Disclaimer: I don't own it. If any of y'all ever find a fic written by any one who does, you be sure to let me know.
"I have a kid, a daughter. I'm a father." That was all the man could think as he stood dumbstruck, unaware of the coming storm, struggling to wrap his mind around the fact that he and his wife had created another human being. Naturally, most men would be in a state of awestruck wonder upon the birth of their firstborn. However, this was not exactly the day of the child's birth. More like six years and about three months after the fact. His face clouded with anger and low growl escaped clenched teeth, "And she never told me."
"Logan," the woman's voice was soft and quiet as if she were trying not to spook an already… agitated animal," I understand that you're upset-"
"That is one serious understatement, lady," he snarled at her, trying to keep check on his temper as he started pacing in front the woman seated on the park bench.
"But the child still needs someone to watch over her, to protect her," she continued on like he hadn't interrupted her.
"Six years, Irene, and that woman decides now she just doesn't wanna be a mom anymore so she pushes the kid off on me? And how do I even know that she's even mine?"
"She is yours. Let there be no doubt of that. And as I have said, I have seen what will happen to her if she stays with her mother. He will come for because of her power. And she will die, Logan. You are practically an immortal. Do you really think you could stand living, knowing you let your daughter die?"
He snorted, "Don't be tryin' to guilt trip me. And I didn't say if I was takin' the kid one way or the other."
At this point, he turned away from her and looked towards the little girl who was a short distance away, sitting on a swing set. She was looking right back at him. The wind picked up, and he inhaled deeply. "She smells like me. And her." Even if she wasn't his kid, he couldn't leave her to die. He looked back at Irene and sighed, defeated. If what the seer said was true, and he had never known her to lie or be wrong about her visions, he could not and would not turn his back on this child. He really hated seers.
"If I do take this, I'm raisin' her. She's mine. I don't want nobody tryin' come and up and take her."
He raked a hand through his blue black hair and glanced at the girl again. She was still staring at him.
"Did you tell the kid about me?"
"I told her that she was going to meet her father today. That she would be living with you for a while."
He arched a brow at that, not that anyone could see it, "A while. Right. Don't I need some papers on the kid or somethin'?" Another sigh, "I cannot believe I am actually gonna do this." Irene pulled an envelope out of her messenger bag and handed it to Logan.
"These have already been signed and validated. They just require your signature."
He just stared at it.
She stood up, unfolded her cane, and started to walk away.
"Ya ain't tellin' the kid bye?"
She turned back to him.
"I already have. I need to be going. Good luck, Logan. You'll need it."
And then she kept walking. He watched her go for a while and seriously considered hauling her blind butt back, tell her to keep the kid and hightail out of there. Instead, he looked at the luggage she had left on the bench. There were three of them. They were purple. He heard the thunder in the distance and realized the storm was moving in faster. He moved to the bench, opened one of them, shoved the envelope in it and zipped it up. He then grabbed the other two in one hand and stalked toward the swing set and stopped a four feet in front of the girl who had not once taken her eyes of him as far as he could tell.
"I cannot believe I am actually doin' this."
This close up, he had to admit the kid did sorta resemble him a little. Number one that immediately struck him: they had the same gray, green eyes that seemed to shift with emotion. Secondly, the girl looked to have a slight cleft in her chin. She had curly, reddish brown hair. They just stood there for a few minutes, neither really sure what they were supposed to do now. At least, he didn't.
And then suddenly, the girl spoke.
"What's your name?" she asked in her soft, southern accent.
"Irene didn't tell you?"
She shook her head.
He frowned at that. Irene said she had told the girl about him. Why wouldn't she have told her his name? Then he remembered. She had only said that she told her he was her father and would live with him. And that was probably all she told her. Hopefully, that was all she told her. He didn't have a very pretty past and it really wouldn't do to traumatize the kid before they even got a chance to bond.
"Logan Howlett," it him that he didn't know her name either, "And you would be…?"
The girl stood up and held out her hand.
"I am Anna Marie Darkholme – Howlett, and it's a pleasure."
He blinked, reached out his hand and shook hers. "Cute kid." She had pretty good grip, too.
For a six year old girl, that is.
"Nice ta meet ya. Listen, kid, there's a storm comin' and-"
She tilted her head, put one hand on her nonexistent hip and shifted her weight to one leg.
"I just told ya my name is Anna. Is it that hard for ya to remembah?" she spoke to him as if he were the child, and if there were any doubt this was his wife's kid, it was gone in that moment. He let out a bark of laughter. She definitely had her mother's attitude. He couldn't help the small grin on his face.
"Sorry bout that, Anna. But we need to get goin' before we get caught out in the rain."
"What's so bad bout gettin' caught in the rain? I love the rain."
"Kid,-" she gave him the dirtiest look he'd ever seen a six give and quickly corrected himself, "Anna, let's not start this wrong, all right? Ya hungry?"
"Well, we need ta get goin' anyway," he turned, walked away and could hear the ki- Anna following him. They were headed to his truck and then out of town. He wasn't sure where they were going. When he was alone, he'd just pick a street and go. He didn't see any reason for the kid to change that.
"Won't she need to go to school? She's six. Do they go to school at six?" He decided to think a about it later.
Once they made it to his pickup, he unlocked the doors and deposited her purple bags in the back seat. He turned to Anna. She was standing on the rear wheel of the truck, trying to move the tarp that rested on some large, indefinite shape.
