I told you it wasn't abandoned, just going very, very slowly.
Thank you again for reading, and waiting so patiently. It really amazes me that you guys still want to read this after so long
The Moon sees Me
They fit in the passenger seat like I thought they would. The tyke's sits on daddy's lap, wrapped in a blanket and held so tight in daddy's arms I can't even see his little orange cap. We could crash straight into a tree and daddy wouldn't let go of him. Nothing could make him let go.
Without their car, all their worldly possession came down to just one suitcase and two backpacks, big one for daddy, small one for the kid, and a cooler to keep the snacks. It barely takes up any room in the back, but the truck's never felt fuller.
No, not full. That's the wrong word. Suffocating is what I meant.
The kid is crying, but not really. He's not screaming and wailing like a kid should after having a gun pointed at his head. He's just…shaking. Shaking and sniffling and barely making a sound. Choking it down, because somewhere he learned that crying out would only bring more pain and more monsters.
But daddy's worse. A hundred times worse. He is absolutely silent. But the look on his face, the look in his eyes…like he wasn't even human. Like everything was shut off, every feeling and emotion gone, frozen. His eyes just stare out into the black as he clutches his kid.
Because this isn't the first time this has happened. I can see it in his eyes, in the way he clutches at the kid. Someone has hurt his baby before, and he's trying so goddamn hard to keep it from happening again, but the world isn't fucking fair, and karma is a fucking joke, and no one is answering his prays.
No one is even listening.
The fear just rolls off the kid like a stink, fills up the cab, gets into the vents and blows it back at me in hot gusts of air. It makes me itch, makes me want to turn back around, race back to the bar and slit the bartender's throat and bleed him dry, pummel those shit-faced scumbags with my fists till they're nothing but red jelly and bits of bone smeared across the floor. Because that would be better than sitting here, listening to this tiny family trying to keep from falling apart.
The next town over is 200 miles, but on mountain range with slush on the roads it might take all night to get there, especially if that blizzard decides to follow after us. Just a whole lot of black ahead, like it stretches on to forever.
Finally daddy takes a breath. It's one of those deep, rattling breaths when the lungs remember what to do after the gulping pain of getting all the air punched out passes. It's probably the first good one he's taken since leaving the bar. He takes it in, holds it, lets it out, and all of the fear and desperation just seem to exhale out of him.
And then, he sings.
"I see the moon, the moon sees me
Under the shade of the old oak tree,
Please let the light that shines on me
Shine on the one I love.
Over the mountains, over the sea,
Back where my heart is longing to be,
Please let the light that shines on me,
Shine on the one I love."
It's low, quiet, soothing, strong. Every word full of all the devotion and love of a father. I can see him standing in a room with a crib, the moon light shining on him and the small bundle wrapped in his arms, singing this song while he rocks his new born baby to sleep. He must have been so proud, back when life was good and predictable, stable, normal, safe. Just a brand new daddy, eager to bring life into this fucked up world, hoping for the best despite it all.
At what moment did he learn that his bundle of joy wasn't like the rest? When, exactly, did he realize his son wasn't going to have the life he hoped for him? And just where was the wife? Did she run out on them when she discovered she gave birth to an abomination? Did she abandon them because she couldn't handle that her baby was a mutant? How long has daddy been on his own?
And just how many times has he sung this lullaby to his kid to quiet the tears?
Because it works. The little tyke slowly stops shaking, stops sniffling. Like a dial turning down, he goes quiet, and then the boy just passes out against his daddy, exhausted to the bone. Daddy sings the song a few times more just to make sure, but the kid is out cold. He kisses the tyke's head, and then leans back in his seat.
He looks ready to drop too.
The song isn't even mine. No one ever sang it to me. I only heard it once long ago on a quiet night when Dudley was sick, and Aunt Petunia had managed to carry him all the way down stairs to the kitchen. She gave him a cookie, sat him on her lap and sang this lullaby to him to quiet his pains. In my cupboard I could barely hear it, but those soft words held so much love that a starved boy such as I could not help but strain against the wooden door just to catch a piece of it.
Aunt Petunia loved my cousin more than anything in the world, and yet she could not spare an ounce of it for me. I had never fully understood the reasons why until Andromeda had set little Theodore in my arms. All my life I had desperately searched for that kind of love and I found it the moment when tawny brown hair turned black, amber eyes flashed green and cherub lips smiled at me. He was mine from then on.
Remus and Tonks were my friends, they died as heroes, but a part of me could never forgive them for leaving Theodore the way that they had. No battle, no war, nothing should have meant more to them than protecting their child. They should have taken him and run as far as they could, but they hadn't. Now all Teddy had to remember them by were paltry medals of honour and the stories of a heart broken old woman.
