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Blue Skies

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It was a beautiful day. The sun was out, the sky was blue with white, wispy clouds lazily making their way across. It was nice, just warm enough so that one could wear pants and still be comfortable. It was the perfect day to go to the park.

The Austin City Park had people scattered all about. Children played on the playground, owners and their dogs played fetch, teenagers played a game of soccer, athletes trained for races- it was lovely and peaceful.

A small family was strolling along a path, two men and their daughters. Michael Jones and his partner, Ray Narvaez Jr., had decided to take the family out for a picnic lunch in this very park. Ray held the cooler full of food, while Michael carried the blanket. The two girls walked between their dads, chattering and giggling. They were excited for a day in the park.

“What’d you pack? You know, to eat?” Rose asked. She was their oldest daughter, at ten years old. She was a bit short for her age, but she was quite skinny, having a high metabolism. She wore her dark hair in two pigtails, hair dark like Ray’s. Her bangs fell over her forehead. She wore thick glasses over her bright blue eyes. Her jeans were torn, her sneakers scuffed, and her purple t-shirt bore the motocop logo.

Michael sighed. “For the thirty-seventh time, Rose, sandwiches, goldfish, fruit, Oreos, crackers, pretzels, and apple juice.”

“What kind of fruit?” Ray asked, quickly peeking into the cooler.

“There’s melon, bananas, grapes-”

“People like those!” a little voice interrupted.

The voice belonged to Ray and Michael’s youngest, Katie, a small four-year old with pixie-cut blonde hair. She had a wide smile and a spatter of freckles across her nose and cheeks. She also wore glasses, but unlike her sister’s, her eyes were light brown like Michael’s. She wore jeans and sneakers cleaner than her sister’s, but her t-shirt was black with a silhouette of RWBY’s own Yang Xiao Long.

Michael gave a groan at her remark, while Ray let out a laugh. He scooped her up in his free hand.

“Don’t let your Uncle Gavvy teach you bad jokes,” he playfully scolded, kissing her cheek.

“Don’t let him teach you any jokes,” Michael piped in. “Better yet, don’t let him teach you anything.”

“He taught me and Ricky how to cover watermelons with rubber bands so they explode!” Rose said, making wild hand gestures. “You gotta stretch ‘em real big so they can-”

“Jesus, Rose, that’s it, you’re never staying over with him again!” Michael said, but no exasperated sign could hide the grin on his face.

Rose made a face at her dad. “You’re just jealous ‘cause he got to meet Iron Man!”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.”

“Michael!” Ray called. “How about over here?”

He was standing under a tree with an open view of a grassy field. Katie bounced in his arms.

Michael nodded. “Seems good to me.”

Before long, they had their blanket laid out under the shade of the tree, munching on sandwiches and snacks. Katie was being sure to eat plenty of grapes, and made her daddies take a picture to send to Uncle Gavvy and Cousin Ricky.

Katie shoved her half-eaten peanut butter sandwich away and tugged Rose up to play in the field with her. She abandoned her salami and cheese one to follow the little blonde.

Ray and Michael scooted closer to each other, leaning against the trunk of the tree, and entwined their hands as they watched their little girls play together without a care in the world.

“We do good work, Michael,” Ray placed his head on his lover’s shoulder.

Michael smiled. “We always do, Ray.”

There was a moment of silence as a slight breeze rolled across the field. Ray ran his thumb along Michael’s hand, and Michael planted a kiss on the top of Ray’s head. They enjoyed the quiet.

Michael was the one to break it.

“How the hell has Gavin not killed our children yet? Remember when we let them go over back in March? I swear I could smell something burning when we picked them up. Rose reeked of gasoline.”

“I think that was when he was setting the plastic dolls on fire and watching them melt in slow mo.” Ray said, sitting up.

Michael cringed. “That’s actually fucking creepy.”

Ray shrugged. “Well, living with someone like Ryan would probably do that to a person. He’s a scary, disturbed motherfucker.”

Michael nodded. “True. Remind me to pick them up a bottle of wine on the way home. Their anniversary is this weekend.”

“M’kay.”

“Daddy, look!”

“Look what we found, Dad!”

The two girls ran up to the two men with cupped hands.

“Oh, now what do we have here?” Michael raised his eyebrows, him and Ray attempting to peer at their discovery.

“It’s- oops,” Katie said as she dropped her precious cargo right onto Ray’s lap.

“What the- !” Ray exclaimed as a little frog, now sat in his lap, looked up at him.

“Frogs,” Rose giggled.

“I like froggies,” Katie bent down to pick up her treasure off of her father’s lap.

Michael smiled. “Very cool! Be sure not to mess with them, you don’t want to hurt them.”

Rose nodded enthusiastically. “Of course! I’d never-” She was cut off as her frog leapt from her hands and onto the front of Ray’s shirt.

“Oops, sorry, Dad,” she scooped the animal off him. “Gonna go set ‘em free, love you, bye!” she raced away before her dads could say anything else. Katie plodded after her.

Michael looked at Ray with a smirk. “I didn’t know you were so attracted to frogs.”

Ray wiped at his shirt and jeans where the frogs had landed. “The frogs were attracted to me, man! Are all reptiles gonna like me now?!”

“Frogs are amphibians, Ray.”

“Whatever,” he grumbled.

Michael laughed at Ray’s pouty face. He kissed the younger man on the temple.

Ray turned toward Michael and kissed him, softly, on the lips.

After a few seconds, they broke apart and smiled at each other. Their foreheads pressed together, their noses touching, smiling, staring at each other until the girls came back for Oreos.

After the cookies were eaten, Ray and Michael packed up what was left, rolled up the blanket, and placed it neatly in a pile. They ran out to join the girls.

They played tag for a while, before Ray threw Rose over his shoulder and Michael did the same with Katie. They started walking back to their stuff as the girls squealed for them to be put down.

Sliding them off their shoulders, the two men picked up their things.

“It’s time to get going, girls,” Michael said.

“Awwwwwww,” came the sad reply.

“Sorry guys, but we gotta get back home. Your uncles Gav and Ryan are coming over for dinner with Ricky, and we gotta make sure everything’s picked up!” Ray started walking toward the direction of the parking lot. “I think the Ramseys and Pattillos are coming, too. I invited Lindsay and Barbara, as well.”

The girl’s faces brightened at the mention of their family and friends, and they immediately followed their dads back to the car.

As Ray strapped Katie in her booster seat, Michael slid into the driver’s seat and started the car. Ray poked her nose, and then leaned over to do the same to Rose. Both girls giggled.

Ray hopped in the passenger seat, leaned over and kissed his partner on the cheek. “Love you,” he said with a smile.

Michael smiled. “Love you too, Ray.”

“Hey Dad!”

Michael and Ray looked in the back seats. “Yes, Rose?”

She grinned, her crooked teeth showing. “I love you, too. You guys are the best.”

“Yay for daddies!” Katie clapped her hands, laughing.

Michael and Ray looked at each other, and smiled.

“We love you guys too,” Michael said, turning back to the steering wheel with the biggest smile across his face.

“Couldn’t ask for better kids,” Ray said to Michael as they pulled out of the park.

“Couldn’t agree with you more.”