My Slice of Haven

Ashes and Dust

Dwight Hendrickson received another package on his doorstep early that morning. He looked around as he always did before bringing it inside and brushed the side of his face with his paw of a hand. Dwight was a formidable looking kind of guy with broad shoulders and arms that could carry a hefty weight.

Setting it upon the kitchen table before opening it, he knew what it would be. Another name. Another person suffering from a trouble.

Another person to he would have to bring to Haven.

Dwight flipped through the folder containing the information he needed to know before coming to stop at the assigned photo. It was of a ginger haired woman with freckles across her nose and cheeks.

The name above it read: Poppi Amber.

He tucked the photo into the pocket of his worm jeans before glancing back at the lined paper containing the whereabouts of this Poppi Amber. Dwight wrinkled his forehead. "She's already in Haven..."

* * *

"Are you sure you want to so this? You were pretty out of it last night when you said you would." Duke was fussing around Poppi as she pulled on a long black knitted cardigan over an aged cream coloured floral dress.

"Who else is going to do it? His parents are in the UK and his sister is in San Diego. I am the only one who can I.D his body." Poppi tugged on her boots and smoothed down her hair. "Will you come with me though?" She looked at him while chewing on her bottom lip. "I want to read the rest of the letters and check what Vince gave me...but after last night I am worried about burning this place down if I am alone. You seemed to know what you were doing last night." Poppi still didn't really understand what these troubles were or what was happening with her, the only thing she had were written words and that ferociously intense memory.

"yea sure. But could we swing by the boat after? I mean I have-"

"If you have stuff to do today you can go do that. I will be fine, sure I am just worrying about nothing." Snapping on a wide but obviously fake smile Poppi grabbed for her bag and slung it over her shoulder. Truth be told Poppi was close to being petrified of herself and was even more afraid that without Duke being close she would explode.

"I didn't say that." He reached out a hand and rubbed her shoulder. "I have to check on an export coming in is all. I am not going to just up and leave you to it. I know you're scared." That hand moved to the side of her face. "I told you last night that I am here, right here." Duke looked down at her with a soft smile in his kind eyes.

Instantly Poppi felt like she was that fourteen year old girl again who was head over heels mad for the Crocker bad boy who was showing such humility towards her. "Okay." Her hand rested on his for a moment before she pulled away. "I guess you'd be more comfortable on your boat than the bedroom floor any ways. Such a gentleman."

Duke chuckled at her. "Come on, Nathan is a stickler for timing."

It didn't take the duo long to walk to the town morgue and on the way they took the chance to relive the old days. Remembering all the embarrassing stuff and all the sweet things.

"Do you remember that time you wrote me that poem? I know that you do because it was your first and only attempt at one." Poppi giggled as she turned to walk backwards on the side walk just to see Duke blush.

He laughed with a huff of embarrassment. "Oh I surely do remember that."

"How did it go? Um...There's a reason why I love you. When I watch you do some of the things you do, it takes my breath away. The way you smile so naturally...ummm..."

Duke thumbed the side of his goatee and as he felt the blush in his cheeks deepen he dipped his eyes to the concrete under foot. "There's a reason why I love you. When I watch you do some of the things you do, it takes my breath away. The way you smile so naturally, the way you get lost in the beauty of everything around you and the giving spirit of your soul. Everything that makes you whole is the reason why I love you. It seems like the sun can't shine its brightest without you, nor can the rain shower the world with its healing power unless you're in it. Your spirit is so comely it makes everything seem more beautiful and when I watch you blend with your surroundings it takes my breath away. There's a reason why I love you and that reason is because you're you."

Poppi's pace slowed and her smile broadened into something struck with adoration. "I still have that tucked away at home. When I get sad I read it but it's better to hear you say it."

Neither of them had noticed their footsteps stop as they closed the distance between one another. They were looking to one another the way they used to in those stolen hours away from prying eyes. "I didn't stop feeling that way about you Poppi."

"Dammit Duke Crocker there you go sweeping me off my feet again." Poppi stretched up on the tip of her toes and could feel Duke's breath sweep over her lips.

"Are you Poppi Amber?"

Her brow rose as she looked at Duke who's eyes had darted to the voice behind her. "Dwight, no. You leave her alone." He pushed himself in front of Poppi keeping her behind him with a hand firmly placed over her stomach. "She's already in Haven."

"And she needs to stay." Dwight looked over Duke's shoulder.

Poppi found herself looking back at a man just as tall as Duke and to her he was menacing. "What do you mean I have to stay?"

"Poppi don't talk to him." Duke warned her before changing to a snarl. "Stay away from Poppi Dwight. Don't go looking for her. She's here so there is no job for you!" The aggression Duke was displaying bounced off Poppi.

She stepped back feeling the same bout of animosity ripple trough her. "Duke stop it." Her skin began to sweat and that hot liquid feeling she'd felt the night before was making it's way through her fingers again.

Both the men had turned to face her, Duke spread his hands out in front of her. "Poppi, it's okay-"

"Duke...this is you. I can feel what you're feeling." A weakness hit her knees and they buckled.

Duke raced forward to catch her before she fell. "You felt me?"

Her head rested in his chest. "When you touched me I could feel that ball of hostility growing in my stomach and I knew it belonged to you."