I was going to give Theodore everything that I never had. I was going to ensure he would want for nothing. What a bang up job I'm doing.
But at least he knows that I love him and that I would protect him with my life.
I sing him the lullaby, and like always, he falls asleep.
He lays heavy against me, his warmth seeps into my aching chest. It still feels like ice in there, the lingering terror slowly melts like dripping icicles and the drops roll down my spine to pool in my stomach. It's sour, acrid, all of it tainted and bitter and black, but the rhythm of Teddy's breathing keeps me from drowning in it. My cub is alive, and that is all that matters.
The minutes pass. The vents billow hot air. The cab warms, but the windows stay frosted and the world is dark and cold outside. I am exhausted.
My eyes slip tiredly over to our savior. He was a beast in the ring, the harsh fluorescent lights and the thrill of the fight had made him look feral and bloodthirsty, but here the soft glow of the dashboard softened the sharpness of his features. There is something like Alastor Moody about him, in the alertness of his eyes and the heaviness of his brows, but there is also something like Sirius Black, about his wild hair and his mouth. Though he is frowning, the shape of his lips hints at sensuality.
He is a handsome man, I realize, like a knife shaped and sharpened by the trials of his life. The glint of dog tags nestled in his collarbone gives credence to my analogy.
But the word 'savior' is perhaps a little unfair. He is just a mutant that happened to be in the wrong place at the right time. It was our luck that there was a shred of decency left in him. Not all mutants would have stuck out their necks for others of their kind. It wasn't wise to play the hero when you're fighting to survive as well.
But he helped when he did not have to. He threw the fight, and defended my cub without a single thing promised to him in return. He would have killed those men for my cub. That did not mean he was a good man, or that he was trustworthy, or that he would help us again. But I was indebted to him all the same.
"Harry," he murmurs, out of nowhere.
I look to him, and those emeralds are looking straight at me, sunken in his haggard face but glinting bright with a light all on their own. He could be a mutant with eyes like that; it's hard to look away from them. They're hypnotizing.
"My name is Harry," he introduces, voice tired but no longer broken. "And this is my son, Teddy."
"Logan," I grunt back.
Harry and Teddy. He called the tyke something else in the bar, he called him cub. Teddy cub. It's cute and it fits. But Harry. Harry doesn't fit him at all.
Harry's of the world are sagging, pink faced men with more hair on their balls than on their heads. They wear clip-on ties to work, 9 to 5 sitting in grey cubicles, click away on a grey screens, drive grey cars, come home to a greying wives, watch the Sunday game, drink light beers, and go fishing on the weekends.
They are normal men just living the American dream, unremarkable and forgettable.
There is nothing forgettable about this man. With a face of a fallen angel, and eyes that shine like jewels, he should have a timeless name, lyrical, and dark.
"Is Harry short for something?" I ask.
Suddenly he smiles. A flash of white teeth and a soft snort of laughter. "No," he says, "Just Harry."
Just Harry. What a shame.
It starts to snow outside, I turn on the windshield wipers.
"Where you headed?" I ask, because they had to be headed somewhere, to get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
"There's a safe haven just a little past Fort Nelson," Harry answers. "Do you know of it?"
"No, I don't." I don't keep track of mutant safe houses, don't need to with my abilities. I've come across a few kids looking for them and sent them in the right direction if I could, but Fort Nelson was a three days drive from here and it was gonna be a long haul for Harry and Teddy without a car.
Harry knows it, but it don't show on his face. There's no such thing as a safe place when you're a mutant, but when you're in a desert it don't matter if the water you see is a mirage, you keep on walking because there's nothing else you can do other than to lay down and die.
Harry goes quiet. I look over but he ain't asleep, just staring out ahead into the blackness. Vigilant daddy, can't close his eye for a second in case I turn out to be a psycho killer. I don't blame him, there's some dangerous people out on the road, but fuck did he look like shit. I really did him one over.
We drive on. It takes two hours before the exit sign for food and lodging pop up, glowing bright green and beautiful on the side of the road. The dashboard reads nearly two in the morning, but it felt a lot later than that. It's been a long night for all of us.
It's a small town but it takes us another hour and a half to find a motel with a vacancy. Like a champ Harry don't shut his eyes once.
He comes in with me to get the room, the sleeping Cub tucked against his chest like a baby koala. The old bat behind the counter gives us a dirty look but Harry pretends he don't see it.
"One room," he says before I can open my mouth.
"Would that be one bed or two?" the crone asks, her mouth so pinched I don't know how she could even pry it open to talk.
"Two," he says, so tired he don't even give a fuck.
She bangs around for the key while Harry shifts Teddy in his to try and reach his wallet.
I pull out my own. "Here, I got this," I say.
Harry gives me a look. I know if he weren't seconds away from dropping he would have refused. I gave him too much already, done more than he ever expected. He owed me, and he didn't have much to pay me back.
