Prompt: For Elle. A. Eye , who said; I would very much like to read Tig's thoughts of that dinner. I imagine him being completely out of his mind with worry and what ifs and confused and desperately hopeful. I hope you like what I've done!
There was a breeze in the air that night. A gentle flutter of calm wind that washed away the sticky heat of the house behind Tig, ruffling his short black curls. Before the back door closed behind him with a click and a snap, the echoing laughter and banter of The Sons tickled his ears, drifting through the living room, across the kitchen and out into the garden, and, really, it calmed his frayed nerves more than he would ever care to admit. Stepping away from the door with the scuff and thud of his capped boots, Tig tugged on the hem of his cut, pulled out a pack of cigs and a lighter from his jeans back pocket, and lit up.
Standing a few feet away from him, almost cornered into a pocket of shadow and gloom, was Harriet. Leaning against the back wall of the Morrow house, one knee bent, foot kicked up, illuminated in warm orange light from the tip of her own smoke, her visage broke his heart, and before he knew it, he was speaking.
"You look a lot like her."
Of course, there was no need for clarification. They both knew who her was. Still, Tig winced. This, huddled in Gemma's garden, one cast in firelight and the other by porch bulb, was the first time Tig had spoken to Harriet privately. And that; you look a lot like her, was his grand opening line? The first time he had saw her, spoke to her, Gemma had been there, equally confused, hurt, excited as he had been before Harriet had stormed away. There was a comfort there, in that meeting, having Gemma along for the ride, to know he wasn't alone, he had not imagined it all in some drunken daze. It made it real, shared, something undeniable. Harriet, his daughter, was alive, she was here, right here, and he hadn't lost his fucking mind.
Then she had come to the family dinner, and the conversation had been light, as soft as this breeze, awkward in places, no one willing to cross any lines they couldn't see, all afraid someone would bolt at one wrong step. So, they had drifted along on that gentle breeze, talking of mundane things like neighbours and bikes, meals and drinks. To be honest, Tig didn't remember much of those conversations. He had, once again, been swept up in the notion that this, his daughter sitting beside him, was real and not some fevered dream.
Tig, instead, had spent most of the night watching her. He couldn't help it. When she smiled, she had Lily's dimples, and, like he, she scrunched her nose when she found something funny. She spoke like Sirius, he found, rough, to the point, but with a roguish sort of charm that had those around her laughing, and, he saw, she loved making people laugh just as much as Sirius had. It made her eyes twinkle and her dimples flash. She swore a lot, like himself, and there was a nearly always present wisp of dry sarcasm to her, something else from him, but she was as polite as his Lily, laying napkin on lap and refusing to fold her knife and fork over each other.
And everything, from twinkle to dimple, curl to snicker, had hurt. This was his daughter, twenty-years-old, and she wasn't the baby, so tiny, fixed into the crux of his arm, that he had dreamt so often of. So much missed. First word. First step. Favourite colour. First bike ride. All gone with the breeze, snatched away from him gently, without him ever knowing he had missed a damn thing and… Fuck, that hurt.
And then Harriet had stepped out back, into the garden, for a quick smoke, and Tig had found himself slowly trailing after her, Gemma giving him a swift nod on the way out signalling she would keep the others at bay for a while. So, here they were, her and him, him and her, father and daughter… Complete strangers.
How did it ever get to this?
There was a million words he wanted to say, a million more questions, all there, right at the tip of his tongue, where had she been, how had she been, what was her life like, how was she feeling, what was she thinking, and Tig, talkative, rambling Tig, who had never had an ounce of trouble speaking before, his mouth often getting him into deep shit, found he was lost for words.
Silence fell heavily upon them, almost suffocating in its oppressive cloud, as dense as the smoke rising from their cigs. Harriet was staring dead ahead, face half turned from him, out into the dark night, when, finally, she replied.
"It was quick."
