Since the mission in Russia, Tamm hadn't really been the same. He had borne witness to the slaughter of far too many people, some of them innocent and some of them not. Some of them, people he might have considered friends, or at least acquaintances. They had done good there, deep in the wilds of Russia, but it had come at a hefty price. And part of that was Tamm's sanity.

Bright Red )
Since the mission in Russia, Tamm hadn't really been the same. He had borne witness to the slaughter of far too many people, some of them innocent and some of them not. Some of them, people he might have considered friends, or at least acquaintances. They had done good there, deep in the wilds of Russia, but it had come at a hefty price. And part of that was Tamm's sanity.

Bright Red )
Even as it was happening, Peter's funeral seemed so beyond surreal. The chapel at the hospital was full fit to burst with people who had come to mourn the loss of Peter Kemp. Stuart was officiating and despite his years in the clergy, he found that it was impossible to come up with the right words to say. So instead he borrowed Peter's words, opting to read passages from Peter's journals about the importance of love and family, artfully leaving out all mentions of angels or demons or anything else supernatural. People were allowed to say a few words, and those that were able to got up and shared memories or feelings or thoughts. Deirdre went on for nearly 20 minutes because that's what Deirdre did. No one minded. They were focused on Peter, resting in front of them like he was asleep. He was dressed in the suit he'd been married in to cover up his scars, and his hands were folded lightly across his chest. His first journal rested beneath them. It seemed only fitting that he be interred with it.

After the service, everyone relocated to the mausoleum that Aly had purchased. It was a large stone building with ornate iron work and a large chandelier hanging from the ceiling. And it was theirs now, it belonged to the family. Aly had placed some vases in the corners that had belonged to Louise. Flowers were placed in them, and Peter rested in the middle so people could see him one last time before he was lifted up and slid into his place in the top row. It was very informal, because that's how Peter would have liked it. Aly was hanging back, not yet ready to say goodbye. She let other people see him first. She knew how very important her husband was to...well...everyone. Instead of crowding, she leaned against the outside of the mausoleum, holding baby Thomas who was strangely still, and she cried softly as she stared up at the cloudy sky.
Even as it was happening, Peter's funeral seemed so beyond surreal. The chapel at the hospital was full fit to burst with people who had come to mourn the loss of Peter Kemp. Stuart was officiating and despite his years in the clergy, he found that it was impossible to come up with the right words to say. So instead he borrowed Peter's words, opting to read passages from Peter's journals about the importance of love and family, artfully leaving out all mentions of angels or demons or anything else supernatural. People were allowed to say a few words, and those that were able to got up and shared memories or feelings or thoughts. Deirdre went on for nearly 20 minutes because that's what Deirdre did. No one minded. They were focused on Peter, resting in front of them like he was asleep. He was dressed in the suit he'd been married in to cover up his scars, and his hands were folded lightly across his chest. His first journal rested beneath them. It seemed only fitting that he be interred with it.

After the service, everyone relocated to the mausoleum that Aly had purchased. It was a large stone building with ornate iron work and a large chandelier hanging from the ceiling. And it was theirs now, it belonged to the family. Aly had placed some vases in the corners that had belonged to Louise. Flowers were placed in them, and Peter rested in the middle so people could see him one last time before he was lifted up and slid into his place in the top row. It was very informal, because that's how Peter would have liked it. Aly was hanging back, not yet ready to say goodbye. She let other people see him first. She knew how very important her husband was to...well...everyone. Instead of crowding, she leaned against the outside of the mausoleum, holding baby Thomas who was strangely still, and she cried softly as she stared up at the cloudy sky.
Everyone had sat down to a lovely dinner after the wedding. Deirdre had taken her place up at the table with the rest of the wedding party. She'd listened through Thomas's Best Man toast, which was much the same as the speech he'd given Peter in the change room. She'd eaten the food she and Jacinta had so carefully prepared and then she'd snuck off somewhere with Pierre and Kait hot on her heels. Kat saw them go and she followed a few minutes later.

It was a surprise and no one had told Peter. Ethereal Facade had decided to play for his reception and with the dinner over, it was time. Everything had been set up beforehand and so the lights dimmed and the curtain fell and Deirdre grinned widely. She took hold of her mic and waited for Pierre to announce them. It was time for people to dance!
Everyone had sat down to a lovely dinner after the wedding. Deirdre had taken her place up at the table with the rest of the wedding party. She'd listened through Thomas's Best Man toast, which was much the same as the speech he'd given Peter in the change room. She'd eaten the food she and Jacinta had so carefully prepared and then she'd snuck off somewhere with Pierre and Kait hot on her heels. Kat saw them go and she followed a few minutes later.

