Fatherhood

Feb. 7th, 2016 02:58 am
griglewood: (Default)

After years of ripping humans apart, when Hidaka Ken first held his son Kaoru, it was his secret fear that he’d look at the baby and see nothing but gristle.

What he actually felt was fear itself, a massive surging terror.

The one million things that could harm him or take him away?

Something like that.

You and every other parent, Schuldig replied.

Fortunately for them both, Ken’s team had rallied round.  Thanks to Yuki, the Koneko’s new nursery had state of the art monitoring technology. Kryptonbrand were diligent in health checks.  And there was never a shortage of babysitters, whether it was Uncle Michel volunteering for bathtime or Uncle Ran, looking strangely maternal, toting Ken’s kid around the shop in a sling.   Nana stepped in when the Uncles were absent. 

Thanks to - and sometimes despite - their layers of protective care, Kaoru was growing up well. Tall for his age, robustly healthy, independent and smart, if unaccountably stubborn. Ken blamed the Fujimiya influence for that…   

The fear had never gone away.  Not even for a second.  As the years passed by, Ken realised it never would.

And you want me to embrace this?  

“It’s a good thing,” Ken replied.  “It means you care for someone more than yourself.”

“I ask again,” Schuldig said, turning to favour him with a cynical glance.

Ken shrugged.  “If you don’t you don’t.”

Their kids were playing down by the shore line.  Ken had bought them fishing nets and buckets in a local store but these had been abandoned quickly in favour of splashing about in the waves.  It was a school day so they had the beach mostly to themselves and the novelty of getting wet in their clothes, which Ken expected to regret shortly.  He and Schuldig were situated further up the beach, Schuldig perched on a large flat rock, while Ken burrowed around in the shingle.  From time to time he found the exact right pebble, sliding it from one hand to the other while he considered the weight and shape, and then adding it to the precariously balanced stack he was building on a patch of sand.

“I would not tell anyone this, even you,” Schuldig eventually replied.

“You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t care at all.  You didn’t make the trip for the weather.” They’d had many such discussions, fragmented and inconclusive, since Schwarz first approached Ken with their offer.  For obvious reasons, there wasn’t a lot of trust to build on.

Up on his rock, the German was a study in angles, sitting cross legged and bare armed in his skinny jeans and teeshirt.  He was leaning forward, one elbow resting on his raised knee and a cigarette held loosely between his long fingers.  Sea breezes fluttered his hair into his eyes.  In Tokyo, he’d been startling and vivid and terrifying but out here he was pale and thin and almost normal.  He reminded Ken of a crane fly and occasionally of Yohji.  Schuldig lifted the cigarette to his wide smiling mouth and blew smoke in Ken’s general direction.

Yohji’s better looking, Ken thought deliberately.

“The part about the weather is right,” Schuldig said promptly.  Their excursion into Wales had coincided with a week of rain, which hadn’t surprised Ken but had frustrated the German, who was already less than enthusiastic about indulging Ken’s fit of nostalgia.  But Ken was saying goodbye to part of his life, to most of it really, and it made sense to give the boys time to get to know each other before everyone was uprooted.  And besides, this was where Kaoru was born.

Ken balanced his exactly perfect pebble on top of his little rocky tower and shuffled away from it before standing and brushing the sand off his clothes.   Schuldig held the cigarette out suggestively and Ken sat on the rock beside him, glancing furtively towards the boys before accepting the offer.

“Your one vice,” Schuldig said ironically as Ken inhaled, then coughed.  “Kudoh said you never smoked your own.”

“You never spoke to Yohji,” Ken said, frowning as he passed the cigarette back.

“A good point,” Schuldig replied, unabashed. “It wasn’t me he said it to of course.  I was very shocked all the same.  Your body is your temple or something like that.”

Ken favoured him with a long and meaningful look.  “You know I wasn’t really planning on a long life, especially when you bastards kept trying to end it.”