Tig swallowed deeply, something, a lump, hitching by his Adam's apple. He could hear the snag in Harriet's breath as she took another drag, likely feeling the same damn lump too. He knew, by god he knew, they needed to speak of this, and one part of him, a large part, was needful, almost selfishly so, in desperation of these answers he would get. Tig needed to know where Lily had gone, why she had gone, why Harriet was here, fully grown, when she should have been with him, with Lily, long, long ago.
He needed to know where it all went so horribly wrong.
Nevertheless, a small part of him, one that had a voice made of thunder, told him to change topics. Turn back, take Harry, head inside, and never look back at the ghosts of their past. If he did, he could pretend Lily was still here, somewhere, waiting. He could pretend this had always been as it was, Harriet with him, here. He could pretend that bastard Sirius was at some low-down bar, picking up some pretty thing, only to end up in a fist fight with her brother. He could pretend James was back at the Sheriff's department, locked in the back cell, taken in for disturbing the peace, or stealing a giraffe, something wacky the bespectacled man was always getting into trouble for. He could pretend Remus was in some corner, beer in one hand, sagged shoulder and sighing heavily because, once again, it was up to him to dig them all out of the shit they had scurried themselves into.
Nevertheless, Harry was here, and, as much as Tig wanted to close his eyes and pretend, he knew there could be only one reason why Harry was here and they, his wife, his friends, were not. Death. Still, Tig thought he had already dealt with this. It had happened before, had it not? Lily had died in a car crash. His friends, his dear friends, had died in that very same car crash, and Tig had spent twenty years grieving. He'd done this before. All this. He had weathered the hurt and anger and sorrow, and he had come out the other side. Changed, so changed, but alive. So why did it hurt so fucking much?
Because it had all been a lie.
"Mum… She… It was quick. There was no pain."
And, Tig supposed, staring at his daughter, seeing Harry struggle for words, refusing to look at him, that small part of him with such a loud voice, in that very moment, hated Lily. She had done this. She had faked her death. Ran from him. Ran from all of them, and whether she knew or not, she had taken his child with her. He hated that she had not trusted him enough to confide in him about what was happening, what was scaring her. He hated that Harry, his own fucking daughter, because of Lily's choice, had to grow up away, so fucking far away, without him. He hated that Lily had thought him so weak that he needed protecting. He hated, loathed, that Lily wasn't here right now, with Harry, with him, so he could have the one thing he had wanted for decades.
His family back.
But Lily was gone. She'd left him alone to this shithole of a world. She'd left their daughter to it too, alone, when he had been here all along. And, shit, he missed her, hated her, grieved and rejoiced and-… He felt it all. A confusing, bubbling, wriggling amalgamation of every god-damned emotion ever conceived by human thought and it was all swirling in his chest like a tornado trapped by ribcage. Still, as much as it hurt, as confused as he was, as much as he wished to take Harry by the hand and never turn around, he needed to know how and why he had lost it all.
How long had he lived a lie? Harry kicked away from the wall, pulling in closer, just an inch, balancing between the line of porchlight and darkness, flicking the butt of her smoke with her thumb. Back and forth. Forth and back. Over and over, ash splintering in the air, dancing in the wind. A nervous tick, he knew, for, glancing down to his own hand, he too was doing the same.
"Nineteen years ago."
Lily had lived on a whole year after Tig thought her dead and cold and buried. Twelve whole months. Three hundred and sixty-five days. Her heart had beat for a whole eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours and he, Tig, her own husband, someone who had promised to love and cherish and protect her, had never knew.
On one hand, it seemed so fucking long. A whole year he had spent grieving, the worst year of his life, if he were to be honest, and it had all been pointless. Lily had been alive and well, right there, if only he had looked up from the whiskey bottle and searched harder. On the other, more prominent hand, it was too short. Too fucking short. Just one year more she had been smiling. Just one more year she had shown off her dimples. Just one more year alive and-…. Snap. Ash in the wind. God, it felt like he was losing her all over again.
