deadgirlslikeme: (i won't back down)
[personal profile] deadgirlslikeme
"Are you ready?"

Victor takes a deep breath, looking out Dee's passenger side window. Marty and Alice are standing there by the mailbox, waiting to see them off, expressions nervous but hopeful. Victor does his best to return their smiles, but it's shaky. It's been -- one hell of a month. Who would have guessed that Alice running across someone who knew someone else that could relink him and Doc back to the worlds they'd thought they'd permanently left behind would only be the tip of the iceberg? Finding out that he'd need some help actually getting to the registrar's office with Alice had been a mild shock -- discovering that his old fiancee might be in danger of being murdered because he'd never come home had been a much worse one. And then there had been his trip to the Nexus, with all the various ideas thrown around about how to help her and what he could do to make sure this "Barkis" never hurt anyone ever again; finding that friend and getting the connection back to his world set up; trying to come up with the perfect plan that would ensure Victoria's safety as well as his own freedom; coming up with and throwing away new ideas, waffling over the very idea of going (was it really his business anymore?). . .so many long nights spent staring at the ceiling, trying desperately to figure out what his responsibilities were and how to handle them.

And now -- it's the moment of truth. If all goes well, he and Doc will be returning to his world about the same time he left it -- two years ago? Three? Ugh, he hates that his timeline is so messed up -- and trying their best to clear up all the loose ends. With any luck, they'll be in, out, and back before they know it, and he and Alice can just move on and become husband and wife.

Of course, Victor knows better than to think anything will just go smoothly when it comes to them. But this has to be done, otherwise his conscience will call him a murderer for the rest of his life. He looks at Doc, expression set. "Let's go."


Naturally, the very first problem they run into is the corpse bride herself.

They arrive just a few minutes before past!Victor is scheduled to vanish, to make sure they have enough time to get everything settled. They scramble out of the car, Dee transforms herself back into a little girl, and then the three of them hide by the end of the bridge and wait for time to repeat itself.

And it does. Victor's jaw drops as he sees himself come running out from the woods, jacket torn, hair wild, face a mask of terror. It's like watching one's own memory from a different angle -- actually, it's exactly that, isn't it? He gapes as past!Victor makes it to the center of the bridge, drops to his knees to avoid the murder of crows swooping low over his head --

And then, in a flash of multicolored energy that rather hurts Victor's eyes, he's gone, off to Chicago to start his life anew. "I always wondered what that looked like from the outside," Doc mumbles beside him. "All right, so now--"


Blue skin and hair, a skeletal arm and a bone leg, all clad in a rotting wedding dress, runs up to the bridge, eyes wide. "What was that? Where did you go?" she demands, turning wildly in circles and nearly getting caught up in her train. "Oh no. . .no, please, you can't do this to me! After all that time waiting -- you said your vows! Please, I'm finally a bride, you can't just -- go. . ."

For years, he's been terrified of her. But that broken note in her voice, that heartwrenching look on her face (which isn't that scary now that he can see it properly -- she must have been pretty in life), prompts him to do something that could completely wreck their chances of pulling this off. He stands up and approaches her, ignoring his companion's stunned looks. "I didn't mean to."

She turns again, and her eyes light up. "There you are!" She spreads her arms and approaches him. "You may kiss the bride!"

Victor hastily steps back and holds up his hands. "I'm s-sorry, but there's been a terrible mistake -- I had no idea I was saying my vows to you. I'm already engaged!"

She stops, blinking. "What?"

"It's -- this is all such a long story. . ."

The bride folds her arms. "I've waited at least ten years for someone to take me as his wife. I have the time."


The bride -- who, it turns out, is named Emily -- takes the story surprisingly well, although with plenty of confusion over the particulars. "I guess I should have known better than to think someone was actually proposing," she mumbles, running her fingers through her blue hair as they all sit by her grave in the woods (Doc had suggested going there to avoid being seen -- and with the town crier wandering around looking for headlines, Victor had readily agreed). "It's just -- it's been so long, and I wanted so badly for someone to take me for his wife. . . I am sorry for frightening you like that. Though, ah -- from your perspective, you've had a couple of years to get over it?"

