Helm looks confused when Chris gets back in from a grocery run. Not that that's particularly unusual, but he's also holding their cordless phone and there's a shell-shocked edge to his confusion.
"Uh, Chris?" he says, fiddling with the phone. "I have bad news."
Chris puts down the grocery bag and walks over, folding Helm into his arms. Whatever it is, they can deal with it. He figures that a hug might help.
Helm still has the phone in his hands, digging into Chris's belly where he hasn't moved to put his arms around Chris in return.
That worries him, and he leans back a little, searching Helm's eyes.
"It'll be fine," Chris assures him. Helm gulps and looks down, eyelashes fluttering, skin flushing.
"My ex-girlfriend's gonna have a baby," Helm blurts, burying his face against Chris's collarbone. Muffled, he goes on, "She says it's mine, but she thinks I should—" he pauses, swallows again.
Suddenly, there's a horrible dark cloud descending over Chris. It's not like he hasn't pled his case for his daughter, but this... it sounds bad.
"She wants me to take care of it," Helm finally manages. He sounds desperate and confused. "I don't know how to take care of a baby!"
Holy fuck! Chris isn't sure he's ready to raise another baby, either. This is really going to put a crimp in their honeymoon—well, okay, it's been going on for months, but still.
He tightens his arms around Helm though. "It's all right," he says, because soothing his boyfriend is at least something he's good at. "When is the baby due?"
Helm rubs his face against Chris, and Chris has the unpleasant thought that Helm is crying and wiping his nose on his shirt.
"About two weeks," Helm says finally, sounding defeated. "I'm sorry."
Chris feels a little desperate himself now. That doesn't—she can't be—he tips Helm's chin up and looks into his pretty eyes.
"Are you sure? Mothers don't usually—"
"She said she has things she wants to do with her life. That she never planned on this and I—I was stupid so I should have to make the best of my mistake."
Suddenly, Chris understands the obsessive use of condoms in their sex life. He's been trying to break Helm of the habit but—
"Darren," he says, scraping his fingers through his hair, but he knows how serious he must look. "How long have you known about this?"
Helm definitely makes shifty eyes at that, turning his face away.
"Since... since we broke up." Helm shifts and pulls out of his arms, throwing the phone on the couch and hugging his arms to his body.
"Since we broke up," Chris says, motioning to them both, "or since you and she broke up?"
"Since my girlfriend and I broke up." Helm backs up against the wall, looking pained and confused. "At the time she said—she said that I was a stupid kid and she didn't want me around. It's why we broke up."
Helm now looks confused and guilty. Someday, Chris is going to ask him how he manages that.
"You told me you broke up with her because you suspected you liked guys," Chris points out. Helm's eyes flick away from his.
"I may have... possibly stretched the truth a little bit there." Helm sniffs loudly, scrubbing his shirtsleeve in front of his nose. Chris has the extremely unsettling thought that Helm is little more than a child himself, and a baby? Chris hasn't cared for an infant since six years ago, and Helm, from the sound of things, never has.
"It seems awfully hypocritical for you to lay the guilt trip on me because of Jenna's pregnancy when you not only knew about this, but lied about why you two broke up."
Helm's eyes go wide, his mouth drops open, and he's clearly upset by Chris's words.
"No, Ozzie, really," he whispers. "I truly forgot all about the baby. And... I was thinking of breaking up with her. I really was."
"I just—" Chris swallows hard and steps back, away from Helm, just slightly.
Helm looks like his heart is breaking. He wipes his eyes on his sleeve as well, moves towards Chris.
"Don't say—Chris, please. You know I can't do this by myself."
Chris searches Helm's eyes, his face. He's still wearing the stamp of confusion, but also desperation. Chris doesn't know whether it's because Chris is withdrawing, or because he's facing the reality of caring for a baby by himself.
Chris hates himself, but how can he really throw Helm to the wolves when the situation was reversed not so long ago? Sure, Jenna isn't due for months, but the fact remains that Chris was full of lies and evasions of his own in the not so distant past.
He opens his arms and Helm falls into them, face notched into the crook between his neck and shoulder, eyes damp against Chris's skin.
"It's all right," Chris murmurs, cupping the back of Helm's head, fingers stroking through his short hair. "I know. I know you didn't mean it."
"What are we going to do?" Helm says, muffled by Chris's shoulder, but also directly beneath his ear.
Chris rubs Helm's back with his other hand. "We do what we have to. It won't be easy, but I'm sure we can handle it."
