Hey, kids! This is a cute and not-so-little fic about how I feel Natsume and Touko's relationship should develop. Because I'm such a sucker for cute "finding where you belong" stories. And so please enjoy my over 3,000 word fic about a woman and a boy and how they become mother and son...
"So I think I'll get her like a card or something and then make dinner for her so she doesn't have to."
"Yeah, I'll probably do something like that too except maybe take her out for dinner cause God knows I can't cook."
"…I think everyone knows that after our home ec class where you set off the fire alarm, oh, about ten times."
Natsume had just come in the conversation that Nishimura and Kitamoto were having and was having a difficult time understanding what they were talking about. Until Kitamoto turned to him and asked, "So are you going to do anything for Touko-san? Cause she's kind of like a mom to you right?"
Natsume blinked. "What?"
Nishimura said, "Y'know for Mother's Day. It's coming up soon and we're just wondering if you're going to do something for Touko-san."
Natsume blinked again. "Sh-should I?"
"Totally!" they both said together.
"So what should I get her?"
Nyanko-sensei looked up at Natsume incredulously. "Why're you asking me? If you want to know what she wants go ask her. Besides I'm quite unaccustomed to your human traditions so I don't know what would be customary."
"Well, I kind of want it to be a surprise…" Natsume sounded a little unsure of himself. "But I wonder if I should even get her a present. I mean, I know she cares for me but I don't know if she'd be comfortable with me getting her something for Mother's Day since she's not exactly my mother."
Natsume blinked at the youkai in front of him. "What?"
"You're debating whether or not to use this term `mother' to describe Touko-san's relationship with you. Obviously you should figure out what the term means to you before you apply it to anyone. So I ask you again: Define `mother'."
Natsume had to pause and think for a little bit. "It's not like I've got a lot to go on here…"
Nyanko-sensei narrowed his eyes. "Then give up and don't think about it anymore." With that he waddled off mumbling something about being hungry and silly humans that waste his time.
"So what is a mother?"
"…Well, someone who gives birth to you…" Natori says trying to be helpful in some way.
"Okay, strike one. What else?"
"Listen, Natsume," replied Natori, clearly trying to hide how flustered he was getting, "I came to knock on your door to see if you'd help me with this exorcism. And while it's great to see that you want to do something nice for Touko-san for taking you in, she's not your mother."
Natsume took a breath to interrupt but Natori kept going.
"She's your guardian. I mean after my parents died, I went through my fair share of foster homes too. And I never got my guardians anything for Mother's Day or Father's Day. So just being the good kid that you are should be enough to show your appreciation for them."
"Y-yeah but…" Natsume began but Natori got him quiet by placing a hand on the kid's head and patted it. They both sighed.
"Natsume, sometimes I think that you're just a little too nice and a little too considerate. It's what's going to get you into trouble some day."
And although Natsume knew Natori was trying to close the conversation, he still persisted. "But say I wanted to get Touko-san something, y'know just because, what would you get her? You met her before."
Natori sighed again. Then smiled at how endearing Natsume's eagerness was. "There's no use arguing with you is there?"
Natsume smiled a little too and said, "No."
Natori chuckled and replied, "Alright then, how about we go shopping together and I'll help you pick out a present for her?"
Natsume's smile slowly vanished and was replaced by a slight scowl. "Shopping? With you? Absolutely not."
"Didn't you want my help only a few seconds ago?"
"Yeah, but whenever we're out in public, you always attract crazy fangirls' attention. So I'd rather go by myself." Natsume said while folding his arms and glancing to the side.
Figures. Natori thought not without a feeling of fondness for Natsume's predictable shyness. "Fine." He finally said. "But maybe you'd be better off asking someone who would know Touko-san pretty well."
"Like her husband?"
Natsume stared at him with a blank expression. Why didn't I think of that?
"So what did you want to talk about, Takashi?"
Natsume shifted nervously. "W-well y'see…" He felt like this was an even worse idea than asking Touko-san herself. Natsume had never really started a conversation with Shigeru Fujiwara before. And he felt sort of self-conscious.
"Uhm… I was thinking that…because Touko-san has been so nice to me-I mean- both of you have been so nice to me by taking me into your home without really knowing me a-and…" Natsume paused for a little bit trying desperately to think of how exactly to say what was on his mind while Shigeru sat back and watched Natsume with an air of patience and gentle reassurance.
"…and I just thought that maybe since Mother's Day was coming up and since she's been the closest thing to a mother that I can remember having," At this Shigeru's eyes widened just a fraction more, "I thought maybe it would be a good idea to show my appreciation by getting her something for Mother's Day."
A rather awkward silence permeated through the room they were sitting in. Shigeru silently considered what Natsume was proposing. He scratched his chin and looked toward the ceiling in obvious contemplation.
