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Literature
Dark Lullaby - Ch. 4 Pt. 2 (Drop Dead Fred Fanfic)
**This is the second part of the chapter because Stash has an annoyingly short limit.**
Chapter Four - Part I
Dark Lullaby
by :iconmarajade3: (aka zombierose3) and unleashthewords
***
For :iconrashelle: (aka DirtyAim)
Chapter Four - Part II
Indecent Exposure
Good, because if those leprechauns are just going to swear by their word, we'll need your memories. Moving on..." Felicia glanced over her papers again and spoke without looking up. "Your duties as ima
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Literature
Dark Lullaby - Ch. 4 Pt. 1 (Drop Dead Fred Fanfic)
**This is the first part of the chapter because Stash has an annoyingly short limit.**
Chapter Four - Part II
Dark Lullaby
by :iconmarajade3: (aka zombierose3) and unleashthewords
***
For :iconrashelle: (aka DirtyAim)
Chapter Four - Part I
Indecent Exposure
At the city's center in Lullabi, a tall, obsidian building dominated the skyline. A column of black smoke appeared over the dark, grey sidewalk, evaporating to reveal Shea. She shuddered, scowling up at
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Mature content
Dark Lullaby- Chapter 3 (Drop Dead Fred Fanfic) :iconmarajade3:marajade3 0 0
Mature content
Dark Lullaby - Chapter 2 (Drop Dead Fred Fanfic) :iconmarajade3:marajade3 1 2
Mature content
Dark Lullaby - Ch. 1 Pt. 2 (Drop Dead Fred Fanfic) :iconmarajade3:marajade3 0 2
Mature content
Dark Lullaby - Ch. 1 Pt. 1 (Drop Dead Fred Fanfic) :iconmarajade3:marajade3 0 0
Literature
Second Chances- Ch 11 Pt 3 (Drop Dead Fred Fanfic)
***Authors’ Notes: A change has been made in the prologue. Instead of saying that Fred was in and out of orphanages since birth, it now reads:
In and out of orphanages and foster homes since he'd been six-years-old, he felt that no one really wanted him.
***This is broken into three parts again because Stash writer is annoying with its word limit.

Part I
Part II

Second Chances

By :iconmarajade3: , unleashthewords, and :iconrashelle:
(A.K.A. on Fanfiction.net: 
:iconmarajade3:marajade3
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Literature
Second Chances- Ch 11 Pt 2 (Drop Dead Fred Fanfic)
***Authors’ Notes: A change has been made in the prologue. Instead of saying that Fred was in and out of orphanages since birth, it now reads:
In and out of orphanages and foster homes since he'd been six-years-old, he felt that no one really wanted him.
***This is broken into three parts again because Stash writer is annoying with its word limit.

Part I
Part III

Second Chances

By :iconmarajade3: , unleashthewords, and :iconrashelle:
(A.K.A. on Fanfiction.net: 
:iconmarajade3:marajade3
:iconmarajade3:marajade3 0 0
Literature
Second Chances- Ch 11 Pt 1 (Drop Dead Fred Fanfic)
***Authors’ Notes: A change has been made in the prologue. Instead of saying that Fred was in and out of orphanages since birth, it now reads:
In and out of orphanages and foster homes since he'd been six-years-old, he felt that no one really wanted him.
***This is broken into three parts again because Stash writer is annoying with its word limit.

Part II
Part III

Second Chances

By :iconmarajade3: , unleashthewords, and :iconrashelle:
(A.K.A. on Fanfiction.net: 
:iconmarajade3:marajade3
:iconmarajade3:marajade3 0 0
Literature
Second Chances: Chapter 10 (Drop Dead Fred)
***Authors’ Notes: A change was made at the end to previous chapter. Lizzie no longer thinks: I’m attracted to my imaginary friend! She now thinks: I think I’m attracted to my imaginary friend! ***
Second Chances

By :iconmarajade3: , unleashthewords, and :iconrashelle:
(A.K.A. on Fanfiction.net: zombierose3, or ZombieWithANoose - Joint account)
(Tumblrs - zombierose3  - unleashthewordsDirtyAim
:iconmarajade3:marajade3
:iconmarajade3:marajade3 2 11
Literature
Second Chances: Chapter 9: Cooties(Drop Dead Fred)
Second Chances
By :iconmarajade3: and :iconrashelle:

(A.K.A. on Fanfiction.net: zombierose3, or ZombieWithANoose - Joint account)
(Tumblrs - zombierose3 and DirtyAim)


Chapter Nine
Cooties
In the quiet of the Other Otherworld, Damion had indeed been watching Lizzie and Fred, and already he did not like what he observed. Not only did the cronut figure out how to start up her powers, but Fred had held her when she turned emotional over her death, and even divulged one of the biggest secrets of his past. Two things Damion kne
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:iconmarajade3:marajade3 2 8
Literature
Second Chances: Chapter 8 Pt. II (Drop Dead Fred)
This is broken into two parts again because Stash writer is annoying with its word limit. Here is the link to Chapter 8- Part I
Second Chances
By :iconmarajade3: and :iconrashelle:

(A.K.A. on Fanfiction.net: zombierose3, or ZombieWithANoose - Joint account)
(Tumblrs - zombierose3 and DirtyAim)


Chapter Eight - Part II
Imaginary Friends 101
She was dead. She had failed the test and Damion had ban
:iconmarajade3:marajade3
:iconmarajade3:marajade3 0 0
Literature
Second Chances: Chapter 8 Pt. 1 (Drop Dead Fred)
This is broken into two parts again because Stash writer is annoying with its word limit. Here is the link to Chapter 8- Part II
Second Chances
By :iconmarajade3: and :iconrashelle:

(A.K.A. on Fanfiction.net: zombierose3, or ZombieWithANoose - Joint account)
(Tumblrs - zombierose3 and DirtyAim)


Chapter Eight - Part I
Imaginary Friends 101
Come on, Snotface. Just let it out. Fred's stare could have tun
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:iconmarajade3:marajade3 0 0
Literature
Second Chances: Chapter 7 Pt. II (Drop Dead Fred)
Here's the link to the first half because the word count went over Stash's limit: Chapter 7- Part I
Second Chances

By :iconmarajade3: & Pandora the Muse

(A.K.A. on Fanfiction.net: zombierose3, or ZombieWithANoose - Joint account)

Chapter 7, Part II
Pull My Magic Finger
Fred and Lizzie rematerialized, with all parts accounted for, back in the real world.
"Finally!" he cried, jumping back from Lizzie. "I never thought we'd get out of that Other Other Shithole with those
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:iconmarajade3:marajade3 0 0
Literature
Second Chances: Chapter 7 Pt. I (Drop Dead Fred)
This is broken into two parts. Here's the other half because Stash said it was too big: Chapter 7- Part II


 Second Chances

By :iconmarajade3: & Pandora the Muse
(A.K.A. on Fanfiction.net: zombierose3, or ZombieWithANoose - Joint account)
Chapter Seven - Part I
Pull My Magic Finger
 
Lizzie woke with a groan, her mind hazy. What had happened? Where was she? Darkness enveloped her, the air still and heavy, oppressive like the void around her. She lay against somet
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Literature
Second Chances: Chapter 6 (Drop Dead Fred Fanfic)
 Second Chances

By :iconmakeshiftharmony: and :iconmarajade3:
(A.K.A. on Fanfiction.net: Halo4anoose and zombierose3, or ZombieWithANoose -Our joint account)
Chapter Six
Things Go From Bad to ****ing Worse


or

Life Sucks & Then You're a Human Cannonball





or

A Cronut Out of Water

   &
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:iconmarajade3:marajade3 1 0

Favourites

The Young Ones as Rabbids by Paragon-Aura The Young Ones as Rabbids :iconparagon-aura:Paragon-Aura 7 2 Chibi Characters - Rik Mayall Tribute by Paragon-Aura Chibi Characters - Rik Mayall Tribute :iconparagon-aura:Paragon-Aura 4 0 Rick - Phone Wallpaper by Paragon-Aura Rick - Phone Wallpaper :iconparagon-aura:Paragon-Aura 3 0 She-Ra: Princes of Power by daekazu She-Ra: Princes of Power :icondaekazu:daekazu 1,125 33 Eternally Yours by LostMemoryOfADream Eternally Yours :iconlostmemoryofadream:LostMemoryOfADream 26 1 Winnie the Pooh by daekazu Winnie the Pooh :icondaekazu:daekazu 1,212 42 Shiver by A1AYNE Shiver :icona1ayne:A1AYNE 194 17 Tanglewood Wildspeaker by raikoart Tanglewood Wildspeaker :iconraikoart:raikoart 4,359 63 Drop Dead Fred by tokyochanel Drop Dead Fred :icontokyochanel:tokyochanel 1 0 sketchbook stuff 07'13 by AerinTook sketchbook stuff 07'13 :iconaerintook:AerinTook 9 1 Bottom Who by moniek-kuuper Bottom Who :iconmoniek-kuuper:moniek-kuuper 17 3 Drop Dead Fred by BloodfestButterfly Drop Dead Fred :iconbloodfestbutterfly:BloodfestButterfly 3 0 The People's Poet by Jackoburra The People's Poet :iconjackoburra:Jackoburra 53 13 KEVin TURVEY INVESTIGATeS by Lavender-Crayon KEVin TURVEY INVESTIGATeS :iconlavender-crayon:Lavender-Crayon 47 17 Drop Dead Fred by NormalZombie Drop Dead Fred :iconnormalzombie:NormalZombie 4 5
Journal
drop dead fred!
oh my god i just remembered this movie and i want to watch it so bad 
like just look at this
and this
and this
and tell me this movie is nothing but quality
and now since i can fully understand this
goodbye feelings
:iconScarredCalamity:ScarredCalamity
:iconscarredcalamity:ScarredCalamity 4 4

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marajade3
MaraJade3
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
I love to write fanfiction in my spare time, so find me here:
zombierose3

As well as on my joint fanfiction account with unleashthewords and :iconrashelle: (and formerly with :iconmakeshiftharmony: ) at:
ZombieWithANoose

***Please check out and comment on :iconrashelle: 's Drop Dead Fred Fan Art she made for our fic Second Chances because it is AMAZING!

Everyone also needs to look at this masterpiece! Look!
Drop Dead Fred
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Activity


**This is the second part of the chapter because Stash has an annoyingly short limit.**

Chapter Four - Part I


Dark Lullaby

by :iconmarajade3: (aka zombierose3) and unleashthewords


***

For :iconrashelle: (aka DirtyAim)



Chapter Four - Part II

Indecent Exposure


Good, because if those leprechauns are just going to swear by their word, we'll need your memories. Moving on..." Felicia glanced over her papers again and spoke without looking up. "Your duties as imaginary friend... You seemed to have done a decent job. You were a little manic, but all in all you helped your charges. Until Miss Elizabeth Cronin, a.k.a. Snotface. So strange. Your assignment with her went awry, it seems." She looked up into Fred's eyes. "You keep going back to her. Why is that?"

"You're asking me something that's not really that simple to sum up, but I'll try." He sighed. "I've had a lot of charges, some who were just lonely, some who got abused, some who'd lost a parent, so Lizzie wasn't the worst case. Her mum scared the piss outta her and resented her. Her dad had tried leaving multiple times. She was one of those babies to save a marriage. God, I hated her bitch of a mother..." Anger flashed over his face and it took all his resolve not to rant.

"I can tell," Felicia said, with a wry smile, her brows raised. Fred smiled back.

"Don't get me started on that megabitch. Anyway, something was different about Lizzie. Didn't know what it was at first, since every kid bonded with me, but there was something…" He wrinkled his nose as he tried to find the word. "...temporary about the others. Yeah. Every one of 'em, even when they still needed me and believed, still wanted 'real' friends over me. They'd forget me soon as one came around. But not Lizzie." Fred smiled sadly at the memories. They seemed so fresh in his mind, making him miss those simpler moments.

This softer more serious side of Fred tugged at Felicia's heart. She could see he was a caring individual and he really cared about Lizzie. It made Felicia even more curious about the woman who had finally made the runaway incubus stop running.

"She always wanted me to play, too," Fred went on, "even when the other kids couldn't see me. It never mattered to her that I was invisible. I was just her best friend. Forever, she said, and she had these crazy plans to run away together when she grew up." His smile faded. "But I got ripped away from her because of my behavior…" The word soured on his tongue.

"Apparently, I'd gotten carried away too much trying to make her laugh. Lizzie loved it when I smashed things, but did the IF council see it that way? Of course not! They got all up in arms thinking my nature was on the brink of snapping, so I got torn away! From a little girl who'd never understand why! No goodbyes, no anything! They made me leave her." Fred's voice strained and he couldn't speak for a moment.

In silence, Felicia studied his face. She experienced his emotions almost as if they were her own. Even if she couldn't have, she could tell from his voice and face alone what he felt inside, especially where Lizzie was concerned. It still surprised her that the 'Screw Up of Lullabi' was in love.

