A/N Hi everyone! This is only my second ever oneshot, my first for Faerie Wars and the first where nothing much is happening. I apologise in advance if it's tedious and dull, but I'm trying to improve and, as they all say, practice makes perfect. On another note, although I have at least two big fics for Alpha Force, not to mention all my original writing, that'll be taking up a heck of a lot of my time, I will definitely be working on a full length fic for Faerie Wars over the next few months. Keep an eye out and I promise it'll be a lot better than this one :D
As he ran a thin line of glue along the edge of the cardboard, Henry's mind began to wander. It wasn't that he was bored building the model- quite the opposite in fact- but it was a lovely, warm day in the Faerie Realm and, out the window, Henry could see what looked like an endless expanse of cloudless, baby blue sky. On such a day it's completely natural for one's mind to turn to other things, even if you're engaging yourself in the most interesting and captivating activity possible, so Henry found himself recounting a conversation he'd had with Blue earlier that morning. She'd been sitting by the river, watching their daughter and nephew play.
'Daddy!' Mella had abandoned her game and cousin and rushed towards Henry. Scooping her up, Henry staggered, admittedly with a bit more drama and theatricals than was probably necessary.
'You're getting so big, Mella,' he said, setting her down again.
With an attitude she could have only gotten from her mother, Mella planted her hands on her hips and said, 'Well obviously. I'm growing, Dad.'
She'd run off to join Pierus again, leaving Henry to sit on the bench beside Blue; she had one hand over her mouth to stifle a fit of giggles.
'She is though, isn't she?' Henry had said to Blue, almost wincing at how old he sounded. That was what great aunts and uncles said when they turned up for Christmas armed with hand knitted, itchy sweaters and mice pies.
Blue had been somewhat sobered by this comment, her giggles disappearing; she took Henry's hand. 'You remember that Analogue saying you told me about? Time flies when you're having fun.' Her gaze returned to Mella and Pierus. 'There's a bit of truth in that.'
Henry pressed two of the cardboard pieces together. Blue was completely right. Where had the years gone? It seemed like days ago he'd been putting the finishing touches to the last model he'd ever made in his bedroom, in the Analogue World. Another flying one with cardboard cogs and a handle, but a pig, not a clock. He could still recall the writing on the base: pigs might fly. Well, if pigs could, why not time?
It was crazy, how quickly the years had slipped by. One minute Henry had been sipping tea in a cafe while his dad broke the news of his mother's affair, the next he and Blue were walking along the river bank and he was asking her to marry him. There was something almost unnerving about that, about how quickly everything seemed to be moving and how the past just seemed to vanish. It was hard to remember his life before meeting Pyrgus, before meeting Blue, before marrying her, before Mella was born. In a way Henry preferred it that way; he hadn't really enjoyed life in the Analogue World anyway- nothing lost and everything gained. But there were times when he missed Charlie and his dad... his mother, he realised rather reluctantly, even- he cringed at the thought- Aisling. Yes, he thought glumly, even Aisling. Despite the fact that she'd made his life a living Hael, she was his sister and that was something that could never be erased, no matter how quickly the years went by.
He'd gone back, just once since he'd left, shortly after Mella had been born. Feeling happy and carefree, Henry had translated and paid a visit to his mother. Martha had opened the door and fainted, which Henry had found slightly odd. Only once she'd come round did she explain what it felt like to have heard nothing from your son for a good few years and then find him, suddenly, standing on your doorstep. Martha had bustled around, fixing tea and cake, and making Henry feel both guilty and sad. For the first time, he really wanted to talk to his mother, tell her she had a daughter-in-law and a baby granddaughter, but he knew that would never be possible. He'd left two hours later, his good mood having almost evaporated. That had been five years ago and he'd never gone back again; it was too hard, too awkward, too pointless.
Henry's face was glum as he continued to build the model. That had to be the only downside to living in the Faerie Realm; there's was almost nothing of his old life that he could keep, it was goodbye to it all. Another Analogue saying he'd explained to Blue, Nymph and Pyrgus was "You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone". How true that one was, too. But then again, Henry reminded himself, if I was back in the Analogue world, I'd be stuck in some teaching job I'd hate and completely sick of the sight of my family. Can't win. The smile settled itself back on Henry's face as he joined two more cardboard bits together. It was definitely better this way.
The happy giggles of Mella and Pierus floated up from the palace grounds and through the open window followed by Mella's bossy voice, obviously ordering her cousin around. She was so much like Blue and he like Pyrgus it was scary. Pierus gave a shriek of delight- "I found a butterfly!" -and Henry could imagine Mella rolling her eyes. Just like Blue, Mella was tough, brave and hated being told what to do, but she had a soft, vulnerable side that she allowed just a few people to see. Henry could imagine Pierus sneaking into a heavily guarded manor just to set a phoenix free and Mella killing the Prince of Darkness, ruler of Hael, should the need arise. The thought scared him slightly, but he brushed the worries aside; Mella was still a little girl and Pierus himself not that much older. It wasn't likely the two of them would be getting up to much mischief any time soon.
Or would they? He'd been only nine years older than Mella was now when he'd met Pyrgus and his world had been turned upside- or right way up, as it sometimes seemed. With the way the years were moving, it wouldn't be long... Just nine years more and Mella could be caught up in something similar to what he, Blue and Pyrgus had been. Although Faeries of the Night and Faeries of the Light were coexisting peacefully in the Faerie Realm and had done for years, there were always those rebellious ones- on both sides- who thought they'd try and put things back the way they used to be; why, Henry had absolutely no idea. The early memories of his first few trips to the Faerie Realm were a handful that would never disappear: the death of the Purple Emperor and Blue and Pyrgus's father, Apatura Iris; Mr Fogarty being taken over by a demon; Pyrgus, trapped in Hael; catching sight of Blue, in the bath- his face still reddened, even now- and then actually meeting her, realising she was Pyrgus's sister... That had been embarrassing, yet he'd fallen in love with Blue shortly afterwards, so it all seemed to weigh out in the end. And there'd been more adventures and mishaps after that: Blue asking him to marry her, the absolute panic he'd felt, and the regret that he'd run away afterwards; the temporal fever that had gripped the Faerie Realm; Mr Fogarty dying; him and Blue slaying the dragon; setting the angel free... Marrying Blue. Would his daughter have to face similar situations in the near future? Would she lose loved ones, leave others behind, face death? Would she come out of it all unharmed? Would she find someone she loved with all her heart, a place that was so much like home the thought of leaving it behind was painful, unbearable, unthinkable?
The tube of glue clattered to the ground as Henry knocked it with his hand. As quickly as time went, the future was still uncertain, still a gaping hole that would never really be filled. All he could do was enjoy the time he had with the people he loved and hope for the best. There was nothing else for it, no other plan of action. One day at a time...
Henry carefully turned the handle of the model, barely breathing in case the faintest whisper of air broke the whole structure. Smoothly, so much more so than that pig he'd made all those years ago, the clock's wings extended and it rose up off the base. It flapped eagerly, silently, and Henry took a step back to admire his handiwork: a small red, yellow and orange clock, fiery and bright, just like Mella. Studying the model, Henry's eyes narrowed as he noticed a thin line of text printed on the base. His grin widened.
Tempus Fugit: Time Flies.