❯ Fix It – One-Shot
RATING: PG-13. Gen, though there are some fairly canonical m/m thoughts in one section.
SPOILERS: For much of the series.
SUMMARY: When Frey returns home, it’s not all bad.
ARCHIVAL/DISTRIBUTION: Anywhere, as long as you ask me first.
FEEDBACK: can be sent to Viridian5@aol.com.
DISCLAIMERS: All things Alice 19th belong to Yû Watase/Shogakukan, Inc. and VIZ, LLC. No infringement intended.
NOTES: At the end of the series, all of our neo-masters are cheerfully going their separate ways, with Frey returning home alone to deal with the brutally killed bodies of all the people he cared about. But don’t mind about Frey, folks! He’ll be just fine taking care of those corpses and recruiting, alone, for more cannon fodder! Despite having been a major character since volume 2, training Alice and Kyō in using the Lotis words and acting as a third in their triangle, Frey gets swept offstage like a minor character so the lead girl and guy can have their happy ending. Obviously, it didn’t go over well for me. *g*
I wrote this many years ago but became discouraged. After some rewriting, I’m putting it out.
Frey smiled a little when the sign turned on telling the passengers to buckle their seatbelts in for the descent. Finally. He’d spent the whole trip thinking in circles about what he would do when he returned to his home sanctuary.
He doubted he could make poor Terje’s suicide look like anything other than what it was, but the other deaths had been murders…. Frey had considered somehow taking care of the bodies himself and not reporting the mass slaughter to the authorities, but too many had died and their families should know they’d never be coming back. That left reporting it and somehow spinning the story of what happened into something simple he wouldn’t trip over while telling it, something regular people could believe, without talking about mystical powers, Lotis or Mara.
While he hoped that what he’d seen and interacted with had only been a Maram illusion and he would come home to find Eric and all the others waiting to congratulate him on helping defeat Darva, he couldn’t let himself get too lost in optimism because Darva didn’t flinch at slaughter. They probably really were all dead.
Frey hadn’t seen Eric’s pain or jealousy of him and never realized that Eric was slowly dying until he’d revealed everything and rubbed it in Frey’s face. Eric might have hid it, but how could Frey have missed it? He’d loved Eric and thought he had a close relationship with his mentor, his friend, his brother.
Eric had wanted Frey to despair with him, let the darkness in, and join with Darva. Then he’d died.
Frey had been feeling somewhat nauseous for a while now.
He had the alibi of being out of the country, in Japan, complete with airplane tickets, and didn’t need to tell the investigators that Eric had helped Darva kill everyone in the sanctuary mystically while in Japan. Bad enough to have to deal with what Eric had done, worse to be blamed for it himself.
Years ago, Eric had dealt with the law on Ida’s death, shielding Frey from everything, so much that Frey didn’t even know how he’d done it and wondered if Eric had lied to keep him out of the investigation so completely. Had Eric returned her to the lake to preserve the scene of her suicide for the investigation? Already broken from guilt, Frey hadn’t wanted to know. In some nightmares he still carried her cold, wet body to Eric, pleading for a Lotis word that could bring her back to life.
No Lotis word could bring back the dead. Death was final.
Frey’s head felt unbalanced without Ida’s pendant hanging from his right ear, but he’d let it go during the fight against Darva to save himself and the others. His guilt he couldn’t let go of so easily. She’d killed herself because of him.
To his surprise, once he found his luggage and walked out into the airport, two men holding a sign with his name on it waved to him. His surprise lessened a bit when he saw the Lotis bracelet they each wore. From the number of jewels on their bracelets, these two hadn’t mastered all that many words, which might be why they still lived. Darva had attacked sanctuaries around the world to take out the people who presented the most threat.
Breathing a little easier, he came over and said, “I’m Frey.”
“Hello. Lord Christopher sent us to help you,” the older one said in English as he put out his hand to shake. “I’m Ian, and this is David.”
Frey felt warmth and annoyance all at once. Switching to English, he asked, “He doesn’t think I could take care of this alone?”
“He thinks you could but doesn’t think anyone should have to. From what he told us of what’s waiting for you, I agree.”
