Title: Four Weekends
Author: marcicat

Rating: T
Word Count: 3740

Summary: Cynthia told Frank if he cancelled another weekend, she’d fight for sole custody. He gets some unexpected help in making sure that doesn’t happen.

Weekend 1, December 6-8

Things had been quiet all week, which he was trying not to question too carefully. He drove up Friday afternoon, navigated a polite-enough conversation with Cynthia, and made the trip back in silence. Silence on his end, anyway — Macey’s eyes barely left her phone, and he could hear tinny music from its speakers.

He didn’t ask if she knew about Cynthia’s ultimatum. Every book, pamphlet, and counselor had the same advice when it came to things like that: Don’t put kids in the middle. Ever. (Even though that’s where they invariably ended up, when they were the last point of connection between two people who only seemed to make things worse every time they tried again. Been there, done that.)

He’d been given strict instructions that Macey was to spend the weekend finishing a major project for school, and he in turn told the station not to disturb him for anything less than a national emergency. (He’d given separate instructions to Mills not to involve him for anything less than immediate death, though they both knew the chances of actually making it through a weekend without an apocalypse-related crisis were slim.)

But for once, everything was fine. Essentially fine. He figured strained silences and endless texting counted as fine with a teenager. And then halfway through Saturday morning, Jenny Mills burst through his front door and slammed it shut behind her, breathing heavily.

“Fucking crows,” she said.

He hurried out of the kitchen in time to see her exchange curious glances with Macey. “Hi Macey,” she said.

Macey waved. “Hi Jenny.”

They both turned to look at him. Jenny frowned. “You should have told us this is why you wanted the weekend off. I thought you were having a meltdown.”

“Thanks,” he said dryly. “And watch your language.”

“Seriously?” She raised her eyebrows. “We’ve got a re-enactment of ‘The Birds’ going on out there while you play happy homemaker, and you’re worried about my language?”

Macey was pretending to be engrossed by her textbook, but there was no way she wasn’t listening to every word. He could practically feel his blood pressure going up. “Why are you here?” he asked.

“Oh. I need to borrow your BB gun,” Jenny said.

Before he could think the better of it, he said, “How do you even know I have a BB gun?”

She raised her eyebrows again, and he sighed. He didn’t want to know. “It’s in the basement,” he told her. “Extra ammo in the dry-box next to it. There’s an outside door down there; I suggest using it.”

She gave him a casual salute. “Got it, Captain. Good to see you again, Macey.”

And then she disappeared into the basement. He turned to see Macey’s eyes studiously back on her book. “When did you two meet?” he asked, trying to sound calm and thinking he probably failed miserably.

“At the station,” Macey said. “I thought you were dating. She said you’re not.”

“We are definitely not dating,” he said emphatically.

“Definitely not!” Jenny yelled up the stairs, and then he heard the basement door squeal on its hinges as it opened and closed again. He kept meaning to oil that.

“What did she mean about the birds?” Macey asked.

He’d been trying not to think about it. “I’m sure she’s exaggerating.” But they were staying in for dinner, just in case. And he was getting the all-clear before they drove back.

He sighed. Again. They were going to need some kind of a system. A system other than expletives, weapons theft, and breaking and entering (the front door had been locked, dammit). Code words, maybe — it was insane how much Crane already got away with talking about in public, just by claiming Britishness, but they didn’t all have that advantage.

“What’s Jenny’s sister’s name?” Macey asked, interrupting his thoughts.

“Abbie — Abigail Mills; she works in the department. Why?”

“Just curious,” Macey said, and then she was right back at her phone. He waited, but she didn’t add anything else, and he had no idea where to even begin.

It was going to be a long weekend.

Weekend 2, December 13-15

They were supposed to be alternating the driving, but he managed to get an afternoon off on Friday, and he negotiated an extra few hours with Macey in the city. He hadn’t been expecting a demonic presence in the park, but maybe he should have been. Things were literally going to hell all around him, after all.

“You’re flipping your shit,” Jenny said calmly, spreading butter on her green beans. “It’s fine; it happens to everyone.”

He shook his head. “How can you ruin perfectly good beans like that? Also, I am not flipping anything. I am having a perfectly rational reaction to being told that the most likely outcome for me in this whole mess is death, and what else? Demons have a plan for my daughter.”

Jenny just looked at him. “Isn’t that what I said? Besides, that Biblical stuff is just some white guy’s interpretation anyway. You know, George Washington had fake teeth.”

Didn’t everyone know that? “I have no idea where you’re going with that.”

She shrugged. “You’ve still got your teeth. You’ve got us. I’d say you’re doing all right.”

