Prelude: Parenthood

Well, it's happened; I'm putting together my own collection of JATGP stories. Most will be short peces of fluff, but if you have a request, send me a message and I'll do my best.

Parenthood, a word that, by definition, means to have borne or sired a child. By that definition alone, then Mrs. Ladybug was the only true parent on the peach. She had, after all, given birth to 300 children while the rest of the bugs had no children of their own. Due to circumstance beyond their control, the other five bugs were unable to find mates and procreate. However, those same circumstances also dictated that they were not to remain childless.

Until the tragic deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Trotter, none of the miniscule residents on the hill knew that Spiker and Sponge had a nephew. It wasn't until the police gave the two women the news about their sister and her husband's demise that news about the little boy began to circulate. Depite every bug's feelings about Spiker and Spong, all were curious about their nephew.

When the boy James arrived on the dismal hill to live with his aunts, all of the bugs pitied his situation. Losing his mother and father was bad enough, but to endure that and then be forced to live with relatives whose hearts were cold as ice was as cruel a fate as any of them could have imagined for a child. Still, on that fateful day when they all found themselves humanized and inside a giant peach, not one of them considered fetching James. After all, he wasn't their child and whatever they thought about Spiker and Sponge, they couldn't just pluck the boy from his home at a moment's whim.

Much to the surprise of the crew, James quite literally dropped in on them. While surprised, none of the six adults were going to send the orphaned child back to his abusive aunts. From that moment on, James Henry Trotter belonged to them, even if they didn't fully realize it yet.

At the time, he was simply another member of the crew; another unwilling citizen of the hilltop who wanted desperately to get away. Having no clear destination also meant that no one had any definite plans for the future. And at that time, raising a human child was the farthest thing from anyone's mind. No, James was simply their friend and he would always be their friend. That is, he was their friend.

No one was quite sure when they stopped thinking of James as a friend and when they started thinking of him as their own son. Perhaps it was his solutions to the various obstacles; indeed, the idea of using seagulls to fly a giant piece of fruit was something only an imaginative child would share with his parents. Perhaps it was his small stature; ironic that a group of insects now had to wait for a human to catch up with them due to his short limbs or be lifted up and helped down to certain areas of the peach seed because he was too small to get up or down himself.

Or perhaps it was the way his brown eyes would look at the six of them, begging them for attention. For praise.

For love.

This little boy, orphaned, neglected, and abused, wanted nothing more than for Centipede, Mr. Grasshopper, Earthworm, Mrs. Ladybug, Miss Spider, and Glowworm to show him that they cared for him And before any of them knew it, they did.

All throughout their long journey across the Atlantic Ocean, the six bugs paid most of their attention to James. All of them spoke kindly to him, entertained him with stories, jokes, and riddles, reassured him when he became nervous about something, made sure he ate well, and saw to it that he was warm and comfortable at night.

In short, they acted like parents.

Again, adopting James was not planned, but by the time the group made it to New York, they'd become so fond of him that they couldn't bear to let any other family take their boy away. No, looking back on it, they became a family the minute that special little boy entered their lives and all six bugs relished every minute of parenthood.