Perspective

A Haven fanfic

By Jeannine Trevizo

 

 

 

Rating: T for language, mild violence

 

Spoiler: Everything through Season 1, episode 9, “As You Were”.

 

Disclaimer: I do not own Haven and am not making any cash here – I’m just playing with the characters, plot, etc created by others.

 

Relationship: Audrey/Nathan, UST

 

-x-

 

 

I and several of the others are discussing the huge crack that had appeared in the wall, which wasn’t normal at all, even for Haven when I hear the gunshot.

 

“Nathan!” I yell from where I’m standing with Julia in the doorway of the room, shocked as I realize what’s just happened.

 

Nathan just shot Audrey.

 

“You killed my friend!” yells Nathan, and I realize that he’s gone off the rails.

 

What does he mean by Audrey killing his friend? She is his friend…

 

I watch as Nathan leans over Audrey, speaking in low tones, too low for me or anyone to hear. His posture seems… pained. Of course, if I just shot my partner I’d be hurting too.

 

“What did you do?” Vince asks, confused… hell, we all are. Only Nathan seems to know what’s going on.

 

“She’s the chameleon,” Nathan says very simply but loud enough for everyone to hear, his eyes never leaving Audrey’s body.

 

I’m just now catching up. The chameleon kills whomever’s body it has. And if Nathan is saying that this person on the floor bleeding is the chameleon, then that means Audrey…

 

Oh holy hell.

 

There are more quiet words between Nathan and the chameleon and then his back straightens before he lunges at the thing, his hands gripping Audrey… the chameleon’s shoulders and shaking.

 

“Where is she? Where is she?” Nathan yells and there’s a quiet murmur of words from the thing wearing Audrey’s face before Nathan’s up and racing through the hotel, calling Audrey’s name.

 

I’m on his heels, calling out as well as I follow him through the hotel and to some innocuous door. He yanks it open and turns and sees whatever he’s looking for in the near dark of this storage room. I hear Julia right behind us with the others behind her.

 

“It’s in here,” Nathan says, his voice now a controlled tenor.

 

“Get the light!” I yell as I quickly move to join Nathan beside the trunk that he must think has Audrey in it.

 

Nathan fumbles with the one latch and I hurry to help him with the other just as Julia turns on the light and then we both fling the lid open and I’m stunned to see Audrey curled inside. Nathan is reaching into the trunk for her and I realize I should help.

 

“She’s alive,” he says as he starts to pull her forward and I reach behind her back to sit her up. “Come on, get her out, get her out.”

 

I’m holding Audrey’s head in my hands, looking down at her as Nathan has her hands in his, patting them to see if she’ll wake with the stimulus.

 

“Parker, Parker,” he calls, his voice a little… desperate.

 

When Audrey doesn’t stir I look up and watch Nathan’s face begin to get more worried, then he’s calling out, “Julia, some help?”

 

Julia rushes over and starts checking Audrey out as Nathan continues to slap her hands and call her name anxiously. I understand; I’m concerned about Audrey too. She’s the only cop I’ve ever liked, and she’s pretty hot too. Beside me Julia eases back and turns away, looking around for something to help.

 

“Hand me that disinfectant,” Julia says, pointing to a bottle against the opposite wall that she’s spied.

 

“Come on, come on,” Nathan continues to say softly as Julia struggles with the bottle one of the others has passed to her.

 

I turn and face her, confused on what the hell she’s going to do with a household product. She’s a doctor; I’d think she’d have some medical supplies here for God’s sake.

 

“I don’t think she needs to be disinfected,” I say lowly with probably a bit more sarcasm than necessary as continue to hold Audrey’s unmoving head in my hands.

 

“The ammonia will act as a smelling salt,” she says and I watch as she shoves some cloth covered in the liquid under Audrey’s nose.

 

“Audrey, can you hear me?” Julia asks, and I look down at Audrey to see if the stuff is working.

 

There seems to be the longest delay before finally Julia announces, “Her pulse is getting stronger. She’s gonna be okay.”

 

I look up and see Nathan staring at Julia now, taking in the news. There’s a look of relief that fills his face and he smiles, his head moving to look down on Audrey, his hands pulling hers up to him, his lips meeting their clasped hands in relief.

