Nathan went looking for him after it was over and Dwight had cleaned away the burned out cables, replaced the church wiring. He found him just after dusk sitting on one of the benches down from the Gray Gull, staring out at the water.
"Good job at the church," he said, taking another step or two towards the bench. The back of the bench. Dwight straightened up but didn't turn around.
"'s what I do."
Nathan thought about pointing out how Dwight wasn't being all that talkative, but it felt a little like pot and kettle. And he didn't know how to start going about asking, so, you're my Dad's cleaner. Sanitizing crime scenes of anything relating to the Troubles, covering up evidence. Destroying evidence. Every part of him that was a cop said Dwight was something he should fight against. Tell him thanks but no thanks, why don't you try finding some honest work for a change.
And the part of him that had spent the last year or so cleaning up after the Troubles knew they didn't need people panicking about a woman who could affect you with her drawings, or another one who could control the weather. Or a man whose shadow had killed people.
His heels skidded a little on the way down as he pulled up parallel to the larger man. "You been doing this long?"
Dwight looked up at him this time, shrugged. His expression was open and calm as it had been earlier, his giant hands folded one over the other with his elbows resting on his knees. "Since I got back from Afghanistan."
Nathan had no idea what Dwight had been doing in Afghanistan. Other than the obvious, but what in specific, he couldn't imagine.
"Your Dad figured you could use the help."
That was when he realized that behind that scaled up frame and that golden retriever earnestness was a more dangerous mind than most people in town, and he couldn't make the mistake of underestimating him again.
"Two days ago there were enough vines and tree branches here to fill a barn."
Dwight shrugged. "Took a while."
Nathan gave him a sideward glance, as he was getting used to doing. Took a while wasn't the kind of thing people said about hauling maybe a literal ton of dead tree and vine. Took a while was what you said about fixing cars, computers, filing paperwork. Most people who'd hauled that much in two days would be twisting in pain, aching and sore. He couldn't tell Dwight was stiff at all until the larger man stepped away from holding up the wall and rolled his shoulders.
"Do I even want to know what you did with all the..."
Another shrug. "Plenty of people out here need firewood."
Nathan threw him a dubious look. "You chopped up all those trees by yourself. And hauled them out to people's homes?"
"That'd be crazy, Nathan." Dwight smiled. "Nah. I know a guy. Fed it through a log chopper. Some of it went to mulch, some to firewood."
"But you still hauled it all by yourself."
Another shrug. "No one else gonna do it. And it wouldn't be the hardest thing I've ever done." There was that look Dwight gave him again, the one that said his Dad hadn't asked a lot of questions, hadn't wanted to know. Nathan was starting to dislike that look. Dwight couldn't be much older than he was and he acted like a second father. Or a big brother he'd never wanted.
"Look, I'm not my father, okay? There's things I need... there's just some things I feel more comfortable knowing. How my town works." Nathan crossed his arms over his chest, tucked his hands under his arms. He didn't know why he had to explain himself to Dwight. "How these things work. My father was supposed to handle this." He didn't know why he'd said that.
Dwight didn't comment, his expression didn't flicker at all. "Your father did the best he could. Not the kind of thing they teach you at cop school."
Seemed like Nathan was giving him all the sidelong glances. "But they teach you how to clean up crime scenes in the military?"
"They taught me how to make sure people didn't see what they weren't supposed to."
And that, Nathan knew, was all he was going to say about that.
In a movie or a badly plotted television show, Nathan would have come across some kind of diary of his father's a long time ago. Something like, today on June sixteenth I had Dwight take care of these bodies and put them in this place, because they were killed by a Trouble that controls the temperature of your blood. Or something. All he had were the cryptic comments Dwight handed him now and again, usually accompanied by bland stares or retriever earnestness. He'd heard a couple people wonder where Dwight made his living and why he always hung around the police station, heard Dwight grin at them and just say "Maintenance" as though that fixed everything. And people believed it. He didn't understand how people believed it.
