Under the Bright Lights

Quaxo9
Posts: 1131
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:33 pm

Re: Under the Bright Lights

Post by Quaxo9 »

Riff

"Oh, hey Clare." he listened to her nervous diatribe, realizing he really didn't know how to phrase an answer.

"Well, yeah we did meet for coffee, but then...um something happened. Clare. Declan really needs to hear your voice right now, but I also think you really need to get here in person. We're at the place we all went camping...your mum's here too...just...anyway, here's Declan."

Riff passed the phone to his friend. He'd hold it to his ear if Declan needed him to, but was more than willing to pass it off if his buddy needed some privacy. However, he doubted Declan would be feeling like he had any privacy for a long time coming...
Monkey Kitty
Posts: 696
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:31 pm

Re: Under the Bright Lights

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Declan McDermott

"Clare..."

Declan held the phone to his ear in a death grip. He wanted to talk, wanted to hear her voice, but he didn't know what to say.

He'd had a whole life planned out for himself. He was going to marry Clare. They had their foster daughters, Natalie and Scarlet - Declan had assumed they would adopt the girls in due time, and Elijah would stay too. They would be a family. With so much going on at home, he would take a break from touring for awhile. Not from music, but he would spend more time in the studio, maybe do a solo album, maybe see what he could do about mentoring some younger musicians just starting their careers...

And now that was all gone. His hopes and dreams. His life. Gone.

"Clare, I don't know what to do..."

"It's alright, Declan. It's going to be alright. Whatever it is. I'll be there as soon as I can. I have to drop the kids off at your parents' house, but then I'll come get you, okay?"

"You don't hate me?"

"Of course not. I could never hate you."

She should hate him. She would, as soon as she knew. Even if Riff was right - even if Declan wasn't the one who had done all those horrible things, who had murdered so many - the person who had was in his head. He was a danger. To Clare. To Scarlet and Natalie, who were of the Fae folk too. To their friends. To every Fae on this island.

"Okay," Declan said. "See you soon."

He handed to phone back to Riff.

"I'm on my way," Clare told Riff. "Just... make sure he hangs in there until I get there, okay?"

They didn't have to wait long. True to her word, as soon as humanly possible, they would see her car winding its way down the dirt road. As soon as she had it parked, she jumped out and ran over to join them.

"What happened?" she asked, wrapping her arms around Declan - who neither resisted nor hugged her back - and surveying the scene of chaos.
Quaxo9
Posts: 1131
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:33 pm

Re: Under the Bright Lights

Post by Quaxo9 »

Riff

It was hard to see Declan like this. A man so full of live. Vibrant. Kind. Now lifeless. Hopeless. He'd hoped Clare's arrival would stir up some feeling other than the despair that settled on his head.

"The mages performed some sort of ceremony. Linked Declan and Collin up with the Cold Iron Knight somehow? Like downloaded their spirits or something maybe? There was a fight and Declan fought back against the uh, new program? He saved your mom's life. I think."

He glanced over at Iphegenia, hoping he hadn't offended her by suggesting she required rescue. Swallowing hard, he returned his attention to Clare.

"It's worse than the memory thing - Declan's having trouble finding all his bits in the midst of all the other crap the mages poured in."
Monkey Kitty
Posts: 696
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:31 pm

Re: Under the Bright Lights

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Clare Murphy

"Oh, Declan..." Clare murmured, smoothing his hair down and kissing the top of his head as he rested lifelessly against her.

Iphigenia did not seem offended by Riff's explanation of what happened. When she stepped into the open, her expression wasn't angry. It was... enigmatic.

"He was very brave, Clare," Iphigenia said. "He saved your people. Not just me. All of us. I believe I was... wrong about him."

Clare blinked rapidly. Her mother rarely admitted she was wrong, about anything.

Iphigenia went on, "You have my blessing for your marriage, if you still wish it. And your young man-- and Declan-- is welcome among our people."

Clare was now entirely floored. Her mother had never allowed any human into their midst. The possibility that she ever would had never crossed Clare's mind.

"Thank you," she replied sincerely.

Iphigenia nodded. "You should take him home now. He will need time to recover. But we will speak again."

