A Day for Fathers (Katherine)

Summary:
Category:  Kung Fu–The Legend Continues
Genre:  Drama
Rated:  PG
Word Count:  5200


Kwai Chang Caine hummed as he worked, watering his plants and checking them for dead leaves or signs that they needed to be repotted.  All seemed to be well with them.  He straightened and shook his head; the same could not be said for his son.

He knew that Peter was nearby, walking slowly up the fire escape.  He wasn’t taking them two at a time as he usually did.  Caine sighed.  His child was in pain.

“Pop!  You here?”  the policeman always called out before he entered, even though he knew Caine wouldn’t answer.  Yelling at his son from another area, creating a disturbance in the harmony of his apartment was not acceptable to the Shaolin.

The priest straightened, waiting patiently, smiling as he watched Peter walking across the terrace, the greatest gift life had given him.

“Hi, Pop,…Dad.  You ready?”  Peter asked, smiling crookedly at his father.

The priest bowed solemnly, then picked up his pouch and threw the strap over his shoulder.  “I am ready, My Son.”

“Great.  Let’s go, then.”  Peter put his hand on Caine’s shoulder, and the two walked toward the door.  “So, did you decide where you want to go?”

“I have been thinking about it,” the older Caine, said; he sounded a little uncertain.

“Come on, P…Dad, it’s your day.”

“All right.”  Caine stopped and faced his son.  “I would like to eat at Romano’s.”

“Romano’s?  Dad, that’s Italian food!”

“Yes, I know.  We always eat Chinese.  I would like something different,” the priest said, smiling mischievously.  “Besides, Carla Romano is taking t’ai chi from me.  She says they have a wonderful “caesar salad’.

Peter couldn’t help smiling at the eagerness in his father’s eyes.  The Shaolin was obviously pleased with himself.  “Sure, Pop, whatever you say.  This is your day.”  He snaked his arm around Caine’s neck and pressed his lips against his father’s temple.  “I love you, Dad.  Happy Father’s Day.”

“Thank you, My Son.”  He reached out, and pulled Peter into a secure hug.  He held his son tightly, smiling when the younger man’s other arm came around him, answering the embrace.  “We must go,” he said after a long moment.  “I am hungry.”

Peter kissed his father’s cheek quickly, and grinned happily.  “Me, too.  Let’s do it.”

Caine followed his from the apartment, not locking the door, in spite of Peter’s glare.  The Shaolin smiled to himself relieved that for a few minutes, Peter had been smiling.

At the restaurant, they talked quietly, with, as usual, the young detective doing most of the talking.  Caine glanced up at the waiter, and murmured, “Thank you.”  He held the fork, preparing to cut up his vegetarian lasagna, but stopped, laying his fork down carefully.  Peter was staring at a family at a nearby table: a silver haired man, a lovely woman, and three teen-agers.

The Shaolin reached across the table, laying warm fingers against his son’s hand.  “Peter.”

Peter reacted to his father’s voice, and looked at him.  I’m all right, Dad.”  He smiled weakly, and attacked his Venetian Chicken, trying to hide the tears in his eyes.

The Shaolin looked as if he wanted to say something more, but he turned his attention to his lunch, instead.  He ate quietly, listening to Peter’s stories of happenings in the precinct, and offering a few remarks about people in Chinatown he had seen during the week.

After lunch, Caine had expected to be taken home, but Peter drove to his own apartment instead.  “Your present is in my apartment, Dad.”

“I already have my present,” Caine said softly.

Peter wasn’t sure if he meant the lunch, or the fact that he had his son back, but he didn’t bother to ask.  “Come on, Dad.  We’ll be late.”

“Late?  My present is on a timer?”  Caine asked, not putting anything past his son.

Peter grinned, sure that his surprise was something his father was not expecting at all.  “I know you’d rather take the stairs, but we don’t have time, Dad.”  He pulled his father into the elevator, and waited impatiently for the doors to close, checking his watch every few seconds.

