Pairing: Klaine, mentions of Brittana
Spoilers: Up through 3.18, but not really
Summary: Blaine is excited for his school project so he can see what it's like to be a parent. And he's about to find out. [Set in S3.]
Warnings: Reality! Panic! Marlon Brando! Cat hair! Angst! And a serious amount of fluff.
A/N: So flaming_muse and I had lunch at the Museum of Natural History in NYC last year and talked about writing stories with kids as they really are and not idealized. And then this happened from an email this morning about our kids. I regret nothing. :D Title is from the tagline for RealLife dolls, and FM is fabulous for tucking my commas in and making me WRITE ALL THE WORDS.
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“Did you come to meet the baby?” Blaine asked as Kurt came into his bedroom Friday after school let out.
“It's not a baby, Blaine,” Kurt said, laughing. “It's a robot. You are the proud, temporary parent of a robot mandroid.”
Blaine finished unlatching the straps on the infant car seat he'd used to carry the baby home (per class instructions) and gently lifted it into his arms. He had been happy to not only get one of the few boy dolls, but an ethnic one, as well. It felt closer to what he might actually be able to have one day and the thought of that ever happening filled him with giddy excitement.
“I am the proud parent of baby Emilio, thank you very much,” Blaine said, cooing at the electronic training child he'd been assigned to “parent” for the weekend in his Human Development class. “He's lovely and perfect and talented, and he's going to get into M.I.T. and be a world famous mathematician.”
“O...kay. Well, I have to get to Rachel's, so I'm going to leave you and, ahem, your child, to get to know one another.”
Blaine ignored the teasing look in Kurt's eye. He was going to have fun with this assignment, and it would be a great way to see what it would be like to actually be a parent. Brittany was assigned as his “wife” - he didn't have the energy to protest the discrimination against his orientation yet again – and had supplied Blaine with a duffel bag full of doll clothes. They were all covered in cat hair, for some reason, so he'd made a point of running them through the washing machine first, using the sterilize function to be safe.
“I wish you could stay,” Blaine said, putting “Emilio” to his shoulder and gently patting its back as Kurt gathered up his things. His NYADA audition rehearsals were taking up most of his free time after school, these days.
Kurt watched him, eyes tracking left to right as Blaine swayed with the baby. “Part of me really wants to see how far you'll take this daddy-thing, and the other part of me wants to be far, far away from that thing when it goes off.” Kurt leaned in and lightly kissed Blaine on the lips. “And it's going to go off.”
Blaine just laughed, stealing another quick kiss before Kurt backed away. “It's going to be fine.” It was. This was going to be fun, and was going to be excellent training for him. The weight of the doll was like a real baby, too. It even made cooing and gurgling noises like a two or three month old would really make. “Oh, hand me the Marlon Brando outfit before you leave, would you?”
Kurt rummaged through the bag. “Streetcar? Or The Wild One?”
Blaine replied, “Wild. I don't to dress our child in a--” He covered the baby's free ear with a hand and whispered. “--wife-beater.”
Kurt blinked owlishly at him. “I don't know what to address here first, that you just whispered so a non-sentient hunk of plastic wouldn't be able to hear you, or that you called R2-D2 'our' child.”
Blaine smiled back nervously. “Well, I'm just imaging what it would be like when we ever start a family.”
Kurt's shoulders dropped, and his hand released the strap on the duffel bag. “You are the cutest of the cute, Blaine Anderson.” He walked back to Blaine, a fond smile on his face. He ran his fingers through the hair over Blaine's ear and kissed him again, slow and sweet.
Blaine pulled back, blushing.
“Are you telling me that you are embarrassed about kissing me in front of that thing?” Kurt laughed.
“No, well... Yes. No! I mean... it's just weird to do that in front of the baby, isn't it?”
Kurt shook his head and hoisted his satchel over his shoulder. “I love you. Call me later?”
Blaine looked up from Emilio's face as he cradled the doll in his arm and smiled at his boyfriend. “Love you, too. I will.” He chose to ignore Kurt's laughter as the door closed. He continued to gently bounce the doll in his arm, weaving from side to side and said, “Let's get you into a little something cuter than this ragged old onesie, hmm?”
He had just successfully zipped up the tiny leather jacket, laughing with pleasure at how cute Emilio looked with the miniature cap perched on its head when the baby made a weird hiccuping noise. Blaine tilted his head to the side, looking intently at the doll. The paperwork that had accompanied it hadn't mentioned hiccuping noises. It gurgled, cooed, cried, and burped.
