Title: No Turning Back
Series: The Revenant Journals
Relationships: Daniel Buckley & Evan “Buck” Buckley, Daniel Buckley & Maddie Buckley, Evan “Buck” Buckley & Maddie Buckley
Tags: Alternate Universe, Angst, Drama, Fusion, Hurt/Comfort, Magical Realism, Revenant AU,
Warnings: Abuse-Child, On-Screen Minor Child Character Death, Racism
Summary: Daniel Buckley knew one thing, and that was that he had to protect Evan.
Word Count: 9,107
Notes: The Revenant fusion is based on Keira Marcos’ original concept. You can read the original story that spawned it here. For more information on my overall world, click here.
From the Journals of Daniel Buckley, Age 8 Years and 7 Months
I’m not afraid of dying. My parents are afraid of me dying. They are afraid of me dying, but I know that things will be better if I can’t be cured. I’m in pain, and I hope to not be. The only thing that makes the day any better is when I get to hold Evan. I love him so much.
I named Evan. Mom said that since he would save me, I could name him. During one of my days getting chemo, one of the nurses helped me. We looked at a baby name book and picked Evan. I liked the meanings in several languages. In Hebrew, it’s close to even, which means rock, and I think Evan will be my rock. It’s the shortened version of Evangelos and Evander in Greek, and they mean good messenger and good man.
There were a lot of other meanings for Evan, but those names had to do with God, and I stopped believing in him a long time ago. I’ve not talked to Mom and Dad about it. It’s not like I can go to church anyway.
My therapist, who visits me when I’m having treatment, wanted me to write in a journal about how I feel, and I’m still not sure how I feel about that. It’s supposed to make me feel better, but I don’t really feel any better. Maybe I am doing it wrong.
I’ll keep writing in case it does make me feel better.
Daniel listened to his mother starting to talk to his father, and then he made his move. He slipped out of the room he was in and made his way to Evan’s bedroom. Daniel shut the door as soon as he got inside and looked at his brother. Evan was in his crib like he always was, and the baby monitor was on. Daniel turned it off, carefully lowering the side that kept Evan from getting out. He was already crawling and could pull himself up to stand on the bars. The crib was the only thing that kept Evan where he was.
Evan looked at Daniel and started to coo and babble a little bit. Nonsense noises meant nothing, really. Daniel loved him so much that he just sometimes couldn’t stand it. He didn’t care about how Evan was going to save him. He just wanted to be there for all of Evan’s life.
“Good morning, Evan. Are you hungry? Do you want to play?” Daniel carefully got Evan down, and the baby started to stand up all on his own again, using the bars on the crib as a way to balance. “I can’t wait to show you everything that is wonderful. We gotta get you bigger first.”
Daniel looked at Evan for a few seconds before he walked over to get toys to play with. He picked them up and tossed a few over. Evan squealed, grabbed one of the stuffed blocks, and immediately threw it back at Daniel.
“Oh, you in a mood?”
Evan squealed even louder and tossed another block at Daniel, who picked up another and tossed it back at Evan. He waited for Evan to crawl over and chase that one down before putting up all of the hard toys. He didn’t need bruises on his body that his mother would freak out about. He grabbed the rest of the soft toys and even the stuffed bear that was in there. Daniel plopped that into his lap as he settled in to play with Evan. It was best if Evan was worn out when it was time for breakfast. He would eat his own little bites of cereal. He wasn’t the best and made a horrible mess, but he liked to do things on his own.
Pancakes had been Daniel’s choice for breakfast for a while. He loved them, and his father bought a great strawberry jam that tasted really good spread on them instead of syrup. Evan really liked them as well, and Daniel always made sure they were cut up very, very small so that he didn’t choke on them. Pancakes and bananas were good, and sometimes Evan even ate Cheerios since they dissolved very quickly.
Maddie liked cereal, so she normally ate it. Evan wasn’t picky, but he loved bananas and pancakes best, so Daniel wanted to make sure they had what he liked.
“Mom’s going to be upset you are playing with him,” Maddie said.
Daniel looked at his sister, and he shrugged. Maddie didn’t like to upset their mom, but Daniel didn’t care all that much. He cared about Evan.
“Where is Daniel?” Mom called out.
Daniel rolled his eyes and waved for Evan to come to him. Evan crawled over and climbed into Daniel’s lap. He clung to him as Daniel stood up carefully. He was pretty steady on his feet right now, and he would never hurt Evan.
“Oh, there you are. What are you doing carrying him?” Mom asked.
“He likes it, and I like it,” Daniel said. He held onto Evan just a little tighter.
“Margaret, let him carry Evan. They are both fine,” Dad said.
Daniel smiled, and he began to walk again. He was careful on the stairs down and took his time, letting everyone else pass by him, especially Maddie, who was always in a rush to be everywhere. She resented being unable to do as much as she used to due to Daniel being at the hospital more and more.
Maddie wasn’t upset at Daniel for it, but she was just angry at not getting to play with her friends most days after school.
Daniel tried to keep up with the other kids in his grade, and his teachers made sure he had his work. He made up tests when he could. The treatments were easy, and while they tired him out, he got through most of his schoolwork during them. It worked for them right now, but Daniel knew things were different.
“Pancakes?” Dad asked.