“What about Macey?” He’d never wanted to be a part of this, but multiply that by a million, and that was how much he didn’t want it to touch his daughter. He’d been reluctant to let her out of his sight at all while they were in Sleepy Hollow, but Mills had showed up unannounced with Jenny beside her and offered a hot chocolate run.

Macey had been out the door in a flash, and Jenny held him back from going with them. (It smelled like a set up, but so far all that had happened was him venting and Jenny eating all the dinner leftovers). She took a final bite and pushed her chair back. “Don’t freak out,” she said.

He tensed and she rolled her eyes — an irritatingly frequent habit with her. “Macey knows more than you think about what’s going on,” Jenny said. “She found me online this week.”

“She what?”

“Online. You know.” He didn’t know. “She asked a lot of questions that made me think she’s not exactly new to this.”

There were no words to express how much he A) hadn’t been expecting that, and B) hadn’t wanted to hear it. Jenny just watched him, silent. Finally, he said, “I’m lost.”

“You want me to be sympathetic, or honest?”

He winced. “Little of both?”

She smiled, then, and it looked real. “Okay. Here goes. It does get easier. Not easy, but easier. It helps to have someone you trust.” She leaned forward, both hands on the table. “Macey needs you to be that person for her. So pull yourself together, because everyone’s on their way back, and you are going to be a godamned pillar of strength for her or I will break into your house and steal all your ammo.”

“You mean you haven’t done that already?” He heard the van pull up to the house, and he took a deep breath. Pillar of strength. He could do this. “I can do this,” he said.

Jenny stood up and stuck her hands in her pockets, hunching her shoulders slightly. “Brace yourself,” she advised, which didn’t make sense until Macey was followed in by not just Mills, but also Crane. And Jones. And a woman he thought looked vaguely familiar, but couldn’t place.

“Hey Captain,” Jones said. “I heard you needed a witch.”

Right. He was officially lost again.

“We brought dessert,” Mills said, catching his eye. “We’re probably going to want to be sitting down for this part.”

There weren’t actually enough chairs in the living room for everyone, but Jones sat on the floor, and Jenny stayed standing, leaning against the wall. They made do. Crane cleared his throat, then looked at Mills. She gave him a ‘go for it’ gesture. He said, “We discussed the basics in your vehicle, after our unexpected meeting with Officer Jones and his mother. Miss Macey, I believe you were going to begin?”

Macey looked at Jenny, who was standing almost directly behind him. He resisted the urge to turn around and see what she was doing. Macey said, “After the accident, I started having weird dreams. He said his name was Jeremy, and we just talked about stuff. He said he visited lots of kids.”

“And when were you planning to tell me about this?”

Macey didn’t even blink. “When were you planning on telling me Mom was thinking about sole custody?” she replied.

“I’m handling it,” he told her.

“Yeah, well, I’m handling the Jeremy thing.” She made a face. “I figured he was a ghost, but I guess not.”

Jones sat up straighter. “That’s where we come in.”

“You’re a witch.” He wasn’t sure how many more revelations about his employees he could handle.

“Not exactly,” Jones said. “My mom’s a witch. I can just see things, sometimes. And Sleepy Hollow’s always been weird, but not like this. Still, it seemed like you were handling it.” He nodded at the room in general. “Even once Crane showed up. But he has this…” He waved his hand vaguely towards Crane’s heart, or maybe just his shoulders.

“Wife from 200 years ago trapped in purgatory, only able to contact him through a dreamscape? Yeah, we know,” Mills said.

Jones hmm’d. “No, that’s not it. Because she has it too.” He pointed at Macey.

He could feel himself tensing again, and the woman — Jones’ mother, he recognized her now from the department holiday party — snapped her fingers at him. “Devon, you always drag these things out. It’s the boy. Jeremy. I met him myself, when I was younger. I thought he was Peter Pan. The point is, with three of us, we can triangulate and find him.”

Jeremy was Crane’s son; he was sure he’d read that in Mills’ latest batch of notes. He was supposed to be dead — another one to file under ‘rules: bendy’ he was guessing.

“I thought the coven killed him,” Mills said calmly. (How she managed to act so normal about the whole thing, he had no idea.)

Jones’ mother narrowed her eyes. Mary, he thought her name was. “Did they actually say that?”

“Yes,” Crane said. Then he frowned. “No. They said they stopped his heart.”

“Misdirection. Verbal trickery. They told you a truth and let you infer a lie. No, Jeremy is alive, or close enough to it. Well worth a Solstice working. Have you got a pad of paper?”

He watched her accept a scrap of paper from Mills and a pen from Jones. Was she actually going to start writing out some sort of witchcraft right then? “Wait, are you going to do magic right now?” Macey asked, sounding way too interested.

But Mary shook her head. “Not magic. Technology. We have a week till the Solstice; I’ll text you with what to bring.”

