Title: Your Daddy's Aim Is True
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Pairing: Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews
Notes: Written entirely to entertain thehoyden as she struggled with work badness. Thanks to her for beta-reading, and to Best Beloved for the usual stellar alpha-reading.
Also On: AO3, DW.
Patrick answers his phone by reflex, but he can't pry open his eyes, so he has no idea who he's talking to. Or not talking, exactly, because all he can manage is a sort of groan.
"Get the fuck back here," snaps whoever called him.
Patrick runs it through in his mind. It sort of sounds like Johnny, but Johnny's never that - that - whatever the word is for having feelings in your voice. Whoever this is sounds like Johnny would if he ever panicked. Patrick swallows a few times and says, "Uh, who is this?"
"Patrick, get the fuck back here, or I will end your life," and oh fuck, it is Johnny.
"It's not that bad," Patrick tells him, playing for time. Although it's true; it's never as bad as Deadspin likes to make it.
Johnny laughs. He sounds almost hysterical. But that isn't the worst part; in the background, Patrick can hear a high, hideous noise, unearthly and terrible. "Johnny," he says, genuinely scared now, "did you summon a demon?" He's read about that shit. It never goes anywhere good.
"Did you?" Johnny says, and he sounds - he sounds serious. Patrick doesn't have anything to say to that. "Just get the fuck back here," Johnny says, and hangs up the phone.
Half an hour later, Patrick's at the airport, buying a plane ticket back to Chicago. He doesn't have his shit - he can't remember where he left it, but it wasn't in his hotel room - but he still has his wallet, and that's good enough. Whoever has his collection of beer-stained t-shirts can just hang onto it. He'll come back as soon as he's figured out what's wrong with Johnny.
It turns out, though, that showing up at the pathetic Madison airport at 6:30 in the morning means a few hours of waiting to get back to Chicago. While Patrick's drinking bad coffee and his third bottle of water, his phone rings. He jerks it out of his pocket, hoping it's Johnny and he's sane again, but it's Sharpy. "If you're crazy too, I don't want to hear about it," Patrick says when he answers the phone.
Sharpy doesn't sound crazy, exactly, but he doesn't sound good, either. "Where are you?" he says.
"The Madison airport."
"Good. Get on a fucking plane and get back here."
"I'm just here for the coffee, man," Patrick says, because he can't not mess with Sharpy.
"Do I need to come out there?" Sharpy doesn't sound amused. He sounds - tense. Maybe pissed off. Everyone Patrick's talking to today sounds weird. Maybe it's to do with the moon or some shit. Or maybe this isn't Sharpy.
Patrick holds the phone away from his ear and checks it out, but that's definitely Sharpy's number. Also, come to think of it, that's definitely Sharpy's voice. "I'm coming back," he says. "What the fuck happened? Did Chicago end? Did they trade me? Did they trade Johnny?"
There's a moment of silence, and then Sharpy says, "Honest to god, I have no clue what happened here. Just. Get back." And then he hangs up.
Patrick wants new teammates, with better phone manners. And then he cringes, because maybe that's exactly what he's getting. He bets Mark Streit is super-polite on the phone. He crosses himself, just in case, and checks the time again.
By the time he's dragged himself through O'Hare and in to Johnny's, Patrick has a new theory: it's a prank. Sharpy got Johnny to front for him. So he's working on an indignant speech when he opens Johnny's door.
He never gets a chance to say it. When he opens the door, he sees Abby Sharp, surrounded by opened packages and boxes, with her boob in her daughter's mouth. Then he sees Sharpy, sitting on the floor putting together something made of brightly-colored plastic, and probably fucking it up, judging by his expression. And then he sees Johnny, who is crazy-eyed and holding a tiny infant. "What the fuck -" Patrick starts, and all three adults in the room look up and hiss at him in scary unison.
The tiny infant in Johnny's arms starts wailing. The sound makes Patrick want to kill someone.
It takes forty horrible minutes to make the baby go back to sleep, and during that time, no one can say anything that anyone else can hear. Eventually, Abby manages to get it to stop crying by doing something that Patrick would totally laugh at if he saw it on YouTube. She bounces on her feet and imitates a vacuum cleaner while swaying back and forth, and magically, miraculously, the baby stops crying. Patrick has never wanted to kiss anyone more than he wants to kiss Abby.
As soon as Abby does her magic, Sharpy and Johnny drag Patrick back into Johnny's room. "Shhhhhh," Sharpy cautions him in an undertone. "No fucking yelling, that kid has ears like a bat."
