Collection of Prompt-Fics

everything looks different


It’s been six months. Six amazing months since Veda’s whole world changed for the better. Asking Niall to move in had been Hell on her nerves, but he had accepted - after some hesitation. But by the new year, he and David Barkie had carved their own little slices of the home Veda made so many memories in.

Veda was right: Seeing him for five minutes before or after a shift is better than nothing at all. Nights aren’t so lonely with him by her side or - when he isn’t there - knowing he’s coming home to her.

They go visit his friends who have become her friends, too. They go for walks in the field as a group, and she loves the other men fiercely. Harry, Louis, and Liam have become her family. She would do anything for them, and she proves it when Louis meets a girl but is too nervous to make the first move.

When Zayn comes back to Brooklyn for a week, he takes Veda out for a drink or two in a rundown bar she got kicked out of at fifteen. Hours pass with games of pool and darts, laughing at the cheesy songs on the jukebox and slow-dancing to the sad ones. They have to call Hattie for a lift home at one in the morning, but Veda is certain she’s gained herself a new friend.

All in all, it’s been the best half-year Veda could ever have imagined. Granddad is gone and she will never have him back, but she hasn’t lost his love. It lingers in the framework of the house. It resides in her bones, every molecule of who she is.

Her family stays far away. Her aunt doesn’t come around again, and neither do Phil or Olivia. Veda’s cousins refuse to acknowledge Hattie and Veda, and it works. It’s exactly what they wanted in the first place.

The humidity of early-June seeps into the night. Veda glares at the ceiling, shoving Niall’s arm off her belly, and climbs out of bed. The oscillating fan does little to dispel the thick, wet heat, but it’s better than nothing. The air-con gave up on its job two days ago, and the repairman hasn’t bothered to come by yet. Sighing, Veda strips off her shirt and stands in front of the weak stream of air.

“Come back to bed.”

She snorts at Niall’s groan but doesn’t move. “No. You’re a goddamn furnace, and I’m already hot.”

The mattress squeaks behind her, and she huffs out a laugh when his footsteps come up behind her. He plasters himself against her back, despite the high temperature, and Veda sighs with a smile at the contact. He’d gone to bed completely naked - he complained the entire time about the sweltering heat. A bead of sweat slides down her spine, catching on the curls on his chest. He presses his lips to her neck and grins at her shiver.

“Yes. Yes, you are. Which is why I want you back in bed.”

“Smooth-talker.” Veda runs her hand through her hair, grimacing at the moisture that’s collected. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it is far too damn hot for sex.”

“We can take a cool shower after. And who knows, Ve-Veda, you might be able to sleep when we’re done.”

“Fine, since you’ve made such a great argument for it.”

She giggles when he nips at her skin, yelps when he tugs her toward the bed. She may have said it was too hot, but damn it if she isn’t going to enjoy every second of loving Niall like this. The cool shower after definitely helps her fall asleep, even with him holding her so tightly to his chest.

Hattie is already gone for work by the time Veda wakes the next morning. Rain lashes against the window, fat droplets bursting with ferocity, and a roll of thunder cracks along the sky. She grins as she stares at the ceiling. There is no hope for the humidity lowering, but she can still hope.

Veda presses a kiss to a sleeping Niall’s shoulder then carefully climbs out of bed. His shift doesn’t start until noon; she doesn’t want to wake him too early. After dressing in a pit of leggings and tunic top, she rushes through pulling her hair into a tight ponytail and stuffing her scrubs into her bag.

Antonio stands on the stoop when she pulls open the door. “Come on, I’ll give you a lift to work.”

“I can walk in the rain.”

“And Nonna would kill me if I didn’t do this.”

“Well, we can’t have that,” she laughs. “Fine. You drive like an idiot, and I’ll kill you myself.”

His chuckle gets lost in another boom of thunder. They run across the street to his truck, and Veda shivers as she climbs into the cab. Despite their sprinting, she’s soaked to the bone. The storm hasn’t done anything to lower the temperature. It’s the water dripping down her spine, tickling her skin much like her sweat did last night.