Clearing his throat, Fred spoke softer than before. "Worst of all, those blighters wouldn't let me go back even after it got cleared up because her father had left. And why did that matter? Because I'm an incubus and they feared my nature would wanna console Lizzie's mum! I'd never heard anything so disgusting!" he shouted. "I'd never, ever, ever once thought about it and never, ever would! Ugh! Just the suggestion still makes me wanna puke!"

"I know it seems unfair, but you're a rogue." She shrugged her shoulder. "They had to put the mortals' safety above everything else." She winced at herself. "Sorry, I tend to sound preachy when it comes to rules. I'm sorry you got taken away from her like that."

"Thanks," he said, surprised again by her sentiment. He'd never had anyone understand what he had gone through. Every pain over losing Lizzie had stayed buried inside him. "You know, when you stop preaching you actually sound like a person." He smiled.

Felicia let out a loud burst of laughter. "I know, I know. All work and no play makes Felicia a dull girl." She laughed again. "I do know how to have fun. I like music and I like to dance." Tilting her head, she looked at Fred through a narrowed gaze. "You're pretty easy to talk to… when you're not being an insane, imaginary friend, slash sex-deprived incubus. I see why Lizzie likes you."

Fred blushed and tapped his fingers on the table. "Yeah, well, thanks. Let's just hope she still feels that way when tonight's through and doesn't just see a sex-deprived incubus…" He went quiet again. What if she didn't want anything to do with him now that she knew what he was firsthand?

When Fred fell quiet, Felicia studied him again. It was easy to just think of him as Lullabi's misfit, but he was just an incubus trying to navigate things his own way. He loved someone and it was complicated. Really complicated.

"You've known her a long time," she said. "Even though there's a new side of you that she doesn't know, you're still the friend she's known since she was little. She'll at least hear your story even if I have to go tell her myself," she said with laugh.

"Thanks. Might have to hire you for that," he said, trying to ignore the ache in his chest. "She can be very stubborn when she's upset, especially with me." He paused and looked at Felicia, softly. "You know, you kinda remind me of her. She tries to take everything seriously, too. Says I play around too much, too, actually."

"You? Play around too much? Perish the thought." She laughed. "I suppose when it comes to you someone needs to be serious."

He laughed. "And someone like you needs someone like me to remind ya to smash things every once in a while," he said, winking at her.

Shaking her head, she chuckled. "No. I don't need to smash things. That's why I dance. It helps me unwind. Maybe you should consider that instead of your way. I bet it'd get you in less trouble. You could dance with Lizzie." She grinned. "Speaking of… you went back to her, but you shouldn't have, or shouldn't have been able to. Explain. Please."

Fred couldn't help smiling at the idea of dancing with Lizzie, mostly because he loved the thought of having an excuse to hold her close. "Um… right that. No, I wasn't supposed to go back. I'm sure it's in that file of yours, but because I'm an incubus-" Fred gave her a teasing stare. "See, I do remember. They made a special rule that I couldn't go back like all the other IFs, should any of my former charges need me. The grown ups one, I mean."

"So, what you're saying is you broke the rules. Knowingly." She crossed her arms over her chest and stared at him.

Fred leaned back and eyed her. "You're not about to scold me, are you?"

"I feel like I should on principle." She sighed. "Let's move past that for a moment. How was that even possible? Why weren't you reassigned?"

He shrugged. "I dunno. Guess lines got crossed. I got pulled back in a blink, not out of choice. Trust me…" His eyes widened. "I was really surprised when I saw her all grown up. For a couple of reasons," he muttered. Fred remembered how his heart had stopped when he first saw her, sitting in her nightgown on her bed. She'd been indescribable. "Scared the piss outta me."

Felicia snickered. "I'll bet, but why didn't they notice?"

"Who knows. I didn't ask. Why stir the pot?"

She waved a hand between them. "This is why. It's all coming back to bite your naked ass."

"Oi! Leave my naked ass outta this!" He pointed at her and cringed.

Felicia hid her smirk. He really was forgetting he was naked. It was a good sign. "Regardless of their incompetence, you still had a duty to report it. It's one of the charges against you." She tapped her papers and Fred sneered at them.

"Look." He sighed. "I was gonna go, honest, and you know the last thing I'd ever do is to jeopardize my job. I may be a screw up, but I love what I do. It's just… I felt her pain. How much she still needed me. I'd never felt her so scared and alone… and all I could think was that it was my fault. I'd left her so quick before, and… I, I just couldn't go because-" He winced, remembering her wide eyes and her hope when she'd first seen him that night. "Because she was still my Snotface. There was this tiny piece inside her still glad to see me, that wanted me to fix it all. She needed me. So, I promised myself I'd just make it quick, help her, and go. For good. Thought it'd be simple to fix her life with her being grown up. Boy, was I wrong."

"While I commend you for wanting to help her, I'm having trouble figuring out how you were going to help a grown woman with her problems. I don't picture you as a life coach." She scrunched her nose as she tried picturing it, but all she imagined was him smashing things to bits.

"I'm really surprised they let you go back to an adult woman. If they didn't catch it right away, why didn't they do something after? Perhaps that was someone's oversight. I should look into this…" She looked up, a blush in her cheeks. "Sorry, work is never done. Please go on."

"Had to be an oversight." He shrugged. "But I try not to think about it too much. That's someone else's department."

Pausing, she thought over what he just said. "You- I- Well, that explains a lot."

"Look, if it makes you feel better, I promise I tried to do the right thing. Even set her up with her old childhood chum so she could move on and I could get back to being an IF... You've no idea how sick that made me! Playing by the sodding rules. Rather perverse, honestly, but I did it for her. Even when-" The weight of Fred's feelings silenced him and he frowned, tracing the wood's pattern on the tabletop. The color reminded him of Lizzie's eyes.

Felicia smiled at the way he spoke about Lizzie. It transformed him and it still shocked her that the incubus who had been hiding his nudity in the corner and ran away from sex was head over heels in love.

"You know, she and I really aren't all that different... We're both outcasts. We don't wanna be like everyone else tells us, and she won't admit it, but she still loves breaking things." His nose crinkled with his smirk, but he quickly turned serious again. "She's the most caring, brave, bright, and stubborn woman there is, and she doesn't even realize it. Well, maybe the stubborn bit…"

He focused on Felicia. "And surprisingly, I'm not so clueless I missed the warning bells about myself. I almost left a few times, actually… but the more I saw how much love she had in her, and felt what she needed, and what no one else wanted to see in her, the more I realized I wanted it... I even needed it. I just… I need her," he breathed, closing his eyes. His confession made his heart ache. He craved Lizzie's love more than he craved her body and every day it grew worse.

Nodding, Felicia frowned, her eyes shining with tears. She could feel everything as he spoke and it touched her that he had found something so special with a mortal woman.

"But I finished the job, and I said goodbye. Forever," he said, their kiss playing in his mind, melding with Lizzie's dream and warming his body. It had been sheer bliss. She'd needed him so much that looking back he couldn't tell his own desire from hers. Her touch, her essence, her desperate kisses still lingered on his skin and her plea to stay echoed in his mind. Both in dream and reality she'd wanted him to go back with her. What if it had been for more reasons than he'd realized?

An ache spread through his soul to be near her again and he wrapped his arms around himself. Again the sensation felt like it came from her. Gasping, Fred dug his fingernails against his shoulders, fighting the call to go back to her. His body trembled the harder he resisted and he laid his head on the table, eyes squeezed shut. This pull felt different than lust, almost like he needed to go to her so he could breathe again. He'd felt the same way before he'd sought help from his sister and now it almost seemed worse. "Bloody hell, not again! What is that?" he whispered, hoarsely.

Shaken, Felicia felt his emotions and his need so strongly they seemed as her own. Summoning her magic, she sent his desires away from her. Her powers floated through the air as black smoke and swirled around Fred, pushing at his need until it became nothing more than a small pulse inside him. Relieved, she watched and waited as his breathing returned to normal. She suspected this all had to do with Lizzie, but for him to still feel this way while in Lullabi concerned her.

Not wanting to worry Fred, she decided to keep it to herself until his examination presented answers. "I can tell how much she means to you, and not just because I can feel it. I'm sorry you've had to go through so much. To leave the person you love…" She shook her head. "I can't imagine. That time away from her must have been unbearable."

Lifting his head, Fred sat back in confusion from Felicia's gesture to soothe his desires. He hadn't expected her assistance, and ordinarily he hated any lilin magic touching him, but even he had to admit he'd needed help. Any longer and he might have climbed the walls. "Thanks," he said, nodding. "And yeah, it was the worst."

Glancing down at her papers, which she knew backwards and forwards, Felicia knew what had come next. "You couldn't stay away forever, so you went back and told her everything." She let out a low whistle. "That's a lot to drop on someone's doorstep, especially after six months." She shook her head. "So, in your words, how'd she take your news?"

"Well, she…" Fred hesitated and pursed his lips. "She took it better than she'd take a swarm of hornets up her knickers, I suppose…" He smiled, sheepishly and cleared his throat.

"Somehow I doubt that." She frowned. "What did you do to her?" She knew the answer, but she wanted to know what he thought about what had happened.

"Nothing!"

"Now I know that's a lie." She held up a finger and shook it at him. "Any time the answer to, 'What did you do?' is, 'Nothing,' you know that person did something wrong. As your lawyer I need the truth." She watched him roll his eyes and whine like a child. Felicia crossed her arms. Of course he'd whine on principle.

"You just won't stop with the nagging, will you?" he cried. "Don't you got enough material on me in that book?" Fred slouched. "Ugh, fine! All I did was dress as a ghost, banged on her door, asked for treats, mentioned I was an incubus, and told her I liked her." He shrugged. "Is that a crime?"

"All you did was… dress as ghost? For fornication's sake, why? Why would you- You know what, never mind. You just unloaded all your incubus baggage at her feet? Seriously? I know I've said this before, but did you not learn anything in school? You're not supposed to tell mortals about lilin, or our world, or anything. I'm surprised she didn't lose her damn mind right then. I would say all of what you did is a crime, even if it wasn't actually a crime." She set her arms on the table and buried her face in them. "Why?"

Fred's mouth fell open and he tilted his head. Oh god, I broke her. "Well, it didn't sound so bad at the time," he remarked, but his statement sounded more like a question. Felicia looked so upset that Fred wasn't sure he should say any more. He hated when girls got that strained tremble in their voice that sounded way too close to crying. "Um…" He reached out, hesitated, but patted her hand.

At his touch, Felicia slowly sat up. He was actually trying to console her. The idea seemed strange, but still welcome. "Thank you," she murmured, still processing the contact that he had initiated. "I'm sorry I was upset. I suppose the romantic in me was appalled by what you did, and the lawyer in me is even more horrified. I'm sure you did mean well, but now we have a slew of charges to deal with due to that and the, uh, following incidents."

Pulling his hand away, Fred nodded. "If it helps your romantic, I didn't go there as a romantic-thing. Not to start, anyway. I meant to show up as her friend so I didn't dump everything at once. Planned to ease into that bit after seeing how she took my being back at all, and the… lilin thing. It just… didn't go like I'd hoped." He frowned, the 'incident' and Felicia's words sticking in his mind. "I can show you what happened. If you like," he said, raising a brow. Felicia had been honest with him, and while Shea had seen his confession to Lizzie, Felicia might offer an insight very different from his sister.

"I think my inner romantic is sad, but she'll get over it. I understand that you wanted to ease into things, but telling a mortal about lilins and Lullabi is a huge deal." She sighed. He was not making things easy for himself or her. "You want to show me? Well, it'll probably speed things along, and save us from more awkward conversations." She nodded and leaned forward. "Go ahead."

"I'm all for that." Reaching out, Fred placed his hand against Felicia's temple and let her see his visit to Lizzie's apartment. Every detail played out in a blink and when it ended, he withdrew his hand.

Gasping, Felicia shook her head. "That was sensory overload," she whispered, her gaze out of focus. "I don't know if you in a sheet is better or worse than I imagined." She winced. "Definitely glad we don't get headaches. I have mixed feelings about that scenario. I know your feelings, and your intent, and how much Lizzie means to you. I get that sneak peek, so it softens the blow. Lizzie didn't get that." Felicia sighed. "You're between a rock and a hard place. A really hard place. You were at the point where you had to tell her and I think you went for the rip the Band-Aid off method. Unfortunately, it didn't work so well and I'm sorry that it didn't. I hope you do get your chance to go back to her and tell her how you feel."

"Thanks… Me, too," said Fred. He hadn't thought about how much Lizzie wouldn't have been able to know when he confessed his feelings for her and he suddenly felt like the biggest idiot. Maybe I'll have to do something about that.

Gathering her stack of papers, Felicia tapped them on the table and placed them in an even pile. "I keep asking you all these questions because I need to know what happened if I'm going to help. And in the spirit of honesty, I am also morbidly curious." She held up a hand, keeping him from saying anything. "Mainly, my purpose is to see how you answer because if you can't answer the council honestly, how will they take you seriously? I promise I am on your side. And I know you're upset and you aren't aware of all the laws and the impact of what you did, but thank you for letting me see what happened. That was personal and I'm honored you shared it with me."