"Why -" Patrick starts. "What -" He doesn't fucking know what to say. He'd have noticed if Abby had been pregnant, he's pretty sure, and also Madelyn wasn't born that long ago. Not long enough ago for the Sharps to make another one. And, okay, things were pretty bad toward the end of the season, but Johnny would probably have mentioned if he was adopting demon spawn or whatever.
"I found him on my doorstep this morning," Johnny says grimly.
"Did you - did you hit and quit nine months ago? Without protection?" Patrick asks, genuinely shocked. Johnny's always so responsible.
"No," Johnny snarls, although he keeps it quiet. He still has the crazy eyes, but now his face is an alarming shade of red and he kind of looks like he wants to rip Patrick's face off. "And this was with him." He hands Patrick a piece of paper.
It's a birth certificate, and Patrick's pretty sure it's real. It feels like it's made out of weird paper, and it has a raised part on it. It even says Birth Certificate in fancy script. The date is May 20, 2012 - Patrick checks his phone and, yeah, that's today.
The baby's name is listed as Stanley Kane-Toews.
Patrick turns to Sharpy. "Fucking lame-ass prank, man."
"No prank," Sharpy says. "Seriously, you think I would?"
"Well, unless Johnny fucked one of my sisters - or someone else named Kane, I guess -" Patrick just trails off. "And who the fuck would name a baby Stanley?" he says. He actually wishes he'd had less to drink lately. His brain won't start.
"You," Johnny says. "You would."
"No I fucking wouldn't," Patrick says. Johnny just stares at him, flat-faced and yet still furious, and he remembers one night two years ago, hugging the Cup and promising to name his firstborn after it. "Not in a year we didn't win," he says, and it sounds pathetic even to his ears.
"Did you -" Sharpy says. He shakes his head, hard, and then manages to say, "Did you do something stupid even for you?"
"Like. Adopt a baby and name him Stanley Kane-Toews?" Patrick says, looking at the birth certificate. "I don't think they'd let me do that. There are probably rules and shit."
"Yeah, there's rules and shit," Sharpy says. "But something crazy had to happen here, and either you or Johnny did it."
"Was at his door," Patrick points out. "So it was probably him." He's pretty pleased with the reasoning, which he thinks will get the heat off him.
"I don't do crazy things, that's you," Johnny tells him. "And probably he got left at my door because you weren't around. Or because you'd have to be crazy to leave a baby at your door."
"You'd have to be crazy to leave a baby at anyone's door," Sharpy says. "And, guys, look. I just did this, remember? You don't have a baby born sometime in the early hours and then check out of the hospital the same day in good enough shape to leave the baby at someone's door. They wouldn't let you. Even if you had the baby at home - the birth certificate says today. You found him at five thirty this morning. That's barely enough time to clean up the blood." Patrick cringes, and he can see Johnny doing the same. Sharpy just keeps on going, though. "You don't even get the birth certificate the first day. It took us six fucking weeks."
"So it's a prank," Patrick says, back on comfortable ground. "Has to be."
"A prank with a live human newborn," Sharpy says, in his Patrick Kane, You Are an Idiot tone.
"People do weird shit?" Patrick says hopefully.
Sharpy and Johnny shake their heads, and that's it, Patrick's done. "Whatever," he says. "That's nothing to do with me. I don't know why you called me back here."
"You need a DNA test," Sharpy tells them.
Johnny nods, and Patrick stares at them both. "How the fuck do you figure?" he asks. "It's not like - seriously, there's no way Johnny and me could ever make a baby. It wouldn't work. Did your parents never give you this lecture? And, anyway, we only did it once, and that was way too recently to -" Patrick has to break off there, because Johnny just dug his fingers into Patrick's shoulder. Hard. Patrick thinks Johnny might actually be trying to dig for bone, there.
"You had sex?" Sharpy says.
"Once," Johnny snaps. "It was a mistake. It won't happen again. And we weren't going to tell anyone," he adds, staring menacingly at Patrick.
That fucking stings. Patrick already knew Johnny thought it was a mistake, because he'd said so in so many words and basically every other way he could find, but it still stings to hear him say that. "It was after the playoffs," he explains awkwardly to Sharpy. "It's not - that's nothing to do with this."
Sharpy shifts from foot to foot, and he won't look at either of them. "I don't know," he finally says. "I don't think we can rule anything out, because none of this makes any fucking sense."
Patrick has nothing to say to that. The baby - Stanley - apparently does, though. He starts wailing again, from the living room. Patrick doesn't understand how anything this new can be so loud.