Weekend 3, December 20-22

He woke up to sunlight. And voices. It sounded like Macey, but she was still in the city — wasn’t she? It was day, but he couldn’t remember which day, or where he was, except that it definitely wasn’t his bed, and he definitely had shoes on.

He could feel hints of all-over aching that meant sitting up was probably a bad idea, but he tried turning his head anyway. “He’s awake,” Macey said, and there was a hand on his shoulder. He squinted against the pain in his head and saw Jenny leaning forward in his office chair. He was home, then.

“Easy,” Jenny said quietly. “Everyone’s okay. It’ll come back to you.” Louder, she added, “Macey, you want to go grab some water for your dad, let the others know he’s awake?”

“Is he okay?” Macey asked.

He stopped trying to get his eyes to focus and dropped his hand over them instead. “I’m good,” he said. “What about you?” He still couldn’t remember how he’d gotten there, but Macey came first, would always come first. It was the one thing he actually had in common with Crane — oh. Jeremy. Solstice.

His head was pounding in time with his heartbeat, but it was starting to trickle back. Macey said, “I’m not the one who was unconscious on the couch, Dad. I’ll be right back.”

“What happened?” he asked, after she was (hopefully) out of earshot.

“It’s Saturday. Macey’s mom dropped her off this morning, we all got together and Mary did the ritual. Jeremy’s here; he seems like a nice enough kid.” He didn’t have to be able to see her to know she was shrugging. He stayed silent. After a few seconds, Jenny added, “Mary says she warned you it would hit you and Crane the hardest.”

He couldn’t identify the tone in her voice, so he opened his eyes again. Her hands were back in her pockets. “You didn’t think that was something you should share with the class?” she asked.

He dragged himself upright. “She was vague. How’s Crane?”

“Still sleeping it off. Henry’s with him.” He must have looked confused, because she added, “Parrish,” and he nodded. “He was still mostly conscious when we got back, which is why he got the bedroom upstairs. You, we had to carry.” She waved around the office. “Nice couch.”

“The living room?” he asked. It would have been closer, whichever door they’d used.

“Yeah, that wasn’t going to be restful. Seriously, you got a Christmas tree and didn’t decorate it?”

“You distracted the kids with Christmas decorations?” he guessed.

Jenny just gave him an incredulous look. “No. Macey and Jeremy have been in the kitchen, learning magic tricks from Mary. Jones is decorating the tree. He’s just not very quiet.”

Macey showed up with the water before he could ask either of the obvious questions, and he gave her a thumbs up. “I’m okay,” he assured her again. She rolled her eyes, but he thought she looked relieved, too.

Jeremy came trailing in behind her, but hesitated in the doorway. He didn’t look like a witch who’d been in limbo for over two hundred years. Wearing jeans and a Sleepy Hollow police department hoodie, he looked like any other awkward teenager.

“Jeremy,” he acknowledged. “Hi.”

“Hello,” Jeremy said. “It’s nice to meet you.”

He didn’t quite feel up to standing up, and he wasn’t entirely sure Jeremy wouldn’t bolt from the room if he did, so he stayed on the couch. “Likewise. I’m sorry we didn’t get to you sooner.” He paused, but figured it was worth saying, so he added, “And for the six and three quarters years of tribulation left to go. Not much of a rescue, I guess.”

That got a hint of a smile, and Jeremy said, “It’s okay. I’d rather be here anyway. I want to help.”

He had no real idea how to react to someone who’d watched two hundred years pass through the eyes of children, so he just said, “We’re lucky to have you,” and Jeremy nodded solemnly.

And then he realized there was a name he hadn’t heard accounted for. “Where’s Abbie?”

“I think she’s on the back deck,” Macey offered. “She wanted to know when you woke up. I’ll tell her.”

Jeremy followed her out. Jenny stayed silent the whole time, and he raised his eyebrows in her direction. Luckily, he didn’t have to ask.

“It’s the family thing,” she said finally. “You and Macey, Crane and Jeremy, Mary and Devon — even when you don’t have it, you can still recognize it. It just makes you feel like crap because you’re alone, and then you feel worse because you’re resentful and know you shouldn’t be. Basically holidays suck.”

“You have each other,” he said, only because he thought his weakened state might get him a bit of immunity.

She gave him a sharp look. “Yeah. We’re allies, not BFFs.”

“Seven years is a long time.”

“Thanks, Captain Obvious.” She stood up, heading for the door. “But you’ll be glad to know Macey volunteered your house for the party next weekend. Plenty of time for family bonding.”

She was gone before he really registered the words. When he did, he could feel his headache coming back. “Wait, she did what?”

Weekend 4, December 27-30

It turned out Devon could do a lot more than just “see things,” and he’d spent the week warding the property in a dozen different ways. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do much against an ice storm. Power was still out for 80% of the suburbs, 50% if you were closer to the hospital. His house got tagged a priority, but he didn’t get much chance to enjoy it with the seemingly endless string of minor disasters the force was dealing with.

