Fathers and Sons
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Summary: Companion piece to "Puppet Love" and "A Little Afternoon Freaking Out". August and Emma haven't told anybody about the baby yet but it seems that Gepetto is ready to start making baby furniture anyway. Gepetto/August time, folks! Warning: August/Emma in here!
For those who didn't know my "Puppet Love" story, what you should know here is that August is Henry's biological father and August and Emma have been together since she woke him up after breaking the curse. Oh, and now they're expecting a baby.
Written at the request of an anonymous reviewer who needed a little August/Gepetto moment till we can see them reunite in next season. (God, I do hope that we are going to see that reunion.) Anyway, I think all of us could use a little father/son moment between those two. Enjoy!
"All right," August let out a frustrated sigh, putting down the wooden frame he was working on. "What is it?" he asked his father, finally having enough of ignoring the silly grin that seemed to have settled on the older man's face in the last couple of days. Even now he didn't have to look at his father to know that the other man was wearing that same grin.
"What do you mean?" the old man asked distractedly, pausing in his merry humming just for a moment. He was deeply engrossed in painting a set of wooden trains on the other side of the small workshop with his back to his son.
"You're grinning," August stated simply turning on his stool, giving a pointed look to his father's back. "You've been grinning for a couple of days now."
Stopping in his work, Gepetto straightened and turned to his son with that grin that made August groan in frustration. "Oh," he said with a contemplative frown before his mouth turned back into a grin. "I didn't notice," he shrugged and pushing his glasses up on his nose, he turned back to the train lying on the workbench and resumed humming.
"And you're humming," August accused him. He didn't mind it, really. It was good to see his father happy but he was just dying to know the reason of it.
"Didn't notice it, either," came Gepetto's distracted voice and August was just about ready to bang his head into the table. His father could be really frustrating sometimes.
He wasn't ready to give up the interrogation of his uncooperative father just yet, though, so he stood up and walked up to his father, leaning against his workbench.
He waited patiently till Gepetto stopped in his work and looked up at him questioningly.
"Who is she?" August crossed his arms on his chest and raised an eyebrow.
"Who's who, my boy?" his father gave him an uncertain chuckle and August was sure that he was trying to mask the fact that he'd been caught. "Your questions are a little vague."
"Who is your new lady friend you are not telling us about?"
Now Gepetto's chuckle was genuinely embarrassed. Gotcha, August thought with a knowing smirk creeping on his lips.
"What are you talking about, Pinocchio? I've got no lady friends," Gepetto dismissed him before turning back to his work.
"Sure you do," August insisted. "All the humming and grinning screams girlfriend to me. There can't be another explanation for that." August thought that he had pressed his father into a corner but he had to be disappointed.
"So why are you walking around with that grin of yours?" Gepetto turned the tables. "You've been together with Emma for months now and I don't recall you smiling like a half-wit ever before."
That made August shut up and squirm uncomfortably.
"That's what I thought," said Gepetto with a small nod and once again turned back to his work. "Don't you have a photo frame to finish, Pinocchio?" he asked clearly satisfied by being able to dodge his son's questions.
"I'll find it out eventually, father. You can't keep her hidden from us forever," August informed his father with an amused smile then started back to his work area. That was when a truck pulled up in front of the workshop.
"Oh, at last it's here!" Gepetto exclaimed jumping up from his seat with such zeal that belied his previous devotion to painting toy trains.
"What's here?" August followed him out of the workshop with a startled expression where Gepetto greeted the two men who got out of the truck. He watched from the background as paper work had been signed and the men began to unload their load. "That's an awfully large amount of lumber," August observed confused as the pile of wood just kept growing in front of the workshop. "What are you planning to do with it? Build a house?"
"Nonsense," Gepetto dismissed his son distractedly as he looked at the pile of lumber with excitement. "Cherry wood," he said to no one in particular. "Beautiful."
"Yeah," August agreed dumbfounded. "And extremely expensive," he couldn't help adding. "Who is it for anyway?"
"Why, it's for me, of course," Gepetto answered merrily as the men finally finished their work and saying goodbye, left.
"And why would you buy cherry wood?" August stepped up next to his father.
"Because it's hardwood so it's very durable but, at the same time, easy to work with," the old man explained not taking his eyes off of the lumbers in question. "We can give it a beautiful red hue just by staining it. Just imagine it, it's not so dark to make it look too formal but it will give warmness to the room – no matter what color you and Emma decide on for the bedding and the drapery," here he looked at his son beaming. "It'll look perfect."
"Perfect for what?" August inquired.
"Baby furniture, of course."
"Whoa, whoa. Let's just stop here for a minute," August raised a hand in an attempt to try and make sense of what he'd just heard then he continued in a genuinely confused tone, "Why would you make baby fur… Oh," he stopped comprehension finally downing on him. "You know."
