The Howling Wind - Chapter 21 (final), + Epilogue (6/4/09) - U2 Feedback

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Old 04-06-2009, 10:03 AM   #1
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The Howling Wind - Chapter 20 (final), + Epilogue (6/4/09)

Here we are, the end of another fic. I've had a lot of fun writing and posting it, thank you all for your comments and compliments.

And special thanks again to Diane, for her beta-work and ideas!

Disclaimer: Just as fictional at the end as it was all the way through. No harm intended, any factual errors and all opinions are mine.



---------

29 June, 1990 – Bloedel, BC, Canada

It took a few more days before Edge felt like he'd mostly caught up on the last two and a half years, in terms of global events and the lives of his family and friends. He was still staying in Elaine's spare room each night, and each day a few people would visit. But now, their time in Canada was drawing to an end, and Edge knew he had a decision to make.

"So, what will you do?" Adam asked him. "Are you coming back with us?"

They had a ticket for him, Edge knew, and his passport. They were due to fly back in another week.

"I don't know where I'd stay..." He would need to find out what state his finances were in, too, or even if he had any. The complexities of resuming a human life were daunting.

"I don't mind putting you up until you get yourself sorted out," the bassist offered. "I am living in your house, after all. I should probably be the one finding somewhere to live," he smiled.

"Why did you buy the house?" Edge asked.

Adam shrugged. "I was looking for a new place anyway, and Bono wanted to keep it 'in the family', so to speak. He never gave up hope that you'd come back."

"He was always stubborn like that," Edge said, then added, "Thank you."

They lapsed into silence for a minute.

"Do you think you'll be all right, back home?" Adam asked then. "There's nowhere like this in Ireland, aside from the lack of wolves. It's beautiful here... and there's a lot more space. Where would you go, if you felt you needed to... you know. Get away from things...?"

Edge paused while Elaine bustled through the lounge room with an armload of laundry.

"I've been thinking about that. There are still a few remote places in Ireland. It would be easier if I stayed here... but Ireland is home. You're all there, my family is there. I would like to make my home there, and find that balance. But first I need to find out if it's even possible, financially and everything. And I need to go home to do that."

Adam was gratified to hear Edge refer to Ireland as 'home'. "You shouldn't have to worry about money too much," he said. "Half the proceeds from the house sale were kept aside for you, as well as royalties and everything else. Between Bono and Paul, you've been looked after," Adam smiled again.

There was another pause, and Edge was looking uncomfortable again. Adam changed the subject.

"You haven't told Mrs Wilson, have you."

"Not as such, no."

"I don't suppose you really needed to," Adam mused. "And you won't have to now, if you didn't already."

Adam had assumed Edge would be returning with them... And Edge realised he was right. But talking about all this finance and planning made him miss the simple life; he didn't know when he would have a chance to run free again, once he was back in Ireland. He didn't want to leave before reminding himself of that freedom, one more time. And Adam was right, there was no more beautiful place he could think of to do that, than here.

"I don't know. I would like to say goodbye to this place properly, before I leave."

Adam raised an eyebrow. "Will you remember to come back?"

"Yes, I think so. I won't go far, I just want a day or two."

"If you're going to wander off again," Elaine said, coming back through the room, "you're going to take some warm clothes with you this time."

Edge winced. "Um, thank you, but that won't be necessary."

"Oh, really?"

Edge and Adam exchanged a look.


-----

1 July, 1990 – Bloedel, BC, Canada

Edge knew he could have just disappeared again, without explaining anything to Elaine, but he knew she deserved better than that. He knew he could also have accepted the warm jacket she offered him, and then changed in the forest and hoped that everything would be where he left it when he came back. But that didn't seem right, either.

He'd practiced last night, making sure he remembered how. He could have spared himself the effort – changing seemed to have become an instinct now, despite having remained in the same shape for most of the last two and a half years.

Like riding a bicycle, he thought.


Adam had told the others his plans, and there was a small group of the curious and concerned present, to see him off. Or to gawp, he thought with a scowl. What was he, the local freak show?

Well, he was. But he was still tempted to give them all the slip and escape unseen, whatever his decision to be honest with Elaine.


Bono, Adam, Gill and Dik and Elaine were all standing beyond Elaine's back garden, which backed onto a reserve. And Edge was there, wearing a bathrobe. Elaine thought he was raving mad.

"Are you sure you'll be back?" Bono asked him for the twelfth time. "Two days, you said."

"Two days," Edge agreed, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. He couldn't blame Bono for doubting him. "I promise I'll be back. I'll stay conscious, I'll remember. I'm not going to miss Hollie's birthday. Don't worry."

Bono subsided, frowning.

