Kankuro had a problem. A fifty points problem to be exact. Once again, his stupid Family and Consumer Science class had another stupid project. The teenager was really starting to believe that the cute upperclassman, who suggested taking the class with him, wasn’t worth it. The brunet scowled down at the sheet of paper in his hands before crumpling it up into a ball. Just as he was about to toss it in the nearest trash bin, the previously mentioned cute upperclassman caught up with him in the hall.
“Hi, Kankuro!” she greeted happily.
The teenger’s words caught in his throat. “A-Ah, hey, Rin.”
“I’m, like, so excited to be working on this project! It’s always such a blast to help people out, especially family. Have you decided on who you're going to help yet?” she asked cheerfully.
Kankuro tightened his fist around the paper ball. “Uh, no not exactly. My family is… weird when it comes to help. I’m going to my dad’s for the week of the project and his side of the family is really limited.”
Rin frowned seemingly guilty. “I’m sorry to hear that. Maybe you can talk to your parents about staying with your mom for another week. You’re old enough to make the decision on who you want to stay with after all.”
“Yeah, I guess. I just want to upset either one of them. My parents are both… extremist sometimes…” Kankuro shrugged and sighed, “I’ll figure it out. I have until Sunday morning to make a decision.”
Rin smiled, “There you go. I’m sure you’ll have it figured out by then.”
Kankuro smiled shyly. Maybe the cute girl was worth the lame ass class and project.
By Sunday, the teenager was past thinking about the girl and was completely stressed out. As it turned out, he forgot to talk to his parents and ended up going to his dad’s. It wouldn’t have been a major problem, had his mother not left on a business trip. Now Kankuro was stuck between choosing either his nutty great-grandmother, creepy great-uncle, or grumpy dad. Of course he could choose between the two of his siblings, but let's be honest, he thought they were annoying little shits. Not that he didn't love them! Most of the time.
“This freaking sucks!” the teeanger complained as he flopped onto his bed.The male groaned and shoved a pillow in his face. Maybe if he suffocated himself long enough he’d die and not have to do the stupid project.
“But Daaaaaaad!” he heard his sister screech from upstairs.
He rolled his eyes at the loud banshee and buried his face deeper in the pillow. Sometimes it sucked having the basement bedroom. You could hear just about everything from upstairs - every creak, screech, and door slam.
“Why can’t I gooooo!?” the girl whined again. “It’s not fair! All my other friends are going with their boyfriends! Why can’t I go with mine?”
Kankuro’s ear perked up. His dear little sister was being denied an outing and it had to do with boys. Hopping off his bed, he ran up the stairs and peered into the kitchen. His father was cooking what seemed to be stirfry, while Temari was standing on the other side of the island with her arms crossed defiantly. This ought to be good.
Sasori sighed and gave the girl a strict glare. “I already told you no, Temari. You’re not old enough to be running around at night that late. Nor are you old enough to be dating. Especially older boys. ”
“Dad!” Temari huffed. “Why do you hate me!? Mom would let me go!”
The redhead turned sharply from his cooking and held up the spatula toward the young girl as if he were pointing at her. “You know damn well that I don’t hate you and that your mother would never allow that.”
Kankuro had to bite his lip to stop his laughter. Here comes the waterworks, he thought to himself.
Tears welled up in Temari’s eyes, “You swore at me! You hate me! You really hate me!”
Sasori huffed and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to swear, but you need to watch what you say, young lady. I don’t hate you. I love you very much. Your mother and I both do. You know that. Now cease this bratty act of yours and behave yourself.”
The blond groaned and rubbed her eyes, “Please, Dad! Pleaaaase! It’s just the movies. There will only be, like, three guys at most and they’re the same age as Kankuro!”
“Which is too old for you. You’re thirteen for Amaterasu’s sake! Since when are you even into boys? I remember when you used to punch the boys who tried to even give you a hug on the playground,” the redhead stated matter-of-factly.