Fred tried hard not to smile, but Felicia's support and kind words made it impossible. "Thanks," he said, nervously tapping the table and staring at her stack of papers. "For your help. With everything, I mean. I'll try to make it worth it," he whispered and cleared his throat. Speaking in his normal tone, he added, "But I hope you're not expecting a hug." He sneered, but it appeared too playful to display disgust.

Grinning, Felicia leaned forward. "Oh, I'd hug you, but you'd turn an even darker shade of red and you might faint." She laughed. "I think not having that suit is helping. You're much easier to talk to. Now we just need to make the council see eye to eye with us."

"Ha, ha! I'd certainly never faint over your girl cooties!" he said, but leaned away just in case she made an attempt at hugging him. He found her remark about not having the suit making things easier to talk to him strange. Was he acting any different? He glanced down at himself, but quickly looked back up and groaned. I'll never get use to that sight.

Felicia rolled her eyes. "You've been doing so well. Being naked isn't something to even worry about." She sighed and turned her gaze to the ceiling. "I don't know how they'll not notice if you blush and fuss every time you see naked lilin." She looked at Fred, a frown on her face. "You don't notice it when you're talking. You seem to forget about it. Will you be able to in there with the council?"

"I do not blush!" He pulled a face. "It just feels unnatural to me not having clothes. How can I forget all I've got left is a smile?" he cried, her accusation rattling him. What if she had a point? Am I really forgetting? he wondered. Fuck, I can't start forgetting! I'll start acting like them! His heart pounded in his ears. How long had they talked without him noticing? "Maybe I just didn't bring it up 'cuz I was hoping you'd forget?"

Drumming her fingers on the table, Felicia thought about how she might help him. He needed to see himself becoming more comfortable in his own skin and that it wasn't bad. She just had to make sure she didn't push him too hard and send him back to being a prude.

"I want to help you, you know that. Do you think I'm some kind of monster? Do you think being a lilin and having our abilities is terrible? It helps people, namely mortals. We're not evil and there's nothing wrong with being comfortable without clothes. There's even mortals who are like that." She bit her lip, hoping she'd chosen the right direction. "I know you stop noticing it, because you stop fidgeting and trying to cover yourself, and you look at me without trying to avoid looking at my breasts. Remember our talk about not fighting the Fates? Stop fighting and start living."

Fred crossed his arms and stared at the table. Why did this topic always come up whenever he came home? Did the council pass around a script so every lilin knew what to say to him about his life? They could save time with a pamphlet. His jaw clenched.

"And there's also nothing wrong with wanting to help mortals in other ways," he said. "I know you're trying to help, and might not think what I've done with my life is anything good, that it's just pretend, but I've loved every second of it. It's important to me, all those kids were, whether I'm supposed to be something else or not. I've had a real life, and helped people, and it's been great. I don't wanna do the whole incubus thing. The Fates can spin some trousers into my future."

Felicia clenched her fists. He was so stubborn it nearly drove her insane. "No, there's nothing wrong with helping mortals. You did that very well, but that's over for you now. You're not going back to helping children. The only way you'll get to help people is by being an incubus, and if you want Lizzie… it's not going to be as an imaginary friend, or a human, because you aren't either. You need to accept that. I know you're fond of humanity and that's admirable. You march to the beat of your own drummer and that's not inherently wrong. But the refusal to complete your ceremony and the rule breaking is something else entirely. The traditionalists don't like it. The Office of Lilin Affairs, less so."

"Pfft! Like I care what those tra-prick-tionalists think! I'm Drop Dead Fred. Have been for nearly three centuries. Helped lotsa kids this way, and I'll have you know I'm very proud of dodging the shag bullet!" Fred's mind flashed back to Lila and her suggestion to lay his head on her 'bosom of love' and he shuddered. That's gonna haunt me. "I'm not doing the ceremony. Lizzie's not gonna see this side of me again. No one is. I'll find a way."

Resisting the urge to bang her head on the table or reach over and strangle him, Felicia took a deep breath. He was stubborn to a fault. "I think you mean you're proud you've dodged the shag bullet with Lila. I saw in your head. You can't apply that to Lizzie." She sighed. "Are you going to be Lullabi's first lilin monk? Are you going to take vows of chastity? That is ridiculous. The only way you're going to find is a way to piss off the council." Running her hands over her face, she thought over her options. Tranquilizing him was not an option, but tempting. How could she convince the lifelong virgin to have sex before the council demanded it? All she knew was, Lizzie was the key.

"Chastity? Why would I vow anything to her? I don't even know her." Fred rolled his eyes. "And, oh yes, let's not piss off the council." He waved his hands in the air. "Those wankers spend their time thinking about me way too much, if you ask me. Are you sure after so long they're not just pissed in general 'bout every little thing?"

"Are you afraid Chastity would take your virginity?" She rolled her eyes. He was just being a brat now. "They're concerned about you because you're the only sex demon who isn't having sex!" Her voice neared a shout and it was unlike her, but she was having trouble maintaining her volume control. "They're pissed off because you keep making trouble! Why don't you just have sex and we can all get on with our lives?"

"Yeah, well, maybe they're just pissed off because they're demons!" Fred's fists clenched. He hated that word. Every time he lusted, or had to feed that word wouldn't leave his mind. Demon. "I'm not having sex and they can't make me! With Lila, or Chastity, or anyone else!"

"The only one who is pissed off about being a demon, is you," she spoke at her normal volume. She was close to making him see sex wasn't bad, she was sure of it. "So, does sex with Lizzie not interest you anymore? You're just going to forget about her?"

Confusion replaced his anger. "That's- What?" He choked. "No! I mean, I'm not gonna forget about her." Why's she asking this? He blushed and fidgeted, unable to get another word out of his mouth.

Smiling, Felicia made a note to herself to bring up Lizzie in sexual situations more often. "I didn't think so. It would be terrible to forget about the woman you love. If you ever want to be with her again you need to reconsider having sex."

"Ugh!" Fred pulled a face. "Gross! I'm not fucking any succubi!" He caught the odd expression on Felicia's face, and realized her unspoken question. "No incubi, either! My dad already asked that once." Rolling his eyes, Fred still couldn't believe he'd had that conversation. He sighed, leaning back as he tried to think of how to explain everything in a way that a lilin might finally understand. He was rather tired of getting the same, old speech about just doing it because it 'was no big deal.' "Look, I have my reasons why I've avoided doing it, it's just hard to explain 'em."

She rolled her eyes and sighed. "Really? That part is accurate? You have some hang up about sticking your penis in a vagina? Why is sex so repugnant to you? From my notes here you've basically done everything, but that. Why can't you just find a nice succubus and fuck each other blind? It's so simple. Honestly. Usually men want to lose their virginity, not keep it." She sighed again. "I may need to call in a favor or two."

"Uh, uh! Hold it," he said, waving a finger. "I'd love to help you win this and get outta here, but I'm not doing it with anyone!"

She let her head fall back and she groaned. "You were just whining about the council being all over your naked ass." She sat up and met his gaze. "The fact that you're not an authorized incubus is a thorn in their side. One they want to remedy as quickly as possible. I'm sure they'll want to whisk you away and get you laid posthaste. That's why I'm bringing this up. I think if we can spin this into a positive story we'll have this sorted out in no time flat. An incubus redeemed, something like that."

"Wait- Can they do that?!" He gaped. "They wouldn't really... They can't make me! I'm not ready! I call for a timeout immediately!"

Slapping her forehead, she sighed. It's like he's five-years-old. "You were the one treating this like some game. 'I don't have to do what anyone says! Sex is gross! Cooties!' I feel like a babysitter, not a lawyer. Please, work with me before the council takes away all your options."

"I don't sound like that," he mumbled, looking down. He knew he'd been difficult on purpose for centuries. It was as strong an impulse as his incubus nature, but her last words left him worried. "Surprisingly, I know not everything's a game, but it's how I get through it."

Sitting up straighter, he met Felicia's eyes with complete seriousness. "Alright. Here's the truth…" He took a deep breath. "It's not that sex grosses me out and makes me puke. I'd..." He fidgeted, trying to force out the words. "I'd very much like to do it, actually." It sounded strange to say that aloud. "So, that's not the issue."

Felicia resisted the urge to throw her hands in the air and scream in triumph. Finally, we're getting somewhere. "I appreciate your candor. It's nice to know there is a somewhat reasonable incubus under all the…" She waved a hand up and down. "...eccentricity. That being said, you do have to address the issue of being a virgin. I'm so glad to hear that sex interests you. What will it take to make this happen? Is there anything I can do to help? I mean, advice not…" She made a face. "Sorry, that came out weird. I meant, can I offer any advice, or is there someone you'd like to talk to?"

Fred laughed at her poor choice of words. It was nice to see someone so put together make a mistake after tonight. He didn't feel so alone and a compliment wasn't bad either, but his smile faded when she brought up his virginity again. He knew the council would press on it to avoid any further incidents. They had threatened it for years, he'd just liked living in denial. "Um..." He wrung his hands together. "There's one way you can help. I'll only go through with it if it's with Lizzie."

Her jaw dropped. "You don't ask much, do you? This is… I don't know if a signed permission slip from the Fates would make that happen."

"Can we get one?" he asked, hopeful, but Felicia gave him a look.

"Do I look like a fairy godmother?"

"I dunno. I never paid attention to those parts of the stories."

"Of course not," she muttered. "That would require you to listen and not smash things."

"Well, I'm listening now and I promise not to smash Lizzie." He smiled.

"I'm sure she'll be thrilled." She rolled her eyes. "I don't want to burst your sex bubble, but the council is not about to grant you, of all lilin, a favor this huge."

"Then I'm not doing what they want." He crossed his arms. "I love her. I couldn't do it with someone else. I wanna real shot with her, not just sex. Those are my terms. If that's not good enough for the council, then they should think about it this way: she's human. The rules they love so much are different from her perspective. Plus, she knows I'm a virgin. If I did it with anyone else it'd shatter her trust! Her bastard husband cheated on her. I won't turn around and do it too whether or not we're together. I'd lose her for good. So, nope. I'm saving myself for her, thank you." His expression softened with worry.

His words left Felicia speechless. For someone who had refused to have sex he had put a lot of thought into it. It was noble what he wanted, but she didn't see how to make it happen.

"But I also wanna make it clear, I'll only do it if she'll have me," he added, quietly, "and only if she loves me back first. I don't want my powers confusing her. I need her to be sure how she feels. Her happiness is important to me. She deserves that." He looked at Felicia in sadness. "Please. I know they don't like first times to be with mortals, but isn't there something you can do?"

Seeing the broken expression on his face, had Felicia feeling like she was the one who had denied him Lizzie. "I can't promise you anything. I have no say, no pull with the council. On one hand, the council will get what they want. On the other hand, first time sex with a mortal is prohibited. But on the other hand, if she loves you and you love her it could be an ideal situation." She stared at him in silence. "It's just that you're not an approved incubus. Before we even worry about the council. What about Lizzie? Do you know how she feels? Do you have any indication that she might reciprocate your feelings?"

Taking a deep breath, Fred tried ignoring his growing fear that the council would deny his request, or that Lizzie might reject him. "Um, no, I'm not certain how she feels 'bout me. We're supposed to talk tomorrow night. It's… complicated?" Fred cringed. Complicated sounded like an understatement at this point. "'Cept, I didn't start that dream she had of me," he said, thinking aloud. "And she called out to me first from her sleep. That's why I went in- I'm right that mortals can't actually summon us, right?" He shook his head. "Anyway, I'd like that last part in the record." He pointed at her papers and tapped the table. "I didn't know I was in for dinner and a show."

Felicia stared at him. Fred had this uncanny ability to make things insanely complicated. It seemed so outrageous that someone might accuse her of making it up, or using poetic license. Truth is stranger than fiction, she thought, but only Fred seemed to possess this gift - or curse. Currently, Felicia leaned more toward curse.

"I would love to ignore your actions on this, but the council is aware. They are aware of everything you have ever done. I don't understand mortals summoning imaginary friends, but they can't summon lilin. It's Greek to me. From what I can tell in my reports, it shouldn't have happened. You were already reassigned. I'm sure the IF people will give us their explanation…" She thought this over. "Unless they want to pretend they didn't screw up and try to blame it all on you."

"I'm sure they'll try it." Fred rolled his eyes and tapped a steady tune on the table. Everything Felicia said was as he expected, but he still didn't understand why he remained connected to Lizzie, or why no one else could tell him how. It strengthened his suspicion that it meant something important, and whatever the reason the connection held, he didn't want to ever lose it.

"I'll have to listen closely to what they say. As for your dinner and a show… was it a good show?" She was dying to know what had happened and see his reaction after the fact. It had to have been worth it from the tint of his blushes, and if how much trouble he had gotten into was any indicator.

Fred's fingertips took a noticeable slip over the table. Mouth open, he stared at Felicia, hoping his red hair hid his burning ears from her gaze. A good show? I'd ruddy well see it again and join in, he thought, his traitorous body heating up again. Ugh. I need an off switch!

"Um... Well, I'm here because of it, aren't I?" He gulped. "It- She... Lizzie, she's got a good imagination and..." He thought back to her mouth needing his and her soft breast molded into his palm at the end of her dream. His real hand at last, instead of Lizzie's dream of him. "And everything."

