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Old 01-04-2020, 10:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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MadMadamMalfoy's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Storybrooke
Posts: 8,914

Hogwarts RPG Name:
Heathcliff E. Jones
Second Year

Ministry RPG Name:
Gaston A.L. Marchand
Minister's Office

Ministry RPG Name:
Hector E. Velez
International Cooperation

Diagon Alley Employee:
Vitani Kama
Paradise Piercings and Tattoos
Default A Father's Love - Sa16+
1/2 of Roston ~ Rhibear ~ Madam Solo ~ Pirate Princess ~ Gryffinclaw ~ Crazy doll lady

Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe and all its characters, locations, and items belong to J.K. Rowling.

This thread will be a series of oneshots about my former school staff/current Ministry charrie, Gaston Marchand, and the children he loves. The first installment started as an entry for the 2018 Days of Potter writing event, but the prompt I used was claimed before I could post it. Now I've reworked it to publish here.

This series may skip around chronologically, so I'll include a date and location at the top of each installment for clarification. The Sa16+ rating is mainly due to the main character's turbulent moods; other than that, I don't expect any mature content.

Table of Contents

Installment 1: A Christmas Wish

Installment 1: A Christmas Wish
(24 December 2096; Rouen, France)
*Rosalyn Marchand appears with permission from WhittyBitty*

Gaston sat slumped in an armchair, his back to the crackling fire. There was no way he could look into the glowing flames and not be reminded of the attack… the night he lost everything. He subconsciously touched the scarred side of his face. The physical wounds had healed as well as they were ever going to, but the emotional ones were still fresh. He stared sullenly at the brightly wrapped packages around the tree, oblivious to the festivities taking place around him. The thing he wanted for Christmas this year was something that couldn't be wrapped and placed under a tree. He wanted his life to go back to the way it was before the Inferi attack. Most of all, he just wanted his daughter back!

Gaston was jerked out of his thoughts by a light touch on his arm, and for one fleeting moment, he hoped it would be Desiree… but it was his mother. Marceline Marchand gave her son a sympathetic look as she kissed his cheek. Mon petit chou, you must eat something,” she said, setting a plate of gougères - little cheese puffs - on the table beside him.

Any other time, Gaston would've found it funny that his mother still called him by his childhood pet name, but he was too sad, too tired for laughter. His stomach turned as he looked at the plate beside him. The thought crossed his mind to vanish it, but he wasn't allowed to perform magic in front of his muggle parents. Besides, he knew his mother worked hard to make those cheese puffs. He shot her a protesting look; he was too exhausted to even argue! Marceline's expression changed. “Okay, I'll leave them here, just in case you change your mind. Will you at least drink something that isn't coffee? Let me fix you some hot cocoa.”

Gaston sighed, realizing it was useless to resist. “Fine,” he said, and Marceline smiled. Now would she leave him alone to brood?

Gaston was vaguely aware of his mother's retreating footsteps. Was it just him or did the room seem oddly quiet? He suddenly realized that the lively piano music that had been droning on in the background had stopped. As he looked around, he saw why. His father had left the piano bench and now stood right beside him. Twin pairs of blue eyes met. “If you won't eat for us, do it for her,” Raoul said, jerking his head toward Desiree. “She needs you.”

Gaston's eyes followed his father's to the tiny dark-haired girl sitting on the floor with Rose, surrounded by stuffed animals she'd “decorated” for Christmas. There was a cruppy with giant Christmas balls dangling from its ears, a unicorn with bows on its horn, and a niffler with tinsel wrapped around its neck. “Pwetty kitty!” Desiree exclaimed as she tried to hang a jingle bell from Phantom's collar. The black and white Persian gave a disgruntled meow and darted under a table.

“Kitty go bye-bye!” Desiree giggled, but her laughter quickly turned into a yawn.

At that moment, Marceline returned from the kitchen, carrying a tray full of cocoa mugs. She laughed, handing Rose a mug. “Looks like somebody's ready for bed!” Marceline said in a singsong voice.

Desiree frowned. “No bed!” she said, shaking her head. “Want Santa!”