It was a surprise and no one had told Peter. Ethereal Facade had decided to play for his reception and with the dinner over, it was time. Everything had been set up beforehand and so the lights dimmed and the curtain fell and Deirdre grinned widely. She took hold of her mic and waited for Pierre to announce them. It was time for people to dance!
Everything was done, everything was ready save for the last minute dressing. Oh and Peter. He was busy hyperventilating in the corner as he tried not to think about the next few hours. He'd been the celebrant at weddings before. Countless weddings. He'd never been a groom. He never thought he'd ever be a groom. Marriage he could do. A wedding terrified him and he couldn't explain why.

Thomas bounced into the dressing room with a gigantic grin on his face and he gave all the men manly punches in their arms and pats on their backs as he made his way to Peter. He embraced his best friend, crushing the orange blossom in his lapel. "Oh fuck! I smooshed your tiny posy."

Getting Ready )
Everything was done, everything was ready save for the last minute dressing. Oh and Peter. He was busy hyperventilating in the corner as he tried not to think about the next few hours. He'd been the celebrant at weddings before. Countless weddings. He'd never been a groom. He never thought he'd ever be a groom. Marriage he could do. A wedding terrified him and he couldn't explain why.

Thomas bounced into the dressing room with a gigantic grin on his face and he gave all the men manly punches in their arms and pats on their backs as he made his way to Peter. He embraced his best friend, crushing the orange blossom in his lapel. "Oh fuck! I smooshed your tiny posy."

Getting Ready )
It was now almost 9 o'clock and Peter Kemp was currently watching a very nice looking lady dance around in what looked like half a doily. If it was possible for his eyebrows to raise any higher, they would have, but that would have made him superhuman. They'd spent the day doing every male thing on the face of the planet it seemed. Bowling, laser tag, go-carting...Peter didn't even understand the point of go-carts. He had a car and he didn't enjoy driving that. Why would he want to drive a smaller one around a track? Thomas had spent most of the time trying to run him off the road which was what he was afraid of anyway... For lasertag he'd spent most of the time with his gun inactive because every single time it came back, someone else shot him and it shut down again. Bowling was okay. But he hated renting shoes...

And now he was at a strip club. The Blue Monday strip club to be exact. It was as if he'd never stopped being a priest the way he acted, sitting there in his chair, watching the women dance with a politely confused look on his face. Thomas, however, was having the time of his life. He kept hooting and stealing money from Peter so he could place it in the dancer's cosutmes. Peter wondered how the doilies held so many notes. He also wondered how much longer he'd have to wait here before he could see Aly again.
It was now almost 9 o'clock and Peter Kemp was currently watching a very nice looking lady dance around in what looked like half a doily. If it was possible for his eyebrows to raise any higher, they would have, but that would have made him superhuman. They'd spent the day doing every male thing on the face of the planet it seemed. Bowling, laser tag, go-carting...Peter didn't even understand the point of go-carts. He had a car and he didn't enjoy driving that. Why would he want to drive a smaller one around a track? Thomas had spent most of the time trying to run him off the road which was what he was afraid of anyway... For lasertag he'd spent most of the time with his gun inactive because every single time it came back, someone else shot him and it shut down again. Bowling was okay. But he hated renting shoes...

And now he was at a strip club. The Blue Monday strip club to be exact. It was as if he'd never stopped being a priest the way he acted, sitting there in his chair, watching the women dance with a politely confused look on his face. Thomas, however, was having the time of his life. He kept hooting and stealing money from Peter so he could place it in the dancer's cosutmes. Peter wondered how the doilies held so many notes. He also wondered how much longer he'd have to wait here before he could see Aly again.
It was as much the desire for sex as the desire to get out of her aunt's house that sent to to Victoria Lane and Pierre's bed. She wouldn't admit even to herself how much she enjoyed his presence. It even seemed like the sex was better with him than with other guys, and she couldn't quite work out why. All the same technicalities were going on and yet... but it was also scarier. The way he looked into her eyes during terrified her and made everything in her want to run.

But when they were done she didn't run. She slept. Not in his arms. Never in his arms. Delilah wasn't that type of girl. She wasn't the huggable lover to keep close as you dozed off. She had been once, but not now. Not anymore.

She knew it was a dream almost as soon as she fell into it. Sometimes it was just so clear. She'd never seen the way it had happened in real life, but she'd seen it a million times and a million differant ways when she'd closed her eyes. Screech of tires, screams of the dying, smash of glass. In her dreams she was always there, always watching from the sidelines and never able to do anything to change it. She screamed and yelled and shook and cried but nothing else.

more )
It was as much the desire for sex as the desire to get out of her aunt's house that sent to to Victoria Lane and Pierre's bed. She wouldn't admit even to herself how much she enjoyed his presence. It even seemed like the sex was better with him than with other guys, and she couldn't quite work out why. All the same technicalities were going on and yet... but it was also scarier. The way he looked into her eyes during terrified her and made everything in her want to run.

But when they were done she didn't run. She slept. Not in his arms. Never in his arms. Delilah wasn't that type of girl. She wasn't the huggable lover to keep close as you dozed off. She had been once, but not now. Not anymore.

