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“But why do I have to go?” Peter asked, watching his mother hurry about the room. She was shoving his clothes into a suitcase, a few of his books and toys, but mostly clothes, things he'd need most. He knew why, she had told him that he would be leaving in the morning, being shipped off somewhere, though she hadn't been sure where. Somewhere safe, she had promised. “I want to stay with you.”

Giving a sigh of exasperation, Alice Kirkland sank down on her knees in front of her son, hands on his shoulders, “Listen to me, Peter.” She started, and frowned when he looked away. Turning his face back towards her gently, she spoke quickly, “Things are bad, and it's not safe here. Your father and I have to do what we can to make it better, but you need to be somewhere safe.”

“Why can't I stay and help?” Peter responded quickly, angrily. He hated being treated like a child, and that was very much what this felt like.

The sad look that flickered over his mother's face gave him pause, and he let her pull him into a hug, felt her arms tight around his back, and her cheek his. She smelled like roses, roses and smoke. And he couldn't help but cling back to her.

“Right now, the best way you can help, is to be good and do as your told. Write home when you get where you're going, and stay safe so Daddy and I don't have to worry about you, okay?”

He could hear the pain in her voice. His mom never sounded like that, so broken and sad, and he felt her shake as she spoke to him. Wrapping his arms tight around her, he hugged her back, and buried his face against her shoulder, telling himself he had to not cry. He had to be strong for his mom.

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fixitpixie

August 2017

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