Temari rolled her eyes, “I was like five then! Just let me be me!”
The redhead shook his head and attended to the food. “No means no, and I won’t tell you again. You’re not going. Ask again and you won’t see that cellphone for the rest of the week.”
“Y-You...You-” the blond girl stomped her foot and screeched one last time. “You’re just jealous that I have a boyfriend and you don’t! That’s why mom left you in the first place!”
Kankuro’s jaw dropped, “Oh, shit.”
Sasori’s expression went from mildly annoyed to bewildered and then to fury in a matter of seconds. His glare was so intense that even Kankuro, who was still hidden, felt scared. What was even more frightening was the tone his father used. He didn’t yell or swear - it was the exact opposite. In a calm, yet stern voice he scolded his daughter. “You have no right to speak me in such a way. I did not raise you to be so disrespectful to me or any other adult. Go to your room right now and do not come out until I call for dinner. We’ll have a talk later.”
Temari winced at her father’s words and quickly dashed out of the kitchen. She was so upset
and frightened that she didn’t even notice Kankuro stretching his neck out to watch her run away.
However, Sasori noticed his son. “What is it, Kankuro?”
The brunet blanched and slowly crept out of his hiding spot. “I heard Temari and was curious to what she was complaining about this time. How’s the dinner?”
Sasori sighed, “That wasn’t a very smooth transition, but the stir fry is almost done. How’s your project coming along?”
Kankuro grumbled under his breath, “It’s coming… along.”
“What is it exactly? You didn’t tell me much. Maybe I can help?”
The teenager shook his head, “That’s the opposite of what I need to do. I need to be the one helping. I have to help a family member with something that is useful and personal to them.”
Sasori frowned and hummed in thought. “Well, you could help me.”
“With what?” Kankuro groaned.
“How about cleaning the whole house - or better yet, be dad for the rest of the week. Yeah, that sounds great,” the redhead chuckled.
Kankuro rolled his eyes, “Dad, that’s not good enough! It has to be personal!”
“It is very personal!” Sasori deadpanned. “It’s a lot of hard work to be a single dad, you know?”
“Well, maybe you should get a girlfriend - er, boyfriend,” the teenager corrected himself, “to help out around the house.”
Sasori snorted at the suggestion. “Right. Dating may seem easier to you because you’re young. I’m a thirty-five year old divorcee with three kids. Plus, I’ve just recently discovered my preference for men. It’s a lot harder for someone like me to find a “boyfriend” these days.”
“You’re just being pessimistic. Divorcees find dates all the time! Even if they have kids!”
The redhead gave his son a flat look. “Yes, but the majority of them are heterosexual.”
That’s when it hit Kankuro. He could help his dad! “Dad! I got it!” he announced excitedly. “I know how to help you!”
Sasori raised an eyebrow, “Yes?”
“Let’s setup a dating profile for you!”
The redhead gave his son a pointed look. “Let’s not.”
Kankuro whipped out his phone and started searching through the app store to find the perfect dating apps. “C’mon, it’ll be alright. People your age do it all the time. Besides, we can find you a guy that is totally into a thirty-five year old with three kids.”
“No, just no. I’ve seen that Catfish show on MTV and I do not intend to be the next loser on it.”
The teen shook his head. “Trust me, dad, that won’t happen. All reality shows are fake anyways. Listen, it’ll just be for the assignment. You don’t have to actually date anyone. Just talk to some people who are interested. Maybe go on one date with them if you think it’s worth it. C’mon, it’s only for a week! After that you can delete the profile.”
Sasori pulled his stir fry away from the stovetop and set it aside. From there, he turned to face his son, arms crossed. His face held a scowl, but it wavered as he thought about the decision. “Fine,” he huffed. He reached into his pocket and handed his phone over to the teenager. “Find whatever you think is the best.”
