fluterbev_fic: (Darklight)
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Summary: William Shaw reflects on the past. A missing scene, which explores Shaw's background.

Author's Note: Darklight starred Richard Burgi as William Shaw. Shaw was tough yet vulnerable, had a tragic past, wore a long, leather coat, well-fitting jeans and carried a big gun. What's not to love? ::grins::

Disclaimer: Inspired by the movie Darklight (which aired on the US Sci Fi Channel in 2004) and produced purely for the enjoyment of myself and other fans, not for profit. No copyright infringement is intended.

Loss of Faith
By Fluterbev

September 2004

The marriage had been doomed from the beginning. As someone who had believed wholeheartedly in predestination and prophecy for his whole life, William Shaw should have paid more attention to his vague misgivings at the start. If he had, Conner would never have been born. And although his son’s life had been a precious gift - a richness beyond belief - if Conner had never been born, he would not have gone on to suffer his violent, senseless death at Lilith’s hands.

Shaw had gone into marriage with no experience of normal family life. The Faith had been both mother and father to him for as long as he could remember. He had grown up in its embrace, absorbing its teachings like mother’s milk. He had cut his teeth on its doctrines, growing into its ways as he grew in stature. Shaw’s standing within the organisation had increased exponentially with his increasing height. The man who emerged - who had sprung from its loins - was loyal, intelligent, dependable. His faith in his beliefs was unquestioning. His skills of body and mind had been honed to perfection. He was courageous and unselfish, gladly putting the good of the organisation above himself. In short, Will Shaw had turned out to be a model servant of The Faith.

It was not that the outside world had been denied him. Wards of The Faith, such as he, were free to go out into the world as soon as they were old enough. It was essential, in any case, that men like Shaw fully understand exactly what it was that they were sworn to serve and protect, and they could only do that if they were prepared to experience what it was to live within it. Shaw had, therefore, like others of his brethren, ventured out of his sanctuary as soon as he had reached the age of majority.

But he had never felt that he was a part of what he had found on the outside. Lying awake in a city apartment, hearing the noise of shouted voices, traffic and sirens, he frequently found himself yearning for the smell of incense, the quiet of the inner sanctum, and the hushed voices of his brothers and sisters. He returned often, as he was obliged to, and had taken comfort on each occasion from the unchanging nature and the innate peace of his childhood home.

His life, such as it was, was a good one. He was serving his beloved order, applying its principles to everything he did in the world, waiting for the time he would be called to fight evil in its name. He never realised that the aching, yearning hole deep in his soul had a name, having never known anything else. Or that the name it bore was loneliness.

It finally occurred to him that it was possible to feel differently when Jan walked into his life. Something in her smile drew him in, like a moth to a flame. Mesmerised by her delicate beauty, by her kindness, by the promise of more in her eyes, he circled, then swooped, incinerated in the passion that ignited between them when they made contact.

For a while, he forgot that The Faith existed. For the first time in his life, he understood what it was he had missed all along. What it was that made him feel half formed; had kept him standing on the outside looking in. It was as though everything that had been hidden deep down inside for so long had been freed by her touch – a touch that, in its way, was every bit as devastating as Lilith’s.

Shaw threw himself into their union with a dedication he had previously reserved only for The Faith, drinking in everything she had to offer and coming back for more. Within a year of their marriage, they were blessed with a child, a son. They named him Conner, meaning “desire”, and in truth, he was the physical embodiment of Will Shaw’s own desire for love and completion. At last, Shaw knew the true meaning of happiness; no longer empty, but filled to the brim with life, love and joy. He kept in touch with The Faith, reporting in when he had to, and continuing, albeit in a half-hearted way, his work in the wider world. But for much of the time, his thoughts no longer dwelled on judgement day. His life had just begun, and it was difficult to think about doom when he loved and was loved so completely.

Conner grew, and Shaw settled into fatherhood as though he had been born to it. The flames between him and Jan were banked a little; no longer so all-consuming, but matured into a comfortable warmth. William Shaw was content and, if dark thoughts sometimes plagued him in the middle of the night, as he lay listening to his wife sleep peacefully beside him, he ruthlessly thrust them out of his mind.

The story of Lilith became just that. A story; a tale to frighten children with. Until, that was, the day when Shaw heard his child laugh for the last time, and held his bloody, cooling body in his arms as everything shattered around him. And on that day William Shaw finally understood what had been the fairy tale and what was reality.

In the aftermath of Conner’s murder, Shaw’s desire for vengeance, and his compulsion to end Lilith’s reign of terror, overwhelmed everything. For Lilith had not just ripped his son’s life from him. She had ripped William Shaw’s carefully constructed illusion to shreds. Falling back on his lifelong beliefs to sustain him in his grief, he single-mindedly lost himself in planning Lilith’s downfall. And, marginalised by her husband’s fixation on revenge, Jan had first wept and lamented; then gone elsewhere for comfort. And before Shaw realised what was happening, the last of his house of cards had fallen, when Jan had rejected him for someone more able to give her what she so desperately needed.

Now, three years later, Shaw was once again looking in from the outside. Leaning against the doorframe of the church, unable to enter either by inclination or invitation, he watched as his former wife’s newborn child was baptised. His thoughts inevitably strayed to Conner who, had he lived, would have celebrated his fourteenth birthday today.

How had it come about, he wondered, that those who had sworn to destroy the monster who had murdered his son, now nurtured her at their bosom as gently as ever he had been nurtured?

And inside, deep in that empty hole, he wept.


Comments are welcome, but absolutely not necessary - all of my stories are offered freely and without obligation. If you do wish to comment below please sign your name/pseudonym if you are not logged-in to Dreamwidth or Open ID, or alternatively you can email me at fluterbev@gmail.com

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