Fic: Do You Dream, Daddy?
part 1 of ?
Spoilers through entire first season. Warning for angst. I am an angst whore.
Rating: PG for now but destined to be NC-17 eventually 'cause I'm a dirty girl and I have unsatisfied wants. :o)
Apologies for grammatical and spelling errors. This is unbeta'd and will certainly reflect that fact.
The horror of a roar fueled them and they ran. No well planned relocation, no cancellation of utilities, no change of address, no packing, no time. Without so much as a goodbye to the sitter, the Jackmans' disappeared into the fabric of the invisible. It was for the best, of course, but it hadn't been an easy task for Tom, uprooting his family after all they'd suffered through, after all they'd survived. But it remained a matter of survival, fleeing from a deadly predator. Utterson's words echoed in his mind, just as Hyde's had before, thick with threat. "Kiss for mommy." Fear had paralyzed him. Instinct made him run. So Tom ran from the room, from the house, the town, and never stopped.
Within one night, his prosperous lifestyle had degraded into one of bare existence. They were a fugitive family now, intent on leaving an untraceable path. The assets had been ceased almost immediately, evidence of a life crafted by Klein & Utterson. The only possession they'd manage to salvage, besides the clothes on their backs and the cupboards worth of food and drink, was the Audi which had served as a no-questions-asked, paperless trade in for the first operational used van Tom had found. He knew it might come to living out of what little space the vehicle offered so he made sure to find something as suitable as he could manage. Until then, hotels hidden among the back roads became home.
It had been a long day of driving so Harry and Eddie were welcoming resting on a proper mattress. It didn't take long for the pair to succumb to sleep under Tom's gentle persuasion. He carefully tucked the slumbering boys into their shared twin bed and turned around to see Claire fluffing up the remaining pillow she'd found stashed in a closet.
"This isn't quite what I had in mind for an anniversary night," Claire whispered and flashed Tom a smile, one of understanding but hinting at the regret she tried so hard to mask. "But it makes for one wild blind date." She invited him over with a pat.
"I'm sorry. We can't risk…"
"I know, Tom. You don't have to keep saying it."
"I'll make it up to you and the boys somehow." He took a seat beside her and folded his hands between his legs. The stress of the situation was plain on his creased features.
"I hardly think the inconveniences of keeping us alive require apologies."
"I wish there was another way."
"So do I. And maybe if we keep going, we'll find one."
It never ceased to amaze him, her strength and how it fed him. "Where did I ever find you?" He smirked.
"I'd try to take all the credit but I'm not so sure it was either of our doing. " She shrugged, obviously bothered. "Perhaps it was posted in the quarterly profits statement of Klein & Utterson."
"I love you. They can't manufacture that."
"Funny, because that is exactly what they would have us believe."
"I don't believe it. Not for one second."
"I hope you're right."
"What they said, what they claimed, it doesn't mean a thing, Claire. All the money, power, all the science in the world… it means rubbish with us. *We* found each other, not them."
"I wish I could be as certain as you."
"Then I'll be certain enough for both of us." He cupped her cheek, consoling her with a gentle caress of his thumb. "Just tell me you love me."
"I love you. At least I'm sure of that one."
They kissed, tender and sincere but chaste. Tom still couldn't dare any more.
The boys took to the change much as one would expect. At first it was exciting but once the novelty wore off, they began to act out. The previously innocent sibling rivalry had dissolved into all out brawls. Tom had lost count of how many times Claire had to break up a slapping match in the back of the van. Most of the time, Harry chose to express his frustrations by creating fortresses out of any materials he could find in the hotel room. Once the pillow and suitcase stronghold was finished, he'd retreat inside and remained there until the next meal call or his preferred cartoon show came on. Since each of them was coping in their own unique ways, it didn't strike Tom as terribly odd when Eddie took to drawing stick figures in slightly disturbing situations. After all, the boy had faced down death more than once, thanks and no thanks to Hyde. But upon examining one particular distressing artistic representation of Tom's former dark half, he saw words scribbled almost illegibly beside the figure that was always sketched in bold red marker. "I'm coming."
"You like it, Daddy?" Eddie smiled proudly at his father's inspection of the piece.
"Yes, it's… it's quite… erm, fetching." Tom glanced over to see the confused look on Eddie's face. "It's fantastic, Eddie. I especially like the red. "
"I like red. Billy likes red, too."
It had never been clear to Tom how the boys interpreted the events of more than six months prior. The occasional discussion lead him to believe they still considered Billy a separate entity, forever the long lost uncle. It somehow made it better for Tom, easier. So he accepted it, dreading the day he would have to explain otherwise.
"About Billy, what's this written here?" Tom gestured.
"He's coming, Daddy."
"What makes you say that?"
"He said so."
"Eddie, you know Uncle Billy isn't coming back, don't you?"
"He's coming, Daddy."
"I'm afraid not ever again."
"Oh yes, he's coming. We see him."
The confession sent a shiver through Tom. "What do you mean you see him?"
"In our dreams. Harry saw him just last night in the garden. He was on the swing. I miss the swing."
"Ah, your dreams." Tom couldn't help his relief.
"Do you dream of him, Daddy?"
He didn't answer. The truth terrified him.
Do you dream, Daddy?
Sure you do. Everyone dreams. I dream too. But who are you when you let go and dream? Are you Tom the father, the husband, the man? Or are you me, the monster, the psychopath… the super man? You'd never tell, would you, old man? But I don't have to ask. I know, don't I?
Do you feel the sting of those holes that burn, blam, blam, blam… one after another after another. I do. Tickles, don't they? Can you feel your arms go weak, your legs go numb, your heart beats slow as your breath quiets. There's peace, you know? That moment your mind goes black and cold and oh so very lonely.
But you're not alone. No, she's there, your Claire, my Claire. She's always there, our pretty Claire. Do you dream of her, Daddy? Do you dream of Claire? I do. I dream of her scent, her touch, her taste. I still taste her. Do you? Can you taste her now? Can you touch her without me? Bet you can't. Bet you won't even try.
I'm coming, Daddy… coming for my Claire.
Tom woke sitting upright, his heart pounding, heaving breaths, sweat dripping from his brow and hands clenched and trembling.
Claire squinted through the dark, slowly focusing on him. "Are you alright?" she asked softly, trying to avoid waking the boys.
"Uh… what?" He worked to steady himself. "I'm fine. It was… it was a dream."
"That must have been some dream." She pushed herself up to anchor back against the wall. She reached out and took his hand in hers, startled at how cold it was. "I hope I was good." She smirked, trying to coax a smile from him. When he didn't oblige, she began to worry. "Are you sure you're alright?"
"Fine. I'm fine."
"Was it that terrible woman again?"
"Woman?" It took a moment for him to decipher her question. "Yes, it was."
"They won't find us. You've seen to it."
"Do you? Do you really? You barely sleep as it is. You're nearing undead status, Tom. You can't go on like this. Maybe we should see a physician."
"You know we can't do that. The Institute seems to own everything, Claire. There's no telling where, if anywhere, we could go without arousing suspicion."
"We need to do something. I'm worried about you." Claire pleaded but Tom seemed miles away. Her gaze drifted south to the dark tuft of curls peeking out from his shirt. She wasn't about to be ignored and reached up to chance a touch only to stop cold. Her eyes went wide with shock.
"My God, what have you done to yourself?" She gasped.
Tom blinked, drawing himself back from his daze. "What?"
"For Heaven's sake, Tom, you're bleeding."
Confused, he glanced down to see a crimson stain spreading along the white shirt clinging to his chest. It was only when the second stain bloomed that he felt his breath grow short, soon followed by the pain.