A Stitch In Time

by Signe



Teddy was dead, and it was all Clark's fault.

Teddy used to belong to daddy, and his daddy before him, and-well, Clark wasn't sure who came before, because they would be Really Old. But Clark had broken Teddy, who he loved and who daddy loved and now maybe daddy wouldn't love Clark anymore.

Clark squished up into the corner behind the sofa, holding what was left of Teddy, a trail of bright blue stuffing leading to- Clark couldn't even think it, couldn't look over at Teddy's glassy eyes staring at him from across the room. Clark had done something Very Bad.

Clark whimpered, his face crumpling in misery. He pushed the hand that wasn't clutching Teddy into his mouth so that he didn't make so much noise. A fat tear escaped, then another, and another, until they were rolling down his cheeks so fast that they joined up. Now he was making poor, broken Teddy all wet, but he couldn't let go of him.

The door to the room creaked as it opened, and he heard big, heavy footsteps. They were daddy's footsteps. They stopped, and Clark could almost hear his daddy pausing and listening.

"Clark, son, is that you?"

Clark nodded.

"Are you playing hide and seek?"

Clark shook his head. Then he realized that while daddy couldn't see him, and couldn't see him nodding or shaking his head either, he was going to see Teddy's head staring up at him from the rug in front of the sofa, real soon. There was nothing else for it. He crawled out from behind the sofa.

"Daddy?" The word started out all right, but ended on a sob. Clark was trying to be brave, but he couldn't look up, and his lip wouldn't stop wobbling.

The footsteps got big again, coming towards him fast - Clark clutched Teddy and looked at his feet. He had a hole in his sock again, and they were his nice new red socks, like the ones Pete had had for Christmas. It was the Worst Day Ever.

"Clark!" Daddy called him, and didn't sound angry. "Oh, Clark, what's happened here? Ah, poor Teddy."

"I broke him, daddy, and I didn't mean to, but his head just fell off when we were playing and it won't go back on and he's dead now, and you won't love me any more, and I'm-I'm sorry daddy."

And maybe it wasn't going to be so very bad, because daddy was picking him and Teddy up in a big hug. Maybe, just maybe, daddy could fix it. Clark hadn't thought of that, but daddy always could fix things, so-

"Daddy, daddy," he yelled, squirming around in his daddy's arms. "Can you mend him? Can you?"

"Well, I don't know, Clark. I think that's a job for your mom when she gets home."

Oh. Clark wasn't sure when that would be, but it might be hours, and Teddy was broken now. The tears that had stopped started pouring again. Clark was glad Pete wasn't around to see him, because Pete said that big boys don't cry when Clark had asked if he was crying the other day when Dennis had pulled him off the swing at recess.

Daddy put him down, and knelt down with him. "Tell you what Clark, I think we can do it together. No need to wait for your mom. You go get the sewing box, and I'll pick up Teddy."

Clark beamed through his tears, handed Teddy over and ran off to the cupboard in the kitchen where mom kept all her boring stuff. He even remembered to run slowly and not bump into anything.

When he got back, daddy was sitting down, holding all of Teddy.

"Put the box down, that's it, right there. Don't worry Clark, Teddy's going to be fine in no time. Why don't you go eat an apple and watch the chickens, and by the time you've finished, Teddy will be all better."

Clark nodded and whipped around.

"Oh, and Clark..."

"Yes, daddy?"

"Eat the apple slowly, mind."

Clark grinned. Mom always told him he ate too fast. He nodded and went to reach for an apple from the fruit bowl - he could just about get it if he stood on his tiptoes and stretched his arm as far as he could.

The apple was a nice shiny red one, his favorite color. He took a big bite, and headed off outside. Then he looked back, and thought of Teddy. Teddy might be scared, because being mended might not be very nice, and Clark didn't want to go too far. Besides, if he sat just on the other side of the door, he would hear when daddy was finished.

Clark munched away at his apple, trying to remember not to eat it too fast, although he kept forgetting. As soon as he'd finished and there was only a bit left in his mouth he called out.

"Are you finished yet, daddy?"

"Nearly there lad. Just a minute more."

"I'll count, shall I? I can count that long. One, two, three..."

Clark could hear his daddy give a little huff of a sigh, loud enough for Clark to hear it over his counting.

"...Fifty-eight, fifty-nine, sixty. Are you done now, daddy?"

Clark heard an "ow" and then what he thought was a Bad Word, because Pete's brothers had gotten told off the other day when they said it in front of him and Pete.

"Daddy?" he called.

"It's nothing, Clark. Just pricked myself with the needle. You can come back now, and see Teddy."

Clark raced into the room and threw himself onto the sofa next to his daddy. There was Teddy, sitting on the sofa. Clark was sure Teddy's eyes were smiling now. He had big bright blue stitches all around his neck, which looked a bit funny against his yellow fur, but Clark didn't mind. Teddy was alive, and his daddy still loved him.

Epilogue

Clark and Teddy were taking a nap on the sofa when his mom got back from the store. Clark half woke up, but he was comfy, so he didn't move, even though there might be candy for him in one of the bags. He could hear his daddy telling mom about Teddy, and he clutched him tighter as he remembered the horrid moment when he'd seen Teddy break, and all the blue stuffing had started to fall out.

Mom seemed pleased with daddy, but then Clark heard her laugh, quietly, as she came into the room.

"Oh, Jonathan! What awful stitches!"

"Well, I was rushing, and it's not like I get a lot of practice."

"Maybe you should get a bit more! And why blue cotton?" It sounded like mom was laughing even more.

"Martha, if you'd only seen how upset Clark was. I had to mend the teddy as quickly as possible, so I just didn't have time to match the thread."

"Oh, Jonathan-"

Clark heard his mom make a kissing sound, and then he could hear his dad making kissing sounds too, and closed his eyes even tighter. He didn't want to see them getting all mushy. He pulled Teddy's face around into his chest so Teddy didn't have to see it either.

He felt a kiss on his forehead. He scrunched his nose up, then opened his eyes and smiled up at his mom.

"Ice-cream, poppet?"

Clark beamed his answer. Seemed like today was going to be a Very Good Day, after all.

A/N: You can see Teddy here: http://oxoniensis.popullus.net/pictures/teddy.jpg



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