Tuesday, June 6 th
He'd messed up, well that was a huge fucking understatement but the idea still held. In fact he could honestly say he had never in all of his 35 years messed up this badly ever . When the sheriff - Rick Grimes - had shown up knocking on his door, Daryl had had a moment of panic before he realized that one, Merle was already in jail and two, Daryl didn't do shit anymore that had people coming after him.
He'd gotten himself a shitty job at a shitty superstore, the kind everyone hated for running the mom and pop stores out, but ended up working at anyway because they were the only place hiring. He was one of a few who worked in the auto department and he kept his head down and saved up money and bought a shitty cabin. The owner of the shitty shack had thought he was really getting one over on Daryl when he sold it to him.
He wasn't of course – Daryl had realized exactly what level of run down it was when he made an offer on it, way, way below the asking price. But he'd become handy enough out on his own for as long as he'd been, and fixing it up hadn't been that big a deal. Plus it was a real short walk between his back door and the woods so he was fine with getting a maintenance needy house.
But the point of all this was that Daryl Dixon didn't mess up anymore, he had a shitty job, with shitty insurance, and a shitty house and everything had been going just fine .
And now he was sitting in the local hospital in a long room with machines lining the walls and little chambers that housed, in a few of them, tiny bodies like the one he was now staring at.
According to Sheriff Grimes this little tissue thin body was his. That the premature baby girl inside was Daryl's daughter. Her mother was dead, pregnancy complications compounded by years of supporting a nasty drug addiction, and the frail body in front of him was being wracked with pain due to withdrawal and the fact that everything in her hadn't had time to develop.
Daryl couldn't even remember this woman he'd supposedly knocked up, the baby had been roughly seven and a half to eight months along when she'd been born. Which did put her conception firmly in the time of Merle being out, which had resulted in a lot of drunken nights for Daryl, who’d barely managed to keep his shitty job at the time.
He told Grimes that he could vaguely remember that that was around the last time he'd had sex, in a bar's dirty restroom, the woman boosted up against the stall. Of course telling this shit to the sheriff had his face feeling like he’d slammed it into a blacktop road at around two in the afternoon, hot and nearly painful with the strength of his flush. He wasn’t trying to brag about exploits, he just wasn’t one to lie about important shit.
Like a nameless dead woman and her nameless, premature, baby.
He remembered how he’d kept his forehead against her shoulder the whole time, could barely remember that she'd had dark hair that smelt of chemicals and smoke. He definitely couldn't remember her name, didn't even think she'd given it to him.
What he could remember, and what he'd also been sure to tell Grimes until he was red in the face, was that he'd used protection – that was a certainty. Because it didn't matter how lit he was, Daryl never forgot to do that, for exactly the reason he found himself in now.
Daryl Dixon had no business being anyone's daddy.
But this woman, who even the cops and hospital couldn't figure out who she was, had given his name before falling unconscious when they got her on the gurney. And so they'd notified law enforcement which had meant Grimes tracking him down and here they were side by side gazing silently at the little baby fighting to stay alive.
Daryl was working on wearing a hole through his bottom lip as his heart beat out an unsteady rhythm in his chest. They had taken a sample when he'd first got there to run paternity, and he'd let them, teeth grinding and body wound tight while the nurse held his jaw and scraped along his cotton dry inner cheek. When she'd taken out a needle for bloodwork his eyes had snapped to Grimes.
"They're tryin' to get a work up for family history, if the baby isn't yours I'm sure they'll just throw out the results." The man had been blessfully quiet after he'd basically brow beaten Daryl into getting into his cruiser to come here.
In all honesty he shouldn't be this nervous now, he reminded himself, watching the small chest rise and fall through the clear walls of the incubator. The name of which chafed at him slightly, kid wasn't an egg or a science project. But then again what the hell did he know – and again the kid wasn't his.
And since he knew this, he had no reason at all to feel this nervous, because in a couple days (if the lab wasn't backed up) he'd get that answer, and the doctors and the cops would have to figure out what to do with the poor little girl in the glass cage.
She’d just barely gotten to sleep. His ears rang with her plaintive high pitched crying, tremors running though her little bones even though they told him repeatedly she wasn’t cold. Just another side effect of being born strung out.
"I need you to come down stairs with me, see if you can identify the body of her mother." Grimes’s voice sounded quiet, like he was speaking in a church instead of a hospital and Daryl felt his muscles tighten.
"Told ya already, I don' remember nothin' about 'er." The hell they want him to look at a dead body for? It could be literally anyone in the state of Georgia laying there and he'd have no idea if it was the woman he'd slept with or not. Long as she had dark hair. That was the only defining feature he could recall.
