17. Q- Never Easy (Quickbeam, OC Ent)
Prompt - Q – like querulous Quickbeam
The sky looms dark and chancy behind them, shot with lightening and strange murky colors, but they follow the sun westwards and the little one comes happily enough, stumping besides or clinging to his father's broad back.
They stop to rest at the edge of the wide, swift river and the little one looks back, with eyes not quite troubled, and asks, "We are going home?"
The father ruffles his son's twiggy hair and tries to smile. "Yes. Home. Across the river and up into the mountains."
The father looks back with a wistful look. "It is not safe to stay here."
"Why?" The son's face twists skeptically. "Mommy stayed."
"Yes. No," he hurries to correct himself, "She will go east with your sister."
"Because she…" The father looks down, and realizes the futility of trying to explain motivations even he does not understand. "Would you like something more than water to drink before we go on?"
The boy nods one bob of his head, and his father uncorks his flask and holds it out. The little one reaches for it, and brings it to his mouth. He sniffs cautiously at the rich, loamy smell and pushes it away. "Why does it smell funny? Why do I have to drink this? Why can't I have the one mommy makes?" His voice rises to a whiney pitch.
The father reaches down with one broad-fingered hand, and lifts the boy to eye level. "I brought it because this makes Entings big and strong." He adds several hundred rolling syllables of the boy's formal name, wishing all the while his son did have another several hundred years to grow in his mother's garden in peace.
One tear rolls out of the boy's eye. "Will I see mommy soon?"
"I hope so."