The day speeds by. Niall texts her as soon as he wakes up; evidently, David Barkie didn’t appreciate being left alone, so he’d crawled into their bed and slept across Niall’s face. Veda saves the picture to her phone and makes a mental note to respond on her lunch break.

Before she knows it, Veda is stepping out of the hospital and into the wet heat of Brooklyn post-rainstorm. The ride home is quiet, her mind drifting to her plans for the rest of the afternoon. A nap is certainly in order - she had continued to wake up through the night to desperately seek a cooler spot to lie in.

The street is full of children splashing in puddles and adults watching over the kids. Protecting them from any harm as they’ve always done. Veda lets Miss Sylvia kiss her cheek as the older woman passes by, accepts the fifty-millionth ‘congratulation on the pre-pre-pre-engagement’. Veda loves that her neighbours are so invested in her happiness, but if she hears another person ask where the ring is, she might actually lose her mind.

She’s just grabbed a soda from the refrigerator when a knock sounds at the door. She stares longingly at the couch on her way through the living room. Whoever it is better not take up too much time. Pulling open the door, her lips automatically tug into a frown.

“Sorry, we don’t allow solicitors.”

“I, uh, I’m not a solicitor.” The man offers a quivering smile, and Veda raises a brow.

“Okay. Can I help you?”


“Yeah, who are you?”

The man shifts his weight between his two feet, runs his hand through honey-blond hair. “I’m Shane. Shane Kent. I… I think I’m your father.”

The entryway echoes with the slam of the door, but Veda doesn’t remember moving. Cold liquid splashes over her bare feet, leaving sticky trails on her skin. She can’t feel anything over the bile creeping in her throat or the way her stomach churns. She stumbles backward to sit on the bottom step.

“V?” Hattie hangs her bag on the hook and steps around the pool of spilt soda. “Veda, what happened?”

Veda stares blankly at the floor. Her voice is gone. No words will come. Hattie disappears for a moment then returns with a wad of paper towels. Once the soda is cleaned up, she steps outside. Veda swallows against the lump in her throat.

Hattie comes back five minutes later. “Who was the man who came by?”

Veda finally manages to drag her gaze to her cousin’s face. The confusion, the worry, the need to make things right for Veda. A tear slips down Veda’s cheek.

“I think I just slammed the door in my father’s face.”

Hattie freezes. Silence reigns. The only things Veda can hear are cars and kids screeching. Someone turns music on outside - probably Tommy. He hates life without music. He can always be counted on to have his boombox going.

Veda covers her face with the throw pillow again, screams into the fabric and fluff. It’s been two hours since Hattie came home, and Veda can barely see straight with the bourbon she’s drank. Her thoughts still race, though the pain has dulled. She sniffles as a sob bubbles up, then she screams once more. She reaches blindly for the bottle on the coffee-table.

Hattie’s hand rests on her shoulder. “You’ve had enough, sweetie.”

“I still feel.”

“I know. And believe me, it isn’t fair that you’re dealing with this right now, but alcohol won’t help.”

“What’s going on?”

Veda shakes her head with another bout of screaming, and Hattie sighs next to her. Veda doesn’t need to look at Niall to know the expression on his face: Blue eyes darkened with concern, lips pressed tightly together. Maybe his hair is a ruffled mess from running his fingers through it all day.

David Barkie whimpers from the dog bed in the corner of the living room. He hasn’t moved since Veda began screaming into the pillow.

“She’s had a bombshell dropped on her,” Hattie says while rubbing at Veda’s shoulders. “Figured it’s easier to let her get drunk into oblivion. She gets talkative when she drinks.”

“Except… She seems to be in a screaming mood tonight.”

Hattie sighs. “Yeah. Haven’t seen her like this in a while.”

“I can get it from here.”

“Okay. C’mon, DB, let’s go to bed.”

Niall doesn’t force Veda to sit up or to talk. He just takes Hattie’s place and lets Veda do what she needs to do to feel better. He can’t possibly understand she won’t feel better. Not for a long time, not after this. Twenty-five years she’s spent wondering about her father, and now a man shows up claiming to be the man she’s never known? How does anyone ‘feel better’ after that?

