The first time around, he dies in Alex’s arms, choking on his own blood, and pissed that Charity managed to screw him over one last time. As far as he’s concerned, he was gonna die at dawn anyways, so who cares.
The second time, he thinks he’s just suffering from the world’s worst case of deja-vu, and the whiskey doesn’t help. But when Grace pulls the card, he knows something’s wrong. It throws him off enough to screw up the timeline, and she dies in Alex’s bedroom instead of the maid.
The third time, he realizes that he can’t say anything about the deal or the devil or what his family’s bullshit is built on. Literally can’t. His tongue gets stuck to the roof of his mouth, and everyone thinks he’s having a seizure. He half-heartedly tries charades, but that just makes Emilie offer him her bottle of downers and makes Grace giggle as she follows Alex into the house. He spends most of the night with the decanter, and when Grace runs into the parlor and sees him, he just hands her his gun and waves her off. She dies somewhere near the kitchen.
The fourth time, he screams at her during the service.
“Get out. Get the fuck out!”
Someone, probably Charity, clocks him on the back of the head, and by the time he wakes up, he’s tied up in the game room with Alex. They hear screaming and gunshots. He’s not sure who actually kills her, but the game’s over.
His death or hers starts the cycle over; either way, he never makes it to dawn.
The fifth time around, he tries to make it to Grace before the wedding, but Alex beats him to her. He’s sober, but his hands are shaking, and they’re both looking at him like he’s a bomb about to go off.
“You don’t have to do this, you know. Marriage is overrated. Especially in this family.”
He tries to make it sound like a joke, but he doesn’t pull it off, and Alex glares at him over Grace’s shoulder. Grace gives him the same toothy grin she has in all the photos Alex showed him. It was unremarkable then, but now, it’s so painlessly naive and endearing that Daniel grimaces automatically. He reaches out to hug her, keeps his hands awkwardly loose, but he leans in close and can’t stop himself from whispering in her ear, “Run, Grace. You have to run.”
Later, when she pulls the card and flashes that same smile, he has to physically get up from the table. Even then, turning his back on her feels wrong. He tries to stall his family and give her more time, but she still dies two hours in.
At some point, he tries talking to Alex.
“You don’t have to do this, you know.”
Alex gives him a look like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Daniel wants to punch him in the face, and he’s in the feedback loop from hell, so he does because why not?
The black eye on Alex’s face makes it impossible for him to get Grace to listen to a word he says. But it’s kind of worth it for the collective glare he gets from the rest of the family.
Once, he eats a gun right before she pulls the card. He can’t stand it. He has no idea how the night would go on from that. But better he puts a bullet in his own head than hers.
It’s the smile; he can’t stand the smile.
He gives Alex another shot, as his big brother who loves him.
“This isn’t going to end well, not for you and not for her. She’s going to draw that card. You know she is.”
“You don’t know that. Fitch and Charity made it through; there’s no reason Grace can’t either.”
“Christ, it’s literally guaranteed. Take her, get out of here. Go.”
His voice cracks, and Daniel feels pretty goddamn close to crying. Alex looks freaked out, and it’s the same look he had thirty years ago. And Daniel just fucking loses it. He’s sobbing and clutching Alex like he’s about to disappear. Alex hugs him back, and for a solid ten seconds, he forgets what’s about to happen. Then Grace sweeps in, tulle and lace and that same damn smile, and he has to throw up in the bathroom as he listens to Alex lie through his teeth.
The next time he corners Alex, he’s getting ready, fixing his tie in the mirror, and completely oblivious.
“Why are you doing this?”
Alex turns, startled and confused.
“Because I’m not a fucking nerd who likes bowties?”
Daniel doesn’t even blink.
“Why are you marrying her?”
Alex frowns at him.
“Because I love her.”
“No, you don’t.”
Alex sneers. “We don’t all fall for the first gold digging whore we trip over at the bar.”
Daniel doesn’t even bother trying to explain or defend that decision.
