Harry Potter AU
Preceded by Wizards (Part 2)
"Martha, my dear, you have always been my inspiration, please... be good to me..."
- The infant in the cot's eyes close slowly as her father sings to her. A small blessing, because Merlin's beard, Simon needs some peace and quiet. His day at St. Mungo's had been hectic and long. He'd lost two patients. After work, after he'd picked Martha up from his parents' and brought her home, she'd done nothing but shriek and cry. Simon was worried she might be sick, again, but she was just upset for some unfathomable reason. Perhaps it was because her dad was such a fuckup. He'd been really looking forward to seeing Steven that night, but there'd been a note on the kitchen table that simply read Stakeout. Don't wait up. It hadn't been a very good day, but finally, his daughter was quiet.
"Martha my love, don't forget me... Martha my dear..."
- Simon almost sobs in relief when she's finally asleep. He spends a while watching her, breathing peacefully, the way he almost never sees his six-month-old daughter when she's awake. So small, so weak... She's ill too often. But there's nothing he can do about it but worry, so he decides to go into the living room and worry with a bottle of red wine, sitting on the couch that's also been his bed, since Steven moved back in. He hadn't earned his way back into his bed, yet. They were working on it. It was going better. But they could only work on it if Steve was actually there. He sighs, drinks, and enjoys the rare moment of silence.
- Just keep moving, she tells him as the world spins and pulses. "I know- it's gonna be alright, we just- it's gonna be alright." He had been moving, for hours... days?- he'd carried her, dragging his own battered, screaming body after they'd lost the broomstick in the fire. "Sullivan's gonna fix this," he assures her for the thousandth time as his vision flashes red from pain. She whispers to him sweet comforting reassurances. Simon will fix this. He'd healed everything, hadn't he. Used his god-like kindness to heal up his shattered heart, healed all them at the hospital, saved his mama with the powerful magic, zipped her up tight and poured the blood back in- His eyes open with a jolt, face pressed against the cold ground. She's lying a few feet away- "Im sorry- god I'm sorry-" he cries, and pulls the unmoving woman back to him. He staggers onward, following the wavering spell light. Forest to desert, mountains to city, it all blurs into incomprehensibility. Light flares brightly ahead of him. She argues, forbids him from going to it, but Francis welcomes death. He makes his final move towards peace, and runs into a door. Francis slides to the freezing ground, landing in a crumpled heap against Simon's front door. In his arms, he cradles Poppy.
- Simon was just polishing off his first glass when he hears something against the front door- Steven? His heart jumps at the thought- but no, Steven would just use his key... Paranoid fear grips him. That wasn't a knock. That vaguely sounded like a body falling against the door- just a bum, maybe- or Steven's hurt? He sits frozen on the couch for a few seconds before jumping into action, grabbing his wand off the table and holding it in front of him defensively. Carefully, he approaches the door and throws it open- and the sight that greets him is the last he ever expected to see. "Wh- Francis?" And that woman- isn't that... little Poppy Monroe, right? Either a Gryffindor or a Ravenclaw, he wasn't sure- oh fuck. They needed medical help. Now. He's ready to start barking orders at a nearby nurse or intern, but dear lord he's alone. Okay, okay, he's a good healer, he can do this, two patients at once. Right. He swings his wand at the both of them, thinking Levicorpus! and brings them both inside, laying them on their backs on the floor. Alright... check for breathing. Francis, check. Poppy... fuck. Okay, that's the priority, then. He kneels down beside her and works quicker than he's ever worked, checking for a pulse- none. He rips open her blouse to get to the skin underneath, presses the tip of his wand to his chest and sends a defibrillating curse through her- the fact that he's good at non-vocal spells is a true blessing, he doesn't have time for incantations- her body jerks up wildly- checks her pulse again, nothing, does the spell again, muttering "Come on, come on," under his breath. He knows better, though. She's cold already. He doesn't have time to dwell on the woman's death, he just moves on to the next body.