“Yes, please. Can we do strawberry jam and peanut butter on them today?” Daniel wanted really good food before he went in for his treatment today. It was the last one before Christmas.
“What’s with the special food?” Dad asked.
“Evan’s six months old today. He really liked that one bite he had of my peanut butter pancakes, and he really liked that strawberry jam. So I thought that they mixed would be great.”
“Well, whatever you want,” Dad said. He started to pull down the bowls and pans needed to make breakfast. He hummed as he worked on it, so Daniel focused on getting Evan into the high chair. It was ready for him to be settled into, but sometimes Evan didn’t like to stay in it.
Daniel hoped that Evan was going to be a good boy and do what Daniel wanted.
“And we are sure about the Foundation and that they won’t let a Revenant try and help him?” Mom said as she came into the room.
Daniel focused on Evan and making sure he was going to stay as he picked up the tray and then slotted it into place. It was a good day, and Evan just settled in and stayed. Daniel grabbed the small bowl of Cheerios on the table, picked up a small handful, and dropped them onto the tray.
Evan reached out and snagged a Cheerio and chewed on it.
Daniel smiled at him for a few seconds before getting something to drink.
“I’ll get that,” Mom said.
“I got it, Mom. You are on the phone.” Daniel glanced at her and saw the cord already stretched pretty far. Last time she had nearly broken the phone.
“Sweetie, sit down. You shouldn’t tire yourself out before you go to get your treatment.”
“I’m not going to. I have no schoolwork, so even if I do, I can sleep. It’s gonna be Dad, Evan, and me today, right?”
“Yes. I have to go and show a house. You’ll be good for your father, won’t you, Evan?”
Maddie rolled her eyes and poured milk into the bowl of cereal before she filled up a glass for Dad. She carried that over and then put the milk up.
Daniel wanted juice, and he poured some into Evan’s sippy cup before adding water as well to make it not as sugary and sweet for him. He put the lid on the sippy cup and carried it to the table before returning for his juice. He had to do everything two-handed because of his treatments. He didn’t want to shake everything out of the cup if he carried it just with one hand.
It was silent except for Evan’s soft sounds, as it always was. Daniel looked at his father as he cooked the pancakes. It was nice when it was just them sometimes without their mother. She loved Daniel, but she was too much most of the time.
Daniel just focused on Evan, who was having fun eating the Cheerios and looking at Daniel.
Daniel looked at where Evan was walking around the treatment area, touching things and climbing on everything. It was just them and their mother today, but she was not paying attention to Evan at all. She was doing that less and less now. Evan was just a week past his first birthday and interested in everything.
“Mom,” Daniel said.
“Hold on,” Mother said.
“No, Mom. You need to-”
“Daniel, I’m busy. I’ll deal with your brother when I am done.”
Daniel huffed and pressed his button to get a nurse’s attention. It would be needed as soon as Evan fell off what he was getting ready to lose his grip on.
Evan fell and started to scream before he even made it all the way to the floor. Mother looked up from the file she was looking at for the house she was showing and looked very upset. She laid the file to the side and helped to get Evan standing upright. She then went back to her papers.
“Mom, he’s bleeding,” Daniel said. He didn’t like the look of the blood on his brother’s head.
“I’ll take care of him,” the nurse, Samantha, said as she came into the area. She crouched down and looked at Evan with a smile before she opened up her arms. Evan went right to her.
“He’s fine,” Mother said.
“No, he’s really not; he’s bleeding from a head wound.”
“And head wounds bleed a lot. That’s what all of you keep on telling me if Daniel gets injured. He’ll be fine, and I’ll clean him up when I’m done with the work that I need to do.”
“For the sterileness of this area and making sure that no one touches spread blood, I’m going to take him and clean him up. I’ll return him when I’m done, and Stacy in the next area over will take care of Daniel if he needs anything.”
Daniel nodded his head. He liked Stacy. He liked Samantha better, but he liked Stacy well enough. She would take care of him while Samantha took care of Evan. Daniel rolled his eyes when his mother huffed after Samantha was gone. Daniel hated the days that she was here for him. His father at least paid attention to Evan when he was doing things and ensured he didn’t get hurt. His mother didn’t seem to want anything to do with Evan.
“Daniel, schoolwork,” Mother said.
Daniel didn’t answer; he just turned his head down to the worksheet he was working on and paid attention to it. He knew that his mother was worried about what was coming up and the treatment they would be getting from Evan. Daniel didn’t understand it, but his parents did. The school year was over for most students, but with Daniel being as sick as he was, he had a lot of time to finish his lessons. After this, he would also be starting lessons for the next year.
The door to the area opened, but it wasn’t Samantha with Evan in her arms. It was another of the nurses. Daniel didn’t like Evan being out of his sight for this long without one of the family with him.
It was another half an hour before Evan was brought back. He was sleepy, so Samantha fixed Daniel’s chair to where he could lie down and then laid Evan down beside him.
“He’s good. Just a little bruising and a cut. His head will be sore, so make sure not to touch it. I have the items you will need to change out his bandage later in this little bag and instructions on how to do it.” The bag was slipped into the backpack that Daniel brought with him with his schoolwork and books. “You go ahead and sleep, and I’ll wake you up when it’s lunchtime.”
