Dark Lullaby

BY : ZombieWithANoose
Category: 1 through F > Drop Dead Fred
Dragon prints: 1377
Disclaimer: We don’t own Drop Dead Fred, the Twilight Zone, A Christmas Carol, Full House, or Uncle Jesse, and have no connection or relation to Michael Biehn. Also, we’re not making a single profit from this work.

Authors’ Notes:

zombierose3: Dedicated to and written for DirtyAim (aka, Queen Smut Smut), and if this story should kill her in the throes of joy, then let us also dedicate this to her memory and bow our heads.

unleashthewords: For Miss DirtyAim, I hope you enjoy my efforts to make this the best smutty novel I could write with zombierose3. You’re welcome. ;)

**Disclaimers: We don't own Drop Dead Fred, the Twilight Zone, A Christmas Carol, Full House, or Uncle Jesse, and have no connection or relation to Michael Biehn, but we love his work. Also, we're not making a single profit from this work. (Unless laughter counts, or DirtyAim's soul, then we are rich.)

Chapter One

Trick or Treat

(Six months after the movie…)

“Maybe I really am crazy.” Lizzie sighed as she stepped through the door to her apartment. She didn’t understand how she had let her mother ruin Halloween again. Really, she had only gone over there to get a few more of her things for her new place, but perhaps that had been her first mistake. Going there on Halloween was the equivalent of walking into a venomous snake pit and expecting to walk out with a gift basket and a smile. Lizzie hadn’t even made it upstairs before her mother had hooked her into her annual row with the neighbors. Ironically, Lizzie only had herself to blame for that tradition.

Or Drop Dead Fred.

She’d been six-years-old that Halloween. Together she and Fred had sprinted around the block, spreading rumors that her mother was a witch. An evil witch who couldn’t find the right broom to sweep away her cobwebs. Looking back, Lizzie couldn’t believe he’d made her tell the whole street and she blushed now that she understood his innuendo.

For a long time they had most of the neighborhood children believing Lizzie was the sole survivor of eight siblings because her mother had eaten the rest. The joke had returned every year, creating the Halloween tradition of pranking the wicked witch of Hill Street before she ate anyone else.

“Thank god she never found out it was me,” she said, flicking on the kitchen light. Lizzie smiled. Some part of her wanted to scold herself for enjoying the legacy left by her and Fred, but she couldn’t deny her satisfaction either. She loved any reminders of him, unfortunately most things he left in his wake came back to bite her.

All night she’d ran interference to keep Polly from calling the police on three boys. ‘Yes, Mother, they’re awful. I’m sorry this keeps happening,’ she’d repeated, doing all she could to placate her, but more and more Lizzie had rooted for the children. It’s what had gotten her through.

She’d wiped rotten egg off the front porch and windows and taken the brunt of her mother’s ravings about the slew of toilet paper hanging from her ‘very handsome tree’ in the front yard. Polly believed it to be the staple of the street. There had been no telling her that the tree was just a tree and in no way the historic landmark of Hill Street that Polly thought it was. Polly had scoffed and told Lizzie she was no different than her father, and explained how that tree uplifted a drab neighborhood from the shambles that was the street behind them. She might have gone on about Mrs. Fowler thanking her once for the upkeep on the tree, but Lizzie had tuned out after a time. She was almost glad when the third prank happened and the lawn gnomes emerged.

All of them had encircled the sacred tree, facing outward with poorly hand drawn renditions of Polly’s likeness sporting a devil’s goatee. Her mother had snapped and shrieked like a lunatic for the children to show themselves. Unfortunately, Lizzie had snorted within earshot and as Polly had whipped around she’d slipped on a pile of wet dog poo. Laughter had filled the air and Polly had marched off in horror, set to call the boys’ parents as she barked at Lizzie to clean up everything before the sight devalued her home.

Lizzie didn’t tell her mother, but she had quietly placed one of the gnomes in her car as a memento and fled the scene. She had never been so glad to be home in her life.

Setting her keys on the kitchen counter, Lizzie headed into the bedroom and stopped before the full-length mirror. “So much for this costume,” she said, plucking at the black and purple witch costume she’d picked out for Janie’s party. “Maybe next year-”

An urgent rap on the front door made her jump.

“Who could that be?” she asked, checking her watch. It was past ten o’clock, too late for any trick or treaters. Maybe they’ll just go away, she thought. All she wanted to do at this point was get out of her costume and into a bath, but the knock sounded again. “Of course. It’s my Halloween karma… Alright, I’m coming,” she grumbled, hurrying to the door and opening it.

Finding no one, Lizzie’s eyebrows went up with curious frustration.

“Okaaaay,” she said, peering out into the hall.


“Guess, I must be hearing things…” she muttered, stepping back inside. Her mind wanted to supply spookier explanations, but as she had just moved into the first place she had ever lived alone, she did not want to indulge them.

Closing the door, Lizzie barely turned around when another abrupt knock sounded on the other side. Her heart leapt, those explanations rearing up with renewed force, filling her mind with images of some berserk madman here to murder her. Another, even louder knock made her jump.

“Look, whoever this is, you’ve got the wrong place!” she shouted, laying a hand over her heart. The knocking only grew louder and, losing her patience, Lizzie peeked through the keyhole to find that no one was there, even as she felt the door shake from another knock.

Recoiling, she yelped and hugged herself. “Look, this isn’t funny anymore!” she shouted, but the pounding continued, taking on the tune of “Shave and a Haircut.” Lizzie locked the door and felt the color leave her face. This didn’t make any sense. She had just heard the knock. Whoever it was would have had no time to run out of sight...

“This is really starting to freak me out…” she whispered. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she leaned closer to the door. “I’m calling the cops, so you better just leave and get your kicks somewhere else!”

Inside, a man’s voice cried out from behind her with a very familiar accent.

“Leave? Don’t you know how this works? I’m here for treats, not kicks, and I’m losing my bloody patience. Try again!” Another knock beat the door in front of her.

Lizzie shrieked and clapped her hands over her ears. Spinning around, she found no one behind her and the raps persisted on the door. “You- What? I, I hate your guts!” Oh my god, she thought. He’s back! He’s back and he’s everywhere!

“Flattery’s not a treat! How long does it take to get some service ‘round here?” He kicked the door. “Come on! Trick or treat!”