 

I watch it and realize suddenly that he can’t feel that… can’t feel any of the desperate touches he’s been bestowing on Audrey while she was unconscious and wasn’t aware of them, so why was he…

 

“Parker, you’re gonna be okay,” Nathan says to her, and I watch him as a thousand emotions fill his eyes and face as he speaks to her, his head moving closer to her as his hands still wring hers, “you’re gonna be okay.”

 

That’s when my mouth drops open ever so slightly as my mind finally registers what’s going on… he was scared to death of losing her. Not like me or the rest of us, but really and truly afraid.

 

And it’s because… he’s in love with her.

 

The sudden realization hits me like a 2x4. Of course… I’m an idiot. I knew he cared about her, and I’d been having fun messing with him by flirting with Audrey since he’s her work partner and all. That every time he looked at me annoyed at my attention to her was simply because he disliked me. I didn’t have a clue his feelings had gone deeper than that.

 

I’d thought things with him and Jess had been hot and heavy before she left town and that he and Audrey were just working buddies. I hadn’t realized that all this time, even when he was with Jess that he’d really fallen for Audrey and was suppressing those emotions, more than likely figuring she didn’t feel the same way or that it wasn’t ‘proper’ to have that kind of relationship with his co-worker. Hell, or knowing Nathan that he didn’t deserve her or some such noble crap.

 

Nathan, why the hell didn’t you say anything to her, I want to yell at him. Why did you go out with Jess if you were hung up on Audrey? And why did it take her almost dying for me to see it on your face when I should have realized weeks, hell months ago that every time I paid her a compliment in your presence your hackles rose more than they really should have.

 

I hear Audrey finally come to with a little groan, breaking me from my thoughts and I can hear a relieved breath escape Nathan at that one quiet sound from her. She slowly seems to wake but her head doesn’t really move… probably because I’m still keeping her head upright.

 

“Is that crying?” she asks in a slurred, sleepy manner, her eyes focused solely on Nathan. “Crying will not be tolerated.”

 

At her light joke I laugh slightly and let my head fall towards Julia’s in relief. She’s gonna be okay.

 

Which means so is Nathan.

 

We get her out of the trunk and get her upstairs, Nathan taking most of her weight. Then Julia makes sure Audrey’s settled in bed and forces her to stay put, not talk and to rest. I watch as Nathan hovers around her, within arms length of her before Julia nearly orders us all to crash for a while. I have to admit I am all with that… the adrenaline in my system is just about gone. It will be a few more hours till dawn and the ferry will come back.

 

And when I exit Audrey’s room to go to my own Nathan’s still in there. I wonder absently if he will even leave it at all before we catch the ferry.

 

In the morning we get the boat back to the mainland. Nathan’s right beside Audrey ever step of the way. I’m not surprised. He loves her and he almost lost her. Who wouldn’t want to be close to the woman they loved?

 

But I notice he’s keeping his hands to himself, very unlike how he’d been in the basement when they’d been afraid she was dead. It’s almost as if he didn’t feel like he could touch her… Or didn’t know if he could let go if he did.

 

I watch as they get off the boat and go one way while I’m taking care of Julia. After I settle her with Vince and Dave I go and see what is going on with them and find them talking about something I can’t catch before they both go quiet. I come up behind Nathan, watching Audrey and then see the stretcher with Dr. Carr on it, realizing that it’s her body that has turned them both silent. When Audrey looks up at me she does so with a sad look on her face I understand. 

 

“How’s Julia?” she asks, and Nathan stiffens a little as he realizes I’m there behind him.

 

“Not good. I think she’s still in shock,” I state seriously… it’s a horrible thing to lose your mother.

 

“I think we all are. I can’t believe Dr. Carr’s gone.”

 

As she says it I see the muscles in Nathan’s body tense and then he takes a step back, his tall frame straightening. He looks ready to bolt.

 

“See you at work,” Nathan suddenly says and hurries away from her…

 

She looks… distressed, and I want to tell her that he just needs some time, that he’s been through a hell of a thing. He shot ‘her’ and thought she was dead… twice in less than an hour. And that every emotion, every action he’d shown when he thought he’d lost her was one that screamed he loved her.

