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No Job For A Hero

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It wasn't his worst parenting moment, Sazh decided. There was still Euride Gorge, after all. And it had been pretty decent of him as a friend. Snow needed shaping up; he had hopelessly optimistic ideas about fatherhood that just wouldn't cut it when he was faced with a sick, screaming kid at three in the morning.

There were certain situations you couldn't get out of with some posturing and declarations of being a hero. Maybe heroics worked when you were declared public enemy number one and the government hunted you down and held your crystallized loved ones hostage. Sure. Sazh would give Snow that.

But cleaning someone else's behind for the next two to three years? Watching your language and behavior constantly to make sure you were a decent role model? Trashing everything you owned that could possibly cause harm should it collide with a tiny, undeveloped cranium? The slow, gnawing desperation that came upon you when you realized that you hadn't had a discussion with anyone over three feet tall in months?

Try to handle that, Mr. Hero.

Plus, Sazh had really needed a babysitter. And Lightning had basically dropped Snow on Sazh's doorstep with explicit instructions to stay the hell away from his pregnant wife until Snow learned to not make her cry.

(Telling Serah that her unnerving new bodily changes were the result of carrying small future Team NORA champions wasn't, it turned out, the most comforting thing Snow could possibly have said. It was also inappropriate of him to mention that their future children were genetically predisposed to survive being orphans, should the situation arise.)

But trying to give Snow a crash course in parenting via the take-care-of-Dajh-for-twenty-minutes-while-I-do-this-one-errand method hadn't really worked out. For one thing, Dajh was now awake. It was naptime. Dajh was a little too old for naptime, but Sazh had insisted that he sleep because he wasn't a cruel man. He hadn't wanted to punish Snow, just make him think about the realities of parental responsibility for a little while. Besides, he'd had a hunch that Snow and a rambunctious little boy operating at full energy levels might lead to trouble.

He'd been right.

"I used to have a table," Sazh said.

Snow shifted uncomfortably.

"Now I have some stakes and two planks of wood."

Snow hunched his shoulders and tried to make his frame smaller. For someone that big, it was pretty pathetic. He evidently realized that and settled for shrugging helplessly.

"Man, Sazh, it's just that –"

"Why do I have some stakes and two planks of wood, though? Because I keep asking myself that question and it just doesn't make any sense..."

Dajh hopped excitedly from one foot to another.

"Tell him!"

"Tell me what?" Sazh said.

Snow looked at the ceiling. Then he looked at the floor. Then he grinned, but thought better of it and stopped grinning.

"The thing is, Sazh –"

"It wasn't us, dad! It was Gilgamesh!" Dajh pronounced it 'Giiiiiiiiil-Gaaaah-mehhhhhhhhhhhsh,' and accented it by pounding excitedly on the wall.

He'd been so calm and perfect and asleep when Sazh had left him.

"Right, and I was just telling him a story to get him to go back to sleep and–"

Sazh massaged his eyes very slowly. "Why is my broken table named Gilgamesh?"

Dajh laughed. "Dad, the table is a adamant tush!"

"An adamantoise," Snow said, like that made any more sense.

Sazh kept on massaging. Opening his eyes probably wouldn't improve his mood right now. "And you named the adamantoise table Gilgamesh, and then you broke it? Would you like to maybe explain that to me?"

"Well, like I said, Sazh, I was telling him a story –"

"About how he used to ride these naked ice ladies –"

"Woah. Woah." Sazh stopped massaging. He held up a hand, "This is appropriate for a seven-year-old, how?"

"I meant Shiva," Snow said desperately.

"And you had a racecar man with high-heeled boots!"

Sazh felt a headache forming. "Brynhildr was a woman."

"Really?" Snow asked, "Because I always thought…" He caught a look at Sazh's face and scratched at the back of his neck. "Uh, she was really impressive, though, Dajh. Remember how I said that?"

"And I have Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilgaaaaaaaaaaaaaahmehhhhhhhhhhhsh!" Dajh picked up one of the stakes – formerly a perfectly good table leg – and slashed it experimentally at the air and, Sweet Eden, if Dajh put a goddamned eye out then Sazh was going to murder Snow and nobody would be able to blame him, but maybe Lightning would understand if he explained it right and then she'd buy him a drink or something.

Luckily for Snow, Sazh had been a dad for nearly eight years and had perfected the 'secure the dangerous toy without hurting the kid any more than emotionally' maneuver. So maybe he wouldn't shoot Snow today. Provided he got a new table.

"Dajh," Sazh said. "Deciding you want an eidolon is no reason to break the furniture."

"I didn't break it, dad!" Dajh said indignantly.

Sazh crossed his arms. "Oh, I'm definitely not blaming you, son." He looked at Snow.

"Hey, man, I didn't break it either. I just wanted him to go to bed. He's the one who decided—"

"I called on my eidolon because I needed to save us! The adamant tushes were attacking! The people needed a hero!"

Yup. This was definitely the last time Sazh would ever expose his kid to Snow.

"Look, dad!"

Dajh jumped into the remains of the table, and Sazh had a heart attack when he considered just how many splinters that could cause. It was a momentary heart attack. Dajh seemed fine. He held his hands out before him and bit his cheeks in concentration.

"Giiiiiiiiiiiilgaaaaaaaaaahmehhhhhhhhhsh, I caaaaaaaallll on youuuuuuuu!"

Nothing happened for a moment. Then the chocobo waddled determinedly out from the wreckage of the table and chirped defiantly. It was getting too big to keep in the house. Actually, it was just heavy enough that it might have…

"Oh god," Sazh said. "Please don't tell me the chocobo rammed into our table."

"Dad," Dajh said indignantly. "He's not a chocobo. He's my eidolon and he's a really tall ninja knight with high-heeled boots who turns into a chocobo."

Sazh closed his eyes again.

"On the plus side, Sazh," Snow said, "Dajh finally gave him a name. So that's pretty cool."