Dwight stepped over and crouched down next to Poppi, he looked to Duke. "This is why she needs to stay here. Poppi do you know what's going on?"

"The troubles right? My mother's." Taking in the deep breaths Poppi began to think about that puppy she wanted, following the same pattern Duke had paced her through the night before.

Duke felt her hands tremble in his. "She doesn't know how to control it yet."

"Are you aware of what happens to a child born to both parents suffering from the troubles?" Asked Dwight carefully watching Poppi as she buried her head deeper into Duke's shoulder.

"Poppi what are you thinking about?" Duke ignored Dwight focusing on Poppi. "Tell me."

She bit down hard on her lip, so hard it drew blood. Poppi pulled back from Duke and as she did the blood from her lip brushed against his cheek. "Oh." Raising a finger she went to wipe it away when Dwight wrapped a large hand around her wrist and tugged her away from Duke.

"Get her away from me!" He shouted hiding his face as he felt the colour sink away from his eyes and that ball of rage burst open in a way that made him want to annihilate any one close enough with the power of army. This was his trouble. Blood from another troubled person made him this way.

Poppi stumbled behind Dwight and her backside hit the side walk and as it did her eyes came to land on Duke. He rose with a fist balled up so tight his knuckles might have burst through the skin. "Duke stop!" She screamed as his fist connected with Dwight.

Her scream caught his attention as Dwight took the hit and stumbled back. Duke advanced on her and she called out to him again but this time she was warning him. Fear and adrenaline pumped through her body at the sight of his face. Those colourless eyes weren't the soulful ones she knew and his face was twisted into vehemence.
With one last warning Poppi was unable to hold back to wanting molten lava bubbling under her skin and finally it unleashed itself in a growl of flame that surrounded her. Quickly she scrabbled to her feet and turned to run but it was too late.

Duke latched onto her through the flames and the next thing that happened was the oddest thing Dwight had witnessed. It seemed that as Duke touched Poppi her flames extinguished and the trouble that cursed him evaporated.

He dropped his hands and stumbled back. "I was going to hurt you." Duke's hands covered his mouth. "I'm so sorry."

The little display had brought the Haven PD running, Nathan at the front of the pack.

"It's okay." Dwight held his hands up as the white flag. "It's okay."

Poppi was looking down at her hands. "You touched me and I stopped." Her eyes snapped to his hands which were unburnt. "You didn't get hurt and you stopped too."

"I did?" He looked at her as he pushed his hands through his hair. She was right. "I did. We did. We stopped when I touched you. But how?"

"Like I asked, do you know what happens when a child is born to both parents suffering from the troubles?" Dwight weighed back into the conversation.

"There hasn't been one before." Duke answered cautiously taking place beside Poppi again and still wary of Dwight.

He looked at Poppi. "Well now there is and it seems she has both her parents troubles."

* * *

The body had been identified and Poppi was now sitting with her head in her hands at the station while Dwight explained to both her, Duke and Nathan what had turned up on his doorstep.
"I read the files over and over, there is no error. Poppi is the first person we know of who has had both parents with the troubles. The pyrokinesis comes for you mother, we know that but the connection to Duke's feelings you displayed out there...that is inherited from your father."

Dwight wasn't sure how much Poppi was taking in but he continued to explain as simply as he could. "Haven has records of every resident to ever have a trouble and it's cause. What your father had was inherited by his mother, Audrey Mia Amber. I looked into his file a little more and found that due to the lack of love and care he received as a young child, when he met your mother his trouble activated causing him to make that same connection to her and eventually her to him. Anyone he had ever loved felt that in immense amounts and the feeling would be reciprocated.

So the connection you have with Duke seems to have activated that trouble in you and I think when he touched you the collision of emotions rippling through you both stopped your troubles from harming one another.

Sometimes we see this in couples where their troubles match."

Duke was sitting on the edge of his seat as he listened. "So you're saying what? That Poppi has a one way line to my feelings?"

Nodding Dwight sat back in his chair. "And soon enough you'll develop a connection to hers."

"This is too much. Way too much. I came here to find my dad and this is what I get." She raised her head and bore down on Dwight. "I get cursed by this town. Well you know what? I am going to find my dad and then I am leaving!" With that Poppi tore out of her seat and stomped out of the station.

"Poppi!" Duke went to leave after her but Nathan stopped him.

"Give her some space Duke, she has just fallen into something she knows she can't escape. Poppi needs to breath." Nathan looked back over his shoulder. "I will drop by later tonight on my way home to check on her."

Duke was feeling defeated in that moment and as mush as he didn't want to admit it maybe Nathan was right. He nodded. "Okay, tell her I will be back in a few days. I need to get a shipment out." Slowly he rose from the chair and began to walk away from the station. His head was over flowing with thoughts from old to new. He had activated a trouble neither of them knew she one had two troubles. What happened to a person with two?
His thoughts began to turn dark...maybe the reason no one had heard of a twice troubled person was because they were unable to handle the pressure. Maybe the only reason Poppi was still around was because she'd been away from Haven and away from her triggers.

A sigh issued from his chest as he began to board the Cape Rouge. A few days away from him might do her a world of good, but that didn't do anything to hush how overly protective of her he felt.