His Princess, Without Him

Niall finds his daughter back and with that also a way to save her. That way is giving his life instead of hers.

Now Lauren is alone without her dad but she still has her uncles... Will they forgive her? Will they blame her? What will management or the fans say when they find out that Niall is dead because of a six year old girl?

This is Lauren's life without her daddy.
The boys's lives without their friend.
Directioners's lives without the funny member of the band.
And a family's life with one less member.

How can they stay a family after all of this?


43. Foreign Ground

Niall's P.O.V.

It was almost 3.30, time to do what any normal parent would be doing for years already but for me, it was almost as nerve wrecking as performing at the MSG for the first time. What do parents do when they pick their children up from school.

Do I go inside, should I talk to her teacher. So many doubts ran through my mind and I was pretty happy Louis made time to come with me. He was much better at this, after picking his sisters up from primary school a few times when he came back home he was an expert in my eyes at least.

"Niall calm down, you are more anxtious about this than a child on christmas night." He said and turned to me, laughing his ass of. 
"I am trying Lou, I really am." I said and checked my phone again for the time which was now 3.17 p.m. Still thirteen minutes before I would see her again.

"Try harder mate, you are making me nervous too." Harry said from the back seat of the bar. 
"She will love to be with you again, she always loved you." he patted my shoulder and I couldn't help but smile at the memories of Lauren telling me she loved me.

"Are you sure she still wants to be with me after all I put her through? She was been away for me for so long, what if she really loves her new parents too." I whispered, desperately needing the boys to reassure me of Lauren and I's connection.

"She will love you Niall, you are her father and she is your daughter. We know it's only been like that for a small amount of time but for everyone around you two it seems like you have been together forever. You belong together." Harry said after he realized how serious my doubts were.

"Thank you Harry, I am so happy you could make it today." 3.19 p.m., eleven more minutes before I would see my baby girl again.

Did Nicolle tell her I was coming, that she would be back home tonight? She must have, otherwise Lauren would be even more surprised by seeing me. The Reeds would send most of her stuff back to my place even though I needed nothing from them anymore. I kept most of the things she left behind and even bought some new books and shoes after I heard she would be coming back home. I knew it probably wasn't the best thing to do since she must have grown a lot and maybe didn't like the books I thought she liked when we first met, but I couldn't stop myself. I also bought a new golden necklace for her. It had a clover on it with a small gemstone in the middle. It was for her to remember me and my love for her be and how lucky we were to have each other.

"Niall I think you should go, it's almost time, you don't want to miss her." Liam's voice brought me back from my thoughts. 
"We will be just around the corner so you will have a bit of a moment just between the two of you before she also sees us." I slowly opened the door of my car and started walking towards the gates of Primrose Hill Primary School feeling the slight burn form the early summer sun, since it was early June after all... It had been way too long since the morning she got picked up to go to her temporary home. Then it had rained, a reflection of the tears I had cried that day. Now it was as if the sun was smiling down at the reunion of me and my daughter.

Lauren was somewhere inside the building. Just a few bricks between us, beeing closer than we had been for months and it was almost as if I could feel her being close to me. Could she feel this too, the lack of distance.

The schoolyard was already filled with parents, grandparents and nannies. I felt so out of place, like I was in a foreign country with no way of navigating. I felt some eyes at me but desided to just not care. I was here for my daughter, not for the attention. They would eventually get used to me being here.

"You must be new here." I heard after a few minutes of waiting for the bell to ring. I looked around to see a woman, just a bit older than I was, maybe twenty-eight, smiling at me. 
"Yeah, is it this obvious." I laughed nervously at her. It probably was way too obvious that this was my first time picking my kid up from school, if only I got better at it with time I would be happy.

"It kind of is, no offence. You just look so lost." she put her hand out, for me to shake it. "I'm Willa by the way, nice to meet you." I shook her hand and smiled, feeling a lot more at ease. 
"Niall, nice to meet you too." I felt some mores eyes on the both of us and Willa noticed it as well.

"Don't worry about them, they always look for someone new to taunt. It's almost like we are the first graders." I couldn't help but laugh as it felt just like she explained. 
"So it's your kids first day here I assume. Since I haven't seen you around here before." I felt my phone buzzing, probably a text from Emma or one of the boys whishing me good luck but ignored it. I wasn't going to become one of those parents who have more eye for their phone than their kids. It always broke my heart to see parents maintaining calls while pretending to pay attention to what their child was either saying of doing.

"Not so much.." I wasn't sure how to explain the situation to a stranger although it wasn't something I could keep a secret. People would start to notice Lauren leaving with me instead of with the Reeds.
"She's been going here for about six months I believe. I'm her adoptive father. I signed the custody papers this morning." It was kind of true, a small version of the truth but the truth non the less.