Daniel got comfortable, and Evan tucked himself into his body and fell asleep.
“He’s okay to take his nap, right?”
“Yes, he is. Your father is still in the ER, filling out the paperwork to check him out. He had just arrived with your sister. Everything is good. I’m going to go over and check what cut him. We will make this area safe for him.
Daniel nodded his head and let himself sleep now that Evan was there in his arms. He would do everything he could to make sure he could protect Evan for the rest of their lives.
Daniel was in pain. He looked at where his mother was yelling at the nurse, but he couldn’t understand what was being said. He knew that whatever had happened to him wasn’t because of Evan, even though his mother thought that. Evan was so small and perfect. He was the only happy thing Daniel had in his life over the last year.
He knew he was dying. He knew that he wasn’t going to make it through the night.
“Daniel needs his rest; we can talk about this elsewhere,” the nurse said.
Daniel was glad they were leaving. A few minutes after they left, Samantha came in with a sleeping Evan in her arms. She moved Daniel’s bed a little and pressed the button that gave him more pain medication.
“Here you go,” Samantha said.
Daniel moved his arms to hold Evan down on the bed beside him.
“Do you want to be on your side?”
“Yes, please, Sam,” Daniel said.
Samantha smiled at him and then started to move him. Daniel was glad of the extra pain stuff, and he closed his eyes through the worst of it, and then he was staring at Evan. He laid his hand on Evan’s belly, and his little brother moved in his sleep to hold Daniel’s hand. Daniel looked at Samantha, who was leaving the room. She gave Daniel a smile, but there was a sadness to the way that she looked at him that he had never seen before. She knew what Daniel felt.
Daniel didn’t want anyone around him but Evan. He just wanted to be with someone who loved him, and he loved wholly. Their father had gone to pick up Maddie to bring her back, but Daniel didn’t think he would make it back in time.
“I’m so sorry that I won’t be around, Evan. I’m sorry that I won’t be able to protect you from Mom and Dad. I hope that Maddie will be able to. I hope that she will love you as much as I do. You are all she is going to have. I wanted to see you doing all of the stuff I heard about Maddie and me doing as babies.”
“Da?” Evan asked. His eyes were moving slowly as he opened them, still sleepy and upset from the procedure that had been done to him.
“Yeah, it’s me,” Daniel said, smiling at the way that Evan could only call him Da; the N sound was impossible for the baby.
Daniel leaned over, pressed a kiss to Evan’s forehead, and moved to where he was fully lying down. He closed his eyes and let his mind start to go blank. His body was getting tired, and his brain slowing down.
“I love you, Evan.”
Daniel looked around, and all he saw was darkness. He wasn’t in pain anymore, but he felt different. He blinked a few times, but the darkness didn’t go away. He forced himself to calm down just like he had been taught by Samantha.
A scream had Daniel turning around, and he saw the hospital bed he had been in and Evan standing there, trying to get him to wake up. It was like Evan knew, even though he was too young to understand it. The monitors had to have told the nurses that he had died.
“I died,” Daniel said. He looked around for that light he heard about, but there was nothing there, and despite the darkness everywhere but where he was seeing Evan trying to wake him up, it wasn’t that cold.
“You did die, young one,” a woman said.
Daniel tried to find that person, but then he saw it, a shape at the edge of his vision. It was there, but it also wasn’t there.
“Where am I?”
“You are in the void, a way station of sorts. You made a choice that you never wanted to leave Evan. This is the choice you have on that.”
“I’m a Revenant?” Daniel asked.
“Yes, I’m shocked you know what one is.”
“My parents tried to get the Hale Foundation to have a Revenant heal me. It wasn’t something they could do and wouldn’t do, as having the death of a child in the head of a Revenant would suck. My parents were very upset about it, and they hate Revenants now. I get to stay one, don’t I?”
“Yes, you do if you really want, but you can’t stay here.”
“You need to move on to something else before you come back to your family. While the Hale Foundation has a good placement for that kind of thing, you don’t need to follow them to get help. You are a child, and many adults are receptive to taking on a child and teaching, showing you the way of the world. You are young, and this doesn’t make one all-knowing like some assume it does.”
“Who are you?”
“I have no name. I used to, but it’s long gone from the world and even my mind. I haven’t taken a human in a century, and soon I’ll let myself head on to where I can be reborn into the cycle of life. I promised that I would stay here until someone in my line became a Revenant again.”
“And that’s me?”
“Yes. I was born over five hundred years ago, Daniel and it’s time for me to settle in and rest. How are you feeling?”
“I feel weird.”
“You’ll get used to that, I promise you that. You will be settled and get into everything. I’m looking forward to what is coming next. There is a man in Arizona named Daniel; I’ve seen him a few times. He’s a candidate for a Revenant to anchor with, but none have come up that would be good for him. Another Revenant will have to help you, but you can find one. Daniel is in Flagstaff.”
“How do I get there? It’s a long way.”
“You’ll figure it out. Some things will come to you. I promise you that. Just let it all settle in. You will do wonderful, and then one day, you will come back to check on Evan, and he will be happy, despite losing you.”
“That’s all I want. Hmm, to be happy.”
“You need to be happy as well, Daniel Buckley. Make the choice that is best for you.”