"Dwight?" Stan blinked at him. "Um... which one's Dwight again?"
Nathan couldn't believe his ears. "Dwight, you know, Dwight Hendrickson? Big guy, really big guy, blond hair kind of long and scruffy, never really gets to shave?"
"Oh, him, yeah!" Stan snapped his fingers, beaming. "Yeah, he's a stand-up guy..." And then Stan got that puzzled frown and Nathan knew the next words out of his mouth were going to be something like, what was the question, or what did Nathan want to know about him again, and he waved him off.
Everyone knew Dwight. Most people liked him who were all right with Troubled people or who had somehow managed to miss everything that was going on in Haven right now. The only people who said anything bad about him were the people who mistrusted, feared, or hated the Troubled. So that was something at least, but the more Nathan asked around and dug into him, the less he knew about Dwight. The man didn't seem to have a girlfriend, didn't seem to have a family.
"Not as far as I know, anyway," Vince spread his hands, shrugged. Smiled.
Nathan narrowed his eyes at him. "But you do know something."
Vince glanced up and down the newsroom as though someone might actually be hiding out, listening. "Dwight doesn't have a family, anymore."
"What... what does that mean, anymore?" But Vince didn't look as though he was going to cough up any more tidbits of information, which was such a surprise, of course. Nathan shook his head, went down the street a bit to the bakery and coffee shop for donuts.
On the plus side, now that he wasn't Chief he didn't have to worry about the morality, let alone the legality of having his own personal clean up squad. Which made him sound a little too much like a mafia boss. On the minus side, he wondered what would happen now that the selectmen had voted him out, another thing his father's nonexistent diaries would have helped with. What would happen, what would have happened if he couldn't be a cop anymore?
Hell, maybe he and Dwight should go rogue. Investigate the Troubled on their own, Audrey would help, and she wasn't in as much hot water with the Rev as he was, for some reason. Or maybe she was. She was kind of a law all unto herself, he could never tell whether she was coming or going that way, not that he'd ever admit he preferred it that way. Both on a personal level, the consistent challenge, and in the way that if he couldn't predict which way she was going to jump next the Rev damn well couldn't, either.
He didn't think anyone had predicted this, though. This was trouble. Not the capital T kind, but still trouble.
Even leaning against a police car and bent slightly over, Dwight was taller than Paul. Nathan couldn't hear what they were talking about yet, but it probably involved whatever he'd last been doing cleaning something up. The cuffs were unnecessary and more than a little over the top when Dwight looked like he could snap them with some effort and then snap Paul in half over his knee. He might not know how he felt about the cleaner, but he had a pretty good idea that Dwight wasn't the kind of guy to commit criminal acts that required handcuffs and extensive jail time.
Or maybe he was just saying that to himself. To justify what he was about to do. Nathan sighed inwardly as he went up and bullied Paul into letting Dwight go. "Just watch where you point this thing," he muttered, handing Dwight his crossbow back. It was the best he could do to ease his policeman's conscience.
"You sure they'll stay at the meat-packing plant?" Nathan asked, but he didn't want to ask it. He wanted to ask questions like, how are you doing, do you want me to call the nurse, how the hell did you walk out of that woods with a bear trap on your leg carrying a 90 pound girl. Didn't really matter how, though, not now. The important part was that they'd gotten out of the woods with two casualties, one serial killer and one would-be murderer.
Dwight nodded, oblivious to Nathan's curiosity and discomfort, busy adjusting his bandages and packing up his medical kit again. "They know the score. They'll get all the meat they need, won't have to feed off of, well. People."
"And you're not bothered by this. By any of this? They ate..."
"They ate what they needed to survive." Dwight never raised his voice much or growled or anything like that, but he had a way of looking at you that made you realize exactly how tall, broad, and probably strong he was, and how skinny, weak, and unable to fight back you were. Looming, it was called looming.
Nathan held up his hands. "Look, I'm not coming after them, okay? I just need to know that... that they're not going to come after anyone either. That's my job, remember?"
