Fathers and Daughters

Aurora x Stefan

Phillip and his father were away at Hubert's castle, sorting through the prince's belongings before shipping them off to the new castle, so Stefan and Leah jumped at the opportunity to get know their daughter. Aurora was also excited to finally get some time with her parents. Usually, they would only talk for a few minutes during meals and get called away or Phillip or Hubert would ask her questions, so really the three hadn't had much time together.

Aurora was perceptive and curious about her parents.

"Did you want me to stay?" she asked, referring to when the fairies took her away.

Both nodded and she asked, "Did you ever want another child?"

Stefan smiled and laughed as he ruffled his daughter's hair. "Well, I did want a son…" he joked.

Aurora pouted and Leah leaned over and whispered in her daughter's ear, "He cried when he first held you, dear."

"I've never been happier—except for when you came home," he told his daughter.

Well, you laughed and told me you really wanted a boy, but you cried first time you held me, said you never felt such joy—that's fathers and daughters.

Then she added, "He also fainted when he found out I was pregnant with you."

Aurora giggled at the idea of her father fainting. Stefan scowled and said, "Alright, you two, enough humor at my expense."

Aurora and Leah nodded, as Aurora tried very hard not to start giggling again—the idea of her father fainting just seemed very silly to her. Then Leah said, "I'll leave you two alone for a little father / daughter time," and she quickly left.

Aurora glanced at her father and he smiled gently at her. "Has Phillip taught you how to ride a horse yet, dear?" Stefan asked—Phillip always talked about taking Aurora with him on a horseback ride, but Stefan hadn't seen proof.

The other day, he'd told Hubert, "Hubert, I'm tired of your son always telling Aurora he's going to take her horseback riding. He needs to talk less and actually take her horseback riding."

Hubert had frowned and said, "Phillip seems to think that it isn't his place to teach her to ride a horse. There are some things a father should teach their children. One of them includes horseback riding."

Aurora shook her head and said, "He said that he wanted to let you teach me, Father."

Stefan nodded and stood up, holding out his hand. "There's no time like the present to begin learning, Aurora," he smiled.

Aurora smiled at her father as he helped her learn to ride a horse—it was an amazing feeling.

When you took the training wheels right off my bike, that was the first time I could feel my wings 'cause you taught me how to fly. That's fathers and daughters.

Stefan carefully lifted Aurora off of her horse and said, "Let's go find your mother so we can tell her about our day."

Aurora nodded eagerly, tugging on his sleeve. He smiled indulgently at his daughter and watched as she began to twirl gracefully around the garden. Stefan stepped toward Aurora and held out his hand. She took it eagerly and began spinning around the garden happily.

When I was a pink ballerina dancing in the kitchen, you'd hold out your hand so I could try my luck at spinning.

Aurora suddenly lost her balance and Stefan threw out his arms, catching her, and wrapped them protectively around her—he wasn't about to let his little girl get hurt.

The world kept turning always through it all—I knew you would catch me when I'd start to fall. That's fathers and daughters.

"Thanks, Dad," Aurora smiled at her father.

"Are you okay, Aurora?" Stefan asked, still worried.

She nodded and he herded her inside. She smiled at her father and Stefan ordered, "Don't go horseback riding without me, your mother, or Phillip present."

She nodded obediently and said, "Yes, Dad."

"I just don't want you to get hurt, OK, Aurora?" Stefan explained.

She nodded and hugged her father quickly.

A few weeks later, Aurora and Phillip went out for a horseback ride and picnic in the woods. Stefan gave his approval for the journey but also warned Phillip. "You take good care of my daughter."

"I will, your Majesty," Phillip replied.

Then Stefan added, "And don't stay out too late, you two. After all, tomorrow is moving day."

Stefan waited for the two to return home, but didn't tell Leah where they were—even though the two got much later than the agreed upon time—sunset.

When you let me go out on my first date, you waited up and you didn't tell Mom even tho' I got home late—that's fathers and daughters.

A few months later, Phillip had to leave to help hold off an invading army that was attacking what had been his father's kingdom but would eventually combine with Stefan's kingdom under his and Aurora's rule.

