Character: Henry Pope (Gen, drabble)
Word Count: 205
Summary: A promise to forego is not a promise to forget.
Author's note: Written for pbreak_drabbles. Slightly modified since original post.
A life without secrets is easier to live.
It is one thing to negotiate while hiding your cards, or to delay bad news or hard decisions until it is clear that no soft answer is coming. It is altogether different hiding pieces of yourself.
Henry Pope struggled with an enormous secret, years ago, and it nearly broke him when he had to reveal it to his wife. Her anger and despair destroyed them, and their recovery was years in the making. He will never forget what that cost.
He is done with lying and evasion. Only quiet truth remains.
Yet there is a single picture buried in the bottom of his desk, where only he will see it and his wife will never know.
In it, a smiling baby looks back at him, all blond curls and tiny teeth. The baby grew up to be a man in a world apart from Pope, and he died never knowing the father who loved him.
This precious picture is hidden, with all the choices that might have been.
But a promise to forego is not a promise to forget.
His shrine of remembrance holds just this one thing. Never, for any reason, will he let it go.
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