Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters: Katie Bell, Marcus Flint
Prompt: 037. Abstract
Word Count: 722
“Why don't you have a dad, Marcus?”
Katie asks a difficult question and Marcus answers to best of his abilities.
Notes: this is a kid!fic. There are no adult situations described, nor alluded to. This is just an insight into a friendship before Hogwarts, before House rivalries got in the way. Part 4 in the when we were young series.
“Why don't you have a dad, Marcus?” five-year-old Katie asked without looking up from drawing in front of her. Colourful scratches ran in all directions except where they were supposed to go. Colouring between the lines was still a foreign concept to her.
Opposite her, eight-year-old Marcus' pencil abruptly halted, tearing the parchment a bit. He frowned at the half-finished sketch of Mr Bell flying his broom. Katie had asked him to draw her dad in exchange for her piece of chocolate cake. It was Mr Bell’s birthday tomorrow, and since Mrs Bell didn’t have enough monies to buy something in Katie's name, the drawings were meant to be Katie’s presents to her father.
“Well, where is he?” she asked when she decided that Marcus took too long to answer.
Licking his lips, Marcus glanced at his mother standing behind Katie. She was busy preparing supper, humming happily whilst peeling potatoes. Relieved, Marcus assumed that she hadn't heard Katie.
He had learnt long ago not to ask questions about that particular subject, his father. He never got the answers he wanted, and his mum usually ended up crying for days. If there was something Marcus hated, it was seeing his mother sad and upset.
Still, it did not keep him from answering Katie. The last thing he needed was for her to tease him about not having a father, as some of the older kids in the village sometimes did. They always made him feel ashamed for reasons he didn't understand. It wasn't his fault that his father didn't live them.
“I have a dad,” he answered, whispered really, and resumed drawing clouds and birds around Mr Bell's head. “He just lives somewhere else.”
“But why?” asked Katie as she picked an offensively bright shade of green to colour in the robes on the stickfigure in the drawing.
“What’s he like?” Katie asked again, her neighbour’s growing discomfort or his lack of reply unnoticed.
Again, Marcus merely shrugged because he didn't know, and what he knew, he'd come about by eavesdropping, not because his grandparents or his mother had shared the information. He had learnt that his dad lived in London and that he was a 'posh Pure-blood arsehole who thought he was too good for the rest of them'.
Marcus had overheard his grandad rave to Nan one night last year after too many beers, but he had not dared to ask what it all meant. Questions like that tended to end with him getting his ears pulled. Admitting to eavesdropping to explain why he was asking in the first place would’ve led to a good walloping.
“I dunno,” Marcus eventually mumbled.
“Oh, that’s sad.” Katie looked up from the parchment, tapping the green crayon against her chin as she stared at Marcus for the longest time, clearly thinking very hard. Suddenly, her face brightened, and she resumed colouring. “S'okay, you can borrow my daddy if you want.”
It wasn’t the response Marcus had expected, and he was in his right mind to tell her she was stupid. How would he go about borrowing someone's father? Having a father didn't work like that, at all.
But the more he thought about it, the more excited he became about the whole idea. Maybe, it wasn’t that stupid. He never had a real dad before, even if it was a borrowed one. It wouldn't hurt to give it a try, and if it failed, he could always brush it off as a prank he and Katie had devised.
“I can?” he asked to make sure Katie wasn't pulling his leg, his heart thudding erratically in his chest.
“Yeah, and Mummy won't have to make a baby brother if Daddy has you and I won't have to share my toys,” she said without looking up from her parchment. Nonchalantly, she pushed the box of crayons over the table. “You keep that one and give it to Daddy tomorrow, okay?”
Grinning broadly, Marcus set to work, determined to draw the best drawing ever for Mr Bell. As he carefully chose the colours to use later, he did not see his mother sneak out of the kitchen as quietly as she could, tears the size of Galleons rolling down her cheeks in unending streams.
And maybe, that was for the best.