Hayley leaves Janus for Ireland, leaving Tally & Aidan to console him

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  • Hayley has been unsettled all day since Janus left in answer to Diamond's summons.

<Janus> (Where is she?) <Janus> (n/m, I'll ask Tara ^-^)

  • Hayley is in the kitchen at the moment, trying to help Tara prepare supper.

<Tara_> Good heavens, Hayley. It can't be near so bad as you're thinking. <Tara_> You've been at loose ends all day and you're going to drive me to distraction!

  • Janus trudges in the front door. He closes it behind him, then leans up against it, exhausted.

<Hayley> Shut up, Tara. You haven't got a clue.

  • Hayley says irritably.
  • Tara_ is not too pleased by that.

<Tara_> Hayley! I deserve a bit more respect than that.

  • Hayley cuts herself with a paring knife.

<Hayley> Ow!

  • Janus hears the bickering voices in the kitchen.

<Janus> ...

  • Hayley bends down over her hand cradling her cut finger.

<Hayley> Why do I even try? <Janus> . o O (What now?)

  • Hayley says in a tearful tone.

<Tara_> *sigh* <Tara_> Let me see... it's just a little cut. <Tara_> Here, squeeze this cloth over it. <Tara_> The Countess is not as bad as you make her out to be, Hayley... I'm sure everything will be fine. <Hayley> I /broke an oath/ to her, Tara.

  • Hayley sounds strained and emotionally exhausted.

<Janus> . o O (I should see what the problem is..)

  • Janus tiredly pushes himself off the door.

<Tara_> Be that as it may...

  • Tara_ trails off.
  • Janus walks slowly down the hallway, and stands in the kitchen doorway.
  • Tara_ is hunched over Hayley's hand, making sure the cut is clean.
  • Janus leans against the doorframe and smiles, almost convincingly.
  • Hayley looks up as she feels the motion of the air moved by Janus.

<Janus> Everything alright, ladies?

  • Hayley looks tired and strained, and like she's about to hear her death sentence.
  • Janus looks equally exhausted and haggard (for a sidhe).
  • Hayley 's eyes reflect a deep despair, made worse by the state Janus is in.
  • Tara_ straightens up when she notices Hayley look towards the door.
  • Janus 's eyes flick over to Tara.

<Tara_> Oh- <Janus> Tara?

  • Tara_ sees Janus, and looks concerned.

<Tara_> Yes, my Lord? <Janus> Can you... spare Hayley for a few minutes? <Tara_> Well, I suppose. She's just cut her hand though and she better not bleed all over my nice clean floors! <Janus> She has? <Janus> What happened?

  • Tara_ says sternly, trying to return some normalcy to the household.

<Hayley> I didn't do it on purpose.

  • Janus moves closer to the pair.
  • Hayley says defensively.

<Hayley> I was peeling potatoes. <Janus> Is it deep?

  • Hayley shakes her head at the same time as Tara.
  • Janus asks with concern.

<Janus> Oh, well, I'll make sure she doesn't bleed on anything important...

  • Janus says distractedly.

<Tara_> I'll hold you to that, Baron!

  • Tara_ says with forced cheer.

<Tara_> Well, get going, girl.

  • Hayley stands up slowly and moves towards Janus like a convict on her way to the gallows.
  • Hayley watches Janus' face closely as she approaches, trying to get a hint of what's to come.
  • Janus 's face is expressionless, but his eyes are heavy with sadness...
  • Janus will usher Hayley to the study, silent along the way (unless she says something)>
  • Hayley 's shoulders slump and she casts her eyes downwards as she makes her way to the study.
  • Hayley remains silent. What could she say at a time like this?
  • Janus unlocks the door and waits for Hayley to step inside.
  • Hayley does so, and stands just to the side of the door so that Janus can step inside.
  • Hayley swallows and flicks her eyes over to Janus.
  • Janus enters, and closes the door behind him with a quiet sigh.

<Janus> Hayley... Come and sit with me.

  • Hayley swallows again and comes over to Janus, you can tell she's trying to hold back tears, and is prepared for the worst.
  • Janus takes her by the hand and leads her over to the divan.
  • Janus sits down.
  • Hayley follows him and sits at one end of the divan, pulling her legs up to her chest, effectively raising a defensive 'wall'.
  • Janus watches her for a few seconds as she arranges herself.
  • Hayley folds her arms around her knees and lays her head in the dip at the peak of her knees, not exactly looking at Janus.

<Janus> ...Why do you look so pale? <Hayley> Because. <Hayley> I can tell it's bad. <Hayley> And I am afraid. <Janus> Don't be. <Janus> You don't have to be afraid. <Janus> Come over here, next to me.