- Francis was breathing, but barely. It's hard to fix him up without any real supplies, and it takes a while for him to do it, but he gets there, in the end. He can't help but think of the orange he fixed up, more than ten years ago, and the adoring look on the blonde boy's face when he saw it. Now the blonde boy was looking older, so much older, and closely resembled that same orange. The scars he'd be left with wouldn't be nice to look at, but a less skillful doctor would have done much worse. He raises Francis back up in the air with his wand, carefully placing him on the couch, and then, with a pit in his stomach, places the same spell on Poppy. He can't put her in his-Steve's- bed, so he clears off the dinner table, places her on it with a pillow under her head, and drapes a white sheet over her. Numbly, he picks up the bottle of wine, and places himself on the floor, in the corner of the living room, where he could see them both. He'd call Mungo's to pick up the body later. First, he wants an explanation from Francis. So he waits, pale-faced and shaken, until the man wakes up.
- In his dream, he is back at school, and she is looking at him, and he's looking at her, and that tiny spark sets off between them, and he just knows she's gonna taste as sweet as her sour look isn't. But of course that has to wait, cause the room's burning up, and they have to get out, and find Sullivan so he can show them the secret he'd promised... The first thing he notices when he wakes is the smell. There are many foreign strains in the air, but Sullivan's scent screams to him. Eyes open. He's inside. On a soft couch. That smells like Sullivan. Without Poppy. Well that needs to be remedied. Francis crawls to his feet- the intense pains his body tries to warn him with are nothing to what he'd been through. It can wait. "Poppy, we made it." he calls out, but his voice is an inaudible rasp. Francis looks searchingly around the room, his eyes passing directly over Simon and the white sheet as if they are invisible.
- Simon had been nodding off, waiting for Francis to wake up- but only long enough that he looks up and the room seems both bigger and smaller somehow, and the body under the sheet is suddenly devastatingly small, like an infant's... He shoots awake, and sees Francis, looking crazed and standing up, something he shouldn't even be able to do right now, with the state his leg was in not an hour ago. "Francis." he says in his Healer-voice, without even really meaning to. "Sit down. Your leg was broken, it needs to rest."
- He looks at the table, and shivers when he half-expects it to be Martha under the sheet, still partly in the dream. "The woman... Poppy..." He runs a hand across his face. What was she to Francis? A friend? Coworker? Lover? He doesn't know how to address this. He's renowned for his fantastic bedside manner, but that's his third dead body of the day and he's tired. He shouldn't have to deal with these things in his own home. How did Valentine even find him? Why didn't he just go to Mungo's? There's a dead woman on his dinner table. "I'm so sorry. I did what I could."
- Francis blinks, recognizing his name and little else. His gaze hovers around Simon, looking through him... He shifts to follow the man's instructions until he says her name. "Where is she?? We had a rough time gettin here, I need ta see how she's doin." Something in his face shifts- and his focus on Simon. Francis smiles in relief. "Where is she?"
- Simon looks at the other man, and his heart breaks just like every single fucking time he’s had to break this news to someone. He hates his job as much as he loves it. He nods towards the table, and the sheet. "She, um," his voice breaks, eyes red-rimmed and filling with moisture quickly. "She was already dead when you got here. I couldn't save her. I'm sorry."
- Francis' smile wavers. This person... Sullivan? Francis inhales deeply. Sullivan. Sullivan's words are muffled by radio static, but the tone clearly isn't happy. Well, of course, they'd come crashing in, absolutely mannerless... Francis' eyes dart towards what Simon had nodded to. His eyes slide around the sheet, unwilling or unable to see it. He drags his screaming body to it though. "I know this is an awful imposition, n I woulda called firs', only, we didn't plan none'a this, n like I said. Ran inta'a a bit'a trouble, but- but I t'ought to m'self, I have the good fortune ta know this Sweet Sullivan scoundrel and-" a gasp for air interrupts his very nearly conversational tone-"Slim little thing with eyes like diamonds. Can't miss her. Where is she??" He demands, growing agitated, as if Simon's purposely hiding her.
