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AUTHOR'S NOTE: As everybody probably knows by now :rolleyes: I'm going on holiday the end of this week. Hope this complete fic keeps you going till I get back and can work on SBH again. :)

Story Title: Daddy

Type of story: Oneshot

Main Characters: Kirsty, Kane and Oliver Phillips

BTTB rating: G

Genre: Family

Does story include spoilers: No

Is story being proof read: No

Any warnings: No

Summary: Kane is in jail and Kirsty and Oliver have to manage on their own.


The small boy raced down to the sea, the wind in his ears, his breath burning his throat, his little legs aching. But he wasn’t gonna stop. No, he wouldn't stop, not until he reached the water’s edge. And he did. He reached that water’s edge like he’d promised you he would and he breathed out five or six times while his little heart pounded in rhythm to the stitch in his side and silver gulls called their haunting cries to him as they circled sea and sky and dipped their wings in the sparkling turquoise waters.

He cupped his hands to his face. “Daddy!” He shouted as loud as he could. “Daddy, Daddy! ”

The waves roared in answer and Ollie Phillips nodded back then knelt down in the soft warm sand and whispered a message to his Daddy.

“You better listen and listen good,” he told the sea firmly to make sure it knew he meant business. “I don’t want no foolin’ round. You take real good care of those words and you be sure to tell Daddy I said hi. Go ‘long now!”

He rose and stepped back a couple of paces and shielded his against the glare of sunlight to watch. He couldn’t see them on those white-capped waves rolling and stretching and jumping, but he knew his words had sailed out on the vast sea and the waves would search and search they reached his Daddy. The sea always found you if you loved it enough and his Daddy loved the sea. He said the sea spoke to you if you listened. Ollie knew ‘zactly what that meant. Ollie loved the sea too. The way it splashed you for fun and told the sea breezes to play with your hair and hid its alien underwater world of strange plants and brightly coloured sea creatures so that you had to go scuba diving or travel way down in a glass-bottomed boat just to find it.

The sea spoke to kids who lived in faraway places and talked in languages he wouldn’t understand but who were just like himself. Kids with gleaming black skin and stick-thin bodies who stood on arid shores waiting for Daddies to come home safely in long wooden fishing boats, kids in midnight countries stamping their feet and rubbing their hands for warmth while icy air made their breath like smoke, waiting for cold grey ships and the return of Daddies gone as soldiers. Kids who had a Daddy who’d had to go away. Different strokes for different folks, but all the same inside. Each with a Daddy who loved them.

Ollie’s Daddy had told Ollie he was the smartest kid in the whole world and he figured it had to be true because his Daddy was the best in the whole world. Because he was so special, Ollie even had a special name. Once, ‘bout a year or more ago when he’d only been a little kid of three, long before Daddy had gone away, when they’d been down on the beach playing making circles of footprints in the sand to fool folks, Ollie stopped and sighed and Daddy asked if he felt crook. Ollie explained he’d been having a big think about what he wanted his name to be. Daddy seemed puzzled.

“You’re called Oliver, mate. Ollie for short. What do you want your name to be?”

Ollie frowned. He’d been having heaps of big thinks about this lately. Ever since his best mate Peter who lived next door at the caravan site they were staying on had got a new puppy and Peter’s family had been trying to decide what to call it.

“How come I’m not called Daddy or Mate or Peter or Fido?”


Ollie nodded. Fido was the name Peter and his olds had finally chosen for the new puppy.

“Well, mate...”

Ollie opened his mouth to ask the question and Daddy grinned. “Sorry, I mean Ollie! We called you Oliver - Ollie for short - because it was a Sunday name.”

Ollie’s eyes widened. He bet Peter and Fido didn’t have Sunday names! Daddy smiled and ran his fingers thoughtfully through his hair and Ollie carefully ran his fingers through his own blond curly hair because he loved to be how Daddy was and do what Daddy did. (It was a bit hard to do it exactly like Daddy but he was pretty sure he’d have nailed it by the time he got to be big as Daddy and had a little boy of his own.)

