Fandom: Harper's Island
Word Count: 1469
Ship(s)/Character(s): Abby Mills/Jimmy Mance, Henry Dunn
Summary: He doesn’t think he’ll ever figure that out. And he doesn’t think he has the right to ask.
Notes: Mentions of violence.
Abby was quiet for most of the ride back to the mainland and Jimmy didn’t push her to speak to him. He really didn’t have much to say anyway. What would he really be able to say? They had gone into hell and managed to claw their way out with blood and dirt and mayhem caked beneath their nails; they had watched the people they all loved slowly get slaughtered; they had spent the better part of the end of their time on the island running for their life, afraid of dying and yet also afraid of living because how do you live after that? How do you live knowing that the people you loved the most were all gone?
Shane was gone and while most people wouldn’t really care he cared. Shane had been his best friend since they were kids, the rude and violent man who seemed to care about no one and nothing. Abby’s father had died, the man she had only just started to reconnect to. Kelly and Nikki were gone, two girls they had both grown up with; two people he had became even closer to when Abby left because they had felt her loss almost as strongly as he himself had. And then, of course, Abby had ended up sticking the blade into the gut of her best friend, the man that she trusted with her life but that trust she had learned was misplaced; the man who she wandered across the island with daily during her childhood summers had flipped the script on her and ripped their worlds apart, had taken away all the people they cared about, isolated her in hopes of stealing her heart.
A couple of times on the boat she would look down at her shaking hands like she was going to see the boarding knife still there, clenched between her fragile fingers and Henry would appear before her, kneeling there and declaring his love for her, his body impaled on the long blade. In that moment, when he had fallen over he had seen something in Abby’s posture, a disappointment and a loss and something that he could quite understand either. He doesn’t think he’ll ever figure that out. And he doesn’t think he has the right to ask.
The media was going crazy when they got back from the island to try to talk to them, to get an idea what was going on, to find out what happened there. The Coast Guard and the FBI tried to protect them the best they could; they stepped between them and the cameras and the reporters throwing questions at them. They had tried to get them into the building to question them without allowing their lives to be disturbed any further than it already had been by what had happened but being questioned by the police was as disturbing as the questions thrown at them from behind cameras and notebooks, like the media would have followed the dead into their coffins if they could.
Shea and Madison had come to greet them, to be thankful that someone else had survived and even in her stupor Abby had been that they had made it out of there alright. She was happy that it wasn’t just them. Henry had told her as much, that those two had gotten out but with all the lies he had let slip past his lips in the last few years she hadn’t been sure if she could trust any of what he had said. But yet there they were, subtly pleased to see that they weren’t alone in the survivor’s circle. But the sadness that clouded their eyes clouded Abby’s too and the reunion was bittersweet at the best, gut wrenching at the worst.
They had the funeral for her father on the mainland. They had known he would probably have preferred to be buried by his wife but Abby hadn’t been able to bring herself to go back to the island even for something as short as funeral. And funerals had become a way of life for them over the next week. They had gone to the funerals of everyone that they knew who had died. And for the friends that had no family, well, the world was generous and Shea even more so. She had paid for the funerals of Kelly and J.D. and Nikki and Shane, the very people that she hardly knew but had no one to take care of them in death; the people who Abby and Jimmy loved and lost in a senseless way. And each of the groomsmen, all four of them, Abby had made sure to go to their funerals; she had made sure to let their families know that they were good people; she had made sure to let them know that they were missed and had tried her best to reassure them that life would be fine again even though she wasn’t doing that good of a job convincing herself of that. She wore a mask that told the world that she was okay but at night while he slept on her couch Jimmy could hear her crying from her bedroom, screaming out into the dark at the phantom of a man who stole so many lives; the phantom of a man who buried his ghost deep in her heart where he could haunt her for eternity.
She wanted to find a way to let the world know the truth about what happened on the island. Rumors spread like wildfire about what had really happened, about who had done what. They all wanted to find a member of the living to place the blame on because with the culprits dead they couldn’t find a balance in their worlds; their sense of justice wasn’t satisfied.
He spent most nights on her couch and she spent most nights in front of her computer, typing up the story of what happened. She would scream and cry and scream again and sometimes she’d break down into sobs that were so strong, so consuming that she would start to hyperventilate and would have to sit there, and turn off her screen because she couldn’t stand to look at the words that she had typed out.
He would cook dinner for the two of them most nights and she would barely touch her food, too engrossed in what she was doing to even consider eating. He tried to be understanding, thought of this as a kind of self therapy she was using to come to terms with what had happened. But each time Henry’s name would appear on the screen she would choke back a sob and he would end up waking up from a sound sleep and bringing her coffee or tea; each night he’d wake up about a dozen times until finally he would find her asleep at the computer table and would carry her from the computer to her bed and let her rest there until she started the cycle all over again the very next morning.
When the book came out he had hoped that she would start to heal, that expressing her confusion and pain like that, telling the world the truth would start to let her world make a little sense again. Nothing would ever heal the pain in her heart; nothing would ever bring back the dead. He knew that just as well as she did. Her father was still gone; their friends were still gone. Her best friend had still turned out to be a monster; her best friend had been the son of the man who haunted her dreams for seven years and the two of them had slaughtered over two dozen people. Nothing would change that, no will and no therapy and no words across paper.
But somehow nothing had helped her move on from what happened. Over a year later and she still got this far-off look on her face more often than not and sometimes he didn’t think would ever leave the island, that in some way Henry had succeeded and they would forever be there, him in his mania and her in her fear. And nothing he ever said or did would make her come back into the real world with him. She would forever be stuck in a memory; she’d be stuck in a nightmare.
“He’s gone,” he would tell her on a daily basis.
“No,” she would always argue. “He’s not gone. He’s still here.”
“He’s gone, Abby.”
“No,” she’d say. “He’s not gone.”
“Then where is he?”
“He’s right here. Henry’s always here.” And she would look at him with these empty eyes and she’d tap her finger against her chest, over her heart. “He’s never going to leave, Jimmy. He’s always right here.”