AN: Obviously, this story was inspired heavily by the episode "Memories of Boom Boom Mountain", but I hope it is still entertaining.
It all began one Saturday afternoon. A Saturday that had begun like any other, and had given all appearances of concluding like any other. While the parents had gone out for a stroll, the teenager had stayed home to enjoy the peace and quiet.
Jake didn't look up at the sound of the front door opening and shutting. His attention was enraptured with the instrument in his arms. The faint sounds of his parents voices as they fussed over something in the front room were distant as he concentrated on making his viola sing. The strings' voice whispered and hummed as he carefully drew the bow over them, giving voice to a song he was attempting to pull out of his subconscious teenage mind.
His subconscious was being downright stingy with the music, he noticed. The notes weren't coming with the ease that his sixteen year old's short patience preferred. With a slightly annoyed grunt, he set the instrument aside on his bed, deciding to investigate the fuss in the living room. Stupid subconscious, that guy was a real jerk sometimes.
"Well Margaret," he heard his father comment from the front of the house, "what do you intend to do with the little thing?"
Thing? Jake wondered, ears pricking up with interest. He stretched his stride as he hurried down the hallway, anxious to see what his parents were up to.
"You know very well we couldn't leave it there, Joshua!" Jake's mother lectured, her voice was somewhat muffled and had the telltale echo of the bathroom's tile walls. Jake peered in the living room, watching as his father hung up his best grey fedora next to mom's flower-covered sunhat on the hat rack in the foyer. As he watched, his dad shook his head in apparent confusion before pacing over to stare into the front bathroom. "Well you can't mean to keep it," the older male reasoned, "you can't take in every stray the world puts in front of you, dearest."
"Mom bring home another hurt skunk?" Jake asked, noting an unpleasant smell in the air. His father reacted to the question with a sharp bark of laughter.
"Nothing so simple," Joshua commented, gesturing towards the open bathroom door. "Go see for yourself."
With a shrug, Jake stepped into the bathroom, ignoring the girlish peach colored decor his mother had installed the previous year in a fit of feminine redecorating. The lady herself was kneeling beside the pastel tub, talking softly to something white and soapy that Jake couldn't quite see clearly over the side.
"Mom, you brought home another kitten, didn't you?" he cried, noting the pointy ears atop the small head.
His mom looked up and smiled, clearly excited about her prize. "I think it's a human, Jake."
Jake scrambled closer, staring in disbelief at the tiny, very smelly, hairless creature in a pointy-eared hat that his mother was cleaning. "A human? No way, where did it come from? Are we keeping it?"
"Don't feed it," Jake's father called playfully from the doorway. "If you feed it, it'll never leave!"
Margaret turned and gave her husband a warning glare as he chuckled at her. "Joshua, I'm warning you, that's hardly funny! Someone must have lost this poor little thing. His parents must be... somewhere."
All business, the lady dog returned her attention to the odd little child who was attempting to catch the finger her son was stretching towards it. "Let's finish getting it cleaned up, and then we'll see about finding it's parents."
"I dunno, Mom.." Jake responded, making a game of wiggling his finger around in front of the entranced infant, "I mean, sure everyone knows humans are around, but when's the last time you heard of someone seeing one?"
"Today?" She offered. "Well, he had to come from somewhere!" his mother replied, gently plucking the odd hat that was the child's only clothing off of his head, revealing a sparse covering of sandy blonde hair. "I mean, someone gave it a hat! A hat is a mark of civilization, you know!" The baby squealed unhappily, reaching small chubby hands for the object.
"I think she wants her hat back, Mom." Jake commented.
"Better let me wash it first, baby," Margaret crooned, gently ruffling the child's damp hair and kissing the top of its head.
"Honestly, stop kissing that kid. You don't know where it's been," Joshua sighed.
"I certainly do. HE has been in the tub, and he's perfectly clean and springtime fresh." Jake leaned over and sniffed the boy. "I dunno if I'd go THAT far, Mom. He still smells kind of... odd." His mother sighed. "Of course he smells a little strange to us, we've never smelled a human before!" So saying, Margaret drained the bathwater, and wrapped the baby in a towel before handing him to her son. "I'm going to go toss this in the washer, and then I'll get supper started." She waved the small white hat as she left the room.
"Wait, what am I supposed to do with this?" Jake cried, staring in disbelief at the unsettled baby in his arms. The infant whined, staring after the retreating figure.
"Keep him warm and happy!" his mother called back.
Jake looked up at his father, who shrugged. "You know your mother, once she gets an idea in her head, it's pretty much set in stone."
"But Dad, I don't know anything about taking care of babies!"
"None of us do until we have to give it a whirl, son. Then you just make it up as you go."
Jake blinked dully as the baby boy in his arms whimpered. "I think my entire worldview just changed. I'm not sure I like it."
He followed his father back into the living room, opting to sit in the slightly uneven wood floor in front of the family's overstuffed three-legged blue sofa and let the infant explore the folds of the towel.
"Heh, humans are weird," he commented as the baby discovered his own toes with a loud squeal of delight.
Joshua leaned over the squirming bundle and grinned in spite of himself. "You know, when I was a pup, you'd always hear about how a man was a dog's best friend. I always wondered about it, but I never knew anyone who'd met one."
