AN: I just had this story transfered from another account, so I apologize if some things got lost on the way.
This story takes place close to the beginning, starting the day after "Home for You" and after the first part of "Show You a Thing or Two" when he learns "hello" and "boy". I wrote this story generally in two-chapter chunks, where every two chapters, it jumps a week or so into the future and rotates around a different character and their relationship with Edgar. I initially started writing this story because I believed the show - as wonderful as it was, and as much as I loved it - didn't have enough character development, in the first act particularly. I felt cheated out of Edgar and Shelley's relationship, Dr. Parker suddenly hating Edgar felt so random, and Meredith, as much as I love her, had so much room to show her inner dark past of her and just didn't as much as I would have liked her to. So I did what the creators didn't have time to do, and made my own version of how everyone's relationships with each other unfolded over the time that Edgar was there. So yeah, that's my little preface...enjoy.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters of Bat Boy:The Musical.
Week 1: Understanding
Edgar had only been at the Parker's for two days, and already Meredith was wondering if any of this was worth it. She had been hard at work trying to teach the boy something he could understand, but he had difficulty pronouncing even the simplest sounds, often to the point where even the most primitive words sounded jumbled and foreign until they weren't even words at all. She had spent nearly the entire previous morning giving him a bath, having to refill the tub at least four times because he was so dirty, then wrestling him into some clothes that, even now, he could not comprehend how or why he needed to wear them. They were Thomas' old clothes, and they were way too big on him, the sleeves hanging off his fingertips and making him trip when he crawled on the floor, and his shirt constantly twisting around, needing adjustment. She would have gone and bought him some new clothes if it wasn't still raining outside. In all honesty, she was a little scared to leave him home alone, even in the cage. She hadn't noticed when he was too weak and hungry to notice the storm the day before, but she saw now that he was afraid of lightning, and especially of thunder. Every time a loud boom clapped across the gray sky, he would scream and hide his head in his knees, as if this would protect him from the sound. Luckily the rain was mild today, and she had no difficulty getting him to sit still so she could continue trying to teach him to speak.
As Meredith began to take her new student under her wing, Edgar began to slowly develop some degree of trust in her. When she thought Edgar was starting to lose interest in learning the new phrases she taught him, she would leave him in his cage for an extended length of time to go do some chores around the house. He would whine and bite on the cage bars until she let him out again, and after another hour-long teaching session, she decided to try letting him roam free, thinking maybe this would also help him to feel less frightened of the rain if he wasn't locked in a cage where there was nowhere to hide. She was surprised to see that he was actually very well-behaved. Energetic and maybe a little reckless when it came to furniture, but nothing close to dangerous. He was too scared to be alone, so he would quietly follow her wherever she went, never too close to her but still close enough that she could see him. As she went about carrying loads of laundry, she would always turn around, and he never failed to be there, following her quietly wherever she went. She didn't find it annoying at all, even when he did make a little bit of noise. For the most part, he knew she at least wasn't going to hurt him.
"Mooooom!"Edgar heard a female voice yell from the front door. He lifted his head up off the floor, interested.
"I'm in here, sweetheart,"Meredith called. Edgar instinctively scooted a little closer to Meredith, hearing footsteps approaching them and immediately taking a defensive stance.
"Hey!"Shelley called as she entered, throwing her backpack on the couch, "Why isn't he in the cage?"
"He doesn't like the cage,"she replied with a smile, "He's been following me around like a little duckling all day. It's very cute, actually. It's a never-ending game of follow the leader."
"Isn't that kind of dangerous?"she asked, eying Edgar suspiciously.
"He's been perfectly fine so far,"she countered, "He's very well-behaved. He even learned some new words while you were gone."
"Wait, like he can talk?"she asked incredulously, "Make him say something!" Meredith turned to the boy expectantly, but Edgar refused to open his mouth. He backed away, staring fearfully at Shelley. He remembered this girl. He remembered the awful hatred and annoyance on her face when that awful, screaming male friend stormed out of the house the other day. He knew she didn't like him.
