Author's Note: I started writing this shortly after I gave birth to my son, but decided not to make it a full length story. Depending on how popular this one is, it'll just be part of the 100 Themes Challenge collection, and if a lot of people like this chapter, I'll continue (I do have plans for it and know how to end it, but while it was great for comedy, I'm not sure how people will react to it) with more on it in a later theme. Next chapter will be fluff once I can decide 1. which pairing to do it with and 2. How to keep them in character for it (any suggestions will be helpful)
No matter how much they asked around, none of the Plumbers could get the answer. The child left on their new headquarters' doorstep was as much a mystery to any of the surrounding city's citizens as it was to the Plumbers themselves. One month ago, there had been a knock at the door, and that had started this whole thing. For when they opened the door, a baby boy, certainly no older than two weeks, was crying, a Plumber's badge placed on top of his blanket.
The note left with the baby merely said "The baby is called Jason. He's half alien, and I just can't handle him anymore. If his father is still alive, he'll come for him, I'm sure."
Kevin, for his part, was furious. "She just left him here…" he kept muttering over and over one day as he watched Gwen change the baby's diaper. "I can't believe that kind of stuff is still happening…some people shouldn't be allowed to be moms…"
Ben's reaction was to start a daily search, hoping to either find Jason's mother and get her to take her child back or to find the baby's father. Neither search was proving successful, as the only hint towards Jason's parentage was that when the baby laughed too hard, sometimes electricity would shoot through his body, making his hair stand on end.
Gwen had had the most impact on the child, her maternal instincts taking over almost the minute that Ben had brought the baby inside from the cold. She fed him, she changed him, and she was the only one who got up during the middle of the night to answer the infant's cries, sometimes staying awake for hours on end until he was once again comfortable enough to fall asleep.
"It's wearing her out," Helen pointed out to Kevin and Ben one day. "Manny, Pierce, Cooper and I can split up tasks…the new recruits can handle searching for Jason's parents while we go to catch criminals. You two should stay here and give Gwen a hand."
Kevin frowned. "I don't know anything about babies. Maybe you should stay," He suggested.
Helen glared. "What are you implying?"
"You know, you're female. Chick instincts and all that."
"Ooh…bad move," Ben's warning, of course, was far too late in coming. Helen looked about ready to hit Kevin, but instead she shook her head.
"No. You two are staying. You have to be at least a little worried about her. She's been falling asleep on patrol and running home in between raids and busts to check on Jason because Manny refuses to change diapers."
"Wasn't in the job description," Manny explained, appearing seemingly from nowhere, a steaming cup of coffee in one of his four hands. "And I'm not babysitting again. Do I look like a babysitter?"
"You don't want me to tell you what you look like," Kevin joked. Manny glared.
"All right," Ben interrupted, "I think Helen's right…sort of."
"Sort of?" Helen asked, crossing her arms.
"I think Gwen should probably take the day off…from Jason and Plumber business. You're right, she does look exhausted…" Ben's expression softened. "I'm worried about her."
Kevin nodded his agreement. "Yeah…but you're changing the diapers."
Ben rolled his eyes, but said nothing. His only action was to head towards his cousin's room. He knocked on the door and was greeted by his cousin's surprisingly messy form. She was usually so neat and polished, but it was ten, well past when she normally awoke, and she still hadn't changed out of her night clothes. Her hair was a tangled, frizzy mess of red, and she was clutching Jason closely in her arms.
"He's asleep…you should probably put him in his crib," Ben suggested. Gwen shook her head fiercely.
"Every time I put him in there he wakes up again," she said, not bothering to stifle the yawn that followed the explanation. "It took me four hours to get him to go to sleep, I am not going through that again. Where do I patrol today?"
Ben was all the more impressed with his cousin's attitude. Gwendolyn Tennyson was not the kind to take a break from her job, no matter how much she may have needed it. Ben shook his head. "You don't have patrol today."
"Yes, I do," Gwen insisted.
"You've got the day off," Ben explained. Gwen opened her mouth to protest, but Ben interrupted. "From all Plumber's business, and that includes Jason. Do whatever you want with the rest of the day, but you're going to take a break. You're trying to work yourself to death and it's got all of us worried about you."
"I could use a break," Gwen admitted. "But who's going to watch him?" She asked, nodding her head towards the sleeping infant.
"Kevin and I are going to do it."
"You," Gwen repeated, as though she didn't quite understand him. "You. And Kevin. Are going to watch and care for a baby."
