The call to Magnus in Old City, the call that was supposed to fix everything, had turned Kate's life into a circus. Magnus hadn't said much, and had explained even less, but she had told Kate Will would be waiting in Alberta for the weather to clear.
There was an envelope in the kid's jacket, tucked into one of the inside pockets. It had a birth certificate, filled out by hand and laminated, and a page from a book with a note written on it. I'm sorry, but I couldn't leave him here without anyone. More of Magnus' handwriting from the look of it, although more hasty than usual. The birth certificate Kate didn't bother looking at it, if Magnus was behind this, and Kate figured she had to be, she already knew what it was going to say. She didn't need to see that in writing. She figured the look on Will’s face when he saw it would be more than enough to confirm her suspicions.
Loreen had set about setting up for the extra houseguest. Magnus the small and Kate were going to have to share the pullout bed in the couch, but Loreen had turned the coffee table into a blanket fort so he'd have some space of his own. He wasn’t old enough to care about that Kate thought, but it would be nice if he would detach himself from her, go play somewhere and give her some space to breathe. She’d been stuck sitting with him all afternoon while Loreen had then set about moving anything breakable or fragile, insisting Kate keep a close eye on him until she could do something about the cabinets and the electrical outlets.
Caitlin to Kate's surprise had been overjoyed to have a toddler in the house. She had proclaimed him the cutest thing ever and run down to a neighbor’s to borrow clothes and some toys. Mangus, for all the excitement, had clung to Kate, seemingly overwhelmed by the commotion, peaking out at Loreen or Caitlin at random intervals.
He's asleep now, one tiny fist curled in Kate’s sweater, the other resting on the couch beside her thigh. They hadn't gotten the bed set up yet, so she's leaning sideways onto the arm of the couch, fussing with a pair of stuffed bears. She'd found them crammed into a corner with a pile of stuff from Arctic Air: old manuals and what Kate assumed was damaged merchandise.
The bears are dressed up like hocky players, with fur-trimmed jerseys. They look a bit ridiculous without hockey sticks but she doesn't have anything on hand to make them out of so she goes about removing the jerseys, careful not to jar Magnus in the process.
They're cuter without the jerseys, which Kate is oddly happy about as she makes one dance along her thigh. Magnus is still sleeping, but it's a lighter sleep than before. When Kate leans the bear down to brush a kiss against his cheek he reaches blindly for the bear, grasping one of its legs in his hand. It takes her a minute but she manages to persuade him to tuck it between her leg and his body, its ears curled up on either side of his chin.
The other bear sits on Kate's lap sing songing an old children's song her father had taught her. Kate's not even sure what language it's in but she knows it's about a monkey, and she's pretty sure there's a bear in there somewhere so it works, the bear singing, at least as far as she's concerned. Magnus might have other ideas about that later, but for now, he's sound asleep, curled around the bear protectively, a mama around its cub. And for a moment she finds herself wanting to mirror the gesture, curl around him, pull him close and keep him safe. It's a terrifying thought.
Kate takes a deep breath and pushes the thought away. Sure she had looked out for Thad for more than half her life, but she wasn’t cut out for this. She didn’t care what anyone said about it being instinctual, she knew more about sentient leeches, flying pixie like men, and stenos than she did about kids.
Will was supposed to be here soon, at least that’s what she kept telling herself. Magnus of the British persuasion hadn’t bothered to fix anything, but Will would know what to do. He was good at dealing with crises she couldn’t begin to comprehend and if nothing else, he was better with kids than she was even if she seemed to be doing an ok job so far.
Kate brushes a hand over Magnus’ dark curly hair and tweaks the bear’s nose. They were both adorable, the boy and the bear, she would admit to that, but anything else she needed more time to figure it out.¬