title:                  tread softly…

author:              Lady Charena

fandom:            Kung Fu – the legend continues

codes:              P/P, PG-15

 

sum:                 another post-“Target”-story with a little (pre-)P/P…

 

Disclaimer: This story’s mine, but I do not intend to touch the rights of the owner of the characters from KF-TLC I’ve used. No moneymaking, no offence meant. Lyrics from Elegy.

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A lovers heart burning, now has vanished in the flames
Our kind of love… too strange to comprehend
It's beauty as fragile as circles in the sand
Your soul is a temple, all secrets retained…
                                               Elegy “Circles in the sand”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Though it is already past midnight I feel no surprise when familiar footfall can be heard on the iron stairs of the old fire escape. All evening I have been waiting for my son. Peter is greatly disturbed – I sensed his alarm when he saw the image of the wolf standing on the oposite side of the street. However… I do not think he is aware of my knowledge.

 

“Pop?”

 

His voice is a mere whisper as if he is afraid to wake me. I rise from my seat in front of the small altar in the room I usually use for meditation and enter the main room. Peter stands at the French doors, bringing sweet smelling night air with him into my home.

 

“You’re awake.”

 

I nod, even if he not asked a question. “You are disturbed.” I keep my voice neutral.

 

Peter lowers his gaze – I am not sure what emotions I perceive from him: embarrasment or even fear? “I couldn’t sleep, father. After all what happened...” He falters and bites down on his lower lip. “Actually… I slept and…” he shrugges. “A bad dream, y’know,” he finishes with a shrug.

 

“You are welcome to sleep here,” I offer carefully, approaching him. I take his hands into mine, they feel unnatural cold. “When you were a child… you used to come to me like this, asking me to banish your demons.” I start to massage his fingers to restore warmth to then. “I will do so again, Peter. You are save with me.”

 

I am pleased he still comes to me, now, as an adult. Sometimes I fear I… smother… him with my love, rely too much on his gentle admiration and encourage his dependence on me. I should have learned by now to let go, to let Peter live his own life without me watching his every step. It is a truth that cannot be denied, especially not in the privacy of one owns mind. I love him too much… perhaps more than a father should love a child. Sometimes I am afraid of myself. When it comes to my son…my feelings are indeed strong, as I have told him, standing on the streets.

 

Suddenly Peter snatches his hand from mine, startling me off my thoughts. “I remember.” He tries on a weary smile, but it does not reach his beautiful eyes. “If you don’t mind… do you still have that futon in the backroom, where I slept after my tumble down the stairs?”

 

There is a little tremor in his voice and I instantly wonder if he reacts to… something… he senses in me – or perhaps it is only the memory of his wounding and the long convalescence that followed. A time when I was allowed to care for him to my hearts desire… A sobering thought. I clasp my hands to stop them from reaching out for my son. “It is.”

 

Again a smile lights up his face, this time reaching his eyes. Pulling me forward, he kisses my forehead. “Thanks… for being here. Good night, Pop.” He passes around me.

 

“Sleep well, my son.” I turn and let my gaze follow him as he leaves the room.

 

* * *

 

A groan rose me some time later from my meditation. Now I am standing in front of Peter’s futon, staring down at the twisting figure of my son. He is obviously in the web of another dream. I ponder the advisability to wake him. Dark circles under his eyes testify to Peter’s lack of sleep. However, the dream must be frightful and intense to leave him distraught and sweating. If only I could lay down beside him, take him in my arms and soothe the nighttime terrors away.

 

Alone with Peter in the twilight of the few candles spread around the room, I feel my desire for him… almost as badly as a physical pain. An ache, eating away at my soul.

 

“Peter.” I softly call his name and reach out for him. The same moment my son groans again and throws the thin, sweat soaked sheet to one side.

 

I freeze, my hand outstretched. My eyes are drawn inexorably downward, roving over the muscular, heaving chest, beaded with sweat, down over the curve of ribs. My finger tremble; how I long to touch, to caress…what is rightfully mine. Has always been mine.

 

I draw in a deep breath, reinforce my controls.

 

Still my fingers shake lightly as I draw the sheet over the naked body of my son. Even a Shaolin can only take so much temptation.

 

Once the bed is straightened and I have myself under control, I call Peter’s name again, more firmly.

 

Peter comes awake with a start. To my dismay he almost instantly moves away from me. “What?” he asks groggily. “What’s wrong, Pop? What are you doing here?” His whole body visibly relaxes as he discerns no immediate danger.

