Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Thud. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.
The white shoes were ruffled with dirt, and normally it would bother her. She didn't like clean things getting dirty. Especially her things, things that were graced onto her. But right now, she was carefree. With the chains in her hand, and her feet pushing the dirt below her out; causing her whole body to fly up with the wooden seat under her; Caroline was like a bird. She had no need for shoes, or even the need to worry about dirt on her favorite pair of shoes. The white dress, pleated with flower patterns scattered across the material up to the waist; where a pink ribbon tied into a bow at her hip, fluttered in the wind as her body flew effortlessly back and forth with the swing.
She loved this time of day. School was never something she enjoyed, but what she did enjoy most of all was when it was declared as over, and she could return home for the day. Meaning more time with the only person in her life who she truly adored. Her daddy.
Of course, Caroline was a peoples person. She had to be. Growing up as the daughter of Oliver Thredson, who taught her to be polite to others, and was strict with set rules on how she should act, and how she should expect others to treat her - for no one was to cross his little girl - she had come to be very much like him. She could talk to others happily, but she did enjoy being alone. Oliver, when not attending to Caroline, was always in his office doing something. She wasn't sure what, but it always meant he was busy.
So right now, the small time she got before her father picked her up from school, was the only time she would get to play on the swings on her own until bedtime, when her father would tuck her in and return to his work.
"What a loser," Caroline's ears picked up, causing her swings to decrease as her eyes turned to look to the left. Focusing on a handful of children surrounding a boy on the floor, picking up his books. "no wonder your mom didn't want you, foureyes. You're such a nerd,"
Her feet now dragged across the floor, the seat coming to a complete hault. Her eyes focused on the boy on the floor, seemingly ignoring those around him. He had dark hair, a red jacket and a green bag pack on his back. Books were scattered around him, one by one he picked them up. His hand shifting every now and then to push the thick framed glasses up his nose and securely onto his face.
She always loved glasses. Often tried to convince her father to give her his, and once he agreed. She wasn't able to see a thing once the large things were on her face; and from what she could see in a mirror Oliver produce - after his small chuckling - they had magnified her blue eyes efficiently. Her daddy's glasses made him look smart, and professional. This boy was none the less. Her daddy wasn't a nerd, her daddy was a man. And the glasses came with that title, so this boy would one day be the same.
The one who seemed to be the ring leader leant forward, his hand pushing on the dark hair of the boy on the floor, jolting his body back to fall onto his behind completely. "Say it, spectacles! Admit your a nerd."
By this point, Caroline couldn't take it anymore. She stood up, leaving her light purple bag pack by the swing, and walked towards the huddled group and the boy with the red jacket.
"Leave me alone.."
"What? You're actually talking back? Oh, you're gonna get it, Morgan."
The ring leader raised his hand, clenching it into a fist. Focusing on the boy with the glasses, his view of him was obscured by the sight of a girl forcing her way in. Her hands rested on her hips, her deep blue eyes narrowed, and her dark hair pinned back with a small plastic pink burette by her left temple.
To say the surprise on the boys face was small would be a lie. "Go away, girl. This ain't got nothing to do with you."
"No," she spat back. "You go away, boy."
"What you gonna do, huh? Get your daddy on me?"
"Maybe I will. Or I can call out to Mrs. Smythe over there." Her head jerked towards the right of him, causing the boy to look. And sure enough, there was Mrs. Smythe talking to what he presumed to be some parents. "You really want to risk detention before spring break?"
Truthfully, he didn't. With spring break, it meant freedom and more time for playing. If he got a detention for the last week of school, he would without a doubt be grounded. "Not just for you, but all your friends too."
"Aw Jordan, I can't get another detention, I'm still grounded since the last time!" A boy left of the ring leader - who she now knew was Jordan - exclaimed, his hand moving out to take the boys arm. "C'mon... Lets just leave 'em. They ain't worth it."
"Yeah..." Jordan nodded. "You're lucky your little girlfriend here was here to save you, Morgan." Jordan spat, his foot kicking a book out the way. Caroline didn't stand down. In that moment, the group of boys turned off and walked away, laughing at the fact this 'Morgan' needed a girl to stick up for him.
Caroline turned around, looking down at the boy on the floor - trying to pick up his books. She leant down, and began to help him. Holding two within her hands, she held them out towards him.
"I didn't need your help," he snapped, snatching the book back.
"Sure didn't look that way." Caroline quipped back, holding out her hand to help him up.
