Due South; Arch to the SkyCharacters:
Turnbull, Thatcher, Buck Frobisher, Benton Fraser, Ray Kowalski, Myra Turnbull, the Turnbull familyRating:
After COTW. Written in part by sl_walker
and encouraged/brainstormed a great deal more ♥Summary: '...Constable Turnbull decided to run for public office. But his campaign got off to a rocky start...'
If Turnbull was too young to die, he had to wonder about the man he shot off his snowmobile.
It was an idle thought. Very honestly, he thought he felt nothing about having killed the man, something he'd been matter-of-factly informed of not long before. He'd never killed anyone before. Of course it had always been a remote possibility; one accepted when he became a police officer. But it was by no means a given.
The man was shooting at him. At people he cared for.
It was a simple matter, and Turnbull felt nothing.
He was still trembling.
Moreso than even he must've realized, if the glances he was getting were any indication. Surely he wasn't the only one? He knew why
; of course he did. Did none of the others experience the firefight they'd just been through? He glanced about Frobisher's detachment building, taking in the improbably red-clad Mounties, some of whom had been air-lifted
to the place. It was packed. A small few were shaking. Why he
was the one getting looks was beyond him.
Thatcher slipped through the bustle to approach him, and he blinked to find himself being handed his stuffed husky.
"Sir," he answered, perhaps broken by a chatter. He set the husky beside him; he must've left it near the bed the three of them had shared.
Thatcher was surprisingly undisheveled for a woman who had sat with her head above the cover and quite in the line of fire for so long. She seemed composed. Not unaffected, but composed.
"You did a fine job incapacitating that man," she offered after a moment. A compliment from Thatcher was not an impossibility
, but never had he been the subject of one in such a weighted manner. Her tone was level, but Turnbull knew her well enough to discern a question in it.
"I killed him." It was a correction, simply and politely stated; it wasn't as though she were delivering the news, but it still seemed to Turnbull that he should call it what it was. "Sir."
"Thank you, sir."
Awkwardness was an undercurrent as she stood in front of him, but there was another, too. One he was not accustomed to from her.
"Of course it's perfectly natural to--"
"I know, sir." Turnbull barely noticed that he'd interrupted a superior officer.
Thatcher blinked in momentary surprise, but said nothing about it. Only appeared to assess him; assessment, he was used to, but her look had a strange quality that had never been directed at him before. "--all right."
It seemed to him that there was something he was meant to be doing; he couldn't quite remember why he was sitting instead of moving, and he stood. He must be able to render assistance in some capacity, even if administrative. The place was bustling with far more people than it was meant to contain, with far more red than was ever meant to be worn as a matter of course. Reports would have to be made, people to account for, phone calls to field, something...
He nearly recoiled at the Inspector's touch to his shoulder, the aborted action surprising her all over again, even as she nudged him back to seated.
Defiance flared for reasons he couldn't fathom, but he obeyed.
Thatcher opened her mouth to say something that Turnbull undoubtedly already knew about needing time to come down from such things, about it being normal to feel the weight of taking a life, about adrenaline and many other things he truly didn't need reminded of. He knew it was coming, and he tried very hard to feel more of the strange warmth at the attempt than the irritation.
It never came out. One of Frobisher's subordinates stepped in to catch her attention, to tell her she was needed elsewhere, and she was looking Turnbull in the eye even as she answered in the affirmative to the other Mountie.
She squinted at him before she stepped away.
His thumb ticked in the fur of the husky beside of him, and he breathed relief at the solitude.
It hadn't lasted long enough.
And too long, all at once. Turnbull heard conversations around him, little swatches. Constable Fraser had raised eyebrows by asking for indefinite leave in the immediate aftermath of the confrontation; it seemed he and Detective Kowalski wanted time to themselves. The man had wandered through not long after that, giving brief goodbyes. The nosey part of him regretted that he hadn't been witness to that which Fraser must have shared with Thatcher.
The information quelled some of the itch to move, in any case, and when Fraser came to say goodbye to him, he had marginally controlled the shake. It was a strange goodbye. He'd offered the man some of his tears; his handshake, his well-wishes, and his acceptance of the bafflement with which the tears were treated.
Constable Fraser had breezed through and was gone, just like that.
Ray Kowalski, however, had clapped him on the shoulder and told him to take it easy. Even with the contact, Turnbull found he liked that one better.
They would be going home without the pair, it seemed. Turnbull couldn't fathom what that would change and for whom. The Inspector would be... different, in the coming time. There would be a strange quiet to the Consulate. Perhaps Detective Vecchio would return to the 2-7, solitary.
The man who should rightly still be back in Chicago in a hospital bed.
There was no quantifying that fact to his mind, no name for his thoughts, but he could feel his eyebrows draw together, and he could feel his own frown. As though the expressions didn't quite belong to him.
Even thoughtful, Thatcher's order to sit seemed near-impossible to follow in the time that followed. He found himself tugging his thumb between two fingers simply to occupy his hands, which twitched with the want to simply get up and be useful
. How sitting was meant to be some help was beyond him.
