Domesticated

This is a little silly, but what's life without fun?

Disclaimer: I don't own Tomb Raider, Lara, Alex or Bryce but I believe I own Bryce's sister and her kid. Could be wrong though.

Lara looked at the numerous post-it notes on the fridge door. Hillary, her butler had only been gone for two days and already she was wishing him home. There were pans piled high in the sink, dirty clothes on various floors and dust was settling anywhere it could. Just when Lara didn't think things could get any worse, Bryce appeared in the doorway of her office.

"Hey Lara, is it ok if I go out for a while?"

Lara sat up and rubbed her neck.

"How long is a while?" she didn't much like the sound of being at Croft Manor alone with Bryce's sister, who was staying there. Worse still, her two year old child was there. Bryce looked awkward, and stepped into the office. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other.

"Well actually, erm…."

"Bryce, what is it?"

He swallowed.

"Jessie hasn't spoken to you yet then."

She shook her head questioningly.

"I knew she'd leave this to me…."

Lara sighed.

"Bryce, I am not an ogre. Just ask me what it I you need to."

He nodded and took a breath.

"Can Jessie and I go and visit our cousin for a couple of days?"

Lara laughed and swung her feet down from her desk.

"Is that all? Of course you can, Hillary is on holiday, you are entitled to do whatever you want."

Bryce smiled and stood up straight.

"Thanks Lara, Jessie will leave a list of what to do with Joey. I'm so grateful, we both are!" He ran out of Lara's office beaming, leaving her paralysed. The child. She had to look after the child. On her own. She was about to call Bryce back and refuse when she spotted a photo of her father on her desk. Family was important, and Bryce had to see his family. If that meant that she had to sacrifice herself and look after Joey, then she would.

Half an hour later, as she waved Bryce and his sister down the drive with baby Joey in her arms, she started to have second thoughts.

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Lara looked up from her notes as the doorbell rang. Remembering that Hillary was not at home to answer it, she stood up and made her way to the grand entrance hall. The bell rang again, louder. She hoped it was Bryce, come home to rescue her from her nightmare. Opening the door, she found herself staring into the face of Alex West. There was a slight, awkward pause.

"Hey Lara, long time no see." Alex grinned and shifted his weight. Lara smiled.

"Hello Alex. Come in?" she stepped aside and ushered him into the entrance hall of the mansion.

"So what brings you here?" she asked, closing the large wooden doors behind him. He stared around at the decorative hall, noticing how much it had changed since his last visit.

"Oh, not much. I heard you were resting, thought I'd drop by whilst you were still in the country."

It was true, Lara was on a break. She had recently returned form Russia, as had Alex, and was resting before her next assignment. She and Alex had found the trip to Cambodia and Russia quite tiring, and England offered a welcome break.

Lara led the way into the kitchen, pleased to have some company. Her work was often lonely.

"What, no Hillary?" Alex watched as Lara attempted to make some coffee.

"No, he's on holiday. China this time."

"Is anyone else here?"

She shook her head and grabbed two mugs. Then she remembered.

"Bugger!" she dropped the cups and ran out of the kitchen. Alex followed her up the stairs and into her office, where Bryce had set up a temporary playpen. Baby Joey was standing in it, chewing something.

"Who might you be?" Alex said, strolling over to the pen and crouching to Joey's level. Lara stayed in the doorway, out of breath.

"Lara, did you give him that?"

Alex stepped aside to reveal the two year old child chewing on the handle of Lara's revolver. She looked alarmed and snatched it from him, cleaning it on her shirt.

"Stupid kid! Why'd he try to eat my gun?" she looked at Alex despairingly.

Alex picked Joey up and carried him to the doorway.

"I sense that you are finding domestic life difficult without people to look after you."

Lara scowled as she followed him down the stairs.

"I DO NOT need people to look after me Alex! Neither do I need babies eating my weaponry!"

Alex reached the kitchen with Joey in his arms.

"Maybe this little guy is hungry. Who does he belong to anyway?"

Lara went to the fridge and took out a labelled jar. She poured the contents into a bowl and shoved a spoon into it, handing it to Alex.

"He's Bryce's nephew. How come you're the baby expert all of a sudden?"

She plonked herself down into a chair opposite him and watched as he spoon-fed the baby.

"I'm an uncle too," Alex said, grinning. Lara closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead.

"Look, Lara, you need a hand here? And don't reply to that with a cutting insult. No-one else is around to witness the great Lara Croft accepting help with her housework."

She looked up and smiled, a hand around her mug of coffee.

"That would be nice."

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"Where do the dishes go?"

Lara laughed aloud as Alex appeared, wearing Hillary's Miss World' apron. He had a pile of dishes in his arms, and a few bubbles on his chin.

"In the dresser, I think. Hillary just puts them wherever they'll go."

The two of them had almost finished the housework, and were just finishing off in the kitchen.

"Er, Lara? I wanted to talk to you about something." Alex knelt down beside the dresser and began to stack the clean dishes inside it.

"What?" Lara was polishing a window sill next to the sink.

