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DISCLAIMERS: Standard disclaimers. Lancer and the characters are not
mine, but the story is.
SUMMARY: Can just one word really be that bad??
The word was barely uttered. Then he waited, but not for long.
A blanket of warmth quickly shrouded his less than chilled body, but it was the tightened constriction around his shoulders that led to his barely audible moan of approval. While basking in the warmth of something he could never remember feeling, he placated his slightly disgruntled conscious with the small fact that, while his body hadn't really been cold, his soul was now being warmed in a way that had been missing for a very long time. Actually, never, that he could truthfully remember.
With a deep sigh he knew would be mistaken for an unconscious reaction of a blissful sleep, he snuggled closer to the solid presence next to him. This comfort would never be offered to him if he was awake, and even if by some miracle it was, he would never be able to accept it under those conditions. Only now, as he feigned sleep, would both of them be able to share a gesture acceptable only for comforting the very young.
He deserved this. He had been robbed of this experience when it would have been acceptable, so he wasn't above side stepping the bounds of honesty with his small fib. And of the man who held him? Wasn't he too being given a second chance to regain all that had been lost? All that had been stolen from him, too?
As he lay quietly, he could hear the beating of his father's heart beneath his ear. It was a steady tempo, a soothing rhythm, one that warmed him as much, if not more, than the downy quilt encasing his weary body or the strong arms that held him in place. His mind gently pondered things that could have been, should have been, but would never be. Only here and now, in this moment of solitude, would he find solace for his lost youth.
When he woke -- when admitted to being awake -- the spell would be forever broken. He wasn't a little boy anymore. He wasn't entitled to these small gestures of comfort now that he had reached his manhood. But for now, because of one small semi-untruth, he would be that little boy, and he would do so without guilt.
He deserved this. They both deserved this.
Tomorrow would be time enough for real truths, although this little fib would never be spoken of between them. Tomorrow would be time enough for the frictions, the annoyances, the heated words to resume.
"Rest now, Johnny," a soft voice murmured from above his head. "Tomorrow will come too soon."
Smiling, he realized that his father already knew the truth, already knew of his tiny deception. However, for the remaining hours of the night, he would let them be just father and son. Comforter and child. Stealing from time a few hours of a past that had never been.