 

But he hasn’t told her, and it isn’t my place to say anything. She’s gonna need to ask Nathan, or Nathan will finally have to tell her. Losing Audrey would have gutted Nathan, there’s no doubt in my mind… and now as I watch the way Audrey is staring after him intently for long heartbeats as he moves away before she turns her head forcefully, focusing on something else I realize that this thing with them, it’s not one way like I’d thought.

 

She’s falling for Nathan as well.

 

Christ… it looks like they’re going to have a lot to talk about when they finally admit what’s going on between them.

 

Suddenly she’s moving to her car and I pause and think, wondering if I should give her some space before I decide to follow her, remembering the gift I’d brought to the party that she hadn’t gotten. At the time I thought it would get me some brownie points, maybe get her to see me as more than a criminal that occasionally did her favors. Get her to finally not be a cop that needed to save the world and have dinner with me. But now it was simply a way of providing her some truth.

 

“Hey,” I say as I catch the door of the car as she opens it to get in. “Happy birthday.”

 

She smiles but it doesn’t quite reach her eyes.

 

“You’re kidding me,” she says and it doesn’t sound like its funny to her.

 

“Just because you got body snatched doesn’t mean you don’t get a present on your birthday,” I tell her as I lean my hands and lower arms across the car door as I watch her nervously. I probably should have waited… she’s been through a hell of a time over the last 24 hours. But I need to get my secret out.

 

Maybe then when she and Nathan share theirs I won’t be in as much trouble since I shared mine first.

 

She gives a little sound like a partial laugh before she slides the ribbon off the carved wood box and opens it, seeing the silver oval locket with the square blue stone. I watch her face light up in surprise and I feel a spike of happiness that is instantly tempered with reality.

 

Not only had I kept this from her since day one of her asking about the Colorado Kid murder, I had kept other things I knew as well. And that wasn’t even taking into consideration the fact that even though I know I could probably turn on the charm and keep her ‘occupied’ with me, I’m not going to try to steal her from Nathan… even if she doesn’t know how he feels about her. Hell, I don’t think she even knows how she feels about him…

 

“Wow, this is beautiful,” she says, her reaction seemingly genuinely touched as she lifts the locket from the velvet lined box. “Thank you.”

 

“Look closer… at the engraving.”

 

She does and seems confused. I’m nervous. I’m seconds away from dropping a bombshell on her, and I don’t know how she’ll react.

 

What I do know is that no matter what happens, she’ll have Nathan around to lean on. And I’m… okay with that. They both deserve someone that cares about them in their lives.

 

God, I guess I don’t hate Nathan as much as I thought I did.

 

“L. R.?” she asks, snapping me from my thoughts.

 

“Lucy Ripley,” I explain simply and watch her eyes widen and her body language change in a second, suddenly wary.

 

“How… where did you get this?”

 

I close my eyes and steel myself for telling the truth. It’s not something I do very often so it doesn’t come naturally for me. When I open my eyes I look straight at her, I know what I’m going to say will shock her worse than the necklace.

 

“Lucy gave it to me,” I begin as the look of disbelief, of hurt and confusion on her face and in her eyes cut me to the bone, but I force myself to continue. “The boy, standing next to her in the Colorado Kid photo… that’s me.”

 

She stares at me and I can see the betrayal in her face even is she tries to smother it under something else and I feel like I’m two feet tall. I could have told her ages ago, but I hadn’t. I should have… but I hadn’t.

 

Her mouth tries to form smile but it just can’t and I can see why Nathan hasn’t said anything to her about how he feels. She’s so guarded… I guess the years alone, the group homes, always on the road with the FBI has done that to her – disconnected her from people. And now that Nathan has become her friend, probably one of very few people she ever considered that, he doesn’t want to screw it up and I don’t blame him.

 

But after this event, I don’t think that’s going to be enough for him anymore.

 

We stare at each other and the silence becomes uncomfortable. I don’t know what more to say so I ease back from the car door.

 

“Happy birthday,” I said finally before walking away, leaving her to ponder the necklace in her hand, knowing that it probably won’t be long until she’s calling Nathan, who most likely driving home in his beat up blue truck and who will stop on a dime at her call and turn back around to be there for her as she tries to make sense of all of this.

