Edit: This was originally a stand alone one-shot, but since I have so many based on the bachelors as fathers, I have decided to compile them all under one story called Daddy Dearest.
Author's Note: After checking out a forum topic in the Village Square called "Best. Spouse. EVER." I couldn't help but write this one-shot of Kai as a daddy. I write a lot of Kai material, but he's actually only my second favorite bachelor in MoFo. Gray's the first. Still, I feel less intimidated writing about him for some reason... Graire and Grary rivalries are too intense! Oo
Anyway, there's a ton of fluff, and I don't really know if there's a plot line anywhere... Even so... read, review, and enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own HM or any characters within in this story. Because if I did, there'd be a lot more fluffy family scenes. XD
"Daddy waking up now?" his daughter asked as she sat perched on his thighs. She was a darling little thing with soft, almost white, blonde hair and warm, chocolate brown eyes. Her small face was delicately worried as her father sat up groggily.
"Hey, pumpkin," he greeted her while rubbing the sleep from his eye. "What's wrong?"
"You slept in, Kai," his wife answered from the kitchen. He could smell bacon and eggs which meant it was still early morning. No wonder she didn't sound angry with him just yet. If he got up now, he could...
"Enh," he flinched, "damn sinuses..." Rubbing the bone between his eyes, he looked up wearily at the two eyes staring intently into his own. "Sorry, honey. Daddy shouldn't use bad words," he added, his face notably flushed.
His child patted her little hand on his forehead and frowned. "Mommy, Daddy's all hot."
"Do you have a fever, sweetie?" his wife asked, now genuinely concerned. Her eyes shown like a tropical sea as she searched him for any signs of illness. She, too, placed her hand on his face, saying, "You certainly do, Kai."
"It's nothing to worry about, Claire," he tried to assure her. "Just a cold." It was the middle of winter, yet his business sat on the beach. The Snack Shack hadn't been built for the frigid weather, and until a few years ago, that would've been fine. After all, before he had come to be a married man, he only visited Mineral Town during the summer season. Once autumn began to set it, he'd be off to a distant shore. Winter had never been a concern... until now.
"I don't want to hear it," she scolded him. "You're staying home today." When she put her hands on her hips and glared like that, he knew better than to argue. Claire could be lethal with a hammer if her nearly nonexistent temper came around, especially concerning men.
"Yay!" his daughter cried out. "Daddy stays with me!" He winced as she bounced in his lap, landing right where she shouldn't. Still, he merely bit his lip since she clearly meant no harm.
"Pearl, Daddy's sick, so don't be rough with him, okay?" her mother reminded her, wagging a finger.
"Okay, Mommy..." the small girl moped, sliding off her father. She crawled across the mattress gently and dangled her legs off the side until flopping onto the wooden floor. Although the dog sleeping beneath the table clearly didn't feel like playing, she began to amuse herself with carefully tugging his little tail.
Claire smiled lovingly at her daughter before returning her attention to her ill husband who appeared to be lost in similar direction with parental thoughts of his own. "As for you, Mister, I'll go to the clinic for some cold medicine. You just relax, all right?"
"Yes, Dear," he agreed gratefully, flopping back onto the pillow. Closing his eyes, the headache disappeared until he opened them again. Damn, he thought irritably. He had been planning on visiting Gray to commission a ring as a Starry Night gift for Claire, but with him sick in bed on his wife's orders, there was no way he could place the order today. Just my rotten luck... to catch a cold right before the holidays...
"I'll be back, sweethearts," she called outside the door, sending a chilly breeze into the warm home. He shivered. This is why he had avoided staying anywhere during the winter season. The cold, the wind, and the snow were impossible to avoid in Mineral Town, yet he had chosen to set down roots here. Why couldn't they have moved to Cancun, Bermuda, or Rio?
Of course Kai knew the answer. Claire's whole life was here. She's started up with a farm in near ruins after being raised in the city. When she came here, she knew no one, but during those first years of living in Mineral Town, she made many wonderful friends. Who could ever ask her to leave all of her efforts behind?
He sure as hell couldn't.
"Daddy?" a tiny voice came from beside the bed, out of view.
"What is it, baby doll?"
"Can I come up?"
Kai laughed quietly, lifting her up over the edge to her delight which she let out with a squeal. His little girl looked almost exactly like her mother, save for her eyes. She was everything they could've hoped for although he had never imagined being a father. Travelers normally didn't have families, nor he had to suppose did travelers settle down. As he thought on this, his daughter was busying herself with attempting to tie his bandana.
"What are you doing, silly?" he asked once the purple fabric fell over his eyes to bring him back to the present.
"You look funny without your banana."
He couldn't stifle a chuckle. "My 'banana,' huh?"
Are all kids this adorable? he mused. No, it couldn't be, for only Pearl was this sweet. She had her mother's gentle nature although she had begun to show her father's mischievous side. There would be all kinds of trouble if she grew into a likeness of him. As of now, though, she was a darling girl.
Finally she managed to tie the back. He didn't bother to fix it just yet since she appeared so proud of her accomplishment. Instead, he turned around and pounced her playfully before starting to tickle her.
Pearl fell into a fit of giggles as her daddy wiggled his fingers across her tummy and under her arms. He was the best daddy as far as she was concerned. No one else made Mommy smile like he did, and nobody other than her daddy could make a perfect snow cone...
"Does Daddy's girl want a snow cone?" Her daddy could even read minds!
