Sep. 1st, 2011 12:08 am
unij: YOU BET KID (Badass Enough To Not Care)
[personal profile] unij
Because I said I would, and also because Dandy's was more than a little related to what I had been working on...

Title: A Million Tries
Characters: XI!Verse: Jack, Hajime
Summary: Sometimes, Jack's the one who needs to be the cheerleader.

In the ten-odd years they'd known each other, Jack had never seen Hajime look more frazzled than when he opened the door.

"Jack," he greeted, expression grim. "I'm doing that thing."

The redhead blinked. "Uh."

"That thing. The one I always do. Where I get, get wrapped up in my head, and think too much, and start freaking myself out. Would you like to come in."

"Oh. That thing. Yeah, thanks." He strolled into the apartment, the place just as clean and neat as ever, striking a stark contrast to Hajime's rumpled clothes and haggard expression. "Uh, did you try talking to Belle about it?"

"No. Noooo, no, that... Jack, please, just... distract me." He kept taking little steps, as though trying to keep himself from pacing and not quite succeeding. "From. My brain. For a little bit."

Tossing his jacket over the back of the sofa, Jack frowned at his friend, before shrugging. "Uh, 'kay. What should I--?"

"Anything," Hajime pleaded, sitting in a chair. "How are you. How's life."

Leaning against the sofa arm, Jack frowned and raised an eyebrow at the younger man, who just looked at him with begging eyes. It looked kind of creepy, on him. Jack finally winced and broke eye contact. "Okay, let's see... Well, Hotaru's getting on the soccer team, so we--"

A small moan interrupted, and Jack looked back to find Hajime with his head in his hands. "Not the kids. Anything but the kids. Please."

Jack's mouth opened, then closed, and then he sat on the sofa arm and leaned towards his friend. "Hey. Haj. What's up, man? You can talk to me, y'know."

For a long pause, Hajime sat still, palms still pressed firmly over his eyes, before he finally gave a long sigh and leaned on his knees. "Belle's pregnant."

Jack blinked at him. "Whu--Dude, I thought... That's a good thing, right? I mean, I thought... the two of you were trying to, you know... do that."

"We were. We are." The Ouendan rubbed his temple. "I mean, yes, it... it's supposed to be a good thing. We wanted this. I wanted this. That, that was, until it actually became real, and..." He bit his lip. "This is all wrong. I shouldn't have told you." The instant the words came from his mouth, his head snapped up to look at Jack--whose own expression had immediately fallen. "I--no, I didn't mean it like that, Jack, I mean--"

The redhead gave a weary grin and a dismissive wave of the hand. After enough years, he had gotten used to Hajime's tendency to be terrible with words.

Hajime groaned again. "It... it's just... you should be the first to know, of course, you know that. But... I shouldn't have..." He sighed. "You shouldn't know before Belle does."

A silence fell. "I... she... what?"

Hajime winced. "It, you know, it feels like the woman should be the first to know, but..." He pulled off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. "I can... tell these things." Jack gave a low whistle of sympathy, but Hajime gave a heavy shrug. "That... that's not the problem. I mean, maybe a little, but that's not...

"Jack, I can't... I can't be a father. I could never... I can't take that sort of..." Grappling with the words, Hajime ran a hand over his scalp. "What's the one thing I keep doing wrong, Jack."

In hopes of lightening the conversation, Jack gave a quick grin. "You want me to pick one?"

It didn't work. "That's it. I do everything wrong, Jack. Every thing." Hajime flexed his hands in front of him. "I--every time I try to do something, it takes a million tries before I can do it right. I am always screwing up, Jack, and--and I can't do that to a kid. That--that's not fair."

Jack's grin had quickly fallen into a puzzled frown. "Hey, man, that's not--"

But Hajime was just looking down at his lap, mumbling. "One little thing wrong, and they're scarred for life. Just, saying the wrong thing, making the wrong decision, too careless, not careless enough, and they'll just..."

Jack gaped. "Wow. You really are doing that thing."

Hajime's eyes went wide. "Oh god. Oh god what if I drop it." He looked up at Jack. "Jack, what if I drop the baby, oh god."

It was at that point Jack took the liberty of slapping his friend across the face. "Cut it out."

There was a pause. Hajime coughed. "One more time." Jack obliged. "Th-thank you."

With a nod, Jack sat back on the couch. "Okay, so, I can't really say anything about how you're wrong, because you're sort of not. But here's the thing, man." He looked his friend in the eye. "No matter how many times you screw up, you keep trying until you get it right. And that's more than most people can say."

Hajime looked back, sagging in his seat. "But--"



"Nope." Jack crossed his arms. "Listen, if you're so worried, I'll tell you one thing you're doing right on the first try." He grinned. "I'm pretty sure this is the right reaction for any dad to have."

There was a long pause, before Hajime looked down. And he gave a small laugh. "Hmm... I guess it could be."

Jack grinned. That was as much as he could ask for. "Oh, and by the way? Congratulations."

Another laugh, steadier this time. "Yeah. Thanks."
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