Besides chemicals and smoke.
"Gotta try don't ya think?" Daryl flicked his gaze from Grimes back to the baby in front of him and grumbled darkly, the kid had lost her mama – least he could do was go and tell them what he already had.
The morgue was of course cold and devoid of noise or color. Daryl followed the lawman into a side room, the sheriff nodded to the attendant there that was standing by a gurney with the body of a woman laid on top. A white sheet was covering her to below the neck and dark hair covered the unmoving head.
Her still features were familiar in the way a lot of the women that hung around the bar he and Merle frequented were familiar. But beyond that he had no memory of her, the hair was right, longer than it had been but that was understandable.
"Anything?" The room sucked up Grimes's voice where he'd have expected an echo and Daryl's eyes moved to his before he gave a shrug and a shake of his head.
He'd said as much when the sheriff had told him what had happened, seeing her hadn't changed anything, besides making him feel inexplicably guilty.
That frail heaving chest upstairs kept flashing through his mind and Daryl's scowl intensified.
"Well don't try too hard or anything." The attendant's voice was deadpan and snobbish all at the same time and Daryl bristled at the tone.
"Fuck you say t' me Igor?" He didn't even realize he'd taken a step forward until Grimes, placing a restraining hand on his chest, brought him up short.
"Milton maybe you could give us a few minutes please?" Polite, and asked like a question, Daryl could still hear how it wasn't really a request, and apparently the prick in the lab coat picked up on that too, because without a word or a glance he exited through a door with a "Medical Staff Only" sign on it.
"Asshole." Daryl muttered as he watched the door swing silently back and forth after the man had passed through.
"He shouldn't have said anything, but Mr. Dixon, if you could take another look…we don't have anywhere to start lookin' for that little girl's family as of yet. If you aren't her father then she's gonna end up with the state and I'd really like to avoid that."
Daryl tensed at both the title and the idea, mumbling a response the quiet room tried to eat up as it passed his lips. "Jus' call me Daryl."
"Fine, but only if you call me Rick." He was a little surprised with that, never had any kind of officer been the least bit friendly to a Dixon. And as far as Daryl could see the situation, this one had more of a reason than most to take a dislike to him.
Premature baby upstairs, dead woman in front of them, and Daryl was perhaps tied to both but wasn't able to offer any definite answers due to his idiotic tendencies. But Rick just gave him a knowing look like this somehow wasn't the craziest situation he'd been party to, and maybe him being the sheriff he actually had.
Daryl answered the condition with a nod and went to walk around to the other side of the table, taking a closer look, wracking his brain for any hazy detail from that night.
Merle had been on one, prodding at him for days before they'd even gone out, saying how his friends were starting to ask Merle if his baby brother was more into boys than girls. Daryl had just shrugged at first, the hell he'd care what they thought? What'd it matter if he was? Good lord, they were living in a time where they were putting computers in phones for Christ's sake.
So what if he didn't like people touching him no matter what their gender was? During puberty and into his mid-twenties he'd had to endure it regularly to scratch an itch that his head couldn't talk his body out of. But since then it seemed like the only time he'd had sex was times like this, where it almost didn't feel consensual on his end because he would really rather not.
His shrug hadn't really gone over well with Merle and by the time they'd gotten to the bar that night, Daryl had a condom burning a hole through his pocket that his brother had given him. He'd immediately set about getting shit faced drunk, knowing that Merle would troll him up a piece of decent looking tail.
Sure enough a couple hours in he'd been feeling sufficiently inebriated and Merle had pushed a giggling brunette at him. She'd wrapped skinny arms around his waist and put her mouth on his neck, and he'd done his best not to cringe away from the sudden intrusion. He just wanted to get this over with, so casting a look around and then finally at his smirking brother and his shitty smirking friends, he'd steered her into the bar's restroom.
At least he’d had the decency to lock it behind them.
Moving her into the nearest stall (wanting as many barriers between himself and the boisterous crowd as he could get) all the while feeling the anxiety and fear churn around in his stomach, he was grateful she seemed happy enough to stick with kissing his neck and not his mouth as she began undoing his belt. Moving hot hands in passed his quickly unbuttoned and unzipped pants, she wrapped quick moving fingers around him and began to move them in hurried but sure movements that did the trick.
"Hmm." She murmured in his ear, breath picking up speed a little. "This might be the best score I've had."
That wasn't a surprise either, of course Merle had found a sure thing by promising whatever drug this chick was hooked on. Didn't serve to make him feel better or worse about the situation he was used to it by now, feeling like a business transaction, at least they didn't bother him afterwards.
