Pinkie Promise


aura_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Pinkie Promise
Synopsis Daddy's little girl demands one.
Date December 9/10, 2019

RayTech, Richard and Elisabeth's Apartment

The apartment is in nearly full dark except for the nightlights in each room, left burning in case of children up in the night… or their mother needing them. They're dim; to him it might as well be daylight, despite dawn still being several hours away. The details of the room and the newly decorated tree are in sharp focus for him. With Blossom, the ever-present raggedy puppy, and Petal, the newer one that Uncle Felix gave her for her birthday this year, Aurora has created a space for herself in the corner where the tree sits… and she is mostly completely out of sight. Anyone else would miss the tiny blanket-wrapped mound tucked beneath and to the back of the Christmas tree in the dark. Maybe that was the point. But her dad isn't just anyone else.

Richard’s leaving in a day, and the anxiety of getting everything ready for the trip has him slipping to his old sleep schedule — which is staying up all night. He pads out of the bedroom in just a pair of sweatpants and starts to cross the room floor, slowing as he notices something… head tilting, a smile softening his expression.

Slowly walking over, he eases down to a knee, murmuring, “Hey there, little rainbow. You awake?”

The little sandy-blonde head nods slightly, hazel eyes that match his own seeking out his face in the dark. She looks a bit woeful. It's a significant difference from her excitement and pleasure over Daddy getting all the colored lights in the world. Her chin rests atop her knees as she peers between tree branches at his shape in the dark. "Me an' Blossom an' Petal … we wanted to sit under the tree an' talk to God." There's an angel on top of the tree. "We don't like that you hafta go on boats, Daddy."

“Why’s that, baby girl?” Richard shifts to fully sit, leaning against the wall beside her, reaching a hand over to gently ruffle at her hair, “I know you haven’t had a great time with boats, but I’ll be back before you know it.”

Looking up at him with solemn eyes, the little girl scoots closer to his side to cuddle up. She's young enough that time is a fluid concept, but some things make a big impact. And the fact that colored lights have gone up for Christmas and now daddy's going on a boat, well…

"I almost drownded in the ocean in the water place," she confides. "An' then we went to Mr. Crazy's city under the ocean, but pirates tried to sink us. It was lots of shooty boats an' I dont want you to get shooted by pirates."

“Oh, Aura…” Richard wraps his arm around her, pulling her in against his side. “I won’t get shot by pirates. There aren’t any pirates here, well, not any that I’m going to run into. We’re flying most of the time anyway, so it’ll be okay.”

One finger taps her nose playfully, “Besides. If any pirates show up, they’re the ones who are gonna get shooted.”

"Are you sure there's no pirates?" Aurora asks, snuggling in tight. "The ocean is real big. Are you good at shooting bad peoples? Cuz they shoot a lot when you go places they don't want you to." She's perhaps picking up on her mother's tension on that front, not wanting her father anywhere that makes her Mummy worry. "Mummy said it's okay, nobody's going to shoot you, and no boats will chase you, but… she has that buzzy feeling sometimes when you talk about goin'. We don't like it." She and her stuffed animals. She sighs. "Things happen when Mummy buzzes."

The little girl pauses and says, "I don't wanna go wif you, but maybe you better take Unca Kain and Mummy wif you. Cuz they always make the bad guys sorry. And maybe Nana too, cuz she makes water bombs explode." That idea brightens her up. "Unca Kain and Mummy will keep you safe."

“You need your mommy here to keep you safe, little rainbow,” Richard observes with a shake of his head, “But don’t worry. I’ll have your Uncle Devon and Aunt Quinn, and your Gramma Chel will be with us too, so everything will be fine.”

He leans in, conspiratorially whispering, “I’m even better at shooting bad peoples than your mommy, but don’t tell her I said that.”

Tipping her head, narrowing her eyes and she looks at him intently, she has an expression that he knows awfully well — his wife wears the same expression when she's weighing the odds on something. Aurora finally shakes her head. "Nope. Nobody's better'n Mummy at shootin' bad guys," she decides. "She can shoot 'em on stairs when they're chasin' us. An' she threw pirates off a boat in a big ol' storm with her 'bility while they shooted at us. That was when me an' Evie saw the skellies."

She pats his arm consolingly. "But you never had pirates, so it's okay. I bet you're at least as good as Unca Felix at shootin' bad guys." What the actual hierarchy of best shooters might be is a little nebulous there.

