title: With or without you (No lover’s Christmas)
author: Lady Charena
fandom: Kung Fu – the legend continues
codes: P/P, Jordan, PG-15
sum: after “A Shaolin Christmas” – Is there a better time for a little heart-to-heart of father and son? Inspired by “With and without you” from U2.
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 belong to U2.
…see the stone set in your eyes
see the thorn twist in your side
I wait for you…
I still the tremble in my hands and light the last candle on the small tree the Major gave me as a gift. Despite the belief of many, the tree itself is not a Christian symbol, but a much older tradition to celebrate life at the peak of the winter, which symbolizes death in many cultures. They overlook that there would be no spring without a winter…
A hushed tap of knuckles against the wooden doorframe prompts me to turn. It is Peter and I wonder how long he has been standing there… why I did not sense his arrival? I extinguish the thin candle I used to light the other ones and put it down onto my workbench. Perhaps he arrived during my futile attempt to meditate.
I wonder why he chooses to visit me at this time – it is past two in the morning and I thought him to still attend to his ‘Christmas Party’.
Snowflakes melt in his hair and on his coat. Peter’s features are expressionless and I am not able to ascertain his emotions. Even if I dislike being detached from him, I feel a powerful surge of pride. Since he completed his training, his abilities flourished to an extend I did not dare to imagine before. Even if he does now seldom seek my advice, I know he is unbalanced – the task to compare the opposite forces in his life is more than difficult. He will soon need to make his choice between being a police officer and a Shaolin. But he must do so out of his own will.
“Peter.” I make his name a caress, reaching out for him with my voice only, while my hands remain clasp at my waist.
Astonished I lift a brow. I did not expect him to address me formally, after being used to him calling me ‘Pop’ regardless of my earlier disapproval. “Why did you come to me, my son?”
A frown crosses his features, anger lit in hazel eyes. “Don’t you want me to visit you anymore? Just go on and tell me, you’re tired of me and I’ll leave… for…for good.” He almost chokes at the last words.
His anguish carries me to his side and I cup his chin. Peter averts his face, his eyes closed as in protest. Gently I turn him back. “Share with me, Peter.”
With a groan he clutches me tightly to him and I return his embrace with equal strength.
A knot forms in my throat as I feel again a gray veil of loss looming nearby. It… scares… me not to be able to break through it to understand the danger lying beneath. My senses are clouded. I tried to talk to my Master about it, but Lo Si seems to avoid me since he returned from his journey. I have no right to doubt the Ancient, his knowledge is beyond my comprehension, but still… Involuntarily I tighten my arms around my child and feel Peter tremble. I wonder if he senses the same peril and has come to me to speak of it.
“Why did you leave without a word?” Peter whispers, his face buried in my neck.
Surprised I lift my head to look at him. “You were dancing with Jordan and I did not want to disturb…” I did not think he would notice it…
…sleight of hand and twist of fate
on a bed of nails she makes me wait
and I wait...without you…
The shameful memory of the jealousy I experienced earlier when I saw my son engrossed with the woman he claims to love, returns unbidden.
My heart should rejoice, that he shares his life with a lover, he cares for deeply… but to my disgrace I wish to solely possess his love. I want to own his soul and to be able to hold his body the way I only dreamt for a long time… In a dark place of my soul I curse fate to make the one I crave with my entire being my son. Blood from my blood, flesh from my flesh… but I want to wrap my arms around him, taste his skin and drink deeply from his lips. I want to run my hands down his beautiful body, caress him and watch him come alive.
Standing slightly apart, I watched Jordan’s arms around his neck, her lips caressing the side of Peter’s face as they swayed to the rhythm of the music.
No one else danced and no one paid attention to me. Mary-Margaret and Blake sat cuddled close on the sofa, both inebriated after consuming too much of a mysterious brew, containing sugar, spices, eggs and alcohol. Karen Simms left the party half an hour ago to make inquiries about the baby. Chief Strenlich and Kelly left shortly after her, the painkiller administered to the young woman at the hospital, obviously wearing off.
I returned my attention to the dancing couple. I watched Peter’s hands rubbing her back, slowly sliding deeper to cup her bottom and had to avert my gaze. Like a heavy cloud I sensed Peter’s arousal and suddenly cough a flashing thought… ‘I’d love to get rid of all of them’… origin from my son.
Deeply disturbed I turned away and slipped unnoticed out of the room to flee into the sanctuary of my home, where I would try to regain control of myself again.
…through the storm we reach the shore
you give it all but I want more
and I'm waiting for you…
With a sigh, Peter releases me, slips out my embrace to turn away from me. “There wasn’t much to disturb. We… we soon got into another quarrel. Damn, at least at Christmas we shouldn’t fight.”
I notice strain in the rigid set of his shoulders and ache to soothe away the tension. But I fear he will not welcome my touch. “Peter.”
He seems to shrink a little and I see him running a hand through his hair. “Sorry, Pop.” Peter turns half to look at me. “I didn’t come to start another argument. Just to… to make sure I… you didn’t leave because of me. I know you… didn’t like the drinking and jokes. And Mary-Margaret’s silly mistletoe chase... But I didn’t anything wrong, did I?”