“If you loved her, you’d let her go. You wouldn’t drag her into this hell hole.”
“Who are you, and what have you done with my piece of shit brother?”
Alex actually looks concerned, and Daniel wants to scream.
“You know what you’re signing her up for.”
Alex shakes his head. “You don’t know that she’ll pull the card. It’ll be fine. She’ll be fine.”
She won’t, Daniel knows she won’t, but he’s tried that with Alex before, and it didn’t stick.
“Fine, she doesn’t pull the card. But what about after? You really think she’s going to understand annual goat sacrifices and all the creepy bullshit we do? She’s a good person.”
“I know she’s a good person! That’s why I love her. That’s why I want to be with her. Why I have to be with her.”
It’s a lost cause at this point, and Daniel is angry and heartbroken. But he has to say it, has needed to say it ever since he got the text that Alex had found ‘the one’.
“I love you, but you’re selfish. And she deserves better than us.”
“If anyone has any objections to this union, please speak now or forever hold your peace-”
“It’s a goddamn trap. Get out Grace, get out!”
(It doesn’t work, but it still feels good to say.)
He gives it a couple more tries before he accepts that talking to her before the wedding is not panning out. He still says weird, cryptic shit to her before everything starts because not saying anything is fucking impossible. “You’ve got a choice, you know. Marrying into this family, you lose that.”
This time, when they run into each other in the middle of the game, he hands her a revolver, and she stares at him.
“You tried to warn me.”
He nods. “You didn’t want to listen.”
“You should have tried harder.”
“It’s bullshit. Your entire family is bullshit .”
He sneers. “Take it up with your husband.”
He doesn’t know if she does--Emilie ends up shooting him in the back. But he likes to think she tore him a new one.
It’s easy to hand Grace the weapons and hope she can fight her way out. But he can’t bring himself to push past the final boundary. He talks about it with Alex before the wedding.
“If she pulls the card, will you be able to kill her?”
If looks could kill, the one Alex gives him would drop him right then and there.
“I’m not being a dick. I’m being a realist. If it happens, will you do it?”
“Would you kill Charity?”
She’s technically killed him three separate times now, so he’s not feeling especially fond of her. And if he’s being honest --“I wouldn’t have married her if I thought I couldn’t go through with it, push comes to shove.”
He doesn’t bother with his suit jacket, couldn’t tell you where his bow tie is. He looks sweaty and disgusting next to Alex who looks pristine. It’s pretty damn fitting. Alex frowns.
“Grace isn’t Charity. And I’m not you.”
Daniel thinks it’s supposed to be an insult, but it barely registers.
“So, is that a yes or a no?”
Alex shoves past him. “It doesn’t matter. It won’t happen.”
When Grace draws the card, Daniel doesn’t even look at her. He stares at Alex, and for the first time, Daniel lets all the anger and resentment show on his face. Grace gets a look at him, and he sees the smile fall right off her face. Charity kicks his shin at the table, and he plays along for the next ten minutes. He’s sneaked the revolver into the dumb waiter. He hears a gunshot and angry shouting, and from the gist of his father’s ranting, it sounds like she’ll bleed out in a matter of minutes. He sulks in the living room and waits for it all to begin again.
After the wedding ceremony, when everyone who won’t be trying to murder someone later that night, gets drunk on champagne and carbs, Daniel leans against Alex.
“If it came down to Grace or me, who would you kill?”
Even now, it kind of hurts to watch the joy on Alex’s face completely disappear when his older brother takes a shit on his big day. He pushes through it.
“Danny, what the fuck--”
“Fine, Grace or Emilie? It’d be easier with Fitch or Charity. They’re not really family. But blood? Could you choose her over blood?”
Grace is on the dance floor and calls out for Alex to come join her, and he does, shooting Daniel an angry look that says ‘ we’ll talk about this later’ but Daniel blows it off. The answer doesn’t really matter; Daniel’s already made up his mind.
