We didn’t think this one out beyond our happiness, so maybe we were asking for this. Maybe…
Christmas was upon everyone once again. It was a white Christmas, having snowed slightly the previous day. Yori was happy that she had not “popped” yet as Ron had taken to referring to her going into labor. Todd was with his preferred parents, about to open gifts with his Kimmie while Shego was posed to take pictures.
They were camped out in the living room, early in the morning because Todd and Kim did not seem to believe in sleeping in late when gifts were waiting for them, which meant that Shego could not sleep late either. There were Christmas’ decorations up, of course. Kim had put those up a couple of weeks ago and Shego had put all of the gifts under the tree last night once her troublesome redheads slept. It was becoming a tradition in itself, which did not bother the ladies.
“All right you little scavengers, start tearing things open right now,” Shego said once she got her camera together. She purposely took her time with it because she liked the anxious look on her monster’s face and their gremlin’s face while waiting for the word to open their presents.
Todd grinned as he quickly grabbed for a box. He held it up for Shego to take a picture of him and then Kim asked him who the present was from. His third Christmas with the couple involved getting gifts from them, their parents, and also their brothers. He was really a part of their family, he realized. It was a great feeling.
“It’s from Grandpa,” he answered enthusiastically. He referred to Kim’s father as “grandpa” because he had more contact and felt more accepted by Kim’s father to use the term of endearment. With Shego’s father, well, he just tried to avoid the huge man more often than not on the couple of occasions that he did see the man. He was certain that Shego’s father disliked him; he had a lot of experience in reading people that were not fond of him.
“Oh, great, let me go get the fire extinguisher ready,” Shego commented quite seriously. She was pretty certain that anything from Grandpa and the tweebs was going to explode and/or start a fire.
“Open it, Smiley. Let’s see if it does need She-she to get the fire extinguisher,” Kim said and Todd grinned.
The boy tore into the box with vigor and revealed that his guardians were too jumpy. James had sent the child a toy rocket, which caused him to grin again. He turned to Kim and held up the box, shaking it as if begging her to go out with him right now to fire the thing off.
“Smiley, something like that needs to wait for the temperature to at least be in the teens,” Kim remarked.
“Fine,” he sighed. He guessed that it would make sense for them to wait until his snot did not freeze in his nose when he went outside.
Todd turned his attention to another present and tore it open. He did not bother to check and see who it was from. Luckily, it was from Kim. She got him a life-sized rattlesnake model that he could take apart down to its little organs. Shego took a picture and then gave her spouse a look as if asking “where the hell did you get that thing?” Kim only smiled.
“This is too cool!” Todd cheered while pulling the snake out of its box and snapping its head off. He then opened its mouth and got to see the fangs and everything. He even pulled a fang out. “This thing just gets better and better!”
“I knew he would love that thing,” the hero commented with a chuckle.
“You find some of the strangest shit,” the super-powered female said to her spouse because Kim certainly did bring home some weird things for their son and he almost always loved them.
“You just have to know where to look,” Kim replied with a shrug.
“You open something, Princess. With luck, it’s nothing that’ll blow up,” Shego remarked because it was possible that Kim’s father sent gifts for the olive-eyed scientist as well as their son.
Kim grabbed the box nearest to her and ripped it open. It was a present from her spouse and it was something that she was in dire need of, new sneakers. Shego had actually recently purchased some sneakers for Kim to wear daily, but that was a backup pair because she went through sneakers rapidly.
The two redheads continued to go through presents. Kim occasionally handed things to Shego for her to open, which the pale woman did, but without the eager vigor of her wife and their son. Todd then stopped everything and widely grinned as he opened a box that held a two-foot model of a smilodon.
“Who’s that from, Smiles?” Shego asked curiously because he was grinning like he had just gotten the world on a plate.
“It’s from Grandma!” he practically hollered in a cheerful tone.
“Of course,” Shego sighed. Her mother certainly was winning the boy over.
Todd referred to Isabel as “grandma” while Ann got the brand of “mee-ma.” They were not sure where he got “mee-ma” from, but Ann accepted the name and smiled at him every time he said it, which he loved. He had quickly grown to love his grandmothers just as much as he loved his guardians. Isabel and Ann just reminded him so much of his She-she and his Kimmie.
