Fandom: Kung Fu: The Legend Continues
Characters: Peter, Caine, Kelly
Summary: Uhm, no summary this time, too spoilerish *gg*
Disclaimer: Don't belong to me yadda, yadda, yadda, you know the drill.
Scorching heat surrounded him. The sickening smell of burned flesh and smoldering embers wafted through the air. He couldn't breathe. Everywhere he looked, he saw hungry flames licking at the temple walls. His vision blurred. He slumped to the floor as another explosion rocked the ground, too exhausted to drag his best friend's inert body any longer.
The ceiling gave way, cascading to the ground, debris everywhere. Peter cried out when one particularly large chunk smashed into his leg. Frantically he looked around, searching for a way out, but the flames were moving closer and closer – merciless, unyielding.
His tear-filled eyes glanced over to a hole in the wall. The large figure of his father appeared in the opening. Hope surged through Peter's battered body.
"Father!" he cried out, his grip once again tightening around his fallen friend.
But then the unthinkable happened. His father turned round and walked away.
Every ounce of fight drained from Peter's shaking frame, his fingers, still clinging desperately to the tattered robe of his friend, slackened. Convinced that the time had come for him to die, his head sank between his hands and he sobbed in fear and terror.
"What are you running away from so fast, Peter?" A beautiful brunette inquired, standing in the slightly raised kitchen area.
He stowed the gun away in his holster and looked up at her. "I can't get that nightmare out of my mind. You are in it."
The woman grinned lewdly and bent forward. "Oh, was I naked?"
"No, you were dying. My father was in it, too. Trapped and helpless. I was fighting shadows," he confessed, his breathing quickening.
Distressed, Peter moved over to the wardrobe, trying to get his erratic breathing under control.
"Look, it is more than a nightmare. It's…I feel haunted. Like…like I am the one who's trapped inside that spider's web and can't get out."
While he slipped into his leather jacket he continued, "Ah, like I'm suffocating, Kelly." Then he picked up his dirty laundry and added dismissively, "I can't explain it to you."
Kelly snorted and tucked a strand of her long hair behind her ear. "Yeah, sure. I'm just the what? The lover and the chef. And you wait until you get to the precinct to share your fears with your real friends like Kermit and Strenlich."
Her voice turned venomous, meaning to hurt, "And maybe they can even tell you why your father never came back."
Peter just looked at the woman, not showing the anguish that swept through his body.
"Meet me at Chandler's tonight," was all he said and then he left hurriedly.
Peter entered the loft his father occupied, the fresh brands on his forearms still throbbing like a bitch. As soon as he entered, he felt a change in the air, his stomach lurched. Puzzled, he let his eyes wander.
When he spotted Caine climbing down the ladder leading to the attic, he added a 'Hi', followed by a surprised, "Oh, you shaved your head."
Effortlessly he caught the duffle bag Caine threw at him. A feeling of dread washed over Peter, all his muscles tensed. Seeing his father freshly shaved and all packed up was not a good sign.
"It was time," Caine said and jumped to the floor. His expressive hands described a semicircle in the air. "I was proud to see you with the brands on your arms." He moved towards Peter and touched his shoulder lightly, then he walked past him into the living area. "Do you not regret your decision?"
"Not for a minute", Peter responded quick as a shot.
He followed his father, turning to face him. "Why are you leaving?" he asked, not sure if he wanted to know the answer to his question.
Caine held up a photo for Peter to take. "Your mother might be alive."
Incredulously, Peter scrutinzed the worn photo in his hands. An icy hand clutched at his heart. Was it really possible? Fear and hope surged through his veins as he looked into his father's eyes.
"I recognize this cafe from my nightmare. I…it can't be true, Pop. I…I saw her when I was in the bardo world. She was there!"
"You thought she was dead, so you projected her into that world," Caine explained and slung the duffle bag over his shoulder. A deep sigh made his chest heave. "It may not be the truth. I must find out."
Peter fought back his tears. The pain he felt right now was nearly unbearable. Why oh why did his father have to leave again? Didn't he know how much he hurt him every time he turned his back on him? It didn't matter that he'd completed the training, the anguish was no less just because he'd taken the final steps in becoming a shaolin priest.
