|The offscreen catalyst, like (ladymacbeth) wrote in repose,|
@ 2020-01-27 02:20:00
|Entry tags:||*log, heath fairchild, shiloh foster|
Cemetery: Heath & Shiloh
Who: Heath & Shiloh
What: A dramatic meeting at a dramatic time between dramatic siblings
Where: The cemetery
When: Backdated to around Christmastime
Warnings/Rating: Brother angst!
|The choice of time and place was dramatic, but Shiloh was a dramatic boy. We can't even blame that on the death of Mother, nor can we blame it on Father's subsequent actions. Shiloh's tendency toward drama was born much earlier than the events of the prior year, fed by a need to make Mother react in some way, albeit negatively. As a child, he'd felt a pressing need to get beneath the skin of the woman of ice, and now he was who he was, and there was hardly a thing that could be done about that. Which was a lengthy way of saying that the chosen time and place was not a deliberate attempt to be dramatic, but rather something that lived deep with Shiloh's bones at this point, and there was nothing for it.|
Shiloh arrived late.
Arriving late gave Shiloh a sense of control, albeit false control. He was worried about this meeting, concerned that his law-abiding sibling would notify authorities and believe it to be in Shiloh's best interest that he do so. Shiloh knew now that Heath believed him guilty, and the sting of that was nettles beneath skin. It wasn't that he was surprised, as he suspected they'd all wanted Mother dead at one point or another, but he still expected a sliver of doubt, of concern, of anything save what he'd received: Nothing.
A nothing which led Shiloh, despite his better judgement, to this cemetery in the late evening. He was dressed simply enough, and he walked slowly on long and skinny legs, hands his pockets and ambling, really, toward the center of the cemetery. He could run if it was required of him, but he was genuinely hoping it would not be required of him. He wasn't at his physical best, and while no one in town would realize that truth, it was possible that Heath would notice the new gauntness and missing grace in long strides. The dark, Shiloh hoped, would help to hide that fact. And he'd even brushed the powder from beneath his nose for the occasion.
Heath was a daytime man. The appellation suited his coloring, his brows far darker than the summer shock of his hair and his skin warmer than Shiloh’s, with both health and nature. Like most bakers, he woke before dawn, and slept almost as soon as the sun went down, and as the years went on he seemed to absorb as much of that sunshine as was available. As he waited on one of the cemetery’s central benches, his snow boots tapped a nervous heel against the graceful iron and the hood of his thick green jacket stood open against his neck. Steam left his mouth when he breathed, and he was still wondering the exact same thing Shiloh was wondering—if he should have called the cops and then called it a day.
But it was Christmas, and where the rest of his siblings had developed ways to guard against the world, Heath had (to all appearances, anyway) grown only more enamoured of it. It was Christmas, and he wasn’t going to fucking call the cops on Christmas. It wasn’t like Shiloh was a danger to anyone else. (The things Shiloh had said about their father were a little worrisome, pricking at Heath’s conscience like leftover tailor’s pins, but his father was safe in Italy or Turkey or wherever.) Heath was thinking over and over again that he should have called Mickey, or told Chris, or even maybe-but-probably-not emailed Mary, yet he didn’t do any of those things. He wasn’t sure what to do about what Shiloh had said about Father visiting him, and he was certain he didn’t want to hear anyone call Shiloh a liar before Heath had a chance to work it out for himself.
Heath knew that Shiloh was probably going to try to make a dramatic entrance if he did show up, and so he’d been on the look out for movement. His brother was the type to skulk around the tombstones for a little while feeling sorry for himself before disappearing back wherever he had come, and Heath wanted to stop that from happening with a concern bordering on anxiety. He stood up as soon as he saw a man-shaped shadow even moving around by the hedge, a rectangular plastic grocery bag sitting sentinel at the end of the bench he had just left. “Shiloh!” he called, not bothering to keep his voice down. It was practically the middle of the night in a fucking cemetery and it was misting at thirty degrees. “Shiloh!” Leaving the bag, Heath hurried forward down the path toward his brother. He was tall too, but he had a broad chest that was more bone than muscle, and a long neck with a cherubic face. It was like cupid had grown up and stuck in elongated post-puberty.