- The fractured pieces of Simon's heart sink into his stomach. Please, don't, he thinks. He gets up with wobbly feet and drags himself over to the table and Francis. He reaches a hand out to touch his elbow reassuringly, but withdraws it. He doesn't know how volatile the man is right now. Silently, he pulls back the sheet a little, revealing Poppy's pale, white, dead face. "She's gone, Francis." He steps back, folding his arms in front of him, leaving the man his space.
- Francis' smile returns when Simon gets up to help him find her. The game's over. "You mighta never met her, but she remembers you, oh she t'ought you were a wicked, handsome thing till I set her straight, by half at least," he laughs, but the whites of his eyes are showing. "She said she'd like ta give ya a big ol' kiss, Or'a smack, depending on what I’d been... Up to...-" he looks at her lifeless face, his own grin becoming a mask. "But now you c-can finally tell'er yourself," he croaks out, and gently touches her shoulder to rouse her. "Love, I'd like ya ta meet someone," he says softly, even after it’s become uncomfortably long enough to be obvious.
- Simon claps a hand over his mouth and takes a shuddering breath inwards. He might've known this girl. Hell, she was at school with him. Little Poppy Monroe, and he didn't know anything about her except her name, and that she was in Gryffindor, or maybe Ravenclaw. She'd thought he was handsome. She'd popped up on his radar enough that he must've thought she was nice, once. She was nice, and pretty. She was from either Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, and Francis Valentine loved her. And now she's lying dead on his dinner table. The tears stream down his face. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," he croaks, wishing that Francis would just admit that she's dead because he couldn't take seeing the frozen smile on his face much longer.
- Panic rises in his chest, but Francis' touch remains gentle. "Ah. Hah, see this is why I had ta come, wouldn't'a bothered ya fer anythin' less. She's been hurt bad, but-" his expression remains fixed when Simon apologizes, but tremors build in his body, "-but you- you know how to fix people n make'm stop hurtin', so ya see I didn't really have a choice, ya see." He gently strokes her cold face, brushing against her tangle of jet black hair. "So, doc, how do we make her better?"
- Simon bites his lip, releasing loud sniffs. He clenches his eyes shut to stop the tears, get it together, you're a fucking Healer for goodness' sake. He regains a semblance of control about him. He has to be strong. It wouldn't do for the doctor to break down. Patients die every day. "Francis, she's dead." He tries to keep his voice from cracking. "We can't save her."
- Francis was listening in desperation, else he never would have heard the words that slowly sink into him like heavy bricks into mud. The grimace-smile finally disappears. “You... You won't help her?" His voice sounds lost. Simon shakes his head solemnly. Takes a deep breath. "I can't." Slowly, he pulls the sheet back over the dead woman's face. "There's nothing I can do for her. I'm sorry."
- Her face disappears from his sight. Sullivan won't help. Sullivan won't help. She's hurt and why won't Sullivan help? Francis turns on the other man, devastated expression transforming into absolute rage. In his mind, he's begging, he's crying and pleading with his idol to stop saying these things, she's crying and stop- just "STOP" Francis launches heavily at Simon. "STOP SAYING THAT, YOU'VE GOTTA HELP YOU'VE GOTTA HELP POPPY,"
- "Protego!" Simon steps back, wand raised, and watches Francis bounce off his protective shield before it flickers out of existence. Oh, fuck, oh fuck. He can't just call for hospital security. This man is in his house. On reflex, his eyes dart to the door to Martha's room. Please don't wake up please don't wake up. "Francis, don't," he pleads. "It's not in my power, just sit down, you're hurting your leg-"
- Francis gasps, but that is the only acknowledgement he gives the pain, because Poppy needs him. Poppy needs Sullivan. He charges Simon again, is repelled again, howls in agony- "PLEASE" he snarls, ripping his own black wand from his side, feeling his body tear and break with his actions. He raises it- imperius runs through his head, it's on his lips- but Simon's eyes shift. To what?? What could be more important?? Nothing. There's something in there that will help Poppy. Francis pulls himself up, staring hungrily at the door as he stumbles away from her. It kills him to do it, but something behind that door will wake her up...
