The Joy a Son Can Bring

By Southofoz

Summary - This is an S3 story rated G. Jacob is growing and Vincent discovers the unexpected joy his son can bring (excerpts from Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien).

Still round the corner there may wait 

A new road and a secret gate,

And though we pass them by today,

Tomorrow we may come this way.

Vincent was reading in his favorite chair one evening when nine-year-old Jacob came to his chamber full of excitement, “Father come quickly, I have something wonderful to show you!”

Vincent looked up at his son, curious but not alarmed. “What is it, Jacob?”

Jacob grabbed Vincent by the arm, taking the book from his hands and putting it on the table nearby. “Come on, Father, quickly. It’s a surprise. We haven’t much time.” 

Jacob took hold of one of his father’s large hands and Vincent allowed himself to be pulled from the chair. Vincent’s usually acute sense could pick up no clue as to the boy’s intent and he realized that the boy was keeping his thoughts well hidden. 

Over the years the boy had surprised and delighted his father by finding a way to shield his thoughts and feelings from him, but Vincent was soon aware of it and had discovered a way to overcome the boy’s defenses. Realizing however that Jacob needed to have at least the illusion of privacy Vincent kept up the pretence, and only in times when he was fearful for the boy’s safety did he ever break through his son’s ingenious dampening barrier. Now as he sensed Jacob’s excitement, he kept his curiosity in check so he wouldn’t spoil the boy’s surprise. 

As he was pulled through the entrance to his chamber by one hand, Vincent scooped up his ever-present cloak with the other, and allowed the boy to pull him along.

Jacob let go and ran ahead while Vincent hurried to catch up, pulling his cloak around him. They were soon emerging from a manhole in an alley. “Come this way.” Jacob said climbing a ladder on the outside of a nearby building. Vincent knew where they were but wasn’t sure why they would be in a movie theater in this part of the city. Jacob slipped in through a door in the roof and Vincent followed soundlessly behind. The boy had obviously found some interesting device that he knew his father would enjoy as much as he did.

Vincent had often regretted giving Jacob permission to go Above. Yet he knew it was something he couldn’t have avoided, and with some very unique abilities and his mother’s zest for life, Catherine’s son was safer than most of the other children. However that didn’t ease Vincent’s concerns. 

When he was inside, Jacob sat excitedly on a bed of old blankets and cushions, which he had obviously collected from Below, as Vincent recognized some of them and he wondered if Mary or Sarah knew where they had disappeared to.

“Look, Father, it’s just starting.” the boy whispered, pointing through a section where two boards had been removed from the floor of the loft.

His father obeyed and a gasp escaped him at the sight he saw. Jacob was more interested in watching his father’s reaction than the spectacle that was unfolding before them. He knew that before his father’s eyes, a huge screen, just below them, was lighting a dark movie theater, where many people sat– their eyes riveted to the screen. 

On the screen was a magical land, that had been recreated from one of Jacob’s favorite stories – a place of lush green fields and hills, where gentle, innocent folk lived and where a wizard, in a grey robe and large pointed hat, rode in a wagon, singing a melodious ditty. Later, this same wizard blew smoke rings with a very small man named Bilbo, who remarked that “It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.”

When the party was over and the little man had disappeared, Vincent’s eyes turned from the screen to Jacob and he murmured. “Jacob, how can this be?” 

Jacob knew it wasn’t a question about the movie itself, as Vincent was well aware of such things, it was more how beautifully and magically this story was being told. 

Jacob spoke quickly as he didn’t want his father to miss one moment of the experience. “You have always loved this story Father and you’ve never seen mountains or rivers and forests like you’ll see soon. It’s a beautiful, magical land on the other side of the world, and I wanted you to see it. Not just the story but what anyone else can see. Now watch, here is where their journey begins.”

So caught up was he in the sights and sounds of the panorama before him, Vincent never moved or spoke until the movie was over. And when the entire theatre was empty and silent, he and his son slipped out of the attic and back down to the tunnels. 

Walking beside his father, holding his hand, Jacob felt his father’s feelings swirling within him and he had to ask. “Father did you like it? Tell me what you’re thinking, your feelings are all mixed up.”

Vincent stopped in the middle of the tunnel and lifted Jacob onto his back, as he had done since the boy was very small, while he collected his thoughts, and when Jacob was comfortable, Vincent started walking again as he answered. “The colors were so vibrant and the scenery so beautiful. Not even in my imagination could I have conjured such beauty… and the music… I have never heard anything like it.” 

Jacob squeezed his father’s strong neck and said. “Oh I knew you’d like it. I would love to go to such a place one day.”

“That is my wish for you too, Jacob. I want you to see the world and experience its wonders,” and knowing how much Jacob loved it, Vincent began to run through the tunnels as fast as he could, with the sound of Jacob giggling with joy, music in his ears. 

As they came closer to their chamber, Vincent slowed to a walk and began to talk about other things he had enjoyed about the night. His voice calmed the boy’s excitement so that by the time they reached their chamber, Jacob was almost asleep, his head resting on his father’s shoulder. 

Jacob felt his father gently lay him on his own small bed, his boots were removed, and then the covers were drawn up over him. He felt his father kiss him on the forehead and he heard. “Thank you Jacob. You have given me a wonderful gift, one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.” 

Jacob murmured sleepily. “The second one comes out next year and the third the year after.” 

He felt another kiss, as his father knelt beside him and whispered. “Then I will have something wonderful to look forward to, now sleep… I am here.” Jacob slowly drifted down into a deep sleep, filled with dreams of Hobbits and Elves, Wizards and brave warriors and huge stone statues called Agonath. He knew these were echoes from his father’s mind as he too relived the night’s excitement. 

These were treasured days full of magic and love as Jacob grew older and each year he and his father would go to that theatre to see the wonderful world of Middle Earth come alive.

Vincent re-read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings; it had been many years and as in the book, his life with his son became a journey they took together. Each day was an adventure and at night before going to bed he would gaze at Kristopher Gentian’s portrait of himself and Catherine. He would tell her of all the amazing things her son was doing and how proud he was of him and how much he still loved her and missed her.

Hope is rekindled, and in hope ended;

Over death, over dread, over doom lifted

Out of loss, out of life, unto long glory.