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Grandmother's Footsteps: a 1960s fic

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  • Grandmother's Footsteps: a 1960s fic

    Rupert clutched the plane in his fat little fist. He swooped it through the air, looping the loop, killing enemy fighters as it dived. Probably Communists, though Rupert didn't really care who they were, so long as they could be blown up with a great big bang. He made machine gun noises, which always annoyed Mama. But what use was a plane without machine guns? It was like a bun without icing.

    There was a knock at the door. Grandma was there, all smiley wrinkles and tweed. Rupert smiled and rushed into the hall, still clutching the plane. He was a little scared to see her, now he knew what she did at her job. His father had told him the week before ? all about Grandma's secret life. All about the life that was to be his.

    He said a shy hello. Grandma Edna reached down and hugged him. "Oh, Rupert. You're growing all the time. My little man."

    He squirmed awkwardly in the hug. She wasn't usually this smothering. She seemed to be a little sad.

    "Come, let's have tea and listen to that group you've been going on and on about. The Bootles, is it?"

    "Beatles, Granma! Everyone knows the Beatles. They're the most famous people in the world!"

    "Quite," said his grandmother. She smiled. He suspected she wasn't quite as fusty and old fashioned as she made herself out to be. She couldn't be, given the scary things she did.

    They sat and his mother brought them tea and biscuits. Rupert rushed eagerly to the record player and put on the latest Beatles Album, to his favourite track about hiding your love away. He wasn't really sure what it was about, or why someone had to hide their love away. But he liked the way they sang "Hey!" at the start. Then he came and sat down and they started to eat and drink and chat.

    "So, dear," said grandma. "Your father told you what you're supposed to do when you grow up. How do you like that idea?"

    "I'm not sure." He squirmed in his seat. He couldn't picture himself in this strange world his father had described ? a world of terrifying monsters and even more terrifying old men (he'd met some of grandma's colleagues?brr! Cold old men and women). "Do I have to wear a tweed suit?"

    His grandmother laughed. Her mouth crinkled and her eyes sparkled. "Only if you want to."

    "I shall NEVER wear a tweed suit," he swore. "If I'm going to be a watcher, then I'm going to wear my hair like John Lennon and make everyone in the Watcher's Council cheer up a bit and not be so still as Papa says they are."

    "You do that," said Grandma. She took a sip of tea. "And you're not scared?"

    "Of course not. I don't get scared."

    He was terrified.

    "I'd rather be a fighter pilot, though. If we go to war with Russia, I should like to fight them."

    "Believe me, my dear boy, the enemy we face is far worse than the Commies."

    Rupert blinked in disbelief. "How can something be worse?"

    "Believe me." Grandma's mouth was pursed. Her eyes looked into the distance ? perhaps into her memories? She must have seen some things.

    "Tell me about when you first met a vampire?" he asked.

    His grandmother smiled, and began to tell him all about her first trial as a young watcher. Rupert listened with wrapt attention as she told him of the captive vampire with the eerie laugh? of the little vampire girl who had been posing as one of the junior watchers? and then, as old people seemed to like doing so much, she wandered off into a story about how she met his grandfather, which was much less interesting. Eventually, he interrupted.

    "So, who will the slayer be when I'm grown up? Isn't that going to be my job? Telling the slayer what to do?"

    "I wouldn't put it quite like that, Rupert. The slayer is her own person, you know? Even though most of my fellow watchers might think otherwise. But?I'm afraid I don't know who your slayer will be ? if, indeed, you have one."

    "Well," said Rupert. He took a bite of cake and felt very important, though still terrified. "When I meet her, she will jolly well do what I tell her to!"

    His grandmother smiled. "I think the important think, my dear, is that YOU believe that."

    -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --