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Messages - Elsie Märchen

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The young mother answered with a sad smile, and quiet voice. Her entire countenance was small and unassuming; as if someone had pressed petals into a glass vase. Elsie worried of talking too loudly, lest she blow the slight creature over, or right off the platform to the waiting train that students scrambled on and off of. Much different from the son she waved her damp handkerchief after, who - Elsie laughed openly as he blew a raspberry at some passing boy and promptly got into a squabble before the two disappeared into the train arm-in-arm before she could step forward. The woman seemed equally horrified and amused at the sight.

(She’d learn to love him even with that silliness if she didn’t already, because she seemed like the type that loved her child no matter what, and that was something Elsie knew of, even if she knew nothing else of mothering. She got one thing right. One.)

The woman smiled wryly at Elsie, an expression she returned easily. “I can see the rascal now,” she snorted, folding her arms over her chest as she glanced briefly towards her own rascal of a son. He could fill the entire expanse of the mansion with his smile and compete with the sun if he tried hard enough. (Just like his father.) If this woman thought it was hard going home now, Elsie could only imagine how the years would progress and the house felt emptier and emptier as their little boys grew up and became men in an Unplottable Castle.

She returned every September to the still empty house, and the still empty bedroom, and the still empty hole in her life that she gave away years ago. It was for the best, she told herself over and over that first day, seeing his rich robes and easy smile. He didn’t know struggle, he didn’t know scrambling to make ends meet — there was a lot he didn’t know, and it was for the best, because it had to be. It had to be.

(Let that be two things right, then, if it was the only two things right she ever did.)

This one, though, had all the time in the world with her little one. Entire summers to make up for months away, and entire lifetimes for the rest of it. Elsie felt a mix of jealousy and satisfaction for the mother; at least one of them could have it, right? “It is hard,” was all she offered in quiet compassion for the woman. “But it gets easier,” because one had to believe it first before it became a reality. “You will find things to busy yourself with.”

It was something that Hogwarts robbed mothers of. They missed all the years where their children sprinted through the halls with a group of boys to hex girls’ robes around the ankles. They missed coaching them through their first crush, and nudging them to act and just ask her to the dance already! Elsie would never hold him after his first breakup, where the ache in his heart might be a fraction of hers. They would never see their child struggle with spells, only see their successes back home, never help them through homework, never take care of them when they were sick.

It took their babies and spat back independent men armed with wands.

“Is yours going into first year too?”

Yours.
Elsie stifled a flinch as she looked away from the blonde with a casual shake of her head. The tension filled her fist, deep in her jacket pocket, as her teeth grazed her lip to remind herself to watch her tongue. “No, he’s going into fourth year,” she answered, because there were numerous fourth years. And somewhere, deep in her heart, she wanted to pretend like she had any claim to the boy whose laughter curled in her ears even now. It was a desperate cry that was easy to ignore when she wasn’t faced with the prominent distance between them - it was only a matter of feet here, but it stretched into their very blood, his very perception of her. Friend of my father’s.

Out of the corner of her eye, he elbowed a boy in Slytherin robes, both of them pushing playfully and jostling for the door. Elsie’s smile quirked at the side, at least happy that he was enjoying himself. A glance at the clock and Elsie realized they only had twenty minutes before he left. Would this be the year he didn’t notice her? Elsie felt the press of her nails into her palm as she restrained herself from grabbing his attention, looking down before shifting her attention back to the woman at her side. Before she opened her mouth, though —

“Elsie!” Looking up, Elsie’s blue eyes widened to see Charles in front of her. He would grow taller than her. He made her breathless, but not in the same way Kris did. It was gasping for the right words, to make the most of the singular moments they had together. To somehow get across that she still loved him more than the world itself, even if she could give him absolutely nothing. (Even if she was absolutely nothing to him.)

He was a race she had already fallen behind on, but Godric would have to drag her down himself before she gave up before the finish line, and even then, she would crawl the rest of the way.

