Disclaimer: M. Night Shyamalan owns Kevin Lupinski, Ivy Walker and the concept of the Village. I own nothing. Neil Gaiman owns the 3rd Portrait of Despair, which inspired the fic and the title. I am not allowed to quote it here but please e-mail me if you'd like to know what it is.

I know many were displeased with The Village but personally, it is rapidly becoming my favorite movie, possibly rivaled only by Signs and Edward Scissorhands. This is my attempt to write the story of my favorite character of The Village, Kevin Lupinski. For those of you who don't know who Kevin is, he's the patrolman that helped Ivy get the medical supplies. The scene with him sitting there in his truck, staring at nothing, hit me very hard. So I decided to give him a story. Note that he doesn't know most of the goings on in the Village, so that's why some of his ideas about it are wrong.

Plum Blossom

He knew about the Village, of course. He was told, then sworn to secrecy after he was approved for the job. It was an easy job, he knew; it didn't require brains or muscle, just keeping secrets. And the one thing Kevin Lupinski was good at was that.

He was four years old when he caught Momma with someone in her bed, someone who was not his father. He sat very still as Momma told him quietly that he must never tell anyone, especially not Daddy. Kevin nodded and she went back into the bedroom. She must have decided at some point that her son forgot. But he never did. He never forgot the look on her face as she made him swear to keep it a secret. He never forgot the look on her face as her lover beckoned her back. He never forgot the look- surprise engrained in her face- as Daddy found someone else's condom in the wastebasket near the bed, and hit Momma until there was blood everywhere.

He was five when his sister was born, his sister who he loved with all his heart. He was seven when she died of AIDs. He was eight when it took his mother, twelve when it took his father.

At twelve Kevin Lupinski went to live with his grandparents. He never told them how their son, granddaughter and daughter-in-law had died. They went to their own graves thinking it had been a car crash. They hadn't seen then while they were sick. It was a relatively easy lie.

At eighteen he left his life behind and tried never to look back.

At nineteen, at a frat party, he tried to fall in love again. They dated for almost a year before she announced that she was pregnant, and it wasn't his. That night Kevin Lupinski cried himself to sleep for the first time in more than a decade. He wanted so desperately to be in love again.

At twenty-three he graduated in the middle of his class at a state college and was invited to a job interview without knowing who would want to hire such a mediocre student. He was put through a battery of psychological testing, and was eventually offered 'one of the easiest jobs in the world'. At twenty-three, Kevin Lupinski began to keep secrets for a living.

At twenty-five, he met her. It only took him a second to fall in love with her- the only thing he had loved since his sister Alyssa had died. Maybe he wasn't in love with her, he reasoned with himself. She was beautiful, yes, but obviously in love with someone else. And it wasn't his habit to pick up girls on the side of the road, dressed in torn, muddy, centuries-old dresses. Maybe, a voice in the back of his head told him. Maybe you're really in love with where she comes from.

And Kevin knew it was true. The minute he had heard about the Village he protected, the minute he knew its secret, he wanted nothing more than to become a part of it.

Impossible, the boss told him, and he knew that was true. Explaining the arrival of a stranger was hard enough. But even explaining him as a refugee from one of the towns desperate for a life free from the wickedness wouldn't have worked. He would've slipped up at least once; mentioned computers or cell phones or electric guitars. And then what would happen? He could cover it up with a lie. But someone would catch on eventually.

So he helped her in any way he could. Got her the medicine for the man who needed it. got her a ladder, from right under the boss's nose, to help her back over the fence. Stood holding the bottom of the ladder, secretly hoping she would fall so he could catch her, hoping she'd turn back, look at him with her beautiful blind eyes and ask him to come with her. Tell him she knew a way he could. None of that happened. She disappeared over the top of the wall and Kevin Lupinski dragged the ladder back to the truck and leaned it against the side.

Living there wouldn't bring them back, a voice said again. It wouldn't bring Alyssa back. Or Momma, or Daddy. It wouldn't make Stacy's child yours. It wouldn't make you really have loved Stacy, anyway.

, a voice said again.

He knew that. He knew all that. But, he told the voice quietly, maybe I'd fall in love there. And I bet no one dies violently, or slowly there. They all just die in their sleep. I bet it's beautiful there. I bet I'd be happy there. I bet it's the only thing that would make me happy.

Impossible, the voice says again. He knew that was true.

Kevin Lupinski sat in his patrol truck, staring straight ahead, staring at nothing, his fingers going numb where the gripped at the wheel.

So that's it. What didja think? I believe this is the first Village fanfic, is it not? I'm honored. That movie is a fanfic writer's dream, man! So many loose ends to tie up, heehee. Please review! I beg you!