It Wasn't Perfect
Disclaimer 1: This is fanfic. That means I do not own any of it. I just borrow it to play with for a little while and let people see the pathetic results if they really want to.

Disclaimer 2: I'm not making any money from it. It's just for fun.

Disclaimer 3: What isn't borrowed is all made up. None of this is real or most likely at all realistic. Please don't trust any of the information in here. Most likely you know more about whatever I'm writing about than I do.

Disclaimer 4: Attitudes, views and opinions expressed by the characters or in the story are not necessarily those of the author. Even when writing Science Fiction or Fantasy I do not tend to attempt to create perfect/better worlds in which everybody gets a happy end ... or whatever is best for them. Please accept that some characters will have a bad ending or be unhappy.

Disclaimer 5: I intend no insult to anyone. If I offend anyone I'm very sorry. Please understand that it was an accident as I tend to be very clumsy in these things.

Disclaimer 6: If my characters' conversations seem odd or they appear to be talking past each other the latter might occasionally be intentional, but most likely it is an accident and I'm not aware that they are. It's just my bad communication skills.

Written for my first Yuletide.

Not Perfect

It wasn’t perfect. Real life never is.

Still, it all went well enough. David didn’t have any problems packing his possessions for the move. After all he owned little more than what he’d taken to school with him every year. He left his old, too small clothes behind, packed his suitcase and loaded it into Astrid’s mini.

Moving Astrid’s stuff was a bit harder. There was no way she was willing to part with any of her shoes or dresses and even some of the furniture had to come along.

“You could just keep the house, you know,” Luke suggested. “With David’s money …”

“No,” said Astrid sternly. “We’re going to save what’s left of David’s money for David. He’ll need it for himself someday.”

He wasn’t allowed to have it right now, though. Astrid thought that he wasn’t old and responsible enough to use it properly. Not that David minded that much. It’d have been nice to have all that money, but at the moment there wasn’t really anything he needed to buy. Sure, a bike would still have been nice, but he could always borrow Alan’s or ask Astrid to drive him somewhere in the mini.

And it wouldn’t have been any use for moving Astrid’s furniture. That didn’t even fit into the car.

“It’ll take several trips to transport all of this anyway,” Luke said. “We’ll just put a piece of furniture on the roof every time.”

David wasn’t sure there wasn’t a law against that, but nobody stopped them and the furniture did help make their new rooms look more comfortable.

“I’ll have to do something about the mail,” Astrid commented looking through the contents of the mailbox on their last visit to Uncle Bernard’s house. “But they didn’t leave a forwarding address.”

“I could just burn it all,” Luke suggested, but Astrid refused.

“One of these letters might be important,” she said. “Besides they’d still keep coming.”

David wasn’t sure why she cared. They wouldn’t be here to be bothered by their relatives’ mail so why not leave whoever moved in after them to deal with it?

A frightened gasp from Astrid got his attention, though.

“What’s wrong?” She had gone alarmingly pale.

“Oh no! David, they might not let me keep you after all.”

“But that’s nonsense,” Luke said with a laugh. “David doesn’t have any other relatives left. Who else would want custody of him?”

“The state,” Astrid explained waving an official looking letter in front of Luke’s face. “They’re going to put him in an orphanage, if I can’t prove I’m a suitable guardian.”

An orphanage? Only a few weeks ago David probably wouldn’t have minded. It couldn’t be all that different from school, after all, and he’d always liked that much better than being with his family. But now he had Astrid and Alan and their new home in Alan’s house. He’d been looking forward to that.

“Well, that shouldn’t be a problem,” Luke said. “We’re just going to prove that you are suitable. It won’t even be hard, because it’s the truth. Now, lets get the car loaded up and then we’ll go and find out what the criteria are.”

By finding out he probably meant asking Mr. Wedding, David suspected and calmed down a little. If they had Mr. Wedding’s help, surely it wouldn’t be too bad.

“There might be a problem after all,” Luke reported the next morning. “You have to prove that you can provide for David.”

“I can cook,” Astrid insisted. “I’m just a little out of practise. Before I got married I always cooked for myself.”

“Breakfast was fine,” David assured her. “Everybody burns toast from time to time.”

“And our rooms will look very neat as soon as we’re completely unpacked,” Astrid added. “We’ll just have to hurry up and finish it before the social worker’s visit. Then we make sure everything’s sparkling clean, and David will wear the suit that we bought to please the family.”

David frowned at that. He’d rather just have worn a clean pair of jeans, but if it meant that he could stay with Astrid, he was willing to wear the suit one more time.

“That’s not what I meant,” Luke admitted. “I’m sure you’ll do fine on those accounts. Though you might want to hide the ashtray and cigarettes, just so it doesn’t look like you’re setting a bad example.”

Astrid looked regretfully at the cigarette in her hand.

“You don’t have to quit smoking,” Luke assured her. “Just don’t do it in front of the social worker. Say something about how important it is that David eats healthily and about morality.” He winced at that word. “It’ll be fine. The only real problem is that you’re unemployed. Providing for David includes being able to buy everything he needs.”

“We have my money,” David reminded him.

“That won’t do, David,” Astrid said. “It’d look as if I just wanted to take care of you so I could continue to live on your money. I have to find a job before the visit.” And she went and typed up a job application right away.