"Ohh I see. Well welcome to the club. It seems like high school but once you get the hang of it, it isn't as bad as it seems. 
Oh look there are the first and second graders." I followed Willa's fingers to the front door of the pretty big looking school.

I knew Lauren wasn't too keen on big places with loads of people, she got nerves in big crouds, just like I got sometimes. Like father like daughter in a way. Did she ever get scared or had she outgrown her fear... It hit me that I, once again, knew way too little about my little girl.

"They are supposed to stay with their teacher untill she has seen you, then they can leave. So I guess you better introduce yourself before you have to leave empty handed." Willa waved to a short red headed teacher standing amidst almost 30 children around Lauren's age and a mini version of Willa run towards her mother.

Lauren should be there somewhere, but I couldn't find her yet. What if they send the wrong adress and somewhere on a different school Lauren would be waiting on me to pick her up.

I kept looking, but at some point I wasn't seeing anymore. The images of everything around me were a blur until I heard her sweet and happy voice like it was the only sound around, instead of just one small voice amongst more than a hundred.

I snapped my head to the right and as faith had it, looked her straight in her big blue eyes. As she registered who she was seeing, her eyes only grew bigger and I just started smiling like crazy.

I tried to say her name, but words got stuck in my throath. She was there, looking exactly as she should be, like a happy child, no worries on her mind or fear in her eyes. I had tried to prepare myself for this moment but seeing her again, I was frozen, fighting my own subconcious to make me move or speak.

Lauren on the other hand wasn't searching for the right word so say, or move to make, she did what we both had been waiting for, for more than six months.

She dropped her Moanna backpack and started running to me. Not even the slightest bit bothered by the protest from her teacher. She only cared about being with me and I couldn't be happier. She was still my little princess and I would care for her forever.

"Daddy! You came back!" She shouted as I lifted her up and hugged her tight. She had grown a little and she was a bit heavier then when we last saw each other, but she was my little girl.

"But of course princess. I made you a promise." I whispered and kissed the top of her head. Every single parent on the schoolyard was looking at us, surprised by the outburst and show of affection.

I looked up and saw Lauren's teacher's face with so much confusion I couldn't stop laughing. Still holding Lauren close to me I made my way over to explain and introduce myself before Lauren and I would both be and trouble.

"I am sorry for the disturbance, but I am Niall Horan. Lauren's father." I extended my hand and the teacher, Lola Williams, shook it, while I explaind a bit more about the situation.

"So this is why you have been so distracted today, Lauren." Lola said to Lauren who was now standing beside me, not letting go of my hand. She did nothing but nod and held my hand a bit tighter then before as if she felt she was in trouble.

"I am sorry if she caused troubles, just tell me and I will talk to her about it when we get home." I quickly appologized and felt like I myself was a schoolboy again. I wasn't sure what I was expecting my first impression on her teacher te be, but this wasn't it, at all!

"Oh don't bother Mr. Horan, I understand and she was still a dear like always. Enjoy your weekend and I'll see you on monday again." I thanked her, grabbed Lauren's bag from the ground and started walking to the gate. On the way I bumped into Willa, who apperantly, had kept an eye on me while I was talking to ms. Williams.

"So I guess you found her." she said and fixed her own daughter's ponytail. "Yeah I did, thanks for taking care of me and I guess I will see you on monday." I returned her smile and handed Lauren her bag again and waved her goodbye once me and Lauren started walking towords the car, and automatically the lads as well.

So as soon as we passed the gates we got pulled in a massive hug by the three other boys. Lauren let out a small scream but as soon as she saw how were hugging here she started to tear up again and hugged back all of her uncles.

"Welcome back baby girl, we missed you loads." Harry said and kissed both of her cheeks while smiling the most I had seen him smile in months. Maybe he was affected by this in the same way by losing Lauren for the past months. 
"I missed you too! I was afraid you forgot about me." the last part she almost whispered but I could see where she was coming from. Spending so long away from her real family, any child would start to wonder if it would ever change back to how it used to be.

"We will never forget about you princess, not even if we tried." Liam said and kissed the top op her head while I lifted her up again. She should be as close to me as she could for as long as I could be near her.

"You know what baby, lets go home. Emma will probably be waiting on us there and it's still like half an hour drive before we get there." I told her and opened the car door for Lauren to get in. She would probably have the time of her life between Harry and Liam who were both determened to give her just that.

After almost a forty minute drive due to the traffic we arrived home where Emma was already waiting on us since she got out of school about an hour ago, she got lucky her lecture of today was only three hours in stead of five.

"Babe, we're home!" I shouted once we all got it. I could get used to that, coming home to my daughter and girlfriend after a day of work.

"Emma?" Lauren looked up at me as if she asked for permission to go and hug her sort of mother. "Go princess, she missed you loads." I whispered and kissed her head before Lauren ran off to probably pull Emma in one of her heart warming hugs.

