For my god-child who may one day be reading this (and I hope your parents forgive me)...

A middle-aged man lays in a hospital bed, another male, in their late teens, stares out the window of his room. Why the former was hospitalized was not readily apparent, although he seemed to be very weak.

"Cass," A hoarse cracking voice spoke, and the youth at the window jumped for he hadn't realised the man in the bed was awake.

"Uncle Scout, I didn't want to disturb you. The nurse said you were asleep." He called him uncle, he always did, he'd told him to because being a father was just too weird.

"It's okay, I wasn't really asleep, just deep in thought. Thinking about you actually." He lifted his head to look at the youth who was now walking towards him. "I know I haven't much time left, and there's something I never got to tell you." He motioned for the other to take a seat on his bed.

Cassidy's eyes stared long and deep into those of his godfather, "Mmm?"

"It all started twenty years ago," His mind wound back and he closed his eyes, "I met your mother not long after I first started uni. There was a group of geeks from uni I got hooked up with, and she was one of them, been one much longer than me. We had an IRC channel, as you do. She was working interstate at the time, and due to time zone differences, she and I used to talk a bit first thing in the morning when no one else was around. This kept up for half a year or so before she sort of dropped off the radar. A little over a year later, after she'd moved here, out of the blue things pretty much resumed between us as if nothing had happened. A bond developed between us, neither of us were well-stocked in the friends department at the time." He paused his recount, opened his eyes, and looked directly at the other occupant of the room. His mouth opened as if he was about to resume speaking, but then he threw a cautious glance around the room before returning his gaze, and his voice dropped. "I never told her this, but I found myself almost falling for her myself at one point."

The younger's eyes opened wide, "Oh, wow." He suddenly burst into laughter.

"What?" They were both laughing now. "What's so funny?"

"The idea of you being my actual father instead of my godfather, I find it hilarious." This only provoked further fits of laughter from both parties.

"So do I, and I told her so." He grinned. "We were close, but never anything that serious." His expression became serious again. "I was there when you were conceived, and she knew she wanted me to be your godfather, but the idea came as kind of a surprise to me. I've no idea why, because it was perfectly logical, just for some reason it had never occurred to me. I was thinking, kid, be a kid, please. I wanted you to be a kid, mostly for her sake, and she wasn't completely sure she was actually pregnant. The events surrounding your conception were somewhat amusing for me actually. I can remember choking and spitting milk all over my keyboard when your mother told me, and I raced over to see her in person. Hi-fives were exchanged, then we both fell silent. It was like, wow, it's actually happened now, like stage fright."

"Yes, a hi-five, that's what I'd expect." Cass smiled. "I love you more than my real uncles."

A chuckle came from the head of the bed. "Of course I wasn't in here back then. Sure, everyone thought I was crazy, not enough to lock me up for it." He sighed. "Your father was a good man. I'm sorry he and your mother were never married, I know they both wanted it. I'm not going to talk about why they weren't, I know they wouldn't want that." Gingerly he raised a hand to tousle the other's hair.

Hands reached out to grasp each other, and the pair sat there in silence for a long while before a nurse came in to interrupt them. "Visiting hours are finishing, I'm afraid you'll have to leave."

"It's okay," the older man turned to the nurse, "You can go, son. Keep in touch."

They exchanged a final handshake, and he was lead out by the nurse. They hadn't planned it that way, but it was their final meeting. The godfather went into a coma a week later after a mental breakdown.