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Rats In The Attic 8/?

Fandom: Dollhouse
Summary: During Harding's reign at the LA Dollhouse, Adelle Dewitt gets sent to the Attic.


Chapter Eight

War. Was she insane?

“You can't be serious.”

Adelle pressed her lips into a thin line. Of course she was.

“We've already been captured. You've lost your war.” There was a strange satisfaction in that, in saying she had failed in some way. Like she had with him, though thinking that just made him bitter. If he was concerned about her well being, she had obviously done better than he gave her credit for.

“Surely you understand the benefits of working from the belly of the beast.”

How could she throw those comments at him? How could she ask him to join her, and still cut at him for what happened?

Laurence raised his arms above his head. “Look where that got me.”

“Can you really be so juvenile right now?”

“Juvenile?” He dropped his arms. “You think me calling your crazy plan insane is juvenile?” Well he hadn't, but he meant to.

“You don't know our plan.”

Now who was acting childish? “Why do you even want me in on this?”

“You're the only other person in the Attic who can grasp what's going on outside of it.” She paused, expression becoming less guarded. “You're the only one we've come across who isn't afraid.”

“Fine. You're short on recruits, but after what got me here, why do you still want me? I don't kill you and all is forgiven?”

“You're what we've got, and as long as you hold back your need for revenge until all of this is over, I don't care.”

“You really don't, do you?” He moved closer to her, waiting for her to start backing away. She didn't. “You really don't care about surviving this. What happened to you?”

She tilted her head to the side, a strand of her short hair falling over her eyes. “Is that concern or curiosity?”

He stopped just short of reaching her. “Cute.”

“I beg your pardon?” Adelle pulled herself straighter, beginning to look irritated.

“Your evasiveness.”

She was trying to hold her face calm, stoic, but he could see the bewilderment in her eyes. They hadn't called each other on their lies and secrets until she found out his. It still felt a little strange, being so confrontational with her. The only other times he had been so bold were when he was trying to keep her safe. As the silence stretched, Laurence resisted the urge to step closer, into the air warmed by her body.

“Well.” Her eyes flickered away a moment, before she straightened her shoulders and turned her focus back to him. “We seem to have gotten a bit off track.”

Changing the subject. They kept getting personal, and he could admit that there wasn't much more either of them could say on the matter. Not without admitting some truths neither of them seemed willing to face.

Laurence took a step back. “I'll join your fight.”

She nodded curtly, satisfied with reviving the answer she wanted. Her shoulders released some tension and he wasn't sure if it was because he stepped away, or said yes. What would she have done if he said no? Just leave? He wondered how he would handle solitude, knowing she was out there. It would be different than knowing she was at the Dollhouse, out in the real world. The Attic changed everything, even what he had never considered before.

“What now?”

“Now you have a long talk with one of the men who built Rossum.” She tucked her hair back behind her ear.

“What? How?”


“You're joking.”

“I assure you Mr. Dominic, my humor isn't so ill suited.”

Laurence couldn't tell if she was making a pun over the man's shabby attire, or saying jokes in the Attic were in poor taste.


“What's this?”

Claire smiled, giving half a shrug. “Things are going faster than we thought. I figured this would be our last chance to have a decent meal together.”

She had to order most of the food, their fridge was empty, but she had set it all out on good dishes. She hadn't thought Boyd would be the type to have fine china, but the man did manage to surprise her on occasion. He smiled, but she could still see the sad creases at the corners of his eyes. Boyd crossed over to her, kissing her on the corner of her lips.

“Thank you.”

“You haven't eaten yet.” She shooed him towards his chair, making him chuckle.

They sat down and he reached for her hand across the table. “If there was someone else I could send in-”

“I know.” Returning to the Dollhouse was an unpleasant thought, but one she had figured was inevitable. Returning to the Dollhouse in order to break someone out of one of its most secure prisons? It hadn't really crossed her mind. “But I'm the best.”

“You are.”

From what Topher's research had gathered, Dewitt's body would need all the help it could get.


"If you're trying to learn from them, why did you run?"

Why Clyde needed to learn from that all was disconcerting. His own memories locked away, even as his mind was plugged in. Had they wiped any from him, Laurence wondered. Was he still whole? Would Adelle have even bothered trying to fuck with him any more than she had?

"Things didn't go quite so well the first time." Clyde offered a weak smile. "They realized something was wrong and locked us in the mind we had originally set as a trap." He laughed shakily. "Didn't even know they had the power to do that... We had to kill who we were after in order to get out. They've upped their defenses because of it, making things more difficult."

"Not to mention making us a great deal more wary," Adelle added.

Adelle being cautious. That she had teamed up with one of the Rossum founders seemed to belay that. Yet outside of the shape of Arcane, Laurence had to admit Clyde didn't seem that intimidating. Unless you stopped and thought about his creation of the whole wiping process, of the ability to download personalities, and minds. That was only shadowed by the friend who had betrayed him for it.

“You're just going to try the same thing again? You don't have any other plan?” Laurence had known it would be insane, but this was almost ridiculous. They'd already failed once, and now they were planning on doing the same thing again?

“Well, we need what they know. They're connected to the outside. They can leave.” Clyde scratched the back of his head.

“And once you know what's going on outside? What do you think you're going to do from in here?”

“Unplug some CPUs.”

Adelle had opened her mouth, as if to answer differently. Clyde had beat her to it though, and she grimaced, resting her fingers against her forehead and shadowing her face.

