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alderwitch

Anklebiters (Open) [IC]

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April and May flew by for Taylor. Not only was there magical and mundane to catch up with, but there was a brand new member of the family to adjust to. Taylor was only grateful that Jack Jr needed sleep like his mother. If he'd been utterly sleepless, Taylor would have been a wreck. As it was, she was simply very, very busy. Eventually, however, even Taylor was getting stir crazy.

So one sunny June morning, Taylor decided to brave taking the baby outside. There were errands to run and Jack was absent with work and not there to suggest never ever leaving the safety of the house for once. Taylor glanced between the sleeping baby and the morning sun only a few times before she jotted a quick note for Jack:

'Off for lunch and errands. Took the baby with me. Love -T.'

After popping enough baby supplies in the Void to outlast a seven day siege, Taylor scooped up the drowsing baby and popped through to Void and out to the sunny park. The moment the sun hit the baby's face, his blue eyes slitted open and his whole face crumpled into furious outrage. Taylor carted him over to the shade of a large tree, making shushing noises as she fished around. Eventually she had him swaddled up in an infant sized Phantom esque cloak that blocked most of the sun's rays. Taylor beamed at the still grumpy baby who at least had stopped with the whole angry and glowy red eyed demon routine to instead eye his mother with squinty disdain instead.

"There, all better," Taylor declared to her son who would have probably disagreed if he could have, "Now lets go see Auntie Stesha."

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There was a little bistro off the park that was not too busy outside of lunchtimes, and it was there that Stesha was waiting for them. She'd already snagged a shaded table and a pitcher of iced tea, and was busy surreptitiously perking up the flowers near the patio. She stood up when Taylor and the baby arrived, hugging Taylor and cooing over the grumpy baby. "He's getting so much bigger! Look at his cranky little face. Can I hold him?" Stesha was dressed in her work clothes, which meant sturdy gear that wouldn't be harmed by a little vomit, or the other things babies tended to produce.

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"Of course! He's working on smiles but not so much during the day." Taylor explained as she handed the baby over. She was free of all baby gear thanks to having the entire Void to clutter up with those things and was wearing pre-baby jeans already. Regeneration was a wonderful thing although pre-baby tops were still out of the question. Instead, she had on a loose scoop neck blouse.

Taylor tucked her hands in her pockets and beamed as Stesha juggled Jack Jr. The baby eyed her with crotechty suspicion before deeming her an acceptable member of his fan club with a slow blink. HIs chubby hands clutched at the layers of the cloak as if he was holding it closer to block out the sun's rays. He might manage imperious someday but at the moment it was ruined by hair that stuck up every which way. Taylor laughed and plopped herself down in one chair, "It is so good to get out of the house!"

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"Oh, look at you, aren't you just the littlest bunkus bean?" Stesha cooed to the baby, smoothing his hair and touching his little cheeks with her fingertip. The fangs were still a bit of a shock, and his hair obviously had no intention of being smoothed, but he was quite a good looking little grump. Behind Stesha, the taller branches of the nearby trees swayed as though in an invisible wind, leaning gradually closer to shade the table and the baby. "You look great," she told Taylor just a bit belatedly, but sincerely nonetheless. "How have you been doing?"

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"I'm... adjusting," Taylor said after a moment of thought with a smile that released both dimples. She wasn't a beautiful woman, but she had a brilliant smile when she used it and deep down she was very happy. Exhausted but happy. "We're all adjusting but its a good thing. I had to push back a class so if all goes well I'll have a degree by the end of summer. I've been getting caught up... with everything, you know. Mostly, just getting used to being a mom. It all happened so sudden but things are really good. I just wish there was more time for everything but so it goes."

She smiled over at the baby who's finally relaxed as the last flecks of the sun were blocked and he released a smile of his own that revealed lots of pink gum to go with the tiny fangs and he released the cloak to wave his fists about in vague approval of the shade.

