Title: Thanksgiving Homework
Character/s: Gwaine, Leon, Original Character
Summary: Gwaine learns what Leon's daughter is thankful for.
Warnings: Modern AU
Word Count: 1,058
Prompt: #290 - Thankful: Make a list of things to be thankful for
Author's Notes: Follows With a Little Help From My Friends but reading that isn't required. Gwaine is temporarily living with Leon and his daughter.
Gwaine looked down at the set of keys between his feet.
His hands were full with an overstuffed bag of groceries and a box of promotional swag. He was disproportionately weighted down by the backpack hanging off one shoulder, a half-worn jacket on the other. Bending down in any manner to retrieve the keys seemed like a gamble at best but his options were few and far between.
Gwaine toed off one of his shoes.
He stepped on his own foot as he pulled off his sock.
The door in front of him swung in, nearly throwing Gwaine off balance as his weight shifted from leaning on the door to balancing in midair. The keys fell off his toes and landed among his discarded shoe and sock.
Leon looked at him from across the threshold.
“Hey Leon!” Gwaine said with a grin. “I did the shopping like you asked.”
“Thank you, I think.” Leon reached out and freed Gwaine of the bulging bag. “Now come inside before any of the neighbors complains about your cursing.”
“I wasn’t being that loud.”
“I could hear you from the kitchen.”
Gwaine kicked his shoe and sock over the threshold before closing the door. “Maybe you’re just attuned to the sound of my voice.”
Even though he followed Leon’s back to the kitchen Gwaine could tell he was rolling his eyes.
“You know Mrs. Harris across the hall hears everything and she isn’t shy about telling me about it.”
Gwaine wandered around the kitchen, eyeing the various pots and pans. He could smell poultry of some sort, chicken or turkey perhaps, and the bowl of mashed potatoes looked particularly inviting. He helped himself to a sample and then a serving after Leon handed him a bowl, a spoon, and a disapproving look.
“Mrs. Harris has too much time on her hands,” Gwaine commented between bites.
“Please don’t ever share that opinion with her.”
Gwaine laughed, noting the smile that touched Leon’s face as he went about putting the groceries away. He also noted the pie that Leon briefly removed from the refrigerator to make room for the new carton of milk.
“So what’s with all the food?” he asked. “Special occasion? Did I miss someone’s birthday?”
“Grace is having Thanksgiving dinner with her grandparents.”
Gwaine took his bowl of mashed potatoes with him as he peered into the other room.
Grace was seated at her usual spot at the dining table. Only her place was set with a placemat, utensils, and half eaten plate of food. Papers of various colors were spread out around her place setting; crayons and markers mingled with her silverware. She smiled and eagerly showed something to the laptop set up in front of her where Gwaine assumed she was video chatting with the aforementioned grandparents.
He eased his way back into the kitchen where Leon was cutting pieces of pie.
“I keep forgetting that Grace is half American,” he said, offering up his empty bowl. “She does the accent so well.”
Leon paused for a moment, looking down at the bowl, before finally dropping in a piece of pie.
“We were only in the states a short time. I’m not even sure how much she remembers.”
“It’s nice that her grandparents want to share Thanksgiving with her. What’s this?” Gwaine asked, forcibily moving the conversation past a potential pit of gloom.
Leon breathed an audible sigh of relief, focusing on the newest addition to the refrigerator gallery.
“That’s a drawing of things that Grace is thankful for,” he explained. “Her grandmother suggested she make it when they talked last week.”
“Really? That sounds like homework.”
“She’s a retired teacher. I think it’s hard to turn off.”
Gwaine took the picture off of the refrigerator for closer inspection. Many of Grace’s favorite things were represented: cats, dogs, bunnies, sprinkle cupcakes, chocolate biscuits, and a smattering of generic books. There was also a line of carefully drawn people along the bottom of the paper, some that Gwaine thought he recognized, some that he was sure he didn’t, and one that he had a question about.
Luckily for him, the artist herself came into the kitchen with a mainly empty plate.
“Hi Gwaine,” she said with a smile as he quickly ruffled her hair.
“Hey kiddo. Are you having a nice Thanksgiving?”
“Yes!” Grace smiled again, even brighter and more endearing than her dad. “Grandma and Grandpa both really like my pictures.”
“I do too. It’s a real work of art.” Gwaine waited until Leon had safely exchanged Grace’s dinner plate for a plate of pie. “Speaking of your picture, is this me?” he asked, pointing to the person with black hair and music notes around them.
Grace shook her head. “No. That’s my friend Jeanie. She sings.”
“Oh, right. That’s nice.”
Gwaine tried not to show too much disappointment. He’d thought that maybe the drawing was of him but he didn’t feel like he had to be included. Grace had a full life for a seven year old; she had a lot to be thankful for.
“This is you.”
Gwaine, still holding his bowl of pie, knelt down to be at Grace’s level as she pointed at another set of drawings stuck to the refrigerator.
“See? This is your jacket,” Grace explained, moving her finger from one item to the next, “and this is your laptop and your microphone so you can do your radio show. And these are your blankets because you live with us now.”
“Temporarily,” Leon added.
Gwaine and Grace shared a grin.
“Thanks for showing me,” Gwaine said. He leaned into Grace for a side hug. “This is great and it looks much more like me.”
“You don’t look like Jeanie,” Grace laughed.
“I hope I’m better looking.”
Grace burst into giggles and Gwaine pretended to be offended until Leon suggested she not keep her grandparents waiting too long. Gwaine watched her go with an ear-to-ear grin he couldn’t keep off his face and a sudden onset of an eye irritation.
Leon looked at him from the kitchen sink.
“You are better looking than Jeanie.”
Gwaine nearly choked on his bite of pie. “Don’t flirt with me if you don’t mean it, Degrande.”
He was thankful for the hint of a smile that warmed Leon’s face.
“Whatever you say, Gwaine.”