  • Janus half turns towards her, and holds out a hand to her.
  • Hayley doesn't move towards him right away.

<Janus> ... <Janus> . o O (What's wrong?)

  • Hayley thinks about it then hopelessly moves closer to him, laying her head on his upper arm.
  • Janus will curl his arm around her shoulder, and draw her closer.
  • Hayley waits for him to speak, swallowing back frightened tears again.
  • Janus sighs heavily.
  • Hayley draws her knees up to her chest again and hugs them to her defensively.

<Hayley> Just say it, would you? <Hayley> Don't drag it out. <Janus> Drag what out? <Hayley> The news. <Janus> I just want to sit here with you, for a while.

  • Hayley did not expect this...

<Janus> Please? <Hayley> All right...

  • Hayley says, bewildered and in despair.

<Janus> Don't worry. Nothing is going to happen to us.

  • Hayley nods, not really believing him.
  • Janus leans his head against hers, and turns his face into her soft, curly hair.
  • Hayley takes a deep breath, but remains silently close to him.

<Janus> <m> Thank the gods for you, Hayley... <Janus> . o O (You're all I have...)

  • Hayley tenses a bit (oh no! too much pressure, too much pressure! Can't - deal - with - the - pressure.)

<Janus> What's wrong?

  • Janus asks, feeling her muscles tighten.

<Hayley> Nothing... I'm just. I don't know. <Hayley> I'm sorry. <Hayley> . o O (There's going to be another one, and it will break his heart.) <Janus> ...

  • Hayley forces herself to relax.

<Hayley> . o O (I'm cruel, just being here. Knowing what will happen.)

  • Janus hugs her close to him, trying to draw some comfort.

<Janus> Hmmmmm...

  • Hayley tries to give it, but it would be small comfort, since she is feeling deeply, terribly, guilty.

<Hayley> (not to mention she's wondering what the heck happened...) <Janus> ... <Janus> . o O (Something *is* wrong...)

  • Janus can sense her absence.

<Hayley> (not exactly an absence, but a presence far, far too heavy to bear, maybe...)

  • Hayley 's despair and guilt is almost tangible.

<Janus> ('absence' in the 19th C sense of retreating into oneself) <Janus> Hayley, what is it?

  • Janus asks again, trying to hide the worry from his voice.

<Hayley> Why won't you tell me what happened? <Hayley> I know it's something bad. <Janus> There's... nothing to tell...

  • Janus sighs.

<Janus> It was unpleasant. <Hayley> Please tell me...

  • Janus tries to keep his voice level as he recalls certain things his mother said to him.

<Janus> I do not wish to burden you.. <Janus> It's nothing you have to worry about. <Hayley> I already am burdened. And the worry is etched into your features, so how can you ask me to pretend there's nothing wrong? <Hayley> It just doesn't work that way. <Janus> She said ...

  • Hayley 's voice is faint and wavering.

<Janus> She said things about my father... <Janus> I never knew my father, you know...

  • Hayley quickly puts a hand around Janus' torso and tightens her grip as soon as he mentions his father.
  • Janus looks down into his lap to hide the tears that are welling up.

<Hayley> I know. <Janus> . o O (I am not going to cry in front of Hayley. I am not...) <Hayley> . o O (Oh god, how can I comfort him? It should be easy but how can I comfort him when I feel no comfort myself?) <Hayley> Janus... <Janus> . o O (I ought to appear... strong...)

  • Hayley says in a quavering voice; she's noticed the tears.
  • Janus sniffs.
  • Hayley seems to be at a loss for what to do, and feels helpless at her lack of knowledge.

<Hayley> . o O (It was easy for Debbie... but she was so much stronger.) <Hayley> . o O (I'm broken myself, how can /I/ fix anything?)

  • Janus screws his eyes shut, grimacing as Diamond's words echo in his ears.
  • Hayley twists in Janus' arms, lifting hers up to cradle his head.

<Hayley> Janus, please don't cry! I don't know what to do!

  • Hayley says in a slightly panicky voice.

<Janus> I'm sorry.

  • Hayley 's own eyes are welling with tears.
  • Janus says miserably.
  • Hayley is shocked that she said that out loud.

<Janus> See, I didn't want to... <Hayley> <w> I'm sorry- I'm so sorry. Debbie would know what to do...

  • Janus sniffs again, and wipes his eyes.

<Janus> Just... stay with me.

  • Hayley kneels on the couch and presses his head to her chest, tucking her own head down so she can lay a cheek on his head.

<Hayley> <w> I'm here... <Hayley> . o O (Oh god, why am I here? This wouldn't have happened if I wasn't here.)