They made it through all of the gifts, everyone getting something they wanted along with things that they needed. Todd thought that he was going to get “the special, surprise gift” now. His She-she and Kimmie had told him last night that when he was done with opening all of his presents under the tree that they had a big surprise gift for him and he had been wondering about it since then.
“So, do I get my last present now?” Todd asked anxiously.
“No, Smiles. First, we have to call Grandpa and Mee-ma to thank them for all the stuff they sent and we’ve got to call your Grandma too,” Kim answered.
“Do we really have to call his Grandma?” Shego sighed. The last thing she wanted to do was hear from her mother on Christmas, a holiday Isabel did celebrate just as an excuse to call the family together in the past. Who knew what might come out of that woman’s mouth? She was willing to bet that it would be something annoying.
“Yes, we have to call his Grandma. He needs to thank her for everything too,” the hero answered.
Shego sighed again and silently hoped that her mother did not want to talk with her when Isabel was done with Todd. They first called up Grandpa and Mee-me for Todd to thank them, which he did with great enthusiasm. They had a short conversation before they let him go to finish enjoying Christmas. And then, his Grandma was called and they both greeted each other with great joy.
Shego practically balked when Todd handed her the phone. She was then surprised when Isabel just wished her a Merry Christmas and told the green-skinned woman to take care of her growing little family. Shego made a noise, but nothing else really. Her mother let her go after that because she thought that Shego probably just wanted to spend time with her wife and their son, which she was right about.
“So, do I get my last present now?” Todd asked again. He did not want his good parents to forget about the final present.
“You’re so impatient,” Shego said to her gremlin. She decided that he got the quality from Kim, even though she was really the impatient one. She just blamed Kim because of the way that the adventurer behaved when they were in the house, throwing tantrums to get her way and never wanting to wait for anything when Shego told her to.
“But, I really wanna see it,” the child replied with a huge grin.
“I bet you do,” Shego commented and then she grabbed him up, tickling him once he was secure in her grip.
“No, She-she!” he giggled while begging and trying to force her hand away. Kim smiled at the sight and made sure to get a picture of it.
“Yes, booger,” the pale woman replied and she spun him around while tickling him.
“Help me, Kimmie!” Todd pled while reaching out for the other redhead in the room.
“No way! She’ll just tickle me too!” Kim pointed out. She and Todd believed in “every man for himself” when it came to tickling. They did not help each other anymore when one was in the talons of the merciless Shego because they were not interested in sharing such a fate.
“Help me!” he pled.
“Nope.” Kim shook her head firmly and grabbed a throw pillow to hold while she just watched the havoc. Shego did not tickle the boy for long and when she was done, she tossed him on the sofa, next to his Kimmie. He continued to giggle while Shego flopped down onto the sofa next to him.
“So, now do I get to see my present?” he asked while trying to catch his breath.
“Well, you won’t get to see your present for a long time,” Shego commented.
“Why? Is it because I did something bad? I didn’t mean it,” the child said in a panic.
“No, no, no, Smiles,” Kim assured him while Shego just laughed. Kim put her arms around the boy and Shego mimicked that, so they all engaged in a little family hug.
“Then how come I can’t see it?” Todd asked curiously.
“Well, booger, you can’t see it because it’s not here yet,” Shego answered.
“Not here yet? Do we hafta pick it up from somewhere?” he inquired with a puzzled expression.
“No, we just have to wait for it,” Kim answered.
“Well, can you tell me what it is then? Or is it a surprise?” he asked.
“No, we’re going to tell you, but it’s still going to be a surprise when it happens,” Shego replied.
“Okay, so what is it?” the pale child asked eagerly.
“Next year, you’re going to be a big brother,” Kim informed him with a smile on her face.
“A big brother?” he echoed, looking more perplexed than before. How was he going to be a big brother? Why would he even want to be a big brother?
“Yeah, a big brother. We’re going to have a baby and you’re going to be a big brother,” Shego added in.
“You’re going to have a baby?” he repeated it and it sounded foreign to his ears. He just did not understand. Why were they going to have a baby? They had him. They should not need any more kids then. Was he not good enough?
“Yeah, it’s growing inside of Kimmie’s tummy,” Shego told him.