 

 -x-

 

Nathan POV

 

I rub my wrists as I look at the chair in the other room.

 

I didn’t feel her fingers.

 

How come I didn’t feel her hands touching me when she undid the rope around my hands?

 

I’m sure that things haven’t changed – she still is the only person, the only thing I can feel. So if I can’t feel her… A sudden dread spikes through my veins as a horrible thought fills my mind. If I can’t feel her, then she isn’t…

 

I do my best to reign in my runaway emotions. I can test this. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention.

 

I turn to look at Audrey again in that strappy blue dress and remember the spike of lust I’d had when she’d first walked in wearing it. Sure, the thing with Jess had hurt, but it was over. And with the fact I can feel Audrey; how I’ve always felt something for her since nearly day one but I couldn’t manage to accept it…

 

I push those thoughts aside for now. My feelings for Audrey aren’t a priority at the moment. Right now I need to find out if this is really her, or if she is…

 

“Can I talk to you for a second?” I say quietly as I shift closer to her.

 

“Yeah,” she says, looking at me intently as we move away from everyone, and I wonder if my face is showing the trepidation I feel, but she doesn’t seem to notice and continues on, “Okay, listen, this is gonna get worse before it gets better so we need to find some way to call for help.”

 

I stare at her, my heart just not wanting to admit what my head is reluctantly sure of. There’s one way to test this, I tell myself as I steel my emotions before I surge ahead with my plan, my hands nearly shaking in nervousness and fear.

 

“You trust me?”

 

“Yeah, of course I do,” she says, looking at me curiously.

 

I take her hand and turn it over in mine, palming the back of it in mine. Nothing. No tingle, no temperature, no sensation, no nothing at all.

 

“Are you okay?” she asks and as she talks, I continue to feel nothing. I place my other hand on top, sandwiching her hand between mine and there’s still nothing. I curl it between both my hands, holding it, not wanting to believe what I’m not feeling… not feeling Audrey when if she was real, I would.

 

“No, I’m not,” I tell her and desperately hoping I’ve made a mistake I take one final long shot at feeling her and I reach up to cup both hands around her face as I pull her to me and kiss her, full on the lips.

 

Still nothing.

 

She’s not Audrey. That means my Audrey is…

 

I feel rage and anguish and a hundred different emotions course through me at the knowledge that Audrey’s dead. And in my soul I feel myself go cold. I let her… it go and back away. It’s indignant, looking at me in confusion.

 

“What the hell are you doing?”

 

I methodically pull the gun the chief had brought and lift it, lining the sight over its heart. I watch it raise its hands and beg me, saying please in Audrey’s voice as I pull the trigger. It flies backwards, blood spurting from the wound and I can’t muster any remorse or sympathy.

 

I hear Duke call my name from far away, but I’m still too angry, too much in pain to care.

 

It’s gasping, and I move to kneel next to it. I note the wound isn’t bleeding like it should, a sure sign that this thing isn’t Audrey.

 

“You killed my friend,” I say, my body leaning over it, deeper, more emotional words about what else Audrey is to me unable to surface.

 

“How… how did you know it was me?” it asks in a halting voice, a mockery of Audrey’s.

 

“Audrey, I can feel her touch. I can’t feel yours,” I tell it quietly, leaning in so only it can hear my confession.

 

“What did you do?” Vince asks, confused… all of them are.

 

I need to tell them the awful truth… that the thing here, masquerading as Audrey is the chameleon. Which means Audrey is…

 

“She’s the chameleon,” I say very simply, my eyes never leaving Audrey’s… the thing’s body.

 

Audrey’s face distorts, and I finally am 100% certain that the chameleon is there, wearing her form.

 

“I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to hurt anyone,” it says as its face keeps shifting even as it keeps talking, “The doctor… she saw who I was. And Audrey… I was weakening… and I thought she could help me… like Lucy…”

 

“If you thought she could help then why did you kill her?” I ask, my eyes staring hard as my emotions threaten to choke me.

 

“She’s different. She… she… she’s alive.”

 

Suddenly my mind is racing and so is my heart. Oh God, could it be true…

 

“She’s alive?” I ask in a halted, stunned voice.

 

The chameleon continues to look at me with Audrey’s eyes and I’m suddenly out of control.