Without a word he shoved a hand into his pocket and once the packet was ripped open and the protection in place he'd picked her up by her bony thighs, rucking up her jean skirt as he did. Being the nice John he was, he took the time to spit into his palm, wiping the saliva along his length before working his way into her.
She hissed a little and he stilled immediately waiting as she moved and clenched around him, adjusting and then beginning to move, prompting him to do the same. And for the next several minutes it was all just the back of his eyelids, the smell of the chemicals from her hairspray and the smoke from countless cigarettes, and her escalating sounds of pleasure that somehow managed to also sound surprised.
He knew it wouldn't take him long, it had been a while since the last time and it wasn't like she didn't feel good to slide into. Hell, after the first few thrusts things were feeling right around great and he'd increased his pace, listening to the creaking and thumping of the stall knock against its supporting wall.
His breaths were coming out as grunts and he was starting to feel a mild concern that people might be able to hear them with the amount of noise she was making. But then she threaded her fingers through his sweat damp hair pulling slightly even as she pressed his face harder into her shoulder.
He came with a guttural sound that rolled out of him around the same time a thundering blast slammed into the bathroom door.
" Fuck ." He muttered into the sweaty shoulder against his forehead, Michonne sounded pissed as hell. When had she even gotten here?
"I know you're not fucking some slut in my goddamn bathroom right now!" The owner was a bit of a renaissance woman. She did a bit of everything, art, owned businesses, and even trained kids how to use fucking samurai swords or some shit downtown. She also contained a low threshold for bullshit and was so scary not even Merle messed with her too much.
"Hey lighten up there Xena." His brother's voice sounded smug as Daryl pulled himself from the woman and, cursing, whipped off the condom and flung it to the side as he let her regain her feet. He was opening the stall door as the conversation outside continued at high volume.
"Don't you even start with me right now, don't think I don't know it's your fault he's pullin' this shit right now." Daryl winced a little at the venom lining her words, and at the fact that she seemed to know so much about the situation.
"Don't look at me! Man's got needs ." Daryl didn't even have to see his brother, while he was doing up his pants, to know that Merle was probably groping himself in order to make his point. "Ya gonna get in the way of 'im gettin' his dick wet?"
"I sure ain't gonna get in the way of the guy that's gettin' his wet with you, next time your ignorant ass gets locked up." Michonne snapped to general laughter and cat calling from the crowd. Daryl unlocked and opened the bathroom door, hearing the woman stepping behind him as he did.
He was directly met with a smiling Merle, his expression somehow dangerous, even with his Cheshire grin. Michonne on the other hand looked like she was bordering on livid when her eyes met Daryl's.
He froze where he was, his body sobering almost instantly, large doses of shame and embarrassment hit him at the gathered spectators who began hooting and hollering at his appearance from the bathroom with the brunette behind him. He felt like shit once he saw Michonne's face. He actually got along with her alright, especially when his brother wasn't around to be a jerk.
He suddenly realized how disrespectful he'd just been to her, how much trouble he could have caused. He hated himself, his stupid brother, and his idiot friends, mostly though he hated the fact that he was so fucked up that he couldn't just date and sleep with a girl like every other guy he knew was looking to do in one way or another.
His eyes held Michonne's and he nodded his apology, cheeks and neck feeling hot with all the added attention. Her anger held for a breath or two until her lips pressed tight together in an irritated line and she shook her head. He looked away when the mad glare slipped somewhere close – too close – to pity and without another word he left the bar.
Gazing down now Daryl felt a yawning sort of tear in his chest, no matter how hard he tried he couldn't without a doubt say this had been the girl from then or not. And it made him sick all over again, no one seemed to know her, and he'd in all probability slept with her and he still didn't know her.
And that little baby upstairs didn't have a single person who knew her either and that just made his chest ache.
Settling on something he glared up at Rick for a moment, receiving a confused look in response, before bending down and picking up a hank of dark hair and pressing his nose to it, breathed in deep. Below the smell of antiseptic and blood it was there, that mixture of chemicals that made up her hairspray and the imbedded sent of tobacco and smoke.
Jerking away he nodded, feeling gooseflesh pop up along his arms as he rubbed nervous hands along the thighs of his jeans before speaking. "Could be her, smells the same." His voice was gruff with uneasiness, finally looking up at Rick when the man offered no reply.
Instead of looking disgusted the sheriff was watching him intently, at Daryl's raised eyes he cleared his throat to respond. "You part bloodhound or somethin’ Daryl?"
He shrugged again, and bringing his hands level with his chest began picking at the dirt and rough pieces of skin he found there.
