His Little Ballet Dancer


Story Summary:
"Maggie knew in her heart that her mummy and daddy kept each other happy and always would." A story of family and dealing with death.

His Little Ballet Dancer

Author's Note:
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Maggie loved her daddy.

He was very tall, because he stood much, much higher than the kitchen table. Maggie couldn't quite reach the bottom of the table with the top of her head without standing on her toes. But that didn't keep her from trying, because every time she did, Daddy would call her his "little ballet dancer" and laugh.

Maggie loved hearing her daddy laugh. Then he would pick her up and spin her around. He always smelled a little like springtime, even when he smelled mostly like smoke, like Grandpa did every time he tried to light fires with those little Muggle sticks called "matches."

Daddy would put her down when Mummy came in, but Maggie didn't mind so much, because then Daddy would hug Mummy, and they would look like the prince and princess in Maggie's bedtime books. Sometimes, Mummy's mouth would be in a frown because of Sirius and Charlie, Maggie's brothers. But Daddy's kiss would make it a smile. Maggie knew in her heart that her mummy and daddy kept each other happy and always would.



"...the Death Eaters may have taken her life, but her spirit will remain." Grandpa got off the stage and walked away, crying like Maggie did when Sirius broke her toys. Maybe he was crying because they had buried the box in the ground. Maggie wondered why everyone was so sad. What had been in the box? And where was Mummy?

Maggie wanted her mummy, but Auntie Hermione had said she was away on holiday, and would be for a very long time. Maggie wondered if she was in Paris. Mummy was always talking about Paris. She and Daddy had gone there after they had married each other.

Everyone got out of their cold, hard seats slowly, as if they didn't really want to. Maggie couldn't see why. The chairs were terribly uncomfortable; she was glad to stand up. Daddy still looked sadder than everyone else, like he had during the whole time everyone was talking.

"That's the life of an Auror, mate," said Daddy's friend Seamus. "I just wish it hadn't happened to you, especially after we all thought it was over."

Maggie wondered what he was talking about.

Daddy still hadn't stood up. Maggie placed a small hand on his big one. Maybe he didn't know Mummy was on holiday and was just as confused as she was.

"Don't worry, Daddy. Mummy's on holiday in Paris, I think. She'll come back with presents for all of us and pictures of the Eye-full Towel!"

But Daddy just looked away.

Maggie wished Mummy would come back so everyone would be happy again.


Daddy was gone a few days later. He hadn't said a thing to Maggie or her brothers since the box had been buried. All he had done was sit in the living room and stare at pictures. Sometimes, he would cry. Other times, he would look angry. Maggie didn't understand. Mummy was only away on holiday.

Maggie was in the kitchen one night when everyone else was asleep, and he came into the kitchen with a packed bag and a cloak on. There was a knock on the door, and Auntie Hermione and Uncle Ron came in with their own bags. Daddy was about to walk out the door without saying goodbye to Maggie, so she spoke up.


Daddy turned and looked at her like he had never seen her before. "Daddy, where are you going?"

Daddy sighed and sat down next to Maggie. He pulled her into a hug. "I'm going on... holiday," he said finally.

"Like Mummy? To Paris?"

"Yes, to Paris."

"Can I come too? I want to see Mummy."

"I won't see Mummy, love." And he hugged her once more and left.

Daddy would find Mummy anyway. Maggie knew he could, because he was the most powerful wizard in the world. Everyone said so.


Two years later, Maggie and her brothers had moved in with Auntie Hermione and Uncle Ron. Maggie wondered where Daddy was. Was he closer to finding Mummy? She hoped he was, because she couldn't remember what either of them looked like, and that made her want to cry.

Then Sirius and Charlie would think she was stupid. Sirius was away at school now. He wrote letters once a week, but Maggie missed him, even though he always pulled her hair. Uncle Ron got Sirius's broom from the broom closet one day and told Maggie to get on it. "I wish it were your dad teaching you right now, but I think it's time for you to learn," he told an excited Maggie. She wondered why he was so sad.