Three days later
Chris is staring straight into the very, very blue eyes of a tiny, wrinkled, squalling human being, holding it up in its blue blanket and wondering how it is that Helm managed to be out just when his girlfriend showed up.
"You..." Chris is still searching for words when she dumps a bag at his feet.
"I just got out of the hospital," she says. "There's diapers in there, a couple of onesies, a bottle, stuff you should start off with. I have to get going."
Chris can feel his heart start to pound. They don't have anything yet; not a crib, nor a changing table, nor any clothes or food or anything else.
Helm's ex-girlfriend slams the door behind her, leaving Chris still standing there, still holding the kid out like it's a ticking time bomb.
"Well," Chris says to the newborn, panicking a little—maybe they can't handle this, after all— "I am presuming you're a boy, ergo the blue blanket, but... I suppose I should make sure."
He looks around the room, but the only place to put the baby down is the middle of the floor—Helm and he have fucked on that couch, the chair is too dangerous, the table obviously too hard.
So he lays it carefully down onto the worn carpet and unwraps the blanket.
The infant screams, immediately flailing its freed limbs, feet kicking, little hands in fists, eyes screwed shut, face alarmingly red.
Chris honestly can't remember what it was like when Sydney was born, not any more. He wonders how long Helm's going to be at the bank.
Chris smoothes the blanket around the baby and stares down at the diaper in apprehension. He's down on his knees, and he leans forward, grabbing the handle of the bag and pulling it towards him, rummaging through it until he finds a new diaper.
He's pretty sure that undoing the tapes of the diaper will void its use and he'll need a new one.
Then he has an idea, and quickly lifts the kid into the crook of his arm, nearly forgetting to support its fragile head, and slips a finger into the front of the diaper and peeks inside.
Yeah, it's a boy, all right. He wonders what they should name it—Helm's ex barely stayed long enough to hand the baby over, much less to tell Chris his gender or whether he had a name.
The baby quiets for a moment, his bare skin against Chris's arm, and he opens his eyes again, unfocused and woozy, and makes what sounds like a baby-hiccup.
It dawns on Chris that the kid might get cold without the blanket, and he reaches down, trying not to dislodge the infant, and he takes that moment to make another hiccoughing kind of sound and then spew baby-puke all down Chris's Made in Detroit t-shirt.
"Fuck-goddamn-dammit!" Chris curses, holding the baby away from him again, then plopping it probably none-too-gently back onto its blanket.
There's a key in the door, and Helm walks in, tucking his wallet into his jeans, and pulls up short, staring.
"Oh. Oh," he says, that look of confusion and utter terror back on his face.
"Congratulations, daddy," Chris says dryly, "it's a boy. And now it's all yours, since it just puked on me and I need to go change."
"Oh my God," Helm gasps, "don't leave me alone with it!"
"Just watch it for five minutes," Chris says, and makes a beeline for their bedroom.
He strips out of the shirt in record time, but not fast enough to get back into the living room before Helm lets out a very undignified shriek, followed by,
"Ozzie! I think it needs its diaper changed!" panic ringing in his voice.
Chris looks down at the shirt in his hands, then spares a look for the open doorway, then drops the shirt and dashes back into the living room before Helm does something crazy and unexpected.
He gets back just in time to see Helm backing up until he hits the wall behind him, his eyes round.
Chris figures out why Helm said what he did when he gets a little closer to the baby and discovers its belly is wet from where the diaper wasn't snug against its skin.
Okay, that's a probably a bad thing.
He kneels down again, ready to undo the diaper, and then pauses, hands above the baby.
"I don't remember how to do this," Chris says. Helm shakes his head rapidly when Chris looks up at him.
"Don't look at me," Helm says, holding his palms up as if to ward Chris—and the baby—off. "I've never even babysat. You at least had kids."
"It was six years ago!" Chris says, a little desperately. The baby is screaming now, killing Chris's ears and making Helm shrink even further back towards the wall.
"Do something!" Helm cries, his own voice rising.
"I'm trying," Chris says, "you're not helping! I can't even hear myself think—" he puts both hands over his ears and can feel his head throb from the noise.
The blanket underneath the kid is damp now, and it's still kicking its feet and yelling its fool head off.
It's probably the happiest Chris has ever been to see Drapes walk in, right at that moment, hair damp as if he's just showered, a casserole dish in his hands.
Drapes, to his credit, takes in the whole scene in the briefest of seconds and then sets the dish down on the table. Chris is pretty sure that Julie sent Drapes over with that for their dinner.
"You have no idea what you're doing, do you?" Drapes says, and he doesn't seem to require an answer.
