Challenge #: 19
Disclaimers: You know, I think this time it stands alone. There isn't a single reference to Harry Potter. So in that case, this is mine all mine. Oh, and gelsey is helping me develope the world.
So I finally got a challenge 19 piece done and got this story idea out of my head at the same time. Warning, not fully beta'd since gelsey is only on sporatically. Edits are most welcome.
Jack was, to be blunt, bored off his ass. Oh, he knew why Yvette desired to do more research before her next tour, and that Idyllwild had the best resources. And while he didn’t really agree with her, he respected her desire for Robyn to spend time socializing with children her own age. But after being stuck in Idyllwild for three years, he had done all that there was to do and read all that he found interesting. This left him with nothing to do when stuck there again after only two years away.
This was why he was in the library, desperately looking for something to read that he hadn’t already. Mael Muire’s recommendations aside, he was just not in the mood for the latest archaeological journals. It didn’t look like she had stocked a single other new book in the last two years.
The odd chirped greeting accompanied by the arrival of a small body through the door was a welcome relief. He twittered back as he stepped away from the book shelves he had been studying. He felt as content now as he had been bored a minute ago as he happily scooped up the blonde headed girl, looking forward to the distraction of several hours in her company now that she was home from kindergarten.
However, one look at the serious expression on her face changed his destination from the media room to the nearest armchair. As he settled with Robyn in his lap, he asked, “What’s with the long face, little songbird?” He ran a finger down her nose as he spoke to emphasize the word long. That trick had always garnered him a laugh in the past, but not today.
“What does ‘daddy’ mean?” she asked in a disconcertingly serious tone. After spending her first three years surrounded day in and day out by madly researching students, she was far too adept at mimicking the persona.
“Daddy?” he asked, surprised. “As in father, dad, papa, père, padre…?” He trickled off, trying to remember the proper words in Romanian, Russian, or Gaelic, the other three languages he knew Robyn had developed some level of fluency in. Not only had she been surrounded by students most of her life, but they had been multicultural students happy to teach her their native tongues. Personally, he really thought Robyn was far too intelligent to be limited to going to kindergarten with the monolingual town riffraff.
She shook her head at Jack’s poor accent. “I know the words, I just don’t know what they mean.”
“What makes you think that?” he asked, rather perplexed. Robyn had never shown a lack of comprehension, and if nothing else she had discovered the function of the dictionary about age two.
She looked about unhappily before leaning into Jack’s chest with a sigh. “At school, the other children said I don’t have a daddy. If that is true … then I don’t understand the meaning of the word.”
Jack felt a growl building in his chest. He had wondered if something like this might happen. Children could be so cruel, and he would have done most anything to protect Robyn from their harsh taunting. Hers was not a standard life, and to others that always meant an easy target.
He took a moment to take a deep breath and gather his thoughts into a logical reply. Ok, so maybe logic wasn’t his strong point, but he could try. “Well then,” he finally replied, “let’s go over the definition and see if we think they are right. What do you think a daddy is?”
“I thought,” she started uneasily, but he smiled down at her, encouraging her to speak. “I thought it took two people to make a baby, a mommy and a daddy. That is what I remember ma mère saying.”
Jack nodded, encouraging Robyn to sit up. As fond as he was of having her little body curled up against his, right now he wanted to see her eyes to help him see how she was absorbing this information. This was a potentially mine-laden topic, and he wanted to tread gently.
“Well, we once again have proof that your mother is a genius,” he said with a bright grin.
“But if that is so, then I have to have a daddy. I exist,” Robyn replied, her face a mask of confusion. “How could they say…”
“I don’t think they were using the technical definition, little one,” he said to quickly cut her off before she twisted herself into any more mental knots. “Daddy has a few slang meanings as well.”
“Like what?” she asked.
“Well, the man who helps to make a baby is usually married to the baby’s mom, right? So the term has come to relate to any man married to one’s mom.” Jack looked Robyn in the eye, searching for any sign of confusion. She seemed to be keeping up just fine, and he wasn’t sure if that pleased him as a sign of her intelligence, or concerned him as a sign she was growing up too fast. “So if one’s parents got separated, and mom remarried, then her new husband would be the new dad. Or, in reverse, if dad remarried, his wife would be the new mom.”
“So … they think I don’t have a daddy ‘cause Mom isn’t married?” Robyn asked, sounding more than a touch disgusted.
“’Fraid so, little songbird,” he said sadly.
Robyn looked thoughtful for a moment, then asked, “But if Mom got married, then they would have no excuse to say that… right?”
Jack was decidedly uncertain what she was getting at, but nodded.
“Then you should marry Mom,” she said with a broad grin.
Jack was shocked and appalled, and he knew it was reflected on his face but he couldn’t seem to change it. “I don’t think that would be wise, or even that it would get those little idiots at school off your back,” was what he finally choked out. More than ever, he wanted to go down to that school and smack some sense into those children.
Robyn sighed and leaned into his chest, giving him a big hug as she rattled off another comment in the language of twitters and chirps that they had developed together in her earliest years. It took him a moment to absorb the sound and translate the words, but when he did, he felt the blood completely drain from his face. Roughly translated, she had said, “Then I guess I’ll have to continue keeping it a secret that you are the man who helped make me.”
Jack had no idea what to say. He had never realized that she knew the truth, a truth that was closely guarded and spoken of only behind closed doors that were locked with more silencing runes than you could shake a stick at. So he held her close and kissed her lightly on the head, twittering a soft, “Thank you.”
Edited based on penchaft's recomendations. I hope that improved the beginning a little, though I'm still not sure how to improve the background integration.