"How about you?" Taylor asked, pouring the ice tea into glasses, "How are you doing?"

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Stesha had to coo over the baby's smile before she could properly attend to Taylor's question. He might be Jack's son, and probably going to be a handful as he got older, but he was undeniably adorable as an infant. "Not bad," she told Taylor, her grin brightening and broadening as she shifted Jack Jr. to her right arm. "In fact, I'm doing really well." She held up her left hand to reveal a ring that glittered and sparkled in the sunlight, a diamond solitaire with a tiny emerald somehow captured inside it, like a seed. "He just asked me last weekend."

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"Ooooh," Taylor said, leaning over to look at the ring. She slipped her fingers under Stesha's to angle her hand to better admire the sparkly. Although Taylor rarely wore more than the Eye around her throat and her wedding bands, she loved a good sparkly as much as anyone. And this one was stunning. "Derrick has such good taste. Did he make it or track it down somewhere in space? It's gorgeous. Congratulations! When is it? And where?"

Taylor happily fired the questions at her, eager to get all the details, "How'd he propose?"

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"Oh my god," Stesha said gleefully, "it was amazing. He decided he had to ask my dad first, which is hilariously quaint, but totally like him. So when we went home to my folks' place for Memorial Day, he actually asked my dad's permission to propose. Then he took me back to the beach where we made love for the first time, that long weekend trip we had last fall, and we laid down on the sand by the water. Only he had actually gone up into space and rearranged all this space debris, rocks and comets and all sorts of things, so that from the beach it read "Stesha, will you marry me," right up in the night sky. And when I looked over at him, he had the ring box open and waiting. It was... I can't even describe it. Incredible." She was beaming even as she recounted it, and in the shade of the trees, the ring seemed to almost glow a little.

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"So romantic! That's all so very Darrick," Taylor agreed with a bit of a laugh and a pleased smile for her friend's joy. Fishing under the table, Taylor pulled the car seat from out of the Void and sat it next to her on the table for when Stesha was done with the baby. Taylor considered for a moment how miffed she'd have been if Jack had proposed where they'd first been intimate. The backseat of the car, not so romantic. Of course, the bloody battlefield where he had proposed had been definately a different sort of romance. Smiling softly, Taylor fiddled with her jewelry and then held her arms out for the baby.

"So, when's the big day? Its already summer. I hope you aren't doing a long engagement! Those are so passe." Taylor teased, having given her family less than a month to adjust to the idea, "Outdoor wedding?"

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Moira walked out onto the patio setting. Stesha! Taylor! She casped and walked over to their table. "[divine]You guys didn't start without me, did you,[/divine]" she chuckled as she reached the table. She sat down. "[divine]Oh, how cute,[/divine]" she said awwwing at the baby, "[divine]He's got Jack's eyes,[/divine]" she paused with the baby smiled, "[divine]and other things.[/divine]" The next thing she saw was Stesha's diamond. "[divine]Stesha,[/divine]" she exclaimed with a friendly peck on the cheek followed by a hug, "[divine]Congratulations. When is the wedding?[/divine]"

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Stesha passed the baby back to Taylor and rose to give Moira a quick hug. "Hey, I didn't even know you were in the neighborhood. Have a seat, we'll get some more tea. Either of you hungry? The sandwiches here are good, but the wraps are better." Grinning, she showed off the ring again for Moira's benefit, then retold the story of the proposal as well. "We haven't got things nailed down yet, but I'd like to do it right around Thanksgiving. That's pretty fast, but I've got lots of connections."

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"Fall's a nice time of year for it," Taylor agreed and beamed at them both. She gave Moira an awkward one armed hug before shifting the baby up against her shoulder and rubbing his back in the tiny cloak. The baby seemed to approve as that kept all of him out of the sun, his face buried against Taylor's neck. Fortunately for Taylor, he was still full. Fangs were one thing, the whole duel diet was something else that people didn't need to face just yet, "I liked the winter time wedding we had. Well, barring unforseen guests but hopefully you won't have that problem."