He drops to his own knees and carefully turns the baby around, grabbing the fresh diaper Chris left lying out, and deftly undoing the wet diaper and then lifting the baby's bum in the air before sliding the new diaper underneath him.
He holds out a hand and Chris finds powder and wipes in the bag, giving them over and watching with eyes about as wide as Helm's as Drapes finishes changing the baby.
"You got clothes for him?" Drapes asks. Chris must look like a deer in headlights, because Drapes lets out a breath that is somewhere between an exasperated sigh and a laugh.
Helm, meanwhile, is trying to creep out of the room.
"You two are doomed," Drapes says.
It's frightening how true those words might wind up being.
Unfortunately, Drapes doesn't stay and bail them out for long. He explains how to heat up the casserole—don't leave it in the oven too long—and then he's on his way, claiming he has his own kids to take care of.
Helm, still edging away from the baby every chance he gets, is given the job of warming dinner while Chris tries to figure out how to feed said baby.
"Helmer," he calls into the kitchen. "We're going to have to get a crib, changing table, things like that for him. Oh and he needs a name, too," he adds as an afterthought.
Chris is holding the baby, wrapped in a towel, sitting in the chair and examining him. He doesn't really look like anyone yet, and Chris doesn't want to name him—not his baby, and he doesn't want to deprive Helm of the chance—but he wonders if his boyfriend will ever get close enough to his own child to give it a name.
"Who's going to watch it while we do baby shopping?" Helm shouts back; he's used to living with just Chris, and he's louder than necessary, and the baby, who was dozing, opens his extremely blue eyes and starts to howl.
Chris groans and starts to rock back and forth in the chair—which is not a rocking chair, either. The infant is having none of that, though, still bawling, fists beating against Chris's chest.
Chris gets to his feet carefully and finds himself pacing back and forth across the floor, trying to quiet him down. Helm, from the kitchen, is mumbling to himself, and Chris suspects it's because the baby is crying.
He's sort of perversely waiting for the first moment the child cries at night—Helm probably isn't expecting that. Of course, Chris will be the one who has to get up and take care of it, since Helm is always conveniently missing whenever it needs something and they've only been in charge of him for an afternoon.
"Sooner or later," Chris says, walking to and standing in the kitchen doorway, "you're going to have to learn to take care of him, too. He's your baby."
"I will," Helm says, but he's still creeping shiftily away from the doorway as if the kid might explode any second.
Then again, considering the baby puke five minutes into Chris's first meeting with him, maybe he will.
"C'mere," Chris says. Helm gives an almost imperceptible shudder, but steps closer. "I'll give you the most amazing blowjob ever later if you at least make an effort," Chris says, trying to look innocent and not manipulative.
Helmer walks right up to him at that, but he still appears terrified when he glances down at the baby in Chris's arms. He's quieted down now, almost the moment Helm actually really looked at him, and Chris finds himself wondering if it's possible for a baby that's about three days old to know who his father is, just instinctively, maybe?
"It's ugly," Helm says, pouting. "I thought babies were supposed to be cute."
"It's only just been born. They all look like this at this stage," Chris says, trying to sound like he knows what he's talking about, but the truth is, he thought his own girls were beautiful the moment they entered the world.
"I don't like this," Helm says, shaking his head, mouth open.
"You think I do?" Chris shoots back, then immediately regrets it when Helm's face falls. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. But I don't like the way this worked out either, but we have to make the best of it."
"You didn't answer my question," Helm says, but now he's staring at the baby like it might glow in the dark or something.
"I don't know, honestly. Maybe Drapes will watch him. Or we need to have a baby shower." Chris looks down at the infant, who is drooling all over himself and the dingy towel it's wrapped in.
"Um." Helm shifts on his feet. "Aren't those generally done before it's born?"
Chris is surprised Helm knows such a thing.
"Yeah," he says, "but this is an emergency. Go call Drapes and—" Chris pauses. "On second thought, you're going to have to learn eventually, so hold out your arms."
Helm instantly recoils.
"I'm serious." Chris frowns at his boyfriend. "Just hold him for a second or two to start. And then you can keep an eye on him in the living room while I call Drapes."
Helm looks down at the baby.
"I want you to—" he blushes fiercely, but manages to get the next words out, anyway "—to, you know, kiss me. Down there."
Chris gives him a look of disbelief.
"To get you to hold your own baby, I have to rim you?" he asks for clarification, still dumbfounded.
Helmer flushes even more, glancing away. "We've never done that before, and I read about it on the internet."