If it was possible, Gepetto was beaming even more. "I am right then?"
"Or you didn't know," August drawled as he was beginning to get more confused by the minute.
"How would I? You didn't say anything," the older man said with slight accusation in his tone. "And I thought that even if I'm wrong, it would come in handy sometime in the future."
At that August couldn't say anything, he just turned and looked at the pile of lumber stunned.
"It'll be beautiful," he finally agreed when he managed to wrap his head around his father being ready and eager to build baby furniture for a grandchild he shouldn't even know about yet.
"So?" Gepetto prodded impatiently.
"So what?" he turned back to his father.
"Aren't you going to tell me that I'm going to be a grandfather again?"
August sighed. "I'd really like to but the thing is that Emma wanted to tell you when we are all together… you know, to get over with the hugging and cheering part in one go."
"You mean when there is less chance that Prince James actually makes good on his threats," Gepetto regarded him.
"Yeah, maybe there is that, too," August admitted with a troubled frown.
"All right then…" Gepetto said in acceptance and August was grateful to him. "Until then let me show you the plans of some cribs and changing tables…" Gepetto rubbed his hands with an excited grin then turned to dig into a drawer to produce a stack of paper from it.
August laughed out. Telling or no telling, his father was not to be deterred from his project of building baby furniture. And August was just too happy to go with it.
Some time later, August was critically eying the plan of a crib when Gepetto spoke up, seemingly out of the blue.
"So… you are happy, yes?"
August looked up taken by surprise by the question and met his father's concerned look.
"Why are you asking me that this way?" he frowned, still hunched over a stack of paper.
"It just occurred to me that you've already got so much to deal with and a baby wouldn't make it any easier… and you know, the other day, Emma seemed pretty upset. I just thought that was because of the baby."
"It was," August admitted straightening up. "But don't worry, father, we're both very happy. You're right, life's really crazy at the moment but this baby gives us some much needed diversion."
"Yet you seem troubled somehow, my son. Don't think that I didn't notice it."
"Well, this whole thing makes me think about some stuff," August sighed, not really wanting to go there.
"About young Henry," Gepetto pressed anyway.
"Yes," August ran a hand through his hair before turning to his father. He might as well share his concerns with the man. After all who's a better candidate for giving advice in matters like this than one's own father? "I couldn't help feeling guilty. I mean I'm so happy about this baby and so excited to experience the whole pregnancy thing and I can't wait to hold my kid for the first time… but I should have done all of this with my son, too. With Emma it's different because now at least I can be there for her but with Henry, I can never bring back the first ten years of his life… and he deserved so much more than a life with an evil stepmother… he deserved everything I'm now ready to give to this baby."
"Are you afraid that he will hold this against you?" Gepetto asked with concern. "That he won't be happy about his new sibling?"
"No," August shook his head. "He'll be happy about it. He kind of gave us the permission to make a baby."
"To make a baby?" Gepetto raised an eyebrow. "And how did that subject come up?"
"Well, he might have caught us making out on the floor in the kitchen," August shared with a sheepish look.
"All right, me may have done a little more than that but that's not the point," August said in frustration. He really didn't want to talk to his father about how he was just about ready to take Emma right there on the kitchen floor not even considering the fact that there was a kid in the house. "My point simply was that he does want a sibling. I just feel bad about not being there for him."
"I do not think that you should think like that," Gepetto shared his thought on the subject. "Henry is a wonderful child and I'm sure that he doesn't see things that way. He loves you… he loves both of you."
"And it makes me wonder whatever I did right to deserve that love."
"A child's love is unconditional, son," Gepetto said as his eyes filled with emotions, looking at his son. August held his gaze and could feel his own heart swell with the love he felt towards that old man - his father was right because his own love for him was nothing less than unconditional. And he knew that the feeling was mutual.
Suddenly, he reached out and pulled his father into a fierce embrace.
"Just like a parent's, father," he said in a cracking voice. "Just like a parent's. Thank you." And he was grateful for so much more than a few encouraging words.
"You are welcome, my boy," Gepetto cupped his cheeks when he finally let him go. "And don't forget – you did what you did, nobody can change that. But you will do everything in your power to protect your family… to love them. And that's more than enough for both of your children."
For a couple of moments, August couldn't do anything but nod in understanding and when finally he thought that his vocal cords were able to work again, he spoke up after a little embarrassed chuckle, trying to steer their conversation into lighter territory, "Well, I really liked that last plan you showed. But we could carve a swan into the headboard instead of a dove."
"We could go with something like this…" August started, reaching for a piece of paper and sketching the lines of a swan with wings wide open.
They spent the rest of the afternoon going over the rest of the plans, making adjustments, taking measurements and making some sketching of designs that could be carved into the wood. They were so engrossed in their task at hand that they didn't even notice Emma when she popped into the workshop on her way home after her shift.