Crane, for all his talk of roughing it, was the first to cave — he’d moved in while it was still snowing. Jenny was the second, possibly only because Abbie didn’t leave the station for three days straight. When he’d finally sent her home, it was his home she ended up at. (Parrish was still holding out — he had a generator, and said he couldn’t leave his plants.)

Which was all a long way to lead up to the fact that it hadn’t seemed that strange to say yes when Jenny volunteered to pick up Macey on Friday evening. Comparitively speaking, at least.

And then he’d arrived home — finally off-shift for at least eight hours — just in time to see the pair of them unloading from the van. “Is that a knife?” he asked.

“Safety precaution only,” Jenny said, holding the front door for both of them. “We ran into Abbie’s creepy ex; I figured better armed than sorry.” Her expression said there was more to it, and he made a note to ask again later.

“Hi Macey!” Abbie called from the kitchen. She emerged with her sweatshirt covered in flour. “Hey Jenny. Welcome back, Captain. We were just making some cookies.” There was a spate of giggles from the direction of the kitchen. Abbie rolled her eyes, looking over her shoulder. “We were trying to make cookies,” she amended.

The knife disappeared somewhere between the door and the kitchen table. It was a big room, but it felt comfortably crowded with everyone together. Parrish had decided to show up after all, and Mary was there with Jeremy, who was spooning dough onto a pan with a determined expression.

Dinnertime was long past, but he found himself ushered to a chair anyway — it was Crane who handed out plates of steaming casserole with a flourish, while Abbie and Mary flicked soap bubbles at each other over the dishes. Macey laughed at something Jenny said, and he could feel his tension ratcheting down.

He hadn’t forgotten the knife though. “Ground rules for tomorrow,” he said, pointing his fork at Jenny, but making sure everyone was listening. “I realize it’s Christmas, and this is Sleepy Hollow. But knives are not an acceptable gift for anyone under 18.”

“Dad,” Macey said.

He held up a hand. “No knives, no guns. Come on people. Nothing that would need to be registered or get her expelled from school.” Jeremy’s worried expression instantly cleared, and he pretended not to see the thumbs-up he gave Macey. Instead, he added more quietly, “Macey. I’m a cop. Abbie’s a cop. Anything that means we need to turn a blind eye isn’t fair to you, and it’s not fair to me and your mom.”

Macey nodded, but it was Abbie who broke the somewhat awkward silence that followed. “Ah, those rules don’t apply to the grown-ups, right Captain?”

He resisted the urge to sigh. He really didn’t remember signing up to be the troop leader. “Mills, if you want to give Crane a handgun for Christmas, be my guest.”

“She already has,” Crane said, looking absurdly pleased with himself. “And a stocking.”

“You’re going to need to give that back, you know,” Abbie said. “Traditionally it’s not the stocking itself that’s the gift. It gets filled with smaller gifts that you open on Christmas morning — or whenever you choose to celebrate Christmas, like what we’re doing.”

Jeremy looked around the table, carefully. Then he said, “The tradition of the Christmas stocking has been around since the 12th century.”

“Oh?” Crane said mildly.

“What?” Abbie put her hands on her hips. Far from being angry, she looked delighted. “Were you sassing me? Is this Christmas sass?”

Macey laughed again, and the timer went off for the cookies, and he quickly found himself relegated to the living room for his lack of interest in frosting. Jenny was right behind him, and she poked carefully at the wrapped gifts with one foot. “I got Macey an herb growing kit,” she said abruptly. “Jeremy said it might be useful.”

He looked up at her in surprise. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“I wanted to.” She shrugged. “Besides, you made your wish list pretty clear.” She dropped her voice like she was imitating him. “‘Flowers are a gift, Mills. Cigars are a gift.’ It made the shopping easier.”

Honestly, he hadn’t thought she’d been listening at all. “Does that mean I’m getting the cigars?”

She raised her eyebrows. “I guess you’ll just have to wait and see. I just — thought you should know. Didn’t want your dad radar worrying all night.”

As peace offerings went, it was a good one. “Thanks,” he said.

There was a crash from the kitchen, and she held out a hand to help him up from the sofa. “Merry Christmas,” she said.

He took it. “You too. And since I’m pretty sure everyone else got you weapons —“ He paused, but she just looked innocently at the floor. “Your concealed carry permit arrived today.”

“Did you wrap it?”

He was pretty sure she was joking, but he actually had, so he nodded. “Jones loaned me a gift bag. He keeps them in his desk for emergencies.”

She shook her head, but she was smiling too. “Come on,” she said. “Let’s go eat cookies.”


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