"Alright then." Rick said after a stretch of silence that let him know he wasn't likely to receive an answer. "That gives us something to go on at least. Can start talking to people who were there at the bar that night, see if anyone knew her."
Daryl kept his mouth shut about Merle having introduced them, it'd come out eventually but he needed to be able to give his brother a heads up first.
Getting back into the elevator, Daryl was surprised when his hand reached out and tapped the button to take him back to the NICU instead of the lobby. Even more surprised when Rick made no move for the lobby button himself. They rode up in silence, which was the same way they walked down the hall, entered the same room as before, and took a seat.
He couldn't understand the amount of relief he felt at seeing the baby still carefully drawing breath, all the machines steadily beeping to let him know her vitals were alright. He was also annoyed at how comforting it was to have someone with him, even a stranger, who was a cop, and who he'd only known for a few hours now. Still, the man must have something better to do than wait here with a redneck and a baby that, at least for right now, belonged to no one.
"Ya ain't gotta stay." His words broke the near sacred level of silence, and he saw Rick shrug out of his peripheral.
"Ex-wife's taken the kids and new husband to visit the in-laws, don't have much better to do at the moment." Daryl glanced over at the admission, surprised at the man's willingness to lay things out so bluntly. Maybe Rick knew it was steadying to know that your drama wasn't the only messed up shit going on.
"Hmm." Was all he could offer, not wanting to pry and never being much good in comforting people.
"And anyway." Rick picked up like he didn't mind that Daryl tended to answer in sounds rather than sentences. "You end up taking off, I'm gonna have a shit ton of paperwork to fill out and I'd rather take it easy 'til that happens."
While he kind of wanted to be offended, Daryl hadn't heard any judgement or even any real seriousness in the sheriff's tone so he just nodded his head in acknowledgement.
Several hours later a nurse had come in to tell them visiting hours were over but that if Daryl wanted to stay the night a cot could be wheeled in for him. He'd shaken his head after giving the baby one more look. He'd had shit to get done and sunlight was a quickly fading commodity for this day.
Rick walked with him to the parking lot, stretching and sighing as he went, telling Daryl if he had any more questions he'd be in touch. Getting into his old truck Daryl sat for another half an hour or so just staring back at the hospital, even though he had errands to run before his work week started up again, he didn't necessarily want to leave the kid here alone either.
If she wasn't his. Which he knew she wasn't. But regardless, he didn't want to not be here if...if something happened. No one as little and innocent as that tiny girl should be alone, especially when they passed.
Jerking back he shook his head hard and started the engine. Nothing was going to happen to that baby, the nurses and doctors that had spoken more at him than to him had said it over and over again, there'd been complications but she was stable now.
He drove to the superstore and walked in, he got an employee discount when he shopped here, but he hated doing it because it felt like pouring his paycheck right back into the money monster that was this company. He was all the way in the back of the grocery department when he realized he hadn't grabbed a basket or cart of any kind.
Cursing himself slightly he stalled out by a beverage display, set up for barbeque having impulse buyers. What was today? June 6th? The baby had been born in the first early hours of the morning, while it was still dark out. He filed the date away and continued to stare at the display. It was filled with every drink a person could want for a summer cookout. Beer, pop, water, and fruity juices were all carefully stacked and arranged.
He looked at the beer but hesitated, part of him wanted to grab the largest case there and just say to hell with actual food and leave with that being his only purchase. But should he even be drinking anymore? What if something happened tonight at the hospital? He was pretty much at max self-loathing level as it was, he couldn't imagine how it would be to show up there smelling like booze. That left the pop and water, he should be considering healthier choices right?
If the baby was his…
Good lord how much stuff did a baby need? A lot – and he was fairly certain all of it was expensive as fuck too. On the other hand how quick would he snap without caffeine? Pretty damn fast and honestly on the list of unhealthy shit he did in a given day pop wasn’t even close to the worst th –
"Hi! Do you need any help?"
Daryl nearly jumped out of his heavy work boots when the bright voice piped up from right beside him. His concentration on the drinks broken he moved narrowed eyes to the reason for his now erratic pulse and felt his frown deepen. There was a pretty young woman standing there at his elbow, and where the hell had she come from?
His eyes got pulled to blue irises much brighter and larger than his own, a cutely rounded nose like a forest animal lay underneath them, and a sweetly curving mouth above a stubborn looking chin completed the face gazing up at him cheerfully. Her blonde hair looked silky smooth in its tidy ponytail with a little braid running through it and he tried not to notice the gently curling wisps that framed her face and caught on the edges of her pinkish cheeks.
"Can't decide what to get?" She prompted helpfully, her smile still firmly in place even as he continued to stare awkwardly at her.
