Title: Two Weeks
Fandom: Blood Ties
Summary: In the weeks following the departure of Vicki's friends, Henry returns for a visit out of concern to find her broke, drunk and nearly blind.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. They are owned by Tanya Huff, Lifetime, and Insight. I'll try to return them in the state that they were found: totally awesome.
The scene wasn't exactly unfamiliar. Though, the circumstances surrounding said scene were.
Coreen had decided to go back to school for a while, just to "clear her head of things" as she put it. What it really meant was that she needed space from the supernatural, the occult and the whole getting possessed by a major demon thing.
Mike, too, had gone, leaving behind the Toronto PD and Vicki. Crowley and the board of review decided not to let him keep his job in the end. The months prior to the investigation, his work had been getting suspicious with holes and frequent instances of her involvement. There was nothing that could've been done to convince Crowley or Kate for that matter that he was worth keeping in the police department there. She even went so far as to say with a certain amount of cold disdain, "Maybe you could find work like Vicki, rummaging for cheating husbands and runaway teens."
Coreen leaving hurt. Mike leaving hurt. But Henry leaving, had struck her in such a way that seemed irreparable. The day after, without a moment's hesitation, he had packed up his things overnight (not that he had much choice in the matter during the day) and left for Vancouver. The only thing she knew about his whereabouts were left in a note, skillfully penned before his departure. He'd left it on her pillow sometime between her falling asleep after crying all night and dawn.
There's not much I can say that will make you believe that I wish you were here with me, but some things cannot be saved, no matter the struggle involved. Please, for both of our sakes, don't keep in touch. If you should need help, Dr. Sagara has promised me to help you whenever she is capable. I hope in the future, you should be happy and safe.
She had awoken to the note; his particular scent littered over the stationary and read it with a particular curiosity and hopefulness. Sometime in the course of her sleeping, he'd snuck into her apartment and left it there. There was no goodbye.
This was two weeks ago.
It was late afternoon, fading into early evening and the summer sun filtered through her office windows casting a hazy, orange glow. Since Coreen's, Mike's and Henry's departure, she'd spent her days turning down clients, emailing Crowley twice a day begging for a second chance on Mike's behalf and drinking every evening to make the days pass by quicker. All she got was a restraining order, piling bills on her desk and something resembling a collection of bottles only an alcoholic would possess. The business would have to go.
"Yeah, Mom, I know. I just can't take clients anymore. My eye sight is too poor too take on any cases. Yes, for crying out loud, I've already signed up for the class."
Her mother had been bothering her for some time now to sign up for a Braille class. It would only be another two or three months before her eyesight would go entirely. The inevitability of such fate had pushed her into a deep depression on top of everything else. This was just the icing on the cake.
And to think she had the opportunity to restore it. The ramifications of that action though would've been far greater than the ones she had to endure now. Though, some days, she wondered which would've been truly worse.
Since Coreen, or the demon, or whatever had given her the slightest glimpse of vision, it had begun failing more than before. Color was gone from her sight altogether, and without a room filled with fluorescent light, she could barely see at all. Though, being a stubborn PI, she could still take clients as long as whatever they needed involved computers or tracking people down in the day, she could manage it, she simply had no willpower to work any longer.
"Well Vicki, honey, why don't you just stay with me for a while? You can find a job at the library here. I've been told they need someone to work day and help with some of the history lectures. You could do that very well."
Her mother had this wonderfully strange ability to irritate her without trying. It was this innate talent to pry, prod and annoy without necessarily meaning to.
"No, that's alright. I'll be fine here, Mom. I'll find another job. I don't have to see to work."
"What about that Henry boy of yours? You talked about him once or twice. Can you stay with him?"
Once again, telling her mother anything at all had come back to bite her in the ass. She just had to mention him. The phone went silent for a moment while the words, which would've under any other circumstance love to run from her mouth as a snappy rebuttal, remained caught in the back of her throat. "Ah, well, Henry and I are not talking anymore. It's kind of a long story--one that I'd really love if you didn't pester me about."
