Where Is My Mind?

Author: Genevah

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I claim to own nothing.

Summary: Initially simple fluff with diapers, but uncontrollably transformed into something more...

A/N1: This is a small peace offering for the Lits. I'll still be updating These Are Days and I promise I won't stray too far away when I'm tinkering with my R/T fic... Chapter 27 of TAD wasn't playing nice so I gave it a time out... I'll check on it soon to see if it's still alive...

A/N2: I really didn't like the previous one I posted. So here's an improved one. I think it's considerably better than the first. Take a chance and read it again if you have already, I feel the need to redeem myself...

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"No..." Rory whispered when the tiny content mouth suddenly changed into a quivering pout, threatening to wreak havoc on the other two people in the room. "Please," she continued, her voice pleading. Slowly, she rocked from side to side, trying to find that precise sashay to calm her.

Success at last. The side-to-side motion accompanied with a bounce here and there proved to work, for the mean-time anyways. Control was shifting in Rory's favor again. The tiny face smoothed over from her previous fit, her small pout no longer trembling- praise cherry pies and all things sweet...

The threat of her crying wasn't a concern anymore. In fact, she was giving in to sleep. A precious activity Rory wishes she herself could give into.

Enjoy it while you can babe, before all your worries go beyond chaffing and into the wonderful world of 'Will mommy let me go to my friend's sleepover? or 'Will these zits ever go away?' or even more agonizing, 'Am I going to get accepted into that Ivy League College?' or... 'Will that certain boy stop loving me?'...

Baby's eyes struggled to stay open, almost as if she's struggling to stay awake listening to her mother's inner thoughts of her future... while Rory watched anxiously as they finally surrendered to closing and staying closed.

"Thank you," Rory sighed with relief, softly brushing her lips across the baby's little forehead. The tender smell of pure baby tickled her senses. Babies really do smell of powder... and well... just... baby. It was a great smell... a great soothing smell. She'd bottle it up if she could... She breathed her in again and this time with baby's mouth opened with the teensiest yawn, another sweet smell overtook her- sugary and loveable, you're just full of them aren't you?

Rory smiled, endearingly so. She could do this.

She continued to gently sway from side to side... no sense in toying with a good thing.

The microwave clock before them glowed 4:22 in the darkness... 4:22 in the freaking a.m.

Pinpricks picked inside her skin, mainly in her arms and her lower back. They grew tired and strained from the eight pounds and four ounces of weight. Two sluggish hours had passed. Two hours of standing and swaying and bouncing her eight pound four ounce bundle of delight. God, she was starting to get heavy... and she's only four months old... or was it her? Was she that weak? Geez, she must be the poorest excuse of a mother if she couldn't handle the light-weight of her child. Eight pounds should be child's play. Rory was afraid to imagine how heavy she would be at eighteen months with fun nights like these. Maybe she should hit to the gym or something... get prepared...

She attempted to sit down in the first hour when it was only two something. Boy was that a huge mistake. But the notion of trying again was looking so fine at 4:22 in the a.m. While the delicious thought teased her, Rory practically danced her way towards the couch- the big comfy cozy couch... with a beautiful warm crazy-haired male lying across it.

"You so owe me for this one," she quietly said, aiming her words at the lucky one splayed luxuriously against the cushions. Even in his sleep, he looked like he was mocking her with how comfortably he looked. Yeah, he was fortunate enough to be able to sleep when you're supposed to be asleep. She leaned down, very carefully with baby secured against her chest. She instinctively smoothed a stray of his dark chocolate wavy hair away from his eyes, only to watch it stubbornly fall back again. Even his hair can be as stubborn as him...

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Two hours before, Raina had woke up wailing, using her all-mighty little lungs to their fullest to let the two sleeping grown-ups in the apartment know that she wanted something. They weren't exactly asleep though, just toying with the idea, pretending they were asleep only to feed their own sanity.

It was Rory's turn to cater to her. At least that's what he said when she nudged him to go. She could've sworn it was his turn, but she was so pooped by that point she didn't feel like arguing.

It had taken her about twenty minutes or so to quiet Raina down. It turned out her diaper needed some changing. She was quite the little priss when it came to her diaper. For the slightest ounce of wetness, she would cry and cry, desperate for a change, like she'd die or something if you didn't. There were a few instances when Rory had even stooped so low as to trying to trick Raina into thinking that she had put a new diaper on when the one she already had on was barely wet. She would take her diaper off, pretend that she was getting a new one but slipped the same one back on. But Raina wouldn't have it. She would scream at the top of her lungs until she got what she wanted and from that point on Rory knew that she was going to be a high-maintenance baby. She must get that from Lorelai II...