Then, as the silence dragged, Harry seemed to find those words she had been looking for and, turning to face him dead on, Tig's was met with not a twenty-year old woman, not the specter of his dead wife, not even hints of himself reflected back. No. He was met with a child. A scared, lonely, hurting child. There was a tightness to her eyes, sleek and keen, eyes of an animal expecting to be hit. There was a guard there, he saw, a brace to her feet, a stiffness to the shoulder, a stance of someone expecting a fight, who was always expecting a fight. In her jaw, down low, was a twitch, a jumping muscle, pain given subconscious rhythm.
"It was my fault. All of it… All this… Everything is my fault."
"What are you saying?"
Tig's voice was slow, aching, thick, like treacle with none of the sweetness but all of the bitter. He didn't understand what Harry was saying, or what she was trying to say, and, really, his knee jerk reaction was that he didn't want to understand. If Lily had died nineteen years ago, Harry had been barely a year old, perhaps less, and how could any of this possibly be on her hands? And yet, he saw.
That dense, crack of a scar across her forehead. The round sunburst on her forearm as if she had been skewered by a railroad spike. Those pearly scratches across her knuckles he had spotted as she reached for her whiskey glass over the dinner table. I must not tell lies. Then, right then, he realised why he was angry, why he didn't want to know, why he wanted to turn and pretend. Those scars, those hurts, that ache looking back at him from eyes so much like Lily's, were his fault.
Tig had not been there and, fucking hell, he should have been.
"Tom… There was a man. Tom Riddle. He was…"
Harry broke off with a chuckle, a dead noise made up of rattling autumn leaves and dry bones, as she reached up and scrubbed at her eyes with tired hands.
"I don't fucking know how to describe him. Tom was… Tom was something other. He was… Not human. He wasn't right in the head."
That lump turned to a full boulder, hefty and scorching in his throat, choking. His tongue felt useless, fatty, swollen. It was just a name, he knew, this Tom Riddle. Names had no power. Yet, the way Harry, his daughter's, voice stumbled over speaking it, jagged and biting and filled with such… Such abhorrence did have power. It formed dread, cloying and slick, like an oil spill, sloshing in the very pit of his gut.
"Harry, what are you saying?"
Harry flicked the butt of her smoke away, out into the gloom. As it disappeared, ate by the darkness, Tig thought his last shred of peace went sailing along with it.
"Tom was insane, you see. Not all there. He heard… He thought he… He had delusions. He was high up in society. A big hat with a bigger name that could pull strings in the government. He had… Followers. Fuck, he had a lot of followers. People who hung onto every single word he said as if it were gospel. He thought… Well, he was terrified of dying. He thought he could become immortal."
Tig shook his head.
"What does this have to do with Lily?"
What does this have to do with you? Tig felt as if he was standing on some train tracks, glued, stuck. He could hear the whistle of it coming, the high piercing sound of wheels chugging, and yet, he couldn't see the train in the dusk of the tunnel. Trepidation was often like that. A sneaking feeling with no confirmation. Sometimes, horribly, you just had to wait for it to smack you right in the face.
"He thought a baby, born on a certain day, to people who had openly defied him, refused him, would one day grow up to kill him. Tom wasn't the type of man to take that threat laying down."
And there was the hit, right into the centre of his chest, reaching in, grasping, clawing, tearing his lungs to slivers until he found he couldn't breathe right. As much as the Sons behind him, back in the house, would dispute good naturedly, Tig was not stupid. He could, in fact, add two and two together and get four. Nevertheless, calculating insane man, his running wife, the scars littering his daughter, and the dread slowly but surely turning his body numb, did not equate to a picture Tig ever wanted to imagine. Yet, here, seeing the product of it all, the stiffening of Harry's shoulders, the caution, those fucking scars, he was forced to and… Life was cruel.
So fucking cruel.
It was all Tig could say in that moment, the only word that would slip through his clenched teeth. It was a bark, a bite, a bloody prayer. Anew, he was split in two. He wanted Harry to laugh, say no, say she or he had got it wrong, an innocent misunderstanding, and, perhaps, say she was joking, Lily was back home, on her way here right now and-… However, he didn't need to elaborate as Harry nodded, understanding his unaired question, and Tig was forced to face the ugly truth.
