"What must it be like to have nothing... not even memories to visit in the middle of the night?"
Since his meeting with Emma a week prior, August had been doing the thing he’d always done best - running away, and pretending he wasn’t thinking about things. He’d sent word to his father that he was still at the palace with Emma, when in reality, he’d been walking around, not really sure what to do with his life. Every time he allowed himself to run over the conversation with her in his mind, he always found a new thing he could’ve said, be it in his defence, or something to make his little sister listen to him. And instead, he ended up picking up small stones, and launching them at trees, satisfied by the loud bang he heard. He shouldn’t be lying, he knew that. Already he felt his muscles stiffening as a warning, and that only made him even more angry at himself. Lying had got him turned into wood again in the first place, even if the lie was to protect Emma and the Swans, and still he was doing it.
Slumping against a tree, he closed his eyes for a few moments, intending on taking a nap. He knew the way to fix things. He’d head back to see his father, he’d explain everything to him as openly and honestly as he could… And then he’d find something to do with his life. Of course he could take his old job back writing, he was sure - after all, it was something he’d been good at 28 years ago. Or maybe he’d follow through with some of the people he’d offered help to - Red to find her grandmother, or River to find her son, even though the last hadn’t been a complete offer, since she didn’t seem sure of the specifics as it was.
His eyes had been closed for but a few moments when he heard some movement, and he sat up, looking in the direction it came from. He wasn’t on guard from other people - after all, there was no reason anyone would have to attack him - but he did worry about wild animals. Grabbing a rather large rock from next to him, he tested the weight in his hand, and was about to throw it when someone appeared from behind a tree.
“WOAH!” He yelled, dropping the rock instead, seeing it was indeed a person. “Nearly scared the life out of me, what’s the big idea sneaking up on people?”
Where had he gone? River was terribly confused. In truth, it had been her own fault. She fell prey to wandering so very easily. “August?” she called out, her sense of direction virtually nonexistent. “Pinocchio?” She tried the latter and found it to be more pleasant to her ears. A few of hours had passed before River tired of calling out. Could he help me? The thought lingered in her mind. Seemed a strange question, as she wasn’t sure what help was necessary, if any.
As she made her way onward through the forest she happened upon a small village.The delight at finding faces - though they certainly differed from Pinocchio’s was evident from her expression. While she enjoyed idle chatter among the merchants, they were quick to discover she had nothing but the robes she fashioned on her back. A woman who appeared to be an age similar to her own took pity on River after a few choice swears were yelled at by men angry that a haphazardly dressed peasant had distracted them from reigning in a profit.
Thanking the young woman for her hospitality, and much needed change of clothing, River had vanished from sight after the woman had gone to prepare a meal. Rude, assuredly, yet that was not her intent. In fact, for the first time she knew just what her intent was. Find Pinaugust. Pinaugust being a happy medium between Pinocchio and August.
With a surprising stroke of luck - or perhaps just intuition, the path she followed yielded results within the hour. When River spotted her acquaintance she lit up, excited. Noting however, that he appeared to be resting, with his eyes closed, she decided it was best to allow him to do so. Her body was what disagreed, as she lost her footing and fell to the ground. As she finally managed to her feet, she saw August starring back at her and gave what could only be called a grimace. This is embarrassment, she thought. How unpleasant a feeling.
"Pinaugust!" she managed in greeting. As she stepped forward she caught her mistake. "Er… Pinocchio, no, August," she nodded, the last one was what he preferred to be called. "Father, your father," she looked on expectantly before sighing. She had forgotten the other words. "Find your father," she corrected, "You were going to bring me to your father?"
Attempted to reconcile with my sister… Attempted to help a woman in need… What’s left for me to do on my good deed list?
Perhaps your father will be in need of something?
I had wondered where you’d gone off to.
Of course I will write back! Using a bird will work wonderfully. It won’t get eaten, so you don’t have to worry. We use birds to send messages all the time. It’s the easiest way. Birds are smarter than we think!
A bird… [smiles slightly] That sounds lovely.
I’ll send one, maybe two, so they’ll have one another to keep themselves company on their journey.
