AN: This a little bit of plotless fluff that was rattling around in my head. It's definitely rated K. Enjoy!
WHAT I'VE LEARNED FROM YOU
"I can keep you company for a while since you're awake. We need to let your mom get some rest until you're ready to eat. Then I'll take you to her."
"Your Uncle Toby says talking to you will help with your cognitive development, but I'm sure the way he talks to you is eventually going to shave points off your IQ if he isn't careful. Don't worry. I'm sure with my genetics you will have a few points to spare, and I won't babble at you or call you silly names like he does just in case."
"It's a good thing I find you exceptionally easy to talk to. You are probably the best listener I know. Your mom is a close second, but she does occasionally interrupt when I'm not being what she calls rational."
"Your mother is extremely special and I'm glad the other half of your genetics comes from her. Maybe you will grow up to be as kind and compassionate as she is. I'm hoping you don't derive your EQ from me, but if you do, she can help you develop that. She still helps me. And if she's able to help me, she would most likely be able to help anyone."
"Do you know what's odd? I knew there would be many things I'd like to teach you as you grow and are able to absorb them, but what I find interesting is how many things you have actually taught me in the short time I've known you."
"For instance, I never knew someone so small could make such a mess. Or so much noise. Or that your mother would find me cleaning up your messes or quieting your noise so compelling. But she seems to find it really attractive. Thank you for that."
"I also didn't know you would help your big brother make friends. But when he's around girls his age and he's holding you, they seem to flock to him. He appears to take advantage of that quite a bit when I drop him off at school. I think it's gone a long way to combat sibling rivalry, so it would be a good plan to do everything possible to continue appealing to fourteen year old girls."
"I didn't realize you would help me understand and connect with my own parents better either. I can see a few things from their perspective now. Megan was always my conduit to them before. Maybe you can be a new conduit to them."
"Your Aunt Megan would have been so thrilled to know you. You have dimples just like hers. I didn't know you would make me miss her in ways that never occurred to me before. Hard things happen in life, but you will learn having a place to feel safe and people to care about you make the bad things easier to handle. When you are older and can remember, I will tell you all about your Aunt Megan and I know you'll love her. You need to ask your Uncle Sly about her too. I think it would make him happy to tell you about her. She's the reason your Uncle Sly is officially my brother, you know."
"One thing that surprised me is how emotional you make your Aunt Happy. She was always great with your brother, but she is just sentimental and a little silly around you. I hate to say so, but I think your Uncle Toby has been a shockingly good influence on her in that regard. She is more open now than I can remember her being at any other time since I've known her. And she's just crazy about you. It won't be long before she gives you a 'cousin' to grow up with. I'm secretly thrilled with the idea. Don't tell Uncle Toby, but I think he's going to be a great dad."
"I think the most unexpected thing you helped me understand is just exactly how strong Cabe is. I can't even contemplate what he lost all those years ago. Yet he survived and was able to function. I'm not at all sure I would have that strength. He cried when you were born. I didn't understand, but your mother helped me see that you remind him of his own little girl. Now he wants to hold you all the time when he's around. I want to ask him to be your honorary grandfather since he's been a father figure to me. I'll ask your mom if she thinks that's appropriate. She's a genius about things like that."
"The most important thing you have taught me is that love is very real. I had no idea the depths I am capable of feeling until you and your mom and your brother came along. I still get scared of the power of it sometimes, but I would never want to go back to my life before any of you were a part of it."
It was three in the morning when Paige woke up. She wondered sleepily why her new baby girl hadn't woken for her usual middle of the night snack. She reached across the bed only to discover her husband was missing. Looking at the baby monitor, she realized it had been switched off. When she turned it back on again, she overheard Walter's 'conversation' with their daughter, and she fell headlong in love with him all over again.
Blinking back tears she blamed on hormones and sleep deprivation, Paige got up and slipped into a robe. She padded on bare feet across the hall, leaned one shoulder on the doorframe of the nursery and stared at the tableau in front of her. In the dim circle of the nightlight, her husband sat in the rocking chair holding their daughter who seemed to look back at him adoringly and as if she was paying rapt attention to his words.
A tiny fist swung up and hit him square in the nose and he grabbed it and kissed it saying, "There's no need for violence. Intelligent people use their wits, but you have good instincts. If a fight is necessary, always go for the nose. Cabe taught me that," and he grinned into her face goofily. She gave him a toothless smile in return.
Just then, Walter looked up and saw Paige. Still smiling, he said to his baby girl, "I guess it's time to eat now. We'll talk again soon."