Chris was a good kid and couldn’t know that Frey had been used to doing everything on his own before Eric had come into his life. But it would be a relief to have people help him with this. He could get back to being self-sufficient later.
Frey shook Ian’s hand, then David’s and said, “That’s kind of him, but he couldn’t include any pretty girls in the welcoming party?”
“He said that you’d say something like that.”
“You were waiting for me.” They sounded like they’d come from the Great Britain sanctuary. “When did Chris call you?”
“Before he left for the airport in Tokyo. He would have come here with you himself if he hadn’t felt the responsibility of personally bringing the lost Lotis word back to our sanctuary.”
“I get that.” Frey would have felt the same way if he’d known he had people to bring the lost word back to. He would, once he started rebuilding this chapter of sacred guides.
Sometimes Frey didn’t know if he should be recruiting new people to place in harm’s way, but he reasoned that Darva would use anyone whether they were a Lotis master or someone with the potential to become one. Better to be trained for an attack and use their power for good.
“We have a car ready.”
This saved Frey so much trouble. Having people with money looking out for you had its perks.
David kept staring at him in the car. Finally Frey asked, “Do I have something on my face?” The bandages weren’t that big.
David looked embarrassed and answered, “I’m sorry. It’s just that you faced and defeated Darva!” David was younger than him and still something of a kid, it seemed.
“Alice, one of the Japanese neo-masters, did the heavy lifting.”
“I hear,” Ian said as he drove, “that she wouldn’t have survived to reach that point without your guidance and help.” Ian had to be several years older than Frey but didn’t remind him of Eric.
Thank God. It would hurt too much if he did.
“Maybe. But she and Kyō didn’t need as much help as you’d think.” He wondered what they were doing right now and hoped they had all the happiness he’d missed with Ida. They deserved it.
“Jiva,” Ian said, and Frey’s aches disappeared.
“Thanks,” he said as he peeled the bandages off his face to find fresh, healed skin.
“I figured that you would have healed yourself if fighting Darva hadn’t taken so much out of you.”
“You figured correctly. Really, thanks.”
They quieted as the trip went on. Chris had probably given Ian and David some idea of what to expect, but could anyone really be prepared for it?
They approached the doors slowly. At least the bells weren’t ringing this time. Frey pushed the doors open once again and soon heard Ian choke and David retch from the stench. The slaughter hadn’t been a Maram illusion; the tumbled bodies and pools and spatters of blood looked exactly as he’d seen them before.
Eric’s corpse wasn’t here, since he’d taken Frey’s group of Lotis masters out of the sanctuary before dying.
Feeling numbed, Frey carefully walked through the main room, stepping carefully over bloody sprawled limbs when he had to, and opened the door to his own room. It looked wrecked, and Gala and Ander had been messily killed here.
Ian said, “We’ve taken down or put furniture and rugs over the more mystical trappings of the sanctuary. I’ll contact the authorities, and we’ll get you a hotel room in town. No one should be in the middle of this.”
“They were all my friends,” Frey said softly. Almost everyone he knew died early. He should be used to that by now.
He’d had four happy years here. A new record.
“I know. Come away, please.”
Ian was very good. To the authorities, he spun the sacred guides into some kind of international charitable foundation, a benign fellowship with chapters around the world. He explained that members of the British chapter had come to pick up Frey, just returned from meeting with a Japanese contingent, and stay with their Northern European brethren only to find… this when they opened the doors. David looking so green and horrified helped their cause.
Frey must have looked shocked himself, because the police treated him kindly and gently as they questioned him. Dazed and nearly numb, he kept to his story that he had been away in Japan and had no idea what had happened here. Yes, he had evidence to back that up. He even brought out his tickets.
It took forever but in the end they let him go but told him to stay where they could contact him. Ian took command of giving them the location and phone number of the hotel. Some paranoid part of Frey worried about Ian taking control of him and leading him around like this, but he wasn’t in the shape to do it himself and he had to trust someone. He couldn’t let what had happened with Eric poison him against all people. That way led to darkness and the Mara, and he hadn’t helped defeat Darva just to let it rise again inside himself.
In any case, he had friends, and one of them had sent Ian to him.
