Title: Apples

Rating: FRK
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or situations that are familiar to you
Spoilers: 101-110 maybe...
Summary: Oneshot. Patrick picks up a certain chick in a parking lot.

The sun is warm, the sky is blue, and the wind is moderate, like it always is in California, and Patrick soaks it all in as he sits on his bike in the Padua parking lot.

It's just after 3:30 and the lot is jam-packed with a bunch of teenagers and cars; not a good combination if you ask him, but he sits slouched over the bike's handlebars and watches the chaos with a form of detachment he's perfected since the age of 8.

The buses are lined up in front of the school and students either pile aboard in excitement over the coming weekend, or relief that their studies are over until Monday.

There are girls giggling with other girls as the line up for those buses, and guys, two or three at a time, exiting the school grounds on foot for a walk home. There are some students who reluctantly get into cars driven by their parents, and some who stand and survey the grounds looking for said parents.

There's a girl with braids carrying a saxophone case onto a bus, and a kid dressed like a punk getting into a half-decent looking Neon, with a mother behind the wheel giving the apparent son an unimpressed, 'I'd wish you'd pull up your pants before they're down around your ankles.'

Patrick chuckles to himself as he vaguely watches the antics. There's so much to see in the span on five minutes, and none of it interesting, but what else is he to do while he waits?

She's not outside yet, but she will be in about two minutes.

Casually eying the students as they exit the school, Patrick taps his thumbs to the Mellencamp from his ear buds.

In his peripherals, he notices the occasional girl pass by and double-take, turning her head to regard the cool stranger. It's been quite some time since he's been ogled quite like this, but these girls are unaware, or unperturbed, that he's taken.

And besides, he's too old for them, but that doesn't stop the ones seeking some sort of thrill.

The subtle ones glances covertly under their eyelashes and shyly tuck strands of hair behind their ears, while the more bold ones, the ones with more makeup who try and look older stare openly, hanging off their equally curious boyfriends' arms.

Yes, that's right. Guys stare at him too, but for different reasons.

He's a man among the boys, that much is obvious, with his leather and his bike and his perpetual waft of smug confidence. They're probably taking notes and wondering how the hell he does it - whatever it is - just sitting there minding his own business. Too bad for them, it's not something one learns. You either have it, or you don't.

He vaguely acknowledges them, and gives a casual smirk that somehow manages to convey a 'Hey, how you doing? How 'bout this weather?' and 'No thanks, move along,' all in the same look, before forgetting about them completely and resumes tapping his thumbs against the bike's handlebars.

From his parking stall, he can see a couple kiss uncoordinatedly as they say goodbye, both getting on the opposite bus and getting snickered at by their friends. 'Ah young love...' Patrick muses to himself and rolls his eyes.

The Mellencamp in his ears begins to fade and is replaced by Tom Petty, who was undoubtedly drunk and stoned when he wrote most of his classics. It's neither here nor there, but it was always the vibe he got while listening to the oldies. Hendrix, Fogarty, Ozzy, and Petty, to name a few braincell-less geniuses.

Speaking of geniuses, a couple boys of the Geek persuasion, pass by and kind of give a wide berth around him. It's nice to see that he hasn't lost his touch, but really, what's there to be scared about? Not that he minds, but a bunch of gullible kids will believe anything. He guesses the fact that he's wearing leather, got a bike, and looking at everything like he is less than impressed gives off the dangerous type, but he never admitted, or denied for that matter, doing all the things he was said to have done. Why ruin the allusion? Besides, he knows of a girl who kinda likes it.

Tapping his foot to Petty's 'Refugee', he continues to look around the parking lot. A couple boys are skateboarding around front flowerbed and getting stared down by the Vice Principal, a man that students, apparently, refer to as 'The Suit', with a dark blazer and slacks and shades that make him look more Men In Black, than VP. He seems cool.

Watching as the skateboarders move along, Patrick moves his attention to the front entrance, where, wouldn't you know it, there she is, beautiful brunette, military style pack hanging over a shoulder.

He's seen a lot of pretty girls in his rather short life - the ones who dream of being models or singers or arm-candy to someone higher on the food chain - been with quite a few of them too, but very few come even close to having the simplistic beauty that she has.

She's not made up, or fake, or even cares one iota about what she looks like and how people perceive her. She marches to the beat of her own drum, and he'll admit it, he's proud, even if that beat is a little hard to follow sometimes.