"Yeah, that's the plan."
"Have you ever even changed a diaper before?" Gwen asked, the look in her eyes apprehensive. It wasn't necessarily that she didn't trust Kevin and Ben - after all, she risked her life with them on a nearly daily basis - it was that….well, the idea of either boy caring for a baby was somehow terrifying.
"No…but how hard can it be?" Ben asked, holding his arms out. Gwen sighed and relinquished the child to her cousin's outstretched hands. He cradled the baby in his arms. "There, no harm done. He didn't even wake up. Promise me you'll go out for a few hours and relax?"
"…I guess," Gwen said, heading back into her room. "I'm just going to get ready first."
An hour later Gwen was made up, her hair back to its normal style her clothing ironed and fresh as they had been before the baby had shown up in their lives. "Make sure you burp him after he eats, because if he gets gassy he won't sleep and he won't stop crying. Try the pacifier first if he acts like he's hungry and if he keeps spitting it out, then give him the bottle. Change him immediately and if his bottom looks red put more of his diaper rash cream on him…oh, and sometimes he wets all the way through his outfit, if that happens put him in a new onesie, don't just leave him in it."
"We'll be fine, just head out already," Kevin insisted. "It's not like we're going to use the baby as a Frisbee."
"That reminds me, don't throw him, shake him, toss him --"
"I was just joking!"
Gwen ignored Kevin's interruption, "And you can wipe the umbilical cord stump with alcohol on a cotton ball, but you don't have to. But make sure you keep it dry, okay?"
"Okay, just go already!" Kevin and Ben answered together. Gwen nodded.
"All right…call if there's any problems." With that, Gwen headed out.
"…what's an umbilical cord stump?" Kevin asked when he was confident Gwen was well beyond hearing range.
"Not sure," Ben admitted, looking down at Jason. "But this can't be too hard, right? Gwen'll only be gone for a few hours. This'll be a snap."
As fates would have it, Jason chose that exact moment to wake up and start crying.
"You just had to say that, didn't you, Tennyson?" Kevin grumbled. "What's wrong with him?"
"…I don't know," Ben admitted, lifting Jason into the air and examining him. Jason continued to cry. "Umm….are you hungry?" Of course, the baby gave no reply. "…do you think he's hungry?"
"How should I know?!"
"Okay, fair enough," Ben admitted. "…What did Gwen say about what to do before feeding him?"
"…something about not throwing him."
"…No, that was later. It was something about gas or diapering or…wait, how do you tell if they need a diaper change?"
"Smell it?" Kevin suggested.
Ben sniffed at the air, and was relieved that he could smell nothing out of the ordinary. No diaper change needed…at least, for now. "Okay, so he must be hungry. Where does Gwen keep his food?"
"Why don't you just give him milk or something?" Kevin suggested. Ben shook his head.
"Nah, she's got formula somewhere…." Ben tried to remember exactly where he had seen Gwen fixing the bottles, but the constant crying was becoming more distracting by the minute. Kevin threw his hands in the air and started to walk off. "Where are you going?"
"To find the kid some food before he drives me completely up the wall," Kevin answered, heading for the kitchen. Ben shifted awkwardly from one foot to another, trying to get the motions to soothe the crying child, but to no avail. In fact, the cries got much louder a moment later, thanks to a loud crash from the direction of the kitchen.
Going as fast as he dared while carrying a baby, Ben made his way to the kitchen, his eyes widening in amazement as he saw just how bad a wreck Kevin had managed to make the room in the span of only a few minutes. There were pots and pans thrown onto the floor, a box of macaroni was spilled over into the sink, and Kevin was still pulling food out of the pantry, cursing loudly as he went.
"Language," Ben chastised, "Remember, little ears listening here."
"Not like he understands it," Kevin brushed Ben off, "Or can hear it over his own crying…Damn it!" Ben covered Jason's ears, "Where the hell did Gwen put that formula?"
"You mean this?" Ben asked, holding up a canister that had been sitting on the counter the entire time. Kevin face palmed and nodded, holding out his hand. "You're going to fix it?"
"Well I sure ain't holding the kid," Kevin said, grabbing the formula container and turning until he saw the directions. He muttered to himself as he read, then finally turned to face Ben. "We've got another problem."
"What is it now?"
"…I have no idea where Gwen keeps the bottles."
Author's Note: And that's the end of this one for now. This and the Crying or Tears or whatever it was both have part 2s coming later. Like I said, next drabble will be fluff once I figure out what and how to do it.