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LIKE DADDY, LIKE DAUGHTER - PART 2
It had been five in the morning when they got the first call. Despite Chris' mother's pleas for them to stay home in bed until the baby was born, Chris paid no mind. Zach had reluctantly driven him to the hospital, and there they had spent the better part of two days, just sitting around and waiting.
Needless to say, by the time they bring Hazel home, both of them are exhausted.
Noah is crated in the laundry room, and as Zach goes to check up on him, Chris sets the baby carrier on the couch. He takes a seat on the couch next to it, peering in at the infant.
"Hey, baby girl... Hey, my precious baby girl..." Chris tickles at her tummy with a hesitant finger, and she wiggles her fists slightly. "So tiny... So wiggly and tiny – look at you," he coos quietly. He hears Noah's nails over the hardwood floor, and looks up to see Zach holding the dog's leash.
"We're gonna go take a nap, okay?" Zach says softly, and Chris nods. "Seriously – call if you need anything, okay?" he reminds Chris, who nods again with a smile.
"Will do, Zach. Go – go get some sleep."
As Zach wanders down the hallway with Noah in tow, Chris pulls the blanket off the back of the couch and wraps himself up in it. He carefully lifts Hazel out of the carrier and sets her on his lap, cradling her head carefully while he spreads her baby blanket over his chest. He leans back against the couch arm then and holds her in his arms, covering her loosely with his blanket. Chris smiles down at her head full of dark hair and presses a kiss to it.
"Hazel Gwynne... Hazel Gwynne..." he sings to her softly, smiling and rubbing her belly. It isn't long before she falls asleep, curled into the warmth of his body.
A few minutes later, Zach walks back into the living room, apparently too keyed up with excitement to get a wink of sleep. Chris is dozing lightly on the couch. His eyes flutter open every thirty seconds or so, checking up on the infant snuggled against his solar plexus. Zach sighs softly as he makes his way to Chris.
"Babe, you're tired... She's tired... I'm tired... Let's take a nap – c'mon," Zach whispers.
Chris nods and passes Hazel off to Zach. As he stands up off the couch on wobbly legs, Zach is swaying Hazel gently, looking down at her in adoration. Chris smiles sleepily at him and steals a kiss. They walk her down the hall to her room, where the window is open to the summer breeze. Zach puts her down in her crib while Chris rubs his back lightly. They shut the window then and stumble across the hall and into bed.
Noah is already curled up in the middle of the mattress, and Chris and Zach pile into the sheets around him. Chris listens to the dog's soft snoring, the sound of the birds outside, and falls right to sleep.
Chris looks down at where Hazel is napping between them on her baby blanket. It's been a rocky week, and there have been countless times where Chris has had to frantically call his mother over for help with one tiny little thing or another. Zach is more of the type to just figure things out until he gets them right, but Chris knows that when it comes to a child, he'd rather get them right on the first go-round.
Now, though, they've started to fall into the swing of things. The routine is getting easier, and Chris is finding more time to just enjoy being around Hazel and Zach as family; to view her less as a novel being, horrifyingly but quite possibly temporary, and more as a permanent family member. Now, Chris has time to just live, love, and watch.
When Zach speaks up finally, it's in a soft, fragile whisper. "So... There's more we have to discuss."
"Shoot," Chris returns in a breath. Zach smoothes his hand down Chris' side until he can slip his hand into Chris', twining their fingers together slowly, sweetly.
"Well, we're both 'dad's... What's she going to call us? When she starts talking, that is... It'll be a while, but... It'll be nice to...establish those roles..."
Chris smiles a sparkly grin at him. "Bullshit. You just want me to start calling you 'Papi' like that one time."
"I told you never to mention that again," Zach groans quietly, turning his face into his arm, but he's chuckling. Chris laughs softly and reaches over Hazel to slide his palm around Zach's waist, holding lightly.
"'Daddy' is pretty canon," Chris mumbles, grinning. Zach shrugs lightly.
"You're more of a 'daddy' than I am, though... I feel more... I don't know," Zach mutters. "This is where I get hung up. I mean, 'papa' is a staple, from what I hear, but that was my grandpa. I just – no."