"Well, you know in Russia? With the time business. I… I remembered something this morning. That's why I came to see you."

Lara stopped polishing.

"You mean…. Before I changed it? Before I re-set time?"

Alex nodded.

"Powell threw his knife at me, and I fell in the water. You… you kissed me."

Lara's cheeks turned pink.

"Alex, I…"

They were interrupted by Joey crying.

"Does that kid ever shut up?" Lara snapped.

"We just need to find a way to amuse him."

"Well I vote we take him down to the firing range. Then I won't be able to hear him."

Alex laughed and made his way over to joey.

"Oh." He sniffed and looked at Lara. "I think he needs changing."

"Well don't look at me. Put him in the sink or something." She went back to her polishing.

"Lara, do you have any maternal instinct at all? I worry about you sometimes. So insensitive."

He stripped Joey down to his nappy and put him in the sink. Running some warm water, Alex turned to watch Lara. He was about to make a comment about her slap dash scrubbing when what looked like a pork chop went flying past his face, hitting Lara's cheek with a sharp cracking sound. He didn't know whether to laugh, or to turn to the culprit and pretend he had not seen. Joey, however, was not going to be ignored. He picked up a second pork chop and giggled. Alex looked at the child, then at Lara.

"Aww, you made him laugh!" he said, hoping that she wouldn't flip.

"I did?" she picked up the pork chop and looked at it. "Hmmmm." She went to the fridge and took out a pot of yoghurt. Alex watched as she loaded some onto a spoon and aimed it at the giggling baby.

"Lara?"

"If he wants to play like that, then he can. But he's messing with the professionals." She let go of the spoon. Joey received a splattering of yoghurt, which delayed him in his tactics. Alex watched in complete amazement as Lara and the two year old carried on their food fight. He soon became a target however, and was forced to join in.

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Alex picked up a towel and wiped the yoghurt from his face. His shirt was covered in it, but he didn't have another with him. Lara tiptoed away from Joey's cot and sighed.

"He's asleep, right?"

Alex nodded and handed her a towel. She too was covered in yoghurt, but didn't seem bothered.

"So. This kiss business."

There was a short pause as Lara fiddled with some notes on her desk.

"I don't really know why I did it."

Alex looked at the floor and leant against a wall, waiting for her to continue.

"I just… I knew you were going to die, and if it turned out that I couldn't change your fate, then I didn't want you to die thinking that I…. hated you."

Alex looked up as her voice dropped.

"Lara…."

Then came the screaming once more.

"That bloody baby!"

They made their way to the cot and plucked a red faced Joey from it.

"What now?"

Alex shrugged.

"I vote we try to tire him out."

Lara nodded.

"Suggestions?"

They thought, and between them, came up with an ingenious plan. Lara had two bungee ropes attached to the tallest part of the staircases in the grand entrance hall, where she liked to practice gymnastics and jumping. Alex proceeded to attach baby Joey to one of the ropes, and himself to the other. Lara attached herself to Joey's rope and they began to bounce. It wasn't long before they were all out swinging from one side of the manor to the other, Joey giggling the whole time. Lara was giggling too.

"If you dare tell Bryce I swung his nephew around my mansion on the end of an elastic rope…. I'll kill you Mr West!"

Alex laughed too.

"Don't worry I won't. Joey looks like he might be sick though!"

Sure enough, Joey waited until he was back in Lara's grasp before he emptied his stomach contents all over her.

"Err…. Alex? HELP! HE'S GONNA GO AGAIN!" Alex swung towards Lara and grabbed Joey just in time. He held him out to the side as he was sick. It landed all over the grand entrance hall chandelier.

"I am so not cleaning that." Lara looked disgusted as Joey gurgled and looked dizzy. The three of them swung to a safe position and unhooked themselves from their ropes.

"Is he ok? I mean, did I kill him? Poison him?" Lara hovered over Joey as Alex changed his sick covered clothes.

"Nah. He just got dizzy. Looks a bit more tired though. Its working!" Lara straightened up and looked at her watch.

"It's half six. You want some dinner?"

Alex nodded and smiled.

"Want a hand cooking it?"

She shook her head.

"I just had an idea." She led hi outside with Joey and pointed to a bike. It was pink, and had tassles on the handlebars. There was also a basket on the front. Lara placed Joey in the basket and looked at Alex triumphantly.

"Oh I see! You're going to take him for a bike ride around Croft Manor gardens!" Alex said with a grin.

"No, you are." She handed him some knee pads and laughed as his grin faded.

"All this baby stuff has inspired me to have a go at being the model housewife for a day. I'm going inside to cook our lunch."

Alex looked up.

"Does that mean I get to have a go at being your husband?" he said, smiling. Lara looked up at him and smiled.

"Maybe, just for a day." She turned on her heel and strolled back inside, leaving Alex on his pink bike with baby Joey in the basket. She heard the bell ring as he pushed off.

Looking after Joey for the day had taught her several things.

Firstly, she had learned that there was more to life than her work.

Secondly, she wasn't very good at being a mum.

And most importantly, she did need the people she loved around her to look after her.

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Please review- you made it this far!