Started my daily ficlets to make the hiatus pass, then decided to keep going with a 2nd cycle, and then a 3rd, 4th, etc through 24th cycle. Now cycle 25!

It's cycle 25! If you'll recall, back in cycle 10 I did my top 15 of favorite things (characters, ships, friends..) in Glee, with a ficlet for each of the numbers, and a chapter fic for number 1 (stories 190 to 210). Now this time around, in order to schedule in a friend's birthday, it's a top SIXTEEN, and the number one's six-chapter fic will be split in three blocks... (5 ficlets-2 chapters-5 ficlets-2 chapters-5 ficlets-2 chapters) It's less confusing than it seems, I promise ;) Here we go!
Coming in at number four!


"Days When We Were Impossible"
Young Emma

It would be a couple more years before she became friends with hairbrushes and combs. Until then, her red hair was never to be ruled by anyone or anything but whatever it was that she was doing. The only exceptions of course were the times when they had to dress up, and even then… Her mother practically had to trick her to get her to sit still and 'submit' herself to the brush and/or comb. Once it had been dealt with, they had to keep an eye on her, or else all the work would have been for nothing… Only her mother knew how to do it, and she did it with a look and an intonation, as she would call her Emma Jane Pillsbury… It was code… 'Behave, or else.' So she would behave… but they had better not expect a smile.

Then one day, in the daunting task of trying to make her smile anyway, her grandmother had reached into that seemingly bottomless bag of hers and pulled out a book, which she handed to her granddaughter. She couldn't read yet, but she could look at the images, and she did… And her eyes, already bordering on saucer shape, lit up. The story book told of a boy and girl's adventure-for-a-day on a dairy farm. And for the rest of the afternoon, Emma sat there quietly with the book in her lap.

She knew about the animals, of course she did. She knew what a cow was, what it looked like, what sound it made… She knew about sheep, even knew about goats… She remembered going somewhere the summer before and how one of them had knocked her brother over… She had laughed, and laughed… Even then, sitting on that couch with the book in her laugh, she had herself a fit of giggles.

When her grandmother said she could keep the book, it was like someone had just handed her a brick of gold as big as her head. She carried the thin little volume home like it was her baby.

Once she'd been liberated of her not-to-be-rumpled outfit and her hair was free to go as it pleased, she crawled into her bed and got back to her book, knowing she would have fantastic dreams that night. Her mother offered to read her the words, but Emma shook her head; she didn't need to know them yet, she'd figure it out eventually.

It would be the first book she'd read by herself, as she did finally learn to read. She would already know it inside and out anyway… She had never taken care of something the way she did of that book. And she had one dream: One day she would go and visit a real one, a real dairy farm. She would ask her parents, but then they would say they couldn't. 'Some day,' they would say, but Emma didn't believe them. She would cope in the meantime though… Good thing she had plenty of imagination to go around, and a big brother to boss around.

He drew the line when one day she saw one of their mother's pink dishwashing gloves and wanted him to 'strap it on.' But provided he didn't have to do anything like that, he could be persuaded into getting down on all fours and playing whatever animal she called for. On her imaginary farm, she had two cows, three sheep, and a goat. She would stand in the backyard and call… "Millie! Here, Millie!" Her brother would have the slightest of groans, and she would stomp her foot. "Millie!" Finally he would get down there and crawl up with a half-hearted 'Mooo.' Emma would grab her bucket – she'd insisted on having one – and then get down on her knees to 'milk' Millie the brotherly cow.

If her brother was in a particularly good mood, Emma the Milkmaid would get to ride Scout the Goat around the yard. They could hear her laugh throughout the house, and then they'd hear a thud and more laughter if she ever fell off the goat into the grass or the garden dirt. Again if he was in an extremely good mood, he'd let her get back on, otherwise the rides were done.

It wouldn't be a passing fad. Her passion for it all only grew with the next few years… but then so did Emma, and so did her brother. If it wasn't just for the fact that she was growing just a bit heavier as time went on, he was no longer as keen to play Millie the Cow, or Tom-Tom the Sheep, and there were certainly no more rides on Scout. Emma was nothing if not determined though, so she continued to act on her power, wherever she could.

And then finally, oh, finally, the day came… She had waited so long and been denied it so long that when she heard it the first time, she wouldn't believe it. But one day she came home from school and her brother was sitting watching television, looking as annoyed as he could be. She asked what was going on, and then he told her… Their mother had just informed him they were going off to the dairy farm that weekend. Eight-year-old Emma wasn't so quick to believe him, knowing he liked to mess with her sometimes. Still, her eye practically twitched when he said the words, so she went to find her mother, to hear it from a reliable source… He was telling the truth… he was telling the truth!

When the day came, they did not have to tell her, she grabbed that brush herself and she went at her hair until it was good and straight. She dressed up, and she was ready… They would have thought she was off to meet royalty. She was the first at the car, demanding that the others hurry up so they could leave. She had no idea what this day would mean for her life, that she would leave home as Emma the Milkmaid and come home as a whole other person… and she would never play dairy farm again.

THE END


A/N: This is a one-shot ficlet, which means that signing up for story alert will not bring you any alerts.
In the event of a sequel, the story will be separate from this one. And as chapter stories go, they are
always clearly indicated as such [ex: "Days 204-210" in the summary] Thank you!