“I’ll give you a treat! A punch to your face!” Lizzie yelled at the door. Her heart still pounded, wildly.

“Geez, what’re you supposed to be tonight? A mega, megawitch?”

Lizzie glared at the door. “If I am a mega, megawitch it’s your fault! Who the hell bangs on people’s doors and then pops up behind them and scares them half to death?! Go haunt someone else!”

“Nuh uh!” he said, the nasal tone making him sound all the more obnoxious. “Come and make me, or else I don’t go until you’ve given me my treats. I’ve come all this way for it and if you don’t do it soon I’m gonna have to pull a trick, and believe me, I’ve got plenty of those!” He kicked the door three times. “So, knock, knock. Trick or treat!”

Lizzie growled. She was tired and Fred’s sudden, unexplained appearance and obnoxious attitude was not improving her mood. Lizzie stared at the door, debating on whether to open it or not. She knew he excelled at waiting people out until they couldn’t take it anymore and she wasn’t in the mood for any more of his tricks. Finally, reason won out. She unlocked the door, turned the knob, and let it swing open. “Happy?” she asked, wearily.

Standing there, covered in a white sheet with poorly cut and crooked eye holes, Fred nodded. “That’s more like it.” He cleared his throat before letting out a long, “WoooOOOoooo!” His hands waved from beneath the sheet in uncoordinated circles. “Now… give up the goods. Trick or ruddy treat,” he said, holding out a green pillowcase.

Lizzie was unmoved. She reached for the bowl of candy she kept by the door, grabbed a handful, and half-heartedly threw it at Fred. “Happy Halloween.” Lizzie slammed the door. “Now go home!”

“Hey!” Fred shouted. “You’re really taking the whole spirit outta this trick or treatin’ game, ya know, Snotface.”

Lizzie had walked away from the door, but paused to respond. “Oh? No one calls me Snotface except my former imaginary best friend and HE LEFT ME FOREVER!” Her fists clenched and her whole body shook.

Outside, Fred’s jaw dropped. Oh, so it’s gonna be like this, is it? he thought.

In flash of green, Fred magicked into the apartment behind Lizzie and snatched the witch’s hat off her head. “Left you forever, did he? Well, looks like he’s come back to haunt you!” Fred whapped her on the head with the hat, making her flinch. “Boo!” He laughed.

Lizzie brushed the hair out of her eyes and turned to face him. Of course he’s dressed like a ghost. My own Ghost of Christmas Past, or Halloween Present. “Why are you back?” she asked.

Fred stuck out his tongue, but got a mouthful of fabric and started spitting to get rid of the taste. Lizzie sighed and he dissolved the sheet using his magic.

“Ugh, there, that’s better,” he said, tossing the witch’s hat across the room and smiling at Lizzie. His heart skipped. Without the sheet in his eyes, he finally saw how stunning she looked.

Her hair had grown out to her shoulders and her eyes were as dark and beautiful as ever. No one had eyes like hers; he swore they were magic because he couldn’t forget them- he couldn’t forget her. Her dress hung to her mid-thighs and its dark colors seemed to make her pale skin glow. As an adult, Fred had never seen her in anything that revealed her legs so much and he couldn’t help memorizing them and everything else about her in this moment. Leaving her had been the biggest mistake of his life.

I missed you so much, Snotface. I never should’ve left you, he thought, the ache in his chest that had persisted for months worsened by their closeness. God, I hope I’m not making a mistake in this… His hands felt clammy and trembled after the thought.

“Um, why am I back?” he repeated, stalling for time. Everything he’d planned to tell Lizzie had unraveled from one look at her. Great start, this is. Fred slouched, shoving his hands into the pockets of his green and yellow suit. “Because,” he said, offering a sheepish smile.

Lizzie stared. “Because? You stormed back into my life, turned it upside down… helped me get rid of Charles, and just left. Now you’re back… because?!” Lizzie’s voice rose an octave at the last word and Fred frowned.

“Do you really wanna know?” he whispered, stepping closer.

Her brow furrowed. She hadn’t expected this kind of response, just another obnoxious retort. It worried her. “Are you going to give me an honest answer?” Lizzie twisted her fingers together, fidgeting because she didn’t think she was ready for his answer. “Why now?”

He studied her, tilting his head. Why the hell isn’t she happier to see me? This isn’t at all like I pictured. Fred’s heart sank. Since she’d grown up, he had a lot of trouble understanding her in times like this. Didn’t nearly piss her off so much when she was short. Knew she didn’t wanna see me as I did her… His eyebrows went up and he shrugged. “Well, I can’t very well trick or treat any other time of the year, Snotface.”

“Of course! How stupid of me! You must have gotten a day pass to trick or treat and haunt your old friend.” Anger and hurt warred within her- and anger was easier to express. “I’m so glad you could show up again unannounced!” Lizzie paced before she started throwing things. “So what now? You going to leave again and maybe show up when it’s convenient for you? And play your stupid games?” Her hurt threatened to spill over as tears, but she bit her lip, willing herself not to cry.

“Hey, that’s really not fair! And my games aren’t stupid! You use to love my games,” said Fred, fighting the sting of her words. “And I’ve come back, haven’t I? So why can’t you just BE HAPPY about it?” he asked, trying to follow her steps. Like old times, the sight of seeing his Snotface upset made him crazy to console her, unfortunately he didn’t always know how to do that. The worry in his gut sent his heart racing. Where the hell had he gone wrong in all this? Why wasn’t she happy to see him?

“Fair? Happy? Let’s talk about fair! You came back into my life! You sunk Janie’s boat, you caused your usual havoc, and yes, you helped me boot Charles out of my life, and I thought everything was finally going to be okay, and then you left. You ki-” Lizzie checked herself and took a deep breath.

“You said goodbye and then you left. I’ve learned to live without you again, and then you show up. And how do you show up? Scaring the crap outta me, and I’m supposed to be happy? You have a different definition then, because I don’t understand why you’d choose to announce that you’re back in this way. Were you just wanting a laugh at my expense? Is this an elaborate and stupid joke? Could you have come back at any time?” Lizzie looked at him, sad and dismayed. She didn’t want to hear that he could have come back whenever he wanted, but chose not to.