- He wards off another attack and is racking his brain for more defensive spells- oh, Merlin, why can't he come up with any when he needs them? But Francis notices where his gaze keeps going, turns towards- "No- ATTRAHENDUS!" he shrieks, and when he whips his wand back, the man gets pulled violently backwards through the air, landing on his back on the floor. Simon gasps- he shouldn't have done that, with Francis' injuries- no, he can't be distracted now, he scrabbles to get between Valentine and the door. "Please, Francis, just listen! There's nothing I can do, I swear!"
- Francis gasps bloodily for air on his back, his rib screaming it’s reminder that it was broken- "WHY?!! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?!!" Francis' screams tear through the room. Wild thoughts- polyjuice potion- Sullivan's being controlled- Anything is more believable than the man's unwillingness to help. The searing rage pushes him up, unsteady where he stands- he thrashes his arm through the air to disarm the demon that is not Simon Sullivan.
- Simon yelps as his wand snaps out of his hand violently and flies to the other side of the room. Oh god oh god oh god- he could scrabble to go get it, or go to hide under something or run like he desperately wants to do, but that would mean removing himself from being the only thing separating the crazed Francis from Martha's room. So he stays where he is, and puts on a vaguely defensive-looking stance, trying so hard not to tremble, but he's terrified. "I-I'm sorry! I wish I could help, but I just can't! Please!"
- "Why aren't you listening??" Francis' livid eyes dart to Sullivan, back to the blindingly white sheet. Quite suddenly, he laughs riotously, covering his face with his hand. The other remains raised, pointing the streak of black at Simon. "T'is ain't right- only someone heartless wouldn't help you, you're an angel- but Sullivan's the first angel I ever met...?" he mutters into his hand, swaying in place. "Is it a game? No. You know I hate teasing, don't you love… " He looks up through his bloody fingers. "Was it your idea? It's not funny- IT'S AWFUL!!!" he shrieks. Cruciatus burns through his brain- "You don't have ta be that kind'a wizard, Francis," she murmurs disapprovingly before he can hurl the searing hatred at the defenseless man. Why Poppy uses his own voice is of no importance. Francis steps back- "IT'S NOT FUNNY!!!" His scream is accompanied by a vicious slashing curse. Not unforgivable. He can't disappoint Poppy.
- Simon's insides turn into ice- there's a wand pointed at him and he's defenseless. He really, really doesn't want to die, not when he's so close to fixing things with Steven and Martha's still so young and oh God, what is Valentine saying? "P-please," he whispers, before a searing pain makes him reel back, fall onto his knees. He gasps for air and grabs at his chest- the faded old band t-shirt he'd changed into after work had ripped, and oh god so had his skin. His hands come up wet and red and it goes all the way up his neck, to the base of his jaw and thank fuck, it didn't hit any major arteries but the cut was deep in the middle and bleeding profusely. His heavy, wheezing breaths turn into sobs, and fat tears roll across his cheeks. He looks up at Francis, "Please, hhh, don't do this, Francis, hhh, please oh my god I'm sorry I'm so sorry-"
- Francis advances, taking deep breaths of the tang of fresh blood. He can't look away from it. Like his mother and father, seeping away while the monsters circled. Like Poppy, spilling from her throat as she lies there- Francis cries out as the memory escapes to drench the whole room in crimson. He gasps ineffectually, he's drowning in the red. "C-CONTEGO TEMPESTAS!!" He cries in a terrified sob, and crackling blinding light envelopes him for an instant. When it clears, Francis has collapsed to the floor. He looks up from the pool of blood, to Simon, within his reach... "Anything- I don't care who you really are- I'll give you everyt'in. I got money now. I got so many spells- I swear ta ya, I got so much- a spell! I gotta spell’l let ya own my soul, anyone's soul, I'll give't to ya for not'in more'n a little help fer my girl, anything." He watches the blood pour from the walls, down Simon's body. "You c'n kill me fer what I done. Or fuck me or own me or torture me- just save her."