She had hoped to drop the subject, but such an instance was unlikely.
"You scared off another one? Victoria, you should try wearing a nice dress or something instead of jeans and button downs all the time! Maybe you'd actually find a boy to stay."
So much for hope.
"I need to go. I'll call you later."
The phone clicked off with a distinct purposefulness. Silence was best for the moment. But, as always, such wonderful moments didn't typically last long.
Daylight had come and gone and dark evening had settled. Shadows covered every corner of her office, making it nearly impossible to see. But somehow it didn't really matter because there was nothing worth seeing. It pained her to feel so pathetic, so helpless: no matter how much she had tried to put her feelings aside in the weeks following everyone's disappearance, she couldn't help but give up. She'd spent so much time being strong, keeping herself closed that all effort up until that point had been expended and none was left to keep life going. It wasn't worth it.
Her empty glass of scotch dropped to the ground as racking sobs overtook her body, pressing the weight of her guilt into every tear fell.
Over the course of the past year, she had every opportunity in the world to let herself be happy. With Mike. With Henry. The both of them had loved her so much and she did nothing in return—not out of fear for hurting on or the other, but for the fear of giving in.
Mike was once the love of her life and in many ways, she still loved him. Proof enough, she ended the world to save him from dying. He made her happy when they were together. Somewhere along the line, she changed. Maybe it was her eye condition, maybe it was the reality of what had started happening between them. Who knows? She didn't even really know. For Christ's sake, at the height of their relationship, her mother had started picking out wedding colors. The whole idea scared the living daylights out of her.
Some of her logic seemed appropriate. She'd been trying to convince herself that attempting to patch things with Mike was the right thing to do because he was a stable figure in her life that loved her. But it wasn't enough. After losing his job, he ceased all contact and moved out of the city.
Then, there was Henry. For the first time in her life, something changed with him around. There wasn't anything practical about a relationship with Henry. Mike was always her go-to guy. It didn't mean she didn't love Mike because she did. But a relationship with him always felt like settling—kind of like buying the cheap Honda even though you don't like it as much as the Jeep. Something along those lines. Oh, screw metaphors.
There was nothing. Her personality was defective.
But Henry. He was charming. Intelligent. All of the things she'd ever told herself she didn't deserve. And he wanted her. God forbid she should let herself be happy with someone that made her truly happy not happy because life was, well…unwavering.
Her personality was definitely defective.
It had to be. It was the only explanation that made any sense.
The room was too dark for her to navigate her way around, even in such familiar surroundings. Somehow she didn't really care. All she needed was here with her—the open window and a bottle of open scotch on her desk a foot away.
Wiping the tears from her cheeks in a desperate attempt to pull her emotions together, she poured some more scotch into an empty glass from her desk and a knock came to the door. "I'm sorry, this business is closing. If you'd like, I have a few business cards that I personally recommend and they charge around the same that I do."
Her voice remained impassive, the sound barely crossing a whisper. She didn't even bother to move from her chair, not that it'd do her any good anyway.
The sound of his voice made her heart skip a beat. Closing her eyes, she inhaled a deep, sobbing breath praying for a split second that it was a dream, that she'd been asleep most of the night and this was another one of those crazy delusions.
He took a step forward; his shoes making a soft thud on the wood floors, all amass with old paper work, broken glass and clothes. She hadn't bothered to go to her apartment for weeks now, feeling it would only cause her more discomfort. The office was the only place she truly felt she could hide.
"Victoria." His voice was less soft this time, a certain gentle forcefulness coming through in his words.
She stood from her chair, a frail vision of what she used to be. Her eyes had grown heavy from lack of sleep; her hair disheveled and clothes a wrinkled mess. In the two weeks since he'd left, she had neglected to do much of anything besides drink and beg Crowley, which, due to the bright blue restraining order on her desk, didn't go well. She was a poor, drunken mess. "What are you doing here?'