Taylor scooted down to allow Moira space at the table, "and if you do, we'll take care of it. It's hell on your deposit. I think Jack and are are never going to be able to rent that place again."

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Moira hugged Taylor too, less awkwardly. She elegantly kept her composure as questions raced through her mind. Mostly about the baby. She nodded and reassured herself that she would never have children. Ever. "[divine]I ordered something already,[/divine]" she nodded to Stesha, "[divine]And you're getting married not in wedding season?[/divine]" She looked to her best friend with mock disdain, "[divine]Tsk, it's next month. Don't you know quick romantic weddings are all the rage?[/divine]" She chuckled and winked, "[divine]No really, I hope you have a long and wonderful eternity together.[/divine]" She nodded along with what Taylor said. Never having been married herself, she hadn't had the experience Taylor had and could only agree with the married woman.

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Stesha rolled her eyes. "Moira, I'm a florist. I've been booked all summer since wintertime. Even if I wanted to drive myself crazy trying to put another wedding together in a month, I wouldn't be able to do it. November is the earliest I would consider it, and even then it's just because I'm impatient." She grinned at Taylor. "And I'm not saying we took a lesson or anything, but we're having the wedding in Chicago and arranging transportation for our guests. Events are always a little weirder in Freedom City, and I don't want to take any chances. Plus my million relatives live there."

She took a sip of her tea, leaning back comfortably in her seat. "I've been meaning to ask, Taylor... does the baby sleep?" The little one certainly looked tired, but that could just be the aversion to the sun.

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Taylor laughed at Moira's statement and shook her head. She patted the baby's back rhythmically, soothing him into a light drowse, "Quick weddings only lead to awkward questions. That get even more awkward when they come true ironically. My mother is still muttering that she would have understand and thinks I should have just told her that we were expecting. No matter what I say about dimensional time travel, I get nothing but disapproving looks. They're even worse when clucking at Jack."

She glanced over at Stesha but didn't seem phased at the questioning. Taylor expected some of it as, well, the baby's father was one of the undead. Her friends were actually really polite about skirting around the issue, "Yes, thank goodness. Jack doesn't but the baby seems to be sleeping about what you'd expect for a, uhm, fully human baby. Its been a relief. And its kinda nice that Jack doesn't need to. Except for the feedings, I get a lot more sleep than a lot of new mom's I think."

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Moira chuckled at Stesha's frustration and rubbed her shoulder with one hand to soothe her. More questions were answered about the baby. This was intriguing. The word feedings stuck in her head. Did the baby drink blood or milk or both? She didn't want to seem rude with such questions so she kept them to herself. Though the baby did look adorable as it nodded off to dream. "[divine]So, I've been wondering, have you used those vacation tickets I got you for the shower yet? You and Jack could take a relaxing week off and me and Stesha could watch the kid for you.[/divine]"

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Stesha blinked at that one. "Well... I can't say that's not ambitious, Moira," she said dubiously, "but a week is a really, really long time to babysit. Especially for one that's so little, and still nursing, right Taylor?" She looked to Taylor for confirmation, then continued. "But we'd be happy to babysit if you want to have some time off, or go out and do something nice. I've got lots of babysitting experience, with my brother and sister's kids," she added reassuringly.

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Taylor laughed and snuggled the now sleeping baby into the portable car seat. She fussed with the shade but kept talking, "Yes, he's nursing. I feel absolutely ridiculous in my costume because of it too. I mean, I shouldn't complain because regeneration totally let me cheat back into my pre-baby jeans within the first week but I'm only five-feet tall! And I was 'endowed' before this. Now I look like some sort of ridiculous caricature of a super hero."