“Lizzie-” Fred’s voice cracked, betraying him with emotion and he stared at his feet. “I was only trying to make you laugh by dressing up…” He fidgeted with his hands. He really hadn’t known he’d hurt her this much and it tore him up. Sure, he’d known she’d wanted him to stay, but so had every charge he’d said goodbye to, of course they had all been children. If only he’d realized this time had been different because showing up out of nowhere had just made everything worse. Apparently he wasn’t just lousy at goodbyes, but hellos, too. Did he even stand a chance to fix this? To explain? Would she even want to hear the real reason he’d come back? Fred’s hope twisted into anguish. It seemed he never expressed things right anymore whenever he tried making her happy.

“I… I really did have to leave, Snotface,” he said at last, “and honest, I didn’t think I could come back.”

Lizzie’s anger ebbed, leaving her tired again. “But you’re here. If you couldn’t come back how are you here now?” Desperation wavered her voice.

“Because…” Fred took a deep breath and finally looked her in the eyes. “I only got one more chance and I could only use it on Halloween.” Well, that’s a big lie, he thought, feeling like such a coward, but if she knew why he’d had to leave, then he really stood no chance.

Lizzie shook her head. Another typical, strange conversation with Fred that didn’t make any sense. She sat down on the couch. “What do you mean one more chance? For what?”

Fred sat beside her, struck by the memory of the last time they’d sat like this together. That had been in a very different apartment, though, with not a drop of Lizzie found in any of the rooms. She’d confessed how much she’d loved Charles to him that day and he’d never felt so sick. Looking around at her place now, Fred found it hard to believe it had only been six months since she’d left the bastard. Everything here screamed Lizzie down to the pattern on the sofa. Artwork, purple drapes, shelves full of books, and… Fred stared. His jack-in-the-box sat on the mantle beside an empty vase.

Maybe she missed me more than I thought?

Hope fluttered inside him and he folded his hands together. Here goes, I guess… he thought. “There’s a lot about me you don’t know, Snotface.”

“Well, you were never into sharing things about yourself,” Lizzie said. “I suppose it didn’t matter when I was little and then after… when you came back it never came up.” Lizzie turned and studied her manic friend, realizing he was a mystery to her. “What don’t I know? Are you married with seven imaginary kids?”

Fred laughed. “The universe can rest safe for another night knowing I’ve never spawned,” he said, relaxing at the welcomed show of Lizzie’s humor. “But… you know I’m not just imaginary, don’t you? Cuz if not, the rest of this is really gonna be hard to take.”

“I never thought about it. I guessed imaginary meant imaginary, but I never thought what that actually meant... Are you saying that you’re real? I don’t understand. I think I’m getting a headache.” Lizzie rubbed her temples.

“That’s exactly what I’m saying.” Fred swallowed, his pulse quickening. “I am very real. Just not so much in this world,” he said. His nerves bit at him. How the hell was he gonna explain the rest without terrifying her?

“This world,” she echoed. “What do you mean this world? Is there more than one world?” Lizzie flopped back on the couch, covering her eyes with one hand. “I don’t suppose you want to pop over to the bathroom and get me an Aspirin?”

Fred winced. Great. Only just told her I’m real and already I’ve split her head, he thought, blinking away for the medicine cabinet. He returned, Aspirin and glass of water in hand. “Might wanna swallow this before I answer any further. Trust me, it gets weirder,” he said, smiling at her for reassurance.

“Thanks,” she mumbled as she took the Aspirin, tossed it in her mouth, and took a big sip from the glass. “I hope this kicks in soon. Okay. Hit me with this other world stuff.” She took another drink and Fred grimaced.

She would either accept this, or beat him. Or possibly I’ll finally push her into an institution...

“There’s lots of worlds, Snotface. You just don’t see them. They all run mixed up with yours. Sorta like alternate dimensions. Mostly they’re all separated, despite the closeness, but… some of us get access to doorways into the others. That’s how you see me now. How you saw me before.” Fred wrung his hands together.

Lizzie wrinkled her nose as she tried to process this. “So, not other planets… They’re other worlds somewhere else? All around us? This sounds like the Twilight Zone. So, you come from one of these other worlds?” Lizzie stared at Fred, beginning to see him as a person, but wondering if he was something else entirely.

“Yeah, I, I come from one of them, but I like your world a lot,” he said, smiling at her. He hoped that hearing this wasn’t too weird for her. He knew Lizzie could take a lot, but now he wasn’t so sure. Everything depended on how well he handled this conversation. “You alright?”

“I- So, you’re real, but you’re not… human?” She felt more confused than worried. Not being human seemed the least strange thing about Fred, after all it could explain a lot.

“Erm, yeah I’m real, and no. I’m not human, Snotface. I wish I was...” he said, looking away from her. Fred repositioned himself on the couch, not because he wanted to, but because the topic suddenly had him feeling fidgety.

Fred isn’t human? Lizzie sat up straight. What did that make him? This conversation’s getting stranger by the second. “What world are you from?” she asked.

“I’m from… a much darker world than yours. Um, we call it Lullabi.”

“What does that mean? What are you exactly? Why is your world darker?” Strange thoughts flooded her brain. She pictured dark shadows and snarling creatures. “Lullabi. Is that like dreams?”

An overly high-pitched and nervous laugh erupted from Fred and he leapt from the sofa. Lizzie blinked. I didn’t think it was possible, but he’s even weirder than normal. His characteristic energy took hold and he paced the floor, but Lizzie noticed he seemed agitated, not his usual manic self.

“It’s… I don’t know, I didn’t make it!” he said. “It’s just darker in the things they do there… I guess, um…” I’m so stupid to bring any of this up. She’s gonna hate me if I tell her. I’ll be a monster in her eyes. She’s already scared enough of me as it is while not knowing what I am!

Tapping his fingertips together, Fred quickly added, “Yes, it’s got some things to do with dreams. Certain kinds, that is…” Fred didn’t realize how hard he breathed and he stopped in front of Lizzie. God, she’s so beautiful. He wanted to remember the sight of her brown eyes looking at him this way before she found out the truth. And this is probably my last chance…

“Who is they?” She sighed, deeply. “Fred, this is going on for too long. Just tell me. Who are you?”

