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Let Your Old Heart Shine

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Fireworks could be heard bursting all around with the occasional cheer of joy from a child nearby. Nix silently admired Dick as he sat beside him on their back garden porch. He watched the way every firework from their neighbours lit up each feature of him. The reds bringing his hair to life like wildfire, the blues igniting the speckles of blue and green from his eyes, the whites showing off how truly pale Dicks face is with the added hints of freckles that span across his nose and cheeks. When he turned to look at him, however, he didn’t need any fireworks to light up his eyes this bright. Only Nix was capable of that. He lifted his glass of red wine in his direction slightly before taking a small, tentative sip as if he were savouring this moment of the both of them, even if they had done this for years now. The first time Dick had poured wine for them on a New Year’s just like this night Nix had nearly fainted. “Happy New Year’s Nix”.

“Yeah, you too Dick” Lewis said fondly. “At least the fireworks are half way decent this year” he commented quietly still not quite used to how loved he felt after all but two, now three years married to him. After their first New Year’s when Dick served them wine, he could remember teasing him for weeks afterwards, dramatically saying how he was no longer the innocent, clean-living Richard Winters that he once knew. He chuckled slightly to himself. He didn’t know what he’d do without him. His quiet sarcasm and giving nature. He didn’t love Nixon despite what he is, he loved him because of what he is and Nix will always feel grateful to whatever God there was for granting him this luxury. He made him a better man.

He was brought back to the present suddenly when Dick started talking. “You ever think if we had a kid they’d enjoy these fireworks?” A rocket firework exploded with a big boom above them reflecting neon colours across their neighbouring Californian suburban houses. Dick played with a piece of thread on his dark red and purple patterned scarf gifted to him for Christmas by Carwood Lipton as his old scarf was literally hanging all together by a thread. Nixon would always joke about how he related to the scarves dire state much to Dick’s distaste of his self-deprecation. Every New Year all of their friends group together at their house and have a party. Currently it’s one thirty in the morning; all their friends had already gone back home and either were asleep like Lip or drinking more if you were Luz and Babe. Or up to no good if you were Speirs.

“Dick do you…do you want a kid?” Nix had no problem with adopting a kid, Hell, it’d probably be fun to have some little thing running around their house up to no good, his only concerns were what type of father he would be. “

We could. Adopt one I mean. We have the money, the house.” Dick looked at him earnestly, holding his hand out for Nix to take. “I don’t know what type of father I’d make Dick” he muttered almost miserably reaching for his hand.

What are you talking about Nix? I know for a fact that you’d give your all for this child and wouldn’t hesitate to sock someone in the face if they gave them trouble” That made Lewis chuckle lightly. A few fireworks went off causing some kid, no more than maybe five to squeal in delight. “You think it’s clearing up?” Dick looked up into the dark navy of the sky save for the glow of the explosions. “No I don’t think so” he said nonchalantly. I think it’s clearing up” He said whilst in deep thought. Dick let him take his time with his answer. This wasn’t the first time he’d mentioned adopting. He knew Dick loved kids and furthermore would be a fantastic father. The problem was himself. He wasn’t known for being sober or patient and that might be a problem. He was known for waking up late for work and in general being a hot mess. But the way Dicks eyes turned wistful as if having a family with him was his childhood dream. As if this was all he really wants-a life with him and a child to care for together. He couldn’t help but say yes. He gripped Dicks hand tighter, intertwining their fingers together until their wedding bands bumped lightly. “Yeah alright. Let’s do this.”

The smile that emerged on Dicks face was worth it.

Lewis Nixon waited in his prided Rover P6 classic car as Dick checked the front door of their house was locked for the hundredth time. Sometimes he swore Dick had some sort of OCD going on. Always checking this and that is closed or locked and that everything is in perfect order. Yet he couldn’t find it anything but charming, and besides, the house would probably be next to shambles if it were left in Nix’s care.

The car door pops open pulling Lew out of his thoughts as Dick slides into the black leather seat already hot from the midday sun.

“It’s a children’s home not a night out” Nix commented as he looked at Dicks light blue button down hanging down carelessly over casual black slacks. “First impressions matter Lew” Nix snorted and started pulling out of their driveway and down the straight road cocooned in symmetrical palm trees on each side that Dick loved, well, he loved the symmetry mostly. Said it was pleasing to his soul, but he did also admire the way the light shimmered through the leaves gently. Nix fumbled until he found his trademark black shades, throwing them on to block out the blazing sun high up in cloudless blue skies of Santa Monica.