Yes, yes, it was true that Heath was all golden tones and warmth in contrast to Shiloh's pallid darkness and angles. They were the same age, and they were both tall, but there was no resemblance. There was no reason for resemblance, as they shared no blood, and no one would ever look at them and call them brothers. Shiloh considered all his siblings family, entirely and without reservation, and perhaps that's why Chris' antics with his other brother had come as such a shock, but that was no matter for this evening. Truthfully, he wasn't even sure why he was taking this risk, other than some self-acknowledged need to be seen. Shiloh had never done well without being centerstage, and he was ill-suited to a life lived in the wings, and now he was very much relegated to such an existence.
It was cold. Shiloh would not attempt to argue warmth, and having been raised in the South (capital S deliberate) meant he was not well acclimated yet to the Repose weather, but the cold was worth the knowledge that Heath would hate this time and this location for this assignation. There was some joy to be had in knowing his brother well enough to understand just how annoying Heath would find this entire affair. It was, perhaps, the most Christmas joy that Shiloh had felt yet this season.
As such, Shiloh was not surprised when Heath called out to him. It was precisely a Heath thing to do, you see, to make noise and call attention to himself when secrecy and quiet had clearly been Shiloh's intention. It was standard sibling one-upmanship. Shiloh responded by not responding. He did not call out in return, nor did he quicken his step. His progress remained slow, hands loosely in his pockets, and no chattering to his teeth whatsoever. His expression was, for all intents and purposes, one of peaceful bliss; who didn't love mist at 30 degrees?
Shiloh allowed Heath to approach, and when Heath was near, there and golden and looking annoyingly healthy in the cemetery's dark and cold, Shiloh smiled. The smile was a familiar one, a scythe cutting deep into one cheek. He looked slightly different, Shiloh, gaunt, but the surgeons had done a very good job, and his face was unmarred, save for a few scars at the hairline and near his ear. "I'm not deaf, Heath," he asserted, shit-eating grin remaining firmly in place.
Heath's boots swished against the ground and his heavy coat flapped with the movement of his knees. "Just mute, since you've been lurking around and not saying anything to anybody." That wasn't true, since Shiloh had been making plenty of noise in his own way, and only just recently popped up on the Fairchild radar.
It was too dark for Heath to make out any details. He was no investigator, no great Sherlock Holmes, and he wasn't paying any attention anyway. He hadn't seen his brother for too long, and he'd thought he was gone, and now he wasn't. He moved forward through the cold air in a few abrupt steps to throw long arms around Shiloh's sharp shoulders and pull him into his chest. It was a hard hug, bright and joyful. Heath wasn't strong, so it wasn't bone-cracking, and he was cold as fuck, so it wasn't homey warm either. A lot of pressure and Heath's yeasty sugar smell was the hug. Heath also lifted Shiloh a little bit off of his toes, too, in a brotherly sort of way to set him off balance when he came out of it.
Then he pushed him back, to try to take a better look. All he got was a lot of Shiloh's usual edged features, but he frowned at him anyway, trying to make out who his brother was trying to be in that moment.
Shiloh rolled his eyes in an appropriately dramatic fashion. "You've simply not been listening," he countered. "I had an entire conversation with Chris, and she never once asked if I was myself. You asked, but you've always been a ballsy little shit." He said it fondly, for however much he criticized and talked big, Shiloh did adore his siblings. Yes, yes, he'd gotten some of them into trouble, running his mouth here and there, but it had never been truly malicious. After all, siblings became jealous of one another, and it was just how the relationships worked at times.
For the record, Shiloh was hardly a crime scene that required much careful deduction. He was risky and brash, loud and unapologetic. He was entirely stupid when it came to his feelings, and he never thought a thing through to the end. A smart man would not be standing in this cemetery of an evening, but here he was, and here Heath was, and here they were.