Veda goes to work the next day still hungover. Her head pounds, stomach threatening to leap out of her body, but at least she doesn’t have to answer Niall and Hattie’s questions. She has no answers for them. She can’t figure out why it’s such a big deal. So what her maybe-father found her after twenty-five years? It’s only another curveball in her life, and it’s one that she doesn’t care about.

He wasn’t there for her before. He doesn’t get to mess everything up now.

“What are you doing here?” she demands as she comes to a stop at the bottom of the stoop. Her neighbours are watching.

Shane shrugs, exchanging a look with Hattie. Veda is inordinately grateful that Hattie scowls at him. Her loyalty lies with her cousin, not a strange man who dares interrupt Veda’s happiness. Sighing, Shane meets Veda’s hard gaze.

“I want to explain some things.”

Niall reaches out a hand, and Veda moves on instinct. She clings to his fingers as she sits between his feet. David Barkie climbs into her lap, licking at her chin, then curls up on her thighs. His eyes never leave Shane.

“What is there to explain, Shane?” she manages. “You weren’t there. End of story.”

“Veda, I didn’t even know about you until you were a teenager. If I’d known—“

Veda snorts, shakes her head. “What, you would’ve been in my life?”

“Honestly? No. Probably not. It was too late for me to interrupt your life like that.”

Niall’s free hand squeezes her shoulder - a warning. Assurance. A reminder to breathe. But Veda ignores it. Her hands tremble, body tightening, and she just barely manages to stay seated.

“Are you fucking kidding me? Do you know what I went through?” She scoffs and swallows the rage fighting through her. “I spent my childhood alone, you asshole. I didn’t have regular meals. We went weeks without heat or electricity because Olivia thought it was more important to fuck random men instead of taking care of me.”

Shane’s face twists up, and he cards his fingers through his hair. She’s always wondered where her hair colour came from. Her eyes. Looking at Shane, it’s no longer a mystery.

“I’m sorry, Veda. I—“

“You’re sorry?”

Niall’s grip tightens. “You’re shouting, love.”

“I don’t care, Niall.” Her voice wobbles as she continues, facing Shane head-on, “I was fourteen when I ran away from home for the first time. I was sixteen when I got arrested. It was only because of Granddad that I even had half a shot at life. So for you to hunt me down after twenty-five years of my suffering at the hands of my family? It’s infuriating. You have absolutely no right to fuck up my life like this.”

“I know. You’re right. I don’t. But Veda, I’m so sorry.”

“Sorry doesn’t cut it, Shane. You need to leave. Now.”

Shane nods. Veda thanks her lucky stars that he doesn’t try to argue. To make his point any further. His point is moot in the grand scheme of things. His apologies are as worthless as her family has ever been. He sighs, climbs to his feet, then holds out a slip of paper. Hattie is the one who takes it from his hand, and he tells Veda to call if she ever wants to talk.

Veda will never want to talk to him.

Three weeks later, she changes her mind. The DNA test proves he’s her father. Without a doubt, half of her genetic code came from the man who’s turned her life upside down. She stares at the results and feels nothing. She thought having answers was what she needed.


“Stay out my life, Shane.” She thrusts the paper toward him, ignoring the way he flinches. The way his face falls. “We’ve got the truth now. That’s all I ever wanted. You, on the other hand? Well, I’ve gone this long without you. I don’t need you. Forget about me.”

Shane shakes his head as he folds the paper into quarters, tucking it into his pocket. “I can’t do that. You’re my kid.”

“No, I’m just some person you helped create.”

“C’mon, sit down so we can talk.”

Veda shoves her hand through her hair. She’d rather be at work getting screamed at by patients than deal with this right now. She recognises the stubborn expression, the mulish set to Shane’s jaw, the pleading in his eyes. So she blows out a breath and follows him to the bench outside the clinic.

“You aren’t my dad,” she says, clutching her bag to her chest. She doesn’t look at him. Instead, she watches people pass by. None of them have topsy-turvy lives.

“That isn’t fair. Olivia never told me about you.”