He’s right; killing Fitch is easy. Disturbingly easy. Daniel stares at the blood splatter on the bathroom tile and thinks about it. Fitch is annoying as fuck and has never been good enough for his sister, which is part of it. Technically his death doesn’t really mean anything; there aren’t any real consequences. That makes it a lot easier to blow his brains out while he’s on the toilet. (He throws up in the tub, but Grace makes it six hours, so worth it?)
He’s lost track of how many times he’s run through it, but the reality is that he knows that he’s still not ready to start tracking down his own family and taking them out one by one. He tracks Grace instead.
He knows from earlier conversations, fleeting and panicked and awful, that she starts in the dumbwaiter. It’s actually pretty hard to stay hidden when you’re following someone who is also trying to stay hidden. He’s noticed that she runs to her room--to Alex-- like clockwork, and Alex never fails to help her. Daniel is always killed before dawn, so he’s not really sure if Alex gets her out or if she does it on her own. But as long as she lives, who cares?
Once, he goes to the security room, sees Grace playing cat and mouse in the kitchen with Stevens. He flips the switch and unlocks the kitchen door. She’s close, so close , but she’s got a prop gun, and he’s got a real knife. She gurgles and chokes, the same as the dozens of goats that came before her.
The next time, he finds her in the pit, covered in shit and blood, her hand a gaping wound, and his shitty nephew passed out in a stable. She looks up at him, and it’s the first time in a while that he’s had to meet her eyes, big and blue and terrified, and he remembers that she has no idea that he’s breaking his back to get her out; she doesn’t know that he isn’t there to hurt her.
“Gimme your hand.”
Grace hesitates, and technically that’s fair, but it still stings a little. But she does, and he hauls her out.
“Why are you doing this?”
She asks it every fucking time -- whether she thinks he’s there to hurt her or help her.
‘Because it’s the right thing to do.’
‘Because sitting and doing nothing almost feels worse trying to hunt you down.’
‘Because it’s easier to help you than to hurt my family.’
‘Because nothing really fucking matters, because no matter what I does, we never make it out because I’m pretty sure this is a game, but for better or for worse, I’m a Le Domas, and I want to fucking win.’
“Because I have to.”
He tries to mention the time loop a couple times.
He finds her when she crashes the car. He’s got a clean dish rag for her hand, and the fear on her face turns to suspicion.
“How the fuck did you find me?”
“Would you believe me if I said I was Bill Murray and you were Andie MacDowell?
He wrenches her out from behind the airbag.
“Then I guess you’ll just have to live with the mystery.”
Later, when she’s pressing that same dishrag against the giant bullet wound in his chest ( fuck you too, Dad ), he tries again.
“What would you do? If it was you? If you were Bill Murray. What do I do?”
There’s a lot of blood coming out of his mouth, and he’s slurring a bit. She pushes down harder on his chest, even though they can both hear footsteps and shouting coming closer.
“Stay with me, Daniel. Stay with me.”
He reaches for her, doesn’t quite make it, and nods.
“Okay, Grace. I’ll stay. I’ll stay with you.”
He’s pretty sure they’re having two very different conversations, but he means it.
The next round, he stays glued to her side. He follows Alex and Grace into the tunnel and has a whispered fight with his brother.
“What the fuck are you doing?”
Daniel pushes Alex out of the way and manhandles Grace into her chucks (he’s never taken the time to comment on them, but at this point he’s stupidly fond of them). She’s surprised enough that she lets him, but she squawks when he starts ripping her dress.
“I’m doing what you should have done two hours ago.
Grace steps out of the tulle and lace, bracing herself with a hand on his shoulder. He steadies her.
“Why are you doing this?” It’s Alex who asks this time.
Daniel stands up, and he’s face to face with Grace who’s watching him, waiting for an answer.
“Does it matter?”
He hands her a shot-gun. Alex jolts forward and wraps his hand around it. “Don’t-”
Daniel and Grace stare at him, and she doesn’t let the gun go.