Of course there was some light traffic as he hit the main road that had Lew biting down the urge to roll down his window and shout snarky remarks. Although what a sight that would be to see; sliding up next to the phony then furiously trying to wheel down his window to shout at them as Dick tried not to laugh next to him. Dick was already smiling as he tried to hide his amusement. “Weekend drivers” Lew muttered petulantly. It wouldn’t take long to get to this children’s home, perhaps fourty minutes or so and he was kind of nervous. If he were honest he didn’t really know how to act around children despite Dick’s enthusiasm. He was better at caring for dogs. I guess children can be like dogs, he wondered to himself, they shit a lot, eat a lot and fuss when they don’t get attention. Stop it he chastised, you can’t think of your child as a dog. I’m thinking more of toddlers, this kid is at the prime age of eleven. It was now April and they had spent most of January, February and March setting up their guest bedroom into a vanilla kid’s bedroom except for the colour of the walls. They decided that that should be his or her choice to make it feel more like home.

The children’s home sat neatly on the edge of the street in downtown as he parked up. He got out and looked at Dick who returned his glance. He turned briefly to lock his car, adjusted his sunglasses and entered the formal looking building which painted Sunnyside Children’s Home with a bacon and eggs smiley face on the front window. They had already filled out the required paper work for which child they wanted. They had no photo of him to go by as he suffered from epilepsy so this would be their first time seeing him. By his description his parents hadn’t passed away but were deemed unable to care for him due to physical, mental, and emotional abuse which broke both of their hearts. It would be challenging but worth it they decided.

The receptionist motioned for them to sit in the waiting room whilst she asked a co-worker to get the child. Their child. Nix glanced around the room nervously picking up a magazine then roughly putting it back down. Before he could fumble anymore though he felt Dicks fingers slide over his. “It’s going to be fine Lew, don’t panic so much” he gave him a reassuring smile, but didn’t let go of his hand. Soon enough an eleven year old boy appeared shyly into the waiting room gripping his duffle bag like a vice. He was a little tall with short but messy blonde hair and sky blue eyes that flickered around anxiously. “Good afternoon” Dick said kindly “I’m Richard Winter and this is my husband Lewis Nixon. Nix waved slightly and smiled. Poor kid looked so confused and scared he couldn’t meet their eyes.

“Blithe these are your new dads!” the co-worker beamed leaning down a little to pat his shoulder. At that his ocean eyes widened a fracture. “I’m adopted?” his surprise was over laid by a thick southern accent.

“Are you ready to go home Blithe?” Nix asked gently, glad when his small jittery hand shakily held onto Dicks sleeve before nodding slightly.

Chapter Text

The drive home was mostly in silence. Dick thought it may be best to give Blithe a little room to breathe and get used to being around them, not wanting to frighten him knowing how hard little Blithe’s life was beforehand. He hardly minded though as he let the wind drift through his chocolate coloured hair and caress his face from the open window, occasionally browsing at the neighbouring houses and random teens and kids that loitered around enjoying the sun. It was summer break so all the students were home for a while. He stole a quick side glance towards Dick as they hit a red light who was staring out the window himself in deep thought. He couldn’t help it, he leant over and placed a small kiss on his slender cheek as they waited for the green light. Dick’s presence always made him do funny things that he would regret later and Nix decidedly ignored the memory of how he went to lay his arm on the wall and slipped when he first met him in college. Dick had stabled him and gave him a charming smile and that’s when Nix knew he was gone. Harry reminds him of it almost every single day.

I wonder if Blithe minds having two dads Nix briefly wondered as he turned around to check on him. Blithe’s small mouth was curved into a gentle smile that reminded him drastically of Dick. That convinced him enough that he didn’t really care and was more pleased to have been adopted at all. He was older than most at the Children’s Home making it harder to get adopted. A lot of adults adopting wanted a really young child or toddler instead of someone verging on teen years. He took a left as they were coming up to their brown panelled house and pulled into the driveway. The sunlight shone against the tall windows and made the beige stone that adorned the front middle section of their cosy home glisten. Their home was pretty large and yet had a lived-in homey feeling only made from years of hard work and marriage.

Taking a deep inhale after he exited his car his popped open Blithe’s door and watched him awkwardly shuffle out. “Thank you, Sir” he nodded.

“Oh just Nix’ll do, maybe even Dad” He half joked.

 Blithe nodded again, but looked rather uncomfortable. His eyes fluttered towards to the ground. “Yes, Sir”

Shit.

Dick wandered around the car until he reached them and slightly held out his arm giving Blithe the opportunity to hold onto his sleeve again like he did back at the Children’s Home. His hand was less jittery this time around when he reached for it. He watched as Dick held out his other arm towards Nix “Do you need help getting in the house too?” He teased

“You ass” Nix smirked, but that didn’t stop him from intertwining their hands together before making their way towards the dark maroon door.

