When I was still human, I guess it was at the back of my mind, one of those things that were expected of me: be a good son, work hard, marry a good woman, raise a good son who would be a good man, work hard, and so on and so forth. The natural order of things, or so I believed back then.
The possibility disappeared when I became a vampire, and I can’t say it troubled me much. An entire new world was in front of me, and I had to relearn everything; producing offsprings was the last thing on my mind. If I had been asked, maybe I would have said that, when the time came, I’d turn someone, make them my Childe like Andrew had made me his, and if it wasn’t the same as having a child, well, it was the vampire equivalent.
Years, decades passed, and I never turned anyone. It’s not that I didn’t have the occasion to do it, or even that I didn’t think about it. Rather, I wasn’t sure I’d know how to be a good Sire, so I figured I wasn’t ready for it.
Maybe the fact that I missed my Sire so much had something to do with it, too.
And then I came back to him. And suddenly, that old question found a new resonance. Was I ready to play the role of a father? Not a Sire anymore, but an actual father to a living, breathing human child? Was I up to changing diapers, feeding a hungry mouth at all hours of the night and day, soothing crying jags with half-forgotten lullabies? How about all the rest – answering a thousand, a million questions about anything and everything, reading bedtime stories, teaching him to tie his shoes, brush his hair and eat his vegetables?
In all honesty – no, I wasn’t ready. And if I had realized what I was getting into when I first asked to stay with Andrew, maybe it would have scared me away. But Andrew was Jacob’s father, and it never occurred to me that I would be, too. I saw myself as an extra pair of hands to keep the tyke safe. A glorified babysitter who was remunerated in Andrew’s bed. That was far less scary than to consider myself Jacob’s father. Besides, I knew Andrew was much too jealous to share Jacob that way.
And then… everything changed. The kid asked if he could call me ‘Dad.’ Andrew took that in stride, as though he had always expected it. Andrew’s pet humans didn’t seem to think anything of it.
And my fears that I wouldn’t know the first thing about being a father – or a Sire – melted away.
Because, without ever realizing what was happening, I had become a father. And I wouldn’t give up that role for anything in the world.