This little one-shot is dedicated to Nicotomatohead who commented on my last one-shot "Up and Coming" saying," I'd be interested in seeing you write other one shots of the Four Horsemen's past. Maybe like one about Henley's gloves..." So this is for you, Nicotomatohead. A quick little one-shot about Henley's gloves and her past. No magic, but I hope you and everyone else enjoys it. :)
Edit: The idea for Henley being really scared when she was young came from an interview with the actress who played Henley, Isla Fisher. She said that when she took the role she was scared of a lot of things, but being Henley helped her overcome her own personal fears.
Disclaimer: Neither Henley Reeves nor Now You See Me belong to me.
Gloves of Courage
For as long as she could remember, she had been the world's biggest coward. She had never been on a roller coaster, never gone on a zip line, never done, well, much of anything. At fifteen, she had never even gone to a camp when offered, she was so scared of being away from home. For Henley Reeves, life was a constant bore. She was a smart girl, and fiercely independent, but her fear kept her from doing anything the other kids considered fun.
She sat in her favorite place—a small window seat in the corner of her room—looking out the window with a book open. It was one of her favorite books, but she wasn't reading it. Instead, she was looking out the window at the busy street, watching the people coming and going. There was a playground, just across the street, with a large tree right in the middle. It was a favorite of the children and there was always a group of kids climbing on it every day.
Henley had only climbed the tree once. When she was six she had run off from the slide where her mother had told her to stay. Her sister, three years her senior, had already run to the tree, climbing as high as a nine year old could. Henley had watched from the ground as her sister sat on a limb, laughing and talking to another girl. Though small for her age, she had been determined to climb that tree as high as her sister could. She had reached the first limb with the help of an older boy and, when she looked down from the limb, the four feet to the ground seemed like four hundred.
It was the first time she ever felt fear, real blood stopping fear. The ground seemed to sway beneath her, seemingly hundreds, thousands, of feet below. She looked up, eyes locking onto her older sister. Her sister was laughing, rocking on the branch with no care in the world. Henley had taken a deep breath before standing on shaky legs. She reached with her small hands to grab onto the tree and pull herself up to the next branch, but she was too small and, as she reached for the branch, she lost her balance and fell to the ground.
That was the last time she had ever done anything brave. That fall had terrified her, even though she was lucky and only scraped her hands and knees. It wasn't for lack of trying that she hadn't done anything brave in the past years. She had tried, really she had, but each and every time she chickened out. Every roller coaster was turned down at the last possible second; every camping trip was turned down for the sake of "other obligations" that didn't exist.
Henley sighed and closed the book. There was no use attempting to read when she was feeling sorry for herself. Why couldn't she have just been born brave? It was question she asked herself every day. Why couldn't she just be brave?
The teenager turned around to where her dad stood in the door to her room.
"Hey Dad." She said.
"What are you doing cooped up in here, baby doll?" Her Dad asked, walking over and sitting down on the seat beside her.
Henley just shrugged.
"There's nothing to do outside." She said.
"You could take your brother to the park." Her dad suggested, referring to her seven year old brother.
"Do I have to?" Henley asked. "You know he always wants me to climb the tree with him and he always throws a fit when I won't!"
"You could always climb the tree with him." Her Dad suggested.
Her Dad sighed and looked down at his hands. For a few moments they sat in silence. Then Mr. Reeves reached into his coat and pulled out a pair of black leather gloves. Henley looked at him curiously, wondering what he was doing and why he had pulled out a pair of gloves.
"What's that, Dad?" she asked.
"They were your grandmother's." Her Dad said, rolling the gloves over in his hand lovingly.
"Really?" Henley had been close to her grandmother when she passed away three years prior.
"You remember how she always wore gloves everywhere, even when it was summer?" Her Dad asked.
"Of course." Henley had always loved her grandmother's gloves. They were all leather, soft with age and small to fit her grandmother's small hands.
"Did she ever tell you why she wore them?"
Henley thought back, trying to remember.
"I don't think so. Why did she?"
"She called them her courage gloves." Her Dad explained, smiling fondly at the memories.
Mr. Reeve nodded.
"When your grandmother was little," he continued. "She was scared of everything. It got to be so bad that she would never even leave the house."
"What?" Henley asked in shock. "But Granny was the bravest woman I've ever known!"
"She was," Mr. Reeves smiled. "But when she was younger she wasn't. She use to tell me stories of all the things she was scared of. Heights, dogs, caves, needles. You name it, she was scared of it."
"How did she get over it?" Henley asked, still having a hard time picturing her grandmother as a coward.
"With these." Her Dad held the gloves up.
"Gloves?" Henley frowned, not making the connection.
"One day," her father said softly. "Her mother told her it was time to be brave. She gave her these gloves and told her that her mother had given them to her. She told your grandmother to wear them every time she felt scared and to remember that her mother had been there before her so there was no reason to be scared."
He paused in the story and held the gloves out to her. Henley looked up at him in surprise, before reaching out and taking the gloves lovingly. She ran her hands over the soft leather, remembering her grandmother stroking her face while encouraging her to take risks.
"It's your turn to have them, Henley." Her Dad announced. "Whenever you feel scared, just put them on and remember that your grandmother and her mother and her mother before that wore them and have been through it all before."
"Thanks Dad." Henley breathed, holding the gloves in one hand and giving her father a hug.
"You're welcome." He stood up. "Now, why don't you take your brother to the park?"
"Fine." Henley sighed and stood up, placing the gloves on the window seat.
"Thanks baby doll." Her Dad gave her another hug and walked out of the room.
Henley slipped on her jacket and started to walk out, but turned back to see the leather gloves still sitting where she had left them. Without really thinking, she walked back and tucked the gloves into her pocket. Her brother was already waiting for her and it was all she could do to keep him from running out into the traffic in his eagerness to get to the park.
"Will you climb the tree with me, Henley?" he begged once they reached the other side. "Pretty pretty please with a sugar and cherry on top?"
"I…" she paused, her hands in her pockets feeling the leather of the gloves. She remembered her Dad's words, her hand running over the smooth leather of her grandmother's courage gloves. "All right. I'll try."
"Yippee!" Her brother took off to the tree and Henley followed slowly.
When she reached the tree, she looked up and felt her heart skip a beat as fear coursed through her. She swallowed nervously and took out the gloves. For a moment, she started to put them back and turn around. But then, she slipped the gloves on and began to climb.