Disclaimer: Do I really have to do this every time I post something? Do not own. Obvs. Jeez.
Starting Preschool: The Cool Way
An AwesomeAsUsual story
Soul groaned. It had been too long since Maka touched him like this. But this moment was making the wait worth it. Maka, her hands braced on the headboard above him, ground her hips into his. Her green eyes, hazy, met his red ones. Her hands moved slowly, sliding across his chest, teasing fingers drawing small circles on his skin. She called out- "Soul…. Soul…. SOUL!"
A sharp poke in the ribs woke him with a start. Soul groaned again, sadly, for a completely different reason. His hearing sharpened, having been dulled by sleep, and an infant's sharp cry assaulted his ears. Familiar hands pried open his left eye. Green eyes that looked heated in his dream were bleary, her exhaustion evident in the smudges under her eyes. He found her waist with his hands and pulled her to his chest.
Maka squealed. "Soul!" He rolled, pushing her back so that she was flat against the bed, and settled between her legs. Soul nudged her head back gently, and began to worry the skin of her neck with his shark teeth. "Oh! N-no, no, no! You have to go get Jax!"
But Ma-kaaaaa…" Soul whined into the crook of her neck. She rolled her eyes, and gave him a sharp slap to his chest.
"OW! What the hell?"
"Get your son, Soul." Maka said firmly. "I have to get Lily ready for her first day." She pushed Soul off, and he flopped back against the pillows with a resounding thud. The bed shifted from the disappearance of her weight, and she bounded out of the room. "Make sure you wear a clean shirt. We want to make a good first impression." The door slammed loudly behind her.
"Why is that when he's doing something cut he's your son, and when he's crying he's suddenly my son?" Soul yelled after her, running a frustrated hand thought his disheveled hair.
Jax's cries grew louder.
"Alright, alright, kid! Uncool…." Soul lifted his head to face the bassinet at the foot of the bed, finally opening his eyes. The light from the window fell directly onto the small blond head of his son, Jax, his tiny limbs flailing with fury. Soul sighed, heaved himself up right. He walked towards the white, lacy bed, recycled from Lily's baby days, and lifted his Jax to his chest.
"Should have gotten you a cooler bed, sorry."
Jax squirmed, his scrunched up face red and slick with tears, green eyes squinted against the light, before settling down a bit, his tears snot soaking his father's bare shoulder.
Soul patted his son's tiny back. "That's my little cockblock. Chill out, now."
Lily winced as Mama pulled a brush through her white hair particularly hard. Her nervous wiggling was making it difficult for Mama to do her hair. Mama said Daddy was busy with baby Jax and couldn't fix her hair today.
Lily scowled to herself. She wanted a puppy, not a brother.
Preschool was a daunting task for any four-year-old, but this was a special preschool, Mama had said so. Weapon children and the children of meisters went to this preschool. She would learn to count (she could already count to 50), learn the alphabet (every letter, down), and make new friends (she already had Blue Star but Daddy says she needed GIRL friends). She was so excited! Lily couldn't keep it inside, her belly felt like she had swallowed 50 butterflies. So she wiggle, wiggle, wiggled. And then cringed as Mama tightly wound the last bobble into her hair.
"All done," Mama patted her hair gently, then turned Lily to face her. Mama held up a mirror to show Lily her reflection. "Perfect first day hair, don't you think so, Lily?" Lily stared into the mirror for a moment. For the first time in a long time, Lily could see her own face. Usually, her wild white hair hung heavily in her face, covering her small features. With many bobbles (50, Lily thought), she could see her forest green eyes, so much like Mama's, and her sharp shark teeth, Daddy teeth, as she smiled at herself through the mirror.
A combination of baby Jax's incessant needs (feeding, crying, pooping, feeding again, needing to be changed after spitting up all over himself and Soul), Maka's perfectionism (helping Lily select the right puppy purse, changing Jax, yelling at Soul for making him spit up), and Soul's general sluggishness (figuring out what Maka meant by his best shirt, getting yelled at by Maka after burping Jax, and figuring out which shirt Maka referred to as his second best) made them half an hour late for Lily's first day at preschool. Maka and Lily spent the entire car ride down to the preschool loudly complaining about the time. Soul gripped the steering wheel of their four door sedan (red, so it wasn't too uncool) tighter and tighter, trying to keep his cool before finally pulling in to the preschool's driveway. Soul shut down the engine and leapt out, hurrying to open Lily's door. The four-year-old smacked him with her puppy purse on the way out.