The telephone was ringing when they entered Peter’s apartment.  “Get that will you, Dad?”  Peter requested, carefully hanging his jacket in the closet.

Somewhat hesitantly, Caine picked up the phone.  “Hello?”

“Collect call for Kwai…Chang……Caine?”  said an impersonal voice.

“Collect call?”  Caine looked at his son, bewildered.

“He’ll accept it!”  Peter yelled, but the operator asked, “Call for Kwai Chang Caine.”

“I am Caine,” the Shaolin said, looking at his son, thoroughly puzzled.

“Do you accept the charges?”  the voice asked, getting bored.

“Charges?”  Caine shrugged.

“She can’t hear you shrug, Dad.  Tell her yes,”  Peter urged quietly.

“Yes.”

“Kwai Chang!!”  a warm voice came over the wire, and Caine’s face lit up with the expression he didn’t use often enough, as far as Peter was concerned.

“Father!  I am pleased to hear your voice,” Caine said into the receiver.  “Are you all right?”

“I am fine, Son.  This call is your Father’s Day present from Peter.  He told me to say that,” the old man added conspiratorially.   “And thank you for your letter, Son.  It is not Father’s Day here, but I am honored by what you wrote.”

“A son cannot honor a father only on one day a year, Father.  I wish to be to you as Peter is to me; he honors me every day.”  Caine couldn’t see Peter’s blushing.

“When will you visit again?”  the old Shaolin asked, with a smile in his voice.

“Peter and I are hoping you will visit us,” Caine countered.

Peter stood at his father’s shoulder and yelled into the instrument, “I’ll send you a ticket, Grandfather.  Just let me know when.”

“Where are you, Father?  Do you have a telephone, now?”  Kwai Chang asked.

“No, the widow who lives near me is allowing me to use her telephone.  Then we are having dinner,” the oldest Caine said slyly.  His son shook his head.

“He can’t hear that, either, Dad,” Peter pointed out.

“I will let you talk to Peter, now,” Caine said.  “I love you, Father.  Happy Father’s Day,” he said softly.  His face softened as he listened to what Matthew Caine said, and then he handed the telephone to Peter.  While his father and his son talked together, the Shaolin walked over to the picture window and stared out at the city.  He heard Peter continuing to talk, but what he was saying didn’t register.

“OK, Grandfather.  I’ll talk to you later.  Yes, I got the number.  I’ll keep it, in case we need to get in touch.  Yes, I’ll tell him.  Yes.  I love you, too.  Goodbye.  All right.  Goodbye.  Yes.  I will.  Yes, I promise.  Yes.  Okay.  Goodbye Grandfather.”  Peter finally put the receiver down.  “He says he might come in a couple of months, if he can get away.  There are several women in the village, who are expecting babies, but he says he can probably leave for awhile in September.  I told him I’ll make the arrangements.”  Caine didn’t turn around.  Peter went to him, wondering what was wrong.

The Shaolin turned to his son, his face streaked with tears.  “Thank you, My Son.  That was a wonderful present.”  He held out his arms, and the two men embraced.  Caine rested his head on Peter’s shoulder, leaning against his beloved child for a few moments.  Peter held him gently, stroking the thin hair tenderly, resting his cheek against his father’s head.

When they broke apart, Peter wiped a tear of his own, and asked, “Okay, what’s next?”

“Next?”

“Sure, Pop.  The day’s not over yet.  It’s still your day.”

Caine gazed at his son, sympathetically.  “It is not only my day, Peter.”

Peter stared into those fathomless eyes, wincing a little.  “It’s Father’s Day.” he protested.

“You have another father,” Caine pressed, gently.

“No, I don’t.  There’s only you!”  Peter turned his back and said tensely, “Paul Blaisdell is dead!”

The priest walked to Peter and held out his hand, but let it drop without touching the tense shoulders.  “But, he is still your father,” he maintained softly.

