Hey all! This is a quick oneshot based on the utterly amazing scenes in 'On The Job', between Stella and baby Daniella.
I was in a service station on Friday with my neice, Daisy, and was getting all these looks from the other people because I was feeding her and such. Because I am eighteen and was with a 9 month old they all immediately thought she was my daughter. Not that I minded that much (everyone knows she's my baby anyway, not my brother's, oh no! lmao), but it got me annoyed that they all jumped to conclusions.
So, anyhoo, this fic is taken from a conversation that some random old lady had with me and Daisy, (although I identified her as my neice) ;)
A/N: I know that at the end of the episode, Daniella's parents came to pick her up, but I've decided to change that lol and the Child Welfare woman is now called Doris. Know that you'll be fine :)
Dsclmr: The only CSI:NY things I own are DVDs, a T-Shirtand the complete love for the show...oh! and the concept of this fic
This was a first.
Not the fact that a child's parents had only surfaced 3 days after they were told their daughter was at Child Services, unfortunately.
But the fact that Stella was now driving the little girl back to her mom and dad. The 'caring' parents decided they "just can't come to pick her up! We're far too busy" so Stella volunteered to take her home.
It probably wasn't the best idea, seeing as she'd built some kind of…relationship with the 7 month old. But she just couldn't bare the thought of Daniella staying another night in that room, all alone. And this would give her the opportunity to give the ever-so-loving mom and pop a piece of her mind.
Child Services had reluctantly agreed to the idea. Doris had seen how Stella was with the baby, but she hated to admit that she needed the crib clear for the next onslaught of abandoned New York babies.
Doris organised for a baby seat to be fitted into the Cadillac Escalade truck, and packed a couple of bottles, diapers and pacifiers into a rucksack, just in case Stella needed them on the ride. Daniella's parents were "on business" about 3 hours out of the city. A six-hour roundtrip to drop off a child at parents who obviously didn't want her, to anybody else, would have sounded ridiculous. To Stella? "All Part of the job". And if she managed a couple of minutes of venting about parental neglect? "Hand me my keys"
It was nearing 5pm when Stella and Daniella set off. Turning the engine over, she grinned into the rear-view mirror as Daniella picked at the upholstery on her chair.
The rhythm of the car moving quickly lulled the child to sleep, leaving Stella with a shushed radio and her own thoughts.
She could get used to this. She'd always dreamed of having a child. Ensuring her own son or daughter had a loving, preferably two parental, household. When St. Basils' had new infant arrivals, Stella was instantly on hand to help out the Sisters: feeding, changing diapers, rocking them to sleep. She was a natural.
Stella had pushed those images and emotions away since becoming a CSI. The job left no room for personal time, never mind time to care for a child. But being with Daniella brought all those thoughts rushing to the forefront.
She glanced at the map on the passenger seat. Roughly an hour and fifteen minutes left to go. Daniella was starting to stir, and was murmuring into her pacifier, which Stella recognised as a hunger cry.
According to a road-side sign, there was a service station just ahead. "You want to stop? We'll get a bottle warmed up. Yeah?" Stella asked into the rear-view mirror.
At the next exit, she pulled the car into the parking lot and brought the grinning infant on to her hip. She slung the rucksack Doris has prepared on to her shoulder and locked up the car.
Daniella was grinning away, tugging on handfuls of Stella's curly locks as she tried her hardest to gently tug them back out of her surprisingly strong grip. "No no, sweetie"
The Mother and Baby parking space had dropped them just outside of the sliding doors of the station. There was a fast-food joint to the right inside the building, but thankfully a coffee shop with seats on the left. "Lets get some hot water and we'll heat up your bottle, huh?" she asked the child. Her head was resting on Stella's shoulder as they asked for the jug of water. Stella stroked Daniella's fine hair with her free hand as they waited for the waiter to return.
"Thanks" Stella smiled at the young boy, before walking over to a free booth and depositing of the jug and rucksack.