The doll gave a shiver and then the most ear-piercing noise Blaine had ever heard in his life began to emanate from somewhere inside the electronic baby. He blinked, not sure what to do. He was completely frozen for a painful series of heart beats, then grabbed the baby up, forgetting to cradle the doll's head, and the shrieking somehow intensified. Blaine didn't even know that decibel level was possible.
He held the baby to his chest, bouncing and patting its back, silently panicking as he surveyed the room for something to jump out at him as a solution to this problem. Oh, right, there was his wrist monitor that he was supposed to hold up to the doll so it knew he was the parent. That was supposed to make them stop crying some of the time.
Blaine shifted awkwardly to keep the baby at his shoulder while he used his teeth to pull up his shirt sleeve in order to expose the wrist band, wincing as he imagined what Kurt would have said had he seen that. He made worried shushing sounds at the doll as he held the flat black disc at his wrist over the baby's back, like his teacher had shown them in class. It should have made a noise, or the baby's crying should have lessened, but it didn't.
Blaine frantically waved his wrist like a TSA security wand all over the doll's head, back, and legs, trying to make it register.
Gasping, he cried out, “Clothes!” suddenly realizing with a panic why the sensor wasn't working. Carefully he laid the doll back onto his bed, remembering to hold its head the entire time until he could free his hands to unzip the leather jacket. And the vest. And raise up the hem on the waffle-knit henley. And push aside the dog tag necklace that had the outfit's proof of authenticity stamped onto it. “Damn layers,” He murmured. “Oh, sorry!” Not even two hours in, and he was already swearing at his child.
He waved his wrist over the doll's torso, trying to make the electronic sensor...sense. His voice fraught with panic, he murmured, “I'm sorry, Emilio, I'm so sorry!” His hands were shaking as he pressed the sensor everywhere he could think of; the shrieking continued on and on.
“I don't know what you.... Are you hungry?” Blaine turned away from the bed, fumbling in his bag for the baby bottle that also had an electronic sensor built in. Remembering the instructions from class, he sat on his bed with his back against the wall and carefully brought the baby into the cradle of his arm. “Shh, shh. Are you hungry?” he pleaded, pressing the bottle to the baby's mouth.
The shrieking continued. Blaine was pretty sure that he was going to have some permanent hearing damage after all was said and done, not to mention the permanent worry lines in his forehead. Tears began to prick the corner of his eyes, feeling completely overwhelmed. Not hungry, not needing to be rocked, what else did babies need? Diapers!
The doll had come with two diapers, each with sensors in them, as well, to make sure the students actually removed “soiled” pants and put clean ones on. Biting his lip, Blaine began the laborious task of pulling on the Velcro closures to the motorcycle boots (and damn, they were full of cat hair, too, he realized.) to remove them, undoing the tiny jeans and pulling them off. He worried for a brief moment about getting a mess on his clean bed when he remembered with slight embarrassment that it wasn't an actual baby with a dirty diaper.
It just...it all felt so real. His gut-churning fear was certainly real.
He closed his eyes briefly, wincing when the shrieking increased in volume as if to remind Blaine that hey, wet diaper here, Dad. His heart was beating in his throat, his hands were shaking and he could barely breathe, but he was able to pull off the original diaper and put on a new one.
The shrieking stopped.
Blaine laughed, still trembling, and pressed the heels of his hands into his eye sockets, forcing himself to breathe deeply and calm down.
His first big cry, and he had managed it all by himself. This was going to be okay. He was going to be okay. He could totally do this.
He totally could not do this by himself, he realized three hours later, when the baby started shrieking again. And again, nothing seemed to work. He checked the pamphlet over and over, hoping it would have an answer for how to make it all stop and getting angry every time he read the words “gently cries when upset."
“Gently cries my Aunt Mathilda,” Blaine said with a sour face, pacing in his room with Emilio back at his shoulder, trying to pat, rock, soothe, do anything that would make the horrible, skull-fracturing noise go away. He wanted to give up. He wanted to curl into a ball and cover his head. He wanted his mom. (Just to make the crying stop. His or the baby's; at this point it didn't matter whose, just as long as it did.)
He grabbed his phone off the side table, admitting defeat. He needed help. He called Brittany, hoping she wouldn't be angry that he was calling so late on a Friday night, but not knowing what else to do. And after all, she was his “wife” in this. (They had decided that they wouldn't be “married,” and were sharing custody.) Brittany had the baby the day before and hadn't reported any problems to their teacher. There had to be something she was doing that he wasn't.
With sadness that he just might not have what it took to be a father one day, he dialed her number. “Brittany?”
“Hi, Blaine Warbler. What did you do to our baby?”
