Carefully, he adjusted his wing to better support Primrose. He'd taken her out for a walk through town, but the filly, exhausted from a day of baking with her new "Nana" Fluttershy and "Grandpa" Bulk, had fallen asleep on his back, curled up like a kitten. Chakra wanted to feel annoyed about it, but at least the kid wasn't talking his ear off anymore. Primrose was cute, sure, and she adored him (for reasons he hadn't managed to discern), but she was still a tiny, bothersome little chatterbox, always demanding him to help her choose the best glitter stickers, or begging him to play pretend with her-her favorite was designating herself a pirate captain and bravely going to battle with Chakra's mane of dreads, which she'd pretend were the monstrous, boat-smashing tentacles of a sea kraken.
Chakra sighed. He spared a quick look around, before giving the little brat a soft, very discreet nuzzle. Prim and her father, Nocturnus (the sly, one-eyed bat asshole, Chakra thought), were rapidly becoming the center of Chakra's life. The thought filled with him with crushing anxiety, but underneath that was a sort of hope, a happiness to a be part of a family-
Chakra jumped and bit back a swore-fortunately, Prim didn't wake up. Chakra turned to find a very familiar face beaming at him....a pony he thought he'd never see again. He froze in disbelief, and a thousand turbulent feelings welled up in his mind-anxiety, dread, self-loathing...and in the moment, he stood as helpless as a foal.
"If it isn't that colt of mine! You look like you've seen a ghost, kid!" Zephyr Breeze gave a merry laugh and attempted to lean in for a hug, but his son's blank stare kept him at bay. He settled for awkwardly punching Chakra's shoulder. "Geez, look at you! The last time I saw you you were just a skinny lil' beanpole with a mane like a mop!" His eyes settled on Primrose. "Is that your rugrat?"
"Huh?" Chakra seemed to come back to his senses. "Oh, uh...no..." Chakra bit his lip, glancing back at the sleeping filly. "...Of course not."
"Nah, I figured you were too smart to have a kid with a bat pony. They're just not natural-all creepy big bat wings and fangs, like some kinda vampires! Wouldn't want you getting bitten and put under one of their freaky vamp spells."
"...Uh." Chakra's face heated a little at that, and very casually, he turned his head, so that his dreadlocks slipped to hide the fresh bite marks on his neck. "Right. Freaky vamp spells."
Zephyr grinned. "It's been a while, huh, kid?"
Chakra frowned. "It's been eight years."
Zephyr stiffened, giving a nervous little laugh. "Ah...ha. W-well...I meant to write, but y'know how time gets away from us! " He cleared his throat. "My point is, a lot's changed, little dude. I opened my own mane therapy boutique! And would you believe your old man got married?" Zephyr boasted, winking. "Hard to believe, I know! This old breeze finally got bottled! Here I thought I'd be like a feather on the wind forever, but I tell ya, kid, there's something to this whole 'domestic' thing. I don't mind it."
"Good for you." Chakra deadpanned. He was remembering himself now, and his temper was beginning to flare. "I suppose family life is easier if you've already had a trial run at it."
Zephyr went quiet, and his ears slicked back with guilt. "I...C'mon, kid, there's no need to get mean." He said. "You and your mom...you two weren't a trial run."
Chakra offered nothing but a cold glare, and Zephyr buckled a little under it. "I...I mean it, kid. You weren't a trial run. It was just different back then, y'know?" Zephyr began fidgeting with his hooves, avoiding Chakra's eyes. "Parenting, responsibility, holding down a job-that's tough, son. And I was young then. Way too young to be anypony's dad...Heck, I didn't even know your mom had been pregnant, not til the day Treehugger showed up on my doorstep with this big dopey smile on her face, holding a little fluffy green foal. You."
"You could only imagine my surprise. I mean...I liked your mom, she's okay...but I didn't want...I didn't expect this to happen." He gestured to Chakra with his hooves. "I didn't know how to be a dad, nopony was there to teach me! Everything I did was entirely self-taught. So if you were a trial run like you said, I didn't do half bad, did I? I mean, you turned out fine." Zephyr finally looked up, and he had the nerve to smile. "...I'd give myself a C+. Not perfect, y'know, but passing. What do you think?"
"What do I think?" The question echoed in Chakra's mind, and his thoughts began to race. Memories burst into his mind, vivid, choking.