"Hey! Uncool, kid. Un. Cool." Soul snapped.
"Daddy made us late!" Lily pouted, and hurried towards the school's door.
Soul followed quickly. "Wait up, kid! Jeez, you're Maka's daughter, alright."
"You should have woken up earlier," Maka fretted, taking Jax out of his car seat and loading him into the sling strapped to her chest. "We wouldn't be late if you hadn't taken forever to pick out a shirt."
"Me?!" Soul said incredulously, looking over his shoulder at her. "You were the one yelling at me for picking the wrong shirt and making me change. Twice!"
"It doesn't matter now," Maka said dismissively. She stopped suddenly, her eyes straight ahead. Soul furrowed his brow and looked to where her eyes led. They were on Lily, who was paused on the threshold of the preschool, her puppy purse clutched in her arms. The purse was shaped like a small dog, with pink clothes that matched Lily's own dress. Her long hair hung heavy down her back. She may act just like Maka with white hair and sharp teeth, Soul thought, taking Maka's hand in his. But she's my baby girl.
Maka glanced at Soul. He looked pale. She squeezed his hand, and thought "Well. One of us has to stay calm." She tugged him forward. "Let's go, Soul."
Everything was tiny. The chairs were small, the tables knee-high, the broom stick and mop arm length. Even the people were miniscule, but four-year-olds tended to be. Despite the early hour (Early for Soul, anyway), there were already activities in full swing. The plastic play kitchen in the far corner had three children "cooking;" each side of two art easels had children scribbling furiously with paint, their chubby fingers coated in bright primary colors; and the small indoor slide had children crawling over every inch, no one willing to wait their turn, or even fully understanding what a "turn" was. No teacher was insight.
Unbeknownst to her parents, the chaos was making Lily very, very anxious.
Uncool, Soul thought. Where the hell was the teacher? He felt pressure against his leg. He looked down. It was Lily, panic on the edges of her eyes. She shrank back against her mother's leg, her puppy purse forgotten on the ground. Maka seemed to be distracted by a small group of children seated on a checkered carpet, one taller child was sitting above the other, red plastic chair low to the ground. The child appeared to be reading a picture book to the children below her. Soul thought she was a peculiar looking child, knee length pencil skirt, chestnut colored hair held back with a tortoise shell clip, and rose sweater tight across her breasts….
Oh. That wasn't a kid.
"You could at least pretend not to be checking out your daughter's preschool teacher," Maka said wryly.
Soul gaped at his wife, ignoring the jibe. "How can she teach preschoolers if she fu-freaking looks like one?!"
Maka looked back at the teacher. "So she's short. That doesn't mean she's not qualified. In fact, she has a Ph.D. in Early Care and Education, she's contributed to every important educational journal in the United States, has done research the Death City's top institutes-"
"Alright, alright! She's a bookworm like you, I get it but I don't get how someone the size of a kindergartener-"
Soul's face connected with the colorful carpet from the force of her powerful chop. He felt the rough material burn his check and temple. How Maka could aim so well with a two-week-old baby strapped to her chest and four-year-old attached to her leg was beyond him.
High-pitched screams echoed from a door as a trio of children ran into the room. The small teacher stood quickly and went to investigate. Maka frowned, watching, but lowered her gaze to her husband, moaning about "first impressions" and "cruel meisters slash wives," lying prostrate on the floor.
"Soul," Maka hissed. "It was really difficult to get Lily into this school. I had to get Kidd—ah I mean Shinigami to write a letter of recommendation." Soul started to scoff, struggling to stand, but the look on Maka's face made him hastily turn it into a cough. He was saved from a second Maka chop as Jax began to fuss.
Maka bounced on her heels, trying to soothe her son. "I better go," she said. "I don't want Jax to have a fit in here." She kneeled, handed Lily her puppy purse, and gave her a quick kiss. "Mama has to go, but Daddy will stay with you for a little while longer, OK?" Lily didn't respond, merely changed her grip from her mother's leg to her father's. Soul winced, feeling his daughter's nails digging into the skin of his knee. Maka stood and faced Soul.
