Title: Gift of the Master Author: Sylvia Bond Genre/Rating: Gen/PG Word Count: 10,800 Fandom: Dark Shadows
Verse: Gina Lee (# 19) Summary: It’s Christmas time. Again. Done Collinwood style, with too much work for Willie, and not enough heat in that damn Old House. A/N: This was a fun story on account of Barn being a little nicer than usual. Plus it was fun to work with what would be in those wrapped packages under the tree. Of course, the story is still dark, I haven’t gotten all soft, even if it is the holidays.
It was a bad idea to be moping in the kitchen, and Willie knew it. But with a cold front barreling down through the woods from Canada, it was the warmest place in the house. He’d built the fire up and was sitting as close to it as he dared, scorching his toes as he propped his feet on a brick laid before the grate. Even with the heat seeping through him, battling territory for the raw, cold areas in his body, his fingers were still numb as he stared at the Christmas card in his hands.
Title: Home Among the Dead Author: Sylvia Bond Genre/Rating: Gen/PG Word Count: 22,262 Fandom: Dark Shadows Verse: Gina Lee (# 18) Summary: Willie visits the Logan family in California and does his best to take care of them. Unfortunately, he’s only got a week, because Barnabas is expecting him back. Gina doesn’t want him to go and Willie doesn’t want to leave her. But with Barnabas’ threats hanging over his head, each day brings him closer to the ultimate parting. A/N: Barnabas deserves a stake through the heart for being such a jerk. Perhaps, one day, he’ll get what he deserves.
Of modern morals, the beaten road Which those poor slaves with weary footsteps tread, Who travel to their home among the dead By the broad highway of the world, and so With one chained friend, perhaps a jealous foe, The dreariest and the longest journey go.
Remember, Willie, no situation will ever take you out of my reach.
He awoke with a jerk, feeling the press of a slight weight against his chest just as his mind swam up through layers of cotton wool and the dull grey awakening from exhausted sleep. His left arm felt tight and stiff and seemed to be detached from him and hooked over the weight at the same time. He took a breath to see if that would ease it some, and found it did only along one side, and then heard the returning sigh of someone close by. His eyes opened to see the black thatch of Danny’s hair pushing up from beneath his chin and the slightly curled and rather small hand tucked up against him. He was in a bed, he recalled lying down on it and someone saying something about rest and after that it was all dark. And Danny was now sleeping next to him, wedged in close, baking with warmth.
Title: Connections Author: N.J. Nidiffer Genre/Rating: Gen/PG Word Count: 13,010 Fandom: Dark Shadows Verse: Gina Lee (# 17) Summary: Willie travels to California by plane, and arrives to find the Logan family in pieces. He’s there to put them back together again, though he can barely stand himself. A/N: Poor Willie!
Lisa noticed him when she came off her dinner break—the thin, hollow-eyed man in the green turtleneck and the nylon windbreaker that seemed much too light to protect him from the cold spring rain, huddled in the seat closest to the boarding gate with an ugly old suitcase parked at his knee.
Title: Love’s Embrace Author: Sylvia Bond Genre/Rating: Gen/PG Word Count: 9,235 Fandom: Dark Shadows Verse: Gina Lee (# 16) Summary: Willie has to ask for permission to go out to California to visit the Logan family. He manages it, yes, but at some great cost. A/N: This is my other favorite because it was interesting to set things up so that Barn would have to let Willie go.
On a scale of one to ten, the job shouldn’t have been very hard, and it wasn’t. Just sanding down the floor-boards in a little room at the end of the main hall on the second floor. The cornices had already been repaired, the walls washed and painted white, the door taken down, stripped, replaned, and then rehung. Barnabas had said it would make a fine guest room when it was done, though Willie couldn’t imagine anyone who would have wanted to stay there. Except for Vicki Winters, of course.
Title: Counting Costs Author: N.J. Nidiffer Genre/Rating: Gen/PG Word Count: 3,117 Fandom: Dark Shadows Verse: Gina Lee (# 15) Summary: Willie receives a terrible phone call from Gina Lee. Polly’s been hurt, is in the hospital, and might die. He’s promises Gina that he’ll be there as soon as he can, even though there’s no way he can do this. A/N: I was in tears the first time I read this.
A flurry of erasing tore the grubby leaf trapped beneath his hand as the overworked paper finally wore through. Willie puffed away the pile of pink shavings with a single, resigned breath and held up the sheet to examine the damage.
No saving it. The formula was obliterated from marking and erasing and marking again. Nothing was left but a ragged-edged hole.
