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Penny Quinland

Invite Tell That Devil (Feb. 26. 2018)

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Repository ☆ DMLE - Special Assignments✩ Chromatic
Pureblood Human ☆ She/Her

Penny felt bad for neglecting her usual running group since she had started spending work days at Tally. It was far easier to run around the property, along familiar trails after dropping Lily off at school. Sure, it was a lot hotter, but at least around Tally, she could use as many cooling charms as she wanted. Today though, whether by fate, or regret for having not shown up for the pre sunrise runs when the day was coolest, she had shown up today and the familiar routine put her at ease.

The meeting place was the same all of the time. A small cafe close to lake paths that they ran. The warmth of the cafe lights in the soft glow of pre-dawn a beacon of their ritual. A small cup of coffee, a warm pastry, and they were off. Penny had always been an early bird, not because she liked mornings, but because she simply needed more time to wake up. She relished the quiet murmurings of her companions as they sat and sipped together. Today there was a little more energy. The her companions, mostly muggles, and one or two witches who understood what Penny actually did, had missed her, and she them. It was nice to catch up with them, chitchat until the rest of the group came together. 

The sound of the bell over the door caught Pennys attention, and form the corner of her eye, a man walked in and up to the counter. She didn't pay much attention, just went back tot he conversation and pulled out her phone to show off a picture of her little family most recent outing. They were interrupted by a phone call, and she excused herself to the back of the Cafe where it was less noisy. She was only gone for a few minutes, looking concerned for the briefest of moments. When she did return, the man was standing next to the table she had been sitting at, but his back was to her. 

"Sorry about that. Lily's sick apparently."

Concern, assurances that it was okay if she needed to go back home. 

"No, Kristen has it under control. Just wanted to give me a heads up... Crap I'm so rude." She went to sit down, but had completely forgotten to say hello to who she assumed to be a new running partner. Thats what she got for not being totally awake yet. 

"I'm Penny -" she started as she looked up at the man. The string of expletives that followed got her very stern glances from everyone. 

Thread title song Tell That Devil by Jill Andrews (link opens to Spottify)

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Repository ☆ Stay At Home DadThistleProse
Pureblood Human ☆ He | Him | His

Three days ago, Michael had been out on an early morning jog with Ally asleep in her stroller when he’d been approached by a woman who joined him before inviting him to join her morning group. She gave all the information he’d need, which he had diligently put into his phone, before their paths had split. Michael, at the time, hadn’t been very interested in taking her up on the offer; he quite enjoyed his solo morning sessions. That said, he was also aware that he needed to put down some roots, and if nothing else, the woman might have some information on a daycare he could put Ally into, or know someone who did. In the end, it was for his daughter’s benefit that prompted him to join the group.

Michael made his way to the café he’d been given directions to, his daughter – bright eyed morning critter that she was – awake and chatty in her jogging stroller as she looked around. Since the invitation had come to him while he was pushing Ally along, Michael assumed that the little girl would be welcome; she’d likely fall asleep halfway through the jog anyway, as she was wont to do.

Entering the café, Michael manoeuvred the stroller to the counter and ordered a large coffee for himself, a couple of slices of raisin toast, and a doughnut for Ally, who clapped her hands excitedly as he handed it to the two year old, watching with fond amusement as she began to devour it, very messily. Shaking his head, Michael looked around and smiled in polite greeting when the woman who had issued the invitation caught his eye and waved excitedly. He began to doubt, not for the first time, his actions, but he stuck true to his path and hoped he would not come to regret the whole ordeal. He just needed to find a good day-care for Ally to spend time at, he reminded himself, joining the group.

He very nearly turned on his tail and fled when he recognised the woman who had re-joined the group. His face went a pasty shade of off-white and he took a half step back, wondering if it was too late to pretend he wasn’t there, that he’d never been there, and that … oh fuck. Michael’s face went from a nasty shade of white to bright red when Penny looked up at him and then began cursing. He grimaced uncomfortably as one of the women scolded Penny and held her hands pointedly over Ally’s little ears.

“I’m Michael,” he sighed, looking uncomfortable. “I think we should go. I’m sorry.” He grimaced again as voices erupted from every direction.

