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Chapter Text

The sound of a phone ringing. Rough carpet prickling bare feet. A clicking sound.

“Hello?”

Static.

“Ah, you’re there. Good.”

“Huh? Dad? Is that you?”

A weak, hesitating smile. Silence.

“I can’t talk long, son. Can you come outside? Right now?”

“Huh? Yeah, okay!”

A hollow echo as the phone drops to the floor. Footsteps shifting from the roughness and silence of the carpet to the coolness and relaxing echo of a nearby wooden floor. Bare hand wrapping around a cold doorknob. A groaning sound as the door slowly opens.

“Dad!”

A realization.

“What’s wrong, dad? Why aren’t you at work?”

“It’s your birthday, isn’t it? I brought you a present. Here, hold out your hand.”

Bare skin recoils at the feeling of cold steel. A small smile. A growing grin.

“Wow! It’s the watch you promised me! But don’t you need that for work?”

“It’s a very special watch, son. There’s nothing else like it in the world. And I want you to have it.”

“You’re serious? You’re really giving it to me? Thanks, dad! This is so cool!”

“Like I said, it’s very special and I need you to take care of it.”

“No problem, dad! I’ll take good care of it!”

“Good. Now promise me one more thing. Keep it on you always. Don’t ever take it off.”

“Uh-huh! You got it, Dad! I’m never, ever gonna take it off!”

“Think of me when you wear this watch. Take good care of it. Even when you’re all grown up, I want you to keep it safe, okay?”

“Uh-huh!”

A ringing sound.

“Look at the time. Dad’s got to go. You be a good boy now.”

Footsteps echo softly even as the wet ground threatens to muffle them.

“Huh? You’re leaving? But you just got here.”

“I’m sorry, son, but I have to. There’s some work only your old man can do. I have to go. Good-bye, son. And remember, think of me when you wear this watch. Take care of it. Don’t forget, all right?”

“I won’t! But dad, where are you going?”

“Far away. I have to go to a place that is very far away.”

A car engine. Tires digging into gravel.

“Dad?”