"Oh, yeah. Mum hated him. Tom stood for everything she loathed, and she stood for everything he detested. James, Sirius and Remus too. They all openly defied his movement. They all refused to join him. Actually, they joined the Order of-… They joined his political opposition. They were all proud of it. They thought they were fighting the good fight, creating a better tomorrow and all that jazz. They didn't realize… They were too young to know they had just painted a target on their back."
And you're too young to realize it too. And yet… Yet she did. Harry knew and… There was a moment, Tig had been through it once or twice with his brothers in Samcro, that you look at someone, really look, and you understand, right in the glint of their eye, there is no innocence there. None. That innocence had been stripped away so long ago, through sins, and death, and war, that in their place is no person, but a predator that knew, intimately, the fight for survival. Piney, John, Clay, himself, Chibs, yeah, you look in their eye and the innocence is gone, leaving a spine of steel and a blood drenched fang. A gleam of shade.
Many of his brothers, those part of the originals, had lost theirs in Vietnam, himself included. No one, not even Piney, had come back from that god forsaken place as they had entered it. And it was sad, so fucking sad, a tragedy, and it hurt, fucking ached, that process of losing something, innocence, so integral and that so many disregarded without a second thought.
Perhaps that was why Tig had loved, and still loved, Lily so when he first met her after his first tour, when he was still broken and defeated and hurt. She had been so full of innocence. Optimism. Fucking sunshine. It bled out of her like sunbeams, lighting up his dim, shadowed world. There was nothing you could not do, could not accomplish, without some hard work and a smile according to her. Everything had been black and white to his Lily, good and bad, right and wrong, and she had never faltered treading that line. He had. Tig had stumbled and fell off headfirst, but she had been there, right when he had needed her most, with her dimples and soft smiles and she had picked him up. When Lily was around, his demon's didn't shout so loudly.
Yet, looking at Harry, his daughter, right in her eyes that were so much like his Lily's, Tig brokenly comprehended why she looked so much like him despite being the spitting image of her mother. There was no innocence there. None. Shredded. Taken. There was steel, and anger, and hurt, and… And it was Tig's own essence, his soul, staring right back at him. Sins, and war, and death. The realisation broke him in ways Tig never thought he could be. Savagely. Unrepentantly.
"And the baby born on the certain day…"
"Me. I was born on the 31st of July. When mum learned she was pregnant, when she figured out when she would give birth… When she realised Tom had heard news of her pregnancy, she ran. She tried to hide me. She tried to hide you. She thought if she ran, if Tom didn't know about you, if she was with James-"
"Then we would all be safe."
Tig felt stilted, sharp, like a splinter of wood, jagged and crystallized in sap.
"Mum was soon put into a safe house by some people in the government who was working to uproot Tom and his followers. For a while, it seemed to have worked. But then… He found mum six months after I was born. One of their friends, Pettigrew, he sold them out. Tom broke into her house. He killed… He killed James on the staircase. He had tried to hold Tom off while my mum grabbed me and ran, but it was too late… Tom was already there."
Tom was already there. So final. So resolute. A full stop placed halfway in an unfinished sentence.
"Tom found mum in my nursery, standing over my crib. He offered her… He said if she just stepped away, just one step, she could go."
Tig felt like one of the porcelain dolls his mother, so long ago, used to collect. Painted, pretty, life-like. Hollow.
"She didn't move."
Harry took in a hissing breath, through her teeth, sounding like a wounded garden snake, and for a while, god knows how long, there was only silence. Tig knew the answer. He did. He could feel it sitting in the pool of dread in his stomach, the stone to the peach, sinking and sinking and sinking. Yet, he needed to hear it. One blink, two blink, Harry's eyes fell to the floor and her voice turned raspy, faint, a feather left to drift away.
"No. No she didn't. He spel-… Tom took aim at me, and she threw herself into the line of fire. She was dead before she hit the ground. It was quick. There was no pain. Tom… Tom shot at me again, but well…"
Carelessly, Harry waved her hand up to her brow, at the mean looking scar still puckered red even after all these years.
"It rebounded off my skull, bounced off something behind me, and shot the bastard instead."
