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Oneshot #3: Detention.

“Mr. Smith, would you mind taking the car and pick me up at my company headquarter? Cool. I’ll see you in ten minutes.”

Jon hung up and put his files in the briefcase. He hastily left the office, took the elevator to the ground floor, then hurriedly walked outside. Jon saw his usual black car pulled up from the corner. As it stopped, he opened the door and got inside immediately.

“Take me to Charlie’s school.”, he requested and folded his arms in front of his chest.

“Certainly, sir.”, replied the driver.

Jon still could not believe what he was told when he picked up the call from the headmaster. “Your son got involved in a fight. He injured his friends badly, so I need to have a few words with you.” At first, Jon just plainly stated that there must have been a mistake. Because, for God’s sake, it was Charlie that they were talking about, the sweet boy who had never laid a finger on anyone, not even an ant. But when the headmaster recited the name ‘Charles Stuart Reeds’, Jon knew that something terrible had happened.

And that was why he made an exception today and finished work early. Usually, it was driver Smith who would pick Charlie up from his school and take him home. But Jon wanted to know what was the reason that drove Charlie into a fight, and he was about to find out soon.

“Excuse me, sir.”, driver Smith spoke up and snapped Jon from his thoughts, “I know that I’m not in the position to ask, but may I know what happened to master Charlie?”

“He got into a fight.”, Jon sighed, “I can’t believe it. I just can’t. Charlie would never hurt anyone.”

The driver looked at him through the rear-view mirror. “I’m sure there must be a proper explanation. Please don’t worry to much, sir.”, he tried to comfort Jon. But he just nodded and was left alone with his thoughts again.

The car finally arrived at St. Franklin primary school. Driver Smith stepped out and opened the door for Jon. He got out and immediately headed straight to the principal’s office. Jon knocked and a middle-aged man showed up.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Darren.”, he greeted. “Thank you for making your time to be here. Please, come inside.”

Jon smiled and nodded at the man who appeared to be the headmaster. He took of his suit coat and got in the office. There, he found Charlie sitting on an armchair across from the principal’s desk, his ears reddened for devil-knows-why. He wasn’t looking at anyone or anything and was just staring blankly at the ground. Jon took a seat next to the boy.

The principal gave Jon a cup of tea and then sat down as well. “Charlie, would you kindly tell your father what happened today?”, he began.

“I hit Joey and Gabe, sir.”, replied Charlie, still not looking up.

“I am very disappointed, Charlie. You have always been a good student and I expected a lot from you. But rules are rules, violence will never be tolerated in this school. That is why you are here to make up for your consequence.”, the principal scolded him.

Jon intervened: “Sir, may I interrupt you for a few seconds? I need to know who promted the fight first? There must be some forms of provoking between the boys.”

The headmaster just shook his head. “I’m afraid whoever started the fight doesn’t matter anymore, Mr. Darren.”, he replied sternly, “Because your son”, he continued, “beat up Joseph and Gabriel right in the playground while other students are still around. He had become a bad influence to the kids. Not to mention that the parents were very furious when they came to meet me in the office and demanded I do something to the boy, ‘make him pay for his actions’, so they said.”

The principal looked at Jon and went on: “But, I will leave it to you, Mr. Darren. Your son committed an irresponsible behaviour, and I hope that, as his guardian, you will punish him thoroughly. I’ll see you two outside.”

Charlie glanced at his dad talking to the headmaster through the car window. He saw Jon bowing to Mr. Brown and must be apologizing on behalf of him. Charlie just hated it. He hated seeing someone else suffered because of something he did.

Driver Smith looked at the boy. “Master Charlie,”, he called, “I don’t know what you did, and I won’t be asking, but no matter what, I hope that you will give your father a proper explanation. Furious he may seem, but I know he’s worried about you as well.”

Charlie shook his head and replied: “He won’t understand, Mr. Smith. I . . .”. Their conversation was interrupted by Jon, who opened the door and sat down next to Charlie in the backseat.

“Take us home, Mr. Smith.”, he demanded, and the driver complied.

