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grandfather’s clock

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Alex Mason glanced over to the source of the small voice, and saw his son nervously peering into the room, half hiding behind the wall. Suddenly finding a sort of warmth coming to him at the sight of his son, he offered a small smile. 


“What is it, David? Why are you up so late?”


David sniffled quietly. 


“I can’t sleep…”


Pausing briefly, Alex looked at his son, who blinked back at him with big, scared eyes. Giving a small sigh with a small chuckle, he stood up and walked over, making a movement for David to take his hand. David, without hesitation, took his dad’s hand and let him lead the way back to his bedroom. 


“I have an idea.” Alex said simply, a little smile on his face. 


Trusting his father, David let Alex get him into bed again, shifting over when Alex sat down on the edge of the bed. 


“When I was a kid, I used to listen to music to help me sleep. I couldn’t do that in the army of course, so Frank used to hum to me until I could fall asleep when he could. I just want to see if I could help you fall asleep by doing that for you.” Alex explained, and David nodded, making a soft oooh sound. 


“Okay.” David said, yawning sleepily and shifting over to lay his head on his dad’s thigh, curling into a ball. 


Smiling, Alex gently started to stroke through David’s hair, lifting his head and turning to the wall, sighing softly for a moment before starting to sing quietly, a soft tune he’d heard what felt like a thousand times. 


“My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf, so it stood ninety years on the floor.”


Glancing down at his son, Alex kept singing, continuing to pet the kid’s hair, hoping it would help soothe him to sleep. 


“It was taller by half than the old man himself, though it weighed not a pennyweight more.


“It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born. It was always his treasure and pride, but it stopped,”


Alex couldn’t help but smile. 




He gently ruffled David’s hair, grinning at the answering giggle. 


“Never to go again, when the old man died.”


“That’s a bit sad.” David said, a sort of soft sleepiness in his voice that made Alex’s chest feel warmer. 


“Shh, David. Let me sing to you.” It was a gentle tease, but one that David accepted anyway, settling back down and letting his father go back to stroking his hair. 


“Ninety years without slumbering—“


“Tick tock, tick tock,” Came a soft grumble from the doorway, making both of them look over. A grin split Alex’s face as he kept singing, watching fondly as Frank Woods walked over to them, sitting on the floor a bit to the side of Alex’s legs. 


“His life seconds numbering,”


“Tick tock, tick tock.”


“But it stopped,”




“Never to go again, when the old man died.”


David smiled sleepily, snuggling closer to Alex, letting his eyes start drooping shut, too tired to keep them open as he listened to his dads quietly sing together, and to him. 


“My grandfather said that of those he could hire, not a servant so faithful he found. For it wasted not time, and had but one desire, at the close of each week, to be wound.”


“And it kept in its place, not a frown upon its face, and its hands never hung by its side.”


“But it stopped,”




“Never to go again,”


“When the old man died.”


Alex looked down, noting David’s silence, but kept singing anyway. He’d finish the song, and then he would see if their son was asleep. 


“It rang an alarm in the dead of the night, an alarm that for years had been dumb.”  


Frank glanced over, unable to keep the smile off his face as he saw David curled up, looking completely content and peaceful, almost asleep, if not already there, but he sang the next part anyway. 


“And we knew that his spirit was pluming for flight, that his hour for departure had come.”


His eyes darting up to Alex’s, the two men shared a small smile, and continued to sing. 


“Still the clock kept the time, with a soft and muffled chime, as we silently stood by his side. But it stopped short, never to go again, when the old man died.”


“Ninety years without slumbering,”


“Tick tock, tick tock.”


“His life seconds numbering,”


“Tick tock, tick tock.”


“It stopped short, never to go again,”


“When the old man died.”


“...I think he’s asleep, Alex.” Frank murmured, watching David quietly. Alex nodded, carefully moving their son back so his head was on the pillows, and then stood up, Frank getting to his feet as well. 


“Let’s go back to bed.” 


As they left, though, Alex paused, peering back into David’s room, to see his son dimly lit by the moon filtering in from the window, and smiled. 


“Goodnight, David.”