Chakra is a little foal again. His father has been yanking a comb through his mane for two hours, and it hurts-and the thick smell of hair spray chokes Chakra's little nose. Beauty is pain, Zephyr Breeze insists. Chakra wanted to play hoofball today, but mane styling is all Zephyr seems to want to do when they're together. The comb tugs through his mane, and it hurts...Chakra wonders if he got dreadlocks like Mommy, then maybe his father would stop.
Chakra is waiting for his father. School is finished and it's raining now. Zephyr promised to pick him up today. Chakra waits. The rain comes down. His father doesn't show up, and eventually Chakra walks himself home.
Chakra has just turned ten and his feathers are molting. His mother is out of town and he doesn't know what to do. He's itchy and embarrassed by the raggedy state of his feathers...when he seeks out his pegasus father for help, his father laughs at him. It's all in good fun though, right? It must be. Chakra locks himself in his room.
Zephyr has forgotten Chakra's birthday. Again. The first time, Zephyr hastily gives him a restaurant napkin with 'Happy Birthday' scrawled on it in messy ketchup, and Chakra laughs. His dad is such a goofball. The second missed birthday isn't so funny. By the fourth time, Chakra has learned not to expect anything at all.
Chakra hasn't seen his father in weeks. It turns into months. Then a year. No contact. Chakra begins to wonder what he did wrong. He sees other foals with their parents, and he wonders what he did to make his father stop caring about him.
Aunt Fluttershy says its important to be nice, but as the days go by, and Zephyr flits in and out of Chakra's life, the boy begins to feel that kindness, perhaps, isn't worth the effort.
"...Dad." Chakra said finally, "When I was a kid, I got a coin bank from Aunt Shy. It was shaped like a bunny-she made it herself in her pottery class. Remember?" He smiled at the memory, but it was sad. "You broke it and took the money inside."
"Huh? What?" Zephyr blinked at him, confused. "I didn't-"
"You did." Chakra said firmly. "I'd been saving up my bits. I came home one day and found the bank on the ground, in pieces. There'd only been three silver bits inside...you took them and bought yourself an oatburger and hay fries."
"Uh." Zephyr laughed, uncomfortable. "I think you might be exaggerating a teeny bit, hon. I wouldn't, uh..." His eyes widened, and he seemed to remember something. "I wouldn't...I-I wouldn't take all of your..."
"It's true." Chakra spat. "You know it is. And it's not even the worst thing you did. You failed to be a responsible parent-even just a responsible adult-at every possible turn. I don't have a single pleasant memory of you, because everything you've ever done has been in your own self-interest. Even now-you don't care about what I'm saying. Not really. You're just trying to soothe your own guilt."
Zephyr looked at his son for a long while, looking sad and vulnerable and hurt. He bit his lip, thinking. "O-okay. So maybe...maybe I haven't been the most perfect, present dad. Maybe...maybe I can start now. There's still time to fix this." Zephyr tried for a hopeful, reassuring smile. "If you want to be a family again."
Chakra snapped, and volume flooded his voice. "I don't!" He snarled, advancing on his father. "Don't you get it? I don't want you anymore, I don't need you anymore-I am not a little colt waiting for Dad to teach me to fly anymore! I grew up! You're free! Go back to playing domestic with your stupid new family, you rotten, deadbeat, narcissistic-"
"Chakra?" A tiny voice yawned. Primrose stirred upon his back, sleepily rubbing a hoof across her eyes.
Shit. Chakra's rage was extinguished in an instant. "...Go back to sleep, baby doll."
"Nah." Prim stuck her tongue out at him, before turning to stare at Zephyr. "Who's that?"'
"I'm Chakra's father, sweetheart." Zephyr said kindly. "What's your name, little princess?"
Primrose smiled and leapt to answer, but Chakra swiftly flared his wing up like a fan, shielding her. "Don't talk to my kid." He warned Zephyr, his voice low and dangerous.
"Your kid, huh?" Zephyr repeated numbly. "....I was right. A lot has changed." He glanced at Primrose, who was currently doing her best to peep at him through Chakra's wing feathers. She bit and tugged at one of Chakra's dreads to get him to relent, but the pegasus remained unaffected. "...Maybe the changes are good. Maybe more things should change."
Zephyr reached a hoof into his sweater pocket, and when he withdrew it, there were three silver bits held in the flat of his hoof. He inspected them, watching his own reflection on their surfaces.