 

“Where is she? Where is she?” I yell, shaking it by the shoulders.

 

Before it dies it tells me and I’m running as fast as I can, calling out her name, unwilling to believe that she’s really alive until my eyes can see her, until I can feel her skin and hear her voice.

 

I slam the door open to the place it directed me to and look through the darkness of the dingy storage room. There’s a trunk… she’s supposed to be in there. God, I pray she’s in there and alive. I can’t imagine if she’s…

 

“Its in here,” I say, my voice finally slightly more under control as I start to believe that the chameleon was telling me the truth… the trunk is where it said it was which means it wasn’t lying when it told me that, so if it said that Audrey was still alive…

 

My emotions are barely in check as I continue forward.

 

“Get the light!” yells Duke from behind me as I hurry to the trunk.

 

Duke’s a step or two behind me and before I know it I’m sliding to my knees next to the trunk and my hands are fumbling with the latch on one end while Duke rushes to help open the other as Julia turns on the light.

 

We both fling the lid open and I catch my breath as I see I see golden hair and pale skin. Audrey’s there, just like the chameleon said. Her body is curled up into the bottom of the trunk and I lunge for her, desperate to be sure… to know she’s still alive. I reach for her, my fingers grazing against her neck and arm and I get two jolts in one; the second my hands touch her I can feel smooth, soft, cool skin beneath mine and a pulse.

 

Oh my God… it’s Audrey. I can feel her, it’s really her.

 

“She’s alive,” I say quickly, happiness a pale word for the emotions flooding me as I pull her forward and Duke reaches behind her back to sit her up. “Come on, get her out, get her out.”

 

But she’s not conscious.

 

Duke helps keep her body propped up, his hands holding her head and shoulders up against the side of the trunk while I try to get her to wake up.

 

“Parker, Parker,” I say, new fear surging through me. I slap her hands in mine, holding them as part of me continues to revel in the feel of her skin, her cool flesh against mine as I realize there are other people here that can assist, “Julia, some help?”

 

I know Julia’s there, checking on Audrey but I can’t bear to let my eyes drift from Audrey as I whisper her name, begging her to come on and wake up under my breath, still slapping her hands with mine, needing the connection, my worry starting to ratchet higher the longer it takes her to wake up.

 

“Hand me that disinfectant,” I dimly hear Julia say to someone.

 

I don’t notice anything around me; my eyes are fixed on Audrey’s face. I need her to wake up. I can’t let her go… she can’t die on me. I can’t lose her now that I know…

 

“Come on, come on,” I say quietly, my hands still holding Audrey’s tightly as I barely register the conversation between Duke and Julia.

 

They’re doing something but I can’t care to tell. I’m too busy rocking against the trunk, my arms braced on the edge as I grip Audrey’s hands tightly in mine and my head tucks down, my eyes shut, desperate for a miracle.

 

“Audrey, can you hear me?” Julia asks, and I raise my head to look at Audrey’s face.

 

I stare at her, waiting for some kind of sign before Julia finally announces, “her pulse is getting stronger. She’s gonna be okay.”

 

I can’t help the smile that I know must show on my face. She’s going to be okay… My head draws closer to her as I pull her hands up to my face, my lips just brushing where our hands are tangled together, and little sparks of feeling bloom where my lips contact her skin.

 

“Parker, you’re gonna be okay,” I say softly, “you’re gonna be okay.”

 

Suddenly I hear a quiet groan and then Audrey is moving, stirring before me. Her eyes start to open and they fall on me and I can’t think of a lovelier sight than her blue eyes finding and focusing on me.

 

“Is that crying?” she questions in a slurred, sleepy manner as she looks at me; I didn’t realize I was crying. Then before it can get uncomfortable she continues in trademark Audrey humor, “crying will not be tolerated.”

 

My head sinks to our joined hands, the sound of Audrey’s voice finally relieving me of my fears. She’s okay, she’s safe and still with me. I dodged a bullet today and I can’t help but be grateful for that.

 

We slowly get Audrey out of the trunk and upstairs where Julia forces Audrey to rest until we can get ashore in the morning. I find myself by her side as much as I can be without being obvious, of course I don’t know how successful I am considering I stay with her even after everyone has cleared out to sleep, knowing that I’m not going to be able to do that any time soon.

