Chapter 1

"Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion." -- Dylan Thomas, "And Death Shall Have No Dominion"

The pipes were playing for Evangeline. John concentrated on standing upright, on sinew and bone that wouldn't give way, on blood that coursed arrogantly through his veins. His body was greedy with life, and the pipes were playing for Evangeline.

The wind was cruel with cold, and John stood in his kilt beside her marker. Her mother had allowed a small memorial in Llanview. She wouldn't have one for the family until a body was found. She had told him, with her eyes owl-wide and absorbingly dark, that she believed Evangeline was alive. She knew he thought the same.

"Keep looking for her, son. She loves you," the old woman compelled him, and he promised that he would search for Evangeline until he found her or until he took his last breath.

This memorial was Nora's doing. She insisted that Evangeline's spirit not be let out into the universe without some acknowledgements. She wanted a huge, church-bound, collective grieving. She wanted a choir to rival that in heaven. She wanted so much for her friend. All John could agree to was a graveside memorial. A small something because he wouldn't admit that she was dead. A small something, with the pipes playing for Evangeline.

He hadn't realized the music had stopped until Michael put a hand in his back and whispered in his ear. The memorial was over, Michael said, and John nodded. His mind was on his love and how the memorial had begun to seem too real to him. He turned around the face the crowd, with Michael guiding him. Most of Llanview had come. He hadn't noticed all the people before. The Buchanans, the Vegas, the Gannons, the Mannings, the Lords. They all came up to him and gave him their sympathies. He didn't want them, but he accepted their well wishes and hugs and pats on the back as well as he could, being numb.

Nora stood beside him and squeezed his hand. RJ Gannon came up to them and kissed Nora on the cheek and said he should never have let Evangeline go. Then, she would have been safe. John took the insult in stride because part of him believed it to be true. And, that belief, the belief that Evangeline would have been safer with someone else, is what drove him.

After the memorial, after Nora crumbled into tears and was lead away by Bo, after Antonio offered to help him anyway he could, after Michael dropped him off at the Angel Square Hotel, John walked to a local pub where no one knew him and paid for a bottle of whiskey to drown his consciousness. In his head, he could still hear the pipes playing for Evangeline.

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Killian raised the woman's head and managed to get some chicken broth into her. She'd gone days without eating. He was worried about her. Her fever was getting worse. In the weeks since he'd found her, unconscious in the snow, like a heart-broken angel, she'd only mumbled a few words and had said one name over and over, "John."

"Come on, my beauty, open your eyes for me. Tell me who you are. Tell me where you're from," Killian said to her, sitting beside her on the bed.

He had told her everything about himself. How he had been raised on a large farm in Galway, Ireland, where his family raised horses. How his father had wanted him to follow in the family business but his mother had encouraged him to follow his heart and go into medicine. How he had met his wife in an American medical school. How they had married after only six months of dating. How she had died in his arms. How he had died with her.

Killian rose from his seat beside the woman, who charmed him with the berry blush roasting beneath the umber of her skin. He reached down and smoothed her hair, pausing over her forehead to check the status of her fever again. He had to bring down her temperature quickly. He thought he might have to put her into his metallic tub once more and fill it with snow.

Snow. There was plenty of it outside. Soon, if her fever didn't come down, he would have to risk taking her out into the drifts of frozen white on the mountain. He couldn't bear having her die in his arms. He would have to get her to a hospital. He didn't care if he was discovered and put in prison. Without anyone to talk to, his life was nothing more than a cage anyway.

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Nigel sat John on the bed. He had made up a polite excuse to make sure the lieutenant arrived at his room safely. Nigel pulled back the covers and took off the lieutenant's jacket, placing it neatly on a nearby chair.

As Nigel opened the door to leave, John spoke to him through the darkness. "Get the croissants for breakfast, Nigel. The ones you used to get for her," he said, his voice a threadbare whisper.

"Of course, Lieutenant McBain. I'll make sure they are exactly the same." Nigel closed the door and left the poor lieutenant to the abyss of his pain.

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In her dreams, Evangeline and John were happy. She always met him with a kiss a giggling kiss, like he called it. He seemed to need her so badly each time they met. His indigo eyes were wet and shining, and he held her on to her so tightly.

"Evangeline," he would say. "Come back to me."

She would eat him up with her eyes and laugh and ask him where she was if she wasn't with him.

This time, he was different, more desperate. She had a picnic planned, and he wouldn't eat. She put her hand in the thick of his near-black hair and kissed him. When their lips parted, they remained close, their faces a hair's breadth from each other.

"Baby, tell me where you are," John said, kissing her softly on the cheek.

His face was wet with tears, and this upset Evangeline. He never cried. She shook herself from his hold, from the worry that something was wrong. She leaned over and grabbed a bottle of Caffrey's from the cooler.

"I had your Aunt Bridget send some over from the Emerald Isle," she said, smiling.

Evangeline put the bottle against the pulse of his neck, and then against hers. The sun was high in the sky, throwing daggers of heat carelessly about the city. Evangeline felt overly warm and told John she was sorry she hadn't gotten them a spot in the shade. She was beginning to feel sick.

John raised her to her feet, and she leaned against him. He was so strong. He was always so strong. She said his name over and over again.

"Baby, please, tell me where you are," John said again, stroking her hair.

Just before she passed out, Evangeline heard herself give him a new answer: "On the mountain."

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John sat up sharply in his bed, with two thoughts racing through his mind. Evangeline was on a mountain somewhere alive, and he had to find her any way he could.

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