Ja ja,” Schuldig said casually, drawing Ken’s attention back to the present. The boys were climbing up the shingle towards them.  “And if you do not buy the cigarettes you do not have them in the house. Crawford used to say the same boring thing.  You must get Takatori to introduce you properly in Tokyo, I am sure you will become excellent friends.“  Then he smiled brilliantly. “Hello kinder. What can your loving father do for you now? By which I mean this loving father, of course,” he clarified, patting Ken’s knee in a robust show of affection.

“There’s a jellyfish,” Kaoru said breathlessly.  “In the water.  I think it’s dead though.”

“It looks like giant snot,” Shige said, with extra descriptiveness.

griglewood: (Default)

It was late.  The kids were all fast asleep in their beds and the house was dark and blissfully quiet, except for the occasional creak of the timbers and the wind whistling through the guttering outside.  Crawford had finished showering some time ago and was relaxing in bed with a book.  It was a little past midnight when he realised that he hadn’t heard Ken padding down the corridor to his own room.  Crawford was long past the point of denying his curiosity where Hidaka was concerned.  He slipped into his dressing gown and slippers and went downstairs to investigate.

The faint crack of light beneath the study door was a clue.  He pushed the door open, quietly, leaning against the door frame with his hands tucked into the pockets of his dark blue robe.

“Do you know what time it is?”

Ken blinked up at him, the light from the desk lamp casting shadows across his face. Then he checked his watch with a rueful smile.

“Guess I got carried away,” he admitted.

“Carried away with what?” Crawford levered himself upright, stepping behind the desk to see what Ken was reading.  The younger man had one book pressed open, others piled in a small stack at his elbow.  Crawford glanced across tree diagrams, and a photograph of a leaf.

“Biology?”

“Shige’s.  His teacher phoned about his homework again.”

“What a surprise.  I hope this doesn’t mean you’re doing it.”

“I’m not that stupid.”  Ken placed a hand over his mouth, covering a yawn.  “He’ll do it in the morning, I just wanted to make sure I knew what he was doing.”

“And do you?”  Crawford leaned against the desk, rather enjoying the spectacle of a sleepy but parental Ken.   Ken sat back in his chair, too distracted to notice, for once, how Crawford was quietly invading his personal space.

“Sorta. I think he’s reached the places I left off.  Not that I learned much of it anyway.  Too busy playing football.”  In a familiar gesture, Ken reached backwards to rub at his neck.  ” ‘ Course I know other stuff now but that’s not in the book.”  He flashed Crawford a sheepish grin.

Crawford closed his eyes briefly, a vision of Shige and Kaoru armed with Ken’s very specific knowledge of human anatomy passing behind his eyelids.  Interesting but undesirable.

Ken, beside him, was starting to slouch in his chair.  Also interesting.

“Go to bed,” Crawford told him, folding the text book closed.

Unbreakable

Nov. 4th, 2008 06:21 pm
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Ken had discovered that he was immune to fire when Kase tried to burn him, and to bullets when Kase tried to shoot him.  His near-drowning at the Ani museum hadn’t quite clued him in to water.  Then he started working with Mr Glasses.

Tonight, he had not found himself face down in the swimming pool with his cloak billowing wetly across the surface.  He had dispatched the villain with ruthless efficiency, only remembering in passing that the claws belonged to a different character.

Crawford (and Kaoru) were waiting for him by the car, with towels and a thermos.

griglewood: (Default)

“You know, I used to be a secret agent.” Crawford had been watching Ken for the past ten minutes as he sorted out Halloween costumes and checked for at least the fifth time that he had all the tickets for the cinema. Ken gave him a slightly frazzled look in return.

“I look great in a tux,” Crawford added. “I have the physique, the gun. I even have the car.” He studied his expensively buffed fingernails. “You know you could…”

“You also wear glasses,” Shige snickered from the stairs. Kaoru and Keigo were hovering behind him. “Are we going yet?”

“Yes,” said Ken, with a certain amount of relief. “Get your coats on.”

“Does he really have a gun?” Keigo asked, moments later, ritually removing his mittens from his coat sleeves.

