I was sitting in front of my computer several years back and trying to think of something to write about when an image of Krillin, with bags under his eyes and practically drooling, came to mind. I couldn't resist. I am so sorry.
Anyone with a child of their own or a younger sibling should appreciate this.
Disclaimer: I do not own DBZ.
"Late Night Blues"
Krillin groggily opened first one eye, then the other. What on Earth was that racket about? He tried to turn over in bed to consult his wife when he realized he wasn't in bed. He was downstairs in the Kame House living room, and he was propped up with a pile of pillows on the couch. And then he realized that horrific noise was coming from a small bundle in his arms.
"Good morning to you too, Marron," he yawned. "At least, that's what I think it is." The man squinted at the nearest clock. Its softly illuminated display read 3:06.
The sky was still dark.
"Why can't you sleep through the night like everyone else?" he asked, not expecting an answer.
His blue-eyed bundle of joy squalled all the louder and balled her tiny hands into fists.
He sat up and sighed. With one arm around the baby he rubbed his eyes. This was getting ridiculous! Between himself and Eighteen both, they were lucky if they had gotten a combined total of twenty hours of sleep in the last three days! His cyborg wife looked like a raccoon, and he knew he couldn't look much better himself. Master Roshi had already forced coffee on him to keep from stumbling around the house…not that it helped much. "What could you possibly want, kiddo?" he mumbled, brushing the tip of her nose with one finger.
Marron stopped bawling long enough to open her eyes and regard her father with something akin to disdain. Then she sucked in a deep breath and screamed even louder.
Krillin snapped his fingers. "Your bottle. You've gotta be hungry."
He half-stood half-levitated off the couch and slowly made his way to the kitchen. He winced; the child in his arms was like the siren on a fire truck…she announced her presence to everyone and everything within a five mile radius of the place. At least Master Roshi is still asleep, he thought with a tired grin. His snoring is almost as loud as Marron's yelling. The girl's got a good set of lungs on her, at least. No breathing problems here, and there's no way she'll be an introverted kid, not with all the noise she's making now. Chi-Chi swears that once they start talking they don't stop, and I think I believe her!
Through long hours of practice Krillin was able to find the refrigerator without the lights on and open the door. The bottle was on the top shelf, as usual, and he took the cover and nipple off before sticking it in the microwave.
"It'll only be a minute, baby," he told the child, who only regarded him with wide, watery eyes.
Two minutes later, Marron was still crying, and both she and Krillin had formula dripping down their faces.
"Guess that wasn't it, huh?"
So, like any good father, Krillin tried everything he could think of to make his daughter stop crying.
He changed her diaper.
He put a pacifier in her mouth.
He tried burping her.
He sang "Rock-a-bye Baby".
He whacked himself on the head with her rattle.
He set her down on the couch.
He picked her back up.
He rocked her in his arms.
Nothing seemed to help.
And of course, Eighteen was getting some well-deserved rest. He dared not wake her, and he shuddered as he thought of what happened the last time he woke her up during his turn. That side of his head still ached, and he counted himself lucky that he wasn't concussed. God, if looks could kill, he would have been dead a few nights ago.
So now what could he do? His nerves were frazzled, he had no other ideas, and his daughter was still bawling her eyes out.
Then Krillin's tired, formula-drenched face lit up. "I know!"
Bulma cracked her eyes open one at a time. Who on Earth was calling her house at four in the morning? I thought I told everyone not to call this early unless it was an emergency! she grumbled to herself. Beside her, Vegeta turned over and presented her with his back. Some significant other he was.
She smacked her arm on the nightstand reaching for the phone. She swore and nearly wrenched it out of its cradle.
"Hello?" she croaked.
"Bulma?" came a frantic voice. "She won't stop crying!"
"Huh?" The woman had to stop and think for a moment. Oh, yes. Krillin. Eighteen had just given birth two months ago to a healthy baby girl, presumably with a healthy set of lungs. She rolled her eyes. "Do you have any idea what time it is?"
"She won't stop!"
"Why are you calling me? You have a wife! Wake her up!"
"She's sleeping! She'll kill me! She's worse than Cell!"
Vegeta flipped back over and grunted. "Is it Baldy again?"
Bulma nodded. "Have you tried feeding her?" she asked Krillin.
"Tell him to put the brat down and let her scream all she wants," Vegeta suggested. "She'll stop eventually."
"Vegeta!" she hissed.
"What?" Krillin called. "Are you still there?"