Title: To Feed on Rose Petals Author: Sylvia Bond Genre/Rating: Gen/PG Word Count: 7,673 Fandom: Dark Shadows Verse: Gina Lee (# 14) Summary: Unbeknownst to Barnabas, his servant Willie has been receiving letters from his pen pal in California. Trouble is, Willie’s not been answering those letters, and it’s going to look like Barnabas can’t control his servant. So he makes Willie sit down and write something. A/N: Barn always has to be in control! (And secretly, this is one of my favorite stories of this verse.)
The first he knew of the entire matter came on a night in mid-spring, when the snow finally gave itself up to a rain that pushed beneath the doorjambs and trickled in neverceasing drops from the leadings between the glass panes in the second floor windows on the north side of the Old House. The beginning of it came with a knock at the door, which he answered with his own hands as Willie, armed with buckets and pans, was occupied elsewhere, seeking to capture the result of the leaks in the master bedroom’s ceiling.
Summary: Gina Lee determines that the best thing for her family is if they all move out to California. Willie is devastated. Barnabas is predictably less than sympathetic.
A/N: This is probably one of the saddest stories in the whole bunch.
The wind freshened as the tide turned. Not that it helped the stench any.
Willie tucked his chin more tightly against his shoulder, closing his eyes against the sting of windblown sand. The random fingers of air that skimmed the scum-foamed tidal pools before rising to caress the tears from his cheeks were thick with the reek of fermenting seaweed, but he didn’t mind the odor much. Hardly noticed it, in fact, -though his nose couldn’t help but wrinkle whenever the wind puffed the worst of it up his nostrils.
He had far darker thoughts on his mind than what sort of offal might be decomposing at the base of his boulder. Strands of kelp. Tide-trapped minnows. The remnants of his careworn soul. Let them all be heaped together to swelter in the sun until the hungry waves came to suck them out to sea again. It was all the same to him.
Title: Small Treasures Author: N.J. Nidiffer Genre/Rating: Gen/PG Word Count: 4,062 Fandom: Dark Shadows Verse: Gina Lee (# 12) Summary: Barnabas contemplates Polly Logan, who is nothing like his dead sister Sarah. Yet, at the same time, she seems to inspire the same sort of affection from Willie that Barnabas had for his sister. A/N: Nik took the Polly story and did Barn’s version of it. Barn hates everything, but he has a hard time hating Polly, much as he’d like to.
She was nothing like Sarah.
No. Nothing at all like Sarah, though her hair was long and dark, worn loose over her shoulders as only small children wore it, and her eyes were wide and sparkling when she was cornered and afraid.
Title: A Perilous Guard Author: Sylvia Bond Genre/Rating: Gen/PG Word Count: 8,483 Fandom: Dark Shadows Verse: Gina Lee (# 11) Summary: In this parallel story to Polly, Willie must deal with the repercussions of having an uninvited visitor to the Old House. And it doesn’t matter that she’s only seven years old and didn’t mean any harm, Willie will go to the ends of the earth to protect her.
A/N: I couldn’t resist telling Polly’s story from Willie’s POV.
The layer of sweat along his neck had been building for some time, and now, now that he was almost done for the day, it had become a maddening itch. He wanted to scratch it, but if he did, hands wet with paint, he’d leave a swath of paint in his hair. Besides, it was just coming sunset and he couldn’t stop. He wanted to leave the result of progress. Barnabas was sure to check, directly after he’d gotten up, and the ceiling of the master bedroom had better show signs of industry or the vampire would want to know the reason why. Willie layered down the last strokes, trying not to hurry in the growing shadows, knowing that if he just kept going, the paint would be layered in long, even lines, and look quite good once it dried. Even if he couldn’t properly see it going on.
Title: Polly Author: Sylvia Bond Genre/Rating: Gen/PG Word Count: 8,287 Fandom: Dark Shadows Verse: Gina Lee (# 10) Summary: Polly has a birthday party, and though Willie’s gift to her seems dopey at first, it turns out to be her favorite: drawing pencils. She draws him a picture and then takes it upon herself to deliver the drawing to the Old House in person. Barnabas comes upon the two of them, and Polly knows right away that he’s the mean, mean boss because he won’t admire the new scratch on her knee. Willie takes her home and is in plenty of trouble for having uninvited guests. A/N: Oh, my god this kid gets herself into almost as much trouble as Willie does!
The stack of presents had been satisfyingly large, and now she was down to the last one. She didn’t want to open it because she knew Willie would be disappointed by her reaction. Just as she had been disappointed by the sight of his gift to her when he had come in the door bearing the flat, uninteresting package in plain blue wrapping paper. No tag, no bow. Nothing. Just dull blue paper that looked like it had sat on a shelf for a long, long time.