Madeline belongs to LuckyDuck932


"Shit!"

Herbert ran to the oven, quickly slipping on a pair of mitts before pulling the door open. He fanned the black smoke away as he coughed, praying to every deity he knew for dinner to not be ruined.

He exhaled in utter relief when he pulled out the tray and saw that the turkey that had been cooking for the past five hours hadn't burned, save for a few black spots on the skin here and there, but those could easily be peeled away. The skin was the least healthy part of the whole bird, anyway. The potatoes roasting on the rack underneath it were also untarnished, yet still not fully cooked. He figured they should be done in the next ten minutes or so.

He set the heavy metal tray down on the counter and laughed at himself as he ran a mitt-covered hand through his forehead. He was very seldom prone to cursing, doing so only in situations of extreme stress, and he couldn't believe he had let that one slip. He was glad no one had heard him.

"Fifty pence for the swear jar!"

Or so he thought.

Sighing through his nose, he picked the tray back up and carried it to the dining room, where a young girl was busy coloring with pastel crayons. After setting the meal down on the oak table, he took a moment to admire her as she worked away on her drawing. Madeline looked so much like him; it was almost like looking into a mirror. The blond curls that framed her head made it impossible to not know she was his daughter.

Herbert sighed happily as he reached into the pocket of his jeans and retrieved a fifty pence coin, which he proceeded to insert into the half-full glass jar on a nearby shelf labeled 'Swear Jar'.

"Your college fund is looking pretty good." He commented as he picked up a cutlet knife from the table, gently pressing the tip against the turkey.

"I don't wanna go to college. I wanna be a model like Uncle Dennis."

Herbert stabbed the turkey with full force, more as a sudden reaction impulse than to actually carve the bird. Madeline watched wide-eyed as her father took a deep breath and tried his best to recompose himself.

"Maddie, sweetie…" he started, forcing himself to smile at the bewildered eight-year-old. "There are plenty of great careers out there for you to pursue. You shouldn't be so quick to dismiss Higher Education."

"Why? Don't you think I'm pretty, daddy?" Madeline pouted.

"Of course I do, sweetheart!" Herbert exclaimed as he enveloped his daughter in a tight embrace. "And it's great that you want to share your beauty with the world! But being a model is a very… complicated profession."

"But Uncle Dennis says it's fun!"

"Alright, first of all, Uncle Dennis is a plonker." He commented before clearing his throat. "Second, wouldn't you want to do something more productive when you grow up? You could join the Peace Corps and feed starving children in Africa!"

"Ew, no!" Madeline protested, making a disgusted face. "Those kids all look icky on TV!"

Herbert took another deep breath and pinched the bridge of his nose, feeling his patience grow dangerously thin.

"Madeline Alice DuLac… I swear to God –"

"I'm home!"

"Papa!" Madeline squealed happily, quickly hopping off her seat and running out of the living room.

Herbert sighed and took a moment to collect himself before following her to the other room, where she was now in giggling in Lance's arms. The two always got along so well, he was almost jealous.

"Salut, ma petite ange!" he greeted her with an Eskimo kiss. "Étiez-vous une bonne fille aujourd'hui?"

"Bien sûr, papa!" she declared proudly.

Lance beamed at her before noticing his visibly exhausted husband in the doorway.

"Vous savez pourquoi votre autre papa a l'air si dérangé?" he muttered in hopes that Herbert wouldn't hear.

"I understood that." Herbert replied, walking up to the brunet and giving him a peck on the cheek. "Your 'petite ange' says she wants to be a model when she grows up."

"Oh, but of course!" he exclaimed as he twirled her around. "My little Madeline is the most beautiful girl in the world!"

He watched his daughter giggle in his arms, his heart swelling as it always did when he heard her laugh. He caught a glimpse of his husband, who was a shooting him a very displeased look. Lance knew that look all too well. It was his 'sort this out or you're sleeping on the couch tonight' look.

"But… she is also very intelligent." He tread carefully as he set her down. "Which is why she shouldn't rely only on her looks to support herself."

"But why not?" she whined.

"Well, despite their dazzling good looks, models have a reputation of not being very bright, which makes it very hard for other people to respect them. You don't want that to happen to you, do you?"

Madeline's pale cheeks turned pink and her hazel irises darted downwards in sudden embarrassment. Herbert brought a hand to his chest, fearing that Lance had crushed his poor baby's dreams.

"No…" she admitted in a hushed tone, her gaze glued to her tiny feet.

"That's what I thought." Lance knelt down and gently lifted his daughter's chin to look into her eyes. "You have so much to offer, ma chérie. It would be a shame to let your talents go to waste like that."

Herbert could feel his heart melt upon hearing his husband's adoring words. They had been married for quite some time, yet Lance still found ways to make him fall in love with him all over again.

"But I don't have any talents." Madeline replied, disappointed.

"You're still a little girl, I'm sure you'll find something you're good at. No need to rush it." He leaned down and kissed the top of her head. "Now run along and wash your hands so we can have dinner."

Madeline gave and quick nod and darted out of the room in the direction of the bathroom.

"My hero." Said Herbert as he wrapped his arms around the brunet. "You can't imagine how close I was to yelling at her."

"That ought to be a sight." Lance chuckled, running a hand through his husband's blond locks. "It's been a while since I've heard your accent."

"And I assure you that you won't be hearing it any time soon." He poked Lance's nose menacingly. "You know how much I hate it."

"I know, I know… But you do look very sexy when you're mad. More than usual, anyway."

"Is that so?" Herbert retorted flirtatiously, rubbing his husband's chest. "I'll be sure to keep that in mind."

"Please do." Lance grinned before his face contorted in confusion as he smelt the air around him. "Is something burning?"

"Son of a bitch, the potatoes!" Herbert shouted before running back towards the kitchen, leaving his husband laughing to himself.

"Another fifty pence for the swear jar!" Madeline yelled from the bathroom.