 

I watch her as she sleeps my thoughts on how my emotions had to been visible for anyone to see if they’d really looked when I thought she was dead… both times. But she didn’t see or hear any of that, had no idea what I’d done or said. So for right now, until I can get a handle on my feelings for her, the fact that I can feel her and only her, I’m gonna have to keep my hands to myself, keep my feelings to myself.

 

Neither of which, after tonight is going to be easy.

 

Morning finally arrives and we all take the boat back from the island. During the ride I keep close by her; close enough to touch but I don’t. I just need the reassurance, the nearness to her to keep me sane for now.

 

 “I don’t think he was a monster at all,” she says as we walk off the pier past a lone patrol car, its lights flashing. “He came to me and he asked me for help and I told him I didn’t know how to help him. You know, he looked… he looked really sad. That’s the last thing I remember before you know, he became… me.”

 

I’m right beside her. My hand itches to take hers in mine… there’s no one watching us, no one to see that. But I resist. I can’t do this… yet.

 

“So, how me was he?” she asks, her voice genuinely curious, and I think that of all the weird cases that she likes and has investigated this was the one she was most intimately involved with, and it had played out pretty much without her.

 

“Pretty you,” I reply, a sudden memory of kissing her… the Audrey that wasn’t my Audrey filling my head, making me want to know what kissing her would really be like. I quickly stomp on those thoughts and give a little laugh that really isn’t very humorous sounding to my own ears. “Pretty much exactly you.”

 

“Yeah? And when did you realize he wasn’t me?”

 

“It was… uh… I just know you…” I stutter out, not very convincingly.

 

I can’t tell her the real reason… not yet… not now…

 

“You know me that well?” she asks and I think back to what I do know about her.

 

We’ve shared a lot already… I do know a lot about her, but even more than that, I trust her and I’m pretty sure she trusts me. And those things seem to have sunk into my heart deeply… more deeply than I’d realized, allowing this… love I feel for her to grow without my even realizing it.

 

“No… not that well. What’s your middle name?” I say, suddenly wondering just how much the chameleon was her.

 

“My middle name? Really? It’s Prudence… self inflicted at the confirmation,” she says with a slight blush as she looks away before raising her eyes to meet mine defiantly. “And yours?”

 

I can’t help but smile and look down before I reply.

 

“Thaddeus.”

 

“Thaddeus? Thaddeus.”

 

“Inflicted by the chief,” I point out, as if to remind her that not everyone chooses for themselves.

 

“He’s a bad, bad man,” she says with a smile and I can’t help but fall a little more in love with her at her continued support of me versus my father as I lightly agree with her.

 

Suddenly I see the body of Eleanor pass us being pushed by the coroner guys to Audrey’s left and the humor rushes out of my body.

 

“How’s Julia?” Audrey asks, and I realize that Duke has arrived and is standing slightly behind me.

 

“Not good. I think she’s still in shock.”

 

“I think we all are. I can’t believe Dr. Carr’s gone.”

 

At Audrey’s words I find myself thinking of when I thought it was her that was dead and how everyone watched me as I nearly fell apart. If I stay here and keep talking Duke might say something, I know it… he’d like that… a pain in my ass. If I get out of here now, maybe I can stall this a bit longer… until I know how to tell her everything.

 

“See you at work,” I say quickly as I move back and swiftly turn to get away.

 

If I stay there any longer I’m gonna do something that I can’t explain to her…

 

Before I know it the chief is there walking beside me. I don’t want to do this with him now. My emotional state is already a mess and dealing with him is just going to make it worse.

 

“You did really good in there,” he says lowly and I look at him uncomprehendingly.

 

“What?”

 

“I’m proud of you. The way when it all hit the fan you didn’t flinch. You had to shoot your own partner. You know part of me thinks you kinda grew up a little bit today.”

 

He reaches for a cigarette and shoves it in his mouth as my head tries to wrap around what he’s just said. He’s proud I shot the thing that was wearing Audrey’s face? That by doing that I’ve ‘grown up’?

 

After everything that happened in there he’s totally missed the fact I did what I did because I was angry and in pain, not because I was somehow in control. He mistook that for cold hearted murder.

 

“You don’t know me at all, do you?”