Veda hesitates. Olivia had admitted to that, long ago. She’d been drunk - again - and in a rare good mood. So when Veda asked where her father was, all Olivia said was: “He doesn’t know about you, kid. Even if he did, he wouldn’t give a damn. Why would he? You’re nothin’ special. Now get me another drink.”

Veda was only seven when she began believing Olivia was right. That belief grew the longer she went without her dad bursting into her life and rescuing her from the Hell.

“How did you even find out about me?”

“John.” Shane catches her startled look and smiles. “He and I worked together. It’s actually how I met Olivia. Two months later, she was gone. John found out somehow and told me.”

Shane goes on to tell Veda he was angry when he found out. He’d been so careful not to have a kid - he never wanted one, never wanted everything changed so drastically. He was content with his lot in life.

“And now I’m being told I have a thirteen-year-old daughter? And her mother is one of the most selfish people I’ve never known, who have no fucks about anyone other than herself?” He shrugs. His foot taps on the concrete. “Veda, believe me. Hearing what you went through makes me wish I could’ve been there.”

“Why didn’t you even try?”

“Because I was just as selfish. I wanted my own future, and a child never fit in with my plans. Plus, I wasn’t sure what your mother told you about me.”

Veda sniffles and wipes her cheek dry. When had she started crying? “She never told me anything except you’d hate me and she’d beat my ass if I asked about you again.”

“I wouldn’t have hated you. If you were anything like you are now, I would’ve been proud of you. I... I wish I could change it all.”

“I don’t.” She bites back a smile at his furrowed brow. “Everything that happened to me made me who I am. Without my family being the way they are, I never would have grown up with Granddad. I wouldn’t have learnt everything I needed to from him. I wouldn’t have an amazing pre-pre-pre-fiancé, a wonderful cousin as a roommate, or the cutest dog in the world. My life has been a fucking mess for so long, and it’s finally becoming what it should have been from the beginning.”

“Could you forgive me for not being a dad?”

Veda exhales slowly and watches a car inch past on the street. Traffic has picked up since they sat down. Lunch-hour rush. “I think so. I mean, you didn’t know. Then, when you did, you were only human. At least I have some answers now.”

He nods and stands. She stares up at him, squinting against the sun haloing his head. He scuffs the toe of his boot against the ground then thanks her for her forgiveness. He repeats his offer of being there if she ever wants to talk. Then he’s gone.

Cards at Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, on her birthday. Lunch with Shane once a month. It slowly stops being so awkward as Veda tries to connect with her father. Twenty-five years of not knowing each other is hard to overcome, but they both try. Niall and Hattie eventually join in on the hours together. Their presence makes it easier.

Shane never married, never had more kids. “I’m still selfish enough to not want any.”

Even though Veda doesn’t feel the same way - she wants children with Niall so badly - she understands well enough.

I know it’s been almost two years since you came into my life, but... I don’t want you to walk me down the aisle. You may be my father, but you weren’t there for the big things. You weren’t there for the small things. And I don’t blame you. God, this is all Olivia‘s fault. But I really hope you’ll come to my wedding. I want you to. 28th of March, noon. Just let me know. I’ll save a place for you.
- Veda

Veda will never admit how thankful she is that Ellie and Chris agree to share their anniversary with Veda and Niall. She’s even more thankful that Ellie agrees to be her maid of honour, that Hattie and Aida don’t hesitate to be the bridesmaids. Wedding planning has gone far more easily with these three women at her side.

Little Sofia Maria acts as flower girl, and David Barkie trots down the aisle with the rings attached to his collar. Zayn ‘attends’ via a FaceTime call. Shane sits in his seat among the guests with a smile on his face and tears in his eyes.

Mister Thompson walks Veda to the altar. Nonna cries as the old man passes Veda’s hand to Niall, kisses her cheek, then takes his seat. Veda tries to listen to the officiant, but all she can think of is how amazing her life has turned out.

She has a wonderful family comprised of Hattie, their neighbours, and the friends she’s made with Niall. The most fantastic man she will ever marry. A cute dog who’s been a great cuddler when she’s upset. And now, she has a chance to build a relationship with her father.

The only thing that can top this feeling is seeing Niall’s face when their first child is born, whenever that may be. She can hardly wait.