Whatever. I didn't need anything from him.
I don't try to stop Logan as he lays down the money on the counter. I needed every cent to afford our way to Fort Nelson. I doubt I could buy a car with the paltry cash hidden away in my sock, but perhaps it was enough for two bus tickets.
Logan picks up the keys and opens the door for us and I thank him with a nod. I could not even feel my arms anymore, and Teddy was getting heavier by the second. We walk to the room in silence, and he opens the door again.
Cheap motel rooms have become the norm for Teddy and me. Different countries, different states, different cities, different towns, but the motel room always looks the same. Cheap beds, cheap furniture, a television set, a bathroom and a window. But as long as it had running water and warmth, that is all we needed. This one at least did not have visible roaches. We're moving up in the world, Teddy.
Not bothering to turn on the light, I lay him down upon the bed, and pull the boots off his little feet. I feel Logan watching me as I undress Teddy but it does not bother me. I may not know this stranger, but I knew he would not hurt my cub. That is all that matters.
I pull Teddy's arms out of his jacket, his body limp as a ragdoll in his sleep. He seems so tiny without all the layers to protect him, limbs so delicate and fragile that it felt like one hard press would break him. I could have lost him. I almost lost him. It is a realization that has hit me more times than I can barely stand to count. You would think the thrice damned Chosen One would be able keep his own son safe.
I have to restrain myself from placing my hand on his chest to track the rise and fall of his breaths, to keep from counting his heart beats just to make sure.
The orange cap is always the last to come off. The canine ears twitch as they are freed. He's had them for two years now, and no matter how hard he concentrates he cannot make them go away or even change their shape or length. Each German Shepherd ear stand three inches and a half from base to tip, the fur puppy soft and matched the color of his ever shifting hair, soft buttery yellow curls. A good sign then. That shade meant he was calm and fairly happy, and I valiantly hoped no nightmares would plague him tonight.
The neon glow of the sign filters through the shades, making the room all bars of red and shadows. Harry's hands shake as he undresses his boy. His face is a mess, his body at the edge of collapse, but he takes the time to take care of his 'cub'. I feel like I shouldn't be here, like I'm intruding on this, but it's hard to look away from it.
Teddy's lucky to have a dad like that. There'd be less kids out on the street, if they all had a dad like Harry to watch over them.
The bed creaks as Harry sits on the edge of it, and he turns and looks at me. Emeralds glint in the dim light, tired but the rest is unreadable.
"Thank you," he says, it's heavy in his throat and he means it. Means it with everything he has in him. "Thank you for everything that you've done. There is no…..no possible way I can repay you."
He sighs and runs a hand through his black, messy hair, his shoulders sag, but there is still strength in him. It's there in his green eyes, hard and sharp as a knife. "But I can start by asking you to stay for the night. You paid for the room after all, that bed is yours by all rights," he says as he waves his bandaged hand to the extra bed.
"I would understand if you are not here in the morning, you owe us nothing and I would not expect any more of your generosity, but enjoy the bed you've bought, and rest if just for a few hours."
It goes unspoken that he'd kill me if I tried anything funny, try to take anything or touch his boy. He doesn't offer the money back, I wouldn't have taken it anyway since we both knew he needed it more. But it's not the bed he's promising. He's telling me he's not gonna fuck me over, he's not gonna try to steal my wallet and my truck while I sleep, or use his kid as a guilt trip for a free ride to Nelson Fort. He can't give me anything more than that, but it's all he has.
"Yeah, all right." I say. It would be rude to refuse.
Harry nods, and the emeralds turn away from me back to his cub. He takes off his jacket, and lies beside his boy. He doesn't even take off his boots. Teddy's ear flickers and he turns to Harry, his little fingers clutch at the man's shirt and his hair darkens to glossy black like daddy's.
"Shh," Harry hushes as he gently rubs his back and settles down, facing towards me and the door. He doesn't fall asleep.
So I get ready for bed with the feeling of green eyes watching me. I don't blame him, I wouldn't trust a single fucker either if it came to my kid.
I lie down on my bed, and close my eyes.
"Goodnight," Harry murmurs.
"Night," I grunt.
I can hear them breathing only ten feet away. Two heart beats, one small and calm, the other large and strong and steady. It takes a few hours more before Harry's pulse slows, finally allowing himself to fall asleep when he knows nothing is gonna harm his baby.
I fall asleep, and for the first time in a long time, I dream. I don't remember much in the morning, other than a lullaby and the shining of the moon.
The lullaby Harry sings has the same melody as Hush Little Baby, but I thought it sweeter to go with The Moon Sees Me with all of Remus' ties with the moon.
As always, tell me what you like, what you don't like, and what I can improve. Please stop telling me to update.