“I will.” Daniel looked back at the bed, and Maddie had Evan in her arms while their parents were screaming something. They would get better. They would come to love him. They would because Daniel was gone, and they only had two children left. They had to love Evan. There was no other option.
“Are you ready?” the woman asked.
“Yes, I am.”
“Good. Now, I’m going to take you there, and then I’m going to leave.”
Daniel felt like he was going to miss her even though he had just met her. She took him down to where he was in the room then she was gone. Daniel looked at his parents, who were now crying as they held his hands. He looked at Maddie, who was sitting down with Evan in her arms.
“I’m going to protect you. I love you, and I’m going to protect you because I couldn’t protect Daniel from getting sick.”
Daniel reached out and touched Maddie’s cheek. Evan looked at her, and then he looked at the hand on her and then at Daniel. His eyes were focused on Daniel like he could actually see Daniel. Daniel wasn’t sure what it meant, but he knew that it wasn’t what was happening.
Touching Evan’s cheek, Daniel felt happiness inside Evan because he didn’t understand Daniel was gone. He would not understand it for a long time. Daniel would just be gone and would never come back to him.
Daniel knew what distance was. He had learned all about how big the US was. He knew how fast cars could go and how long it took to go places. He knew that travel in the shape he was in was no different, except he wasn’t getting tired. He also wasn’t bound to the ground like humans were. Gravity did nothing to him. He moved where he wanted with a thought, just like when he was a human. It was a split second, and it happened, and then he was moving.
Leaving Evan and Maddie behind hurt, but Daniel knew that the woman had been honest; there was a feeling inside him that he knew it was right. That he couldn’t just hang around there. He needed to make time for himself.
The world was massive, horrible, and wonderful at the same time. Daniel knew that nothing could hurt him, but still, he didn’t like actually being around things that would have hurt him when he was alive. There was something strange about a car going through him. He knew little about Revenants, mostly what his parents had yelled about when no Revenant would agree to try to save him.
Maddie had talked to people and hadn’t learned that it was anywhere near what their parents thought when it came to healing. Yes, Daniel would be stronger, but the issue would still be there. Daniel’s death hadn’t even been guaranteed to be averted with a Revenant and the transplant.
It was what it was. Daniel hated that he was dead, but he was a Revenant. He could get older, get stronger, and go back to Harrisburg and protect Evan. That was the only thing in the world that Daniel wanted to do. He just wanted to make sure that Evan was happy in life. There was nothing more important.
Flagstaff was huge, but Daniel felt it. He felt the pull to another of his kind. He wasn’t sure what that pull was, but he didn’t want to have to go too much further. He wasn’t tired, and that felt so wrong. Daniel knew that he was changing. His brain and thoughts seemed different. He knew he was a kid who had seen things and been through things, but he was still a kid. He wanted to grow up, but that had been taken from him.
The park he was in was massive, and Daniel wasn’t sure how he was supposed to do this. Did he just go up to the man?
“I know you are there,” a man said.
Daniel looked at the man who spoke, and he frowned. He knew that he was there. Which was impossible, as far as Daniel knew.
“Having an old Revenant inside of you changes you in ways. I know you are there because I can feel you. Are you looking for an anchor?”
Daniel wasn’t sure what the man wanted.
“Ah, a new soul. Okay. Touch my left hand if you want to answer yes; right is no. Do you understand?”
Daniel moved toward the man and touched his left hand.
“Great. Now. Let’s go somewhere where we can be alone. You can follow my car. If you do lose me, my house is down that street. You cannot miss it, but you can see my yellow truck there if you do get lost.”
Daniel looked the way that the man pointed. He started to head in that direction, taking his time as he watched the families in the park. There was nothing more saddening to Daniel right now than to see happy families playing. Daniel wasn’t even sure what day of the week it was. He had lost all sense of time as he made his way from Harrisburg to Flagstaff. He didn’t remember how many days and nights had passed, but he hadn’t rested as he hadn’t needed it. So he had just kept on going.
The house was simple, and there was a dog in the front yard that was sleeping under the shade of a tree in the fenced-in dog area. Daniel saw the truck parked in the front, and he got closer, but the man wasn’t in the truck. The front door was open, but Daniel wasn’t sure. He didn’t know of a way to kill a Revenant, but another Revenant would know it if there was a way.
“Are you coming in?”
Daniel looked at the man who was standing in the doorway. He was looking near where Daniel was. It was kind of fun. Daniel moved to the left a little, and the man’s gaze followed him. Daniel went closer to him and waited to see what he would do. Daniel stopped in the doorway and waited for the man to step back.
“You are young, aren’t you?” the man asked.
Daniel touched his left hand.
“Okay, well, my name is Martin. Please come inside, and I’ll call Daniel. He’s the closest person who is willing to anchor a Revenant. He’ll come over when he can. Feel free to run around. It’s all pretty simple.”
Daniel was glad he didn’t have to ask the man what he wanted or needed. It would take forever for him to work through the alphabet with him, doing a yes and no on each letter. Daniel had all the time in the world but not that much time before he got bored.
Being bored was the worst, and Daniel knew his life would be no different. It was why it had taken so long to get to Arizona. There was so much to stop and see.
Daniel wandered the house while they waited for the other Daniel to get there. The house was simple, and it felt like home. Some rooms felt like a place that was just home to someone who loved life.
