Title: I Hope The Water Wasn’t Too Cold
Fandom: Deep Impact
Category: Future-Fic, General, Hurt/Comfort(ish), Kid!Fic
Characters/Pairing: Beth & Caitlin Stanley
Spoilers: For the entire movie.
Summary: She knows there’s a reason they say ‘thank you’ to Jenny every night, but she doesn’t know what that reason is.
Word Count: 1,372 words.
Date Written: 03/26/15
Disclaimer: Deep Impact and its characters are not mine. This story is mine. I make no money from it though.
Feedback: Bring it. dodger_sister / TheArtofDodger@comcast.net
Beta’d: By the awesome ceitfianna!
Author's Notes: I have had so many fic ideas in my head for Deep Impact, for years now. The only movies I have watched more than Deep Impact in my life are Independence Day and Jurassic Park, okay. IDK why I never wrote any of these fics until now, but shirebound was so enthused over my Deep Impact plot bunnies that I decided to give this one a go!
Dedication: To shirebound, for encouraging me with enthusiasm to write some Deep Impact fics! Happy Birthday, darling!
The lions were attacking the giraffes, a predictable turn of events. Honestly, the giraffes should have known better than to accept the lions’ invitation to tea.
“Hey, baby girl,” a voice said and Caity looked up from her paper doll animals - cut from old magazines and pasted onto popsicle sticks - to see her mom standing in the doorway to her little bedroom.
“Five more minutes,” Caity said quickly, hoping to fend off any mention of bed.
“I will be so glad when you are done with this ‘five more minutes’ phase,” her mother sighed and stepped into the room. “When will that be?”
“When I’m six,” Caity told her assuredly.
“When you are six, it’ll just become ‘six more minutes’.”
Caity liked that idea and stored it away to remember again when her birthday came and she was six years old.
“Tell the animals goodnight,” her mother said then and Caity sighed.
“Fine, but only while I shut my eyes a little bit,” she told her mother with her best compromising tone.
She scooped all the animals up and put them back in their ‘zoo’ - a shoebox she kept under her stool. Then she climbed into bed, the flannel of her pajamas and the flannel of her comforter making it the warmest nest anyone could ever hope to experience.
“Now,” her mother said, perching on the edge of the bed, “Let’s say our thank yous.”
Caity closed her eyes and folded her hands in her lap.
“Thank you for my good day and for my mom. I am glad she didn’t have to work so much today so we could have pretzel snack together. And thank you for the world and all the animals and plants and things that we get to keep and like and stuff.”
“What else?” her mother asked in that tone she used when Caity had forgotten something important.
“And thank you for Jenny. I hope she is happy and resting, wherever she is. She did a good thing.”
Caity opened one eye to peek at her mom, just to make sure she had gotten that part right.
“Very good,” her mother told her with a small smile. “Now lay down.”
Caity squirmed around as her mother playfully pushed her back onto the bed and tickled her tummy, then drew the covers up under her chin.
“Mommy, what good thing did Jenny do?”
“I’ve told you before, she made sure you and I got to stay together.”
“But how? How did she make sure you and I got to stay together?”
Her mother sighed and looked at the wall over Caity’s head, where there was a picture of the planet Earth taped up just over the bed. She looked sad, so Caity reached up and patted her mom’s arm, just to make her feel better.
“You know about the big rock and the giant flood, right?” her mother asked her and looked back down at Caity.
She seemed less sad now, but Caity held her hand, just to make sure she didn’t get sad again.
“Yes, they taught us at school about the astro-mo-mauts who blew it up and saved a lot of people. But the big flood did a lot of damage. And it was a disaster.”
“That’s right,” her mother said and brushed the bangs out of Caity’s eyes. “Well, the big flood was coming and there were so many people trying to get out of its way. So many,” her mother said and sighed.
Caity patted her hand encouragingly.
“The roads were packed with cars and we couldn’t get out. We were going to be caught in the water when it came. But Jenny - she was such a good friend of mine, like a sister, you know…”
Caity wished she knew, but she didn’t have a sister.
“Jenny was supposed to get out in a helicopter. The president had asked for her help personally and she was suppose to take the helicopter to go be with him.”
“President Beck,” Caity said firmly. Everyone knew his name, he was a very important person.
“That’s right,” her mother told her. “Jenny should have gotten out safe and sound, taken that helicopter to a safe place away from the water. But then she saw us, sitting in the child care room - do you remember that room, with all the toys and the big windows?”
Caity shook her head. She had just been a little baby then, she couldn’t remember when she was a baby.
“The water was going to come, but Jenny, she picked you up and started running away with you. Oh, I was so scared.”
“Why were you scared, if Jenny was your friend?”
“I was panicked, I suppose. I was scared about the water coming and then she was running off with my baby, the person I love the most in the whole world - that’s you, by the way,” her mother told her and poked Caity in the nose.
Caity giggled and pushed her mom’s hand away.
“If I’d been thinking at all, I would have just let her take you. She was going someplace safe and even if it meant we couldn’t be together, it would have meant you were going to be okay. That would have been enough for me.”
“No,” Caity said firmly, daring her mother to argue with her. “It’s the most important that we are together, because you’re my mom.”
“I suppose that’s what Jenny thought too, because after I chased her up onto the roof, there was the helicopter, waiting to take her someplace safe. But instead of getting into her seat like she was supposed to, Jenny put you in my arms and shoved us both - you and I together - into her seat on the helicopter and said, ‘I’m not going’.”
“Why not?” Caity asked. If the water was coming, where would Jenny go then?
“There wasn’t enough room for all the people, but Jenny gave us her seat and stayed behind.”
“But the water was coming,” Caity said, alarmed now. Why would Jenny do that?
“I know, sweetie. And she knew too.”
“What happened to her then?” Caity asked and snuggled down into the bed. It was warm under the covers and she was sleepy now.
“The water came and took her away. The last thing she did on this Earth was to make sure you and I were safe and together.” Her mother looked both sad and happy, somehow.
“And that’s why we thank her every night?”
“Yes, that’s why we thank her every night.”
“Was the president mad?”
“What?” her mother asked, eyebrows scrunched up on her forehead.
“When we came to the safe place and not Jenny. Was he mad?”
“Oh,” her mother said and then smiled. “No, no. He hugged me and told me he was glad to see I was alright. And then he kissed your curls,” and her mother leaned over and kissed Caity’s curls with a big smack of her lips, “And said he was glad to see you too, little one. That what he called you, ‘little one’. And then we went to work.”
“And that’s how you got to work for President Beck?”
“That’s how I got to work for President Beck,” her mother told her. “Do you have any other questions or will you close your little eyes and go to sleep now?”
Caity thought about it hard, just to make sure she didn’t have any other questions and finally she asked, “Can we say thank you to Jenny in the mornings too?”
“You can say thank you to Jenny anytime you want, day or night.”
“Can she hear us?”
“I like to think she can,” her mother said and leaned down, placed a soft kiss on Caity’s forehead this time. “Now close your eyes. The world will still be here in the morning.”
Caity did close her eyes and listened until she heard her mother leave the bedroom and slide the door closed behind her.
Then she whispered, “Thank you, Jenny, for saving my mom too, so we could be together. I hope the water wasn’t too cold.”
Then she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.