Author's Note: It lives! I swear that this series has been haunting me in my sleep because every time I try to go to bed, I actually start asking myself when I'll ever get back to it. Well, better now than never, I suppose.
"You ready? Be sure to write it all down now, okay? I don't want you to forget anything while I'm gone, you understand?"
"For the millionth time, babe, I got this!" her husband protested in the open doorway. He never could've guessed his wife would be this uptight about today since he felt it was rather unjust for her to treat him in such a hurtful way. It wasn't like he was irresponsible or anything...
"I know, Rock, I know, but I need to be sure," she insisted. Her violet eyes were full of uncertainty and doubt while she began rattling off something or other about emergency numbers or some such. To be honest, he'd shut out her nagging voice as soon as she said his name. Were all women this bad? Maybe... After all, if he remembered correctly, Lumina was just about as impatient with. What he couldn't understand was why... "Are you even trying to listen?"
"Of course I'm listening!" he shot back. "Come on, Jill. I can handle it."
Reluctantly, the young mother looked her husband over. He didn't even look the part of a husband, let alone a father. Here she was running her family's farm, but he was anything but the farming sort. What with his white pants, matching vest, bell-sleeved blue and yellow shirt, and his tacky medallion she had to ask herself how in the Goddess's name she ended up with the blonde, brown-eyed wonder. Then again, that's what nearly everyone had asked on numerous occasions... including Takakura, her father's old friend and partner. And the boy's parents... and...
"What is it you see in him anyway?"
"Huh?" she asked, drawn out of the same thought. However, when she glanced over her shoulder, she realized Rock had been the one to ask. With a reluctant sigh, she decided to hear him out for once. "In who?"
"Bushy-brow, of course!" he replied with a cheeky grin.
"He has a name..." she groaned irritably. She was quite found of the older man, so much as to think of him as a father, and yet her husband couldn't be thoughtful enough to remember the poor fellow's name. What was a poor wife to do?
"I know he has a name because everyone does," Rock replied smartly, brushing away his long bangs. "It's just about the only craze that hasn't gone out of fashion!"
Although Jill didn't want to falter, she had to giggle at his logic. He really could be witty if he put his mind to it, and when it happened, albeit rarely, she was reminded briefly how she had come to love him. So what if he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed? She couldn't deny she had a good time every now and again, and that made the marriage fun, like a permanent friendship of some crazy sort.
The young man smiled, kissing his wife on her nose. Yeah, she wasn't the best looking girl in the valley with her old jeans and ratty t-shirts, either, but he loved her enough to show him a blue feather. Even his ever doubtful mother couldn't argue with that.
"So I'll take care of the squirt while you and what's-his-name go to town, right?" he asked, trying to reassure her that he at least knew what he was doing. Although he wouldn't deny he was a bunch of trouble for her, he really was trying his best to be a good husband and father for his family. He wasn't the providing sort, but he'd do his best to keep things together. It was important for him to make the young woman laugh, too, you know.
"You promise to take good care of Brendon?" she pleaded, taking his tanned hand into her gloved one and giving it a gentle squeeze. She knew she had to trust him... despite how hard that was at times. What was most important was that he cared. Right?
"No worries, babe!" he replied jovially, giving her another kiss.
"All right," she relented with another sigh. "I'll be back home before six, so don't worry about dinner!" she called while running to catch up with Takakura. She could only hope their house would still be standing by the time she came home that evening... With that one thought, suddenly her mind was beginning to flood with all sorts of terrible outcomes. Maybe I shouldn't go... No, he said he was on top of things! Still... Oh my goddess, what if the cows get out?
The first half hour went well, or so Rock thought, anyway. It wasn't like the kid did much these days except for follow behind his mother while she did her daily chores. As long as he kept him inside, there shouldn't be a problem anyway. He mused that it would probably be the best way to keep the child out of trouble until his wife came home, and maybe he'd get a nap out of the deal, too. After all, why should kids be the only ones to get the opportunity for a midday snooze?
Just as he leaned back on the large bed, though, he felt a slight tug on his vest. He only cracked open an eye to see his son gazing up at him with wide, chocolate orbs, and while he considered just rolling over and ignoring him, he figured that there might be a chance he'd live to regret it.
Especially if Jill found out...