"You looked at internet porn?" Chris says, baby momentarily forgotten beyond the warm weight of it in his arms.
"I—" Helm holds out his arms. Great, now the conversation is uncomfortable enough for him to be willing to try.
"Okay, so, you support his head, like this," Chris says, demonstrating as he passes the baby over. "And then you just sort of settle him in the crook of your elbow."
Helm does so awkwardly, but he manages, looking surprised—and vaguely confused—as he stands there, baby in his arms.
"Okay, good," Chris says, and lifts the baby back out of Helm's hold and back against his own body. He returns to the living room and lays him down on the floor again, then turns around and gestures to Helm.
"Now, just watch him for five minutes," Chris says. Helm perches on the couch and stares intently at the baby like he's going to do exactly what Chris just told him.
Chris goes into the kitchen, grabs his cell phone off the counter, and dials Drapes.
"Hey," he says when his best friend answers. "I know this is a crazy thing to ask, but we need a babysitter while we do some baby shopping."
"Ozzie," Drapes says patiently, "you could do the baby shopping yourself, you know."
"No," he argues, "no, I really can't, because Helmer has no idea what he's doing and he wouldn't know what to buy, either."
There's a long sigh from the other end.
"I am not going to be the guy who saves your ass every five minutes, Oz," Drapes says. "But I won't deny you need supplies, so for now I guess I can help you. Although you might have asked while I was still over there."
"I'm sorry," Chris says, and realises— "oh shit, I think we burned dinner. I gotta go."
Drapes laughs. "Don't tell Julie," he says, and hangs up.
Chris grabs the oven mitt and removes the scorched casserole from the oven, looking at it mournfully.
"Okay, Darren, dinner's ready. Sort of," Chris says. "We forgot about it and, well, you know what happens after that."
Helm appears in the kitchen sans baby. Chris looks at him, then back towards their living room.
"Baby?" he prompts. Helm looks confused.
"We don't have anywhere else to put it," he says, as if that explains everything. Chris sighs and dishes out the casserole onto two paper plates, handing one to Helm.
"Then we eat on the couch, I guess," he says, taking his own plate and going to sit on the couch.
Dinner is an awkward affair, both of them staring at the newborn, which is sleeping on the floor, eating mechanically and in silence, pretty much used to the burnt flavour by now.
Helm's just finishing the last bite of it when the baby starts to cry, gradually increasing in volume until Chris wishes he had earplugs.
"Oh my God," Helm says. "What's wrong with it?"
"It might be hungry," Chris says, setting his plate down on the coffee table and going over and crouching down next to the baby. "Actually..." he wrinkles his nose. "I think he needs his diaper changed again."
"Again?" Helm says, an affronted expression on his face. "Fuck."
"Okay, so," Chris murmurs to himself. "I just watched Drapes do this, and I used to do it for Sydney, it can't be too difficult, right?"
He unfolds the towel and unsticks the tapes on the diaper. The bag that came with the baby is still slouched right next to him, and he finds another clean diaper.
He's doing pretty good until he pulls back the front of the diaper and faces his first instance with baby poo since he last changed Sydney's diapers.
"Oh shit," he says, not even totally aware of the horrible pun.
Helm makes a noise, and Chris glances up at him, at the frightened expression on his face. "Did we kill it?" he asks, even though the baby is still crying fretfully.
"No, it's just—" and then Chris stops mid-sentence, a look of horror crossing his own face as the first warm splash hits his chest, then his chin.
"Oh my God," Helm says, and Chris grabs the corner of the towel and drops it over the baby's lower half, but the damage is done. His shirt is soaked through in a couple patches and he needs a shower now. "Is that normal? I didn't know that—" he stops.
"I didn't know they did that either," Chris says, disgusted. "I never had a boy before."
There's a rapping on the door, and Drapes lets himself in, takes in the fresh tableau of disaster, and immediately starts to laugh.
"Go shower, Ozzie," he says. "You will get the hang of this eventually."
Helm escapes, clearly wanting no part of this, and Chris shrugs, poking Drapes in the chest as he passes by him.
"Thanks for that," he says sarcastically. "It still needs to be changed, though," he smirks.
His revenge would have been more satisfying if he didn't have piss dripping into his eyes from the ends of his hair.
He takes a long time in the shower, hoping the baby will be clean, dry, and swaddled again by the time he's done.
"He needs a name," Chris says. It's growing late and they still don't even have a place for the baby to sleep. Chris is starting to worry that it's going to be sleeping swathed in towels in a drawer tonight.
