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Devon Holmes
Obligations and Commitments
Sun Apr 9, 2006 23:23

He wasn’t ready for this.

“Sonnet was…” Devon paused, still feeling Lucy’s song wrap about him, swaddling his body in a comforting blanket. “The worst partner anyone could have asked for.” Only his trembling, lop-sided grin gave away the terrible humor in that statement. “She takes off after a jewel thief she sees running down the street. It was never a dull moment with her.” He wanted to laugh so badly, but all he could remember was the blood.

“Sonnet is—was… amazing.”

Why he had spoken first was beyond Devon, though he barely made it through that small speech, and had tears leaking down his cheeks for his trouble. How could he manage to listen to her fukking family’s words? No, that was the damned Valium talking, he knew it had to be. With everything so muddled, he was beginning to have trouble making heads or tales of anything.

Ben assailed everyone with stories of Sonnet’s youth, all seeing first hand how terrible it was to lose a child. Especially like this. Isabel had begun trembling ever so minutely beside him, though for a woman of her caliber, that was practically a hissy fit. Devon offered her as much comfort as he could, though being a shoulder to cry on was a paltry offering considering their surroundings. It felt as if he had to make something up to them. But what had he done?

He thought Elizabeth Sonnet Tennyson Marchand Adams was perhaps a bit too long.

They laughed, but he couldn’t find the emotion. Couldn’t remember how.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe: all mimsy were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe.

There had been facets to Sonnet’s life that Devon had only begun uncovering, some that he discovered just now. Her religious side had only been hinted at, and her loved for the silly prose found after a late night, and she had fallen asleep with the book still in hand. It felt absurd to admit that he had memorized the poem, murmured it in her ear in those last few days, hoping to get some sort of reaction. This hadn’t been the reaction that any of them wanted, though. Where was their ill-placed faith leading them?

Then there was Michael. He who doth hate. Devon was never certain what had the man disliking him so vehemently. Maybe it was because he had found the two off-duty police officers making out like a pair of teenagers on a bench at the airport. Come to think of it, that had to be pretty ridiculous to walk up on. Even in the hospital, they had only come to the barest of understandings. All for Sonnet’s sake. And now she wasn’t here.

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

He never would have imagined that such a jackass had an entirely disarming singing voice.

The procession that followed was something out of the imagination. Police officers weren’t forced to attend the funerals of those outside their precinct. But Devon saw call numbers representing half of New York that morning, as the casket weighed heavy upon his shoulder. At the hearse they had disbanded, all except for Devon, who had climbed into the passenger seat of the grisly carriage. Tradition, though he had never heard of it.

Yet there was one small thing he had overlooked. The need for a piper had been issued so rarely, that Devon hadn’t even realized it until they were at grave-side. But Vince had obviously remembered, handing him a heavy case. His face felt hot, eyes burning with all the tears he had shed, but he did it. He fukkin’ did it, all right, because he could just see Sonnet coming back to taunt him that he hadn’t played for her funeral.

When it was all said and done, with his brother being the ever caring host, a huge mass of people adjourned to the Holmes house. Sprawling manse. Whatever it was dubbed, more than a few of the officers that had attended, and came with for the drinks provided, were suitably awed. Why were Lucy and Caleb being so hospitable, though? His brother had said he was forgiven, and maybe he was, but Devon couldn’t even forgive himself for what he had done. And here he was, mourning the loss of Sonnet at their home? It was twisted in a way he couldn’t even describe. Which was exactly why he needed to leave.

With the jacket slung over his arm, Devon used the other to wrap Isabel in a warm embrace. No matter what anyone thought, the woman had been kind to him, going so far as to invite him into her home so he could help take care of Sonnet. “Bye, Mom. Call me if you need anything, okay? I’ll rush right over.” He meant every damned word, too!

“Yes, I’m sure you’ll run right over and lick her feet, won’t you.” The words were harsh, pitched low, and Devon had difficulty finding the speaker at first. Until he saw Michael lolling against the wall, with a drink in hand. “Isabel, this man tried to rape his own sister-in-law last year. Doesn’t that sort of thing fukking mean anything to you?”


Devon hadn’t even realized what had happened, until someone was insistently pulling at his raised, aching fist. There was a quiet cough, easily heard as the room had fallen silent. God, what the hell was he doing?

