Joss never admitted to anyone just how often he wished he was still on the road.

He'd been getting sick, he knew that. He hadn't been eating right or sleeping well and that way of life was... unsustainable. But was life now really any better? The food was, but he didn't give a shit about food really.

In the back of Kenzie's van he'd found something few people ever found: a love that crossed all boundaries, even death. And he'd discovered Teagan, and fallen half in love with her too. Those girls were forever entwined in his mind. Did he love Teagan, or was it Kenzie he was seeing? Joss lay away in his nest on the couch and contemplated this question, but he never got any closer to answering it than he had on the road.

... )
Joss was still awake when Leon came home, in the early hours of the morning as a flurry of raindrops were starting to fall. He’d heard the car come back and had drifted from the lounge toward the kitchen to pick at the remains of dinner and wait for Leon while pretending he wasn’t waiting for Leon.

“What’s up with Carly?” Joss asked, casually, as Leon joined him in the devouring of the cold chicken while the kettle boiled.

... )
After work, Carly got changed in the backroom, shimmying out of her unflattering polo shirt uniform and into the dress she'd recently bought but couldn't justify, even though it had been on sale. Although, as soon as she saw her reflection in the full length window of a shop as she made her way down the street, she decided that the dress had already paid for itself.

Read more... )
Teagan lay on the ground, her cheek pressed against the concrete, arm outstretched like she was reaching for Kenzie to come back. Kenzie was supposed to stay with her. Kenzie was supposed to protect her. There were too many ghosts in this city, too many had followed them here and she could feel them watching her or watching Kenzie.

Had Kenzie really killed Leon?

Had Kenzie really slashed open Merry’s arm?

Had Kenzie really shattered every window in the motel?

Had Kenzie really left her?

Was she, Teagan, dying?

... )
Joss had been almost asleep, his eyes closed, leaning against Leon as the sounds from the TV wound themselves into his half-dreams. Leon too had started to drift off, and Ellie and Geordie had gone to bed over an hour ago. Merry was the only one still properly awake, still feeling like she had to watch over them all, still too worried to relax, and she was curled on an armchair sipping peppermint tea, when all the lights went out.

Joss heard Teagan’s scream through his half asleep state, and jolted himself awake. Disorientation spun him for a moment till he saw Leon, recognised him even in the dark. Leon was there. Leon he thought, looking at his brother in the glow from the streetlights outside. Leon is here.

“JOSS!” Kenzie screamed from outside, her voice hoarse. “JOSS I NEED YOU!”

Too much, too close )
Merry hadn’t explained the full situation to Leon when she rang him – she tried but he’d stopped her. “Look,” he said. “Just tell me where you are, and I’ll be there.”

It took Merry by surprise how reassured she was by this; Leon’s voice, promising to come and help her with Joss. Or it might have just been that he was the most adult person she’d spoken to in a long time. (Matt didn’t count as an adult, Merry had worked that out a long time ago. He was older, sure, and he had an important skill, but he wasn’t adult. She could rely on him to get the job done but she couldn't rely on him. Merry missed her dad horribly.)

Leon didn’t feel much like an adult as he was driving across the UK to find his missing brother. It had been eleven weeks since he’d last seen him. Eleven weeks was a long time. They hadn’t been apart for this long since Leon came back from Europe, that spring seven years ago.

... )
Merry was alone in their living room at Lillian Cottage when she called Joss. Geordie and Ellie had walked down the road to get Thai takeaway for dinner. It was late for dinner, almost nine, but they'd gone to see an evening film and had only arrived back at half past eight.

She'd been a bit off today. It had been Geordie's idea to sit her in front of a screen for two hours and distract her - or rather, stop her snapping at them for a while. She didn't mean to snap, but they were getting nowhere.

... )
Merry spent the first week of the summer holidays feeling like she was going mad with frustration. She’d moved back home for the break, though she spent most of her time at Geordie’s house, or at Ellie’s, where it was quieter.

How did you track down a boy, a girl and a ghost, when they didn’t want to be found?

... )

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Darker London

October 2014

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