Harry laughed, and it was bright, warm, cheerful. Everything Tig couldn't bring himself to be right then. He had, Tig belatedly realised, lived his life through the past. All consumingly. When he dreamt, he dreamt of things that used to be, of Lily and James, Sirius and Remus, as they had been, once upon a time. He fell into the same patterns he had throughout his life, routines of coping, whiskey, women and pills, because that was what Tig had done before, had always done, and it was all he knew how to do. He still rode the same bike he had twenty years ago, still drank the same whiskey from the same damned type of tumbler, and he still lived in that little house, his and Lily's, that they had only half decorated and, fuck, it was still exactly as it had been the day Lily had left in that fucking car.
Frozen in time.
It was comfortable there, replaying, routines, recycling the same thing over and over. He knew what was coming, when it was coming, and how it would hit. Tig, in the end, had grown stagnant. He could feel it. Smothering roots had wrapped him up, strangled him tight, and pinned him. And, sadly, he had let it happen. Why? Because he couldn't bare to let any of it go, because if he did, if he slackened his grip just one inch, he would have to do the same to Lily's memory.
But Harriet was here.
His daughter was here. Even then, Tig had been so caught up in the could have been's, lost in the past, of wanting to know what happened to his Lily, that in some way, he had overlooked the miracle that his own daughter was here and what all that meant. He had been so swept up in the loss, the missing of such small things like her first word, or what her favourite food as a toddler had been, for hunting for the truth, that, as always, he had forgotten to look forward.
Harriet was here.
And that opened a whole other door. For the first time in years, Tig found himself looking to the future. Forward, not backward. He wanted to show her the best kind of music, the kind Lily used to complain gave her a headache. He wanted to teach her how to swap an engine out. He wanted to show her the best bakeries in Charming. He wanted to be there when she laughed and sulked and grew red with anger. He wanted to watch as she grew older, got a job, and perhaps, one day, where he would walk her down the isle and that… All that was a possibility now.
Tig had a second chance.
As a man who knew those didn't often come your way, Tig refused to let this one go. Lily was gone. He knew that before and, though the why and how of it all had changed, the outcome had not. She was gone, and yes it hurt, but not all was lost as it was years ago. Harry was here. His daughter was here, hurt, scarred, and though she laughed, he could still see that guard up and strong and, fuck, he wasn't alone anymore.
She wasn't alone.
Harry frowned, thick brows pulling down tight over her sparking eyes as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"I know it sounds odd, but it is possible to survive a bullet to the head. Sure, it's rare, but it does happen and I'm standing right here as proof that sometimes, the impossible happens and-"
Tig cut her off sharply. God, his thoughts were all over the place, he was feeling everything, all of it, all at once and he was a mess, he knew. He was hard to understand at the best of times, but, right now, as he took a step closer, with him, he needed Harry to understand one thing. Just one thing.
"It wasn't your fault."
Harry was too much like him, and Tig could see it all. She scoffed, her fists clenching under folded arm.
"You heard it. Mum ran from you, faked her death, ran straight into Tom's hands because of me, because she was pregnant with me."
She became animated then, lurching forward, pressing in.
"If Lily wasn't pregnant, she would still be here. You understand that, right? She'd still be here with you. Tom was after mum because of me. He killed her to get to me. He killed James to get to me. He… Sirius… Remus… It was all to get to me."
There it was, his soul, that fire, blazing right back at him, and Tig understood all too well what all this was. She wanted to give him comfort and take blame. Just like him, she was used to taking the blows, fighting, and, faced with anything else, the possibility of understanding or, dare he say, sympathy, both of them, like some abused dog, perplexedly expected another blow to come. When you've dealt with anger and hatred all your life, love and empathy seem terrifying. When something good seemed to be right there at your fingertips, you hesitated because nothing good, never, could be free, and surely the pain would follow soon. In the end, they sabotaged themselves.
"I've taken everything you care about by simply existing. How can you even stand looking at me after knowing what I've caused? Why aren't you angry? Why aren't you shouting? You should hate me."