Todd glanced down at Kim’s stomach and noticed it was flat. Well, it was not going to be very big, he thought. But, then again, he knew from seeing Yori progress through her pregnancy that a mother tended to get bigger as time went by. He did not understand why they were going to have a baby, though.
From Todd’s limited social experience, only people without children had babies. But, his She-she and Kimmie had him, so he did not see why they would have a baby. It was supposed to just be him and them. They were a family…right?
“Isn’t it great, Smiley?” Kim asked with a huge grin and she hugged the boy.
“Uh-huh,” he said in a dead tone.
“Booger, what’s wrong?” Shego inquired, noticing that he looked like he was miles away from them and witnessing a horrible war scene or something like that.
“Nothing…” he answered and he slid off of the sofa.
Kim and Shego looked at each other, as if asking what was wrong with their son. Neither had an answer for the other and then they turned to look at Todd. He was going through all of the gift-wrapping that was littering the living room floor and sniffling as he did so. It seemed like he was looking for something.
“What’s the matter, Smiley? Are you looking Tai?” Kim asked.
Todd nodded slowly. Kim got up off of the sofa to go help him look for Tai, which was his saber-tooth plush toy that he still carried whenever and wherever possible. He had named the stuffed animal Tai after Kim told him a story that she once got bitten by a taipan snake and he was totally fascinated with the tale and with the snake involved. Taipans were by far his favorite venomous snake and thus, he named his “best friend” after the reptile.
“I’ll go make you two some hot chocolate and I guess we can stare mindlessly at Christmas cartoons for the rest of the day,” Shego remarked.
“Sounds like a good idea,” Kim agreed while moving paper out of the way to assist in locating the missing saber-tooth.
The raven-haired woman got up from the couch and went to the kitchen. Kim quickly found the lost toy and returned it to its owner. While doing that, she supposed that she might as well clean up the mess that they made, in case something else wanted was buried under a grave of torn paper and boxes. She thought that Todd had gone to sit on the sofa, but when she turned around after a few minutes of cleaning, she saw that he was gone.
She thought that was a little odd, but there was a chance that he went to the bathroom or went in the kitchen to bug his She-she. After a few more minutes, she was not so sure, though. There was no yelling or giggling coming from the kitchen, meaning that Todd was not in there misbehaving with his She-she. If he was in the bathroom, he would have come back into the living room by now.
Kim decided to investigate. She poked her head in the kitchen and saw that Shego was the only person in there. She then went and checked the bathrooms to find them both unoccupied. She looked down in the basement because sometimes Todd would go down there to play on their gym equipment or do tumbles on their mats. He was not down there either, though. She went and checked his room, their room, the office, and the unused room only to find that they were all empty too.
“Shego,” Kim called as she descended the stairs.
“Yeah?” the green-skinned female replied.
“Have you seen Smiley?” Kim inquired.
“I don’t think he’s in the house anymore,” Kim reported as she made it to the kitchen.
“What the hell do you mean he’s not in the house anymore? Where else would he be?” Shego asked in a confused tone.
“I don’t know, but I looked everywhere for him and I haven’t seen him.”
“That’s crazy. Where would he go?” Shego wondered out loud.
The pale woman decided to do her own sweep of the house and called out for the child too. There was no answer. The silence made Shego feel two emotions at once, which she was used to thanks to being with Kim so long; she was worried and angry.
“Okay, I’ll go look for him outside,” Shego announced as she grabbed her cell phone and went to the door to put her shoes on. She looked down by the door to see that Todd’s sneakers were missing from shoe rack that was by the door. Shit, she cursed mentally.
“And what do I do?” Kim asked in a slight panic all her own. She should have been watching him more closely, she mentally berated herself. It was just that he usually would sit on the sofa and be quiet as long as he had Tai with him or he would bounce all around her where she could see him. He had never run off before.
“You wait here in case he comes back,” Shego pointed out the obvious.
“Right.” Kim nodded.
The super-powered female exited the house without a coat on; actually, she was still in her pajamas of black sweatpants and a green tank-top. She looked up and down the street, but did not see any sign of their son. She asked herself where Todd would go in the city and the first place that she thought about was her family’s house.
