"The lights will guide you home, and I will try to fix you." - Coldplay
Contemporary AU Persuasion. Contains TW: suicide
Fred Wentworth visits his sister and brother- in-law in Kellynch after being away from the county for nearly ten years. However ten years brings some unexpected, unpleasant surprises. She's not there anymore.
Returning to Kellynch was not a thought Fred relished. Having spent the past decade away working as a Naval Architect, the idea of returning to the quiet, quaint little English countryside was a far cry from working in war-torn countries and the routine life one has in the Navy.
As his car manoeuvred the somewhat familiar roads Fred did his best to not let his thoughts stray to the people of the county of Kellynch. Aside from his sister Sophie and her husband Adrian he had no real desire to see the more prominent families of the neighbourhood. The family of his ex-fiancé of course, and the woman herself were to be avoided at all costs.
After being back in the countryside for a week, Fred had finally been pressed into accepting a dinner invitation with a family that moved into the area shortly after he had left all those years ago. He sorted through various pieces of gossip he had gleamed out of his sister, and learned that the Elliot family had gone into financial ruin about three years ago, not too long after one of their daughters married the eldest son of the family who he was having dinner with that evening.
Much to his relief, the Elliot daughter married to the Musgrove son is not Anne. Instead it is her younger sister Mary, who doesn't look a thing like her older sister. In fact, Anne is given no mention at all, despite the fact the conversation turns to the Elliot family a few times throughout the evening. Mr Elliot has taken up with an old actress friend in London city, the eldest daughter Elizabeth is gaining status as a model. Still not a single mention of Anne, he isn't sure if he's relieved or saddened by the fact that the woman who once held his heart and was once so dear to him is all but forgotten by her own family.
He questions the Musgrove matriarch after dinner about the Elliot family, for he knows that she's too motherly to let anyone feel or be abandoned. He tells her he was once acquainted with the two older girls and their father; Mary was away at school when he lived in Kellynch previously.
He wasn't sure what response he expected out of Mrs Musgrove, but the sad answer she gave was certainly not the one he expected to hear.
She was dead.
She was dead and it wasn't by natural causes.
Without the need to press for more details, Mrs Musgrove recounted quietly to him how the mousy, apparently heartbroken girl was found one morning in her car, parked alongside the local park where she and Fred used to meet for their morning run. Tox screen on her autopsy showed a multitude of drugs in her system, the few personal items in her car were assessed by the police, who determined she'd been planning it for months. A note of farewell to her family was later found on the pillow of her bed.
She was gone.
It was his fault.
Days later, when he finally dared leave the spare room of his sister's he was currently living in, he took a walk to the local cemetery, searching for the one named he now hoped wouldn't appear there.
There it was, a white marble tombstone, decorated with a lone weeping angel figure.
Anne Marie Elliot
Much loved daughter & sister
The finality of those words hit him. She was gone. There is no coming back from the dead, and dead she is.
How to heal? How to cope with that all-consuming loss? Part of him wants to be furious at her, at the way she just left him, left him with the engagement ring with tears in her eyes, and now she's left him here on earth, alone, without her. The rest of him realises that it was his coldness that probably drew her to her end. If only he had not said all those harsh things when she came to him crying all those years ago; when she came to him saying that her father and aunt didn't approve of their engagement and wanted her to break it off. If only he had listened to his gut feeling when he considered coming back to Kellynch after his initial naval training in 2006. If only.
He doesn't know how long he stands in front of her grave for. All he knows is that at some point a soft rain starts, soaking him to the core. The cold water numbs his skin, and he raises his face to the rain, letting the drops fall onto his face.
He thinks back to one time, on their daily run when he and Anne were caught in a sudden downpour, but instead of racing for the nearest shelter like he assumed she would do, she raised her head, like he's doing now, and smiled and danced in the rain as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
He smiles at the memory.
He doesn't have her anymore, but he can still see her face.
That's all he has left of her.
A.N. – heavy, I know. But I've been having a crap few days and this gem wouldn't leave. I kept wondering what it would really be like in this day and age for a young woman, who has been nothing but downtrodden all her life, to have that one ray of sunlight ripped out of her life, by her own doing. That sort of loss tends to stay with a person.
Obviously I would NEVER encourage anyone who is having relationship/general life issues to even think about self-harming or suicide. There is always hope. And I believe that there is hope. Even when the world is heavy, when your gut twists because everything is wrong, when things don't go anywhere near planned, there is still hope and love. Because I love you.
Your local help lines can be found in a quick google search and I definitely encourage you to look them up if this has caused any triggering, please also accept my apologies.
If you need to, you can talk to me.