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Little Boy Blue

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"Oh, thank God you're here!"

Henry stays silent, staring through the glass that separates him from Sal. 

"They said I only get one phone call; I didn't know who else to talk to."

This isn't real. None of this feels real. This is like the time Henry found his son laying on the ground, holding his bleeding face in his hands while a large dog tore into his wife's throat. This is like the time he saw his son standing there, silently staring at Diane's pale corpse. 

Henry hates that he's getting used to this feeling. 

"Please, Dad...I need your help. I need you to go back to Addison Apartments and--"

"It's been blocked off. Thought you would have realized that."

Sal's eyes widen beneath the holes in his prosthetic. "Yeah, but...I--"

"It's blocked off because of you. Because you turned that place into a crime scene."

Henry tries to ignore the sharp pang in his heart. Sal looks like he's just been slapped. Maybe it would be kinder if Henry had ever actually done that. 

"Dad..." Henry closes his eyes. Sal's voice has started quivering. He becomes far less sure that this was ever a good idea. 

Why hadn't he just stayed home? Why had he picked up the phone in the first place?

"Dad, I'm innocent. I swear, I didn't do it!"

"Their blood was on your hands." Henry isn't speaking metaphorically; a picture is worth a thousand words, after all, and there are pictures of Sal being dragged away in bloodied handcuffs all over the news. 

"Dad--"

"Don't." Henry takes a deep breath. It almost doesn't feel like it's him speaking when he finally says "You are not my son. My son is not a murderer."

He doesn't even look at him as he gets up and leaves. He can only barely hear Sal's muffled cries behind his prosthetic and the glass. 

The numbness he feels as he goes through the ordeal of exiting prison and starts driving away is all too familiar. He drives on autopilot; moves his car strictly by reflex. 

For the first time in years, he finds himself pulling into the parking lot of a liquor store. Grabs the biggest but cheapest bottle of whiskey that he can find, pays for it, and drives home. 

He's three shots in before he lets his head fall into his hands. Before he starts to silently weep.

Henry knows he hasn't been perfect. He knows he's screwed up so many things, for himself and for Sal. 

But just days ago, he'd been so sure that he'd mostly done right by him.

Hadn't he?

The bottle holds no answers for him.