- The spell hits him on the shoulder, and Simon screams because it hurts like nothing has ever hurt before, and the smell of burning skin makes his stomach reel. All he can do is thank the high heavens that he'd had the idea of putting a muffling spell around Martha's room, so the child could sleep peacefully and not hear a thing. He falls down on his uncharred shoulder, bleeding into the carpet, and needs to gasp for air for a second before he can make any whispered or sobbed pleas. "Oh god, please please, hhhhAAAAHHh, just, huhhhhhh, oh God I don't want to die please, I can't, I'm sorry, I can't save her, plea-he-he-hease," he sobs, staring wide-eyed and terrified at the panicked man.
- Francis crawls the last distance to Sullivan, blood dripping from his mouth- dripping from everywhere, if Francis' mind was to be believed. A wet bubbling laugh escapes his chest again. The absurdity of this. It was so easy a task for Simon, and Francis had offered him everything, and he's still refusing??? "So. You were one'a t'e monsters all along, weren' ya??" The giggle gently slides into heartbroken keening. "I din' want ya ta be, I thought you weren' like that, you can't be, but here we are." His wand held loosely at his side, Francis reaches the pleading, crying Sullivan, pulling at him, leaning against him, against his throat, as delicate and lovely and vulnerable as ever, he could simply snap it or tear it or anything, and the disappointment would be over, Poppy would be alright..
- Simon's vision starts going dark around the edges. A surge of panic makes him stay awake- he can't pass out, if he passes out he'll bleed out and die and nobody would be protecting Martha. Oh God. He's bleeding too much. He sobs in pain when Francis pulls at him, and now he's leaning against him and he's insane, and Simon's soaking blood into the man's clothes and he's scared because he's going to die if he can't close this wound. "Francis, Francis please, I need my wand, just to close this wound oh fuck oh God, please let me live I don't wanna die-" He feels faint, drunk. He needs his wand.
- "NO ONE HAS TA DIE!!! DON'T YA UNDERSTAND?!! IF YOU JUS- JUS' COOPERATED" Tears streak down his bloody, filthy skin as he stares deeply into Simon's eyes. "I jus need her to be ok. That's all I need. I won't be ok if she's not ok, don't you get it??? Why can't you understand that?? You were always so understanding and I loved you so why can't you understand this obvious fact??" Because it was a lie, all along. Sullivan had been lying to him all along, just waiting for this moment, when he could refuse to help, and destroy Francis. "Masterful. I never even suspected. But you should've killed me back then. It's too late now, t'ey bit me, and now I'm gonna bite you, and we can both rot in hell fer not savin my angel," he hisses deliriously, baring his teeth- fangs? jaws closing around the man's throat.
- Simon had seen the bites, had guessed that Francis'd been turned, but that didn't make it any less horrifying when his features seemed to become... monstrous, wolflike, and teeth, sharp teeth, close around his throat and he closes his eyes- "Please..."
- Time stops. Only it doesn't because Simon's heart is hammering out of my chest and that causes the slash to bleed all the more profusely, but everything outside the thumping sound of his blood pumping seems to stop in one suspended moment of terrible fear. Until.
- One sound pierces through, overpowering everything even though it's muffled by a door. A high-pitched cry- of hunger, maybe, or maybe she sensed that something was wrong- but Martha had started crying. "No..." Simon whispers. Oh God, he could deal with dying himself but please don't let anything happen to her, not her, please.