How did she--? It wasn't important. “I didn't do anything. It just won't stop crying. I've tried to feed it, change it, burp it, rock it... Nothing works!”
He caught sight of himself in his floor-length mirror hanging on his closet door. His hair was sticking out all over from running his hands through it, his eyes were wide and rimmed in red, and his shirt was rumpled from constantly holding the doll in different positions to try and make it stop crying. He was a complete and utter mess.
“Lord Tubbington says to sit on the floor with Emilio on your lap. It didn't work for me, but it did for him.”
“It worked for...” Blaine didn't want to know. At this point he would try anything. He dropped his phone on the bed, slid to the carpet with his legs bent. He gently laid Emilio on his thighs so the baby was facing him and slowly rocked his legs from side to side. Nothing changed.
He grabbed his phone again with his free hand and cried out, “It's not working!” He pressed his shoulder against his ear, holding the phone in place while he smoothed his hands over the doll's arms, not knowing what else to do to stop the screaming.
“Hit FaceTime,” Brittany said.
Blaine fumbled with his phone one-handed again; it was a lot harder to do that than he had imagined, what with his main focus being on keeping the baby from falling to the floor. God, he was going to fail, the baby was going to hate him and--
Right. He laid the phone in the doll's lap so he could see Brittany's face. As always, she looked relaxed and happy. Completely at ease. Maybe he just wasn't cut out to be a parent if he was going to get this frazzled? He breathed deeply, held it for a moment, then let it out with a whoosh. He was barely wincing anymore at the high-pitched shrieking of the baby. It was now just a part of the audible landscape.
Brittany's image shifted like she was moving in her room, and he could see a grey-striped cat's tail breaking back and forth across the image of her face.
“Did you change the diaper?” she asked.
“Did you feed it? Oh, and they don't like macaroni, I tried already.”
Blaine resisted the urge to cover his face with his hand (mainly because he didn't have a free one) and replied, “Yes.”
“Brittany, I did all of those things, I promise. It just won't stop screaming.” The hysteria was quickly rising in his voice again and his eyes welled up with tears. He blinked rapidly to keep them from falling.
Brittany looked to the side for a moment, the video image blocked by, well, a cat butt. Blaine looked away, a moue of distaste on his face. Brittany's face came back to the screen.
“Pick the baby up in your arms.”
“O...okay,” Blaine said, trying to jostle both the phone and the doll at the same time. He had the doll's head cradled in the crook of his arm and held the phone out with his left hand to see Brittany's face, wincing with every brain-throbbing pulse brought on by Emilio's shrieking.
“Turn the phone so the baby can see it.”
The baby can't actually see.... He didn't say it; he did turn the phone towards the baby, though. He could still see the screen as well. Brittany leaned back and her cat rubbed his face against her phone, evidently. The screen then filled up with the image of Lord Tubbington's paw.
“Touch the baby's nose with the phone, Blaine.”
What on earth... Blaine's shoulders and chin dropped. What could it hurt? Nothing else had worked. He tapped the doll's nose with the phone's screen and pulled it back. “Brittany, it's nice that you want to help--”
Blaine realized with a start that the shrieking had stopped. “How in the hel-heck did that work?”
Brittany shrugged and pulled her cat into her arms, stroking his furry chin. “I left Emilio with him last night while Santana and I had sex--” Blaine turned red both from embarrassment and frustration that she left their child. “--and he said Emilio didn't cry once. The baby started to, but he curled up with him and tapped its nose, and the baby stopped. He's really good with children, even though he doesn't want any for himself.”
Blaine just gaped at the screen, unable to say a thing.
“Okay, so stop making the baby unhappy, and I'll see you in Glee Monday, 'bye!” The screen went black after Brittany waved her goodbye.
He sat there for a moment, the baby in his arm, his breathing and heart rate slowly returning to normal, and let all of the adrenaline in his system dissipate before trying to move. Quite frankly, he was terrified to move, worried it might set the doll off again. The floor became too uncomfortable after several minutes, though, and he gently made his way to his feet, keeping the doll as still as possible.
Walking carefully across his room to make as little of a disturbance as possible, he laid Emilio in the car carrier that the doll had come with, tucked a blanket over it and tip-toed to his computer desk. He pulled up Skype and dialed Kurt. He just really needed to see his loving boyfriend's face right that very moment.
“Hey, there-- Oh my god, Blaine! What happened?”
Blaine frantically tapped the volume button on his laptop to make sure nothing woke the baby. “Nice to see you, too.”
“I'm sorry,” Kurt said, biting his lip and looking amused. “I just don't think I've ever seen you look so...unkempt. So what happened?” he asked, this time with comfort and worry in his voice.
