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Soft Spot

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“Bertie?” Roger called, opening the doorway to their apartment. He had texted Roger help half an hour ago and then hadn’t answered his phone when Roger had tried calling him. Knowing Bertie, a help text could mean anything from a panic attack to flooding the apartment. He’d been able to rule out a panic attack - Bertie would have answered his phone otherwise - so Roger was nervously anticipating the disaster waiting for him as soon as he found his boyfriend. 

“I’m in the kitchen.” Bertie’s voice was strained and anxious. Roger hurried through to the kitchen, his stomach twisting into knots, only to burst out laughing as soon as he entered the room. Bertie was standing in the middle of the kitchen, holding a baby and looking terrified.  

“It’s not funny,” he said, pouting slightly. 

“Sorry,” Roger said, trying to hide his smile. “I take it Etta and Kate came by?” 

“In a sense. Etta ran in, gave me Arnold, said they’d be back in an hour, and then fled. Can you take him please? I’m terrified I’m going to drop him.” 

“Sure.” Roger carefully took Arnold from Bertie. Arnold gurgled happily and reached up to grab Roger’s glasses off his face. 

“Oh my gosh,” Bertie said, moving to take them from him. 

“It’s fine,” Roger said. “He won’t break them.” 

“What if he stabs himself in the eye with them?” 

“He won’t.” Arnold stuck the tip of one of the temples into his mouth and chewed on it happily. Bertie made a distressed noise. Roger laughed. “He’s fine. Have you moved at all in the last half hour?” 

“I was holding my phone when she gave me him, so I was able to text you, but otherwise? No.” 

“Seriously?” 

“I was scared I was going to drop him!” 

Roger laughed and kissed Bertie’s forehead gently. “You’re adorable. Why don’t you make yourself a hot chocolate or something? Calm down a little.” 

Bertie shook his head. “Hot water near a baby sounds like a bad idea.” 

“As long as you’re not planning on pouring it over his head, I think it’ll be fine.” 

“What if I trip though?” 

“Bertie.” 

He sighed and turned on the kettle. “You’re right. Sorry.” 

“You have nothing to be sorry for. It’s good that you’re worried about keeping him safe. You just… need to keep it a little more realistic, that’s all.” 

“Hard to do that when my anxiety is coming up with seventeen different ways he could die every second,” Bertie muttered. 

“Babies are a lot more durable than you think,” Roger said. 

“Don’t they have a spot that you can poke their brain?” 

“That’s called the soft spot and it’s not their brain, it’s just that their skull hasn’t fully closed yet.” 

“Ewwww!” 

“It also throbs because of blood flow.” 

“Oh my gosh!” Bertie bent over to put his head between his knees, breathing heavily. He looked up at Roger and whispered, “Children are terrifying, what the fuck.” 

“Don’t swear in front of the baby.” 

“His skull is open, but curse words are what you’re worried about?” 

“Fine, but if his first word is the f-word, I’m telling Kate that you taught him it.” 

Bertie groaned and leaned against the counter. “I changed my mind, I don’t ever want kids.” 

“You’ve thought about kids?” Roger asked, surprised. 

Bertie flushed. “I mean. Sure. I guess. Sometimes. Not like, seriously, but yeah, I’ve considered maybe having kids one day. Why, do you not want kids?” 

“I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about it,” he admitted. 

“You’d probably be a better parent than me,” Bertie muttered. 

“You just have to get used to kids,” Roger said. “I had two younger sisters. I have practice looking after a baby. Arnold’s your first one. It’s natural that you’re nervous.” 

“I mean, what if he dies? What if Kate and Etta come back and I’ve killed him?” 

“Unlikely.” 

“How come?” 

“Because I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen.” 

Bertie groaned. “Right. At least Arnold stands somewhat of a chance then.” 

“Thanks for your vote of confidence,” Roger said sarcastically. 

He sighed. “You know what I meant.” 

“You were doing fine until I got here.” 

“Only because I wasn’t moving.” 

“Here.” Roger held out Arnold to Bertie. He hesitated before taking him into his arms. Roger adjusted Bertie’s hands so that he was holding Arnold securely. “See? That’s not so hard, right?” 

Bertie took a shaky breath. “Right. Not so bad.” 

Arnold gurgled and smiled up at him. Bertie beamed. Roger kissed his shoulder gently. “You’re doing a great job. And if you decide that you do want kids one day, you’ll make a great dad.”