Todd knew the place as “Grandma’s house,” so he probably would go there, she thought. He had been there a few times; Isabel liked to volunteer to baby-sit for a few hours to get to know Todd better and she sometimes did it at the Gooding family home because Kim and Shego always thought that Todd needed to get out of the house as much as possible. He did like spending time with Isabel too, so it was always nice when she offered to take him for a little while.
Shego decided to call her mother and find out if the woman was at the house, in case that was where Todd was headed. Isabel would then know to look out for him and not go anywhere. She wondered what the hell that boy was thinking just walking out of the house like that.
“Hey, Mommy,” Shego said into the phone.
“Hey, firefly. Shocking to hear from you twice in one day,” Isabel said in sort of a teasing tone.
“Mommy, where are you right now?” the green-skinned woman inquired.
“Where am I? Why do you want to know?” Isabel countered, getting a kick out of taunting her child as usual. It actually irked her when Shego asked her such things, though.
“Well, Smiley ran off and I think the little gremlin might be heading to the house since he thinks you live there. Are you there by any chance?” the green-skinned officer asked. For once, she hoped that her mother was somewhere close by.
“He ran off? What did you do to my happy little grandson to make him run off on Christmas?” Isabel demanded to know.
“I didn’t do anything to him!” Shego hollered indignantly on her phone. She would never hurt her son or cause him to run away, not on purpose anyway.
“Then why’d he run off?”
“Hell if I know! One second he’s grinning like usual on the phone with you, we told him he was going to be a big brother soon, and then he was looking for his sidekick while Kimmie helped. I went into the kitchen to make hot chocolate and the next thing I know, he’s gone!” Shego reported in a slight panic now.
It was such a big city and their little gremlin was only seven. Sure, they had taught him to defend himself a little bit, but not enough to make it on the streets alone for long. He was not tall or carrying a weapon, so he could run into trouble. Where was he? Why would he run out of the house?
“Okay, firefly, calm down. You’ll find him,” Isabel assured her daughter.
“You’re not at the house, are you?” Shego inquired in a disappointed tone.
“No, sorry. I’m not even in the country,” the older woman admitted. Never before did she wish so badly that she was in Go City. She had faith that her daughter would find her grandson, but it would have made her feel a lot better if she was able to assist in that.
“Damn it,” the green-skinned woman growled.
“Calm down. You’re going to find the little fire warrior,” Isabel promised her daughter. She had dubbed Todd “the fire warrior” because of his crimson red hair and she thought that it would make him feel more accepted to have a nickname from her just like his She-she did. He did not take offense to the nickname like his She-she did.
“I know I am,” Shego huffed. Of course she was going to find him! She did not need her mother stating the obvious right now. She just needed to find her damn son!
“All right. Do you want me to stay on the line?”
“No. I’ll call you when I find him,” the daughter replied. She did not even let her mother answer; she just ended the call.
It was clear that Shego was worried just because she had offered to call her mother back with information. Usually, it would never even cross her mind to say such a thing. She just knew that her mother was going to be worried about Todd now and she would prefer to save Isabel that kind of heartache because it was killing her on the inside right now. She really needed to find her fucking son.
Todd sniffled as he ran down the street, making sure to keep a tight grip on Tai. His little legs were cold because he had run out in his pajamas. He had had the mind to grab his coat, but he did not think to put on proper clothing. He just wanted to get away. He figured that it would be best to leave of his own accord before his She-she and Kimmie made him leave.
He thought that they did not want him anymore and that was why they were having a baby. He guessed that it made sense. No one ever wanted him. Ever since he was born, people were always passing him over or passing him off on someone. No one ever wanted him and just when he thought that he had a family in Kimmie and She-she, they pushed him aside to have a baby. It was not fair, he lamented in his mind.
Maybe they wanted someone that was related to them by blood, he thought. He was not really theirs, after all. He was just some snotty kid that followed Kimmie home from a fast food restaurant after his crappy grandmother lost him. He was not theirs and they did not need to keep him around now that they were having a child of their own, he thought. He sniffled as the ideas raced through his mind. Nobody wanted him.
He always thought that he was such a good son. He always did what his biological parents told him, but they never wanted him. He had been so quiet and still and “well-behaved” when he was with them, but they never cared. They just ignored him. He thought that would change with Kimmie and She-she, but it would seem that they did not want him anymore either.