“It went off.” If his voice was as dry as the Sahara, well, he couldn't help it, not after the night he'd had.
Kurt laughed but had the grace to cover his mouth and quickly school his features into concern. “It's awful, isn't it?”
“Yes,” Blaine whimpered. “And I wanted to tell you how grateful I am that we can never accidentally make one of those things.”
Kurt clucked his tongue and cooed soothingly. “Oh, you poor thing.” Kurt pouted a little and said, “I'm sorry you had such a rough night.”
Blaine just looked back at him, knowing that he looked pitiful and woebegone but didn't have it in him to care at all. He wanted nothing more in that moment than for Kurt to be there to give him the hug he so badly needed right then.
“So no more dreams of the Daddies Hummel?”
Blaine blinked. “What?”
Kurt blushed and laughed nervously. “I was just trying out who we'd be, um, what we'd call ourselves if... You know, I never knew which of Rachel's dads was the original Berry,” he said quickly, clearly trying to change the subject.
Something in Blaine relaxed; the crazy tension that had his chest tight and his muscles in knots for hours finally let go. The sheer panic at having no one to turn to when everything started falling apart seemed to evaporate at the sight of the sweetly anxious look on Kurt's face. Blaine sighed and softly asked, “Kurt?”
“We can be the Daddies Hummel.”
“Oh.” Kurt fumbled with the neckline of his pajama top, a grin spreading across his beautiful face, which he quickly covered with his fist. Quietly, and slightly muffled, Blaine heard Kurt ask, “We can?”
Blaine slumped onto his desk, his chin in his hand. He looked fondly at his computer screen, filled with the face of the one person that made him feel capable of anything. “Mm hm. Because that means I wouldn't be doing this alone.”
Smiling, Kurt tilted his head to the side, his hand reaching out as if to touch the screen before realizing they weren't actually in the same place. “I don't think I could ever do it alone. It was hard enough to do this last year with Santana as my partner. She kept telling me that she'd have a nanny for the 'gross parts' and made me keep it the whole time.” His voice diminished to almost a whisper as he said, "It was really scary for me, too."
It was the first time in hours that Blaine felt anything other than complete and utter stress. Instead, what he felt was gratitude. Gratitude that Kurt had also been scared, gratitude that Kurt was there for him now. And he was especially grateful that Kurt imagined doing this for real with him some day. Some day thirty-seven years from now. “I love you.”
Kurt hummed happily at his end. “I love you, too. But I just want you to know something.” He leaned in towards his monitor, his eyes heavy-lidded and his lips parted. Blaine's breath caught in his throat, child in the room be damned. Kurt said tenderly, “You get all the poopy diapers.”
Blaine laughed softly, still able to remember that he needed to be quiet. His heart clenched tightly in his chest for a moment, marveling that they were even talking about this. Loving that they were talking about this. “Fine. You get all the spit up.”
Kurt looked shocked and indignant for a moment when Blaine held his finger to his lips, making a shushing noise. “Okay, love you! I need to get some sleep before the baby gets up for its morning bottle. See you at brunch!”
He laughed at the image of Kurt with narrowed eyes but still blowing Blaine a kiss as he closed down the program. He quickly and quietly changed into his navy pajamas, slipping into his bed and sighing with relief at being able to stretch out. As he drifted off to sleep, he had thoughts of he and Kurt passing a baby back and forth, a unified team that could handle anything, knowing they had someone's full support for the moments one of them couldn't handle it.
He could envision Kurt swaying in their living room with a baby, a little peach-fuzzed head just peeking over the strong line of Kurt's shoulder as he sang softly to their baby while Blaine got dinner going. He could see them both worried when their baby was sick but always they were there together in his imagination, always helping each other.
They'd go shopping, hold hands to keep each other from choking up on the first days of school, they'd have a digital photo album to send to the grandparents of the grand reveal of the special pillow Kurt would hand-sew for the Tooth Fairy. Those were the moments that would get them through the nights of crying, of little to no sleep, the many, many messy accidents that inevitably would happen with their child.
Their child. Blaine obviously had no interest in becoming a father during high school, and probably not for a good ten or more years, either. Today was maybe the best eye opener to what really having a child would be like, and he wasn't eager to experience it for real just yet. But he knew that as with everything in his life, having Kurt be a part of it would make everything better. Make everything perfect, actually.
He nestled further into his bedding, smiling at the thought of how much he loved Kurt and the future he saw for the two of them, as well.
And he made a mental note to make sure they had a cat for nose-booping purposes. Just in case.