Abby appears, carrying Stanley. "Look, I already have one," she says, holding the baby out to Johnny. "And mine is quieter."
Johnny takes the baby and stands there helplessly, one hand under the baby's butt, the other behind his neck. Stanley shrieks. Sharpy looks around the room. "Okay," he says, talking really loudly because even though Johnny is trying to imitate Abby from earlier, he's not having any luck. "You know how to make a bottle, you have a co-sleeper and a bassinette and a wrap and a car seat and diapers and formula and spit-up cloths and a swing and a bouncy seat and a monitor and some clothes. I think you're ready, guys."
Patrick just stares at him, because - ready? Ready for what? You do not get ready to take care of a baby by just getting handed one and a bunch of stuff and going to it.
Abby reaches over and pats him on the arm. "I know," she says, and she sounds really sincere. "I felt that way, too. But this is one of those things you have to learn by doing. Call me if you're desperate." And she heads for the living room.
Patrick turns to stare at Johnny, hoping he'll have a plan that involves them not sitting in this condo taking care of this tiny angry red gnome creature. Johnny is staring back at him, and it's pretty clear he's hoping the same thing. "Here," Johnny says. "You take him." Patrick backs up a step reflexively. Johnny sighs like Patrick is so much of a burden and adds, "You have to be careful to support the neck because he can't control his head yet."
"I know how to hold a fucking baby," Patrick snaps at him, rolling his eyes, and it's mostly because he's pissed at Johnny that he steps forward and takes the - the baby. Stanley. He's careful, because, okay, he has done this, but he's never held one this new. Stanley's body is hot, probably from screaming so much, and his face is scrunched, but there aren't any actual tears. Patrick isn't sure if that's normal or not. He tries bouncing like Abby did.
It doesn't work. Patrick apparently doesn't have that magic or whatever. He shifts the baby around a little, trying to get his mouth pointing away from Patrick's ear, and kind of settles him around, and by the time he's comfortable, Stanley has gone from shrieks to hiccupy noises.
"Keep doing that!" Johnny whispers.
"Doing what?" Patrick asks him, but that sets Stanley off again.
After a few minutes, though, Patrick has Stanley settled for real. Johnny's looking at him like he is both amazing and too terrible to stand, which Patrick is really used to. Johnny mimes something a few times, and Patrick is pretty sure he's asking if he wants a drink, which, fuck yes. He can't ever remember wanting a drink more than he does right now, standing in Johnny's bedroom with a mystery baby falling asleep on his shoulder. But Johnny comes back with a bottle, so clearly he fucking sucks at life and charades.
Patrick shakes his head at the bottle - Stanley's sleeping, and Patrick's not about to wake him up. Johnny nods and gestures at the door, so Patrick heads out to the living room. He sits down on the couch too hard, and Stanley makes a noise but goes back to sleep.
It's like holding a stick of dynamite or something. Patrick can't move or talk or play anything or watch anything. Next to him, Johnny carefully, slowly drags out his laptop, and Patrick hopes he's going to do something interesting, but instead he googles "baby won't stop crying." Patrick kind of reads over his shoulder, as best he can.
Stanley sleeps for two hours. In that time, they read fourteen websites and Johnny orders five books and three DVDs from Amazon.
When Stanley wakes up, Johnny goes to the kitchen and comes back with a bottle, which he hands to Patrick. Patrick has been sitting in one place forever and wants nothing more than 1) to take a piss and 2) to do something, but he shoves the bottle in Stanley's mouth because the kid probably can't cry while he's drinking.
Blessed silence returns. Johnny leaves again and comes back with a piece of paper, on which he starts writing. Patrick reads over his shoulder for a few seconds, but the first two things are:
2. Call the team
And Patrick doesn't even want to know what would come after that.
"Pediatrician? We're seriously going to take this baby to a doctor? He's going to wonder how we got it," Patrick says. It actually feels kind of weird to talk, after two hours of enforced silence.
"So we'll lie," Johnny says. Patrick just blinks at him, unable to believe that Johnny of all people is suggesting, whatever, defrauding a baby doctor. That has to be a crime. "Anyway, the birth certificate has both our names on it, so maybe the doctor won't ask."
Patrick stares at him, because he did not look at the parents' names on the thing. He didn't get past the Stanley Kane-Toews part. "It has our names?" he repeats, his voice cracking.
Johnny rolls his eyes and stomps off to the bedroom. When he comes back, he holds the birth certificate in front of Patrick's face. It reads:
Parent 1: Jonathan Bryan Toews
Parent 2: Patrick Timothy Kane, Jr.