"I'll take the car back to the apartment; Shibusen isn't that far, you can walk. Don't stay too long, you have a meeting with Shinigami at 10." Jax let out a small cry, squirming harder in his sling.
Soul patted his son's blond hair gently. "Don't be uncool, kid." To Maka he said "You better get out of here." Soul kissed Maka, and she swept out the door, baby Jax sobbing like someone had taken his last lollipop.
Soul turned to Lily. Her little knuckles were white from holding on to him so tightly. Soul noticed her trembling.
"Hey, kid," Soul said gently. "You're going to be the coolest kid in preschool. But you gotta let go first." Every fiber of his being was screaming at him. This was the opposite of what he wanted. He wanted his baby girl to stay close by his side. He wanted her to stay a child, to never grow up. He wanted to push her on the swings. He wanted to help her make pancakes for Maka on mother's day. He wanted to play "Hide the Baby" until they could easily locate Jax by the smell of his diapers. He wanted to stay with his Lily. His baby girl.
But she wasn't a baby anymore.
She was independent, like her mother, and a fierce fighter, like her parents both were. It was evident even at her age. She would be a strong and loyal weapon, just like he was.
"Uh, Mister Evans?" a small hand tugged the back of his shirt, pulling Soul out of his reverie.
"Eater." He corrected, out of habit, and quickly turning around. It was the tiny teacher he had mistaken for a student. He knew he shouldn't judge, his own wife was small, but at least she cleared 5 feet.
The teacher frowned. "Eater?"
"Ah, no. Sorry, it's Evans, yeah." Soul scratched his head sheepishly. He read the teacher's red, rooster-shaped name tag. "Ms. Carter, right?"
"Yes, Mister Evans, it's a pleasure to meet you." She stuck her hand out.
Soul took it, apologetic. "Sorry we were late, we just had a baby and it's been hell-"
Ms. Carter's eyes narrowed.
"—ah, heck —trying to get organized."
The preschool teacher's expression softened. "I understand, Mister Evans. A new addition to a family can be stressful for all family members, though perhaps to the mother especially," she said pointedly.
Soul frowned. "It hasn't been easy for any of us. Lily's still adjusting, for sure." At the mention of her baby brother, Lily had let go of her father and stalked several paces away, her thin arms crossed over her chest.
Ms. Carter look amused. "She's not very interested in sharing her mommy and daddy, is she?"
"Not even a little. It's uncool," Soul sighed.
"Let me speak with her. We actually have several books on the subject of new siblings on our shelves. I might be able to help her see that a new baby is like a new best friend, someone she can teach all her secrets to. Like a little club of Evans siblings, of you will."
Soul nodded, trying not to look eager. "That would be great, Lily loves secrets." Lily, knowing she was being spoken about, had begun to walk closer and closer to her father and new teacher.
She jumped up and down, suddenly excited. "Secret? What secret? I wanna know!" She grabbed Ms. Carter's hand and tugged impatiently. "Tell me! Please! I wanna know, I wanna know!"
Ms. Carter laughed. "Okay, Lily. Come with me to the reading area and I'll tell you. By the way, Mister Evans," she spoke to Soul directly. "You have a… er… call in the rest room." She pointed at the door several children ran out, screaming. "It was the Shinigami in the bathroom mirror. He asked for you."
"Oh," Soul said, surprised. "I guess I should get that."
"Yes you should," She was suddenly sternly. "I would appreciate if you told our new Death Lord if he could keep his calls out of our children's wash room."
"O-ok," he said awkwardly. "I'll do that." He slunk away as she led Lily to a corner of the room where low shelves were piled up with books. He could still feel her gaze on the back of his neck.
He stepped into the children's bathroom. There were no stalls, only toilet seats and sinks could have hit him mid shin. The mirror was also low, a long panel that stretched across the wall. He could spotted Kidd's pale face, the white rings around his head glowing in the low light. Soul kneeled on the blue tiled floor.
"Shinigami," Soul waved amiably.
Kidd grimaced. "Please, Soul. I get enough of that from the Liz and Patty. Call me 'Kidd.'"
