Written by IllaRouge
"Yeah, yeah, we'll take care of her for a few hours. You just nap or whatever shit you wanna do, okay?"
From where Emina was sitting in Wendy Brown's living room, she could hear grumbling and profanity. Abigail, Emina's girlfriend, shut the door as the sabretooth continued to complain. She turned, holding the new baby Kiana in the crook of her arm. It was only a few days since Wendy had given birth, and the two were visiting, helping the new mother. Or rather, Abigail insisted. Wendy was too tired to resist, so here they were.
The opossum returned to the couch. Kiana had stopped crying.
"Peaceful?" Emina said in a raised whisper.
"Something like that." She sat down. "Oh, you mean mama cat? She'll be passed out in no time." Abigail carefully cradled Kiana. She set the baby down in a bassinet next to the couch, a present she insisted on getting for the new mom. The little hybrid fussed a bit, but then she was right back to sleep.
"Hard to believe any of us were ever that small."
"Shit, right?" Abigail chuckled. Their voices remained quiet. "I'm just surprised she even let us come over."
"I'm not," Emina said. "You're persuasive."
"That's a funny way of saying 'asshole.'" They both laughed. "Maybe it's just my motherly glow."
"You do seem to know how to take care of babies."
Abigail paused for a moment. She kept watching the new baby. "That's probably because I've had three of my own."
This was new to the cross fox. She was curious, but she kept it to herself. This being new information was ample context. No children having been present in their three years together, even more so. But Abigail knew Emina's silent pensiveness too well. She reached over and squeezed Emina's hand.
"Don't worry. They're fine, from what I know." She leaned over toward the bassinet. She cranked the music box on the side, and a bell-like tune played to soothe Kiana. It also let them talk a little louder than before. "I had my first when I was fifteen. I just didn't know enough, did some stupid stuff. My mom convinced me to give her up. I don't regret it."
Emina couldn't help but look concerned. She remained quiet, giving Abigail the space she needed to talk.
"I was never a bad mom. Had my next two after I turned twenty." They'd talked more about this time in the opossum's life. Once they were more comfortable sharing about their respective scars, Abigail talked about her time with drugs, starting from her mid-teens up until about two years before they met. Emina knew Abigail had gotten in trouble with the law. She understood why this hadn't come up yet. "They were good. Had a boy and a girl. I was gonna keep them and get clean. It just," she paused for a while. "It just didn't work out. Public defender told me the judge would go easier if I gave them up. He was right. Got six months when I should have been in there a few years. Went into rehab right after. Didn't work the first time, but the second time, it took."
Now Emina squeezed Abigail's hand. The opossum smiled, as Kiana started fidgeting. "Do you know where they are?"
"No, but shit, they're not my kids anymore." Abigail huffed, almost a laugh, to keep herself from crying. "Well, I mean, they're someone's kids now. I'm their mama, but I couldn't do right by myself. Was no way I could give them what they needed like I was." She smiled much brighter, and she shrugged one shoulder. "But I love 'em. I can't help it. Don't think they'll ever come find me, but I consented to let my info be found if they ever want."
Kiana coughed, and this sent her into another crying fit. Abigail swooped in and took her up. She held her out. Emina looked confused. "Your turn, Ms. Olympia." Emina swallowed hard. She held out her hands. "Relax. She's light, but babies are sturdy." Abigail set the baby in Emina's hands. Each of the cross fox's hands was nearly half the size of Kiana. She adjusted the little sabre so that she was being cradled. Kiana softened, but she kept crying. Abigail got up to go warm her a bottle.
This gave Emina a moment alone with the baby. For the most part, her girlfriend had handled these duties while Emina kept Wendy busy. This was her first time holding a baby. It was a huge curiosity at first, the situation. Emina didn't feel nervous. She simply marveled at the scale of new creatures. Kiana nestled against Emina's chest and kept whimpering. Emina's soft sweatshirt gave the hybrid something to gum at.
Abigail returned with the warm bottle. She tested the temperature on her furless wrists. Content with the feel of it, she handed the bottle to Emina. The fox mimicked what she'd seen Abigail and then Wendy do, but Abigail helped adjust the angle of the bottle. "Keeps 'em from getting gas." Emina nodded.
They both watched intently as Kiana ate. Abigail took in the sight of her girlfriend feeding this small kitten.
"You ever think about your parents?" she asked Emina.
The fox took a long breath. "Yeah, but I think my situation is a bit different compared to your children." The bottle was emptying quickly. "I knew them, but I can't remember them." As the bottle finished, Abigail took a swaddling cloth and put it on Emina's left shoulder. Emina repositioned Kiana. She pat her back. "I love my parents here. They came all the way to Bosnia to get me, and they've been my biggest fans always. But I know I loved my birth parents. I'm sure your kids love you in their own way."
Abigail was about to tear up, but Kiana burped in Emina's ear. It was a much needed adjustment to the mood. They both laughed.
"Here, try laying her back down," Abigail said. Emina laid her back in the bassinet, and Kiana fell asleep.
"You think Wendy will get the hang of this?" Emina asked.
"Yeah. Post-partum is some real shit. But she's got enough support. She'll come around."
They hunkered down for the night. Abigail showed Emina the ways that she dealt with the long nights of new parenthood. She turned on some movies on low volume, and they got cozy on the couch. They talked more about Emina's parents and Abigail's kids here and there. Kiana woke a few more times, but they each managed to get a few hours' sleep while Wendy got what might have been her first full night in months.
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