“I just, I don’t…” Alex breaks off and chews his lip. “I don’t want you to become a killer.”
Daniel hears what he’s not saying - ' I don’t want you to kill my family’ and Daniel can’t be mad because it’s not like he’s thrilled to start killing off relatives either. Grace is smart and doesn’t seem convinced. She tugs the gun out of his hand and clutches it tight.
“Then you better get me the fuck out of here. Now .”
Daniel hands over the extra ammunition. “They’re in the east wing of the house. There’s a maid in the boy's room.”
Grace nods and starts walking. Daniel begins to follow, but Alex jerks him back.
“Danny, I swear to fucking God, is this a trap?”
“Really? This entire house, our entire fucking family is a trap-” Daniel shoves Alex off of him, “and I’m not the one who brought her here.”
Alex doesn’t have anything to say to that, and they don’t talk until Grace has an axe in the back, and Alex has a crossbow arrow in his sternum. It’s the first time Daniel has seen Alex die; the first time he’s covered in his brother’s blood. His mom is screaming in the background, and Helene is screeching about the chosen one and the plan, and it doesn’t fucking matter because Alex is crying and choking. He can’t talk, but he keeps trying. Daniel shushes him and kisses him on the forehead.
“It’s okay. I’ll get it right next time.”
Grace bleeds out before they can get her to the table, and Daniel’s still holding Alex when the cycle restarts.
When he sees Alex, bright and shiny in his suit, Daniel has to throw up in a vase, and he gets lectured about his alcoholism for the millionth time. And during the ceremony, they just look so goddamn happy that he can’t stand it. He takes a break this time. He goes to his room, shuts the door, and curls up for the entire night. He hears the screams and the glass breaking, and buries his head under two pillows. He stares at his watch; she lasts two hours, seventeen minutes.
When they pose for pictures, he turns to her.
“Would you still do the right thing, even when you know it won’t matter? When you know it won’t make a goddamn difference?”
Daniel knows he sounds like a lunatic, but Grace is fucking game, as always, and rolls with it.
“I mean like, philosophically? Morally? Yeah.”
She’s looking up at him, still holding her bouquet, and he’s completely focused on her. Daniel can hear the camera clicking, and he knows that they look suspiciously romantic.
“Even when no one will know? No one will know if you did the right thing?”
Grace has gone from ‘why the fuck is my brother in law so fucking insane’ to ‘huh, my weird brother in law is asking a vaguely interesting question’ and he’s about to get an answer when he hears his dad’s voice.
“Don’t hog the bride, Danny. We don’t have all day.”
And his dad is trying to sound cheerful, but when Daniel looks up, he can see that every single family member is staring at them. His mother’s eyebrows are about to disappear, and Charity looks coldly furious. Alex just seems surprised and a little apprehensive, but that disappears when Grace grins at him, blinding and genuine. She brings it up later.
“Is trying to help me the right thing to do?”
She’s wrapping dirty tulle around his hand because this time, he’s the one who gets shot.
“Yeah, pretty much.”
She ties it tight, maybe a little too tight, but it’s not like he can complain.
“Warning me would have been better.”
He shrugs. “Would you have believed me?”
Grace looks like she wants to argue, but she gives it up.
Daniel hands her back the rifle. “I’m sorry.”
Grace is quiet for a minute before she gives him the same bright smile she gave Alex. Only this time, there’s blood smeared on her face, and her hair is a stringy mess. She’s fucking gorgeous.
“Better late than never, I guess.”
He takes a knife to the throat keeping her safe, and it’s worth it.
He keeps his moral dilemmas to himself, but he gives in a bit and holds her tight when they do the obligatory in-law hug. And when he pulls away, he cups her face and says, “You’re better than the rest of us and don’t you forget it.”
She’s surprised and giggles a little, nervous.
“Yeah, okay whatever you say weirdo.”
