The days following Archer’s death were the hardest for me, I was just going through the motions, processing evidence, cross-referencing the database, going through the motions. Part of me was numb, another part of me was just completely destroyed. I wasn’t me, I was reduced to shreds of a person I used to be.
I still did my job, if anything interrogating was easier when I was on a fine edge, teeter-tottering. My bursts of rage were genuine, exploding outward toward my suspect without hesitation. They easily cracked under the heat.
The only place I could feel anywhere near warm and not a cold shell of a sim was at his grave. I went there often, every day after work, every morning before work. I was still talking to him, telling him about my day, about the cases that were solved and put behind me (what details I could at least). He was the love of my life, still, and it was never going to change.
The flowers around his grave got plenty of water from me, and I knew my children needed me but I just didn’t know how to be a single mother. I had loved him since we had been teens. I had seen ghosts before, I knew they existed. I was hoping on a prayer that he’d come back to me, that we could be together again. When, one night I finally saw him, I couldn’t stop myself from reaching out to him. I wanted him back, I didn’t care, dead or alive, I wanted him back with me.
He came back to me, though, even as a ghost, we were soulmates. His soul and my soul, they needed one another to be whole. I was so happy to have him again, to be able to hear his voice (sort of) again. My Archer was back.
And even in different states of being alive or dead, we still had sparks fly. There was no stopping us once he came back, there was no keeping us apart. I loved him, he loved me, and together, we were Curare and Archer. Archer and Curare. And there was definitely some catching up to do.
With my love returned, my heart again beating, I was able to fall back into my happy rhythm of work and family. Cases came and went and I cracked them, solved them, and put them to rest. I was the best at what I did, and knowing Archer was still at home for me, still supporting me, it gave me the push to be even better.
Folsom and Attica grew into lovely teenagers, beautiful girls. Folsom was a near spitting image of me, but Attica.. Attica had inherited a bit of Archer’s features, but beyond, she had inherited his mother’s features- I had never been close to Juno Arcos, my late mother-in-law, but she had been a beautiful woman, gorgeous. Attica was equally as gorgeous.
I was promoted to Captain and went out on the town to celebrate. And celebrate I certainly did. I was running off a high of getting Archer back, an urge to live again, and part of me wanted to start a second family, a new family, but I couldn’t do that. There was such an age gap between Shawshank and any future children, and I knew first hand what it was like to be the youngest and be far more younger than any of your siblings. It sucked to not have anyone to play with, anyone your age to talk to. I was glad all my kids were somewhat close in age.
Still, that didn’t stop me. I just couldn’t keep my hands off him. We had been torn apart and now we had a second chance, I wasn’t about to waste that. Our family was whole again and there was no amount of thanks I could give to show my gratitude to whatever forces that were at work.
We could all sit down and be a family again, and though it was strange our kids were happy. This was for the best. Still, it was strange. It was bizarre to not really be looking into Archer’s lovely eyes but to be looking through them.
Belmarsh aged into a young adult and moved out. He moved to live with my sisters, my old home, to keep that side of that family legacy alive. I was glad he was somewhere safe, and that we were still in contact. Part of me was pleased that he could carry on that legacy- perhaps a patriarchy instead of a matriarchy.
I, though, was so caught up in the recent changes of my life that I forgot my own birthday. I grew into a fully fledged adult ready to take on the world.