“Just like 007, “Crawford smirked, while Ken tried to ignore how impressed Kaoru was looking. “Your very own James Bond.” It was amazing how smoothly the American could leer.

“I like Bond movies for the girls,” Ken muttered, zipping up his jacket.

griglewood: (Default)

Ken sometimes suspected that precognition had made Crawford lazy.  Confident of always, or at least mostly, knowing what would happen next, he achieved whatever goals he set for himself with minimum effort and put little store in learning from experience.  Even less in admitting mistakes. He had, of course, never been a man to put himself out for others.

That today was the exception had to be some kind of victory. Ken followed the boys into the house that they had been invited to inspect.  The unhappiness of their last temporary residence, despite its beauty and expense, was clearly a fresh memory.

Shige and Keigo went straight upstairs, their footsteps loud and heavy on the uncarpeted wooden stairs.  Shinji ground to a characteristic halt in the hallway, still muttering over his latest text message, while Kaoru went to explore outside.

“So?”  Crawford asked Ken some minutes later.

“The kitchen’s good.”  If crowded, although the “Island” would provide extra space for food preparation.  “It’s small though.”

“You prefer small,” Crawford replied flatly.

“I prefer normal,” Ken corrected, thinking back to the villa with its ancient frescos and priceless furniture.  Crawford held his hands out, a placating gesture as he stepped aside for Shige to stomp into the living room, and Keigo, who frowned at them both before following.  He of course had been quite happy with the villa.

Crawford waited for them to pass before leading the way to the landing. “Upstairs bathroom,” he said, rather unnecessarily, opening the nearest door.  Ken poked his head through the doorway.

“Okay. ”

The tub was big enough, with a floor drain for the wall shower and fully tiled floors and ceilings.  Plain, functional, easy to clean.

“The boys’ bedroom.”

Ken grinned awkwardly as he looked inside, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Ooh, cozy.”

“Shige and Kaoru could take the bunkbed.  They have shared before.”

“Not for ages!”  It was a nice room with pretty wallpaper and dimity curtains but the four beds didn’t leave much room for anything else.  Even Kaoru tended to prefer his own space these days.  “Perhaps we should give Shinji the casting vote?”

“Very funny.”  No need to explain that Shinji’s incessant mumbling would be the main reason everyone wanted a separate room.    “The last house did have a third bedroom…”

“Which you said Keigo would try and take for himself.  What’s this?”

“Our bedroom,” Crawford said with a smile.

Damn new relationships.  Ken refused to admit he was blushing as he gave the room the once over.  Solid wood furnishings, double bed, nice view, right next door to the boys’ bedroom…

“Quite.”  Crawford added, pulling the door closed behind him.

“Maybe we do need that extra room?”

“Come and see outside first.”

The boys were standing in a row like skittles and staring out to sea when Ken and Crawford joined them.  Ken hadn’t seen this view when they were driving up, probably because it was concealed by the densely planted trees.  But tramping across the fine white sand and listening to the sound of the waves and the gulls overhead…

“…of course, there isn’t a room I can use for an office,”  Crawford eventually remarked.

“Good!” replied Ken.

Safe House

Jul. 14th, 2008 06:23 pm
griglewood: (Default)

“What are those things in the garden?”

“They’re grape vines, I thought you’d like them.”

“What, you mean for wine and stuff?”  Ken had phoned Crawford as soon as the kids had gone to bed and was speaking quietly into the handset, knowing full well that the chances of them actually sleeping were minimal.  He was keeping an eye on the stairs.

“I’m told they’ll be ready for harvesting in a few weeks.”  Crawford sounded relaxed and amused at the other end of the line but tinny, which meant he was using the speaker phone.  Ken hated that.  There was brief pause while Crawford gave instructions to someone in the background. “The boys can help, it’ll be messy.”

“Great.”  The telephone was in the hall, next to an expensive looking chair.  Ken slid down the wall to sit on the floor, curling the wire around his hands.  “I don’t know anything about harvesting wine.”

