Characters: Harry, mini!Dresdens
Length: 1009 words
Summary: Who knew buying shoes could be so dramatic?
Author's Notes: More with Harry and his kids as previously written about in Family Dynamics and Picnic. Set about 3 months after the latter. I was gonna wait to try and post the stories in chronological order, but someone asked if there would be more with these characters and this has been lying around in a folder for awhile.
"How about these ones?"
"Daddy, those are boys' shoes!"
I looked down to where my hand had randomly landed and found a pair of monster trucks with cartoon faces beaming up at me. I jumped a little, they were creepy little things, and withdrew my hand.
Fay continued down the aisle ahead of me, occasionally reaching up on her tip toes to get a better look. Beside me, Mal toddled along, holding onto one of my fingers with his whole hand and randomly jumping up and down.
"Do you like the monster truck shoes?" I asked him.
"Jump, jump," he replied, bouncing.
"Excellent point," I agreed. "Though, your delivery needs work."
I checked my watch, not because I had anywhere to be but because I was starting to feel like anywhere would be better than here. Fifteen minutes had already past and we had yet to find a pair of shoes she would even try on.
"You know, kiddo, it would be easier if you could tell me what kind of shoes we're looking for," I said. "Then I can help you look."
She gave me a look of exasperation. "You can't help!"
I wondered if this was one of those 'you're not a girl' issues we'd gotten into lately. Since hitting five years old a few months ago, a great wall of gender had suddenly arose between us. Apparently there are some things I cannot possibly understand do to my innate boyness. Fortunately, I had Murphy as back up for emergency situations but I hadn't anticipated shoe shopping to be one of them. Probably very boyish of me.
I sat down on the bench running down the middle of the aisle and let Mal wander a bit. As much as I hate the idea of putting kids on a leash, there are times I wish I could tie him to something and not have to worry about what he's getting into. He's so much busier than Fay was.
Fay continued down the aisle slowly and seemed to be getting increasingly upset as she neared the end. I debated attempting to intervene again but decided to let her come to me. She did, a few moments later.
"They don't have the right ones!" She said, distressed.
"Which ones are the right ones, Fay?" I asked.
"They're...the right ones!" she answered, tearing up.
"Okay, okay," I soothed. "Shhh. Take a deep breath." She did her best impression of it. "Look at the ceiling." Gramma's tip for stopping tears. We didn't need to bring down the overhead lighting. "Okay. Now, let's try this again. What do the shoes you want look like, sweetie?"
"They're purple and they got sparklies and pretty laces," She sniffed.
"But you can't tie your laces yet," I pointed out, carefully. "And when I try to teach you, you get frustrated and start crying and make that pouty face." I imitated it and got a small smile from her.
"I know!" She said. "But the right ones are lace-ups. Everybody has the lace-up shoes and I need them because I can't have weird shoes too!"
Info dump! I took a moment to sort through this, realized we'd gotten to the heart of the problem and took another moment to decide how to proceed. Mal walked by, wearing an empty shoe box on his head. I removed it and pulled him into my lap.
"Do the other kids say you're weird?" I asked. She nodded. "And what's weird about you?"
"Everything," she said, glumly. "I don't got a mommy, just a daddy and a Bob, and we don't got a TV and you don't wear a suit and when we go around the circle and say what our parentses do for a job nobody else's daddy is a wizard or a private investimagater and Miss Danton says you can't be a wizard and I know how to read!"
Damn, that pretty much all centered around me. I was weird. Not really a newsflash. Mal squirmed in my arms and held his little ones out to Fay.
"Fay hugs!" He demanded. For a two year old, he's pretty perceptive. "Fay hugs!"
Fay gave him a squeeze and he stroked her back with little coordination but a lot of enthusiasm. I wrapped my free arm around her back as well and we had a little group hug there in the children's aisle.
"I could probably buy a suit," I said, thoughtfully.
Fay giggled and smiled up at me. "You'd look silly in a suit."
I grinned. "I thought so too." I poked her in the stomach. "I'm sorry I taught you to read."
"S'okay," she said. "I like to read, I guess."
"And I'm especially sorry you don't have the right shoes," I added. "But you know what? Even if you have the right shoes, I'm still gonna be a wizard and we still won't have a TV. Remember what I told you before you started school?"
She nodded. "You said that I was special an' not ev'ryone's gonna know that an' even if they don't believe me, it don't mean I'm a liar or wrong." She scratched her head irritably. "And you know what, Daddy?"
"They're really boring!"
I grinned again. "I know."
I set a squirming Mal on the ground to run free. He picked up the shoe box on the bench beside me and climbed up to put it carefully on my head. I crossed my eyes at him and he laughed delightedly.
"I like the butterfly shoes," Fay whispered, as though it were some big secret. She pointed to a pair of mint green Velcro ones on the shelf. They had non-creepy cartoon butterflies on them. "Is that okay?"
I scooped Mal up in a football carry and transferred the box from my head to his, standing up to retrieve the shoes for Fay. They fit perfectly. That is magic, ladies and gentlemen. She wore them out of the store and admired them in all the shop windows as we walked back to the jeep. The saleslady let Mal keep his box helmet, which was nice. He wore it out of the store too. And people say we're weird. What's that about?