And so it was Uncle Ron who taught her how to ride a broom, not Daddy.

But Maggie hoped Daddy would come home soon, because she wanted to fly with him too.


Finally, Maggie plucked up the courage to ask Sirius why Mummy and Daddy had been away for so long. Sirius was twelve and home for Christmas, and he knew everything, because he was a second year at Hogwarts.

Sirius stared at her. "Mum's not on holiday," he answered in a nasty voice, pushing a pin into a bow so he could stick it into a curtain. "She's dead. And Dad's so pathetically sad that he's abandoned us. He hates us. And I hate him too." He violently began to force the pin into the thick curtain.

"Liar!" shouted Maggie. Mummy wasn't dead (because you had to be old to die) and Daddy loved them.

"Have it your way." Sirius swore as he accidentally stabbed his finger with the pin. Maggie stormed off. She hoped his finger hurt a lot.

Sirius wasn't telling the truth. Was he?


"Sometimes people have to take time away from the people they love," said Auntie Hermione that night, stroking Maggie's hair. Maggie turned her tear-streaked face up toward her. "Yes, your mother's dead, but your daddy still loves you. You, Sirius, and Charlie remind him too much of her and it hurts him, because he wants her back, alive, when he sees you."

"But wouldn't he have Mummy back if he comes back? Because we're so much like Mummy?" asked Maggie.

Auntie Hermione was quiet for a very long time. "Well, yes. But it will take a while for him to realize that your mother is in you and your brothers, not just painful reminders, Maggie. And when he does, he'll come back."

"Come back, Daddy," whispered Maggie to the stars. "Mummy's in us too."


Margaret sighed and pulled a brush through her tangle of reddish-brown hair. Her mother had been beautiful, and when Margaret compared her mirror image to her mother's photograph on the dresser-top, the daughter seemed like a parody. Her face was thin and pale with a nose slightly too long and dotted with freckles.

People said she looked a lot like her father.

He wrote sometimes. To Aunt Hermione, mostly, but to Margaret, Charlie, and Sirius as well. His writing was a bit messy, rather spiked at times... Margaret had it memorized.

She read his brief letters over and over again when they came. Charlie merely threw them in his pile of socks, underpants, robes, books, quills, and other miscellaneous objects. Sirius tore them up and threw them into the fire without ever reading them. None of them ever wrote back: Margaret because she was too scared -- what if she angered him, and he never came back? Charlie was too lazy. And Sirius still said he hated their father.

Once, her father had sent a Firebolt 300. That had been after Uncle Ron had written to him about Margaret being made Gryffindor's Quidditch Captain. Her father had been proud; he was proud of her seven O.W.L.s, Charlie's surprising ten O.W.L.s, and Sirius's being made a prefect years before. But Margaret wanted him back, not the broom.

So she finally wrote him a letter, and asked him to come back.


And one day, he did come back. It was Christmas of Margaret's seventh year.

Everyone was at the Burrow, and they were all excited over Sirius's new fiancée, Catherine. Charlie, who had been so lazy as a teenager, now looked truly tired, as he was an Auror. Then again, the Death Eaters were long gone now. The Dark Lord Voldemort's defeat had been nearly a quarter of a century before.

Their mother's death had been thirteen years past.

Margaret's grandfather, Arthur, had just opened a box of batteries when the doorbell rang. "I'll get it," volunteered Margaret as Arthur gushed over the gift. She rushed to the door, wondering if it was Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur, who liked to be fashionably late.

A man stood on the porch, looking quite awkward. Margaret stared, not knowing whether to laugh, cry, or scream.

"Daddy," she whispered at last. Any anger she might have had vanished.

"Oh, Maggie." Her father's eyes filled with tears. "I'm sorry."

"Daddy..." And she hugged him.

Her father picked his little ballet dancer up and spun her around for the first time in thirteen years.

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