Chris laughs gently and squeezes Zach's side. "You want me to be 'daddy'? Okay – I can do that." He pauses. "What about just 'pa'? Like Pa Ingalls, y'know? I mean, seriously – you let yourself go and you'll grow a big ol' bushy mountain-man beard in no time," Chris laughs.
"Okay, no." Zach sighs then, chewing on his lip. "What about... Shit, Chris, I don't- Another language, maybe? I want our baby to be multilingual..."
Chris chuckles. "Okay, is this a joke, Quinto? Our daughter is not going to be learning five languages from birth."
"Well, shit, Chris – not five, you hyperbolic drama queen." Zach rolls his eyes. "I just want her to...think outside the box, y'know? To know that other languages are out there? I don't know." Zach heaves a sigh.
"Well... I guess you'll be glad to hear this then," Chris starts, catching Zach's attention. "When I put her in her science blues last night for bed, I heard her mention something about a...kolinahr..." Chris mutters. Zach laughs and squeezes his hand sharply.
"Shut up, you – she's not even near that stage. And I swear to god – our child starts speaking Vulcan, I'm taking her back," he teases with a small smile. Chris breathes a small laugh, and then remembers the task at hand.
"But... But what about...a Vulcan word? I mean, yeah," Chris adds hastily, "it's super nerdy, and all, but... But she's gonna be a Trekkie regardless of anything we do. I mean, come on – her parents are Kirk and Spock – "
"You have got to stop identifying with that character off-shoot, Christopher," Zach interrupts in an affectionate mumble, but Chris continues right over him.
" – and besides, you have to admit: geek is cool. She'll be the talk of the class. ...Y'know, when she's actually...in class..."
"Yeah, if by 'talk of the class' you mean she's 'that girl' who babbles in made-up tongues from other planets? Oh yeah. The talkin'-est talk of the class that ever was talked about." Zach pulls his hand from Chris' and rubs his forehead with it. "I just... I want to think this through carefully, alright?"
"Hey..." Chris murmurs reassuringly. "Who said I wasn't thinking this through carefully? Listen – I'm waiting for you. We're a team now, Zach; we have been. And I need to know that you're on board with this. I want your input on this – tell me if you really, honestly hate it."
Zach pauses. "I- ..."
"But you have to admit – how fucking cute would it be to bring her to set, and for her to refer to you in Vulcan, while you're all Spock'd up?" Chris takes a moment to let it sink in, and when he sees Zach's eyes soften with a sort of future nostalgia, he prods a bit further. "C'mon... You know you want to get her a little pair of pointed ears... They'd go awfully well with that dark hair she's got – "
"Fine! Fine, fine – yes. I admit it. Yes, and I swear to god, if it's not on Google, I will personally call Leonard tomorrow and ask him to make it up, for Christ's sake." Chris chuckles and buries his face in his arm.
"I..." He has to stop to let out a few more quiet laughs. "I already Googled it..." Zach gasps, melodramatically betrayed, but Chris just shushes him. "I knew you were going to cave, babe." Chris stretches forward to kiss him shortly. "Sa-mekh," he supplies, biting his lip and looking to Zach for approval; waiting for Zach to bow out now that he's heard the actual terminology.
"Sa-mekh..." Zach murmurs, adopting the same expression he does when he's running his Spock lines. "I... I like it. It's...different, but not...so foreign..."
Chris' expression turns into a wide, amused grin. "And the best part is, it's a mouthful – I'm just gonna get her to call you 'ma ma' before she can pronounce that beast. And I am going to laugh my ass off," Chris assures him.
Zach sighs wearily and rolls onto his back. "Must everything you do have a second motive?" Chris just chuckles and rubs Hazel's backside as she sleeps.
"Well I'm sorry that I have no fucking clue what to do with her!" Chris shouts over the sound of Hazel's crying, only making her wail louder. Zach sharply pinches the bridge of his nose, his other arm crossed tightly over his chest.
"If you would stop arguing with me," Zach says calmly, though his voice is strained, "Then perhaps we could figure out what she wants."
"You wanna figure out what she wants, Zach? Fine! Fine! I'm over here, trying to do that – while you're standing over there in the door being all... all... instructive! – and I'm getting nowhere." Hazel screams again, and it tugs sharply at Chris' heartstrings. He turns back to her in the crib, cooing as softly as he can and running his hand over her side. "Shh – shh, baby girl, it's – come here," he sighs. He picks her up and holds her against his chest, bouncing her lightly. It would be cute, save for the fact that he's still glaring at Zach.
