One Kit and an (Anomalous) Baby - The Finale
rating: +13+x

Kit woke up on the third day, Christmas Eve, with a head full of gathering clouds – a storm threatening to blow his world apart. Matilda had needed minimal attention through the night, as he had learnt her routine pretty quickly, but he still felt exhausted. Pulling his duvet up around him, he prepared for a day in bed, trying to ignore the growing whirlwind in his brain.

Unfortunately, babies don't tend to understand duvet days, or looming depression. So, when Kit hadn't come to gather her up into his arms by 7am, Matilda started to fuss. She kicked her blanket free and scrunched herself up, starting to howl. Kit put the pillow over his ears, muffling out her noise, until his neighbour began banging on the wall.

Something dark snapped within him. Something that came from his father. Something that he remembered well from his own childhood. He got up and angrily strode over to the chest of drawers. "Shut up!" He growled at the baby, scowling at her. This only seemed to make the baby more upset, and her face turned red as hot tears spilled down her cheeks. "Shut up, shut up, shut up!" Kit repeated, body tense.

There was a sudden force around him, intense. Then he was pushed back from the drawer, something hard thumping into his nose and making him land on his arse. His nose instantly started bleeding, and he stared at the space in front of the baby. Whatever had been helping them both up until them had just turned on him. And it didn’t take Kit more than a second to figure out why.

He swallowed hard, standing, rubbing a hand across his nose and smearing the blood. "I'm sorry," he said, softly, not sure who he was apologising to – the force, or the baby. But he was sorry. He wasn't his father. He wasn't his sins. He wasn't the shithead he had grown up with. Although he clearly wasn't father material, either.

Gingerly, he moved over and, when he was met with no force, gently picked up the baby. It took her longer than usual to calm down to gentle snuffling, but she eventually did, staring up at him with eyes so sad that it hurt, when he realised he caused them. "It's okay, Munchkin. I'm not mad at you. You're a good girl." He reassured, rocking her gently, taking her over to his bed and sitting with her, drawing the duvet around the both of them.

"…I can't do this, can I?" He said, out loud, but very softly. "It was dumb of me to think I could do this. I can't. You've only been okay this long because… because you're like me, you're not a normal person. That's okay." He added, quickly, as if the baby could understand his every word. "But it's the only reason you're… the only reason I could… I'm sorry, Munchkin."

It hurt to admit it. It hurt down to his very soul. He wasn't sure how you could only know someone for a couple of days but care for them so much, but it was there, next to the place where he had locked up his love for Gabriel. Wait. Gabriel! He was a responsible adult who didn't have his own kid on the way – he would do what was right, and Kit wouldn't be in any trouble. But, most importantly, Matilda would be taken care of properly – a lot better than someone could with only a drawer for her to sleep in and intense mood swings coming from her caregiver when their mind went dark.

Trying to tell himself it was just a normal day, he set down to the business of caring for Matilda. During the whole routine of the day, it was as if she knew change was in the air. She fussed over breakfast and got more of the food over her face than inside her mouth; she kicked and whined when her nappy was changed; a bottle provided no soothing comfort, with tears staining her cheeks as she drank, her huge eyes staring at Kit, betrayal in their depths; then bathtime was a tearful nightmare; a nap was out of the question, and, finally, when darkness fell, a teddy bear (not a rabbit; it wasn't for Matilda) with an angry frown manifested next to her when Kit gently placed her back into the box she had originally been found in.

With Matilda safely, if grumpily, waiting within his sight, Kit scribbled out a note.

Gabriel,

Don't be mad. This isn't my fault. This is Matilda. Someone left her on my doorstep on
this morning. I know I can't do anything to look after her but I don’t want the police involved with me. It's selfish, just like you said I was before. I'll admit that now. Just do the right thing. Tell them she likes cuddly toy rabbits and being sung to. She really likes that song that goes - 'A, you're adorable, B, you're so beautiful…' That calms her down. Make sure to tell them that.

I love Thank you.

Kit.

He pinned the note carefully to Matilda's more-or-less clean onesie, and he swore that he saw a look in her eyes that was more than sadness; that asked not to be abandoned, again. But Kit was terrified of turning into another monster, with paws like a lion, a face like a rat's, and teeth as sharp as daggers. The thought scared him more than what he had to do now.

Aware of the chill outside, he lifted Matilda to gently cocoon her into a safe little bundle. "Don't be scared, Munchkin. He'll look after you right. I just… there's a monster inside me, and I have to keep you safe from that. He could hurt you, the monster. I would never hurt you. But the monster could hurt you in a way that'll hurt forever."

It didn't diminish the sadness in her eyes, but the teddy bear disappeared from the box and settled on the sofa, its expression one now of concerned sadness, rather than anger. The message was clear – the toy was no longer a message to Kit, but a gift, a showing that the spirit understood why this could no longer continue this way. "Thank you." Kit said, very softly. "For everything. Please stay with her, you're a good… whatever you are."

Kit had taken the time before putting Matilda in the box to feed her a little warm milk, to keep her as satisfied as possible. He had to trek halfway across the town with no-one becoming suspicious of what was in the box, hence waiting until after dark – and after Matilda's bedtime, too. He could only hope the soft motion would help lull her to sleep and keep her quiet. In terms of cash, he could afford the taxi – but in terms of being discovered, it was out of the question.