"You're right, Chakra." Zephyr began. "I'm wasn't a good dad. I was young and inexperienced...by the time I realized just how bad I was screwing you up, well...you already hated me by then. How could I turn myself around and suddenly start being a parent, when you'd already lost all respect for me? I didn't even know where to begin fixing everything...and if I'm being honest, it was a lot easier to just pretend that nothing was wrong at all." Zephyr sighed. "In the end, your mom didn't know why you decided to run away, but I did. You run away from your problems...just like me."
When Chakra said nothing, Zephyr held out his hoof, offering the coins to his son. "I still don't know how to fix this. I don't know how to undo everything I did wrong, or even convince you to let me try-but I can give you back your bits."
Chakra didn't know why, but he held out his hoof. Zephyr slipped him the silver coins-then gripped Chakra's hoof with his own.
"You're my only kid, Chakra, and I love you. I do. I never wanted anything less than the best for you. If your life is better off with me not in it, then....so...so be it. I shouldn't have broken your little coin bank. I shouldn't have taken your money. I'm sorry." His grip on Chakra's hoof tightened. "For everything. I'm so very, very sorry."
A familiar ache began in Chakra's chest. He pulled his hoof away and looked down. "....It's okay, Dad."
"It's not." Zephyr's brows knit, examining his son, but Chakra wouldn't look at him. Zephyr cleared his throat. "My point is, if you want to give this another shot...I'm here in Ponyville, whenever you're ready. You're welcome to join me and Trenderhoof for dinner some night. We can just talk. I'm sure we have a lot to catch up on." He shot a knowing look at Primrose, before taking a step backward and unfurling his wings. He smiled one last time, genuine and hopeful.
"Whenever you're ready, son."
Zephyr took off into the sky, in a whirl of sea-green feathers. Chakra didn't watch him go, instead choosing to gaze down at the three coins in his hoof. His wings slumped down, and he felt something wet beginning to trickle down his face.
"Are you sad, Chakra?" Prim's little voice was in his ear, bringing him back to the present. He wiped at his face.
"Do you miss your dad?"
"...Yes." Chakra's voice sounded oddly hoarse to his own ears.
"Oh." Prim nodded sagely. "It's okay. I miss my daddy when he goes away too." She wrapped her tiny hooves around his neck in a hug, and patted his head comfortingly-and Chakra reached and took her into his arms and held her close, because Primrose was good and innocent and better than a trainwreck like him deserved.
Prim booped his muzzle with her hoof. "You know, ice cream always makes me feel better when I'm sad."
Chakra laughed, despite himself. "That just sounds like an excuse to get me to buy you ice cream."
Prim looked indignant. "It is not! You're sad, and that's an ice cream emergency! You have three whole bits-that's enough for an ice cream cone for yourself-" She suddenly became sheepish. "And, um, a Mr. Fudgie Bar for me...'cause I'm sad that you're sad, of course."
Chakra smiled at her. He glanced up at the sky just once, and remembered his father's words.
Whenever you're ready, son.
"Hm." Chakra jangled the coins in his hoof, before he playfully ruffled the brat's mane, earning a squeal of outrage. Prim glared up at him, hair tousled and sticking up, and she bit his ear in swift vengeance. Chakra chuckled against her tiny attack.
"Yeah...you know, ice cream does sound pretty good about now, baby doll."
An older Zephyr Breeze approaches his adult son, Chakra Blossom, hoping to mend the damaged bond between them...
buckle up kids cuz the context on this one is complicated
remember Nocturnus? This guy? Well he and Chakra meet: and
Nocturnus is a single father with a tiny pink daughter, Primrose: The love and light of Noct's life. When Chakra first met excitable, sweet Primrose, he was polite yet distant ( “I’m here for your dad, no time to play with you, kid.”), but you know kids…they worm and annoy themselves into your affections.
As Chakra hung around the house more, he found himself getting roped into coloring with Prim,
smiling frowning as she excitedly examined his cool pegasus wings (so soft and fluffy!) and dreads (gummi worm hair!) and tried on his shades, helping her choose the best glitter stickers for her wheel harness…he finds himself getting attached, even anticipating seeing her when he visits Nocturnus. So he’s getting attached to both father and daughter, pulled into this tiny bat family….