It had been three months since Annie Blaisdell was notified that her husband had been found dead, the victim of a massive heart attack.  He had been in a nearby city, staying at a motel there.  The police in that city, with the aid of Nicky Elder from the local coroner=s office, had determined that there had been no foul play.  Paul’s heart had simply given out.

Peter had been grief-stricken but controlled during the days leading to the burial of his foster father.  He submerged his sadness deeply, remaining strong for Annie and the girls.  He had sat with his arm around Annie’s trembling shoulders at the memorial service in the auditorium of the police academy, listening to anecdotes and memories from Frank Strenlich and Kermit Griffin, and a final eulogy offered by Kwai Chang Caine.

“This is your day, Pop.  I don’t want to talk about Paul,” the detective said with finality, turning to face his father.  He had refused to talk about his loss, to his foster mother, his friends, and especially to his father.  “Now what do you want to do?  We’ll do whatever you want.”

Caine smiled and asked softly, “Anything?”

“Anything,” Peter said readily, then caught the glint in his father’s eye.  Immediately, he realized he had walked blindly into yet another Shaolin trap.

“Then let us go,” Caine agreed, walking toward the door.

Peter went to the closet and grabbed his jacket.  He briefly considered getting his gun and holster, but decided against the idea.  He knew his father didn’t like pistols, and the young policeman had grown accustomed to not having it with him when he was around the priest.  “Besides, it’s Father’s Day,” he muttered.  Catching up to this father, “Hey, Pop, where are we going?”

Caine just smiled that enigmatic smile that drove Peter to distraction at times, and tilted his head.  He led the way to the door marked “Stairs” and pushed the door open.

A few minutes later, the priest and a rather breathless Peter got into the younger man’s car, and Caine finally said, “We are going to the cemetery, the one where Paul is buried.”

“Pop, I don’t want to have to. . .”  Peter began, his tone angry and hurt.

The elder Caine put a soothing hand on his child’s shoulder.  “You do not HAVE to do anything, My Son.  But, if, as you say, it is my day, may I not choose to do as I wish?”

Peter nodded miserably.

“Then, I will spend time at Paul’s grave.  You may stay in the car if you wish, or leave me there for a time while you ‘get a Coke’.”

Peter chuckled silently, and covered the hand on his shoulder with his own for a moment.  “Sure, Pop, whatever you say.  It’s your day.”

The detective maneuvered the car through the narrow lanes of the cemetery.  He stopped at one intersection, not remembering which way to turn.  He had not been back to this place since the day of the funeral.

Caine watched his son silently…

“I will take you to your mother’s grave, if you wish.”

“No, not yet.  I’m not ready,” answered a young Peter, refusing to look at his father.

“Turn left,” Caine said quietly.

“You come here, don’t you?”  Peter asked, as realization dawned.  “Why?”

“I sometimes feel the need to talk to Paul,” the Shaolin said softly.  “His spirit is here.”

“What are you talking about, Pop?”

Caine frowned, but answered calmly, “Paul has not left you, Peter.  He is here, in this place, whenever you need him.”  He put his hand on top of the one that his son was using to squeeze the gearshift knob.  “At times, I, too, need his counsel.”  He added softly, “I came here after you were hurt in the liquor store robbery.”

Caine stood in the crowd of onlookers outside the liquor store.  Only someone who knew him well could have seen his tension and anxiety.  He relaxed a little when he saw Captain Karen Simms walking out of the robbery scene, followed by a disheveled Peter Caine.  The young detective was clutching his right arm, but otherwise seemed to be in one piece.

The Shaolin moved effortlessly through the crowd, and met his son at the barricade.  “Peter, are you all right?”

Peter smiled his reassurance, but before he could say anything, the Captain said harshly, “He’ll live, but it isn’t because he followed procedures.”  She turned to Peter angrily.  “You can go with your father, Detective, but if you ever pull a stupid stunt like that again, I’ll have your badge.  Understood?”