He left her on the counter as he carefully shrugged on a well-worn coat and gloves that had holes in the fingers. After a pause, he grabbed a beanie hat and gently placed it on Matilda's head, folding it several times so it fit as well as it was going to. He would have to move quickly whilst still drawing as little attention to himself as he could, because the cold wouldn’t be good for Munch- Matilda. She wasn’t his Munchkin anymore.

The coat was large enough that it allowed him to cradle the box whilst using some of the coat to protect her from the cold and view of people – the peach-scent rabbit laying across her would add some warmth, hopefully. Once he had escaped the florescent lights of his flat building, he felt more confident and began to walk as fast as he dared whilst holding his precious bundle.

To outsiders, particularly those passing by in their cars, he looked like a homeless person protecting their meagre belongings; no-one would logically come to a conclusion there was a baby in that box, as she lay quietly, a dummy in her mouth again. The force was still keeping them both safe, and it was a good sign that it didn't intend to leave just because of the decision Kit had been forced to make.

He made it to Gabriel's building in good time, pausing in the lobby to check Matilda wasn't too cold. She was falling asleep, despite the distress she had shown earlier – the lack of a daytime nap and the warm milk overcoming her upset. Good. Kit wasn't sure he could deal with anymore tears from the baby. He wasn’t too far away from assuring himself he would never become a monster, and taking her back home.

He steeled himself though, as he took the lift up to Gabriel's floor. He was aware of the CCTV in the lift and corridors, and put his hood up, hiding his hair and most of his face, back to the camera, and hoped that would be enough. He didn't want the authorities to find out who… who abandoned the baby, just Gabriel – Kit just wanted to be able to explain himself as much as possible, if only to one person.

Reaching Gabriel's enclosed doorway area, he pushed open the glass door that stayed unlocked to allow the delivery of packages. He placed Matilda's box safely on the floor, then knelt by her side. "I guess this is goodbye… Munchkin." No harm in using the nickname one last time. "Man, I'm going to miss you. I really liked having you around, even during the crying bits and the nappy changes. It was worth it. But I'm going to have to let you go, so you can be safe." Matilda stirred a bit in her sleep, a free hand clutching the rabbit's ear as she sighed. Kit was just glad now to see she seemed to be as content as possible. He pressed a kiss to her forehead, then left her in the enclosed area.

He didn't trust himself to ring the bell and actually run away. Between Matilda and Gabriel, there was far too much potential for him to freeze where he was, heart tugging itself into pieces when faced with these differing emotional situations. But he did trust in Matilda to start crying, or perhaps the entity protecting her to somehow alert Gabriel, now it understood Kit wasn't abandoning her just because. He left the building as quickly as he could, and hurried himself back home, arms already feeling empty without Matilda to hold.

Kit was right – the force around Matilda waited for a short time, sure its charge was safe, and then started to tug the rabbit from her grasp, making it disappear into a void. This disappearance caused Matilda to wake with a start and begin to sob, then wail. The entity stopped the tugging once it was clear Matilda was going to keep crying, and the door swung open quite quickly. Gabriel stood in his doorway, staring down at the baby, then bending down as he saw the note. Reading it, he frowned, and carefully pocketed it, before lifting the baby out of the box.

"Shh shh shh," he cooed, softly, holding the baby against his chest and rocking very gently. This was just like Kit – to dump his dirty laundry at Gabriel's feet. Still, he supposed he couldn't blame Kit too much – of course he would never call the police, and at least he hadn't tried to bring up the baby in that cold flat of his with his limited funds; that would be insanity. Matilda calmed to soft hiccups – this man smelt like the clothes that Kit had dressed her in after her first bath with him, and it was familiar; safe, even.

As Gabriel headed inside to call the police, still absently rocking the snuffling babe, he noticed a colourful cuddly bunny toy for his year-old nephew levitate off the table and into the baby's grabbing hands. "Oh shit." He mumbled, in recognition of what this may be, and his heart sank in recognition of what he would have to do now. Instead of calling the police, he thumbed down in his phone until he came to a number simply labelled 'work'. He waited for it to ring through, then typed in a code, before putting his phone to his ear to speak.

"Agent Romero calling in an Alpha One emergency protocol at my current location. Undercover crew needed for retrieval of… young humanoid with unknown anomalous abilities. Civilians present within area, however there is no danger known from what can be presently understood."

As he sat down, absently cradling the baby and deciding to let her keep the cuddly toy – a slight comfort, considering her potential future – he remembered the folded note in his pocket. He would have to dispose of it, and dispose of it well. He wanted to keep Kit out of this, as much as possible, if only because it would be noted that he hadn't been eliminated as the Agent had been ordered to do.

Or that's what he felt safest telling himself. That emotional link still stung, if he lingered on it, especially this time of year.

So much for a quiet, merry Christmas.

Safely hidden back in his home, Kit knelt in front of the mural. Gently, he put his hand over the tiny baby hand print. He couldn't protect her. He couldn't keep her safe, watch her grow up, make mistakes and learn from them. There was too much of a chance that he could become a monster, so he had to let her go, for her own safety. His reaction earlier had terrified even him, and it would never be fair on a child – not ever. As realisation of what that meant hit him square in the gut, his hand slowly curled into a fist, and he let it slide down the wall. His head bowed, silent sobs shaking his frame - the teddy bear next to him, and the handkerchief scrunched up in his free hand – all he had left of her.

Hub

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