Disclaimer; Despite pretending for a while, August Rush is not mine
Sometimes, she listens to him whistle.
It's a soft sound, so soft that she has to strain to hear him. Usually, most of the time, he has an instrument in his hands, papers to scribble his music on or sounds to hear. But when everything is silent, so silent, he whistles.
It's a beautiful sound that he makes with just a breathe of air. Hope doesn't think it is possible to make a sound like that, but he can. And he does.
Sometimes, when he isn't whistling, Hope follows him. Around the church, around the hostel, in the street. Just to hear what he hears. She doesn't hear it, not really, but she sees him hear it. And that's enough.
Father Jay said God blessed him with a gift, but Hope knows it's more than that. He's more than a gift. He's a miracle in the form of a lost little boy. Lost, like she was. Lost, like the prodigal son, except, it's his parents that need to come home.
She heard it from her grandma first, that August's Father came to take him away from his concert.
But Hope knew better.
She didn't see him, the crazy man that they talked about, but she knew. She knew the man lied, and August's father was not he. She knew because God wouldn't gift a boy with such an awesome talent, and give him a father whom didn't understand. She knew because August, her prodigy, searched so hard for his family, he was playing for his family. If the ginger man was his family, August wouldn't have run away from him. Because August wanted his family, almost as much as he needed music.
Did you pray for him? The Reverend had asked one evening, and she had nodded, and she had smiled. But Hope hadn't told Reverend James what she had been praying for long before August had disappeared on them.
She had spent that same night laying under her bed, on the makeshift bed. August had his own space by then, didn't need to shelter himself under her bed like that first night in the church, but she figured he might understand, that he might come back and know that she missed him. So she had laid there some nights, awake and wondering if he was safe. Praying for him.
I know you will keep him safe out there, because he's your prodigy, and he hasn't finished what he started here, has he Father?
She didn't need to tell God who 'he' was. He knew. August was the main focus of her prayers lately.
Please bring him back. He needs to play for them, his parents, he needs them to hear. Will you help them hear? Just a little? I know they will listen, because he's their prodigy too.
Thank you in advance, Father.
It was two days later, her prayers for August's re-appearance answered, after the concert in the park, that she heard him whistle again. Backstage, he was perched on a bench watching the crowds around him. Waiting, she supposed, for his family to show up. To hear the music and follow it.
And while he sat there, waiting, he whistled.
So she plopped down beside him on the bench and waited with him. August.... Evan had taken off the suit jacket and was in a white shirt, his small legs swinging up and down, up and down, never failing in the perfect rhythm.
And she listened, once more, as the tune that left his lips was unlike anything she had heard. So simple, so soft, that she was straining beyond the noisy chatter of the crowds.
He was patient, even though Hope could practically see him bursting at the seams with joy.
"They heard." He stopped whistling to tell her, turning his head for the first time to look at the girl he had once called an Angel. A beaming smile broke out on his face and she found it was infectious and couldn't help but grin back at him.
"They did?" She confirmed, never having doubted him.
"Yup." He nodded, and the smile was gone as fast as it had appeared, replaced by the veiled excitement and the formal patience. He was silent this time, no whistling to bide his time. Hope knew he was listening, to the sounds, to the music.
She had thought now would be the time to thank him, to hug him or to speak to him, to just ask him where he had been. But she didn't, because he was listening and waiting.
So Hope waited too, silently, watching him listening to his secret music.
She recognised them the moment they entered the backstage marquee, Councilor Richard Jeffries in toe. August and her had been sitting on the bench for a long time, so she knew he had been talking to them all this time while they were patiently waiting.
The woman - August's mother - was beautiful. Her pale skin and dark hair and round face, she looked like him and he looked like her. It struck Hope for a moment of surprised when she realised this was Lyla Novacek, the renowned cellist who was took center stage before August had. And then Hope wanted to bash herself on the head, because of course August would be the descendant of a musician, it was in his blood.
A man trailed behind Lyla Novacek, his face handsome even to Hope's young eyes. His face is pale, like August's and Lyla's, his eyes so big and blue and clearly the matching pair of her prodigy's.
She hopped off the side of the bench, giving August a quick hug side-hug that surprised him, and rushed to the sidelines, wanting to watch but not impose.
August stood, respectful and suddenly shy. Hope was not surprised when his mother - because surely she was his mother - dropped to her knees in front of August, eyes shinning with unshed tears. She stared into his face for a long time, studying him, not touching him. And he stared back, a half-smile on his porcelain face. The deeper emotions were in the boy's eyes and Hope could see the awe and joy and delight that was overpowering in him.
And then the silent moment was broken, as Lyla pulled him into a fierce hug. Hope could see Lyla's tears fall, trailing murky mascara-muddled lines down her perfect face, but it was alright, because she knew they were happy tears.
Another minute or so passed and Hope took a glance at the father of her August. She was in time to catch the shaky expression, the tears that were in his eyes and she watched with compassion beyond her years as he blinked rapidly to keep from falling down his cheeks. She hadn't seen a lot of happy tears in her life before, but Hope knew them for what they were.
"You heard." Evan said, confidant in his declaration. Hope turned her gaze back to watch her prodigy as his mother let go of the embrace only to hold him as arms length, disregarding the tears that touched her pale face.
Battling her choked composure, Lyla replied with a hoarse 'yeah' and gave her son a breathless laugh. It made her more beautiful than ever and Hope grinned at the contented, satisfied half-smile on Evan's face.
And he was Evan now, not August, not the boy hidden behind a fake name and an unknown past.
Evan saw his father then, his big, expressive eyes darting up over Lyla's head. The man, the father, didn't react the same way as Lyla, like Hope expected, but he just stood, nervous and unsure of himself, unsure of what to say to his prodigy.
"Hi." Evan said, simple and expectant. It startled everyone but the Father when he giggled, boyish and lighthearted, his grin unmatched.
Hope realized everyone was battling happy-tears lately, as this man - this father - tipped his head on the side a little, his own laugh was broken with emotion, but there was a dawning understanding there too. "You knew." He accused, not unkindly, and Hope was surprised to hear his voice was accented.
The young prodigy broke into a beaming grin, and Hope copied him, because she couldn't help herself. Then he shrugged a little, and even though she had no idea what they were talking about now, she was enthralled by it all. "I sorta... hoped."
Evan's father breathed a laugh, one that was overwhelmed and shocked and afraid but Hope could see he was also just as smitten and excited and devoted to Evan already and they hadn't even hugged yet.
Hope got her wish a few moments later when Evan was gathered in his father's arms, awkwardness forgotten, and didn't put his son down for at least two minutes. This was the father Evan needed, deserved, and Hope was still grinning even when they had let go of each other.
Evan let his tears fall then, happy and relieved and finally home and Hope knew she was going to join in the happy-tears soon, if she didn't look away. So she did, turned away from the happy reunion and scouring the make-shift room for a familiar face.
She had to find her grandma anyway, and tell her that God answered her prayers again.