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geekgenewrites
Title: Home for Lost Dolls
Series: Environmental Apocalypse
Rating: PG?
Word Count: 1416
Summary: It's Sadie's job to fix Andy.
Notes: The A plot in this continuity concerns a coal sludge spill in rural Appalachia and the activities of Sascha, a twenty-something law student-turned-filmmaker, who attempts to document the corruption of the corporation responsible. There are subplots revolving around Sascha's family, her widowed sister-in-law, and her friends from college, including Sadie, Andy, and Lucy. Andy has a whole lot of angst and issues left over from her vaguely fucked-up childhood. This is set when they were undergraduates.



Andy paused, her wide brown eyes fixed on deep black clouds that drifted overhead, threatening to explode at any moment. She shoved her hands into the pockets of her jeans and bit down a little too hard on her lower lip, tension writ large in every line of her body. Sadie didn't push her, but watched her face with grim, concerned eyes, resisting the urge to scold her. She compromised, after a moment, and reached out to lay a hand on Andy's shoulder. She rubbed her thumb gently over the knot of tension at the nape of her neck and Andy sighed and squirmed and released her bottom lip.

“If we're going to have Revelation Time,” Sadie said, after an eternally long time, voice low and mild and sympathetic, “we should probably get some place warm. Or at least some place we won't get rained on.”

Andy blinked and looked around curiously, as though she hadn't realized where they were. After a moment she gave a violent, belated shiver and murmured, “Perhaps you're right.” She gave Sadie a shy smile and relaxed minutely when she saw her affectionate look.

Sadie slid an arm around her shoulders and began to lead her down the hill. Andy leaned into her embrace without seeming to think about it.

“Where's your coat?” Sadie asked, giving into her compulsion to fuss. “You can't tell me you forgot it, not in this cold – and with a storm coming, too. Andy, are you deliberately trying to drive me insane with worry?”

Andy giggled, drawing a grin out of Sadie's affected scowl.

“I mean, really,” she said, warming to her character. “What would your mother think? Traipsing around in near-freezing weather without even a jacket on? What would my mother think of me letting you? Hey.” She paused, as they reached the sidewalk and looked at Andy sideways. “That's your plan, isn't it? Getting me in trouble so you can steal away my mother's affection? Well, I can tell you now, it's not going to work.” She stood up a little straighter and began to steer Andy on down the sidewalk, towards campus. “My mother loves me. I'm her useful child, you know. But as I was saying – don't think you can sidetrack me that easy, kiddo – it's going to rain, soon, and you out here in just this? What's gotten into you, child? Why, I remember, back in my day...”

Andy giggled even harder, and elbowed her in the side.

“All right, fine,” she grumbled. “You've made your point. I'll never leave home without thermal underpants again.”

Sadie laughed, low and clear. “I wouldn't go that far,” she said, amiably, giving Andy's shoulders a squeeze before letting go and putting her hands in her pockets, confident she wouldn't be bolting any time soon. “But seriously, Andy.” Her voice fell, low and probing and so full up with care and worry Andy had to work to suppress a flinch. Sadie marked her reaction but didn't comment.

“I was serious about it being close to freezing,” she continued. “I know you're not that stupid, however much you might want us to think so. What's going on in your head?”

They had reached the gate on the far side of campus, and Sadie stopped. She turned and pulled Andy to face her, gripping her upper arms gently. Andy refused to meet her eyes and she sighed, rubbing her thumbs in hopeless circles against Andy's thin sweater.

“You've got to talk to me, doll,” she said, softly, and was encouraged when the cornered of Andy's mouth twitched at the familiar endearment. “I can't help you, otherwise.”

The hint of a smile vanished and Sadie shook her gently. “We're all worried about you,” she said. “Sascha's nearly finished that new sudoku book she bought last week and Lucy's gone violent on us. She punched Carradene in the face, again, hasn't stopped pacing since you stopped showing up for lunch.”

Andy cringed openly, this time, and dropped her head. “I'm sorry,” she said, meekly.

Sadie's eyes and grip tightened painfully. “Don't apologize to me,” she said, with real feeling. “Talk to me.”

Andy shivered, again, and, without seeming to think about it, Sadie slipped off her coat and wrapped it around Andy's shoulders. It was a testament to just how cold was the weather and how far gone was she that Andy didn't object. Sadie led her through the gate and around the brick wall to get out of the wind. Andy stared down at her battered sneakers as though they might tell her something she hadn't yet managed to get out of them.

Sadie reached out, pulling Andy to her. Andy started to resist, but gave in, quickly allowing herself to be drawn into Sadie's arms, and settling into the familiar embrace with only the barest hesitation. She lay her cheek against her friend's shoulder and felt at least three layers of seams criss-crossing between them. She almost smiled.

For a long time, they just breathed together, taking and receiving comfort for some nameless anxiety, enjoying the proximity they shared, and daring the world to interrupt. Their old closeness got to Andy and she felt herself growing warmer, relaxing in spite of herself and Sadie gave the back of her neck a secret smile. She reached up and rubbed the skin there, trying both to comfort her emotionally and gage how much she might need physically, once they got in out of the cold..

“You feel like talking, now, little doll?” she asked, quietly, affectionately.

Andy gave a giggle that sounded horribly like a sob. She hugged Sadie tight and buried her face in her neck before speaking.

“I did something bad, Sadie,” she said. Her voice was full up with water. “I think you guys might hate me for it.” It dropped down to almost nothing, her breath barely caressing the skin against which she spoke. “I hate me for it.”

Sadie paused for little more then a heartbeat before harrumphing and straightening her spine. She pulled Andy up by the shoulders then held her still with one hand while the other forced her to meet her glare.

“Andrea Westerfield Carter,” she said. “I don't care what you did. I don't,” she insisted, and held tighter to Andy's chin when she tried to look away. Her tone softened, but an unmistakable steel remained in her eyes. “It doesn't matter.” She repeated herself, bumping her forehead against the other girl's when she squeezed her eyes shut. “It. Doesn't. Matter. You will always, always be my little doll. Got it?”

Andy shook her head, a little desperately, and whimpered. “Sadie...” Moisture collected on her lashes when she cracked her eyes open. She stopped when she saw Sadie's glare deepen, one eyebrow raising.

“Got it?” she said, again.

It wasn't a question, really. There was only one response to make. Meekly, Andy nodded.

“Okay,” she said. But doubt still dripped from her hair, permeating her clothes, and painting her face into a grotesque caricature of itself. Shame, Sadie noted, was a very bad look for her, and she said so.

Andy choked on her laughter, and allowed her head to be pressed back into Sadie's chest. The last desperate embers of resistance had gone out of her and she allowed herself to just be held for a long while, one hand knotted loosely into the soft cashmere of Sadie's outermost layer, her other index finger linked into the other girl's front belt loop in a blatant display of need that only Sadie was aware of and chose not to draw attention to. Sadie kept one arm tight around her waist while the other rubbed circles between her shoulders blades until her fingers grew numb and the cold finally became too uncomfortable to bear. She then reached down and caught Andy's wandering hand and squeezed it once before gently disentangling their bodies. She left one arm around her shoulders, however, and with this led her down the path towards the dorms, where the other two paced and waited and worried over their evening argument.

“Now,” she said, as they began to walk, gazing up at the sky with eyes a little brighter then was usual, perhaps, but no more so than the sting of cold couldn't account for. “How about you tell me what's going on? And then, when we get back, we can all sit down and work out how to fix it.”

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