  • Janus closes his eyes.

<Hayley> . o O (I can't do anything properly.)

  • Janus wraps his arms around her small waist, sighing again.
  • Hayley trembles with the strain of the emotions battling within her.

<Janus> <m> I love you, Hayley.

  • Hayley can't hold the tears back any longer; her heart seems to be in her throat.

<Hayley> Oh Janus, why?

  • Janus looks up, confused, eyes puffy.

<Hayley> <sobbing> All I do is make you unhappy. <Janus> What? <Janus> Oh, Hayley.

  • Janus pulls her down to his chest.

<Janus> Don't say such things.. <Janus> They aren't true.

  • Hayley tries to pull away from him.

<Hayley> <sobbing> Yes, they are! <Hayley> <sobbing> This wouldn't have happened if I hadn't come home with you! <Janus> You're the only one who *can* make me ... happy. <Hayley> . o O (Oh god, I should never have come...)

  • Janus is stricken by her anguish, grieved...

<Janus> I don't care that they say!

  • Janus argues.
  • Hayley looks into his eyes through the tears running down her cheeks.

<Hayley> <sobbing> I care what my heart says, though... <Janus> What does... it say?

  • Janus asks, his own voice trembling.

<Hayley> <sobbing> It says that if I really loved you, I would set you free. <Hayley> <sobbing> and I do- <Janus> No!

  • Janus says desperately.

<Janus> Don't say that!

  • Hayley dashes the tears from her eyes.

<Janus> I promised I would never leave you; don't leave me...

  • Janus pleads.

<Hayley> I do really love you, Janus...

  • Janus takes her by the shoulders.

<Janus> Then stay... <Hayley> But this is wrong! I know I'll only hurt you again. <Janus> No! <Hayley> I can't stay! <Janus> If you leave... I can't. <Janus> ...

  • Janus can't stop the tears from flowing, now...

<Janus> I need you now, more than ever! <Janus> You can't leave me. You can't!

  • Hayley tries to pull away from his grip on her shoulders. She looks terrified, anguished, and full of grief.

<Janus> I've given up everything...

  • Hayley shakes her head in horror.

<Hayley> . o O (This is all wrong, so very, very wrong.) <Janus> I've waited a hundred years... <Janus> I've darkened my very soul, just to be with you!

  • Janus sobs.

<Hayley> Oh god. Ohgodohgodohgod. <Hayley> I did this to you. I destroy everything I love.

  • Hayley backs away a step.

<Janus> Stop saying these things! <Janus> Stop! <Janus> If you go... I will truly be destroyed!

  • Hayley looks lost to terror and hatred for herself.
  • Janus has by now risen from his seat, obviously
  • Hayley backs away another step, towards the door, watching Janus, stricken.

<Janus> No, no, no...

  • Janus moves towards her.

<Janus> I'll give you anything. <Janus> I can, you know. <Janus> I can make you immortal...

  • Janus says, sounding a bit mad.

<Janus> I can teach you all of my magic!

  • Hayley becomes even more frightened, if that's possible.

<Janus> Or... other things... <Hayley> L-listen to you, Janus... I did that...

  • Janus tries to kiss her...
  • Hayley throws her arms up to block him.

<Hayley> I have to go Janus... I have to go. For you.

  • Hayley turns and runs out of the library.

<Janus> WHY is none of this good enough?

  • Janus chases after her, screaming.

<Janus> Not for her, not for you! <Janus> What's wrong with me? <Janus> What have I ever done but love you? <Janus> Why must you leave me? <Janus> Why must you leave me again??

  • Janus yells, struggling through abject sobs.
  • Hayley glances back over her shoulder, pure terror written in her features.

<Hayley> It's all good, you're good, you're good. I'm not. <Janus> (The air around the manor darkens to reflect the mood of its master....)

  • Hayley says sadly, and disappears in a whirlwind of brittle, dead leaves.
  • Janus screams something unintelligible and falls to his knees.

<Tara_> (not her usual brightly coloured autumn ones) <Janus> ALL OF FATE IS A LIE!!!

  • Janus crumples to the ground, wracked with grief.
  • Tara_ comes running up to Janus and crouches next to him.
  • Tara_ picks him up and hugs him tightly.

<Tara_> Oh, my lord, oh Dana, what do I do?

  • Janus is completely limp, his body convulsed by sobs...
  • Tara_ cradles his head to her ample bosom and strokes his hair soothingly.
  • Janus cries into her chest, probably until he passes out from hyperventilating or something.

<Tara_> Oh Dana, oh Dana...

  • Tara_ struggles to think of what she should do.
  • Tara_ kens him. Still all changeling-y?