.Marceline looked at Rose. “Let's let her stay up just a little longer,” she said. “Christmas comes but once a year.”

To Desiree, she said, “Why don't you go pick out a story to read?”

A sudden wave of emotions crashed over Gaston as he watched Desiree toddle up the stairs. His father’s words were like a Crutiatus Curse aimed at his heart. “She doesn't need me anymore,” he said, shaking his head sadly. Saying the words out loud made the reality hit harder. “She's terrified of me.” She had been ever since she saw his scars from the inferi attack.

No sooner had Gaston spoken that Desiree looked back. He hastily turned his head to hide his scars from her, inadvertently locking eyes with his father in the process. Raoul's expression softened. “Someday she'll understand why you're… the way you are,” he said, gesturing to the scarred side of Gaston's face, “and then she won't be afraid anymore.”

Gaston scoffed bitterly. He knew his father was trying, but… he just didn't understand the heartbreak of knowing your own child feared you. “How would you know?”

“Because you did.” Realization suddenly dawned on Gaston with a horrible jolt. His father did understand! His mind wandered back to a time long ago when he was a frightened child himself, terrified of his emerging magic, terrified of losing control, terrified of how his father would react if he did.

A sharp pang of guilt gripped his heart. He'd once put his own father through the same pain that Desiree's rejection caused him! "Papa, I-" he began, but his voice broke. Instead, he looked at him, his eyes conveying the apology that his words could not.

"I know," Raoul replied, giving Gaston's hand a small squeeze. He smiled. “Now are you going to eat your gougères or do I have to feed you?”

Gaston nibbled the end off a cheese puff, coughing a little from the unexpected spicy taste. He and his father exchanged a look. “Did your mother add too much pepper again?" Raoul asked. "I told her -”

They were interrupted by a giggle as Marceline appeared at that exact moment, as if on cue.“What can I say?" she said, giving Gaston and Raoul each a steaming mug of cocoa. "I know how you love spicy things.”

By that time, Desiree was back, her favorite book in hand. Mémé?” she said, tugging at Marceline's sleeve to get her attention. Mémé, Beast!”

Desiree's bright blue eyes lit up as she held up a battered storybook: Beauty and the Beast. Marceline laughed, scooping Desiree (and the book) up in her arms and carrying her to the nearest armchair. Desiree wiggled in anticipation as she opened the book.

Gaston allowed his mother’s voice to go in one ear and out the other as she read aloud. He’d already heard the story a thousand times, having read it to Desiree on several occasions himself. Besides, the fairytale was nothing but a reminder of something he could never have. If only a declaration of love could transform him back into his old self… but in the real world, things weren’t that simple. There were limits to what magic could do.

Gaston checked his watch. It was almost time for Santa Claus to make an appearance. He inwardly groaned, reaching for his cane. Who ever heard of a scarred, limping Santa? He tried to stand, but a hand on his shoulder gently pushed him back into the chair. “You can’t,” Raoul said, eyeing his son with concern. “You’re in no condition to-”

“But she has to see…” Gaston interrupted, but his voice dropped as he stole a glance at Desiree.”

Raoul nodded. “I’ll do it; you just stay here and rest.”

He turned away to address the group, “I’ll be right back, everyone… just going to feed Phantom.” Having established his alibi, he sneaked out of the room while Desiree was still distracted by her bedtime story.

As Marceline read the final line of the story, Desiree gave a huge yawn and rubbed her eyes… but she quickly perked up at the sound of sleigh bells jingling. She gasped, her eyes wide with wonder as they darted from her grandmother to the direction of the sound. Marceline smiled. “What was that?” she asked.

“Santa!” Desiree cried, all but jumping down from the chair. She toddled toward the sound as fast as her little legs would go,stopping short of running into a tall red-clad figure. “Hi, Santa!”

Raoul had reappeared dressed in the Santa suit, a large red sack slung over his shoulder. “Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas, little girl!” he exclaimed, setting the sack down with a soft thud.