 

“Just trying to give you a complement son,” he says and my hackles rise at the term he uses so little with me. “Take a complement.”

 

“You think that I should grow up? Be like you?” I tell him as he looks down to light that damn cigarette. “I’m not like you. I don’t want to be like you.”

 

I take the cigarette from his lips and stalk away, tossing it aside as I let my anger at his words drive me forward so I don’t have to think about how maybe, just maybe, if Audrey had been dead in that trunk last night I could have shut down and ended up like him one day.

 

But she isn’t… and as long as she’s here, I never will.

 

-x-

 

Audrey POV

 

Waking up groggy in a confined space is not fun, no matter what Dracula and any other vampire tells you. Of course, having been dumped here by someone who stole your identity isn’t much more fun.

 

I open my eyes and find Nathan in front of me and see this stunningly large grin on his face as he looks at me, as well as watery eyes. His hands are holding mine so tightly, it’s like he’s been afraid to let go.

 

“Are you crying? Crying will not be tolerated.”  

 

Suddenly I feel Nathan’s head on top of his and my hands and I hear him make some kind of noise that sounds… relieved? I hear Duke and Julia and the others behind me but I can’t help but focus on Nathan. He seems so… emotional.

 

I try to ponder that, but my head is still fuzzy. The next thing I know I’m being lifted up and out of the thing… a trunk I guess… and then they’re helping me upstairs to my room. Nathan’s hands are on me the whole way and I find myself comforted by that. I can’t remember the last time I trusted someone like I do him.

 

He’s a good man, and I’m lucky to have him in my life. He gets me, which is more than I can say for… well, almost everyone I’ve known.

 

Before I know it I’m in bed being fussed over by Julia, Nathan still not moving from my side. She tells me I need rest and since its still hours before the boat will be back to get us off the island we should sleep. I’m still not quite recovered from whatever the man who stole my identity did to me, so I don’t argue like I would normally. Everyone briefly checks on me and heads to their own rooms, Nathan being the exception. He’s still there at my bedside when I drift off to sleep. I know I’m safe since he’s there.

 

What probably is a few hours later I wake and we all slowly make our way to the boat, Nathan once again not more than a foot from me. I’m reassured by that… he’s there for me, taking care of me. I’m starting to wonder what I did before him. Finally the boat docks in Haven and I’m getting off ever so carefully, Nathan watching me like a hawk.

 

I don’t have a clue what this whole thing was like for him… to spend hours with me but not know it was me? To be afraid of what it was going to do to them? I just…

 

“I don’t think he was a monster at all,” I tell Nathan as we walk off the pier past the patrol car and onto the cement pavement leading to the parked cars and the town itself. “He came to me and he asked me for help and I told him I didn’t know how to help him. He looked, he looked really sad. That’s the last thing I remember before he became… me.”

 

He’s standing so close to me, and my lungs feel tight in my chest as I remember the look on his face and how unyielding his hands had held mine when I was coming to.

 

I wonder if the reason he’s so clingy is because of the chameleon. Did something happen with him and me… it? Something that maybe… changed things between us?

 

“So, how me was he?” I ask even though I’m not sure I want to know the answer.

 

“Pretty you,” Nathan says, his smile lighting up his face and a slight laugh breaks from his throat. It’s a sort of strangled one though and it worries me again. “Pretty much exactly you.”

 

“Yeah? And when did you realize he wasn’t me?” I ask, curious exactly what had happened that he knew that the ‘perfect copy’ of me wasn’t me; if something had happened with the fake Audrey that had tipped him off.

 

“It was… uh… I just know you…” he mumbles, as if that’s not what he really wants to say.

 

“You know me that well?”

 

“No… not that well. What’s your middle name?” he asks, and I start.

 

“My middle name? Really? It’s Prudence… self inflicted at the confirmation,” I say self-consciously. “And yours?”

 

He smiles suddenly and looks down.

 

“Thaddeus,” he finally replies with a sheepish grin.

 

“Thaddeus? Thaddeus,” I say, grasping the full name of the man before me in my head.

 

Nathan Thaddeus Wuornos. A fine, strong name for a fine, strong man.