Here it comes, he thought. She’ll never want me near her again. However, he knew he had to tell her, no matter how futile his attempt. He couldn’t keep everything to himself any longer, not after what he’d realized. Not when he didn’t have the strength to run from it anymore. His heart couldn’t take another day without her.

Reclaiming his seat beside Lizzie, Fred took her hand, but she almost didn’t register the action. It was an unusual gesture from him, but his demeanor is what caught her focus. He seemed so worried...

“I come from somewhere where it’s always night,” he said. “There’s a word you humans have for us, but I don’t like it because it’s always so synonymous with evil and, Snotface, I don’t want you to think that’s what I am, because I’m not evil. I promise.” He stared into her eyes, so focused on not cocking up his words that the worry inside him reflected into his gaze. “Lullabi’s a mix of names. Combination of lullaby and… succubi and incubi… because of what it deals in… I’m… I’m an incubus, Snotface. A really bad one who got demoted to being an imaginary friend, but still an incubus.”

Lizzie didn’t know how to take Fred’s secret. She registered evil, succubi, and incubi, but they seemed like foreign words, so she did the only thing she could.

She laughed.

“That’s ridiculous! That’s fairy tale, folklore stuff. How could you be some weird…” She waved her hand as if she could grab the word she wanted from the air. “What are they supposed to be? Demons? Demons that suck souls, or something? How could you be that and then be an imaginary friend? You’re not evil, you’re just weird.”

Fred didn’t laugh. He fought against disappearing into the night with hopes of saving some shred of his dignity and the memories he had of Lizzie. “I told you I didn’t like that word, Snotface,” he said, a hurtful pout on his face. “But alright fine, yes, we’re demons, but it’s not like the definition you know. I told you I’m not some monster, and I certainly never sucked anyone’s soul!” Fred drew back his hand and ran it over his face in frustration. “Let’s start again. Do you even know what an incubus is?”

“I don’t know! They don’t teach that in school or church! Explain it. I’d probably be wrong anyway.” Lizzie struggled not to laugh at this new side of Fred. Indignant Fred was new.

A full on blush went over his face as he realized what topic he’d just steered them toward. Oh fucking hell. “Uh…” His cheeks puffed out as he exhaled and Lizzie’s eyes widened.

His blush shocked her. Fred never got embarrassed; he always embarrassed her. Lizzie leaned closer, curious to hear more.

“I’m… Incubi are spirits, or using your word, demons.” Fred made a face as he said it just to emphasize the bad taste it left in his mouth. “They feed off, well, not souls. Really it’s- They feed off-”

This is like pulling teeth, Lizzie thought. She wanted to shake Fred and make him spill whatever he wanted to tell her.

Gripping the couch cushion, Fred closed his eyes so that he could say this with a straight face. “They feed off sexual desires. Incubi are men, like me, and, uh… are supposed to feed off women, and, and succubi are the opposite.” Fred opened his eyes, squinting at her. At least she hadn’t ran off screaming yet...

Lizzie started. “What did you say? Incubi feed off sexual desires? How does that even work? How can you be that and an imaginary friend?” She had so many questions. “Are you joking about this?”

Fred took another deep breath and grabbed both sides of Lizzie’s face to keep her eyes steady on him. He needed her to believe him, but even more he needed to see that she wasn’t afraid. “Snotface, you’ve seen how I get about sex, why would I pretend to suddenly be something that is meant to survive off the essence of it?” His heart pounded and his mouth went dry. Please don’t run.

Lizzie just stared into his blue eyes as they focused on her so desperately. She had never noticed they were so bright. “Okay… I…” She pushed his hands from her face and sat back, taking a better look at him. “I don’t understand any of it, but okay, you’re a de- ...incubus. So, is this really you? Or are you some kind of spirit?” Lizzie looked at him, doubtful. “Can you change into something else?”

Fred frowned. “Why? Do you want me to be something else?” he asked before catching himself.

“Oh. Well, if you can change, could you be Uncle Jesse from Full House?” she asked, failing to suppress a grin.

“What?!” he cried, hopping up. “What do you think I am? Some kind of on demand avatar?!” Fred’s fists clenched, but inside his heart felt like it had been run through.

Lizzie laughed. “I was kidding! Don’t get bent out of shape.” She shook her head. Fred was full of surprises.

An unintelligible squeak erupted from Fred and he threw his hands over his face. “Ugh, Snotface!” I swear to god I wanna die right now… She’d gotten him good.

“Can you, though?” She stifled the rest of her giggles. “I mean, can you just change your appearance completely?”

Fred dropped his hands and looked at her. “Of course I can change, and this is my real form, although I do have others… but they’re more incorporeal for dreams, whatever the dreamer desires is what I’d become… I’m a spirit, but this is my face.” He smiled.

His answer made Lizzie queasy as something else occurred to her. If Fred was some kind of demon who fed off sex, did he do certain things?

“So, do you have sex with women as an incubus?” Lizzie asked before thinking better of it.

Fred cringed, but the mention of sex with women from Lizzie’s mouth left him with several conflicting emotions. He couldn’t help but feel that part of his nature stir up with lust for her and he whined, trying to force it back. “Why you asking all these questions, Snotface?”

Lizzie smiled, enjoying a familiar reaction. Fred wasn’t a fan of feelings or things of a human nature unless it involved farts or burps. She felt a little better, feeling like it was regular, old Fred and not a weird demon-version of him.

“I- See, having sex is the part I wasn’t good at-” Fred choked at his poor word choice, eyes widening. “But only because I’ve never done it!” He flushed, the heat unbearable. Oh god, this just keeps getting worse, doesn’t it? “I’m a virgin, actually, because I didn't want the incubi lifestyle. That’s why I got demoted. I just couldn’t go through with it. Not that I didn’t find scraps in roundabout ways to survive. Um…” Lizzie’s mouth fell open and Fred’s lips practically burned to kiss her. He missed those lips.

Ah, fuck. I should’ve known talking about this would do this to me, he thought, struggling to keep on task and explain himself. Six months away hadn’t improved his tricks to suppress his nature at all.

“Virgin?” Lizzie’s eyebrows rose.

“Yeah. So, if you’ve ever wondered why I’m a bit off, it’s because I’ve not been properly fed!” He laughed, hoping a joke would make this less unbearable.

“Fred, how can you be the only sex demon with an aversion to sex?” she asked. It seemed surreal, and yet very Fred. “I can’t believe there’s a man alive who wouldn’t go through with sex.”