Of course that’s what a bed is for, silly! And no one can turn down a home-cooked meal from Granny…once I actually find her. It’ll beat whatever you’ve been eating out here any day.
When you’re done traveling, whether you need a place to stay with me or not, can—can you send a letter? I just want to know you’re safe and have shelter.
I’ll send a letter. [nods] I believe I can write. Will you send a letter back?
So I know you’ve retrieved it that is. And what method to send it? A bird? A bird might get eaten…
I think building a home for yourself might be a tad bit difficult, yes. [laughs] So…you have nowhere to go?
You can’t just live out here in the woods. It isn’t safe. I—hmm. If Remus doesn’t plan to take you in…you can come stay with me. After your travels, of course. At least until you can find some place of your own. [hesitates] Don’t think I’ll be offended if you don’t want to. I just want you to know there’s a bed for you if you need it.
It seems I have everywhere to go. [smiles] I do enjoy travelling.
A bed? Oh, I think I like the sound of that. I’ve never been in a bed before. They’re used to sleep on, right? [nods] I do that, I sleep.
Aw. I don’t see it happening any time soon. There’s too much to sort out to even think about adding in a love life.
Where will you be returning to after your travels with Remus? Do you have a home? Maybe I could visit you sometime after I find Granny?
Perhaps a life of love is worth making time for. [furrows brow] I shouldn’t be giving advice I have no intention of following myself.
Home. [pauses] No. I suppose I could make one. Is doing so difficult?
I suppose I knew the castle I resided in as my home, but I doubt it unoccupied and I imagine a human form would be much more… cover some, hmm, cumbersome than a book form.
Oh, no, no, no. I don’t think you are helpless. I just know there are things living in this forest that wouldn’t be easy to defend yourself against, and I don’t want you to get hurt. Strength in numbers, you know?
I don’t doubt the importance of that task. It’s good to help people. It will make you feel good. As long as you’re careful!
I will, take care that is. Be careful. [nods] I’d very much like to live long enough to see you with another Special One. [smiles] I like seeing the faces people make when they talk about them. My… it’s like there’s fuzz fluttering in my stomach.
Huh, a metaphor. Or is it a simile? No, simile is a subset of metaphor, like or as. Similar to asking if a square is a square or a rectangle. Oooh, shapes. [shakes her head] I do get distracted easily. I’ll make an effort not to, to look around for… dangers? Yes.
Oh, n-no. That’s okay, thank you. I don’t think Remus would be too keen on me traveling with you two. I’m not far from the Charming Castle, which is my destination, so I’m sure I’ll be safe. Remus knows a lot about the…creatures…that roam these woods. He knows how to keep you safe from them; I’m sure of it.
I think it’s both nice and scary. Sometimes one more than the other. [laughs] Granny had a Grandpappy long ago. He died way before I was born, so I never got the pleasure to meet him. Granny has been independent ever since. She doesn’t need anyone to take care of her.
Safe, safety first, safe haven, safe. [nods] I - I don’t need to be taken care of either. [frowns] It looks like I do. [gestures to the drapes she had fashioned into clothing] Yet, I cared for myself. Made mistakes, ate the wrong berries, stumbled over rocks and words, but I, I’m not helpless. [tilts her head curiously] You-you don’t believe me, do you?
[shakes her head] I need to reunite Remus with his Special One. I can, and I will. [shrugs] It’s important, I can’t express just why, but it is.
No, I was a little boy. Six or Seven, I guess? Not much older. Guess it meant my father didn’t have to change any dirty diapers?
You keep dreaming of a baby? Is that what you mean? Perhaps…. Your own?
[smiles] It’s funny because infants are incontinent.
I… yes. Every dream is - he’s there. Mine? [pauses] I don’t - I don’t think I have a - although he seems like he’s… it could just be a dream. I mean, the dreams change, not always the same, but he’s always there. So, it could mean, but it doesn’t have to, [takes a deep breath] if he were mine I wouldn’t have left him. [nods] I - I’m not sure. [bites lip]
I just, I don’t like waking up. Because he’s gone, and I want him to be real but if he were where would he be? I wouldn’t leave, I don’t know me, not me before, but me now - I wouldn’t. [sighs] Probably just a dream. Suppose your father had similar dreams, making you and all.