Chapter 1 : Dear Daddy
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"Mum!" Emily said exasperatedly, "It's just like every other birthday it's nothing special."
"Don't ever think like that," Her mother said sternly, "Some people don't even get birthdays or presents. Some are less fortunate."
Emily couldn't help but think her mother was speaking from experience which was weird because she knew her mother had never gone needy when she was growing up. Sure she wasn't the richest, but her mother and all her uncles were always well taken care of.
"Didn't grandmum always give you birthdays though?" she asked
Her mother was quiet for a moment before replying, "Yes I was more fortunate to have a family that loved me. You want to hear a story before we go get your friends?"
"Um sure," Emily replied cautiously. Every time her mother told her a story she couldn't shake the feeling that her dad was the one the story was about. Her mother would never come out and say it, but it didn't take much to fool her even if she were 8.
"I knew a boy like that," her mother started. She paused as if to find the right words to start out with before beginning again, "He never got any birthdays. He grew up in a home where his family didn't really want him. They treated him badly. Sometimes they starved him. His least favorite time of the year was his birthday because he never had anything to look forward to. He was usually given chores to do around the house on his birthday while his family watched him and made fun of him."
"But how can people be so horrible mum?" Emily asked, "People aren't really that mean are they?"
"As you grow up you'll realize that there are bad people in this world sweety. It's just in their nature."
"People like that don't deserve to take care of kids," Emily said angrily, "That's wrong."
"You're right," her mother said quietly, "But things are the way they are. People turn into who they are because of what they've been through."
"And this boy?" she asked, "Did he turn out alright?"
She saw a flash of recognition in her mother eyes as she said, "He turned out just fine. He was such a charming boy. I couldn't believe people would treat a boy as kind and as selfless as him the way they did. All he wanted was love. The people he stayed with didn't provide that for him. I was amazed that someone who was treated as bad as that still acted the way he did. He just wanted a family to love and to love him in return."
Did the boy find everything?" she asked and when her mother looked confused she added, "Did he find everything he was looking for?"
Her mother smiled as if recalling some long forgotten memory before replying, "Yes, he did. He found everything he was searching for and he deserved it more than anyone I could think of.
"Then why do I get the feeling like your story still makes it seem as if something was missing?" she questioned.
"Because there is something missing sweety," her mother said softly, "He just didn't get the time to figure out that last little bit he was unintentionally searching for."
"What do you mean?"
Her mother looked at her and said, "He never got to meet the rest of his family."
Emily sat and watched as her friends left her birthday party hours later feeling more content than she had been at the start of the day. She kept replaying moments of her party over in her head, the conversation with her mother forgotten for the moment.
She sat with Rose on the creaky porch swing talking about nothing in particular. That was the coolest thing about her friendship with Rose. No matter what they were doing or what they talked about, they never got bored. It was like they were sisters and in a sense they were.
"Mum said you might be able to come over later," Rose said as she played with a lock of her hair which she was prone to do, "That's if your mum says it's okay."
"I hope so," Emily replied, "We haven't really hung out since Uncle Ron got that promotion and you all moved into that big fancy house."
"It's not that fancy," Rose said as she stuck her tongue out.
Emily scoffed, "You could fit 3 of my houses in yours."
"Well," Rose said sheepishly, "Maybe it's a little fancy.
Emily chuckled, "You could fit my house in your library alone."
"Yeah well my mum's a nut we both know that," Rose laughed, "She thinks she has to have every book in print."
"Well i'm glad you didn't take after her ethics," Emily said.
"Because then you'd be really boring," she said brightly.
Rose punched her arm playfully, "My mum isn't boring, she's just, well okay she's a little bit boring when she starts acting all smart and bookish."
Emily grinned at her friend as Rose continued, "But she's not always boring. She use to get up to quite a bit of mischief back in school. Everyone has a wild side."
"Aunt Hermione, never," Emily laughed.
"It's true," Rose said with earnest, "Her and daddy and Harry Potter made some secret club back in their 5th year I think. There was some teacher there that was really horrid that wouldn't let them do defensive spells and so they made the club and went behind her back and taught the students how to fight."
Rose looked over at her quiet friend to see her deep in thought, "What's wrong?"
