16 December 2013 @ 11:36 pm
 
“Throw me the stick,” Ray shouted, pushing himself up slowly, grunting with the pain. “We’re playing.”

Sure enough, Daniel threw him the baton but Ray certainly wasn’t playing. He was too preoccupied with the ninja-like attacker to praise the boy properly. Clearly those basketball sessions were paying off.


***

“Let me see,” he prompted, leant back against a wall an hour later and attempting to tend to the cut on his own arm. He lifted his gaze briefly to see an obedient Daniel twist in a circle to show Ray that he still had his disc on his back. Ray wasn’t sure of their purpose exactly but the people they had watched, both from afar and at close quarters, went to great lengths to keep hold of theirs, so they were doing the same.

“Good.”

Daniel went back to playing with imaginary toys, puffing air through his teeth to make the appropriate noises. For what, Ray didn’t know – the boy’s gestures gave nothing away. He watched fondly for a long moment before he noticed the wolf staring at him and licking his chops. Begrudgingly, Ray’s attention turned back to his arm and he yanked the makeshift bandage tighter, wincing a little.

***

“Stay with the wolf, Daniel. Right here. If you need me, you shout for me, okay? D’you understand? Shout as loud as you can and I’ll come back.”

***

He felt a poke on his shoulder and suddenly mismatched eyes were looking at him intently.

“Can we go home now?”

It was the first time Daniel had asked that outright. Ray had been expecting to hear it every moment they had been gone but it was like Daniel had a sixth sense, he knew it wasn’t possible right away, he knew he had to be patient. It made sense that his patience was wearing thin now – Ray had lost his a while ago.

“Yeah… Soon.” He reached up and pushed some messy hair off his forehead, showing the kind of affection he couldn’t show towards Asher, even if he wanted to sometimes. Unlike his father, Daniel didn’t glare at him like he wished him dead on the spot. “Your dad and your ma are gonna be so happy when they see you.”

“And you too?”

Ray had to laugh quietly. “Yeah, I’m gonna be happy when I see you. I always am.”

***

Daniel couldn’t have looked more relieved to see Ray when he had finally come back. Ray was holding his arm to his side but when the boy ran over to him, he leaned down and wrapped the uninjured arm around him instead.

“I didn’t shout.”

“I know. We’re okay…”

***

“You were so good.” Ray’s voice broke a little when he said it and he swallowed hard, blinking quickly. “You were really, really good, Daniel.”

The boy definitely had a sixth sense, a sensitivity beyond his years. He reached out and wrapped short arms awkwardly around Ray’s neck, pressing his cheek against Ray’s shoulder and patting him on the back, mouth pressed into a thoughtful line.

Daniel might not have said it but Ray at least knew what this gesture meant.

They were okay.
 
 
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