So I guess I could have given quettaser a lengthy screed on my kidfic issues, but I'm trying to produce something she'll actually read all the way through. So instead: four summaries and snippets from kidfic stories I yearn to read. YEARN.
Thanks to my Flyers beta, paxpinnae, my Habs beta, katarin, and my pre-readers, thehoyden and Best Beloved.
Claude Giroux has a problem. Danny knows the answer.
Summary: Claude gets better.
Clement wakes up every hour, all night long. Claude deals with it fine at midnight and one and two, but at three he finds himself giving Clement a speech while he heats the stupid fucking bottle. (He's now incredibly grateful that Danny made him make all these bottles before he went to bed, but he'd be even more grateful if the bottles made Clement sleep for longer than 45 minutes.)
"Why don't you just sleep?" Claude says to Clement, who is attached to the bottle and completely ignoring him. "It's not difficult. And I will be a much nicer person to be around tomorrow if you just let me sleep."
At the four o'clock waking, Claude walks into the door on the way out for another fucking bottle. "If I just concussed myself feeding you," he says to Clement, and manages to bite back the rest of the words. But he's starting to understand why Melanie had to go into the hospital. Maybe she's not, whatever, depressed, fucked up - her mother used a lot of different words, but Claude was kind of focused on the part where he was going to have to take care of this baby. Maybe she's just tired because the kid never fucking sleeps. Maybe she'll get some rest in the hospital and get better and tomorrow she'll come take Clement back.
At five, Danny comes out as Claude is standing there, eyes closed, waiting for the microwave to go off while Clement screams in his ear, and says, "I'm up." Claude doesn't even blink. He hands Clement to Danny and is back in his room and asleep before the microwave beeps.
That buys him two and a half hours of sleep. "This is impossible," Claude says to Danny at breakfast.
Danny thumps him on the shoulder. "People do this all the time," he says. "Stop whining."
The day is okay, if more fueled by coffee than is Claude's usual plan in the offseason, and then the next night is hell again. This time Clement wakes up at three and won't go back to sleep. He doesn't want a bottle. He doesn't need his diaper changed. Maybe he's sick? Claude tries to calm him down for ten endless minutes and then goes into Danny's room; he's been kind of avoiding coming in here since - since the thing before, but he's desperate.
Danny jerks awake as soon as Claude opens the door, probably because of the wailing infant he's carrying. Danny sits up and holds his arms out for Clement, and starts jiggling him, which looks kind of dangerous but makes Clement happy. After ten minutes, Danny says, "Got it?"
"He looks happy where he is," Claude says warily. Danny's the expert. He did this three times, which Claude is starting to think is way more of an accomplishment than winning a Cup would be.
"He's your son," Danny says sharply, and Claude reluctantly steps forward and takes Clement.
Thirty seconds later, Clement's screaming again, and Claude wants to punch himself in the head.
Even with the bonus sleep in the morning, Claude's a fucking zombie the next day. "I came here because I thought you'd make it easy," he tells the table top, while Danny makes him breakfast.
"Kids aren't easy," Danny says, and he sounds - huh. Kind of irritated. Claude makes a note to think about that, when he can think again.
"I'm getting that," Claude tells him. "Jesus. How does anyone do this?"
"It's just like hockey," Danny tells him, and Claude raises his head to give him a jaded look. "You do the work, you get the rewards."
"And the reward is - eventually the kid sleeps?" Claude says blearily.
"The reward is that eventually you're a parent," Danny says, and since Claude is looking at him, he can see that Danny looks - severe. After a few seconds, though, his face softens, and he says, "Eat breakfast and then catch a nap. I have the boys after school, and it'll be crazy. Sleep while you can."
Claude does, inhaling his breakfast and then stumbling upstairs to sleep. Danny's words keep going through his head, though. It's the first thing anyone's said about parenthood that makes sense to him. You do the work, you get the rewards.
Claude falls asleep wondering just how much more work there is to do.
When he was a teenager, Mike Richards made a mistake.
Summary: Jeff's not used to being the adult in the room.
Richie walks in carrying two big suitcases, and the girl who follows after him looks exactly like him. Exactly like him when he's in the penalty box, to be precise. Jeff already knows what's coming, even before Richie says, "Jeff, this is Avis. Avis, Jeff."
Avis blank stares him. Of course. Jeff knows better than to engage with this; all his Richie instincts kick in, and he just nods at her and looks back at Richie, who looks - shit. Jeff steps forward to try to derail what's coming, but he's too late.
"Avis. I'm sure you can say hello to Jeff," Richie says. His voice is patient and a little slow, with big spaces between the words, so yeah, he's pissed off.
She tosses her hair and folds her arms. "I could." Jeff can tell, easily and painfully, that she's pushing it because she's unsure. And, damn it, he can't remember how Richie learned not to do that. If he'd known back then he'd someday have to deal with Richie 2.0, he'd have - well, okay, he wouldn't have taken notes, because let's be realistic here, but at least he might have paid closer attention.
Richie turns and opens his mouth, but this time Jeff's fast enough to cut him off. "Let me show you your room," he says to Avis.