Patrick recoils, and Stanley pops off the bottle and makes a scrunchy face. "Hey, no, no, no," Patrick tells him, and manages to get the bottle back in his mouth before he starts crying.
Johnny grimaces. "You're better with him than I am," he says. "I'll make the phone calls." And Patrick can't even argue that Johnny has the easier job, there, so he just watches Johnny head back to the bedroom.
Fifteen minutes later, Stanley is fed but still awake, and Patrick is trying to figure out if he can put him down long enough to piss. Johnny comes back out looking pale and set. "We have an appointment for tomorrow at 11:15," he says. "With a doctor. And we're going to see Bowman and Rogowin at four."
Patrick looks at the clock - shit, how can it still be only one in the afternoon? He says, "Your turn with the monster."
Johnny shakes his head and says, "He'll cry."
"I'll piss on your floor, Johnny, come on," Patrick says, and Johnny looks like he still wants to object, but he steps forward and takes the baby.
Stanley shrieks in rage, and Patrick basically runs to the bathroom. When he comes out, Johnny is standing there stoically, holding furious, furious Stanley, and Patrick feels something weird twist in his gut.
Maybe he's hungry. Patrick heads into the kitchen and makes two sandwiches. He bolts his down, then carries the other one out to Johnny and trades him for Stanley. After a few minutes, Patrick manages to get Stanley back into his not-crying mood. But while Johnny's eating, Patrick realizes something terrible: Stanley needs a new diaper. "We have to change him," he says to Johnny.
Johnny nods like he's just been told to do a bag skate, puts down his sandwich, and heads over to one of the piles of packages. He extracts a diaper and a package of wipes and comes back over and offers them to Patrick.
Patrick won't take them. He's not stupid. "We'll do this together," he says.
They manage to get the diaper off, no problem, and fortunately it's just wet. Then they have to figure out how to get another back on, and that's - not impossible. It'd be easier if Stanley hadn't started crying again, but Patrick has realized that Stanley is basically always going to be crying, so they have to suck it up.
Just as Johnny's about to bring up the diaper, Stanley pees. He manages to hit Johnny and Patrick, but Patrick is really grateful for Johnny's superior reflexes, because he somehow gets the diaper over Stanley before he gets, like, the wall or the ceiling or the couch.
Johnny fastens the tapes, and they stare at each other. For once, Stanley is quiet, and if Patrick didn't know better, he'd say he was smug. "Uh," Johnny says, grimacing. "If he finished going in the diaper, does that mean we have to change it again?"
"Better now. While he's empty," Patrick points out, and Johnny nods. It only take them like three minutes to get the diaper on Stanley this time, and no one gets hit with anything. When they're done, Johnny and Patrick high five, and Patrick feels stupidly proud.
"Shower now," Johnny says, because he's all noble and shit. "I'll go second."
Patrick takes basically the fastest shower in existence and then changes into some of Johnny's ridiculously big clothes. When he comes out, Johnny's sitting on the couch with his peed-on shirt off, holding Stanley against his bare chest. Stanley's asleep. Patrick creeps over and takes the shirt away to the laundry, then comes back and finds a baby blanket in the pile of gear and puts it over Stanley.
Johnny's staring down at Stanley on his chest, and it's. It's cute. Patrick wonders if there's some kind of way to just - keep Stanley quiet forever. He's really kind of okay when he isn't screaming.
The meeting with management is eight kinds of hell. Just getting there is a certain amount of hell; getting the baby seat in Johnny's car is basically impossible. Like, Patrick honestly does not believe anyone ever does this, because he and Johnny are two of the most determined people on the planet and there are times when they're both tempted to give up.
And after they finally do get the stupid car seat installed, they have to drive in with Stanley shrieking insanely in the back seat. Patrick can't sit still while he's doing that, and every time anyone in front of them brakes for any reason he has to genuinely talk himself down from getting out and beating the shit out of the driver. He thinks he's just over-reacting until Johnny mutters, "Remind me to put a baseball bat in the car," and then he realizes - well, that they're both over-reacting, probably. But the image of taking a baseball bat to every car in Chicago gets him through to the rink, at least.
And of course Stanley hates the conference room and cries wretchedly through the entire meeting, making Johnny and Patrick look even worse than they already do, which is actually kind of impressive. That kind of skill really makes Patrick wonder if Stanley actually is related to him. Usually only Patrick himself can accomplish this level of image-lowering.
