Cleo (istoria) wrote in gen_ficathon,
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Dollhouse: "Mixed Up" - for lar_laughs

Title: Mixed up
Recipient: lar_laughs
Author: istoria
Fandom: Dollhouse
Character(s): Echo, Boyd
Prompt:Echo goes on a mission with her new handler. Being without Boyd makes her skittish and uncomfortable and completely unable to do her assigned task. Just when she thinks everything has gone completely wrong, Boyd arrives to save the day once again.
Rating:PG-13 (one bad word... that might not even count as a bad word anymore)
Word Count: 1500
Author's Notes: A few other handlers thrown in for flavor, but it's most just Boyd and Echo.
Summary: Echo adopted the personna of Beatrice, a bartender without peer until a familiar scent completely unravels her.

If she wasn't used to it by now, the music would be deafening. But then, you weren't awarded 'Best Bartender in DC' if you couldn't handle a situation like this. So Beatrice didn't just handle it, she threw the bottle of rum up in the air with spin and caught it, all to the beat of the song, not breaking a sweat, her smile perfectly intact. For her the thumping beat of a dance song was just a rhythm to mix to.

Her white tank top was decorated with a tiny sparkling butterfly, the fabric itself wrapping around her perfectly proportioned waist like a cocoon. The jeans she wore looked almost painted on and the shoes had heels so high it was a wonder she didn't topple over the bar she towered over. Her long hair was piled messily on top her head and just enough makeup had been applied so that it only accentuated her natural beauty, not overpowered it. She wasn’t the best bartender in DC, she was the best anywhere. She was perfect.

But then, every doll was. Or at least, they were supposed to be.

Beatrice was distracted. Not by the music, not by the onslaught of orders being thrown at her, not even at the thinly veiled pick-up attempts of the birthday boy. All of these were part of the job. She bopped to the music. She processed orders without blinking an eye. She smiled and winked at the newly minted 21 year-old and made her own thinly veiled promises. It was only right, seeing as his father had requested her personally for this event.

“A shot of tequila, a lime and a line of salt some place… nice” the birthday boy said, leaning far over the bar and into her personal space as he eyed the low cut of her top. He wore cologne that was meant for someone twice his age. And it was very distracting. It didn’t suit him at all.

But it suited someone else. Beatrice smiled a bit at the memory. The nice man who had driven her here wore that cologne, just not as much as the birthday boy did. It was subtle, sort of like his smile as he dropped her off and promised to pick her up later. He was a nice man. He was… safe.

“What the hell is this?” the birthday boy demanded.

Beatrice looked down at the drink in her hand. It should be what he ordered. But instead it was a large glass of brandy. No, that wasn’t what he had wanted. It was what the man had said was his favorite drink when she asked.

“Oh wow,” Beatrice laughed. “Total flake out moment. “ She looked up at him seeing the impatience on his face. What had he ordered? She should know this. She was the best bartender in DC. “Ah let’s see…”

She turned around and faced the shelves of liquor behind her. Maybe if she saw the bottle it would jog her memory. Her eyes darted around, confusion knitting her brows. Every bottle she looked at just didn't seem right, her eyes kept lingering on the brandy instead.

“Best bartender my ass,” the boy laughed. “Maybe she can’t find the bottle because someone had a little too much Ta-keel-la already,” he finished emphasizing each syllable slowly, like he thought Beatrice didn’t speak English.

She wanted to be insulted by that, she wasn’t dumb. But he was the birthday boy and his father had been nice enough to request her. And he was cute. If she could get him what he ordered maybe they could go back with flirting.

Beatrice laughed with him and the rest of the crowd at her own incompetence. It was embarrassing that someone as skilled as her made an amateur mistake. She left the brandy on the bar and turned, grabbing the bottle of tequila and quickly making the drink.

She turned and held out the shot to him. He looked at it and at her like he was expecting something. Did she forget something? His smile turned cruel again and the shot she was holding in her hand started to shake. What was wrong with her? Why couldn’t she remember a simple drink order?

~~~~~~

Boyd wasn’t talking to the other handlers. It wasn't that he didn’t like them. He was just concentrated on his job. On the screen in front of him, Echo was spinning bottles and doling out drinks like she had been doing it every day of her life.

“A little Cruise from Cocktail, a little Violet ala Coyote Wild,” Topher had said after she was programmed. Boyd had just pretended to understand the pop culture references. All he needed to know was the Echo was ready for her job.

“That’s just freaky,” Luis said, looking a bit uncomfortable at the conversation. “Pink bunny slippers?”

Pierre laughed. “Yeah. I mean, of course Juliet made it look good but I never heard of a dominatrix that wore anything but black leather.”

“Man… remind me to never let Kilo get assigned to that freak,” Luis said, joining in the laughter. “See what you have to look forward to Boyd?”

Boyd glanced over with the polite look of agreement. He still didn’t really understand what the hell he had gotten himself into. But it was a job and one that he liked well enough. And then there was Echo. He looked over at Luis and Pierre’s unwatched screens with an internal frown. He didn’t want her ending up with someone like them.

It wasn’t that Boyd thought they were horrible handlers. He knew they cared for their girls as much as he did. They were just young and careless and prone to mistakes that Boyd had already made and learned from.

Boyd leaned forward and watched Echo hold out a glass of brandy. Huh, so the young birthday boy had taste. That was surprising considering he had spent most of the night drinking cheap vodka and gin.

“Just wait until…”

Boyd didn’t hear the rest of what Luis said. Instead his full attention was on the screen. He had seen Echo and the confusion on her face as the boy pointed out her mistake. He watched as she started hopeless at the liquor behind the bar. That wasn’t right. She should be able to handle any drink order that came her way. Topher would have made sure of it.

Boyd was out of his seat before Luis or Pierre had a chance to ask what was going on. His instincts were never wrong, it’s how he had survived in his last line of work for so long. And now, his gut was telling him something was off with Echo.

He ran up to the chain link fence that separated the bar from the rest of the neighborhood. One, two, three quick movements and he was up and over, leaving the two younger handlers in his wake. The back door refused to budge only once before he leveled a strong kick and forced it open.

The place was packed, people were pressed so close together that it was like attempting to traverse a pool of drying cement. But it didn’t stop Boyd from trying. His suit picked up sweat and glitter as he pressed through the crowd. His shoes stuck to the floor and even though he didn’t want to, he was forced to look down to avoid being blinded by the swirling lights above.

But he never lost track of where he was going, even as he was jostled around and turned in circles. He knew exactly where the bar was, having memorized the floor plan after Echo was assigned to this job. He didn’t need to see where he was going. He knew he was going to get to her.

~~~~

“You forgot the salt, bitch.”

The boy reached out and grabbed her arm, yanking her forward and against the bar. Beatrice panicked and tried to pull back, dropping the shot of tequila. It shattered on the ground, drenching the hems of her jeans.

And suddenly the boy was gone, his hand removed from her arm with such grace and speed she barely had time to register what happened. In his place was a man, the same one from before. Instantly she felt better.

He leaned over the bar and shouted over the music. “Are you okay?”

She looked at him and smiled. Reaching down, she picking up the glass of brandy. “Your favorite,” she said holding out for him.

He took it gently from her with one hand and used his other to softly hold her shoulder. “Thank you. But it’s time for your treatment.”

She smiled again, a genuine one that seemed to warm the area around her. “I’d like that, please.” She walked from around the bar, her confusion gone, her panic abated. As the man lead her out of the club, all she felt was safe.
Tags: author: istoria, character: boyd langton, character: echo, fandom: dollhouse, recipient: lar_laughs
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