Title: Rearview Mirror

Authors: Faerax

Series: Without a name as of yet – Follows "The Orange Kitten" & "Christmas in (Haven) Maine"

Spoilers: Haven season 1

Setting: Haven post-season 1, not including Season 2

Disclaimer: Duke, Audrey, and Nathan belong to Steven King/the Syfy channel.

Summary: After a New Year's party, Duke disappears from Haven.

Authors' notes:

i. Sequel to Christmas in (Haven) Maine written by Neoxphile and myself. You don't need to read it to understand the events in this story.

ii. Some of the dialogue in Haven suggests that season one took place in 2008 despite airing in 2010, so Neoxphile and I went with that. Therefore, this story takes place the winter following season one.

Author's Warning: I am not nearly as good as neoxphile at actually updating things. I do not promise regular updates, because at this time, only about 1/3 to ½ of the story is actually written (some big honking 600 page story involving rewriting last season's episodes and real life got in the way). I'm not even going to promise to finish it, because it seems to me that the authors that promise to finish all their stories are invariably the ones that leave us hanging, lol. If you like it, thank neoxphile, who has kindly agreed to beta this and is politely ragging on me to finish it.

Objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are. – Meatloaf


December 31st, 2008

Duke had outdone himself this time. The Grey Gull was awash in a constellation of stars, all hanging from the ceiling. They glittered brightly, and mimicked real constellations, according to Vince. Someone had done a lot of work hanging the black velvet on the rafters, and then planning the placement of the small lights that peeked through it. The illusion was complemented by the dim lighting of the restaurant, allowing you to believe that that the sky was clear and you could see all the way to the end of the universe.

I leaned back against one of the pillars holding up the firmament. Vince continued, "I thought Margie was going to make mincemeat out of him but he did most of the work himself. I think, though, that the Garricks helped him out. Brooke and Michael appreciate that Duke gave their mother a job when most of the town was against her. They did a bang up job, didn't they?"

"It's beautiful, Vince, because it kept him out of my office and away from my books," Margie stated, coming up behind him. "How that man does math is a mystery. Somehow it's always right, but why he can't do simple accounting is beyond me. You'd think…, nah never mind."

I knew what Margie was politely not saying. You'd think with all of the smuggling he'd be good at it or be dead. However, I doubt that money from those funds would be documented in books, and that Duke would have maintained a more creative accounting system for goods of questionable legality. I suspected that old habits die hard, though, and that now that he had gone legit, he still hasn't gotten used to writing everything down in a way comprehensible to Margie.

Janice, who seemed to have been promoted to commander in chief of the Carpenter's Knot Hotel, didn't have to deal with Duke interfering with her books. He'd claimed it would be quite some time before he went back to the island where he was nearly wendigo lunch. He'd given her carte blanche to do whatever, and just tell him about any major expenditures later. I also had a feeling this left Margie jealous of Janice's freedom. Duke was much more involved in running the Gull.

"Well, Margie, Nathan thinks that Duke will make a break for freedom as soon as his boat is fixed and he'll temporarily be out of your books," Vince offered helpfully.

Nathan and Duke had been living together since Christmas Eve, when we'd all found out Duke's boat, Cape Rouge, had a repair job fail and had partially sunk. Even now, we could see her grounded out behind the restaurant. The first two days, the boys had behaved themselves. By the fifth day, Nathan was putting in extra hours to avoid Duke, and Duke was finding excuses to be about town when Nathan did come home. I supposed it was good it hadn't come to blows yet. Because I was frequently in Nathan's company, I'd seen little of Duke after day 3. I could only go by Nathan's report that Duke was becoming increasingly unpleasant as a house guest.

I turned to Margie. "Do you really think he'll leave?"

Margie grimaced, "Yeah, he tends to blow in and out with the storms. He's a good man, Audrey, I'm not saying he isn't, but he isn't very reliable. He's had enough of Nathan, and he'll leave again. He'll come back eventually, though. He always does."

"How long's he been doing this?" I asked, curious to learn more of Haven's resident pirate king.

"Let's see. He left here when he was 16 for about 3 months, came back, left again at 18 and came back when he was…" Margie paused, calculating dates. "Hmm, it'd be what, 22?" she asked Vince.

"24" Dave supplied, walking up to Vince. "Duke was 24 the last time he came to Haven. I remember it because that was the year that Jeff got that big article in the paper in New York about working in that restaurant. Duke came in to see me at the paper and gave me a copy of the article. Told me the food was to die for."