Victor nods. "I know it must be utterly baffling to try and work it all out -- just believe me when I say I didn't mean for all of this madness to happen." He slumps forward. "And now somehow I've got to set it all right. Not only with you, but with Victoria. I can't marry her with my heart promised to another -- but I can't leave her to the tender mercies of Barkis either."

Emily's brow furrows. "Barkis?"

Victor lifts his head. "Yes -- from what Alice's aunt and uncle told me, he went after Victoria to obtain her fortune -- which she doesn't have, but that's neither here nor there. Do you know him? Barkis Bittern?"

Emily's lips go thin. "If he's big-chinned with beady, greedy eyes, then I knew him as Edward Barkis." Her hand touches the ribs sticking out of one side of her bodice. "And he's responsible for this."

"We were gonna make it look like he killed Victor and get him thrown in jail," Dee pipes up. "Want to help?"

Emily grins, though her eyes are dark. "I'd love to. Maybe making sure my murderer can never do that to another will help me find rest. Though I'm not sure what I could do."

Victor, however, is already coming up with ideas -- and he can see that Doc is too. He gives his almost-bride a smile. "We'll come up with something."


They do indeed, though perhaps it's not the best something they could have come up with. Nevertheless, it gets the job done. It doesn't take much acting skills for Victor to stumble into the Everglot's drawing room, screaming about an undead bride before pretending to collapse of pure fright in the doorway. One hasty concealment of his ghostly form later (one day, he really has to figure out how to turn off the green glow), and he watches as his own father pronounces him dead (with a twinge of guilt at William's pained expression -- which goes away when he and Nell promptly start arguing about who's responsible for their son being that delicate), and Barkis start to go on about how it's such a shame, just one day before his wedding --

And then Emily appears, sweetly asking if anyone's seen her husband.

The look on Barkis's face is worth every moment of this insane trip. Emily hams it up as much as possible, going on and on about what he promised her and chasing him all about the hallway. Lord Everglot is screaming for his musket and Victoria's gaping wide-eyed and Lady Everglot seems ready to burst a blood vessel --

And then in come the local police, having been alerted on the sly to the commotion by Doc. Barkis runs to them for safety, and it's the work of a moment to get a confession out of him. After that, it's all just cleaning up -- the police take Barkis and Victor's body away with them, the Van Dorts and Everglots following along to give statements and figure out just precisely what happened, leaving Victoria and Emily alone in the hallway. And although his first instinct is to follow his body before something awful happens to it, Victor decides spur of the moment that one other person deserves the full story before he leaves all of this behind for good. So he comes up behind Victoria and taps her on the shoulder.

She doesn't take it nearly as well as Emily, though that's only to be expected. There's quite a lot of crying and frightened exclamations before she'll even listen. And Victor thinks she doesn't even understand half of it -- only that he's somehow faked his death, that he's in love with someone else, and that he only came back to make sure she didn't end up murdered. She reigns in her composure near the end, thanking him for helping her and wishing him all the best. It's confused and kind of cold, but he can see she's genuine in at least the first. That will have to do. Leaving her to pepper Emily with whatever questions she has left, he leaves the house and heads for the station to reclaim his body on the sly.


They return three minutes after they left, having successfully snuck out of town (despite one very close call with the overexcited crier). Victor wonders what will happen when they discover his body missing, but knows that such things are really out of his hands now. He did what he went there to do. Victoria will be safe, and Emily hopefully will find her peace with her murderer at last caught. His loose ends are tied up, and now there's only the future to consider.

Alice comes immediately to his side once he gets out of Dee. "Well? Everything go according to plan?"

Victor pulls her close, pressing his cheek against her hair. "Not really." Then he smiles at her -- a genuine smile this time. No matter what doubts he might have had in the past, he now knows that this is where he belongs. "But it's all settled nonetheless. I'm all yours from this point out."

Alice smiles back and kisses him. "Good."

And it is.
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Victor (Van Dort) Brown

December 2014

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