- Francis can't see, feel or smell anything but the blood. It's disgusting... A nightmare... yet so much nicer than what he'd just come from. It wasn't complicated. Just flowing, pumping, just below the surface, silent and without betrayal. His jaws tense as he finishes savoring the experience- But his body goes rigid at the cry, head swivels to the noise. Francis stares at the door with burning eyes. Slowly, he limps off Simon, curiosity stealing in his attention as he slinks weakly towards Martha's room. Francis’ treasured black wand remains at Simon's bloody side.
- No no no no no no- Vision swimming, Simon grabs the black wand and first points it at himself- "Concresco," -the blood on the surface of his wound clots immediately. Only a temporary solution, but it's all he needs right now. He pushes himself up on one elbow and nearly retches- fuck, he can't, but Frankie's nearly at the door.... A sudden burst of strength flows through him and he launches himself at Frankie, tackling him against the floor and once he's down Simon crawls on top of him, shoving the wand threateningly into his neck- the thing won't do anything to harm its owner, probably, but if all else failed he could stab Valentine with it. "DON'T YOU FUCKING DARE HURT HER!" he shrieks, desperately. "I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU, DON'T HURT MY DAUGHTER OR I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU, I SWEAR!" Tears roll down his cheeks again. He's more scared than angry. So fucking scared. If anything happens to Martha- "Look, you can- fucking-" He does something he knows is stupid, which is pressing the wand back into Francis' hand and then yanking that hand so that the tip of the black wood is pressing against his neck instead. "Just- just kill me, okay? You can kill me, just don't hurt my child."
- Francis snarls and snaps a hairs breadth from Simon's bloodless skin, his struggles stabbing the wand tip into his throat, nearly puncturing it. The monster gasps out a pained whine, blue eyes full of fear and hate. He kicks viciously, ineffectively at the thing on top him when it screams threats, his feral growling building into a roar. The sense that he is drowning in blood returns. Francis thrashes powerfully to free himself, to tear the bastard who he hated eternally limb from limb. But the wand- The smooth, stained redwood. Phoenix feather core. Rigid, fairly long. It's familiarity throws him- and then that crying- Francis stares at his hand. It is a hand, too. Not a vicious claw. And Simon's holding his want to himself, he's going to make Francis kill him too?? No. No he- His what?? "Nn- Y-you..." have a baby. His insane eyes lock onto the other man's terrified ones, the scent of fear nearly covering the stink of death that had been Francis' only companion for days. He tears himself away from Simon with a howl, falling back to the floor. "A baby- a wee baby girl, of all the t'ings," he laughs delightedly into the ground, shaking uncontrollably as he drags his beaten body back towards the sheet. "I bet she's gorgeous, jus' like you. Poppy wants one, or two, or twelve, but I don't think it's a good idea anymore, not if I'm like this, right?? Even if they'd be gorgeous." He gasps. Why isn't he dead. It's not fair. "But I musta woke her up- see, hah. Woulda made a terrible parent, nomatter what she says." Francis agonizingly climbs up, collapsing once he's reached her. He curls around her, and the sheet falls to reveal her face, and he realizes that he is dead. He'd just failed to realize it until now.
- Simon lets out a pathetic little sound when he hits the floor with his burnt shoulder, the red hot pain making it white in front of his eyes. When he comes back, gasping, Francis is on the table with Poppy, not paying attention to him. Good. He stands up, and the world spins in front of him but he leans against the wall, and starts dragging himself along it at a snail's pace to his wand, only taking his eyes off the piece of wood to see if Valentine's moved. He's still afraid, but he needs his wand. The thought reverberates in his skull like a mantra, he needs his wand. The clotting spell wouldn't last much longer, cast with another's wand, and even as he walks, new blood starts running down his chest. Finally, he reaches his wand and he slumps down on the floor next to it. With shaky hands, he rips his tattered shirt off all the way in order to reach the wound better, takes his wand, and points it against his skin. The angle is awkward, he's only ever done it to other people, and he can't even remember the incantation. His shoulder is screaming at him. Remember the orange, he thinks. Softly, he starts muttering the incantation, taking so much care not to slur his speech. It's not as good as it would be with one of his patients, when he's not scared or dying of blood loss, but good enough. The scar looked white and faded, as if it had been there for years, except for the tell-tale pink around it. He finishes the spell, and nearly sobs in relief. In the background, Martha cries. "juss'asec'nd, baby... I’m comin'..." First, he needs to take care of his shoulder. He stands again and stumbles towards the kitchen, where he knows there's a tub of extremely well-made burn-relieving cream in the fridge. He takes off his shirt and bites back a sob when it takes a bit of molten skin with it. When the cold cream hits his skin, he realizes he's been holding his breath because he releases it all in one relieved sigh. Okay. He'll sit down a bit until his head stops spinning, in front of the door to keep an eye on Francis, and then he'll check on Martha.