She knew it was a dream almost as soon as she fell into it. Sometimes it was just so clear. She'd never seen the way it had happened in real life, but she'd seen it a million times and a million differant ways when she'd closed her eyes. Screech of tires, screams of the dying, smash of glass. In her dreams she was always there, always watching from the sidelines and never able to do anything to change it. She screamed and yelled and shook and cried but nothing else.

more )
Renee felt like her entire soul was ready to snap in half by the time she was home. Her cheeks were stained with make-up, tears and Tasha's blood. She'd done her best to wipe it all off, but had really only succeeded in smearing her make-up even more. She just wanted to crawl into a hole and hibernate forever.

explosion )
Renee felt like her entire soul was ready to snap in half by the time she was home. Her cheeks were stained with make-up, tears and Tasha's blood. She'd done her best to wipe it all off, but had really only succeeded in smearing her make-up even more. She just wanted to crawl into a hole and hibernate forever.

explosion )
It wasn't unusual for Renee to wake up to find Deirdre already gone. Sometimes Deirdre would come back to snuggle with her, sometimes she would be making breakfast or just lounging around. So an empty bed was nothing particularly worrisome to wake up to. It was still relatively early, but Renee didn't want to be alone, so she pulled on her new Lacuna Coil T-shirt she'd bought at download, along with the knickers that she'd managed to get James Hetfield to sign, and padded downstairs to find Deirdre.

Deirdre, however, was nowhere to be found, and the first stirrings of worry began to claw at Renee. It was silly, of course, she knew that. She was probably out buying supplies for breakfast, or even just taking Arco for a walk. Or not... the puppy barrelled into her from the library and bounced around her feet. Renee smiled and poured some breakfast into his bowl before heading back upstairs. Deirdre would be home soon. No demon had come to kidnap her and torture her. Renee wouldn't still be breathing if that had happened.

Quietly, she knocked on Pierre's door and let herself in, finding him cuddled up to Evey. "Mon ami," she said quietly. "Can I come in too?"

Pierre looked up sleepily and pulled back the covers for Renee. "Of course," he smiled, and wrapped an arm around her as she climbed in with them. "Is everything okay?"

"Deirdre's gone."

"Gone? Gone out?"

Renee nodded.

"I'm sure she'll be back soon," Pierre assured her, giving her a comforting squeeze.

Renee smiled her thanks, and leaned over Pierre to nuzzle Evey. "Morning, gorgeous."

Evanna gave Renee a sleepy smile. "Good morning, Reneegoddess! Oh dear, what ungodly hour is it?!"

Renee glanced at the clock on the other side of Pierre's bed. "Eight..." she smiled apologetically. "But I was lonely..."

She knew Evey wasn't upset because, well, she was Evey, but she still felt a little bad for waking them at said ungodly hour.

Evey opened her arms wide. "Then join us at eight, Reneegoddess. And be not lonely. Ooh I am still poetic at 8 am. Someone write this down, it must be remembered!"

Renee grinned and crawled over Pierre to cuddle Evey. "You're always memorable," she smiled, and curled up between the two of them. She rested her head on Evey's shoulder and sighed happily.

"Evey's a good pillow..." she yawned, snuggling closer while Pierre wrapped his arms around the both of them, chuckling quietly at the sleepy Renee.

"I AM a good pillow! Lots of practise. Where's Desi? I want to cuddle that gangly thing too."

Deirdre was in fact walking through the front door as Evey asked. She bounded up the stairs and checked but her room was empty. Moving across the hall, she knocked and then opened Pierre's door. "Hello? Sleepyheads? Hi there!" She smiled and the cuddling mass on Pierre's bed.

"Deirdre," Renee smiled. She crawled out from under the covers and leaned just far enough out of bed to pull Deirdre down with them, clinging to her tightly. "Where were you, baby?" she asked into her hair, trying to keep her voice light so that Deirdre didn't feel bad for making her worry. It wasn't Deirdre's fault, after all. It was just... life.

Deirdre kissed Renee and then hugged Pierre and Evey. "I took a walk in the park. Needed to...clear my mind a little. Too many thoughts. Sorry, honey."

"That's okay," Renee smiled, and kissed Deirdre again. "Mind-clearing is good."

Pierre sat up a little, snuggling closer to Evey once more now that Renee had relinquished her spot between them to cling to Deirdre. "Were you looking for us, or just your lover girl?" he asked with a smile.

Deirdre grinned. "I went in to cuddle her til she woke up but here you all are! So I guess I was looking for all of you. I didn't think you'd be awake yet. But here you are." Deirdre wasn't sure that what had happened was early morning talk really, so she waited to see if someone would bring it up. "And it's lovely to see you all."

Deirdre was rambling, a sure sign that something was on her mind. Pierre wasn't sure exactly why she was avoiding the issue, but it was probably best to get it out, whatever it was.