“Yeah, my kind tells me the same thing, Snotface. Apparently I’m the embarrassing anomaly.” Fred rolled his eyes. “I just wanna be more than an incubus.”

“It just seems biologically impossible.” She shook her head. “But what do you mean by scraps and feeding? You need to explain that. You don’t drink blood, do you?” Lizzie felt queasy again.

“No, I don’t drink blood! I’m not a leech!” he cried, sinking back on the sofa and crossing his arms.

“Sorry,” Lizzie said, sheepishly. She hadn’t meant to offend him. “Everything’s just so… new to me.”

“I- Alright, you wanna know the truth?” he asked, looking in her eyes. “I don’t like to talk about it because I don’t like want happens to me when I indulge in it. I’ve always been afraid of taking too much energy and hurting someone… I… I couldn’t live with myself if I did that. So, that’s why I’ve never actually done it, and by scraps I just sorta feed off sexual desires from grown ups while not engaging in it with them. I like being around children because it sorta suppresses all the urges. Makes me feel closer to human.”

Fred’s confession had Lizzie both worried and morbidly curious. She wanted to ask more, but she didn’t want to offend him further. “Well, you look human and you act human. Mostly.” She gave him a small smile. “So, then you kinda live like a human, but… you feed off sexual desires and only if you have to? You can’t not feed?”

Fred couldn’t help but smile for the fact his Snotface saw him as mostly human. He took it as a compliment and it warmed his heart, however, he worried newer information would affect that perception as he continued.

“No, I have to take in something, Snotface. It’s necessary for me to function, I could die otherwise, or go completely mad, but, um… so now you know what I really am.” He smiled, but it lacked its usual bravado.

“Oh. I guess if you’re something other than human then the rules are different? So, then feeding off sexual desires is a necessity. I guess if you have to do it… there isn’t any choice.” Fred nodded slowly and she took a moment to think this over. To do this because he had to to survive put a different spin on it.

“Yeah… Still wanna be my friend knowing what an inner perv I really am?” he asked, smirking.

Lizzie looked at him. Watching him act so casual, pretending what he did was no big deal, made her think of him as regular, imaginary Drop Dead Fred. “I think I’ve seen your inner perv. I recall you sliding on the floor, looking up a certain woman’s dress and yelling that she had no panties.” Lizzie rolled her eyes at this memory. She remembered the woman, but didn’t want to talk about her further or mention her by name. Thinking back, she recalled Fred had ogled other women as well. At the time it had made her think perhaps he was a red-blooded male after all, despite his childish antics. Apparently she’d been right.

She smiled. “So, if that’s the worst of your perv then I think I can live with it.” Lizzie laughed and Fred couldn’t help but join her.

“Trust me, a couple of those were a mistake!” Relief washed over him. Lizzie was a lot more open than he had expected. Their bond continued to surprise him.

While he had helped her fix her life, he didn’t know how much that help outweighed the times he’d been an outright bastard and made things exponentially worse. He could blame nothing but his nature for that, as fear and violence were another temptation for an incubi, but that didn’t mean he was proud of it deep down. Honestly he felt lucky Lizzie still liked him at all, and while she accepted him perv and all, he felt a bit embarrassed for the fact he had peeked beneath all those dresses right in front of her. He really did try not to do things like that, especially when someone else could see him, but sometimes his urges got the best of him. With Lizzie being an adult it had oddly mixed with a desire to make her laugh, and he couldn’t deny he’d pretended those skirts had been hers.

“Fred?” Lizzie asked, growing quiet. “You mentioned being afraid… Do you… do you hurt people when you feed off them?”

Her question threw him and he frowned. “Um… not in the little amounts I do, no, but sometimes I’ve heard stories of actual contact, in either form, erm… Yes, but normally it just leaves mortals a bit worn out afterwards,” he said. He didn’t want to tell her any more than that. Then she might really be afraid of his nature. She hadn’t ran yet, he worried the limit was close. “But otherwise it’s supposed to be extremely pleasurable for both parties… Addicting, even.”

“Oh.” That wasn’t really what she wanted to hear. “I hope it doesn’t really hurt. I mean, hurt other people when you… feed. Is it like when people have sex? Because people are sore afterwards… sometimes. I heard.” She blushed. This is so awkward. “I, um, how is it addicting?”

“Uh.” Fred turned his gaze straight ahead at the wall. God, Snotface... “No, you- Humans would end up tired from the feeding, but, um… I suppose soreness would be… possible,” Fred mumbled, clearing his throat.

“Soreness?” She realized the implications and blushed. “I, I see.”

“And it’s, uh, addicting because of how good it feels… Not that I would know, mind you, but from what I’ve been taught, it’s different from normal human, ugh, you know, stamping and pecking.” He made a face, but kept his eyes straight ahead, worried what he might feel or do if he explained this while looking at Lizzie’s face.

“It’s more than just physical with us… It’s that, and spiritual. Magic goes into every speck of your being and turns everything into an erogenous zone. Everything gets connected. Bodies. Souls. It builds, and feeds off the energies. It’s consuming, really.” Fred squeezed his fingers, his jaw clenching ever-so-slightly. “That’s why it’s hard to stop.”

“Oh,” she stammered, dumbstruck. She had never experienced sex like that before; she hadn’t even known it existed. Usually it had involved Charles moaning and praising himself until he finished. It never mattered whether she’d been satisfied, too. Lizzie had given up on the idea that sex could ever be a good experience for her, but Fred made it sound like it could be very different. She wondered what it would be like to experience it with every ounce of her body and soul, and to ache from so much sex.

Her mind flashed to those trashy novels she had read once on a whim during a trip. Those characters had experienced so much pleasure, and in great detail. Thoughts of ‘hardness’ and ‘thrusting’ and ‘sweaty bodies’ started to stir things in her and Lizzie flushed. She had to think of something else.

“So, addicting... People enjoy it so much they just want more? Like over and over? What does that do to a person?” she asked.

Fred felt the change in the air around Lizzie. The energy thickened with a sweeter scent that sent a pulse through his being. The sensation buzzed in his mind and body and his heart hammered to keep up. Lizzie’s energy tempted and tortured him like an oasis appearing before a parched man in the desert and made him gasp. Where the bloody hell did that come from? Did I bring that out?