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Oneshot #2: Jurassic Park.

How Jon and Aaron narrate the film while watching it with Charlie.

Jon: This mighty beast is called a Brontosaurus, Charlie. Don’t mistake it with a Diplodocus, they both have long necks but Brontosaurus’ forelegs are taller.

– Look, a Stegosaurus. Do you know their plates absorb heats from the sun so they won’t get cold at night?

Charlie: I know this one, it’s a T-Rex.

Jon: Good boy, Charlie. Tyrannosaurus Rex is one powerful predator. But the Velociraptors are more deadly and organized. They even have their own hunting strategy.

______________________

Aaron: Look, son, a rhino dinosaur.

AUs and Oneshots

Oneshot #1: Sorry not sorry.

Aaron: Babeeeeeeee, have you seen my autograph book anywhere?

Jon: Oh, that? I think I might have let Charlie bring it to school with him because he wouldn’t stop crying.

Aaron: YOU DID WHAT???

Jon: Relax, honey. It’s just a notebook filled with handwritings from random people. You can get another one easily.

Aaron: But… but…

Jon: Now, now, it’s not worth making a fuss over this. I promise I’ll make up for it, okay?

Aaron: Yeah, I guess you’re right…

Jon: Good. Now, have you seen my Harry Potter book anywhere? The limited edition one? I swear I left it on my desk but I couldn’t find it.

Aaron: Oh, that? I actidentally ripped it so I traded it in for…

Jon: YOU.DID.WHAT???

Aaron: Relax, babe, it’s just a bo…

Jon: MY COPY OF HARRY POTTER 20 YEARS ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION WITH A SLYTHERIN JACKET COVER IS NOT JUST A BOOK TO ME AARON WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK HOW COULD YOU*@#!=×”;'<^/=@&+;’,.

AUs and Oneshots, Heroverse

Oneshot #4: The first time we met.

Aaron was dusting the bookshelves in Jon’s study.

Usually, it was their maid, Nancy, who would do all the clean-up around the house. But this morning, she called in and took a sick leave. So, Aaron decided to do the chores himself instead of bothering to call someone else. He didn’t have to attend any training session today anyway; the coach had given everyone in the team a week off after a restless season and Aaron had got plenty of free time in his hand. Jon had insisted calling the agency to request for a substitution so Aaron could rest but he persuaded him not to. He reassured Jon that he actually wanted to do it and Jon shouldn’t worry too much as he’d got other things to take care of. After a lot of talking, Jon was finally convinced, but didn’t stop showing his concerns when he left.

So far, Aaron had bought the groceries, done the laundry and vaccuumed the living room. It was a bit tiring at first, but he shortly got used to it. The last thing on the checklist was tidying Jon’s study. Fortunately, Jon always kept his workplace in order so there was not much to do. ‘Except for the bookshelves that needs dusting regularly’ was what Nancy wrote in her notes. Aaron chuckled, Jon was such a huge nerd and owned a great deal of books. His collection must have consisted around three hundred books or even more. They were mainly science books since he was really keen on the subject. Aaron liked reading, too; but not as much a bookworm as Jon. He only kept a few copies of his favourite titles in their bedroom. Most of them were crime fictions or baseball players’ autobiographies.

Once he had finished cleaning the bookshelves, Aaron decided to tidy Jon’s desk. He put the scattering paperclips back in the drawer and placed the pens in their holder. While he was collecting the documents, something familiar caught his eyes.

Aaron immediately set the paper aside and found an old book beneath them. The cover read ‘Quantum Terror’, by Steven Queens. Ah, he remembered this book very well; it was both his and Jon’s favourite title. Obviously since it was probably the only book that revolved around a super criminal who manipulated science to get away with his crimes.

But there was more than that. The story behind the book happened three years ago, when Aaron was still a new recruit at Kreaton Eagles and Jon had just founded his first enterprise.

It was a rainy Tuesday evening, Aaron was on his way to the same usual bookstore after his training session. He whistled delightfully, knowing that ‘Quantum Terror’ had finally been published after a 2-year delay. He had always been such a huge fan of Steven Queens: his writings were so exceptionally good that Aaron barely skipped any of his books, and ‘Quantum Terror’ would be no exception.