“You worked in a flower shop.”

“That’s hardly the same!”

“Well, you know that much.” Ken could imagine the smug smile all too easily.  He held the phone away for a second, casting a doleful gaze about the room.  The latest house Crawford had found for them was a yellow and pink villa on a small island off Sanc which had been landscaped to look like Tuscany (Ken remembered that much from his one visit to Italy).  The house was lovely, the kitchen was well stocked (with cook books that Keigo would have to translate for him) and there was a pool in the half-acre garden, an instant hit with all the boys.  It didn’t feel remotely like home.

“Ken.”  Crawford’s voice sounded closer, he must have switched the machine off.

“So when will you be here then?” Ken asked.

griglewood: (Default)

“You might have seen this coming,” Ken grumbled amiably as their room shook again. He’d been trying to watch television but with the sound obliterated by engine noise – at (amazingly) regular five-minute intervals – he wasn’t really following the story.

Crawford, propped up on one elbow beside him, leaned forward to brush the hair from Ken’s eyes. “I saw you coming instead,” he replied, tracing a soft line with his fingertips down Ken’s face and chest. “It was a forgivable distraction.”

Ken had turned an appealing shade of pink. Crawford smiled without a trace of apology – and stole the remote.

griglewood: (guys)

A camera flashed outside the kitchen window and Ken pulled the blind down, swearing. Sister would have washed his mouth out for the language but he wasn’t feeling like a good boy today. Too sick of kicking around an empty house and a phone that never rang with people you wanted to speak to.

Not that David had ever called much anyway.

At least Kase would understand why he didn’t pick up. Ken opened the refrigerator, its shelves still stuffed with fruit and protein drinks and last month’s training menu pinned inside the door.

He went for the ice cream.

Fanboy Ken

Mar. 7th, 2007 06:35 pm
griglewood: (Default)

The best part of Side B were clustered behind the counter. Trapped in the doorway, the man Ken was fawning over looked strangely familiar, if a little out of character with a bouquet.

Yuki squinted through his glasses. “Isn’t that the guy from the bran advert?”

“He was the villain in Cold Mountain,” Michel chirrupped.

“And Henry VIII on television. You know he only plays the hard man,” Chloe sniped.

Of course Aya understood best of all. “He was also England’s football ambassador at the World Cup.” He leafed through his magazine, smiling grimly. “He’s met the whole team…”

griglewood: (Default)

Ken approached the two men, looking concerned. Crawford eyed him curiously.

“I’ve been reading the data files.”

“You shouldn’t read, Ken. It’s too stressful for you.”

“Yeah but…” Ken paused, brows knitting in annoyance. “Bastard!”

“Getting quicker,” Crawford smirked.

“Ha bloody ha.” Ken commandeered a chair. “According to the files, you two are supposed to be mortal enemies.”

“That’s another timeline.” Crawford sipped his expensive coffee. “In this one it’s more profitable to share our mutual expertise, one-”

“-purveyor of evil to another?” The Master favoured Ken with a condescending smile.

“I was going to say, businessman,” Crawford replied acidly.

griglewood: (Default)
"Crawford?”

“What?”

“There’s a spider on your back.”

“Is that all?”

“There’s a giant spider on your back!”

“Very funny.”

“There is!”

“Oh really.”

“I’m serious! It’s huge.”

“Yes and I’m busy, now go away. Lift something heavy. Wash. Whatever you do.”

“Crawford…”

“I mean it, Ken.”

“Brad,” Ken repeated slowly. “There’s a big fucking enormous mutant spider on your back. And it’s glowing.” Well, technically, the crystal was.

Crawford turned and fixed Ken with a hard stare, presumably unaware of the hairy blue leg that was stroking his left shoulder. “And I’ve told you not to call me Brad.”

TARDIS

Oct. 22nd, 2006 08:17 am
griglewood: (Default)

"Whoah!” Ken ground to a sudden halt, blue eyes widening in shock. “It’s..."

