Fall Into You
Summary: The world attempts to make sense of the shocking news about one of D.C.'s most influential families, while those in the family try to find a new normal.
Word Count: 2,287
A/N: You've asked, and I've (finally) delivered. New Memento Mori is here! As per usual, let me know your thoughts, likes, comments, and reblogs are my lifeblood, and my ask box is always open. Happy reading, friends!
Previous chapters of Memento Mori: Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13
Bill Shepherd’s body is discovered on Tuesday, just a day after Duncan is released from the hospital. Naturally, it makes national news, considering the man’s been legally dead for five years. Annette, much to Duncan’s enjoyment, is left to clean up the mess. Luckily for her, the job was made much easier with the slew of evidence that had surfaced around the same time that Metro Police were called for reports of a body floating in the Potomac. With how sensational the story was, however, Duncan and Y/N only found out what Annette and the Coven had managed to weave mere minutes before the full story broke exclusively in the Herald (a paper which the Shepherds conveniently had in their back pocket).
The narrative follows as thus:
Bill had faked his own death in an attempt to escape the threats against his life by those whom he had gotten into trouble with, allegedly the new mob group that were calling themselves the Coven (a shock to everyone except those who, y’know, actually had a connection to the mob in town). He hired people to pretend to break into his home and ‘kill’ him in what the authorities saw as a robbery-gone-wrong. The whole world, even his own family, believed him to be dead, and he went into hiding for the next five years.
From there, Bill slowly rebuilt his reputation among D.C.’s underground that were still loyal to the death to him and built up a shell company to continue to try and seize his share of power. He tried to take the Coven down by murdering people in the same style that they had been rumored to do and leaving them in Shepherd territory. Finally, he meant to be ‘forced’ to reappear in the world when the Coven kidnapped his beloved nephew and meant to kill him. Unfortunately, Bill would be too late, and he would be the grieving uncle who swore to take down all crime in the city shortly before announcing his run for mayor and running on the same values that brought him out of hiding.
His plan was close to working successfully until the Coven, whose members’ identities were still unknown to the authorities, got wind of what Bill was doing. Annette was called from a blocked number and told where her son was, and Bill was gone when she and Duncan’s girlfriend arrived. The authorities swore that they would find who was behind the Coven and bring them to justice, but considering all the trouble that Bill caused, those who had the most power in the city were assured that the culprits would not be found.
In another life, Annette could have been an actress. She perfectly plays the part of a shocked sister, a concerned mother, and an involved citizen hungry for justice and reform. She’s made the news media circuit in what seems like a record amount of time, and they ate up every word of it. The press conference, which was broadcast live on most of the major news networks and quoted in the next day’s papers, saw Annette as a woman whose entire world had been rocked in the span of a few days. No, she told the army of reporters, she had no idea that her brother was even alive. For what he had done to her son (she spared them the gory details, but confirmed that Duncan had suffered life-threatening injuries and would be out of the public eye for a while as he focused on healing), though, she wished that he was still alive so that she could take care of him herself.
In the end, Annette said, she was just thankful that a couple of ‘good Samaritans’ had left anonymous tips with the Shepherd Freedom Foundation that allowed her to find her son just barely clinging on to life. She was also grateful that the D.C. Police, with their tireless work (aka no work until a dead body had been called in), had been able to gather more than enough evidence that this case was open and shut. As she dabbed tears from her eyes, she told the cameras that her family had been through enough, and this made sure they wouldn’t have to relive the nightmare they had just been through.
How had this trail of evidence been so easily found by police around the same time as the body was discovered? Diligent police work? No. Annette was lucky enough to have Y/N, ever so handy with computer skills, who was able to make a number of documents and security footage easily accessible to the hopelessly-inept police department. Simple, really.
Since Duncan was still recovering, everyone in his inner circle agreed that he needed the least amount of stress placed on him as possible. For the most part, he was fine with decisions related to the business, both legal and illegal, being handled by Annette and Michael. Surprisingly, the two had been involving Y/N on a few business matters, a fact that made Duncan very proud when she told him about how she had been asked to help leak the evidence.
The most important thing for Duncan to focus on was getting better. Thankfully, with Annette handling the media hounds that were after any salacious details of Bill Shepherd that they could get (as more time passed since the body was discovered, they only seemed to get more bloodthirsty), Y/N could focus on helping him get better.