He should hate her because, at the root of it all, just like him, Harry hated herself and, in the wake of this, telling him the truth, baring it all, she really couldn't understand how he, or anyone, could not feel the same. Tig couldn't stomach that thought. Tig understood why she ran so quickly before now. Shock, yes, this, everything, wasn't something easy to grasp. It wasn't every day you learned you wife and child had not died when they had, that you had been visiting an empty grave, or that you had a father out there, alive and breathing. Yet, that wasn't all. Not for Harry, Tig knew.
She wasn't angry at him. Not really. She had not run from him hours ago. No. She was angry and running from herself, and that was something Tig could understand better than anyone else. She thought if he knew the truth, if he saw her and not Lily, rejection would come. She had come here tonight, to this very dinner, expecting rejection in the face of honesty. All this blame, all this hate, it was squared exclusively at herself and her supposed guilt.
Tig closed the gap with a sure step, and gently placed his hands on her shoulders, grip soft but strong. Harry flinched, he could feel the muscles flex under his calloused hands, through her jacket, and his heart shattered. His voice was tight, hot, a little wet.
"How could you have taken everything I care about when your standing right in front of me? How could I possibly hate my daughter?"
Because that was what she was. His daughter. Through and through. She looked like her mother. She behaved like Sirius. She smiled and quipped like James. She had the steadiness of Remus. Yet, underneath all that, right in her core, she was him. A part of him that had been chipped away and hidden for twenty years, but a part of him all the same. And they, him and her, had something Lily, Sirius, James and Remus didn't. A future.
Tig wasn't about to let either one of them fuck it up before they even really had it in their grasp.
"If lily had not… If she had taken that step and looked away, she would not be the Lily I loved. Never in a million years. And though I can understand why she ran, why she hid, I… Lily had no right taking my choice away from me and deciding for herself what was good or bad for me. For us. Lily chose to run, she chose to oppose this… Tom, and she chose to stay hidden. That's on her. Good intentions or not. And it was my choice not to look deeper into it. It was my choice to turn away. I should have been there. I should have been there for you and Lily, and-…"
Something wet and warm trickled down his cheek, dipping into the crease of his lip, and Tig tasted despair encrusted in salt.
"And I wasn't. I wasn't there. And I'm sorry, kid. So fucking sorry. if… If I had to… If it is to be either you or Lily standing in front of me right now… I would always… Always choose you. And I know if the roles were reversed, If Lily was in my shoes, she would always choose the same too. You're our daughter."
The muscle in Harry's cheek was jumping a mile a minute now, her nostrils flared, green eyes wide and wet, holding back the tears cresting on her bottom lashes.
"And because I'm your daughter, one of you is dead and one thought we were both dead for two decades. It's all my fault. I'm… I'm sorry… I'm so sorry… It's all my fault and I can't… Mums gone and I can't bring her back and… I'm here and she's not and… It should be her here… Not me.. Not me.. I don't… I'm sorry…"
And they broke. Just like that, they broke. Harry with her heavy survivors guilt for being here while her mother wasn't, Tig under the weight of regret for not being there to shoulder the burden with her, for her, like any father worth his weight should have, and for every other little emotion swirling inside.
Tig crushed Harry to his chest, wrapping his arms tightly around her, burying his face in the amber curls by her ear. It was their first hug, his first hug with his daughter, and its wet with tears, shaky with sobs, and tight, too tight. It's clinging and happy, wobbly and sad, and everything more than Tig had ever wished for because, simply, Harry was here, and he was able to have this very first hug. As he spoke into her temple, his voice was rough and deep and aching.
"It's not your fault. It was never your fault. You're here… Right here… My daughter… My daughter… All I ever wanted… Right here… And I don't care how. I don't care why. You're here. Don't say sorry for that… Never say sorry…"
He pulled back, as much as Tig could bare to, and his hands left her shoulders, slinking up to her face, trembling, as he brushed her hair away, the curls that had escaped the bun, stalling, cradling her wet cheeks, and he laughed. Brokenly. Happily. Years of grief and anger, and his own self aimed blame, eating away right at his heart, and it's all leaking forth like a cup over spilling.