Jake prodded the little human, drawing the child's attention. "Hey there, buddy," he greeted, "what're we gonna do with you, huh?" The baby's blinked uncertainly, looking back and forth between the two dogs and making nonsense sounds in a hushed whisper.
"I didn't know humans had their own language," Jake commented. His father shook his head. "They don't, son. Babies just.. babble sometimes." Jake laughed sheepishly, stretching out his arm to poke the baby again with an extended finger. "I wonder what he's saying?"
"Probably wishing he had fur," Joshua responded, smoothing his own plush covering self-consciously. "Hang on, I think there might be something in the study to help us out."
Jake watched the tiny, odd creature struggle free of the towel he had been wrapped in as his father ducked behind the sofa, muttering. Jake had seen similar creatures to this little thing, but somehow this one seemed unique. Maybe it was the odd, pale skin instead of the normal blues, pinks or greens that most of the humanoid inhabitants of Ooo had. Or possibly it was just the innocent expression in the child's eyes, but Jake could tell that this being was something different than he'd ever encountered before.
Experimentally, he wiggled an outstretched hand in front of the baby, and was rewarded with a sharp look of inquiry from the subject of his attention. Slowly, a chubby little hand reached up, and with great purpose grasped hold. For such a little thing, he sure had a grip, Jake noted. With a soft grunt of effort, the child pulled on Jake's wrist. After a moment, Jake realized the baby's intention and gave a gentle tug of his own, pulling the infant upright.
"Well look at you!" the magically enhanced dog laughed, impressed. The baby gave a happy little cry of victory in response, and Jake had to grin. The little human, his tiny face set in a grimace of concentration, took first one wobbly step, then another. To Jake's considerable delight, the baby toddled over to him.
"Oh, we gotta keep you," the dog chuckled, petting the boy's head. "You're just ridiculously interesting."
Both Jake and the baby startled, the child toppling over onto his backside with a yelp of indignant shock.
"I knew I had a book about humans," Jake's father cried, straightening back up from where he'd been crouched behind the sofa and waving a small red book with a battered cover that and many missing pages victoriously. "It's really, really old, but I think it should help. A little, at least." The older dog doubtfully fingered the faded lettering that proclaimed the author as one "Dr. Spock" on the cover. He experimentally nudged the blue sofa, and frowned when it wobbled. "Darn it, we'll have to find another book this size to keep this thing level." Spotting his son, whose face was twisted into a look of pleading, the older dog paused in his examination of the furniture.
"What's the matter, Jake?"
"Dad," Jake whined, pulling his new friend into a tight hug, "Can't we keep him?"
"I don't know, son. A human's a big responsibility, you know. And you're going to be moving out in just a couple of years, so your mother and I will be the ones taking care of him..."
"Come on, Dad!" Jake insisted, "We can't just abandon him! Somebody's gotta take him in! Mom, back me up, here!"
"I've got to agree, Joshua," Margaret's disembodied voice chimed in from the kitchen, "We should at least take care of him until we find his parents."
Jake's father was clearly hesitant. "Well.. that's true." He handed his son the battered book. "Be sure the first thing you do is make sure he's housebroken, though."
Margaret laughed out loud at that, returning to the living room to tease her husband good-naturedly. "Oh, you act all disinterested, but don't think I've forgotten that you were the one who found him!" To Jake's amusement, his mother partially mimed the discovery of the child.
Joshua muttered to himself, scratching the back of his neck. "He was crying. I mean, who could ignore that pathetic wailing?" He rubbed at his ears, recollecting the sound. "It was piercing."
His wife walked over and embraced him fondly, leaning in to kiss his cheek. "That's what I love about you, you're so sensitive." Joshua groaned in embarrassment as Margaret patted his head.
"So," Jake interrupted, "what are we going to call the little guy? Hugh the human?"
"Oh goodness no, that's an awful name!" Margaret blanched, "Maybe Pendleton? We almost named you Pendleton, you know!"
"We *almost* did," Joshua interrupted, "And then we agreed not to."
The three dogs lapsed into a thoughtful silence, staring at the tiny human. Jake thumbed through the bedraggled book, letting his mind wander. Suddenly, Joshua chuckled, drawing the attention of his wife and son.
"You know, I was just thinking about that hat of his.."
"The one that looks like a cat?" Jake asked.
"Exactly! I was just thinking that hat reminds me of a kitten I knew as a puppy. What was his... OH! Finnegan Manx, that was his name! Ha, I haven't thought of that rascal in years, I wonder what he's up to these days?"
"Finnegan?" Margaret repeated, baffled.
"I don't know about Finnegan, but what about just calling him Finn?" Jake asked, setting the book aside to look at the youngster beside him. "D'ya like that, little guy? Finn?"
The baby squealed excitedly in response, prompting Jake to take one of the child's tiny fists and bump it against his own. "Alright! He likes it!"
"Finn the human? Hm... well, that's not terrible," Joshua commented.
"So we're keeping him, right?" Jake asked hopefully, tail wagging with delight.
"Until we find his family," agreed his father, who was clearly trying his best to look reluctant even as he was fondly patting the little bundle in Jake's arms on the head. "You two just try not to get too attached, you hear? We're bound to find his parents soon."