Duncan’s hand had been out of a cast for a week now, but he would rather go back into it than have to do another second of rehab. As he sits on the couch, Y/N holding his weakened arm in her hands while he follows the exercises the physical therapist had given him and touches his thumb to each finger and makes a fist multiple times, he can’t help but to groan.
“Why the fuck is this so hard to do?” he laments, staring at his scarred hand with fingers that are just slightly crooked if you know what to look for (which he does, since he’s been doing a lot of looking at his hand).
“Probably because you’re rebuilding all of the strength in your hand, love.” Y/N lifts his hand up to kiss each of his fingers, and Duncan feels his heart fucking flutter. Being a man in love has softened him, at least slightly, but he doesn’t regret it.
“I used to be able to hold guns in both hands and shoot at the same time. Now I can’t even hold a toothbrush.”
“Not the measurements I would go with, but okay. You know you’ll get there again, right? It’s just going to take a little bit of time.”
“There’s no amount of time that will fix the way that it looks.”
Y/N has tried not to look at him with pity since what happened, and for the most part, she hasn’t. But this? The way that Duncan looks at his hand with such disgust, like it’s something to be ashamed of, makes her look away so that he doesn’t see the way she looks at him. “There’s nothing wrong with how your hand looks.”
“Really? The scars from the pins they had to place to put my hand back together, or the way that my fingers are now forever crooked, those are fine?”
“What, you’ve never had scars before? The scars on your chest and arms that I’ve seen a thousand times aren’t real scars?”
“Those are different,” Duncan insists.
“Why?” he repeats.
“Because,” Duncan rolls his eyes, knowing the answer, but not wanting to say it, “because the monster that has terrorized me my whole life got to me one last time and I wasn’t strong enough to fight him off!”
The words hang heavy in the air, and Duncan closes his eyes in shame. He never meant to actually say what he’s been thinking since the moment the drugs cleared from his mind enough for him to fully take in what happened.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have–”
“You’re wrong,” Y/N whispers, which is the most quiet and calm way that Duncan’s ever been cut off by someone. “You, Duncan Shepherd, are so incredibly wrong. If anything, the scars on your hand–which I think all of your scars are incredibly hot, but I digress–show your strength more than any of the other scars that you have.”
“Why?” Duncan echoes himself from earlier.
“Your other scars, those were just flesh wounds. ‘Nicked by a bullet, cut by a knife’: those are all very noble, but none of them show your strength like your hand and your stomach. Because those ones show that you survived. You faced death head-on, and you lived. There’s nothing more strong or badass than looking at Death and saying ‘no, not today’. You are the strongest person that I know, Dunc.”
The way that Y/N says it, with such earnesty in her words and in her expression, would make Duncan believe it even if she hadn’t presented a very convincing case. To be fair, he’s not entirely convinced, because one heartfelt conversation is not going to fix the years of resentment and abuse that have tainted his very soul. But this is a very good start.
“I love every part of you. And when you don’t have it in you to love yourself, I’ll love you extra to make up for it.”
Duncan smiles, brushing some of Y/N’s hair away from her face with his good hand before kissing her forehead. “I have done so many terrible things in my life. I’ve lied, cheated, stolen, tortured, killed. I can’t even begin to name the people that I have hurt. So what the hell did I do to deserve someone like you?”
“Just lucky, I guess.”
“The luckiest man in the world.” Her eyes look from his eyes to his lips and back again, a silent cue as to what she’s thinking. He leans in and then finally, his lips are on hers earnestly.
Duncan kisses like a man deprived, which he’ll say he has been deprived of with how Y/N has been nervous to touch him, lest she hurt him. He uses his good hand to nudge her onto his lap. Even as her hands are in his hair and he’s kissing and sucking on her neck, she still won’t fully sit down on him. She’s trying too hard to avoid the gunshot wound still healing on his thigh while also worrying about the deep scar on his stomach. The hesitancy causes Duncan to pull away from her heated skin in order to look at her.
“You’re not going to hurt me, Y/N,” he says, which does nothing to quell the worry in her.
“But what if I–”
“Even if you did accidentally hurt me,” he stresses the ‘accidental’ part, “I like a little bit of pain. You should really know that by now.”
“You’re sure you’re going to be okay?”
“I wouldn’t have started this if I wasn’t okay with it. Besides, didn’t I promise you in the hospital that we were going to have ‘so much sex’ once I was better?”
