Summary: It isn't that Spencer hates babies. It's just that they really don't like him. Luckily, babies like Jon.
Author's Notes: First fic ever for bandom. EVER. Tali, if you are ashamed to be my friend after this, I will point at your Watchmen fics. And then I will point at them AGAIN.
Anyone who reads this and likes it has restlesslikeme to thank. Also, thank her for making me get a bingo card. Because I wrote this for "baby - first steps" and if it doesn't really work, then I'll write ANOTHER ONE!
Spencer Smith did not like babies.
Really, there were reasons, justifiable reasons. For one thing, they smelled. They either smelled like baby powder, or some kind of waste, and if there was one thing that Spencer liked, it was the smell of a good, clean person.
For another thing, they were always putting things into their mouths, and gross. They sucked on fingers, trash, candy - whatever happened to fall into their mouths, they would cover in slobber. It was gross for the person being slobbered on - the person that generally happened to be Spencer, it was like he was a drool magnet or something - and it was really gross for the baby. It was no wonder that they got sick so often, because, ew.
Babies were loud, too, and it was really hard to shut them up. Like, impossible.
But really, and Spencer hadn’t told anyone this, not even Ryan, and Ryan was good at keeping secrets. Really, the reason that Spencer Smith did not like babies was because babies never liked him. If he got within a ten-foot radius of them, they would start pouting, move to teary eyes, and then go straight to full-out bawling. He touched a baby once, and it screamed so loud that Spencer thought its tiny head might fall off.
So, yes. Spencer avoided babies. Babies avoided him. Nobody cried, or made an embarrassing disturbance in the middle of a Target. It was a really good arrangement. He’d actually managed to go five years without his mother shoving a baby at him, or touching one, and it was almost as good a streak as Brendon’s two weeks without anything Disney.
In fact, he’d managed to go five years, eleven months, and thirty days without touching a baby when she walked into the office. Spencer wasn’t the secretary, he was the administrative assistant, thank you very much, but he was kind of busy booking appointments and making sure that he looked important and busy whenever the mailman walked in.
“Mail,” he used to say, with his beard and twinkly eyes, and Spencer used to ignore him, because he was on an important call, he didn’t work for a low-life magazine, this was Vanity.
Spencer would say something like “No, sir, I’m sorry, we don’t have any openings for a Gucci advertisement for this month’s run, but you can be the first to pencil in a slot for next month”, or “Mister Wentz is busy at the moment, I’ll tell him you called”, or “No thank you, we don’t need any free vacations, our salaries are very high.”
Now, the mailman just waited, flip flops making a soft slapping noise against the floor whenever he shuffled his feet around. He was damn patient, and stubborn, Spencer would give him that. But he always made sure to be on the phone with someone at 1:30 p.m. He’d done it ever since Katie had quit, because Katie’s slow grin hadn’t ever made his ears so red that they could probably start a small fire.
She came on Tuesday, November 17th. She was probably one of the writers, going by the frazzled look in her eye, the smudges of ink on her hands, and despite her best attempts (Spencer did admire her choices, straight out of this season’s Prada line), her shoes were so last year.
When she walked through the door at 1:29, which was cutting it quite close, and locked eyes with Spencer before making a beeline for his desk, he could feel deep in his bones that something terrible was about to happen. If only he’d picked up his phone a minute earlier, or not looked up at the door like a guilty schoolgirl, or noticed that the straps of her backpack were way too soft to really belong to a backpack, well.
“Excuse me,” she said, and Spencer mentally smacked himself upside the head for not appearing busy.
He tried his best to smile, he really did. “Yes?” he said, glancing nervously to the door behind her. Nobody yet.
“I have to go up to a meeting,” she said, and leaned closer to Spencer.
The automatic doors opened with a swish. As the soft slap of shoes reached Spencer’s ears, he willed himself not to faint. A human being is as good as a phone call, a human being is as good as a phone call.
“Do you need to know where to go?” he asked.
She shook her head.
The mailman’s voice rang out from behind the woman. “Aww! Look at her widdle face!”
“I know where it is, but my nanny quit on me this morning.”
“And I was wondering...”
Spencer’s mouth was so dry, it felt as though he’d just spent a week in the desert. His skin was peeling away in layers, and all that was left for the fucking hot mailman to see was a child, terrified of babies. Terrified that they were going to cry, of all things. Where was his water? He usually had a glass of water on his desk, near his monitor, anywhere? His eyes darted around, and there, there it was, in the far left-hand corner, which meant that it was empty. This day was going to kill him.
