Disclaimer: I don't own An American Tail in any way, shape or form. All I got to my name is this ficlet. So, like, don't sue me, 'kies?

Delusions of Grand


Tony had a sneaking suspicion that his voice had fallen on deaf ears, considering Fievel was still rambling and making it a point to animate his babble with the occasional flail of his arms, almost knocking himself backward on the rock they sat on. He wasn't really surprised, he was used to needing to resort to shouting to catch the younger mouse's attention, especially if Fievel was caught up in a story of some sort. Just because he was used to it, however, didn't mean he hadn't grown tired of it over the years he'd known the boy.

"Enough, already."

The repetition did nothing, even though this time the word had come out a little louder, a little sterner. He doubted Fievel even remembered he was there; his mind was off somewhere beyond the horizon, beyond the hills that Wylie had seemed to make sound so mystical and enchanting.

In Tony's opinion? They were just hills. Crumbling piles of dirt and sand and rock, wearing as the years went on. Some may have argued it was a pity he couldn't see those mounds of dirt the way Fievel did, as glorious things to be conquered one day, with the promise of something great lying on the other side. Tony would argue right back that beyond those hills was nothing more than wastelands, because the real world was never as wondrous as Fievel's dreamlands.

And the kid should have known that. He'd faced the streets, and saw how cruel the world could be. But still, somehow, he didn't seem phased. The kid, who wasn't really a kid anymore at thirteen, clung to dreams and the desire to be something more than just himself.

Tony groaned and ran a hand over his face. He hated the fact that this monologue was beginning to grate on his nerves, but he could only hear so much of heroes and epic battles and the making of a new history. Through the opening between his fingers, he peeked at Fievel, now standing at the edge of the rock, hands fisted on his hips, boasting boldly that one day he would rival Wylie in fame. Hopefully.

"The old dog could do with some friendly competition, don'tcha think?" He asked over his shoulder with a playful smirk on his lips.

Tony chewed lightly on his bottom lip as he stood, crossing his arms over his chest. He stood beside the younger mouse.

"Don't you think enough is enough?" Tony asked in a tone he swore he had reserved only for his daughter.

"Whatcha mean?" Fievel asked, giving Tony his complete attention for the first time in twenty minutes.

"All this talk o' heroes an' stuff," Tony said vaguely, making a motion to the infamous hills in the distance. If he could, he'd dance around what he really wanted to say, to potentially spare the other's feelings.

"No way!" Fievel beamed, chuckling.

Tony rolled his eyes. "There's no changin' you, is there, kid?"

Fievel cocked his head to the side, ears perked up in the slightest to display his curiosity.

"In all the years I've known you, you've always found someone or something else to idolize." He looked to the horizon, avoiding those blue eyes. "I gotta wonder, Filly, you ever happy jus' bein' you?"

It was Fievel's turn to catch his bottom lip between his teeth. "Yeah," he replied after a moment of careful thought.

"Really?" Tony inquired, arching an eyebrow. "It don't seem like it."

"What do you mean?"

"We're always hearin' about how every Tom, Dick and Harry's the most amazin' thing on the planet," Tony said, daring to return his gaze to Fievel, "but never you. An' I don't mean how you wanna be like them."

That curious stare again.

Tony sighed quietly. "Try it sometime, alright?"

"Try... what sometime, Tony?"

To live in a world without the fantasies, where hills were just hills and the setting sun promised nothing, not even tomorrow. To realize not all stories had happy endings and not all dreams came true; that some hearts were made to be broken and more often than not there was no hero to come to the rescue. To be an immigrant from Russia, half Jewish; someone who possibly meant nothing or less in the opinion of the Americans that surrounded them. The things Tony could have said weren't meant for ears still so innocent. Fievel may have had an idea of how cruel the world could be, but Tony didn't want to be the one to shatter his dreams entirely. He'd have to grow up some time, and the way of the world would play its part in opening his eyes to reality all in due time.

"Tony?" Fievel questioned, jarring the Italian from his thought process. "Try what?"

With a lopsided smile and the shrug of one shoulder, Tony responded, "Bein' yourself."