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Patience

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The box on the lab bench taunted Henry with it’s gaudiness, begging to be opened, whilst the card with it instructed him to wait. Wait until what, he wasn’t sure, but if becoming a father had taught him anything, patience was it.

“You’ve found it,” Magnus said from the doorway, leaning against the frame.

“And the card,” he replied, holding it up and smiling.

Her eyes widened, as did her own smile. “Well?” she said expectantly.

“Oh!” Realising this was the moment, he tore through the packaging, pausing momentarily when he encountered the plain cardboard of the box before ripping the sellotape away. Grinning once more at her, he finally opened the box to find two console controllers. He didn’t want to ask her where she found them, having thought them lost so long ago. Unbidden, tears sprang to his eyes.

There was a clatter then uncertain arms wrapped around his shoulders. Enveloped in the flowery scent she prefered, Henry felt his heart break and repair in that moment. “I thought you had forgotten…” he finally admitted.

“Forget my first foray into computer gaming, and the weekend of reports I neglected to spend time with my two children?” Her head shook against his gently. “I thought it was something you’d like to share with Alice, now she’s old enough,” she explained, letting him go.

“Aaah,” he laughed, scratching the back of his head. “Allie’s been helping me game since she could sit up.” Looking back at the controllers, his face softened. “She’d sure get a kick out of this though.”

“And Mario Kart?” Helen asked, holding up the cartridge.

His eyes went wide. That wasn’t one she’d found in the thrift store, it was his own copy from Charlie. “Where…?”

Magnus shrugged, smiled that maddening smile Henry knew was her time travel expression, then hugged him again. “Up for a rematch?”