"She has grown so much Niall.. She is like all grown up." Louis said when he joined me in the kitchen to get all of us a drink. 
"Yeah.." I took a deep breath to try and contain my sadness about just that fact "She is seven already.. It feels like yesterday that she had just turned six.. Is there a way to stop this." My laugh was effortlessly for the first time in months. It didn't feel like the weight of the world was pushing down on my shoulders. I was me again in more ways than one.

"I suppose not.. before you know it she will be a teenager and the fun will start for real!" we all started laughing and I couldn't believe I was this lucky after all my family has been through.

After everything with getting Lauren in my life in the first place, to losing her in the most terifying way, having her back and losing her again just as fast, having the entire world pitty me for this, always having to remember and talk about it over and over again to fighting with all I had to have her with me again and hopefully forever. 

"I am so glad you have to go through the whole puberty phase first, so we will have a guideline for when the boys get around that age." Liam patted my back and him and Louis started laughing their asses off as if me having to worry about Lauren hitting puberty in a few years was the funniest thing ever. It couldn't be that hard right? 

Lauren was a pretty well behaved girl, she got stressed out over the thought of messing something up or making someone upset. Of course she wouldn't always be this innocent but I couldn't immagine her being a teenager like you always hear the horrorstories about.

I so hoped I was right because I wasn't sure if I could handle her turning against me with every fiber in her being just because she wanted to. She had me wrapped around her little finger and I couldn't see it changing anytime soon, or ever for that matter. 

The boys all decided to stay for dinner and maybe even a bit after which made Lauren exclaim she was the happiest girl in the whole wide world. With every declaration of love and affection for me or her family my heart grew a little bigger and my smile got a little wider. All I could do, for the entire afternoon and begining of the evening was stare at her, trying to imagine how our lives would turn out. 

She was so pretty already. She would surely grow more beautiful when she grew older. I would have to keep a gun with me at all time to keep the boys away from her. Maybe we should move to the States so I could legalily do that. 

What was wrong with me.. I got her back not even half a day and here I was, planning to keep her my little girl away from guys by shooting them. I was turning into one of those over protective parents who I always laughed about when I wasn't a parent myself. Now I understood where they were coming from. I would kill for her, in a heartbeat.

We ate some mac and cheese, nothing too fancy but it was the only thing I could make for so many and still have it turn out okay despite the lack of groceries. I should try to teep track of the groceries I have in the fridge. Lauren couldn't survive on my diet which consisted mostly of carbs. She needed her veggies and maybe I needed them as well. She could help me, trying to live healthy-ish again. 

After dinner, and a small fit between me and Lauren, I finally could make her go to bed to sleep. She didn't want to, I could understand that, but she had to. After everything that had happened she could barely keep her eyes open and she yawned more than she spoke. She didn't want to leave my side and as much as I wanted to agree with that, me and her both had to learn to also stand on our own feet without constantly fearing the other leaving. It would be hard work but it would be worth it in the end. We couldn't stay at eachother's side all the time. I had work and she had school. I hadn't even told her I would be gone for three weeks after next week. Would she be okay with me leaving her, even though it was for work and we would like skype every day?

"Little one sleeping?" Emma asked from the kitchen where she was doing the dishes and since me and the lads created most of them, I decided to go and help her. It would be a good oppertunity to talk as well. Without the boys around.

"Not sleeping yet but she is laying down in her bed at least. She threw a bit of a fit but I managed to get her to stay in her room. She will fall asleep eventually, or at least I hope." She chuckled softly and handed me one of the towels. 

"Sure she will. She was practically sleeping ever since she finished dinner. The only reason she wasn't sleeping already was because Lou and Harry kept her awake by talking to her and giving her more attention than is considered good for a kid." Emma laughed and swatted my arm with her soap covered hands making me laugh my ass off. She was so cute and even innocent in the way her eyes lit up when she noticed how much soap she got onto me and the hardwood floor. 

"We don't spoil her." I tried to say with a straight face but I knew she was right. I knew myself and all of the boys had been, and always would be, spoiling her a little bit. She was my princess after all and I just couldn't help myself from giving her everything she deserved and maybe ever a little more. 

"Okay maybe we do, but how can you say no to those big blue eyes. She just knows how to work me." I laugh and kiss her cheek. "But I know I should diall it down a bit. Just not for this first week. I need her to know I love her and will do anything for her before I have to leave her again." 

"Speaking of which, have you told her about the tour?" she whispered and handed me a plate to dry off. 

"Not yet, I couldn't bring it up. She was so happy and sleepy. I will talk to her about it in the morning after making sure she knowd she's here to stay forever and so are you, remember. I need you here and today only made it more clear for me that I need you with me. I missed you so much while I was at work." 

We finished doing the dishes and talking about school and work before heading off to bed. But not before peaking into Lauren's room to make sure she was sleeping soundly. We seemed more and more like a real family by the minute and I was extremely happy about it. 

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