 


 

 

 

The kitchen was immediately to the right featuring pale wooden cupboards and a little beige island in the middle. There was a design flaw where the microwave was immediately on the left next to the arch way. Which means that anytime someone used the microwave as you entered the kitchen nine times out of ten you would get a microwave door to the face. Adjacent to the kitchen the rather fancy dining room sat with a long and slightly rounded mahogany table. Dick passed the dining room as he strolled into the next, plopping down Blithe’s bag of stuff in the living room. He watched Blithe at the corner of his eye glance towards the stairs on the left side of the room before slowly taking a seat on the grey couch next to his bag. Dick sat on the opposite couch to him, although his shadowed silhouette was probably more visible, because of the large glass doors behind him that lead to the porch that were illuminating the room in a calm golden glow. It was roughly three pm so the sun’s blaze had calmed down; not as blindingly bright. From where Blithe sat in the middle of the room he wondered what it would all look like when the fireplace to his left in the centre of the wall was lit. Wondered how the tangerine glow of the flame would light up the darkish beige of the walls.

“How are you feeling trooper?” Dick wanted his new son to feel as safe and comfortable as possible. Blithe toyed with the straps of his bag slightly.

“It’s nice here” He replied in his southern accent. His face broke out in a grin, glad that the house was good enough to give little Blithe at least some ease.  Nix came into the room holding a glass of lemonade he presumed for Blithe.

“Here you go, kid” He announced before placing it gently onto the glass coffee table that separated all three greyish couches.

“Thank you, Sir” He didn’t reach for it, instead just peeked up at them, as if silently asking for permission to drink. Instead of telling him to drink and that everything was fine, he told him of their plans. Finding a suitable school for him, clothes shopping, finding out what food he likes to eat, getting used to the area and such. As he spoke Blithe seemed to relax more and more even reaching out to take a sip of his lemonade. When he mentioned all of his friends that frequently visit, though, he tensed up.

“Don’t worry, I trust these men to never hurt you just as we will never hurt you.” He gestured he hand towards Nix.

“I grew up with a lot of them in college and so has Nix here. You’re safe.” He said firmly and those words seemed to spark something inside him, because he stood up and meandered around the little glass coffee table before awkwardly sitting next to Dick. He took a hold of his blue sleeve before gently resting his head on Dick’s arm. It wasn’t a hug, but it was as close to one as Blithe could manage at the moment. It was over as quickly as it started as he lifted his head and shuffled away slightly. “Thank you, Sir” He mumbled quietly but earnestly. And just like that Dick knew he would protect this kid from anything bad. He looked at Nix and was surprised to see him already thawing at having little Blithe around even if he wasn’t the energetic child that they had expected when they first accepted adopting.

They showed Blithe his room and left him to his own devices for a while, meanwhile Dick and Nixon took a seat at their dining room table to read through the Document given to them from the Children’s Home again. It presented Blithe’s full name, age, birthdate, blood type, BMI, and a brief parent history which told them that the biological mother and father were both severe alcoholics that were no longer fit to care for him due to abuse. There were remarks about physical abuse, but they both had an inkling that it stretched further into his mental and emotional health too judging by the way he shook when they got too close too quickly and the way he didn’t stop addressing them as Sir. It reminded Dick of being back in the station at work. It tugged on his heartstrings that someone could be so cruel. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Nix silently raging at the real parents too.

“He’s so young” Nix started “And to be treated like that by some sacks of shit.” It wasn’t fair. Blithe had only been with them for a few hours and yet he already knew that he was a shy and sweet little kid. It was just hidden under what his real parents had done to him. He made a noise of agreement.

“This is not what I expected when we talked about adopting” Nix admitted looking at him in the eye. “I know, but I like him. I think he’ll be perfect for us” Dick voiced, optimistic. He really had taken to the boy and he had only said a few sentences.

“Think he’ll like us at all?” Nix asked slightly concerned. “Well, I mean he seems to have liked you right of the bat, but then, who doesn’t?” Dick flushed slightly at the compliment.

“I’m sure he’ll take to you soon enough”

 


 

 

A few hours later they decided to make dinner, well, it was Dick’s turn to cook this time. A few weeks ago Nix had lost to a game of cards and everyone decided that when they all gather next, Nix will have to cook for all of them. Dick feared for the house. There was a lot of wood in the kitchen that will have to withstand Nixon’s chef rage when he is forced to cook more than one meal.

