|Louis Donovan (strikethose) wrote,|
@ 2014-03-27 23:31:00
Town Opening: Antique Store Owner
Housing: Apartment above the antique store.
Character Journal name: strikethose
Character Name: Louis Donovan
Character Age: 32
Character Played By: Tom Hiddleston
Character History and Personality:
You wouldn't guess at Louis' origins when you first met him, and he corrects no one. The truth is too personal, and some of the assumptions are correct. He is tall and lean, with large hands and unruly curls he has learned to tame better in recent years. He would be a very attractive man if he were not so often severe to the point of dourness, sharp and bitter as raw coffee. There are flashes of humor, exceedingly dry, in his soft Scots inflections, heavily rounded out by years of English education. But you would not guess that he was born in November in New Jersey, or how he came to be the son of one of Britain's wealthiest families.
Louis' life started in the cold. He didn't learn his biological parents' names until he was in his mid-twenties. He knows more now than he did a few years ago: they were impoverished. They'd already had several children by the time he was born. Selling him allowed then to provide for the ones who came before him, and some of the ones who came after. His mother cried nights over selling him, but that didn't stop her from doing it to another chid
Perhaps he shouldn't hold it against them, that they gave him up. The fact of the matter was that they couldn't afford to feed him. He was premature born, scrawny and weak, but already sold by the time he came into the world. The Donovans could afford the best NICU in the city before taking him back home with them, and that was that. He never saw his parents again.
The Donovans were an exceedingly wealthy couple from Scotland, already in possession of a burgeoning family, but Mrs. Donovan wanted more. She was not an avaricious woman, though a neglectful one, the kind who took much too long to stop adding children to her family in hopes that more infants would supply the love in her home she did not know how to offer herself. By the time this impulse cooled in her forties, the children were too old to be charming anymore, and she had turned back to her philanthropic efforts. Mothering was an idea, not a calling, but for a time she confused the two. This resulted in Louis.
A friend of the Donovans managed a charitable organization that oversaw private adoptions, and they connected the rough Alexanders to the fine couple. Adopting from another country typically involved jumping through all kinds of hoops, but private adoption simplified that immensely. Mrs. Donovan, who possessed the both the self-suffused glow of the charitably wealthy and a mother's determination to care for children that needed it, decided she wanted the boy Mrs. Alexander was carrying. Within a month, she had him, and Louis' biological parents were left with a windfall of cash to feed their other children.
Louis' new parents treated him as if he had been theirs since birth. The first year of his life became a palimpsest, the writing beneath his new name telling the story of a poor, unwanted child, the fresh ink richly appointing him with a new life. Happily ever after, pauper adopted by princes.
Life is not fairy tales, however, and nothing is so simple. Louis was a clever, mischievous child, one of the youngest in the Donovan brood. He liked to play pranks on his older siblings, tease the younger ones, and was never afraid to blame them for stealing cookies out of the cookie jar that he'd secreted under his own bed. But it was all in good fun. They gave him back as good as he got, and the animosity between them never lasted, despite the fact that he grew more and more serious as he aged.
The trouble with Louis was that he always felt halfway out of step with his family, and never knew why. While he eventually conquered his sickliness, his physique never really changed. With blond hair and blue eyes, he didn't quite match up with the brunettes. His brothers were better built than him, and his sisters fairer. From a young age he felt like the ugly duckling of the bunch, and this strange, unexplained discrepancy enhanced otherwise small slights.
He didn't fit in well at school, either. Academically, he was leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of his class, always the first to raise his hand and the one who got the most gold stars, and everyone predictably hated that. He did find some solace at home, though. The siblings who were still in the house then would play with him, and they let him be himself - let him be precocious and wry, let him speak with confidence. At school, though, he was on his own. None of his siblings were close enough to him in age to be in his classes or sit with him at lunch.
Boarding school could have been an opportunity for Louis to make friends, become more than a shadow in the lives of his parents. If anything, it made things even worse. It was a vicious age for a shy boy with deepening anxieties, and on top of it all he had a secret. It would never do for him to tell his parents that his first crushes had been on a neighbor boy and his new roommate at school. He felt pressure to be silent in the face of inevitable harshness from his parents, despite the fact that it was obvious to everyone that older brother Casey, soon to go on Broadway, wasn't exactly straight as an arrow. For a child dedicated to doing the right thing, pleasing everyone, and keeping his head down, it was the first unbeatable 'badness,' a black mark. And it was sniffed out by the other students, culminating in a kiss from [The Boarding School Roommate], nothing more than bait, and a beating that put him in the hospital. Just boys being boys.