Chakra's attitudes toward family and responsibility are growing healthier, and he is growing happier, whether he knows it or not. He's growing to love his new family...but what will happen when a piece of old family shows his face?
bonus headcanons on Chakra and Prim:
-I imagine it takes Chakra a long time to get truly comfortable being loving with Primrose, but even then it’s not a usual out pour like most “parents”. I can see him ruffling her mane and teasing her in a playful way. But not really being very huggy or saying that he cares about her out loud. Its usually a gruff “you too” when she says she loves him, or letting her hug him while he stands there and awkwardly pets her hair. She knows he loves her though, he shows it in his own special Chakra way. Fyi, I can see her calling him “flower butt”
-Chakra’s special talent is therapy, even if he doesn’t use it much. Being born paraplegic, Primrose spends a fair amount of time in hospitals getting examined, and that environment can be scary for a child. Sometimes enough to make her cry. Chakra finds himself doing things like bringing her flowers and, crayons, or making up special little songs with her, or telling dumb jokes to make her laugh…he can soothe her fears like none of the hospital staff can.-Way in the future, sometimes Chakra slips and refers to Prim as “my kid”, when he means “Noct’s kid”. Neither Nocturnus or Prim mind this, even if Chakra’s embarrassed by the slip-up
even more context cuz why not
-Chakra ran away from home in his late teens
-Although Zephyr had a foal with Treehugger, they were never a serious couple and shared custody of Chakra (though Chakra mostly lived with his mom). Way later, Zephyr ends up happily married to Trenderhoof. They're not interested in having foals, but Zeph desperately wants to reconnect with his son
-Primrose is about five years old here, but really precocious
I feel for ya Chakra, I feel for ya
Please don't have Chakra assume foolish things. A lot of people in his shoes look at their kids and say "I'm not going to be my parents" and they aren't, but still... we all are going to hurt others, especially those we love, and we can never get everything right.
"I am not a little colt waiting for Dad to teach me to fly anymore!"
But you are Chakra. And you always will be... at least a little. The same little kid who thinks the world of mom and dad and sits at the kitchen table working at your crayons and paper
Also, why is Zephyr warming up to Prim? Just two sentences ago, he expressed some rather ignorant views over them, then he's treating one of those, at least in his view, unnatural brutes offspring... kindly? Or is it because his son is carrying her and he's trying to butter him up?
He should be glad though at least his useless parents at least acknowledge they were fuck ups. Not saying he should be leaping for joy at the sighty of either of them, by all accounts they were both criminally negligent and I'm well and truly surprised Fluttershy didn't read them both the riot act for this crap, but Zephyr is still a person. Glaring and venom does nothing
<sigh> Yes, by all accounts, his father is a bigoted, selfish, obnoxious hipster horse twerp. Hell, Fluttershy, Fluttershy of all people regarded him as useless, and she's friends with Discord and Angel Bunny! But, that said, he's trying. He, at least as opposed to Treehugger, acknowledges his own failings, unless I missed something. And I know how Chakra feels. Anger feels good, being bitter and spiteful feels good, hurting those who hurt us feels good. But to forgive is better. So... maybe he can't forgive, but he should at least give the old man the chance.
People change. I've seen it. He should at least give Zephyr a chance, if for no other reason then for his own soul
Zephyr is kind to Primrose because prejudice isn't always spoken out loud. He does think bat ponies are creepy, but he's still a polite adult and won't be rude to a little girl. He's not hateful, just kind of tone-deaf.
This was a really good read, really well written!! I- I think I also need some ice cream right now... x')
(Did that make sense? I can't be sure...)
Even when physically "there" a parent can feel absent at times, it sadly happens! (( Even if they're not a bad parent!! ))
In my case my dad wasn't there from early in my life, he wasn't a bad person and still isn't, but he made stupid choices back then. And so I can so relate with Chakra here with an absentee father making promises that he doesn't keep. I've long resented my dad for it, and a part of me still do a bit even if we have a much better relationship in my adult life.
And yes, ice cream always helps! \ o /
Yea, Chakra may be a recovering asshat, but with what he's gone through, its hard to blame him. I'm glad that Noct and Primrose are helping him find some degree of happiness in his life.
The little scene at the end where Prim nips Chakra's ear was far too cute. I see being a biter runs in the family.
But wait, Zephyr married Trenderhoof? When and why?
Also reeeaaally happy you went with Trenderbreeze. I was feeling alone for the ship :<
Interesting. I based Zephyr's behavior on my own dad, but i guess it could extend to not-super-great parents everywhere