“Fukk you.”

Devon stared at Michael’s back as the man made way through the crowd, itching to do something. The first few steps were the easiest, and then it became harder when a hand was on his shoulder, pulling him back. Imagine his surprise when it was Isabel, shaking her head in the slightest. He knew better, should have known better.

“It’s my fault, you know, instilling the whole Stiff Upper Lip nonsense on him. If Michael felt free to express himself, we might not have had this incident.”

Devon sighed, expressing his apologies all around, hands shoved deeply into pockets. Only after multiple promises that he would call, did he finally manage to walk out the front door. He knew what everyone was doing, stalling him for time so that he couldn’t run into Michael outside. Honestly, that was fine by him, he realized upon closing the door.

“Lieutenant Devon Holmes?”

Said man froze, staring at the two men waiting at the bottom of the steps. If he hadn’t been a police officer already, he would have been sweating bullets at the moment. Neither of them screamed anything in particular, appearing rather nondescript. Dark suits, black dress coats, and sunglasses topped it off. They looked… professional. Too carefully kempt.

“What can I do for you, Mister…?”

“My name is Agent Harris,” funny, did his parents think he looked like an Agent when he was born? Looked more like a Bob to him. “And this is Agent Richards.” Badges weren’t flashed, but held out, allowing him to have a good study. Feds. “I realize this is an inopportune moment, but you’ve been a difficult man to track down.”

“I was at the hospital,” Devon managed to muttered, mulling this over in his mind. What the hell was going on? “My partner passed.” There, he could say it.

“Our condolences.” Say it like you mean it, government man! “But there is the pressing matter of the application you submitted some time ago…” Application? What the hell, were they going to get him for credit fraud? “In light of present matters, we were sent to ask if you were still interested in enrolling to the Federal Academy.”

“Wait, that’s what this is all about?” Devon stared, gaping, for a few long moments, absolutely unable to comprehend this. “But… You know about the stay at—”

“Yes, Lieutenant, we are well aware of what took place, and the reasons.” Shit, weren’t those records supposed to be confidential? “Once again, are you still interested?” They were going to let him try, even knowing what had happened…?


“The day after tomorrow at the very latest. It gives you enough time to ready everything.” Apparently the guys in suits were serious. It was mind-boggling! “If you’re having second thoughts, I would strongly advise you to resubmit your application, Lieutenant Holmes.” And never get another chance? No way in hell! Shit, this was terrible timing on their part.

“No, no. All right, give me the information.” Several minutes rushed past him in a flurry of phone numbers, names, and titles. Instructions were delivered for everything he could possibly need for the seventeen week training course. Apparently they would call upon him the day after next to finish the paperwork and the like downtown at their regional offices, before he was cleared to go.

“Devon?” Glancing over his shoulder at Caleb, he eventually shook the agents’ hands, and watched them leave in the typical nondescript sedan. With government plates. He had never learned the system, but apparently his brother had. The first two numbers were the automobile type, the letter usually what branch it belonged to, and the remaining numbers were its issued stamp. “Is everything okay? Why were you talking to a couple of feds?”

“I…” Oh hell, just say it! “I submitted my application for training at Quantico almost a year ago.” Pausing, Devon eyed the notated papers in his hands. “I was accepted. I leave the day after tomorrow.”

“You… what?” Caleb was staring at him like he was a monster with two heads and slavering teeth, which couldn’t mean anything good. “Jesus Christ, two days? Now?”

“If I don’t go now, I doubt they’ll accept me later,” Devon practically growled, feeling his jaw clench. He knew the reason; he wanted to be angry with someone. Spending so many hours with head shrinkers and couch therapists brought him around to the outsider’s point of view to what he was experience. “It’s the only chance I have, Caleb.”

“Tomorrow night we’ll have dinner with everyone. Everyone you want to tell, anyhow. All right?” Devon blinked, still surprised at the extended hand Caleb offered him after all the shit he had put the newly married couple through. They’d been through worse, he knew no details though, yet it was hardly an excuse.

“Thanks. I gotta—”

“Go on. Call if you need anything.”

With a pensive expression, Devon nodded to his brother, and trotted down the steps toward his car. This was the right thing to do, wasn’t it?

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