 

“You were having a nightmare again, my son. I considered it better to wake you.” I keep my voice low and soothing, as if speaking to a frightened animal.

 

“Oh.” He wipes a hand over his forehead. “I guess it *was* better. Thanks, Pop. Uh… did I wake you? Sorry if I did. But you’re probably used to it…”

 

“I have not retired,” I assure him. “Is your head troubling you?” I ask as Peter continues to massage a spot over his eyes.

 

“Umm. Just a headache. I seem to get them all the time lately.”

 

“It is probably accumulated tension. A massage might help,” I offer somehow tentatively.

 

Peter watches me for a moment, then he nods. His lashes lower to hide his eyes… and a flash of eagerness? I cannot be sure.

 

“Lie down, Peter.”

 

Without a word, Peter does as he is bid, rolling onto his stomach and pillowing his head on his arms.

 

Still projecting the aura of calm that I have begun before waking him, I lay my hand on his warm flesh. I remember doing the same when he was a child, touches always seemed to soothe him more efficiently than any word I could say. A shudder runs through Peter’s body and for a moment his muscles tense slightly. I wait patiently, will my hand to remain still. Peter’s breathing eases.

 

“Go on,” he urges and I comply.

 

Despite what I might wish for, I keep my touch firm and devoid of any softness that could be construed as a caress. Beneath my hands, the tension melts from Peter’s shoulders and upper back. His sigh of relief brings a smile to my lips. Running my fingertips along his sides I am rewarded with a chuckle as I tickle him.

 

“Tease,” he accuses me drowsily and I cannot resist bending down to lay a gently kiss onto his neck. The taste of his skin clings to my lips as I straighten up once more and continue to manipulate the muscles in his shoulders.

 

I dare not continue any lower for my own peace of mind, but by the time the body beneath my hands is fully relaxed, Peter is fast asleep.

 

Slowly I sit down next to the futon. Folding my legs in lotus position, I enter the upper level of meditation to remove myself from temptation – still monitoring Peter’s sleep at the same time.

 

* * *

 

With the morning sun flooding the room, I feel Peter wake. Without opening my eyes, I listen to his yawn, the rustle of the bed clothes, his soft groan as he stretches.

 

“Pop? You’ve been here all night?” he asks sleepily, gazing at me with eyes filled with a love I certainly do not deserve.

 

Out of my own will my hands sneak out to caress his cheek and he leans joyously into my touch. His lids flatter shut, long lashes resting like feathers on his skin, tempting me to brush them with my fingertips.

 

“I promised you to banish your demons,” I say softly, imprinting his flushed and peaceful face in my memory to join the many others of my beautiful son I jealously guard.

 

“You must be tired.” Peter’s tongue darts out to moisten his lips.

 

I shake my head to clear away the images appearing in my mind, where I see myself covering his sweet mouth with mine. “I spent time in meditation. It was most restful.” Reluctantly I withdrew my hand.

 

“Well, thanks anyway. I haven’t slept that well in weeks, Pop. I feel much better.” He looks at me sheepishly, probably waiting for me to criticize that he did not come earlier to seek my advice.

 

I reach for him and pad his leg. “If I can help, you have only to ask, Peter. You are aware that I… I am willing to do everything… for you.”

 

Peter’s eyes dart away from me. “I… ummm… thanks, I know that, Pop.” He faces me again and his smile is brilliant, shaking me to the core. “You take good care of me.” He bends forward and I close my eyes, expecting his usual kiss to my forehead – but this time his lips brush my cheek instead. “I’ve gotta go.” He straightens. “I’m a hero now, you know, due to Sandra Mason. I’ve got a lot of work to do. Crime’s not gonna wait.” His gently laughter fills the air and I smile with him.

 

Then I sit back. “I know.” Coming fluidly to my feet, I bow to him, mustering a stern face. “But even a hero must have nourishment.” My façade crackles as his eyes widen, while he tries to ascertain if I am serious or joking. “I expect you to have breakfast with your old father.”

 

He bolts up, grinning at me as lays an arm around my waist, pulling me close to him. “Old? C’mon, Pop, really,” he jests. “Did I tell you about…”

 

Intently listening to his chatter, my heart feels light and heavy all the same. To feel him, to listen to his sweet voice should be more than enough… but still I… hunger.

 

And I know, I am wandering dangerous grounds, where a careless step might take away everything from me. I need to tread softly through this forbidden country… so only the stars might hear me…

 

 

end