Gently, he leaned forward to stroke Deirdre's arm. "Deirdre, was there something you wanted to talk to us about? Anything or, you know... everything?" Pierre knew that Deirdre would understand which everything he was referring to.

Deirdre bit her lip. "Uhm...if you really want to hear it at 8 am. Why...why don't you just ask me something. You know. Start me off. Because I don't know where to begin."

"Did she hurt you?" Renee asked quietly. It was the most painful question, so she wanted to get it out of the way now. Her eyes were bright with tears that were ready to fall at the thought of some crazed demon doing terrible things to her girlfriend.

Deirdre shook her head. "Not really. I...I didn't really do much. I just kind of...ooh well I bit her on the nose and then she headbutted me. Mostly she hurt Peter when I was there." Deirdre closed her eyes but that just made the visuals worse. "Augh. Uhm...Claire...Claire took care of most of it."

Renee made a sympathetic face and reached up to stroke Deirdre's forehead. "My poor brave love..." she sighed, and tried to snuggle even closer, despite the fact that it wasn't really physically possible.

"When you say Claire took care of it," Pierre said, leaning forward. "Does that mean we are sure Svetlana won't be coming back?"

Before Deirdre could answer, Evanna raised her hand and said, "Okay, Hi....What?!"

Dierdre looked at Evey and smiled. She moved past her to lean against the wall. "I'm sorry, Evey. I forgot you don't know the...and Renee doesn't...okay. Svetlana was the first demon that Peter encountered. She killed his best friend and I guess she came back to kill him too but decided to get him through his kids instead. It's disgusting and terrible, but there it is. And...Claire said she won't be coming back and I really really believe her."

Renee's face paled as Deirdre gave a condensed history of Peter and Svetlana. Pierre, however, still appeared confused.

"But how is that possible? I didn't think anything could, you know... I mean, she can't be dead, right?" As much as he really, really wanted to believe that she was, it went against everything that Pierre thought he knew about demons and their immortality...

"I think it's because...it was Claire that did it. Because of what she is. They're supposedly weaker so I guess it's a survival thing. Though she wasn't...Claire wasn't...she was incredible."

Pierre nodded in understanding. So an angel could destroy a demon. He didn't need to ask about the circumstances of death. It was enough to know that she was gone.

"Is there anything you need to tell us about it?" he asked Deirdre, taking her hand. She had been confronted with her own potential mortality once more, and experienced an extremely dangerous and traumatic situation. He wanted to be there to help, if there was anything that he could possibly do.

"I don't know. I just hated seeing him like that. And the demon, she was off the wall crazy. She kept saying that the kids were her kids and she made Peter kiss her. Eugh. He was in a...noose thing. God." Deirdre took a deep breath. "I'm not being very coherent. See this is why you're supposed to ask the specific questions." Deirdre gave him a weak smile.

Pierre shuddered at the thought of what Svetlana had done to Peter. That she had touched and tortured such a good, noble man... it was far beyond disgusting. The children, though... as painful as it would be, Pierre had to know.

"Lydia and Anna," he asked quietly. "How bad was it?"

Deirdre made a disgusted face. "You...are you sure you want to hear it?" Evanna was looking terrified, but she nodded and if Evanna was willing... "Okay. Uh...well all I saw was Lydia chained up and Anna was tied in one of those...you know those...things...those things from uhm...OH Iron Maiden. She was tied in to that. And I think it was so Peter would do what she told him to. But Anna's feet were all burned and Lydia had a cut on her stomach...Claire fixed it though. She fixed everything. She fixed Peter's neck. When I walked in there, the demon...she hung him. She pulled him up to the rafters by that fucking noose and let him dangle." Deirdre put her face in her hands and groaned.

Renee sat up and pulled Deirdre close, rocking her slowly, stroking her hair. "It's okay, mon amour," she whispered. "It's over now. It's okay..."

It tore Pierre's heart to shreds to hear what Svetlana had done. But now he knew what sort of memories the family would be up against as they tried to help the girls heal. Pierre had to know the kind of trauma they had been through if he was to be of any help. He would be a friend to them, talk to them. He didn't know what else he could do, but Peter would let him know, he was sure.

For now, he reached out and stroked Deirdre's back, doing his best to show his support, though he knew that Renee was the one she really needed right now.

Deirdre looked up at them as Evanna joined in the stroking. "It is over now. He just looked so scared and helpless and...it was terrifying. And...and I found them first. Before Claire was there. And she did that to Peter to distract me. And then she got ahold of him and...and she said that she'd erm...rip his skin off piece by piece if I didn't leave so I knew I needed help. And I left. God...I had to wait for Claire and it was the worst...however long...in my life because I knew they were down there the whole time...suffering and I couldn't do anything about it."

"Oh Deirdre," Renee soothed. "You did the right thing. You couldn't have saved them all alone. Your decision saved them. Without you, Claire couldn't have done anything."