And, yet, Shiloh had not anticipated the hug.
Shiloh hugged his brother back with a sort of competitiveness that came naturally. He tried to hug tighter, attempted to lift Heath higher off his toes, and then rubbed his shoulder when the hug ceased to exist. He exaggerated the shoulder rubbing, as if Heath had caused him great pain (Heath hadn't). "Fine, turn me over to the authorities if the alternative is breaking my collarbone." He smiled, crooked and a line carved fully into one angular cheek. For all that he was thinner and gaunter, his face slightly changed by a surgery that only left scars beneath dark curls and behind one ear, he was still his shit-eating-grin self as he stood there and was regarded by Heath. "Are you expecting me to do a trick?"
"Not been reading," Heath argued, peevishly. "You know I don't mess around on the internet and shit like that." This was true. The family could consider themselves lucky that Heath was even vaguely aware of current affairs, and he generally abhorred social media of all kinds. A text message was probably the best way to get hold of him, as he could be expected to check his phone after every bake or so. Dropping his hands, Heath spared a thought to wonder if he'd left his phone on the bench, but that thought fled almost immediately. "Probably because she didn't want to believe you'd be so monumentally stupid as to go around with the name 'Shiloh Foster,'" he said, of Chris' supposed ignorance, rolling his eyes.
Waving off Shiloh's false protests, Heath rolled back on his heel and swayed his weight backward, his survey complete. Shiloh looked vaguely unhealthy, was what he thought. Not a big surprise considering the guy was on the run from the cops. The thought made Heath frown a little, as it cast a darker midnight shadow than the rest of the park. Mother had pushed them all hard. She still was, somehow.
Without answering Shiloh's question (not that there was an answer), Heath turned away and went back toward the bench. "I brought you stuff," he said vaguely. In a similar situation, a man might be more anxious, might look around for Shiloh's pursuers, or even hesitate to turn his back to his brother. Heath moved confidently over the half-frozen grass back up the hill toward the bench.
Shiloh rolled his eyes, as he often did at his brother. This time, the impetus was the claim that Heath merely hadn't been reading. "Even you take time out from baking. We've spoken, Heath. I know you're active on the town's questionable forums." Shiloh didn't trust the forums, but then there was very little that Shiloh did trust. "There's nothing wrong with Shiloh Foster," he insisted. "It's not my legal name, and no one here knows I went by Shiloh en famille, so what does it matter? The law is searching for Joseph Fairchild, and I've most obviously not been him." Shiloh knew being in town was risky. He knew it was foolhardy, but he was utterly determined to prove his innocence, and he expected the secret to it all was inside the family home upon the lake.
"Of course you did," he said of Heath bringing him stuff. Only his brother could be trusted to bring him cinnamon rolls before calling the authorities and damning him to execution, either lawful or not. "At least I'll go to prison on a full belly," he said, but he was already following Heath back to the bench. He didn't hurry. He ambled slowly on long legs, thinking it would give him enough time to retreat should it become immediately necessary. "You could, at the very least, tell me your opinions of Repose," he called out as he followed. They'd not been allowed to visit the town proper during their vacations here, and Shiloh suspected his brother would have a strong dislike for the town's oddities. Also, it was a safer conversation than anything involving Father or Mother.
Heath didn't have a clue what Shiloh was talking about. Maybe his brother had a different idea of "active." He'd been on them. He'd had an account. He thought he talked to one or two people; who those people were, Heath had no idea. But he thought Shiloh was probably preoccupied with him, with their siblings. Heath would be, so he thought Shiloh was too. They trekked up the hill.
"Of course people know, Shiloh. There was a goddamn murder investigation. Even though it seems like you missed most of it." They'd arrested him right away, hadn't they? Heath hadn't even had a chance to talk to him. Nobody had a chance to talk to him. It was an old resentment. Didn't Shiloh think Heath could understand the kind of anger their mother created in other people? "No one in Repose knows, you mean. Except us. And our house is here!" He felt temper, or something like it, and he reached down to swipe up the bag before collapsing down on the bench again. At least he didn't feel cold anymore.