Drapes is lounging on the couch, legs spread, hands crossed behind his head. Helm is in the bathroom, washing his hands and generally hiding from the baby.
"I don't think you're going to get much help from Helmer," Drapes says dryly. "And I've named enough kids in my time already. I suggest buying a baby name book while you're out."
"I better make a list," Chris says, rummaging around in the coffee table drawer until he finds a pen and a scrap of paper. On it he writes,
5. changing table
7. baby powder & baby wipes.
8. baby name book
He reads the list off to his friend. "What else?" he asks, looking at his scribbly handwriting and trying to remember what else they might need.
"Blankets and sheets and something soft to put in the crib, like a teddy bear," Drapes says immediately.
Chris adds those things to the list. "Anything else?"
"A babysitter?" Helmer suggests, wandering into the room, still creeping cautiously around as if the infant might bite him. Chris spares a glance to make sure he's still sleeping on yet another towel, and that Helmer doesn't step on him, since the kid's still on the floor, of all places.
Drapes takes pity on him. "No, Helmer," he says. "You are going to have to learn to take care of it yourself. It is your baby; it's not fair to pass all the responsibility onto someone else."
"I hate this," Helm says mournfully. "I just wanna have sex with my boyfriend."
Chris gives him a startled glare, and Drapes moans.
"Please," he says. "Spare me the details. And, for fuck's sake, don't say stuff like that in front of me!"
Chris supposes he's not really surprised that Helm would say something like that out loud.
"I know I must be forgetting something," Chris says, still staring at his impromptu list.
"A baby monitor," Drapes says. "And a stroller. And actually, you are going to need a babysitter for times when you're playing a game. Although Julie might—might—watch him while you're on the road."
"Julie's going to kill me," Chris says sadly. "Even if it's not my fault, I know that Julie's never going to let us live this down."
"Pacifier," Drapes adds. "Anything else you'll just have to wing it."
"Okay," Chris says, folding the list. "You'll be all right while we're gone?"
Drapes smirks. "You think I'm going to have as much trouble with this as you two have been? My youngest is still only two. I think I can handle it."
"All right. C'mon, Darren. We have to get this over with so that we can get back and Drapes doesn't spend all night watching your kid."
"I don't get it," Helm says as they shut the door and head for his car. "I'm pretty cute, right? How come my kid's so ugly?"
"I told you," Chris reiterates patiently. "It's still a newborn. Give it time."
He doesn't remark on the egotistical comment, mostly because he knows Helm doesn't even realise that's what that is.
The funny thing is, the minute they get inside Babies 'R Us, Helm seems to find everything fascinating. Chris has to keep slapping his hands away from things and putting things back.
"It's too little for that," Chris finds himself saying quite often. He steers the cart down the aisle with the baby clothes and is confronted with a wide selection of multi-coloured pastels and tiny socks and knit hats and sleepers.
Helm immediately picks up a tiny little pink dress. He examines it, then turns to Chris, but before he can open his mouth, Chris interrupts.
"It's a boy, Helm."
"But this is so cute," Helm points out. "I had no idea this stuff was so cute."
Chris starts sifting through the onesies until he finds a package marked newborn and tosses it in the cart. Their cart is already piled high with diapers and baby wipes and powder; boxes with baby monitors and bottles, even a scrapbook album—which was, oddly enough, Helm's idea, and one of the few things Chris allowed him to keep in their carriage.
Helm pouts but hangs the little dress back up. The sullen curl of his lips doesn't last long, though; he grabs a little blue sleeper with frogs printed all over it.
"How about this?" he asks, passing it over for Chris's inspection.
"This works," Chris says, "but you need a smaller size. Zero to three months. Or newborn. And be prepared for him to outgrow this stuff practically before we get it home."
"Seriously?" Helm says, looking quizzical.
"Not quite," Chris says on a sigh. "But they do outgrow them really fast."
"This is going to cost a fortune," Helm mumbles to himself, finding the appropriate size and tossing it in the carriage. They peruse the baby clothes for a bit longer until they have a full complement of sleepers and onesies and tiny overalls. Chris even picks out a couple of little corduroy outfits with embroidery on them. He had forgotten how adorable baby clothes could be.
He pushes the cart through the aisle and into the next one, Helm trotting along behind. Helm snags a little purple hat just before they get by the last of the baby clothes, and Chris has to reach over and pluck it out of his hands.
"I don't think we should put him in purple," he says wryly. Mostly because he remembers dressing Sydney in purple.
He did allow Helm to choose some things in yellow and pale green, though.
