Title: Silent Night
Rating: Kid-friendly G for this lovely Christmas Eve
Summary: He meant to move, he meant to get out of their way, to be that faceless shadow that the space-time continuum needed him to be. But in that moment he was that three-year-old boy, so happy and carefree, basking in the warmth of the love of his family. He was still that little boy when he ran head first into his younger self.
Author's Note: So this is my little Christmas contribution, I wrote it a couple of days ago but I wanted to wait to post it on Christmas Eve. I hope it isn't too confusing. AU, so Elle never died and all that jazz. Please read and comment
The snow fell in swirls of ice and wind that whipped against his chilled face. He let his eyes drift shut as a flake of snow fell like a kiss on his exposed nose. The people of the city bustled around him, too wrapped up in their own lives, their own worries, their own hopes; to notice the lone man standing in the middle of a busy New York sidewalk on Christmas Eve. He pulled one gloved hand out of his pockets and carefully wrapped the grey scarf tighter around his neck.
He marveled at how peaceful it was here, despite the hustle and bustle of the last minute shoppers and the calls and sounds of the streets. He decided that the sense of the peace came from the joy that seemed to emanate off of each and every person, persons who were hurrying off home to loved ones, anxious to celebrate one of the few things that really mattered in the mad world, family.
The man closed his dark brown eyes, guilt and apprehension suddenly filling him and causing his body to go taunt with worry. He really shouldn't have come, it was too dangerous, there were too many unaccountable variables, variables that could quite literally destroy the world. Plus Noah was positive that Peter was soon going to realize that he was gone and it won't take long for him to realize where he was. Or more importantly when he was.
But he couldn't not come. The temptation was too strong and he was only human. He just needed to see them one more time, just once more and then he would be able to move on, to heal. Just one more time, he told himself. It wasn't too much to ask, especially for a boy who had stopped believing Christmas wishes far too early in his life.
It was then that he saw them. His heart stopped and his body shook with seldom felt fear. They looked like the perfect family; a handsome dark haired father, the pretty blonde mother, and their little boy who was a perfect combination of the two. The man held on to the boy tightly, randomly brushing off little patches of snow that fell on his hated head. The mother drifted a little to the side, hand entwined with her husband's, as she casually window shopped, no doubt looking for another perfect gift to give her perfect little boy. They giggled and talked and smiled and loved, just like a perfect little family.
He meant to move, he meant to get out of their way, to be that faceless shadow that the space-time continuum needed him to be. But in that moment he was that three-year-old boy, so happy and carefree, basking in the warmth of the love of his family. He was still that little boy when he ran head first into his younger self.
"Oh! I am so sorry." Noah Gray cried as slammed into his father.
"No, no. It's my fault I wasn't watching what I was doing." Gabriel smiled at the younger man, reaching up to dust off the snow from his head.
Noah wanted to answer, say something profound to the man and woman who gave him his few memories of happiness, but he was mesmerized by the boy who watched him warily from his father's arms. The two Noahs stared at each other, each captivated by their own faces of a different time.
The little boy stared up at himself before reaching to the older man. "Noah?" The little boy asked. He felt stricken, frightened, and was unable to move a muscle. The moment was so surreal that he could hardly wrap his mind around it. Here he was, almost 15 years in the past, staring at himself and his long deceased parents as they went for a Christmas Eve stroll.
His mother smiled at her son, taking his little fingers into her hand. "No, your name is Noah."
The little boy wretched his hand out of his mother's, becoming more adamant. "No, mama, no. Noah." He jabbed a baby hand at the man from the future again.
Gabriel smiled, "I'm sorry. He's just at that age where he has to name everything. You know how it is."
Noah smiled tightly against his lips, the situation quickly spiraling out of his control. "Ye-yeah, I know."
A moment of confusion flickered across his father's face. He cocked his head to the side, asking, "Do I know you?"
This was when Noah knew he had to tap out, it was become far too dangerous now. He smiled his most charming smile, "No, I don't think so. I guess I just have one of those faces."
A look of consternation still plastered to his face, Gabriel nodded and his wife tugged on his arm, signaling that it was time to move on. "Oh, yeah, I guess." He adjusted his son in his arms. "Well, have a Merry Christmas."
Noah blinked, forcing himself back to this surreal reality. "Yeah you too." He paused. He had to say something, anything, to let his parents know just how much he loved them, how much he missed them. "Hey!" The retreating figures of the happy family turned. His voice became hoarse with the emotions that bubbled just under his skin. "Umm," he shook his head, trying to come up with the perfect words. "You guys are going to be great parents. You're gonna make that kid really happy."
Elle smiled at the strange man, his words bringing her an odd sense of comfort, even though, she moved a little closer to her husband, suspecting that the young man before her wasn't quite sane. "Thank you," she offered back tentatively. "You have yourself a Merry Christmas."
"Yeah," Noah choked back. "Merry Christmas." And with that, his happy family disappeared into the bustling crowds of New York City. He watched them leave, imagining perfectly in his mind the scene that would play out for the content family. They would head home, laughing and loving. They would get to their small little apartment, bedecked in decorations and lights. Maybe they would let their little boy open one of the numerous gifts that waited for him under their brightly colored tree. The parents would smile as their baby would tear off the wrapping paper with gusto that only a small child could have. They would have a quiet little night in, putting their son to bed together when it became too late for their small child to be awake, despite his massive amounts of energy. They would tuck him into bed, promising him Santa and gifts and everything a good parent needed to promise their child to make it a perfect Christmas. Because that's what he knew they were, good parents.
He just stood there for a long time, tears in his eyes and a heart-wrenching sense of loss simmering in his gut. He was still standing there when Peter materialized by his side. Noah knew his uncle knew what had just happened, no doubt had expected something like this to happen. Peter was sensitive to his nephew, to the emotions that were raging in the younger man, and he remained silent for a long time.
It was Noah who spoke first. "I had to come, you know that."
Peter nodded, "I know." A pause. "Did you like what you saw?"
"Yeah," the tears were back and this time he let them flow down face freely, twin lines of sorrow down his handsome face, a face that he realized looked so much like his father's. "We were happy, just like you said."
Peter stuffed his hands into his pockets, looking down at his feet. "They really loved you…more than anything else in the world."
"I know." He allowed himself one more minute, to be that little kid, to bask in the love of his mother and father.
Peter turned to his nephew, putting his hand on Noah shoulder. "You ready now?"
Noah finally turned to look at his uncle. "Yeah, how about you? Ready to save the world?"
A shadow of a grin flickered across Peter's face. "Always."
With that the two men disappeared into the night, leaving behind only a flurry of snow as evidence of their venture on that Christmas Eve night.