Laurence frowned, if the metaphor hadn't been telling, her reaction was. “What?”

“The minds in here. They're the processors to Rossum's mainframe.” Clyde offered an awkward grimace that might have been an attempt at a smile.

They had stuck him in hell and somehow where still using him. “You're going to kill people?”

“We need them to stop functioning if we want Rossum to fall.”

“And once enough of them are down, what are we going to do, drop on swords ourselves?”

“It's not ideal.” Adelle lowered her hand, slowly rising from her chair.

“Not ideal? It's a massacre.”

“Sometimes you have to play they hand you're dealt.”

“And theirs is to die?”

“Is leaving them to their nightmares supposed to sound more humane?”

Even after they burned him, the Dollhouse's gray morality still stalked him. He'd done terrible things under their employ, at her order, and of his own volition. Stuck in this place, as one of them, he was not sure how to respond. Trapped at the NSA, would he have welcomed death? Violent and terrible as it would have been at the hands of Arcane? Could he do it to someone else and think it justified?

Laurence tried a different track. “That's your plan? Make their computers glitch?”

“The plan is to get the information out.” She grimaced at his change in topic.

“Out? Of the Attic? You think you can get something out of the Attic?”

“We've been left for dead, Laurence. We have all the time we need to figure it out.”

“So this plan is just your general idea then.”

“What do you suggest? Sitting around and doing nothing?”

Now that he knew who Arcane was, what was there left for him here? He resented her right then, for having so little yet still managing to be right.

“There has to be something better.”

Clyde turned his eyes to the floor. “We've tried coming up with something.”

“Obviously you haven't thought on it long enough.”

He gave another shaky laugh. “Oh, I've thought on it a long time.”

Laurence felt his stomach twist. Rossum had been around for decades. Had Clyde felt that? His aging, in this place? Had it always been this way? How could it have been, when it had started with just him? Had he been alone, in the beginning?

“I say we've talked enough for now. Obviously Laurence needs some time to think things over.”

He felt himself bristle, but didn't dispute her comment. He did need to think, of a way out of this mess. He no longer had his quest against Arcane. Could he join up with them? Go after Rossum security, kill people when they figured it would be the most damaging?

“Right.. well, ah, just remember. Don't go outside.” Clyde rubbed his hands together awkwardly, shuffling out of the room.

Adelle nodded absently, pushing aside stacks of spilled folders to make a path towards a different door.

So this was it. They were all going to slink off to their separate corners.

The place they had chosen as their safe-house was about as safe as a lit stick of dynamite. The world outside the underground office they sheltered in was a mess. He supposed it was a bit like built in security against the people who were looking for them. Why try and invade such a chaotic mind and risk losing people? Even if the hordes were a figment of someone else's imagination, they could still kill you, as much as the person who conjured them.

Of course, the noises outside didn't penetrate to the cluttered room he was in. Laurence wasn't sure if that was a quality of a dream, or if they were really that far below ground. He couldn't even hear the paper scattered across the ground rustle when he walked across it. It was unnerving.

He didn't want to wait in the silence any longer, not stuck with himself, and decided to follow after Adelle. If he couldn't get himself to tackle the problem of her crazy plan, he could at least make himself confront their past.

She hadn't gone far, just into the other room. It was as cluttered as the one they left, but the old office chair she situated herself in looked more comfortable than the wooden one she had earlier. Laurence leaned against the door frame, crossing his arms. She was looking at a wall, apparently just trying to avoid eye contact with him.

"Clyde was betrayed, he also feels responsible for what happened, guilty. But what reason would you have for wanting to take down Rossum?"

"Hardly anything noble, if that's what you're worried I'm trying to claim." Her voice was dry, heavy with sarcasm.

Not like Caroline, with her ideals, or Ballard with his morals, was the message that hung unspoken in her brief pause. Nothing like Clyde's determination to set right old wrongs.

"I'm afraid," she continued, "my motives are quite.. petty."

Laurence frowned, feeling wary of the response he was about to receive. "Then what is it?"


He studied her a moment, the thin line of her lips, pressed together, the coldness in her eyes. Laurence stood straight and crossed the room to stand in front of her, glad there was a wall at her back so she couldn't escape.

"I don't believe you. That can't be all of it."

"Your belief in my motivation is completely unnecessary." She stood, turning away from him.

“You told me to put my revenge on hold until this was all over. Why aren't you doing the same?”

“When this is over it will be my revenge.”

“You're right, your reason is petty. I also don't believe that's why you're here.” He was repeating himself, but he was determined to get an answer. There was only so much dancing around the subject she could do before he would get an answer he could at least think of as acceptable.

“Why are you here?” She turned around, facing him to throw his betrayal back at him, trying to put him off track.

He decided to answer it simply, to make it about his presence in that room. The NSA didn't need to come up again between them, not right then. “I went looking for you.” Time was so impossible here. He couldn't tell how long he had been searching for her and Arcane. He wondered how much time she had experienced since she was grabbed.

She hesitated before answering. Laurence knew they were finally crossing that line. There wouldn't be turning back from any of these confessions.


"I remembered that I would die for you."



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 31st, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)
You continued!!! I was so excited to see this updated :)

This was excellent! and the ending line to the chapter was perfect.
Mar. 31st, 2013 06:29 am (UTC)
If only I could continue quicker...

That line! I'm fond of it myself. Mainly because it just sparks true to me in his character on the show, whatever his allegiance to the Dollhouse, he would have done whatever for her.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )