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Paternal Pride

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Paternal Pride

“Henry, he’s not going to break,” Abigail laughed as she gently pushed baby Abraham closer to Henry’s chest. With the way Henry was holding him, one would think he thought he was a bomb ready to detonate.

“I know,” Henry replied. Though he still held Abe with great care, “But now that he’s officially adopted, I just want to make sure…”

“Nothing happens to him?” Abigail finished his thought. Henry let out a long sigh and relaxed a bit on his hold on Abe. Meanwhile, the wide-eyed infant was entertaining himself by playing with Henry’s face.

“He’s going to be all right, Henry,” Abigail assured him.

“He’ll be amazing,” Henry agreed with a smile.

~*~

“That’s it, Abe,” Henry was on his knees, arms spread out in front of him. Abe was now almost a year and a half. Currently he was standing in front of Abigail’s lap. She had her hands hovering around him just in case he fell.

Little Abe took a tentative step forward, wobbling slightly. Abigail’s hands moved with him, a smile cemented on her face.

“Come on, Abe,” Henry stretched his hands out further, wiggling his fingers. An infant giggle left Abe’s lips before he took quick steps right into his father’s lap. Abigail and Henry let out whoops of joy and Abe had a look of pride on his young face.

“Our little boy’s already walking,” Abigail beamed as she stroked his face.

Abe had a grip on Henry’s lapel, still standing in his lap, “Yes, he’s growing up beautifully.”

~*~

“Daddy, I can do it myself,” Abe swatted his father’s hands away. Henry stood up, looking down at Abe putting on his shoes.

“It’s just a big day today, Abraham,” Henry sat on Abe’s bed, “It’s your very first day of school.”

“And I’m gonna be the bestest guy there,” Abe finished putting on his shoes and stood up with his hands on his hips.

“You might be the most oddly dressed,” Henry quipped with a barely concealed grin. Abe had put on two different color socks and his shoes on the opposite feet.

“Huh?” Abe wasn’t following.

“Please, let me help,” Henry was now on his knees to be eye-level with his son.

“Fine,” Abe let out a long exasperated sigh as if letting his father help him was the biggest thing he’d ever do for his dad.

Henry got to work on fixing his son’s outfit. Abe looked up at his father picking out matching socks from his dresser, “Is Mommy going to come?”

“She’s going to try her hardest,” Henry turned around with matching white socks, “You know when she has to work late she can’t always make it to things.”

Unfortunately Abigail couldn’t get out of working the graveyard shift the night before Abraham’s first day of school. She swore Henry to recount every last detail about it if she wasn’t able to make it.

“I’m gonna make her something,” Abe proclaimed as Henry finished dressing his son in matching socks and shoes on the correct feet.

“I’m sure she will love that, Abraham,” Henry got up as did Abe.

“And I’m gonna make something for you too,” Abe skipped to the door, “You guys are the bestestest parents ever!”

“That’s a lot of bests,” Henry commented as he followed his son out the door.

“It’s the most I could say,” Abe shrugged and pulled his father to his first day of school. Henry shook his head in bemusement.

~*~

“Abe, will you open the door?” Henry knocked on his son’s bedroom door, “You can’t stay in there forever.”

“I can try!” Abe yelled back.

“How many times do we have to apologize?” Henry hung his head down, “We had to work emergency, Abraham. We couldn’t leave for the baseball game.”

“Dad,” Abe abruptly opened the door, startling his father, “Don Larsen pitched a perfect game and I missed it.”

“I’m sorry, Abe,” Henry apologized again.

“Where’s mom?” Abe looked around.

“Asleep,” Henry looked back to their room, “Our working emergency was your mother’s double shift this week.”

“I can’t believe I missed the perfect game,” Abe sighed, kicking his foot into the carpet.

“Can I make it up to you with a hot dog and ice cream in the park?” Henry had the decency to look sheepish.

“It’s a start,” Abe said as he grabbed his jacket, “Just so you know, Dad. I’m never gonna let this go.”

“Of that I have no doubt,” Henry smiled and followed Abe out the door.

~*~

“How do I look?” Henry straightened his suit jacket once more.

“Nervous,” Abe dead-panned, “Though I have no idea why… I’m the one getting married.”

“Yes, well,” Henry stepped up and fixed Abe’s tie, “It’s your second wedding… to the same woman.”

“Maureen is one hell of a woman,” Abe said.

“Yes, one that almost killed you the first time around,” Henry ran his hands across Abe’s shoulders, dusting off anything that might have been there.

“I told you she didn’t know the gun was loaded,” Abe looked at his father through the mirror.

“Right,” Henry shook his head.

There was a knock at the door, “You got five more minutes, Abe.”

“Thanks,” Abe called out.

“I guess I better go if I want a good seat,” Henry started for the door.