She held tight to Deirdre, wishing she could just comfort the girl forever. "You did everything right, baby. Nothing could have saved them a second sooner. You ended their suffering together, and they'll be happy now. They're safe because of you."

As much as Renee had hated that Deirdre had gone off on her own to rescue Peter and the girls, she loved her all the more for it. She was brave and selfless, and the most amazing person she had ever met. She had fought against everything that could have turned her into another Svetlana, and instead managed to be... Deirdre. Beautiful, wonderful Deirdre.

Deirdre smiled. "I hit her with a tree limb! In the face! Three times! And the biting. I did like that. But then Claire did everything else. I was just there to distract Svetlana, really. I couldn't have ended it, so I took the kids outside. She was...she made the whole place shake she was so mad. Claire I mean. Svetlana didn't really know what she could do, which was probably for the best. I wish I could have seen how it ended, but the girls were more important. They...were so thirsty and I had to give them these really dry granola bars to eat."

Renee smiled a little as Deirdre began to sound more like herself, even if it was talking excitedly about beating another demon with a tree limb. "Well, it sounds like this Svetlana deserved every last bit of it. Those poor children." She shook her head, then leaned down to kiss Deirdre.

"You're amazing, dear. Even in a situation like that, you managed to be motherly and take care of people. You're the most wonderfully loving person I've ever known."

"And I'm going to be on the telly!" Deirdre said. Enough of this. She didn't want them to sing her praises because she didn't feel like she'd DONE anything. It was Claire. It was all Claire, all she'd done was distract. And call Peter a stubborn son of a bitch. Because he SO was.

"I miss them. Claire and Peter and the girls. But I'm glad they went. It's better for them to be away."

Pierre nodded. "Yes, it will be much better for Peter to start a new life with his family. I'm very happy for him. But I will miss him, too. And I am sorry that I did not get to know Claire. But I'm sure they will visit, or we will visit them, when things are better and more stable. It is not the end of anything, and I think soon everybody will be much happier."

Happier...

"I have to tell you something. And you'll probably flip out but don't because it's okay. I...er...I saw my dad today."

Renee stiffened, but didn't let go of Deirdre. She clung a little tighter, though. Pierre shifted uncomfortably, but said nothing, waiting for Deirdre to continue.

"What happened?" Renee asked quietly.

Evanna did not look pleased. He was not fond of her Uncle Liam, but she would hear Deirdre out.

"He was in the park. He was the one who had been calling and hanging up. He looked...so tired and unstable. And he asked for my help. And the only reason I'll help him is that Liam Gallagher would never pretend to ask for help. That's weak. If he's asking, it's real. I can try. And if it doesn't work, at least I know where he is so I can instruct the police or have him put in an institution with very strict instructions..."

Pierre leaned back, his expression thoughtful. This was new and strange. He didn't trust this entirely, but Deirdre knew Liam much better than he did. That didn't mean he had to like it, though. And if he was the one making those phonecalls, he probably wasn't the one leaving the messages in Tasha's journal. But then, those had stopped, and nothing had come of them. They probably weren't anything worth worrying about anymore. Liam, on the other hand, was real and immediate.

Renee's expression was uncomfortable at best. This seemed like going into the lion's den once more, the last thing she wanted Deirdre to do. And if Liam looked unstable... did that make him safer, as Deirdre seemed to think, or more dangerous than ever?

"Baby," Renee spoke, her voice shaky, "Promise me you'll be careful?"

"Oh absolutely. I haven't forgotten what he did or what he is. You can bet I'll have triple 9 halfway dialled in my phone so all I have to do is push the send key. But I can't not help him. Not after what Peter did for me. I have to try anyway. He deserves a chance. everyone deserves a chance to try. It's up to him to decide whether it's going to work or not."

Renee ran her hand through her hair nervously, but she couldn't argue with Deirdre's logic. She just hoped that redemption was genetic, and that if Deirdre could achieve it, Liam could too.

"You know I'm going to worry about you anyway. Don't feel bad," she added quickly. "I just... I need you. I need you to be okay, and to come home to me every night and... just don't get hurt, and don't go away. Okay? I need my Deirdre."

She set her jaw, trying to be strong, trying not to lose her composure to the worry she could already feel building in her heart. Their world had already been shattered by one demon. Even if he couldn't kill her, Deirdre herself had just proven that one demon could do considerable harm to another...

"I'm not going anywhere, Love. I will come home every night. I need my Renee. And Peter can help, though it will be over the phone. And Robert. Peter said he's willing to help too, so...that'll be good. He'll be fine. He's not Peter but he's a good man. Fun when he's not brooding. I can do this. I can so do this. Heh."

Pierre smiled at Deirdre. "I'm sure you can. You know what the struggle is like now. I think you are ready to help someone else. You are very good at finding new ways to make me proud to know you!"

Deirdre blushed. "Oh stop. Come on, you lot. I'll make you breakfast. Who wants pancakes?"