<Janus> (yeah...) <Tara_> (Ok, not going banal... but she pumps a bit of Glamour into him to be safe.) <Tara_> His mother...? Windrider? <Tara_> Who will know what to do? <Tara_> . o O (I don't know if I can carry him to his bed, but I must try.) <Janus> (Aidan...?)

  • Tara_ will try to move him to his bed.

<Tara_> (Maybe...  ;^) ) <Janus> (The Good Son.) <Tara_> He just came from his mother's, and it was a bad scene there... great thinking, Tara.

  • Tara_ says sarcastically.
  • Tara_ , through an effort of will (and adrenaline) manages to get Janus up to his bed and tucks him in after loosening his clothes, and the like.
  • Tara_ checks to see if he's conscious or not.

<Janus> (up the stairs... impressive :D) <Janus> (not) <Tara_> (she can do it twice as fast 'cause no one's watching.  ;^) ) <Janus> (wouldn't Rachel be vindicated if she could see this scene) <Janus> (lol) <Tara_> (and Diamond.) <Tara_> (is he unconscious? Tara's wondering if she should try to get him to sip some water or something) <Janus> (Well, he's not awake) <Tara_> (ok.)

  • Tara_ gnaws her fist.

<Tara_> The children? <Tara_> Oh, Dana, please don't let him die.

  • Tara_ bustles out of the room and calls Aidan first, knowing that Aidan is the only one Janus feels comfortable with.
  • Aidan Flicker Flashes home as soon as he hears the news.
  • Aidan rushes to Janus' bedside, followed closely by Tara.

<Aidan> Dad? <Janus> (how much time has passed?) <Aidan> (oh, let's say half an hour... his Flicker Flash was slow, and Tara was not exactly coherent, so it took Aidan a while to figure out what she was trying to say)

  • Janus looks asleep.
  • Aidan checks Janus' pulse, etc before assuming that he /is/ just asleep.

<Aidan> (is Janus just sleeping?) <Janus> (yes... albeit fitfully. He looks disturbed. Duh)

  • Aidan pulls up a seat next to Janus' bed and stands vigil. He takes Janus' hand and holds it in his.

<Aidan> I'll watch him, Tara. <Aidan> Please leave us be. <Tara_> All right... <Tara_> I'll- put some supper on!

  • Tara_ tries to act as if everything were normal.
  • Tara_ leaves.

<Aidan> Oh, Dad. Be strong.

  • Aidan murmurs.

<Janus> (I am the opposite of strong :() <Aidan> . o O (Poor Dad. I can't believe mother would do this twice to him. I don't understand. But I'm here, Dad.) <Janus> (Tally? oh no! :o)

  • Tally darts into the room and jumps up onto Janus' bed in fox form. He nuzzles Janus' cheek and licks him a couple times, then curls up at the foot of the bed.

<Aidan> Tally... is this smart? <Tally> I love him too, idiot.

  • Tally says without a trace of cockney accent.
  • Tally lays his head on Janus' leg, small vulpine face watching Janus' face closely.

<Aidan> Why did mother do this?

  • Tally doesn't answer, eyes sad.

<Aidan> Well... if Dad's upset by you being here, maybe you can go find Hayley and figure out what the hell she's doing. <Tally> Maybe.

  • Aidan lapses into silence.
  • Tally does too, waiting for Janus to wake.
  • Janus shifts a bit...
  • Aidan squeezes Janus' hand.

<Aidan> I'm here Dad. <Janus> Aidan? <Aidan> Yes.

  • Janus says hoarsely, not opening his eyes.

<Janus> Have rumours of my disgrace reached you already?

  • Tally decides not to make his presence known at this moment.

<Aidan> Disgrace? <Aidan> What are you talking about? <Aidan> Tara called because she was worried sick over you. <Janus> ...

  • Janus turns his face towards Aidan, but keeps his eyes closed.
  • Aidan comes over to sit on the edge of Janus' bed.

<Janus> <w> I did not wish to upset Tara... <Aidan> From what I hear, it's not you that did the upsetting. <Janus> ... <Aidan> I understand Hayley had- returned. And then left again.

  • Aidan sighs.

<Aidan> I'm sorry Dad. <Janus> <w>Hayley...

  • Tally watches the proceedings with sad yellow eyes.
  • Aidan nods, though Janus can't see.

<Aidan> You probably don't want to talk about it right now. But I'm here, for when you do. <Janus> <w> I think I may die...

  • Tally yelps suddenly.

<Tally> No, Dad! Don't say that!

  • Tally says in good high-class English.
  • Aidan glares at Tally.

<Janus> Taliesin...

