By Ryuu

Rating: K (totally safe for the kidlets, this)

Fandom: ReBoot

Pairing: Dot/angst, some Bob/Dot

Spoilers/Keywords: S3, S4 (especially Daemon Rising), angst, romance, knitting

Notes/Disclaimers: ReBoot and all related characters are the property of Mainframe Entertainment and are used here without permission, but with a great deal of affection and respect. Obviously, I'm making no profit from this trifle of a fanfic. Yes, I'm a wee tiny bit obsessed with knitting and it seems like something Dot would enjoy, given her tendencies towards perfectionism and her rather methodical nature. Comments, critique, and howls of outrage can be left either here or at the email address on my profile.

Getting the yarn onto the needles had proved tricky at first, but Dot persevered, spurred on by her own perfectionism and the half-faded memories of a larger, slimmer pair of hands wrapped around her chubbier, just-out-of babyhood ones, patiently and gently guiding her through the intricate process of casting on and making her first clumsy stitches.

Her mother, Dot remembered with a faint, wistful smile, had been a wonderfully-accomplished knitter, making everything from blankets, to socks, to sweaters. She remembered waking up from bad dreams as a child to find her mother sitting beside her bed, a serene presence that banished her daughter's nighttime fears as easily as she managed to turn heels for the warm and lovely socks that protected her family's feet.

Dot had deduced from an early age that knitting was the source of her mother's air of serenity and endless wisdom, and thus logically concluded that knitting was clearly the most magical thing it was possible for one to learn. Displaying the stubbornness that would one day lead her to economically take over Mainframe, she acquired a spare pair of needles and a ball of scrap yarn with her mother's amused encouragement and set out to conquer the world of fiber arts.

Needles clacked gently together as Dot fed yarn through them with increasing confidence and remembered her earliest attempts at knitting with a nostalgic smile. Her first scarves were riddled with holes from dropped stitches and had irregular, sinuous edges from those odd moments where her stitches became tighter or looser because she hadn't quite mastered holding the same tension throughout.

Mairi smiled and encouraged her daughter, and eventually, Dot's technique improved until she became an accomplished knitter. She remembered evenings of them sitting together while Welman was held up at the lab with one experiment or another. Dot struggled to understand turning heels while Mairi knitted away smoothly at a soft blanket for Dot's soon-to-be baby brother. When Dot asked logically why Enzo couldn't simply use her old blanket, Mairi smiled gently and explained that knitted into Dot's blanket were her hopes and memories and the love that she felt for the child she was about to have, so the blanket was more Dot's than anything else could possibly be. She wouldn't dream of giving Dot's old blanket to this child anymore than she would dream of giving this child Dot's name.

At the time, Dot hadn't quite understood what Mairi meant, but the words settled inside a part of her and made her feel like she was someone special. Now, years later, looking down at the tiny swell that had begun to take over her middle, Dot smiled and thought she might be a little closer to comprehending what her mother was trying to say. Knitting was love, made warm and tangible and functional.

After Mairi died, knitting was sidelined as something that Dot's new responsibilities left her no time for. It was easier to say that it was more important to make sure Enzo got to school on time than it was to risk crying when she picked up one of Mairi's well-used needles.

The only thing she knitted at all during that time was a pair of socks for her father who simply looked at them for a long, silent moment before he reached out and pulled Dot to him in an almost painfully-tight hug. They held each other for a long time after that, silently remembering and mourning what they had lost.

Welman was wearing the socks two weeks later when Dot's life was shattered for the second time. She put the knitting needles away after that.

In the process of clearing a small storage room for a nursery, Dot had found her old blanket, neatly folded. She shook it out, touching the cloth with fingers that only trembled slightly, then rubbed her cheek against the soft, yellow yarn, smelling dust and the lingering aroma of laundry soap. She visualized the child she and Bob would have, warmly nestled beneath the soft folds of this blanket and frowned after a moment. It wasn't right, expecting her child to make do with Dot's own childhood. This baby should have a new blanket and a new start.

Dot bit her lower lip for a moment, then went to the closet where she'd stored her knitting needles. When Bob found her later that day, she was surrounded by fuzzy white yarn and had managed to finish a few neat rows of seed-stitch. Dot's own blanket, freshly-laundered, was draped over the back of the couch where she could lean her head against it. Bob sat across from her, watching her with a strangely tender intensity before he cautiously leaned against her side and kissed her.

"My mom used to do that," he murmured, peering at her work.

Dot blinked and swallowed hard. "So did mine," she finally replied.

Bob's hand slid into her hair, stroking soothingly. She looked up at him, warmed by the understanding look in his eyes. He leaned in and kissed her again.

"I've…um…kind of always wanted to learn how," he said.

She managed a tentative smile in reply. "Stay. I'll teach you."

Bob nodded. "I'd like that."