"Well, Takashi…" Shigeru began but abruptly stopped when they heard the front door open.
"Shigeru? Are you home yet? Is Takashi home too?"
"Yes, dear. Takashi and I are just having a conversation in the living room." Shigeru answered his wife.
"Oh." Touko said delightedly. She appeared in the doorway with grocery bags filled with ingredients that would more than likely become dinner later that night. And she sported what was to Shigeru the most beautiful smile in the world.
"And what kind of conversation are you two having?" she questioned good-naturedly. She exchanged looks with the both of them. Natsume looked a little nervous and his face was a little flushed. And Shigeru smiled as if knowing a pleasant secret. Natsume also exchanged glances with Shigeru. Then an understanding passed between the two.
Shigeru looked up and smiled at his wife and said, "Oh just manly things, darling. In fact," he turned to Natsume, "why don't we go for a walk, Takashi, while Touko makes dinner?"
Touko's smile became brighter at the thought of the two bonding. She wanted more than anything for her two favorite men in her life to have a good healthy relationship. And she would be even more than esctatic if the two treated each other as a father and son would.
"Well alrighty then boys. Have fun," she said with a smile. "But be sure to be back by seven or else the food'll get cold."
"Takashi," Shigeru began but then paused. He looked across a field of grass and wild flowers that they were currently passing. He then looked up above at the sky where he heard two robins sing to each other. A pretty ditty, he thought to himself. He glanced over at Natsume and found that the boy had followed his gaze towards the birds. He was also met by the pleasant surprise of a content and unguarded smile on Natsume's face. Truly a rare sight on the young man. He'd only see the corners of his lips turned up in a nervous apologetic smile whenever he and Touko had heard those strange noises coming from Natsume's room.
He then considered how worried he was about the boy. He figured it was natural for the boy to not really open up because of the lack of consistency in his life but that didn't stop him from wishing that Natsume would one day let all of his barriers down and share with him and Touko a smile, a laugh, a "family" moment. Which brought his thinking back to the task at hand.
"Takashi," he began again. The golden haired boy turned his matching golden eyes to his foster parent. Shigeru could see in his eyes that the boy had been through a lot more than he could ever possibly perceive. "when Touko and I first got married, one of the first things we talked about was having children." He paused briefly remembering from days past that same conversation on an autumn day. He remembered distinctly that they had had apple dumplings for dessert which were their favorites.
He continued, "We never really knew if we were quite ready to have children at that time because we had just settled here in this town and I was just starting my job. The pay was more than enough for us both to live off of but we weren't quite sure if it was enough for us and two children," he turned to Natsume with a smile and added, "because that's how many we wanted. A boy and a girl."
He paused to view Natsume's reaction. It was a reflection of Shigeru's own smile and a nod of the head. Shigeru continued, "But since my boss seemed to like me well enough, in a couple of years I had gotten two promotions and five pay raises. Then Touko and I were quite certain that we could support the children we longed to have." He paused again. This time remembering not pleasant memories, but memories he sometimes wished he'd forget.
It must have shown in his demeanor because after a few seconds he heard Natsume's voice. "Shigeru-san? Are you alright?" The boy's questioning was timid but full of understanding that was rare for a boy his age. Shigeru was even more convinced now that Natsume had been through his share of ordeals more than ever before.
He turned and smiled at the boy. "Yes, I'm quite alright Takeshi." After a few breaths to unscramble his thoughts and to tell the difficult part of the story with as much composure as he could muster, he went on. "We tried and tried but no matter what Touko's pregnancy tests would always come up negative. We had tried for a couple of months but then she started to worry. She wanted to get tested by the doctor to see why she couldn't get pregnant." Heartache wove itself in between his words as he said, "It was the day after Mother's Day when the doctor called with the results." His eyes moistened as he remembered with fondness and so much love for his wife, "She was out planting pink tulips. She had always said that it was never spring without tulips." Shigeru could feel Natsume's young eyes on his old tired face. He went on without much of a waver in his voice, "The doctor had wanted to talk to Touko directly first because I suppose she felt it impacted Touko the most."
"I had quietly waited inside as I could hear her murmuring outside. It had felt like hours but when she had finally come in it had taken only fifteen or so minutes." He paused to clear his throat afraid that too much of his feelings had let themselves known through his voice. "She came in with an unbearably blank expression on her face. She looked so much older than when the day had begun. She quietly handed me the phone without really looking at me and went upstairs into our bedroom. I talked to the doctor and she said that Touko has something called endometriosis which is a condition that causes infertility. Later I went to check on Touko in our room, and found her crying."
He heard Natsume inhale and paused. After he was sure that he wasn't going to say anything, Shigeru continued with a great deal of difficulty, "Touko…never mentioned it again. But every spring after… she never planted tulips again."