“Peter.” I cannot bear to see my child in pain and lightly caress his cheek with my fingertips. “You did nothing wrong.” I convey the truth - the failure lies within me, not with my innocent son. He is not to blame for my misguided feelings.
Some of the tension leaves his body and with a soft sigh, Peter leans into my touch, his eyes closed. I brush his hair back and rub his temple gently with the pad of my thumb.
“I feel so confused, Pop,” he confesses. “The visions… I actually saw Kelly getting shot and even felt her pain. How can you stand feeling this way all the time? Sometimes I think I’ll go crazy…”
I run a fingertip down his cheekbone. “Peter, you are still adjusting to your more finely tuned senses. Be patient. I will ask Lo Si to help you dealing with it.”
His eyes snap open. “Lo Si?” The fear of another rejection shines in hazel orbs. “Why can’t you teach me?”
I cup his chin. Because I fear he would sense… or perhaps even more… that I would yield to temptation and reveal too much. “Forgive me, my son.”
Peter’s eyes grew wide. “Why? You have done nothing to...”
I still his questions with a finger athwart his lips, and then release him to turn away. “Perhaps it is wiser for you to return to your own home now, Peter. Undoubtedly Jordan will await your return.”
Peter grimaced. “I’ll better stay out of her hair for some time, until she cools down a bit. Can’t I sleep here? C’mon, Pop, it’s your fatherly duty to offer shelter to a homeless son.”
I jerk round to look sharply at him. “You are not homeless”, I say with more emphasis than intended. “This is your home, when ever you need it.”
Peter reaches for me, his hand only snatching my sleeve as I instantly withdraw. Hurt and confusion flashes in his gaze. “I didn’t mean to…”
I raise my hand, silencing him with a gesture, and dislodging his grip on my sleeve. “It is late, Peter. You may stay for the night. There is a futon in the backroom as you know.”
My son looks at me, before he nods and vanishes into the backroom without a word. All energy seems to leave my body and I take a deep breath, blindly staggering to the next wall, to brace myself against it. I lean my forehead against the cool stones and close my eyes. A surge of pain bolts through me and without thinking; I slam my fist against the wall, hard enough to scrape the knuckles. Horrified I stare at my hand, watch the slowly trickle of blood down to my wrist. To loose control like this…
“Pop!” Peter’s voice is sharp with concern and I avert my face as he stands close to me, gently taking my hand to examine it. “What happened?” he asks.
I withdraw my hand and run the fingers of the other down his cheek to calm him. “It is nothing, Peter.”
“Like shit!” Peter grips my shoulders. “You’re bleeding, Pop – and you did this yourself!”
I shrug. “It was only a… lapse. Please, Peter, there is no cause for you to…”
“No cause?” he interrupts me. “You’re acting strange… stranger as usual… hell, I mean, you’re not yourself, Pop. I can feel it. You can’t hide anymore. Not with me.”
With a sign I give in the temptation and lean against him. Peter’s arm slip around my shoulders and I feel his wild beating heart battering against my chest.
“Don’t scare me, Pop. Please. I need you to be my strength… I need you,” he whispers and his lips move against my hair.
I cup his face, not caring the bloodstain I leave on his cheek and bend slightly forwards, until I feel his breath brushing my skin. My tongue darts out and I slowly drag it across his lower lip. Peter gasps in surprise and I close his mouth with mine, feasting on his taste… sweet and spicy, a mixture of cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate explodes on my tongue, mingled with that unique flavor, that is my son.
Slowly I release him to step away from him. Peter’s eyes are closed, his breath ragged. I see him gulp and than he raises a hand to touch his lips in disbelief. My heart sinks as his lids snap open… But there is no disgust, no anger in the hazel orbs, only a deep confusion.
I lift my hand to wipe away the blood I left on his cheek and feel a small surge of relief, as he does not recoil from my touch. “I…”
Jordan McGuire bursts into the room, bringing with her a gush of cold air. “There you are. Didn’t I think you’d hide with your dad.”
…my hands are tied
my body bruised
she's got me with
nothing to win
and nothing left to lose…
I move away from my Peter, find a cloth at my workbench and clean my hand. My heart beats so loudly; I fear I will echo from the walls. I do not watch my son’s reaction to her, nor do I listen to her words.
“I’m gonna to relief you of him.”
Finally I lift my head to gaze at the young woman who meets my eyes with a startling challenge in hers. She senses more than she understands, her female instinct labeling me as a rival for Peter’s love. I already know, she thinks, my son is too close to me, too attached…”Peter is no burden to me,” I answer, keeping my voice carefully neutral. “If he wants to stay, he is welcome.”
Across her shoulders I look at my son. Peter’s face lifts and he meets my eyes, but I cannot read the expression in them.
“I think, I’d better go,” he answers softly. “I’ll drop by later… or tomorrow. Pop. We… must talk.”
I bow my head and watch him turn, walking towards the door, Jordan following him closely.
Just before leaving the room, Peter stops and turns half for a last glance. “Take care of your hand, Pop,” he says with a smile. “Good night. And merry Christmas.”
There is a second meaning behind his words, behind his smile - but the knowledge eludes me at the moment. Bewildered I watch them leave. Slowly I cross the room to sit down on my sleeping platform. “Good night, my love.”
…I can't live
with or without you…