Some time in the midst of Rory changing Raina's diaper, Jess had the decency to get up from bed and see how they were doing- out of guilt. It was his turn and he knew it was his turn too. He was being selfish, thinking only of himself in his weary state. It was something he promised himself he'd work on when the baby came- to put her before him. He had learned to do that with Rory and now he had to learn to do that that with Raina too.

Rory knew how unbearable he could be when he hadn't had enough sleep and she questioned him one night when they laid in bed together, talking about the baby's close arrival, with him rubbing her protruding belly. He had assured her that he wouldn't let her down and he'd change at least one of her stinky diapers.

He only put himself before others to shield himself from any forms of rejection or disappointment. But with Rory, there was a trusting he never knew existed. Though it took some time to have that with Rory, he couldn't help but think it should be easier with his own kid. She didn't know better than to love him unconditionally, even with his first-time-daddy screw-ups and mishaps. And he would show her that her love will not be taken for granted. He will be something in her life. He will be the person she could look up to and count on... and she would love him for these things too. He could do this.

He lounged comfortably on the couch where they were and watched wordlessly, letting his hand act as a toy for his daughter when she tugged at it and stuffed it in her mouth. Tiredness setting in again, he soon fell asleep.

Rory appreciated his gesture though.

Raina had managed to keep her ruckus down to innocent gurgles, allowing her daddy a couple hours of peaceful napping. Rory tried to get her to fall asleep, but to her disappointment, she was wide awake... but quiet (if Rory remained standing when she carried her). Though now in the second hour, Rory saw that she was growing sleepy again. Who would have thought that swaying back and forth for two hours could hypnotize her to sleep?

...

"Okay Raina," the two hours of rocking should ensure that she would stay asleep, "shall we try this again?"

Rory lightly shifted her in her arms before bending her knees enough to where her behind sank into the inviting sofa (her legs felt like spaghetti)... She sat perfectly still, unable to relax just yet while she tested Raina's boundaries... her tiny eyes still thankfully closed...

Rory's once appreciative smile quickly turned sour...

"WAAAHH! WAAAAAAHH!"

"Oh nononono. Shhhhh... shhhhh..." Rory bolted up, already swaying and bouncing towards the kitchen.

"WAAAAH! WAAAAAAHH!"

"You've got quite a set of lungs. Yes you do," she cooed, "and I know exactly who you got that from. Come on, shhhh... Please? With sugar on top?"

From behind her, she could hear a tired low grunt.

"Rorry..." he moaned, so tired.

"I know. I know... I'm trying," Rory's voice was apologetic. She knew Jess had to be up in less than two hours to get ready for work.

"It's..." he paused eyeing the DVD clock. "-four thirty Rory."

He sat up with his hands in his face, rubbing away fatigue. What's the use in even trying anymore? He finally stood up, gathered any senses he had left and walked over to them.

"Here..." he took his baby girl from Rory, "let me try."

His voice was soothing even with it's hoarseness as he tempted Raina to stop her bawling. Within seconds of being in her daddy's arms and hearing her daddy's voice, she instantly quieted down.

"You like that huh?" He joked, his eyes grinning at her. Jess' smile was so smug; Rory would've hit him if he wasn't holding the baby.

She had gotten used to this, him being able to make her stop crying so fast.

"Someone has the magic touch."

"Nah, she just likes me better," he teased.

Rory pouted. "She does like you better," agreeing sadly, still very emotional, even four months after her pregnancy.

"I'm kidding." He should know better now not to joke around with her like that. Once she even cried.

But he couldn't help himself.

"No it's true. Every time you hold her she looks happier but when I hold her she just looks like she's doing me a favor by being quiet," Rory reasoned.

Jess looked at baby thoughtfully, unable to hold it in. "She does doesn't she?" He said this out of awe, not knowing it had actually escaped his mind and out his lips into Rory's overly-sensitive ears.

"Jess..." Rory whined, not exactly what she wanted to hear, "your gushing is not helping," she implored, wanting him to amend the situation.

He lightly grazed his lips over one of her brows, the baby soft hair caressing intriguingly against his lips (though saved for another time), "That's not true and you know it."