Gaston watched from afar as Desiree stared in awe at “Santa Claus”. After a moment, she broke into a huge smile and hugged “Santa’s” knees - the highest part of him she could reach - and sudden wave of jealousy overwhelmed him. Why couldn’t it be him getting hugs and adoring looks from Desiree? He was her father, for Merlin’s sake! She was supposed to love him

“Santa Claus” bent so his eyes were level with Desiree’s and gave her a little hug in return. Then he reached into his sack and pulled out a large, brightly wrapped package. “For you,” he said, handing it out to Desiree.

“Santa pwezzie!” Desiree squealed excitedly, practically grabbing the gift out of "Santa Claus"'s hands. A hail of paper and ribbon flew everywhere as she tore apart the wrapping to reveal a long narrow box. Inside was a doll of the Beast from the story. “Beast! Beast!” she exclaimed, proudly holding up her new doll for all the world to see.

Marceline smiled,stepping forward. “Watch what he does,” she said, gently taking the doll from her granddaughter. She removed the doll’s felt Beast feet and its jacket with the Beat hands attached to the sleeves. Finally the plastic Beast head mask came off, revealing the Prince’s face underneath...but it didn’t look like the prince in the Disney movie.

Even from his chair across the room, Gaston could see that the doll looked… like him. This Prince’s hair was black instead of reddish-blond, and he had painted facial hair. But the thing that struck Gaston the most was the painted scars across the right side of the doll’s face, just like his own. He shot his mother a knowing look, and she smiled in reply. It was obvious what had happened. She repainted the doll to resemble him to teach Desiree not to be afraid of his changed appearance.

Desiree stared at the doll for a moment, an unreadable expression on her face. Suddenly she tossed the doll aside violently. "Too ugly!" she cried, frowning.

That act further shattered Gaston's already broken heart. It didn't work… he should've known! If Desiree couldn't love that doll despite its appearance, what hope was there that she'd ever love him?

"No, no!" Marceline said. She picked up the fallen doll, gently smoothing its hair before she handed it back to Desiree. "I know he looks scary on the outside, but he's good inside and… he needs a kind girl like you to love him. Can you do that?"

Desiree blinked confusedly. "Beast?" she said, placing the plastic Beast mask back on the doll's head. She took it off, then put it back and took it off again. Gaston felt his daughter's eyes on him and instinctively bowed his head so she wouldn't notice him looking at her. Her gaze darted back and forth between his face and the doll's several times; he could see her mind working.

“Daddy Beast!” Desiree finally exclaimed, smiling. Gaston sat frozen to the spot as she approached him, afraid he'd scare her if he so much as moved a muscle. Desiree climbed into the chair beside him and threw her arms around his neck. “Love you!” she said, kissing his scarred cheek.

Those two little words were all it took to make the tears Gaston had been holding in spill forth. He hugged his little girl close, turning his head aside to keep the tears streaking his face from dripping into her hair, but his tears of joy soon became tears of sorrow as he heard sobs that were not his own. He should’ve known it was too good to last… she was still afraid of him. It took all the resolve he had to pull away from the hug. He tried to put her down, but she clung even tighter to him. “No!” she wailed. “Daddy cry!”

So Desiree wasn’t crying because she was afraid of him; she was crying because she was sad for him. Gaston was at a loss as a wave of conflicting emotions overwhelmed him. He was equal parts proud of his daughter’s empathy, sad to see her in such distress, and angry at himself for causing it. All he could think to do was hold her until his tears stopped falling, and eventually, so did hers. “Shh… it's okay,” he said when he found his voice. “Daddy's all better now. You make me better.”

He managed a small smile for her - something he hadn’t done in months - to reassure her that everything was alright. Desiree grinned back at him, but her expression soon turned quizzical. As Gaston looked around, he saw why. “Santa Claus” was standing behind them the whole time. “Santa! Daddy pwezzie?” Desiree asked, giving him a questioning look.

Gaston looked back at “Santa Claus” with eyes full of gratitude. He gave him his daughter back! How could he even start to thank a person for something like that? He shook his head, turning back to Desiree. “No, I don’t need a present,” he said. “I already got what i wanted.”
* What if I'm trying but then I close my eyes and then I'm right back lost in that last goodbye?*

* What if time doesn't do what it's supposed to do? What if I never get over you?*
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