So, did anyone else discover a sudden dislike for Audrey after the last episode? I'm sure I'll come around, but da-mn, that was cold... anyway, I'm new here, but this was tickling my brain and I thought I'd share.

As per usual, all the characters are Syfy's, I guess, or whoever is legally responsible for them... just borrowing them for my own amusement!

Duke looked up, bleary-eyed, as one of the glass doors at the road entrance to the Grey Gull opened. Audrey had already left; he had heard her plodding up the stairs to her apartment over an hour ago. His first thought was that he must have had more to drink that he had thought, because that couldn't possibly be Nathan walking into his restaurant. More to the point, he was sure he had flipped the sign to 'closed'.

"Can't you read?" he inquired, glaring at the other man, "We're closed."

"Yeah, I saw it," Nathan was staring at him, his expression caught somewhere between wariness and pity. It was an odd combination for anyone's face, but on Nathan's it looked particularly foreign somehow, "You okay?"

"Do you actually care, or are you just here to make sure I don't try and kill Audrey?"

"I got a call from the hospital," Nathan ventured, "Stan's nephew and some of the other kids made a miraculous recovery. Doctors can't figure out what happened. Neither could I, at first, because I was sure Audrey told me you refused to kill Nix."

There was something of an accusation in there, which was total bull seeing as Nathan was the one who was so sure Duke was the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. But Duke didn't have the wits or the energy at the moment to argue. So he sat up instead, staring down into his empty glass for a few seconds before he reached for the bottle on the counter in front of him. He poured out an extra glass and slid it across the bar. He took a sip before he answered.

"I did. And then I realized that while her means were flawed, ultimately, her end was valid. Kid was losing his father either way. At least this way he doesn't have to choose between dying a slow, painful death, and killing the people he loves."

"Slippery slope," Nathan commented, taking a seat at the bar next to Duke. The taller man looked over at him incredulously.

"Do you really think I don't know that, Nathan? All I could think about was this story Simon's ghost told me, about those kids who died years ago at the camp. Food poisoning?"

Nathan frowned, "I remember. I take it that it wasn't food poisoning."

"No. And according to Simon, he could have stopped it and saved those kids if he had killed one of their grandfathers the week before. But he didn't. And now here I am, making the same excuse. Maybe I just want someone to tell me that I didn't have a choice. Except that I did. And she didn't even ask me first…"

"I didn't know, for the record," Nathan spoke up after a moment, "That she was going to ask you to kill him. It didn't even occur to me to think that until she told me to take Connor and Bowen and go back to the road."

It was a lame attempt at an apology, but Duke knew Nathan well enough to see it for what it was. And in present circumstances, he'd take what he could get.

"Thank you," he looked over at the chief, hoping that he was tired and drunk enough that it sounded as sincere as he meant it, "For not thinking the worst of me for once."

"Why did you go back?"

Duke stared down into his glass, lost in his thoughts. Why indeed? He had walked away from Nix and Audrey spitting righteous anger and venomous indignation, because how dare she put him in that position? How dare she demand that of him? And in the end, she put him between a rock and a hard place, and maybe the only choice he had was between two evils.

"You know," he finally replied, "I've asked myself that a hundred times over the past few hours. And every time I do, all I can see is that kid."

"So that's why? You did it for those kids?"

"No," Duke downed the remains of his drink and rose unsteadily to his feet, "I did it for Connor Nix. Because I know what it's like to realize that your dad is a monster. And then to realize that he's made you one, too. I'm one of the lucky ones. I can control this… thing. I can choose if, and when, and how I use it. But that kid didn't have that luxury. I have to live with my father's sins either way, but at least now he won't have to. None of them will."

Nathan didn't say a word. But the clink of glass-against-glass was something like understanding; and maybe, for the moment, that was enough.

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