Preface: Due to a lack of control of his reality-warping powers, Anso finds himself in the body of a human child for the time being. He wandered off this afternoon, and Hikari rushed home from class in Unova to help Cyrus search for him. An accident with Winston, Hikari's Aerodactyl, resulted in Cyrus with a rather severe laceration on his head, however, and in bandaging him, Hikari witnessed a reaction she never thought she would see in response to touch - calmness. Now, with Anso found, the battle to get him to bed goes on.
Note: The book briefly quoted is, of course, Douglas Adams' wonderful novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which should be read by every person on Earth as far as I am concerned.
Anso was not pleased about the idea of bed. He had bathed without fuss (bubbles helped on that front), and happily changed into his Piplup-decorated footie pajamas. The final, actual going to bed, however, was met with grumpy resistance. So far, he had been through "just five more minutes" enough to add up to an hour, "I want a drink" twice, "I have to potty" once, hiding behind the couch once, and the bookshelf twice (he was very displeased to find he couldn't just faze through the wall).
Hikari's patience was wearing thin. She was prepared to admit defeat, when Anso voiced one last demand - one that might actually work.
"I want Daddy to read a bedtime story!"
Hikari paused. "All right. Lie down, stay there, and I'll go get him. If I come back and you've moved from bed, all bets are off, and you'll be in trouble."
Anso nodded eagerly, and pulled the sheets up to his chin. "I'll stay!"
She gave one last glance over her shoulder, then padded downstairs, hoping Cyrus hadn't barricaded himself in the basement. She was pleased to find him in the kitchen, reading a thick book bound in green. "I know you won't want to, but I need you to come read to Anso," she said without preamble.
The scientist looked up. "Still giving you trouble, I see."
"Alright." He shut the book and rose from his seat. "What am I to read then?"
"Oh...I hadn't thought about that." Hikari picked at her sleeve. "Um..."
"I'll be in in a moment. I have an idea."
"Oh. A-all right." She knew better than to question, and instead returned to the living room, which had currently been converted to Anso's temporary bedroom. The Giratina-child was still obediently tucked in on the couch, an eager look on his face.
"Is Daddy coming?"
"Yes. You're to go to sleep after this, Anso."
"I know. I promise." He wiggled towards the end of the couch and patted the spot where his head had been. "Mommy, sit!"
With a faint smile, she did, and instantly, Anso had curled up against her, head in her lap. She stroked his gold hair absently, reflecting over the afternoon. Cyrus had been like this. So calm, so relaxed, for that too-brief moment...
"Here we are." Cyrus sat down in a chair next to the couch, a paperback novel in hand. Hikari hadn't heard him enter. Without another word, he flipped open the novel.
"'Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral Arm of the Galaxy...'"
Hikari wasn't sure when she'd fallen asleep. She woke with a start, and an ache in her wrist, which her head had been resting on. Anso was sleep, arms outflung, head still on her lap. Carefully, she extricated herself from him, and straightened her mussed clothes. And then she saw him.
Her heart nearly skipped a beat when she realized he was asleep, the book shut on his lap, head tipped back, eyes closed. She stepped towards him, drawn, as she always was.
She watched her hands reach out as if they belonged to someone else. She could hardly breathe when she touched his head. This afternoon...had that been a fluke?
And then he was leaning towards her touch, her fingers toying carelessly with his short hair. There was no tension, no resistance. She expected him to bolt awake, to shove her, to run away, to retreat so far he could never be recovered, but no. He continued dozing, head tipped now towards her hands.
Tears stung her eyes, and she ignored them. Her hands were moving mechanically, threading through his hair, petting him, repaying the debt of so-longed-for touch that had been building up for so long. She wanted to climb into the chair with him, to make him wrap his arms around her, accept her presence.
"Love me," she whispered. "It won't hurt."
But no. No closer. No more. This was all. A stolen touch while he was sleeping, a feather-light kiss on his forehead, and then she had to pull herself away.
"Our secret," she promised, before stealing upstairs.
She fell into bed, tears soaking her pillow almost instantly. They had not stopped, but they were not tears of sorrow.