The school's only response was to move Louis into a room of his own. Unsurprisingly, this communicated to the other students that their assumptions were true, and, intended or not, it left Louis utterly isolated until the day he graduated.
His excellent grades and test scores ('Christ, get me out of here' was a strong motivator) gave him his pick of any university he wanted. There was no question that Cambridge lay at the end of the road for him, however. During his first year there, he loaded his schedule with general courses and began to explore potential career paths. He had never been the kind of boy who dreamed about a future in a job. 'Teacher' or 'Professor' sounded alright. He liked to read, after all, and he had a sharp mind. But they elicited absolutely nothing in him except the acceptance that he could do them, not that he should. He wanted an occupation where he would have some real authority, where people would respect him, where he could put his mind to good, challenging work.
Law enforcement seemed like just the right field, and he couldn't deny that he liked the idea of his old schoolmates baffled that he'd passed the physical and graduated into the Met. Becoming a detective would be an excellent application for his sharp mind, and the more he considered the idea the more he liked the way it felt.
His plan proceeded smoothly. He graduated from Cambridge with a degree in psychology, then went directly into the force. His private life was not as successful, remaining quieter and lonelier than he was willing to admit. He found it difficult to open up to people, a little too serious, a little too guarded, a little too self-loathing and pained over whether other people were pleased with him. His painful teenage years had left him with crippling insecurities about his appearance and a fear of being rejected that never really faded.
Years went by, years of a steady rise through the ranks, up to his coveted position of Detective. His goal achieved, he settled in for the long haul. He had a knack for knowing where to push a case until it gave, and an eerie sort of talent for interrogation, all the makings of a career man.
Then, out of the blue to everyone in his life, he took a leave of absence.
The decision to drop everything and go on a years' leave wasn't unprovoked, but it was intensely private, and he never did tell his colleagues why he left so abruptly. Three months before, one of the ribs that he had broken in that teenage beating broke again. It had never really healed properly, and the complications left Louis bleeding internally. One of his siblings, who happened to be close-by at the time, offered to donate blood.
Of course the blood type was all wrong, setting in motion a chain of events that had been inevitable since the Donovans had adopted him. He survived the hospital stay, but not without an explosive confrontation with his parents. 27 years old, and he was just now finding out he wasn't actually their son?
Everything in his life came to a screeching halt. His adoption had been mostly a sham, of course, and it was easy enough to leverage the weight of the law against that old family friend who had arranged the whole thing. She pointed him to siblings scattered across the United States. He knew that if he didn't follow this thread, the messy, open story of who he really was and where he'd really come from, he would regret it.
This lead him on a trip around the country, though it didn't involve a stop in New Jersey. His siblings were one thing - they were blood, and they could tell him more about the family he'd never been a part of. His parents were another.
He couldn't have known that getting involved in his family's life would bring so much misery. It was one trial after another - after he got to know them, several were attacked, sent to prison, tortured and assaulted. Some had murder attempted on them, and throughout it all, Louis stood by when the damage was done and tried to put the pieces back together. He became the 'fixer,' diving deep into a family of people he had nothing more than a blood bond with. So much misfortune cascaded in his family's direction after he arrived in the States that it was hard, sometimes, not to feel fault, as if bad luck had followed him. Tragedy piled on tragedy. He gained some measure of brittle, severe strength by this repeated testing, and he no longer cowers in the face of nightmarish circumstance. But this did come at a cost. Barring an incident that landed him in a mental institution, he kept a surprisingly even keel through the latter half of his family's insanely tragic series of circumstance. He's managed to lose a boyfriend to alcoholism and prison, and then alienate just about every other man he came into contact with sexually. He hasn't forgotten that, but, like the events that unfolded against the people he cared for, it hardened him. It made him cutting, and weary, and made him press down viciously on grief and anger.
