Pairing: James/Henry, hints of Walter/Henry
Rating: PG-13 for the time being.
Summary: After escaping from Silent Hill, James tries to return to life as normal. His father offers him a place in South Ashfield Heights so his son might have a chance at a new life.
Even after eating, James stared at the phone for another half an hour before finally, with shaking hands, picking it up and dialing. After a few rings, he heard a familiar, albeit tired voice on the other end. Part of James had hoped that maybe his father wouldn’t be around; maybe he had left the apartment business in the month that he was gone- wishful thinking.
“Dad,” he didn’t intend on his voice being so shaken.
“James?!” There was a stunned disbelief from the other side of the phone, “my God! I thought you were dead! After Mary you… Oh, James.”
“Dad, I’m sorry. I went to Silent Hill; I don’t know what happened after.” That, of course, was a blatant lie- but how could he tell him? He’d killed… Not only Mary, but a kid as well. How could he claim self-defense when he was already a murderer?
His mind raced.
His father cleared his throat, “where are you?”
“I’m just outside of Silent Hill; I’m uh, going home.”
There was a pause and a sigh on the other end, “come to South Ashfield, we couldn’t keep your apartment for this long. I’ve seen that your things have all been stored.”
“…I will,” outside, a clap of thunder shook the ground and James winced. “I’ll see you later, dad.”
He disconnected and began the walk back to his car, by now the rain was coming down in sheets, and whoever had been outside had scattered to stand underneath the various overhangs. The cold was seeping into his bones now, and he vaguely tried to remember the last time he’d felt warm.
By the time he made it back to what had been his old apartment, it was already early in the afternoon. The first thing James saw in the office was an older woman, fretting over paperwork. Her brown hair had since grayed, though her blue eyes still held a youthful sparkle. She was wearing a comically out of date floral print dress that was belted in the middle, no doubt a relic from her younger days. Sarah had been the manager at Sunnyview for as long as James could remember, and she had always had a certain kind of softness towards him and Mary. He supposed it was because she was an older woman without any children or grandchildren of her own. James would have liked to have her around when they finally decided to have a child… Now that wasn’t going to happen.
He caught her eye and raised a hand in a half-hearted way of greeting. Sarah dropped the papers she was sorting through and rushed to the door, opening it and all but sweeping him inside. The apartment office was somewhere he was familiar with, with its framed pictures of cats and plush carpeting- it was a lot like Sarah’s apartment.
“James, we had such a fright when you left,” he could tell she wanted to ask him more, but was holding back out of respect. She did, however, have one hand on his shoulder as they walked to sit down; it remained even after they had taken a seat. James knew what she wanted to ask, he understood the strained look in her eyes. Was it because of Mary? Even though she hadn’t said it, the question hung like an accusation.
“I’m sorry to cause you so much trouble, Sarah. I’m not sure what happened while I was gone,” he didn’t want to add in that he really didn’t have any idea where the time went. To Sarah and his father, it probably seemed like he had just needed time alone and, in a deep state of depression, couldn’t be bothered to tell anyone his whereabouts or how long he was going to be gone.
“That’s all in the past now, James. We’re just glad you came home in one piece…” Sarah took the stack of papers she had been fiddling with when James had entered the room and presented it to him. “This is everything from when you were gone, you don’t need to worry about any missed rent, but we do need to go down to the police and let them know you’re home safe. I’d imagine this is something you want to do after you’ve had some rest.”
James nodded dumbly, the normalcy of everything still striking him stupid. “My father wants me to stay with him for a while; I think it would be a good idea…” He trailed off.
“Of course, we understand. He has the location and lock for your storage container; it isn’t too far from here- if you need any help at all unpacking you give me a call, alright?”
He felt tired, dirty, and sore- going out to a storage container was the least of his worries. Instead, thanked her for doing so much and excused himself. With papers in tow, he returned to his car, giving Sarah a small wave as her office disappeared from view. His father’s apartment complex was a few hours away at least, but he knew the trip was something he needed to take immediately.
After stopping at a payphone to check the status of his various credit cards and his bank account, he finally began the journey to his new home. At the moment, he didn’t feel much regarding it, he hadn’t felt anything other than dread all day. Now, he was just tired.
When he finally made it to South Ashfield, his father was waiting for him. During the drive there, James had thought about at least two hundred ways the meeting would go, all of them left him feeling sick and lightheaded. Anything he had planned on saying, anything he had rehearsed all flew out the window as he all but crumpled to the ground. His father pulled him into a hug but, wisely, said nothing. After a few moments trying to compose himself, James managed a strained whisper.
“She’s dead. She’s dead and I killed her.”