The boy didn't take it, however. He pushed himself up off the floor, and pushed his glasses back up his face. "They're gonna be much worse now."
"Because you're a girl! They're gonna think I'm weak. Thanks a lot."
Caroline frowned, her own sense of anger bubbling within her.
"Fine. Next time deal with it yourself." She huffed.
"I will." He retorted.
Silence bloomed in, and the two just glared at one another. Behind the glasses, Caroline could see deep brown eyes. Lothe lingering in the darkness within his eyes reminded her of her father. Which reminded her more so, that he would be here soon.
"Why were they bullying you anyway?"
"Didn't you hear? Because I have glasses."
"That's a stupid reason," Caroline decided after a moment.
"Oh yeah? Why's that?"
"Because my daddy has glasses and I think he's handsome." She replied, giving a shrug of her shoulders. "Glasses are cute."
"Cute?" The boy seemed to be dumbfounded. Never in his life had he had someone call the blasted things on his face cute before. He was actually currently saving up for the things they called contact lenses. Using all his money he received from the system for them. He believed that if he got rid of the glasses, his problems would go.
"Yeah, they make your eyes look big and pretty..." Caroline continued, her anger seemingly going away as a smile found its way onto her features. The boy just stared at her, wide eyes, confusion written all over his pale face.
"I'm Caroline," she blinked after a few seconds of seemingly grinning to herself. If he didn't know any better, he might of presumed her insane. "What's your name? Or is it Morgan?"
"It isn't Morgan! Well, it is, but that's not my first name!"
"Oh? Then what is it?" She asked, tilting her head to the side; her hands falling to her side.
".. It's Johnny."
"Johnny Morgan. I like it," she smiled, looking over her shoulder towards the swing set. Merely to see if her bag was still there, and she spared a glance to the road - where her father's car usually stopped to pick her up. Thankfully, he wasn't there.
She turned back to the boy, who was still staring at her in confusion.
"D'you want to come swing with me? I can ask my dad to give you a ride home if you want?"
"I walk home." Johnny quickly responded, his head shaking side to side.
"Then he can drive to this once, and then maybe tomorrow I can ask if I can walk home with you!" She seemed to be in her own state of mind now. "I never get to walk home, my dad doesn't like it when because I'll be on my own. But if I'm with you, he might think it's okay."
Johnny didn't get a chance to respond, for she had already grabbed his arm and was pulling him towards the swingset. It seemed like he had no other option than to sit and endure this girl.
And he did, for a full fifteen minutes. Listening to her rattle on about her favorite TV show, her favorite color - which was brown by the way; she had said it almost four times now - her favorite type of animal, and her little stuffed rabbit which she had called Rosco. When he had asked why she had called it such a strange name - against his better judgement - she went on saying she had a neighbour once who had a dog called that, sadly they had moved away and she never saw the dog again. Having the stuffed teddy rabbit reminded her of the dog. How a rabbit was able to remind her of a dog, Johnny would never know. This girl was strange, and she sort of confused him. The boys in his class were right. Girl's were weird, especially this one. But what confused him the most was why she was actually talking to him, as if they were friends. He didn't know her at all - though it wouldn't seem that way now. He pretty much knew all there was to know about her now. So, did that... Make them friends?
Johnny had never had a friend before. He wasn't quite sure on how to go about it. Especially with having a friend... That was a girl. She was still talking - now on the subject of her father - smiling to herself as she blabbed on. He wasn't truly listening, he was just staring at her. Rocking slightly on the swing, her bag by her feet.
A car horn sounded, breaking Caroline from her blabbing. Her head snapped around, and then back to him - the smile haven grown twice the size on her face. "That's my daddy!"
She grabbed her bag, and took off towards the car. Well, maybe they weren't friends after all. This girl just liked to talk a lot. Picking up his own bag, Johnny turned and began to walk the opposite way. It was fun while it lasted, Johnny decided. Despite how odd she might've been, it was nice to have someone to talk to - who wasn't insulting him all the time. All good things had to end eventually. He knew better than to get his hopes up.
He looked over his shoulder to the girl standing by the open backseat door. She had a somewhat impatient look on her face.
"Don't just stand there! C'mon, silly!"
Surprise brushed all over him, and before he had a chance to contemplate anything; he decided it was best not to leave her, or her father waiting. Gripping onto his books, he began to ran towards the car. She slid into the car, and pulled the buckle over her small petite body.
