Pride And Joy
Warnings: child neglect, child abuse
Request: Hi can you do a story where the reader is a little girl (5 or 6) with a neglecting father and Liz Taylor and James make sure the child is well cared for (well fed, healthy, ect) on devils night James forbid her to go to the party and she meets all the killers in the hallway in a little red Ridinghood costume and she goes walks one of them to the room And James doesn’t want to yell at her but he’s angry and you can take it on from there thanks
Hey can you possibly mix these ideas! she walks Jeffrey or Richard to the room and James gets mad at them and her because they dared touch his ‘darling pride and joy’ and she just like sits herself down and chats with Aileen about her new boyfriend at school who drew her a picture
(all requested by @brookiesimmer )
This was so much fun to write. I honestly didn’t expect to get this done until Wednesday but I continued to get messages about things for this and it was all so cute and I couldn’t help but write it all in one sitting. The only thing that I didn’t do is make this a reader inclusive one. Rather, I named the little girl Emma. I try my best to do mostly gender inclusive fics, so I felt like giving the little girl a name would make it not as exclusive and instead would feel more like a real story. But six and a half pages and 4,069 words later, we have my new favorite fic I’ve ever written. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! ♡
“Daddy, let’s explore!” the young girl yelled as she pulled her father’s sleeve. He picked up the phone with one hand as he waved the child off with the other. His speech was slightly slurred as he spoke to his daughter, “Daddy’s going to invite a nice lady to the room, so how about you take your crayons out to the lobby and color in your books for a few hours. Daddy will come get you when his friend leaves, okay pumpkin?” The girl nodded, obviously upset, but she knew well that she shouldn’t argue with her father. His voice sounded funny and he had some of his brown bottles out on the desk, which meant bothering him any longer would have terrible consequences.
She packed up her coloring books, crayons, and even a few toys just in case. Her old dingy Sesame Street bag hung loosely from her back while she held her favorite bear by his arm. His little button eyes seemed happy despite his torn leg and his dirty fur. He had a friend to care for him. The little girl walked the hallway, memorizing the way to the elevators. While the hotel was big and easy to get lost in, she knew it was safe to go straight to the lobby alone. She took her time, knowing she might even fall asleep on one of the couches in front of the desk again. She pressed the down button. One second. Two Seconds. Three seconds. She counted how long it would take the elevator to reach her floor. It always took eleven seconds from the lobby. Around this time the elevator was usually empty, which was what the child expected, but with a loud “DING” the doors open and there stood a fancy man. He towered over her, but did not scare the rather small child. “Hello my darling, which floor are you going to?” He asked, his accent silly and fancy to the modern girl. “To the lobby, please!” she giggled as she smiled as big as possible. “Of course, shall I press the button for the young mistress?” He raised his eyebrows with a smile, gaining an ecstatic nod in return from the five year old. He held out his hand, which she gladly took, and led her into the elevator.
The elevator opened to the lobby after the eleven seconds of silence. Suddenly, the girl remembered an important rule her mom taught her before she passed away. “I’m sorry, sir. I’m not allowed to talk to strangers,” her voice was sad, as this man seemed very nice and fun. The complete opposite of her dad.
“Ah yes, you definitely should not talk to a stranger. I guess I’ll have to introduce myself,” James paused as he held his hand out for the girl to hold, “Careful darling. My name is James March, I used to own this hotel. What is your name young lady?” he asked, a lopsided grin displayed for his new young friend. They walked to the couches in the lobby together as they talked.
“Emma. My daddy and I live in the hotel,” she sighed. James was well aware of her situation with her father, and he was beyond displeased. He couldn’t stand watching her sit alone in the lobby to color any longer. “My darling, what is the matter?” he asked, acting as if he didn’t already know.