“Your Mum and me, we had a name all picked out for you,” Daddy said gravely. “We were gonna call you James Daniel - Jamie for short - but then you went and got born on a Sunday. Nobody in the family had ever been born on a Sunday before. We’d always been heaps too poor for that. But you went right ahead and you got yourself born on a Sunday and Sunday’s the poshest day of the week so you needed a posh name. So we thought and we thought and we thought and Oliver was the poshest name we knew. And that’s how you got to be called Oliver James Daniel.” Daddy winked. “Ollie for short.”

“Wowww!” Ollie said, heaps impressed and trying to wink too but he could only manage it if he cocked his head to one side and half-opened his mouth, which seemed all wrong somehow.

He’d thought about names a lot since Daddy’d told him all ‘bout his Sunday name. Uncle Miles had a funny name, which was maybe why Mummy had a nickname for him. Grown-ups said Mummy looked good with Uncle Miles. They said it was good too that Ollie liked him. Grown-ups often said silly things. Uncle Miles was kind of cool and of course Ollie liked him. Everybody liked him. He told funny stories and pulled funny faces and he could do neat tricks like making coins come out of your ears. Uncle Miles was very funny and he made Mummy laugh - which was good, Ollie didn’t like Mummy to be sad. That was why Mummy sometimes called him S’Miles. She said he made her happy. But Ollie knew that wasn’t true. You didn’t get to be the smartest kid in the world and not know these things. Mummy smiled and she pretended to be happy because Miles was a nice bloke. It wasn’t his fault he couldn’t be Daddy.

Sometimes Mummy swept her hand over her face and her eyes would be shiny with tears. Then she’d catch him looking and laugh and say, “Mummy's being a silly billy again, Ollie.” So he’d give her a big hug and she’d say his hugs always made her better and they’d both hold on tight.

But they both needed Daddy’s hugs.


I’ve counted every brick in this cramped cell. I know every second that weighs down on my soul, every shadow and scrape and shape on the walls that bind me tight. Just below the high barred window where the distant sea thunders by the loneliness of night and pale finger-rays of sunlight creep unwillingly through by day there is a mark and this mark, I swear, Kirst, don’t laugh, but I swear it’s the spitting image of Buzz Lightyear’s head! Remember how Ollie and me’d, if the latest motel happened to be upmarket and actually have a DVD player in its family room, we’d watch that old Toy Story DVD over and over and you’d roll your eyes and groan “Not again!”

But then you’d always flop down on the couch (usually a pretty threadbare couch, rented places aren’t exactly de-luxe accommodation, are they?) to watch the movie with us. But you know what I loved most when the three of us sat there laughing at Woody and Buzz and Mr Potato Head? Just wrapping my arms around you both. Just seeing our beautiful son sitting between us and looking at us with that smile, his Mummy’s smile, like he’s captured all the sunshine. If I stare long enough at Buzz Lightyear it’s as though I’m with you again. I inhale your perfume, hear your voices, I reach out and I almost touch you...

And then comes the night-duty screw’s brief yell of warning, the lights black out and nothing is left now but the familiar prison noises. The snores of my cellmate, the occasional murmur of conversation, random bangs and shouts. I listen to the screws’ footsteps doing the rounds, to the jangling of keys and rattling of gates being slid open and shut, to the shouts of Old Ted down the wing screaming something again about the Martians got him wired up with electrodes and are tapping into his thoughts. Sometimes he calms down and sleeps, sometimes they have to take him down the hospital wing to be sedated.

See, Kirst, this is no place for a kid. No place for the people I love. You’re both too beautiful, too perfect, for a prison to taint either of you for even a second. And it would. Prison has its own peculiar prison smell. It lingers on your clothes and hair even when you’re working outside on the farms or the gardens because prison can and does seep through every inch of your skin. Its taste is everywhere, in the food you eat, in every breath you take. Prison coats the air, choking your soul. The guys here, they say it never leaves you even long after you done your time.

