Fred/Wesley, I guess, with slight Fred/Gunn or something *g*
Mostly Fred, though.
PG or whatever the fan equivalent is.
The significance of a click.
The quiet sound of a red permanent marker scibbling on a freshly-painted wall. Doodles and drawings, numbers and equations, all coming together in the final answer, the perfect moment.
Someone locked a rainbow in a box. It said ‘crayola’ on the side, but Fred knew it could only be a rainbow. It was too pretty to be kept imprisoned so she freed it and let it shine on the walls.
Later her mother scolded her and bought her a sketchbook with blue covers, but the pretty flowers and the handsome prince stayed on her walls till she grew up and covered it with yellow paint and band posters.
Rainbow stayed in her heart.
Primary school brought the discovery of letters – mysterious symbols clicked together and became words, and words described the world, creating it anew.
But to Fred Burkle the letters came in second, preceeded by the fearful awe of the blackboard they were written on.
You could create the world on it and then easily erase it.
Fred didn’t like the boards. She didn’t want to be erased.
She bought two permanent markers and wrote numbers on the covers of her textbooks, much in a way one would be doodling the name of one’s first crush.
You could trust numbers.
He recited poetry and bought her flowers and she loved that. Shared tacos and walks in the rain and fumbled encounters on the back seat of his father’s car. Inexperience was the charm and discovery had a taste of strawberries.
She forgot about numbers and the fear of nonexistence.
Click seemed to be so close.
The University had huge blackboards and even bigger library.
It was a place full of words and numbers and numbers were what brought her to the city of angels, the city of dreams.
She packed her markers and her books and the crayola box, and of course Feigenbaum the Bunny and she followed the numbers in her heart.
She tried the party life but it was too loud, too hard to hear anything but the thumping music.
So she hid in the library, listened and waited.
There was a land over rainbow hidden in a book.
She read the words and they created a whole new world, strange world, and they erased her from the real one.
She read them aloud and a portal opened and the hope for a click died in her ears, only scream was left, and the cold collar on her neck.
She wasn’t herself anymore, she was her work and her pain, and her bleeding fingers and the whip on her back. She was the fugitive, the whisper in the wind, thumping sound of her feet and her heart as she run, silence of the rock when she hid.
There was no paint on these walls, no posters, no light.
The rainbow locked between bare rocks of this box and it was close to disappearing.
There was no Feigenbaum to console her here, no crayons to free the numbers that ticked in her head, counting down. No crayons, no pens, no pencils.
She picked a sharp rock and freed the numbers, red permanent marker on the walls.
She listened and she waited.
Fred stopped counting days after a while, it was a waste of numbers.
She counted thumps of her heart and pulsing of the red marker, because it was the only real thing around her, because she feared she would disappear completely if she stopped.
Between the thumps ringing in her ears she heard thumping of a riding horse and the handsome prince appeared.
She was back to the real world.
It was just the meaning of real that has changed.
She got the Feigenbaum back and she got the real red markers, the ones that didn’t need to hurt, and she got a pretty room with smooth walls and it felt just like another cave.
But it was good because cave was safe and warm, and real, real like the numbers on the walls and thumping sound in her head.
But now she wasn’t alone in the unreal world. The champion, the strength, the smarts and the heart. And her.
And the hope for the click returned.
So she listened.
Charles listened to her and smiled and understood. He took her out for tacos and they walked through the fire.
He made her believe she was real.
She could hear the echo of the click, and thought that was it.
As perfect as you can get.
Strenght grew weaker. Heart was taken away. Smarts were fooled by a false prophecy. And the champion failed.
Where did it leave her?
She stuck to the numbers, because they never failed her, even if they counted down to the Apocalypse.
This was the real world and it was ending.
Nothing to click anymore.
The world changed.
Suddenly she had people reporting to her and all resources imaginable under her fingertips and more numbers than she could ever want.
But she found herself wanting something more.
He watched her for so long and she started looking back.
He made her tick in a way only numbers did.
And when he ignored all her signals she had to act herself.
A signal. The final question.
And even if it wasn’t the ultimate click, when their bodies came together they clicked.
One perfect moment.
The box had writing on its side, but it was not a rainbow imprisoned there.
She could hear it ticking, calling to her, counting down.
So she freed it and it pumped through her veins, ringing in her ears.
She coughed and screamed and the red marker painted his face, sweet red mingled with salt.
She listened to his voice as her time ticked away and waited to be erased completely and totally.
Life of Winifred Burkle came down to a click and that Illyria did not understand.
She investigated the red markers with open curiosity, as if they held all the answers. She spent hours listening and waiting, but the understanding did not dawn.
Maybe there was nothing to it, just another folly of a human shell.
But deep down Illyria could hear the ticking.
It was not a new concept to Illyria the Deceiver, but this lie was different.
Softer, sweeter, somehow. Bitter, too.
The red marked her fingers and she desperately hoped the salt of her tears might erase that.
He faded and the ticking stopped.
And in the silence of death Illyria finally understood.