"You sure?" Soul asked. "Maka would chop me if she heard me disrespecting Lord Death."
"It's just the two of us; I think it's ok to call me 'Kidd.' In fact, I insist."
"Alright." Soul grinned. He knew his friend wouldn't change so much after becoming a Death God. "So what's up?"
"I just wanted to let you know that in addition to today's meeting begin cancelled (Soul mimed a fist pump), Liz agreed to extend your paternity leave. I'm sure you want to spend as much time together as a family as possible."
Soul grinned widely, shark teeth in full view. It was a smile many shied away from, a seemingly threatening gesture meant to share a moment of enjoyment, pleasure, or happiness. It was a smile his baby girl had. "Yeah! Thanks a lot, Kidd. I can't wait to tell Lily and Maka."
"Of course," Kidd nodded. "Though, I admit extended your leave isn't for entirely unselfish reasons."
Soul raised an eyebrow, questioning silently.
"Without you, we can't make any major decisions. I don't have to make any major decisions, anyway. Since my father's passing, it's just been a lot of change, really fast." Kidd pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and index finger. Sighing, he admitted "I can handle the responsibility. Liz is helping me with Research and Development, and Patty is providing me with much needed stress relief-" Soul tried not to cringe at the thought "-but in the back of my head I am still mourning my father-"
Lily came barreling into the bathroom, colliding with Soul. Soul sighed, and lifted Lily up. She buried her face into the side of his cheek, her arms squeezing his neck.
"H-hey, Lily." Kidd said weakly. "Yo yo wazzup?"
Soul paused. He shot Kidd a look. "Maybe leave the hip talk to your old man, eh?"
Kidd cleared his throat, his pale face gaining a bit of pink. "Yes, of course." Soul heard some papers being shuffled. "I'll call you when we reschedule." Kidd said abruptly, avoiding Soul's eye.
Soul stashed the moment away in his head for later, and smirked. "Sure, Kid. See ya."
The mirror cleared, leaving Soul to stare into his reflection. He watched himself for a moment, Lily in his arms, her little body shaking with violent sobs. He rubbed her narrow back in small circles. Soul thought back to times when he did the same for Maka, before they had children, before they married. His flashbacks were interrupted by Lily, who suddenly leaned back to look at him.
"I didn't know where you went!" Lily wailed. She pressed her little palms into her watery green eyes, as if she was trying to prevent her tears from spilling.
In a way, he was glad none of his kids inherited his red eyes. They tended to scare people off, unlike his wife's warm green ones.
He sighed. "Ok, Lil, deep breaths." He stood, stepped out of the bathroom, and set her down. Kneeling in front of her, he gripped her shoulders lightly. "You're acting seriously uncool."
"I don't want to be uncool," she mumbled.
"I know you don't. Because you are an Evans. And Evans' are the ultimate cool."
Lily gave her father a watery grin. "We are the cooliest."
Soul nodded approvingly. "I'll tell you what, kid. Daddy's meeting got cancelled, so I'll hang out with you today-"
"Really?" gasped lily. She flung her arms around his neck again, squealing at one hundred miles a minute.
Soul laughed, hugging Lily tightly. "Yeah, yeah, Lil. Let's keep this between us though, don't tell Mama."
"Like a secret?" Lily piped.
"Just like a secret, yeah." Soul held out his pinky.
Lily hooked her pinky wither her father's. "Secret," she whispered.
Soul managed to catch Ms. Carter's and waved her over. Standing, Soul let go of Lily, keeping her hand in his, and gestured towards the approaching teacher.
"Ms. Carter is going to play with you," he said. He felt Lily's grasp tighten. "Lily, your new teacher is going to play with you. She's going to show you around and I will be right here."
Lily regarded her father suspiciously. "Right here? On the duck?" Soul glanced down, noticing the duck pond-patterned rug for the first time.
"Eh, yeah." Soul replied hesitantly. He looked at Ms Carter questioningly.
"Your daddy can stay if he wants," she said to Lily, smiling. To Soul she said, quite severely "You can stay, but please know that the longer you stay, the harder it's going to be for both of you." She took Lily's hand, smiling again, and pointed towards a low slide.
