It's A Burp



Scene Title It's a Burp
Synopsis Melissa struggles to get over her intense fear of her newest stray.
Date November 10, 2010

Village Renaissance: Quinn's Apartment

“I can do this. I've blown up buildings, gone into space and traveled back to eighteen ninety. I can do this.”

Even to Melissa the words sound far from confident, though. Brennan left an hour ago, and Junko is awake now, and crying. Again. “Decipher the crying? Yeah, right,” she mutters, before bending down to pick up the baby, holding her gingerly and at arm's length, as if afraid to get any closer. Because, well, she is afraid. But the baby doesn't like that much, and the crying continues.

“Okay. Let's see. What did Brennan say to check? Oh, right. Diaper.” Mel wrinkles her nose and brings the baby closer, giving an experimental sniff. “Oh thank god, you smell all…clean. And baby-like. I never knew babies had a smell. You're not tired, you just woke up. Food. Let's see if you're hungry. Um…Right. Gotta put you down for that…” Which she does, happily, laying the baby on her back, though she sits up quickly enough and pumps up the volume another notch.

This part has Melissa scared too. She can't cook! Everyone knows she can't cook. What if she gives the baby food poisoning? The thought has her going white. “Oh god. I can't…I can't do this. I'm stupid. What was I thinking? I was suffering temporary insanity. That was it.”

But she looks back to the infant, and the sight of that scrunched up face has her hesitating. She blows out a soft breath then disappears into the kitchen, finding the food directions that she wrote down earlier and following them as exactly as if she were mixing volatile chemicals instead of food for a seven month old kid.

The crying stops suddenly and the bottle is forgotten as she rushes out, only to stop suddenly. Junko isn't the only one in the playpen. No, there's now a cat in there, and baby and kitty seem to be equally curious about each other. At least until Junko reaches out a hand and pulls on a kitty ear, making the cat leap away while the baby laughs. For a moment, then she's right back to crying. “Oh great. It takes tugging on a cat to make you laugh? I'm screwed,” Mel mutters before moving over to the couch.

The bottle is set down and she moves back to the playpen, picking up the baby and moving back to the couch, sitting down and offering the bottle. After a few minutes of the baby rejecting it, Mel sighs and again wants to rip out huge chunks of her hair. “How am I supposed to remember all those instructions Brennan left If you're crying?” she asks Junko, her tone a mix of frustration and panic.

Her mind struggles to recall anything, any trick that Brennan said, aside from the bath, because, despite his warnings, she's afraid she'll drown her newest stray, and then where would she be? Finally, she recalls one, the scariest of them all. The one she's dreading.

“Okay, kiddo. We're gonna try something here. So just…cooperate, will ya? I've never done this, and I'll admit it. You scare the shit out of me. I don't get it, but you do. So like…don't freak out or break or anything, and I'll try not to, like, drop you or anything, okay?” So maybe the baby can't understand what she's saying, but the words make Melissa feel better.

Slowly, veeeeeery slowly, Melissa lifts the baby up, cradling Junko against her chest. It's enough to make her break out in a cold sweat, but she doesn't drop the baby and run away screaming. It's a start. She gives an experimental bounce, a light one, barely enough to be felt, but she doesn't want to shake the baby to death either! The crying lessened. Another bounce, and it quieted further.

Gradually she got more used to the little bounces, and Melissa and Junko end up watching each other, both curious about the other, though Mel's fear hasn't faded one tiny bit. But she relaxes, a bit, enough to really study this little life that is suddenly hers to take care of.

It's what happens next though, that has her thinking that maybe she can do this. Maybe she can take care of Junko and not screw her up. It's nothing sweet like the baby falling asleep in her arms. It's not some sudden connection that melts her heart and creates instant love. No, it's something that makes Melissa realize that this is a little human. A person, just a tiny one. Junko isn't an alien or piece of fragile china. It's something small that does it. Something normal. Something that makes Melissa laugh.

It's a burp.

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