Revenants were a mystery to kids like Daniel. They weren’t talked about much outside of families at Daniel’s age. The only reason Daniel knew much at all about them was because of his parents trying to get one of them to save him. Daniel wanted to know more about them, but that would take learning. He had no foreknowledge. He was a new Revenant and knew nothing.
“Hello?” someone called out.
Daniel turned to look at the man. He looked old compared to what Daniel would call young. He thought his parents were old as well.
“My name is Daniel. I hope you are in here. Martin said you were. My name is Daniel Croft. I’m willing to be an anchor for you. If you want to come down, Martin said he had a way to talk to you.”
Daniel followed the other Daniel down to the living room. Martin was there with a tray of what looked like it might be lemonade in glasses.
“Did he come down?” Daniel asked.
“Yes,” Martin answered.
“Do you know why he’s here?”
“No. I feel I know who sent him since he seems to be okay just going home with me.” Martin looked toward where Daniel was. “Are you looking for an anchor?”
Daniel touched Martin’s hand to signal yes.
“Then do it.”
Daniel didn’t understand it. He didn’t understand that kind of acceptance but knew very little of Revenants.
Martin and the other Daniel looked at each other after a few minutes, and Daniel didn’t do it. He had no clue how to do it.
“Holy shit,” Martin said.
“What?” the other Daniel asked.
“He doesn’t know how. We have a very new Revenant. Now I fully know why he was sent here to you and me, Daniel. This is going to take a little bit. It’s been a while since I’ve been around a newbie. I have very little here, but I’ll go and pick up food for us after a little while, and then you can talk to him, and then we can work on the rest of what he needs to know.”
Daniel looked at his hand. There was so much that felt off, that felt wrong. The emotions inside of him were a mix of him and his anchor. Being in an adult was very, very strange, but he knew that going into a child his age wasn’t an option.
“How do you feel?”
“We feel strange,” Daniel said. He knew that his body was speaking, but it wasn’t his voice; it wasn’t his thoughts. “His name is also Daniel, and he died of cancer, leaving behind a family that he loved, but he knows that they are not in a place to know that he is a Revenant. He’s grieving them and doesn’t really want to talk.”
Daniel agreed with what the other Daniel was saying. It was strange to have that name. It was just strange all over. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do.
“Live,” Daniel said.
“Yes, living is your only job. You don’t have to do anything. You will learn about the world around you, how to be a Revenant, and what that means.” Martin reached out and touched Daniel’s hand.
Daniel wasn’t sure what to do next. He needed to be happy but had no clue how to do that with this new life.
“Well, Daniel will be in college for another few years. To become a doctor, right?” Martin asked.
“Yes,” Daniel answered.
Daniel thought about it, and being a doctor was something he did want. He had plans to try and become one that helped research cancer if he survived it. He hadn’t, but still, he could become a doctor quicker than he thought he would be able to. He wanted that like breathing.
“Typically, people like Daniel here are temporary anchors for Revenants, but he agreed, as you know, to be your anchor for as long as you want.”
It felt strange to think Daniel would move on from the other Daniel anytime soon. It wasn’t unheard of from what he had learned that day. There was a lot still to learn, and Daniel planned on doing it.
The hospital in Hershey, Pennsylvania, was a good one. It wasn’t the best in the country, but it was a perfect place to work for the first time as a full-fledged doctor. He had been looking for places, and this one had popped up. It wasn’t far from where his former family had been when he died. He could slip over to look at where they were with ease sometimes.
It was frowned on to do that kind of thing, but Daniel didn’t care. He and his anchor had blended together years ago, needing that stability to help Daniel accept his life the way it was and to embrace being a Revenant. He knew now that he had not really had the grasp of what it meant, but all he had cared about back then was making sure that he was around for Evan. Even now, he wanted to see his brother. See the happy life that he had come into. He would be just about nine, older than Daniel had made it before he died.
“How are you feeling today?” one of the nurses asked him.
“Good. I feel really good. This place is massive, but I think I have it all figured out on where to go.”
“Wonderful. Do you like it here in Hershey?”
“I am. I like it better than Harrisburg, where I grew up.”
The nurse got a strange look on her face, but then it changed. It wasn’t a secret that he was a Revenant. It was well known where Daniel was from, the human part of him. The Revenant’s origins were more muddled. Daniel wanted no one to know who he was. Daniel Buckley was dead, and it was all that the world knew, they had not told anyone in the Foundation who was sharing Daniel’s body. There was pressure to reveal it, but Daniel didn’t like the woman he met and still didn’t. He would rather just not at all.
“Sorry, I know that was confusing,” Daniel said.
“No, it’s fine. I get it. We had another doctor who anchored a Revenant a few years back. A trauma surgeon who came through and stayed for six months. She was top of her game, but the whole duality thing they had going on could be confusing. She was brilliant at it, though, and the Revenant aspect just added to it. We never knew who she had with her, and I’m glad. Revenants and their anchors need to live life without worrying about someone just invading because of who the Revenant is.”
Daniel nodded his head. He looked around the area and smiled at the nurses that were running around. So far, everyone in the ER had been a wonderful person. There were a few icy ones, but they were good people overall. Daniel was sure he could fit in here.