"Ooh me please!" Evey said. She hoped that she didn't have to see Liam, but if Desi wanted to help him, that was her business. As long as she was careful. If he hurt her, Evey had a feeling Liam would have looooots of angry teenagers pounding on his door all wanting a piece.
It wasn't unusual for Renee to wake up to find Deirdre already gone. Sometimes Deirdre would come back to snuggle with her, sometimes she would be making breakfast or just lounging around. So an empty bed was nothing particularly worrisome to wake up to. It was still relatively early, but Renee didn't want to be alone, so she pulled on her new Lacuna Coil T-shirt she'd bought at download, along with the knickers that she'd managed to get James Hetfield to sign, and padded downstairs to find Deirdre.

Deirdre, however, was nowhere to be found, and the first stirrings of worry began to claw at Renee. It was silly, of course, she knew that. She was probably out buying supplies for breakfast, or even just taking Arco for a walk. Or not... the puppy barrelled into her from the library and bounced around her feet. Renee smiled and poured some breakfast into his bowl before heading back upstairs. Deirdre would be home soon. No demon had come to kidnap her and torture her. Renee wouldn't still be breathing if that had happened.

Quietly, she knocked on Pierre's door and let herself in, finding him cuddled up to Evey. "Mon ami," she said quietly. "Can I come in too?"

Pierre looked up sleepily and pulled back the covers for Renee. "Of course," he smiled, and wrapped an arm around her as she climbed in with them. "Is everything okay?"

"Deirdre's gone."

"Gone? Gone out?"

Renee nodded.

"I'm sure she'll be back soon," Pierre assured her, giving her a comforting squeeze.

Renee smiled her thanks, and leaned over Pierre to nuzzle Evey. "Morning, gorgeous."

Evanna gave Renee a sleepy smile. "Good morning, Reneegoddess! Oh dear, what ungodly hour is it?!"

Renee glanced at the clock on the other side of Pierre's bed. "Eight..." she smiled apologetically. "But I was lonely..."

She knew Evey wasn't upset because, well, she was Evey, but she still felt a little bad for waking them at said ungodly hour.

Evey opened her arms wide. "Then join us at eight, Reneegoddess. And be not lonely. Ooh I am still poetic at 8 am. Someone write this down, it must be remembered!"

Renee grinned and crawled over Pierre to cuddle Evey. "You're always memorable," she smiled, and curled up between the two of them. She rested her head on Evey's shoulder and sighed happily.

"Evey's a good pillow..." she yawned, snuggling closer while Pierre wrapped his arms around the both of them, chuckling quietly at the sleepy Renee.

"I AM a good pillow! Lots of practise. Where's Desi? I want to cuddle that gangly thing too."

Deirdre was in fact walking through the front door as Evey asked. She bounded up the stairs and checked but her room was empty. Moving across the hall, she knocked and then opened Pierre's door. "Hello? Sleepyheads? Hi there!" She smiled and the cuddling mass on Pierre's bed.

"Deirdre," Renee smiled. She crawled out from under the covers and leaned just far enough out of bed to pull Deirdre down with them, clinging to her tightly. "Where were you, baby?" she asked into her hair, trying to keep her voice light so that Deirdre didn't feel bad for making her worry. It wasn't Deirdre's fault, after all. It was just... life.

Deirdre kissed Renee and then hugged Pierre and Evey. "I took a walk in the park. Needed to...clear my mind a little. Too many thoughts. Sorry, honey."

"That's okay," Renee smiled, and kissed Deirdre again. "Mind-clearing is good."

Pierre sat up a little, snuggling closer to Evey once more now that Renee had relinquished her spot between them to cling to Deirdre. "Were you looking for us, or just your lover girl?" he asked with a smile.

Deirdre grinned. "I went in to cuddle her til she woke up but here you all are! So I guess I was looking for all of you. I didn't think you'd be awake yet. But here you are." Deirdre wasn't sure that what had happened was early morning talk really, so she waited to see if someone would bring it up. "And it's lovely to see you all."

Deirdre was rambling, a sure sign that something was on her mind. Pierre wasn't sure exactly why she was avoiding the issue, but it was probably best to get it out, whatever it was.

Gently, he leaned forward to stroke Deirdre's arm. "Deirdre, was there something you wanted to talk to us about? Anything or, you know... everything?" Pierre knew that Deirdre would understand which everything he was referring to.

Deirdre bit her lip. "Uhm...if you really want to hear it at 8 am. Why...why don't you just ask me something. You know. Start me off. Because I don't know where to begin."

"Did she hurt you?" Renee asked quietly. It was the most painful question, so she wanted to get it out of the way now. Her eyes were bright with tears that were ready to fall at the thought of some crazed demon doing terrible things to her girlfriend.