Hopping from the couch, Fred paced, trying to expel the building temptation to let his essence reach out for a taste of her. He ran his hands through his hair, rubbed his hands together, and kept a steady gaze on the floor. Why did it feel like she called to him?

“Well, um, too much can… can drain a life force or make a mortal insane, but that’s worst cases. The stories your world has of us are true, but they’re old. We’re really very different now. Really, we’re meant to be sorta like sex fairies, or muses. By the way, never call me a fairy,” he said, shooting her a look. “We inspire, or bring fantasies to life, help the lonely, etcetera… but some of us just can’t control our urges and it can end up in a bad place. So, really in most cases it just feels really good...” Fred looked down in shame. This is it. She’s gonna tell me to get out now. The thought at least killed his desires threatening to spill out and ruin his remaining friendship with Lizzie.

“Death by sex?” She gaped.

“You’d actually be surprised how many people want to go that way…” Fred laughed, but it died away into awkward silence.

“I-” Lizzie tried processing his answer. “I suppose there are worse ways to go...” she said. Fred looked so awkward she felt embarrassed for him. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what to say. This is just so strange. I can see how fantasies could help in a way. Sometimes people are missing some romance and that release of sexual tension.” Sadly, Lizzie knew from personal experience, and thoughts of those romance novels returned, but she pushed them aside. Now’s definitely not the time to fantasize, Lizzie.

“Yeah. Helpful,” he murmured. Unfortunately, her bringing up the words ‘release’ and ‘sexual tension’ brought Fred’s awkwardness to new heights. His mind flashed with bestowing those very things on her, and shoving the urges down felt like digesting barbed wire.

“You have always wanted to help people,” Lizzie added. “I can’t be mad at you for that. I look at you and see Drop Dead Fred, my friend, and I can’t believe that you’re supposed to be some kind of monster.”

Fred’s eyes lit up with his smile, tensions and pacing instantly forgotten. She didn’t hate him, or want him to leave? His heart skipped several beats. “Thanks, Snotface… It means a lot, really. So… does that mean you’re not afraid of me? Now that you know what I really am?”

“I honestly can’t pretend to understand this incubus thing, but you’ve been my friend for a long time and you’ve always been there for me. I don’t know how I could be afraid of you.” Lizzie smiled back. “It’s just strange to think of you as being a de- A person who feeds off sex. Just don’t try feeding off me. Not that me feeling anything for anyone would ever be an issue.” She scowled, as did Fred.

He wished she’d lose her compulsion to call him a demon. He hated that word, and it took all he had to bite his tongue and force a smile. “I’ve never tried feeding off ya, Snotface. You’re off limits far as I’m concerned. I’d never do that without permissi- Oh, you know what I mean.”

Lizzie blinked. She had been joking, but hearing him say that seemed so strange. She hoped he had never been there for sex with Charles, and her cheeks flamed at the thought. Oh my God. That’d be so embarrassing! I don’t think I could look him in the face. He probably thinks I’m bad in bed. She almost groaned out loud and fought the urge to run and hide under her bed.

“I eat elsewhere. Promise.” Fred picked his nose and dabbed her cheek. There. Now maybe I can stop thinking about all those times I wanted to kiss her, or make her entirely mine since she had to go and grow up. The expression on her face from the snot made him laugh. She looked stunned.

Lizzie wiped her cheek. It was weird to think of Fred as an adult who had a problem with sex and had to feed off sexual desires. For God’s sake, he still wiped boogers on her! While he had done it when she was little, doing it now seemed at odds with this new Fred. She thought about telling him, but figured snot was the least of their issues right now. His ‘eating elsewhere’ comment haunted her.

“So,” she said, pausing and looking at him. “Do you get to stay now? Can you come back anytime you want?”

“Yeah I, I can stay now... if I want to,” he said, quietly.

Lizzie sat up, but froze. His reaction wasn’t at all like she expected. Why didn’t he sound excited about this?

Beside her, Fred’s heart thundered, threatening to break his chest. He knew where this topic would lead them. Scooting back in his seat, Fred struggled to hold himself together. “Um, but I do have one small problem with it that needs discussed if I do stay, Snotface.”

“What do you mean there’s a problem?”

“I mean, there’s this one thing on my mind that worries me about coming back.” He knew this was his opening, his chance to find out where he stood with her, but he didn’t know if he could take it if this didn’t work out like he hoped. Another part of him worried it would turn out exactly like he hoped… “You remember at all the way we said goodbye?”

Her brow furrowed. “When we said goodbye? We were in a different place. It was like a dream. You… hugged me and said goodbye.” Lizzie fidgeted in her seat. Why’s he asking about this now?

Squirming, Fred found it hard to bite down his hurt and agitation. Had she really forgotten? Or was she avoiding this altogether? “We kissed, Lizzie. Or don’t you remember?”

Lizzie felt her cheeks warm from embarrassment. She hadn’t forgotten. She had replayed it over and over in her mind until she thought she might go insane. As time passed and Fred didn’t come back, she had tried to forget it. Every time she thought she had, it returned, unbidden and always as she lay in bed at night. She had picked that moment apart so many times. Was it just a goodbye kiss from one friend to another, or something more? It seemed her chance to find out had come.

“I- You, you kissed me goodbye!” she cried. “What was I supposed to take away from that?” Lizzie’s anger rekindled and she used it as shield from her embarrassment.

“I don’t know! Should I have left you with instructions?!” he cried, throwing his arms out. What’s she getting all uppity for now? “Technically, I asked you to kiss me and you did, so there. You’re just as guilty as me, thank you!”

“Guilty of what? Saying goodbye to someone I care about? Of being left behind?”

Cared about? Fred grinned.

“Why don’t we try something different, then? Then you can have a real reason to yell at me!” Lizzie turned and left the living room, marching off for her bedroom.

God, who does he think he is? ‘Remember when I kissed you and just left you with that memory to stew over?’ Yes, thank you so much. Now you want to chat about it and act like I jumped on you and planted one on you?

“Oi! What’s gotten into you?” shouted Fred, utterly beside himself. Who does she think she is leaving me here in the midst of a very important conversation like a fool after saying she cares about me? Who the bloody hell does that?!