Kankuro took the phone eagerly and was surprised to find that his father didn’t lock his phone. “You don’t lock your phone?” he asked.
“There’s no real reason to,” the redhead shrugged. “Go tell Temari and Gaara the food is done. I’ll get the table set up.”
The teenager mindlessly wandered through their home, his nose buried in his dad’s phone. As he made his way to his siblings’ rooms, he grinned like mad upon finding the best dating app in the whole universe. Tinder.
Later that night, when the other kids were in bed, Kankuro sat in the living room with his father. He was sitting beside him, helping the older male fill out his profile. His father was having trouble conceiving the idea that he had to share an ounce of his personal life in order to find a match.
“You don’t have to write a novel. You can keep it short and to the point, but you have to make sure it catches attention. Maybe start with a few of your likes, let them get to know what would be a good date. What do you like to do?”
Sasori pursed his lips, “Reading, cooking, working, cleaning, going for walks-”
“Dad, that’s really boring. No one goes to the library for a date. I know you hate eating out, but those are typical date starters. Didn’t you and mom go out to eat when you started dating?” Kankuro asked as gently as he could.
The redhead shrugged, “She always picked the place, to be honest. She asked me out first and suggested some Italian place.”
“But, you hate Italian.”
“She found that out after we got married.”
Kankuro snorted, “Wow, you’re kind of a pushover. Okey, well you like coffee right? Why not put something like Loves coffee, nature walks, and hates Italian food. ”
Sasori handed his phone over to his son. “You’re clearly better at this.”
The teenager sighed and took the device. “Okey. We need a little bit more though. Let’s see… Maybe Father of three and looking for a long-time partner. ?”
“Sure… but what about my preference? If you don’t put that down then-”
“ Gay .”
Sasori glared, “Not that blunt. It’s… embarrassing when you put it like that.”
Kankuro raised an eyebrow, “There’s no need to be ashamed, dad.”
“I’ve been straight up until my divorce and I have three kids.”
Kankuro gave a small smile, “Technically, you’ve been in denial up until the divorce, but if you insist, I’ll fix it up. How’s Sorry, ladies, but I’m not interested. ?”
The redhead grumbled and distracted himself by watching the news. “Fine.”
The teen hummed in approval and finalized the profile. He figured it would take about a night or longer before he got any hits on his profile, so he handed the phone back over to father and said good night. Maybe he’d actually get an A on his project after all.
The next morning, Kankuro woke up early on his own. It was a sight to behold, as it rarely happened. The reason for his disrupted sleep was a constant dinging noise. It wasn't a familiar noise, so of course it would wake him up. He sat up in bed and found that the sound was on his table. No wonder it was so loud and annoying. Getting up, Kankuro discovered that it was his father’s phone. “What the hell,” he muttered, picking it up. Every few seconds it would ding with a notification. Unlocking the phone he saw that it was indeed notifications. All of them were from… Facebook? He headed downstairs with the phone in confusion. He found his father sitting at the kitchen table sipping coffee. “Dad, have you seen this?”
When the redhead turned to look at his son, the teenager could clearly see that his father had. The man looked exhausted.
“It wouldn’t stop, so I tossed it in your room.”
Kankuro gave his father a slightly annoyed look. “You could’ve just turned the notifications off. Whatever, what’s this about?”
Sasori looked away and continued to down his coffee.
The teenager raised an eyebrow in confusion. He wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or not. Opening the app up, he tapped the first notification he saw. It lead to his father’s facebook - which was used more for family affairs than anything - and found several comments on his wall. He was still majorly confused until he read the first one.
There’s no way you’re gay! You have three kids? Since when did you and Karura divorce?
He frowned and scrolled down further. More comments were similar to that, a lot of them coming from his mother’s family or friends who hadn’t known for some reason. Then he found some that he assumed were from Tinder. They were all women complaining about how all the cute men were either taken or gay and how it was unfair that such an attractive man was gay.