“Who is that?” Daniel asked when he looked at the area where the curtains were shut on.
“Frequent flyer, he’s not an abuse victim, just a stupid kid. His parents are working, and usually, his sister brings him in. She’s somewhere, and he won’t tell me where,” the nurse said.
“I can try to talk to him.”
“The parents have given permission for him to be treated for anything that is wrong, and they will pick him up when it’s time.”
Daniel wondered about that as he walked over. He opened the curtains to see blood down the left side of the kid’s face.
“Who are you?”
“My name is Daniel Croft, and you are?”
“You have my file.”
Daniel grinned a little at the sarcasm in the kid’s voice. He snagged the chart and then looked up again as he saw the name. “Evan Buckley.”
Evan should not be in Hershey. The file was filled out, and there was no signature for the parents, but there were little things that happened with some kids like this that they overlooked as long as it was all filled out before he was taken home. It was a thing that Daniel had learned back in Arizona while he was doing his residency.
“So, I see here you crashed your bike; your helmet snapped off.”
“Yeah, the cop who found me said it had been fraying. I hadn’t noticed. He taught me what to look for next time as we waited for the ambulance to come and get me.”
“How did you wreck?” Daniel asked.
“Oh, just being stupid. It was a stupid wreck. Mom’s going to freak out, and Dad will calm her down. Dad will be the one to pick me up. I’ll get ice cream and make Mom look at me like she doesn’t know what to do with me.”
“And that’s a good thing?” Daniel asked.
“At least it’s attention.”
“So I see your sister Maddie is listed as the person who usually comes and get you if your parents sign all of the paperwork. Why don’t your parents?”
“They are busy. Maddie’s nearly graduated high school; she’ll get me when she can. One time Dad came over and signed the paperwork and then went back to work. He didn’t have time to come and get me to take me home.”
It broke Daniel’s heart about that. He knew that he needed to step back. It wasn’t time yet. He didn’t have the right headspace for this. He needed to detach. He knew that Dan would be unhappy, but so far, he was making sure that he didn’t mess things up. Despite them being whatever the term was, Daniel knew that things were weird as they were both very different, even now.
“So, are you new? I don’t remember you.”
“I transferred here from Flagstaff, Arizona. It was a long move.”
“Really? I’ve always wanted to go there. After high school, I want to travel around the country, but my parents say I need to go to college. I don’t know. I don’t like school. I don’t know if I want to go to college for anything. Did you like school?”
“I hated high school, but I loved college, and I really loved med school. I love learning.”
“I like learning, but the teachers don’t make it fun. I like learning about things I want to learn about. Not the weird stuff that they want me to learn about. I don’t like that kind of thing.”
Daniel laughed. He jerked a little when the curtain was yanked back. He looked at the other ER doctor who was on the floor with him.
“Oh, Daniel. Making friends with Evan, are you?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Good. He’s a good boy, overactive, and too full of himself. He’s good to go today. He’s going to get a few stitches in his hairline to ensure he doesn’t bleed out from talking too much.”
“Okay, lay back. The scans all came back just fine. Your bones are fine, just some torn skin, and your body is all banged up. So, what do you think of Daniel here?”
“He’s nice. Can he be the one to clean me up?”
“Sure. He can. I’ll get the needle and fishing twine,” the doctor said.
Evan laughed, and Daniel did as well.
Daniel looked at Evan and saw the baby he held in his arms. He stepped back and watched what went on as the doctor took care of the stitches and a nurse cleaned Evan up.
Maddie came into the curtained-off area, and she had a look on her face of exasperation. She was beautiful, the beauty Daniel knew she would be one day. He stayed back and let Dan take the wheel, as it were, making sure that he would not do something that would be stupid.
“And who is this?”
“One of our newer ER doctors wanted to meet Evan. I’m sure that he’ll be on duty when Evan’s in here one day, so it would be good to know him.”
Maddie gave Evan a look that wasn’t quite as fond as Daniel would have wanted. Yet, there was love there. It was something that was pretty understandable, given how Evan looked. His clothes were covered in blood, and the rest of him looked like a giant bruise. When he had gone down, he had rolled, it seemed.
“Mike down the street already picked up the bike and is working on fixing it. He knew with how it was leaned against the pole and chained, you would be back for it. He snapped the chain and said he would get a new one as well as a new helmet as the rumors already made it to his shop that it was snapped.”
“The cop taught me how to check for wearing in certain spots.”
“Has your father already signed him out?” the doctor asked.
“Yes. He stopped by quickly, and then I was called to come and get him. He’s good to go, right?”
“Yup. He’s all good. I already had the scripts called down to be brought here. The forms for those were in the discharge papers.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Maddie said.
“Most welcome. The nurse will come and go over the new papers and ensure that you and Evan know what to look for.”
Daniel slipped out with the doctor, and he wasn’t sure what he was going to do, but he really needed time to himself. He was just not sure what he was thinking. He had hoped that Evan, Maddie, and their parents had a good life.
Instead, it looked like it was something else. That Evan was just not cared for. Daniel couldn’t see their parents doing that if it was him. He wasn’t sure what he would do about all of this.