"I wanted to see how you were doing. Coreen called me and said you were closing down your business and quit paying rent on your apartment."
The rent on her apartment, along with all the other bills she'd amassed hadn't been paid. She hadn't really bothered to do much of anything. This was not a situation she'd ever imagined herself in. Standing before the man she let go, her face had been stained red from the days she'd spent locked up in her office, barely moving from the chair in front of the window. Broken, drunk and irresponsible. Yeah, her life was going well.
"Yeah. My vision is worse now than has been for a while and it's not feasible to take clients any longer…"
The lie slipped through her teeth seamlessly. But he was much smarter than that. She knew it too. It was a nice cover, but not one that would work with him. Henry knew her better.
"What have you done to yourself?"
The moment came as quickly as it dared, an argument was about to pass. With how much she had been drinking, and how angry he had become over her current intoxicated state, it was inevitable. The anger in his voice shook her core and being so drunk only made it worse.
"Don't act like you don't know Henry. I'm sure Coreen has told you everything. Am I right? Of course I'm right. That's how my personality works, right? Always stubborn, never let anyone in to my world, my heart. You know, you weren't there, in the hall, with Mike…"
She'd been standing too long and the world had begun spinning too much. She fell back against the wall, hitting her head on the windowsill. Henry flinched but dared not move. Coming too close might be a bad idea.
"Mike said to me that I wouldn't let myself trust anyone. Do you know how true that is? Of course you do. It's why you left."
Henry knew very well all of this, but hearing her say it only made it truer, more terrible to hear.
"Who am I kidding?" she was talking to herself now. "Just need more scotch and I can go to bed and this will all be different in the morning, just like it always is."
Often times, in her dreams, a scene something like this, minus the blatant intoxication, happened except she was never drunk, she always got to run into his arms and the rest of her days were lived out happily with him. Like she'd really wanted for the past year but never had the courage to do.
Reaching for the bottle of scotch, Henry snatched it before she could blink. "Victoria, let me take you to bed…"
Picking her up, she looked so small and pale. She'd lost some of the color in her skin, most likely due to the lack of sunlight she'd seen. All that night time investigating she'd been doing had taken an effect on her sleep schedule, though he seriously doubted how much she'd received lately anyway…
Taking her to the bedroom was no better. Much like her office, it was cluttered. Clothes everywhere, files, broken picture frames and torn pictures. All the people that meant anything to her were gone.
Through all this, he managed to find a clear space on the bed. With a little clean-up, it looked halfway comfortable.
"Sleep well. I'll be here tomorrow to check on you."
"I don't expect you to forgive me or nurse my hangover. You can go because it doesn't matter how well I'm doing."
The following day.
Morning had come.
It had gone just as quickly.
Mostly because she slept through the day. With no pressing matters to attend at anytime, sleeping off her hangover seemed like the best option.
And it probably was under the circumstances.
Since Henry had really come to see her, she decided it was a good idea to clean: maybe if she gave him the impression that she could honestly control her life, then she could take the time to forget about him. It would be painful, but her mother, the woman whom she'd learned all of this stubborn, independent behavior from always told her "Victoria, you'll never need a man to make your life complete. You just remember that."
He knocked on the door just as she filing away some of the last cases she'd taken into a file cabinet behind her desk. "How are you feeling?"
Lifting her head seemed like it would take too much emotional and physical effort. So, she just stayed sitting, sorting, hiding. "Fine. I slept off most of my hangover and am just cleaning up. Sorry about the mess yesterday."
"Vic, the mess isn't what I'm worried about. I'm worried about you."
It was as if hearing those words, 'I'm worried about you', struck some sort of chord within her. Her breath caught in the back of her throat, a hitch speaking followed. "Yeah, I know. I'm sorry. This isn't your problem anymore. You left Toronto to get away from this and I don't want you to think that you should have to take care of it."
His features furrowed in such a manner that made him look angry and distressed at the same time. "I need you to be honest with me: at this point, you've got nothing left to lose. Keeping your secrets already got this far. Lying now won't get you down anymore. Can you do that?"