The younger Caine flushed, but under his father’s steady gaze, only mumbled, “Yes Ma’am.”

The priest turned to follow his son, but the captain caught his arm and said softly.  “He’s on the edge, Mr. Caine.  If he doesn’t get himself straight, and soon, I’m going to have to do something drastic.”

Caine bowed silently, and made his way through the crowd.  The concern in his eyes was gone by the time he reached his son.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Pop,” Peter objected, but the shadows in his eyes belied his words.  He turned the car to the left, and finally found Paul’s grave, with more directions from the priest.

He refused to get out of the car.  “I’ll stay here, Pop, just take your time.”  He sank lower into the driver’s seat, resting on the base of his spine, trying to look as if he didn’t care where they were, and intended to sleep while Caine made his pilgrimage.

A gravestone had been put up since Caine’s last visit.  He contemplated it silently, remembering Peter’s reaction when they had finally visited Peter’s mother’s grave together.  The priest had stood by, watching sadly while his son cried out years of unhappiness, wondering if Peter’s tears would ever stop.  He sat down beside the stone, running his fingers over the simple carving, “Paul Blaisdell”.

Reaching into his pouch, he pulled out a small wooden flute, and played a slow, haunting melody.

Peter heard the tune, and remembered it from the temple.  Caine had played it once at a memorial service for a young disciple who had died of cancer.  The boy’s parents had requested that Caine play; the master had treated the young man with herbs after the doctors gave up hope, easing his pain and helping to make his last days peaceful.

The detective sat in the car, listening to the sound of the flute, calmed by the melody and the peace of the cemetery.  He closed his eyes, remembering…

“Your mother says you skipped school today,” Paul Blaisdell said sternly.  He was sitting at the desk in his den, looking at his foster son, who stood stiffly in front of him.

Fifteen-year-old Peter Caine nodded then looked defiantly at Paul.  “Yeah, I skipped.  I’m going back tomorrow, it’s only one day, Paul.  No big deal.”

“Why Peter?  I thought you liked school.”  Paul’s words sounded a little offended.  “I thought you liked it here.”

“I do, Paul,” the boy said earnestly.  “You and Mom and the girls have been wonderful.  You’re almost like . . .”

“Almost like family?”  Paul asked, trying to keep the hurt out of his voice.

“Paul, I didn’t mean it like that.  It’s just, it’s . . .” Tears well up in the expressive hazel eyes, and the kid choked back a sob.

The police lieutenant glanced at the desk calendar, and realization dawned.  “Today’s the day, isn’t it?”

Peter stared at him, startled.  “What day?”  he asked carefully.

“The day the temple was destroyed.  Three years ago, today.  The day you lost . . .”

“Yeah, that’s right.  How did you know the exact date?  Have you been checking up on me?”  Peter asked angrily.

“You don’t think I’d let you near my family if I didn’t, do you?”  Peter stiffened, but then accepted his foster father’s words.  “Peter, its all right to grieve for your father.  You don’t have to go off by yourself somewhere, so no one will know that you’re hurting.  He was your father.  You loved him.”

The teenager shook his head, and turned his back, so his foster father wouldn’t see his tears.  But Paul rose and came around the desk.  He turned Peter to face him, and enfolded the boy into his arms.  Peter sobbed into the Lieutenant’s shirt for a few moments.  As he calmed, Paul whispered, “It’s all right, Son.  You don’t have to be ashamed of loving your father.”

Peter shook his head.  “I get so mad when I think about what happened, when I remember those men, destroying my home, killing my father.  He was murdered, Paul.  He was the kindest, gentlest man in the world, and. I just can’t stand to think about it.”

“Don’t you think it would help heal the wounds if you didn’t keep them so tightly covered?”  Paul asked gently.

“You mean ‘a shadow touched by light must disappear?'”  The kid asked, smiling a little.

Paul frowned slightly.  “I wouldn’t have said it quite like that, but I guess that’s what I mean.”  His face broke into an affectionate smile.  “You’ll have to serve detention, you know.”