"We can always send dogs after him, or something," Adam said cheerfully. Edge snorted.

Elaine watched them, clearly not knowing what to make of any of it.

Edge didn't see any point in dragging the scene out any longer. "Well, I'll see you soon." He shot a glance at Elaine, then turned his back. The bathrobe collapsed around the wolf that had suddenly replaced him. He shook the garment off, turned, and sniffed the air. Looking at Bono, he pawed the ground twice, before turning away again, and disappearing into the trees.


Elaine was staring at the spot where the wolf had been lost to sight. "Well, you don't see that every day," she said.



------

6 July, 1990 – over the Atlantic Ocean

Edge hadn't forgotten, and he hadn't missed Hollie's birthday. He never wanted to miss any more, if he could help it. The six-year-old was asleep beside him now, as he looked out once again to the rolling blue Atlantic below, one of her hands clasped gently in his.

Elaine had taken it rather well, he thought. By the time he'd come back, she seemed to have got over any shock, and had been very businesslike about it all. Bono or someone must have briefed her, because she'd had a veritable mountain of food waiting for him.

Edge had been embarrassed to have nothing to give to her, in return for all her exceptional hospitality.

"You've given me a mystery, and more excitement than I've seen for years," she'd said. "No one forced me to take you in, it was my own choice. I'm glad to help."

"It seems a poor exchange," Edge had replied.

"Well now. It's your own business, I know, but if you wanted to tell me... part of your story, how it all happened. That would be a tale worth a few meals, I'd say. But only if you want to."

That seemed a fair exchange to Edge. He glossed over the worst bits, not wanting Elaine to be afraid of him, but she didn't seem perturbed. He realised how lucky he'd been that Elaine had seen him first, before he'd been thrown in the local lock-up, or worse.


Bono was already talking about "getting the band back together", complete with Blues Brothers impersonation. Larry had wanted to know whether Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin were invited, too. It had been a good enough excuse for giving Elaine a private, semi-acoustic performance in her lounge room, as an additional Thank You; but beyond that, Edge and Larry were of a similar opinion... Wait and see.

An eagle-eyed journalist had spotted him in Vancouver airport; or rather, she'd spotted Bono, and then recognised him with the rest of the band. Larry had already told him that he should expect a media circus, but he'd been hoping to have a little time first.


Bono walked down the aisle of the plane, and gave him a wink as he passed. Edge responded with a small smile.

It had taken a long time, and it wouldn't be easy, but he was where he wanted to be. He was going home.


----------
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:05 AM   #2
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EPILOGUE


**
Another two years later....
**


14 August, 1992 – Donegal, Ireland

The Edge paused for breath after climbing the ridge, relishing the fresh taste of clean air, and surveyed his domain.

Hills rolled away to the north, rising to mountains in the distance. Most were clad in grass or low scrub, but he'd fenced off most of the remaining forest, and it was regenerating well, having been freed from the overzealous attentions of the local deer population.

Shading his eyes against the sun, he looked west, where he'd come from. The sunlight sparkled on the river as it threaded its way towards the sea, past the hill on which he'd had a house built. It was large for one person, but he hoped it would have frequent visitors. There was also a studio in the basement, fully equipped.

This was as close to wilderness as could be found in Ireland, and Edge had spent the last two years accumulating over eighty square kilometres of it. He had his eye on the adjacent land, too, if it became available. Much of it had been essentially unused, while some had been farmland. He was letting it all go wild, and encouraging the once-native forests to re-establish themselves. Deer were plentiful; so much so that the health of the forests was suffering. It would take a lot more time, and effort, to get even this small patch of Ireland to approach the ecological balance that had once existed naturally.

Time, effort... and wolves.

One day, Edge hoped to establish a small pack here, probably imported from Eastern Europe or Scandinavia. But that was a long way off, yet.

All the same, he had optimistically named his property Baile faolchúnna. 'Wolfhome'.


In between, U2 had re-formed. Paul didn't quite get his joked-of come-back tour, but they did a short run of dates in Europe and the USA, for their own celebration as much as anything else. Edge had invested most of his share of the proceeds into Baile faolchúnna.

An album was gradually coming together, too. U2 albums had never come easy, and this one was proving to be more difficult than all the others put together. They hadn't played all together as a band for several years, and even while Edge had been gone, the other three had rarely played together. Add to that the vastly different perspectives they were all coming from, and some lingering apprehension about making Edge angry (he tended to get mad now when he suspected people were deliberately holding something back that they feared would set him off), and there was a lot of adjusting to be done by everyone. But the greatest fear they'd had, that the magic had gone, proved to be unfounded; and that was what always brought them back together to try again.

