Title: Ordinary Lives
Genre: Family/Romance/Humor/Drama/Drama/Drama/Drama/LEFTOVER CAKE/Drama/Drama/Drama…
Summary: Ordinary, not because we are, but because these things occur every day.
Disclaimer: Why can't we just tell a funny story to college Admissions Offices and they admit us based on which ones make them laugh the most? Man, I hate college apps.
It occurred to Dojima one day that he was probably just the slightest bit awkward when it came to dealing with kids, teens, preteens, young adults, and anyone else under the age of twenty-one. The first tip off that day was when his daughter, Nanako walked into his room and asked if she looked alright. It had come to his attention that she liked a certain classmate and needed everyone's approval in the house on her outfits before she would even consider leaving for school. Dojima hadn't known what to say, so he told her she looked the same as she had every day. Nanako had looked at him as though he were crazy and sauntered off to find Souji.
The second hint that came to his conclusion of "youth caring ineptitude" as Adachi coined it, was the way Souji stared at him when he tried to make a joke to lighten the eerie silences that often accompanied breakfast when Nanako was at a friend's for the weekend. It was a blank stare. Not all that different from Souji's normal expressions, but with significantly less emotion that even Dojima could tell. Either that or he was paranoid.
The third occurred just that afternoon. Dojima happened to have the day off, so he was home when Souji and Nanako walked through the front door.
"Hi, Dad!" Nanako exclaimed, giving her father a hug before running up the stairs to her room. Souji set his things by the kitchen table and took a seat.
"I'm home, Dojima-san."
"Hm. Welcome, home."
Souji looked hesitant for a moment before speaking again. "Do you mind if some friends come over tomorrow?"
Dojima frowned, experienced eyes not missing his nephew's reluctance. "It's fine. Should I mind?"
Souji shook his head, silver hair tousling with each shake and then settling when he stopped. "No. But about…" he paused to count on his fingers, "About four people are coming and they want to have a sort of cooking contest. I wasn't sure if you would be okay with all the noise they are going to make."
Dojima nodded and picked up the paper lying to the side and opened it. "So long as you clean up afterwards, I'm okay with it."
Souji breathed a sigh of relief, but didn't seem to relax. After another moment of tense silence, Dojima set his paper down and studied Souji silently, growing impatient when his nephew didn't answer.
"Well? What is it?"
Souji frowned. "When will you be home tomorrow, Dojima-san?"
"After eleven I believe, why?"
Souji seemed to wither at his answer. "Nevermind." He murmured. Dojima felt a flash of irritation at his response. He never did like half-questions left unasked and unanswered. He reached over and placed a hand on Souji's folded ones atop the table. He leaned forward and looked Souji in the eyes. He tried to make his face seem earnest and open so that Souji would feel he could talk to Dojima about anything. The affect was the opposite of what he desired. Souji flinched away and withdrew his hands almost immediately. Then, realizing what he'd done, his cheeks reddened slightly. He didn't look up, but stared at the table. The atmosphere in the room quickly made a turn for awkward and Dojima, still unsure of what he'd done wrong, found the tabletop suddenly more appealing than facing his nephew. Maybe it was the look on his face?
"Are you fighting?"
Dojima looked up at his daughter who had walked to the table without him or his nephew noticing. She folded her arms and looked accusingly between the two.
"No, Nanako. We're not fighting."
Souji shook his head in confirmation. Nanako's eyes narrowed and huffed, completely unconvinced. She lifted her nose in the air and looked down on them.
"Kiss and make up."
Dojima blinked and expressed his surprise in the most eloquent way possible. "What?"
Nanako frowned. "You and Nii-chan have to kiss and make up Dad."
"Why?" Souji wanted to know, effectively voicing the question Dojima was too surprised to utter.
"It was on TV the other day. When people fight, they have to kiss and make up. That's the way to make hurt feelings better." She replied.
"I think that only applies to lovers, Nanako-chan."
Nanako tilted her head slightly. "Don't you love Dad?"
Souji frowned. "Well, yes, but—
"Then there's no problem right?"
"Nanako, what he means is—
Nanako interrupted her father, showing an aggression that Dojima thought was dormant, if there at all. "Souji, Dad. Kiss and make up." Her brown stare was hard as flint and biting as if telling the both of them that she would hate them forever if they so much as tried to escape.
Dojima glanced at Souji and was surprised to see his nephew gazing back at him, expression unreadable. Dojima sighed, stood and walked around Nanako to Souji, unwilling to drag out the awkward of an already awkward atmosphere. He stood over Souji, who was watching him silently and leaned down, pressing his lips to his nephew's forehead. He stayed motionless for one second and then pulled away. To Nanako he scowled.
Nanako's eyes glittered with satisfaction, her pigtails bobbing as she nodded excitedly. Dojima turned back to Souji and found that his nephew was studying the tabletop once again, expression indecipherable.
"Souji?" he called hesitantly. Nanako hummed in the background as she removed pots from the cabinets in preparation for dinner.
"I was going to ask you to be the judge."
Souji looked up. "I was going to ask you to be the judge. Of the cooking contest my friends are having tomorrow. I didn't want to subjugate Nanako to whatever concoctions they conjure up."
"But it's okay to poison me?" Dojima asked with a wry smile.
Souji grinned at that and the tension in the air dissipated a little. Dojima placed a hand on Souji's head and ruffled his hair. "I'll see if I can come home earlier tomorrow, but I can't make any promises."
Souji nodded. "Thank you." He smiled, making Dojima feel less of a failure at interacting with younger individuals.
Souji and Dojima said nothing else after that. They watched Nanako as she sang while cooking, joining in occasionally. It was only after Souji stood to help her set the table and the feeling of warmth left his palm did Dojima realize he'd forgotten to move his hand.
(A/N: The Persona 3 Soundtrack is awesome! \(^x^\ )