Johnny and Patrick have to take turns standing in the hall with shrieking Stanley, so that people in the conference room can think and hear, and it's hard to say whether it's better to be the guy in the hall or the guy in the room. It's obvious no one believes them when they say they have no idea what happened, and Rogowin from PR keeps looking at the birth certificate with an expression Patrick has absolutely never seen before on anyone. He looks like he's foreseen his own death or some shit.
After everyone talks it all through like three times, Bowman breaks the deadlock. "You have a baby," he tells Patrick, whose turn it is to be in the room. "In the long term, we need to work on how that happened and where we go from here, but in the short term, you need to take care of the baby. So do that. We'll brainstorm here."
Patrick nods and goes back into the hall, trading out with Stanley so Johnny can hear Bowman tell them the same shit. Johnny comes out, grimaces, and they walk back to the car together. Stanley actually calms down once they're outside. He seems to like walking.
"They won't trade us for this, right?" Patrick says hopefully.
"After this gets out, no one will take us," Johnny says grimly, and they buckle Stanley into his seat, which pisses him off again.
They spend the rest of the day handing Stanley back and forth. Around seven, they manage to eat take-out, which Johnny sadfaces about because even in the offseason he hates fun, but he can fucking deal, because - well. Stanley. They change more diapers, including a shit-filled one that Patrick is never thinking about again. By 8:30, Patrick's completely fucking exhausted. Johnny looks tense the way he gets when he's tired.
And Stanley looks wide awake and prepared to scream all night long.
"Please," Patrick says to him desperately, after he's been crying for an hour, "please just stop." He's not sure he can stand another minute of this. He pretty much wants to die.
Stanley doesn't. Because misery is the fucking mother of invention, or something, Patrick says, "He liked being outside before. Let's take him out." They do, Patrick carrying Stanley and Johnny opening doors and stuff, and outside Stanley finally stops crying. They walk him around for about half an hour, and he goes to sleep, suddenly much heavier in Patrick's arms, his head on Patrick's shoulder.
They creep up to the condo with him. The Sharps left them with a, like, basket-thing and also a crib, but Patrick cannot imagine Stanley sleeping through being put down. He's only ever happy when he's with a person.
"Can you just - hold him?" Johnny whispers.
"I have to sleep sometime," Patrick whispers back. Actually, he has to sleep right now. One day with Stanley is basically the equivalent of a playoff game that goes into six overtimes. He's so fucking tired.
"Sleep with him," Johnny says, and he looks genuinely desperate.
Patrick thinks about it. The only time Stanley really slept well was on Johnny's chest earlier, so. He's willing to try it. He sits down super carefully, then wriggles his shirt up so that Johnny can pull it off him. He settles down in the chair, then settles Stanley on his chest, and Johnny covers them both with a blanket.
Patrick isn't sure this will work, but he's so tired he's falling asleep even as he thinks that.
Stanley wakes up at midnight, and Patrick totally has to give Johnny credit. He's right there, already getting a bottle, and he feeds Stanley while Patrick goes and brushes his teeth and changes into a pair of Johnny's sweats. Stanley, wonder of wonders, actually goes back to sleep after the bottle, and Patrick takes him back and goes right back to sleep in the chair.
Stanley wakes up again at two. And three. And four. At 5:30, he's up for good, which he announces by crying and crying and crying. By six, Patrick and Johnny have drained two pots of coffee and still can't keep their eyes open.
While Johnny's feeding Stanley, he says, "I'm going to talk to the doctor about this. This can't be normal."
Patrick raises his head off Johnny's kitchen table long enough to say, "Because you know so much about babies?"
"If all babies were like this, there wouldn't be any second babies. Or any people," Johnny points out.
When he's right, he's right. Patrick puts his head back down and catches five more minutes of sleep.
The pediatrician's lobby is filled with toys and little kids, which is one of those totally obvious things Patrick just didn't expect. Her office staff is like wall-to-wall hot chicks, and Patrick can't even front like he can flirt with them, given that he's carrying a baby who is currently doing a really good impression of a goal horn, and also he's covered in formula because of a bottle accident they had in the car, plus some puke from after the bottle accident. Turns out sitting in the back with Stanley doesn't make him any happier, but does put you in range of a lot of horrible stuff.
They stand in the lobby, surrounded by quieter kids and their far better parents, and take turns doing all the stuff the websites suggested - bouncing Stanley, rocking him, making a really loud shushing noise - but nothing helps.
After fifteen minutes, a woman with a kid who is, objectively, probably not all that old, but who looks like a giant compared to Stanley, leans forward and says, "How old?" She's gesturing to Stanley.