Edge certainly felt better once he had Baile faolchúnna to escape to, even as far from Dublin as it was. It would have been much easier to set something like this up in Canada, but he wasn't Canadian, and Canada was much further from home than Donegal.


He smiled a satisfied smile. The band, his friends, and his family could visit here whenever they liked, so long as he had a bit of notice. The place wasn't so big that he could lose himself as a wolf, and forget again. It would be lonely, running here as a solitary wolf, but it was better than skulking in parks and risking being seen. And he was working on that, anyway.

A few inconspicuous, weatherproof boxes had been placed at intervals around the property. If anyone asked, they were nesting boxes, but Edge would be leaving no more piles of clothes outside to get damp or disturbed.


Edge turned away from the sweeping vista, and his dreams for the future, and headed for home.

The house had been built at the southern edge of the property, a few hundred metres from the gates. Before even the scent reached him, he saw a lone figure, wandering in apparent confusion along the driveway. He approached cautiously.

"Can I help you?" he called. A territorial instinct was niggling at the back of his mind.

The figure whirled around, revealing itself to be a woman in a long coat, with dishevelled brown hair blowing past her shoulders, and eyes that spoke of too much running and too little sleep. She could have been anywhere between 25 and 40, and stared at him with equal parts unfocused fear and desperation.

Edge stopped a few feet away, looking at her more closely. In a now-established habit when meeting someone new, he breathed in deeply through his nose.

She did the same.

They recognised one another.

"D'you mean it, then?" she asked in a broad rural accent, gesturing at the gate behind her and the name on it. "Baile faolchúnna?"

The future changed with that question, and all the implications it carried. Despite meeting Timothy, despite everything he'd said about others like them, Edge had never expected to run into another.

Where would he have been, without even Timothy's rough and cryptic guidance?

Where there's one, there's more.

"Yes," he said, meeting the woman's eyes.

She hesitated, then an incredulous grin split her face. Squeezing her eyes shut, she seemed to collapse, and then a wolf struggled out of the pile of clothes left on the ground. It paused, staring at Edge, ears flicking uncertainly. Edge pulled himself together enough to offer a smile, and then the wolf was off, bounding up the hill, nose to the wind. Something in the way it moved described unspeakable relief.

For a moment, Edge wanted badly to follow. But instead he gathered up the woman's clothes to put them somewhere under cover.


Perhaps his life here would not be as lonely as he'd thought.


-----
FIN
-----
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:08 AM   #3
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Unfair it's over.


Now off to read!
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:13 AM   #4
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Awww.... it's over!

That was a really great ending to a really great story, though! Good job!
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:28 AM   #5
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Awww the epilogue is such a great ending!
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:44 AM   #6
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Aw, ta...


Also, why can't I edit the thread title? I tried to change it to Chapter 20, which is what it should be, but it won't let me... could a mod help, please? *batts eyelashes*
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:45 AM   #7
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I just noticed that, and wondered where chapter 20 had gone!
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:15 PM   #8
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But I really really loved the story and it was fun helping out.

Now write another one!!
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:52 PM   #9
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over. on the story line.
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:17 AM   #10
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Bravo, bravo, bravo!
Edge solved 2 problems at once with the "wolf home" how clever.
Loved it Alisaura!
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:20 AM   #11
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Hey, I just realized I have 2 names here! The one above is my u2.com name and this is my "normal" name here in interference.
Anyway, thanks again for a wonderful story!
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:44 AM   #12
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Read the entire fic in a few days time;
Very well written Alisaura
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:32 AM   #13
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Thank you again, everyone! *blush*

And embarrassingly belated thanks also to Reggo, for being instrumental in the initial brainstorm.
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:42 AM   #14
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Thank you again, everyone! *blush*

And embarrassingly belated thanks also to Reggo, for being instrumental in the initial brainstorm.
Oh, yeah, I forgot i helped you with this!

Anyways, this is an awesome story. One of the best.
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:46 PM   #15
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i like it.
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Old 04-11-2009, 10:31 AM   #16
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Ali, as you may have guessed I am by no means u2_luv_fanfiction69420 on this forum, but I read this entire story chapter by chapter as you posted it, because first of all 1. you're Ali and second of all b. I'll try anything once. Anyway, what can I say? There was a lot happening, like Edge turning into a wolf, and killing a paedophile and his wife having none of that and such. It was really good. In fact, it has inspired me. I am going to write a fan fiction that you'll love! Thanks for uncovering this muse that I didn't know about. And congratulations on finishing the story, because I sure as hell won't finish mine, I probably won't even start it. I have been drinking. Thank you, Ali.
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Old 04-19-2009, 03:42 PM   #17
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Wow!! I haven't had a chance to catch up on this for a while, but I'm glad I did!! This was great, LOVED the ending!!!
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