I wrote this almost a year ago for a challenge on a Livejournal community, then completely forgot about it. This can be taken as bookverse or movieverse I suppose. I enjoy both.


"Dad, why don't I have a mum?"

The blunt question put an abrupt halt to what had been, until now, a pleasantly benign walk home. Dunstan Thorn, startled, turned to look at his eight-year-old son. Tristan simply kicked at a stray pebble and continued walking, as if this was a topic that came up frequently in their conversation. Dunstan was silent for a moment before responding.

"What makes you ask that?"

"Gregory Frank told me the reason I don't have a mum is because she took one look at me and didn't want me anymore. Said I scared her off."

"Surely you don't believe all that." Dunstan was taken aback. He made a mental note not to leave Tristan alone in the square anymore; and to have a bit of a word with Gregory Frank's own mother.

"No. Not really anyways. Gregory Frank's awfully mean and I don't think he really knows a thing about my mum. But I don't either. I did HAVE one, didn't I dad?"

"Everyone has a mother somewhere Tristan."

"But mine's somewhere else."

Dunstan could think of no response to this. The pair walked on in uneasy silence for several minutes. Tristan seemed to be intensely facinated with his feet and stared at them intently, hands jammed in his pockets.

"Did my mum love me?" Tristan said, suddenly.

Dunstan was somewhat thrown, not only because of the question its self, but because he realized that he did not actually know the answer. It was awful to even suggest the possibility, a mother not loving her own child, and Dunstan did not entertain it for more than a few seconds, but still... He could never really say he knew for certain. There had been no note in the basket (save for one addressed to Tristan, which he did not dare to open), no explaination. He did not know what had induced her to send Tristan to him, or even if she was still alive. He did not even know her name.

He looked at his son, staring up at him, and realized there was only one answer he could possibly give.

"Yes."

Tristan somehow, with the infinite wisdom only children seem to possess, sensed the finality of the answer and did not ask him to elaborate, for which Dunstan was thankful.

"I wish she wasn't gone," he said after a long moment, sounding strangely older, "but I suppose everybody has to leave sometime, don't they? One way or another."

"I suppose they do..." Dunstan searched for something else to say, until his gaze settled on the darkening sky.

"Tristan," he stopped walking and sat on the stone wall beside the road, motioning for his son to join him, "come here." Tristan looked puzzled, but clambered up beside his father.

"Do you see the stars?" Dunstan said"

"Yes..." Tristan sounded as if he wasn't quite sure where his father was going with all this.

"They never change. No matter where you are in the entire world, you can always see them. You see that star there, burning brighter than all the others?" Tristan nodded.

"Yes, but what --"

"That star will never leave you."

Tristan stared at the star, then at his father. For several seconds he said nothing. Then, he smiled and hugged Dunstan tightly.

Neither one of them said anything as they left the wall and continued home. They didn't need to. That night, before he went to sleep, Tristan Thorn went to the window and looked again at his star. Then he whispered, softly at the sky.

"I won't ever leave you either."