Characters/Pairing: Britta, Annie, baby OFC, background Jeff/Annie
Word Count: 1,975 words
Summary: Future Fic. When Annie needs an emergency babysitter, Britta’s the first one she calls. Well, maybe not the first…
Author’s Note: Written for the brittaanniethon, for the prompt, “Jeff/Annie+Britta as BFF babyfic.” I hope you enjoy it, eilowyn!
Thanks to wr1t3rbl0ck3d, thetidebreaks and jheaton for betaing and/or letting me bounce ideas off of them. ♥
Annie opened the door in a rush, a look of panic on her face. “Oh my god, Britta, thank you for coming!” she whispered. Gesturing for Britta to come inside, she continued, her words running together, “Any other day, I wouldn't ask you to do this, but my mother has her Swedish massage appointment and she hates for me to bother her on Saturdays when she looks after the baby all week anyway, and Jeff doesn't have any family in town. Shirley's at a soccer tournament with her boys, Abed says his new documentary is about Greendale County’s transit system and if I want a baby in the story that's okay, but it really wasn't the tone he was going for, so...”
“Annie, it's okay.” Britta tried to lay a commiserating hand on Annie's arm, but her friend was walking too briskly toward the nursery for it to land.
Annie continued, “Troy said yes, but then I could hear the sound of giggling in the background and I don't know who he's dating right now–” She threw an apologetic look over her shoulder. “Sorry.”
Britta simply shrugged and kept walking – she and Troy were a long time ago. If Britta wasn't bothered by Annie and Jeff as parents, why would she be bothered by Troy's latest conquest?
Then Britta stopped short. “Wait. I'm almost the last person on your emergency call list – before Pierce?”
“Well...” Annie avoided Britta's eyes, opening the nursery door as quickly and quietly as she could. “Anyway, I'm just so glad you could come. Abigail is sleeping, so you shouldn't have any trouble. She's a lot like I was as a baby; her naps usually last an hour, and then she'll play quietly in her crib until she wants some attention.” She gestured to the changing table. “Diapers are there, baby food is in the kitchen, but I'm going to try to be home no later than forty-five minutes from now.”
“Annie, just go! I'll be fine. I can handle this.”
Annie's worried face softened. “Okay.” She gave Britta a quick hug, and murmured into her hair, “Forty-five minutes. I promise.” She flew out of the house at almost super-speed, shutting the door behind her.
Forty-five minutes later, Britta was holding Abigail awkwardly, bouncing her in her arms the way she remembered Jeff doing the other day at the restaurant. “Your mommy is going to be home soon, honey, don’t cry.” Instead of getting quiet, she began screaming even louder than when she woke up from her nap.
Abby was so adorable when Annie brought her around, dressed up to the nines in the latest baby fashions, and Britta loved giving her a kiss and a hug and handing her back as soon as she started to squirm. Annie was a total natural with her, even Jeff had her smiling and cooing without even trying. She had seemed like such an easy child!
But she must want Mommy, and instead she got this semi-stranger who had the wrong hair and smelled faintly of wheat grass. Britta lifted her the best she could and sniffed tentatively at the baby’s rear end. She couldn’t smell anything except baby powder, but she’d better make sure. “Okay, sweetie. Let’s check your diaper.”
Britta placed her on the changing table gingerly, and she narrowly avoided Abby's flailing arms and legs. Once she was on the table, Britta looked down at the baby's outfit. Should she just pull the whole play dress off? She caught a leg and pulled it aside. There were snaps. “Just let me check it, Abby, that's a good girl.” She wrestled with the closures and peeled back the tabs, all while cooing softly to calm the girl's squalling. The diaper was dry.
Britta redressed her as quickly as she could, rubbing at a spot Abby had kicked. “Now, you can be whoever you want when you get older, but trust Auntie Britta’s advice — you would make a mean soccer player.” It was a good thing that babies weren't like the cats she nursed back to health, or she'd have claw marks all over. Somehow she didn't think Annie would appreciate Britta wrapping her daughter in a towel, either.
Lifting Abby by the armpits, Britta carried her to the kitchen. The highchair was thankfully easy to figure out. In a singsongy tone of voice, Britta began to search the cabinets. “Where is the baby foooood? Where is the baby fooooood?”
By some miracle, Abby was calming down. Britta didn't know if it was because the baby knew she was going to be fed, or whether it was her admittedly terrible singing. She didn't care – she kept it up. “Who keeps light bulbs in their cabinets aaaaanyway? ... There it is – well at least they're feeding you all orgaaaaanic.” She glanced at the clock – over an hour now, and Annie still wasn’t home. Where was she?
Moments later she had a tiny spoon with a dollop of pureed carrots on the end. Britta knelt in front of the highchair. “Open wide,” she sang, hoping that her memories of a dozen movies were correct. “Here comes the fooood.”
Abby opened her mouth and accepted the food easily.
“Wonderful! Do you like carrots?” Britta filled another spoon and lifted it to Abby's mouth.
Abby took the next bite – then promptly spit the entire mouthful back at Britta.
Britta stifled a surprised gasp and stood, calmly wiping a gob of carrots from her eyebrow with a finger. “No?”
She went back to the row of jars on the counter. “How about chicken and rice? That sounds yummy.” Britta wrenched open the jar and rinsed off the spoon in the sink. She turned back to the baby with a pasted-on smile. “Yummy chicken...”
