Author: Vernon Bruce
Sexuality: Affection, support, kindness.
Summary: Your parents are your parents, no matter how old you are.
Disclaimer: The characters are the property of Joss Whendon Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Productions 18 Century Fox, WB Network, etc. The situation is mine, and I don't mean to infringe upon any copyrights.
Notes: Feed back is greatly appreciated. This is in the same time line as FOREVER AFTER.
Dedication. In memorandum to V.W. Pearl, who given his own wounds did the best he could.
Rupert sat in the twilight of the street lamp shining into his living room. Deeper shadows were cast against the gloom where ever a piece of furniture interrupted the flow of light. He held a small, inexpertly, made pipe rack. His fingers caressed its imperfect finish and traced the holes that held the pipes in place.
“Father,” he whispered to the darkness. He remembered, how the man had towered over the ten year old as he presented his gift. “Happy birthday, Father.”
“Well, Rupert. You should have done a final sand with a finer grit and the drill bit you used to make the holes was too large, but thank you.” The stern faced man set the trinket aside with out another glance and lay his pipe on the coffee table.”
Rupert, the man, hung his head exactly as the boy had. The wounds ran deep. He'd never known until the old man died and he and his brother had sorted through his things. There in a drawer, wrapped in a old silk shirt, padded on all sides like it was a precious heirloom, was the pipe rack. There had been other things, both brother's baby bracelets, the internal memo announcing that Rupert had become a full fledged watcher. His mother's engagement ring. A host of trifles, that together meant the world.
A quiet sob shook Rupert's frame.
“Why couldn't you say?” he asked the air.
“Beloved,” spoke a soft voice from the base of the stairs.
“Willow, I didn't mean to wake you.” Rupert managed to keep his voice even, but she still sensed his pain.
“You didn't, Buffy, or Xander, decided to dance on my bladder again.” She moved to his side. The new life she carried within bulging against her other wise slender silhouette.
“Love I...” began Rupert. He wanted to be alone. As much as he loved her, there were dark places in his soul he didn't want her to see.
Willow settled beside him on the couch. Even in the half light her eyes glistened. “It's the third night this week. I think you need to talk.”
Rupert hung his head. “You're probably right, you usually are.”
“Of course, I'm a woman.” Willow's teeth flashed white in the darkness, then her face became attentive.
“It... It... I don't want to become my father. Gods, Willow, I hardly shed a tear at his funeral. All stiff upper lip, now years later.”
Willow took his hand in hers and watched him.
“I feared and idealised him when I was little. He was so strong and he seemed to know everything. Then I hated him. Wanted to destroy everything he loved. Turned my back on him. Gods he was insufferable, opinionated, condescending, demanding, supercilious, cold. Everything had to be his way, there was no room for anything else. He never had a good thing to say about either of his sons but everyone else's children. Gods, Willow, I hated him!”
“But?” her voice was even, smooth, loving.
“He was my father, and I loved him too. I told you that his health gave out before he died. Neither Christopher or I could stand the thought of living with him, so we put him in a home. It was a nice place. They let him keep his books and live with as much dignity as his health allowed.
“Gods, even then he was demanding. I tried to talk to him but... How can you talk to someone who will never admit they could have made a mistake?”
Rupert snorted. “Beloved, please, I'm not fathering you when I say this, talk to your parents while they're still here. Make them listen, tell them what you need to.”
Willow rested her head on his shoulder. “Why now?”
“Our little one. People tend to parent like their parents. I fear that I'll be just like him. I know he's part of me. Some times it is so hard for me to tell you how much I love you. How much you mean to me.”
“You always manage. I've never doubted that you loved me.”
“It is easier with you, but I still have to remind myself. I fear that I may never let our child know how much I care.”
“Rupert, you will. You never fail me. You have so much love. You'll show them because you know you should show them. Doing the right thing for the people you love is part of who you are.”
“I hope so. I dread that our child will never know that I care until they find some hidden tressure trove after I'm dead.”
“Willow held him as tears flowed from his eyes. “Why couldn't he say just once that he was proud of me?” he asked.
“It wasn't his way. Didn't he ever say anything.”
“Oh yes, after he died my aunt told me how he would brag to her about me. To me silence, as if telling me would some how take something away from him.”
“Rupert, you aren't like him. You are the most loving man I've ever known. You'll tell our little one what's in your heart.”
“Willow kissed his tear dampened cheek.”
“What did I ever do to deserve you,” He turned his head and kissed her.
“You've been Rupert Giles. Sweet, warm, loving, even if you are a bit of a fuddy duddy some times. Rupert, I love you. Out of nearly seven billion people on this planet, I picked you. That should tell you something about the type of man I think you are.”
“If ever there was a gift from the gods, Willow, it was you being part of my life.”
Rupert set the pipe rack on the coffee table and placed a long disused pipe in it. Teeth marks were visible on the stem.
Willow stood. “I'm going back to bed, in a minute. I swear your child is going to be a tap dancer.”
Rupert smiled and watched his greatest reason for being start up the stairs. He looked at the pipe rack. The pipe sat steady and the joins held firm after all the years. “I love you too Fa... Dad.” he spoke to the air. Standing he climbed the stairs to join his love and the unborn child he intended to cherish with word and deed for the rest of his days.
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