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14 November 2013 @ 01:49 am
Worth It  
Title: Worth It
Characters: Zachariah, Elizabeth
Word Count: 936
Summary: It all lead up to this one moment.

There’s blood under his nails and he should probably be in the hospital but Zach doesn’t care. His leg hurts as he limps quietly over to Elizabeth’s bed and sits down gingerly on the floor beside it. She’s sleeping, red hair pulled back in a messy braid to keep it from tangling any further than it probably already is. She’s drooling too, a little dark spot on her pillow, just like her mother does. It makes him smile, the sheer normalcy of this moment juxtaposed against the copper taste in his mouth.

The surrealism of reality is breath taking.

Hesitantly he reaches out, brushing a stray curl away from her cheek and marvels at how warm her skin is beneath his own. Right now, in this moment, the realization that she will fall in love, make mistakes, live her life and grow old in it makes him want to cry. It’s a beautiful truth, the most beautiful thing he’s ever experienced. Blinking back tears he rises up on his good knee and presses his lips to her little befreckled nose, brimming with the happiness of a father whose little girl got a second chance at life.

“Daddy?”

“Hey,” Zach murmurs, pulling away and not even minding that his voice sounds a little choked. Elizabeth blinks blearily at him and rubs an eye with the heel of her hand lazily and it makes him smile stupidly. She’s the cutest thing he’s ever seen and even though he isn’t having doubts or regret she makes it all worth it. “Sorry I woke you baby girl.”

“S’ok,” Elizabeth mumbles back in reply through a yawn, the sleepy smile of an eight-year-old crossing her lips. “Whaddaya doing here?”

“Can’t Daddy come and see his best girl when he wants?” He asks, folding his arms on the mattress and resting his chin on top of them.

“Not on mummy weeks.”

He smiles indulgently at her—that’s pretty true. Not a strict rule but he’s normally not creeping into her bedroom to watch her sleep when her mother has custody. Tonight’s an exception and even if Emily finds him here she wouldn’t be able to pull him away. He needs this, needs to see the fruits of his labour and victory spoils.

“Mummy can make an exception,” He assures her gently. “I’ve got something to tell you.”

“What’s that?” She asks, her voice hushing down into a conspiratorial octave as she shuffles a little closer to him. Reaching out he smoothes his hand over the top of her head, petting her frizzy curls.

“You know the pills we have to take so we don’t get sick?”

“Mhm,” Elizabeth nods her head.

He can’t hide his mirth from his smile. “We don’t have to take them anymore. The sickness is gone, it’s not going to come back and hurt you anymore.”

“You squished it?”

He did so much more than squish it. A part of Zach wishes he could explain to her exactly what he did, share in the perverse delight he got watching the light die in those hateful green eyes. He can taste Rhiannon’s—he cannot think of her by any other name anymore because he ate it and it lives in his breath—coppery blood even stronger now simply thinking about it. But that isn’t a topic he should share with her. He wants Elizabeth to remain innocent and carefree.

“Yeah I squished it,” He replied. “The monster is gone.”

“Thas’ good,” Elizabeth murmured. “I don’t want you to get sick.”

Leaning forward Zach presses another kiss to her nose. “I know.”

“You’re lips are cold,” Elizabeth remarks, scrunching up her nose a little. Zach’s heart clenches a little and he can feel the jagged pieces of ice in it. His smile doesn’t fade from his lips though—she’s worth it all.

“Sorry,” He apologizes gently as Elizabeth settles back down into bed with a yawn. He reaches out and tugs the comforter up and over her shoulders, tucking it securely around her little body. And then he says what he feels, what’s been powering him since the day she was born. The only reason he’s still alive. “I love you.”

It’s the purest truth in his heart and he needs her to know it. Elizabeth smiles, her eyes closed and already halfway off to dreams full of penguins and cheese and talking trees.

“Love you too.”

He stays there watching her for what feels like hours, his chin rested on his folded arms. He’s never been so in love as he is right now and he’ll never love anyone as much as he does this little girl. His leg is killing him but it doesn’t matter, it’s secondary to the euphoria of knowing nothing is going to ever happen to her ever again. No one is going to snatch her up out of her bed. No curse will harm a hair on her pretty head. If someone hurts her… he’ll hurt them threefold.

“I promise,” He tells her, even though she’ll never hear him except maybe in her sugar sweet dreams. “As long as I breathe and as long as it is within my power, I’ll keep you safe. You’ll hate me for it sometimes but one day when you have little children of your own you’ll understand. One day you’ll know what I’ve given up for you, what was taken from me and what I stole from others. But never feel guilty for it because I would do it over and over if I had to. There is no shame in this gift.”

The answering silence is beautiful.
 
 
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