Their plan was good, but unfortunately it never got put into action. The social worker arrived two hours before the arranged time and found David and Alan kneeling on the floor in dust covered jeans as they were helping Astrid unpack a cardboard box full of books while Luke, who’d been meant to open the door and butter her up on the way in was scrubbing the tiles in the bathroom.

All four of them were wearing old clothes and looked rather bedraggled.

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” Astrid gasped when she overcame the first moment of mute shock. “We didn’t expect you this early and well … we only just moved in …”

“We meant to get everything nice and clean before you arrived,” Alan helped her out. “Unpack the last boxes and clean up.”

“I’m so sorry about the mess,” Astrid assured the social worker again while trying to hastily straighten her hair with a dusty hand. “But take a … Oh I mean … Luke? Be a dear Luke, and bring our guest a chair from the kitchen!”

Somehow Luke managed to be perfectly charming despite the wet stains on his shirt and jeans. He offered to fetch some of ‘Astrid’s’ tea and cake from the kitchen and got the social worker to actually smile.

Astrid calmed down enough to remember to tell the boys to wash their hands and introduce them.

“So, you are David’s friends then,” the social worker summed up once they were all sitting together. “And you came to help him move. Does it bother you that he’s moving away?”

“But he isn’t!” Alan exclaimed. “This is our house. We live downstairs. And I think it’s really great to have David live here with us.”

“David’s old neighbourhood was rather out of the way for all of us,” Luke added. “And too far from the cricket field, too. This is much better.”

“You boys like to play cricket then?”

David realised that he liked the social worker. She was actually interested in his tales of cricket games. He told her about playing against Radley house and the staff match in school.

That unfortunately took the conversation from cricket to school and that he wouldn’t go back after the holidays. The social worker wanted to know whether he wasn’t afraid of the new school and whether he’d miss the friends he had at his old school.

“Well yes, I suppose I will miss my other friends,” David admitted once he’d thought about it. “But I have friends at the new school, too, Alan and the boys from the cricket team. I’d miss them and Astrid, too, if I went away to school again.”

“Hum,” made the social worker. Then she asked a lot of questions about Astrid and Aunt Dot and Uncle Bernard.

David remembered just in time to mention that Astrid was very strict about important things, but never unfair about little issues as Aunt Dot had been. No, he didn’t mind that his other relatives had abandoned him, they’d never cared about him anyway.

“That’s the real difference with Astrid, you know,” he realised. “She actually cares about me.” Astrid smiled and put her arm around him and David leaned into her just a little. The social worker wrote something in her notebook. “The others didn’t even care when I went missing,” David added, since this seemed to put Astrid’s motherly qualities into a good light.

“Ah yes,” the social worker said. “And just where were you when you were missing?”

“Er …” She’d never believe him, if he told her about Thunderly Hill and Thor’s hammer. “I was … I was …”

“With me,” Luke admitted contritely. “We didn’t mean to worry anyone, though. You see, David’s Cousin Rupert was hurt and went to the hospital and Astrid had to stay with him so David just came with me to be out of the way and it got later than we’d expected.”

“I thought Aunt Dot would be furious,” David said. “But instead she just left. Astrid was the only one that even noticed I was gone.”

“I see,” the social worker said and turned her attention to Astrid.

As expected she asked a lot of questions about Astrid’s opinions on child raising and after that about money. David didn’t completely understand everything she said, but he thought Astrid had gained some points for refusing to use David’s money despite the social worker’s suggestion that it could be used to keep David at his old school or keep Uncle Bernard’s house. That she didn’t have a job, yet, stood against her, of course, but the social worker agreed that job hunting took more than a few days. Maybe everything would be fine after all.

But then the interview took an unexpected turn.

“Why did you decide to sell the house?” the social worker asked. “Don’t you think it would make a better home for David than …” she gestured at the room around them. “Why tear him out of his familiar surroundings after he already lost his family?”

Astrid paled, but went on bravely. “The house is too big for just the two of us, and neither of us really likes it. We had actually talked about moving here before our relatives abandoned us. David liked the idea, didn’t you?”

“Oh yes,” David confirmed hastily. “I always hated the old house. It was just so boring there.”

“None of the neighbours have children, you see,” Astrid picked up again. “And it would also have been very expensive to keep. We’d have needed servants, a gardener and a maid at least. I can’t very well work, keep such a big house neat and still have time left to spend with David. These rooms are much easier to keep.” She glanced around at the boxes and abandoned cleaning tools guiltily. “Or at least they will be once we’ve finished moving in.”

The social worker nodded and took some more notes. And then she said something long and complicated and full of legal terms about David’s money. David looked to Astrid, who looked to Luke, who shrugged. Apparently they didn’t understand it either.

“Never mind that,” Astrid said. “What about David? Can I keep him?”

The social worker looked at her very sternly, but then she smiled. “I will recommend that he stays with you. I can see that you have a close relationship, despite not being related by blood and it can’t be in David’s interest to tear him away from you after he has already suffered the loss of his parents and abandonment by his other caregivers. I can’t say that it is a perfect living situation, but it is most likely the best he can get under the circumstances.”

Maybe it wasn’t perfect, but at least for the rest of the day David was perfectly happy and Astrid was probably not perfectly happy, but she did look very happy, too.

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