Not that it really matters, he muses to himself. It's a baby; it's a myth that the kid will be gay just because his parents dressed him in pink when he was too little to remember.
Which is right about when he notices the strange, sidelong glances they're getting; the attention of the other shoppers as they take in the fact that he and Helm are filling the cart with baby paraphernalia and not a woman in sight. Oh, balls.
Chris doesn't know whether to hope they recognise them as Wings' players or pray that they're just skeeved out about an obviously gay couple shopping for baby things.
"People are staring," Helm hisses, mouth slightly open. "Why are they staring at us?"
"Nothing," Chris says. "Don't worry about it." There will be plenty of time for that by the time they have to take the kid to kindergarten and the doctor and suchlike.
Helm shrugs and grabs a gigantic stuffed pig. "Can we get this?"
"If you wanna scare the baby to death," Chris says, once again—not-so-patiently this time—putting it back. "It's too big for a baby this small."
"I had no idea they came so small," Helm mutters, staring longingly at the gigantic pink pig. Chris has the disorienting thought that perhaps Helm wants that for himself.
He kind of wishes he didn't think his boyfriend was still young enough to want stuffed animals.
They fight over the crib. Helm wants one with rainbows and unicorns painted on it, and Chris has a devil of a time convincing him against it.
"But, it's so nice," Helm argues. "It's bright-coloured. It's happy. I like it."
"It's ridiculous," Chris says, refusing to admit that it is pretty happy-making. But he also wants something that won't make the baby want to throw up when it gets a little older, and it's too likely that rainbows and unicorns and stuff will make him nauseous.
Eventually they settle on white, with a little mobile of cheerful animals and a spray of stars painted on it. Chris still thinks it's kind of ridiculous, but Helm refuses to budge on this one, so Chris sighs and gives in. This is going to be hard enough without fighting with Helm about every single little thing.
Finally, they're finished. And it does cost them a fortune—luckily Helm makes a fair amount of money. And that Chris does too, really.
They haul everything out to Helm's car and cram it inside, and drive back to Helm's house.
Drapes is still on the couch, but now the baby's cradled in his arms and he's got the TV on low, baby sound asleep. Chris kind of wishes he could just leave things this way; Drapes looks peaceful and the baby's not crying.
But, he knows that he has to man up and take care of things—and nudge Helm into doing the same.
Drapes grins when they get in. Chris also takes an indecent amount of pleasure in leaving Helm to bring in all of the baby stuff while he takes the baby from Drapes.
"He was good while you were gone," Drapes says. "But I think you need to feed him soon. I could only find one thing of formula in the diaper bag, and I used it. I hope you bought more."
"I think I'm going to be buying formula every five minutes," Chris says morosely.
"And diapers," Drapes adds helpfully. "I gotta go now, before Julie calls the cops to find out where I am."
Helm lugs in the last of the purchases and packages and dumps them on the couch that Drapes has recently vacated.
Chris rocks the infant a little, but it doesn't seem contented any more—it starts to howl. And Chris is fairly sure it's wet again.
"It's so loud," Helm says fretfully. "And it smells kinda funny."
Chris looks down at the little face, which is bright red and scrunched up. He does smell kinda funny, and Chris thinks he could probably use a bath.
"I think we have to bathe it," he says. "I don't think we bought a bathing seat for the sink."
"The sink?" Helm squeaks.
"Yeah," Chris confirms. "It's too little for the bathtub yet."
"But... but," Helm stutters. "We use that to cook."
Chris raises an eyebrow. "We don't cook, and you know it. Everytime we try, disaster strikes."
"The macaroni and cheese was okay," Helm states firmly. But defensively nonetheless.
"You burnt the macaroni," Chris reminds him, bouncing the infant a little in his arms to try and get it to quiet down.
"You burnt the curtains," Helm shoots back. Chris winces at the memory—the windows are still bare in the kitchen, and at some point they have to go shopping for curtains, too.
"Oh, shit," Chris mutters, rocking the baby, which continues to scream, nearly drowning out their conversation entirely. "We forgot to buy a baby seat."
"We got a car seat," Helm says uncertainly. Chris starts to pace, but the kid just will not stop crying.
"Yeah, but I mean one of those things that you carry it around in, and can put in the kid seat of a shopping cart if you need to. We are gonna have to start taking it places with us eventually."
"Oh God," Helm says suddenly, colour bleached from his face. "The team. What are we going to tell the team?"
"Let me talk to Nick," Chris says carefully. "He'll know what to do about it."
Helm immediately looks suspicious, and Chris knows he's remembering that Nick used to be Chris's lover. There's nothing he can do about that, though, considering Nick is also the captain of the team.