 

As I look at him I realize that I don’t know what I would do without him anymore. It makes me wish I could…

 

“Inflicted by the chief,” he notes suddenly with what sounds like a self depreciating laugh and I inwardly sigh.

 

“He’s a bad, bad man.”

 

I can’t help but smile at the thought of little Nathan Thaddeus growing up with his gruff police officer father before I see the body of Eleanor pass us. I look up to regard Nathan and see Duke behind him; his eyes watching the stretcher pass us as well.

 

“How’s Julia?” I ask him as all three of us focus on the woman who lost her life to this craziness.

 

“Not good. I think she’s still in shock.”

 

“I think we all are. I can’t believe Dr. Carr’s gone,” I say solemnly.

 

There’s a sudden shift in Nathan; I don’t know why but he shifts away from me, standing straighter and I feel somehow… more alone after he does.

 

“See you at work,” he says before he moves swiftly away and begins to stride towards the vehicles, the chief catching up with him.

 

I nod at him as I’m left standing here with Duke wondering what the hell just happened. I feel suddenly at a loss with him leaving, like a huge vacuum has opened up in my soul and I realize that I don’t want him to go. I… like having him with me, being around me and I stop myself before I go down a road I can’t go.

 

He’s still mourning the thing with Jess. No matter what I might… feel, I don’t have the right…

 

I turn my head, ripping my thoughts from Nathan to watch Dr. Carr’s body once more. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for Nathan if besides Eleanor that they’d been rolling my body out to the wagon as well.

 

I swallow hard and quickly push the thought away.

 

I need to put some space between me and all this, so I hurriedly move to my car. When I get the driver’s side door open I note that Duke has followed me.

 

“Hey,” he says as he catches the door in his hands. “Happy birthday.”

 

I give him a slight smile but I’m not really feeling it.

 

“You’re kidding me,” I say, surprised at his words considering I could have died today and Eleanor did. I think this is one birthday I’d happily forget.

 

“Just because you got body snatched doesn’t mean you don’t get a present on your birthday.”

 

I smother a shaky laugh as I take the little box with the red ribbon from his hands. I look at it curiously as I slide the ribbon off the carved wood box and open it, finding a silver oval locket with a square blue stone embedded in it within the confines of the velvet lining. I’m shocked. This is such a… personal kind of gift and I certainly don’t have that kind of relationship with Duke.

 

Maybe Nathan, but…

 

Still, it’s stunning and I’m taken aback at the thoughtfulness of the present in my hand.

 

“Wow, this is beautiful,” I tell him as I lift the locket from the box. “Thank you.”

 

“Look closer… at the engraving.”

 

I turn it over and I see two letters in cursive across the back of the locket. He’s giving me someone else’s jewelry? Is this an antique, maybe something personal for him? I don’t understand.

 

“L. R.?”

 

“Lucy Ripley,” he says and I instantly tense, the shock at hearing that name coming from him filling me instantly and I think I visibly shrink back from him.

 

“How… where did you get this?”

 

I watch as he closes his eyes and I get the feeling that whatever he’s going to say isn’t going to be something I like. But then, how often is it?

 

“Lucy gave it to me,” he says after he opens his eyes and looks at me, and I know my feelings must show as his face suddenly clouds over. “The boy, standing next to her in the Colorado Kid photo… that’s me.”

 

He… I can’t form words at the moment. He knew, it was him and he knew I was looking for answers about this woman, this person who could be my mother. And he never said anything. He’d had this dam necklace all this time and never said anything.

 

I’m angry now and feel… deceived. Everyone in this place lies to me.

 

Everyone… except Nathan.

 

I continue to stare at Duke, my emotions all over the place as I think about him, this town, Lucy Ripley, the troubles… and Nathan. I guess Duke recognizes that I don’t… can’t say anything else and that I’m confused and hurt and he begins to ease back from the car door, putting space between us.

 

“Happy birthday,” he finally says again before he moves to go, leaving me staring at the necklace in my hand.

 

I look at it again; my chest feeling like it will burst with more emotions than I can manage. I need someone to talk to, to show this necklace to that will understand me and won’t play games with me. Someone that I can trust.

 

My hand moves to my phone and I start to call Nathan.

 

- end -

 

Thanks for reading – All thoughts and reviews are kindly appreciated. Ms. J.