ars_zoetica: (Chase-verse)
[personal profile] ars_zoetica posting in [community profile] authors_anonymous
Ian's first memory of his father was of when he had been taken by his governess to visit his father's factory. Not even four years old, and bundled up with an absurdly long scarf and Goliath-sized mittens to match, Ian clutched Ms. Crenshaw's hand, taking to heart her stern admonition to not wander off. (It would be several years later before Ian learned that Ms. Crenshaw had not been alltogether truthful about there being lions in the city that delighted in eating boys that wandered off.) 

Even at that early age, Ian thought that the factory was beautiful, with it's windows that looked like pieces of toffee when the odd ray of sun touched them.  They had found Ian's father bent over a machine, the sleek cotton of his striped shirt rolled up to his elbows as he worked on a wheel twice the size of Ian.  Without looking up, Ian's father reached an open hand towards Ian. 
"Hand me that spanner, will you, son?"

Ian was stunned. He was being asked to -help-. Ian eagerly dug through the many tools before he spotted the spanner lying towards the top of the box. 

"Is this the one, Father?" Ian asked as he thrust the tool into his father's waiting hand. Ian held his breath as his father straightened from where he was hunched over the wheel and looked first at the spanner then at Ian.  The corners of his mouth curled into a smile, slightly moving his bushy moustache, as he placed a large, gentle hand on Ian's shoulder. 
"It is exactly the tool I needed. "

* * *
Ian's last memory of his father was from the night before his father died.  They were once again at the factory, the grand windows now looked like onyx instead of toffee as the sun had set well over four hours ago.  Ian and his father were in Ian's office, which was in it's usual state of disarray. Crumpled pieces of paper lined the floor, empty tea cups and plates were stacked absentmindedly on any available service since Ian's desk was covered with the scematics of a new steam engine. 

Father and son were bent over the table, scribbling a note here, the odd calculation or pipe diameter there, all the while discussing various ideas on how to produce the precious additional amount needed to make the engine the smashing success they both knew it could be.  Ian soon forgot which of them finally figured out the solution; what he remembered was the way his father clapped a firm hand -still larger than Ian's- on his shoulder, eyes shining. 

He would never grow into those hands, try as he might.
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August 2010

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