She shoulders her backpack and says, "Oh, so I get one?" God, she even sounds like Richie, like Richie back when Jeff first met him. He's kind of smiling as he leads her upstairs.
Fortunately, she spends the rest of the afternoon locked in her room, which gives Richie time to get a little less angry. Then it's dinnertime. Jeff goes upstairs to tell Avis the food is on the table and leaves it up to her whether she comes down, which is probably why she does.
Richie's spent the afternoon swearing to be friendly, so he starts out the conversation by smiling - fake smile, press smile - and saying, "What do you want to do tomorrow?"
Avis takes a huge bite of chicken and chews and swallows before answering. Jeff is kind of helpless in his admiration of that, because she's only 11, and she's already so much better at this than Richie ever was. Once she's drawn it out for so long that Richie's hands have gotten tighter on his silverware, she says, "I don't know. I mean, I've never been here before, so I thought maybe you'd have some suggestions." She pauses, then adds, "Dad."
She's so fucking snotty. Jeff finds himself openly smiling at her as he says, "Well, there's always sulking all day in your room. That's a good time."
"Oh, are you my biological father? I thought you were just the 'roommate,'" she says. She makes air-quotes around roommate and everything. It's hysterical.
Jeff hears Richie's sharp intake of breath, but he manages to answer before Richie gets there. "At this point, I'm the guy whose buttons you aren't punching," he said. "So probably it's a good thing I'm the one talking to you."
She rolls her eyes. "He's so uptight. Doesn't he, like, meditate or anything?"
"He does yoga," Jeff tells her. "And Pilates." There aren't many sights better than Richie's downward-facing dog.
"I can stand on my head for fifteen minutes," she says. "Doesn't make me a nicer person."
Jeff can't help it. It's stupid, it's just going to piss Richie off, but he just can't help laughing at that. "No, it really doesn't," he agrees. Under the table, Richie puts his hand on Jeff's thigh and digs his fingers in so hard Jeff will for sure have bruises. "But then," Jeff adds sincerely, "basically everyone at this table is an asshole." He shrugs and eats some broccoli. Avis seems more interested in that comment than anything else that's happened since she showed up.
Figures. Jesus, she's so obviously related to Richie that Jeff can't believe it took her mother eleven years to figure that out.
Sidney Crosby doesn't parent like anyone else, either.
Summary: Sidney has to get used to doing it someone else's way.
Sidney leaves the meeting furious. He's better than ever at hiding it, though, and he's pretty sure Nate doesn't even notice. He texts Geno with fingers that shake just a little: Fucking fuckers. He hates the therapists, hates the way they look at Nate, hates the thoughtful pauses as they write shit down on their forms. He knows in a few weeks he'll be hating the evaluation those women write up.
Nate reaches up for Sidney's hand as they step off the curb, and Sidney wants to go back and grab that one woman, Julie, and show her that yes Nate does interact and yes Nate is aware of his environment and yes he does know the rules. Sure, he shuts down when strange women wave toys in his face, but Sidney can't blame him for that.
Once he gets Nate buckled into his carseat, Sidney takes two minutes to just sit behind the wheel of the car and breathe. Okay, it's over. It's no big deal. It doesn't matter what they say about Nate. It's just words. His phone chimes and Geno's texting him back with a series of frowns. It chimes again: meet at park?
Sidney checks the time reflexively, but he already knows they have an hour before they have to be home so Nate will actually eat his lunch instead of screaming about it. Yes he sends back, and puts the car in gear.
The park is always where Nate has done best; Geno and Sidney spent a lot of time sitting here when Nate was a baby, just grateful for the respite. As soon as he sees where they are, Nate's whole body gets happy, and he's looking past Sidney - well, that's not a surprise, but he's looking at the grass and trees and sand before he's even unbuckled. Sidney walks him in and lets him go. Nate sits on the grass and picks and rolls individual leaves of it, which used to make Sidney crazy - it leaves his hands green forever - but, whatever, it doesn't actually hurt anyone. Then Geno shows up and they go for a walk.
Sidney knows that now that Nate's three and a half they shouldn't talk in front of him. There's no way of knowing how much he understands. But they have to talk sometime.
"What they say?" Geno asks, his eyes following Nate as he marches along the side of the path, running his fingers along the bushes, totally silent.
Sidney shrugs. He doesn't even really want to say it. It's always a list of deficits, always a list of what Nate can't do, doesn't do, won't do. Sidney goes to the meetings because he doesn't want anyone else to have to hear them, and he goes alone because he doesn't want to make Nate's life any more about his parents than it already is. But Geno needs to know, of course. "He isn't talking. He's obsessed with repetitive motion. He screams when certain things touch his skin. He's ahead in gross motor and fine motor and way behind in everything else."
Geno nods. "You tell them about -" and he makes the hand signal Nate has been making lately for no.
Sidney nods. They'd been excited when he brought it up, but not - it hadn't mattered. There was a picture in their heads, and Nate didn't fit it, and that was where it ended.