When his desire for Lizzie rose again, Felicia looked closely at his face. His reaction confirmed her suspicions and she hid a smirk behind her hand. "I know the reasons for you being here, even if I don't have the exact details. Again, it's my burning curiosity, but I also need to know the facts so I can help you." She smiled. "Whether Lizzie is aware of it or not, there is something between you both. I would just like to know if it's lust or love. If they will let us look into her feelings, then maybe you'll have a shot. I will do my best to get that for you, but I don't want you to get your hopes up." She looked into his eyes. He had to know it was a trillion to one and she didn't want him filled with false hope. "I don't think the council is inclined to do you any favors right now."

Fred looked back into Felicia's eyes, worry mounting inside him that surpassed his lust for Lizzie. He didn't expect Lizzie to be in love with him after just announcing he was a real person, but until now he hadn't considered she might already lust after him. When they'd sat together on the sofa tonight he had felt a hint of desire emerge from her, but he'd brushed it off. Combining that with her dream, now he wondered if it were true. Announcing I'm a sex demon probably didn't help, he thought, but he feared the dream had made it worse. What if her lust prevented her from falling in love with him? It didn't matter what the council said if that happened...

"Back to your connection..." said Felicia. "It is mentioned as a charge against you. You failed to close the link between you both. Walk me through that."

Taking a deep breath, Fred shrugged. "It's like I said. I couldn't close it. Once the job was done and I said goodbye, I did like always. Tried it three times. Even went back while Lizzie was asleep and tried again. The link wouldn't break. They can't charge me for stubborn magic."

"Did you let your superiors know there was an issue?" The imaginary friend connection and all it entailed remained foreign to her. "I don't know why it would refuse to close."

"That makes two of us," he said. "And no! I'm not so crazy to tell that lot! They'd have quarantined me again and stuck Lizzie in a chastity belt, surrounded by nuns and a moat of holy water for even speaking to her in the first place!" He rolled his eyes. And I bet there'd be crocodiles, too. Or maybe just the Megabitch.

Drumming her fingers on the table with one hand, she chewed on the nails of her other hand. "Can anyone confirm that you tried to close the link, then? As far as they are concerned you never bothered, so that's a bit of a problem."

"Just one."

Waving a hand at Fred, she waited a beat. "Well? Who?"

"I don't wanna say."

Her drumming resumed. "Spit it out!"

"Alright, alright! I went to Namby Pamby for help, but you can't tell her about this. None of my friends know what I am!"

"I'm sorry… you told who now?" She tilted her head, directing her left ear at Fred as if it might help her hear better. "Is that really her name?"

"Gross, huh?" He laughed. "That's her name. She's an IF. Wears a tutu, likes to squash me every chance she gets." He made a face. "Anyway, Drop Dead Fred's way better sounding."

Shaking her head, she frowned at this information. "Well, I don't know if that is a help, or a hindrance. Um, I don't know how to tell you this, but your former, uh, colleagues will be in attendance. Character witnesses. It takes on a whole, new meaning after hearing the name Namby Pamby." She wrinkled her nose.

"But I'm nude!" he cried. "They can't be here! They'll see everything!" He glanced down at his lap, his expression twisting in mortification. "No. Nope. That's it! I'm staying in here! Tell them I'm sick. Just make them go away."

She dropped her head back and sighed. "Stop being a prude. That's not in my purview. They could help you. They know what's it like to help children and they know what you've done for your charges. And if this Namby Pamby…" She paused and made a face. "...can help in regards to the link you can't close, then I need to ask her about it."

A knock interrupted her.

"One moment."

Felicia stood and went to the door, opening it a fraction and peering out. She spoke something to whoever was outside, but Fred couldn't make it out. His apprehensions grew as she closed the door and turned back to him looking worried.

"They want to start soon. I need to go speak to someone. I'll be back. Don't worry, Lorcan. We'll get you back to Lizzie."

He didn't say anything, but nodded. What else could he say? He was moments away from a courtroom ready to stop him from ever seeing Lizzie again.

Felicia hurriedly gathered her papers. "I'll be back as quick as I can. Hang in there." She walked around the table, gave his shoulder a squeeze, and left the room.

"Hang in there?" he mumbled to himself. "I'll be hanging out in the council room in a moment." He sighed loud, tussling his hair. "This is why I don't come home."


In the hall, a tall incubus paced. He looked up when the nearby door opened and closed, his eyes beholding Felicia with such intensity she winced.

"Easy with the death glare," she said, waving him off as he stepped forward. He peered down at her, which still seemed impressive to Felicia, given her above average height. He crossed his thick arms over his broad chest, and raised his brows.

"It's complicated." She sighed. "I do have hope, though." Felicia looked around the hall, but saw no one else. "Let's go into this other room. Just in case. You never know who might be listening." She gave a quick knock on the door to their left and opened it when no one responded. Stepping in, the silent incubus followed her and once the door closed, she spun and faced him.

"He's in love, Andras. I did not see that coming. This could help him. He loves that mortal woman he has known for such a long time. She-"

She was cut off by his upheld hand.

"Lorcan is in love?" He scoffed at the notion, his deep voice reminding her of a bear. "Did he tell you this? Did he also tell you he ran away from home, pissed off the entire council, made his mother upset, and refuses to speak to me at all?"

"Well, once we broke the ice and I could get a straight answer out of him, yes." She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him. "Are you thinking that he's making this up? He is not purposely doing things to piss you off."

"Isn't he?" He glared right back at her.

"Stop glaring! I swear if we weren't friends I would knock you on your ass just to get through to you." She pursed her lips and continued glaring. "Like father, like son," she mumbled. A hint of a smile appeared on his bearded face.

"That's why we're friends. You don't put up with my attitude. And thank you for taking this case. I know it's asking a lot. Probably too much of you."

She sighed and dropped her arms to her sides. "I owe you a lot. I would have gotten kicked out of practicing law and I'd be disgraced. You helped me when no one would."

He waved a hand at her. "Stop thanking me for that every time we speak. I'm not a saint, Felicia. Ask my son." He grumbled the last part.

"I swear the two of you need to sit down and talk all of this out. Both of you think the other is out to get them." She waved her arms. "Just talk! You just want to help him and I think he wants to be respected in your eyes. Even if he would never admit to it. He's been on his own for a long time. That's not easy." She looked at Andras. "He thinks you hate him and view him as a giant screw up that is the black sheep of the family."

"He's not entirely wrong." When Felicia stared open-mouthed at him he rolled his eyes. "I don't hate him!" He held his hands out toward her when she looked less than convinced. "Felicia, he is my son. Do I loathe his life choices? Yes. Am I ashamed that he is a virgin and can't talk about sex without cringing? Don't tell Calliope, but I am. He just kept making terrible decision after terrible decision and no one could talk him out of it. Not even Calliope or Scheherazade." He exhaled a long breathe.

"I've tried to do what I could. I pulled those strings to get him to be an IF. It was better than them putting him in a damn box. I tried to smooth over that bullshit with the suit, but those fucking leprechauns aren't letting this one go. Little bastards."

"I'll do my best to deal with that," said Felicia. "Apparently there was a fair trade, but with Lorcan I don't know if his stories are completely true." At the sardonic look she got from Andras she laughed. "I know, I know. He can embellish and be dramatic, but he loves Lizzie. I could feel it. Now, whether she loves him back remains to be seen." She rubbed her chin. "Maybe your daughter can do some sleuthing for me."

"If she can help her brother she'll do whatever you want." Andras said, a half-smile emerging despite his ire at his son. "She protects him fiercely and tells me off for letting him think I don't want him home." He sighed. "It just became easier after so long. How can you tell your children that you failed as a parent?"

Felicia gasped. "You did not fail!" She stepped forward and placed a hand on his arm. "You love all your children. I've seen it. You may not have handled Lorcan in the best way, but at least you tried. Now's your chance." She indicated with her eyes where Lorcan waited for her in the next room.

Andras shook his head. "What am I going to say to him? He'll probably mouth off and say I ruined his life." He scratched his chin, pulling on his beard as he thought of his son. "Of all my children, he pushes my buttons the most and it's continuous."

"I've met him. I believe it." She grinned. "And yet I can't help wonder where he gets it from."

"I don't push buttons." He growled.

"Tomayto, tomahto," she replied, still grinning.

"Now who's pushing buttons?"

She laughed. "It's something about being around Lorcan and you. I just can't seem to help myself. He's really not bad, once you get past the petulant, whiny, jerk part of him."

"Ha!" Andras' bark of laughter, made her jump.

"He even said he would have sex. Of course, he added a stipulation because that seems typical of him, but he seemed very interested… What?" Andras' mouth had fallen open and he stared in stunned silence. "What? Are you that shocked that he would want to have sex? He's an incubus for crying out loud!"

"An incubus who has been running from sex for the better part of three centuries!" The volume at which he shouted was almost deafening.

Clamping her hands over her ears, Felicia hurried backwards. "Ow! Could you speak at a normal level like a civilized person? You don't have to roar at me!"

"Sorry," he mumbled, rubbing the back of his neck. "Can you see why he and I don't get on? He makes me irate."

"Maybe you need to take up meditating. Do some yoga? You really need to learn to relax. Everyone and their eardrums would thank you." She still had not removed her hands from her ears.

"Very amusing. Put your hands down," he grumbled, but made sure to lower his voice.

"Thank you." She lowered her hands. "Now, please don't lose it over this next part. He only wants to have sex if he can have it with the mortal. And… only if she wants to have sex with him." She readied her hands in case she needed to cover her ears again.

Andras' face turned red. He opened his mouth to tell her what he thought of that, but immediately closed it when Felicia winced. Sighing, he rolled his eyes and took a deep breath. He waited several beats and then slowly let it out.

"Felicia, that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard." His voice grew louder. "What is he thinking? I can't believe that for once he is thinking with his dick and not his brain! Does he even know-" He sighed at Felicia motioning him to lower his voice and he resumed at a normal volume. "Does he even know what that would entail? The council is not going to let some, some out of control, misfit incubus fuck a mortal woman when he's never had sex before. I- I swear to Bacchus that boy just wants me to have a heart attack and drop dead! If I was a mortal I probably would have already!"

"Okay! Okay! Stop yelling!" Felicia shouted back, fed up with his roaring. "I told him it was a long shot, so you can stop yelling at me!"

"Alright, alright. I'm sorry." Andras scratched his chin as he paced around the room. "Can he be convinced to have sex with a succubus? Lila has been dying to take his virginity for years. I know she saw him."

Grimacing, Felicia shook her head. "No. I don't think that's an option. And Lila? Lila who works for the council Lila? She really still has a thing for Lorcan?" She made a face. "I guess she's pretty enough, but I always found her…"

"Repugnant?" Andras suggested.

"No! That's a bit strong. She's just too needy. Lorcan would never go for someone like her. Maybe if we could find a succubus like Lizzie he could be convinced it's in his best interest?" She looked unconvinced by her own suggestion.

"He wouldn't listen to his own family, so I doubt he'd listen to you."

"Hey! We happen to have a rapport," she said, crossing her arms over her chest and glaring. "Maybe he doesn't listen to you, because you shout at him all the time."

He made a strangled noise in his throat. "I shout because he doesn't listen. It's a vicious circle. See if you can find a succubus who might fit the bill anyway. Better to have a contingency in place."

"This sounds like a terrible idea." She rubbed her forehead.

"What other option is there, Felicia? He gets locked away and they give him enough lust to keep him alive? That's no life. That's practically a death sentence. You've seen him, talked to him…" He sighed. "It would kill him and locking him away would kill Calliope."

"They won't lock him away. I'm going to do everything I can to see this works out without Lorcan getting locked in a tiny cell for all eternity." Felicia looked so fierce it made him laugh.

"I believe you. And again, thank you. This means a lot to me and my family."

"Just thank me after this is over. I better go check on him." She nodded her head toward the next room. "See you in there."

"Good luck." His face was a mask, but in his eyes she saw worry.

"Piece of cake." She grinned and left the room.

Dark Lullaby - Ch. 4 Pt. 2 (Drop Dead Fred Fanfic)

Authors’ Notes:

:iconmarajade3: /zombierose3: Happy Halloween! Sorry this took so long. This is my last month of school, so I should have more time to get chapters out when it’s through (both for Dark Lullaby and for Second Chances). Thanks for reading, reviewing, and waiting! And thank you to my two beta readers, Jessie and Shelby. <3

unleashthewords: I apologize for nothing! Perhaps I should apologize to Lorcan, “This is why I don’t come home,” aka Fred, but really it’s for his own good. I hope you enjoy this chapter. Please let us know your thoughts. We love to hear from you!


**Disclaimers: We don’t own Drop Dead Fred and are writing this purely for fun and for our readers.

-Links to Previous Chapters:
Dark Lullaby: Chapter 1 - Pt. I
Dark Lullaby: Chapter 2
Dark Lullaby: Chapter 3
Dark Lullaby: Chapter 4 - Pt. I

-Links to Following Chapters
:

Chapter Five (coming soon)
Chapter Six (coming soon)

Summary: Fred returns to Lizzie on Halloween night, but he has a secret, two if you count who, or rather what he really is... FredxLizzie. (Doing something that’s never been done before in the DDF fandom.) A fast, hold onto your knickers inferno! - Written by zombierose3 and unleashthewords for :iconrashelle: /DirtyAim.

