Disclaimer: This fan fiction was written solely for the purpose of entertainment, both for the writer and any readers, for the fan fiction 100 challenge. No one is making any money from it. Unfortunately.
Nothing's gonna harm you.
Not while I'm around.
Nothing's gonna harm you, darling.
Not while I'm around.
It may be silly, Jessica thought, to sing Grady to sleep, but after all he had been through, it seemed to calm him down. Besides, she had been, in a way, cheated out of singing an infant to sleep, so she was selfishly making up for it, now, with Grady. He needed the mothering now more than ever.
"Aunt Jess," the young boy asked, interrupting her.
"Yes, Grady," she patiently acknowledged.
"Do you think it was my fault?" his bright eyes were filled with a mixture of tears and the most pleading, honestly pouty look, which could have mad even the toughest of football quarterbacks weak at the knees.
"What, darling?" Jessica asked, though she thought she already knew what he meant.
"They were on their way to see me. To watch my chess match. Uncle Frank had been helping me plan strategies, and they wanted to be there for me. They felt bad and they were driving to see me. And then I was mad when I didn't see them. And they didn't pick me up after the meet..." His verbal expression halted abruptly--not only by his tears, but by Frank also entering the room.
Jessica held young Grady, her face clearly telling Frank how much it hurt her that Grady was in pain.
Frank gave her a soft smile of sympathy and began singing the lullaby, off-key and out of tune.
Demons are prowlin' everywhere,
I'll send 'em howlin';
I don't care.
I've got ways.
"Of course it's not your fault," Jessica whispered softly to Grady, laying him back down against his pillow and drying his tears. "It was just their turn."
"But that doesn't make it any better. I still hurt right here," Grady said, grasping his heart.
"It will for a while, darling," Jessica tried to reassure him that his feelings were normal.
"But after a while," Frank interjected. "You'll remember the happy times without the pain."
Grady closed his eyes and rolled over. He was exhausted.
"Good night, Grady," Frank said, taking his cue and motioning to an ever-stationary Jessica, always wanting to be by Grady's side.
"Good night, darling," Jessica said, reluctantly rising and then kissing him on the forehead to go stand in the hallway with Frank.
"Night," Grady mumbled, cuddling his stuffed bear, Wicket, already falling asleep.
Frank led Jessica into the hallway, holding her in his arms, there.
"He's in so much pain," Jessica said through tears, her head still resting on Frank's chest.
"You would've made a great mom, you know," Frank told her, squeezing her tighter. "I know you care," Frank continued. "I do, too. But we can't take the pain away. We can't protect him in a bubble."
"But I want to..." Jessica searched for words to explain her concern.
"I know, sweetie. I know."
Nothing's Gonna Harm You was written by Stephen Sondheim, 1979, for the musical Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.