And then Geno and Sidney both stop talking, because they're coming to the end of the path. This is their favorite part of the walk, the reason Sid and Geno always come back to this park. Because at the end of the path there's a soccer field that's almost always in use.
Today it's two teams of preteen girls playing a real game, not just a practice, and Nate freezes for a second before breaking into a run, bolting for the bleachers. By the time they catch up with him, he's already seated, already staring, his whole body alert.
As usual, Sidney and Geno don't really watch the game. They watch Nate. Nate's eyes follow every move, and then - yeah, there it is. Nate's not just tracking the action on the field, now; he's predicting it. He's looking at the goalie as soon as a player sets up a shot. He's already slumping in sadness before the ball goes out of bounds.
Sidney, watching his son watch the game, feels something in him unwind. Yeah, okay, the therapists and teachers think Nate's got lots of problems, and honestly, he does. But Sidney watches Nate's face break into a smile as soon as he knows the goalie's going to catch the ball, seconds before her hands actually close on it, and he knows Nate's in there. Nate's going to be fine.
After all, Sidney wasn't a normal kid, either, and he turned out okay.
No one can resist Carey Price with a tiny child. What chance does PK have?
Summary: CAREY PRICE AND PK SUBBAN WITH A BAAAAAAAYYYYYYBEEEEEEEE. CUTEST THING EVAR OMG. [Note: This is the summary because I had to write over two thousand words to turn out an actual story snippet. I kept getting distracted by the adorability factor and writing endless words about snuggling and tiny socks and Carey feeding a baby shirtless and PK dancing around the living room singing to her. SORRY PK AND CAREY AND A BABY IS JUST REALLY CUTE OKAY.]
PK really should have seen this coming. He didn't, because he likes to give his brain a vacation in the offseason sometimes, and also Cecy wakes up a lot and Carey's house isn't exactly soundproof, so he's been pretty tired.
But, fuck. You text your brothers a couple pictures of you with your teammate's baby - and, okay, a picture of you giving her a bottle, and a picture your teammate took while you were sacked out with her on your chest - and suddenly it's parental visit time.
PK loves his mother. Of course he does; she's great. But he's pretty sure she's never been this far west before, and he's also not entirely sure how Carey's control freak goalie thing is going to deal with an extra Subban in the house.
First things first. He's got to break it to Carey. PK always gets up for the six a.m. feeding - Carey's half dead then, and it helps if there's someone else there to make sure the right part of the bottle goes into the right part of the baby - but this time he takes Cecy so that Carey can get two extra hours of sleep. That's enough to ensure that Carey's functional at breakfast, so PK feels safe saying, "Hey, man, my mother's coming up."
Carey blinks at him. Then he swallows hard and says, "Your mother's coming up to - where?"
"Here. You know, she wants to meet the baby." PK really, really hopes Carey doesn't ask why she wants to meet the baby. He has no idea what he'd say. His mother didn't feel like explaining.
And Carey doesn't ask. Instead, he thinks about it for two forkfuls of eggs, and then says, "Okay."
PK stares at him. "Really?" He didn't think it'd be this easy. Carey can get kind of. Well. He's a goalie, that's all.
Carey shrugs. "Kayla and my parents were here at the beginning. It helps."
Sometimes PK has no idea what's going on in Carey's head, but right now it's making his life easier, so he's good with it.
Of course, later that afternoon it turns out that what his mother meant when she said she was coming up was that she was coming and bringing both of PK's brothers and one of his aunts and a cousin, and PK should just count himself lucky that his father has to work. They show up right after Cecy's second naptime, which is also Carey and PK's naptime, so PK is standing there in boxer shorts - Carey needs to look into a/c, for real - and introducing a baby in just a diaper (a cloth diaper, because Carey's a freak) to his family. "People, this is Cecelia. Cecy, these are - people."
"Ohhhh, look at you," PK's mother says, in a voice he's never heard her use before. She swoops in and grabs Cecy, who beams at her and goes for her ear. He's got to get her trained off the ears before the season starts.
Carey comes out carrying a clean onesie. "PK, I - oh. Hi." Carey stands there awkwardly, and for some reason PK is wishing one of them had put on pants. It's stupid, because no one in his family has eyes for anyone but Cecy right now - and, shit, that's not exactly true. Malcolm is looking at Carey, not Cecy, and then he looks at PK.
PK says, "Uh, I'm going to get dressed," and escapes. Later, he's going to have to explain to Malcolm how the part where they're brothers means he doesn't get to use the goalie stare on him.
PK brushes his teeth and puts on not just pants but a t-shirt, too. When he gets back out to the living room, his mother and Carey are sitting on the couch with Cecy, having an intense discussion about night feedings. Jordan is documenting the conversation with a camera, crouching down so he can get just the right angles on it, taking a billion photos for no discernible reason. Malcolm has Twitter open on his phone. The others have already broken for the kitchen, where they're cooking like it's a funeral or a wedding or something.
PK's life has never been weirder. He watches for a few minutes, long enough for Carey to look up and almost smile at him, and then he goes for the kitchen, too. If things are going to be this crazy, he's at least getting some bulla cake out of it.
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comments.