This turned out way longer than I expected, but I guess that’s a good thing… Thanks for the request!
“Welcome Home Daddy”
You had picked Harry up from the airport after dropping off your daughter at school, so his arrival would be a complete surprise for her. At only 6 years old, she usually took it pretty hard when her father had to be away for long periods of time. You always made sure to fly out and visit Harry when he would be away extra long, but with your daughter starting kindergarten a few months ago, it had been harder than usual to plan a trip. He’d only been away for a couple weeks, but to a kid, that seemed like a lifetime.
He’d gotten home and showered before settling on the couch, just in time for you to give him a quick kiss as you ran out the door to pick up your daughter from school. He stayed home to get some rest, hoping to recharge before he was greeted by an extremely hyper child.
Your ride home from the school was mostly the same as always; your daughter rambled on about the drawing she made and how she was pretty sure a boy liked her because he always sat next to her during storytime. She pulled a piece of paper out of her folder and turned it so you could clearly see three stick figures that slightly resembled you, her, and Harry.
“I wanna give this to Daddy when he comes home!”
You nodded, trying to keep yourself from giggling like a kid when you imagined her running inside and seeing her father sitting there. As soon as you pulled into the driveway, she jumped out of the car and you struggled to keep up with her while she ran inside. She dropped her backpack on the floor and hung up her jacket, completely oblivious to Harry standing in the hallway. You stood and watched, catching Harry’s eye and trying not to laugh.
As soon as she turned around, her eyes travelled from Harry’s long legs up to his face before it truly sunk in.
She ran into his arms, and Harry was quick to squat down and scoop her body up in his arms. With her head buried in his neck, he held her tight against him and rubbed her back with his large warm hand. You swore there were tears in his eyes; he was always so happy to see her again.
“I love you, princess.” He whispered, smoothing some of her hair and kissing her head. She quickly began to squirm after muttering a quick “I love you too” before Harry gently set her feet back on the ground.
You took the opportunity to stand next to Harry, looping one arm around his back as you watched your daughter dig around in her backpack to find what you figured was the picture from earlier. She finally found it and brought it up to Harry, a wide smile on her face as she turned the paper to display the work she was so proud of.
Harry grabbed it, his eyes wide and a grin spreading over his face. It was only stick figures, but to Harry, it was worth more than any of the antique art he’d bought.
“This is incredible, love. You got my hair just right.” He smiled, admiring every detail of the picture.
She helped him pick out a special spot on the fridge and secured it with a heart shaped magnet she’d picked out on one of your many trips to Europe. Of course she ran to the tv afterwards and pulled her favorite movie out of the cabinet, going on about how she wanted to watch it with Harry and eat pizza just like they had a few days before he left.
Once the pizza was ordered, you watched Harry snuggle your daughter on his lap as he started the movie and let you place a blanket over both of them. The movie was well underway when the pizza arrived, and you couldn’t help admiring the appetite your daughter had obviously inherited from Harry. She could eat almost as much as him because when she was hungry, there was no stopping her. Harry was the same way.
After the pizza boxes had been cleared and your daughter’s belly was slightly bigger than it was an hour ago, you finally snuggled up next to Harry and leaned your head on his shoulder.
The next thing you knew, your eyes were fluttering open and the clock read past midnight. You glanced over at Harry and saw that he was fast asleep, with your daughter curled up on top of him. You smiled at the sight before you sat up and stretched to regain feeling in your arms, and lightly shook Harry’s shoulder until he groggily opened his eyes and muttered something incomprehensible.
“Baby, get up. She has school tomorrow and she isn’t going to get good sleep if she’s not in her bed.”
He yawned, slowly starting to sit up in an attempt not to wake the sleeping girl in his arms. He blinked his eyes to adjust to the dim lamp you’d turned on beside him, and when he finally felt fully awake, he stood up and began carrying her down the hallway and up the stairs.
She managed to make it all the way to bed without waking up- another thing she got from Harry. Both of them could sleep through anything, and it worked in your advantage pretty often.
You ran to the bathroom to quickly wash up, and came back into the bedroom to find Harry sitting on the bed and staring at the wall.
“What’s wrong?” You asked, slowly settling in next to him and placing a hand on his thigh. He shook his head, dismissing whatever was going on in his mind and trying to lay down. That only lasted a few seconds though, and he sighed as he brought himself to an upright position again.
“She’s growing up.” He whined, his eyebrows narrowing as he looked down at his legs.
You reached over and grabbed his hand, softly squeezing before you rested your intertwined fingers in your lap.
“But it’s inevitable, you know? She can’t stay one age forever, and she’s still young, love.” You assured him, rubbing your thumb over the back of his warm hand.
“S'different… I’m never even around to see her. She looks so much bigger than the last time I was here and it was only a few weeks ago.”
You took a deep breath and nodded. He was right; it had been just as hard on you as it had been on him, because even though you wouldn’t admit it, seeing your daughter miss her dad so much had been getting to you.
“Have you ever considered… taking a break? I would never want to push you, but if you’d rather be at home… It might be a good idea, my love.”
He nodded slowly, giving your hand a light squeeze.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about that, actually, and s'just… I don’t want to disappoint anyone, but my family is most important. I think having such a good day with you both today has shown me that… I don’t want to fall off the face of the earth, but maybe I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, yeah?”
You shrugged and scooted a bit closer to him, resting your head on his shoulder and kissing the exposed skin gently.
“I know you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to, but, I think she needs you right now. Harry, she loves you so much.”
You swore there were tears in his eyes as he nodded again, the idea of his daughter being such a daddy’s girl was always a cause for him being emotional.
“I love her too.”
“I know you do, Harry.”
It was silent for a few minutes; you were letting Harry try to sort his mind out even though you’d much rather go to bed and discuss it more in the morning.
“I don’t want to leave again…” He trailed off, looking down at you when he didn’t know what to say. You nodded in understanding and kissed his cheek.
“I need to be here. With her and with you. You’re my favorite girls, I can’t just leave you behind, can I?”
You smiled, squeezing his hand in reassurance that no matter what happened, you’d always support him. He caught your eye again and took another deep breath.
“M'staying. I won’t be that dad that’s never around. Because I care so much, I don’t want to miss anymore of her life.” He decided, grinning a little. You smiled and let go of his hand to quickly wrap your arms around him.
Before you had time to lay down, the door cracked open and your daughter walked through, complaining that she couldn’t sleep. Of course you knew the perfect remedy for that; all it usually took was letting her snuggle up with one of you and she was fast asleep.
She went straight to Harry, curling into his side while his strong arm wrapped around her.
“I don’t want you to leave anymore.” She whined, squeezing Harry and trying to get closer to him.
“M'not leaving anymore, princess. I’ll stay here with you and mommy for a while, okay?”
She looked up at him, and even with her tired eyes, her face still lit up like a Christmas tree.
She snuggled back into him, her little arms trying to wrap around Harry’s torso. He squeezed her close to him and ran his fingers through her hair.