Summary: She stares at her stomach, at her shaky fingers, at the slick red mess ruining her favorite blue tank top. "Sorry," she says, and really, she is. The last thing she sees are his horrified blue eyes, and then she's falling.
Disclaimer: I don't own Sleepy Hollow.
how joyful to be together, alone
as when we first were joined
in our little house by the river
long ago, except that now we know
each other, as we did not then;
and now instead of two stories fumbling
to meet, we belong to one story
that the two, joining, made. and now
we touch each other with the tenderness
of mortals, who know themselves
-Wendell Berry, Entries
The shot rings, clear and true, coming out of the stagnant air and resounding through the thick expanse of forest.
He's staring at her, stunned into silence, before something snaps him out of it (it looks a bit like rage) and he lifts his hand — the one holding her gun — into the air and fires one, two, three shots into the night. There's the clomp of horse-hooves and the threatening swish of an axe before she catches light beginning to filter through the trees and onto the ground.
He turns back to her, terrified. "Leftenant?" he says, a little breathlessly, daring for hope.
She stares at her stomach, at her shaky fingers, at the slick red mess ruining her favorite blue tank top. "Sorry," she says, and really, she is. The last thing she sees are his horrified blue eyes, and then she's falling.
She thinks she dies before she even hits the ground.
In the end, her "heaven" isn't what she thought it would be. At all.
And really, she's thought about it a lot. She's not suicidal or anything, but it's kind of hard not to think along lines like those when you're a cop, when you strap on a Kevlar vest and stare down the barrel of a gun. Not like there's a lot of that in Sleepy Hollow, mind, but it's happened. More than ever in recent months. It makes her think.
Made her think, anyway.
She closes her eyes against the blinding whiteness she's experiencing now, and thinks over the past forty-eight hours. The demon they'd faced, leading them back to the Horseman. Back to Death. She thinks of the sister, the ex, the boss, the man she left behind, and she feels an echo of guilt, but mostly she's just numb.
Dying does that to you, she thinks. Makes you numb.
Memories flash across her mind like a movie reel, and it hurts.
They flood her head in a backwards motion, starting with the red-eyed horse and ending with a broken bottle of Stella in the middle of the forest. She thinks of him, and the bloodlines, and Katrina and his face when he said, "If I die, he dies."
She thinks she can hear his voice through the haze the memories create.
It was supposed to be me.
And then… well.
Then, there's nothing. Nothing at all.
The memories stop, eventually, when she runs out of things to remember.
She finds herself on Rosewood Avenue, in front of Maddie's place. Whatever she'd thought her afterlife would've been like, this certainly wasn't it.
Still, she doesn't complain. Can't really find a reason to. Even she has to admit, this is a hell of a lot better than her less-than-desirable childhood memories and her little-more-than-strange-adulthood ones.
(there's always an exception, though, one with blue eyes and an accent that she can't help but never want to forget)
She ends up walking into the dream-diner and finds Corbin nursing his apple pie a la mode. There's a table of cooling fries by the warm, soupy mess the dessert seems perpetually stuck as (no five minutes in a dream, a voice tells her coyly) and she snatches one and pops it in her mouth.
"Mmm," she groans appreciatively.
Corbin glares playfully at her. "Fry thief," he accuses, and she rolls her eyes and sits across from him.
"Old man," she throws back, in a familiar fight-but-not-really. She settles down into the worn, torn red booth across from him. "I'm dead," she tells him, as if it's a fact he's not really aware of just yet. Maybe she's just trying to convince herself. "I got shot," she says, in explanation.
He looks pointedly at the red blotches still staining her top. "So you did."
She picks self-consciously at the bloodstain. "I don't feel any different."
"Did you expect to?"
She sort of did, looking back. Maybe she thought she'd feel at peace, or sad, or upset, or cheated or something. But she's not even that. She's… well, she's who she's always been.
There's his voice again.
She twists in her seat and looks around the empty diner. "Did you hear that?" she asks, turning back to face Corbin with an odd look on her face. He had to have heard that; it was so clear.
He smiles at her, gently. "No. But the fact you did is enough." A waitress who looks like Audrey Hepburn walks by, then, refilling his coffee cup without a word before stalking off in the other direction. He waits until the click of her heels fades before continuing. "I don't want you to be afraid of letting go, okay? Or holding on, for that matter. Whatever your choice is, I want you to remember that it's yours, no one else's."
She's not quite sure what he's trying to say, but ever since the whole don't be afraid of number forty-nine spiel, she's decided that death makes you slightly enigmatic. She can only hope that if she has to be Jenny's Corbin when she dies, she won't be as infuriating.
Still, she nods, because despite the numbness and lack-of-beating in her chest, she loves the man in front of her with every piece of her being. And she missed him. "I'm not afraid," she says.
His eyes soften into something she hasn't seen since she was young and stupid and in desperate need of an ear to yell at and a shoulder to cry on and a hand to hold. "I know you're not," he tells her honestly before standing up, licking a bit of ice cream off his thumb. He turns to look at her, almost as an afterthought, considering his words before he says, "He's waiting for you." Then he leaves, and she doesn't follow.
She pays for his pie in return for stealing his fries, like she always does. She sort of wants to walk after him when she hears the scuff of his boots against the tile, mostly because she knows she probably won't see him again for a long, long time.
Still, she doesn't move.
She snacks on soggy fries until she's full, and then she walks a mile into the woods.
She wanders around the place for hours, wondering at the curious feeling that suddenly seems to blanket her. She feels simultaneously hot and cold, and her left hand feels heavy, like maybe someone's holding it. She lifts it up to the sky to prove herself wrong, to trace Orion on the black velvet sky.
That's just silly, anyway. Isn't it?
You need to wake up now, his voice tells her as she walks. Please wake up now.
She closes her eyes, trying to block him out.
I — I cannot do this alone.
Needless to say, she doesn't quite manage it.
She knows her choice, and it's only a word away.
All she has to do is let go, or hold on.
She looks around this shadow of Sleepy Hollow, the road on the outskirts of town. It's quiet and peaceful, a haven in its own right, and no one can hurt her here. Nothing can touch her. Not demons, not Death, not her guilt or the shadows of her past.
There is no good, and there is no evil.
It just is.
She could stay there forever, she thinks. Stay there forever and never ever hurt again.
Stay with me. Please.
But then, where would the fun in that be?
She gets up from the ground, pacing along the edge of the highway until she comes to the town line, deliberating. She hears his voice, soft and accented through the haze of her almost-death, across the air and into the world she's hanging onto by a thread.
Abbie. Stay with me.
She smiles. "Of course."
She makes her choice. She only hopes it's the right one.
She lets go—
And wakes up.
Brown eyes blink open, fluttering slightly before focusing and meeting their icy blue counterparts. "Abbie?" he whispers in a rare show of vulnerability, using her nickname like that.
She smiles. It's tired but true, and when he smiles back, she knows she made the right choice.
Well, I liked it. Until the last bit, anyway. That could've been constructed a little better, but this really threw me and I just wanted it to be finished. Thanks for reading, and if you could, please leave a review. Constructive criticism is always welcome!