Scene from a Crib at 3 Am

It was late when the baby started to cry.

It was only a tiny little cry. She wasn't very loud, and it merely made Jess stir and Rory mumble in her sleep.

For some unknown, god-forsaken reason, it sounded to Luke like an atomic bomb had been dropped.

He grumbled as he made his way down the stairs and crept quietly into the kitchen, glancing at the couch where Lily was sleeping. Jimmy and Sasha had returned to the Dragonfly, but the young blonde had requested to stay over on the couch.

Luke opened up the door to Rory's room as quietly as he could and tiptoed in and over to crib. He looked down into it, to see his infant great-niece staring up at him with big, watery eyes.

He frowned. "Cut that out," he whispered. "It's too early for you to be upset."

She whimpered and let out a sob.

"Ah, jeez," Luke growled softly. He sighed, and awkwardly reached down to pick Alice up out of her crib, attempting to hold her as he'd seen everyone else do, supporting her head as best he could. "Now, will you stop crying?"

"Okay, Uncle Luke," said a quiet, high pitched voice behind him.

He whirled around, almost dropping the baby to find Lorelai, smiling broadly.

He glared.

She smiled more. "You're so cute."

"Stop."

"You are. You're so cute holding the baby."

"I said stop," Luke snapped. "She was crying."

"And it was Luke to the rescue," Lorelai replied. "So cute."

"Jeez…" He sighed. "I give up. You take her."

"No," Lorelai argued. "Not when you're all cute and baby-holding."

"Mom?"

Luke groaned. "Let's wake up the whole house."

Rory got out of bed carefully and walked over. "Is everything okay?"

"I heard her crying," Luke informed her. "Just a little. I think she wanted attention."

Alice yawned and settled into Luke's arms.

Rory smiled. "That's so cute."

"It is, isn't it?" Lorelai agreed.

"You don't hate Alice after all," Rory said, her voice watery.

"I never said I hated her," Luke snapped.

"But you wouldn't hold her," Rory pointed out. "And now you're holding her." She sniffled a little.

"Oh, someone is still way hormonal and way tired," Lorelai grinned, wrapping an arm around her daughter.

Rory smiled. "Maybe a little."

"Everything okay?" Jess's raspy, worried voice asked in the dark.

"Yeah," Rory said.

"Is that…Luke holding the baby?"

Lorelai grinned. "Yup."

"Well isn't that just the sweetest thing," Jess mocked.

Luke groaned and carefully dumped the baby into Rory's arms. "I'm going back to bed."

"Come back, Uncle Luke!" Jess laughed. "Don't you wanna hold the little bundle of joy more?"

"You are so mean," Rory said.

"You're too nice," Jess replied. "We even each other out."

Lorelai snickered and shook her head. "I'm gonna go back to bed. G'night you three." She kissed Rory, and then Alice, and walked out, closing the door behind her.

Rory smiled and walked back to the bed with Alice in her arms. She got back in, and settled the infant between herself and Jess.

"That's not a good idea," Jess commented.

"What? Why not?"

"You turn in your sleep," he replied. "You'll crush her."

Rory pouted. "I won't."

Jess lifted Alice up and lay back, settling her on his chest. "No, you won't."

Rory's pout turned to a smile, and she watched the baby take to sleeping on Jess's chest, closing her eyes. "She likes you."

"I'd hope so…she's kind of stuck with me," he replied quietly.

Rory lay down and turned toward her family, rubbing Alice's back gently. She frowned. "Is it…bad that neither of us heard her crying?"

"She wasn't crying that hard," Jess pointed out.

"Then how did Luke hear her from all the way upstairs?"

"Luke isn't actually human," Jess said.

"I'm serious, Jess," Rory sighed. "We didn't hear her crying."

"We will next time," Jess reassured her. "Especially since she's right here."

"But what if she's in her crib one night and we don't hear her, and she really needs us?" Rory asked. "What if we never hear her? Oh, my god, we're horrible parents."

Jess frowned, swallowing, trying to find something reassuring to say. "We'll just…have to learn to be light sleepers…"

Rory wrapped her arms around herself. "Maybe…maybe we should take Jimmy up on his offer to help us."

He didn't reply, and she turned over to go back to sleep.

Jess stared at the ceiling, listening to Alice's tiny heart beating.