joshua doesn't know how long it will be before Lisa breaks, but he knows its coming.
When it does happen, she ends up throwing a lamp at his head.
So he kisses her.
It seems like a logical progression of events at the time.
He lifts her up almost carelessly as they tumble together towards the squeaky bed. It's wild, it's passionate, and it's much, much more intoxicating than Anna's bliss has ever been.
"Is this love?" Lisa whispers as her fingers trace spirals on his bare shoulder blades.
"I don't know," he answers honestly, more preoccupied with kissing her than rational thought.
Lisa moans quietly.
"I think it must be," her voice wavers slightly when his lips find the right spot on her neck – right beneath her ear – and her nails dig into his skin.
Neither one of them voices anything remotely resembling words after that.
Later, however, when steady rise and fall of Lisa's chest tells Joshua that she's sleeping peacefully for the first time in months, he allows himself to wonder if maybe she's right.
Maybe this is love.
"She made you do a lot of things that you didn't want to, didn't she?"
She phrases it like it's a question, but it sounds like a statement.
Joshua swallows thickly. "Yes. She did."
Lisa nods, threading her fingers through his. Joshua uses his forefinger to tip her chin up gently.
"You weren't one of them."
The news informs them of Anna's demise.
A black noose dangles her bloody, skinned body beneath the V's ship like a trophy. On the city streets below, thousands of humans cheer.
"I have to go back, don't I?" Lisa murmurs, using a remote to click the TV in their hotel room off. "I'm next in line. If I don't go back, someone else will step in and this war will continue."
Joshua nods. Unfortunately, and as much as he wishes it weren't true, he has to admit that she's right.
Both the V's and the humans need her now.
Lisa's return to the ship is met with cheering and applause.
Her criticizers are there, of course, hiding in the background, but the majority of the V's embrace her, mostly because they believe that she has Anna's blessing as her replacement. No one knows about her fall from her mother's graces.
Joshua doesn't know what will happen if the truth ever comes out.
Lisa isn't as skilled with the media as Anna was.
Joshua watches as she steps forward to the glass podium, hands and voice trembling. "Please don't be frightened," she tells the world, pressing one palm flat against her chest. "My name is Lisa. I am the Visitor's New High Commander." She's wearing a pair of torn jeans, and a black hooded sweatshirt with the name of some human College splashed across the chest. Her hair is loose, and just slightly wavy from the French braid she had worn that morning.
"I mean you no harm."
Nobody immediately believes her, naturally.
Friction between V's and humans is still high. From Erica, Joshua knows that law enforcement – the CIA, NSA, Interpol, MI-6 and all the other various intelligence agencies around the globe – will probably still be hunting so-called 'sleeper V's for years, decades even, to come. The humans fear them now. And rightly so.
Lisa starts to send the ships away, hoping to generate some goodwill. And she takes to living in a high-rise hotel in the center of the city, instead of on-ship. Joshua doesn't complain about that much, but some of her people wonder if she's abandoning them.
Every address she gives to the humans begins with the words, "My name is Lisa," as if she's hoping to remind them that she is not Anna.
And maybe, Joshua thinks, it's also to remind herself.
"It never ends, does it?" she asks him one night, slipping a dark black robe off of her shoulders and climbing into bed next to him.
"I don't think so," he replies as she adjusts her position on the silk sheets. They're quiet for a minute, but Lisa must see the words forming in his eyes, because she asks, "What is it?"
Joshua pauses for a moment, debating. "I just hate those blasted robes."
The next night, she wears nothing but a way-too-large human T-shirt.
The last ship finally leaves.
Erica arranges another set of new ID's for Lisa and Joshua so they can stay behind on earth. Considering the fact that returning home means an almost certain gruesome and public death, neither of them has any desire to do so. To help keeping their once incredibly public faces off of the radar, Joshua begrudgingly allows his hair to grow out, and Lisa cuts hers short – not too short, but around shoulder-length – and dyes it a light brown.
They hide in the throngs of people who gather on the streets of New York City and cheer as the last silver mothership vanishes into the earth's atmosphere.
Lisa reaches over to take his hand as the last remnants of their race head home. Joshua looks down at their interwoven fingers. Maybe Lisa is right. Maybe this is love.
Anna once told him that love is evil – an abomination. Emotions make the humans weak, she claimed. That was why their species was so superior to the earthlings. The V's had her bliss, and that was all they needed.
Joshua begs to disagree. Love - at least, Joshua's understanding of it - is not evil. It is not an abomination, nor does it make the humans inferior to the V's. Bliss, the way Anna used it, was an abusive tool employed to keep her people in line through manipulation and threats of disconnection. The V's were taught to need bliss, to crave bliss. But the human's love, if that is what this is, is noticeably and undeniably better than any of Anna's manufactured bliss.
Lisa tugs on his hand, "Joshua, are you coming?"
He smiles and nods, following her as they weave their way through the throngs of humans around them.
Maybe this is love.
It's definitely bliss.