The street was quiet except for Evan riding his bike around. Daniel picked up the coffee he had picked up and took a sip of it. He wasn’t sure what he was really doing there, but this was just so horrible. Evan had been alone all day. Maddie hadn’t come home from wherever she had gone last night, and their parents had left early, and it was now lunch. This was not the life that Daniel thought Evan would have. He had seen a happy life where they thought about Daniel every day and cherished the son they had.
Daniel felt like a creeper, but he had looked them up in the phone books instead of Evan’s hospital record. He wasn’t deluding himself, though. If his parents hadn’t been in the phone book, he would have looked at the records.
“Sir, what are you doing here?” Evan asked.
Daniel looked to the side to see Evan right there at the car window. Daniel had been so lost in his thoughts that he hadn’t noticed.
“I was trying to work myself up to go and talk to your parents.”
“Why?” Evan cocked his head to the side, and he frowned at Daniel.
“I used to live in Harrisburg, down the street from where you lived. Maddie didn’t recognize me. I wanted to give my condolences on the death of your brother.”
“I don’t have a brother, so I can’t be who you think I am.” Evan didn’t seem to be scared at all.
“No, I remember you being born. It was June, and Daniel loved you so much. I was a few years older but sometimes watched Daniel and Maddie.”
“I don’t have a brother. I never had a brother. It’s just Maddie and me,” Evan said.
Daniel felt gutted. He felt like he was going to throw up. His parents had what? Gotten rid of all memory of him? How was that showing one loved their dead child?
“You did,” Daniel said in a low voice.
“No, I’ll show you.”
Evan took off, dropping his bike to the ground. Daniel waited for Evan to get inside of the house before he got out of the car. Dan didn’t like this, and Daniel didn’t either, but he wouldn’t lie to Evan.
Daniel walked the bike back to the Buckley house and waited on the lawn. Evan came out a few minutes later, and he had a look on his face that made Daniel want to hold him tightly and never let him go.
“Is this him?” Evan asked as he flipped a picture around.
“Where did you find it?”
“I looked through the family album, and I noticed something. The pictures started with mom when she was pregnant with Maddie and then just stopped. After a year, there is nothing about Maddie and nothing at all about me. It’s all just our parents. Then I went to Maddie’s room.”
“This was in her box that I’m not allowed in. He kind of looks like me.”
“Yes, that’s Daniel.”
“You have to tell me about him.”
“I will. I will, I promise, but maybe not here; where your parents or Maddie can come back? Why don’t you meet me at the park tomorrow? After breakfast?”
“Sure. I…why are they keeping him from me?”
“Grief does stupid things to people, and sometimes what they think is the best is not.” It was the only thing that Daniel could say. He hated seeing Evan in pain but had no idea how to fix it.
Being a Revenant didn’t mean that he could fix everything. It didn’t mean he had all of the answers.
“You are a Revenant, aren’t you?” Evan asked as he walked up to Daniel the next day with a backpack in hand.
“How did you figure that out?”
“There was talk of it. I hear everything. No one really pays attention to me and talking around me there. It was someone new, and you were the only new person I saw. So it has to be you.”
“So the Revenant used to live down the street?”
“My Revenant was the one who lived in Harrisburg, yes.” Daniel didn’t want to lie, so this was the closest he would get.
Evan’s face showed that he didn’t like that answer. He didn’t seem to like it, but he wasn’t going to push.
“What was he like?” Evan asked.
It took Daniel a few seconds to figure out what Evan meant. “He loved you. He loved you so much. He used to fall asleep on your mother listening to you moving inside of her womb. He was the second to hold you after you were born. Your father was first and then him. Other than hospital staff.”
Daniel stopped as he thought back over a lot of his mother’s actions when it came to Evan. He had been young back then, but now he looked at with Dan’s thoughts and his own older age. He saw what made how Evan was living, not a joke.
“Do you think a Revenant would want me?” Evan asked.
“You have one inside of you. I learned about them in school a little bit, and then I checked out a few books at the library down the street. They are like best friends that you can’t get rid of easily. Maddie’s leaving next year after school to go to college, and then it will just be our parents and me. I don’t think I’ll have them around even as much as they are now. If they can get away with it, they don’t have anything to do with me. I want a good friend.”
“No one around here likes you?”
“I can’t spend a lot of time with them, and they aren’t allowed at my house. It’s not nice to make friends if you can’t invite them over to your place. That’s what Billy down the street says. He’s not nice, but the other kids don’t like it that I mooch off them.”
“I see. Well, I can be your friend. I’ll give you my cell number, and you can call me, and if I don’t answer, leave a message with when to call.”
Evan nodded, and his stomach growled.
“You didn’t eat breakfast?”
“No, I wanted to come here. I was sitting and watching you for a while before we were supposed to meet. I’m not stupid.”
“No, you are not, Evan. You are not stupid at all. Why don’t we go over to the diner across the street from here, and we will eat something for breakfast and talk a little to make sure that you want me as a friend.”
Daniel pulled back from the front, allowing Dan to take over fully. They had been together long enough that there was no real difference, but Daniel was hurt and didn’t know how to fully interact. He just wanted to be happy, and he wanted Evan to be happy and loved, but it seemed that it was only Maddie who did.
There was too much for him to do and think about, but the main part was how to do this without lying to Evan all that much. He had already lied, but he hoped that his brother would forgive him.