"Anna, we gotta go."
She looked at him from her perch.
"What's under here?"
"Really? A motor bike? What kind?"
" A Harley-Davidson."
"Will you let me drive it?"
He smirked. "Yeah. That'll happen. When someplace very, very hot gets very, very cold." She pouted."Now, hop down, get in." And with that, he moved around the truck to get in the truck and heard the passenger door slam. Just as he pulled on the door, the locks slid into place. He looked in the window and saw Anna with an impish smile that made her look just like her , and one hand on the lock button. He held up his keys and jingled them. She continued to smile. He put the key in the lock and turned it, but Anna had crawled over to the driver's seat and was holding the lock in place.
"Anna. Quit playin' and open the door.''
She just kept smiling. That smug smile was starting to piss him off. And at that moment, Logan felt a drop land on his hand. And then another and another, and soon it was pouring all around him.
"Anna, open the door," he growled.
She pressed her head against the window and shook it back and forth, clearly amused. He, however, was most certainly not.
"This ain't a game, kid. Open the door or else."
"What's the magic word?"
"The magi- Oh, she wa- that little-"
"You are askin' for it."
"I'm sorry but none of those were the magic word. Please try again." That grin was starting to rival the Cheshire Cat.
His eyes narrowed dangerously. "Why did I agree to this?" He held up a fist.
"One," as he said it, a long silver claw came out of his hand. Anna stared at it, wide-eyed and mouth open.
"Two," another claw, and at that point, Anna was thinking she should probably back off the guy who Aunt Irene said was her father. At least until she found his limits.
"Three," a third claw, and just as he brought his fist back, Anna unlocked the door, opened it for him, hopped back in her seat, smiled at him, and said just as sweet as you please," Congratulations, 'three' is the magic word. Ya should get in before ya truck gets all wet."
Thoroughly soaked, he sheathed his claws, opened the door, and slammed it shut. Then he turned to the little…thing in his passenger and glared at her in a way that usually made grown men squeamish. It had no affect whatsoever on Anna.
"Ya have to do better than that. Mama's scary faces are better."
That took him by surprise. Thinking of her as 'Mama' was just… it didn't fit.
"I'm sure they are."
He reached back around his seat to the back searching for a clean or just dry shirt. It took a few minutes but he finally succeeded. He stripped off T-shirt he had been wearing, not really thinking about the fact that he was half naked in front of a little girl who had been raised by a seemingly paranoid woman the first years of her life, and quickly put on a flannel shirt. He then tossed the soaked garment at the gawking girl, started the engine, and pulled out of the parking lot.
"Hey!" she practically squealed as she ripped it off of her head. "What's yer prob-"
She stopped what was going to be the most impressive tirade a six year could give but thought about it a moment.
"Well, yeah. I did kinda deserve that, huh?" She had actually had the grace to look sheepish. "I'm sorry. Ya forgive me?"
And then she looked at him, with his eyes, and his heart softened if only a tee-notchy bit.
"Yeah, I forgive ya," she smiled at him and he felt the anger ebb away. After all, she was just a kid playing around. That's what they did, right? No harm done. This time.
"But," he told her in a dead serious tone, "the next time I tell ya to do somethin', ya do it. Not the second or third time and do not make me threaten you. Do you understand?"
She saluted him.
"Sir, yes, Daddy sir!" she giggled at that.
He blinked. He felt like he had been doing that a lot today. "She just…"
He looked at her, totally gobsmacked.
"What did you just say?"
She turned towards him in her seat and looked him in the eye and said," I called ya Daddy 'cuz that is who ya are. But don't get used to it. I'm only callin' ya that on special occasions. I think I like callin' ya Logan better, do you understand?"
"Little smart mouth."
"Sure, k- Anna, whatever ya want."
It was raining lightly by now and since it was early afternoon, Logan left the small town of Caldecott, Mississippi and hit the highway. It had been silent in the truck cab since their understanding, but not an uncomfortable one. He glanced at Anna who was staring out the window. They were headed east. He really had no idea where he- they were headed beyond that. Sometimes he had a vague idea, but this time he just did not know. Irene had just told him to get her out of Mississippi. She hadn't told him of any where he shouldn't take the girl, just as long as it wasn't there. Maybe the kid had an idea.
"You ever been out of Caldecott before, out of the state?"
"No. Why? Where are we goin'?"
" Don't know. Where do you wanna go?"
She shot him a look.
"Yer askin' me? I get to choose?"
"Any where I say, we go?"
She was starting that Cheshire cat impersonation again. He was not understanding why she was getting so excited. Was it because she hadn't travelled? It wasn't that big of a deal.
"That's what I said, kid. 'Course if ya don't wanna then I-"
"No! I know just where we goin."
He waited expectantly.
"We're goin' ta Disney Land!"
He blinked once, twice, and just looked at her.
"What? Ya said anywhere. What's wrong with Disney Land? They have Timon and Pumbaa."
A deep, heavy sigh seemed to come from the depths of his soul.
" Oh, come on. Ya can't just go back on it. Do you want me to beg? 'Cuz I will. Please, please, please with ice cream and sprinkles and chocolate sauce with a cherry on top, can we go to Disney Land, please?"
Throw that in with the puppy dog eyes, and she had him.
"What am I doin?"
"All right. We're goin' ta…Disney Land."
"Yes! Thank you, Daddy!"
He gave her that look again.
"What? Goin' ta Disney Land is defnitly an occasion."