"Better." Rory playfully poked Raina in her stomach and she immediately covered her mother's finger with her five chubby ones, squeezing it with her baby-death-grip.

"She does love you better," Rory said as more of an after thought.

"Rory-"he sighed heavily, ready to go through one of Rory's small tantrums again.

"No seriously, she does... and I'm okay with that. She'll love me better when she's older, so you should eat it up while it lasts Daddy." She smiled genuinely, inside loving that prospect and loving the prospect of them as parents.

A tiny wave of relief washed over Jess. No absurd tantrum...

Jess rested baby's head down on his bare chest, his hand protectively cradled the back of her head and the other supported her diapered bottom. Rory's finger somehow ended up in baby's mouth.

Raina's round coffee-colored eyes struggled one last time, viewing her crazy parents... and then she was out like a light.

...

Thirty minutes later... the amateur parents were frozen in the same position from thirty minutes earlier, almost scared to move.

"I think my wrist just fell asleep," Rory whispered, meeting Jess' eyes through the quickly lightening darkness.

They both sported bags under their eyes and it probably wouldn't fad out until Raina grew out of her crying-in-the-wee-hours-of-the morning faze.

"I know for sure that both of my arms have been asleep," Jess countered.

"My finger's all wrinkly."

"I've got drool sliding down my chest."

Rory could see the slick sign of slobber slowly making its way down his bare torso "..." Rory couldn't think of a better retort this early in the morning. "Fine. You win." She took the spit rag off of his shoulder and started to wipe the dribble away, careful not to wake her.

"I think it's safe to put her in her crib."

"Are you sure that's a good idea right now?" Rory asked.

"We have no other choice. I think I might drop her if we stay like this for another thirty."

"Then I guess its best we try then. Wouldn't want her growing up funny because you dropped her. Shrink bills are pretty damn expensive if you don't have insurance." Rory kidded.

Even in his lethargic condition, Rory could still make him smile.

She slowly retrieved her finger from Raina's mouth, ready to stick it back in there if need be. And without a doubt her finger was all wrinkly.

Ew.

Playfully, she shoved it in Jess's face.

It was okay to make him smile the first time, but now wasn't the time for fun. "Quit clown'in around. Do you want to wake her?" His face showed his seriousness when he peeked back at her as they walked towards their bed.

He was cranky and he always turned into Mr. Grumpy-Puss when he didn't have enough sleep.

"Sorry sorry."

Completely exhausted, Rory went straight for the queen-sized bed while Jess put Raina in her crib, only an arms length away. The crib was the most expensive thing in their apartment- a gift from the proud great-grandparents, Emily and Richard, for their beautiful great-grand-daughter Raina. Her grandparents simply adored Raina, and sadly, accompanying that belief with Rory's highly-sensitive emotions, she manipulated in her mind that her grandparents no longer adored her like they used to.

She had been replaced... it was a self-centered thought but she thought it anyway... and for some unexplained reason it kept gnawing at her...

Those thoughts subsided when she felt Jess lay behind her, kissing her shoulder and smoothing her arm before he pulled her tightly against him. He was well aware of these foolish thoughts. They've talked about it. Even argued about how Jess loved Raina more than her. Fought about how Luke and Lorelai only ask about how Raina is when they call and never how she is.

None of that was true though. No one loved Rory any less... in fact Jess couldn't have loved her more...

...

In the first days after Rory gave birth to Raina, Jess remembered how she never wanted to carry her even when she wasn't crying. Lorelai told him that it was completely normal and she was just suffering from a small case of the 'baby blues'. She also said not to worry about it because she too went through the same thing when she had Rory and she turned out just fine.

Jess didn't mind so much because he actually enjoyed holding Raina. Sometimes he didn't even want to give her up when Grandpapi Luke wanted to hold her. Yes. Jess had coined that name for his uncle and he was going to make sure Raina used it when she started to speak. Luke made the silliest grandparent. He was all scared at first like he was going to break her if he held her, but when Lorelai forced him into holding her one day, he instantly fell in love. And now he fussed over Raina more than Lorelai and her parents combined.

But slowly as more weeks passed, Rory began to embrace her daughter. Even so much that she hardly let Jess have a chance to hold her. She would simply tell him that he hogged her long enough and it was her turn. It was like they were playing house...

But even though Rory was starting to kick into mother-mode, she still wasn't all there.

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