A Father’s Tale
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
The kids were sound asleep. Spending the day outdoors and enjoying the cherry blossom party to the fullest had drained their batteries dry. Likewise, Nell and the maids had also gone to bed, no doubt in part courtesy of the alcohol that had been pumped through their veins. Lefi and I were the only two still up.
“That was a pretty good move…” I groaned as I watched Lefi move the one and only piece I hadn’t wanted her to touch. Well… there goes my plan.
“Indeed it was. I know that well, for I too have continued to improve.”
We were doing the usual, board games. The particular game we were engaged in today was shogi, Japanese chess. As mentioned by the dragon herself, Lefi had gotten quite good at it, and at board games in general. It was no longer rare for her to have me on my back foot. Though I guess that’s only to be expected. It’d be kinda weird if she didn’t ever git gud, seeing as how we’ve been playing almost everyday for over a year.
“I admit, you’ve certainly gotten better. But you’re still not nearly as good as I!”
I pushed forward a specific piece, likely the one and only piece that she hadn’t wanted me to touch. Oh, how the tables have turned!
“I-It is not over yet…” she frowned as she desperately moved one of her pawns to defend against my assault.
“Heh. Wrong again.” But it was to no avail. “Checkmate!”
“Urghhh… very well, I admit my loss,” she groaned, “I had thought that I was on the path to success.”
“You have been winning more and more lately, but that doesn’t mean I’m about to roll over and hand you an easy win,” I said with a shit-eating grin.
It was a bluff. She nearly had me cornered. I’m probably going to have to play Leila some and get her to give me some tips so I can stay ahead of Lefi… I’m sure the maid’ll know exactly what I need to do to git gudder.
“Let us wrap up for the day. To stay awake any longer is to put ourselves at risk of being struck by bombs the size of children.”
We shared a laugh as we tidied up the board and accompanying game pieces.
The particular phenomenon she was referring to was one that Leila mandated. Every time we overslept, the maid would instruct the children to dive at us, thereby dramatically forcing us awake with an overdose of raw, unbridled energy.
“Hey, Lefi?” Once I placed it on the shelf with all the other toys and games, I turned to face her.
“Let’s have kids.”
Her face flushed immediately.
“If that is your desire, then I shall fulfill it.” She looked up at me with upturned eyes as she spoke with a mix of embarrassment and resolve. “I will bear for you as many of your children as you wish.”
Her words made my heart dance. Raw affection overflowed from within as I gently pulled her into an embrace.
She returned the gesture of love with one of her own. She pressed her head into my chest and wrapped her arms around my waist.
I felt myself relax. I’d long been conditioned into feeling at ease every time I felt the soft warmth of her flesh and basked in her sugary sweet scent.
“There is one question I wish to ask,” she mumbled.
“T-this is the first time you have demonstrated any interest in that manner of intimacy. What was it that led to this change of heart?”
“The reason I didn’t bring it up before was honestly just that I thought I was kinda hopeless.”
She remained silent. She didn’t rush me or begin making conjectures out loud even as I paused for an unnaturally long time to collect my thoughts.
“I’m… I’m egotistical. I basically ignore everything but the few things I’m super interested in. Of all the adults here, I’m probably the least mature, and the most irresponsible. That’s why I didn’t really think I was the type of guy that should be raising kids.”
“…I think you are doing a fine job as the man of the house.”
She intertwined her fingers with mine as if to express concern for my mental health, so I made sure to lead my next statement with a laugh to show her that nothing was wrong.
“I just… really love messing around. And I’m aware of it. When I thought about everything that went into raising kids into functional, responsible adults, I blanked. I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t think I could be a good dad, or that I was ready to be responsible for someone else’s life. But lately, that’s changed. I’ve started to feel a lot more confident.”
“And why is that?”
“I’ve realized that all I need to do is be serious when it really counts and show them all the love and affection a father should. That’s all that’s really needed for them to catch on and respond in kind,” I said. “…That sounded a lot less embarrassing in my head.”
“I suppose it was.” She smiled at me. “But I know now what it is you meant to say.”
“Besides… me being an incorrigible degenerate isn’t the end of the world. I’m not alone. I know that I can trust you to make up for my deficiencies. Just like how you can trust me to make up for yours. And if the two of us combined aren’t good enough, then we’ll just have to ask Lyuu, Nell, and everyone else to help fill the gaps,” I said. “That’s what it means. That’s what it means to be family.”
“Indeed. It is.” She nodded. “I will forever be here for you, as you are for me.”
“Soooo yeah, after thinking about it a bunch, I realized it’d probably be okay. That’s why… that’s why I want to have kids. With you.” I gave her hands a bit of a squeeze. “I want to leave proof. I want to leave proof that we lived, that we loved. I want there to be something undeniable that shows the world the bond we share.”
“Yuki…” She looked straight into my eyes. “I love you, truly, from the depths of my heart. I would not bat an eye to wage war on this world itself or even destroy it outright if that is what is needed for us to spend our lives together.” She squeezed my hands back. “Nothing would provide greater happiness than to agree. I too wish to leave evidence of our eternal bond.”
Happy tears welled up in the corners of her eyes as she smiled at me.
I smiled back. At first, my smile matched hers, but it soon became more awkward, sheepish.
“Uhh… sorry. Have I been keeping you waiting?”
“You have,” she chuckled. “But worry not. I know your concerns well. Raising a child is no simple hurdle, but it is one that we shall deal with as we have and will any other. As a family. For I am certain that, with all of us together, we shall never fail.”
“Can’t argue with that.”
We pressed our foreheads together.
The hot sigh that escaped her lips warmed my cheeks.
The teary eyes that gazed into mine were beautiful. Gems glimmering in the candlelight.
For a moment, we remained unmoving. Time had stopped for us. The world had stopped for us.
All that was left for me was her.
And her me.
As our eyes slowly shut, and the distance between us shrank to nothing, we brought our lips together.