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Repository ☆ DMLE - Special Assignments✩ Chromatic
Pureblood Human ☆ She/Her

So it was one thing to take the time to yourself to have past wounds heal. It was much easier when the people that hurt you weren't around any more. She thought she was over it. She thought she was past it, but facing him again made her stomach twist and she looked at the latte sitting on the table next to a mostly eaten pastry. She didn't want to eat any more. She wished she hadn't as she glared at the cup instead of him. And that little girl. 

It had been years since her emotions took over her metamorphmagus abilities, but the ache in her eyes was unmistakeable as the structures changed to reflect the light differently. She looked from the girl, up to Michaels face, and her eyes flashed from the bright piercing green to a stormy violet color. her hair would not change. That was well under control, and she didn't want to explain to the two muggles sitting there or possibly wipe their memories. 

"No, Michael. Stay." She so desperately wanted to be spitting mad. And truthfully, her string of curses was less from anger, and more surprise. Like finding out someone who you thought dead wasn't. sure, she was upset, but it felt like an ache that pressed on her chest that made her breaths shallow. She spoke quietly. Trying to be calm. 

"Something is clearly going on, so we're just gonna head outside. Milly just pulled in. See you two outside, I hope?" The ladies at the table got up and left Penny to sit, with Michael standing there. 

"I used to bring her along with me to these runs..." Why did I say that? That was so stupid. Do you really want him to know everything now?

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Repository ☆ Stay At Home DadThistleProse
Pureblood Human ☆ He | Him | His

He paused at her words, wondering if she meant it. Though, if she was anything like she used to be, he knew she didn’t say things she didn’t mean. He studied her face, considering exactly how much she meant the words; there was saying them because it was expected, of course. Then there was saying them because she actually meant them, though the why behind that could be no less complicated. Michael sighed softly, and handed Ally her sippy cup when the little girl asked for it.

“Okay.” He wasn’t sure if he was answering Penny or the women who had spoken as she herded everyone else out the door. Silence seemed to stretch forever, and at the same time, not be there nearly long enough. Michael’s eyebrows arched at the comment that was spoken lowly, and then he frowned. “… Lily?” he pulled the name from what she had been saying before she realised who he was. It took him far too long to connect the dots, though, and he blinked before going stark white again and his shoulders drooped. “That’s a beautiful name.” It hadn’t been on their list of chosen names, but really, how could he fault her for choosing something he had no say in?

Taking a plunge he was not sure he was prepared to take, Michael placed a gentle hand on Ally’s head, causing the little girl to look up from her half masticated chocolate doughnut. “This is Alexandria.” He introduced, and the little girl smiled at him, then turned and smiled at Penny. “Ally!” she cheered, before shoving the treat back between her teeth. Michael chuckled softly. Alexandria was a name on his chosen list, though ironically it was purely coincidental; he had actually had no say in naming the little girl that had come to be his daughter any more than he had ended up playing a part in naming the child that was of his blood.

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Repository ☆ DMLE - Special Assignments✩ Chromatic
Pureblood Human ☆ She/Her

Of course the silence was awkward. To make it less so, she sipped at the latte that she really didn't want any more while they walked outside. Through the window, she could see people gathering together now, even a couple people were stopped for a moment. They came in, and stayed away from the two people sitting awkwardly with a stroller between them. 

"Yeah. After my gran. She uh... Well I mean, everyone was crying, But she and mum cried even more when I named her."It was far easier to avoid talking about her own feelings. And even ore so to talk to a child who had no clue what was going on, but was just so pleased to get the attention. Damn it was just too hard to not smile, even know Alexandria was a name that was passed between them for a couple months. 

"You're having a donut for breakfast Ally?" She nodded emphatically. "Is it good? You think you can share with me? We can trade" She held up the picked at croissant. Not as good an offer as a donut maybe, but it was worth a shot. 

She sighed and quite suddenly sat up. "You know you really hurt us, right?" With that out in the open, she felt a little better. Just the simple acknowledgment that it happened made her feel lighter. "And.. I can understand that you were probably freaked out."

