Reckoning
By Simply Shelby

The stars are glittering in the pitch sky, like a veil of diamonds covering Central Park.

People are speaking, explaining and arguing. Their voices are rising and dropping and reaching different tones according to emotion. His mother, his mother, is crying and gesturing and not really making much sense between her tears. The musician from the park, Louis, is standing with his hand on her shoulder and speaking to her in a soothing voice that is meant to make her calm down, but unintentionally makes her angrier.

Mr Jeffries is there, partly blocking his view of the couple, speaking plainly to his mother the way he'd spoken plainly to August those six months ago. And she's telling him over and over, "He's my son. He's my son. He's my son." The words make him feel protected, like a warm blanket wrapped tightly enough around him to make him into a cocoon.

"Yes," Mr Jeffries agrees, "But he doesn't know that." But August did know. He'd known it the moment he'd turned around on stage and seen her standing there, watching. She really was beautiful. All dressed in white. Like a bride, August knew. Her touseled hair was like a halo, glinting gold and even with her red-rimmed eyes, she was the most glorious creature he'd ever seen. She looked like someone who had been lost for such a long time and had finally found where she belonged. Determination and desperation sings in her voice.

He closes his eyes and breathes, listening to the soft sound reverberate through his lungs. Hope is suddenly beside him, her presence as soft as the angel she is. "So," she says bluntly, "You got parents."

He nods jerkily, but doesn't speak. He can feel his throat closing up with emotions he can't put names to and doesn't even know if he can speak.

Her voice is gentler now, awed, "They heard you."

His eyes snap open, but she is being shepherded away by the Reverend. Mr Jeffries is making his way towards August, the couple following at a reserved pace. "Evan?" Mr Jeffries asks and August doesn't correct him, can't correct him because that's technically his name even if it's not who he is. So, he just nods, looking between his social worker and the two musicians. "Evan, this is--"

But his mother was impatient, too impatient for needless introductions. She'd been waiting too long for this. They'd both been waiting too long. She broke away from the man and scooped August up into her arms, burying her face in his hair. He felt her tears soak into his scalp. He felt his tears, too, and overcome with all different sorts of emotions, he murmured, "You heard. You heard. You came. You heard."

She nods her head against his, pulling him even closer than before. Cocooning him physically, as she had done mentally before with her words. He felt loved, wanted, whole. He wanted to cry and to laugh and soon he was doing both. She pulls back and simply looks at him before joining. They giggle and laugh and their hearts sing in some sort of harmony, tears gliding down their faces. Tears of joy, but also tears of sadness for having lost so many years together.

And a promise to never be apart again.

He's still hanging onto Lyla's hand when Louis joins them.

Lyla is shivering slightly and her cheeks are pink from the cold. Louis strips off his jacket and drapes it over her shoulders and she smiles her thanks at him, tears still falling. But her smile is brilliant and warm. Seeing it makes Louis feel whole. It makes him feel right. Okay. Alive.

He bends down in front of his son and meets his eyes. Things are simple between them. They have a quiet understanding. "You didn't quit." Pride shines through in his voice and he hopes this August Rush picks up on it, like he has picked up on so many other things.

The boy shrugs, "I had a little faith," he reiterates Louis's words in that soft voice of his, "Nothing bad happened."

Louis looks away and shakes his head, "I... I can't believe..." he looks back up, "Julliard?"

August nods once.

Another thought hits him, "That man? The one by the payphone?" He doesn't have to complete the question aloud. It amazes him that he and the boy are so much alike that their thoughts intertwine. He's reminded of their fluid, impromptu duet and wonders if this is what it's like to be a father.

The boy nods again, this time drawing into himself. His fear is obvious and Louis promises himself that he's going to kill the man and the boy's eyes widen at the thought. But, he seems somehow comforted and says a quiet, "Thank you."

Louis ruffles the boy's hair, almost unconsciously, out of affection. "Hey, kid, I'm your da."

August looks up to meet Lyla's eyes, smiling unabashedly, joy revealed in his own eyes. "D'you reckon I should believe you?"

Louis laughs refelexively and opens his arms and August falls against his chest, one hand still clinging to his mother. "Yeah, kid," his father tells him, "I reckon you should."