She sat down on the couch and got out a book and her crayon box as she replied, “My daddy never wants to play with me anymore. When I ask him, he always says “Daddy has work to do” or “Daddy is having a lady friend over, go play in the lobby”. It’s not fair Mr. March,” she replied as she started to cry. She began wiping her tears with her sleeves, causing her face to look red and sting slightly at any touch. James leaned over, pulling out his handkerchief in the process. The girl wasn’t sure what surprised her more; the fact that someone else was wiping away her tears, or that this new man was spending time with her. She looked down at her paper, tears still slipping from her eyes, as she asked James a rather odd question for a five year old. “Are you going to kidnap me or something?”
James was taken back, but only chuckled when he thought about how aware this child was of other people. “My darling, why would I kidnap you? I want to be your friend. Someone you can go see when your father makes you come to the lobby. If you ever need anything, go to room 78 and knock five times, so I know it’s you.” She smiled and nodded in response, excited to have a friend in the hotel. The closest thing to a friend she had there was a little boy with bright blond hair who would try to bite her when she asked if he wanted to play. He got in a lot of trouble when his mother found him.
“Mr. March-” James immediately interrupted, “Call me James, darling.” She grinned from ear to ear, “Okay James! Do you want to color with me?” James chuckled and nodded, “Since we’re both going to color, how about we go sit at the tables upstairs?”
The young girl was so excited, she hurriedly shoved things back into her bag, not even bothering to zip it shut before yelling, “Race ya, James!” and zooming up the stairs to the tables by the bar. James chuckled, chasing after her at first. On his way, he noticed she was dropping the contents of her bag all the way up the stairs. She cheered when she made it to the table, then turned around and found James carrying just about everything from her bag. She zipped to him and took some of the stuff from his hands. “Hey wait, I left my bear downstairs!” She quickly put everything on the table, as did James. He sat down and watched the cute child run back down the stairs to get her bear from the couch. Liz, who was working the bar took notice of James’ new friendship as she poured two glasses, one being water for the girl and the other being absinthe for James.
“You seem happy with this little girl around,” Liz suggested, a smirk clearly visible if James were to ever take his eyes off of the child. “I want to treat her as my own child, Liz. I want her safe from harm, and cared for. I want to see her grow up to become a beautiful independent woman,” he sighed, not sure himself if in content or annoyance with himself.
“If it makes you feel better, Iris and I have been watching over her thus far. No one has been a threat to her except her own father quite honestly.” James took a drank of his absinthe in frustration, “How can a man be so incompetent with a young child who is as free as she is?” He questioned, watching Emma play with her bear in a side-tracked trance. A “lady of the night” passed the child, both blissfully unaware of one another, but the woman hadn’t gone unnoticed by James and Liz. Meanwhile Emma looked up at the balcony where James and Liz were watching her. She waved to them as well before getting up and heading towards the stairs not even bothering to watch if they would return the gesture.
“Hi James, hi Liz! I’m back and I have Teddy now!” She held out her bear, obviously trying to stay energetic and upbeat, but running around, accompanied by the late time, was causing her to become worn out. She tried to hold back a yawn, but failed. Liz pulled out the chair across from James for the child, so that she may rest. “I got you some water, honey. Are you hungry?” Liz asked with a sweet, motherly smile. The tired child nodded, rubbing one eye while she clung on to her stuffed animal. “I’ll go warm up some macaroni for you. James, help yourself and Emma to refills while I’m gone,” Liz turned away in a dramatic fashion as usual.
A silence fell between James and his child companion as she gulped down her glass of water. “Do you still want to color, darling?” James asked, receiving nothing more in return than a small, quiet, “No thank you.” He nods and begins to clean up her things, putting them away one by one into her bag, just in case she wants something out in the process. Her eyes begin to close as she has become more tired with every passing minute. Liz returns after about twenty minutes with a both of macaroni and cheese, made just the way Emma likes. James shakes her lightly to wake her up, succeeding just as the food arrives.
