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Posted: Feb 18 2013, 05:02 PM
for a shield from the storm, for a friend, for a love
to keep me safe and warm, i turn to you
for the strength to be strong, for the will to carry on
for everything you do i turn to you
nary + jade ;; 1055 ;; post-stab post-hospital
flangsty nicsolow feeeeeels
Harlow was thirteen years old, too old to be carried about like a baby by his fathers. Especially in public, where one of his friends might see, and then he'd never hear the end of it.
A week ago he would have cared about all that. Today he pressed his face into the dark folds of his papa's wool coat and refused to face the world. Healing cuts and bruises ached, and Dr Rex had said he wasn't to walk on his leg if he could help it. His fathers took that as, "He is never to set foot on the ground," so here he was being carried even the short distance from the car into the house. He couldn't pretend that he minded, though. Couldn't even put up a pretense of wounded adolescent dignity. He'd lifted his arms to wind them about his father's neck and consented to being carried indoors.
From counting the number of steps over the flagstones, Harlow knew they would be approaching the front door soon. His dark head lifted from his father's broad shoulder and red-rimmed eyes turned to look at the entrance drawing near.
There was his house. His home. The townhouse with its white-washed panels, buff-colored bricks, and cheerful blue door. Although his pallid face could not manage a smile, he felt lighter (a minuscule amount, but it was there) at the sight of it. He was home, his fathers were with him, he was safe.
As soon as the door was closed (and locked, under Harlow's uneasy stare), Sam set about making them all a cup of tea. Harlow asked not to be taken to bed, so he settled on the living room sofa with the blanket wrapped around him. He pulled the soft knitted blanket tighter around him and watched Sam move about the kitchen through the doorway. He was content to sit quietly and reacclimate himself with his home, taking in all the familiar furniture and clutter with wan blue eyes.
He turned down the suggestion of lunch when it was offered. "I'm not really hungry," he demurred, burrowing deeper into the blanket's protective folds.
He'd mostly pushed food around on his plate in hospital. The nurses had gently scolded him, but it all fell on deaf ears. He was sorry for being disobedient, but he couldn't bring himself to care that he wasn't eating properly. He picked at the weave of the blanket, unconsciously hunching his shoulders and feeling morose. Which was stupid. He was home, he should be happy. But really he just felt tired and drawn. And apologetic, for the great sin of making his father cry.
It twisted like a knife in his gut to see his dad so anguished. He'd been awash with tears ever since ...after... and Harlow had felt useless to do anything about it. He'd lain listless in the starched white hospital bed, unable to do anything for himself, much less help his father... And then were the moments (growing more frequent as Harlow recovered from his injuries) that Sam looked at him so earnestly, through eyes bright with tears that may still be shed, searching Harlow's gaze for any requests that could be read there, anything Sam might do for him, make him feel more comfortable, anything. Harlow felt guilty that he could not meet his father's compassion with anything useful. He could not even contrive an artificial request, his imagination having fled with much of his personality. He was numb, and his eyes were blank and flat like pale blue glass. Everything was hidden inside, even though he felt hollow, as if there were really nothing inside.
Harlow felt the weight of someone settling next to him, and looked up from where nail-bitten fingers (a new habit he'd picked up while in hospital—he was waiting for when his fathers would remark upon it and scold him) plucked at the soft cerulean yarn of the blanket. He quailed a bit at the look on his papa's face, but was still glad for his presence beside him...
Ever since ...they found him... his papa's face looked as if it could have been carved from marble, hard and unforgiving. Harlow was sorry. It was because of what happend that his papa looked like that. He'd never seen that look before, even counting the times when Harlow had first come to live with them, and Nic would sometimes cast a disgruntled look at Harlow for upsetting the equilibrium of the household or something. Those looks had faded the longer Harlow had stayed, and he began to feel more comfortable living with them.
Now there were signs of his presence everywhere, he thought, and this made him pleased but sheepish at his untidiness, because his dad was ever after him to put his things away properly, or at least confine the mess to his room. There were little gadgets he'd made on end tables and unfinished projects in the form of little piles of gears on top of books that had been left out and now could not be moved. That was his favorite navy jumper with the grey stripes on it, folded over the back of the chair at his father's desk. There were drawings and doodled schematics of his taped to the refrigerator door, and on the kitchen counter was a pancake-flipper he'd invented for Sunday breakfast. In the upstairs bathroom was a red toothbrush with a bulky battery pack strapped to it connected to a separated bristle-head that made it vibrate against your teeth for more efficient tooth-brushing. There was "Harlow" in all the corners of the house. He lived here. It showed. This was his home. This was him.
Those long hours with that man, that was not him. That was not his life, what his life is like. This— Harlow felt his dad sitting on his other side; Sam must have joined them at some point, and now Harlow leaned against his father and pressed close to his side, seeking warmth despite the blanket around his shoulders. This was his life. Between his dad and his papa, Sam and Nic on either side like great sentinels, always protecting him... Harlow shuffled deeper within his blanket, pressing closer to his father's side, and tried to ignore the feeling of cowardice gnawing at his core.