Abby was 'fingerpainting' the carrots all over her clothes and tray with an impish grin. Carrot gunk was even in her hair, spiking it upward just like her dad's old college 'do. Britta sighed. “Now I know who you take after.”
Abby tossed a glob at Britta, hitting her directly in the center of the chest. “You’ve got your dad’s aim, too.” Thank god she’d left her leather jacket in the other room.
She took a purposeful step up to the highchair. “Do you want this chicken or not?” She waved it in front of the baby’s face.
Smack! Abby’s pudgy little hand knocked the jar out of Britta’s grasp and it shattered on the tile floor. She gurgled with infant satisfaction.
“Why you little… I can’t believe…” Britta’s nerves were starting to frazzle. She gave the baby an offended look. “Hmm. Actually I can.”
Abby looked at Britta’s stern expression and started to whine again.
Britta grabbed a hand towel hanging from the oven door. “What is it that you want, Abby? You don't need a diaper change, you don't want to be held, and you don't want food either!” She got down on hands and knees to mop it up, mumbling half to the baby and half to herself. “Sure, Britta, you can take care of a baby - how different could it be from a cat? Yeah, right, just another thing to add to the long, long list of things you’re terrible at. No wonder Annie called you almost last. I bet even Troy could have gotten Abby to calm down.”
Abby's sniffles got quieter as she watched Britta clean the floor. Britta looked up at the baby in her highchair, puzzled. “You like things clean? Could have fooled me with that expressionist art on your tray.” She stood and moistened another towel. “Here, let me clean you up.”
Abby let out a piteous wail before Britta could even touch the cloth to her skin. It sounded a lot like Annie's frequent cries of 'Nooooo!' during their college days.
“Abby, I have to clean you up! If your mommy comes home and sees this, I'll never hear the end of it.” The baby squirmed away from the damp towel, squishing her face up in disgust. “Though I can't decide which is worse - her shrill indignant tone...” Britta pitched her voice high. “'Britta! I know you've never taken care of a baby before, but this is taking it too far! I think you're trying to make things harder for me!'“
Abby stopped crying abruptly, fascinated by Britta's words.
Britta didn't notice, though, she kept on trying to clean the mess off the tray. “Or maybe it's the passive-aggressive one that drives me up the wall.” Britta added a touch of sickly-sweet to her voice this time. “'Oh, Britta, I knew I shouldn't have asked you to come over. It's pretty obvious you don't have any experience with children. It was unfair to you, and I'm sure I could have called Mrs. Walters down the street. She's getting on in years, but she raised four boys in her time...'“
The baby was smiling now and sitting quietly for the first time since she had awakened from her nap.
Britta finally noticed, her face softening. “I’m sorry, pumpkin. That wasn’t nice, was it?” She sighed. “I love her dearly, I do. But I guess it seems like your mommy has it all together now, and I’m still trying to figure things out.”
Abby stopped smiling.
“What did I do?” Britta frowned. Then understanding started to dawn. “Was it because I was talking like your mommy?” she asked in her best Annie imitation, opening her eyes wide and fluttering her lashes.
Abby giggled, her toothless mouth opening wide with delight.
“Oh, you do like this, do you, Abby-dear? You just miss your mommy!” She grabbed another jar of food from the counter and held it up with a flourish. “Would your mommy put on a show for you?” She twirled in place and held the jar high. “Ta-da!”
The baby started to scream, but this time it was laughter instead of tears.
Britta tried an Annie-laugh in return, but accidentally stepped on a carrot-slick patch of tile. The jar went flying into the air – just missing Abby's head – and smashed against the refrigerator.
“Sh–” She bit down on her lip just in time. “I mean, Oh, nooooooo! What am I going to doooooo?” She pretended to cry as dramatically as possible.
The baby’s laughter was almost as loud. Suddenly Abby gasped and cooed, causing Britta to look up.
Annie was standing in the doorway, eyebrow raised. “Britta? What… are you doing?”
Britta felt as if her entire face flushed in nanoseconds, embarrassed about what Annie would think. “Annie… I’m sorry… It was the only way I could get her to–”
Annie swept forward, easily lifting Abby with one arm and holding out the other hand to help Britta up. “No, I mean, Abby was laughing louder than I’ve ever heard her laugh! I had no idea you were so good with kids!”
Britta laughed, a little awkwardly. “Neither did I.”
“We’ll have to have Auntie Britta over more often, won’t we?” Annie asked her daughter, who smiled brightly.
“I’d looooove to!” Britta agreed, Annie-style, and she meant it.
Annie gave Britta a brief, puzzled look, but then Abby’s mirth distracted her. “She just adores you, Britta!” she proclaimed, beaming. “I’d better get her into the bath before the food cakes in her scalp, though.”
“I’d better take off, too, now that you’re back.” She smiled fondly at Abby. “But first a little kiss goodbye?”
Britta drew the messy little girl into her arms and kissed her on her sticky mat of hair, murmuring softly, “This is just between you and me, okay, Abs?”
Her giggle was all the answer Britta needed.
And because I finished with enough days left to make icons, here are some icons for your request as well (all from 2.03, "The Psychology of Letting Go"):
Anyone should feel free to use these if they like them! ♥