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Repository ☆ Stay At Home DadThistleProse
Pureblood Human ☆ He | Him | His

Ally smiled, chocolate faced, at the question posed to her by the woman sitting near her level. She was not a shy child – Michael took no credit for that, it was entirely Kimberly’s outgoing personality shining through – but he did his best to keep her socialised and enquiring. Ally frowned slightly when Penny made her offer, the little girl looking from her doughnut to the boring looking croissant. After a moment of consideration, she very deliberately, and with a soul-searching stare, licked what was left of her doughnut and stared at Penny a moment longer. “Mine,” she stated, while Michael lifted a hand to hide his smile. “Sorry,” he murmured, highly amused. “Not the classiest thing I’ve taught her.”

Penny’s next comment took him by surprise, but at the same time, he had been expecting it. Honestly, he was probably more surprised it had taken so long to be brought up. He sighed, “I know,” he said softly, looking ashamed. “I’m sorry.” He had not known of course, but anyone with half a heart and a brain to work with would have known that his actions would cause pain and no small degree of suffering. It was a wholly selfish thing for him to have done, but as he looked down towards Ally to avoid Penny’s gaze, he wondered what would have happened to the little girl if he had not followed the path he had. Would she have been born? Would her father have died? How different would his life be? Would he and Penny have married? Had more children? Fought their way to a divorce or lived in quiet misery? He knew their relationship had been pleasant, but he also knew she was not what he had needed in life. For starters, she was not a man, though he had not realised that was the biggest issue with their relationship for years.

He hoped she could hear the sincerity in his voice, and in his expression. There had been nights where he’d stayed awake, tossing and turning and wondering if it were too late to come back, to reconcile, to fix his stupid actions. But then he’d met Kimberly, and he hadn’t been happier than when he’d been with Kim, and he couldn’t imagine having missed out on the time he did have with his deceased husband. Grief clouded his features for a moment, and he brushed gently at Ally’s hair, thankful he had that much left of the man he’d loved so much. Taking a deep breath, he cleared his face and met Penny’s gaze with gentle determination.

“Sometime, when you’re ready, I’d like to meet Lily.” He didn’t expect anything, and the placid way he spoke indicated as much; he wasn’t expecting the girl to call him daddy and he certainly wasn’t angling to take her away from her mother (he couldn’t imagine trying to raise two little girls who were pining for a parent that wasn’t him!). He certainly didn’t feel like he had any parental rights – even if he did have an apartment big enough for Lily to claim a bed on weekends. He sighed, softly. “When you’re ready.” He echoed.

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Repository ☆ DMLE - Special Assignments✩ Chromatic
Pureblood Human ☆ She/Her

Penny laughed. "You know what, that's fair. I'd rather have the donut too. I guess I made the wrong choice this morning, huh?" She had been through Lily's very stubborn and honest phase, and knew all too well how embarrassing it could be. "Definitely makes you think twice about how you're phrasing things around her, huh? They grow out of of it, I promise." 

Penny sighed and sat back, a hint of a smile on her face now. She loved kids. It was why she was well suited for what she did, and working from the school now just reinforced it. 

"Thank you," she said after a long moment of contemplation. "For apologizing. I don't know why you can back, or if you're gonna stay. But apologies are a start. So thank you." 

Had this conversation happened before Penny had finished Uni, she certainly would have been less civil. Without the balm of time, it would have been easy to say things that were regretted later. And while Penny knew herself, and how she was feeling now, there was no way to predict what Kristen would feel about this whole meeting. And especially what was said next. 

"It's not up to me. Or even Kristen. Lily gets to decide. After we talk to her." 

Her clutched her phone in her hands, underneath the table, deciding what she could do now. It was very clear he was sincere. There was regret, perhaps? Or just the feeling that the mistake had been made, and now he was owning up to it. By the time Penny decided to bring her phone to the tabletop and pull up pictures, she noticed the way he looked saddly at Ally. She wouldn't ask about it, but she filed her curiosity away. 

"Would you like to see picture of her?" She already pulled one up. One of Lily sitting at the worn kitchen table, legs dangling off the chair as she concentrated on the coloring page in front of her. "She looks so much like you."