The boy frowned, but nodded his agreement.  “I know.  I just couldn’t sit their today, listening to Mr. Gouge talk about all that boring history stuff.”

“So where did you go?”  Paul asked curiously. He put his hand on the teenager’s shoulder and guided him toward the kitchen.

“There’s a place in Chinatown, near the lake.  It’s real peaceful there.  It reminds me . . .”

Peter woke with a start, and glanced at Paul’s grave.  Kwai Chang Caine was gone.  The detective’s heart beat rapidly while he opened the car door and stood, looking among the gravestones, trying to find the gold silk shirt his father wore.  There, a flash of gold among the trees on the other side of the cemetery.  Peter ran hard, his breath forced around the lump in his throat, his chest tightening with every step.

He stopped short, choking back a sob.  He fought for breath while he watched his father calmly bend over a clump of some plant, and pull it from the ground, carefully placing it in the pouch he carried.

Caine looked at his son.  Peter was breathing heavily, trying to get air into his lungs.  The apothecary went to him, placing a hand on his heaving chest, and the other hand on his back.  “Calm down, My Son.  It is all right.  Breathe slowly.  That is good.”

Calmed by his father’s touch, and the warmth of his hands, Peter got his breath and leaned his forehead against the priest’s shoulder for a moment.  “I couldn’t find you,” he complained breathlessly.

Caine smiled indulgently.  “I am sorry, Peter.  You appeared to be asleep, and I decided to look for herbs.  On previous trips here, I found herbs that I cannot find anywhere else near the city.  I did not think you would miss me.”

“Well, I did,”  Peter growled, pulling away.  “You know I don’t like it when you disappear like that.”

“As Paul did?”  Caine asked softly.  “Is that why you are angry with him, because he disappeared, and now you cannot find him?”

Peter just stared, unable to form an answer.

The Shaolin sat down, folding into lotus position effortlessly.  “Come, My Son, sit with me.  We must talk.”  He took Peter’s hand, pulling him to sit beside him.

“Pop, I don’t want to hear how I should start visiting Paul’s grave.”

“That is your choice, My Son.  I merely wish to tell you something I think you should know.”  His eyes gleamed.   “But, it happened during the time we were separated.   Perhaps you do not wish . . .”

Peter grinned, caught on the hook again.  “All right.  Tell me what happened.”  He settled back against a tree trunk, watching his father carefully.

“As you know, when I left the temple, I began a journey, seeking the essence of the son I thought I had lost.”

Peter nodded, wincing at the slight tremor in his father’s voice.

“I returned to the temple . . .”

The younger man sat up abruptly.  “Wait a minute!  You returned to the temple?  When?”

Caine was silent for a moment, then he smiled at his eager offspring.  “That is what I wish to tell you.”

Smiling in embarrassment, Peter leaned back and told him, “Sorry.  Go on, please.”

“I returned to the temple,” Caine paused slightly, but Peter only grinned sheepishly.  “I had wandered for two years; I met many people, and spent time in many places, but I had not found my son.”  The older man bowed his head, and confessed softly.  “I became discouraged, and sought to renew my spirits at the place which had helped me heal after your mother’s death.”

The two men sat in silence for a few minutes, and then Caine raised his head and continued, his voice unsteady again, “It was not the same.  The temple was in ruins; there was nothing of what I remembered there and the peace and harmony I thought to find was gone.  I visited my son’s grave, but I could find nothing of him there.”  He stopped again, then looked at Peter and smiled sadly.  “I… I thought all was lost to me.”

Peter sat up again, putting his hand on Kwai Chang=s forearm.  His fingers dug in painfully, but Caine didn’t react.  He merely looked into his son’s eyes.  “Pop, you didn’t . . .”  Peter couldn’t put the thought into words, but his father understood.