Y/N laughs, even though she really tries not to. “You did.”
“It’s probably time I make good on that promise.”
Duncan goes in for another kiss, only to be interrupted by the front door rudely opening. “Not so fast,” Michael declares as he walks in. “Annette’s about a minute behind me, so you should probably compose yourselves.”
Y/N groans before climbing off of Duncan. “You’re such a fucking cockblock, Michael.”
“That’s rude. If I remember correctly, you were quiet and scared when we first met. What happened there?”
“I corrupted her,” Duncan laughs, kissing her cheek fondly.
“I suppose I can understand that, considering I did corrupt my Dove.”
“What?” Y/N’s jaw falls. “You have a girlfriend?”
“I’ve never mentioned her before?” Michael asks, brow furrowing as he tries to remember.
“No, you absolutely have not. Wow, and here I thought we’ve become so close, considering I call you by your first name now,” Y/N says in faux indignation.
“I have to keep some secrets. It adds to the mystery.”
“Just remember who has all of the photos of you as a sweet teenager, Mr. Mystery,” Annette chimes in as she makes her entrance, setting her expensive bag on the counter. She gives Duncan a motherly squeeze on the shoulder, and he looks up at her. “How did your therapy exercises go?”
He shrugs. “Frustratingly slow.”
“It’s going to take some time to rebuild your strength,” Annette sympathizes.
“I told him the same thing,” Y/N stage whispers, laughing when Duncan scoffs. “How did your meeting with the President go?”
Duncan remains silent and sits back, taking in the scene before him. Michael perches on one of the armchairs, checking his phone while periodically adding his own comments into the conversation happening. Annette and Y/N talk political strategy, and Duncan smiles when Y/N’s eyes light up upon Annette telling her there might be some app coding work for her to do. The people closest to him are all here and interacting with each other like this is a normal scenario. And maybe, he thinks, it is. He’s looking at his mother, the man who’s like a brother to him, and the woman he’s pretty sure is the one, and he realizes the feeling that he’s been trying to decipher.
The feeling is belonging, and for the first time in a very long time, Duncan Shepherd feels like he’s at home.
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My favorite quotes from the stream (as I was able to jot them down as they were being said)
Don't cry because it's over. Cry because it happened.
What is a graveyard if not humanity's hall of fame?
It's like I'm fondling the balls of life.
Choose to spend time on what fulfills you, on what makes you happy... Every second is a chance to turn your life around.
When I die, I want to be an empty shell, having given every part of myself to creating.
The worst part of this was when the boiling hot piss shot out onto my foot.
No, that was pain; this is suffering. (technically from the pee sauna vid but they watched it during the stream it counts)
At the end of the day, you know: pizza's pizza, piss is piss.
We have experienced something that no human ever has, and that's incredible.
We're not just two grown men who drank each other's piss. We're two grown men who bathed in each other's piss.
How you respond to events that are out of your control defines you as a person.
Unus annus dot com: hey hey, wow wow.
I feel like a lot of people will feel lost tomorrow. And that's okay.
It had to be a piece of us that we put out there... and then let go.
A year is many things to many people. But it is not forever.
"Memento Mori" has two meanings: remember death or remember that you will die, but also remember to live.
Edit: I have been told in the notes that I missed some absolute gems, so here’s a more complete list!
I’d cry myself to sleep if I wasn’t gonna be dead in five and a half hours.
Every second is just another chance to get dick.
Mark: I’ve never been hit by a car before, how do I know I won’t enjoy it? Amy: We could take this out to the parking lot if you want to test it.
I want to be Mr. Hybrid Wellness, now.
We’ve been edging Father Time for a whole year.
Shot out the load that contained Tony Stark. What a profound man.
I wanna make it through this year and it kills me.
Bald Ethan was a special type of chaotic.
Listen. I have nothing to say to you.
We can’t see the stars, but we know they are there.
It’s like you’re lying in your death bed surrounded by your family.
Every fart is a chance to take with love.
We made a cry box.
Ethan: Does that stem from something? Mark: Survival instinct.
Tired, sad, and a little tipsy.
Evan, your fursona has to be a bear. I’m sorry, but rules are rules.
You ever heard of Halloween?
The Unus Annus way: not quite what we wanted.
Just because we’re gone doesn’t mean you have to forget about it.
A second is nothing. But a second can change someone’s life.
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