Merlin's Academy for Excellence
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to inactivity, Merlin's Academy is no longer a Harry Potter RP site. It is being used for CASUAL, CLEAN RP of ANY TOPIC among friends. If you wish to join, however, please feel free; we would love to make new friends. Thanks to everyone who made MAE what it was before, and we wish you all lots of love and a great life up ahead. <3

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Year: 2017

~Season: Autumn~

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     When Everything Changed (one-shot)

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    Janique Sandoval

    Posts : 8

    PostSubject: When Everything Changed (one-shot)   Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:04 am

    “I’m turning nine tomorrow, can you believe it?!” she cried, spinning around on the spot. In a moment of childish glee, she held up nine fingers it in his direction and grinned. He returned her smile and patted his knee. Building up speed from across the room, she ran towards him and hurled herself onto his lap; catching her, he pulled her up and laced his arms around her tiny body. “So what did you get me?” She looked up at him with big, innocent eyes.

    He chuckled. “It’s a surprise, my pumpkin. You’ll find out tomorrow,” he told her.

    She reached over and took hold of his shoulders, looking him in the eyes. “But I want to know now. Can’t you just tell me now? Please? Please? Plea-“

    She broke off laughing; he had started to tickle her. Collapsing into a heap against him, she continued giggling until he stopped abruptly; Cheryl had come into the room and, shooting him a look, said in a reproachful tone, “Don’t excite her too much, Dustin. She’ll never sleep if you do.”

    He sighed as Jani sat up and rubbed at her eyes, slightly disappointed; she loved it when her father would tickle her. “Awww, why did you stop?”

    “Because your mother doesn’t want you to get too worked up,” he explained, shrugging his shoulders slightly and pulling his daughter into a tight hug instead.

    Janique nodded seriously, smiling at the warmth of her father. “She knows everything!” she said with the innocence of an almost-nine-yaer-old.

    “That right, Jani. She knows everything,” he repeated. It was laced with sarcasm, but the girl did not understand sarcasm, and so it flew past her. Her mother, however, caught it and, with a hurt expression, turned back to the kitchen where she was preparing the ingredients for Jani’s birthday lunch tomorrow: she was going to cook all of Jani’s favourite foods.

    Her father gave her a little push and she slid off. Standing up, he said, “Come along now. It’s already past your bedtime! I’ll put you to bed and when you wake up, you can have your present.”

    “But I’m not tire-“ she began, but a yawn interrupted her.

    With a soft chuckle, Dustin bent down and picked her up. “Well, just lie down and try to sleep," he said, playing along with her statement. "When you wake up tomorrow, I’ll be here to give you your surprise.”

    Stifling another yawn, she laid her head against his shoulder as he began in the direction of her room. “You don’t have to work?”

    “No, I don’t. I will be at home when you wake up,” he told her.

    “You promise?” she asked, her eyes closing, but still wanting to make sure.

    “I promise,” he whispered in reply.

    By the time he reached her room on the second floor, she was fast asleep. Gently, he placed her on her bed and tucked her in. Giving her a soft kiss on her forehead, he bent forward and muttered, “Good night, my Jani."

    He stood and walked to the door. Just as he was about to leave, he heard her murmur, “I love you, daddy.”

    “I love you too.” He smiled as he closed the door and she instantly fell back asleep.


    Her eyes flew open and glanced at the clock on her bedside table. It read 8.57 AM. Throwing back the covers, she jumped out of bed, went to the door and thrust it open. She ran down the stairs and into the living room. Rushing over to her father’s armchair, she said “Can I have my present n-“ she stopped suddenly when she noticed it was empty. She frowned slightly, wondering where he was. Maybe this was part of the surprise?

    She turned towards the kitchen and started over. As she got nearer, she could hear odd noises coming from somewhere inside. Slowly, she peered around the corner and saw her mother seated at the dining table, bowls of chopped vegetables and other ingredients surrounding her. She had her head in her arms.

    “Mom?” she called softly. When there was no response, she increased her volume and tried again. This time, her mom looked up, her eyes red and watery.

    “What’s wrong?” Jani asked, inching closer.

    Her mom motioned for Jani to come over, and when she did, pulled her close.

    “Why are you crying? What happened?” Her tone was almost one of distress; she hardly saw Cheryl crying, except for when they saw movies that had particularly touching scenes - and those tears came slowly, and dried within seconds.

    Her mother shook her head. “It’s adult stuff, Janique. One day when you’re older you’ll understand, but not today.”

    “Oh,” she replied, frowning in thought. With the wisdom that a nine year old could posses, her eyes suddenly lit up and she exclaimed, “Well, dad is older than me! He’ll understand! Do you want me to get him for you? I don’t know where he is now, but I can go look.”

    At that, her mother tightened her grip. “He’s gone. He went away,” she whispered, so softly that Janique almost missed it.

    Her frown deepening, she pondered this for a few moments. “When is he coming back?”

    Again, her mom shook her head. A few seconds passed, during which more tears fell from the woman's weary eyes. “He’s not.” She said it quietly, hoarsely, not wanting to admit it, but knowing she had to.

    Janique ripped herself from her mother’s hold. “He is! He promised me he would be here. You don’t break promises!”

    A sigh escaped her mother's lips, one of frustration more than anything else. Swallowing dryly, she took a deep breath and, as calmly as she could, said, “It’s complicated, Janique, but he’s not-"

    “You’re lying!” Jani shouted, interrupting her mother. “He’s coming back. He promised!”

    She turned and ran, not knowing where she was going, but feeling her legs guide her. Looking through vision blurry with tears, she found herself in the tree-house: the tree-house she had built with her father last summer. They were supposed to start a second level this year, but as she sat in the corner - knees up and head down, weeping, - it hit her that it would not be so.

    “He promised,” she said to herself softly, rocking herself in an attempt to comfort her own soul.

    How long she stayed there, she didn't know, but it was not until the sun had long since gone to bed that she climbed down the ladder. Above, no stars shone - clouds blocked any source of light from reaching her, almost as though it knew how she was feeling. As tiny raindrops fell, mixing with her own tears, she slipped into the house and walked past her mother, who had made no attempt to comfort the hurting girl and was passed out on the couch, surrounded by bottles of alcohol that Janique did not know the names of. Curling up into a ball on her bed, she fell asleep to nightmares of chasing after her father, only to trip and fall, screaming for him to come until she awoke with a start, only to realize the truth and break into a fresh wave of tears.
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