He finally stopped at an old store at the street corner. Aaron pushed the door and the heard the familiar bell. He got in the bookshop and hung the coat on the hanger as beads of rain drops rolled down his face. Aaron let himself dry for a while before walking over to the counter.

“Oh, hey, Aaron!”, the cashier girl greeted.

“Good evening, Sam.”, he said, “Did you watch the game last week?”

“You bet I do! Robert’s homerun was spectacular! And you, mister, you were very good as well.”, she commented.

“Glad you enjoyed it. Oh, here’s Jake Kingston’s autograph. For you.”, he pulled out a signed photo and handed it to her.

“No. Fucking. Way!!!”, she howled, “I thought you were joking when you said you could get me his autograph!!!”

“Well, I guess it was a long story. Anyway, did you save me a copy of Steven’s new book that I’ve asked you to?”

“Oh, of course I did. Boy, the books sold like hot pies just right after I loaded them on the shelves. Fortunately I managed to sneak one under my coat and almost got caught.”

“Great! Where are you keeping it right now? I’m dying to know whether the killer survived the plane crash.”, Aaron inquired.

“Let’s see, in the cookbook section, shelf number three. I tucked it under the ‘How to master Irish dishes’. Gotta keep it away from greedy customers and Mr. Louis.”, she laughed.

“That old man. Ugh, I can’t never compromise with him.”, he shook his head. “Anyway, thank you so much, Sam, imma go fetch it right now.”

“Just returning my favour. No big deal.”, she replied.

Aaron happily strolled to the cookbook shelves and tapped his index finger on the boring titles. Ah, here it was! The Irish recipe book, just like Sam had described. He picked it up and put it aside. Beneath it was a book wrapped in brown jacket cover, with a title in gold foil that said ‘Quantum Terror’ printed on it. After two long years, he was finally holding this very book in his hands. His face lit up with joy.

Aaron wanted to go back to his apartment immediately, where he would indulge himself with a hot, warm cup of coffee while enjoying the book. So, he decided it was about time to pay and leave. When he got back to the counter, he noticed that Sam was busy talking to a customer, a guy in a black suit who seemed to be a businessman. They must be arguing about something serious because their voices were quite loud. Aaron couldn’t help but overheard their heated conversation.

“What do you mean they’re out of stock? The book has just got released today!”, the guy exclaimed.

“I’m terribly sorry, sir.”, Sam insisted, “Our store only managed to get a limited number of copies. Perhaps if you come back in 8 days, we could…”

“8 DAYS? Are you serious? I’ve waited for 2 years and you’re telling me this is how I end up with???”, he went on furiously.

Alright, Aaron knew he had to do something to help Sam get out of this heated conversation. So, he came over to them and tapped on the guy’s shoulder.

When he turned around, Aaron was completely struck. In front of him was a strikingly attractive guy with black, sleeky hair and sharp eyes. He seemed rather disturbed because god-knows-why.

“Yes? How can I help you?”, he questioned, with a puzzling look.

“Uh,… Right, um, is there a problem here? I, uh, noticed that you might be in a troubling situation. So I thought… Is… there anything I could do to help?”, Aaron gulped, he could almost felt himself blushing.

The guy shook his head. “Nah, I don’t think so. Well, you see, this BRILLIANT bookstore thought it would be a terrific idea to miscalculate the number of books they need to get. Now they’re trying to tell me that there’s none left and that they wouldn’t restock in 8 business days.”, he glared at Sam. She looked at Aaron, begging for help.

“Um, it doesn’t happen to be ‘Quantum Terror’, does it?”, Aaron nervously asked.

“I’d love to say it’s not.”, the guy sighed, “But it is. I’ve gone to every bookstore in this city and come back with nothing. Can you believe it?”

Oh boy, here we go. Aaron breathed in deeply; he just hated what he was about to do.

Sam just stared at him. “What are you doing?”, her eyes said.