He watches as she surveys the parking lot offhandedly, and smiles brightly as she spots him, her dark strands dancing in the wind with every step.

Sometimes, when she's not looking, he just likes to watch her, examining her nuances, and pinpointing exactly what she got from which parents' genes. She's like her dad in a few aspects, protective of who she cares about and has a sarcastic streak when you really set her off, but everything else, her studiousness, her continual desire to learn, and her fight for what's right, it's all mom.

She's a fabulous human being who just happens to be breathtaking, and he thanks her mother every day, 'cause she sure as hell doesn't get it from her dad.

Taking out his earplugs, he slips the Ipod into his jacket as she makes her approach.

"Hey dad."

Smirking at the astonished students within hearing range who are pretending to not be astonished, Patrick, 37, smiles fondly at the 11 year old.

"Hey kid, fun day at school?" he asks, knowing Natalie will just roll her eyes and look at him disdainfully for asking such an inane question that he, really, already knows the answer to.

She doesn't disappoint him and rolls her eyes, "If you consider being surrounded by idiots fun, then yes. Where's mom?"

"At a conference," her dad replies, not bothered why she questioned his presence when her mother usually picks her up while he works till dinner. "You know, go green or find another planet to ruin."

"Oh, that reminds me!" His daughter says, marginally more enthused than she usually is, her eyes going wide with wonder at her own awesomeness. "I'm want to start a green system, like for compost and that. Instead of putting fruits and stuff in the garbage, you get?"

Patrick nods and marvels at how Kat and his composted apple didn't fall far from the tree, "Mom'll like that. I'm sure she'd love to help."

"That's the thing..." Nat says, (yes, she has heard the comparison of Nat, Kat and Pat, thank you very much) curling her lip in guilt, "I kinda want to do it myself. I was gonna do it for that Social Science project..."

"Two birds, one stone," Patrick agrees, thankful that his daughter inherited Kat's studious manner, and not his. He was a fine student, but bored easily.

"She wont mind?"

Patrick shakes his head as Natalie pulls out riding gloves from the pockets of her padded jacket, "She'll just be happy you're showing some initiative."

Natalie scrunches up her forehead, "What's that?"

"Doing something without being told to," Patrick clarifies, scooting forward on the bike a bit, while Nat slips her backpack's other strap over her shoulder.

Trying to figure out her newest 'big people' word, the youth cocks her head to the side, "Like when you make supper when mom's working?"

Patrick chuckles, knowing that while he excels in certain dishes, you just can't beat Kat's cooking. (Though she likes to remind him that her place, as a modern day woman, is definitely not in the kitchen.)

"That's more of keeping you alive, but yeah, I guess it works."

"Initiative...cool," Natalie smiles, pleased at her understanding, moving closer to the bike.

"Helmet," Patrick says holding out the object in question. Natalie takes it with no comment, knowing the tone used means the instruction is nonnegotiable (mom would most definitely kill them both if she weren't wearing it) and puts it on, before bracing her small hands on his shoulders and situates herself on the bike, her petite feet supported by the bike's rear foot pegs.

In front of her, Patrick waits to see her 'thumbs up' gesture in his side mirror and feel her arms lock around his waist, before he starts the bike and coasts out the parking lot.

He should pick up girls in parking lots more often.

Author's Note: I don't know if I see Patrick in a fatherly mode, but this sure was fun to write! ~ I think I think too highly of Patrick ;) ~ Yes, Patrick is way too old for school girls, but that never stopped me. I find much older men appealing, therefore, these girls do too ~ I checked, it's legal for Natalie to be on the bike. ~ I've worn bike gear before, some jackets are indeed padded. ~ Kat is something to do with helping people. No idea what. Pick one ~ It's been so long since I was an 11 year old, I have no idea how one talks. She seems too mature... ~ I was half way done writing this when I figured out that Nat was too young to be surrounded by older teenagers at school, so I decided to make her attend a middle school, where, in my experience, the ages went from 11/12-14/15. ~ The Vice is modeled after the VP at my school. His name was Mr. Sydor, and we all called him The Suit because he always wore a dark suit and shades. He was awesome. ~ Do you have ANY idea how difficult it was to think of a name for Verona!spawn? Insanely difficult! Nothing goes with Verona except Patrick! Ugh! And I didn't want anything girly, that ended in an A or started in a K or P. Impossible! ~ Wow, my A/N is practically longer than my fic...