Richard can’t help but laugh softly at his daughter’s decision. “She is really good at it,” he admits with a grin and a shake of his head, “Maybe she’s just gotten more practice than me lately. But I’m pretty good. Promise.”

She sighs dramatically and lays her head on his arm. Aurora hesitates and then she looks up. "You can't break pinky promises, Daddy." He knows that. He already made her one — that she didn't have to go into the tunnel bridges anymore. She can't sleep tonight, and she searches his face, tentatively asking him with solemn eyes, "Pinky promise you will come back?"

Richard considers her for a moment, then holds up his hand, offering her a pinkie. “I’ll come back,” he tells her gently, “I promise. There isn’t a force on this or any other Earth that can keep me from you, or Ricky, or Lili.”

It’s an unfair promise to make, maybe, but he can’t deny it to his daughter.

She wraps her tiny finger around his and holds tight. She's holding him to that promise. And then Aurora scrambles out of her blanket to drag it and her two companions into her daddy's lap. Sitting under his chin like that, she cuddles in. "You put lots an' lots of lights on it," she murmurs. "They're so happy. I like it when they come on. Can we stay here wif the tree an' the lights, Daddy? I don't want to sleep."

Once she’s settled into Richard’s lap, he wraps his arms around her and keeps her snug and warm in against his chest, all cuddled in comfortably. “We can stay here a little while,” he murmurs, kissing the top of her head, “And I’m glad. Your mommy told me that you like the lights, so I wanted to put enough up for you.”

"Did you know sometimes kids don't even have Chris'mas? I was sad for my friends at school when they said they din't have a tree or nothin. Cuz I'm always sad when we can't have one. But then they said they get presents for a whole week." Aurora cuddles up close, her small body relaxing. "That's primal," she yawns. "But I don' wanna give up a tree for candles. I don't like candles so much. They have fire, but it doesn't keep you warm and it makes scary shadows. When there's lots of shadows an' I'm scared, I awways pertend one of the shadows is you, so I don' hafta be scared no more. I used to pertend they were Birdie, but then I found out you were Birdie, so that was primal too. An' Cassie got us some colored lights so we dint have candles. They runned on a battery an' some of the lights dint work, but it was better, even if it was still really cold."

The little girl's train of thought, as always, goes in mutiple directions at once, and she's only seven — and a young seven at that — so her sense of how far apart some of those things were is skewed. But her memories are clear enough. "We're very lucky cuz we gots heat now. I like when it's warm, Daddy. I'm glad you don't have candles an' fires to cook on. Izzit okay if we leave cookies for Santa? I don' know if he can find us anymore, but maybe if we put out cookies?" She asks so hopefully. "I was askin' th' angel to tell God where we are now so he can find us, and to ask God to keep you extra safe in your boat when you go away."

“I’m sure we can leave cookies for him,” Richard chuckles softly, watching her with a tender smile; sad for her injured innocence and the hurt she’s had, but touched by her trust in him. “Pretty sure that Santa knows where to find us. He’s good like that.”

“And those other kids have their own kind of Christmas,” he notes, “It’s just different from ours. They call it Hannukah. That’s with the candles and the presents for a week.

"Yeah, that's the word," Aura agrees readily. She's getting heavier, slowly drifting back toward sleep in her safe haven. "I asked th' angel to take care of Unca Felix an' Unca Kain, too," she tells him softly. "Cuz they got lots of sad. I'm makin' cards for them. Daddy? What do you want for Chris'mas?"

“They’ll love the cards, I’m sure. And I’m sure the angel will take an extra look in on them for you,” says Richard gently, his head shaking a little at the weight the child has to bear. As she sinks in more, he shifts to curl his arms more full around her, answering her question in a soft tone, “I just want my family here with me and happy, that’s all.”

"Me too," Aurora sighs happily. She's warm and content, drowsy in her daddy's arms. "I got you and Mummy an' Mommy Harm'ny an' Ricky an' Lili an' Aunt Kaylee an' Unca Felix an' Unca Kain, an' ev'rybody … an' there's no shooting and no robots 'cept Alia's an' no boats. It's the best Chris'mas ever."

“It will be,” Richard promises her, kissing his daughter on the top of the head, “I promise.”

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License