He set down the three plates of grilled chicken with a healthy side of vegetables before asking Nix to get Blithe from his room. He momentarily wondered what Blithe had been up to as he sneakily stole a few vegetables from Nixon’s plate and added them to Blithe’s, because it couldn’t hurt to have more vegetables. Plus vegetables weren’t Nix’s favourite thing on the planet anyway. Then suddenly, as if he’d been punched in the gut, all the air leaving his lungs, it hit him.

I have a son. I am a father with a son. Lew and I are parents now Dick thought in a sudden almost hysterical rush, a weird sense of pride settling in his chest. He looked up as he heard the footsteps of his husband and his son. He wondered if Nix had had the same in the moment dawning realisation too.

“How are you feeling trooper?” Dick decided to ask.

“I’m okay” He uttered quietly, still looking down at his plate. He threw a worried glance towards Nix who did the same. Blithe must have saw as he suddenly spoke up louder than they had heard so far.

“I-It’s different…I gue-I guess I’m just not used to being treated nice…and…you seem nice” He pursed his lips nervously, azure eyes flickering between the two. He seemed both innocent and much more mature than your average eleven year old boy is supposed to be.

Dick smiled at him reaching over slowly, as if not to frighten a scared animal, to dab the corner of his mouth with a paper towel to remove some sauce. He flinched away slightly before realising what he intended to do. He stayed impeccably still, almost mannequin like as if something bad would happen if he moved.

“That’s good to know, but take it easy alright?” He reassured.

“It’ll probably take a while to get used to this and us and such, but we’ll be here for you every step of the way” Nix said with surprising sincerity. Blithe looked down, but they could see the tiny little smile taking form on his face. Their plates sat empty on the tables except for Blithe’s who couldn’t eat it all. Dick shifted the marble textured placemat under his plate lightly so that it was straight when Blithe spoke up again.

“Is it okay if...Uh...You help me to bed? I get nightmares sometimes” He admitted and they were both more than happy to help.

“Of course” Dick said.

 


 

 

They settled Blithe into his new bed, Nix even offering him his black tank top to sleep in when he realised something. Both he and Dick hadn’t turned on their phone all day, because of how busy they were with the adoption and getting Blithe settled in. He grimaced as he thought of the chaotic group chat and how the last time he left his phone off for three days he had over 100 plus messages.

“Dick we haven’t turned on our phones yet” Dick had just settled under the sheets of their double bed. The deep purple sheets bunching around his waist as he sat up. “Oh no...” He sounded pained.

He decided he’d take one for the team as he powered on his phone and quickly placed it on the bed as if he were starting a ritual. It suddenly buzzed way too loudly a few thousand times with an occasional droplet or ding sound effect. He scrolled through it, a few updates on apps, an unread message from the station asking if he knew where Dike was, which was, and some unread messages from the group chat which he clicked on.

 

-----Yesterday-----

-23:26 Luz: guys howd u work this thing??

-23:28 Babe: yell at it

-23:29 Gonorrhea: hit it with a hammer trust me itll work

-23:35 Luz: already tried both

-23:40 BoyToye: Read the instructions you idiot

-23:45 Luz: oh is that what the paper was

-00:31 Luz: guts itS LEAKINGN

-00:33 Babe: oh shit

-00:40 Mama Lip: Luz, don’t touch anything, I’m coming over.

Nixon laughed at the unseen antics and showed Dick who chuckled and rolled his eyes. He guessed Luz had broken his washing machine and didn’t know how to fix it, because he threw the instructions away. He felt for Lip who had to fix a washing machine at midnight. He scrolled to today’s messages.

-----Today-----

-9:06 Kittycat: Congratulations on adopting guys! Can’t wait to meet them! <3

-9:20 Sparky: Where is the child.

-9:24 Luz: christ speirs you make it sound like your gonna kidnap them

-9:25 Web: You’re*

-9:25 Web: I’m so thrilled so meet them!

-9:30 Mama Lip: Congrats guys, they’re going to be a great addition to the home!

-12:30 Babe: give me updates!! Im dying over here

-12:33 Gonorrhea: Nix is probably having a parental crisis right about now

The messages kept going until roughly when he, Dick, and Blithe were eating a few hours ago when suddenly a new message popped up from Luz.

-----New Message-----

-22:18 Luz: can we do a baby shower type thing where we all give something and meet the new kid?

He asked Dick what he thought of that. He agreed but thought to give Blithe a few weeks to get used to the house before meeting a lot of people. Nix typed out a short message of thanks before letting everyone know that he liked Luz’ idea and set a date and time for them to gather at their house next. He’d see them all in a few weeks’ time for a small party in honour of adopting Blithe.

This is going to be chaotic was Nix’s last thought before he fell asleep in Dicks arms.