When Thatcher approached him again, her eyes looked dark. Frobisher pulled up the back, standing just behind her shoulder, his own look solemn.
"Constable," Thatcher began, sighing in the manner she had when she truly did not wish to be speaking. This boded poorly. Perhaps he had failed during the altercation in some manner he had yet to realize. A cold trickle down his back went ignored. "A call was routed here from your brother. Your father has died."
Turnbull stared at her, uncomprehending. The woman was a professional. She didn't wince. Frobisher pressed his lips together, stepping forward to pat Turnbull's shoulder.
He didn't move.
"I'm sorry, son," he vaguely knew Frobisher was saying.
"All right," he answered, and it was as much dismissal as it was acknowledgment, given without thought.
Reg answered the phone, and it took a moment to realize how little he recognized his brother's voice. Roddy had apparently informed Myra. Myra and John were already at their parents' house. Renfield calmly made arrangements to fly back so soon as he could, and that was that.
Thatcher had accompanied him on the flight back to Chicago, but aside some awkward attempts on her part to offer some sort of comfort, it passed uneventfully. Turnbull drifted, trying occasionally to clutch at the delivered fact, and failed each time; it did not seem real, and he did not know how to make it that way. He so rarely spoke with his father. It wasn't that his father was not a good man, but he had been very little presence in Renfield's life, and Renfield didn't know how to quite grieve for a man he barely knew.
Perhaps it was enough to grieve for the fact that he barely knew him, if he could not grieve more properly.
The latest plane touched down in Chicago, and of course, Inspector Thatcher immediately signed off on his bereavement leave. It was in Chicago, though, that something... something...
Roddy called and asked for him to come home.
Not just for the funeral, but to stay. His brother sounded heartsick, and even though he wasn't close to the twins, either, the sound made Renfield's heart ache. He said he would think about it. But when he went home to his apartment to gather up his things, he... he ended up packing most of it. He wasn't even entirely aware that he was
, until it was the middle of the night and he was sitting on his stripped-down bed, looking at his mostly stripped down apartment and was left wondering why
By the next morning, he had arranged shipment -- no small expense, counting insurance and bulk -- and he had arranged a non-stop flight for himself.
A day and a half after he had shot a man in the wilds of Canada, he was boarding a plane at O'Hare for Pearson.
Chicago moved behind him as though he had never been there at all.
There was surreality to their childhood home.
It had a smell that he supposed he never really noticed until he didn't live there anymore. Myra's home held a modified version of it; lighter, more faintly her and later, John. The fact that this house would likely lose a component of that scent very soon panged something in Renfield that he didn't quite understand.
The house was mobbed with people, further altering the scent, and layering upon him deja vu for something so recent it hadn't really cemented in his mind yet. His father was a popular man, and by the stories he could hear told, a beloved politician.
Most of them didn't seem to be aware Renfield existed. They'd probably heard of a third son, but Renfield didn't recognize any of these people, and apparently the family resemblance wasn't enough to call attention to the man occupying a space on the couch and staring into blankness. That was fine with him. It seemed to him, sitting there, that life had for a very long time rushed by his pocket of stilled time. Somewhere he could touch nothing.
Renfield smelled it before he truly understood it, when his sister settled calmly inside that pocket.
He looked down at her. She looked up at him. They said nothing.
Their mother wore all black. It was the only indication she felt anything other than grim acceptance of her husband's loss, though Turnbull knew his mother at least well enough to understand that this was because her grief was for behind closed doors. Mrs. Turnbull was needed; to stand in her husband's stead so far as it took to close his affairs, to be the head of the family for her children, to treat the other mourners with propriety and grace.
She sat in a chair, seeming to take a few moments' quiet rest from receiving people, though Renfield found with dull irritation that they still spoke to her. He was at the point of tersely objecting when he realized that his mother seemed to derive some vital purpose from answering the questions posed to her, even if she had chosen to sit.
There was a political hole where his father had been. Succession was difficult. Very large and apparently beloved shoes would need to be filled.
Roderick was ill-suited to politics by reputation; he was ruthlessly polite, like the rest of his family, but often used the trait to high-profile effect, and the RCMP was not the only group of individuals to have a very long and unforgiving memory. Reginald was willing - even eager - to consider it, but the twins were in business together; where one burned bridges, the other usually found discontent.
Renfield followed the conversation in a disconnected haze as they debated which members of the political network their father had would have preferred to take up the mantle and got generally nowhere. It seemed Turnbull's father had been...
He shook his head at apparently nothing, and could see Myra's eyebrow up in his periphery.
That there could be so much regret for barely knowing a man he'd barely wanted
He didn't sound like himself, sometime later, when he muttered that he'd do it.
Renfield Turnbull had killed a man, said goodbye to his fading hero, buried his father and become a politician in the space of a work week.
It was surreal to be treated like one of their own by his elder brother while it was his sister that kept eying him as though assessing a stranger. Renfield thought he must've walked through someone's mirror when he wasn't paying attention. Life had long been far removed from anything that felt real.
He gave the mirror a duty smile; some politicians looked disingenuous or charismatic when they smiled.
Renfield just looked vacant.