She looked up at Rose, "Mum's never told me that story before." She let out a sigh before continuing, "Mum doesn't like to talk about Daddy to much. It still hurts her I guess and when she does talk about him she tries to make it seem like she's talking about someone else."
Her friend looked at her with a sympathetic gaze, "I'm sorry."
"It's okay it's not your fault," she said, "You would think it would get better after awhile though. It's been a long time."
A comfortable silence fell between them and they sat together staring at the scenery.
Emily knew it was hard for her mother. Harder for her than anyone else. To lose something that important or close to you was devastating. Emily could still remember when she was 4 and lost her favorite stuffed bear. She had cryed for days. Looking back on it now it seemed rather stupid. It was only a stuffed animal after all.
"And what about you?" Rose asked breaking the silence, "Are you okay with it?"
Emily thought back through her life and wondered whether she was okay with the fact that her Dad wasn't in it. She turned out alright. She wasn't unhappy by any means. But then she thought of the missed moments, of everything that her Daddy should've been there for but couldn't.
"I'm okay with it," she said, "I mean sometimes I wonder what it would be like had my Dad been there to tuck me in or to kiss me goodnight. I do think about him a lot and what it would be like if he were here, but I know there's no point in thinking about things to much that you don't have the power to change."
They were broken from the rest of their conversation by a voice yelling from inside the house, "Come on Rose it's time to go!" her father yelled.
"Well I better get," as they both got up and hugged, "I'll see you later today."
Emily followed Rose back inside where Rose's father was waiting for her.
"Where's mum at?" Rose asked
"She's going to help your Aunt Ginny with something and she'll be along later."
Rose turned to her and gave her a quick hug promising that she would clean her room so she could come over later, and then her and her father stepped into the floo and were gone.
For the first time that day, she was alone and she didn't really know what to do. She always felt a sense of loss whenever one of her friends left.
She made her way down the hall with the intention of going to her room and cleaning up a bit but stopped short at the slightly ajar door and hushed voices coming from within her mother's study.
I just don't know anymore," she heard her mother's voice say, "It's been nearly 9 years and i'm still not over it. I still miss him and love him like it was just yesterday. I don't know why it still hurts like this."
"That's because you haven't even tried to move on," she heard her Aunt Hermione say. Leave it up to her aunt to be the intellectual one in the conversation, even when it came to relationships.
"Do you really blame me though?" Ginny said
"You've been wallowing in self pity for the past 9 years Ginny," Hermione said in an exasperated tone.
"You try losing Ron and see if you're ever okay again!" Ginny said angrily, "You act like I want to feel this way."
"Maybe you do. Maybe you don't want to move on because you feel it would insult his memory but Ginny you're killing yourself. You're wasting away. You're not the same anymore and everyone sees it. Emily even notices."
It was true though, Emily thought, she did notice. Her mother was never happy. She pretended to be for her sake but her mother was always unhappy.
"You're not alone Ginny," Hermione said breaking Emily out of her thoughts forcing her to listen once more, "We're always here for you. You know that. I think it's time we help you get out and meet new people."
"I don't want to meet new people. The only person I could ever spend the rest of my life with died 9 years ago."
Emily leaned forward to hear better adn she accidently bumped the table.
"What was that?" Ginny asked
Emily didn't wait for them to come find out that she had been eavesdropping. She ran back to her room and shut the door as quietly as she could before sitting at her desk. She pulled out a book just in case her mother came to check on her and finally relaxed.
The conversation she had overheard was troubling but not suprising. She didn't really need to dwell on it. What she really needed was to get her mind off of it. And then it hit her. She hadn't written her Daddy in a while.
She pulled out a piece of parchment and brought out her ink and quill set.
What should she write? She hesitated only a moment before beginning;
I turned 8 years old today. I wish you were here to spend it with me and mum. There's a lot of things you've missed in my life that I wish you could've been there for. I asked mummy why the angels had to take you away but she can never give me an answer without looking so sad. She can never talk about you to me without looking sad. I've asked since I can remember, wanting to know about you, but mummy can't stand it. I wonder if she'll ever get over you. You must have been an amazing person to be able to affect mum like that. I just wish I could've seen you for myself.