"Yes, I'm still here! Did you try feeding her?"
"Yeah, and I've tried everything else I can think of, and nothing's working!"
"Baldy sounds desperate," Vegeta commented.
Bulma covered the receiver with one hand and glared at the Saiyan. "Thank you, Vegeta," she spat, "but I've got this well in hand."
"Suit yourself. Small wonder these human brats are so weak."
The woman rolled her eyes again and removed her hand from the phone. "Krillin?"
"I'm going back to bed. Good luck."
She almost heard him hit the floor. "W-wait!" he squawked. "Isn't there something you did with Trunks that would – "
The click as she hung up the phone was one of the most satisfying sounds she had ever heard.
Eighteen growled softly and opened her eyes. She had better not be hearing what she thought she was hearing! She had told Krillin at least a dozen times before what to do if Marron starting crying in the middle of the night! She crawled out of bed and slipped on her bathrobe. Slowly making her way down the stairs, she cursed whatever it was that kept her husband from occupying their daughter!
The sight that greeted her enhanced vision was nothing short of amazing. It wasn't the baby who was crying!
Marron stared up at her father with wide eyes, one tiny thumb firmly planted in her mouth. Infant though she was, she knew something was wrong when her father, the owner of the warm arms that held her before she feel asleep and fed her the warm liquid that tasted so good, made the horrible noise that meant she did not like something in, on, or around her.
Eighteen's jaw dropped open. "Krillin! What are you doing?"
"She just won't be quiet! She's so loud, and I'm tired, and she's loud, and she won't stop, and I've tried everything I could think of and it's still not working and I called Bulma, and she won't help, and you're going to kill me!"
When Krillin paused for breath, Eighteen patiently held out her arms. He nearly dropped Marron in his haste to hand the baby over to the expert, then swiped one hand across his face to dry his tears and the formula still splattered across it. The woman swung the sniffling girl against her body and whirled around.
"You…aren't mad, are you?" Krillin hiccupped, following his wife through the living room and up the stairs.
Eighteen did not answer him right away. When she reached the linen closet she flashed him a tired smile. Not a friendly smile, but the 'I know something you don't know' smirk. Krillin felt his stomach sink. He watched anxiously as she opened the door, expecting her to pull out some torture device specially designed for him and his stupidity.
Fortunately for him, his fears were unrealized. What Eighteen did extract from the closet was a soft blue hand towel.
Krillin gaped first at her, then at the towel. "You're kidding me," he groaned. "What is a towel going to do to quiet her down?"
"You're an idiot, Krillin," she said simply while tucking the towel under Marron's chin. Marron cooed and fisted her small hands in the cloth. "Don't you pay any attention to what I do with her? I always feed her with a towel tucked under her chin."
"But she's only two months old!" he squeaked. "Why does she want a towel?"
"She is obviously young," Eighteen told him. "For now, I imagine it reminds her of being fed, which I believe is comforting to an infant. Here." She held the child out to Krillin, who took his daughter carefully from his wife. "I am going back up to bed. You will stay down here and take care to not disturb my sleep any more tonight."
"Good night, Krillin." The tone in her voice was final. The cyborg spun on her heel and stalked back into their bedroom. The door closed quietly behind her. Krillin was left standing in the hallway with an infant, a towel, and a dirty face.
"Well," he said with a sigh, using a corner of the towel to wipe the remaining tears and formula off his face, "I guess I should take you back to the couch." He did not sound too certain of himself. The implicit threat in his wife's words made sure of that. He maneuvered back down the dark staircase and into the dimly-lit living room. Then he checked on Marron, hoping against hope that the infant was not about to start screaming again.
Marron was asleep.
Krillin fell back onto the couch and sighed happily. Resting his feet on the arm of the couch, he said to the slumbering child, "Even if it gets me beaten up in the morning, I'm glad your mom taught me that trick. No more sleepless nights for us!"
With that happy thought in mind, the man fell asleep.
Unfortunately for Krillin, tomorrow is always another day, and infants can be very fickle…
But that is a story for another time.
What do you think? A decent start for getting back into practice?
Tell you what. If any of you can point out exactly where I picked this back up after years of inactivity (be specific – at what line?), in one try, I will write a short story of your choice. This goes only for the first correct answer and will be subject to my discretion (I don't do squicky things), but I am open to negotiation. Make sure you sign in for your review so I can leave you a PM if you get it right.
Thanks for reading!