- No pulse. No gently flutter of breath.The world is completely still as he presses against her, trying to warm her cold body with his broken one, and the white shroud blossoms red with his blood. The baby's crying, maybe that would wake her up. He watches her face for a lifetime, hope bleeding away in his chest. He's oblivious to Simon's movements. All of reality is eluding him, but it certainly has nothing to offer, so why should he give it his attention in exchange? "Why are you doing this" he chokes out gently. "Did I not love ya enough?" Crushing emptiness sucks at him, trying to leech away the denial. He lets it out in a quivering note before it can do anymore harm. "..You....” A trembling melody forms. “…are my sunshine,.... my only s-sunshine... You make me h- .... happy, when skies are grey......" A moment of hopeful, watchful silence, just long enough for the feeling to die in agony -" you'll never know dear... How much I love you-" he stares at her, eyes pleading. "So please-!" The silence of the room answers. Pressing his face against her, Francis howls with the voice of a wounded animal.
- With a glass of water he conjured up from his wand in shaking hands, Simon watches the awful display. He was so fucking thirsty- he needed fluids and food to make new blood, but he doesn't want to eat right now, he just wants to be able to get up to go get his daughter. A tear rolls down his cheek. As much as he wants Francis to leave, he can't bring himself to call the police. Getting arrested is the last thing the man needs right now. He hates that he thinks this way- this man attacked him in his own home and now there's blood everywhere and a dead woman on his table, he has every right to call, heck, even an Auror to the scene. Steven is going to be angry with him when he comes home, finds him like this and finds out he didn't. But that's just it... Steven. He can see himself on that table, begging over his love's dead body... He bites his lip to keep from crying. Okay. He'd call after Francis leaves. After all, the man is dangerous, now. But he has to give him a little time, just a little time to mourn.
- The world has stopped spinning, and he still feels cold and clammy and weak but he gets up and walks to his crying girl's bedroom as fast as he can- still at a snail's pace. He opens the door and... Ah, there she is, the little angel, far too small for six months old, screaming and entirely perfect. He's covered in blood but he picks her up out of her cot and holds her close, rocking her softly and making soothing sounds. "Shhh... there there, darling, don't worry, Daddy's here... You hungry? I bet you are, aren't you, clever girl, let's get your bottle, eh?"
- He walks to the kitchen with her in his arms, giving Frankie his space but his heart beating so loud in fear of the fact that oh god he just took Martha into the room with the man that just tried to kill him- He almost stumbles, feeling dizzy again, but makes it to the kitchen where he warms up a bottle and sits to feed his daughter.