“Eat a little bit of it and then you can come sleep in one of our rooms tonight, okay honey?” Liz received a sleepy nod from the child, which pleased her enough to return to the bar to clean.
Months went by as James and Liz both grew closer to the little girl. She began calling them by new names, Aunt Liz and Uncle James. Neither fought against it, as they had practically become her new caretakers. Her father was still alive in the hotel, surprisingly. James had plotted ways to murder the man many times, but was advised to not go through with it no matter who he told. Except Elizabeth, but later Liz talked him out of doing it. If they killed him on the property then his daughter will never be freed from him.
Devil’s Night was quickly approaching, which James was looking forward to, but one thing stayed restless in the back of his mind. “What about Emma? She surely can’t be surrounded by murderers,” James complained to Liz. “It’s Halloween, maybe we can get Iris to take her trick-or-treating,” she suggested as she filed her nails. “Would Iris be willing to do so?” Liz shrugged in response, “I’ll ask her next time I see her.”
As the conversation finished, the hotel doors opened. Iris appeared with the hotel’s favorite little girl, who was wearing a Little Red Riding Hood costume. She held on to Iris’ hand until she spotted James and Liz sitting on the couch. She let go of Iris, yelling as she ran towards them. “Aunt Liz! Uncle James!” She hugged them both and sat between them on the couch. “How was school, my darling?” James asked, interested in her costumed endeavors. “It was really fun! We had a Halloween party in my class and everyone had cool costumes on! Except the boy who wore a sheet with holes cut out. He said he was a ghost, but if he really wanted to be a ghost then he would look like himself, like you both do.” James and Liz were surprised, not aware that she knew they were dead.
“Where did you get the idea that we’re dead?” Liz questioned. The child replied, almost as if it were something everyone would notice, “You’re both cold, just like my mommy, after she died. She didn’t feel like my mommy anymore. Mommies are supposed to be warm and soft.”
“There’s no reason to hide knowledge from a child who already knows…” James patted his little companion’s back, comforting her as she thought about her mother. “But let’s talk about something else, alright my darling?” she nodded at James, who then stood up and held out his hand for her to take. She did so and followed him to the elevator, looking back to wave at Liz as they walked away. Liz waved back, a saddened smile on her face as she had to hear a young child speak as if those things are normal.
“Now Emma, as you know, Halloween is rapidly approaching. I have an adult party every year with my students, but these are people I don’t want you around, so you are not permitted to be in my room at all on Halloween.” James’ voice was harsh, which made the only child he has come to love sad. She understood though, so she nodded compliantly. “We’re going to go to my room and have some candy and ice cream together to make up for not being able to spend my favorite day together, is that okay with you?” James asked carefully. Emma just nodded slowly, not really focusing on reality anymore. She was daydreaming of a different world.
She mindlessly walked along, holding James’ hand as he led her to his room. His table was in sight as soon as the door opened, set with two old fashioned ice cream sundaes, a bowl of candy, some paper, and crayons. “Would you like to draw with me, miss Emma?” James asked, feeling his fatherly instincts come back to him. The little girl smiled and nodded, excited to get to draw with James. She taught him how to draw all kinds of fun things she liked, such as flowers, the night sky, and even funny aliens.
“Here you are, my darling,” James pulled out the chair to the right of his end-of-the-table seat. His sweet foster daughter sat down, not even bothering to take off her bookbag. James took it for her and hung it by the door. “Go ahead and draw your heart out and eat as much as you want. Just remember to brush your teeth when you go back to your room so you don’t get any cavities,” he looked at her with a stern, but loving, face. A face that lets her know that he’s having fun, but still means business. She took a bite of her sundae first, getting excited about the hot fudge more than anything else. “Uncle James, do you know when the last time I had a sundae was?” she asked, assuming he would say “no, my darling.” This wasn’t the case though, as he had replied, “The twenty-third of August, young mistress. Exactly one week before your first day of kindergarten, my dear.” She was quiet after that, not sure what to talk to James about next. She instead grabbed a piece of paper and began drawing a picture of her, James, and Liz. She was in the middle, holding hands with both Liz and James. Below them was a grassy field with flowers strewn about. A blue background contrasted heavily with James’ black suit and Liz’s gold dress. The sun was a bright yellow circle in the upper right-hand corner, and a cloud took up a lot of the top border of the page. She labeled each person, adding hearts around them. James was drawing his own picture, a cute scene in itself. He was stopped mid-coloring when he was tapped on the shoulder.