Ian and David had offered to stay with him to keep him company, but Frey told them he’d rather sleep. Not that he was actually getting much sleep now that he had the hotel suite to himself. Mostly he stared at the ceiling, toyed with the end of his braid, and tried not to think about anything. Failed at that, but he tried.
Maybe he should go be social with Ian and David after all. It had to be better than this. Besides, they’d probably be gone soon now that the first and worst parts of the mess had been addressed.
The sudden knock at the door was a bit of a relief. Even more so when he opened the door and saw who’d arrived. “Chris! What are you doing here?”
Chris came bearing a basket. “I had to come. I have tea, biscuits, and strawberry jam.”
He would not cry in front of the kid, especially not over jam, though he loved jam…. “You should be–”
“You should be letting me in.” The kid was small but accustomed to being obeyed.
“Yeah. Sorry. Where’s Stewart?” Chris’ butler or whatever followed him almost everywhere.
“Standing at the end of the hall. I told him I wanted to speak to you privately, but he’s protective. Good, it’s a nice suite.”
“Better than I’m used to.”
Chris set up napkins, plates, and teacups on the table. “Have you eaten at all?”
“Sit. Jam will make things better.”
“It always does. Shouldn’t you be in England handing over the lost word?”
“I gave them the word. Now I’m here with a friend. I can stay for a little while, maybe a few days.”
Frey sat and accepted a plate and butter knife. “I’m no one special.”
“You are, and nobody should have to go through this alone anyway. Ian will stay here to help you rebuild the sanctuary too.”
It’d be so nice to have someone around to help, especially since Frey didn’t know that much about rebuilding and running a sanctuary, but he still said, “He doesn’t have to. A lot of the sanctuaries were attacked. A lot of us went through hell, being attacked by Mara, friends, and family. Kyō and Alice in particular were attacked constantly, and Alice was almost raped too. Kyō’s best friend was murdered right in front of him. We were all nearly killed several times while fighting to save Mayura.” He didn’t deserve more than anyone else.
“Frey, we have the other guides in our sanctuaries, which weren’t wiped out as badly as yours because ours didn’t have a Maram master on the inside, and I have Stewart to help me too. Alice and Kyō have each other and Mayura. My leg was healed, and Alice and Kyō found the courage to admit their feelings to each other. You didn’t get any benefits and had to come home to this alone. Everyone else has people around they can rely on, while you don’t.”
Frey spread a huge dollop of jam on a hot biscuit the way other people would meditate. “I like Kyō and love Alice. He and Alice love each other, so I stepped aside to make sure the noble idiot didn’t sacrifice that to being nice to me.” They didn’t seem to need or want a third wheel, and Frey loved them both enough to want them be happy together. As the last surviving member of the Northern European order, Frey was duty-bound to leave them and return home anyway.
“I hope you like him. You kissed him twice.”
“Three times,” Frey said automatically, then wanted to kick himself.
Chris’ jaw dropped a little. “Three? When was the third time?”
“That one was an accident, and you’re not old enough to hear more about it.”
Chris might be pretty mature for his age–at least when there weren’t any sweets around to glomp–but at 13 he was still a kid and wouldn’t understand Frey and Kyō showering naked together, then slipping on the wet floor and accidentally brushing their lips together or that Alice had seen them naked and not-really-kissing. It was all innocent. And an accident. Frey had just really needed a shower immediately because Japan was so hot and muggy.
Yeah, Chris didn’t have to hear about any of that.
Then again, maybe it would make Chris worry less to hear about the shower incident, since everyone had their ideas about Frey. The last kisses he gave Alice and Kyō at the airport had made everyone talk about Frey being Frey.
Sometimes “being Frey” was exhausting.
Screw it. Frey was tired of putting on a happy mask in the hope that people wouldn’t worry or linger over him. Eric had put on a mask, and Lotis Masters should be truthful.
“The airport kiss was pretty funny,” Chris said.
But Frey still couldn’t resist joking, “I think Kyō might be more smitten with me than he wants to admit.”
But Chris looked a little too wise about his attempt at levity. “Sure, Frey.”
“I really do appreciate your help here.”
“Sacred guides aid people in general and each other in particular, and they fight the darkness. Aside from that, I, personally, had to do something for you.” Chris smiled and licked jam off his butter knife. “You know that I have a weakness for sweet things.”