Genre: Romance/Humor/Angst

Story Rating
M

Chapter Rating: PG-13
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**This is the first part of the chapter because Stash has an annoyingly short limit.**

Chapter Four - Part II


Dark Lullaby

by :iconmarajade3: (aka zombierose3) and unleashthewords


***

For :iconrashelle: (aka DirtyAim)



Chapter Four - Part I

Indecent Exposure


At the city's center in Lullabi, a tall, obsidian building dominated the skyline. A column of black smoke appeared over the dark, grey sidewalk, evaporating to reveal Shea. She shuddered, scowling up at the cold, unforgiving structure in front of her. Her father and many of her brothers worked here, but it wasn't exactly a happy place. There was nothing inherently wrong with the council and its ministrations of the law, but Lorcan was inside and it didn't bode well. Hurrying forward, she saw a familiar figure waiting outside the doors.

At least a head taller and leaner than most incubi, he was power and grace in one body. He had dark hair, almost as dark as Shea's, cut short on the sides and longer on the top, showing off the curl in his hair. Stepping forward as soon as he saw her, he opened his arms.

Shea ran to him and embraced him, pressing her cheek to his chest. "Gabriel, you're here," she said, eyes closed. "I thought you had to work."

"Of course I'm here. I'd do anything for you. Leo is covering for me," he answered her, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. "How's Lorcan?"

"Oh god, Gabe, it's bad." She sniffled, tears spilling from her eyes.

"It'll be alright, Shea," he said, hugging her tighter. "Let's go. Your mother's waiting for you."

"Oh shit. She must be a wreck," Shea said, stepping out of the circle of her lover's arms.

"She's doing alright. I do pity anyone else who crosses her path." He grinned down at her as he took her hand.

"Well, she loves you," Shea said, smiling back up at him. "I think everyone does."

They walked into the dark lobby that matched the interior. There was no need for lights in Lullabi. Lilin could see in the dark and preferred to exist in low light, if not complete darkness. Yet, a single, dim orb hovered over the entryway, illuminating a directory.

Everything else was black, sleek, and hard lines from the walls and floors to the stairs. The only exception being the huge, white, marble statue of an incubus and succubus in a torrid embrace that dominated the entryway. It was said to be the first lilin couple.

Barely giving the statue a glance, Shea looked around with disdain. "I know I say I love black, but would it kill them to have some fucking color? Red roses? A tulip?" Shea muttered as they approached the stairs.

Gabriel shook his head. "It's not that bad."

"Because you're too utilitarian to care," she murmured, wrinkling her nose at the monochromatic art on the walls. There were abstract paintings, watercolors, and portraits, but the recurring theme always sex.

"I'm taking that as a compliment." He gently tugged on her hair and Shea swatted at his hand.

Sticking out her tongue, she said, "You should. I didn't mean it as an insult. You're just practical. Lorcan would-" She swallowed, her throat suddenly dry. "Lorcan, would hate it."

"He'll be fine," Gabriel said, hugging her to his side. "To be honest, though, I don't know if they'll ever let him leave Lullabi again."

Shea looked at him, mouth open. "What? They'd lock him up at Mother and Father's forever?"

"I don't know. Rumors are swirling all over the place, but the consensus is it's pretty serious and the Imaginary Friends Council isn't happy." Gabriel turned with her at the top of the stairs and they continued down the shadowy halls. "I don't think he's getting his job back."

Shea waved her hand. "Who cares about his stupid job? He shouldn't be an imaginary friend to babies!" She scowled at Gabriel when he motioned for her to lower her voice. "I don't want to shush! I want my brother to not be in this mess! Yes, it's a mess of his own making, but I need to fix it!"

Taking her by the shoulders, Gabriel leaned down and looked in her eyes. "Shea, sometimes even you can't fix everything."

"But- but I have to!" A sob escaped her lips and she covered her mouth. Gasping, she blinked away tears, moving her hands to say, "I'm his big sister!" Another sob burst free and she wept hard. Gabriel pulled her close and held her in silence. Shea let go of everything, her anger, frustration, and especially her fear. He stroked her back and kissed the top of her head. Her body shuddered and her breath shook as one last tear rolled down her cheek, joining what she felt was a lake's worth of tears. She had nothing left.

Sniffling, she wiped her eyes and took a deep breath. The warmth of Gabriel's body soothed her, and while she would have preferred doing other activities, just being in his arms was enough. "Thanks. I know I don't say it enough, but thank you for being strong when I can't be." She looked up at him.

He smiled at her and wiped a missed tear from her cheek. "You don't need to say it, but thank you all the same," he said, his voice soft. "I'll be whatever you need me to." He kissed her cheek where the tear had been.

"That's why I love you," she said, caressing his cheek. "You are… unbelievably amazing. We better go in before Mother comes out to look for me."

They walked to the double set of doors and entered a large room with a massive table facing them. Before it were several benches, parted by a central aisle. To the right, closest to the table, paced a short, curvy woman. Her long, dark hair whipped around each time she turned.

"At least Mother's not strangling anyone," Shea murmured. Gabriel pinched her behind and Shea yelped. "Stop it!"

Shea's mother stopped in her tracks, saw her, and hurried over. She could have been Shea's twin, but for her blue eyes and the cosmetic choice to streak white through her hair.

"Thanks, Jerk," Shea muttered, but Gabriel merely smiled and waved at the approaching anxious woman.

"Scheherazade! Where have you been?" She took her daughter's face in both hands and checked her over. "I know you love Gabriel, but couldn't sex wait until after this travesty?" She smiled and nodded his way. "Hello, Gabriel. I'm glad you're here. You can keep my wayward daughter from running off again."

Gabriel grinned. "Hello, Calliope. I'll do my best."

Shea huffed and gently removed her mother's hands from her face. "Mother, calm down. Gabe and I did not indulge in sweaty fantasies, thank you. And I'm not wayward. I came straight here. He met me outside." She looked at him for a moment and smiled. Turning back to her mother, she sighed. "I had to wait for them to get... Lorcan."

"Oh, my baby! What is happening to him? Did they hurt him? How did he look?" She pressed her hands to her chest and looked around the room. "Where is your father? He said he would be here and I have not had a word from him since he flitted off!"

"One thing at a time, Mother. They're bringing him here. He looked… fine." Shea smiled, widely. Thinking of the ruined suit and how her brother finally looked like an incubus gave her some comfort. "He looked fine and naked when he left." When her mother's brows rose, Shea waved off her impending question. "I'm sure Father's looking into things. He's probably bellowing at someone and making them cry. You know he isn't one to sit idle. Especially when it comes to Lorcan. I can only imagine how mad he must be…" Shea looked over at Gabe, who kept a politely blank expression on his face.

"Oh, he's all bluster!" Calliope paced the aisle again. "He just wants this smoothed over as quickly as possible!"

"All bluster?" Shea frowned at her. "He nearly knocked the house over when he heard about Lorcan and the s-" She checked the room. Only a few other lilin sat on the far side. Shea stepped closer to her mother. "Father almost took out the neighborhood after Lorcan took that awful suit!"

"He did not! He was…" Calliope cringed at her daughter's incredulous look. "Yes, he was upset, but it's understandable."

"Mother, we couldn't say Lorcan's name for months for fear that Father would lose it!" She raised a brow.

"Your father doesn't lose it, Scheherazade!" Calliope placed her hands on her hips and scowled at her daughter, who mirrored her expression. "When-" Calliope gasped, her gaze roaming the room, as she suddenly tilted her head. "Where are you?" she said through clenched teeth.

"Mother-" Shea was almost slapped by Calliope's wildly waving hand. She sighed.

"Andras! You need to get over here!" Calliope's loud voice drew the attention of the other lilin in the room.

"Stop talking out loud!" Shea hissed. Her mother rolled her eyes, but did as her daughter asked. Gabriel swooped in and pinched Shea's ass again, making her yelp. She turned and glared, but he only leaned down and kissed her nose.

"You're lucky I'm insanely in love with you or you'd be on that floor," she said, holding her glare.

"Sex in the council room would be a new one," Gabriel said, raising his brows.

Shea tried maintaining her scowl, but the suggestive thoughts Gabriel sent her made her laugh. "You're impossible."

"But you love it." He took her hand and kissed her palm. Shea rolled her eyes, but smiled.

"Scheherazade!" Her mother whispered, loudly.

Shea flashed a pleading look at Gabriel, took a deep breath, and faced her mother with a smile. "Yes, Mother Dearest?"

"Your father's talking to some people and he's going to have a word with Lorcan's lawyer and then he'll join us. Come sit down." She walked toward the front row.

Gabriel rubbed Shea's shoulders, helping her slowly relaxed. "Thank you, Darling. This debacle is going to leave me in knots."

Kissing her temple, Gabriel laughed. "I'll be happy to help you work those out."

She turned and looked up at him, smiling as she ran a hand along his jaw. "I know you will. I'm looking forward to it."

"Scheherazade!" Calliope hissed. "Come sit down!"

Shea rolled her eyes at Gabriel. "Coming, Mother." They both walked over and joined Calliope in wait for Shea's father and the trial to begin.


Fred waited inside the dimly lit room where the succubi guards had left him. Lila had lingered a while, offering her companionship and the promise to make an incubus out of him so the council might be lenient with him. Like a man possessed, he'd backed against the far corner and shielded his bits with the nearest chair. He didn't remember shouting, but apparently he had been so loud the succubi guards rushed back into the room. An embarrassed Lila had rescinded her offer and apologized, but not without asking him to think it over. He must have blacked out after that because again he didn't remember a word he said, only that Lila promised they'd speak once he'd calmed down.

When they'd gone, Fred kept to the corner, protectively holding onto his chair. No one would make him move from this spot and if another succubus came through that door he would do something so foul they'd be put off sex for a week. That oughta keep me safe, he thought, but as he waited time seemed to crawl.

What's taking them so long to give me any answers? Fred reached out for Shea's mind, but some sort of interference kept his ability confined to the room. "Ugh! This is ridiculous! Why're they treating me like I'm some kind of monster-"

Fred paled and a terrible thought entered his mind. "Oh god… Did I hurt my Snotface?"

The door opened and a tall, dark-skinned succubus entered. Her black hair, cut close to her scalp, showed off her finely sculpted features. Like everyone else Fred had encountered, she wore a serious expression and no clothes. In her hands were several sheets of paper. She nodded at him in silence, her brown eyes squinting as she appraised him. A moment passed before a small smile emerged on her lips.

"Hello, Lorcan. I'm Felicia and I'll be your representative during this trial. Do you have any questions before we begin?"

"Yeah. Can we both get dressed?" he asked, trying to keep his eyes on the wall beside him. "And it's Fred, thanks. I don't go by Lorcan anymore."

Her smile faded and she stared at him. "Humor isn't going to help you right now. And your name is officially Lorcan. Do you have any real questions, or should I start with the charges against you?" Her voice had the hint of warning in it and the look she gave him matched. Fred rolled his eyes.

"I was being bloody serious for once, and my name's still Fred." He should have known better, though, because everyone in Lullabi had no concept of how to cover their bits and pieces. His chosen name also left a bad taste in their mouths because they considered it common and human. "Hey, wait. Charges? Lizzie's not hurt, is she?"

"What exactly would clothes do for you? Give you a sense of modesty? Would they help these charges vanish? And yes, there are many, and some I have never heard of." She raised a brow at him and then glanced down at the papers. "You stole a magic… suit from the leprechauns? You're really going to make this difficult, aren't you?" She sat down in the chair on her side of the table. "Will you please sit? You're making me feel anxious."

"Okay. I don't see how we can play well together if you can't get why I need some clothes. Also, I don't know what you're talking about! I've got no suit, as you can clearly see. Although, those leprechauns are snarling lil' bastards. One of 'em bit me…" Fred flexed his hand, staring at the place he'd been nipped all those years ago. "Anyways, no, I'm not sitting down. Not without some clothes. Do you have any idea who's sat there? Everyone's starkers! I'm not touching anything. Who knows what that chair's seen! Now, I want some trousers, and I want my question answered about Lizzie." He crossed his arms over his chest. "You said I can ask anything I want."

Felicia slowly inhaled, waited, and let out a long breath. "Do you think this is a game? I'm not an imaginary friend and I'm not here to play. I am here to help you during this trial." She turned her hard stare back to the papers. "I have several documents alluding to a magic, green suit, and I very much doubt that you never had it. You seem to know a lot about leprechauns and their bites. Are you still going to deny it?"

Fred tucked his hand under his arm. "I asked a very serious question, not seeing how that's a game. I'm lots more fun than that," he muttered. "So, come on. Can't ya crack open those magic files and tell me? Is she alright? I'm not answering anything until I know." Fred held a steady gaze with Felicia, fighting his urge to snatch her files and look for himself.

Watching him, she tapped one finger on the table. "I would urge you to be more cooperative with the person who is trying to help you. You're the one who engaged in unauthorized sexual acts with a mortal. Are you honestly telling me you have no idea what effect that had on the aforementioned mortal?"

