Summary: At night Will dances in the halls. Post-Kali. Oneshot.
Warnings: Spoilers for all three parts of 'Kali'. AU.
Disclaimer: I don't own Sanctuary.
This started as a small drabble I was doing for a five-things challenge. It grew into a story of its own.
What if Will didn't come back from death quite the same?
Dancing With Gods
At night Will dances in the halls. No one tries to stop him, even though the humming and gentle claps and soft thuds as slippered feet hit the floor is enough to keep anyone awake. Actually, most of the residents claim to find the sound soothing, like listening to white noise before bed, and they say they'd be worried if he stopped dancing.
Even if they tried to stop the dancing, to corral him back to his room, it would do little good. He doesn't even register them, and every night he does his dance to his goddess. Stopping it is like attempting to stop the tides.
No one is quite sure what's wrong. Magnus has done every test she can think of, poured over every book in the library that might even possibly be relevant. She's called in favors from every head of Sanctuary and doctor and healer she knows, she's even made deals with black market brokers, trying to find something, anything that might work. She's had a steady parade of telepaths, empaths and clairvoyants trickling through, hoping one of them will have an answer. She just wants an answer.
She's even done tests on Big Bertha, spending nearly a week in the middle of the ocean doing scans. Unfortunately, that leads nowhere. Bertha is asleep, not dead; her mental activity hasn't just stopped. Trying to do scans to see if there's a blip somewhere that even might be Will is like trying to see how much the ocean has risen when a single drop of water is added. And even Magnus knows how foolish it is to wake Bertha on the off chance that Will might get better, when there's no conclusive evidence that it will help.
So even though the scans on Bertha herself failed (inconclusive, they were merely inconclusive) Magnus continues doing other tests, hoping that something will happen, that someone will be able to find an answer.
Nothing. None of the tests, none of the favors, none of the people have amounted to anything. Will is gone.
Maybe it was the time spent in the land of the dead, eight minutes where his brain went without oxygen, and it left him irreparably brain damaged.
Maybe when he came back, Kali decided to keep a part of him with her, leaving behind a body still connected all too much to the super abnormal.
Maybe Will decided to stay with his goddess all on his own.
It doesn't matter. No one can find an answer, and the only one who might be able to give insight doesn't even seem to know where he is half the time.
(Magnus won't give up, of course. She refused to give up on Ashley until uncontroversial evidence was before her -she won't give up on Will until she's sure he can't be saved.)
Ravi was apologetic even though it wasn't his fault, offering to let Will stay and recuperate at the India Sanctuary, but it was worse in Mumbai. There, Will would sit at the window, staring blankly outside, silently whispering heart-wrenching pleas in Hindi. At least here, back home in Old City, he's…
He's not better, but it's better than Mumbai. It's all relative, anyway.
They've fallen into a routine with him. In the morning, Bigfoot will bring a tray of food to Will's room. No matter how early the big guy is awake, Will is always up, standing at the window and staring at the rising sun. (He never eats in front of anyone, but the trays always end up empty, and Will isn't dying of malnutrition so something must have stayed in his mind. It's a small sign that gives Magnus hope.)
When he finally does venture forth he glides absently down the halls like a wraith, calling for Kali in a strange mix of Hindi and English. He can obviously see, it's not like he's stumbling around blind, but he doesn't see people -he looks right through them because they're not important if they're not her.
They all keep an eye on him, watching to make sure he doesn't hurt himself or fall down the stairs or wander off and get lost. Even some of the residents take responsibility and track him down, because Will was a beloved member of the Sanctuary family, and that doesn't change just because he's lost his mind.
By the time he settles down, he tends to wander into Henry's lab. It's strange how he can't seem to register anything or anyone around him, but he'll unerringly find his way into his best friend's lab, every single day. If Henry isn't working on something too important, he'll pull out a chair and Will will just sit, humming softly and gently swaying, his feet tapping lightly on the floor in moves to a dance no one else knows.
Occasionally, Kate will come to take Will of Henry's hands, if Henry is working on something that needs to be finished today or just needs a break. She'll take Will up to the library and set him down on the couch and find a book -any book, it doesn't matter what- and she'll sit down and read to him, her voice breaking over the words and stumbling through sentences. She's trying, even though she doesn't really know how to deal with something like this. She's doing her best.