Patrick actually has to think about it, which makes him feel like a dipshit. "Uh, like two days," he finally manages. He's working on his second day, anyway.
She says, "Mine didn't start crying like that until she was seven days old. And then she didn't stop crying. And I swear I spent more time crying than she did. I honestly thought it might be possible to die from being around a crying baby too much." Patrick just nods, overwhelmed. He's never felt so understood before. She continues, "It ends. I swear it does. Just get through this."
"When does it end?" Johnny says, and he probably sounds fairly calm to someone who doesn't know him, but Patrick can hear the desperation in his voice.
The woman says, "For me, it took three months, but it started getting better at seven weeks."
"It will end," she repeats firmly.
"Thank you," Johnny says automatically. He's staring at Stanley, and he looks - stunned. Patrick has no idea what he's thinking. Then they get called back, so Stanley can get weighed (he hates it) and get a weird thing put on his foot (he hates it) and get his temperature checked (he really, really hates it, but Patrick can't blame him, because it turns out babies get their temperatures checked through the back door, and no one should get surprised there, it's like a basic human right). Then the nurse, who is super hot, smiles and leaves.
Stanley seems louder in a small room, and it feels like they wait forever. After - however long, Patrick isn't checking clocks anymore - Patrick succeeds in getting Stanley to stop crying and go to sleep, and that, of course, is when the doctor comes in.
She's calm, cool, and collected, basically everything Johnny and Patrick are not and may never be again. "I'm Dr. Anzel," she says. Johnny and Patrick introduce themselves and Johnny shakes her hand. She smiles at them and continues. "How are you doing?"
Johnny and Patrick look at each other and finally Johnny says, "We're doing. Uh. Okay." Patrick wonders if the doctor can hear that it's lie.
Apparently she can. Dr. Anzel says, "The first days are hard for everyone. Let's talk about how things are going."
She asks them questions about how they adopted him, which they manage to stumble through, and then takes them through what he's eating and how much and how he's sleeping and how often.
"Do you have a birth weight?" she asks them.
Patrick and Johnny exchange panicked glances, and Patrick finally says, "Uh, no."
Dr. Anzel nods and makes a note in her computer. "It would be helpful to get that, if you can," she says.
There are more questions, which Johnny and Patrick mostly fail to answer. Patrick keeps waiting for her to realize that they aren't competent to be - whatever, in charge of a baby - and, like, call in some kind of strike force to take Stanley away from them. She's a doctor; she should be smart enough to notice how much they suck at this. Patrick is wearing clothes that are way too big for him, and he and Johnny are both covered in formula and baby barf, and neither of them can make a complete sentence. Dr. Anzel acts like she sees this shit all the time.
"First night rough?" she asks.
Apparently this is the cue that Johnny's been waiting for. "He won't stop crying," he says. "He cries all the time."
The doctor nods. "You know, it's a little early for colic to start," she says. "But it could be that. Or it could just be him trying to adjust to things. He's eating well and he looks good, so it's probably nothing to worry about."
"Except for the part where we're both going to be crazy in another couple of days," Patrick points out. Then he adds, "Assuming we're not crazy right now."
"I know it's rough," she says sympathetically. "Tell you what. Let's go over some strategies you can use to address his crying, and then we'll do the physical exam and make sure there isn't some kind of underlying cause for this."
Patrick actually feels his gut clench at that. Like, what if he's been crying so much because he's sick or hurt or they're not treating him right? He feels so panicky about it that he kind of tunes out her discussion of ways to keep Stanley from crying. It's okay, though, because Johnny is taking notes in his phone. Patrick just wants her to look at Stanley already.
Eventually, she says it's time. "Let's try to do as much of this as we can with you holding him," she says.
She pokes and prods Stanley, waking him up. He takes it fairly okay. But then it's time to put him down on the crinkly paper. Stanley, predictably, cries and cries and cries. She checks him all over, completely ignoring the crying, and then hands him back to Patrick.
The doctor apparently has a lot of practice at talking through crying, because Patrick can understand her perfectly when she says, "You know, he's looking really good. He's doing well. I can see that you're having a hard time of it, but Stanley himself is fine."
And then she leaves them in the room, promising to come back when Stanley is calmer.
The final verdict is that Stanley is totally normal and they have to do it again in two days. "Usually," she says, "we wouldn't bring you in so quickly, but this was really his baseline visit, and I want to keep an eye on the crying." Patrick figures she wants to keep an eye on them, actually, and he can't blame her.