"Come on, Lily. I think I see a friend over there who is very excited to see you." Sure enough, a blue haired boy stood on top of the little indoor slide, having noticed them, and was shouting "Lily! Embwace yo God!"
Soul emitted a low growl as Lily's eyes lit up and began to run towards Blue Star, pulling her teacher behind her. He watched as she scaled the tiny slide and glided down on her feet, copying Blue Star who proceeded to hug Lily and call her his "most loyal followah." They were getting too buddy-buddy for Soul's taste. It was time to have a talk with little Blue Star…. Soul cracked his knuckles subconsciously, drawing the eye and ire of Ms. Carter. She glared at him, and he lowered his hands hastily.
Uncool, he thought. I'm threatening little boys… glad I don't go on missions with Spirit anymore. He's starting to rub off on me.
Soul sighed and glanced around. Two little boys ran around his knees, chasing each other with toy dinosaurs. Soul sat on the ground, his legs crossed.
It was only for today. He'd tell Maka that Lily was too unhappy to be left alone and he was just doing his part as a cool father. He wasn't being weird or obsessive at all. She'd understand.
It wasn't just for that day. And Maka didn't understand. Mostly because Soul didn't tell her.
He ditched several meetings, telling Kidd that Maka needed his help with Lily and Jax, citing hormones and an infant who. Just. Would. Not. Sleep.
Which was partly true.
He told Maka that the meetings were running long, but he would be able to pick up Lily and take her home. Maka wanted to thank Kidd in person, but Soul quickly admonished her for wanting to interrupt their great Lord Death's business with a silly need to say "thank you."
Which was partly true.
Jax wouldn't sleep and Maka was exhausted.
Kidd was busy being the Shinigami.
Soul couldn't admit to himself that Maka could have probably really used his help at home.
Soul couldn't admit that Kidd would have probably found his Death Scythe handy.
But Soul couldn't leave Lily.
He would leave the apartment with Lily and take her to preschool. And then he would stay.
He was kind of ashamed for lying to Maka (his best friend, his wife, the mother of his children), but he was more embarrassed about not being able to stand watching Lily have so much fun without him. Usually she laughed hardest when they were playing together, joking or reading books or training. Now she was all about playing with her classmates. He felt creepy and Spirit-like. In his defense, Lily truly cried whenever he tried to leave. She would spot him trying to edge out of the room and run to him, dragging him back and making him feel guilty about breaking his pinky promise.
"Shouldn't you get going?" Maka tiredly asked one morning, Jax supported on her shoulder with one hand, a cup of coffee in the other. "You don't want to be late again." It was the fifth night in a row where Maka had stayed up all night rocking Jax. Soul had tried to stay up with her but Maka insisted he go to bed, what with his now daily meetings.
"I guess so," Soul muttered guiltily. "I'll get Lily and we'll go… I mean… I'll go to the meeting." He added hastily.
Lily giggled. She had managed to keep their secret for the past few weeks. It amazed him that the four-year-old could be so enigmatic, he was quite nervous as to what would happen in her teenage years.
Soul and Lily arrived at the preschool right on time. Ms. Carter greeted them, and handed Soul his rooster name tag. He was an unofficial member of Shibu-Kids Day Care and Preschool.
"Bye, Daddy!" Lily pranced off to where Blue Star was "autographing" a large sheet of butcher paper.
Soul looked down at his name tag. It was decorated with shark stickers; the children in the classroom fondly called him "Mister Shark." They always looked at Lily when they called him that, and she proudly opened her own mouth wide, revealing the rows of sharp teeth. She had never willingly showed her teeth to anyone outside of the family, not including Black Star, Tsubaki, and their sons.
The Maka chop would be SO worth it.
Maka curled up on her and Soul's bed, Jax nestled in the crook of her elbow. He was finally asleep, after a long night of crying. Maka didn't understand why he wouldn't sleep during normal hours; Lily had been such a calm baby.
"You're big sister spoiled me, big time," Maka said dryly. "But at least I can feed you without getting bitten and bled." She stretched, careful not to shift her son. "Compared to your daddy I have it pretty good. Getting stuck in all of those meetings must be awful, even with Kidd as Shinigami. Actually," Maka sat up, brow furrowed. "I haven't actually heard from Kidd in a long time. Or Liz. Or Patty. Or even Tsubaki. No one has given me so much as a call since we left the hospital with you. Can they all really be so busy?"