Lunch is simple; whoever has Will drops him off at the kitchen, where Bigfoot has prepared a light meal, and they leave him to it. Magnus isn't worried that he'll do something stupid to himself as he is; the simple fact is, he won't eat in front of people, for god-knows what reason. He'll stand there, fingers drumming a tattoo on his thighs, if anyone waits with him. But if he's left alone, he'll eat, and since he isn't a danger to himself, they allow it.
And every afternoon at 3 o'clock, Magnus puts down whatever she's doing and goes on a walk. It doesn't matter if she's doing paperwork or in the middle of a conference call, she'll put it on hold for half an hour. It's the one thing she makes certain to do every day, and she doesn't make excuses to get out of it no matter how busy she is, because one good excuse will lead to a dozen bad excuses.
Rain or shine, cold or warm, she'll take Will and they'll walk arm in arm through the garden, and Magnus will talk. It doesn't matter about what. The weather. The flowers. The new abnormal. The hunt last night. The other Sanctuary heads. Anything that comes to mind, anything to break the silence and maybe cut through that incessant humming.
Lately, she's been telling him about herself. About her father, how she met John, Ashley's first words. She honestly doesn't know if she's simply unloading on an unbiased listener all the things she's kept to herself for over a century and a half, or if she's hoping such personal matters will spark something inside of him.
He has moments of lucidity, rare, rare moments where he looks at people instead of through them. His eyes clear and he gives this sad half-smile, like he knows what's going on and he's just as powerless to stop it as they are. He never says anything, though, and by the time the mind clears of surprise and Magnus can react, he's back to before.
(Sometimes Magnus wonders if those moments of lucidity are the final clock. If one day, that final moment will pass, and all she'll see in him is an empty gaze and fevered madness, and he'll finally be gone. She tries not to wonder about it too often.)
After the walk, Magnus will head back inside and hand him off to whoever is waiting -Bigfoot or Henry or Kate or even one of the other residents. She'll make her way to her office, close the door, and she'll always have to compose herself before resuming whatever she'd put down, because it's getting so much harder not to cry. Losing Ashley was hard, but there wasn't this constant reminder. Losing Will hurts more like slowly having her skin flayed off. A little piece of her heart gets stripped away every day.
(Interestingly enough, when Magnus isn't there -at a conference, or on a job, or visiting another Sanctuary- 3 o'clock finds Will standing at the front door, rocking back and forth and looking vaguely puzzled. He knows, somewhere inside. It's one of the signs that keeps Magnus going. He knows, so Will isn't gone yet.)
Late afternoon resumes the search for Kali, the calls more urgent now than they were earlier in the day, plaintive cries in Hindi begging the goddess to come to him. It's almost heartbreaking to hear, like he's lost a loved one, but no one tries to stop him. (Someone tried, once, a new resident who didn't know what was going on. Will punched him in the face and kept going until Bigfoot cornered him and locked him in his room. The resident wasn't hurt, merely surprised, and no one's tried to stop Will since.)
In the evenings Henry takes over once more, typically moving their venue to the entertainment room and watching movies or playing games, unless he has a project he really has to finish. That lasts until ten or eleven, when Henry walks Will back to his room and guide him inside, where another meal is waiting, and what seems like a long day will finally end.
There will come a time, Magnus knows, when she can't keep this up. When she'll have to finally admit there are no answers, and Will has been lost. At that point, she doesn't know what she'll do. She won't ship him off to another Sanctuary, and she can't imagine she'll lock him in a room or two and let that be his world. She has no idea. She keeps hoping and working and throwing herself into finding an answer, just so she doesn't have to think about it.
This has left them all a little broken. Kate spends more time at the shooting range and in the training rooms, and though she makes sure to come a couple of times a week and read to Will in the library, she avoids him most of the rest of the time. Henry smiles less easily, looks a little more tired all the time, and though he spends most of his time with Will, he seems inclined to talk less and less.
They didn't lose another colleague when Kali kept a part of Will. They lost a member of their family, and they're all trying to cope in their own ways.
So they suffer, quietly hoping but losing hope with every passing day.
And at night, he dances in the halls.
I loved the Kali arc. Loved, loved, loved it to pieces. This came to me when I had the vision of Will dancing through the halls of Sanctuary, looking for Kali, and how that might have happened. What if Will didn't all come back from death? What if a part of him was still there, still connected to Kali?
I really like how it turned out. I hope you did as well. Please let me know what you think.
~Until next time!