  • Aidan reaches over to squeeze Janus' shoulder.

<Aidan> He was worried about you too. <Aidan> I hope- hope you don't mind.

  • Tally comes up to Janus face and nuzzles it affectionately but sadly.

<Janus> <w> No...

  • Tally whimpers and tries to curl up into Janus.

<Tally> Please don't go away...

  • Tally pleads.

<Janus> <m> My life has been stolen. <Aidan> Don't talk like that, please, Dad!

  • Aidan pleads as well.

<Aidan> We love you. So does Rachel. <Janus> Rachel... <Janus> Don't tell Rachel. <Aidan> Well... we won't, if you don't want us to... <Janus> <m> ... would complete my shame... <Aidan> I don't understand...

  • Aidan sighs.

<Aidan> What happened, exactly? <Janus> ...

  • Tally licks Janus' face.
  • Janus thinks back through all the events of the day, his face taut with emotion.

<Janus> <m> oh where to begin...

  • Janus lifts a hand to cover his face.

<Tally> Do you want something to drink?

  • Tally offers helpfully.

<Janus> Yes... something...

  • Janus says hollowly.
  • Tally stands up and jumps off the bed.

<Tally> I'll be back in half an hour.

  • Tally darts out the room and down the stairs to the kitchen.

<Aidan> Do you want to sit up a bit?

  • Aidan asks, voice and expression full of concern.

<Aidan> Dad?

  • Aidan asks softly.

<Janus> No... <Aidan> All right...

  • Tally comes back up in Faerie form with a tray bearing a number of glasses, a pitcher of milk, and a plate of cookies.

<Tally> This is what Tara deigned suitable. <Tally> But-

  • Tally reaches into his clothes and pulls out a silver brandy flask.

<Tally> There's this if anyone wants it.

  • Tally sets it down on the tray.

<Tally> What'll it be, Dad?

  • Tally sets the tray down on the bedside table.

<Janus> ...

  • Tally 's features fall a bit, taking Janus' silence for disapproval.

<Tally> Or I can go, and leave you two alone? <Tally> I could, you know... go knock some sense into people. Good at that.

  • Tally jokes weakly.
  • Janus doesn't look disapproving. Just exhausted.

<Tally> Well... Dr. Tally prescribes some of this, and then he can go, if you like.

  • Tally pours some brandy into a glass for Janus.

<Janus> Don't leave. <Janus> ...

  • Tally looks shyly pleased, but he's still also upset over the whole situation.

<Tally> All right! You asked for it!

  • Tally sits himself down on the other edge of the bed.

<Tally> Here, old boy. Let me prop you up and get some of this into you. It will warm your insides.

  • Tally slides an arm under Janus' shoulders to prop him up, unless Janus protests.
  • Janus will let him.

<Aidan> Is alcohol really a good idea, Tally?

  • Aidan asks, a bit worried.
  • Tally gives his twin a look.

<Tally> Alcohol's meant for times like this, and it's not enough to get /my/ Dad drunk.

  • Tally lifts the glass to Janus' lips and moistens them with a bit of brandy.
  • Janus would normally be annoyed by this debate over him, but is too miserable to care at the moment.
  • Janus takes the glass and finishes it off.

<Janus> Thanks...

  • Tally keeps his arm around Janus' shoulder supportively.

<Tally> Don't mention it, old boy. <Tally> More?

  • Tally keeps speaking in his proper accent, 'cause he wuvs his daddy.

<Janus> Please.

  • Tally pours another shot for Janus and offers it to him.
  • Aidan looks on in consternation.
  • Janus will finally open his eyes, which are still slightly bloodshot.

<Aidan> (your sons are sitting on either side of you, both look concerned; Tally concerned but smiling encouragingly; Aidan concerned and also a bit worried about getting you drunk.) <Tally> Cookie? <Janus> ...

  • Janus knocks back the second shot.
  • Tally lays the flask in Janus' lap so he can take as much as he wants.

<Aidan> Tally... <Tally> Dad's a grown man, Aidan.

  • Janus picks it up and holds it in his lap.
  • Janus looks out the window.
  • Aidan glances towards the window himself.

<Aidan> Would you like me to open it? <Janus> No... <Janus> She's not coming back... <Janus> Not through the window...

  • Aidan looks down at Janus, completely concerned.

<Tally> Why don't you tell us what happened? <Tally> (pooka birthright, clicking in!) <Janus> She left me...again...

  • Janus says numbly.
  • Aidan settles down to listen.
  • Tally nods encouragingly, you feel like spilling the beans.

<Janus> I went to see your grandmother today... <Janus> she was most unhappy...