Patrick and Johnny nod and make their escape. At home, they feed Stanley, who immediately goes to sleep. Johnny whispers, "I'm up" and strips his shirt off before getting into the recliner. Patrick hands over Stanley like he's passing off a live grenade, and then he goes into the bedroom for two glorious hours of entirely horizontal, uninterrupted sleep.
Over the next few days, they manage to get a sort of rhythm going. They wake up way too early, stumble around drinking coffee and Red Bull, feed Stanley, change Stanley, carry Stanley. On the 25th, when he's all of five days old, they try to wash him. Turns out Stanley likes the water. Also turns out two professional hockey players are incapable of bathing an eight-pound baby without covering themselves and an entire bathroom with water.
The next day Patrick snaps. "We have been in your apartment forever," he tells Johnny. "I've got to get the fuck out of here." They've been out to go to the rink, to go to the doctor, and once Patrick went to his place to pick up some shit. Other than that, they've been here. Patrick is starting to hate Johnny's walls.
Johnny looks genuinely alarmed. "You'd better fucking come back," he says.
"I'm not saying I have to go alone. I'm just saying I have to get out. I have to go somewhere fun."
"Stanley's too young for your kind of fun," Johnny says, really snottily, and fuck him. Patrick's been doing his share, here. No one can say he hasn't been pulling his weight in this insane baby team.
"Fine. Then fuck you," Patrick snaps, and storms out the door. He ends up coming back like half an hour later, though, because he forgot his wallet and his keys.
When he opens the door, he can hear Stanley crying and Johnny talking to him, too quiet to make out the words. And when he walks into the bedroom, the stark relief that flashes across Johnny's face, just for a second, makes him feel - it makes him feel okay, he guesses. And kind of guilty for leaving.
"We could take him out somewhere," Patrick says.
"Yes," Johnny says instantly, so either he's tired of being stuck in here, too, or he's sorry for basically suggesting that Patrick would take their - whatever, their Stanley to a bar or someplace. "We should get out the carrier thing," Johnny adds.
Patrick thinks that's a brilliant idea - carrying Stanley everywhere basically makes it impossible to do anything, especially since they both still freak out if they don't have both hands on him at all times. And then he gets out the stupid wrap thing that the Sharps apparently picked out, and he realizes it's the worst idea anyone has ever had. If he wanted to wrap Stanley up like a present, he could probably use this thing, but he has no idea how to make it attach Stanley to his body. And Johnny keeps insisting on reading the fucking directions, which is totally useless. Stanley, who they had to put down to figure this out, is, predictably, screaming. After two minutes, Johnny and Patrick are yelling at each other at a volume that almost beats Stanley's.
After ten minutes Patrick's done. "Look, let's take him out and try to figure it out out there," he says. "Maybe he'll cry less. Maybe we'll suck less." Worse comes to worse, they can just carry him forever. It's not like they both need their hands. And they're hockey players. He's not that heavy.
Johnny nods and shoves some diapers and bottles and formula into a diaper bag with - holy fuck, with rainbow cupcakes on it. Patrick knows absolutely and completely that Sharpy picked that bag out, and also that he is a far sicker fuck than any of them had suspected. Johnny bundles the weird horrible wrap thing on top of the junk in the bag and they get the hell out.
On the street, Stanley seems happier, especially after they start walking. "Where to?" Johnny asks.
"Let's go to the Bean," Patrick suggests. Stanley seems like the kind of warped individual who would think the Bean was awesome. At least, if he takes after Patrick at all he will.
As they walk, Johnny rereads the instructions and pokes at the wrap, and Patrick carries Stanley. He finds himself pointing out sites of interest to Stanley, which is probably actually crazy, but his whole life has been crazy since the playoffs started. He's in the middle of telling Stanley about the wonders he'll behold at Millennium Park when a guy - taller than Patrick, really bulky, beard like he's in the Cup finals - stops them on the street.
"Hi," he says, and Patrick's heart just about stops, because - yeah, he's fine with fans, except how will they explain Stanley?
"Hi," Johnny says, making what Patrick knows is a really brave attempt to look glad to see a fan.
"We had that one," the guy says, "and it's a bitch unless you know the trick. Want me to show you?" Patrick realizes, belatedly, that he's indicating the wrap thing.
"God, yes," Patrick says fervently. He wants to be able to use his hands someday.