"What are you doing here?" He meant Repose, obviously, not the cemetery. Heath dipped into the bag and showed Shiloh several individually wrapped parcels. He didn't unwrap them, but it wasn't in him to just give Shiloh the bag. He had to tell him what was in it, what he made. He just had to. "Pain de savoie. It has bacon and cheese. Don't refrigerate it. Beef cobbler. They're hand-size, those you can refrigerate. The cinnamon buns don't have walnuts, so don't bitch at me about it. Here." Now he restacked all the contents and pushed the bag as a whole toward Shiloh's chest.
Active, to Shiloh's thinking, meant that Heath had an account on the forums and was known to post there. He didn't expect his brother to be the sort that sat about and made internet friends. They'd not been allowed internet friends, nor had they been allowed any other sort of friends, but Heath seemed especially unlikely to befriend people he couldn't see with his own eyes. Shiloh was less careful, less concerned, and more prone to risk taking. He'd found he liked forums and social media, and it felt like a good way to interact without leaving his home.
But tonight Shiloh had left his home, and he was here, and Heath was calling him reckless. "No one here cares, Heath. I have no idea what is wrong with this entire town, but I am fairly certain that I could post on the forums and tell them all I was on the run for killing Mother, and then they'd all message me and offer me safe harbor, money, assistance, and all other means of insanity. Because this place is not normal, and surely you've noticed." Because Shiloh had been so certain that the risk in coming here would be enormous, but it had turned out to be nothing of the sort. "They're more concerned with their train rides and their wolves and vampires and magic. And I came here for the house, because of the house." Heath obviously was not asking why Shiloh was in the cemetery. "You all believe me guilty, and it probably never crossed any of your minds that I was not guilty, and therefore I need to prove my own innocence, and so here I am and will attempt to do so."
Shiloh was, as ever, honest and blunt. And Heath was, as ever, a feeder. Shiloh watched as his brother produced food items that made the mouth water, and he almost grabbed items from Heath's hand as Heath explained what was in each parcel. His left leg jittered in the cold grass, and he rubbed his arms to keep from diving at the food. It wasn't that he was starving, but every single item he'd consumed in the past year had been horribly substandard, and it was a wonder he just took the bag as Heath shoved it at him, and that he didn't tear it open right there and sit himself upon a gravestone to eat. "It's kind of you to fatten me up before turning me in," he said. "Will you? Turn me in, that is." It was an important question, as it determined his course of action. "Father likely thinks me dead, even if he hasn't told you as much. I believe the original thinking was that I couldn't have survived in my physical state. I'd prefer it if everyone did think me dead, at least until I can clear my name."
Heath didn't have to wonder what he would do if he was accused of murder. He'd already thought it through, in great detail, and even thought about the way to do it. But then, Shiloh already had. There were so many reasons to be angry at his brother, he'd never really decided on one; he'd never had to, because Shiloh had put himself so definitively beyond Heath's reach that he might as well as been dead as their mother right off the bat.
Heath didn't want a dead brother. The anger abruptly left him, like the eye of a hurricane, and he let go over the bag and took a step back. "You don't know what crossed our minds. We couldn't tell you, either." His mouth pressed together as Shiloh declared his innocence. Heath didn't know what to think about it, except that no matter what he'd done, Shiloh would declare his innocence. What choice did he have, here in front of Heath? Heath wasn't even sure he wanted to hear anything else.
"I'm not turning you in. It's Christmas," Heath said, scowling deeply, his soft cheeks cutting deep and folding down. "What 'physical state,' Shiloh?"