Posted: Mar 1 2013, 03:59 PM
It wasn’t like this in the beginning. Nor was is to be like this in the end.
The house lay pieced in the same shape they’d left it- items scattered about but not necessarily messily; Organised chaos at the hands of a young boy and at least one man who shared his cluttered habits. But the house was quiet. Not eerily so, but strangely peaceful. And though appreciated, there hadn’t been time to adjust to it. The sound of the tap beside him where Sam stood to rinse a dish at length gave his thoughts something to bounce off of. The echoes in his ears almost swallowed by the noise though he still trembled through the shoulders and hands.
The boy he’d held in his arms shouldn’t have been there. He had two feet of his own to walk and a superfluous sum of energy to carry himself by. And it had been like that in the beginning.
But now a silence sat. Interrupted only when he could no longer hold his breath and it would hiss angrily between his teeth; hunched forward with his forearms braced over the counter and head hung between two edged shoulders. Dark, sorrel hair falling from where it had been brushed back, hanging dangerously over his eyes.
Two hands were clasped against themselves in tight, deliberate fists. Though whether this was with the unyielding desire to hit something, or simply to help alleviate that anxiety, his body language did not completely confess.
The hate there drew up from his bones through to the tips of his fingers like hot, live wires. Tight, bright, hot. Burning across his neck and cheekbones, begging to be noticed by spreading itself over the surface. He wanted to look at Samson- he really did. But by some great, angry will, he remained glued to his place stewing in every godforsaken emotion the evening had brought them. “Vont-ils pas nous laisser seuls?” he shook his head where it bent between his haunches, bringing a hand up to rub over his face, holding back his cringe when only the metallic smell of blood came up from the beds of his fingernails.
“Je ne peux pas graver chaque ville vers le bas.” though he would, if that was what it took. This helplessness was only aftermath. If he was to fight and fall, he’d take down a nation in his follow. “It shouldn’t have happened.” Nicholi spoke up a little louder this time. Head turning but a fraction in Samson’s direction. Peering down coldly at the counter space there. “God I’m so sorry Samson.”
And he was.
He was so sorry.
Damn it; Damn everyone who wasn’t here now feeling as he did. Angry wasn’t the word. And neither was furious. He was broken. Like bone he was splintered against wet pavement, cold though the flat was warm from inside and his skin was still burning. “I don’t want you leaving. Do-... do you understand, beau?” he began roughly, swallowing to finish off with his eyes turned up sadly into Sam’s, softer by the end but only because he hadn’t discovered the energy left in his shattered framework to remain that way.
“I need you where I can see you. Please beau, please.” desiccated dry; a cat’s broken mewl. Not even a lion. As steadily as he could, Nicholi gave out a long breath and hauled himself up to as close to standing as he could. Palms resting back flat against the counter edge to keep himself at his feet. Those pale green eyes were glassy where he hadn’t remembered actually crying. Certainly not in front of Harlow, but only to pray that he wouldn’t in sight of Samson.
Two arms, quivering only slightly less came forward to slide themselves around the other man’s middle warmly. Pulling him in close as to tuck his nose into the crook of his neck and lay a kiss or two there. Holding their bodies in together as though he were still too afraid to let this proof go. He pulled back enough to rest their foreheads together a moment. One hand sliding up to cup his jaw, then back along the back of his neck and over back to his chin to tip it up for a kiss. Firm but not demanding, taking his bottom lip between his. “Is he asleep?” whispered against lips... caught between kisses... but he knew the answer. If Harlow slept at all any time soon, he’d likely not manage but a few minutes. Every child had nightmares. That was no shame. Though as a father, it made him ache in the deep cavity of his chest. “Come on.” and arm hooked through Sam’s to guide him along gently.
He let himself lead till they rounded the way into the front sitting room. Letting Samson careen in front of him to follow close behind with his fingers slid faithfully through Samson’s, making sure to keep him in close contact. The tea on the table near the couch had long gone cold. And Nicholi knew their quiet chatter had been sound enough to let him know they’d not at all left. But he did not smile.
It had never been that he hadn’t wanted to- god no- but he couldn’t. Both by a loss of concentration and upset in whole. His attention was clearly on darker matters his head could not spill. Not here.
Though his lips were pressed into a hard line upon his face, his eyes were of a slightly lighter emotion. Still concrete but lightly more yielding “Vous n'avez pas mangé-” he caught himself on the language. Pausing to make the translations in his head before proceeding “You really ought to eat, petit ours.” You’ve lost a lot of blood. “Every plane has to refuel. Even your da’. And He moves like a sloth.” that made a small smirk appear at the corner of his lips. Giving Samson a sideways glance in challenge.
He lifted one of Sam’s hands to kiss the knuckle. Then to Harlow’s to turn the palm up and press his lips only lightly to the bandaging dressed over the inside of the wrist. “If I were you, I’d ask for chocolate cake.”
( “Will they not leave us alone?” )
impatient they start, fearful at end
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