"Hey," Emma greeted the men from the door way, holding in her hands four take-away trays from Granny's. "What are you two doing? You look overly excited," she observed with a curious smile that quickly turned into a curious frown as the two men jumped and hastened to hide the papers behind their backs as they turned to Emma.
"Hey," August greeted her with an awkward smile. "We're just working on… stuff," he answered with a nervous tilt of his head that did little to quell Emma's curiosity.
"Yeah, right," Emma narrowed her eyes as she put down the trays and walked up to the two men. "And what is this stuff?" she asked trying to peek behind the men's backs.
"It really is nothing of interest, my dear," Gepetto spoke up. "It's just… stuff," he stuttered and August gave him a "really?" look.
Emma laughed out amused then crossed her arms on her chest and gave an inquisitive look to the men. They visibly squirmed under her Sheriff Swan gaze and Emma patiently waited till one of them cracked. Surprisingly enough, though, it didn't happen as, after a little while, August reached out to grab her shoulders then gently turned her around and guided her towards the door.
"You heard father," he said while he was still pushing Emma. "It's nothing interesting, just a couple of…"
"Stuff," Emma finished for him not really understanding what the whole secrecy was about. "I know."
"Well, if you really want to know," he said, stopping to gather the trays and thrust it into her hands, "we were just going over some plans of something somebody asked us to do."
"That was very informative," she observed while she, once again, found herself pushed towards the door. "Hey, what's that?" she suddenly shook herself free from August grasp and shifting her hold on the trays, she took a piece of paper into her hand, eyeing it critically. August froze recognizing one of his earlier sketches of a baby dresser and looked at his father worriedly when the older man stopped next to him.
"That's it?" Emma looked up at them bemused. "That's the big secret? You are making baby furniture?"
"Yes," Gepetto admitted somewhat guiltily but couldn't help the smile that was playing on his lips. "We are indeed making baby furniture."
"This is really cute," Emma observed returning her gaze at the dresser on the paper before looking back up at the men. "Who's having a baby?" When August nervously scratched the back of his neck, it downed on her. "Oh. This is for the baby."
"Yeah." The guilt and embarrassment in August's voice made Emma frown.
"And why are you acting as if I had caught you preparing to overthrow the government… well, the king as it is?"
"I am sorry," Gepetto spoke up stepping closer to Emma. "Pinocchio didn't say a word. I figured it out on my own and put him on the spot. And even then he didn't say a word. I figured I can wait till you are ready to share the news but I'm afraid I got carried away and pulled my boy with me."
"You didn't tell your father?" Emma turned to August with an incredulous look.
"I promised I wouldn't tell so I didn't tell."
"That's really sweet but you could have told him, you know." At that August just shrugged. "You know what? Why don't you tell him now?" she suggested and smiled when she could see Gepetto practically bounce hearing her words. He looked between the two of them with an anticipating look which in turn made August smile, too.
"Well, father," he cleared his throat as he reached for the trays still in Emma's hand and placed them on a nearby workbench. "We have something to tell you," taking a place right next to Emma, he informed the other man who had all his attention on the couple standing in front of him. "Emma and I are having a baby."
The next thing August could see was his father squeezing Emma in an enthusiastic hug while expressing in so many words just how happy and excited he was and how proud he was to have Emma in his family. It was heartwarming to witness the old man's affection toward the young woman and August found Emma's lingering awkwardness in respect of accepting any kind of affection coming from anyone else other then himself and Henry really cute.
"Don't you worry, my girl," Gepetto told her finally, squeezing her shoulders. "Everything will be fine, I know it."
Emma gave him a grateful smile and reach up with one hand to squeeze one of the old man's on her shoulder. "I know. Thank you."
Finally they let go and it was August's turn to be enveloped in his father's arms again.
"All right," Emma finally spoke up making the men look at her. "I'll let you guys close up shop then you can head home before dinner gets cold."
"You need help with that?" August asked indicating the take-away trays.
"I can manage," she said taking hold of them then walking up to him. "You just stay here and help your father close up. See you at home," she said rising on her tiptoes to place a soft kiss on his lips.
"Love you," August smiled.
"Love you, too."
"You know what? I can close up just fine," Gepetto informed them. "You two go ahead and set the table. I can even pick up Henry from your parents, Emma," he offered.
Emma and August shared a look then August turned to his father.
"You're sure?" he asked.
"Of course. Now, go." With that, August took the trays from Emma and, saying their goodbyes, they started to leave. "But no making out on the kitchen floor," Gepetto called after them with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes the couple couldn't see. "We'll be home in half an hour."
Emma gave August a horrified look, correctly guessing what the old man had just referred to, and August couldn't help but laugh out, shaking his head at his father's cheekiness.
God, he loved that man.
Thanks for reading!