“Would you just watch her? I have a presentation, but, I mean, it’s not very long, an hour at the most.”
Spencer tore his eyes away from the heartbreaking glass, and looked up to see a pair of eyes twinkling delightedly at what was not a backpack, and a pair of eyes pleading with him.
“Buh,” he croaked.
“Yes,” said the mail man. “Say yes! Look at your nose!”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Spencer said. “I mean, there’s a lot of people coming in here?”
The woman smiled, and slipped the baby off of her back. She twisted around so that she could hold her out, so that there was a whole baby in Spencer’s face, twisting its tiny face up a little, and Spencer wished he had fainted ten minutes ago. “Don’t worry! She likes people. Here, thank you so much, I’ll be back.”
Spencer’s arms moved without his permission, the traitors, and the woman dashed away as soon as his limp hands were tucked under the baby’s armpits. He heard a distant thank you.
The baby stared at him. Her eyes were as wide as Spencer’s, and she sniffed.
“Ohgod,” he said, as she sniffed again. “Oh no. Don’t do that. Stop. Stop crying. Don’t you dare, baby. Fuuhuuuu...dge, what, what do I do?”
He looked beseechingly at the mail man, forgetting in his terror that he was supposed to be blushing. The man leaned on the counter, and smiled. “Well, first, you might try remembering that she’s a person, and not a t-shirt you have to fold.”
Spencer glared with the heat of a thousand suns, but the mail man was wearing sunglasses. “What does that mean?” he hissed, eyes narrowing.
“Woah there,” the mail man said, lifting his hands up in a ‘no weapons’ gesture. “The second thing you might want to do is calm down a bit. She is a baby. Look, she can barely walk yet, how could she hurt you? So let’s breathe, here, in and out, in and out.”
“What if she cries?” Spencer asked, looking nervously back at the baby, whose face was slowly turning red.
“She’ll definitely cry if you keep holding her like that.”
“What! What do you mean, like that, how am I supposed to hold it?!”
“I told you,” the mail man said, in such a calm way that Spencer just wanted to smash something, “not like a t-shirt. Hold her like, you know, a baby. And she’s a her, not an it.”
If he hadn’t been hyperventilating before, he certainly was now. “Clearly, I don’t know how to hold a baby. If you’re such a smart guy, why don’t you just show me how?”
Much to Spencer’s horror and the baby’s delight, the mail man moved around the desk to do just that. “Stand up,” he said. Spencer did, and the mail man frowned, taking off his sunglasses. “You should hold her on your hip, she looks too big to cradle.”
Spencer shifted his weight onto his left foot, and glared.
“Yes, just like that. Now put the baby there.”
“What?” Spencer looked down at the hip he had apparently cocked, because it was where the mail man was looking and pointing at. “What are you trying to say?”
He looked back up at the mail man, who was still staring at his hip. “Your hip, it’s perfect.”
For a second, they both stood there, and the mail man looked up, surprise blooming on his face. Spencer smiled, just a little, and moved the baby to his side, so that she was resting on his hip. “Uh,” the mail man said, and was it just Spencer, or was he blushing? “Yes, I think that’s good, she probably won’t cry now. Sorry. I mean, about, you know, the hips.”
“Mm. Thanks for your advice. Uh...” Shit, what did he call him? Had he ever said his name? It probably wasn’t what Spencer had been calling him in his head, which was a range of names from Flip Flops to Hot Mail Guy to Beard.
Spencer nodded. “Jon. I’m -”
Spencer frowned, and Jon looked sheepish. “You have a name plate. On your desk. My last name’s Walker, by the way.”
Jon Walker. It fit him like a really good glove, or like Brendon’s jeans fit his tiny, twig-like body. “Well, Jon Walker,” he said, enjoying the way the name felt on his tongue, “thank you.”
Jon shrugged, and handed the letters he was holding to Spencer. “I, uh,” he shuffled around for a moment before backing up, “have to leave. Mail, you know. Doesn’t deliver itself.”
Spencer nodded, and looked down at the baby as Jon walked away. She was watching Jon, with her head against Spencer’s shoulder and her tiny hands wrapped in Spencer’s shirt. He tried smiling at the idea of holding a baby. She wasn’t crying, or screaming, or bawling. It wasn’t as bad as he’d remembered it. “This isn’t so bad, is it?” he said, and she looked up at him. She blinked her tiny eyes once, and then her face twisted. “No,” Spencer said. “No, no, no, no, no. Jon?” he called, because damnit, even after that lesson, she was sniffling, and he could see tears gathering at the corners of her tiny eyes, and no amount of rocking around was satisfying her. “Help!”