Aurora looked at her father and he touched her shoulder gently. "I know, dear," he murmured gently. "I know you don't want Phillip to leave, but his people need him."

She nodded and recalled the conversation she'd had with Phillip a few hours earlier on the way to her parents' castle—he told her he wanted her to stay there until he returned so he knew she'd be out of harm's way—actually, she told him she was pregnant, he'd been shocked, and then they'd told their parents upon arriving at Stefan's castle.

Nine months passed and the time drew near for Aurora to have her baby as the war ended. Then a messenger came seeking Aurora.

Stefan intercepted the messenger and asked, "What news do you bring?"

"News of her husband's death, your Majesty," the messenger replied. "He wants her to know the last thing he thought of was her."

Stefan—shocked that his son-in-law had died—nodded and said, "I will tell her—she'll need her family—not strangers—around her—especially during this difficult time."

Stefan cautiously knocked on his daughter's bedroom door. "May I come in?" he asked, almost uncertainly.

Aurora nodded and said, "Yes, Dad."

He entered and quickly embraced his daughter.

Aurora returned the hug, but pulled away as soon as he released her, confused. "Dad, what's going on?" she asked, not quite sure why her father seemed so upset.

Stefan saw the eagerness in her eyes and sadly shook his head back and forth—Phillip wasn't coming home.

Aurora stared at him and sprang to her feet, yelling, "NO! You're—you're lying! He promised! He promised he'd come home!"

Stefan stood up and said, "Aurora, you've just been through the worst thing possible and I know you're hurting, but I want you to know I will help you through this. And Phillip is waiting for you to join him—one day. You're the last thing he thought of—how much he loved you, how important you are to him, and you two will reunite one day."

She began to cry then and Stefan hugged her and whispered, "God made tears to take away all the pain."

And one day when that boy made my heart break, you told me that's why God made tears—to wash the hurt away.

A few days later, Aurora had two children—a son and a daughter. Phillip hadn't known—and wouldn't know—his children, but Aurora would never let them forget their father, even if they never knew him.

Aurora smiled at Hubert and her parents. "Mom, Dad, King Hubert, meet Phillip and Rose," she smiled at her two sleeping children.

Hubert stared at Aurora and said, "You named your son after…"

"His father," Aurora finished. "We weren't sure about the kids' name when I saw Phillip—before he left, and we didn't know whether we'd have a son or daughter. I don't want my kids not to know their father—so the names Rose and Phillip seemed perfect."

Stefan nodded and slowly hugged his daughter.

A few nights later, Stefan gently danced with his daughter—it was her wedding anniversary—and she still missed Phillip terribly. The kids were good company, but Aurora had refused to return to her other castle, claiming she'd be lonely, but the real reason was that her second castle had too memories of her husband in it—to be good for her right at that moment.

Stefan had figured that out when even after the war ended and it was safe for her to return home, Aurora chose to stay at his castle.

Then I'm still that pink ballerina dancing in the kitchen. You hold out your hand, I go right back to the beginning.

Aurora staggered again and Stefan steadied and caught his daughter, carrying her shaking and crying form back inside—she only cried in front of her father.

The world keeps turning always through it all; you're still there to catch me. I'm still learning how to fall. That's fathers and daughters.

Stefan grew ill—Hubert and Leah had both died nearly a year ago and Aurora's children were ten and loved "Grandpa Stefan" very much—and he was going to die soon.

Aurora felt sick—she'd lost her mother, father-in-law, and husband to death. Now she would lose her father.

"Daddy," Aurora whimpered.

"It's alright, sweetie," Stefan comforted her. "I love you very much and no one can change that."

She smiled and held his hand as Stefan died. "I love you, too, Daddy," she whispered.

Like ice cubes and water, you grow up and discover no one ever loves each other like fathers and daughters.

The End

A/N Happy Father's Day everyone! I'm dedicating this story to my father-I've never met him, but I miss him like crazy. Aurora and Rapunzel both have the same experience of growing up without their fathers, so I will write a second story for Rapunzel or combine the two. Let me know what you think I should do.