"Of course I know!" He cringed at the way Felicia described his encounter with Lizzie. "But I'm asking about the after effects…" He wrung his hands. "Please. She's not just a mortal; she's my best friend. Is she safe and unharmed from… from what I took? Not insane or anything? I, I need to know first." Fred's desperation for an answer shone through as he watched Felicia. Nothing else mattered until he heard. He'd never taken that amount of desire off a mortal before and didn't know the limit. "Please."

Felicia studied him in silence, taking in his face and body language. The reports on him were enlightening. If it hadn't come from O.L.A., she would have said someone had a strange sense of humor, but all of it was true. Sitting in front of the subject of her report, she could now see everything for herself. He seemed a complete prude for a lilin, but he was remarkably sensitive, and his worry surprising. The reports had mentioned the mortal, who had been his former charge, but there seemed to be more to it than that.

Feeling sympathy, she answered his question. "There are no charges involving the maiming, or otherwise harming of a lilin, or mortal."

"Oh, thank god!" Fred sank back against the wall and exhaled, loudly. It felt like all the air had returned to the room. He wouldn't have been able to live with himself if he'd hurt her. He would have starved himself until death. Shutting his eyes, Fred's tensions turned into a manic chuckle he couldn't stop. He wiped his eyes, his body trembling. Lizzie was safe. She'd probably never speak to him again, but she was safe. "Thank you," he whispered, looking back at Felicia, suddenly calmed.

Her brows rose at his laughter. His relief had made him giddy. She would have to confer with the examiner later and make sure he was of sound mind, just in case. She folded her hands on the table. "You're welcome. I hope that earns me a little good will. Would you like to sit so we can discuss your case?"

Fred eyed the chair waiting across the table from Felicia, acutely aware of his nakedness once more, but he had made a deal.

Holding his head high, he gripped the back of the chair in front of him and carried it as he walked over. Dropping it at the table, he covered himself with his hands and slipped into the seat. "Alright," he said, scooting forward until the table touched his abdomen, "I'm listening. Let's talk. Why am I here if it's not for that, and how long 'til I can get outta here?" He couldn't imagine anything worse than what he'd thought he'd been arrested for, so this couldn't be that serious.

She smiled, relieved they were making some progress, but it smile faltered when she saw he wasn't fully grasping his situation. "Lorcan, this isn't a little slap on the hand. This is serious. As in you are going before the council and everything you have ever done is going to be brought up and gone over with a microscope."

He stared at her, the words repeating in his mind because none of it made any sense. "What? Why?" His hands smacked on the table and he leaned forward, fear making his thoughts run. "What's the council so interested in me for? Isn't this what those perverts have wanted of me for almost three hundred years?"

She sighed. "There are rules. We have rules for a reason." Leaning forward, her voice grew louder. "You just freaked out because you thought you hurt someone! You violated, I don't know how many rules in just that one area alone!" She sat back, sighing again. "You've broken so many rules they aren't going to let this slide."

Fred drew back in his seat, fighting the urge to say something just to piss her off. It was his go to reaction whenever something upset him. It took the pressure and the focus off himself, but despite everything, Felicia was his one hope of getting out of here.

Fred still remembered the council and their leering, disapproving eyes when he'd refused to go through his rite of passage into working as an incubus, and again when he'd taken the suit. The third time had been when the suit's magic had faded enough that he'd needed to start feeding. He recalled their hopeful smiles and warnings that the day would come when he couldn't run anymore from himself. He'd laughed in their faces and avoided them until this day because he knew they waited to cast their one, unanimous decision that would take away the life he wanted. Was that to be today?

"But what I did was an accident!" he cried, his voice quaking. Fred grimaced. He hadn't meant to shout. Shea was right, he was all over the place and feeding from Lizzie had made him so much worse.

Taking a deep breath, he straightened in his chair and tried to feign some confidence, but his fingers drummed on the table. "What rules exactly are they gettin' all bothered about?" He spoke quieter than he intended. "I- I don't have the suit anymore."

"You know that you are supposed to feed at regular intervals and with supervision. The council made this perfectly clear. You have limited contact with mortal females for a reason. You violated the terms of the agreement…" She frowned, not wanting to look at his face when she told him the rest.

"But I have met up! I have every time! I even just fed last night. Ask my brother, Remy. He's always my supervisor."

"I understand, and it's noted that you have been following procedure… until now."

"Ugh! Because tonight wasn't a feeding! It was- Tonight was just... unexpected. I wasn't even hungry when I went to see her."

She took a deep breath. "You still fed from a mortal and it was unsanctioned and unsupervised. Not to mention that you ran off, went to a motel, and fed off more mortals. It doesn't matter what your state. They're going to throw the book at you, so to speak."

"But… but I don't want the book," he mumbled, sinking down in his chair. Reality suddenly reached his addled mind and he struggled keeping his breath steady. He'd forgotten about the motel. "It, well it- Fuck!" He gasped. "Look, I swear I only fed off that many so my powers took less from each of 'em. I, I didn't wanna hurt anyone! That's why I spread it out. I-" He couldn't get out of this one, could he? They finally had him right where they wanted him. "Isn't there anything you can do? It's never happened before, and I'm sure it won't again. A fluke, really."

She shook her head. "I'm sorry. I can't. There are no exceptions with the council. All I can do is try to lessen the consequences. I'm afraid at the very least you won't be an imaginary friend anymore." She winced and her words struck Fred so hard he went numb.

He wouldn't be an imaginary friend anymore? This couldn't be real. That life was practically all he knew. He'd been an imaginary friend longer than he'd lived in Lullabi. He lived and breathed it. The council wouldn't take the one thing he'd ever loved doing. Would they?

Of course they will.

Fred shook his head, his gaze erratic as he tried holding himself together. He suddenly felt like throwing the table across the room and smashing it to bits. What if they barred him from the mortal realm, too? Forced him to work as an incubus, or to never see Lizzie again? Would that sever their link?

"Why? I…" He breathed harder, the idea of an eternity without Lizzie and never sensing her again too much to bear. It was so strong, he couldn't even mention it aloud yet. "But I'm an imaginary friend! It's what I do. I'm no good as an incubus. Please, I have to stay in the mortal realm. I can't leave her!" His eyes widened as he realized what he'd said and he desperately added, "I mean, I can't leave there yet."

Felicia felt his pain and panic and sympathized. She had been in his metaphorical shoes, having her job on the line, and it had not been a wonderful experience. As Fred's ramblings wound down, she noticed his slip of the tongue and her brows rose in surprise.

"I'm sorry, but there's no way the council will let you continue being an imaginary friend. You broke so many laws the I.F.C. are screaming for your head, but the lilin council is keeping them calm. For now." She scanned her papers. "So, you'll have to have sex with a succubus, or be put to work in some mundane job, like making sure the streets are clean, so they can keep you far from mortals." Fred made a face, but his panic remained etched on his face. She tilted her head and pursed her lips. After Fred's slip, she wanted to see what he really thought of the mortal.

"You know, if you can't be a proper incubus someone else will get the job and visit Lizzie. She fits our clientele. It'll be another incubus having sex with her. I mean, I enjoy my job, but having sex with a beautiful woman is a damn, good job to have. I get the best of both worlds." She smiled at him. "Representing lilin in matters of the law and making love to a gorgeous creature like my wife… Yes, I have it good. So will whoever gets assigned Lizzie." She made a show of looking shocked. "What if it's one of your brothers?"

"What?" Fred stood up so fast his chair shot back and hit the wall. All nakedness forgotten, he slammed his hands on the table and growled. Felicia jerked, surprised by his outburst. "Why would anyone be assigned to her? She's m- Who is it? Which brother? It's not Remy, is it?"

Mouth hanging open, Felicia stared at Fred's wild eyes. "Um, no, no it's not Remy." Collecting herself, she smiled. "Would it bother you if Remy was assigned to Lizzie?"

Fred gaped at her incredulously, trying not to think about what she said, but the thought of Lizzie with Remy... "Fuck that! Like I'm gonna let him, or anyone get anywhere near my Lizzie! I'll rip his head off! I'll stamp and spit on it and then I'll smash it!" His emotions pulled in every direction, reigniting the overwhelming essence of Lizzie that possessed him. Lust rolled through him and he whined, kicking the chair as he paced. "I know what she needs and it's not some dream romp with just anyone! She's worth more than that! I'm the one that lo- Ugh!" Pulling at his hair, he paced faster. This was a nightmare and he couldn't stop shaking.

Biting back a smile, Felicia laughed, softly. "So you would be bothered. I was so sure you had just finally lost your self control and succumbed to your nature, everyone was, but you love her and you can't fight those feelings." She shook her her head. "Well, fuck me, things are finally looking up."

Fred spun around. "Wait, what?" He couldn't close his mouth. His ears burned. "Where are you getting that? I never said anything about… about love." He sneered and lifted his chin. "Pfft!"

Seeing his awkward display at being caught, Felicia tried her best to hide her amusement. His half-hearted sneer almost did her in and she took a moment to make sure she could reply without laughing. "Lorcan, I know. It's written all over your face. Don't ever play poker, by the way. I don't know why you're so embarrassed. It's a good thing. It's great, actually. If you're in love, then this can help you."

"I'm not embarrassed!" he cried, but he felt his face betray him again with a blush. He groaned, wishing more than ever he had his jacket back if only to shrink into it and hide. Smashing something also ranked high on his list.

Blushing harder, he grabbed the chair and shuffled back to the table. He wasn't embarrassed or ashamed to love Lizzie, but anyone in Lullabi knowing about it made him want to kick them all and run away.

Sighing, he dropped into the chair and looked at Felicia. "And I'm great at poker," he said. Of course it's always been against children under ten… "Hey, wait a minute…" His eyes widened. "Did you just trick me into revealing my- That I have feelings?"

"Trick sounds so underhanded. I prefer 'helped you voice your feelings.'" She smiled. "It's not the end of the world." When he looked less than convinced, she rolled her eyes. "You need to come to terms with your feelings, because it's going to be part of your defense."

"I have come to terms. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have gone back to her." He fidgeted and leaned closer to Felicia, lowering his voice. "Alright, yes. I love and adore her, and obviously am a gigantic mess for it. But I just don't want all of Lullabi laughing and saying 'I told you so.' Or, 'Look at Lorcan, the big girl! Bet he wants to do it now!'" He made a face, picturing his brothers Castor and Adrian as the first in line. "Haven't you met my family? They never let go of anything! I'll be hearing about this for eternity!" he hissed in desperation. "They're why I don't come home, you know. How are my feelings gonna help with this?"

Smiling at Fred's admission of love, she had to keep herself from cheering. From everything she had read, she knew he wasn't the most forthcoming kind, at least when it came to his own feelings. Reading about the things he had said to the council had made her raise her brows. He was not shy about telling people where they could stick things and she winced when he mentioned being mocked. She knew from the report that he was no stranger to it.

"Look, I don't believe anyone should be mocked for their feelings, but yours will be scrutinized. I just wanted to warn you. Especially because you love a mortal and because you're… you." She waved a hand as she offered an apologetic smile.

Fred studied her, surprised and touched by her understanding. "Thanks," he said, "but are you sure just pleading insanity won't be faster? I can be very convincing." He smiled.

"No. I don't win my cases by using half-baked excuses." She crossed her arms. "No matter how convincing my client is."

"Well, I've been a professional at crazy for almost three centuries now," he added with a shrug, but worry knotted inside him. He knew exactly where this led. Felicia would announce his feelings to the council in front of everyone and they'd want every detail. He practically heard his brothers' taunts already, especially Castor. He had always been the worst of his brothers, particularly when it came to his love of the human world. He'd certainly pounce if he knew he'd gone and fallen in love with one of them.

"Seriously though, I'm still not getting how this helps. I know I've been gone a while, but isn't it still a huge no-no for a lilin and mortal to fall head over heels mad for one another?"

Felicia wrinkled her nose. "I think you're getting a little ahead of things, Romeo." She sighed. "It helps because it shows you didn't just lose control and you're not a half-cocked incubus waiting to go off. Your love for your mortal kicked your powers into overdrive." She gave him a small smile. "Also, we don't know how she feels, do we? An admission from her would be helpful." She studied Fred. "Does she actually know that you're in love with her? Did you tell her?" She was dying of curiosity, because clearly this was not in the files.

"Hang on a snotting tick! Overdrive?" His jaw dropped and he felt somewhere between laughing and screaming. He'd realized immediately that despite his suit his feelings for her had awakened his nature, but he'd never considered why it was so strong. He'd thought it was normal. For six months he'd been absolutely out of his head, and terrified he was turning into his worst nightmare: a sex-crazed demon, enslaved by his nature. His feedings had increased since he'd fallen for her and he hadn't spent a night not wanking himself blind in shame. But it's all because of… love?

"That… that Snotface! I knew it was something to do with her! Fuck, it makes perfect sense. I've been in control at every feeding. Remy's had naked women revved up right in front of me, but none of 'em affected me like her. This is her fault. Her and her big, brown eyes and that, that face!" And her perfect everything else. "Ugh!" Fred dramatically threw his head back, then dropped it face first on the table, hiding in the circle of his arms with a thud.