“I drew this just for you, Uncle James,” she smiled. James looked at it, never failing to fall in love with the pictures she drew of them. This one was different though, as the cloud had a title to the picture. It was labeled “MY FAMILY” in messy handwriting. Everyone was smiling and happy, even the flowers. “Do you consider your father family, Emma?” James asked cautiously. She shook her head, “No, he’s not my dad anymore. You’re my new dad and Liz can be my second mommy.” James nodded, his eyes not leaving the child who now started drawing one another page. It looked as if she was replicating the picture, most likely to give to Liz. James had many questions, but decided to wait and ask another time. She was happy at the moment and that’s all he cared about.
A few days passed, and it was now Halloween, or as James calls it, Devil’s Night. James’ guests were arriving just as Iris had returned from taking the “hotel’s sweetheart” out to trick-or-treat. They were going to sit in the lobby and sort through candy, but Liz immediately asked Iris to take the front desk so she could run up and take care of the bar. Iris looked at the sweet child and apologized, “Make sure you look at your candy before you eat it, okay? There’s some real sickos in this town.” The child just nodded and sat on the couch. She looked through her pillowcase for a chocolate bar, knowing she got a king sized Hershey bar from one house. She wanted to split it with James and Liz, so she dragged her candy up the stairs with her and took it upon herself to sit at the bar. “Oh my darling, I think I might need an ID to serve you,” Liz teased, making the little girl giggle. “Can I have a water please?” she asked sweetly. “That’ll be one piece of chocolate and a pack of Skittles,” Liz smiled as she set down the glass, seeing that the girl was digging for a package of Skittles. She set it on the table, as well as the king-sized candy bar. “I want you to have some of this one. If my other daddy sees it then he’ll eat it himself. I want to share it with you and my new daddy,” she explained as she broke off four pieces of the chocolate bar and gave them to Liz.
“Which daddy is which honey?” Liz questioned. The little girl took a big gulp of her water before explaining, “Well since my real daddy is super not fun, I decided that Uncle James is my new daddy. I call my old daddy “other daddy” because he was only my daddy until mommy died. You’re my second mommy now, Aunt Liz.” Liz didn’t question any further as an obnoxiously loud man sat a few stools down from the child. “Nice to see you again, Richard. What’ll it be this year?” Liz asked, and eyebrow raised. “Mojito On The Rocks,” Richard requested as he noticed the dressed up child eating candy and sipping water a few seats down. He moved closer, tapping her on the shoulder. “Hey, can you spare a piece of candy for an old man?” He asked, chuckling as she seemed so calm. She pointed at the sack on the ground, “Miss Iris said “there’s some real sickos in this town, so make sure you check the candy first.” You can have a couple pieces of candy and only one popcorn ball. Those are the best.” Her voice was stern, just as James’ had been when he was mentoring Ramirez. He chuckled, “Got it captain.” As he sifted through treats, the little girl spoke up again, “Are you here for Uncle James’ party?” Richard nodded, smiling before he took a sip of his drink. “How do you know James March, sweetheart?”
She quietly grinned, “I’ll show you Mr. Richard.” She got off of her stool and took a hold of Richard’s hand, leading him to the elevator. The child pressed the button to James’ floor, where she then lead Richard to room 78. She knock quickly, not bothering to count the knocks because she knew she wasn’t allowed in today.
