Title ~ Mourning
Written by sweptawaybayou
Written for netgirl_y2k
Pairing ~ Harmony/Fred
Specifications ~ No character bashing or extreme violence
Harmony sat alone in the small, dimly lit chapel. She could not look up at the heavy, wooden cross that hung on the wall behind the pulpit without a sharp pain shooting through her skull. She could not touch the bibles that sat in shelves built into each pew. She had to enter carefully each time she came here, give the bowl of holy water that sat by the door a wide berth. Even with all this, she still came. It felt right. After Fred’s death, it seemed like something she should be doing. She knew it was something that Fred would have respected. She knew it was something that Fred would have done for her.
Harmony sat in the incense scented room thinking of her friend. She hoped that she had been a friend in return. She knew that everyone at Wolfram and Hart considered her, when they did, both a vapid airhead and a scheming social climber. Everyone, that is, but Fred. The slight, kind Winifred Burkle had just accepted Harmony. Fred had never assumed, like so many of the other secretaries had, that she had used her past connections to Angel and Wesley to get herself out of the steno pool. She had never taken the work Harmony did for granted. However trivial it might have seemed to anyone else. Harmony could count on one hand the times that Angel had said ‘Thank you’, let alone compliment her in any way. She could not begin to remember how many times that Fred had stopped by her desk to ask about her weekend plans. To inquire about her day, ask where she had bought a particularly lovely dress or to just say hello. Harmony wished that she had taken more time to get to know the soft-spoken woman.
She had to admit, at first, she had been terribly jealous of Fred, had envied her place within Angel’s tightly knit group. Until, from her desk at the entrance to Angel’s office, overseeing the main lobby, she had become a witness to watching it all fall apart. The team, the trust, the work, the mission, it had all slipped through their fingers without notice, without fanfare.
Harmony wished she could put everything back where it belonged. Get rid of the strange, blue-haired creature that possessed the shell of Fred. Give Wesley back his sense of duty and honesty. Return Gunn’s self-respect and confidence. Give Angel back his mission. Even give Spike back to his blonde slayer. If doing all that would bring Fred back. If it would bring back the one person that had seemed to care whether Harmony showed up for work every day, the one person that had spoken to her as if she really mattered.
She let her mind play back images of Fred. Her quick smile, the shy manner that cleverly concealed a steel core. She had seen the small Texan woman stand up to all of the men in the office at one time or another, when they thought they could bully her. When they had underestimated her. Harmony had even watched once as Fred had been up on her tiptoes, face to face with Angel, forcing him to see her point of view. That was something that not many people had ever done, and lived to tell the tale.
Not that telling tales was anything Fred had ever done either. Harmony knew that she had been the kind of person to whom you could divulge your deepest secrets. You could give her your most treasured dreams and Fred would have died rather than share them with anyone. She had offered friendship freely and took what was given back very seriously.
Harmony wondered if Fred have ever gotten around to finish decorating her apartment. If she had ever framed and hung the pictures of her family her mother had sent her from home. If she had planted any of the seeds of her favorite wild flowers her father had packaged in separate envelopes, each one labeled with the name and a carefully penciled drawing of the bloom. On the times that Harmony and Fred had taken lunches together, Fred had spoken nonstop about how she wanted to find a house. How much she missed living in the country. How much she wanted a front yard. Roses growing on a trellis, a swing under a tree, a porch to enjoy in the evenings. Then she would abruptly stop, her nose wrinkling as she smiled at Harmony.
‘Can’t have all those things and save the world? Can I?’
Harmony knew it was not a question. It was a decision. It was a choice Fred had made, to stay with Angel’s team, to fight evil with whatever she could, to help the mission any way she was able. She had been brave, strong, and fierce. She had been inspiring.
Harmony still thought about Fred’s dream of a little house. She had described it so well and so many times, that Harmony could almost smell the freshly cut lawn and the blooming roses. She knew that Fred had not been alone in that house. She had not sat on the swing under the tree by herself. She knew that house was built with more than a single bedroom, a large kitchen and a small library in mind.
Harmony knew that a certain, special man had been sitting with Fred on the porch in the evenings, fending off the mosquitoes in the spring. Pulling her close, his arm draped across her thin shoulders in the cool of the fall. As they cuddled, they would be watching two or three children, running though the twilight catching fireflies in their small hands to run up and show off to their parents.
Harmony did not notice the tears that fell on her pink silk jacket as she thought of all that the world, of all that the team, of all that she had lost when Fred had died.
She cried alone in the chapel and she missed her first real friend.