It really wasn't as bad as Taylor was making it out to be but she was self conscious about it. She smiled up at them and pulled her tea closer, "But an afternoon off might be really nice. Jack's been, well, stressed lately. I mean, he's doing a great job with the whole new dad thing but its been a big adjustment to always have another being there all the time. No matter how much we might love him."

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"We'd love to help," Stesha said loyally. "Every new mom needs some time off now and then, and I'd love some time to coo over him." She grinned, taking another drink of her tea and watching for the waitress so they could order some lunch while the baby slept. "Have you thought about getting some other babysitters lined up, too? You never know when something's going to happen that needs all of our attention, after all, and it never hurts to have redundancy."

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Moira thought about feeding the little tyke. If Taylor was still 'nursing' she definitely wouldn't want to interrupt that. "[divine]So, how long until you plan on feeding him yourself,[/divine]" she asked curiously. These mother questions, secretly chafed her as a non-mother. But again, she kept a happy demeanor. She thought there would be bottles now. Bottles and diapers and cute adorable babies that she and Stesha could easily take care of while Jack and Taylor romped in their romantic get away. And that's all she really wanted. For everyone to be happy. She thought babysitting would make her and Stesha happy. She thought the vacation would make Jack and Taylor happy.

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"Its a good idea, but hard to find babysitters equipped to deal with the sort of special needs that we have. And then they've got to be someone I feel comfortable leaving the baby with, not to mention someone Jack feels comfortable leaving the baby with. I'm not sure how happy he's going to be with me taking the baby out of the house. He's a little over protective but its understandable. The baby's just so tiny..."

Taylor trailed off with a smile and refreshed her ice tea. She blinked at Moira and tilted her head to the side as she said dryly, "As long as I can put up with the occasional nipping. We go through a lot of teething toys. A lot. I'm considering buying stock."

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Stesha laughed. "I hope you're not buying the kind filled with water, what a mess." She didn't ask if the baby actually needed more than milk, given the fangs. She didn't want to know. Ever! "And in this kind of weather, I'm pretty sure you're fine to have him out, long as he doesn't get overheated. When my mom has a client, she always tells them to go out with the baby, even when the baby is very small, unless it's super cold out. It doesn't hurt anything, and it keeps the mom from going stir crazy." She grinned. "And this way you can get him used to sunshine and outdoors early."

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Moira nodded and took in everything as the two more experienced women talked. Man that sounded harsh. The poor tiny baby was gnawing up all his toys! And from the sound of it, Taylor was getting some of it too. Though the thing Stesha said made sense. You don't want to freeze the baby, but then again see didn't know about baby Jack. Maybe he was immune to all that stuff, being a vampire baby and all. Still she wouldn't leave it to chance. She was learning more and more about babies sitting around these two than she ever knew. Taking a final sip of her wine, she sat the empty glass down and motioned for a waiter. She smiled at Taylor, "[divine]Well, I hope that's some time soon! How long should that take?[/divine]"

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"Well the WHO recommends two years but I don't know if we'll last that long. As for getting him used to the sun..." She glanced over at the baby who had scrunched down behind the shade as much as possible and sighed, "I think that's going to take a long, long time. Oh, well. Anyhow, I don't mean to monopolize the conversation."

Taylor glanced over at Stesha with a grin, "So what are you doing for a maid of honor and bridesmaids? And a wedding gown? You have called Ace, haven't you?"

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"I've barely started thinking of any of that," Stesha admitted with a laugh. "We've only been engaged ten days, I've been so busy telling everyone and trying to find a date and a venue that I haven't had time for anything else. I know all about the flowers, my wedding's going to have a million flowers and I'll supervise them myself, but all the rest of it is kind of strange and new. I'm going to have to get some books. And call Ace," she agreed with a laugh. "He knows everything about everything, partywise. We do know that we're going to have it around Chicago, hopefully in Evanston, but the rest is still up in the air. Derrick is leaving pretty much everything in my hands. He's just mystified by formal occasions."

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