Though his wife had given him orders to stay in bed, Kai was more than happy to oblige his baby's wishes. Riding piggyback, she happily squirmed trying to contain her excitement as he took her to the kitchen and plopped her on the counter. When he was home, he would spoil her with all sorts of her favorite foods. Both he and Claire were excellent cooks, but he tended to be more lenient with sweets. However, he was sure even Pearl's mother would agree that a snow cone was a harmless treat being that it was nothing more than shaved ice with some juice on top.
"Can you tell Daddy what flavor it is?" he asked, resting his still aching head on his hand.
She thought carefully for a few moments, licking the ice delicately. Finally, there was a sparkle in her eyes as it came to her. "Pineapple!"
"Good job," he congratulated her and ruffled her soft hair. She smiled joyfully from her perch while he began to clean the dishes her mommy had left behind. Mommy was nice to her, but Daddy gave her lots of goodies. Daddy also had the best stories. Her mommy told her that her daddy used to go all over the whole world. Of course, in Pearl's mind, Mineral Town was the world...
Just as she was about to ask her father to tell another of his stories, they heard the door knob start to turn. "Uh ohhhhh," her daddy teased, sweeping his daughter into his arms, "Mommy's gonna be mad if I'm outta bed! How can we make it in time?"
"Fly, Daddy!" Pearl giggled, throwing her arms into the air.
"Of course!" he agreed, flashing an award winning smile. And, being her daddy, Kai did just that. He threw himself and his girl onto the bed just before Claire came inside, trying not to laugh and spoil her husband's moment with their daughter.
"Did you two stay in bed while I was gone?" she mocked with a playfully stern face.
"Yes, Dear," he managed to reply in monotone paired with an emotionless expression.
"Yes, Mommy," the little girl answered, trying to do so the same way as her father though she was clearly starting to giggle.
A flicker of a smile cracked across Claire's lips as she watched Pearl fidget with an urge to fall into the funnies. Her small face was all getting redder and redder before she finally burst. Of course, Kai and his wife couldn't help but join their daughter in her childish mirth. She shed her coat while playing setting the paper bag on the dining room table and shook her head with cheerful wonder.
What on earth do I do with these two? she thought sarcastically. "So, I guess you're feeling better now, hmm?"
"Just a little," he confessed though his headache never had left and he was certain he still had a fever. "Did you get some medicine?"
"I could only get Bodigizer since they don't carry anything for colds. Should I have gotten the other one, Turgabolt?"
"Can't say I really know either way."
"Neither do I..." Claire admitted with a lovely dash of scarlet across her cheeks. "I'm sorry, Kai..."
"Why are you apologizing?" he asked, getting out of bed. Resting a hand on her shoulders, he smiled gently. "You don't always have to say you're sorry, you know."
"I know. You keep telling me that, but it's a habit. Sorry."
He just continued to smile, shaking his head in defeat. He never could break that "sorry" streak of hers, but he was as stubborn about trying to as she was about saying it. "It's all right. I don't mind that much."
"Made you feel better, though," he shot back, taking the prescription into his hand and turning it over. "Do I take it all at once."
"The doctor didn't really say..."
"Geez, Doc, put some effort into your job," he muttered playfully. He had to respect the man for being there when Pearl was brought into the world although Nurse Elli had been the one doing the actual birthing. Odd how Kai's daughter was born nearly four years ago when he felt he had just come to be content with staying put. Having a child really put things in a new perspective. He couldn't continue to travel if it meant leaving his wife and daughter all alone without him. No... It was more like he didn't want to be the one all by himself anymore.
"How about you take a little bit now, and we'll see how you feel later. No sense in getting sicker because you took too much..." his wife offered, snapping him back once again to the present.
Claire plopped onto the soft mass of blankets and pillows watching her husband take a small dose of the medicine. Though he tried to hide it, she saw him wince at the bitter after taste, and a small shiver went down his back.
She pondered vaguely why his bandana appeared off, but she was far more distracted by his other features. Kai wasn't spectacularly tall, nor was he overly muscular. He didn't even have blonde hair. However, he certainly fit the image of the eternal beach boy. His dark, nearly black, hair appeared to have been styled by waves and currents while his skin remained forever tanned. Dressed in his oversized pajama shorts, he looked more like he had been swimming than sleeping only a few hours ago. Whenever his chocolate eyes stole a glance at her, she felt the love haze that fell over her every summer after first meeting him.
"Babe, are you all right?" he asked, his face filled with tender concern.
Replying wearily, "Just tired, I guess."
"So's Pearl," he mentioned, gesturing to a soundly sleeping child snuggled into the blankets behind her. The girl's blonde hair hung like a halo over her angelic features as she whimpered in her dreams. Her white dress draped innocently to the side, revealing a hint of her pink polka-dotted undies. Both of her parents beamed at their precious daughter.
Kai walked over to his wife's side, settling down beside her. They both smiled pleasantly at one another while silently deciding to join her. He gave Claire a blissful kiss before cautiously climbing over Pearl, avoiding waking her from her content slumber. Once under the reassuring blankets, he waiting for the mother of his child to make herself equally comfortable.
As snow gently began to fall outside their cozy home, husband and wife drifted off to sleep once again as the morning began to wane into afternoon. Their hands clasped lovingly over their beautifully dreaming daughter, a sense of warmth settled upon the white dusted farm. And, for the first time in his life, Kai found he had truly come to love winter and all those days spent in a snug home in the quiet little place known as Mineral Town.