Later, when she’s done bashing his father’s head in, and Daniel’s trying to breathe around a slit throat, she glances up at him.
“Am I still better than you?” she asks, more than a little sardonically.
Daniel can’t talk, so he settles for a thumbs up and dies with her hysterical laughter in his ears.
He starts to talk to her more in the beginning. He doesn’t bother trying to warn her or plead with his brother. He mostly just says shit that he hopes she brings up later. He ends up coming across as a flirtatious asshole, but nothing matters so fuck it .
“You know you can do better than us, right?”
“Wow, y’all will do anything to keep that blood blue.”
Daniel laughs, loud and genuine, and fuck, you can’t make this shit up.
“I promise you, we bleed red. Get back to me later.”
She does, and the punch to the face is well deserved. Grace is covered in premium W.A.S.P blood and guts, and she is very, very red. She looks pissed as fuck, but she’s not shooting him which is great. Less great is the arrow that hits his spine and comes out of his lungs. Grace screams, horrified, and frankly he’s touched. It almost balances out the fact that it’s his own mother who takes him out.
(He can’t stop himself from glaring at her the next day, but she’s got murder on her mind, so she doesn’t notice.)
He sticks to Grace’s side, ignoring Alex. “Dance with me. Please.”
Alex looks like he wants to kill him, but Grace snorts and gets up.
“If you drop me, I’ll kill you.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.”
Daniel keeps his hands well within appropriate range and keeps his eyes glued to hers.
“Why Alex?” he asks, curious.
Her eyes narrow, but she indulges him.
“He’s smart, and he makes me laugh, and you know, the huge cock is just a massive bonus.”
Daniel snorts and rolls his eyes. “I’m his brother. I’ve seen his dumb-ass naked a hundred times. He is average at best.”
Grace punches him in the arm, but she’s laughing and keeps dancing.
“But seriously. Why him?”
She looks over at Alex, who’s nursing a whiskey and watching them. She smiles at him, and he raises his glass to her. Daniel squeezes her hand gently. She looks back up at him, starry-eyed and love drunk. Daniel wants to throw-up. Grace shrugs, careless. “He feels like home.”
A home rotted on the inside, nothing but broken glass, rusty nails, and bloodthirsty ghosts. There’s nothing he can say to that, so they finish the dance in silence. The song ends, and Grace is jittery, ready for more dancing. Daniel doesn’t hold onto her, just squeezes her hand again before kissing it.
It’s the same hand that reaches for him when she falls off the roof.
He can’t resist dancing with her again. Snags her right after the first dance and before his father can grab her. She looks relieved.
“Don’t worry, you’re not his type. He’s fucking the maid.”
Her eyes widen, and she peers over his shoulder to look at them.
“The one in the middle. Le Domas men leave a lot to be desired.”
Grace stiffens. “Not mine.”
Daniel doesn’t call her on it. “Alex wouldn’t cheat. He’s got some fucked up shit buried deep, but he would keep his dick to himself.”
Grace steps on his foot, and it’s definitely on purpose. “Look, fucked up or not, you can get through a lot of shit when you’re not fucking around.”
He winces but keeps moving. “That’s a low bar, Grace.”
They’ve slowed down, and this time, he’s got both hands on her waist, and her hands are clasped around his neck. He can feel her ring digging into his skin.
“It’s called managing expectations.”
His eyes bore into hers, and she doesn’t look scared, just concerned.
“Don’t settle, Grace. Marriage is for life. Raise the goddamn bar.”
Grace and Alex watch him shove a fire poker through Helene’s head. Alex looks sick; Grace looks impressed.
“Maybe I picked the wrong brother.”
She’s joking, but words can’t describe the look on Alex’s face. Daniel tries not to enjoy it too much.
“I said raise the bar, not lower it.”
She smiles at him, teeth bloodied, and Daniel turns to open the door and gets a gunshot to the head.
But still, they’ve lasted an hour and a half longer than they normally do.