Shiloh had a flare for the dramatic, as previously noted, and his nostrils flared as his eyebrows climbed when Heath said that he, that Shiloh, had no notion of what had crossed his siblings' minds. The only reason he didn't lob the food back at his brother at that moment, was because the food was likely to be delicious, and Shiloh missed delicious in this entirely painful way. But his anger was as visible on his expressive face as his happiness was (when here was happiness to be had). "You're the one who took Father at his word and never even questioned any of it. Don't put that on me, Heath. You carry that guilt with you, and I'll not have it on my shoulders. It was easier, wasn't it? Accepting that I had done this, accepting that I had behaved poorly, as it allowed you to continue to live your own happy and uncomplicated fucking life. I would have insisted, had it been the other way around." And Shiloh, loud and brash and without respect, would have.
A roll of his eyes was Shiloh's immediate response to the 'physical state' query. "I told you that I was in the hospital after Father attempted to have me murdered. I was being transferred when I escaped. Transferred after a coma, and surgeries, and nearly dying. I'm just damned lucky to have found someone kind enough to help me. Unlike my own family." The end was punctuated, and the bag of food Shiloh had been holding close to his chest was now at his side, hands falling as he shook his head, anger melting away from his features as butter melted in all of Heath's complex creations. "But thank you for abstaining from turning me in during the holiday season, Heath. I appreciate it." He said that mildly, which was an not-oft seen thing with Shiloh, but which (his siblings would know) was indicative of his hurt.
Shiloh lifted his chin toward the entrance to the cemetery. "Go on. Be done with it and leave. Should you wish to turn me in after the holiday season, you can find me above Mal Reed's electronics store. You remember Mal. I'm glad to report he's as blankly inoffensive as ever."
"'Took him at his word'," Heath repeated, mouth slightly agape. "'Accepting you behaved poorly,'? Of course we accepted you behaved poorly! You always behave poorly! And I didn't just take his word, I went there, to the jail, and I talked to the sheriff, and the deputy too, and they said you refused all visitors. You're telling me there was a county-wide conspiracy against you, Shiloh?" Heath asked, throwing up his hands at the impossibility of it.
"Listen. Listen." Heath stepped forward abruptly and grabbed his brother by the elbow. His fingers creaked around Shiloh's arm and he leaned close, not aggressively, but with a fierce, strange desperation. "You don't have to do this whole… thing. This whole act. With me, you don't need to do it. I understand. I know… I know what she was like, and I would have… any of us would have…" And he let Shiloh go, trailing off as if blankly realizing what he was saying.
Heath slowly shook his head. He didn't remember Mal. Mal wasn't right in front of him, was he? No. Heath was short-sighted pigeon sometimes.
Shiloh made a sound that was reminiscent of a horse chuffing, because taking Father at his word was entirely unsurprising to him. In truth, Shiloh feared he would've done the same, for all his words that he would not have. "Killing Mother is more than behaving poorly!" The words were loud, and Shiloh felt certain they reverberated against the stones in the cemetery. He waved a hand after, one that was indicative of something along the lines of Jesus Fucking Christ. "The sheriff hated me. You know that! Ever since I slept with his wife, he's hated me, and he's in Father's very deep pocket." It hadn't helped that Shiloh had uncovered the man's dirty laundry, either, but he just sagged and sighed, and he recognized that Heath would likely consider the capitulation as dramatic as the yelling. "I'm telling you that Father killed Mother, and he needed a scapegoat. I fit the bill for exceptionally good reasons."
He had turned then, but Heath's hand was on his elbow, and Shiloh (predictably perhaps) stopped. He listened, waited a moment, and yanked his arm from Heath's grip. When he turned, he looked at Heath. Mal was entirely forgotten in that moment, and Shiloh's green eyes were hurt and intense. His voice low, he bent in enough to cup a hand around Heath's neck, unless Heath pulled away, and he pressed his forehead to Heath's forehead. Very slowly, he enunciated: "I'm not lying to you." Each word was punctuated, desperate sounding, and then Shiloh drew back. "I understand I haven't been the best behaved sibling, but when have I been anything but unfailingly honest? It's what everyone abhorred about me, Heath," he reminded.
The bag of food was still in Shiloh's hand when he turned again. "Thank you for the food." And without another word, Shiloh left the cemetery and his brother behind.