Felicia reached out and patted his arm. "Love is like a smack to the face with a sledgehammer." She sighed, shaking her head at his despair. "Why didn't you come home, or tell your supervisor, I mean your brother? You might have saved yourself a lot of… trouble." She bit back a laugh, not wanting to mock him when he was down.

Fred lifted his head just enough to peek at her with one eye open. Sledgehammer? A firetruck packs less of a punch. He sat up and slumped forward with his elbows on the table. Felicia looked so genuinely sympathetic it surprised him, making his guard lower even more. The gravity of his situation had squelched his ability to fight any longer. He knew he needed help, besides, Felicia maybe wasn't so bad.

"Because… I think he already knew and there was no way I was gonna admit it!" he grumbled. "I thought it'd go away if I waited it out, not cause, well, this." He waved his hands at himself.

Her jaw dropped. She couldn't help it; he had stunned her. "It would... go away if you... waited it out?" The question hung in the air between them like smoke. She stared at him. She couldn't think, no other thought would come to her.

"Well, yeah. I…" He sighed. "Look, I'm new to this! I didn't know how love worked, not this type! All I've done is work with kids, not written sonnets and plotted how to give someone the moon." He flushed, embarrassed by his lack of understanding in this area.

Felicia blinked, her brain slowly churning back to life. "I- Uh- I'm sorry." She held up a finger as she tried organizing her thoughts. "Bacchus' balls, you are an anomaly." Rubbing her eyes, she tried to fathom it all. "You weren't supposed to go near her, but then when you realized you were in love with her… you went to see her? To tell her?" Her voice rose an octave at the last word.

"Because she haunted me day and night!" he cried. "My charge's best friend's named Elizabeth! I can't even make mud pies because it reminds me of her eyes! Jessica's mother wears a perfume that makes me think of her. I see her when I close my eyes. I even think I hear her in my sleep. It's bloody hard to leave someone when they stalk you! The final kick was when Jessica was out with her parents at some rotten and horribly dull restaurant last night and I fucking saw Lizzie with her ex-husband signing off on their divorce papers. I couldn't do it anymore! I had to tell her. I figured it was some sort of sign that maybe…" Fred couldn't say the rest. He'd never been one to believe in romance and fate, or all that happily-ever-after muck, but after leaving Lizzie behind he'd almost grown obsessed with the idea that she and him could belong together.

Felicia looked at his wide eyes. He seemed like a man on the edge and she placed her hands on the table and folded them. "It sounds like you have it very bad. Love can push you past your limits sometimes." She smiled. "Your love won out. You decided, well, maybe the Fates decided, that you couldn't be without her any longer." She sighed. "I just wish you would have done it differently. I suppose it's moot now. Time to deal with the mess and the council. You're sure that Remy didn't know about your feelings for Lizzie? It's important. Especially for him."

Fred cocked his head. The Fates. Would they really have driven him insane just so he'd make a move? Maybe he wasn't as crazy as he thought hoping he and Lizzie were meant to be... "Remy never outright said. Just asked me loads of questions. Nagged me 'bout comin' home. Asked me lots about Lizzie, too, but I never admitted a thing. So, if he knows it's not because it came outta my mouth." He frowned. "Why? Is what I did gonna hurt him somehow?"

"Well, at least that can't be used against him," she muttered, thankful for small mercies. "Listen, I know you did your adolescent run away from home bit, but did you never pay attention to anything in Lullabi?" Her look showed her skepticism. "I don't know where to start. As for your brother… hopefully, they just decide to give him a warning." She bit her lip as she thought things over, but Fred rolled his eyes.

"I paid attention to enough to learn I didn't want to learn anymore about anything here," he said, but his thoughts turned to his brother. "He didn't know. I'll vouch for him," he added, quietly. "He's done everything right by their standards. He warned me all the time to stay away from her."

She ran her hands over her face. "You sure like to make things difficult for yourself. So, he warned you… as your supervisor and your brother and you still didn't listen? Do you think you're above the rules or something?"

"No. I just believe in smashing things until they work right." He shrugged. "Plus, I'm a stubborn bastard." His smile briefly sparked with mischief until he added, "Obviously it backfires sometimes."

"This isn't a radio or a toaster, Lorcan," she said, fighting to keep her voice calm. "There's rules for a reason- Bacchus, help me, I'm repeating myself." She groaned. "You throw everything into chaos is what I read. I'm experiencing it firsthand. I need to go over these charges and think about what we're going to say to the council." Her eyes widened. "You will be on your best behavior in there, right? You're not gonna smash something in there, or moon the council?" Her face paled at the thought, sure he would swear to flip tables and tell the council how they could go fuck themselves.

Fred laughed. He couldn't help it. Felicia's terrified look reminded him exactly of Lizzie's when he'd come crashing back into her life. The connection made his face fall blank. Can I go one minute without thinking of her? "Sounds like you read about my last meeting with those blowhards. I'll be good. Promise. I don't really feel like myself right now anyway," he mumbled. The connection to Lizzie had finally calmed, but something felt different inside him and he couldn't pinpoint why. He only knew he didn't like it.

Still cringing from his laughter, Felicia almost fell out of her chair when he promised to be good. She frowned. "Are you screwing with me, because I cannot take it right now."

Her response hit a nerve as Fred realized he'd just promised to behave himself. Him, Drop Dead Fred, had promised to be on his best behavior to the most obnoxious cluster of perverts in the universe. What's the matter with me? His jaw clenched. He'd prove that he was still Drop Dead Fred with or without that suit. "No. Not yet." He smirked. "Unless… would ya prefer I wave my bits about and perform a puppet show with 'em? I can do great voices. Sounds a lot less boring."

Felicia's jaw dropped and she nearly begged him to reconsider when she remembered that he had been hiding in the corner with a chair in front of him when they'd first met. She glared at him through slitted eyes. Was this more of his imaginary friend nonsense? Could she call his bluff?

Leaning back in her chair, she grinned. "Well, I believe that no sexual acts have ever occurred in the council room. We could have your ceremony in there first thing. Sex with Lila."

Fred screamed, falling over backwards in his chair. "Ah! No! Are you crazy?" he cried, kicking his legs as he rolled and crawled back to his corner. "I'm not touching her! You, you keep her away from me! I'm not having any-" He tucked his knees to his chest and frantically waved his hands. "I'm not having it off in there! Not with, with her!"

Slapping her hands over her mouth, she fought to keep her laughter in, but it was useless. Doubling over, her giggle escalated into uproarious laughter and an unladylike snort. Tears built in her eyes and she waved her hand at Fred, barely able to speak. "I- I'm-" She laughed harder.

"Stop laughing! She wants to have sex with me!" he shouted, pale and pressing into his corner.

Felicia could only cackle. She fanned her face, trying to dry the tears. Falling back in her seat, she took a deep breath. "Oh, Aphrodite's tits! I have not laughed that hard in ages." She wiped her eyes. "Get over here."

Fred's eyes widened and he shook his head like it was having a seizure. "No! I don't wanna hear, or think about anyone's tits!" He covered his ears.

Rolling her eyes, she shook her head, waiting for him to stop cowering in the corner. "I'm sorry I, uh, traumatized you. I didn't realize you had a Lila phobia. Will you come back, please? We got a little off topic."

Fred watched her, unsure if he should trust her not to throw him under Lila. Just the thought made him squirm. Maybe he should be on his best behavior if he didn't want that to happen to him. "Yeah. Sure," he said, getting up and covering himself as he walked over to his chair. He uprighted it, and sat back down. "Truce?" Out of habit, he held out his pinky and grinned.

Felicia smiled back, glad he was willing to return and talk, but when he offered a truce and his pinky, she blinked. She had never done anything like this before. It seemed so very human, and so like Fred, that it made her smile. Hooking his pinky with hers, she laughed. "Truce."

Fred chuckled, his relief pouring into every tensed muscle and relaxing him. "Great. So… what's next? Round of Twenty-One Questions?" he asked, lifting an eyebrow.

"I don't think Twenty-One Questions would cover it," she said, looking through her papers. "So… the first few charges actually go back almost three centuries. They are being brought up…" She paused, reading the page in her hand. "...because they show a precedent with you. You stole property, violated treaty agreements, and assaulted foreign parties. They demand the return of their property and restitution." She looked back up. "Do you have anything you wish to add?"

"Hang on. Restitution? You're talking 'bout those tiny buggers, aren't you? Are they here?" Fred knocked his chair back and rushed for the door, peering out its small window. "Where are they?" His head darted side to side and up and down, trying to get a better angle.

"Lorcan, I have thirty-eight charges to go over with you and not a lot of time to do it in." She pointed at the chair. "Can you please sit?"

"Wait. Thirty… eight?" His eyes widened and he stepped closer. "Is this… is this a joke?"

Felicia cleared her throat. "While I do feel like I have a great sense of humor, my wife says I'm not very funny. This isn't a joke." She drummed her fingers on the table.

Holding his head, Fred slowly reached out for his chair and fell onto it. "Thirty-eight… Three centur- Resti- What? Will you please stop using all this fancy mumbo jumbo and just spit it out? What is all this?"

She sighed. "A long, long time ago you entered Ireland like a bad boy, stole a suit, and hit some tiny men. Sound familiar?"

Fred straightened in his seat, glancing down at his naked form. "No. Must've left it in my other pocket," he answered, glancing at Felicia, but the way she stared at him made it hard for him to hold his composure. What would the council do to him if he confessed he'd taken the suit and now didn't have it anymore? If they locked him up forever he'd never see Lizzie again and he'd never be able to tell her why. She'd just think he'd left her forever, again, and the thought of never seeing her face again terrified him. He groaned. "Alright, yes, it's familiar, but I don't have their laundry anymore. Okay? My sister broke it!"

"So, you did have it, but it's… gone?" Felicia had never heard of magical suits breaking. She had never actually seen a magic suit or anything like it. It was all outside her area; her expertise was the law.

"Ugh! Yes! Shea found its weakness. She amped me up on Lizzie lust and smashed it to bits. Grinning, I might add! Absolutely no shame. Completely unrepentant! My poor, poor suit who never did anything to anyone ever! Gone! Like that!" He snapped his fingers. "It turned all black and next thing I knew I was exposed, cold, and destitute on the rug! I'm the one that should demand restitution."

Clearing her throat, Felicia looked down and busied herself with her papers until she was sure she could hide her smile. When she lifted her head, she tried to appear sympathetic. "Uh, that's too bad. So very sad." Coughing to conceal her laughter, she hid another smile behind her hand.

"Um, as I said earlier," she continued, "it might have helped smooth things over if you could have just handed it back. I'll have to figure something out. I don't know what kind of restitution they'll want... There's no gold in Lullabi, or beer. Is that stereotyping?" She muttered the last part as she drummed her fingers on the table. "We'll at least inform them that you were planning on turning it over, but an unfortunate excess of power rendered it inert." She grimaced. "That sounds a little iffy even to me. I may need to work on that."

"Iffy? Pfft! Well, part of that's true." He sulked, staring at his fingers. He recalled how his green magic had returned to its natural, black smoke and how much more he'd craved Lizzie. "I'm cold without that suit and-" He took a deep breath, feeling his nature waking up at the memories. She'd wanted him so much, more than he'd ever expected, and the sound of her voice telling him so remained as vivid as the feel of her touching him. "Well, it just feels weird." If he didn't talk about it, it had to die back down and stop ruining everything for him.

One corner of Felicia's mouth went up at his pouting. "I know you had your alleged ill-gotten gains for a long time," she said, adding a wink, "but I think it's good you don't have it anymore." She paused, feeling the hints of lust stirring within him. "It has to be better without it. Don't you want to be with Lizzie for real? You can't have that by pretending to be an imaginary friend and babysitter." Tilting her head, she studied him. "We're not evil, you know. There's nothing to be ashamed of. If she loves you, she'll love you for who you are."

Fred didn't move, but his face reddened and his jaw clenched because he knew that Felicia could feel him. This is exactly why I don't come home, he thought. Of course he wanted that with Lizzie, but he feared saying it aloud right now would make him explode. Thanks to Shea his nature felt even stronger without his suit. It seemed he could barely think about Lizzie now without fighting off his desires. His fingers slowly curled over the table and he was thankful he at least had it to hide beneath should his desires continue to rise.

"Um, I don't think I wanna get into it," he said, keeping a tight gaze on the table and counting the lines in the wood.

"I know this is difficult," she said, her voice low. "You've had the suit for so long and this is new for you. You don't have the suit's powers anymore. It has to feel strange, but hopefully it'll feel better soon. You'll get used to being a regular incubus in time and it won't be so awkward." She smiled, even though he kept looking down and dug his nails harder against the table.

Awkward's definitely not what I'm feeling, he thought, taking a deep breath. And I'll never get used to this. An eternity walking around on high alert, dreading the times my prick pops up like a snake in the grass for all to see!

"I wish I could say something profound that would help you, but I suppose all I have are platitudes. Listen, if you ever need to talk, my door is always open. In case talking to your family is driving you crazy, ya know."

"Thanks. I'd like that," he said, glancing up at her.

"I have to confess that I heard about you from your father." She waited, wondering how he might react.