"Chris – please. Have you tried feeding her?"
"I haven't gotten that far- "
"Then perhaps she's hungry, Christopher!"
Chris cradles Hazel's head and walks to the window, turning away from Zach and looking down at the backyard. "Don't raise your voice at me." Zach freezes – Chris' voice has gone hushed and low.
"Babe, I – " Zach tries, reaching a hand out to Chris. He's gotten Hazel to quiet down a bit, though she's still making grumpy noises into his shoulder.
"I don't like it when you yell at me." Chris is whispering now, and Zach rushes up behind him to wrap his arms around Chris, holding him close.
"Chris, I – I’m sorry," he murmurs into Chris' neck, kissing the skin softly, apologetically.
"S'okay," Chris mumbles, readjusting his grip under Hazel. Zach slides his hand up Chris' belly to grab onto Hazel's foot gently.
"No – it's not," he replies. "I shouldn't have gotten...frustrated with you like that. And I'm sorry..."
Chris sighs and leans back in Zach's arms. Hazel holds onto his shirt with her tiny pink hands, and Zach buries his face in Chris' neck, just breathing him in. Chris tips his head to the side slightly, holding Zach in place for a moment, before he pulls out of Zach's grasp.
"C'mon. She's hungry." Zach catches the sleeve of Chris' shirt and holds tight, stopping him in his tracks.
"Christopher, I love you," Zach breathes, and when Chris smiles, it lights his face up all the way to his eyes.
"I know." He steps up to Zach and plants a warm kiss on his lips. "And I love you."
When Chris comes home from the store, the house is quiet. He knows Noah is out back, because he can hear the dog barking at the butterflies in the yard. But Zach is usually cooking lunch about this time... Quietly, Chris shuts the door behind him and takes the bags into the kitchen. When he ducks into the living room shortly after, he finds Zach and Hazel on the couch.
Zach has his feet kicked up on the couch, Hazel in his arms, holding a bottle for her. She drinks hungrily, tiny hands pressed to the plastic, and Zach is watching her with such a peaceful look that Chris doesn't dare disturb them. He goes back into the kitchen to give them a little more time. After he's put the perishables away, he walks back out and comes around the end of the couch, smiling at Zach.
"Don't you two look comfy," he murmurs. Zach tears his eyes away from Hazel and smiles at Chris.
"We are. Quite."
Chris climbs onto Zach, wrapping his legs around Zach's waist comfortably. He watches Hazel as she eats, and his hand crawls subconsciously up to rest around Zach's neck. Zach looks up from Hazel again, and makes a small beckoning motion with his head. Chris leans down and kisses at Zach's lips softly. Zach chases up after him, pouring all the love that he can into Chris' mouth. Chris smiles into the kiss and slowly pulls away.
"Tsk, tsk, Zach... You're getting distracted... Better pay attention to your daughter."
Zach grins at Chris. "She's gonna be sleepy after this... Go 'way – you're not making this process any faster." Chris pretends to be hurt, but slinks off of Zach's lap all the same.
"Burp her and put her down – I'll be across the hall." Chris throws a wink over his shoulder and starts to tease his shirt up as he rounds the corner.
Zach rolls his eyes and looks back down to where Hazel is about to finish off her bottle. "Your daddy is ridiculous," he mumbles, staring into her wide blue eyes.
However, Zach doesn't have any complaint to crawling into bed to an already naked Chris after he's put Hazel down for a nap. He pushes Chris down into the pillows with a challenging smile. Chris pulls him closer by the neck, tugs at the hem of his T-shirt.
"You're wearing too much."
"Better make it speedy." Zach pulls his shirt off. "She's gonna wake up soon – you know that."
"Yeah, which is why you're wearing too much." Chris chuckles and flips them over. Zach just laughs and pulls Chris' mouth back to his.
Chris rolls over, squinting at the glaring letters of the clock. Hazel, again, is wailing in the other room. On any other day, Chris would've already been up and at her crib. However, after a long day of running errands and fielding calls, he is so fucking exhausted that he just wants to sleep until the sun goes out. He groans and buries his face in the pillow again.
