Characters: Arthur and Matthew
Arthur really didn’t understand babies.
Even at the ripe old age of six, he couldn’t figure out the appeal. They screamed and fussed and smelled funny (sometimes downright terrible, ugh), and they couldn’t really do anything. They just sort of… well, laid there, making strange, inhuman noises until one of the grown-ups picked them up to help them eat or to change them. All in all they seemed rather useless, yet still the adults fawned over them as if they were the greatest gift ever invented.
Speaking of inventions. He still wasn’t sure if he believed his neighbor Francis’ rubbish about babies coming from cabbage patches. That just seemed sort of stupid to him.
But back to the babies. Not only was there one in his house, but there were two, and Arthur was centimeters from throwing a tantrum. How dare the other neighbors come and bring these monstrosities with them? Arthur sat in his seat in the corner, kicking his little feet back and forth while he watched the grown-ups coo over one of the newcomers. They called this one ‘Alfred’, and he seemed to be the happiest, friendliest little baby known to man.
Arthur thought he was annoying.
There was a second baby, though, much quieter than his brother, and he lay almost forgotten in his pram a little ways away from all of the hullabaloo. Bored and feeling quite put-out by being forgotten himself, Arthur hopped out of his chair and skittered around the room until he could peek inside.
Yes, there was the second baby, and he was awake and burbling quietly to himself, seemingly entranced by the ends of his toes. “You’re stupid,” Arthur told him, “and you smell like old milk. Go away.”
The baby simply peeked up at him with violet eyes and grinned a little toothless smile.
“Stop that. I’m trying very hard to dislike you, so you’d better quit trying to be cute this instant. I won’t stand for it.”
Seeming to digest his words with a solemn expression, the infant reached up to pat one of the fingers Arthur had curled over the edge of the pram, and continued to pat at it until Arthur let his finger jut forward for it to wrap around. Cooing happily, he pulled his prize closer so that he could inspect it in greater detail.
Arthur frowned, giving his finger a little shake. ”I’m warning you, brat.”
But the brat didn’t seem to want to listen, and he certainly refused to give up his hold on Arthur’s hand, so the young boy was forced to remain there for quite some time as the rest of the household fussed over the child’s brother in the background. The youngest of four brothers himself, he was all too familiar with the feeling of being lost in the shuffle, and eventually he could feel his determination begin to crack.
Maybe this baby wasn’t all that bad, after all.
“…You’re a bit like me, aren’t you?” He whispered after a while, resting one little freckled cheek upon the edge of the pram as he stared down at his companion. ”Nobody wants to notice us unless we get into trouble. It drives me bonkers. I want to ask your name, but you can’t tell me what it is, can you?”
The infant giggled, a little wisp of blond hair bobbing as he wriggled about. That was probably a no.
“That’s alright. We can still be friends. My name is Arthur.” He grinned then, emerald eyes bright over a gap-toothed grin. ”I’ll stay here with you so that you won’t get lonely, alright?”