Not entirely related to Faith Journey or Suddenly, A Star; but the theme is defs based on the parable of the prodigal son, from the book of Luke (Luke 15:11-32; NIV). However, in an unusual twist, this tale will be told from the father's point of view.
This will go on for several relatively short chapters. This little prologue is a whole bunch of seemingly unrelated stuff, but a lot of what happens here will build to a very clear point soon.
I swear, I had never written so many family/hurt/comfort/spiritual fics before I started writing in this fandom... On with the show.
It had been a few months, and everything had already changed so much. Because of the frequent rains, grass and flowers were beginning to grow here and there; it wasn't much, but it was a definite start. The sky was clearing, the thick, heavy clouds fading away to reveal an expanse of blue. Everything was brighter, clearer, bigger, and better. And it was all ours.
Half these glorious changes didn't matter to me, though. My world was already big and bright and clear, because I had a family to share it with. With family came all the frustrations and joys of having children and a wife, but it was good. So very good. I loved them so much, and they loved me, too. It was healing; as the days passed in a happy blur, I began to feel less and less bad about myself and all the mistakes I had made, and more excited about the things the four of us could do and be together. There was hardly any time to feel sorry about the past—not with the present flying over my head, and the future hitting me in the face every morning. There was so much to be done. Not one precious second of time with them could be wasted in misery.
In those first months, everything was perfect. Absolutely perfect. The twins were a particular source of joy and energy; there was so much to see and catalogue, they couldn't sit still for more than a minute at a time. I had forgotten how long they had kept themselves hidden in the library, out of obvious danger. Now that those dangers were gone, they threw themselves at the world with all their might. Watching them absorbing it all, like sponges, was so heartwarming and adorable. It never failed to make me smile.
In spite of the world changing around them, there was a new stability in our home that they latched onto: our newly established family unit. They were our children—7's and mine—and we were their parents. We would be there from then on to take care of them, and to love them. We would never leave them; they had never understood such a thing before. After a while, they stopped calling us by our names; instead, they called us mama and papa. So, to us, they were son and daughter. Nothing they catalogued brought them more joy than that.
And then, there was 7—my sweet, wonderful 7—a world unto herself. She became the last thing I saw every night before I fell asleep, and the first thing I saw every morning when I opened my eyes; and, every morning, all I could do was lie still, sort of stunned, and wonder how on earth someone like me could be blessed with anything as magical as her. But divine gifts shouldn't be questioned. So, instead, I held her close, kissed her beautiful face, and made sure that she knew how much she meant to me. I must have been telling her that I loved her at least 50 times a day; important things like love are sometimes easy to forget, and I wanted to make sure she remembered at all times. And she never got impatient or overwhelmed with me. Every "I love you" was met with a smile and an "I love you, too".
I had taken her with a promise, that she could fly as high, as far, as fast as she wanted, whenever she needed to; just as long as she came home to us at night. She needed her space and her freedom, I knew; our nest and our family wouldn't allow her that. But, suddenly, she didn't seem to mind it anymore. If she was going to fly, she wanted me to be the wind in her wings, supporting her. Me! She didn't have to do everything on her own anymore. In me, she had found someone to lean on for shelter and safety, and offer the same to, in return. Someone to love and be loved by. She had never known this before. And she chose me.
7, 3 and 4: they were my whole world. Everything else around us was just extra, to be enjoyed at my pleasure; but my love for them was unchanging, and immovable. I couldn't imagine how my world could be any bigger or any better than them.
And then, seemingly without cause, 7 began to change again. She suddenly became antsy and impatient, but excited about something. She was always singing to herself, making up little songs and humming them wherever she went. She kept wandering away to browse the ruins for screws, nuts, wires—building materials. She had never felt particularly inclined to build things; what could she be making? Any time I tried to ask, she would shake her head and giggle girlishly, insisting that it was a surprise.
I could respect her privacy, but... what was she up to?
Then, one evening after a week or two of this oddness, she pulled me aside and took me to the space I used for a work room. There were building materials and tools, and anything else I could think of we might need to fix anything. She had already been in and out of all these things many times, and had taken several findings. However, as we entered the room, a pile of all her collected findings sat in a frustrated heap on my work bench. In the better light, I also noticed that her shape was different, fuller, as if she had a great many more findings still hidden within.
"I had tried to do this on my own," she said sadly, "but I'm not good enough."
I looked over her findings, wondering what contraption would call for them. Tiny screws? Metal poles? Copper wires? Scraps of charcoal-colored cloth? I had no clue what she was trying to make with these apparent odds and ends. I looked back up at her, confused.
"I don't understand," I said. "What have you been making?"
In response, she took my hand and pressed it against her belly. She was certainly keeping something large and very dense hidden inside her body cavity. Large enough to make her look bigger, but still very light. On the other side of her milky white skin, all I could feel was a vague shape with no direction to it; but it somehow felt full of promise. She looked back up at me with a nervous smile, her eyes shining proudly.
"9... I'm making a baby."
I still wonder what a human father thinks of first, when he's told his wife is having a baby. Were my thoughts anything like that? I remember being unable to think at all for a split second, completely stunned. My wife was having a baby! She was making the baby, and carrying it right now! I had no idea what I was supposed to think. In the next split second, all the pieces clicked into place in my paralyzed brain: the pile of findings on the table, the vague little shape swelling her body—it was our child in embryo. She had done all of this on her own so far. But she couldn't finish it alone. She needed my help.
I was speechless, and my legs felt weak, but I finally knew what to think: this was absolutely wonderful, and I was so happy I was ready to weep. I fell to my knees before her, my shaking hands on either side of her waist, and rested my spinning head against her belly, where the beginnings of our child sat in safety. There was no life in whatever she had made so far, but it felt solid and powerful, all the same. She put her arms around me and held me close to her body, thrilled and perhaps relieved that I was so excited.
"I don't deserve this," I said finally, hardly able to speak, still.
"Then who deserves anything?" She asked gently, her voice nothing but a smile. She glowed so brightly, like the moon itself, pale and silvery in the light. I nuzzled her soft skin, and I felt the little shape press against my face; my heart leaped, and I couldn't help the sob the choked my throat.
"I love you—both of you," I whispered, softly kissing her where I had felt our baby. I gazed back up at her, so proud and so enchanted. She was everything to me; but she was suddenly so much more. She really was the mother of my child. My moment of weakness ended as suddenly as it had swept over me, and I rose again, wishing we could begin that very night.
"7, of course I'll help you," I said, pulling her close, holding her as tight as I could. "Of course I'll help you!"
"I knew I could count on you," she answered with a merry laugh, snuggling closer to me. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
Just like that, my world became much bigger.
Now the stage is set. Starting next chapter, you will begin to see why the name of this story is Prodigal. ;)