In a hurry, the Storyteller rummages through unpublished scripts. Surely, somewhere in there lies what he's looking for. He must have written a tale fit for a young child at some point. One by one, he combs through pages and pages. He finds stories of fear, resentment, of searching for lost happiness. Nothing's cheerful enough. There's gotta be something better, deeper in there.
A knocking sound on the floor grabs his attention. He turns back towards its origin. Thankfully everything is still there and accounted for. A high chair, on which simple toys were dangling from threads. On it, his little niece was idly twisting a playing card between her fingers. Ah, it looks like she just knocked over her pacifier. To the sink, then, to give it a quick clean.
As he does the deed, his mind wanders to his current predicament. His niece sits back there with no entertainment to speak of beyond a cardboard rectangle. She must be bored out of her mind. But what could you expect out of him? It was early, too early for him to take care of a child. If you'd just asked him this time next year, things would be different. A year ago, he was at his lowest point. He'd only just crawled back. He'd begun to get better. In time, he was sure he could entertain the child with stories of persistence, of undying love, of good overcoming evil. It was just... It was too early.
As he returns from the kitchen, his niece looks at him with an uncharacteristic focus, as if gazing into his very soul. What kind of person do you see, he wonders, with these deep blue eyes of yours? What has she been able to grasp of him, without having the words to express it yet? Does she need more attention, is he not trying hard enough? Is he making things too much about himself, had they already started on the wrong foot? Still the youth stares, eyes open wide, until something unexpected breaks the staredown.
A beautiful smile, the most genuine he'd seen in ages.
And just like that, he can't help but smile back.