Well, they did offer him the chance to be a big brother, but he did not even want to be a big brother. He just wanted it to be him, Kimmie, and She-she all of the time. They were a family and he got attention. They focused on him when he was around. They were going to focus on their new baby now, though. He was almost certain that they were going to totally ignore him and that would be if he was lucky. The worst thing would be them throwing him out and sending him back to his birth parents forever. It was not fair!
Tears in his eyes began to roll down his cheeks at a steady pace. He wiped away the tears, knowing that his She-she would admonish him if she ever saw him cry. It was just that he wanted to stay with them always and forever, but it would seem that was not going to work. It was not going to be the same.
He continued running, planning to go to his Grandma’s house. As far as he knew his Grandma would make everything all right. Isabel might even make his She-she keep him and pay attention to him like always. If not that, maybe his Grandma would keep him.
He did like Isabel and she did not have little children anymore. Maybe she would want him and he could stay with her. He would even be able to see his She-she and Kimmie occasionally. Sure, they would probably ignore him, but he would get to see them and that would make him happy. But, then again, he considered that his Grandma might just focus on the new baby like She-she and Kimmie were bound to do. And now that he thought about that, he realized that his Grandpa and Mee-ma were probably going to be the same way.
He cried some more as the notion of being all alone crossed his mind. He loved his family so much and now he was not going to be in it anymore. Why did things have to be like that? Why did everyone dislike him? Why was he even born, he demanded to know while looking angrily at the sky.
He continued on and kept a tight hold on Tai. He tried to remember how to make it to his Grandma’s house. Everything seemed different on foot compared to when he was in a car. He was luckily a keen observer though and remembered landmarks. Still, he did not take into account how far he would have to travel and just how cold he was getting. He hugged Tai to him, hoping that the soft toy would help warm him up.
“Smiles!” He heard his name called from behind him and turned around. His jade eyes locked onto his She-she’s form; she was up the street.
“She-she?” he mumbled in disbelief.
“Oh, thank god,” Shego muttered as she charged down the street to get to her little gremlin. She leaned down and grabbed him into a tight hug. He made a noise while she kissed his cheek and just held him.
“She-she,” he grunted. She was hurting him by embracing him so tightly, but she continued on.
“Oh, god, booger, do you know how worried we were about you? Why’d you just leave the house like that? If you want to see your grandma, you should just tell us,” Shego informed him, thinking that was why he left the house.
Todd did not respond. His lip trembled and he wrapped his arms around Shego’s neck, just holding onto her tightly. She was his She-she, he thought as he began to weep. He should not have to share her with anyone other than his Kimmie. It was not fair that they were going to have a baby now. He wanted them to always be his.
“Booger, why are you crying?” Shego asked as she picked him up and held him. She could feel that he was cold, so she held him closely to warm him up.
“I don’t wanna hafta leave you and Kimmie! I wanna be in your family! I want you to stay my parents!” he bawled. It was so cold that his tears were freezing to his face.
“Booger, what are you talking about?” she inquired as she started back toward their home. She broke into a light jog to get back there soon, so he could get warm. “You don’t have to leave us and you’re always going to be in our family. You are our family. You’re our son, Smiley. You are our son,” she said firmly.
He was their little boy. They loved him like anyone would love a blood son. She did not see why he would think anything differently.
“You’re going to have a baby now. You’re going to have your own baby and you’re not going to want me anymore,” he explained, still weeping.
“Smiles, you’re talking real crazy right now, you know that? Just because we’re going to have a baby doesn’t mean we don’t want you. First of all, family, and I mean real family like us, just doesn’t throw family away like that and we would never throw our son away. You’re our son and we’re keeping you, whether you want us to or not,” she replied in a bit of a playful tone to hopefully set him at ease.
“But, you’re having a baby…” he pointed out with a sniffle.
“So what? You’re our son and you’re going to be a big brother.”
“But, I don’t wanna be a big brother! I just wanna be with you and Kimmie. I don’t wanna share you!” he screamed while moving to look his She-she in the eye. He wanted her to see his anguish and pain and how much he wanted them to just stay a little family. She mostly saw that he was turning blue from being outside in single digit weather for so long, but she did see his agony in his jade eyes.