He scratched his head. “Well, um, if you don’t mind. I, uh,…”, he took out ‘Quantum Terror’ and presented it to the stranger.

The guy’s eyes widened; he looked at the book, then Aaron. He immediately understood and pushed it back to Aaron.

“No, I can’t do this. Not a chance. I can’t just take it from you.”, he demanded.

“Yes, you can. And you will.”, Aaron smiled. “Besides,” he continued, “I wouldn’t have time to read it; I have to attend a lot of training sessions. So, why don’t you do me a favour and take it?”

The stranger gaped. He reluctantly took the book from Aaron with his trembling hands. It was hard to tell how he felt from his blank expression. But his eyes, Aaron swore, were sparkled with immense joy.

Suddenly, he pulled out a cheque book from his pocket. “How much do you want for it?”, he asked Aaron.

“Oh, no, no. Just take it. I just try to be helpful. It doesn’t matter. Consider it a gift from me.”, Aaron insisted. He could see Sam’s mouth dropped to the floor.

The guy didn’t give up. He offered 50 bucks, then 100, then 500,… but Aaron just plainly refused. He finally gave up and reluctantly agreed to take the book from Aaron.

“You have no idea how grateful I am right now.”, he declared. “I know it’s never enough, but thank you, thank you so much. Mr. …?”

“Reeds. Aaron Reeds. Call me Aaron.”

“Right. Aaron.”, he reached in his pocket and flashed a name card. “Whatever favour you need from me, just call this number and say your name. I’d be more than happy to return it. Now, I am sorry for being unecessarily rude, but I have to leave immediately for a meeting.”

Aaron took the card and shook his hand. But before he could say anything, the guy then hurriedly got to the door. He turned around once more and said:

“Hope our paths crossed again soon, Aaron. I really look forward to it.”. Then he walked out, got in his car and drove away.

“I could NOT believe what you just did.”, Sam raged. “Are you aware that you have just given away your favourite book to a complete stranger, for what? Oh, that’s right. NOTHING!!!”

“Jeez, Sam, relax.”, Aaron tried to calm her, “A thank you would be nice. I did a good thing and I’m good with it, alright?”

Sam suddenly froze and narrowed her eyes. “No way. No fucking way. Please don’t tell me that you’re hooked on this douche.”

Shit, he got caught.

“Noooo, no. Of course not.”, he denied. “I just did it out of my good will, okay? End of story.”

A faint smirk crept to Sam’s face. “I don’t believe you, Aaron. Just look at you. Don’t you even think I didn’t notice how you were drooling over his charming face.” Then, she bursted into laughter.

Aaron sighed. Fine, just believed what you wanted to, Sam. Say, he still didn’t know the guy’s name. Curiously, he read the card in his palm.

JONATHAN W. DARREN

C.E.O

TECHNOBLAZE INC.

Tel. 386 869 907

Jonathan Darren, huh? That name sounded quite familiar, Aaron knew he had heard it somewhere.

“Hey Sam,”, he called over, “Got any idea who this ‘Jonathan Darren’ might be?”

“Wait,”, Sam flinched, “you really don’t know who he is??? Dude, that’s the rising chairman of Technoblaze you’ve just talked to. Don’t you watch the news lately?”

“No, I… haven’t.”, Aaron inspected the card closely. He thought it was just a regular businessman, not the owner of the most valuable enterprise in Kreaton city.

“Well, famous or not,”, Sam commented, “he’s still a douche. Don’t you agree?”

“Well,… yeah. Oh dear, look at the time. I need to go now. Guess I’ll see you tomorrow then?”, Aaron said while checking his watch.

“Sure. Hope to see you on the field tomorrow. Good luck.”

“Thanks, I’ll need that. Have a nice evening.”

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Heroverse AU oneshot #5: Dads.

“No, don’t touch that.”

“Hey, put them down. Those are my files!!!”

The kid ran around the room, fiddled with anything in his reach. Jon just sighed; he held the boy back and sat him on the floor. Then, he put some pens and paper onto his lap.

“Charlie, hey. Little buddy, can you do me a favour?”, he asked.

