Fifteen Minutes in a Life She Never Had (Gold Dust)

By Minim Calibre

Notes: Future Fred. Sort of. For Cindy’s 1/2 hour challenge. To Cindy, for making the challenge. And to Sean and Roseveare, because they love Fredlet, too.

“Why, Dr. Burkle, he looks just like you.”

Fred smiles and looks down at Charles Jr, with his little tan face scrunched up in sleep and the cap her mom knitted for him that’s two sizes too big perched precariously on his bald head. “I think you shouldn’t have stopped wearing your glasses, Wesley. He looks just like his daddy.” She strokes the softness of his cheek and watches, rapt, as he turns towards her finger, demonstrating the rooting reflex. “He’s got my appetite, though.”

Her little miracle wakes up, blinking slowly as he adjusts. She moves the finger to his hand, and he grasps it with his chubby ones. Palmar Grasp. Charles is proud of that grip; he claims his namesake’s going to grow up with a mean sword hand. Fred doesn’t care how his sword hand his, or what he grows up to be, just so long as he’s happy.

“Would you like another cup of tea?” It’s Wesley’s first time back in California since his godson was born, and only his third since she got her PhD.

“No, sadly. My conference is in an hour, and I still need to go back to the hotel and look over my notes on the mating habits of the Azha’ar demon.”

“A Watcher’s work is never done.”

He stands to go, pausing to smile down at the baby. “Congratulations yet again, Fred. I look forward to seeing all three of you tonight at dinner.”

After Wesley leaves, she puts the dishes in the sink and carries her son to the living room, where she sings the periodic table of elements to him to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star, because if it works for the alphabet, it should work for chemistry. The dried flower arrangement on the coffee table catches her eye, and Fred reminds herself to hide it or throw it away before Wesley comes back over for dinner. She owes a lot to those flowers, more than she can risk having revealed.

Charlie cries, demanding food. With another grateful smile, she sets him to her breast and starts nursing, leaving the Lethe’s Bramble disposal until after naptime.

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