"What is it, squirt?" he asked with a groan, scratching the back of his and yawning. The boy only stared for a time before a wide, grin stretched across his face. His father raised an eyebrow, but he didn't say anything for a moment. "Well?"
"Daddy play?" Brendon replied sweetly, glancing down at his blue booties sheepishly. However, his blonde hair, exactly like Rock's, fell into his face while he did so.
"We need your mom to give you a hair cut, buddy," Rock chuckled as he mussed it up a bit. He could probably do it himself although the thought didn't really appeal to him all that much, and with that, he shrugged it off completely. Why worry about something like that? It wasn't like he had to be responsible for everything today, and even if he was, he knew his wife could handle it on her own. She never liked him to deal with anything involving sharp objects anyway...
"So what do you want to play?" he continued, picking up the small fry. However, once he did so, a certain... smell wafted under his nose which made him screw up his face in disgust. "Man, what does she feed you?" he gasped as he fell into a coughing fit.
"Dear goddess..." the young man breathed as he stepped out from the bathroom with his eyes wide and watering. "I am not going to let her feed you anymore of that any time soon," he moaned, shaking his head in agony. He was silent for a moment, but his son merely continued to gaze up at him. The boy had shoved his thumb into his mouth and was twirling a lock of his hair while he waited for his father to open his mouth again. His mother had always said his daddy didn't know how to keep it closed, and from what he could tell at two, she was right. "No more corn, either..." he added with a shiver.
"I like peas," Brendon sniffed before popping his thumb back into his mouth. Even though he didn't say anything more, his expression was certainly ugly. His nearly invisible eyebrows were furrowed with thought, and his cheeks were puffed up in a childish pout.
"Well, it's just that they don't like you," Rock explained with a heavy sigh. "Now how about you watch some TV, so Daddy can take a nap, huh?" he asked, already nudging the toddler towards the television set. However, his son wanted nothing to do with it seemed since he was trying his best to dig his heels into the floor.
"Noooo!" the child cried, struggling against his father's gentle nudges. "I don't wanna watch TB!"
"But your favorite's shows on," he insisted, trying to chuckle. When he turned it on, though, there only seemed to be a fishing special taking place and a rerun at that. Even so, he remained undeterred despite that his son's eyes were brimming with tears. "Now sit here and watch the fishes, okay?"
At first it seemed as thought the young boy was going to protest, but then he seemed to think better of it although there was a hint of mischief in his eyes. This went completely unnoticed by his father, of course. He didn't even see the sheers resting on the end table which his wife had apparently forgotten. Satisfied, Rock simply left the child to watch the program, and not a minute after laying back down on the bed, his shoes still on, he was soon fast asleep and snoring lightly.
Maybe he'd get lucky and the brat would be sleeping, too...
"Honey, I'm..." Just as Jill was about to call out for her husband, she found him peacefully snoozing on their bed with his hair tussled in all different directions, much to her amusement. Well that's not surprising, she thought airily while she crept into the room. However, to her surprise, everything was still in order. The books were still on the shelves, and even though their son's toys were scattered about, the place was more or less how she'd left it. She sighed in relief, and she went so far as to scold herself for ever doubting the boy's father. He wasn't so useless, after all.
Would you look at this, she mused once she came over to the bedside. Cradled in Rock's arms was their child, his angelic face resting with a small smile on his face, and as if he knew he had an audience, he snuggled in closer to his father. She simply smiled, but when she sat down on the bed, it turned into a frown. Something was amiss although she couldn't quite put her finger on it right then.
It came to her soon enough, however.
She realized that she didn't remember putting the little boy's hat on that morning... unless her husband had done so after she left. She'd been planning on cutting Brendon's hair upon returning since she knew that Brendon hated having his hair in his eyes all the time. Still, even with the cap on his head, she knew that there should've been some of his blonde locks poking out from underneath it, or at least some sign of any at all.
Out of curiosity, she pushed back her son's hat, and almost immediately after she'd done so, her violet eyes were wide with shock to find that the poor child was almost bald, save for a few tuffs of yellow fluff he and there. His head looked like a chick that had begun to molt she realized to her horror.
"Damn it, Rock, he cut off his own hair!"
Author's Note: He he... Who could forget that childhood memory?
Well, I know it's a little disjointed, but after all this time fiddling with it, starting over, and the like, Rock's one-shot is done. Now... onto Gustafa's (which should be much easier for me).