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Fanfiction: Music

Fandom: Airwolf
Series: Snapshots
Summary: Hawke's mother listens to Hawke playing his cello and reflects on her relationship with her newfound son. 
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Hawke/Caitlin.  Set during And They All Lived (Finding Family Series Story 12).
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.

 

Music


She had seen him play music as a child. He had been good at the piano, enjoyed the violin and guitar but he had excelled at the cello. He had been a natural. The bow had caressed the strings and produced music from the moment he had tried it. Jane Hawke had been a concert pianist before her marriage and as Stringfellow’s mother her heart leaped at how good he was; at his talent. She had been so sure that would be his destiny; a professional musician with adoring fans who would line up to hear him play – and she would be at the head of the queue.

A mother’s ambition knew no bounds but she was a musician and she had always known how good he was. Every note in tune; in tempo; in harmony with the piece. She had listened to him for hours and somehow every memory of her second son seemed tied to music. In the years when she believed him dead, she had barely played herself. It reminded her too much of him. Of the hours spent instructing him; of the moments spent hearing him play with his head bowed over his instrument; his startling blue eyes closed in concentration.

She had secured a good teacher – the best teacher – for him the year Elijah Hawke had died. He had idolised his grandfather. Somehow their love for art had bridged the generation gap. Elijah had doted on Stringfellow. He had taught him how to identify a Picasso; how to tell a fake. And he had encouraged String in his music; it had been Elijah who had bought the Stradivarius. Alan had protested; it was too much, too expensive for a small boy.

Jane remembered her father-in-law’s reply; ‘He’ll grow into it.’

It hadn’t surprised her that Elijah had left her son the cabin. Elijah had truly known Stringfellow; the kind heart and sensitive soul of the artist so evident in the child. Alan had worried about his son’s sensitivity; life was hard and their son would feel every small bruising knock. Jane had also known the worry had been edged with anxiety over Stringfellow’s eventual sexuality. Back then it had been less permissible to be homosexual, and their generation had its prejudices, but Jane hadn’t cared. He was her son; if he had been gay then she would have still loved him, and she knew Alan would have too despite his worries.

Yet she couldn’t deny Alan was pleased that String was married with a family; that his son was a highly decorated army pilot; that he had seemingly put away his music and embraced his other talent; flying. Alan would claim there was an artistry there too; he had already proudly boasted of String’s flight skills – the natural way String inhabited the air. He had talked of String’s combat skills in the dog fight. His son was a man.

Jane could barely see anything of the child in the man before her. She had lost so much time, Jane mused. Years of her son’s life that she had never known about – would never know about in the way a mother should. The mink brown hair had the smallest sprinkling of grey; the blue eyes were guarded and wary; the still boyish face was lined and scarred. She wondered how much of what she saw was because he had believed for so long that his parents had died.

Jane shivered and pulled the wrap she had thought to grab closer around her shoulders. The air was cold up at the cabin; crisp and sharp. Her skin almost stung with it. It was due penance for their mistakes, Jane thought her mind slipping back to where it all began…

The plan had been simple; take a boat out ahead of a storm; rendezvous with the FBI and live safely ever after following Alan’s capture of his father’s killer. Only it had all gone wrong. The storm had arrived early and the boys had been swept overboard. They had been told the boys had drowned little realising their sons had survived; that the boys had been told it was their parents who had drowned.

Jane would swear she had almost died that day herself; if it hadn’t been for the child within her…the grief had been overwhelming, suffocating. There had been days she could hardly stand it. To lose Saint John and Stringfellow – her boys. The pain had been too much. The children she had borne after; Sarah and Seb – she loved them and they had helped fill the dark empty spaces but never completely.

But they were all reunited, a family again and Jane was determined to bridge the chasm of time. Saint John had been so easy; so open in comparison to his brother. He hated the time they had lost but he had accepted them back into his life with an acceptance that humbled Jane.

Stringfellow had not done the same.

Alan claimed it was because of recent events. String had almost lost his wife and although Caitlin had made a recovery, it was clear it had rocked String. His friend Michael had apparently told Alan that String had suffered loss after loss in his life and he always retreated when there had been another close call, when he had almost lost someone else he loved. Yet Jane didn’t believe that String kept them at arm’s length because of that alone.

She was his mother and whatever time had passed, she knew her son. She might not be able to glimpse the vulnerability that had once played so openly on his face but she knew it was there. He was scared; scared to let them back in where they could hurt him again; scared to trust them again – not just with his love but that of the family he had built – Caitlin and their son. It was going to take time to win back his trust.

Jane craved it; wanted it; needed it. She knew she would never feel back home until she had it. He was trying. He had invited them for dinner – the whole tribe including his newly found younger siblings. It had been a meal of laughter and anecdotes; of gentle banter and recollections. Yet Stringfellow had deflected every attempt to shift the conversation to any intimacy about himself; had excused himself after dinner. She had watched him grab the cello and head out of the cabin. They’d all left him alone trying to give him the space he seemed to want so badly but when she had heard the first strains of music, Jane had followed.

He had grown into the cello, Jane realised as she watched him on the dock from her place in the shadows on the cabin’s porch. It suited him. Like any musical instrument when it fitted, it seemed like an extension of him.

The song was haunting; a melody she had never heard. It was beautiful; the emotion of it bringing tears to her eyes. It flowed from him; through his fingers as he pressed them into the strings, down his arm as he drew back the bow. She watched her son play music to the passing eagles. It wasn’t the life she had imagined for him.

The music stopped and Jane waited.

He gazed up at the circling birds for a moment before he looked sharply over; his eyes pinned her suddenly without warning and she wondered at how he had known she was there.

A few moments later he was climbing the steps of the porch; Jane moved to greet him, and to stop him from going inside.

‘I heard you playing and wanted to listen.’ Jane felt compelled to justify her presence. ‘You play wonderfully.’ Her voice was filled with maternal pride.

Hawke ducked his head at the praise. ‘The end section still needs work.’

‘You composed it?’ Jane was surprised but pleased.

He nodded and she glimpsed shy uncertainty in his eyes before his guard went back up.

‘It was beautiful.’ Jane assured him. She smiled at him. ‘I’m glad you kept playing.’

Hawke rubbed his chin. ‘It always reminded me of you.’

Jane’s heart ached in her chest at his words; at the image of a small boy playing the cello to remember his mother.

‘You still play piano?’ Hawke shuffled his feet nervously.

Jane tried to dislodge the lump that had sprung up in her throat. ‘Sometimes but…’

He raised an eyebrow.

‘It always reminded me of you.’ She admitted.

Hawke seemed to understand what she didn’t say; the pain, the aching loneliness of grief, and she realised he knew too much of it himself.

‘Maybe we can play together again.’ Hawke suggested awkwardly. ‘Now you’re back.’

Jane nodded slowly. ‘I’d like that.’

Hawke’s eyes warmed on hers. He shifted his bow to his other hand and held his free hand out to her. Jane blinked back her tears and took it. A small gesture of trust but it was something. She held on as he led her inside to the warmth of the cabin, his music playing in her head and wrapped around her heart.

fin.

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