Johnny followed, closing the door behind him. In front, a man turned around and looked at him. He too wore the thick framed glasses. Behind them, a set of razor brown eyes stared down at him. His lips were in a small, perhaps almost polite but warningful, smile. He was clean shaven, professional looking, and wearing a suit. After a matter of moments, he flicked his eyes between the two of them.
"Seatbelts?" He asked.
Johnny quickly put his around him.
"Alright, where too?" The male asked, turning around and starting the engine.
"Uh... The orphanage.. On maple street?"
There was a brief silence, until the man in the car ended it.
"I grew up in an orphanage. That was a long, long time ago though."
"Yeah.. It was pretty harsh, huh?"
"It still is..." Johnny answered, his voice going a little quiet.
"But you'll get out of there eventually. Handsome young chap like yourself, you'll be adopted quickly."
Yeah, that's why he was a nine year old who still had no family interested in him. Johnny didn't answer him, however. He merely gave a polite smile, and turned his eyes down. His hand that was resting beside him was grabbed, and warmth emitted around it. His eyes flicked to it, to find Caroline's hand had taken his. Looking up to her, he found her smiling at him. Johnny couldn't help the blush that took over his cheeks.
"So how long have you known Caroline?"
"We became best friends today, daddy!" Caroline replied quickly, before Johnny had a chance.
Honestly, he wasn't sure how to process that. He had never had a friend before, and even considering her as a friend was weird to him. But best friends? Weren't those the kind who had sleep overs, and told each other everything? He had only met her today! She was moving quickly, wasn't she?!
"Best friends, huh?" Oliver chuckled, peering over his shoulder to the two. "Well, I always said you'd find one eventually little dove."
Caroline giggled, her hand still in Johnny's. His palms were beginning to sweat, but she didn't mind. She didn't mind at all.
"So, what's your name, boy?"
"Johnny.." He replied, trying with all his might to get rid of the blush on his cheeks.
Oliver went silent for several pregnant seconds. He parted his lips, a serious sound in his voice when he eventually spoke.
"... Morgan, sir."
Again, silence. Oliver made a quick turn, and pulled to a stop. Peering out the window, Johnny was able to see it was his stop. And there was his home.
"Johnny Morgan..." Oliver seemed to be tasting the name on his lips. "It was a pleasure meeting you. You're a nice young man,"
"Doctor Thredson," he replied, a friendly smile now being offered.
"Thank you for the ride, Doctor Thredson..."
"You're very welcome."
Looking to his hand in Caroline's, he gave it a gentle tug and she let go. Pushing the car door open, Johnny unbuckled his seatbelt and slid out; dragging his bag with him.
"See you tomorrow, Johnny!"
Staring at the girl, waving at him, with a large smile on her face Johnny nodded. "See you tomorrow Caroline..."
He shut the door and stepped back. The engine began, and he turned to walk up the pathway of his home. Or, house, so it be. It wasn't a home. Not to him, anyway. A home is where you feel safe and welcome, Johnny felt neither in this place.
He looked over his shoulder to watch as the car took off, driving into the distance. For the first time in a while... He couldn't help but smile. It might've been a crappy day, but it had ended pretty great. Johnny not only met a girl - who was without a doubt the weirdest person he had ever met - and not only made a friend... But he now had a best friend. Things really might be looking up for him after all. Pushing the door open, he stepped inside and hung his coat up.
In the dim light of his office, Oliver stood over his desk; cigarette in his mouth. Smoke puffed from the end as he flicked through the main file. Ton's of them were scattered around the place, but this one had stuck out. It had been the one he had focused on the moment he had put Caroline to bed and bid her a goodnight.
So the bitch had lied in her book. Of course he had read it, why wouldn't he? It had made him a number one prime suspect in everything - along with the confession. Admittedly, he had been in hiding for a numerous amount of years. Up until Caroline was three, that was when everything blew over and it was said Doctor Thredson wasn't the murderer after all.
Of course, he was smart. He knew what he had to do in order to give Caroline the life she deserved. Being in hiding wasn't for her, and Oliver didn't want to seclude her into the world where she had no one but himself - despite how much he really did want that. It wouldn't just be them both forever. Not once he found what he was looking for. What he had always been looking for.
He had written a letter, one that had taken a great amount of planning and explaining, but he wrote it nonetheless and sent it to the police station. He had been named the killer, due to the confession tape. However, in his hand he wrote out on how Kit and Lana had tied him up and tricked the words from him; threatening the life of his baby. He wrote how he had said those things in hope they would spare his child, even if it meant his false conviction. He wrote on other things, plans Kit and Lana had made with 'me' and the elaborate plan on pinning everything on a spectacular doctor, merely because they were envious of his freedom.