“What did Alex tell you about our family? About why we don’t speak?”
Her hand is back in his, and it always startles him how firm it is. Charity is the queen of the limp wrist, and Becky Le Domas is a lady, smooth and manicured, never done a day of manual labor in her life. Grace is soft, but there are calluses, and he’s pretty sure she’s been chewing her nails. He kind of loves it.
“Not a lot. Just like, different opinions.”
Daniel raises an eyebrow. “What, like he’s a democrat, and the rest of us are gun nut republicans?”
Grace looks uncomfortable. “I mean, I guess? Doesn’t really matter.”
She nods, determined. “His baggage is my baggage. That’s marriage. That’s family.”
It’s painful how hard he’s trying to get her away from his family, and how hard she’s trying to find one. She looks around the room where his family is unsubtly looking like fucking psychos.
“Sometimes family’s better when they’re not around.”
She scoffs. “Is this your super subtle way of telling me I’m not welcome? Cause it’s bullshit.”
He trips out of surprise, and she has to catch him.
“No, that’s not what I meant at all.”
But before he can explain, the song ends, and Alex comes to sweep his bride off her feet.
Later, when they’re both tied up in the back of the car, and he’s watching her slowly wiggle her limbs free, he tilts his head at her.
“For the record, it was a pleasure and a privilege to be your brother-in-law.”
When the car crashes, he flies out of the windshield and wonders when the fuck he had time to fill in love with his brother’s wife. He ends up working it into his best man speech.
“Grace, you’re the best thing to happen to this family since we discovered that nursing homes go through games quicker than bedpans. You’re beautiful and smart and kind, and I have no fucking idea how Alex landed you. But don’t forget that you’re not lucky to have us; we’re lucky to have you.”
There’s some awkward, stilted clapping when he’s done, and he ignores it completely.
“Hitting on your sister-in-law in your best man speech in front of your brother and your wife is a bit gauche dear.”
Daniel glares at his mother. “So is sacrificing your new daughter-in-law to the devil.”
He shoots himself in the head before they even get to the game room.
The next time, he can’t keep his objections to himself.
“ Does anyone have any objections? Speak now or forever hold your peace- “
“I’m in love with you- “
He’s pretty sure it’s Charity who knocks him out again. He wakes up in the game room, but luckily he’s not tied up this time. He has no idea where Grace is in the house, has completely lost track of what the original order of events was or what kind of shape she’s in. He grabs the rifle he was supposed to carry in the beginning and follows the yelling to the dining room. He steps over Fitch’s body and doesn’t glance too long at the remains of the maid in the dumbwaiter. He pauses because he can smell smoke, which is definitely a new development; they’ve never burnt the house down before, and he files it away for later. The flames are spreading, but he can’t move from where he’s staring at his mother’s body, head beaten to a pulp. Daniel’s not really sure what it says about him that he’s simultaneously glad she’s dead and crushed that she’s gone. But he can’t linger on it because he hears more screaming.
When he gets to the dining room, he sees the ritual for the first time since the original loop.
His father, Helene, Emilie, and Charity are holding Grace down on the table. And it’s Alex who’s holding a knife above her heart, ready to plunge. There are rays of sunlight peeking into the room, and they catch on Grace’s face, bloody and tear stained. Daniel realizes that in all the cycles he’s lived through, he’s never actually seen her look betrayed. Angry, annoyed, determined, yes. But the look she’s giving Alex is devastated, and Alex is impassive. It’s the same look he has when he tosses the goat remains into the pit. The same look when he’s made up his mind. Daniel has a gun and pretty good aim at this point. He shoots, and Alex drops the knife to the floor to clutch at his shoulder. The gunshot distracts everyone, and Grace uses it to slam her foot into Emilie’s face and roll off the table. She has the knife in her hand and a whole bunch of crazy in her eyes. And Grace thought she wouldn’t fit in with the family. She’s holding it out like she’s expecting everyone to jump at her, but no one moves. The sun is officially over the horizon, blazing behind Grace as it rises. There’s something really annoyingly cliché about the avenging angel vibes she’s putting out. But it’s accurate.