The redhead sighed, “I told you it was a bad idea.”
“You didn’t say that exactly…”
“Well, I thought it.”
Kankuro huffed, “Look, we can figure this out. Maybe Tinder isn’t for you. Obviously, you’re a chick magnet, so maybe we should find an app that is more suitable to your sexuality?”
Sasori shook his head, “Look, Kankuro, I appreciate what you were trying to do, but maybe it’d just be better if you helped Granny Chiyo instead. I’m sure she can give you a hundred things to help her with.” He stood up and left the kitchen to go wake up the other children.
The teenager frowned. It seemed that it was bothering his father a lot more than he was willing to admit or even acknowledge. This determined the brunet further. No way was he going to help his pruney great grandmother scrape off her bunions. He’d find his father a boyfriend and gets his A if it was the last thing he ever did on this planet!
It was at school that he decided to get some help. Although, he should’ve known better than to ask around about gay dating apps. His friends got a good round of laughter out of it. All day Kankuro had to put up with, “Don’t worry, you’re still our pal. Even if you do like it up the butt.” No wonder his father didn’t want to come out. Kankuro knew his friends were only joking, but the era his father grew up in was a lot harsher. Being gay meant being bullied. Now it was just something most of society accepted.
By the time lunch rolled around, Kankuro still had no lead to help his father. He sat grumpily at the table with his friends. They were all chatting when he was approached by a friend of a friend. He didn’t know the guy that well, but he was an upperclassman and often sat at the end of their table.
“I heard you were asking around for a gay dating app?” the white haired male asked.
Kankuro tensed, “It’s not for me, I swear. You see my-”
The guy shook his head, “I don’t need details. There’s this app called Grindr. Bunch of gay guys use it. Honestly, it’s pretty lousy, but it’s one of the most popular gay dating apps out there. Thought you’d like to know.”
The brunet sat there speechless, his friends giggling like preteen girls. “Uh, thanks,” he finally uttered.
When the guy left and joined them at the end of the table - like always, Kankuro’s friends bursted out in laughter and joked about how he should hook up with the guy. They could be voted the cutest couple for the yearbook, one of his friends joked. The teenager rolled his eyes, but ended up joining them in their laughter and jokes. Grinning down at his phone, he downloaded the app and began to make his father’s profile. At least he could avoid scraping bunions for now.
“You did what!?” Sasori asked in exasperation.
Kankuro smiled sheepishly. He held up his phone and presented it to the male.
Sasori snatched it out of his son’s hands and stared incredulously at the app. “A gay dating app. You set me up on a gay dating app.”
“It seemed like a good idea! Now you can find a guy and not have to worry about judgement.”
The redhead shook his head and handed the phone back to the boy. “I refuse to do this. As your father, I demand that you delete this.”
“No way!” the brunet snapped. “Either you put it on your phone and find a date yourself or I’ll do it!”
Sasori stared at his son in surprise before narrowing his eyes suspiciously. “Why are you so persistent on this? It can’t be just because you want a good grade.”
Kankuro frowned and crossed his arms, “You’re mostly right. I really do want an A, but this little project has shown me something.”
The older male crossed his arms as well. “Oh, yeah? What’s that?”
“You’re lonely. You’re lonely and ashamed. You say you aren’t, but you are. You’ve been denying it for so long, and you’re still having trouble coping with it. You’re more concerned about what others will think, but you shouldn’t. You’re still my dad no matter who you love. You need to accept yourself. It’s been two years, dad. You’re allowed to find someone else - Mom already has. If mom can find a man, so can you!”
Sasori snorted at the last part of his speech. “Son, you were doing really well until that last statement.”
Kankuro huffed, “That’s beside the point. Are you going to download it on your phone or not?”
The redhead heaved a sigh, “I guess I can give it a try.”
The teenage smiled and gave the redhead all of his login info. He was getting closer to that A, he could just feel it!