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Thread: *NEW* Proof of Life (a continuation of Imitation of Life)

  1. #1
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    Oct 2000
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    Post *NEW* Proof of Life (a continuation of Imitation of Life)

    Hi guys.


    Trying a little something different here (thanks to one of my lovely reviewers over at FF.net).


    This a continuation of Imitation of Life, only this is Theresa's story (and Fox's story and Ethan and Gwen, etc.). There'll be mentions of Sheridan and Luis and Marty and the others that starred in IOL, but like IOL made mention of Theresa, Fox, and the rest but didn't focus on them, POL (lol) will focus more on Theresa and the people moving in her circle.


    There'll be a little Theresa/Fox, Theresa/Ethan, Gwen/Ethan, Gwen/Fox, Kay/Fox (as alluded to at the end of IOL), any and all combinations of the characters. However, the story is told mostly in Fox and Theresa's points of view, with the occasional exception.


    I've never written a fic starring Fox so heavily so your feedback is much appreciated. That little Game of Love ficlet doesn't count because I started this fic first. ; )








    ~*~







    Title: Proof of Life
    Rating:PG (?) for this chapter
    Warnings: character death
    Characters/Pairings: Alistair, Fox, Gwen, Little Ethan, Jane, Theresa, mentions of Ethan
    Summary: The devil wore many disguises.















    ~1~





    The devil wore many disguises.

    Fox knew this because he saw sin and hellfire and willful unrepentance every day when he looked into his grandfather’s cold, calculating eyes.

    Alistair Crane was powerful, larger than life, indestructible.

    Until he wasn’t, Fox mused with a wry smile, watching as those cold eyes morphed into something more human, and the hands that had wrought so much pain and ruin in their lifetime drew back feebly, clutching at the black hole where a heart was supposed to be.

    “You…” Alistair’s rasping gasp was weak, pitiful, laden with accusation. Spittle flew from his lips as he collapsed into the chair at his back, and his fingers fumbled futilely for the pills that were supposed to be there but weren’t. “Where?”

    Fox withdrew an amber bottle from his pocket and tossed it into the air, handily catching it and lifting it up to eye-level. “Nitroglycerin,” he read. Taking in his grandfather’s graying complexion and the sweat beaded on his forehead as he struggled for breath, he pretended to be concerned. “You need this, don’t you, Grandfather?” Walking closer to the imposing wooden desk (Alistair Crane’s throne), he set the bottle down, just out of the old man’s reach. “Or you’ll die.” Perching his long frame on the edge of the desk, Fox regarded the old man with mock sympathy. “Your chest hurts, does it? What does it feel like, Grandfather? Is it a stabbing pain, or is it more of a crushing feeling? I’m curious. They say these things run in the family.”

    Alistair stared back at him with hatred (and something akin to pride?) in his eyes. “You,” the word escaped on a thin breath but was undeniable. “Like me.” His hands struck out like uncoordinated claws.

    Fox raised a brow when his grandfather managed to knock the bottle of pills over, and he watched the old man chase the elusive bottle across the gleaming surface of the desk. “Maybe so,” Fox admitted, standing up and moving to look out the window, where Little Ethan and Jane played, Theresa’s sad, lonely figure watching from the shade of the gazebo. “But my motives come from a place you’ll never understand.” Leaving the window, he captured the bottle in his hand and offered it to his grandfather, just as the door to the study burst open.

    Gwen took in the scene before her with wide brown eyes. “I’m sorry,” she apologized. “I was just looking for Ethan.” Her eyes lingered on Fox’s face, searching, and she moved deeper into the recesses of the dark room, finally looking down on Alistair’s ashen face, his hands twisting clumsily at the bottle of pills. “Here, let me help you."

    Alistair’s eyes gleamed triumphantly at Fox when Gwen took the bottle from him, easily twisting the cap off, and harsh, hard-fought-for breaths puffing from his lips, he held out a shaky hand.

    The pills scattered like candy across the floor at Alistair’s feet, and Fox shared a long look with Gwen.

    “If you see Ethan…”

    Fox nodded, and the door closed behind Gwen with a quiet click.

    The devil took his final breath.
































    ~*~










    Feedback is much appreciated.

    Thanks so much for reading!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
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    489

    Post Re: *NEW* Proof of Life (a continuation of Imitation of Life)

    Title: Proof of Life
    Rating: G, possibly PG
    Warnings: no warnings, other than the aforementioned character death
    Characters/Pairings: Theresa, Ivy, Katherine, Jane, Little Ethan, Ethan, mentions of Sheridan
    Summary: His voice grave, Ethan delivered the words that were both Theresa’s blessing and her curse, and she felt her legs give out beneath her as she fell to the bench below.





    ~2~




    Jane’s blond hair gleamed in the sunshine as she knelt beside Katherine, her small fingers longingly stroking the velvet petals of the roses they attended to.

    Her daughter smiled at something Katherine said to her, and Theresa waved back at them when Jane’s small hand flapped at her excitedly.

    “She reminds me so much of Ethan at that age.”