"Well," Chris says. "I guess we need to change it again. And bathe it."
"I wish we didn't have to bathe it in my sink," Helm says, clearly upset.
"The bathroom sink might be big enough," Chris says doubtfully. "He's not very big." In fact, the newborn is so small Chris is almost afraid he's going to break him just by holding him, even though he knows from experience that that's not the case.
"Fuck me," Chris mumbles. "We didn't buy one of those cloth baby carriers that you wear on your body."
"Maybe we can do that later?" Helm says hopefully, and it takes a moment for Chris to realise that what Helm means is they could fuck later. He looks at the baby. He remembers enough to know how little sleep they're going to get tonight.
Fucking is probably a bad idea.
He wants it, though. So badly he can almost taste Helm's lips on his—and then they are, Helm suddenly overcoming his aversion to the kid in Chris's arms, laying his hands on each of Chris's shoulders and kissing him softly, mouth open just the slightest bit.
Chris closes his eyes and enjoys the flutter of his heart at the touch of Helm's lips. But all too soon it's over, Helm drawing back, baby heavy and obviously wet in his arms.
He kneels, setting it carefully on the floor, and then unwraps the towel. He gestures to the shopping bags.
"Can you find one of the blankets?" he asks Helm, who dutifully begins to rummage around in the bags. He crows in triumph after a moment and brings over a little yellow fleece blanket with tiny little white lambs embroidered all over it.
Chris regards the baby gingerly for a moment, then unsticks the diaper. He has a feeling he's going to get peed on again and he kind of wishes he could get Helm to actually come near the baby long enough to change it so that, spitefully, Helm can get peed on this time.
And then he immediately feels guilty, remembering that gorgeously sweet kiss Helm had bestowed on him, in spite of everything.
In any event, he unfolds the diaper, grabs the corner of the towel, and covers the baby's lower half as he yanks a wipe from the plastic packaging and scrubs at the baby's bottom.
Chris powders him, slips a clean diaper under the wriggling scrap of humanity, and tapes it closed. He's proud of himself for getting that accomplished on his own this time, without getting pissed on and without fucking up. He hopes. He had no idea caring for a boy was this hard.
The phone rings, and Helm hurries to answer it, mumbling into the receiver before he holds it out to Chris. "It's Drapes," he says.
Chris pats the little belly, covers him with his yellow blanket, and gives Helm the evil eye; Helm seems to understand it means that it's his turn to at least keep a watchful eye on the baby while Chris takes the phone call.
He picks it up and says, "Hey."
"How are you doing?" Drapes asks. "The both of you—have you killed him yet? Or each other?"
"I didn't know boys were this much work," Chris pouts.
"If it makes you feel any better," Drapes says in a tone that implies it probably won't (and a certain degree of evilness), "you probably pissed on your parents a fair amount of times too."
"Oh God," Chris says, smacking his forehead. "Please tell me you didn't just say that."
Drapes laughs. "I'm just checking in. For the next extremely short while, you can call me if you need anything, though please don't do it in the middle of the night. Julie still doesn't know."
"Thanks," Chris says, and hopes his best friend knows how much he means it. "I gotta go before Helm does accidentally kill it, though," he adds.
"See you tomorrow at the morning skate," Drapes says, and Chris nearly bites through his lip. They have a game tomorrow, and he has no idea who is going to care for a newborn while he and Helm play.
"I'm gonna have to beg off as sick," Chris says frantically. "Howie's gonna play the actual game, anyway, so I'll just have to—tell Babs I have the flu, please? Someone has to watch him and it's too late to get a baby-sitter right now."
"Will do, but don't be surprised if Coach benches you for it," Drapes says, inadvertantly—or perhaps deliberately—reminding Chris of just how often he claims to be sick.
"Bye," Chris says, and disconnects in time to see Helm flail.
"Chris!" he hollers, and that makes the baby burst out into a fit of shrieking again. When Chris gets closer, he discovers that somehow the kid managed to puke on Helm too, even though Helm wasn't even that close to him.
He sighs. "Come on," he says. "Take off that shirt, we'll settle him down for the night, and you and I can shower." If there are waggly eyebrows attached to that statement, Chris is totally not admitting to it.
Helm strips so fast Chris thinks he might have actually set a new record, and that includes every time that Helm rushed to get his clothes off to fuck Chris.
He throws the shirt on the floor, still looking disgusted and faintly green himself, and Chris hefts the baby again.