He could feel his heart racing beneath his chest as he frantically tried to soothe her and to stop himself from hyperventilating at the same time. “Jon,” he said, desperately, as large hands swooped in out of the corner of his eye, and gently took the baby from Spencer.
“There, there, baby girl,” Jon crooned. He held her up to his face, and scrunched his nose up. “Don’t you cry, you little troublemaker.”
Curious, Spencer moved around so that he could see her little face just as Jon rubbed his nose against hers. She sniffed, and then smiled for a second before her face fell again. “Jon,” Spencer said, panicked at the thought of her crying again.
“Hold on. I know what I’m doing.”
“Are you sure, because, ack!” Spencer clapped his hands over his mouth as Jon tossed the girl up in the air, and caught her again. “Jon, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Jon threw her again, and when she reappeared in his hands, he turned to the side and grinned at Spencer. “Trust me, Spencer Smith,” he said, and this time when he caught her, she giggled.
Giggled. Within a few feet of Spencer. “What...how...?”
Jon tossed her, and turned her over in his hands. “Who’s got a belly?” he asked. And she giggled again. “Whoooooo’s got a belly?”
Never before had Spencer heard such a happy sound. He moved closer, and even when he was standing at Jon’s shoulder, when he tickled her, she laughed. Spencer’s fingers itched to touch her, but he knew that if he did, he would just jinx everything.
“Are you a good girl?” Jon asked, and she grabbed his fingers, laughing in delight. She squirmed in his grasp, and suddenly, Jon was bending down to put her on the ground. “Yes, yes you are. You’re such a good girl, aren’t you?”
She babbled something at him, and Spencer stepped back. Jon had said that she couldn’t walk, and Jon clearly knew a thing or two about babies.
“I think you should see Uncle Spencer,” Jon said to her as she stood on her stubby, wobbly legs. “Come on.”
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”
“Why not?” Jon looked up, and his warm brown eyes met Spencer’s nervously blue ones.
Spencer wrapped his arms around his middle. “She’ll just cry again,” he said, stepping back again.
Jon looked from Spencer to the baby, and then back up at Spencer. “Well,” he said, and grinned that grin. Spencer’s ears heated up. “You’ll have to catch her if she falls.”
And then he let go. The girl wobbled for a second, and then beamed at Spencer when she moved forwards. Step, step, wobble, and Spencer could feel his heart visibly speeding up every time she almost fell. He got to his knees, eyes wide, and stretched his arms out. “Oh my goodness, don’t fall, don’t you dare fall.”
She giggled, and then her eyes widened as she teetered. Spencer shot forward, and grabbed her. He let out a breath that he hadn’t realized he’d been holding, and clutched her to his chest. That was the most nerve-wracking thing that had ever happened to him. Only when he felt her laughing did he manage to breathe in again.
He dared to hold her less tightly, and his heart melted, just a little bit. “Hey,” he looked down at her, and she reached a tiny hand up to his face. “You like me.”
“Did she just walk?”
The voice was unfamiliar to Spencer for a moment, and then it clicked. He stood up as quickly as he could with a lump of baby in his arms. There were no words that he could ever imagine saying that could describe his surprise, and he just swallowed.
“Yeah, ma’am,” Jon said. Spencer shrunk when he heard how close Jon was to him, and realized that he was so close that Spencer could feel the heat of his body. “She sure did. You’ve got quite a spirited girl, there.”
“Haha,” Spencer laughed nervously, and held the girl out to her mother. “Yep.”
“Well, I’m glad I was here to see that. She hasn’t ever walked before. I mean, I knew it was going to happen soon, but...well. Thank you two so much for watching her.”
“M-my pleasure,” Spencer said, and waved with way too much enthusiasm as she left.
Finally. There were no babies in the building. Spencer could go back to work, and there wouldn’t be any outbursts of crying, or adorable, and...
He frowned, and turned his head to the side. “Are you...smelling my hair?”
Jon’s eyebrows rose, and he nodded. “You smelled really good from where I was standing, and I thought...well. I might not ever get another opportunity to stand this close to you.”
“That’s the cheesiest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“Prove me wrong, Spencer Smith.”
“You know what, Jon Walker?” Spencer turned around, and poked him in the chest - oh my. That was a surprising amount of muscle, and Spencer was surprised that his voice didn’t break. “If you’re not too chicken, I’ll see you at the Starbucks across the street when I’m done. Six o’clock.”
“You’re on, Smith.”
Jon grinned at Spencer, and when he left with his mail, Spencer smoothed down his hair, and smiled.
He always smelled good.