Title: Dee’s First Steps
Characters Mother Lane, Dee
Word Count: 511
Summary: Mother Lane gets to see her boy take his first steps.
Setting: Pre-manga, by quite a few years.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE or any of the characters; they belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Most of the children who pass through Mother Maria Lane’s door are already at least a few years old; being handed a young baby is unexpected, but not an unwelcome event. She names the black haired, green-eyed bundle of joy Dee; he’s the youngest child she’s cared for in nearly ten years, but he’s an absolute joy, an easy baby to deal with, always smiling and with an infectious giggle.
But babies don’t stay babies for long. Almost before Mother can blink, young Dee has mastered the art of crawling, and seemingly overnight, the trouble-free little mite has turned into an unholy terror, getting into everything and causing chaos.
He has such determination, and always looks so pleased with himself, that it’s impossible to stay angry with him for long, but Mother learns to keep a constant eye on him. The older children help, but they get distracted too easily and anyway, they’re at school most days.
Dee has been at the orphanage for just over nine months when Mother spots him sitting in the middle of the floor one day, frowning thoughtfully. Cheerful though he always is, he’s a problem solver, and she often wishes she knew what was going on inside his head. She calls his name and he turns a big, toothy grin her way, squirming onto his hands and knees. She expects him to crawl towards her, but he doesn’t; instead he grabs at a chair leg and pulls himself up until he’s standing on chubby little legs. The triumphant giggle that escapes then almost overbalances him and he wavers for a moment. Mother holds her breath, but he doesn’t fall.
This is one of the most magical moments in a child’s life, and it’s one Maria seldom gets to see. Being a nun, she’ll have no children of her own, but for all intents and purposes, Dee is her baby, her boy, and she’s the only mother he’s ever really known. Pride wells up inside her and tears prickle behind her eyes.
“Come on, Dee, come to Mother.” Maria kneels on the floor, holding out her hands encouragingly. Beaming at her, Dee takes a step, lifting a foot and plonking it down, wobbling but still gripping the chair with one small hand. Made bold by his success, he tries the other foot, but now he’s run out of chair to hold on to, so he has to let go. It’s slow, unsteady, and each time he lifts a foot she’s convinced he’ll fall. Surely it’s his sheer stubborn will to succeed that keeps him upright for four tottering steps before he lands unceremoniously on his butt with a look of surprised annoyance, but within moments he’s squirmed around and is trying to stand again.
Mother is undeniably proud of her boy, but at the same time, there’s a sinking feeling of dread inside her. Once Dee masters walking, nothing in the world is going to keep the little mischief-maker out of trouble. She’s definitely going to have her work cut out for her with this one.