*inspired by the Quick Fic prompt "It was a dark and stormy night."  I was WAAAAY too late.. but oh well, here it is*


*knock*knock*knock*

ZZZZZZZZ-ZZ-ZZZZZZZZ

Somehow to Polly, even the thunder plowing through the night could compete with Teaspoon's snoring.

*knock!*knock!*

Polly rolled over at the sound and gently prodded Teaspoon's ribs.

His breath sputtered from his lips. "Hey....that hurts."

"Then get up, sleepy... someone's knocking at the door."

"Tell them to go away."

KNOCK KNOCK

A groan ground out from his belly. "Who the hell-"

Polly clapped her hand over his mouth for a moment... then let it fall away. "You're gettin' old, Sugarlips. Shake the cobwebs out and think. Who are our house guests?"

"Who?" His sharp intake of breath proved he'd finally remembered. Tossing the blanket aside, he shuffled over to the door.

Eyes, wide with fear and unshed tears greeted his groggy eyes. "Grampy 'spoon?"

"Yes, Sweetie?"

"Uh..." she looked back down the hall, "...uh..."

"You want to come in and-"

Suddenly the bed was creaking behind him, drawing his attention.  A little fluff of black curls could be seen between his pillow and the thick quilted cover.

"Oh... fine..." he drew out the word as a twinkle slowly crept into his eyes, "take my pillow..."

A little snort could be heard from deep within the covers.

"...take MY blanket."

The edge of the blanket pulled lower to reveal an eye. A quick glance over the impish head and he caught Polly's smile and watched her shoulders shake silently with laughter.

He moved closer, with arms raising slowly above his head, fingers curling. "But, beware little girl... for the great big grizzly bear can smell you wherever..." he loomed over the bed a wicked gleam in his eye, "...wherever you..." he growled into the silence of the night and grasped an ankle that was visible under the warm covers, "are!"

With a peal of laughter he pulled her to the edge of the bed, his voice joining hers with a hearty guffaw.

Teaspoon hugged her to his chest as he felt her grow still. Her fingers twisted the front of his sleep shirt.

Her fingers almost tickled when she grazed his ribs, but it wasn't laughter anymore coming from his little granddaughter, more like a hiccuping sniffle. He held her away for a moment, looking for her eyes under the copse of baby curls spilled over her forehead.

"What's with the tears, Sweetie?" It never failed to amaze him that children could go from one extreme emotion to another in a heartbeat, especially when the wind was rattling the shingles on the roof.

"I... I... they..."

The bed shifted a bit beneath him and he felt Polly's caressing touch on his shoulder. "I'm going to make some tea."

He nodded, still watching the little girl in his arms. "You want to tell Grampy?"

She shook her head. "Louis says... says its stupid."

He huffed out a breath. "Really, now?"

Nodding, she wiped at her nose with the back of her hand.

"Well, what does he know... he's just a... just a-"

"Boy?" She offered.

"Yes, yes," agreed Teaspoon, "he's only a boy." He dried her tears with a gentle swipe of his thumb, "so?"

"Daddy and Mommy are coming back... right?"

Teaspoon knew why she was worried... they all were worried. Jimmy and Lou and had been gone for weeks. They'd only planned to be away for one at the most. A simple matter. Or at least it should have been.

He pulled her tight against his side and gave her a kiss on the top of her head. "Of course, sweetie... of course they are."  He felt her sag within the circle of arms and felt her fingers loosen on his shirt. "Why would you worry, darlin'?"

 "'Cause... sometimes in the deep dark night-time I can hear... can hear-"

"Hear what, Dara?"

She shivered and he pulled a blanket around them.

"Men's voices... coins dropping... a click, metal I think.. then... then-"

He rushed to reassure her. "You don't have to say it, sweetie.. you don't have to think it-"

"A loud bang.  Then nothing."

Teaspoon's heart squeezed within his chest, he lungs frozen beneath his ribs.

"Do you think I'm stupid, Grampy? Do you think I'm making it up?"

"I think," he whispered as he laid her back in the covers, "that you should be sleeping, little miss."

"Sleeping? I'm not tired anymore." A yawn crept over her features and weighed heavily on her eyelids, dropping them low over her eyes.

"Yes, sleeping.. we'll worry tomorrow, you and me."

She threaded her fingers through his, "Tomorrow, you and me."

Polly padded in a moment later and pressed a cup of tea into his free hand. Pausing by the his side she  watched him stroke their granddaughter's cheek with his aging fingers. "Looks like we're all worried."

Nodding once, he took a long slow sip from the cup.  "I thought we were hiding it better."

She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her cheek against his. "They'll come back, Sugar. They'll come back."

Teaspoon found himself wishing he could agree, but he'd had the same dreams, the same noises in his head. He couldn't make the dreams go away for this little girl, only pray that there were just as many hopes as there were fears in the deep, deep dark of night.

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