Characters: Bob, Fay Dresden, (briefly) Harry and Mal
Spoilers: None, but you should probably read one of my mini!Dresdens stories to understand who Fay is
Word count: 1225
Summary: Fay Dresden solves a problem.
Author's notes: Born out of wanting Bob and Fay to interact one-on-one. Rather fluffy and sweet, be warned. Set in the Family Dynamics 'verse. Done for the 'Fall' prompt at dresdenflashfic.
The night was a crisp Fall one, with the smell of leaves and a pleasant cold that wasn’t too nippy, just right. Or at least, that was how Bob imagined the atmosphere to be. He couldn’t actually sense any of those things, but Fay Dresden seemed quite content where she sat on the front steps, so he supposed it was a nice night. It was a good night for stargazing, as there were no clouds or city smog and all the stars shone brightly.
“Tell me ‘bout another one,” Fay requested, head craned back to the heavens.
She held Bob’s skull in her lap, arms wrapped around it in a tight hug so it couldn’t escape. After dinner, while Harry wrestled Mal to the bathtub, she had gone over to the shelf in the living room and used a stool to climb up and retrieve the skull. She then announced to Bob that they were going outside ‘to play’ and he had very little say in the matter at all.
“That one is Gemini,” he said. He drew the constellation in the air above his head, in line with the actual stars. “It is named for Castor and Pollux, who were twins in Ancient Greece. When one of them died, the other asked Zeus to kill him too, so they wouldn’t be separated. Zeus refused, but put the two in the heavens so they would always be together.”
“Did you know them?” Fay asked, earnestly.
“Julianna, I am not that old,” Bob replied.
“How old are you?” She demanded.
“Very,” he said.
“Did you know Peter Pan?”
“Did you know King Arthur?”
“Did you know Cinderella?”
“Did you know Robin Hood?”
Predicting that this conversation could carry on for quite some time, he simply answered, “Yes.”
“Was he very nice?” Fay wanted to know.
“Yes,” Bob said. “He was very...merry.”
Fay nodded, satisfied with the answer.
“Do you know who else I knew?” Bob said. Fay shook her head. “The Earl of Sandwich.”
Fay frowned. “What did he do?”
“Invented the sandwich.”
“Does he have a story ‘bout him?”
“Not that I am aware of.”
“He must not have been interesting then,” Fay decided. Bob sighed and shrugged. She stared at the drawing he’d made for a bit. “Mal’s a Gem-nin-i.”
“Am I up there?” she asked, pointing to the stars.
Bob traced another constellation. “You are Pisces. The fish. Aphrodite and her son, Eros, were walking along a riverbank when they sensed a terrifying god called Typhon. They turned into fish and escaped via the river.”
“I’m a fish,” Fay summed up. She squinted at the drawing. “They don’t really look like fishes, Bob.”
“You have to use your imagination,” Bob explained. She continued to squint at the stars and he finally added some fish shapes around the lines of his drawing.
“Those are pretty fishes,” Fay said.
“Daddy is a Scorpio,” Fay continued, expectantly. Bob drew the Scorpius constellation. “What was Mommy?”
“Your mother was a Taurus,” Bob answered, adding the shape to the others floating in the air.
“What are you?” Fay persisted. “When’s your birthday?”
“I don’t recall,” Bob said, stiffly.
Fay looked utterly aghast. “You don’t gots a birthday? You must be very old if they didn’t got birthdays when you were little.”
“Have,” Bob corrected. “They had them, Julianna, I simply don’t remember mine. They have changed the calendar system since I was alive and I lost it somewhere around the late 1500’s.”
“I’ll give you a new one!” Fay declared, looking very much like when Harry had settled on doing something ridiculous. “You have to gots a birthday, Bob, or else you can’t have a party! ‘Cept, I dunno what to get you for a present.”
“I don’t require anything,” he assured her, hiding a smile.
“Presents aren’t ‘bout what you need,” Fay said. “Presents are what you want! Like toys or books or stuff. But you don’t play with toys.” She frowned. “And you couldn’t eat the cake, neither, or play games or blow the horn things or wear a party hat. I guess maybe a party wouldn’t be very fun for you.” She sighed heavily. “I can’t even hug you Happy Birthday.”
“I’m sorry,” Bob said.
Fay was silent for a very long time, looking up at the stars. She was thinking deeply, he could tell. Or, as deeply as a five-year-old was inclined to think. She rested her chin on the top of his skull and it was interesting to him that she didn’t find it something to be repulsed by. Show most anyone a human skull and they would wrinkle their nose and back away. For the Dresden children, however, his skull was just something he needed to move. It wasn’t his curse; it wasn’t an object of immense power. It was just there.
“I have an idea,” Fay announced, after several minutes.
“I get the same feeling when you say that as when your father says it,” Bob muttered.
“How about I do this-” She held up her hand in a fist and touched the pinkie and thumb to each other. “When I want to hug you? And you can do it back and it will be our special hug.”
Bob was quite taken aback and it took him a moment to answer. “That would be sufficient.” Fay beamed at him.
They both watched the stars for awhile longer as the night drew chillier. Bob suspected the cold was setting in because Fay was snuggling more tightly into her coat. He’d managed to get her to put it on before he was dragged outside. She looked contented again, now. Problems solved.
“Hey, what’s that?” She asked, pointing upwards.
Bob followed her finger. “It appears to be a falling star.”
“How come it fell down?”
“It is a meteor, it happens when bits of dust and rock from space travel through our atmosphere and burn up,” Bob explained. Fay gave him a blank look. “It tripped.”
She giggled. “Stars don’t trip, Bob.”
“Ah, my mistake,” Bob conceded.
“Let’s make a wish,” Fay suggested. She closed her eyes and mouthed something silently, then looked over to him. “Did you make a wish? You can’t tell what it is or it won’t come true.”
“Fay?” Harry called from inside. “Bob?”
“We are out here, Harry,” Bob called back.
Harry opened the front door, carrying a rosy cheeked Mal on his hip. Harry gave Bob an apologetic look. Bob offered a ‘this is not in my job description’ look in return. “C’mon Fay, time for a bath. What did I tell you about moving Bob?”
“He’s gotta say yes,” Fay recited, dutifully. “But he didn’t say no, Daddy.”
“You are my daughter, aren’t you?” Harry said, with an amused shake of his head.
“I think so,” Fay agreed. She stood up and handed Harry the skull. Mal reached out to grab it but Harry held it out of his reach. “Can I have bubbles?”
“Yes,” Harry said. “If you hurry.”
Fay turned back to Bob, held up her hand in a fist and touched her thumb and pinkie together. He returned the gesture and she glowed. Then she hurried into the house before the bubble time limit was up. Harry gave Bob a questioning look but Bob merely shrugged and looked back up at the stairs.
“Thanks for watching her,” Harry said.
“You’re welcome,” Bob replied.
“You ready to come in?”
Bob eyed the falling star, decided he didn’t need a wish tonight and silently followed Harry back into the townhouse.
“Daddy, did you know Bob knew Robin Hood?” Fay asked.
Harry looked over his shoulder at him.
“Don’t ask,” Bob sighed.