Title: Subtraction

Author: Silver Symphony

Rated: K+

Summary: Isn't there something missing in Teddy's life?


Something's missing; two-year old Teddy feels it.

The pictures in his Nana's house remind him of it. Dozens of pictures with faces he's never seen before. And it's always the same two people, smiling and waving at him. One of them looks like Nana. Almost.

Nana's in one of the pictures. Only one picture. Nana is also outside of the picture. So, Teddy has two Nanas. Teddy likes the Nana outside of the picture. She doesn't smile as much as the Nana in the picture, though.

If there are two Nanas, surely the two smiling faces have twins outside the picture? Are they lost? Are they hiding in Nana's house? Nana is here with Teddy; those two are not.

Where could they possibly be? Teddy doesn't know.

Sometimes, he looks for them. He looks in his crib. He crawls under tables and chairs. He splashes around in his soapy bath water, wondering if they are hiding there. He never finds them… they're just in the pictures. Always in the pictures. Nowhere else.

Nana never looks for them. She watches him look for them, instead. Maybe she knows where they're hiding, but is too tired to search for them?

Whenever she catches Teddy staring at the pictures, she lifts him up in her arms and holds him. She doesn't speak, but there's always water on her face. Every time, she'll stand in front of pictures, staring. Just... staring. She stares until Teddy whines or tugs at her clothes. And she'll either walk away or set Teddy on the floor so he can wander around some more.

Nana looks so… sad when she stares at the pictures. Did Nana look for them before and couldn't find them? Is that why she never helps Teddy look for them?

Teddy doesn't understand why Nana does this.

He also doesn't understand when, sometimes, he feels something hovering over him when he's resting in his crib. And when he opens his eyes, no one is there. Nana isn't the thing that he's feeling. She would stroke his hair or rock him in her arms if she was there. No, it's something unseen… but it's definitely there. And Teddy feels odd when it's around.

Does Nana feel it? If she does, she doesn't say anything about it. She doesn't do anything about it. All she does is stand and stare at the two strange people Teddy can't ever find.

So, for now, it's just him and Nana. She's constantly by his side; she doesn't hide from him. And that's better than the two strange smiling faces in the picture. Nana can touch him, hold him, kiss him, cuddle with him, and play with him. All those two faces can do is wave and smile.

Yet, Teddy is sure that there is something is off. Why does Nana stare at the pictures so much? Why does he continue to look for the smiling faces when he hasn't found them yet? And what makes his skin break out in bumps when he's sleeping?

Teddy still doesn't understand. All he knows is that something's missing… but he doesn't know what that is.