She said you were really good at Quiditch, that you were the youngest seeker at your school in a century. Mummy won't let me ride a broom but sometimes when she's not paying attention, I sneak out to the broom shed to ride the firebolt that's always kept in there. She said it had once been yours. It makes me happy that we get to share that moment together, even if you're not really there. I like to think it brings me closer to you. It helps me learn a little bit more about you without actually ever learning anything at all. Does that make sense?
I want mummy to get better, I really do. Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron said that Mummy use to be really happy, that she use to smile wherever she went. She could light up a whole room just by being in it. I don't see it now though. Mummy said I look just like you. She thought i'd have red hair but it's jet black although I did inherit the cursed Weasley freckles. It looks rather odd let me tell you.
Sometimes I have nightmares. Mummy said you had them to but she said ours are different. Are they not all the same? I had a nightmare one night and I ran to Mummy's room because I was scared but when I got there, the door was open. I peeked in and Mummy was sitting on her bed, crying, holding a picture of you. I went up to her and hugged her as tight as I could. She said my hugs always make her feel better.
It gets kind of lonely sometimes not knowing your daddy. I mean i've heard stories about you and I know you, but I've never met you see? I have friends that live down the road who always talk about how great their daddy is and how their daddy is so nice. It makes me feel kind of lonely because you're not here to take care of me. Kind of like if you're in a crowded room yet you still feel all alone because you can't relate to anyone. They try to get me to talk about you but it's hard.
Father's day is really hard for me and mummy to get through. When I was actually able to understand what father's day really was, I made you a card. It was really pretty. It took me a long time to make it. You should've seen it. I showed mummy the card I made and she got sad again. She stayed up all night crying. I never showed her another card even though I continued to make them every year on Father's day. I think maybe if I do this it'll help the hurt that I feel. Mummy says that i'm to young to feel hurt and that I should be happy but I can't help it. I've never even met you and I miss you like i've know you all my life.
Even though you're not here Daddy you are a big part of my life. Everyday I wake up, I wake up to hopefully make you proud of me. Mummy says you would be proud of me. She said that wherever you are, you are looking down on me, just wishing you could wrap me up in your arms. I wish you could. I wish you could hold me and take all this sadness away. Me and Mummy's both. I guess it's easier for me because I never really knew you but i'm starting to wonder if mummy will ever really be okay. I may only be 8 years old but I know what love is and I know she loved you. I couldn't nor would I want to ever imagine how I would feel if I lost mummy but I think that's what she must be feeling like.
Mummy told me stories about how you two first got together. It was so sweet. One day, I want to find a boy just like you that I can spend my life with. I know i'm to young to even be thinking like that right now but mummy said that when you fall in love, it's the best feeling in the world. She said it even feels better than Flying a broom! How is that possible? Mummy has never lied to me so I must believe her.
One of these days i'll meet you. Sometime, in the future, I will get to talk to you and we'll be able to make up for the time that you missed. You can tell me how much you love me and miss me and I can tell you about everything. Everything that you weren't able to be here for.
I have to go daddy. Mummy is calling my name from the kitchen. We're supposed to go to Grandma Weasley's house later on so I can play with Rose. I hope that wherever you are, you can read this so you'll know how much you mean to me and how much I need you. I love you daddy.
She sat alone sipping on her glass of firewhiskey reveling in the burn she felt as it passed down her throat. She didn't usually indulge in alcohol but tonight it seemed like it was needed, especially after the conversation she had had with her best friend.
Her friend was right. She wasn't the same person. She was a shell patiently waiting for someone to come help bring her out.
She drained the last drops of the alcohol and stood up before exiting her study and making her way to her daughter's room to clean up a little. She usually made Emily clean it but today was her birthday after all.
She walked in to see her daughter's room already spotless which suprised her. She usually made such a fuss about cleaning her room.
She was about to turn and exit the room when a letter on her daughter's desk caught the corner of her eye.
She went over and picked up the letter feeling slightly guilty at breaking her daughter's privacy before she started to read.
The further she read the more it broke her heart. She never wanted this for her daughter. She never wanted this for her family. This is what her family was reduced to. Her and a little girl without a daddy and she hated it. She wanted so much more for her daughter.
Harry had left them. She had been struggling with the finality of admitting it for so long even after all this time that she kept hoping that he would walk through the door to greet his family. Her nightmares plagued even her waking moments and his face haunted her dreams. But what haunted her most was Emily never knowing, never getting the chance to know.
Harry was gone and he was never coming home.