Title: Family Time (1/1)
Author: youngerdrgrey
Pairing: Mentions of Emily/Maya
Summary: What the Fields family is like these days. Set right after Emily's dad comes home.
Rating: T
Warnings/Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All rights for the characters and the world go to their owners (like Sara Shephard and ABC Family). I, in no way, believe – or would lead others to believe – that I own Pretty Little Liars. I am merely a fan of the television show and book series and have far too many ideas in my head.

Author's Note: Please review if you read.


I used to imagine what life would be like once Dad came home. Everything would be better, like it used to be. He would protect me from Mom's wrath. We could watch movies on my computer with the headphones in like we were sneaking around. We could be happy.

Sadly, we weren't breaking out the happy songs and blowing up balloons in the living room. First day excitement aside, it's just kind of different. He's different. Not in this noticeable way, but just in the way he walks and talks and breathes. I doubt anyone else has even noticed. I've read stuff about people who come back from wars and change. They go crazy. They get trapped in memories or nightmares. I mean, I watch Grey's Anatomy; I've seen Owen. I can't help but wonder if my dad could be like that. If maybe that's why I hear footsteps in the middle of the night. If maybe that's why he moved his chair closer to the door. If maybe that's why he doesn't hold me the same way, or look at me like he used to.

Though, the last one's kind of nice. He looks at me like he doesn't know how he went through these last few months without me. At the same time, he looks at me like he doesn't see me. No one sees me in this house. No one ever has really. They never saw my face when Alison was around me. They never saw it when she wasn't either. My dad doesn't know who I am anymore, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

The creaky floorboard, the one spot in this whole house that isn't ridiculously polished, makes noise. I look up to the door before he can even knock.

"Hi Dad," I greet. He offers one of his little smiles and steps into the room. He takes the extra time to push the door closed. Obviously, this isn't a talk he wants Mom privy to.

He swallows a little too sharply. Then, he says, "Your friend, who was here yesterday-"

I cut him off. "Maya. She lives in Ali's old house."

"I know," he says, "Your mother tells me you two are close."

That's probably not all she told him. She doesn't trust me anymore. I wouldn't be surprised if she had a locator installed in my foot while I was sleeping. She probably thinks Maya's a bad influence on me.

"Yes, we are. She's really special," I say.

"And why is that?" he asks.

It's a good question. I don't know how to say it, especially to him. Turning my body towards my dad, I wonder if maybe the war made him more accepting. He's got to like everyone. He had to work with people from all different walks of life. He can't still be another Rosewood racist, heterosexist person anymore. Right?

"I think it's in the way she carries herself," I say. When he adds nothing, I go on. "Her entire body gravitates up to the sky, like she's too great to even be down here. Like she's meant for better things. She moves so gracefully, and easily. She isn't blundering in anyway. She's nice too, so nice. She likes to make jokes, but never with people. She never plays with people like Ali. But, she loves having fun. She wants to jump into rivers and experiment with the wildest foods. She snores in her sleep, which is weird because she only snores maybe once then is completely silent for like an hour. And… she's just really special, Dad."

He nods along to everything, as if he actually can see it from where I'm standing. For a second, he falters, debates to himself what to do. Maybe I said too much. I should've taken it slower. I practically outed myself. He might hate me.

He pulls his shirt over his head and leans towards me. He points near his shoulder where a small scar shines up. What does that have to do with anything?

Obviously, he understands how strange it must be. He starts talking. "I got this scar the day Alison went missing." Again, what's the point of this? "I got the news about her a few days later. The rest of the guys didn't seem too shook up. I did. I told one of my guys that the last thing I would want would be to have people searching for me when I was already gone. I guess it got to him because he asked if I would alert his family, personally, if anything happened to him. 'So long as you do the same,' I said. He pulled out this pristine little picture. It had him, another guy, a little girl, and a turtle. Now, Lauren, that's the daughter, had this huge smile on her face while she painted a flower on that turtle's back. She was wearing the same ridiculous dress that your mother used to make you wear for family portraits. And I thought, if she's as happy as any little girl, if she dresses the same as any little girl, if she is just like any other little girl, then why should anyone care who her parents are?"

He knows. He has to know. Still, I ask, "Why are you telling me this?"

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the photo booth pictures. Never before have I felt so betrayed by A. Of all the people, she chose him?

He explains, "These were waiting for me in my bag when I got to baggage at the airport. I just wanted to let you know that I love you no matter who you choose to start a family with. I love you, Emily. Do you hear me?"

Yeah, I hear him.

Sometimes, life is even better than what can be imagined.

"I love you too, Dad."