Deirdre shook her head. "Not really. I...I didn't really do much. I just kind of...ooh well I bit her on the nose and then she headbutted me. Mostly she hurt Peter when I was there." Deirdre closed her eyes but that just made the visuals worse. "Augh. Uhm...Claire...Claire took care of most of it."

Renee made a sympathetic face and reached up to stroke Deirdre's forehead. "My poor brave love..." she sighed, and tried to snuggle even closer, despite the fact that it wasn't really physically possible.

"When you say Claire took care of it," Pierre said, leaning forward. "Does that mean we are sure Svetlana won't be coming back?"

Before Deirdre could answer, Evanna raised her hand and said, "Okay, Hi....What?!"

Dierdre looked at Evey and smiled. She moved past her to lean against the wall. "I'm sorry, Evey. I forgot you don't know the...and Renee doesn't...okay. Svetlana was the first demon that Peter encountered. She killed his best friend and I guess she came back to kill him too but decided to get him through his kids instead. It's disgusting and terrible, but there it is. And...Claire said she won't be coming back and I really really believe her."

Renee's face paled as Deirdre gave a condensed history of Peter and Svetlana. Pierre, however, still appeared confused.

"But how is that possible? I didn't think anything could, you know... I mean, she can't be dead, right?" As much as he really, really wanted to believe that she was, it went against everything that Pierre thought he knew about demons and their immortality...

"I think it's because...it was Claire that did it. Because of what she is. They're supposedly weaker so I guess it's a survival thing. Though she wasn't...Claire wasn't...she was incredible."

Pierre nodded in understanding. So an angel could destroy a demon. He didn't need to ask about the circumstances of death. It was enough to know that she was gone.

"Is there anything you need to tell us about it?" he asked Deirdre, taking her hand. She had been confronted with her own potential mortality once more, and experienced an extremely dangerous and traumatic situation. He wanted to be there to help, if there was anything that he could possibly do.

"I don't know. I just hated seeing him like that. And the demon, she was off the wall crazy. She kept saying that the kids were her kids and she made Peter kiss her. Eugh. He was in a...noose thing. God." Deirdre took a deep breath. "I'm not being very coherent. See this is why you're supposed to ask the specific questions." Deirdre gave him a weak smile.

Pierre shuddered at the thought of what Svetlana had done to Peter. That she had touched and tortured such a good, noble man... it was far beyond disgusting. The children, though... as painful as it would be, Pierre had to know.

"Lydia and Anna," he asked quietly. "How bad was it?"

Deirdre made a disgusted face. "You...are you sure you want to hear it?" Evanna was looking terrified, but she nodded and if Evanna was willing... "Okay. Uh...well all I saw was Lydia chained up and Anna was tied in one of those...you know those...things...those things from uhm...OH Iron Maiden. She was tied in to that. And I think it was so Peter would do what she told him to. But Anna's feet were all burned and Lydia had a cut on her stomach...Claire fixed it though. She fixed everything. She fixed Peter's neck. When I walked in there, the demon...she hung him. She pulled him up to the rafters by that fucking noose and let him dangle." Deirdre put her face in her hands and groaned.

Renee sat up and pulled Deirdre close, rocking her slowly, stroking her hair. "It's okay, mon amour," she whispered. "It's over now. It's okay..."

It tore Pierre's heart to shreds to hear what Svetlana had done. But now he knew what sort of memories the family would be up against as they tried to help the girls heal. Pierre had to know the kind of trauma they had been through if he was to be of any help. He would be a friend to them, talk to them. He didn't know what else he could do, but Peter would let him know, he was sure.

For now, he reached out and stroked Deirdre's back, doing his best to show his support, though he knew that Renee was the one she really needed right now.

Deirdre looked up at them as Evanna joined in the stroking. "It is over now. He just looked so scared and helpless and...it was terrifying. And...and I found them first. Before Claire was there. And she did that to Peter to distract me. And then she got ahold of him and...and she said that she'd erm...rip his skin off piece by piece if I didn't leave so I knew I needed help. And I left. God...I had to wait for Claire and it was the worst...however long...in my life because I knew they were down there the whole time...suffering and I couldn't do anything about it."

"Oh Deirdre," Renee soothed. "You did the right thing. You couldn't have saved them all alone. Your decision saved them. Without you, Claire couldn't have done anything."

She held tight to Deirdre, wishing she could just comfort the girl forever. "You did everything right, baby. Nothing could have saved them a second sooner. You ended their suffering together, and they'll be happy now. They're safe because of you."

As much as Renee had hated that Deirdre had gone off on her own to rescue Peter and the girls, she loved her all the more for it. She was brave and selfless, and the most amazing person she had ever met. She had fought against everything that could have turned her into another Svetlana, and instead managed to be... Deirdre. Beautiful, wonderful Deirdre.