'Dr. Thredson is a spectacular doctor, and I will not stand back to watch my biddings be passed on to a colleague of my own. I left it to them, [Lana and Kit] to decide who take my blame - for once they knew I threatened to kill them also - and came up with a story on how Lana was abducted and such. I had no idea she was going to blame it on the doctor. He would not have done those things to her, he is a kind man and is completely sane. The part Lana left out of her so called truthful book was that she intended to shoot this innocent man in his home after he allegedly raped her... When he had his soon to be wife in the house, who was carrying his child. Also, Lana Winters writes in her book that she was pregnant with Oliver's child. However, do you not find it coincidental that this child 'died' of a miscarriage, thus force having no proof he indeed got her pregnant? Doctor Thredson suffered greatly, losing his fiance and almost his child... But also his right to be free. He is innocent, and I am the one to blame.'
It continued on explaining his need to be in woman's skin, for the army deprived him of such needs, forcing him to go insane. It went on to explain why he had done it, how he had done it in great length, and then ultimately he had never wanted it to get to where it had done. He went on to say he will perish for his crimes in hell, and after this letter was sent; he was going to commit his life into hiding. Promising the police that they will never find him - somewhat a challenge for the police, and everyone knew the police couldn't resist such a challenge. Once he had been satisfied with the results, Oliver signed it off. But not as his own...
As Doctor Arden.
After a few months, it had worked. The police had declared Oliver as innocent, and asked - via newspapers - that he bring his child as proof that he had indeed once had a fiance, and was currently a father, to the station, where he would give his side of the story. Oliver had been reluctant, but he had to risk it. For his daughter.
Entering the station, with Caroline in his arms, the police were dumbstruck. A small interrogation went on, and Oliver's story matched up to that of the letter they had received. He played the part of a surprised, confused, innocent man who had been betrayed by his work colleague, and as a result lost everything he had. They explained that it was too late to bring Kit or Lana in to justice, as both had now upped and moved from the city and they would be using valuable police time and force. Once Oliver had said he wanted nothing done to them, as they were only trying to protect their own lives also, he just wanted Arden brought to justice, the police apologized after saying they would do all they could to find him, and let him be on his way. And that was the end of that.
Ever since then, he had dedicated his life to looking for his long lost son.
The file before him was one of many he had read. Over the years he had checked out thousands of children. Lana had written his child had died. Not once did he believe it. Not once would he let himself believe it. His child was out there, somewhere. He just had to find him. His son belonged with him. His son belonged with his father, and his sister.
And his searching had seemed to have come to a hault. His restless nights, continuous tossing and turning, his efforts had finally paid off. Looking at the documents before him now, everything added up. The date of birth, consistent with the date of being convinced. The unknown mother and father, being in the system since birth. The photo before him was what had him staring at it. Even now, he could remember Lana's defined cheekbones. He could remember her small button nose. Both consistent in what this boy before him had as a baby.
And now, having seen the boy in the flesh, Oliver was able to see himself in the boy also. The dark brown eyes, the sharp jawline. This was him. This was his son. His Johnny.
He wanted him. He wanted to go to that orphanage and demand to 'adopt' what was his, but having had his name cleared only a mere few years ago - it would look odd that he was to adopt a son after being accused of raping a woman and getting her pregnant. He should be happy to have his daughter, and now his freedom. But Oliver yearned for his son, he longed for that family he had once believed he could have had. The family he had almost had. The family she had wanted.
His eyes flicked to the photo on his desk, Carolyn's mug shot when she had been admitted to Briarcliff. He had other photographs, of course. He had taken them during her pregnancy, and had them in a book. Waiting patiently for the next time Caroline wished to see her mother. But this one, this one was his. This reminded him of the woman he had met in that dreary place, who had given him everything he could had wanted and more. This was his reminder that even in the darkest of places, there was a light.
His light had vanished nine years ago. When the woman he had been searching for all his life had been taken from him. He sometimes could imagine her being there. Feel her arms on his skin, feel her warmth and softness against him. But what plagued him most was her words. They would come every night, in his dreams, and sometimes when he lay awake.
'Mommy loves you.'