"Wait. You know my father?" He stared at her with surprise and a small smile graced her lips.

"Yes… he told me things between you two have been difficult…"

His eyebrow quirked at her remark. "You could say that," he said, guessing he knew exactly what his father had said about him. In almost three centuries he hadn't forgotten any of their last several exchanges, or the throbbing vein in his father's neck when he'd seen him in that suit. Or his mother's face over the things they had said to one another...

Biting her lip, Felicia's brows furrowed. "I, uh, want you to know that he's the reason I'm here. He asked for me to help you and I will." She said the latter with firmness. "No matter what my reasons are for being here, I am here to do my job, and that is to do my best for you."

"Well, it's nice to have help," he replied, leaning forward and studying Felicia. "Um, so…" He pointed at her, still processing what she'd told him about his father. "My father… hired… you?" he asked. "For me?" Out of everything that had happened to him tonight, this sounded like the most ridiculous and unbelievable part of all. "Are you sure it's not so he can get me off the hook and kill me himself when this is all through?" He laughed nervously, but he was half-serious.

Felicia nodded. "Yes, he came to see me once he knew you were back. He's very connected, and with your brothers' jobs, he knows everything that goes on. Your, um, apprehension and trial were inevitable, so he asked me to help. He warned me it would be a daunting task." She laughed. "I normally never turn away a challenge, and this is going to be my most challenging trial yet."

Fred's confusion worsened. His father, the man who had disowned him, had hired a lawyer to help him fix the biggest mess of his life? Why? An annoying hope nagged at him to believe his father didn't despise him after all, but he shook it off. He might be crazy, but he wasn't delusional.

"This is beyond anything I have done, but the aftermath could be huge," said Felicia. "New laws could be written." She grinned. "Sorry, I'm a bit of a law nerd, you could say. Long story short, I'm here and I need you to work with me."

"This isn't exactly how I wanted to make history." His imagination leapt to a future with him in the lead of a cautionary tale about staying a virgin and dabbling with leprechauns. His brother, Dante, would probably teach a class at school to young lilin about it, too. 'Don't be a prude. It makes you steal tiny trousers and before you know it you're in a motel that's crawling with V.D. and you're causing an orgy. And not even a good orgy. Sad, really. Lorcan, the Virgin Shame cocked that up, too and he's still a virgin!' Fred's face heated as he imagined the laughter of all the children with his brother leading the chorus.

"Now, let's start at the beginning," said Felicia, her her words cutting through his waking nightmare and making him jump. "Ireland," she added. "Explain as thoroughly as you can."

Straightening, Fred ran his hands through his hair and exhaled. He'd never been more grateful for an interruption. That was just fucking weird.

"There's not much to tell," he admitted. "I was nearing my rite of passage and I heard they wanted to pair me with Lila, who I really, sorely didn't wanna do. Ugh! I didn't wanna do any of..." He waved his hand and grimaced, looking about the room. Erotic art hung on the walls just like it did throughout all corners of Lullabi. "...Didn't wanna do any of what we're supposed to do. I wanted more, and I wasn't gonna be forced into it. Or her." His expression soured again. "The suit, I heard, was a way out so I could live on my terms, and it worked great."

"Okay, you didn't want to do your ceremony and you just hightailed it out of Lullabi?" She raised a brow, surprised by this even though it was in the report. "Did you talk about this with anyone? Why did you think a suit would solve your problems?"

"No, course I didn't tell anyone! And I didn't think it would help, I knew it would. One of the whatsits, um, the Fates said so." He snapped his fingers trying to remember. "The chatty sister. The one with all the hair that does this whenever she talks." Fred waved his hand, mimicking flicking hair over his shoulder.

"Wait. So, the Fates said go to Ireland and take a suit?" Doubt colored her voice. "Did you go there planning to just take a suit?"

"No! Everything was legitimate, thank you! Anyway, the Fates said it would solve my problems. It was the best advice they could give for my situation." He shrugged.

"Legitimate? Why do I doubt that?" She rubbed her temples as she thought over this news. "The Fates wanted you to go to Ireland and get a suit. This is absurd. Even if the Fates approved the idea the council didn't, and now we have irate Irishmen ready to beat you to a pulp. I don't understand this at all."

"I dunno, but who am I to question Fate?" Fred grinned.

"You're here because all you've done is question Fate!" Her voice came out as an outraged squeak. "The Fates made you an incubus, and what do you do? Deny it!"

Fred huffed. "Well, Fate didn't seem to mind me questioning! And, ugh! How many more times am I gonna hear that one? Why does everyone keep sayin' I'm an incubus? Of course I know what I am! I can see!" He rolled his eyes, his gaze landing on his naked lap. "Ugh!"

"Fates! Fatessssss!" She leaned forward. "There are three of them and they are probably wondering why you are questioning their decision! The decision that made you an incubus that you have consistently shown to be in denial about! So, why wouldn't everyone remind you when they see you? It's like a dog insisting it's a cat! It's a dog!"

"Pfft! I'm not a dog, or a cat!" Fred scratched his head. "Maybe the Fates," he said, emphasizing the last letter, "got it wrong at first and tried to remedy their mistake by offering their support." He smiled, smugly.

Felicia slapped her forehead. "They don't get things wrong! They're the Fates! They decide your life from beginning to end, well, we don't really have ends, but you get my point. You were always destined to be lilin, to be an incubus. Why are you pretending to be something else?"

"I'm an imaginary friend. Are you surprised?" He tilted his head, sporting an innocent grin.

"Oh, of course. Your clothes just scream imaginary friend." She rolled her eyes. "Imaginary friend is a job title. You shouldn't- You won't be one anymore. Then what will you call yourself?"

Fred's expression dimmed and he stared at Felicia. The last thing he wanted was to remain lilin, to accept that the Fates had created him this way with the intention that's what he would always remain. He belonged in the mortal realm, and somehow he would prove it. "Fred," he answered. "I'll call myself Fred."

Her shoulders sagged. Representing him before the council would be the easy part. Showing him that he was an incubus and not human might kill her. The latter wasn't part of her job, but she felt like she had to help him. She just didn't know how.

"Look, we have a huge task before us. We just need to take things one thing at a time." She sighed, hoping that they had developed enough trust that he would listen to her next words. "I'm gonna ask a big favor. A huge one… Can you make an apology to the offended parties? A sincere apology?"

"Apologize?!" Fred's eyes widened. "Those blighters bit me! I'd have scars if it were actually possible for me to! Maybe they should apologize to me? I paid them for that suit. In full and then some! I was a guest and those crusty snots know it!"

Felicia let her head fall back and groaned. She should have known. "Can't you just fake it?" She sat upright, a hopeful look on her face.

"Nope! No way. I'm Drop Dead Fred! I don't fake anything. I wouldn't give 'em the satisfaction!" He lifted his chin and sulked.

Felicia resisted the urge to stomp her feet and whine. Fred was rubbing off on her. "You're so stubborn. Listen, I only know what is written here. They claim you assaulted them, physically and verbally. Now, given what I've read, and now know about you, I would say that isn't far off the mark. The theft and destruction of property is a bigger problem. Did you steal the suit?"

"Pfft! Course not! I gave them four barrels of beer and my conversation. Fair trade, if you ask me. Can I help it if some of 'em just couldn't hold their liquor? They're the rabble who got all bitey and started the brawl! So, I snatched my suit and left." He shrugged. "That's that."

"You're telling me they traded you a magic suit for beer and a chat?" Felicia frowned. "I don't know if that is a stereotype or bullshit."

"Both really, except it's bollocks they keep harassing me 'bout it. They've banned me from their country forever, and the mortal realm when it's St. Patty's Day. I also can't go within fifty feet of any rainbows. Isn't that enough? Honestly, who bans someone and then stalks them around, nattering about their dirty laundry for centuries?"

"So it's their word against yours. Fantastic." She rubbed her temples. "If I lose, my wife is going to never let me hear the end of it. 'You thought you would be a big shot, Licia. You said this will help our family.' Dammit, we can't lose! Lorcan, I need to know what happened during this transaction!"

Fred winced. "Family? Do you got kids?" He suddenly felt bad for her having to untangle all of his mess, so he tried his best to remember. Certain topics gave him a soft spot, as much as he didn't like to admit it.

"We're expecting, actually. My wife is beside herself and is decorating. She loves decorating. We have so many pillows on our bed. Uh, sorry, that was probably more than you needed to know." She quietly cleared her throat and Fred smiled.

"Trust me, I've heard worse. No, you're… very lucky." Suppose I'll never get any of that with Lizzie. The thought took him by surprise and he quickly cleared his throat, too.

Scratching his head, Fred added, "Uh, well, I remember showing up and asking if they had the suit. Those bastards laughed and prodded me with a lot with ridiculous questions. Made fun of me for bein' an incubus who needed clothes. One of 'em flashed me! Said I needed to see how it's done! And when they found out why I needed the suit, they laughed even harder." He rolled his eyes. "So, I finally reasoned with 'em and offered a trade. Soon as they saw the barrels they made a break for 'em and started drinking. Even trade."

She winced. Her reports told her that their whole society looked at Fred as some kind of strange anomaly, someone to be laughed at. Now it seems a whole other group had laughed at him too. Guilt filled her and with it the desire to help him resurfaced.

"I'm sorry things have been hard and that everyone is always pointing out what's wrong with you." She did air quotes and rolled her eyes. "With the exception of the, uh, Irishmen we just want to help you."

Something about Felicia's offer of help sounded different than other times he'd heard it. Usually it came attached with the idea that he had to change, to be exactly like all the other lilin, or like he was weird and broken. He never believed for one moment that they had intended to really help him, but the gentle way Felicia offered it reminded him of his mother and he knew it was true.

He frowned, suddenly realizing how much he missed her and wished she was here with him, too. With his guard dropping, Fred felt out of place even more than before and he tapped the table out of habit.

"As for the problem with the leprechauns," said Felicia, "there has to be a reason they are not letting this go. Treaty agreements are on the line." She pleaded with him, trying to make him understand. "If they can prove it wasn't an even trade, you can forget Lizzie. You'll be in Lullabi and she'll be just a memory."

Fred flinched. "Alright." He exhaled. "I'll do anything for Lizzie… How do we prove it? The suit's gone now. Can they really have evidence after this long?"

"I'm assuming there is no impartial witness who can magically turn up," she mumbled. She studied Fred. "Well, there is one way to show what happened, but I don't know how you're going to feel about it."

"If I'm still nude, then I promise to hate it, but go on."

She laughed. "I would expect nothing less." Fussing with her papers, she thought over what she wanted to say. "So, the, uh, way to show what happened in Ireland is to… look into your memories."

Fred winced. He hated when anyone looked into his head. "Of course. I come home, they take my clothes, and now wanna probe my brain. Sure. Why not complete the set? Sounds like a fun time." He rolled his eyes.

"At least it's painless." She gave him a toothy smile. "I mean, physically painless."

Fred snorted. "You've never been probed by my sister."

She blinked. "I'm married. And it's not a big deal. Just the whole council will see what happened. And the Irish. And whatever witnesses are present. I'm not selling this to you, am I?"

"No, but if it gets me back to Snotface I'll do it."

"Good, because if those leprechauns are just going to swear by their word, we'll need your memories. Moving on..." Felicia glanced over her papers again and spoke without looking up. "Your duties as imaginary friend... You seemed to have done a decent job. You were a little manic, but all in all you helped your charges. Until Miss Elizabeth Cronin, a.k.a. Snotface. So strange. Your assignment with her went awry, it seems." She looked up into Fred's eyes. "You keep going back to her. Why is that?"


Dark Lullaby - Ch. 4 Pt. 1 (Drop Dead Fred Fanfic)

Authors’ Notes:

:iconmarajade3: /zombierose3: Happy Halloween! Sorry this took so long. This is my last month of school, so I should have more time to get chapters out when it’s through (both for Dark Lullaby and for Second Chances). Thanks for reading, reviewing, and waiting! And thank you to my two beta readers, Jessie and Shelby. <3

unleashthewords: I apologize for nothing! Perhaps I should apologize to Lorcan, “This is why I don’t come home,” aka Fred, but really it’s for his own good. I hope you enjoy this chapter. Please let us know your thoughts. We love to hear from you!


**Disclaimers: We don’t own Drop Dead Fred and are writing this purely for fun and for our readers.

-Links to Previous Chapters:
Dark Lullaby: Chapter 1 - Pt. I
Dark Lullaby: Chapter 2
Dark Lullaby: Chapter 3

-Links to Following Chapters
:

Dark Lullaby: Chapter 4 - Pt. II
Chapter Five (coming soon)
Chapter Six (coming soon)

Summary: Fred returns to Lizzie on Halloween night, but he has a secret, two if you count who, or rather what he really is... FredxLizzie. (Doing something that’s never been done before in the DDF fandom.) A fast, hold onto your knickers inferno! - Written by zombierose3 and unleashthewords for :iconrashelle: /DirtyAim.

Genre: Romance/Humor/Angst

Story Rating
M

Chapter Rating: PG-13
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Dark Lullaby is updated! Please check it out! :D Happy reading. #DropDeadFred #rikmayall 

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