A/N: This is my first chapter fic in a while so please be patient with me!
I will be putting a lot of dates to help you guys stay oriented within the story and in relation to the movie/musical (so Spring 1910 instead of the 1930s)
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters belong to P.L. Travers - duh
Chapter 1: It All Comes Back
"I can't abide romantic notions of some vague long ago; I want to know what's true..."
20 December, 1890
"Oh, Daddy!" the 4-year-old girl squeals at the new doll her father just bought for her "She's beautiful!"
The older man smiles down at his daughter. "Of course she is, my little parrot, she looks just like you."
And he was right. The dolls has curly brown hair, bright blue eyes, and flawless porcelain skin, both in color and material.
The father and daughter proceed to walk until reaching their rather large house, surrounded by an array of beautiful foliage. Of course, not that one could tell, as the whole world seemed to be grey-scaled on this dreary London day.
"Come along inside, sweetheart, before you catch your death out here."
"Of course, Daddy." The girl ran ahead of her father and through the front door, clutching her doll to her chest, as if already feeling a motherly instinct to protect her 'child'.
The father had previously made sure all servants had gotten this day off so the only person to greet the two upon entering was the mother.
"Oh, you two are back, already?" the little girl's mother replies, a slight joke to her tone.
The father, called James, goes over to his wife. She leans in to give him a quick kiss, but instead, he pulls her into his arms and kisses her with more passion than either of them can recall having.
"Oh, Adelaide. My sweet, sweet, Adelaide." He drew out her name, looking deep into her eyes for a moment, before she averted her gaze to the floor.
"How are you feeling, James?" she replies in just above a whisper, hoping to hide the fear and concern in her voice. She still couldn't meet his eyes. He gently places a hand under her chin and forces his lips to hers once more.
"I am going to rest my head." And he kisses his wife one more time, before looking down at the 11-month-old in her arms.
"Your mama is a very brave woman, Angel."
"As is your father." Adelaide quickly adds, thinking back to all their happy memories.
James offers her a smile, before pressing a soft kiss to his youngest daughter's head.
At this point a much older girl, the eldest of the three sisters, walked in.
"Joy, Joy, look!" The four-year-old exclaims running over to her sister with her doll in front of her.
"Oh, she's beautiful." Joy responds. At only 12, she had already developed a rather motherly attitude. "What do you call her?"
The younger girl began cradling the doll, copying the way her mother is holding her little sister. She looks closely at the doll's porcelain face before replying "She's Clara." with a smile.
"Oh, she's just perfect!" Joy says, smiling at her sister before catching her father's eyes. She is the eldest and, thus, has a slight inkling as to what is going on, especially as her father kneels down to be eye-level with her. Knowingly, Joy sends her sister away with a polite flick of her wrist.
"Joy" he begins and the girl before him almost breaks down crying.
"Please don't cry, darling." He offers a weak smile. " You are so strong and I know you will take great care of mum and your sisters."
She nods and James places a light kiss on her hairline.
"I love you, so much, Joy, even if you like spending time with mum better." At this, the girl jumps into her father's arms, finally letting her tears spill over her eyes, but smiling at her father's comment, nonetheless.
He hugs her close to his chest.
"No sorrows, my darling, you'll always be in my heart."
"I'll always keep you there as well." The girl chokes out in response.
James kisses her again before standing up.
"I'm off to bed; au revoir, my loves."
He goes to return to his middle daughter who was playing with her new doll in the adjacent sitting room.
"Daddy, what does 'au revoir' mean?"
He smiles. She did always have impeccable hearing, especially for a 4-year-old.
"It means 'until we meet again' my curious little parrot."
He began to laugh as his daughter recited 'Au revoir - until we meet again' with a different tone of amazement in her voice each time the words left her tiny mouth, knowing she was committing the phrase to memory, as she follows him to his bedroom. After all, her curiosity for language and her need to consistently repeat the new words or phrases she learned was the reason he began to call her 'his little parrot' ever since she learned to speak.
At this point, James is lying down on his bed, not bothering to change; he is far too tired to do so. His daughter (arguably his favorite of the three, though he would never outwardly admit that) has curled up next to him.
"Sweetheart, look at me."
"Oh, my Mary, my little parrot... I love you more than the world." He closes his eyes and inhales deeply as she replies "I love you too, Daddy! I always will"
She snuggles closer to her father, seeing him smile as he exhales. Normally, she would fall asleep to the rhythm of his chest rising and falling.
But she couldn't feel it.
That was when she noticed her mother crying in the doorway.
"Oh sir, I am terribly sorry. Do forgive me." Mary says to the man in front of her.
He smiles back, "of course, no worries, dear. You are hired - effective immediately. My daughter is just upstairs, first door on the left."
"Thank you, sir." Mary starts ascending the stairs, but pauses halfway up.
"I shall see her straight away. Her name is Clara, did you say?"
The man nods, and her practically perfect composure slips for the second time that morning.
Mary Poppins inhales sharply and recollects herself, making her way to the girl's bedroom.
"For once," the nanny thinks to herself, "this will not be easy."
I'm sorry, I know it's a strange start, but please bear with me!
- Jillian xx