  • Janus takes a drink.
  • Tally nods.
  • Aidan lays a hand on Janus' shoulder supportively.
  • Tally rearranges Janus' pillows so Janus can sit up without being help up by him anymore; his arm's getting tired.

<Tally> What was Grandma unhappy about? <Janus> About Hayley <Janus> ...

  • Janus fairly winces as he says her name.

<Tally> I thought Hayley was /at/ Grandma's? <Janus> She... left...

  • Aidan squeezes Janus' shoulder as he winces.

<Tally> Oh. Bet that didn't sit too well with Grandma, either, hmm? <Janus> No.. <Tally> So, Hayley left there and came here? <Janus> her oath... <Janus> She was... confused... <Janus> Windrider told me what had happened, that she'd run away. <Tally> Confused? Confused how? <Janus> She... she... remembered everything... <Tally> OH.

  • Tally says, importantly.

<Janus> Everything... all of them.. <Janus> I found her wandering in the desert. <Aidan> Oh, Dad. <Janus> I couldn't leave her there, all alone. She'd have died...

  • Aidan says sympathetically.
  • Tally nods.
  • Janus looks down at his hands.

<Tally> So she came here with you? <Janus> So I brought her here... <Tally> Right. <Janus> I thought I would just teach her, as I had before...

  • Tally purses his lips to one side of his face, sympathetic and pensive.

<Janus> I could protect her. <Janus> But things became... complicated...

  • Janus thinks they probably don't want to hear this.
  • Janus takes another drink.

<Tally> OH. <Janus> ...

  • Tally nods his head.

<Tally> Because... she remembered? <Janus> ... <Aidan> Oh...

  • Aidan blushes.

<Tally> I bet that was kind of weird. <Tally> So, things got complicated. And then what? <Janus> <w> I.. also... remembered... <Tally> Hmmmmmm...

  • Janus lapses into miserable silence.

<Tally> Well, any blue-blooded male (who wasn't her son in a former life, of course) would have acted the same way. She was kind of cute, last time I saw her. Not that /I/ had any designs on her. I think she had a crush on Aidan, anyway.

  • Aidan blushes, mouth gaping.

<Aidan> Tally!

  • Aidan gasps.

<Tally> Well, anyway. <Tally> What happened next, Dad? <Janus> ... <Janus> Your grandmother found out that I'd taken her in...

  • Tally and Aidan simultaneously say "oh".

<Tally> And she didn't like that at all, because she figured you'd bagged a Queen? <Janus> I've never seen her so angry... with me...

  • Aidan squeezes Janus' shoulder comfortingly again.

<Aidan> I love her, of course, since she's my grandmother, but she is a formidable woman. <Janus> When I refused to throw her out... <Tally> Throw Hayley out, you mean?

  • Janus nods absently.

<Aidan> <m> Poor Dad... <Janus> She called me, among other things, a wretched, incorrigible fool who was a disgrace to his father's name...

  • Aidan winces.

<Aidan> She couldn't have meant it truly, Dad! <Aidan> She was angry. <Aidan> It makes you say stupid things sometimes. <Janus> ...And then I was ... dismissed.

  • Tally nods.

<Tally> Very angry. <Janus> With the strong hint that I ought not to come back as long as I was 'harbouring' Hayley... <Tally> But I think Aidan might be right there, rare for him, I'll admit... <Aidan> Oh Dad, I'm sure it's just something she said in the heat of the moment. <Janus> ... <Aidan> She loves you.

  • Janus looks unconvinced.

<Aidan> You're her only son. <Tally> Besides, isn't she famous for having these raging episodes?

  • Aidan nods.

<Aidan> When she calms down, she'll feel differently, I'm sure. <Janus> She's never said such things to me... <Janus> Not to me... <Tally> Well, there's a first time for everything, isn't there.

  • Tally gives Janus a gentle, manly nudge. His way of comforting. ;^)
  • Aidan has no qualms about hugging you, and stuff, himself.

<Tally> So...

  • Tally continues softly.

<Tally> Then what happened? <Janus> <m>I don't want to continue...

  • Aidan casts his eyes down sadly.

<Tally> Well, maybe you don't want to tell, but I want to hear. <Tally> (pooka birthright!) <Tally> It's important so we can understand, and help, somehow.

  • Janus looks to the window again, biting his lip.
  • Tally says gently.

<Janus> I returned here... <Janus> I wanted to see her.

  • Aidan nods, eyes riveted to your face, full of love and concern.
  • Tally also nods, and his love for you shows as well, though not as obviously as Aidan's.

<Janus> ... <Tally> Was... was she gone when you got home? <Janus> No... <Janus> She was here. <Janus> With Tara. <Aidan> Oh-

  • Aidan ducks his face into his free hand out of sympathy.