"He only stayed a year that time. He only came back into port, ohh, about 2 months before you came to Haven, Audrey," Vince added, taking up the thread.

"I thought he lived here all his life?" I asked, very confused. If he'd been gone for that long, though, it would explain why Duke wanted me to confirm if the troubles were back and didn't seem to know what had been going on in town when I had first gotten here.

"I've called Maine home all my life, but that doesn't mean I've lived in Haven that whole time. Maine's the largest New England state. There's a lot to it outside Haven." Duke chose that moment to enter the conversation, and I know I was blushing at being caught asking about his past.

"Fear not, Audrey. I may leave, but I always end up back here somehow." Duke looked off into the distance, and sipped a beer.

"It's been nearly 10 years since you've been back. According to Margie, each time you leave you take more time to come back, if you leave now it'll be 20 years until I see you," I teased. That thought did upset me, though. I liked Duke, and didn't like to think that I may be part of the reason he would leave. I know I was part of the reason he and Nathan were at odds.

Duke smiled at me, a gentle quirk of the lips rather than his megawatt grin. "I promise to come back before 20 years, Audrey. I just need to get out of town for a while." Duke smiled. "Margie, I'm glad you're here, and appreciate that you are watching Morgan for me while I work on Gerty, but kindly remember my personal life isn't part of yours?"

Margie nodded, "Sorry, Duke."

"It's ok. However when the radiant Officer Parker decides she wants to know me better, she can ask me herself." Duke bowed towards me. Margie, looking serious, nodded again.

"Well, Duke, I can't get the information from you. You don't talk to cops, remember?" I said playfully.

"True. I guess you'll have to stop being a cop sometime if you want to know," he replied, then took another sip of beer.

Dave, ever the inquiring mind, asked, "Are you really planning on leaving?"

Duke nodded. "I have to make a run down to Seabrook. I'll only be gone a couple of days. It'll give Nathan time to grieve the fact I've moved out of his house," Duke said, while watching Nathan approach the bar where we all stood.

"In your dreams, Duke. Are you sure you can't manage to disappear for another 10 years?" Nathan saluted Duke with his beer bottle and came to stand beside me.

"And leave Audrey here, alone, at your mercy? Perish the thought." Duke slid an arm casually around my waist, and I squirmed out of his grasp. I don't like being manhandled, especially when I was the center of a contest between Duke and Nathan. But if I hadn't suspected Duke did that just to piss Nathan off, I might have let him hold me.

Duke and Nathan had both cautioned me against revealing that I was Lucy Ripley, and both always used the name Audrey in public. Duke had noted darkly that Lucy wasn't popular with everyone in town. Nathan had been able to circumvent the investigation by the other Audrey Parker somehow. I wasn't sure how he did it, but she had disappeared. Vince and Dave had published an article about how the FBI couldn't believe it had two Audrey Parkers and had thought I was an imposter, generally confirming people's belief in the ineptness of the federal government.

Nathan was about to respond when Tracy motioned Duke over for a quick word. He nodded and paused beside Margie. "Margie, you're in charge until I get back." He left to see what Tracy needed. Margie looked shocked, and I gathered that was Duke's way of giving her the restaurant until he returned from Seabrook, rather than until he returned from his conversation with Tracy.

Small talk continued for a while but Vince, Dave, and Margie all drifted off after a short time to mingle with the Grey Gull's other guests. Nathan stayed a few more minutes until he, too drifted off to talk to Bobby and Hannah. I wondered what to make of the fact that Duke hadn't been here all of his life as I'd assumed, and wondered where he'd been in the intervening years.

I might have asked him except that every time he came over to me, or I tried to get to him, the crowd at the Gull (and particularly Nathan) seemed to conspire to keep us apart. At one point we were trying to carry on an eyeball conversation across the room (it seemed to be the closest we could get to one another and thankfully Duke was tall enough to see from almost anywhere on the main floor) and not succeeding very well. I decided to make my point to him by pointing at the mistletoe, then the clock. I figured that would get his attention and the expression on his face was well worth it.

Eventually everyone started counting down the seconds as the year fled. As each number was chanted, the level of excitement in the room grew. When we all finally reached an ebullient "One!" I found myself being kissed, at first gently and then more and more enthusiastically. Nathan's sea blue eyes smiled down at me and he leaned in to kiss me again. Over his shoulder I saw Duke. His expression never altered, but he abruptly changed course and tapped on Julia's shoulder, and kissed her. Nathan kissed me again, and when we both came up for air, Duke was nowhere in sight.