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Repository ☆ Stay At Home DadThistleProse
Pureblood Human ☆ He | Him | His

“I kind of hope she doesn’t,” he said quietly, brushing the little girl’s hair with gentle fingers as he watched her munching on her treat. It could be embarrassing, but Michael wasn’t worried about that – he thoroughly enjoyed her spunky personality and the reminder she held to her father. Kimberly had had the same frank honesty and a wicked sense of humour to go with it; he knew the man would have been proud of the way the little girl licked her doughnut and stared down her adversity without fear! Michael smiled as he took back the sippy cup she thrust in his direction, handling it carefully due to the filthy nature of its handles.

Michael shifted his gaze, studying Penny for a moment. “Fair enough,” he replied, wondering how it was that Kristen’s opinion weighed in so heavily on the subject. He did not question it, just nodded quietly. He only had vague memories of the woman from when he had been dating Penny; she had been Penny’s friend, not his, though he had never really had anything against the woman, he had never really gone out of his way to interact with her, either. At least there was a chance he would get to meet his daughter; hopefully she did not hate him too much for abandoning her and her mother.

Eyebrows arched, an eager expression washed over Michael’s face, and he nodded once, smiling warily. “I would,” he shifted, stepping around the stroller and slightly closer to the table so he could see the picture that was brought up on the phone. He studied the little girl in the picture, a warm, slightly sad smile on his lips. “She’s beautiful,” he said quietly, a wistful tone to his voice. “She looks like you,” he said gently, amused. It was easy to see Penny in little Lily.

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Repository ☆ DMLE - Special Assignments✩ Chromatic
Pureblood Human ☆ She/Her

If Penny heard his comment, she didn't respond. She was in no place to judge or say anything. Especially since she knew later she would probably regret it. Different parents, different parenting styles, but she still couldn't help but wonder what Lily might have been like had they raised her together. And those thoughts were only founded on what she knew of Michael when they were seventeen, and eight years had passed since they had last spoken. Penny was different. That much she was absolutely sure of. 

"I've thought about what I might say to you, if I ever saw you again, more than I've admitted. Most of it was angry." For that she did feel shame. Holding onto anger never turned out well, she learned. "I'm... I don't know. Hopeful, I guess, that things are gonna work out."

She had so many other pictures she could show. Silyl pictures of them at the beach. Lily and Kristen making faces at each other in the bathroom mirror while the older woman braided Lilys colorful hair. These were moments that she wanted to be selfish about. They were hers, and Michael was not there. But this oen quiet moment, she could share that. She was willing to do that. 

"Only when she wants to." Of course implying that Lily hat inherited her mothers metamorphmagus ability.

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Repository ☆ Stay At Home DadThistleProse
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Michael shifted his gaze to look at Penny when she spoke quietly, watching her sadly as he heard her words. He could not blame her, and even if he could have, he wouldn’t. It wasn’t her fault he’d left; perhaps if they’d had a big blowout fight or some type of argument – anything, really, to give her warning, she might have been feeling differently. However, they had not; everything had been perfect, really. They’d been happy, they’d been expecting a baby – Lily – and they’d not had a fight for months (years? He could not remember). Then one morning, she would have woken and he was gone. She probably hadn’t even realised he was gone until that evening, since he’d often worked early mornings. He had tossed his simcard as soon as he left town, so he would never know if she (or anyone else) had tried to contact him. He had abandoned her, as thoroughly as if he had died – only without the closure.

“I hope so, too,” he said gently, still playing with little Ally’s hair as he watched Penny. There were so many ‘y’s in his life, he realised with a slight smile, and so few answers! Well, hopefully he would begin to fill in some of the empty spaces that had been left when he had ditched town all those years ago, now that he was back. Well, he could try, anyway. He was not sure all his old acquaintances and friends (shit, and family) would be quite as calm and accepting as Penny was proving to be, but … he likely deserved a lot worse.

He laughed softly at her comment. “Good to know,” he smiled, amused. Glancing outside, he saw several people tossing looks towards the shop, and he figured they had probably been keeping the rest of the party waiting long enough. “We should probably join the group,” he said gently, nodding towards the window he could see them through.

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