With a brief nod to Riff, she disappeared into the trees again. Clare could sense the departure not just of her mother, but of all her people as they faded into the woods. The Lycans would be able to determine the same. Declan was beyond such awareness.

"My mother is right," Clare said. "We should go home."

"I can't!" Declan said, his dull voice suddenly panicked.

"Of course you can, it's still your home..."

"No. I can't, Clare. All that stuff is still in my head. I might hurt you. I might hurt Natalie and Scarlet."

Isaac intervened. "I don't believe you would do that, Declan. But perhaps everyone will feel... calmer... if you take the night to recuperate. We have rooms at the motel."

Declan nodded, his fear eased by the prospect of being contained someplace where he couldn't do harm.

"That's fine," Clare agreed. "I'll call the McDermotts and make sure the kids can stay overnight while we're at the motel."

"Clare, no, I have to be by myself. I'm a danger to you too."

"No." Clare's voice was utterly firm. "The children can stay with your parents, but I'm not leaving you. You aren't sleeping alone tonight. If it's a risk, well, it's my risk to take."

"Okay," Declan said. He was ashamed of how relieved he was.

"Let's get everyone back to the motel, and check on the others," Isaac said. As injured as Nick had been, he wouldn't have been in any condition to travel back to the island, so Isaac assumed Marek and Ellen had taken him there too.
Quaxo9
Posts: 1131
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:33 pm

Re: Under the Bright Lights

Post by Quaxo9 »

Old Dan

"Well," he thought, as he watched his truck pull away faster than it had ever been driven in the last fifty years, "it's a good thing I already put the old girl under his name."

The checklist was nearly complete. Dan had already secured Riff's caretakership of the lighthouse with the committee. The truck, of course, was now licensed to the young man. The little bit left in his bank account, he had taken out as cash and it sat tucked into his shirt pocket. Not much, but maybe enough to pay a month or two of groceries. The stipend to look after the lighthouse wasn't much, but it would hopefully do to keep the little family going.

He'd seen them about town. Seen how the two of them looked at each other. How they doted on the little one. Yes, he was certain he'd made the right choice.

Of course, he'd also noticed that they weren't quite average folk. Which was part of why he had picked Riff to begin with. Not the whole reason, mind, but part of it. Who better to man the gap than someone who walked in both worlds?

It took him the rest of the day to walk back to the lighthouse. He had sauntered slowly along paths he remembered well. Pansy and he had walked them so many times over the years. It was nice to reminisce. He picked a shy aster and rolled it between his fingers all the way home.

The stack of money was left on the table. He scrawled a quick note to Riff, telling him that he'd gotten the job and not to cock it up. Dan looked about the place, simple as it was. There was not much to the place. A child would liven it up a bit. He smiled at that. And put on his old coat and flat cap. It was a last minute decision to also take the shawl from its knob beside the door. Pansy and him.

Taking one last walk together.
Monkey Kitty
Posts: 696
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:31 pm

Re: Under the Bright Lights

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Declan McDermott

A few weeks later, Declan was back under the bright lights.

He was starting to feel like... a version of himself. Not quite who he had been before. But nor was he his poisonous ancestor.

With his guitar in hand, watching his fans watch him with joy, watching them clap and sing with him...

This was him. Part of him. But not all.

The band was making up their canceled tour dates. And Declan was happy. But his heart was torn, as it hadn't been - not before Clare and the children. Now he missed them. He missed home. In his mind's eye he saw their faces. Clare, Elijah, Natalie, and Scarlet.

He wasn't going to tour as much. Not while the kids were settling in. That choice felt right.

The music would always be in him, drowning out the ancestral noise in his brain.

It would be good to be home.

***

Deep in the woods of Fog Island, the Fae stronghold was celebrating the turning of the season.

As Declan's song rose into the air, half a world away, theirs did too - twining, somehow, beyond hearing or knowledge.

Each turn of the seasons, Iphigenia sang the names of her loved ones. Her daughters. Her people.

But there was a new name now. One who had fought for them. One who had saved them.

For the first time in their millennia of history, a human name joined the song.

Under the stars of home, and the bright lights far away--

Declan McDermott...
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