Shigeru looked over to the boy that they had taken in. Biologically they weren't closely related but he wanted to believe that this boy could bring even more joy to him and his wife than they could have ever imagined them having after receiving the heart breaking news. He wanted to believe that Natsume could be the son he never had.
The boy looked at him with pure sympathy and perhaps empathy. Shigeru smiled at his foster son and gently reached out and placed a hand on his head, a gesture that he wasn't sure until now was appropriate for their relationship. "Takashi, if you were to do something for her on Mother's Day, I'm sure her heart would soar."
Natsume lay in his bed after dinner thinking about everything that Shigeru had told him. He thought about the happy married couple when he first met them. He'd never guessed that they had gone through something so terrible. He remembered wondering why they didn't have children but he had thought that maybe they just didn't want any.
He thought about Touko and how she was always so happy to see him, how she was always ready to listen to him whenever he chose to share something with her. He tried to block out an image of that kind face with tears leaking out of her eyes over something that she couldn't change.
He then thought he never wants to see her reduced to such a state. He always wanted to be there for her. But he didn't want to be there for her like some charity case who felt like he owed her for taking him in. He wanted to be there for her as someone who was a part of her life. Someone who belonged with her to comfort her when she needed it. He wanted to be her son.
Touko sighed happily and wiped sweat out of her face but careful to use the back of her hands. Working in her garden all morning left her hands all dirty. It was a lovely day in May and the sun was shining and she couldn't help but smile.
She heard footsteps on the grass coming up behind her. She turned around and was more than happy to see Natsume walking toward her with that fat cat walking beside him. She smiled genuinely at him and said, "Takashi, how was school?"
"Fine." He said shortly. She wasn't really expecting anything more from the fairly reserved boy but he seemed to be holding something behind his back. Touko had always been a curious person and it was all she could do to help herself to give Natsume his privacy when those strange sounds came out of his room. So she couldn't help but ask, "Takashi, what have you got behind your back?"
The boy's face flushed and he looked down at his shoes and mumbled something. Touko thought it was just about the cutest thing. She smiled and said to him gently, "Takashi, I'm not getting any younger and these old ears of mine aren't either. Please speak up so I can hear you."
The boy looked up at her with a look of embarrassment and shuffled a little closer. He took a breath and said, "Touko-san?"
"Did you know that it's Mother's Day?"
She felt a dull pain close to her heart, like a scar that hasn't quite healed. She ignored the feeling and responded as cheerfully as she could, "Oh? Is it? Dear me seems as though I've forgotten."
She detected a flash of worry in Natsume's eyes. "Umm… remember when Shigeru-san and I went out for a walk?"
"Yes. I think it's wonderful when you two bond."
"We were talking about Mother's Day and about you and about me. A-and I was asking Shigeru if it would be a good idea if…" he paused, and he was obviously nervous. "If maybe I could get you something for Mother's Day and he said that you'd appreciate it so I got you these and I thought we could plant them together."
From behind his back, Natsume held out a pot of yellow tulips. Practically the same color as the boy's hair and eyes.
Touko couldn't find her words for what seemed like ages. Finally she said, "But, Takashi, why on Mother's Day?" She had an inkling of what Natsume was trying to say but she wanted to make sure so false hope wouldn't get the better of her.
The boy flushed a little more and said in a barely audible voice, "Because you've been the closest thing to a mother that I've ever had. And I think that I'm the closest thing you've had to a son." Slowly gaining confidence, his voice became louder with each word until he was back to regular speaking volume as he said, "But I want you to bemy mom. And I want to beyour son."
Almost immediately following those words, Touko wrapped her arms around Natsume. She didn't know what else to do. She was so happy she could feel tears streaming out of her eyes. She felt the smaller boy sigh in relief as he put a hand on her back in an attempt at a hug.
Did they stand there like that for a few minutes? A few hours? Touko didn't care. She was just so unbelievably happy that Natsume had accepted her into his life like this.
But after awhile she pulled away from the hug and looked at Natsume.
The boy was pale and thin which would've looked terribly unhealthy on anyone else. But Touko couldn't help but think that with that kind smile and those understanding eyes he was the handsomest boy in the world.
She laughed at how sentimental she was being and said, "Takashi. Look at us acting so silly. Let's go plant those flowers you got for me shall we?"
Natsume laughed with her and said, "Of course." He paused, then said with a sweet smile, "Did you know, Touko-san, that it's never spring without tulips?"
Touko smiled knowingly at her foster son and said, "I've always known that Takashi. But I think along the way I've forgotten it."
As a side-note endometriosis is a very real disease. I didn't make it up. but I did sort of make up that a woman who has endometriosis can't get treatment so that she can have kids. But pretend that she couldn't get the treatment. Because she couldn't... I don't know she just couldn't. So tell me what you think about it. be mean be nice whatever. *kisses*