“I ‘camped out’ at the temple for several days.  No one bothered me.  The townspeople thought the temple was cursed.  Perhaps it was.  For whatever reason, no one from the town came, and I had much time to think.”

The priest’s son relaxed his hold on his father, but maintained the contact.  “What did you do, Father?”  he asked softly.

‘I considered many things,” the Shaolin explained, his voice soft with memory.  “And, yes, My Son, one of the things I considered          was…”

“No, Pop!”

“It is all right, Peter.  I found I could not leave this existence.  Even though I could not find you at our temple, I still felt that you were near.  Sometimes, I could almost reach out and touch you…  Then, you were gone once more.  But, having felt your spirit there,  I became convinced that I would find you.”

Peter moved closer, putting his arm around his father.  Uncharacteristically, Caine leaned against his son, resting his head in the hollow of his shoulder.  “I left the temple, determined that I would find you, or your essence.  I had no choice.  I could not lose you…  You are lost, now, My Son.  You seek Paul’s spirit, and cannot find it.  He may not be here for you, as he is for me.  But he is close by, and he cannot rest because you cannot find peace within yourself.   You must find him, Peter, in whatever place he is for you, so that both your spirits can return to harmony.”

The younger man rested his cheek against his father’s hair.  “And if I can’t?”  he asked gently.

The Shaolin raised his head, and wiped the tear that trickled down his son’s face.  “Then, I fear, that you will come to feel as I did, that all is lost to you…”

“Pop, you don’t think I would…,”  Peter said anxiously.  “I would never do that to you, or Mom.”

“Not deliberately, I know, My Son.  But in a ‘tense situation’ such as the liquor store robbery, your unhappiness could make you reckless, and your recklessness could be your undoing.”  Caine lay his head on his son’s shoulder again, and Peter felt him trembling.

“You’re really upset about this, aren’t you?”  Peter asked, wonderingly.

“I love my son.  I do not wish to lose him.”

“Why can’t you ever be straightforward about things?”  the young man asked, irritated by his father’s indirect speech.

The priest sat up and nodded.  He faced the detective directly, his bright hazel eyes capturing and holding Peter’s gaze.   “All right, Peter.  I love you, and I fear that if you continue as you are, if you do not resolve your anger at Paul for dying and leaving you, you will do something reckless and I will lose you.”  Peter just stared as his father stood up, and picked up his flute.  “I will wait for you at the car.”

Staring after the erect figure stalking gracefully across the cemetery, the young detective whispered, “I’m sorry, Pop.  I’ll give you a few minutes to cool off, then we’ll talk.  Okay?”  Shrugging, he leaned against the tree and closed his eyes.  “You’ll forgive me.  You always do,” he said smiling, although he wasn’t sure what he had done to make his father so emotional.  He leaned against the tree, closing his eyes.

“Who’s going to save the city?” he asked Paul, trying to hold back his tears.

“I think I’m leaving it in pretty good hands,” his foster father replied.  They hugged, Peter held on to him for dear life, but to no avail.  At last, Paul loosened his grip and walked away, out of Peter Caine’s life forever.

The young man woke abruptly, his breathing harsh and rapid, and found that his fingernails had dug deeply into his palms, causing small cuts in the skin.  He shook his head.  “Do you always have to be right, Pop?” he asked, smiling a little in spite of himself.  He leaned back against the tree with a sigh, trying to calm the rapid beating of his heart.  “So now what?” His eyes closed again, without effort on his part.

Peter couldn’t stop the images streaming into his mind:  Paul’s pride when his foster son graduated from the police academy; Paul’s listening quietly while Peter poured out his current problem, then providing advice, solace, reassurance; Paul’s lashing out at Peter in front of the entire precinct after the attack on the Blaisdell house the night Caine came to dinner; Paul’s anger at Kwai Chang Caine when Annie was mugged and Paul felt that the Shaolin had failed to protect her and Paul’s walking away after Styles and Cooper were arrested..

