Sooo.. I don't even know if anyone is going to read this. But just in case someone does this is a one shot essentially inspired by me attending my sister's talent show, which was pretty much horrid except for her. While I was sitting there I imagined Holland going through the same ordeal in order to watch his daughter. And thus this fic was born!
Disclaimer: I don't own Eureka 7. But I do own Kat!
"But….but…but…but," stammered Holland, holding a bowl of chips in his hand. Really, it was a bit sad. An ex-military sergeant turned anti-military leader (not to mention reffing champion) now reduced to a stuttering mess in the face of his wife's deadly glare.
"No buts," Talho said firmly. "You're going. Now go get dressed. Would it kill you to wear something around the house other than your underwear for Christ's sake?"
Holland glanced down at his boxer-clad form dumbly before picking up his argument once again. "But Talho, it's the world reffing championships today! Hap and the others were going to come over to watch! I was going to make chilli!"
Talho sighed with the effort of explaining what should have been a simple concept to her husband. "Holland. This is your daughter's talent show. It's her big day, and we need to be there to support her."
Holland popped a handful of chips into his mouth. "But why can't I support her in a way that doesn't require me to sit through two-plus hours of teenagers releasing their angst through mind-numbingly bad music?" he said around a mouthful of food. "We could go reffing again, like we used to –"
Talho's expression softened from exasperation to pity. "She's getting older now, Holland. She's changing. "
That was certainly true. Him and Kat used to be so close. Ever since she was little the two of them had a weekend ritual of going reffing together in their special spot in the valley and then heading out to get ice cream sundaes. Things had just been so easy with raising her. It had almost been like having a son, expect without the added hardship of the said son being a headstrong dumbass like he had been when he was young.
But ever since she had started high school she had starting skipping out on their weekend ritual for trips to the movies with friends and spending all of her time her room doing God knows what. She had even asked him to call her Katrina the other day. The name still sounded foreign on his own tongue; she would always be Kat to him.
"I just don't know how to connect with her anymore," he admitted.
Talho wrapped her arms around him in a tight embrace. "You'll figure it out. The two of you will always be close; you just need some time to adjust. Just come tonight, and see what she's interested in. And, Holland?"
"Yeah," he responded.
"She's really good."
Holland glanced around warily at the crowd in around him in the gymnasium. Were these the people his daughter was hanging around with now? A lot of them had piercings in places he didn't even know were possible. And did that boy have a spider tattoo on his elbow? Didn't that mean he had killed someone?
"We could head back now and still catch the opening," he pleaded as the lights dimmed.
"Not a chance," Talho said through clenched teeth. "Now be quiet. It's starting."
A rather large lady whom he could only assume was the principle walked slowly to the middle of the stage.
"I would like to welcome you all to our annual talent show," she said in a low, gravelly voice. "We here at Eastin High consider our students to be some of the most gifted students in the state. And the only way for them to continue to be so is through the continued support of our boosters program…"
"Oh, look an arts program pleading for money," Holland whispered. "Isn't it considered bad form to be a walking cliché?"
Talho giggled and elbowed him in the gut to shush him.
"And without further ado could we please give a welcome to our first act, Melinda, singing 'Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again,' from the Phantom of the Opera. "
A rather unfortunate-looking girl wearing a long dark cape walked dramatically to the center of the stage. The opening notes played, and the girl began to sing in a low, murky voice that vaguely reminded him of a frog with smoker's cough. The song gradually became higher and higher pitched until it became obvious that the girl could no longer reach the notes by natural means and resorted to screaming in hopes of being on key.
"Please," Holland pleaded to his wife. "Please make it stop!"
Talho swatted him on the head. "Grow up! It's not that bad."
The girl on stage threw back her hooded cloak dramatically. "Too many years! Fighting back tears!" she sang as her voice cracked.
"Ok it's pretty bad," she agreed.
Hollang held his breath and tried to think of happy thoughts as it became clear that the girl was building toward a high note. Reffing, he thought. Think about reffing through the clouds with Talho and Kat.
"WHY CAN'T THE PAST JUST DIE?"
"My ears," Holland mummured to himself softly as he rocked himself back and forth soothing in his seat. "I think my ears are bleeding."
"Just wait for Kat. It'll all be worth it," Talho promised.
"Nothing could possibly be worth this," Holland muttered darkly.
Holland shifted his weight in an effort to conceal himself from Talho. Or more appropriately in an effort to conceal to communicator that was currently playing the highlights from the world reffing championships.
Holland raised his eyes to the stage briefly and pretended to be interested (an Oscar worthy performance) before bringing his attention back to the drama unfolding before him.
"And the contestant follows with two-successive kickback drop turns!" trilled the announcer in his ear. "I DON'T BELIEVE IT FOLKS! He is doing a handstand right now on his board. This had never been done before in the history of – "
"Hey!" Holland yelped as Talhoe yanked his headphones out and snatched his communicator away.
"We're here for Kat!" she grunted as she smashed the communicator underneath her boot heel.
He wasn't crying. Really. It was just an obnoxious speck of dust in both of his eyes. And even if he were crying it would be completely understandable because this show had now become a fate worse than death itself.
"They're doing a seal lullaby! They're not even speaking English! The only word they're saying is 'aurf'!" Holland complained, pointing to the stage full of choir members, a few of which had started rolling around on the ground in a seal imitation for effect.
"It's almost over," Talho reminded him. "Kat is the next act, and then we can go home and watch your precious reffing championship."
The choir performance ended and the principle walked onstage to introduce the final act. "Let's have another round of applause for the Eastin High choir! Now, let's give a warm welcome to our final performance of the evening, Katrina Novak!"
Holland's jaw dropped as his daughter walked out on stage. She looked so…old. Kat hand always taken after him with her olive skin, lithe figure, and sharp blue eyes, but out there on the stage tonight she was all Talho, from the curve of her hips to the mischevious gleam in her eyes. Tonight she had forgone her usual ponytail and instead wore her black hair down so that it framed her face. The Kat 2.0 look was complete by a tight tank top and skirt that he was sure was way too short. Holland frowned. He was going to have to have a talk about that with her when she got home.
She sat down on the stool brought out for her by the stage crew and gently placed a guitar down on her lap. Holland was shocked by how natural she looked with it, as if the instrument were simply a natural extension of her arm. Kat smiled softly at the audience and then began playing the opening chords of the song.
"Hey!" Holland exclaimed to his wife. "She's pretty good!"
"Don't get too excited yet," Talho warned cryptically with a knowing smirk.
All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I been
And how I got to where I am.
His jaw dropped. He never knew that his daughter had such a fantastic voice! The only word he could use to describe it was haunting. The words poured out of her with a sadness to them, a stillness, that reminded Holland of the wind moving through the trees. Her voice had slightly rough edge to it that exuded a quiet strength, a will to struggle on.
The music built until Kat reached the song's crescendo, as she let loose a warbling lone wolf's howl.
You know it's true
That I was made for you.
There was a moment of quiet before everyone in the entire auditorium stood on their feet to applaud her. Kat smiled again and took a small bow.
So he had lost his daughter to this, eh? Somehow in that moment, it didn't seem so bad. None of it did: her changing and growing up, the knowledge that one day she would leave him for a place that he couldn't follow. Until that happened, he would just have to make room for her to grow, that's all. Maybe that was what being a parent was all about.
Holland felt something wet on his cheeks and realized that he was crying.
Talho squeezed her husband's hand and kissed him on the cheek. "This is why I made you come," she whispered in his ear.
Holland ruffled her hair. "It was worth it."