“Yes, sir. I like helping people.”, the kid smiled broadly.

“Very well. I need to fly to China tomorrow. That’s why I need you to draw me a really big plane. Can you do that for me?”

Charlie’s eyes sparkled. “You bet, Mister. You came to the right person.”, he proudly declared, and grabbed the pen to proceed doodling.

Good, that would keep him busy for a while, Jon thought. He stood watching the kid quietly.

The boy resembled Aaron in so many ways: his brown hair, his dreamy blue eyes, even his innocent smile. Anyone could just look at him and tell that was definitely Aaron’s son.

If only he was Jon’s as well.

It was not everyday that your superstar boyfriend suddenly took home a child he’d never heard of. “I’ll explain later, I promise.”, as he said earlier before flying to New York to play against the Mets.

Jon thought he had known everything about Aaron. He was a baseball star, the face of the press, the so-called hero of Kreaton City. Like every other young celebs, he had a wild past.

And an unwanted kid.

No, he needed to wait for Aaron’s explanation. Jon knew it would be unfair to make such immediate assumptions. Instead, he needed to concentrate on the annual total output reports that need his inspection.

He sat down and began looking through the figures. It wasn’t too long before he started hearing noises again.

Jon looked up. The kid was peeking his head over the desk.

“Yes, Charlie?”, Jon inquired with trivial annoyance.

“I need to know, Mr. Darren.”, the boy spoke up. “Will daddy go with you? I might need to add more seats.”

“Yes, Charlie. He will.”, Jon bluntly responsed.

“Can I go with you then?”

“No. I can’t let you skip classes.”

“What are you looking at, Mr. Darren?”

“Important stuff, kid.”, Jon said, not breaking away from reading the paper. Though his eyes had been twitching in great frustrating.

“Cool. Daddy says you’re very good at what you do. But mommy didn’t tell me much. I don’t think she likes you.”, Charlie said, with little hesitance. “But don’t worry, sir. I like you. You have a big house and…”

“Okay, that’s it.”, Jon dropped the paper. He threw his head back and pinched his forehead.

“You hungry, kid?”, he asked.

“Starving, sir.”, Charlie exclaimed.

“Good. Follow me.”, Jon said as he made his way to the kitchen. The boy skipped after him while joyfully humming Adventure Time’s opening theme song.

Jon put on his apron and asked: “So, what would you like to eat, kid?”

“Ooh, ooh, can we have cereal?”, said Charlie, all being to excited.

‘Seriously, kid. I’m a top class cook and all you ask for is cereal.’, Jon thought sarcastically. “Nope. We are not having cereal for dinner, kid.”, he rejected. If Jon was going to feed the boy, then he would feed him properly. “Say, would you like some beef lasagna?”

“I don’t know what that is. But it sounds tasty, Mr. Darren.”, Charlie replied.

“Coming right up.”, Jon announced.

‘Ding’. The oven chimed. Jon had finally finished baking his lasagna. He took out two plates and scooped the food into two servings. Jon then brought the plates over to set it in front of the boy. Charlie took a deep breath and immediately began gobbling down the food.

“Whoa, take it easy, buddy.”, Jon was surprised by his eagerness.

“I’m forry, Mimster Darfen.”, said Charlie, with a mouthful of food. “Thif izf the tasftiest dish I’fe ever haf.”

Jon chuckled. It’d been a long time since someone last commented his cooking. A faint joy emerged inside him as he watched Charlie enjoy his meal. Was this how it felt like having kids?

“You’d never had lasagna before?”, he asked.

“Nope, sir.”, replied Charlie, not parting away from the dish. “Mom didn’t cook much. She went out a lot.”, he added.

Jon raised his brow amusingly. “Tell me more about your mother, Charlie.”, he suggested.

Charlie paused. “Well,”, he stopped eating and wiped his mouth with his palm, “there’s not much to tell, Mr. Darren. She comes home very late; often after when I’d finished watching Adventure Time on TV. She would check my homework and tuck me in. Then, in the morning, she would drop me of at school and give me money for lunch. Mom can’t pick me up after school though, so I have to walk home everyday and make my own dinner. I often have sandwiches. I can make really good tuna sandwiches. I can make some for you if you like… But the point is, I know she’s crazy-busy, Mr. Darren. And that’s okay, I still love her. But…”, he paused and frowned.