"Zach," he mutters, shoving at his sleeping companion's shoulder. "Zaaach. It's three in the morning. G't'up."
Zach snorts and pushes the hair out of his face. "Mmmno. Your turn."
"Za- fuck, Zach, you know how tired I am right now. Go."
"I don't give a shit," Zach whispers, already falling back asleep with the pillow wrapped around his head. "Your turn."
Chris stares at him for a moment, until he pushes Zach's pillow off of his ears, feeling slightly more awake. He scoots over almost on top of Zach and licks up Zach's jaw to nibble on his earlobe. "I'll suck you off..." he offers in a sleep-scratchy voice. Zach chuckles.
"S'three in the morning," he groans. "D'want a blowjob r'now, Chris. Want sleep."
Chris huffs. "Whenever you want, then. Promise. Say the word, and my mouth is yours."
Zach groans, but it's more in frustration than anything else. He caves, swinging his legs over the side of the bed, and stumbles across the hall in the dark. "Shhh, Hazel, baby girl..."
Chris listens in the dark for a few minutes, but then decides that he can't get back to sleep without Zach by his side. Cursing under his breath, he climbs off the bed and tiptoes to the door. He can see the soft glow of the nightlight from Hazel's room, and he follows it like a beacon. When he gets to her doorframe, he stops, and a soft smile spreads over his face.
Zach is in the rocking chair next to the crib, Hazel cradled in his arms against his bare chest. He's smoothing down her shock of dark hair and hushing her softly, though she's stopped crying momentarily. Chris watches as Zach offers her his finger. She fists her tiny hands around it, and he smiles as she sucks it into her little pink mouth.
"You are so precious," Zach coos, rocking back and forth slightly. "So tiny and fragile... So completely helpless. You're a marvel of nature, baby."
Chris rolls his eyes. Of course Zach would go all Darwinian on an infant. He's just about to suggest that Zach try and put her back down when he pauses. Softly, Zach's started to sing to her.
"I...know a girl... She puts the color...inside of my world... But she's...just like a maze...where all of the walls all...continually change..."
Chris sighs as quietly as he can and slumps further against the doorframe. He's sure he has the biggest, goofiest smile on his face, but damnit, he is so in love with the man in the corner of that room that he can't even remember how to spell his own name.
Zach goes on singing in whispered tones, having moved to stroking Hazel's fleece-covered belly by now. Chris can see her eyes drooping, and it's not too terribly long before he's sure she's conked out. He shoves gently away from the doorframe and creeps closer to the chair in the corner. Zach looks up and into Chris' clear blue eyes. He smiles tiredly, and Chris bends down to scoop Hazel out of his arms, giving him a short, soft peck in the process.
"Thank you, babe," he whispers, and Zach stands up to follow Chris the few steps to the crib. Chris feels Zach's arm circle his waist as he puts Hazel back to bed. Chris hesitates a moment, just watching their daughter sleep. He turns into Zach's arms, pressing his face to Zach's chest but keeping his gaze on Hazel.
"How did we get so lucky?" Zach breathes. Chris squeezes his eyes shut and presses a loving kiss to Zach's skin.
"Shh. No questions. Back to bed."
Silently, they tiptoe back across the hall and into the still-warm bed. They curl around each other, just like every night, and fall back asleep for a little while longer.
Chris sits with Hazel on her baby blanket on the floor, leaned back against the couch. Hazel is between his legs, propped back against him, flailing a few blocks around and gurgling while Chris talks to her.
"Gonna meet the puppy today, Hazy," he coos. "Meet the puppy? You wanna meet the puppy? Yeah, you wanna meet the puppy."
Zach stands in the doorway, Noah on the leash beside him, a box of "Noah's favorite" organic, whole wheat treats in his hand. They've waited to introduce the pets to Hazel, holding off until she could handle herself a little bit better. But now that she's able to sit herself up pretty well with their help, they've figured it's time she got to know her pets.
"Chris, she's gonna grow up talking like a mentally stunted individual if you keep babbling at her like that."
Chris looks up and glares at him. "Shut up – she's an infant, Zachary. She won't even start imitating speech until about six months, anyways," he says, offhand. Zach beams at him.
