Robin looked at the older man as they headed for the bad side of town.
Thoughts came to his mind.
Thoughts that he had never considered before.
What is it like to be him?
To have a head full of someone else’s memories?
To have a face that ain’t uniquely his own?
To have the face of a dead man and have that man’s family expect him to just step into the corpse’s shoes?
To feel like his life ain’t really his own?
So, why’s he goin’ and throwin’ himself at me all of a sudden? If I’m all that much of a millstone, why don’t he just drop me and disappear?
He had no problem doin’ it before.
Is it all because he’s a vampire now?
Did Raven put ideas into his head when he changed him?
Robin looked straight ahead.
Does it matter?
Isn’t this what I’ve always wanted?
An unwanted memory came and possessed his mind.
His mother guided him into the room.
Robin wrinkled up his nose. Something in the room smelled bad. He had a bad feeling that the smell came from the body on the bed.
He stopped and shook his head. “I don’ wanna.”
“Robin. Don’t make me carry you.” Her words were strong, but her voice was weak.
He looked up at his mother. She seemed to be a million miles tall, but she looked like a tree that wanted to fall.
“I scared, mama.”
She took his hand. “We can do this. We can do this.” She straightened and approached her dying husband.
He tried to copy her posture, but his heart beat too fast and he just wanted to run out the door.
She stopped beside the bed and stroked her husband’s hair off his forehead. “Peter. Peter darling. I’m here.”
Robin stood on his tiptoes and looked at his father.
He don’t look good.
Robin listened to his uneven, raspy breaths.
“Robin’s here too.”
Am I s’pposed to talk to him and touch him too?
Robin glanced up at his mother. He could see the tears shine in her eyes. “Mama?” He said it quietly as if he were in church instead of home.
“I can’t. I can’t lose you. Stay with me. Can’t you stay with me? Just a little longer. One more hour. One more day. One more week. Peter, give me one more year. One more year filled with one more days. Can’t you? Sweetheart.” She kissed his forehead. “I never told you, but I loved you first. That day you offered to paint the fence for me. It was a simple gesture, but I loved you for it. I loved you. I love you. Can’t you—-”
Robin couldn’t hear those raspy breaths anymore.
And the entire room fell silent as his mother noticed it.
“Daddy?” He climbed up on the bed and flinched.
His father laid there, his body terribly still. His eyes fixed in an unblinking stare.
“I sorry. I’ll touch you. I…I…” He laid his small hand on his father’s so much larger hand. “Daddy? I here. I here. Daddy.” He patted his hand. “See me, daddy? I here.”
His father didn’t move. He didn’t react.
Robin gave his mother a stricken look.
She took Robin into her arms.
He buried his face into her neck and cried.
He could feel her cry too.