My Father by Shybob


Summary: Fourteen years after *Rain of Fire* a boy thinks about his family.


Spoilers: Rain Of Fire, Season Four.


Notes: Futurefic, AU.



They say that my father was a hero, that he was a good man, and that he was taken before his time. They say that they miss him terribly, and they are so very sorry he is gone. But they are lying to me. I can see it in the oh-so-subtle glances exchanged every time the topic of my father comes up. And I see the way that they look at each other when they think no one is watching, and the tenderness that accompanies their most casual touches.

My name is Brandon Liam Connor Chase, and people say I'm a bastard. Don't pity me, though. Life isn't so bad, except for the fact that my family lies to me. They're probably lying about father's death like they lie about so many other things from the past. Every day I try to learn more about what happened, to find out more about my father, and what happened before I was born.

I live with my mother and my grandfather on a ranch a couple of hours out of Casper, Wyoming. I've been here all my life, but our family isn't from here. They used to live in L.A., before the End of Days. To hear other people talk about it, it was like something out of the Bible, all rain of fire and plague of locusts and stuff like that. When mother talks about it, it is with a sadness so thick that you can almost touch it. And grandfather never talks about it at all. I can tell when he is thinking about those times, though. He has on what mother calls his "brooding face."

I think they love each other. And not in the in-laws kind of way, but like the cheesy love story kind of way. I walked in on them one day, finishing my chores early for a change. Mother must have had a headache--"reminders of the old days" she calls them. She was sitting in a chair in the kitchen while grandfather stood behind her, massaging her temples. The way he did it wasn't the friendly way he touches me, or the caring way he normally touches mother. He almost seemed to be worshipping her with his touch. He looked a little guilty when he sensed me and stepped back.

Once I was helping grandfather repair a fence that some spooked cattle had knocked down. It was hot enough in the summer sun that he took off his shirt and I could see the tattoo on his shoulder. On a whim I asked him when he had gotten it, expecting the topic to be changed like so many times in the past. But that time he answered the question. He said it was from the days when he thought he was immortal, before the dark times. He was in a strange mood that day, because I'd never gotten so direct an answer about his past. I was shocked when he volunteered more. He said not to judge him and mother by how they were now. That they used to be different. The End of Days had changed them, like it changed the world. When I asked him what he meant he got quiet, and stayed that way for the rest of the day.

I don't know how my mother and father met. I gather that it wasn't quite proper, from the way grandfather avoids certain subjects and mother looks almost ashamed. It must have been a long time though, because once when they were joking around after dinner mother said she'd known grandfather since she was a bitchy little kid. It was weird. I waited until mother wasn't around to ask grandfather how old he was. She has a knack for redirecting questions like that. Grandfather said he was much older than he looked. Which made me feel better, because he doesn't look much older than mother, and that's kind of creepy.

Once in a great while there will be a phone call from someone besides the few people that live around here. Mother always takes these calls in her room. When I got old enough to eavesdrop, she developed the amazing ability to tell when a phone was not hung up. After the calls mother pretends that she's fine, but I hear her crying at night every time. "Just people," she'd said one time when I'd asked her about them. And for a wonder, grandfather said more. "People we used to know, a long time ago. And then he had his brooding face on and there were no more answers to my questions.

I can't wait until I'm a little older, and I can leave this podunk town. I want to get out and see the world, and do exciting things. It's got to be better that being cooped up in this place, with a family that won't answer my questions and a bunch of stupid cattle. Doesn't it?



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