"You've been reading the baby books, haven't you?"
"...Katie talks a lot about – "
"Bullshit she does," Zach murmurs affectionately, and walks Noah closer, asking for a 'sit' at the far edge of the baby blanket. Zach leans forward over Hazel and kisses Chris softly while he hums appreciatively. "You're amazing, and I love you. Now here – hold her hands. I don't want her bopping Noah in the face..."
Chris takes a soft hold of Hazel's wrists, smiling when she curls her hands around his fingers. Zach maneuvers himself into a half-lotus, crossing his legs together comfortably, and asks Noah to lie down. The dog stretches towards Hazel, cautious but curious, and she waves her arms up and down excitedly, tugging on Chris' fingers.
"Good boy, Noah," Zach praises, and gives him a treat. Noah is too fascinated by the baby, however, and drops the biscuit to the blanket. He stretches his nose towards Hazel, sniffing excitedly, and Chris notices that his tail is thumping on the ground.
"Zach, look at him," he laughs, and carefully stretches one of Hazel's fists towards Noah's nose. He snuffles his wet nose over his fingers, and then licks them.
"Gooood!" Zach says excitedly, and offers him the treat again. "D'as my good boy!" He ruffles the fur around Noah's bandanna-ed neck, and gives up on feeding Noah the treat. Chris pulls one of his hands from Hazel's strong grasp, and uses it to pull Noah a little bit closer.
"Keep an eye on him – she might pull," he mutters to Zach, and stretches Hazel's hands to Noah's fur. Hazel grabs onto the dark hair, gurgling, and Chris bends down low to kiss her head. "Oh, baby girl, you are so sweet – look at you," he coos. Zach chuckles and pets Noah's fur reassuringly.
"I'm gonna go get Harold... Do you have things under control here?" he asks Chris, who looks up and nods.
"Yeah – Noah's a good boy. Aren't you, Noah?" Noah proceeds to roll onto his back for belly rubs.
"Hey, can you hand me the shampoo, Z?" Chris asks, his wet hands cupping water over Hazel's head carefully. She looks up at him with her blue eyes, splashing slightly. Chris beams down at her as Zach ignores his request and instead starts to scrub the shampoo gently into Hazel's dark hair himself.
"Hazel, your daddy does not pay enough attention to the hair products he uses," he speaks sensibly to the infant. "It's probably best if you let me do your hair, darling."
Chris rolls his eyes and offers Hazel a rubber ducky. "I do too pay attention: shampoo, then conditioner."
"Yeah, conditioner if I'm in the shower with you to remind you." Zach turns around to set the shampoo aside, and Chris uses his fingers to gently shape Hazel's hair into a soapy mohawk. She blinks up at him, making little cooing noises, and he laughs.
"Hazy, you are the most adorable thing on the planet." Chris leans down to nuzzle her forehead and press a kiss to the damp skin. "I love you, baby girl." Hazel seems to think this is outrageous, and she splashes hard at the water, spraying the front of Chris' shirt. Zach turns back around, and sighs.
"Chris, you need to stop being so damn cute with our daughter." Chris smiles up Zach happily, his gray T-shirt now splotched darker with water.
"Rinse her off, yeah? My hands are getting all pruned," Chris says, making a face. Zach heaves a melodramatic sigh and starts to cup water over Hazel.
"Your daddy's a big drama queen," he whispers conspiratorially to her. Chris snaps him on the ass with the towel.
"Hurry up – it's almost dinner time."
Zach grumbles a 'yeah, yeah' and lifts Hazel out of her tub and into the towel in Chris' arms. Chris coos at her and plays with her fingers as Zach gently rubs her hair dry. He thumbs at her cheek, smiling when her eyes move from Chris to him.
"Oh, you're going to be a little heartbreaker, aren't you?" Zach murmurs, and Chris laughs.
"She's got the Pine genes, and she's gonna be raised by one of the sexiest men I know – is there a doubt in your mind?"
Zach raises an eyebrow. "'One of,' Christopher?" Chris flashes him a winning smile.
"You know about my man crushes."
"Please, do not instill your penchant for falling in love with everything into our daughter..."
Chris just laughs joyously and walks Hazel to the kitchen.
on to part 3