[profile] 7s_prompts 14.2.3. Children begin...

Sep. 9th, 2010 01:50 pm
theirgoldenboy: (This weight on my shoulders)
[personal profile] theirgoldenboy
3. "Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them." - Oscar Wilde

It wasn't supposed to be like this.

The four of them had been told the stories, over and over and over again. First, each by his own father. Then, more and more often, Caleb was drawn into those talks by his godfather, rather than his father. For a couple of times, he loved it, because it meant he and Pogue could bounce things off of each other, questions and ideas and just spend more time together. He and his best friend and his best friend's dad.

Until he overheard the random harsh word, from the hallway. About his own dad being hypocritical in attempting to teach him moderation.

William would still talk to him about magic, and those talks were awesome - interesting, exciting, always new, like there was a fire burning in his dad that seemed to set Caleb aflame, too.

It took him more time than it should have (he realized after the fact) to connect the dots.

That it was a fire and his father was stepping inside of it and letting it burn all through him. Burn him out.

He tried to tell him, once and once only. To remind him what they'd been all taught. His father scared him then. Didn't threaten him, but scared him. The laughter that he laughed. The flare-then-blackness of his eyes, so quick, and so close. And the gentle, soft ... wrapping that the Power made him feel. Soft and gentle and safe, and when William told him with that deep, familiar voice of his that all would be okay, he believed it. And all the argument how he only wanted him to be all right and not get drained away by Using went right out of his head.

Until he was alone in his room and looked at his palm, where it had been against the back of his father's head when he'd hugged him, and it was covered by fine gray hairs, stuck to his skin by the late spring's heat. That had never happened before. It wasn't happening when he hugged any of the others' fathers, either.

William wouldn't be okay.

He knew, then. He didn't think to blame him about it, to judge him for not holding on, to figure what it meant about how much his father cared about his family, about his friends - not for years and years to come yet. Not until he was crying helplessly at the feet of a man too old to move or even breathe on his own, who couldn't reach to touch him anymore, wouldn't hold him, or his mother, or anybody else. Because he chose so. Caleb was a teenager then, and people expected him to have emotional outbursts or what not anyway.

Some, at least, expected him to have other outbursts, too.

He didn't. Either variety.

Of course, there were his mother's outbursts that somewhat covered for both of them.

At first, when she had taken to the bottle (well, figuratively speaking, Caleb thought with his lip curled up), there had been an au pair. Just because, grieving widow, relatively young child, alcohol. But he had worked hard to persuade everybody - from his mother on out - that he could take care of himself and of her, hard enough that they believed him. In time, the two of them alone in the big old house was typical. There was sometimes a cook who came; sometimes, Evelyn would make endeavors in the area herself. With time, Caleb took over that, even if his work wasn't exactly elaborate. And if he messed up, well, there were enough restaurants in Ipswich that delivered; delivery to one of the mansions was pretty much an advertisement of its own, and if it was a pre-teen-going-on-teenager who ordered, so what. The payments were in full, his mother was sometimes present on delivery, nobody ever suggested there was something wrong with that. Rich people.

Old money.

Fat lot good that did to him. Or his mother.

No, that wasn't fair, and he knew it wasn't. They weren't broke, struggling for pennies, alone and on the streets; they were rich, and settled, and they had friends and sympathy and he had a good school to go to, a chance to be around his friends, a chance to learn about what was coming to him and try to find ways to not become the same that his father did.

But it didn't bring his father back. It didn't bring solution. Only some relief.

Some.

Unlike Reid's mother, his hadn't been trying to enter into this society; the money or status wasn't what she'd married into - that had been something, but she had been a Spenser graduate herself, with a lot of what that implied - wealth of her own included. Rather than be blinded by it, she had accepted it as slightly better than par for her course, but not the realization of all her dreams, not what she'd wanted.

William had been that. Or seemed that.

And him, she had lost as completely, or even more so, than what the world knew about it.

It was years before those words came. A couple of years almost before his mother started dropping hints; a while before he registered them, what with the first taste of powers, and school changes, and Spenser and how he gave up on the boarding part of that. Before he realized, fully, what they meant.

Before they started to hurt.

"Lose you like I lost him."

"So much like him."

"That's what he said."

No matter how many times he reassured her and demonstrated to her that it wasn't so, they would return.

Not during the day. Not when she was relatively sober - or, on occasion, occupied. Not when there were people there, either. Even with the rest of the families only, she would not talk about her husband, not unless somebody really insisted; and even then, she would not, under any circumstances, connect what happened to him with what might happen to Caleb.

But alone, as the afternoons crawled into evenings, or when he'd studied late and came down - or back - to check on her, get her to bed, all of that.

They always came back.

And they always hurt.

And for a while, he wanted to be angry at her. No, for a while, he was angry at her, fire churning in the brown eyes, jaw set, fists clenched.

But he couldn't hate her for it.

He knew.

She was afraid. And she was helpless. And she was hurt. And she couldn't help it. And while he could judge her, blame her, for not being there for him when he needed her, he couldn't, ever, hate her. Or even fail to understand.

Her, he could forgive.

His father, he couldn't.

Not even when he gave his life for him, even that complicated the issue. Issues. Good Lord above, it complicated everything. As though his life had been simple.

It wasn't a fix for anything that his father handed him. It was means for survival, at least he thought so, at that point. But it wasn't a fix for anything, power never was. Not the power of money, not the power of magic, not the power of influence.

He didn't think his father ever learned that.

Then again, it was now too late to know what his father had learned. It had always been too late.

That, he couldn't forgive him.

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Caleb Danvers

July 2011

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