“Dad,” Abe stopped Henry in his tracks, “I’m sorry again.”

“Sorry? For what?” Henry turned back around, hand still on the doorknob.

“You know for what,” Abe stepped forward, “That you have to sit in the back of the church to watch your son get married; that you can’t be up there with me as my best man or as my father. That when we’re out in public I have to make sure I call you Henry, that when we walk down the street people think we’re brothers, that…”

“You know that doesn’t bother me, Abraham,” Henry cut him off.

“It bothers me,” Abe grumbled.

“As long as I get to be here for you, Abe, I’m content,” Henry put his hands on Abe’s shoulders, “Whether that’s as a brother, father, or friend.”

“You’re my best friend, Dad,” Abe was holding back tears.

“You’re my best friend too, Abe,” Henry smiled, “Now get out there and get married… and then when you get home, make sure all the guns are unloaded.”

“Get out of here,” Abe playfully smacked Henry as he hastily went out the door laughing. Abe shook his head at the closed door. His father was sure something else.

~*~

“Henry,” Abe tapped lightly on the desk next to his sleeping father’s head. They were in Henry’s lab and Henry fell asleep with papers all over the table, one was sticking to his face from dried drool.

Henry let out a groan and turned his head the other way, the piece of paper that was sticking to his face waved in the air from the sudden movement. Abe fought back a grin, “Henry… wake up.”

“Five more minutes,” Henry grumbled as Abe lightly took the paper off his father’s face. Henry subconsciously wiped the dried drool from his mouth.

“Henry, you’re gonna get a sore neck sleeping like that,” Abe lightly shook his shoulder, “You’re going to be late.”

“What time is it?” Henry lifted his head, now sitting up straight but with his eyes closed.

“A little past seven,” Abe answered.

Henry let out a long breath and rubbed his eyes with the bases of his palms, “Sorry, Abraham, I didn’t mean to fall asleep down here.”

“You shouldn’t be apologizing to me,” Abe shrugged, “You should apologize to Jo.”

“Is she mad?” Henry looked rightfully scared, his eyes now wide open.

“Not at the moment,” Abe shook his head, “She already headed to the precinct.”

“I know she hates desk duty,” Henry began to gather all the papers strewn across his desk, “But it’s for her safety until the baby comes.”

“If anything, she can take an early maternity leave and help me around the shop if she wants,” Abe gestured upstairs, “I always could use some help.”

“Is that a hint?” Henry cocked his head to the side.

“Eh, well, Lucas said he wouldn’t mind doing double duty at the morgue if you wanted to stay home and baby proof stuff around here,” Abe said, “And in your downtime, you could always help me with the shop.”

“In that case, I’ll give Lucas a call,” Henry said, “I’d be late today anyway… plus, it’d give Jo a little more time to cool off and she might not be as mad at me if I’m helping you.”

“Oh sure, use me as means to escape your wife’s fury,” Abe teased.

“That’s the plan,” Henry stopped to organize a few more things on his desk as Abe stopped at the base of the stairs to go back upstairs.

“Henry,” Abe started.

“Yes?” Henry looked up.

“Can I ask you something?” Abe looked a little unsure of himself.

“Of course, Abraham, you know you can ask me anything,” Henry came up to Abe.

Abe opened his mouth to say something and then stopped, “Nah, never mind.”

“No, what is it, Abe?” Henry urged him.

“It’s stupid,” Abe waved his hand and started up the stairs.

Henry simply gave Abe the ‘No-question-you-could-ever-have-for-me-is-stupid look. With a sigh, Abe stepped back down off the last step, “I don’t even know how to say it.”

“Does it have to do with the baby?” Henry knew his son.

“Told you it was stupid,” Abe shrugged, “Especially for somebody my age.”

“Abraham, you know that you are as much my child as this new baby is,” Henry put his hands on Abe’s shoulders, “You’re going to be a big brother. You know it doesn’t matter if you’re seven or seventy. You’re still my little boy.”

Abe gave him a small smile.

“Did I ever tell you about one of the happiest moments in my life?” Henry asked after they were back upstairs, now in their own apartment.

“The day you discovered scarves?” Abe smirked.

“Very funny,” Henry mirrored Abe’s smirk, “It was when I held you for the first time.”

Abe cocked his head to the side, fully listening as Henry entered what he always liked to call “Long Story Mode.”

“Abigail put you in my arms and you looked up at me with these big, beautiful innocent eyes,” Henry was lost in the memory, his voice bursting with pride, “I never had felt anything like it before.”

“You know, this new baby is about to be the luckiest kid on the planet,” Abe reached over to cover Henry’s hand with his own, “Because he’s about to have the best father ever… and I can attest to that.”

“I love you, Abe,” Henry smiled through misty eyes.

“Love you more, Pops,” Abe squeezed his hand.

THE END