“Bigger inside than out. Yes I know. I do trust you closed the front door.” The man he had followed seemed unsurprised by his presence and spoke without looking up, being otherwise busy flicking switches on a strange but familiar hexagonal console. 

Ken flexed his bugnucks nervously as he circled the edge of the room. 

“And don’t touch anything.”

“What?”

Sparks flew from a panel. Ken jumped back, then jumped again when a large glass cylinder started pumping wheezily behind him.

 “Buckle up.” Crawford smirked. “We’re leaving.”

griglewood: (Default)

Ken quite enjoyed flirting with the office girls when he made a delivery. Sure he tended to go a bit pink, and trip over his words but so long as Kudoh never ever found out, right? The receptionist at the Central bank was bold and pretty. Ken was still grinning and rubbing his neck when he backed into the elevator.

Ten minutes later, the lift spat him out onto the ground floor – red faced, shocked and decidedly rumpled. His legs shook all the way back to his motorbike.

Brad Crawford smirked all the way back up to the 35th floor.

griglewood: (Crawford)

Even though he had seen it in advance, Crawford had to ask.

“Hidaka, just what are you trying to do?”

Ken cast him a somewhat desperate look from behind the mounds of white and pastel fabric that were covering the kitchen table. “The school asked all the mothers to make costumes for this dance thing.” He held up two fistfuls of ribbon , “I cut all these like they said but there are hundreds of them and they all have to be attached and…hell, I can’t glue ‘em. Do you think staples would work?”

The question fell somewhere between frustrated and pleading, desperate was clearly an understatement. Crawford forebore to mention that Ken wasn’t a mother.

“Have you ever even sewed before?”

“I can do buttons.”

“Congratulations.” Crawford crossed the room and picked up the telephone receiver, still dialling the number as he came back to the table. “I’m sure that’s a remarkable accomplishment. Here.”

“What?” Ken rubbed his eyes with the back of one hand.

“The phone.” Crawford made the effort to sound patient. “My secretary. Tell her what you need and it’ll be sorted.” The younger man had a small mental struggle before discovering that he could just put the ribbons down and then fumbled over the phone. He wasn’t used to giving orders to secretaries.

Crawford smiled to himself as he walked into the hall. Apparently pink was Ken’s colour.

griglewood: (ken cel)

Throughout the morning, Ken kept going back into the kitchen to stare at the stack of cards and chocolate he’d left there. He hadn’t experienced anything like this since the the days of the flower shop.

Three of the cards had a childish scrawl on them.  He couldn’t help smiling at those and wondered how they’d twisted Keigo’s arm. One was expensive and scented and he rather suspected Omi. He’d been handed most of the chocolates when he dropped the boys at school, apparently he was a big favourite with the teachers.

The one from Crawford was a little alarming.

Goal

Jul. 22nd, 2006 05:17 pm
griglewood: (ken)

Ken read the signals from Shige’s body movements with practised ease, lunged to the left when the ball came flying towards him.  And missed, as it curved to the right and lodged safely in the other corner of the goal. Shige hooted loudly, turning to the others with his fists raised in a gesture of triumph, his eyes growing round as every kid on the pitch took a nervous step backwards.

“Eheheh,” Shige widened his grin, hopefully, as Ken climbed to his feet and brushed his clothes down.

Ken growled his congratulations before throwing the ball back into play.

JFK

Jul. 22nd, 2006 05:03 pm
griglewood: (Default)

“So where were you when President Kennedy was killed?”

A common enough question. One that people would still be asking in years to come – although it was, arguably, a little more pointed in present circumstances. Crawford crushed his cigarette in the ashtray as he studied the man opposite. Ambitious, flamboyant and a little bit mad, just the way Esset liked them. He’d be a useful enough distraction.

Schuldig was leaning against the bar, a blur of colour in the corner of his eye, utterly failing to be inconspicuous.

“Well I was on the grassy knoll, Mr Garrison,” Crawford replied, smiling.

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