A.N: Another Ushio X Tomoya fic! Man, these Clannad stories just keep on coming!

So, yes, the question of why Tomoya still has his wedding ring is answered! I believe this is what his answer would be if Ushio ever asked him. You know, she's pretty intuitive for a five-year-old.

I just wanted to explore Tomoya's reasons for putting his ring back on, cuz I remember there would be some scenes where they would show it on his finger and so then my mind got to wondering and this fic was born!

- It's set sometime before Ushio gets sick and after Tomoya adopts her and all that jazz.

-3/13/2013 RE-EDIT: I always felt I ended this story too soon, but could never figure out the right way to end it, till now. Just needed to add more fluff and bonding. Cuz, we don't get enough of it in the show. Teehee!


Ushio snuggled down into her blankets, clutching tightly to her green Dango plushie, the stuffed toy was a requirement for bedtime in their house.

Tomoya settled in beside her, and as was now yet another bedtime ritual, softly sang the Big Dango Family song to her.

When he finished singing, he yawned tiredly and bid his daughter good night.

As he was just about to turn over and find a more comfortable sleeping position, a tiny hand shot out and placed itself in between him and Ushio. It was her subtle way of saying she wanted to hold hands, sometimes she liked to fall asleep holding his hand. It wasn't routine like their other bedtime things; she only did once in a blue moon. He figured it must be some kind of comfort thing for her.

Tomoya accepted Ushio's invitation and took her small hand in his. She grinned up at him, he returning it with a small sleepy smile of his own.

Her amber brown eyes landed on their clasped hands, she noting the silver wedding band around his finger, as it glinted in the moonlight that beamed down on them through the sliding glass doors.

Ushio squeezed his hand and asked, "Daddy?"

"Hmm? What is it, Ushio?" he mumbled, he'd almost been asleep; he could just barely register her words.

"Why . . . why do you still have your wedding ring?" she asked. "Cause, Mommy isn't here anymore," she finished quietly. It was the one thing that she had never quite understood about her father. It puzzled her that he would bear that ring, even though Nagisa was long gone. It didn't make sense to her.

That snapped Tomoya fully awake. "Oh, well . . ." he trailed off, trying to absorb her question and also come up with a response. He'd never quite been able to answer that question himself. All he knew was that when Ushio was brought back into his life, he felt the urge to wear his wedding ring. He'd replaced it back on his hand soon after he adopted her.

Now, he had to try and explain something he barely even understood, to a five-year-old.

"Well, it's like . . . it's like . . ." Tomoya sighed, grasping for an explanation that Ushio would understand. His navy blue eyes darted around the room, as if the household objects and appliances would grant an answer for him, but then they brightened as they landed upon Ushio's Dango plushie.

"You know when you play with the Dangos? And, then you feel close to Mommy?"

The child nodded, clutching the toy to her chest with her free hand.

"Well, my wedding ring is a way I can feel close to Mommy. Because . . ." he sighed, "I still love her, Ushio . . . even though she's gone. Even though I tried to deny I ever loved her for awhile. I know, now, that I'll never love anyone else as long as I live, not the way I loved, Nagisa," his voice cracked as he uttered her name and tears swam in his eyes, clouding his vision.

"Every time I look at my ring, I'm reminded of Mommy and all of the great times we had together. When she and I were in high school and when we were dating and then we got married and . . . you know? Every day she would cook dinner for me. Every time I came home from work, she was always there, waiting for me," Tomoya said, lost in fond memories. "When I was with her, privileged enough to be her husband; it was the greatest time of my life. I loved working and providing for her. Her smile for me at the end of the day made it all worth it. I . . . I never thought someone like her could ever love a mess like me," he finished quietly, almost as if that last sentence was an afterthought. Tears were running freely unchecked down his face, now.

Ushio stayed quiet for a few moments, contemplating and digesting his words. But, her first problem were her father's tears, she was saddened that he was crying. Then, she brightened with an idea to make him feel better.

She pushed her Dango plushie across to him, "Here, Daddy. It still smells like Mommy and it always makes me feel better to smell it. You try," she smiled eagerly, hopeful.

Tomoya accepted the stuffed toy with a grateful, yet watery smile. He took it in his hands and pushed it up to his face, breathing in Nagisa's familiar scent. He closed his eyes and sighed. The last time he remembered doing this was when he'd visited Nagisa's old bedroom, when he'd finally adopted Ushio as his own. (1)

Somehow, the pressing of his face into the Dango toy stilled Tomoya's tears. Suddenly, flashes of memory began to roll through his mind.

There was Nagisa, singing the Big Dango Family song as she created that first Drama Club sign, when she and he were first starting to revive the club, shortly after they'd met.

Nagisa, performing her one woman play at the school Founder's Day Festival and ending her performance with the Big Dango Family song.

Nagisa, happily singing the Big Dango Family song- yet again -as she made dinner for the both of them, stirring a pot of soup at the stove.

It'd been five years since her death, and Tomoya still ached for Nagisa every day since Ushio had been born.

But then, Ushio . . . somehow she made his heartache better, more bearable. Instead of throwing salt into the gaping wound in his heart, like he had originally thought she would, Ushio was more like a soothing balm that helped him to smile and laugh and enjoy life to the fullest. Something he hadn't been able to do for five long years.

Maybe that was the real reason he had decided to put his wedding ring back on, because he still had a promise to keep to Ushio . . . and to Nagisa, as well. To love and protect their daughter; to be a father and mother for her, all rolled into one.

He knew that he should have been in Ushio's life these past five years, but he had been frightened that it would hurt too much to be around her, to even look at her. Tomoya had never even given his daughter a chance, giving her up to Akio and Sanae on the very night of her birth. He'd wanted nothing to do with Ushio after Nagisa's death. When they had brought her over for visits- he could never bring himself to actually go to the Furukawa's, there were too many memories there that he wanted desperately to forget -in a futile attempt at family bonding, he'd hardly give Ushio a sparing glance. He was too afraid of what he might find in her all too familiar face.

But then, his outlook on Ushio had changed on that fateful trip, planned out by Sanae. He realized that she was nothing more than a lonely little girl, who had never known her parents, and was in need of her father.

And since when did Tomoya ever turn his back on someone who needed him?

Now, his life was back on track and he was right where he needed to be, taking care of Ushio.

Yes, he had a promise to keep after all.

Tomoya sniffed, his tears stilled and hope restored as he pulled his face out of the plushie and grinned at Ushio, who was waiting patiently for such a smile.

"All better, Daddy?"

"Yeah, sweetie, Daddy's all better, now," he gave the Dango back to her.

"Good," she nodded, proud of a job well done.

As Ushio reached out for his hand again, Tomoya surprised her by pulling her into the circle of his arms, their faces mere breaths apart, the plushie in between them. He leaned forward and kissed her forehead, "I love you, Shio." As the words left his lips, it suddenly struck him that he'd never told her that before.

The smile that split her face was brighter than the sun, and she eagerly planted a sloppy kiss on his cheek, "Love you, Daddy."

With that, they finally settled into sleep, Tomoya making a mental note, before he drifted off, that snuggling should be made into another bedtime ritual.

A.N: I love writing for Clannad, it has me fall in love with the characters that much more. Just when I think I can't possibly adore this show even more than I already do, which is like, Starfish Mode people, I write something fluffy and my feels explode. Specially, the father/daughter fluff, that kills me the most.

1) That scene is in Episode 19 of Clannad After Story.