"I remember." Dwight un-loomed, stood back up and winced as he put weight on his injured leg.
"You get that checked out by a doctor?"
"Yeah," he nodded, grimacing, shifting his weight back and forth till he found a stance that worked for him. "Not much else they can do, it's been cleaned. Bandaged up. I'll stay off it for a couple of days."
"Now, why don't I believe that."
Dwight chuckled. "You're learning."
"And, you know what? Stop. Okay?" Nathan shook his head as they started back out to Dwight's truck. "Stop treating me like the tag-along baby brother. I've been a cop a lot longer than you've been a cleaner, I bet, I know what I'm doing."
The taller man cocked his head at Nathan as though he'd finally done something interesting. Or maybe it was just the baby brother bit. "You know what your Dad did before the Troubles? Last time this happened."
Nathan blinked. Dwight would have been, well. Not much older than Nathan, so Dwight wouldn't have been old enough to be the town rendition squad. "I don't know. Do you?" And then, thinking about that for a second. "How do you know?"
"My uncle. He worked for your father the first time this happened. Family business, you could say."
He tried to picture a whole family of blond viking giants wielding crossbows before he realized how ridiculous that looked and shook his head. "Did he have your, uh..."
"The family Trouble? Nah, he was clean. Better for him, too, actually. He didn't have to wander around encased in Kevlar."
Nathan glanced sideways at him, finding it more difficult to keep from pulling ahead of Dwight as they limped to the truck than to keep up with him. That sounded bitter. Dwight didn't look around as he hobbled ahead of Nathan, popped open the back doors and threw the kit in. It skidded down the center line of the truck and banged off the back of the seats, harder than he'd needed to throw it in. Was he finally seeing the first crack in Dwight's armor? So to speak. Nathan rubbed his forehead and decided the whole weekend had been way too tiring and stressful if he was making bad puns like that, even in his head.
He couldn't imagine, though, what it had to be like to go through life with a constant suit of armor. Literal armor, not the kind Audrey had up or, if he was to admit it, the kind he put up around himself. The kind most of the Troubled learned to wear. Dwight had to be more careful than the rest of them, especially with the number of guns floating around Haven, the Rev having started his own little militia. Any of them would be happy to take any of the Troubled out. They wouldn't even have to try with Dwight.
He risked his life to keep helping Nathan, in a way. Nathan folded his arms, tucked his hands, wondering if they would even know Dwight was Troubled if he hadn't started working for the Chief first, and now him.
"I don't want to see you around the station for at least a couple days," he called up as Dwight climbed into his truck, tossing the keys from left hand to right. Dwight looked over at him, frowning. "I don't care what you do, I don't want to see you around the station. At least let me pretend you're resting up and letting that leg heal."
Dwight snorted, flashing a big dumb puppy smile Nathan didn't believe for an instant. "Sure thing, chief."
Audrey was gone. And Duke was in it up to his neck, and Nathan paced in circles on the deck of the Cape Rouge and the hell if he knew what to do. His cheeks burned and he wanted to shoot a bunch of holes in Duke, then a bunch more holes in his boat, then go find Audrey. Or maybe find Audrey first and then shoot Duke. One or both of those things had to happen, finding Audrey and shooting Duke, and both because it would make him feel better. The shooting part wasn't likely to happen anymore, it couldn't happen, he was a cop. He didn't have probable cause.
The finding Audrey part didn't have anything to do with him being a cop and everything to do with him being a man who had had his heart wrenched six ways from Sunday. He needed backup, though. He couldn't go tearing this town apart by himself and expect to find her, not when he couldn't think straight. He needed backup he could trust, and he needed backup he could trust to be competent and follow orders and who would know what to do. Without giving it much more thought he pulled out his phone, speed dial four.
The other end picked up after two rings. "Hey, what's up."
"Dwight." Nathan let out an explosive breath. "Audrey's gone. She's been kidnapped."
Dwight's voice didn't change. Nathan didn't realize until now how much that steadiness could be an asset in times of crisis. "I'll be right over."