<Tally> And?

  • Tally asks gently.

<Janus> I wanted to see her... <Janus> To.. feel her close by...

  • Tally nods and lays his hand on Janus' forearm.
  • Janus sinks back against the headboard.
  • Aidan moves in closer and wraps his other arm around Janus to envelop his dad in a hug.

<Janus> She would make everything worthwhile... <Tally> But?

  • Tally 's voice seems strained.

<Tally> That's when she left? <Janus> She wanted to know what happened with the Countess.. <Tally> Oh, ok... <Janus> So... I told her. <Janus> Then, then..

  • Tally nods, eyes on Janus.

<Janus> First she said she didn't know what to do... <Janus> . <Janus> Then she started going on about... about how she would only make me unhappy.

  • Janus 's eyes begin to fill again, despite his struggles.
  • Aidan hugs Janus tightly, chin hooked over your shoulder.

<Tally> And then she left? <Janus> And how she shouldn't have come, and how she had to leave... <Janus> Nothing I said would change her mind.. <Janus> Nothing made a difference... <Janus> None of my desperate, pathetic, fumbling attempts...

  • Janus says bitterly.
  • Aidan heaves a deep, almost sobbing sigh.

<Aidan> <w> Oh, Dad...

  • Tally shakes his head, not wanting to believe, really... but he knows it isn't a joke.

<Tally> I can't believe it!

  • Tally says with feeling.

<Aidan> Oh, Dad... you said she was confused. <Aidan> Maybe she still is?

  • Aidan sits back so he can look Janus in the face.

<Janus> She didn't seem confused. <Janus> More like... determined.

  • Janus spits out the word.
  • Tally shakes his head in disbelief.

<Janus> Perhaps I could not be trusted to love her. <Janus> Or perhaps... she thinks the other will be a more congenial fellow. <Aidan> Oh, Dad, don't s-

  • Janus says cruelly, regretting it almost instantly.
  • Aidan looks stricken at the mention of the other fellow.

<Aidan> <w> Oh. Oh, oh, oh. I had forgotten... <Aidan> Oh, Dad... <Janus> ...

  • Aidan hugs Janus again.

<Aidan> I'm so sorry.

  • Janus closes his eyes, tear streaming down his face once again.

<Janus> <w> What sort of love is this? <Tally> Me too. But you know, the other fellow isn't really her fault, is it?

  • Tally tries to be the voice of reason.

<Janus> <w> What cruel flames burn me... <Tally> (probably a bad thing...) <Tally> They burn her too, don't they? <Aidan> Oh, Tally! Be quiet!

  • Aidan says a bit fiercely.

<Janus> If she felt as I do, how could she leave? <Aidan> Dad's beside himself and you just- just-

  • Aidan can't think of what to say.
  • Tally looks hurt.

<Tally> I don't know Dad...

  • Tally says softly.

<Tally> I just... maybe kind of feel that's how it is...

  • Janus lets out a strangled sob, then raises a hand to cover his face.

<Janus> Don't... don't look at me. <Aidan> Tally! <Aidan> Get out!

  • Aidan hugs Janus, chin over his shoulder so he's not looking at Janus, as requested.

<Janus> <sobbing> What is the point...

  • Tally gives one last sad sort of look to his father and ducks out of the room, closing the door behind him.

<Janus> <sobbing> ...the point of existing in this crushing emptiness... <Aidan> I'm sorry, Dad... I should have left him in Ontario. <Janus> <sobbing> Mother is right... I am... a disgrace... <Aidan> And I don't- no you're not!

  • Aidan pulls away from Janus and firmly grips his shoulders.

<Aidan> How could you think such a thing? <Janus> I wish to be strong... as my father was... <Aidan> Oh, Dad... that's what I wish, whenever I think of you.

  • Aidan says sincerely, tears welling out of his eyes.

<Aidan> (stress that "you") <Aidan> ( ;^) ) <Janus> . o O (How can you possibly think that?) <Aidan> (And actually, if Tally was here still, he'd express the same opinion, and maybe mean it more, having gone through the loss of a true love himself...)

  • Aidan closes the distance between himself and Janus to embrace his father again.

<Aidan> You were so strong, keeping us together after Mum left... <Janus> Debbie... <Aidan> I don't remember ever seeing you cry in front of us. <Aidan> Though now that I'm grown, I know you must have wanted to cry, every single day. <Janus> ... <Aidan> <w> Tally... Tally would say so, too. <Aidan> And he- he probably knows what you were going through, much better then I ever will.

