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Lies You Told Yourself

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Lies You Told Yourself

You tell yourself, locked inside your tin suit, that it's all a dream. A fever-induced nightmare that you'll wake from to find your wife at your side and your son in the yard playing. When the suit opens and reality crashes in, courtesy of the damned blue eyed spitfire who would prove to be your undoing, you tell yourself they're alive somewhere, your wife and boy.

Keep telling yourself that.

You tell yourself, when you see her grave for the first time and know she's gone, that it doesn't hurt, that you've known for eight annuals that she was gone, and the pain is gone, the wound healed. You tell yourself, seeing that spitfire of yours dolled up in that sexy black dress, her hair loose, her innocent eyes wide with fear and wonder, that your reaction is normal, that any man would feel the desire to rip the damned cloth off her and yet shield her from other men's eyes. You tell yourself she is the daughter you always wanted, that your desire to shield her from the world is the desire of a father to protect his daughter.

Keep telling yourself that.

When you see your son, alive, leader of a rebel group, you tell yourself you're proud of him, that the man he's become is all you've dreamed of for him. You tell yourself his desire for revenge is the natural function of a son, that once this business is done with, there will be no further discussion of it. You tell yourself he'll find a new way to help the world when all is said and done.

Keep telling yourself that.

When she throws her arms around you and hugs you tight, just before she runs off to face her possessed sister, you tell yourself your desire to take her place and keep her here, where she's safe from harm, is the desire any father would have. The thrill of fear that shoots through you as you see her dangle from the balcony, hundreds of feet above the ground is a natural panic anyone would feel seeing that, or so you tell yourself. And when her parents, after all is over with, proclaim the desire for a personal bodyguard for their youngest daughter, you tell yourself it is only your paternal feelings for her that lead you to immediately volunteer for the post, passing up Captain of the Guard in order to do so.

Keep telling yourself that.

You tell yourself you judge her suitors harshly only because it is what Ahamo would do if he weren't so busy with post-war meetings, counsels, and paperwork, and that you are merely filling in for her real father until he can do it himself. You tell yourself, as you throw yet another suitor out on his ear with a roar of anger and hatred, that your actions are appropriate; you are her bodyguard and she DID tell him she didn't want him to see her sketches…

Keep telling yourself that.

The night she tells you she's in love with you, you tell yourself it's merely a child's infatuation with a man who kept her company and saved her life, that it will fade. When you make the decision to leave for a while, leaving your son in your stead as her protector, you tell yourself it's because you need time to grieve for your wife, who's birthday it would be soon if she had lived, and not because you can't stand to see the heartache in her eyes.

Keep telling yourself that.

When the queen writes to you to tell you the princess refuses food and keeps to herself, highly unusual for the bubbly young woman, since you left, you tell yourself your immediate reply to inform her of your return is the action of a concerned father. You tell yourself racing through the night to return to Finaqua as soon as possible is the action of a worried friend.

Keep telling yourself that.

As she begs you not to leave her again, you tell yourself your promise is only to prevent a reoccurrence, and only until she has gotten over her infatuation with you. She'll meet a young(er) man of noble background and fall in love any day now, you tell yourself. She'll marry him and have a large family and eventually rule the O.Z., you tell yourself.

Keep telling yourself that.

When your son points out that it's painfully obvious to everyone but you that you're in love with the young princess, you tell yourself and him that you love her like the daughter you and his mother always wanted. When he calls your bluff, you tell yourself it's okay to love her, because your wife is dead, and she's not really that much younger than you are. Fifteen annuals isn't much of a difference in the grand scheme of things, you tell yourself.

Keep telling yourself that.

When she cries as you beg her forgiveness for lying to her and tell her you love her, you tell yourself it's because she's decided she can't love a washed up old tin man like you. When she tells you she still loves you, you tell yourself you're lucky.

Keep telling yourself that.

When you tell her parents, you tell yourself that at least they know with you she'll always be safe. When her parents rejoice over her happiness, and yours, you tell yourself they only want to protect her feelings. When her sister laughs and teases that it's about time, you tell yourself it wasn't THAT obvious.

Keep telling yourself that.

When her father walks her down the aisle towards you, you tell yourself you've already had one bride do this; your breath shouldn't stop like this a second time. When Glitch has to nudge you in order for you to realize the priest has asked you twice now to recite your vows, you tell yourself it's because you don't like all this attention, not because DG's hand in yours feels so right. When the priest announces you well and truly married, and tells you to kiss your bride, you tell yourself the tears in your eyes are a result of the leg pain standing all this time causes, not because you never thought you'd be this happy again.

Keep telling yourself that.

The first night you spend together as man and wife, you tell yourself she'll realize any minute now she made a mistake; she doesn't want an old man like you. When she tells you again and again and again how much she loves you, you thank Lurlina you married a fool, or so you tell yourself. When a year goes by, and still she's unbelievably happy with you and you with her, you tell yourself it's all got to come to an end soon; it always does.

Keep telling yourself that.

When she tells you she's pregnant, you tell yourself you don't want another child, that you're too old, even as you swing her in an excited circle. When she asks you about names, you tell yourself her desire to name a girl for your dead wife makes you happy, not inexplicably saddened. When she begs to make Glitch and Az godparents, you tell yourself you would rather it be Jeb and his wife; it would make your son feel more involved.

Keep telling yourself that.

When they hand you your daughter, and congratulate you, you tell yourself your heart did not just skip a beat. You tell yourself you don't feel the sadness that creeps up on you as you recall how desperately your first wife wanted a daughter, how hard the two of you tried for one after your son was born. You tell yourself your daughter will resent you for being so old. You tell yourself your first wife would never understand how this one day, this one gift of a child, could totally replace her spot in your heart; not that you could ever love DG the way you loved Adora.

Keep telling yourself that.

As you and your wife grow older, and your daughter grows up, you tell yourself you are desperate to get back on the road, have more adventures. You tell yourself this homebound life is driving your stir-crazy. When your wife gives you two more daughters and a son, you tell yourself it's pure luck that she still wants you after all this time.

Keep telling yourself that.

As you lay in bed, an old man at the end of his time, you tell yourself you regret nothing, surrounded by all six of your children, their children, your nieces and nephew, your wife and her family, and your old friends. As you feel yourself pulled from life, your last words to your wife "I love you," and the last words you hear the sentiment returned, you finally tell yourself you lied.

Keep telling yourself that.