"This is all I've ever wanted. To see you… Here… Alive… And you look so much like Lily. So much. And she's not gone. Not really. Not with you here. You're my child. My daughter. All I've ever wanted, right here, right in my hands and please… Don't go. Don't run. Please… Just give me a chance. Just one. Please… Let me be the father I never got the chance to be. I should have been there. I should have been there for it all. But I am now and… All I ever wanted… Please… Stay?"
That lump in his throat, that hot coal, it's not grief. It's not anger. It's his heart. Lodged. Open. Bleeding. His lungs feel dry and heavy, and his face is wet and salty, and his looking into eyes so green they shine in the night, and there, in his hands, between his fingers with freckled flesh and ginger hair, was his future. His daughter. Tig knows he's asking a lot. Look at him. He's broken in his own way. Disturbed most would say. He's a stranger to her. But this is all he wants. The one chance to be there. To be a father. To have a family.
There's a million more questions about the past, but there's a million and one more chances for the future and, for once, Tig likes those odds. Harry must have seen something in his eyes, a reflection, a promise, because she nodded. Tig pulls her back to him, and this time she is hugging back, just as tightly, just as desperately, and this is what it felt like to be whole.
"Tom… Is he…"
Harry's voice is barely above a whisper.
Tig's hand slid up, to the back of her head, rubbing fingers through smooth hair.
"Will he come back? Is he looking for you?"
Tig had lost Lily to this faceless man called Tom. James, Sirius and Remus too by the sounds of it. Tig refused, now that he had her, right in his arms, that he would let some bastard take his daughter too, and a unclear 'he's gone' was too ambiguous for comfort. Tig wanted this fucker dead. He wanted him bleeding. Bruised. However, Harry hardened, turning to stone, unyielding.
"He's dead. He's been dead for four years… His delusions didn't turn out to be so false, after all. Don't worry. I'm not running from the law. They gave me a bloody medal for it."
Four years. Four. This Tom had survived the night he had taken Lily, the night he had nearly taken Harry, shot her in the damned head, and Tom had, in all likelihood, struck again and Harry had-… Sins and war and death. Innocence taken. Harry had done what she had to, perhaps a lot less that what Tig would have given in her place, and Tig knew deeply the weight of blood on hands, deserved or otherwise.
To know that his daughter, so fucking young, could understand that very same weight tugged at something primal and wrathful inside him. Where the fuck had the adults in her life been? The police? Anybody? No more. She wasn't alone anymore. Tig was here and he was not going anywhere.
"When you're ready, if you ever want to speak of it just know I'm here. No matter how long it takes. I'm here and I always will be, kid. No matter what."
In the face of her admission, Tig's grip only tightened, and when he didn't shove her away, when he only rubbed her back as her breath glitched, she softened, realizing, again, that he wasn't going to reject her, bloody hands and all.
Half an hour later, as the two re-entered the house, if anyone noticed the slight red twinge to Tig's eyes, or the puffiness of Harry's, nothing was said on it. Nevertheless, Gemma, as she always could, did notice the wide toothy grins, easily given, unreserved. She noticed the lack of awkward hesitation now, lightening the atmosphere, less stilted. She watched as relaxation settled, tension fizzled away. She saw the laidback air between the two, the way Tig's swung his arm around Harry's shoulder and jostled her after she called him old man.
Gemma saw it all, and Gemma smiled.
NEXT UP: JAX'S P.O.V AS THE TWO PROPERLY MEET.
Remember, prompts are more than welcomed!
So sorry for the long time before an update, but I was still getting back on my feet, which, thankfully, I have done now. I'm also going back to season one of SOA and re-watching it all, so all the inspiration for this fic is flooding back with a vengeance lol, which is always a bonus. I do hope you all enjoyed this chapter, and it at least partially made up for the monstrous wait from last time.
If you have a spare moment, please drop a few words into the little box down there. They keep the muse from whining. Until next time! Stay Beautiful! ~AlwaysEatTheRude21