Evan ate like he was starving, but he wasn’t close enough to teenage years for it to be that, so it had to be a growth spurt or something. With Dan taking over the main part of the talking, there was nothing that Daniel needed to do except for watching his brother. There were reasons why it was discouraged from Revenants seeking out past family, but no one would tell him he couldn’t be with Evan.
“I should go before someone realizes I am not at the park. Maddie’s supposed to be home for lunch, and she will come and get me if I am not there when lunch is about to be done. My parents will be around. They will want to act like good parents around Maddie. I don’t think they can be, though. They don’t love me.”
Daniel nodded his head, and he hoped that his heart breaking wasn’t noticeable.
“You are familiar to me.” Evan stood up from the table and walked around to stand at the end, furthest away from Daniel. “Like when I was a baby. Maddie tells me that I know nothing, but I remember someone holding me and knowing that they loved them, then they were gone, but one time they touched me, and I couldn’t see them. I thought about it all night, and it had to be my brother. It had to be him, and then there is you, who found us here and lived near us. Are you Daniel?”
Daniel had no idea how to answer that, so he didn’t. He just looked away from Evan until he left.
“He knows,” Dan said.
Daniel just stayed silent on that. They were fucked. He couldn’t leave. He was stuck here for a while with the contract, and Evan knew how to contact him.
“You made your bed; you are going to have to lie in it.”
Daniel knew that, and he would just have to figure it all out.
There was something to be said for the tenacity of children and their want to know something. Daniel came out of his shift and looked up into the morning sky as the pink was just becoming visible. He dropped his head to look at Evan, who was sitting on the bench in the little garden in the middle of the circle of pavement that was the drop-off for ambulances.
“Hello,” Evan said.
“How did you know I worked?”
“I called and asked if you were on shift yesterday afternoon, and someone said you came in at seven, so that meant you would work until seven this morning. It wasn’t hard to get it.”
“No, I bet not.” Daniel knew that most people expected good, and it wasn’t like he had done anything yet to earn the ire or hatred of someone in Hershey. They didn’t have to worry about him having an enemy in the area yet.
Daniel didn’t think they would ever have to worry about him having an enemy unless it was someone who hated Revenants. There were a lot of people who could hurt him in that grouping.
“What do you want?” Daniel asked.
“I know it’s you. I don’t know why you haven’t told anyone about this, but is it because you don’t love us?”
“No, fuck no, Evan.” Daniel rubbed at his nose and thought about the nights when he wondered if Evan missed him on his way to Arizona. “I was a kid, and I knew I wasn’t in a place to let go like I needed. I planned to spend a year here and then move to Harrisburg to be with you guys. I was going to watch from afar. I didn’t expect to see you in the ER.”
“Do you like medicine?”
“My anchor Dan does.”
“Wait…you and your anchor are both named Daniel?”
“Yes. It was funny. I think of him as Dan, and he thinks of me as Daniel.”
“That’s so strange. Can we go somewhere?”
“Don’t you have school?”
“No, school’s been out a little while. It’s June.”
“Well, medical school and the like are a lot different, and it’s not like I went to high school recently.”
“How does that work?”
Daniel smiled and looked around. No one else was near them, so he didn’t need to worry about someone thinking he was weird for talking to a kid. “Why don’t we go and get some breakfast. There is this place a few miles away that I love. You can ride your bike or lock it up here, and then I’ll drop you off again after.”
“I walked. I was bored, and Maddie was gone with her friends for a week. I left a note, but I think that once my parents are up, they won’t notice it or care, really.”
“Have you asked them about me?” Daniel asked.
“No. I don’t want to know, really. They have kept this from me.”
“Have you asked Maddie?”
“No. I don’t want to know when it comes to her. I love her, but she’s kept you from me. Well, not that you are a Revenant, but just in general.”
“So let’s go and get breakfast, and then I’ll drop you off the block down from your place.”
Evan nodded his head, and he got up from the bench and waited for Daniel to start to walk before he followed. There was something going on there. He looked like a shell of the boy Daniel had seen in the ER and knew he was at fault. He had figured out that his family had been lying to him nearly his whole life. Daniel wasn’t sure how he would take that.
Ever since mooring in Dan, Daniel had felt like things were different. He didn’t have an attachment to anyone else from his former life other than Evan. The biggest thing that he wanted in his life was Evan.
Evan was the only person that mattered, and if no one else thought so, it was up to Daniel to pick up the slack.
7 thoughts on “No Turning Back”
I like the revenant trope (?!) a lot. Daniel holding on for Evan is a beautiful but also kind of terrifying thought. I’m glad they could meet again.
Thank you for sharing another amazing story. ❤
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This was great, hon. So sad, but I’m glad that Daniel is there for Evan and at least now he knows something of what’s going on.
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Poor Daniel and Evan… let’s hope they both get some happiness from this.
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Thank you for this. It’s bittersweet and sad and beautiful. Poor little Evan, he broke my heart. No friends. No parental love. And Maddie is sort of phoning it in. I sure hope Daniel will be able to help.
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Evan has a family/someone to watch over him now! I’m sure this will change things for him growing up now. Thank you for posting this, I adored it. xxx
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I adore this. What a beautiful beginning to what looks to be an extremely interesting series of stories. Thank you for giving Evan someone who cares!