Maka felt her temper flare. "I'm stuck here at home for a month with a baby and none of them have even bothered to stop by and see how I'm – I mean we're—doing. That's it!" She jumped to her feet, startling Jax. His chubby arms flung outward in surprise. "I've got to get out of here."
She ran out of the room, grabbing her keys and shoes, and walked out the door, slamming it shut behind her.
Jax blinked. His infant brain was beginning to register the sudden loss of warmth. His entire face pursed in distress, sobs began to bubble out him, growing louder and louder until his lungs reached capacity.
Maka flung the bedroom door open again.
"Right, sorry!" She scooped Jax up and left the apartment.
Soul was surrounded by color. There were enough pockets of air so that he could breath, if uncomfortably. He could hear them plotting. He shifted his position, wincing at the noise. He had to move quickly if he was going to make it out unscathed. He stilled, breathing stopped.
Soul launched himself in the air.
Four-year-olds took aim.
"FIYAH!" called Blue Star and Lily in unison.
Plastic spheres bounced against Soul's head and back as he dove below the uneven surface of the plastic ball pit.
Under the surface, Soul listened as his daughter and her classmates roared with laughter. Soul smiled to himself.
"Snack time!" Ms. Carter said, clapping her hands twice.
The children echoed her. "Snack time!" The plastic balls clattered as they rained down on him, the children dropping them in the pit. Soul dug himself in time to see Lily skipping away, Blue Star in her wake.
Soul frowned. "Lil, wait up kid. Come help Daddy get out of here."
Lily didn't stop. "I'll see you later, Daddy! It's snack time!"
Soul struggled to his feet. He did not appreciate the sympathetic look Ms. Carter gave him.
"Mister Evans, why don't you take a break? I'm sure you're tired from all of the playing." She said.
"Sure, but you don't need help?" Soul asked.
Ms. Carter shook her head, smiling slightly. "No, Mister Evans. I'll stick to teaching kids if you stick to fighting them."
Soul didn't like her tone. "What are you talking about?"
Ms. Carter shrugged, feigning innocence. "I'm just saying. If you were as good at fighting children as you are fighting kishins, you wouldn't be here, and I'm sure Death City would be a very safe place."
Soul narrowed his eyes. He couldn't let her get a rise out of him, even though he was completely at a loss as to why she was trying to make him angry.
"I'm going to go take a nap." He turned on his heels and walked out of the front, closing the door quietly so that he wouldn't draw Lily's attention (Lily was busy making cabins out of carrot sticks with Blue Star, and did not notice).
Outside, Soul sat under the shade of a tree that was located a few feet from the preschool door. He had napped there before, on days where he was trying to avoid Kidd's panicked bathroom mirror calls or got tired of Ms. Carter's increasingly snippy tone.
He plopped down on the soft grass, leaned against the trunk of the tree, and closed his eyes.
Two more weeks, Soul thought. Two more weeks and my paternity leave is over. Maka's maternity leave will be up, too, and we'll both go back to work. Then she'll find out I've been lying about going to meetings every day, and lying about every one being too busy to visit her or Jax. And then I'll be toast. Soul gritted his teeth, anxious. At least I got to spend my last few weeks of life with my baby girl. He crossed his ankles and settled his hands over his stomach, slumping down to a more comfortable nap position.
Might as well get some sleep before Maka kills me.
Maka walked briskly towards the preschool. She didn't like driving all that much, although it was sometimes easier to drive than to tote all of Jax and Lily's stuff in hand. She was only going to pick Lily up, but she needed to go quickly. Hopefully she could get there before Soul got there. She'd have to use the preschool's phone to let him know that she was had picked up their daughter, and that he didn't have to hurry after his meetings. Maka let out an exasperated breath. She had tried time and time again to convince him that she was perfectly capable of taking care of the baby and pick Lily up from school. His meetings were stressing him out, she could tell. They were a team, if he couldn't do something she would pick up the slack. They were partners, after all. Partners shared, partners contributed, partners—
DIDN'T TAKE NAPS UNDER PRESCHOOL'S TREES!
Maka stomped up to Soul. He was snoring.