Deirdre smiled. "I hit her with a tree limb! In the face! Three times! And the biting. I did like that. But then Claire did everything else. I was just there to distract Svetlana, really. I couldn't have ended it, so I took the kids outside. She was...she made the whole place shake she was so mad. Claire I mean. Svetlana didn't really know what she could do, which was probably for the best. I wish I could have seen how it ended, but the girls were more important. They...were so thirsty and I had to give them these really dry granola bars to eat."

Renee smiled a little as Deirdre began to sound more like herself, even if it was talking excitedly about beating another demon with a tree limb. "Well, it sounds like this Svetlana deserved every last bit of it. Those poor children." She shook her head, then leaned down to kiss Deirdre.

"You're amazing, dear. Even in a situation like that, you managed to be motherly and take care of people. You're the most wonderfully loving person I've ever known."

"And I'm going to be on the telly!" Deirdre said. Enough of this. She didn't want them to sing her praises because she didn't feel like she'd DONE anything. It was Claire. It was all Claire, all she'd done was distract. And call Peter a stubborn son of a bitch. Because he SO was.

"I miss them. Claire and Peter and the girls. But I'm glad they went. It's better for them to be away."

Pierre nodded. "Yes, it will be much better for Peter to start a new life with his family. I'm very happy for him. But I will miss him, too. And I am sorry that I did not get to know Claire. But I'm sure they will visit, or we will visit them, when things are better and more stable. It is not the end of anything, and I think soon everybody will be much happier."

Happier...

"I have to tell you something. And you'll probably flip out but don't because it's okay. I...er...I saw my dad today."

Renee stiffened, but didn't let go of Deirdre. She clung a little tighter, though. Pierre shifted uncomfortably, but said nothing, waiting for Deirdre to continue.

"What happened?" Renee asked quietly.

Evanna did not look pleased. He was not fond of her Uncle Liam, but she would hear Deirdre out.

"He was in the park. He was the one who had been calling and hanging up. He looked...so tired and unstable. And he asked for my help. And the only reason I'll help him is that Liam Gallagher would never pretend to ask for help. That's weak. If he's asking, it's real. I can try. And if it doesn't work, at least I know where he is so I can instruct the police or have him put in an institution with very strict instructions..."

Pierre leaned back, his expression thoughtful. This was new and strange. He didn't trust this entirely, but Deirdre knew Liam much better than he did. That didn't mean he had to like it, though. And if he was the one making those phonecalls, he probably wasn't the one leaving the messages in Tasha's journal. But then, those had stopped, and nothing had come of them. They probably weren't anything worth worrying about anymore. Liam, on the other hand, was real and immediate.

Renee's expression was uncomfortable at best. This seemed like going into the lion's den once more, the last thing she wanted Deirdre to do. And if Liam looked unstable... did that make him safer, as Deirdre seemed to think, or more dangerous than ever?

"Baby," Renee spoke, her voice shaky, "Promise me you'll be careful?"

"Oh absolutely. I haven't forgotten what he did or what he is. You can bet I'll have triple 9 halfway dialled in my phone so all I have to do is push the send key. But I can't not help him. Not after what Peter did for me. I have to try anyway. He deserves a chance. everyone deserves a chance to try. It's up to him to decide whether it's going to work or not."

Renee ran her hand through her hair nervously, but she couldn't argue with Deirdre's logic. She just hoped that redemption was genetic, and that if Deirdre could achieve it, Liam could too.

"You know I'm going to worry about you anyway. Don't feel bad," she added quickly. "I just... I need you. I need you to be okay, and to come home to me every night and... just don't get hurt, and don't go away. Okay? I need my Deirdre."

She set her jaw, trying to be strong, trying not to lose her composure to the worry she could already feel building in her heart. Their world had already been shattered by one demon. Even if he couldn't kill her, Deirdre herself had just proven that one demon could do considerable harm to another...

"I'm not going anywhere, Love. I will come home every night. I need my Renee. And Peter can help, though it will be over the phone. And Robert. Peter said he's willing to help too, so...that'll be good. He'll be fine. He's not Peter but he's a good man. Fun when he's not brooding. I can do this. I can so do this. Heh."

Pierre smiled at Deirdre. "I'm sure you can. You know what the struggle is like now. I think you are ready to help someone else. You are very good at finding new ways to make me proud to know you!"

Deirdre blushed. "Oh stop. Come on, you lot. I'll make you breakfast. Who wants pancakes?"

"Ooh me please!" Evey said. She hoped that she didn't have to see Liam, but if Desi wanted to help him, that was her business. As long as she was careful. If he hurt her, Evey had a feeling Liam would have looooots of angry teenagers pounding on his door all wanting a piece.
Yesterday's talk with Delilah had certainly been... enlightening. Although, to be honest, it wasn't really the talk so much as the kiss that hold told Renee what she needed to know about the situation.

Talking about Del )
Yesterday's talk with Delilah had certainly been... enlightening. Although, to be honest, it wasn't really the talk so much as the kiss that hold told Renee what she needed to know about the situation.

Talking about Del )

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Darker London

October 2014

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