"Come on, then" Stella said, heaving the baby onto her lap as she sat down. She got a bottle of milk out of the bag and put it into the water. It wouldn't take to long to warm, and it gave her a chance to play with giggling child. She poked at Daniella's nose, making beeping noises as she did so. She couldn't help but giggle herself as Daniella's eyes crossed slightly, following Stella's finger.
Testing that the milk wasn't too hot on her arm, she laid the hungry baby into the crook of her elbow and swayed her slightly as she sucked on the rubber nipple.
Stella took the opportunity to take in her surroundings. It looked like a clean establishment. That was probably the only good points though. She could see cars pull up outside the window. Some came in just to use the restrooms; some grabbed a burger and went on their way.
An elderly woman with greying hair and a walking stick limped up to them. She smiled and cooed to Daniella, before asking Stella "Aww! She yours?"
Stella thought for a moment. What was the easier answer? 'No, her nanny was murdered and her parents didn't come to collect her for over three days so I'm taking her to them, seeing as they're still too busy to come for her' or, more simply, 'yes'? "Yes"
"Bless her! How old?"
"Seven months last Tuesday" Stella smiled, stroking the child's cheek gently. She hadn't lied. According to Daniella's file she was seven months old last Tuesday.
"You must be so proud, what's her name?"
"Daniella" Where had that pride in her voice come from?
"Hi, Daniella" the woman cooed again. She turned her attention back to the 'Mom', "She looks like an Angel"
Stella smiled, looking back to Daniella, whose eyes darted between those of Stella's and the strange woman who was pulling faces at her.
The woman walked away, saying "Congratulations".
"Well…" Stella said to the suckling child, amazed at how confidently and mostly-honestly she'd answered the questions. She shouldn't be doing this, Stella knew. But she couldn't not.
With a full tummy and new diaper, Stella and Daniella were back on the road.
The motions had the child asleep within moments again, leaving Stella to her thoughts. This time they were more harried. She was getting too attached. As much as it hurt to admit, she had to give Daniella back, and quick.
Daniella had two parents who lov-well, should love her. A nanny who did at least. But where was she now? No doubt there would be a replacement already waiting at the hotel. No doubt Daniella wouldn't see her parents for hours even after she'd dropped her off. Where was the justice?
Stella eventually pulled up into the parking lot of the Four Season's hotel as instructed. She pulled Daniella onto her hip again, who roused at the movement, before dropping her head to Stella's shoulder.
She walked them to the reception desk in the foyer, and asked the regal looking gentleman behind it for Mr and Mrs Myerson's room. The room was later identified as the Penthouse, meaning the man would need to call up first.
"They'll down in a few minutes" he told, setting the receiver back on to the stand, "If you'd like to take a seat…"
Stella looked around and saw a large, overstuffed maroon leather chair. She took a seat, moving the sleeping infant to lie vertically across her chest.
"Well, this is goodbye, Daniella. You are a beautiful, beautiful baby. Never let anyone take your smile from you, because sometimes? That is the only thing that can see you through some weird times" Stella whispered, stoking the baby's fine hair again. She kissed her head and told her "Have a happy life".
"Ms Bonasera?" a young Asian girl smiled. "I'm Julie, Daniella's new nanny"
Stella gave a humourless chortle. The elusive Mrs Myerson had escaped again. Sending Julie, who was barely a day over 19, just like Sandra, to collect her precious daughter. That's parenting for you.
Stella stood, handing Daniella over. "She's had her dinner, so she should just sleep now. Take care of her" her eyes squinted with the warning, telling Julie she meant what she was saying.
Julie nodded. "Is that hers?" she asked, pointing to a stuffed bunny that had fallen to the floor. Stella picked it up. She'd bought it in the little shop at the service station. Daniella wouldn't know who it was from, but Stella just couldn't resist. "Yeah. Yes, it is" she tucked it underneath the child's arm, and stroked her hair for the last time.
"Thank you, Ms Bonasera" the nanny smiled, taking Daniella into the elevator and away from Stella,