Maka removed the diaper bag from her shoulder. And swung it.
The bag made a satisfying thunk sound as it collided with Soul's head.
"WHAT THE HELL?!" Soul gripped his throbbing cranium, curled up fetal position. He squinted up at the figure standing over him. Oh shit, Soul thought.
"What. Are. You. Doing. Here?" Maka hissed. "You're supposed to be at Shibusen!"
Jax, who had been watching interestedly, cooed happily at the sight of his father. Soul stretched his arms out, wanting to hold his son. Maka backed away from him, pulling Jax out of his reach.
"Maka," Soul said carefully. "Come on." Maka held Jax tighter.
"It's Ms. Carter, isn't it?"
"What?!" Soul gawked. "Don't be stupid."
"THEN TELL ME WHAT'S GOING ON!" Maka screeched.
"ALRIGHT CALM YOUR TITS, WOMAN!" Soul huffed indignantly. He flopped down on the grass again, blocking the sun from his eyes with his forearm. The air was warm. Unlike Maka's stare.
"I wanted…" he began hesitantly.
"Well?" Maka snapped.
"UGH! I just wanted to spend time with Lily before she got bored of me!"
Maka blinked, but waited for Soul to continue.
"It wasn't my plan, you know? After Kidd called to extend my leave, I was just going stay in the classroom for a few hours every day and, like, wean Lily off of needing me there the whole day. She cried so hard at first. I felt way guilty. But she was fine after the first two weeks. And then I saw how much fun she was having without me. Kidd's been calling here, I told him you were busy with Jax and hormones and I was helping Lily adjust (That's why no one's been calling at home, Maka thought. Soul scared them off). I kept seeing her at Jax's age, safe in her crib, smiling only at me. I-I guess I couldn't take it. I'm as crazy as your old man," he added bitterly.
"How long have you been doing this?" Maka's said neutrally.
"Uh… about a month…."
Maka let out a strangled cry.
It was silent for almost a minute. He didn't dare look at her in the eyes.
But then Soul felt something land gently on his chest. He removed his arm from his eyes.
Jax looked up at his father, his green eyes sparkling with infantile delight. Soul rested his hands on his son's back, holding him in place. Maka sat down next to him, and smiled gently. She placed her hand over his, on Jax's little back.
"You're an idiot."
Maka flicked him in the forehead. "You idiot. You're Lily's father. You're the one who is going to going to teach her how to ride a bike, how take care of her sharp little teeth, how to hide toys from her little brother." Soul managed a small smile.
"Besides, you're both weapons; that's a bond I could never hope to have with her. She's going to need you more than she needs me." Maka added wistfully.
"Hey," Soul sat up, cradling Jax in his right arm. "Lily needs you, too. You need to do all those bookworm and girly things that I don't wanna do with her."
Maka scoffed. "Thanks."
"Anytime," Soul said, mimicking her sarcastic tone.
A tinny bell rang out. Children began to flood the school yard.
"MAMA! DADDY!" Lily ran up to Maka and Soul, and jumped into the middle of them. "Are you here to play, Mama? Like Daddy?" she said eagerly.
"Nuh-uh, Lil," said Maka. "Daddy and Mama are going home now. He'll pick you up when school is over today, but then he has to stay home and help Mama with Jax tomorrow, ok?"
Soul braced himself. It would be difficult news for Lily to hear, he was sure a tantrum of Maka-proportions was in order.
Lily shrugged. "Ok."
"WHAT?!" Soul shouted. Jax, startled from his father's volume, began to cry. Soul handed him to Maka, who stood to rock their son. Soul got on his knees, and looked Lily straight in the eye.
"You're not going to cry? Or complain? What's with that, kid?"
Lily shrugged again. "You don't let me play with Blue Star."
"Soul!" Maka scolded. "Is that true?"
"Kinda," Soul said guiltily. "I don't like how he looks at Lily!"
"And Uncle Kidd keeps bothering my friends in the bathroom. My teacher doesn't like it."
Soul stifled a snort.
I did a thing.
Jax is my baby boy OC.
Lily is hotapplestrider's OC (she's got legit Daddy!Soul feels going with her "If a Toddler" series, go check it out).
Thanks for reading my first fanfiction!
Love and/or constructive criticism welcome.