    Theresa’s dark eyes slid over to Ivy as she joined her in the gazebo, and she watched the woman she once fantasized her future mother-in-law gaze out into the distance. Theresa didn’t answer her, only waited for her to speak again.

    Little Ethan appeared, and Ivy’s words seemed to desert her as she stared into the young boy’s face.

    As easily as words on a page, Theresa read the older woman’s blue-green eyes. She saw it too, the ghost of a resemblance, the line of the jaw, the look out of Little Ethan’s inquisitive dark eyes. Her heart quickened with the knowledge that this, this want that Ethan be father to both of her children, not just Jane, wasn’t hers alone. Ivy shared her foolish dreams, and the chasm that Theresa’s youthful schemes had forged between them suddenly didn’t seem so insurmountable. Focusing all of her attention on Little Ethan, she lifted a hand to his smooth cheek, rubbed her thumb against a smudge of dirt she found there. “What is it, Sweetie? I thought you were having fun with your sister and Nana Katherine.”

    “I was,” Little Ethan shrugged. “I just wanted to see you. And give you this.”

    For the first time, Theresa noticed the flower twisting between her son’s restless fingers, a rose, pale and with just the barest hints of blush splashed across its petals. She took the flower from Little Ethan’s small hands. “For me? It’s beautiful.”

    “What a thoughtful boy you are,” Ivy murmured with a small smile on her lips.

    Little Ethan’s arms wound around Theresa’s neck, tight and loving, and Theresa wrapped her own arms around the little boy in return, the rose dangling from her fingertips. She kissed the child’s cheek and sent him off to play with his sister and his grandmother, a knot of emotion in her throat as she raised the flower to her nose, Ivy looking on.

    The two women locked eyes, and a thousand secret words whispered across the breeze between them before Ethan’s frantic voice shattered the quiet moment of understanding.

    “Mother! Theresa!”

    Katherine climbed to her feet, Jane at her side, and Little Ethan froze, staring, wide-eyed, at Ethan, pale and breathless before them.

    “Ethan,” Ivy demanded, Theresa slowly rising to her feet behind her, “Darling, tell us what’s wrong.”

    Katherine raised a thin hand to her heart, fearing the worst. “Something happened to Sheridan and the baby.”

    Theresa felt her heart seize with worry then, stutter and stop within its protective cage, only to resume beating when Ethan shook his head, his blue eyes seeking out her own. “Ethan,” she said slowly. “If it’s not Sheridan, then who?” Her heart started beating wildly in her chest before he even uttered the words.

    “It’s Alistair.” Ethan looked around at the children, innocent and worried, and his mother, the woman he’d long thought his grandmother, and the woman he couldn’t wipe clean from his heart no matter how hard he tried.

    Theresa felt the thorn of the rose digging into her tender flesh, but she welcomed the pain, welcomed the proof that this moment was real, wasn’t the beginning of her descent into madness after years of hoping and praying and plotting to escape her gilded prison.

    “Alistair,” Ivy harrumphed in dismissal. “I’m sick of him and his evil deeds.”

    Katherine even turned from them, shepherding the children back toward the garden and the abundance of fragrant blooms that awaited them, but Little Ethan hung back stubbornly and Jane went to her brother, slipping her hand into his, sensing as only a child can the gravity of the moment that stretched out before them while they waited for Ethan to speak again.

    His voice grave, Ethan delivered the words that were both Theresa’s blessing and her curse, and she felt her legs give out beneath her as she fell to the bench below.

    “The old man’s dead.”




































    Feedback is love!


    Thanks so much for reading!!!

  3. #3
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    Oct 2000
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    Post Re: *NEW* Proof of Life (a continuation of Imitation of Life)

    Title: Proof of Life
    Rating: PG
    Warning: adult themes, character death
    Pairing/Characters: Sam, Ethan/Gwen, Fox, Alistair, minor characters
    Summary (for chapter): A lot of people in this town have wanted Alistair Crane dead at one time or another.”





    ~3~




    Sam Bennett’s blue eyes bore into Gwen like truth-dissecting lasers as he asked her for the third time, “You were looking for Ethan and you came to the study, and you found Alistair? Did he say anything?”

    Blond hair spilled over Gwen’s shoulders as she shook her head, and her brown eyes briefly landed on Fox as he walked past, a crystal tumbler of brandy in hand. “I already told you. He didn’t say anything. He was already…” she paused, as if unable to utter the dreadful word then continued. “He was already gone. I found these at his feet.”

    Sam’s eyes narrowed as he read the label on the small bottle of pills, and latex snapped tight against his palms as he donned a pair of gloves before taking it from Gwen. As if to confirm Gwen’s statement, he glanced back at Alistair’s slumped body, to his feet, and Quinlan nodded as he picked up one of the still-scattered pills. “Did you call for help? Did you take any measures to save his life?”

    Gwen rubbed her hands across her face then curled them tightly around her sides. “I think…I screamed, and the next thing I knew, Ethan and Fox were there, and…” her voice faltered with the memory, of her husband shaking the old man’s shoulders, desperately trying to wake him, and Fox, picking up the phone to call 9-1-1. She sank back into Ethan’s arms when he come up behind her, tired with the strain of telling the same story, over and over and over again.