"He looks kind of scared, Mom,"Shelley commented, watching him cautiously back away.
"He just doesn't know you, dear,"she explained, "Why don't you try introducing yourself?"
"Okay...,"she said, shrugging. She knelt down on the floor, scooting closer to him. Slowly she lifted her hand and held it out.
"Come here...I won't hurt you,"she beckoned in a high-pitched voice.
"Say hello, Edgar,"Meredith pushed, gently touching his shoulder. When her hand made contact, though, he immediately flinched and backed away, staring at Meredith now as if he was reevaluating his trust in her.
"Geez, what did I do?"she asked.
"Well, you were rather rude to him when you first met. He probably remembers, dear."
"Mom, there's no way he remembers that."
"You never know..."
"He's just shy. He's like a cat. Once they know your scent, they warm up to you,"she insisted, scooting even closer to him so now she was only a few feet away from him. "Heh-llooooo. My name is Sheh-ley." He stared at her, uncomprehending.
"...H-he-hel-low,"he said slowly.
"Whoa! He said it!"she exclaimed excitedly, "Can you say, Sheh-ley?" He stared at her, unsure what she wanted him to do. When she repeated her name once more, he reasoned she must want him to repeat the sounds she made. However, when he tried to make the complicated 'sh' sound, it came out like a hiss.
"Hey! What did I do? Why's he hissing at me?"she shouted, backing away.
"I think he's trying to say your name, dear,"Meredith replied, watching him.
"Not a very smart bat boy, are you?" Edgar stopped once he realized the girl was staring at him with a look of annoyance rather than expectation.
"Are you just going to sit there doing nothing or are you going to talk?"
"G-girw,"Edgar stammered, uttering the first thing Mrs. Parker had taught him that came to mind. All Shelley heard, though, was the same whiney sound he always seemed to make.
"Forget it. He's hopeless,"she sighed.
"He'll learn. He just needs time,"she reassured her daughter.
"You say that about every animal Dad brings home, and then they go and bite you or break something,"she retaliated with an exasperated sigh, "You can't house train all of them, Mom."
"Well, we're going to try,"she responded softly, taking a shirt out of the laundry basket and folding it next to her.
"Mom, he's not a parrot. He's never going to talk and there's no way that thing could ever be trained. I mean look at him - he's a freak."
"Shelley, I really don't appreciate that attitude towards Edgar,"Meredith said evenly, turning to her daughter and giving her a cold glare.
"Why not? He's just a bat boy."
"Stop calling him bat boy. His name is Edgar,"Meredith snapped, getting irritated.
"Well, you can call him Edgar. He's your bat boy,"she responded a little coldly.
"Drop the attitude, Shelley,"Meredith warned, folding the shirt in her hands and dropping it in the basket a little too roughly.
"I'm just annoyed with him, that's all. It's his fault Rick's mad at me now,"she replied, matter-of-factly.
"So you're just going to take out your problems with Rick out on Edgar?"
"He deserves it,"she argued, her cheeks flushing, "Because of him, Rick doesn't even want to come over any more! He didn't even come to school today!" Meredith was about to retort with some comment on Rick's immaturity, or his lack of understanding that it was he who had taken out the knife, not Edgar. But one look at her daughter's face, and she knew now wasn't the time.
"He was probably at the hospital with his sister, Shelley. Don't be such a drama queen."
"Well he could've texted me or something...,"she muttered, blushing because, until now, she hadn't even thought of that possibility.
"That's not Edgar's fault, Shelley, that's Rick's. Now stop this. Edgar hasn't done anything wrong to you and you and I both know it."
"Fine, but I don't want him around me. He's caused enough trouble,"she sighed, scooping up her backpack and slinging it over her shoulder. "Is Dad going to put him down or not?"
"No, he's going to stay with us for a while." Shelley let out an exasperated sigh, looking coldly at the boy, as if she truly believed he was the cause of her newfound distance with Rick.