“Hey, Charles,” she said easily, ruffling his hair. “Off to school again? Merlin, you have grown again! A beanstalk, I’m telling you.” She tweaked his nose, “Write to me sometime, yeah? Let me know you’re doing okay in that stone cold place?” she teased, as he laughed.

“Sure, mom, I’ll be sure to do that. You worry more than the nannies sometimes, you know that? See ya at Christmas,” Charles said in his boisterous voice that commanded both attention and respect, the pristine Pureblood he was supposed to be. He didn’t notice the stricken look on Elsie’s face as he walked off, lifting a few fingers in a teasing goodbye, boarding the train with his growing group of friends.

“That is your boy?”

She should have said no, just a relative, or a friend. I am friend of his father’s, would have been the safest thing to say. The best thing to say, yet Elsie still smiled weakly and looked straight into the vibrant blue orbs of Charles as he waved from the train.

“Yes.”

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Past Workshop Prompts / [prompt 1] blond hair, blue eyes
« on: 12/31/2016 at 04:37 »
September 1st, 1966 -- continuing from this thread
Platform 9 3/4

First year, Elsie had come at the last minute. She had told herself it was a bad idea, too telling and too painful. She thought it would be easier to see the clock tick down his departure to the wonder of the Castle from her own bedroom, but in the end the thought of missing his expression when the train started up and pulled away from the station dragged her from the floor to the station. Just a glance, she had told herself, like his wonder could be experienced in a split second between Apparations and Elsie could take it all in and feel better for it.

Bursting onto the platform one minute before the train left, she caught the lightness of his hair and his carefree laughter. Wild, like his mother’s, and it hurt as much as it lifted her pale blue eyes to search for him. Charles waved goodbye to his father from a window, wiping lipstick (she didn't dare think who's) from his perfect face while Elsie smiled. Their eyes met briefly and he smiled, but he would never know she was here for him. Elsie waved helplessly and left before his father could figure out who he looked at.

It had gotten easier after that. She told herself it had gotten easier. It had to get easier.

It was his fourth year now. A late birthday made him older than a lot of his classmates, and he stood proud and tall midst their bobbing heads. Easy to spot on the platform, surrounded by his friends and someone from his family. Elsie leaned against the old brick wall, out of the way of the mill of students, and the gushing parents. Quiet, like every year. A wordless smile and wave was all she needed before leaving once more. Friend of my father’s, was how she heard him explain to his friends years previous, and she had Apparated there before he could see her crying.

Elsie had told herself to stop coming. That he would question why she appeared every September, but Elsie typically used the excuse of her own large clan to dismiss the inquiry when it came up. Typically one Märchen or another ran around the thin platform, finding friends and deserting parents. That one year he wouldn’t notice her, and wouldn’t that be worse? It wouldn’t, though, because Elsie knew it would be worse to think she had passed up the chance to see him.

To see the Hogwarts Express take her secret child to a Castle bigger than he could imagine to teach him how much bigger the world was. That it wasn’t all vaulted ceilings that Elsie had floated him up to, or the plush beds they had jumped on (and fallen off of), the sweeping staircase she had chased him up, or the long dining hall they shouted down to each other. Everything she couldn’t teach him. Never would teach him.

Hermes had never said anything that first year, perhaps because he understood her burning desire to see their son leave for his first year. He never brought it up the second year either. It made it easier, but if Hermes had asked her, Elsie might had admitted there was nothing more she wanted than to be the one to see him off — but, that would raise too many questions, and they knew it was too risky. It was better he didn’t ask.

Another blonde head made through the crowd, back pin straight and robes of obvious rich design. Elsie couldn’t help but snort slightly as the young mother gathered her child up in her arms - blond like Charles - and tearfully put him on the train. Some gibberish on letter-writing and being careful, the nonsense all mothers spouted (not that she would know, really, and not that she ever listened to her mother). The woman, couldn’t be past thirty-five, retreated to the wall beside Elsie, waving anxiously towards the bubbly boy who hung out the window.

“Is it his first year?” she asked, surprising herself and the woman.

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