|Through Moonbeams Softly
Author: brightblue PM
A child is dead. Juliet finds solace at the crime scene. A mood piece with a splash of Shules.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst - Words: 1,274 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 3 - Published: 07-28-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4430873
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Through Moonbeams Softly
Rating: T, for some mature themes
Spoilers: Nada, general series knowledge
Disclaimer: I do not own them. I wish I did, but I do not.
This is just a short piece that I felt compelled to write. The title is a slightly altered lyric from Ludo's "Love Me Dead." The lyric inspired this image in my head, though the song has absolutely nothing to do with this fic otherwise. If you're looking for some mood music, I suggest "The Water" by Feist which was played on repeat as I wrote this.
I hope you enjoy this. Let me know what you think!
Through Moonbeams Softly
The radiance of the full moon is dwarfed by the floodlights that illuminate the crime scene. Harsh florescent light rebounds off the tide pools scattered about the rocky shoreline and shades ghosts into the mist. Police officers and crime scene personnel navigate through space as if one wrong move could invite chaos into this balanced world. Conversations are whispered, words used sparingly. The waves lap the shore as an afterthought.
There is death in the air.
Juliet steps lightly. Her feet seek out the sturdy stones between the shallow pools of water; the gravel patches are too easily disturbed. She is moving away from the manufactured light, drawn to the solace of the moon. Her pace picks up as the crime scene recedes behind her. Soon, she's leaping from rock to rock. Her destination becomes a shimmering light in the distance.
Anything to put that crime scene behind her.
She comes to an abrupt stop at the edge of a tide pool, her trail of stones ending cold. Her breath catches in her throat at what she sees reflected back at her.
The pool, only a few feet in circumference, has captured the night sky. The full moon floats in the still water. Stars shimmer like buried treasure. Anemones are glowing, precious jewels hiding beneath the inky surface.
Juliet exhales. She notices the braids of seaweed, dried up sea creatures, and broken shells that form a primitive frame around the pool. Her hand flies up to her mouth.
Ava was here.
Sweet, innocent Ava, who loved strawberry ice cream and the color pink, played in this tide pool.
Before she can help it, Juliet's mind fills in the blanks. That bastard had the little girl for a week. He kept her locked in a room. Beat her. Tortured her. Then, worst of all, he let her believe that it would all be okay. That she would be returned to her mother. And so, Ava with the sun-kissed curls played in the tide pool and, with the blind faith of a child, created something joyful and lovely.
Juliet bundles up the surge of emotion she feels, strings it tight and packs it away for another time and place. Later at home, she will take a hot shower, she will pile blankets on her bed, and then, safe and secure in her downy nest, she will cry for this child. Now, she just studies the pool, breathing its magnificence. It's a bubble of good in the atmosphere of evil that blankets the beach. She hopes that Ava thought so, too.
A slight disturbance in the air alerts Juliet to his presence. Shawn has a way of doing that, drawing all of the energy in the room toward him. He stops just behind her. She can feel his eyes studying her. She wonders, as always, if he can read her thoughts and is glad that there is nothing but moonlight, starfish, and angels on her mind tonight.
"Wow," he finally mutters. He steps to the gravel beside her, peers into the water. His hand brushes hers for just an instant and she shivers. That moment of warmth was a shock to her cold system. Juliet folds her arms over her chest.
"Ava was here, wasn't she?" Juliet asks. Even she can pick out the note of desperation in her voice. "She created this." An oyster shell winks at her in the moonlight.
"Yes, I think she did." Shawn's voice is softer than she's ever heard it before, prompting Juliet to glance over at the psychic. The spark has gone from his eyes; they are dark as the sea. She realizes that he's taken this hard, too. They all have. How could they not?
Juliet's almost afraid to ask, but the curiosity is too much. The idea that he might know… "Is…is she happy now?"
She watches Shawn's face as she asks. She sees his ever-moving features freeze, sees the panic steal across his eyes chased quickly by pain. He's silent for a long minute. The glimmer of hope that Juliet had is snuffed out. She knows that whatever Shawn tells her next, he doesn't really know. No spirit of a dead child compels him to act. She can't decide if she wants him to lie to her or not.
Shawn searches the night sky, stars reflecting in his eyes. "I wish I knew, Jules. I really wish I knew."
Grateful for the truth, Juliet turns her gaze back to the shimmering pool, hoping to discover its secrets. Her arms unfold and she finds herself reaching for Shawn's hand. They intertwine their fingers. The warm, heavy weight of his hand in hers lightens her spirit. Together they listen to the lullaby of the ocean.
A gentle breeze ripples the glassy surface of the pool. An orange starfish dances below the surface, catches moonbeams, and waves at the rocks.
Juliet smiles, "I think she is. It feels like she is."
Shawn takes a deep, shuddering breath. He brushes his thumb across hers.
In a moment, they will go back. They will trace the rocky path back to the heat of the synthetic moon. They will grimace at the sight of investigators in jumpsuits deconstructing this perfect world. And when they have to face that shell of a little girl, they will remember a happier place. They won't see her broken and violated. They will see her as she once was, and hopefully now is: content, inspired, free.
Out of the corner of her eye, Juliet spots a flash of magenta. She turns, crouching down to pick up a dried starfish of the most brilliant pink. She walks carefully around the perimeter of the pool until she finds the perfect spot. Bending down, she crowns Ava's portrait of the night sky with the treasure. She steps back to admire the scene.
"Perfect," she says.
"It's beautiful," Shawn admits, drinking in the image.
They fall in step together, maneuvering around the pools with ease, back to reality. Somewhere along the way their hands tangle again. Juliet appreciates the reminder of what it means to be alive, the hope of something happier.
Staring up at the sky, she imagines a blissful Ava frolicking in the stars, dancing on moonbeams, and dipping her toes in the ocean. She allows herself to smile. They didn't win this one, not at all, but other little girls are safe from a monster so at least that's something.
Shawn squeezes her hand. Their eyes meet, hesitating and considering. Juliet can see Shawn gathering the strength to go back. She recognizes this because she's doing the same. One last look, one last quiet moment, just one more finger tracing skin before hands unravel, and they move on. The crime scene is waiting.
It's not much, but at least it's something.