James opened the door, seeing Richard first and being quite pleased to see him, going on about how “it’s good to meet again” and that “everyone was waiting for him to arrive.” James followed Richard’s arm down to see him holding hands with his foster daughter. She just smiled and said “Hi daddy,” leaving Richard and James both in shock. She let go of Richard’s hand and walked inside, finding Aileen to be the only other girl there. “Emma! Get back here!” James called out, very upset that she had disobeyed his orders. She ignored him and plopped down next to Aileen, who had the same type of brown bottle her other dad would drink when he shooed her away.
“Hi miss, are you drinking grown up juice?” She asked in blissful ignorance. Aileen nodded, “Yeah, don’t try this stuff until you’re older, okay kid?” Emma nodded, understanding that it was bad for kids. “What are you doing here, little girl?” Aileen continued, but James cut in, livid with the child and Richard. “She’s about to leave and go back to play out in the lobby,” James claimed, but she ignored him and kept talking to Aileen. “Uncle James is my new daddy and Mr. Richard didn’t know that so I wanted to show him.” Aileen acted as if she understood, but could barely hear the kid over James’ lectures. He was scolding Richard for not only allowing her to come with him, but for even laying a finger on her. “Woah, calm down. She dragged me through the halls all the way to your room. I didn’t know that’s where we were going.” His hands were up in defense, but James wasn’t having it. “That’s the most precious thing to exist in this world. I will not have anyone lay a hand on her. She has become my own child to love and care for, and I will not allow any harm to come to her…” he droned on. The lecture seemed to go on for years, but while he lectured Richard about his little girl, she was busy telling Aileen about a picture she drew for a boy in her class.
“It was really pretty, it had flowers and hearts on the sides and we were laying in the grass holding hands with heart flowers around us.” Aileen was extremely interested in the story, even asking questions to the little girl. “Why were there hearts everywhere?” Aileens eyes were wide, a smile spread across her lips, and her body leaning toward the kid in pure interest. “Because he’s my new boyfriend but-” she was cut off by James’ halt on his lecture, as he immediately repeated the phrase, “Boyfriend?”
“Yeah daddy, I have a new boyfriend at school!” she seemed very excited about the fact. “Who said you could have a boyfriend?” James glared, not pleased with his one and only pride having a “boyfriend.” “I did, daddy,” she said sheepishly as she realized it wasn’t a good thing. “No boyfriends until you’re eighty.” James was obviously not up for debate on the matter. “It’s okay daddy, he’s not my boyfriend anymore. He drew on the back of my picture and gave it back, and then he drew a picture for another girl and gave it to her so I broke up with him during recess,” she giggled.
James was flushed with relief when she said that, and quickly scooped her up into his arms, “Now darling, will you go play with Aunt Liz? I have important matters to tend to with his friends.” She clung to him with a quiet “no.”
“I’m scared my other daddy might see me. I’m hiding from him because he’s being a bad man.” she whispered this into James’ ear, but the room was so quiet that everyone still heard. “Let’s go talk about this in the hallway, I want to know how exactly he’s a “bad man.” James put her down and held her hand tight as he led her into the hallway, the poofy skirt of her dress and her hood, now resting on her back, bouncing slightly as she walked. Once they were out the door and down the hallway, James crouched to be eye level with Emma.
“My darling, how is your father a bad man? I know he doesn’t do what Liz and I have been doing, but what is making you so afraid?” James asks, lifting up his baby’s chin. “He hits me and yells at me and he eats my food when I take it to the room so I can’t have any.” James doesn’t say anything, and instead just hugs her.
“You’re not warm like a mommy, but you hug like a daddy. A real daddy,” she whispers quietly in James’ ear.
“I’m going to take care of the bad man tonight with my friends. You’ll never have to see him again,” James says quietly. He feels her nod, and once she’s ready, he sends her back to Liz. His new plans for Devil’s Night already formulating as a form of celebration for his pride and joy.