It takes some serious instruction, but eventually he manages to direct Helm in removing the bottom drawer from the spare dresser, emptying the contents, and stuffing towels all along the inside with a pad bought specifically for the baby at the bottom and a blanket on top of it. Chris lowers the baby into it, and the little one actually closes his eyes, waves his fist for a moment, tiny mouth opening on a yawn, and falls asleep.
Chris takes his time in the shower, running the washcloth down over Helm's sculpted abs, rinsing away the memory of baby vomit and replacing it with the warm, solid feel of his hands, imprinting Helm with how much he loves him, even if he's still not sure he knows how to admit it to Helm.
Helm lets out a breathless puff of air and leans back against the tiled wall, eyes slipping shut, and his body flushes pink, but Chris peeks downward and Helm's stiff cock is an indication that the rosy hue to his skin is from arousal, not hot water.
He smoothes the wet washcloth down Helm's belly, down, until his hand is inches from Helm's cock, and then he drops the cloth and wraps his hand around Helm's length.
Helm moans and his hips stutter, pushing into Chris's hand, dick slippery in his fist. Chris almost wants to tell Helm how beautiful he looks like this, his eyes closed, lashes damp on his cheeks, water sliding in decadant droplets down over his athletic, near-perfect body, his lips red and his cheeks flushed.
Wants to speak, but can't, because he's slightly choked up. Someday, they're going to have a little boy who looks like Helm, and it's both a sobering and utterly exhilarating thought.
He begins to stroke up and down softly, slowly, working Helm up to a feverish pitch of arousal, until Helm's thrusting unevenly into his hand and moaning thickly.
They really don't have time for this, not when Helm has a game tomorrow, but Chris doesn't stop; he speeds up his movements, twisting his wrist on the upstroke, leaning up and capturing Helm's lips in a searing kiss as he jerks him harder, faster.
Helm cries out, their teeth clashing together, and sticky, warm come coats Chris's hand and belly, his own cock aching and needy.
But he just bites gently at Helm's lower lip and then moves back a tiny bit, letting the water rinse the evidence of Helm's climax down the drain.
He turns off the faucets and they climb out, Chris drying Helm too, almost as if he's the one Chris has to care for—and in a way it's true. Chris will never not be old enough that he shouldn't be caring for Helm at least a little, making sure he's safe. He's so young, and so vulnerable. Chris can't bear to let anything bad happen to him.
Which, he made a promise.
He leads Helm to their bedroom, nudges him until he drops onto the bed, and then spreads his legs apart with his hands.
"Tell me to stop if you don't like it," Chris murmurs, and then he lowers his head, finding Helm's hole and blowing on it briefly, watching the muscle flutter and clench before relaxing.
He starts off incredibly slow, kissing Helm's thighs, working his way inward and upward, littering tiny impressions of his mouth and teeth on Helm's flesh until he finally circles inward completely and trails his tongue around the periphery of Helm's hole.
Helm almost lets out what could be termed a girly scream and his legs fall open wider, his hole relaxing a little as Chris begins to touch his tongue to the rim of it in earnest.
He traces the unique shape of Helm's body, collecting stray water drops on his tongue and slowly swirling it around Helm's hole until he's writhing and uttering a constant stream of obscenities interspersed with desperate moans.
Chris chances a peep at Helm's dick and is rewarded with the sight of his engorged balls and the base of his dick, clearly flat to his belly in desire.
Helm's young, so Chris isn't all that surprised that he's on the verge of another orgasm.
He's careful not to push inside, knowing Helm finds that sensation a bit distasteful, and yet he speeds up a little, rimming the edge of Helm's hole more firmly, stroking his tongue along every nerve ending and feeling the way the muscle moves under his mouth until Helm suddenly clamps both thighs closed and comes with a wracked, hoarse shout.
Chris is about to be damn pleased with himself when, from the other room, the baby lets out its own shout which trails off, then returns, full volume, as an unending wail.
"Dammit," Chris says, his own cock still hard and desperate against the mattress, and then he pats Helm's left thigh and rolls off the bed, grabbing a towel to wrap around his waist, and makes his way to the spare room to see what the baby needs.
And lo, it's got a dirty diaper again.
From one ass to another, Chris thinks ironically, and gathers the baby up.
By the time he's changed and quiet again, Helm is sound asleep on the bed, curled onto his side, still naked, belly sprayed white, and one arm under his head. Chris shakes his head.
He doesn't wake his boyfriend, though. He just cleans him up as best he can and climbs into bed behind him, spooning up to the rounded curve of his spine and wrapping his arms around him before dropping off to sleep.
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