Kirst, I’m so, so sorry I couldn’t have given you more. Sorry it had to be all about running from town to town, always looking over our shoulders, always living hand to mouth. You and Ollie, you guys deserved - no, you guys deserve - the best. I made so many mistakes before I met you, Kirst. Until then I never knew love could shake you up and turn you inside out. But you taught me to love and for a little while I thought I could be everything you taught me. But those mistakes I made, I’m paying for them now.

I’ll love you and Ollie till the sun and the stars burn themselves out, till the mountains crumble into the earth. I love you too much to hold you back. All that I ask is when you hear the voice of the sea remember how I loved you.

Be free.


I’m trying, Kane. I’m trying real hard. You said not to waste my life, to find someone else. Well, Miles loves me. He told me so tonight, a summer night, the moon and us, the chirp of crickets in the long grass, the lap of the waves and the night wind sighing. We sat outside in the hammock swinging gently, sharing a half bottle of wine and talking about our day. We were friends, Kane. And then he told me something like that! I couldn’t answer him. It would have been a lie if I had and we both knew it. Instead I muttered I had to go check on Ollie.

Our little boy had been fast asleep but when I go into his room he’s woken. He thinks it’s morning, that moon is so bright, and the little angel is stretching out his arms and smiling. He sits up, wide awake, bouncing on the bed, you know, in that funny way he has, kind of dancing on his bottom.


“Hi, poppet!”

Then he asks the question he always does, looking hopefully towards the door. “Daddy...?”

I ruffle his baby soft hair. “Daddy can’t be here, sweetie. But he loves us.”

And he nods and flings his arms round my neck and holds me tight because I tell him his hugs always make me feel better. He doesn’t cry. He’s so like you, Kane. Wanting to protect and be the man. Wanting to be tough and with so much love in his heart. He asks for his favourite story and he slides down under the duvet as I begin, watching me with the same beautiful sparkling blue eyes as his Daddy, stroking my hand to comfort me when I brush away my silent tears. And I tell him again the story of how his Mummy and Daddy met.

Of how his Daddy once made mistakes and hurt people and everyone said he was bad. Of how his Daddy was sorry and went away to sail on the sea he loved so much only for the great storm to come and how his brave Daddy looked after passengers and gave out lifebelts, of how the ship sank and we were washed up together on a lonely island and at first I hated him. And then I tell of how he found me with heatstroke and tenderly carried me to a stream, of how he was bitten by a snake to save the life of the grandmother Ollie has never met. I tell him of how on that quiet island where he took all the terrible pain of the snakebite and almost died just to make up for all the bad things he'd done, we sat listening to the sea and making pictures from the stars and fell in love. I watch him till his blue eyes so like his Daddy’s close and he slips gently into the magic world of sleep.

Kane, I can’t love Miles. I’ve tried and I’ve tried but I can never love him the way I love you. I’m sitting here while the silver moonlight shines through bright as day with our little boy who has his Daddy’s eyes and his Mummy’s and Daddy’s hearts, knowing I’ll always love you. I kiss our son goodnight and run my finger gently down his chubby pink face.

Somehow I know he’s dreaming of his Daddy.


And so the little boy dreamed as children do. He dreamed that he went down to the beach and ran faster than he’d ever run before. He dreamed that when he reached the water’s edge where the sun beat down and the gulls called their haunting cries as they skimmed the foam-tipped waves he cupped his hands to his mouth to shout out to the sea and then he knelt down in the soft warm sand and whispered a message to his Daddy for the sea to carry.


He dreamed. He dreamed he walked along the beach with his wife and son and when he woke to the distant thunder of the sea his eyes were still wet with memories and the bright moon had broken through the darkness to carry a whisper through the bars of the high window. A whisper that promised an unbreakable promise that the little family would be together again one day as it etched itself forever in his heart.

“Daddy! Daddy, Daddy! We love you, Daddy!”


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