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09 August 2007 @ 11:41 pm
Never did get along with everybody else  
Title: For The Last Time
Author: Lily Peters
Prompt: Panic! At The Disco-I Constantly Thank God For Esteban
Fandom: Shattered Glass (Original)
Character/Pairing: Claire, Wallace
Completed: [12/13]
Rating: PG-13 for mentioning of suicide
Summary: The windows, with its lights burning down on the mother, seemed to be judging a lifetime of sins.



The best things in life, especially for little children, were surprises. She knew this wouldn’t be a happy surprise for her son, but she had swallowed too many bitter pills in her life. Wallace was oblivious, skipping and taking in the lights. Walks with his mummy were rare and he treasured them in his own innocent way. Claire walked with purpose, though she didn’t try to show it. Masquerading was her art, job and life.

Wallace couldn’t have been more different; was it because she repressed so much emotion that her son showed so much? He was a giggling, active child and no matter how she tried, she couldn’t bathe in his pure innocence. She had lost hers, but she would attempt to be the best mother she could in these last few minutes or hours… Time was slipping through her slender, scared fingers. Gently, she picked him up.

“You’re so much like your father, especially those eyes of yours, little thing,” she whispered as she rocked him in her arms.

“Mama, I’m sleepy…”

“Shh. I’m going to take you somewhere tonight. It’s better than the flat, you know.” She paused, kissing his shut eyelids and fighting the lump in her throat. Claire was young and on the verge of breaking down in this strange British street, but she had to pull herself together. The breakdown would occur later; it always did.

“You look lost, miss,” said an elderly man passing her in the street. “Do you require assistance?”

“Could you direct me to St. Joan’s Catholic Orphanage?”

“You’re quite near it, next to the church on your left.”

“Thank you.” At the moment, Claire was beginning to loathe the gas lamps, the way they illuminated everything she was doing. She shook off the thought that she was a sinner; there was no turning back now. “I am merely living; surely the Lord can forgive me for that. You’ll be…be better than I, Wallace, so much better.”

Her soft words woke him just as they arrived at the orphanage steps. All was quiet here, save the distant brawl in a public house and the occasional cart that drove by. Still, the humming of life flowed through Claire anyway…as she came upon the orphanage steps. The night was warm and lovely, a perfect night to be alive. What an irony life could be.

Little Wallace stirred in her arms; she had still not drawn any closer to the building. The windows, with its lights burning down on the mother, seemed to be judging a lifetime of sins. This feeling passed and, as if in five seconds the chance would never occur again, and Claire scurried toward the steps.

“Mama…”

She cut off her son’s murmur by kissing him with motherly protectiveness. She kissed his cheeks and forehead repeatedly, as if Wallace were to die instead of her. “You look like your father,” she said, a lifetime of regret washing over her. “Shame he can’t see you now. Sit here, sit here…”

“No, Mama! No, Mama!” Wallace replied, sitting on the steps even though he looked ready to leap up at any minute.

“Yes, you must stay…” She paused to kiss his cheek again and he was tugging at her red hair.

“Mama stay! Mama no leave!” He was angry, not even really crying as Claire rose to her feet, unable to keep her tears back. She took a deep breath, almost ready to collapse under the strain of what she was doing. She brushed back the tears…and turned to Wallace.

“Mama can’t stay.”

“Mama can!” Wallace yelped, running after her. “Mama! Mama!”

Claire led him back to the steps and kissed his forehead. “Stay, little thing. Stay.” Her tone kept her son from following her, but she felt the need to run faster anyway. By the time a nun had come outside to see what was wrong, only an angry three-year-old was the witness to what had just happened. Yes, he bit the elderly woman on the hand, but all Wallace wanted was his mama…

Meanwhile, Claire would be the first to admit that she knew little about suicide, how to accomplish it. The grief at parting from her son forever was still raw and fresh; it was all she could do to hold herself together. Now she cried, not bothering to stop herself as she leaned against a lamppost. Her lungs felt like they were burning… Claire sighed finally; she wanted to do the deed without too much pain. She could…walk into a river—she couldn’t swim, anyhow—and float peacefully into…

“Fiona! Of all the places in the world, why here?” A young man’s voice intruded on her contemplations; she was rather irritated that this fellow was bothering her just now. “Can you still find it in your heart to forgive me?”

“I’m not Fiona,” Claire replied simply, the lamplight falling on her back. Peering closer at the young man, a shiver of delight struck her. “Is your surname B-Barlow, sir?” she asked gleefully.

“No, Gallagher. I assume you’re not…”

“No.”

“Damn it,” Padriag Gallagher muttered, scratching the back of his head; his hair was brown. “Well, sorry for…”

The words came out before she could stop herself. “Do you know how I can get to the Mersey River from here?”

Her acquaintance nodded. “May I escort you there? It’s dangerous at this time of night.”

Claire linked her arm with his, a shadow of her former self despite the lovely red dress she wore; it was the only fine attire she had worth dying in. “I’m Claire.”

“Padriag.”

“Strange name.”

“It’s Irish.”

“Oh…I hail from Paris.”

“They say it’s lovely there.”

“It can be.”

Padriag now studied the folds of her dress as they walked. “That’s far too fine for tonight, my dear.”

Claire blushed. “I like it. It’s the only really fine thing I own.” They had reached the river by now and the woman took the lead. “Not the dock, sir! Avoid the docks. We’re going to the water!” An eerie joy was in her brown eyes as she pulled the man along, but Mr. Gallagher didn’t object. Others would have found this odd; Claire didn’t. “Here we are,” she sighed, looking down at the rushing current. “Thank you, sir, you can…”

Padriag hadn’t moved. “I think you should go.”

“Why?”

“I’m young, hence I like my solitude.”

“So do I!” Claire replied incredulously.

“…I can assume, then,” Padriag sighed, “that we’re here for the same reason.”

“Yes.”

“I was talking about something other than solitude.”

“I know. It’s just…I…” Claire waved her left hand in the air, searching for the words that would describe her weariness.

“…Would rather not commit the…the…the act with spectators.”

“Yes, namely you.”

He feigned exasperation. “Oh, we’re a bold Frenchwoman, eh?”

“I know more about men than you could ever hope to learn in a dozen lifetimes. Oh, just look! You’ve ruined it all.” She stormed off, Padriag at her heels. She was walking up the embankment, more frustrated and angry than she’d ever remembered.

“Miss Claire, I didn’t mean it like that! I’m dreadfully sorry and if you’d rather be left alone to…do what you will, then I shan’t stop you.”

Claire walked round in circles, glancing at the current, determined to finish what she had begun. “Fine, Mr. Gallagher, since we are such a distraction to one another, I will come here tomorrow and you the night after. It’s better for me to die alone.” She extended her hand.

“All right.”
 
 
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Current Music: Jude Original Soundtrack-For The Last Time
 
 
 
Lily: not the morninglilypeters on October 6th, 2007 04:59 am (UTC)
Heh, yeah.

~Lily~