Deliberate - A Covenant One-Shot
Summary: First-person Reid POV, set roughly ten years after the movie. Due to events immediately after the movie, Reid left Ipswich. Ten years later, he's runs into a person he used to call Brother.
A/N: I wrote about half of this ages and ages ago, and I recently discovered it while wandering through my files. It's kind of angsty and bitter. Excuse Reid's OOC-ness, but I thought he would be a little more grown up after a decade. I like this, particularly the Reid-Tyler interaction. A few paragraphs of this has been displayed on my blog for almost a week, so I decided to go on and post it. I hope you enjoy it.
They all looked so damn happy. Ten years had changed some things, but the basics remained the same. Caleb and Sarah were the dream couple – both had law degrees from Harvard, they had been married five years, and Caleb was a (sickeningly) proud daddy, bouncing his adorable little girl on his lap. At least, I assumed she was adorable. I didn't know much about kids, but from the cooing women fluttering around the child, the two-year old Elizabeth Danvers ranked right up there with puppies and kittens. Again, it was sickening.
Kate and Pogue were just as bad, if in a different way. Their ten years had not been as perfect as Caleb and Sarah's; a long break ended with reunion and a quick marriage. Still newlyweds, they held hands and cuddled and kissed. No baby yet. I couldn't imagine Pogue as a father, but maybe he had changed since graduation. Pogue with a ring on his finger didn't match my memory of a reckless teenager.
Ah, but Tyler...Tyler was the worst and the best, all in one. Baby Boy was still a bachelor, still the youngest, still quiet. The main difference was that Tyler was all alone these days. Oh, the others tried to include him, but it was awkward at best. He didn't really fit into their circle of family-thinking. Little lines around his mouth showed the strain, the effort of smiling and looking happy.
But there were also laugh lines on Tyler's face. Even if he hadn't achieved nirvana like the others, he still enjoyed life. He worked hard, followed baseball, hung out with friends (friends who knew nothing about magic or the truth about the Sons of Ipswich, friends who knew nothing about betrayal).
Even though Tyler was missing his other half, he had lived his life as best as he could. In short, he looked a damn sight better than his other half, Reid Garwin. Me.
Before I could continue my musings, the lawyer arrived. Looking away from the group sitting on the other side of the café, I removed my sunglasses and looked at the lawyer. Old guy, balding, reading glasses perched on the end of his nose. He had worked for the Garwin family for decades, and his father before that.
"Mr. Garwin," he said as he walked up, extending a hand. I shook it, then gestured for him to sit down.
"Mr. Bankley," I replied. "It's good to see you again." My words were mechanical, mere courtesy that I had finally started using in the past few years. My mother would be so proud.
Bankley nodded in agreement. "Though the occasion is not a happy one."
I didn't say anything. My mother had died, finally. After the hell she put me through, I couldn't summon up any feelings of grief. Actually, the only reason I wasn't jumping for joy was the incredible inconvenience her death had caused. Coming back to Ipswich was a nightmare.
Bankley didn't appear surprised by my lack of sorrow, he didn't show. That was probably why his family had worked for the Garwins for so long. Rule number one: never be surprised by anything unusual, suspicious, or downright strange. Ever.
Reaching into his briefcase, Bankley pulled out a sheaf of papers. Adjusting his glasses, he peered at them, then handed several of them to me. I took them, glancing at the title on the first page. LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT.
Skimming through the paperwork, I learned that my mother had left me the portions of the Garwin estate that had not already passed to me when my father had died. I wasn't surprised. No matter how much we mutually hated each other, there were certain rules to be followed, and one of them was that everything went to the eldest male, no matter what. Some things can't be allowed out of the family, you know.
Accepting a pen from Bankley, I scrawled my signature in the necessary places. But before I could give the pen back, a shadow appeared on the pristine white tablecloth.
The muscles in my shoulders tensed. I should have know this would happen, but I couldn't resist the opportunity...
My mind raced. Maybe if I ignored him, he would go away...no, of course not. That wasn't like Baby Boy, not at all.
I sighed and twisted in my seat. Raising a hand to block the sun, I looked into the face of the person who had known me better than anyone, once.
"Hello, Tyler." My voice didn't shake, thankfully. "Wasn't expecting to see you here." That was a lie, of course. I knew he and the others would be here, which is why I picked it.
"I suppose you're in town for your mom's funeral," Tyler said, looking a little pale. He fidgeted, his left hand tapping on his leg. He did that when he was a kid, too, whenever he was stressed.
"Yeah, of course." I paused, wondering what I should say. "How have you been doing, Tyler?"
Something dark passed across his face. "What the hell would you care, Reid?"
A familiar feeling curled inside me, something I hadn't felt since I left Ipswich. "I really don't know, Tyler. Why would I care about the people who were willing to let me die?"
"You know that wasn't my idea, Reid. I tried to argue with Caleb--"
I cut him off. "And it's the thought that counts, right?"
Tyler sighed. "Look man, I didn't want any of that to happen. I tried to stop it, but I couldn't, alright? And it's too late now."
I swallowed my anger, pushing it away. I wasn't going to let this get to me. "You're right. It is too late."
Tyler looked away, red coloring his cheeks. After a moment, he spoke again. "Why didn't you call? Or write, or do anything to let us know you were alive?"
I shrugged. "Wouldn't have made any difference. You just would have asked me to come back, and I wasn't going to."
"Why not?" Tyler's voice was challenging, angry.
"Because I couldn't look at you, any of you, without remembering what it was like to choke on my own blood." I watched him flinch, and a part of me smiled.
Now I looked away. This was what I had wanted to avoid. "It's too late, Tyler. I've got a life now."
"Where? If that isn't classified information, I mean." Tyler had always been sarcastic, he just hid it better than I did.
His hand tapped some more. For a minute, we listened to the noise of the café around us, the people talking. "If I decided to call you, would you hang up on me?"
I still wouldn't meet his eyes. "Maybe." I sighed. "Probably not." I looked up and caught his gaze.
He swallowed, then nodded. "Alright then." He gave the lawyer a look. "I'll give you a call sometime." He started to back away. Before he turned around, I spoke.
"You do that, Baby Boy."
He paused, looking back at me. He smiled. "Sure thing, asshole."
I felt my own lips twisting into a smirk. I turned back to look at Bankley, who was studiously reading over some paperwork.
"Where were we?"
And just like that, I returned to the legal business that had brought me back to this town. I could feel him watching me, though.
Somehow, I didn't really mind.
A/N: My reviewers for Learning a Lesson have spoiled me, so I expect to see some comments and/or criticism! By the way, has anyone else noticed the teensy hint of Reid/Tyler in that? When I wrote it, it was just there. I like it. AND IF ANYONE WANTS TO READ ABOUT THE EVENT THAT CAUSED REID TO LEAVE, a prequel if you will, go by my blog, www(.)anneisfiction(.)com, (take out the parentheses) and say so. I'm interested in writing a one-shot about what happened, but I have a lot of other stuff to do...no, that isn't a threat. Not at all. evil smirk