<Simon> yeesh just realized that he's just sitting in his kitchen covered in blood feeding a baby and thought 'dang I gotta draw this' gr8 job sweet ur a good father
<Frankie> Crazy bamf father omg
- A touch, so soft, he knows he's imagined it. But he looks up. There she is. Flushed and happy- well, not quite happy. She looks at the (empty? where did Sullivan go?) room, the mess, and raises an eyebrow, just as she always did when he was being a huge idiot. Francis leaps up, blinded by tears as he embraces her, laughing with relief and absolute joy. "Simon you did it!!" He pulls her up into a hug, off the floor in a spin, his mind protecting him from the truth. "And what do we say to Mr. Sullivan for all he's done for us, Francis?" She asks patiently in his own voice, looking as delighted as he is. "Thank you thank you thank you!!!!" He cries to the empty room- where is he- kitchen- Frankie peers at the father and daughter- "Ah I was absolutely right, she's the most beautiful thing," just a small lie, an exaggeration, really, out of gratitude. Poppy is the most beautiful. Francis looks back to the mess he'd made, his eyes sliding off the body like oil over water- "Haha!! I'm so sorry about everything but-!" He breaks down into happy sobbing. It was worth it, he's so sorry but it was, because in the end Simon had fixed it, because that's what he does. "Let's clean up now, Francis dear," she interrupts calmly. Still clutching her, he weakly jabs the air. All signs of struggle disappear. Poppy was always better at covering their tracks, but she needs to rest of course- "Hon- hon sit down, you're gonna fall," she orders just before Francis stumbles into the wall, leaving a large red smudge.
- Oh God. The man's insane. Simon clutches Martha to his chest, and backs away as far as possible. Valentine cleans up fantastically, even as he's making googly faces at thin air, but he's completely lost it and that's it, he can't stay here. "Please leave," he says, too soft to be heard because he's fucking terrified Valentine will turn on him again, but he has to be brave, make sure Martha's safe- "G-get out of my house," he says, louder this time. Slowly, he backs up to the fireplace. "I'm going to Floo the police. Just... just go away!"
- Francis's elated smile falters at Sullivan's words. For a horrifying moment, the entire illusion falls away. After days of indescribable pain and pointless hope, Poppy is cold and dead on the dining table of the most important man in the world. Who he's nearly killed. In his own home. With his daughter only a room away. For not being able to do the impossible. Because he’s gone mad. Francis gasps, his chest rattling wetly. She’s dead. It’s his fault. She’s dead. She’s- "P-please-!! Sullivan... just kill me," he begs his hero.
- "Why are you here?" he asks pleadingly. "Why me? You could've just gone to Mungo's, why did you come to me?" He points his wand at the fireplace and the flames roar up behind him. "I'm not going to kill you. Don't you think you've asked enough of me? I'm not- I'm not some kind of hero, I'm not your fucking saviour- I'm just a bloke! I'm sorry, okay, but I am!" He reaches behind him for a pinch of floo powder. "Get the fuck out or I'm calling the police right now."
- "T-They turned my ma away!! She di- I couldn't- I didn't- They would’a, like everyone else- She woulda died-!!" He grips his head in agony. Poppy sweeps in to hold him as he breaks apart again. "...You were kind to him. He never forgot." Francis smiles through the blood and dirt and nightmare, his old, shy smile up at Simon as Poppy continues. "Thank you. I'm sorry your kindness was not reciprocated." They glance at her body. "..I'd appreciate a proper burial... If it’s not too much trouble. I understand if it is." Poppy supports Francis as he staggers to the door. "It was lovely to meet you at last. I'm sorry it couldn't have been under better circumstances," she laughs sadly, musically as she struggles with the door. Francis falls to the frozen ground outside, completely still. Time seems to stretch forever before his chest rattles again. Francis shudders, then crawls back into the darkness.
- Simon nods quietly at- Poppy? He knows of people possessed with the spirits of the recently deceased- it's very rare, but it happens. But he can't know if that's what's happening here, or if Francis is just insane. He slumps down on the floor in relief when he is finally gone, though- oh god the body is still there. He throws the floo powder in the fireplace and calls the police department- and thanks god for familiar faces. He hasn't seen these people since he and Steven split up, and they look surprised to see him. To see him covered in blood. "Simon? What the fuck-" "There was a man. In my house. J-just... just, please send someone, okay? There's... there's a body- oh god-"
- People were on their way to help. Finally, he can lean against a wall, hold Martha who's started crying again, and peacefully go into shock.
<Simon>cries omg Poppy sob oh babies.
<Frankie> SWEET ; C ;