    “Fox was there too,” Ethan told his father. “It was already too late.”

    “Luis has already taken Fox’s statement,” Sam nodded. Briefly touching Gwen’s arm, he thanked her for her time. “If you think of anything else, anything you might have noticed that looked suspicious, you call me, okay? We’re finished here. The coroner’s just about ready to remove the body."

    “Suspicious?” Ethan questioned. “My,” the title Grandfather stalled in his throat and he corrected himself, “Alistair suffered a massive heart attack. Surely, you don’t think…”

    Sam’s smile was grim and his shrug noncommittal. “A lot of people in this town have wanted Alistair Crane dead at one time or another. Just covering all my bases.”

    Including everyone in this house, Gwen thought to herself. “Thanks, Chief Bennett. Sam.” Turning in Ethan’s arms when a quartet of uniformed men pushed through the crowded study with a stretcher, she gauged his reaction when she asked, “Do you really think it’s a possibility someone killed Alistair and staged it to look like a heart attack?”

    “If that’s the case, then half the town of Harmony should be considered a suspect,” Ethan answered her, gently steering her out of the way as the various law enforcement personnel and officials from the coroner’s office departed the study, Alistair’s body, covered by a thin white sheet, in tow. Brushing a kiss across her forehead, he squeezed her arms lightly. “Let’s get out of here, okay?”

    Nodding her head against his lips, Gwen unfolded her arms and slid her hand in his, letting him lead her where he would.

    Ethan killed the lights, then closed and locked the door behind them.

    Gwen knew, though, secrets heeded not lock and key.









    Feedback is love!!!

    Thanks so much for reading!!!

  4. #4
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    Oct 2000
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    Post Re: *NEW* Proof of Life (a continuation of Imitation of Life)

    Title: Proof of Life
    Rating: PG, if that
    Warning: adult themes, character death
    Pairing/Characters: Theresa, mentions of Little Ethan and Marty, Luis/Sheridan, Fox
    Summary (for chapter): "Oh my God, Fox. What have you done?"










    ~4~








    Dried-eyed and numb, Theresa sat stiffly between her concerned older brother and Sheridan, still clutching Little Ethan's rose between her hands.

    Luis looked up when Fox's shadow fell over them, and Sheridan's hand left Theresa's thigh to help push her heavily pregnant body to a standing position to match that of her nephew.

    Fox wrapped one arm around his aunt Sheridan's back, his lips fluttering the soft blond hair at her temple as he murmured his hello, and allowed her hug, marveling at the tears that reddened her blue eyes, tears, in his opinion, his grandfather had never deserved. His brown eyes drifted to her distended belly when he felt the unmistakable stirring of life between them, and a slight smile quirked at the corners of his mouth. "Nice to see you, too, Little Sister," he greeted slyly, using Marty's nickname for his unborn sibling.

    Sheridan's arm slid from his waist, and she moaned in appreciation when Fox started absently kneading the knot of muscles in her lower back that had given her so much trouble in the latter stages of her pregnancy. "You and Marty," she breathed against Fox's shoulder, "still so sure this baby is a girl."

    "I know a thing or two about beautiful women," Fox boasted, trying to prolong the moment of levity as long as he could, chase away the deep emptiness of Theresa's normally luminous eyes. He suppressed a sigh when Theresa gave no indication she had heard him and left Sheridan's side to crouch down before Theresa.

    Luis gave him a measuring look before quietly standing up and taking Sheridan by the hand, leading her from the room under the guise of checking on the children.

    When it was only the two of them, Fox gently took the rose from Theresa's hands, replacing it with the tumbler of brandy. "Drink this," he encouraged when she stared blankly at the glass cradled in her hands.

    Theresa took a large swallow, coughing at the burn as the liquid slid down her throat, and she relinquished the tumbler to Fox when he held his hand out. She sucked in a deep breath, more in surprise than in pain, when his long fingers encircled her wrist, and he studied the small wounds inflicted by the rose's thorns, the smears of blood on her fingertips. Self-consciously, she curled her fingers into a fist and pressed it against her side, withdrawing from his touch. "It's nothing," she reassured him. "They don't hurt. It's not like I'm…"

    They were the first words she'd spoken since the discovery of her husband's demise, and Fox was relieved to see that familiar spark flare back to life in her intelligent dark eyes as the realization seem to finally sink in. Fox lifted a hand to her cheek, tucked a heavy strand of hair behind her ear. "He's gone. He's not going to hurt you or your family anymore."

    That was all it took for the dam of emotion to show the first signs of weakness. Moisture pooled in Theresa's eyes, and as the first tear spilled over, she whispered, "I'm finally free." She reached again for Little Ethan's rose, curled her fingers around it, and stared into his eyes in guarded wonder, and what she read there made her pull back and draw in a sharp, astonished breath.

    "You're finally free," Fox's echoed words held weight and meaning, and he knew Theresa had read between the lines when her fingertips brushed against his own, and her lips trembled.

    "Oh my God, Fox. What have you done?"
































    Feedback is love!

    Thanks so much for reading!!!

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