“Smiles, I know how you feel,” she said and that actually shocked him.
“I know how you feel, but sometimes parents have other kids, but that doesn’t mean they forget about the older kids.”
“But, I want you to only pay attention to me,” he stated honestly.
“I understand that, booger, but you have to have more faith in us than that. Besides, do you think that your grandpa and mee-ma stopped paying attention to Kimmie when they had your uncles?”
Todd thought about it. “Nah-uh.”
“Okay, and do you think that your grandma stopped paying attention to me when your uncle Michael was born?”
He thought about it again. “Nah-uh.”
“So, do you really think that me and Kimmie would stop paying attention to you because of your baby brother or sister?”
One more time did he take a few seconds to think about his answer and he answered the same. “Nah-uh.”
“Damn right. We’re never going to let you go, kid. You’re our son and we’re going to stand by you until the very end and you have to do the same with your brother or sister. The baby is going to need you,” Shego said.
“Need me?” he echoed like he did not understand.
“Yes, need you. A baby, a person, needs as much love as they can get. You know that and I know that, so you need to love your brother or sister, okay? You have to take care of the baby because you’re the big brother. You have to make sure that the youngster is always okay, like we make sure you’re always okay. Are you good with that?” she asked, looking him in the eye.
Todd thought about. Was he okay with it? Did he want to be responsible for his little brother or sister? He was not sure. He still did not want to be a big brother. He wanted to keep his Kimmie and She-she to himself.
“Booger, we’re trusting you with the baby. This is something important to us and we want it to be important to you too. We want you to like the baby just as much as we do,” Shego said.
“Are you both going to still like me?” he asked.
“Of course we will. You’re our son, Smiles. Remember that, you are our son,” she said with conviction.
Todd nodded and rested his head on her shoulder. His She-she and Kimmie were his parents, he reminded himself. They were different from other people. They paid attention to him, even though they did not have to. They made him feel safe and loved. They wanted him to do the same for their baby. He thought about that, very hard.
It would be beyond fantastic to make someone younger than he was feel the way that his guardians made him feel, he thought. It was an honor now that he thought about it because he realized how Kim and Shego made him feel. He would love to give someone else that feeling. He would make his parents proud of him and take good care of their baby, his little sibling.
Shego carried Todd home, making sure he remained close to her to stay warm. When they entered the house, Kim rushed to the door to see if her spouse had found their son. When she saw them, she charged them and embraced them both tightly.
“I’m so glad you’re all right,” Kim said to Todd while placing a number of kisses on his freezing cheeks and frosty red nose. “Where’d you go? Why’d you just leave like that? What did you think you were doing?” she inquired in a frantic tone.
“He just needed to clear his head, Princess,” Shego answered.
“Clear his head?” Kim echoed, but she figured that was code for Shego had handled everything, so she switched subjects. “You’re cold, boogie. I’ll get you some blankets.”
Todd nodded and Shego took him to the living room. She placed him on the couch and Kim quickly came in with two blankets to wrap him in. He quietly thanked his Kimmie for the blankets while holding them to himself tightly. Kim sat down next him and held him to help warm him up while Shego went back to making hot chocolate, to hopefully get the day back to normal and to help in warming their son up.
Shego also called her mother back to tell her that everything turned out okay and she found Todd safe and secure. Isabel was very glad to hear the news, even though Shego did not explain the whole incident to her. The mother and daughter did not say on the phone for long. Once she was done with Isabel, Shego carried the warm beverages out to her redheaded imps. They all curled up on the sofa after that and watched whatever cartoons Todd wanted to.
They all seemed content, Todd included. He noticed throughout the day that Shego touched Kim’s abdomen, which he knew was where his sibling was. He reached out tentatively once to touch Kim’s stomach too, thinking maybe he would be able to feel the baby and maybe that would help him feel better about things. He seemed scared at first, but Shego noticed what he was doing. She took his little hand and put it to Kim’s stomach and Kim pressed the tiny pale hand to her belly. He smiled a little bit, even though it did not feel like there was a baby in there.
“I’ll be a good big brother,” he silently promised. If Kimmie and She-she could take care of him, then he would take care of their baby because they trusted him to do that.
Next time: babies get born.