Thinking about telling him the truth to whatever question he had the intention of asking made her heart race and she could tell that he knew that: he shifted his feet, bringing his upper body slightly forward in a predatory-manner. Realizing this, he took a deep breath and moved to sit down instead. It would save them both the trouble of having to worry about it.
"You're right. Ask away."
"What's wrong with you?"
Of all the questions she had imagined he would ask, this is not the one that came to mind. If he'd said, "Do you love me?" or "Do you love him?" or even, "Will you be okay?", she wouldn't have been surprised, but this did. For the first time since he'd arrived, she took the opportunity to look at him straight in the eyes. An immeasurable amount of sorrow showed in them, much like that fateful night, and knowing this, her eyes began to swell with tears.
"Well, Coreen left, and so did Mike. Toronto PD didn't let him keep his job and he didn't really want anything to do with me anyway. You left and to top it all off, my vision is worse. No, I suppose the icing on the cake isn't my vision, it was that you were right. I love you, Henry. It's taken me so long to say it and I'm so sorry because this could've been avoided."
No sort of response came from his mouth. He didn't move, or gesture. Aside from folding his hands in front of his mouth, he remained entirely silent.
"I was wrong. Do you know the real reason I wanted to patch things with Mike? He is safe. Mike is practical and safe. He's the guy that I can count on when I need something, but the fire that I had for him burned out years ago. We just don't match. He can't handle my personality and I can't take the jealousy of his. He was always trying to control me in the workplace, do my job for me when I was perfectly cable of doing it without him."
"But you…you amaze me. You have this passion for life that I didn't see in anyone else, never did see in anyone else. And I'm happy with you around. When it all went to hell, in the most literal sense this group of people knows, you were there and Mike spent his time questioning me and you. I wanted to love him but I couldn't anymore because I loved you and was too scared to say yes. Why? I guess for the sake of giving in."
"Well, that all went to hell because I could never really admit to my own happiness. So, that's the answer to the question. What's wrong. Everything. I was wrong and stupid and I'm sorry and you should leave now. "
It had all happened so quickly, with the ease of a few small, erratic breaths that by the end, sobs had taken over her body. She couldn't control herself. This was too much to handle. Standing up from behind her desk and leaving the pile of cases that wouldn't be put away anytime soon, she made a bolt for the door.
He stopped her. "Vicki, don't do this." It was the first time he'd called her Vicki that evening. "I couldn't stay away. I've missed you."
Taking her hand in his, however much larger, he pulled her into an embrace, resting his chin on the top of her head. Her sobs had diminished some, yet she pressed her cheek into his chest, taking the comfort of his presence to calm her. "Vicki, do know that, of all the people I've ever loved in my life, Christina included, I have never had such a respect and reverence as much as I've had for you. I could not be expected to wait, but if you'll give me your heart, I will never let you down."
Of all the time they'd spent together, including the two weeks they'd spent apart, this moment was the one that mattered most: it was one of those rare gems in a decade that changes a person's life for the better. He had meant every word of what he'd said and she could tell by the expression on his face: waiting, heartbroken, hopeful—a combination of these things crossed his features.
She kissed him.
Henry had given her a promise of a sort and in that moment, when his lips had brushed hers, his hands caressing the side of her face and wrapped up in her hair, she had promised herself not to let him down: she'd done it enough already.
Things would take time to patch; there was certainty about that. Yet the things that lay ahead were uncertain—where this revelation would take them, how much time it would take her to continually admit her feelings and trusting someone enough to let it happen. But somehow, it had to happen because they both deserved it—deserved to be happy with someone, anyone that could take all of each others faults and love them because of said faults, not in spite of.
Really, only time would tell. The future was always uncertain.
"Yeah, I know. You don't have to say it again."
Hey guys! This isn't my first fic but this is the first one I've published! Hope you like! Reviews/suggestions would be appreciated.