Caine laid his hand on Peter's shoulder and locked his gaze with him.
"My son, you are the master now, I will be sitting at your feet." Again Caine took a deep breath, regret tinging his voice. "Our journey together is ended."
Peter shook his head in denial. It was getting increasingly hard to fight off the threatening tears. "Don't say that, Pop."
"You will take care of my place while I am gone?"
"Yes, I will take care of this place for you." Peter swallowed hard, a lump in his throat. "You've always known that this moment would come. And you've been grooming me for it." He looked down then up again, knowing his eyes showed betrayal and pain yet also a hint of hope. "But you will return."
"I will." Caine said firmly, his eyes reflecting simliar emotions. "I will always hold you in my heart."
Caine moved towards Peter and embraced him. They hugged for quite some time then the priest stepped back and fished a small pebble out of his pocket. He laid it flat on his palm and uncurled his fingers.
For a moment, their eyes met. Peter knew what his father wanted. He wanted him to try and snatch the pebble. Secretly, Peter hoped he wouldn't succeed then his father would stay.
Hesitating for a split second, Peter made his move and curled his fingers into a tight fist. Caine opened his hand, the palm empty. He laid his hand upon Peter's fist and squeezed it, the other hand gripping Peter's shoulder.
"Good bye, my son."
Then Caine turned and moved towards the door while Peter opened his fist and stared at the pebble now resting in the palm of his hand. His heart ached because he knew an era had come to an end – here and now. Father and son would go their separate ways.
"I love you," Caine said softly.
Peter turned his head, stealing a last look at his father. "I love you, too."
Caine put on the feodora, nodded serenely and left.
Peter gazed after him, his emotions playing havoc with his body. He bit on his lowerlip and went to the balcony, hoping to catch a last glimpse of his father. He spotted him wandering along the street and shouted, "Pop!"
Caine looked up.
"We'll…we'll go fishing when you get back. Hey, how can I help anybody if nobody knows that I'm here?" he exclaimed, desperation in his voice.
Caine shrugged and rubbed his hands, then shrugged again and continued on his way.
"Come to Chinatown, ask for Caine…" A small, sad smile tugged at the priest's lips as he looked up for the last time.
"…he will help you," Peter finished the sentence unhappily, hurt and full of fear as to what the future might bring, not able to avert his eyes from the receding figure of his father.
"Peter! Wake up, my son!"
A distressed voice broke through the heavy grip of sleep. Young Peter awoke with a start, feverish eyes searching his surroundings.
"W..what?" he asked through parched lips.
Someone gently lifted him up, a glass of water was held to his lips and he sipped gratefully. Large thumbs wiped the wetness from his cheeks. Had he been crying in his sleep? Peter didn't know.
"Everything is in order, my son. You were having a nightmare. I have you now. You are safe."
The bald head of his father swam into view. Peter rubbed his bleary eyes and finally recognized the grey temple walls of the tiny cell, he also remembered why he was lying in his bed. He had caught a nasty case of the flu a few days ago and was suffering from fever-induced dreams.
"Sorry for the inconvenience, father. I didn't want to interrupt your daily chores yet again," he said formally.
"You are not," Caine stated fiercly. "My son is never an inconvenience. I came here to tend to my ill son and I intend to stay."
A small smile lit up Peter's pale features. "You'll stay?"
"Yes, I will." A cool hand touched Peter's forehead. "Your fever has dropped. Do you want to talk about your nightmare?"
"I'd rather not. Besides, the dreams are too jumbled to make any sense." The young boy took another swig of water and peered through thick eyelashes at his beloved dad. "Father, will you tell me a story of my great-grandfather?"
"This I can do," Caine said and stretched out his arms.
Sighing contentedly, Peter snuggled into the warm embrace of his father and let the love and tenderness that was radiating from his Pop in waves, seep into his exhausted body. Feeling safe and protected, he listened to the gentle cadence of Caine's voice and finally drifted back off to sleep.
Little did the small boy know that these dreams, his biggest fears, would one day come true.