For As Long As You Need Me

Today’s flash fic is a prequel to A Time For Everything! This is centered around Ezekiel Matthews and his older brother Elijah, though told from Elijah’s POV. And I gave myself massive feels because of it. But I can’t say anything about it because SPOILERS.

Anyway, enjoy!

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


“Ezekiel!” Elijah Matthews lowered his hands and frowned. The train was bound to leave soon and he needed to hurry in order to catch it. Unfortunately, the departure from his home had been interrupted by the disappearance of his five-year-old brother and now the entire family was spread all over the house and grounds trying to find him.

He entered his mother’s garden from the conservatory and cupped his hands to his mouth again. “Ezekiel, where are you? Answer me!”

A bird twittered, but other than that, there was nothing. Elijah crossed his arms, tapping one foot against the stone path. “Ezekiel Matthews, if you don’t come out this instant, I’ll leave without saying goodbye to you.”

There was a rustle and he looked over at a nearby rose bush. Soon, his little brother came crawling out, his clothes mussed and dark brown hair sticking up in all directions.

Elijah sighed, shaking his head. “Mother’s going to have a fit when she sees you, you know,” he said, brushing Ezekiel off. The boy sniffed, looking down at the ground.

“Zeke, what’s wrong?” Elijah asked, concerned.

Ezekiel looked up at him, his blue eyes watery and tear tracks on his face.

“Hey.” Elijah knelt in front of him. “What are you crying for?”

Ezekiel sniffed and wiped his nose with his arm. “You broke your promise.”

Elijah furrowed his brow, confused. “What promise?”

“You said you’d always be there for me and now you’re going away!” Ezekiel exclaimed, his chin trembling. “You broke your promise!”


Ezekiel made ready to run past him but Elijah grabbed him by the shoulders and held him in place as the latter tried to squirm his way out of his grip. “Hold on now,” he started. “Let’s get one thing straight: I didn’t break my promise. Not exactly.”

“But you’re going away, like Fred did,” Ezekiel said, his voice breaking. “You won’t be here for me!”

“Not physically, no,” Elijah admitted. “But I’m still going to write to you.”

Ezekiel crossed his arms, pouting.

“Zeke, listen. You won’t always need me,” Elijah said. “Furthermore, it’s simply not possible for me to be there for you all the time.”

“You said you would!”

“Because I have, and will always, try to be there for you when you need me,” Elijah assured him. “But there will be times where I’ll fail you, because I’m not perfect. The only One who is completely perfect and can be there for you all the time and never fail is God. Don’t you remember Father talking about that the other night?”

Ezekiel scrunched his nose in concentration, then nodded.

Elijah smiled. “Besides, I won’t be gone forever, and we’ll get to have visits, just like with Fred. He’ll be home before me; his time at West Point is nearly up. Remember?”

Ezekiel sniffed again. “I don’t want you to go, ‘Lijah,” he said. “Why do you have to go?”

“Because I want to be a soldier like Father was,” Elijah said. “Who knows, you might want to be one too when you’re all grown.”

Ezekiel seemed to consider this for a moment, then shook his head.

“You’ll see me again, Zeke,” Elijah said. “Someday.”

A moment of silence passed and then, without warning, Ezekiel jumped forward and wrapped his arms around his neck. Elijah returned the embrace, adding, “God willing, I’ll always strive to the best of my ability to be there for you, Zeke,” he said. “For as long as you need me.”

©2023 H.S. Kylian (Hannah Killian). All rights reserved.

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