  • Aidan pulls away to look Janus in the face again, tears brimming from his eyes and biting his lip.

<Janus> <m> You should not have to see this. <Aidan> oh! no! <Aidan> I'm a grown man myself now, Dad. <Aidan> I know adults have feelings, too.

  • Aidan smiles shyly through his tears.

<Aidan> I'm sorry that I'm so emotional...

  • Aidan ducks his head in embarrassment and wipes the tears from his eyes.

<Janus> You... <Janus> You're a fine young man...

  • Aidan blushes.

<Janus> You make me believe... perhaps I did something right, after all. <Aidan> Thank you, Dad... you don't know how much your approval means to me. <Aidan> But you did lots of things right.

  • Aidan looks Janus in the eye to show he means it.

<Aidan> Lots of things. <Aidan> We three, we all love you very much. Though sometimes it may not seem so. <Aidan> Tally was just trying to help, in his own stupid way. <Janus> I think your sister is almost as disgusted as the countess.

  • Janus mumbles.

<Aidan> Is she? <Janus> That's why I didn't wish for you to call her. <Aidan> Oh, Dad... she'd be sad to see you so unhappy, just like me and Tally. <Janus> ...

  • Aidan squeezes Janus' shoulder to show he means it.

<Aidan> She would. <Aidan> But we won't call her if you don't want to see her. <Janus> She'll tell my mother.

  • Aidan nods.

<Janus> The two of them are getting quite close, it seems.

  • Janus sighs.

<Aidan> She'll find out eventually, I suppose. But it won't be from me or Tally, if that is your desire. <Janus> Not just now...

  • Aidan nods.
  • Aidan suddenly looks a bit frightened.

<Aidan> Dad? <Janus> ...Yes? <Aidan> You didn't really mean- what you said? That you want to die? Because we all need you, very much. <Aidan> Tally, Rachel, Tara, me... <Janus> You don't need me, Aidan.

  • Janus says tiredly.

<Janus> I'm a relic. <Aidan> No you're not.

  • Aidan 's eyes fill with tears again.

<Aidan> You're our father, and we need you and love you. <Aidan> And - I don't think I could bear losing both my parents.

  • Aidan pleads with Janus.

<Janus> I just ... <Janus> I just want the pain to stop. <Janus> In a hundred years, it's never gone away... <Janus> Why won't it go away....?

  • Aidan 's torso is racked with a sob.

<Aidan> <w> Oh, Dad... <Janus> I'm sorry to upset you, Aidan... <Janus> ...

  • Aidan lifts a hand to cover his face and sobs again.
  • Aidan uncovers his face.

<Aidan> Promise me... <Aidan> Promise me you won't harm or kill yourself. Please?

  • Aidan says, very frightened at the thought of losing his father.

<Janus> Harm myself?

  • Aidan nods, looking somewhat boyish and young for an instant.
  • Aidan sobs raggedly again.

<Janus> Aidan...

  • Aidan nods, too beside himself to trust his voice.

<Janus> For you. <Janus> I can promise that I won't end my life... <Janus> But harm myself? <Janus> I do that every time I think of her...

  • Aidan nods and moves in to hug you gratefully.

<Aidan> <w> That's fair. <Aidan> <w> I am your witness and may the Dreaming hold you to your promise.

  • Aidan says just to be sure.

<Janus> As you wish... <Aidan> I love you, Dad. <Janus> And I you...

  • Aidan squeezes Janus extra tight.
  • Janus sighs tiredly.

<Aidan> Shall I leave you to rest, now? <Janus> I think so...

  • Aidan nods.

<Aidan> I hope Dana is kind and lets you sleep soundly. <Janus> <m> rely on the Tuatha for nothing but pain...

  • Aidan slides off the bed and stands up, looking down at his father.

<Aidan> (Actually, Dana is something more than a Tuatha, but maybe Janus lumps 'em all together.) <Janus> (She's like... the leader or something ^-^)

  • Aidan leans down and kisses Janus on the cheek, the way all three children used to kiss you good-night before going off to their beds.

<Aidan> I love you.

  • Aidan says again.
  • Aidan turns to go.
  • Janus looks sadly at the window.

<Aidan> (Luckily, there are no ghosts. Hayley took them with her.) <Janus> <w> I always used to look for her at the window, even though I knew she wasn't coming back.... <Janus> (the end?) <Aidan> (oooooh, it seems so final... but it's not...) <Aidan> (I guess... Hayley was very frightened by the intensity of Janus' emotions, and it will be a long while before she has the courage to come tell him what she's doing...) <Janus> (he is pretty intense, isn't he? ^-^) <Aidan> (Mainly 'cause her emotions are as intense...)