He exhaled a deep cloud of smoke, taking the cigarette from his lips and flicking it into the ashtray. This wasn't the time to be in self-pity for the woman he had lost. It was now time to focus on what he needed. His son. His daughter. Once he had them both, he would finally be complete. Ever since Carolyn's death, Oliver hadn't harmed another woman. He hadn't even looked at them. None of them had the skin like Carolyn did. None of them had the heart Carolyn had. They were worthless to him. The only woman he would love would be his daughter.
As each day passed, Caroline grew to be more and more like her mother. The high cheekbones. The rich blue eyes. She had his dark hair, but she was her mother through and through. Stubborn, fun, loving. Oliver was convinced Caroline was the reincarnation of his Carolyn. And although he knew he would never get the chance to be with his Carolyn again, due to the fact she was now his daughter, he could still love her and be there for her. Only as a father now, and not as her husband; or 'son.' She wasn't his mommy anymore, it was his turn to be the parent.
Oliver looked over his shoulder to his office door, now open.
"Caroline? What are you doing up? It's past your bedtime."
"I had a nightmare..."
Oliver gave a deep sigh, and sat himself down onto his chair. "Come here then, little dove."
She wandered over, her lilac night down brushing just above her feet with every step she took. Once she was close enough, Oliver picked her up and placed her onto his knee. She nuzzled her head into his chest, getting comfortable. Her eyes were heavy, but still open. With an arm wrapped around her small frame, Oliver slowly began to twist the revolving chair side to side.
He received a yawn in return, and then her head perked up to look at his desk.
"Who's that, daddy?" Caroline asked, pointing her hand towards the open file. Evidently to the photo of the baby clipped to the top. He quickly moved forward and pulled the photo from the file, and flicked it shut. He couldn't have her reading his name, after all. Settling himself back into the chair, Caroline now sitting herself up to look at the baby in the picture. Her eyes sparkled with amazement. She had always adored pictures of babies... Just like her mother had.
"How would you feel if that was to become your brother?"
Caroline looked up to him, wonder dancing in her eyes. "My brother?"
"Well, just as long as I'm older. I want to be the bigger one."
"Of course.." He nodded slowly.
"And I still want my own room..."
"That can be arranged."
Caroline smiled at him, her teeth on full show. Little dimples in the center of both her cheeks.
"I'd love a little brother... He can be mine to play with when you're busy."
"And for us both to play with when I'm not," Oliver added, a smile growing on his own face. "Only he won't be a baby anymore, Caroline. He's only a little bit younger than you.."
"That's even better! No stinky diapers, or crying."
He gave a gentle chuckle, his head nodding in agreement to her. "So you want him, yes?"
"Then it's done.." Oliver smiled, taking the photo back and pushing it onto the desk. He shifted her on his leg, and pulled her in closer. His chin resting on her head.
"When will we have him, daddy?"
"Soon. Very soon, little dove." And he meant it. He would have his son back. Even if it killed him. He pressed a kiss to Caroline's head, listening to her as she settled herself down. "Why don't we invite your friend to dinner tomorrow..."
"Johnny?" She asked, her voice a little quieter and groggy. She was obviously falling asleep.
"Yes. We can have him over for dinner, so you can play with him for longer."
"I like that idea." Caroline whispered, her hand clasping the white fabric of his shirt.
"I like that idea too." Oliver replied, noting that Caroline had become awfully heavy in his arms, her breathing steady and even. With one look down, he saw that she was fast asleep. Pressing yet another kiss to her forehead, his eyes flicked up to the photo of Carolyn. "All of us together having a nice family meal. I like that idea very much..."
And here it is guys! The epilogue as promised.
I hope the wait hasn't been too long. And I must say, it was terribly hard writing this... For it means it truly has come to an end.
I decided to keep the whole 'insane Thredson' vibe going on, as well as the whole 'good father' thing. Thinking his daughter is the reincarnation of the woman he loved? Pretty out there, huh? But don't worry. He's not that crazy that he'd actually molest his own flesh and blood. Just protect what is his.
And, call me sick, but I oddly ship Johnny/Caroline. I know, I know. They're brother and sister, but they're only half!
I don't know what it is... It might just be because they had a cute little argument, and I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. Maybe I can just ship them in a brother/sister relationship way? Yes. Lets go with that, that way I don't get called a incest lover, or something.
So, what did you guys think? I hoped you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. It honestly has been a privilege writing this for you guys. I didn't expect it to become this popular, with all of you begging for more. Thank you for all the PM's asking for this, it really helped to kickstart my muse. Also, thank you for every follow, fav and review. They made my day. Each and every one of them.
I love you all. You're all amazing.