“But what, kid?”, Jon gave him a puzzling look.

“Oh, nothing, Mr. Darren.”, Charlie snapped from his thoughts. “Say, aren’t you going to eat?”, he pointed at Jon’s plate.

“Oh, yeah. I’m not really hungry.”, he pushed the dish towards Charlie. “You can have it.”

The boy smile brightly. “Gee, thank you.”, he said, and proceeded to consume his second serving.

“Oh, and,”, Jon noted, “you can watch TV when you’re done eating. Don’t be too loud, and don’t stay up late, okay? I want to see you in bed at 9.”

“But I want to wait for daddy.”, Charlie protested. “He promised to bring me a homerun ball from the game!”

“No buts, young man. Got it?”, Jon stressed and gave the child a stern look.

Charlie pouted in disappointment, but agreed anyway. Pleased, Jon went back to his study to finish up the work.

He sat down and started to go over the reports once more. But no matter how hard he tried, Jon could not concentrate on his work. His minds were filled with thoughts about the little boy and his relationship with Aaron. He was overwhelmed with loads and loads of question. Tired and fed up, Jon sighed.

“You’d better give me a proper explanation, Aaron.”, Jon whispered.

Aaron had never thought about having kids before.

At least, not until now.

When Rachel broke the news to him, he just didn’t know how to react.

Shock? Fear? A combination of both? Perhaps so. For the past 2 weeks, he had been trying his best to conceal this secret from everyone, including Jon.

Charlie was such a sweet child. The sweetest, if he had to say. When Aaron first met him, he just knew that DNA tests wouldn’t be necessary.

Rachel… didn’t change much. She was still that same girl that he’d met in a senior party 4 years ago.

The only difference was that the girl he knew didn’t have terminal cancer.

When Rachel called him last night, she was nothing near conscious. Fortunately, he managed to take her to the best hospital in the city. Doctors told him that they were trying everything they could and did not promise anything. The only thing he could do right now was praying for the best.

When Aaron came back to the waiting room, Charlie was still sitting there patiently. But on the sight of Aaron, he immediately ran over to him and wrapped his tiny arms around Aaron’s neck.

“Hey, how’s my little champ doin’?”, he patted on Charlie’s back to comfort him.

“I miss you, daddy.”, the kid buried his face in Aaron’s broad shoulder. “Will mommy be okay? Can I see her now.”, he asked.

“She will, Charlie. She will.”, Aaron lied. He just couldn’t break this horrible news to his son. “But the doctor said we should let her rest. I’ll take you to see her when she wakes up, okay?”

“Okay, dad.”

“Good boy. Now I need you to come with me, alright? I want you to meet someone.”

This was a bad idea. Aaron knew it from deep down. Why did he even wanted to introduce Charlie to Jon?

Oh, that’s right. He could not find anyone else trustworthy enough to look after Charlie while he went to New York for the match against the Mets. And he could not bring Charlie with him neither. Everyone would ask upon seeing Charlie with him: the coach, his teammates, the press, even the fans.

Of course, he could just simply lied. Telling everyone that Charlie was a nephew from a distant cousin that he had to look after. But he couldn’t bear doing such a thing in front of his son. Not ever. Aaron didn’t want him to feel… rejected.

The only option he had was leaving him with Jon.

Of all the people he trusted and it had to be Jon.

Aaron just did not know to break the news without causing Jon to erupt in immense rage. But regardless, he knew it was the right thing to do. Jon deserved to know about his son.

Aaron finally arrived at his and Jon’s place. He stopped the car, took Charlie’s little hand in his and led the boy to the elevator. He was extremely anxious. There was a lot of foot tapping, lip-biting and sighing. Even Charlie could sense that Aaron was being uneasy.

“Dad, are we going to see someone scary?”, the boy looked at him.