Boiling, Fred stomped after her, but Lizzie shoved open her bedroom door, hurried inside, and slammed it right in his face.

“OW!” he cried, grabbing his nose.

“Now he wants to ruin Halloween for me, too. I hope he comes back at Christmas and ruins that, too. He can set my tree on fire.” She fumed, not knowing what to do with herself. Kicking off her shoes, she started straightening her pillows to distract herself.

Outside, Fred rubbed his aching nose. I’ve gotta stop letting that happen! She’s done that to me at least five times now! He kicked the door in frustration. “So we’re back to the way this night started, I see?” he shouted, but dropped his voice low, muttering to himself, “Brilliant idea this was. One moment she likes me, the next she tries to beat my face off.” He sighed and magicked himself into the room, appearing in a flash of green at the foot of the bed. “What’d ya leave me for? I was trying to talk to you.”

“Ugh!” she yelled. “Why do you have to do that? This is my room and my apartment! You can’t just pop in when you feel like it!” She threw a rolled up pair of socks at him. “Get out!”

Ducking her missile, Fred snatched up the stuffed bunny from her dresser and threw it at her head. The stuffed animal bounced off her noggin and rolled beneath the bed.

“I can go wherever I want to!” he cried. “So, no! I’m not goin’ anywhere and you can’t make me.” Fred blew her a loud raspberry, spit flying everywhere. “You wanted me to stay a moment ago, now you want me to leave? Are you out of your ruddy skull? Were you bit by a tick? Why did you leave me out there?”

“Because you’re an ass! What do you want from me? Do you just like popping in and out of my life when it’s convenient for you? You can come and go without any reason, and I’m supposed to be happy about it? Do you enjoy waltzing off to wherever it is you go? Do you go off and laugh?” Lizzie stood at her dresser, refusing to look at Fred. He could be so fun to talk to and then he could drive her to homicidal thoughts.

“What?!” Fred was so confused, he felt slapped. “No, of course not!” He struggled to sort through his frustration and anger, both at her and himself. An ass? For protecting her? “Look, I left for a fucking good reason!” he cried, exasperated. “Ugh!” Fred kicked the bed and collapsed onto it, face in hands. “And no, I didn’t enjoy it! I hated not seeing you, Snotface, but you’ve no idea what I’ve been going through, and obviously don’t wanna see me long enough to hear about it! So fine! I’ll just waltz away, laughing my arse off just like you described! You really want me to go? Because if that’s what you really, really want, I’ll do it. And I won’t come back this time. You’ll get everything you want then. No Fred to muck it all up for you and your perfect life.”

Lizzie blew out a frustrated breath. Part of her wanted to yell back and tell him to go, and part of her wanted to stop him and tell him to talk to her. She wondered if he meant it, if he’d really go for good this time. What would her life be like if she never saw him again?

Slowly, she slowly turned around, looking at his splayed out form on her bed. He hadn’t left. Maybe it was time to get the truth out of him.

“What do you want to tell me?” She sighed. “Can you just tell me without being cryptic, or talking in circles, or being dramatic?”

He laid there a moment in silence, letting his hands fall to his sides. Could he? Nervous tension gripped him at the thought of finally telling her his biggest secret, the real reason he’d left her. “If I do…” he said, turning his head on the bed so he could look at her, “will you at least still be my friend?”

Lizzie stared back at him. Was this a trap? She had no idea where this was going. “I’m still your friend, even though you manage to piss me off. Why would I not be your friend after this?”

Fred smiled. He felt very tired, despite the anxiety, like he rested on the ledge of a skyscraper with a ferocious wind threatening to push him to his doom. Despite it all, the assurance Lizzie still thought of him as her friend comforted him. He had to tell her now. She deserved it at least, especially now that he realized the pain he had caused her.

Sitting up, Fred scooted to the edge of the bed. “I’m sorry I left you when I did. It wasn’t because you didn’t need me. It-” He gulped, savoring the sweet scent of her perfume, the same perfume that had lingered on him for days after their goodbye, tormenting him. “It was actually because of what I started to feel… um, about you.” Fred winced and couldn’t keep looking at Lizzie. He felt too out of his comfort zone and sure all these feelings would make him explode into millions of green and yellow pieces. Truth was, he needed her too much and it terrified him.

“I have feelings for you, Lizzie…”

I love you, actually, he thought, feeling the depth of it grip and shake him. His heart only wanted her, and it was probably going to get him into trouble if he wasn’t careful.

“But because, because of what I am… it woke up my nature. I didn’t trust it and I thought if I left for a while it’d all go away, but it didn’t and it was the stupidest mistake I ever made…” He shook his head. “I care about you so much, but I want to make one thing clear. I don’t feel this because of what I am, I feel it because of this,” he said, patting his chest. “The rest is just a bleedin’ hazard of being what I am.” Finally he let his gaze wander back up to her. “I left because I got scared I’d hurt you on accident, Lizzie.”

“I don’t understand. You’re my friend. You’ve been my friend for a long time and never said anything. So, now you’re telling me that you have feelings for me, but you never told me and just left?” Lizzie didn’t know whether she wanted to scream or cry. When did this happen? How? Feelings? Fred has feelings for me? It didn’t sound like him at all, but apparently she hadn’t really known who or what Fred was.

Shaking, Lizzie placed her hand on the dresser for support. “You didn’t talk to me about it. You never even tried.” She looked at him, trying to see what she hadn’t before. “So, you kiss me and bail? That’s your answer? I don’t know what to say to you right now.” Lizzie really didn’t know; this was completely foreign to her.

“Kiss you and bail? Only because I was trying to protect you from me,” he said, standing up and taking her by the hands. “You hadn’t even left Charles, and then me, your best, and imaginary, friend is suddenly supposed to stop and share that he’s an incubus and spew his feelings all over you? I’d be an idiot to think you shared then what I feel. I just wanted everything to go back to normal. I, I didn’t know I could even feel like this period.”

Squeezing her hands, Fred looked in her eyes with the most apologetic stare he could muster. He wished he could let her feel how terrible he did inside, but unfortunately that wasn’t one of his talents. “I was afraid of what I’d do, what I nearly did a couple times, actually… so, so I left, Snotface. For you. Because I care about you.” How could she believe he hadn’t tried? Anything he’d ever done around her had been for her.