"How long?"she groaned as Edgar picked up a neatly folded shirt in his mouth. She cringed in disgust as she realized it was one of hers.
"I can't say. We'll see,"she replied without looking at her, "More time for you two to get to know each other."
She groaned again, watching in disgust as he picked up another shirt and seemed to be attempting to fold it for Meredith. Or at least, that's how Meredith saw it. Shelley just saw him drooling on her clothes.
Having nothing else to say, Shelley retreated back to her room, not looking at either of them and not noticing how Edgar watched her attentively as she went.
When Shelley was gone, Edgar began to grow restless, just sitting there as Mrs. Parker folded laundry. He began to explore the room, climbing on furniture, picking up everything he saw and looking at it, then putting it back in the wrong place. He was peaking up at a display table when something caught his eye. Mrs. Parker looked up from her work, seeing him crouching on the floor, holding a picture frame in his unsteady hands. He was staring at it fervently, suddenly very quiet and still. She quietly stood up and went to see what it was he was looking at. She peered over his shoulder and looked down, seeing that he was gazing down at a photograph they had taken on a family vacation to the beach. Meredith and Thomas were smiling half-heartedly up at the camera, one arm draped over their daughter, whose smile shone genuine and radiant, unlike her parent's.
Edgar gently set the frame down on the floor. Meredith watched the emotions play over his face, trying to understand what words could not tell her. A chilly silence had settled in between them as Edgar stared down at this photograph. Meredith began to feel uncomfortable, watching him stare so intently with his eyes - her eyes - the one feature that marked him as her child, as her responsibility.
"This is all of us,"she tried to explain to Edgar, pointing first to herself, then to Dr. Parker, and finally to Shelley, repeating each name as she pointed to them. He just stared down at the picture, like he hadn't heard her. Slowly he raised a hand and gently touched the frame with just the edges of his fingertips, staring longingly down into the glass as if he could sink into the picture if he stared hard enough. She watched him sadly, beginning to understand, knowing that, even if he didn't really know what this picture represented, it showed happiness, and a sense of unity with people you loved and cared about, both things that were foreign to him, things that he yearned to understand.
"This is our family,"she said softly, making him look up, "Fam-ih-lie." Slowly she touched the frame as well, never breaking eye contact with him. He stared at her for a moment, then looked back down at the picture.
"F-famwey,"he repeated softly. He whispered the word so reverently, gazed down at the picture so longingly, Meredith couldn't help but feel a painful grating inside her chest, knowing that, if things had been different, he would be in this picture, too.
"That's right...,"she said softly, feeling her heart tighten as he continued to gaze down at the picture in silent awe, even as she gently removed the frame from his hands and placed it carefully back where he had found it.
"Meesis Pahkah...Dahtuh Pahkah...Seh-wey...famwey,"he said slowly. Meredith stared at him disbelievingly, having until now, not truly believed that he was capable of stringing together any of the words she was teaching him to make a thought. She had never been completely sure if he was really understanding her. But she saw yearning in his eyes - a strong desire for the knowledge she had to share. He wanted to understand. He wanted to be able to communicate with her, and tell her what he was thinking, how this new environment made him feel, why that picture had stood out from the others on the display table.
"...Yes, dear. Dr. Parker, Shelley and I are a family,"she responded, speaking slowly and clearly, so he would be able to digest her response. He stared at her, a question burning in his eyes that he didn't know how to ask. She approached him slowly and held out her hand to him. He looked at the hand, unsure what to do with it, eventually just ignoring it. She had been able to break down some walls the night before, but she could see that there was still work to be done. There were other walls that needed deconstructing, other defenses that needed to be brought down before either of them could begin looking for a place for him in that picture. She gently smiled at him and motioned for him to follow her back into the living room, where Shelley's old baby books and reading flash cards were already waiting for them.
"Come on, dear. Let's get back to work...,"she said, gently beckoning him forward. She began walking and slowly, he started to follow, tracing her footsteps, little by little, step by step.
AN: Leave a comment if you can!