The young man’s tears fell uncontrolled, blinding him.  He felt gentle arms come around him, and he rested his head on a sturdy shoulder.  Loving hands rubbed his back, massaging his shoulders and easing the tension in his muscles.  Peter didn’t know how long he cried, but the embrace calmed him, and he felt his anger and grief flowing out of him with his tears.

“Peter?”

Startled, the younger man looked up into his father’s calm eyes.  The Shaolin stood above him, apparently having just come across the cemetery.  Quickly, Peter looked around, but he and his father were the only ones around.  He looked back at his father in utter confusion.  Who had been holding him as he cried?

“I am sorry, My Son, but your car is blocking the road.  There are people who need to get by.”  The priest smiled mischievously.  “I will move it for you, if you’ll give me the keys.”

Peter snorted.  “Sure you will, Pop.”  He stood, and they started across the cemetery, the young man’s hand on his father’s shoulder.  He turned, looking back at the place where he had been, his expression one of puzzlement and disbelief.  “Pop, have you been…?  Weren’t you just…?  Didn’t you…?

Caine stopped, and turned to his son.  “What is it, Peter?”

Peter glanced back again, but then turned back to Caine and frowned slightly, still puzzled.  “Never mind, Pop.  Let’s move the car.”  The detective smiled, and guided his father back to the car.

“Pop?”  Peter spoke hesitantly, driving carefully through the cemetery.  Several cars were now parked on the side of the narrow lanes, making maneuvering difficult.

“Yes, My Son?”  Caine looked at his son steadily, waiting patiently for the detective to gather his thoughts.

“I ah…I….I…want to perform the ceremonies to honor Paul.  Will you help me?”  He glanced at his father nervously.

Caine smiled.  “Of course, My Son.  When do you want to do these things?”

“I’m off on Wednesday this week.  Would that be okay?”

“That would be very okay, My Son.”  Caine’s gaze turned back to the road, and he sighed, this time in contentment.  His son would be all right.  “That will give me time to purchase the necessary items.”

“Good.  Just tell Mr. Chin to put it on your bill, and I’ll pay him when I get paid on Friday.”

Caine nodded.

“Pop?”

“I am still here, My Son.”

“Could…..could we perform the ceremonies for my mother, too?  I always wanted to, you know, but…”

“But you were not ready?”  Caine asked gently.

“Yeah, I guess.  I never could bring myself to perform them for you, either.”

“Nor was I able to do so for you,” the Shaolin confessed softly.

Peter almost drove off the road in his surprise.  “You never performed the ceremonies to honor the dead, for me?”

The priest shook his head.  “I left the temple the day after it was destroyed.  Ping Hai said he would perform them in my stead, but I suppose he did not, since you were not dead.  He said I needed to get away, that I would not find peace there.”

“But you might have found me, and he didn’t want that.  Damn!!!”  Peter’s voice was full of anger and sadness.

“It is all behind us, My Son.  We are together.  Our lives have been restored.  Yours was given back to you by the Blaisdells, and mine was renewed when we found each other,” Caine told him gently.

Peter nodded, and looked at his father with a grin.  “So, okay, Pop, what do you want to do now?”

“Our day is not over?”  the Shaolin asked curiously.  “I thought you said you had to make it ‘an early night’ so you can do laundry.”

“I’ve got enough clean stuff for one more day.  I’ll do laundry tomorrow.  I want to spend some more time with you.”

“And I with you, Peter,” Caine replied.  “Is there not a Father’s Day Doubleheader at the ballpark today?”

“Hey that’s right.”  The detective consulted his watch.  “We’ve got time to catch the second game.”

“Then let us ‘take in a ballgame’.”

“You got it, Pop.  Have I mentioned that I love you?”

“Yes, Peter.  You tell me that with every second of your life, My Son.  But, it is always nice to hear,” the priest admitted, smiling shyly.

Peter drove silently, enjoying the quiet of the moment, and his father’s company, as well as the thought that his “other father” was at peace, too.

***The End***

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