Lizzie yanked her hands back. “So that makes it okay? You decide you’ll just spare me by not saying anything? Oh yes! Let’s not tell Lizzie anything! She’s too fragile! She’s not capable! Once again someone decides for me what I should or shouldn’t know! If you cared about me you would treat me like someone you trusted!” She couldn’t believe what she had heard. He was as bad as her mother, and she almost said so, but stopped herself. It would piss him off and she wasn’t mad enough to hurt him intentionally, but the rest of his words caught up with her.

“Wait. What you nearly did? You were going to do your succu- Incu- Whatever on me? So, I can’t know about your so-called feelings, but you can use me?” Lizzie fumed.

“Ugh!” he cried, stepping away and running his hands over his face. What had his stupid mouth done now? He’d said way more than he should have, but he just wanted to be honest with her.

And what good has that done? Now I’ve kissed her and bailed, and apparently decided for her like everyone else! God, she might as well have called me Charles.

Fred felt sick, like his insides dropped into a black pit of knives. What else could he say at this point? Trying to explain everything had just hurt her more. He wanted to grab something and shake it; he wanted to scream; he wanted to reach into her head and plant everything he wanted to say in there because obviously his mouth was as helpful as a thorn in someone’s arse.

“Are you kidding? Use you? Lizzie, I’ve never touched you! Not once! Never even peeked! You’re my best friend and regardless of how I feel, I swear I’d never fucking do that! How the hell have I ever used you?! And there's nothing ‘so-called’ about the way I feel.” Fred growled and paced. His thoughts collided with each other and he didn't know what to say, but he couldn't leave it like this.

Spinning around at her, he said, “Look, I didn’t keep it from you to hurt you, or because I see you like some poor, pitiful broken doll. And it’s certainly got nothing to do with whether I trust you or not! Maybe I just didn't want you to know what I am.”

Lizzie stepped back. Part of her felt relieved that he had never done anything, but another part questioned if it were true. An even tinier part wondered what it would feel like if he had. “I just feel like you want me to believe you had great intentions and accept everything you’re telling me, but the fact is, you hid something huge from me.”

“Lizzie…” Fred’s heart wrenched with grief. What did he have to say to make her believe him? “Lizzie, I’m scared of what I am, okay? It’s never been an issue before you. I’ve always been able to handle it. To do little things to keep the urges satisfied enough to go on living the life I like, without touching anyone, but…” He sighed, feeling his eyes burn with tears. “But once I started feeling what I did for you… that changed whenever I got near you. Didn’t you notice the periods I stayed away from you each day were longer compared to when you were a kid? My tricks just stopped working as great, and I’ve been searching everywhere for a replacement, but nothing exists! I care about you. Please. Can you try to understand?”

She shook her head. “That’s not an excuse! You left! I can’t understand your reasons because you’re talking about something that I know nothing about. You never tried to help me understand! I wouldn’t know if you were staying away then because of me or not! How can I even begin to grasp this?” She flung her arms out. “I don’t know if I’ll ever understand it. I just… I need time.”

Time? The word twisted inside him like a barb nestling into his heart. She wanted him gone? All for protecting her? For caring about her? For never fucking touching her when he felt like he might die without her? He wanted to throw the very bed through the wall. How could she ask him for time and not see how much he’d done for her? He was trying to tell her that he loved her and she threw it all back in his face without even listening! He didn’t understand her at all and it hurt so much he wanted to scream, but a strange calm washed over him as he looked at her. She’d just broken his heart.

“That’s… That’s fair, I suppose,” he said, taking a sharp breath. “I’ll go, if you want… um, but… the best explanation I can give you is… Well, you’ve seen me all manic? Imagine that, but instead of playfulness, it’s lust. Complete, uncontrollable lust. Maybe that’ll make you understand why I needed to leave. I wish I was human, Lizzie. I really do. Maybe then I could handle things better, say the right things, and we certainly wouldn’t be having this problem, would we? I… I really am sorry, Snotface. You do mean a lot to me. I never wanted to hurt you… or to leave.” Fred walked for the door, wiping his eyes once he’d past her so she wouldn’t see his tears.

Lizzie watched him, finding it strange to see him so… defeated was the closest she could put it. She had never seen him give up on anything. He looked almost broken and she felt awful, but what could she do? This was all so crazy. How was she supposed to accept her imaginary friend actually being a spirit that fed off lust? One with feelings for her, who’d nearly fed off her? It just sounded like a crazy dream, or a nightmare. While she recognized and understood the nonsense of knowing Drop Dead Fred, knowing this person, who looked like her friend but wasn’t, would take time.

“I’m sorry, Fred. I just need some time. You gave me a lot to think about. I need to sleep, and maybe tomorrow night we can talk?” She tried to smile, but it felt insincere. Fred stopped in the doorway.

“Alright, Snotface,” he said, turning back and doing his best to smile at her. “I’ll come back then.” Digging a bogey from his nose, he reached for her face, but she stepped back, turning her head away. Fred’s last hopes deflated.

“Goodnight, Fred,” she said. She couldn’t look at him.

“G’night… and Happy Halloween,” he whispered.

“Happy Halloween, Fred,” she murmured back, just wanting to be alone. Seconds later, she heard the familiar jingle of his magic. Lizzie caught the last flash of green before he vanished. She sighed. “Happy Halloween, Lizzie.”

Sitting on the edge of the bed, she flopped backward and stared at the ceiling, trying to think of anything but what Fred had told her. “Incubus? Really?” she muttered. “And he can’t even talk about sex without squirming. He’s supposed to feed off lust.” She shook her head. “You won’t find any here. Who am I gonna lust after? Michael Biehn?” She sat back up.

“Just go to bed, Lizzie. Clearly you need sleep.” She removed her witch’s costume and frowned at it. “If only I had magic powers,” she said, tossing the dress in the corner and heading to her dresser. Grabbing an over-sized T-shirt, she pulled it on and removed her bra, flinging it to the floor. “If I had powers I would find a way to not have to wear a bra.” Lizzie went through her usual nighttime routine, checked her locks, and got into bed.

Lying in the dark, she stared at nothing, Fred’s confession returning to her. “That has to be the worst way to let someone know you like them. Leave it to Fred to make it completely out there.” Several minutes passed before her fatigue won out and she fell asleep.

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