The dude takes the wrap, folds it, unfolds it, bunches it, twists it around Johnny's body, ties it, and then says, "Okay, now you put the baby in here, just kind of slide him in." Johnny does, and Stanley doesn't even mind being passed over. "Now you pull up this part and it goes like this," he continues, and - bam, just like that, Stanley is strapped securely to Johnny's chest by about eighteen yards of bright pink fabric, his head poking out at the top and pressed against Johnny's chest, and Johnny's hands are free. This dude is clearly a fucking magician. Patrick wants to marry him.
"I love you," Patrick tells the guy sincerely. "I'd offer you my firstborn, but he's really cranky." Johnny flinches sort of weirdly when he says that, but fuck him: Stanley is legit cranky.
The guy laughs. "They get better. Hey, congratulations, okay?" He waves and walks off, and Johnny and Patrick continue toward the Bean. Johnny doesn't even look upset about the bright pink aspect of things.
If Patrick were a lesser man, he'd send a picture of this to the entire team. But then Johnny'd make him wear the wrap, probably. He keeps his phone in his pocket.
Stanley loves the Bean and then sacks out right in the wrap, making it absolutely the best day of his life they've had so far. Johnny and Patrick pick up hot dogs and head home, and they actually have a really nice evening. The wrap thing is great. Yeah, when they have to take it off Johnny, they'll never get it back on, but in the meantime, Johnny and Patrick can eat at the same time. They can play Xbox. It's a miracle.
Until Patrick's neglected phone starts buzzing and buzzing and buzzing. When Johnny checks his, it's dead, but as soon as he plugs it in, it starts buzzing, too. They stare at each other for a moment of supreme horror, and then Patrick picks up his phone and looks.
So many texts. So many voicemails. His phone rings, and Patrick just looks, and then he carefully refuses the call and goes to his texts. The first one is from Erica:
OMG YOU LOSER. Y didnt you say u had baybeeeeeeee w j? Did u name her after me?
The next one is from Seabs:
Congrats i guess but srsly wtf
And the one after that is from Patrick's cousin Jimmy. It has a link to Deadspin.
"You look," Patrick says. "I have Deadspin issues."
"You look," Johnny tells him. "You're used to this shit." Normally, Patrick would be pissed off about that, but he's too busy going through his usual stages of having been Deadspinned. He's at the stage where he still thinks he can just spend forever not looking.
Johnny makes an impatient noise and grabs Patrick's phone. "I guess it could be worse," he says after a few minutes. He sounds shellshocked. Patrick's gotten all the way to the ripping off the bandaid stage, so he grabs it back. The headline reads:
It's The End Of Manliness As We Know It: Patrick Kane And Jonathan Toews Have A Baby
There's a helpful picture with the article; it's them at the Bean, with Stanley strapped to Johnny in the bright pink wrap and Patrick carrying the stupid fucking rainbow cupcake diaper bag. Patrick's bending over a little, talking to Stanley, and Johnny appears, bizarrely and basically uniquely, to be smiling.
"Oh, shit," Patrick says. "Oh, shit."
His phone rings again. It's his mother.
Johnny's face has gone absolutely white. "I have to call -" he says. "But you first. Go ahead, answer."
"I - seriously? What do you expect me to say?" The phone stops ringing. Patrick can't hide his relief.
"Waiting isn't going to make it better," Johnny says. "Call yours. Then I'll call mine." He gets up and goes into the bedroom still wearing Stanley, leaving the field clear for Patrick.
Patrick tries to figure out if he could maybe just pretend to call, and then Johnny pokes his head back out and says, "Call. Now." He's using his captain voice, the one that suggests that it's a choice between doing what he says and losing your dick.
Patrick picks up the phone and dials.
"Patrick," his mother says when she answers. Her tone is absolutely level, and Patrick is already fighting the urge to confess everything he's ever done wrong. She waits, and she just - she can always fucking wait him out.
"It's not what it looks like," he tries.
There's a pause, his mother obviously thinking, and then she says, "To me it looks as though you and Johnny have a baby. If it's not how it looks - did you kidnap her?"
"Him. Stanley," Patrick says, and winces. "Look, it's. It's complicated."
"I can see that," his mother says. She's waiting again. The phone is basically totally full of her patient waiting, no words required.
Patrick caves and explains the whole thing. At the end, his mother says, "You have a baby."
"Right," Patrick says.
"And you decided I should find out when Jackie's friend Brenda sent her a link," she continues.
"We didn't know it would get on Deadspin," Patrick says, and even he can hear how weak it is.
"He's my grandson," she says. "My only one. And I found out about his existence from Deadspin."
Patrick is so, so dead.