It might have been this that made him a target for a cult, all this bad news, this feeling of cursedness. Difficult to say what motivates cults, really.
They took him off the street one night, in a bad rehash of that incident with his roommate when he was younger. There was a gorgeous gentleman at the bar, and they were walking out together, but he was with Them.
They had no name, but they saw themselves in the Holy Spirit, the Old Church, and the things under the ground long dead. And while they exhibited so many laughable tropes of human beings seeking the occult, they had something very nasty in their possession, nasty enough that none of them wanted to use it on themselves.
Louis was the unfortunate sacrificial lamb. The object masqueraded as a weatherbeaten saint medal, but it was so much more, the living, breathing conduit of a dead god, fashioned from a meteorite two thousand years before. They pressed it to his flesh, trapped him with its will, and made him the channel for the god below.
As it turns out, this was rather a mistake, but one can hardly blame them. There is power in these old things, power enough to make those who command it think, or wish, that they can control it. For a year, Louis did not sleep. At night, he fed the bloodthirst of the dead god. At this point employed by the NYPD, he even visited one of his own crime scenes, his daytime memory blessedly blank of these nighttime escapades. The god used his body as a serial killer at night, and by day he went on, exhausted and worn and fighting all the old battles for his family. He would have dreams of being at the bottom of a well. He did not know where the well was, or why he was screaming.
In the end, hubris did the cultists in. They thought they could use the god's power for themselves, and when they tried, it devoured them down to the skin. His tormentors destroyed, the god, an old thing that operated by willing, binding contracts, released him. He had been coerced, and it required willing sacrifice to reach its full potential. With release, however, came memory. Terrible memory.
Very few people know of what the cult did, or saw the proof of it. His friend, his sister, his brother, and that is all. He assumes the god no longer has a hold on him, because anything else would be too terrible. As for that medal? Well, its current location is of no concern to anyone.
After the cult, all Louis wanted was normality. He still had difficulty sleeping, and going back to work knowing he was behind those unsolved murders felt too daunting, too difficult. He drifted for months, staying with family and fighting off more drama and tragedy. Nothing could be the same, however, after what had happened. It had tested his sanity, this glimpse behind the curtain. He wanted nothing else to do with anything that smacked of the occult, so when a letter came in the mail claiming he had inherited an antique shop on the opposite side of the country, he tossed it in a dresser. It was a trick, or a hoax, or they were still out there, seeking him. Whatever it was, he would not take the bait.
But sex and death became inextricably linked for him over time, in a very unfortunate way. A brief tryst with a friend of his sister resulted in being bitten by [The Vampire], who he (by his estimation) narrowly escaped from. It was enough to make him itch to leave town. He had become some sort of magnet for the mad and impossible to understand. There were cults, and there were vampires, and he needed to get the everloving fuck out of the Bronx.
Finally, finally, a familial catastrophe left everyone he knew weary, sent his brother Neil off the wagon and to parts unknown, and saw his sister Sam disappear out of nowhere. The hunt was on immediately, and he tracked her with the help of her lover, Cris, his former partner on the force.
It seemed Sam was pregnant, and she believed that alcoholic brother of his (from the other side of his split family) was the father. She had obtained a check from the Donovan parents to get her out of their hair and away from their son, and fled to a tiny town in the middle of nothing called Repose.
Repose. Wasn't that the name on the envelope? The town where he had been left some sort of historic antique store?
He no longer believes in coincidence, not after cults and vampires and bears, oh my, not after years of misfortune pelting on his family like a biblical plague. But the store is a chance to support himself - an occupation, as he had once wished for. If Sam will be staying, and Cris will be staying, he has very little family left. Perhaps a quiet town like this one is precisely what he needs.
The Boarding School Roommate: Baited Louis into a serious beating at boarding school with a kiss. Willing or unwilling participant in the scheme? Louis never did find out.
Antiques: Employee at the Antique Store. There has been a mysterious lack of an owner present at the store prior to Louis' arrival in town. [Filled.]
The Ex: Louis has been unlucky in love primarily because he gravitates toward problematic men who make him feel valued. He's grown out of this to a degree, but that doesn't mean there isn't bad news in his past that might come back to trouble him.
Buyers: The antique store contains a number of peculiar items with shall we say...unusual properties?