Daniel’s never made it to sunrise, and there’s dead silence in the room as they wait for impending destruction and death or something equally dramatic.
Everyone seems cautiously optimistic, everyone but Helene, who raises her axe. All Daniel hears is, “she still dies!” right before she lunges and then explodes.
Blood soaks everyone, and there’s barely a moment before everyone around the table start popping like balloons. Emilie runs out of the room with her children, but he hears the screams and splatters in the hallway. His father barely has time to turn, eyes wide before he disappears, and Charity, proud, aloof Charity, is on her knees begging to go home. She combusts before Daniel can even process his reaction.
It's just Grace, Alex, and Daniel left in the room, and between the viscera and smoke filtering in, Daniel’s pretty sure he’s reached the next circle of hell. He waits, unsure what to do because he’s never made it this far, and he has no idea why he hasn’t exploded either. He thinks about what to say, but Alex gets there first.
“Grace, please. I am so sorry, so fucking sorry. I never wanted this to happen. Do you see what they’re like? What being with them can do? This is why I had to get away. This is why I love you. I love you so fucking much. They just got into my head. Stay with me, and I’ll spend the rest of my life making it up to you.”
Daniel is shocked by the secondhand embarrassment that’s trickling in. He’s never heard his brother sound so desperate before. But he’s also never seen his brother almost kill his wife before. He watches Grace, who stares flatly at Alex.
“Daniel grew up here too. He never tried to kill me. He tried to help me.”
Alex’s eyes flick over to Daniel, scared and furious, and Daniel just stares back.
“Maybe I picked the wrong brother,” she says quietly, and it’s not really a question, but she looks at him for an answer.
Daniel shrugs. “I never would’ve married you.”
Alex goes from anger to panic, and opens his mouth, “Grace— “
But she’s pulling off her ring and tosses it in his face. “I want a divorce.”
Watching his baby brother, his favorite person in the fucking rat’s nest of his family, pop like a zit in their dining room is almost as shocking as seeing the fucking devil show up in a chair and giving them a smile.
He bums a cigarette off of her as they wait on the steps. Her hands are shaky, but she refuses to let him light it for her. They smoke for a while, listening as the sirens get closer and closer.
“Yeah. Me too.”
A couple awkward minutes pass.
"So, what do we do now?"
Daniel shrugs. "Don't know. I've never made it this far before."
Grace looks at him, confused.
"Time loop. Long story." And that's new, being able to say it out loud to her face, and Daniel guesses that's proof enough that it's broken.
Grace squints at him for a long moment before she just shakes her head. "Whatever."
She looks exhausted and pissed and sad, and he has to remind himself that for her, this is brand new. That she's numb and dead inside in a way that's technically different from how he's numb and dead inside, and they're going to need so much fucking therapy.
When the EMT comes by and gets a look at them, Daniel listens to Grace blithely blame her in-laws and rolls off the stairs from laughing so hard. The EMT darts off to direct the ambulance towards them, and they watch the group of cops clustered around the front of the house, gesture and shoot them not so subtle looks. This is probably the time they should be using to get their stories straight, but Daniel is fucking tired.
"What do you wanna do, Grace?"
She takes a long drag off her cigarette and shakes her head.
"You mean besides not go to jail or end up in an asylum because I tried to tell people my devil worshipping husband and his family exploded like pinatas?"
"Yeah, besides that."
Grace snuffs her cigarette out on the ground and then hauls herself up. She looks down at him. The adrenaline induced euphoria from earlier is gone, along with the manic smile that erupted when her in-laws did. He's not sure if he'll ever see the wide toothy grin from before again. But there's a tilt to her mouth that looks like the start of one. She offers him a hand up, and he takes it. She squeezes it before she lets go.
"I want to get out of this fucking dress."