He noticed finally she was wearing one of the superstore's employee shirts. The little badge that she wore clipped to the collar proclaiming in a tidy scrawl, "Hi! I'm Cashier - BETH - How can I help you?" So she worked here, well that explained the friendliness even to the guy that after the day Daryl had had looked more like a predator than a possible co-worker.
She must be new though, because there was no way in hell Daryl had seen her before, you didn't forget a smile like that, or eyes like those. Finally surfacing from his thoughts, he shook his head dumbly, glancing at her through his hair as he tipped his head back towards the assortment of beverages.
"Well if you don't mind the suggestion, you don't mind do you?" She checked worriedly, a small hand landing lightly on his bare bicep. And he knew she had poor circulation or maybe it was the constantly blaring AC in the store, because her fingertips were chilly and he had to clench his teeth a bit to stop from tensing under her touch.
He shook his head slightly, looking at her fleetingly again. "Nah, you're alrigh'."
The flash of white teeth made him glad he'd been able to act like a normal person for once. Which then made him acutely uncomfortable because why the hell did he care if she smiled at him or not? He didn’t know this girl, owed her exactly nothing, shouldn’t have even paid attention to how she looked, let alone the fact that her cheek color matched the pinkish red of a salmon’s belly.
Fuck sakes he couldn’t remember a single feature besides – brunette – about the last woman he’d fucked , and he was imprinting every detail he could about this girl asking him drink questions? There was a tiny frail skinned life at the hospital across town right now, and he was standing here feeling near bashful over this pretty blonde cashier.
He really was the lowliest piece of shit that ever attempted walking on two feet.
"Great!" She answered enthusiastically, dropping her hand and turning the way he was facing towards the varied collection. "While we do have great prices on our alcohol." She informed him seriously and despite his thoughts of seconds ago, he felt his mouth thinning like he wanted to smile…but didn't. He wondered when he should tell her that he worked here too and didn't need the corporate spin.
But he'd had a pretty stressful day, and he didn't much feel like making any kind of decision right now even one as small as this. Not to mention, she seemed so pleased at being able to help him so what could it hurt to let her? Long as he kept it in his goddamn pants he could hardly fuck up any worse today.
"Right now our pop and our water is on sale, so you'd be gettin' way more bang for your buck for like half the cost." He saw her twist back to look up at him and he was able to look at her long enough to raise his brows at her.
"Yer argument’s kinda hingin’ on the idea that buyin' a drink is jus' about thirst."
Her lips folded in on her smile as she twisted it to one side and Daryl got the strangest idea that she looked sort of like a cartoon bunny and his index finger twitched like it wanted to tap against that little rounded nose before lighting along her pale lips.
Well it was official, today had made him lose his fucking mind.
"Alright so you have a bit of a point." She conceded before leaning in towards him like she wanted to tell him a secret and instead of leaning away he tipped his head towards her. "I shouldn't tell you this, but I have it from a very reliable source that the liquor store over on Blaine is havin' a sale on that particular brand of beer for almost half the price."
He looked back at her surprised and his expression must have shown it because she rolled her eyes a little before a darker pink flushed her cheeks.
"Credible source huh?" He murmured feeling like he wanted to smile again.
"Yep, highly credible, pinkie swear." She said with half a laugh and he nodded, looking at the drinks like he was still on the fence.
"I 'preciate it. Ain'tcha worried? Might not buy nothin' now." He could almost hear her shrug before she answered.
"Nope. No one can live on booze alone."
He snorted at that and shook his head, woman had clearly never met his brother.
"Guess so." Was all he offered in reply and glanced at her again, feeling lighter to see her still grinning at him, clearly pleased that she'd won.
"You don't have a cart." She stated suddenly like she was only now realizing this and he nodded with a shrug. "Well listen, I'm on my way back to the front so I can help you carry something."
"Nah 's fine I can get it." But she tsked and reached for the huge pack of bottled water, and before he could think about how much he hated contact of any kind he was reaching forward to trap her hand against the clear packaging.
They looked at one another, Daryl mildly concerned his movement was somehow going to get him fired or at least coached, because he still hadn't moved his hand from her chilled one, confused as to why his skin wasn't crawling like it usually was when in contact with someone.
But the girl, woman, Beth - was still smiling at him, maybe even wider than before, eyes sparking at him in the overhead lights. So that stubborn looking chin of hers wasn't just for show, he thought, as he glowered at her. Jerking his own chin towards the Coke he lifted his hand slightly so she could slide it out from its place under his.
He waited until she had picked up the twelve pack, watching as she tilted her head back and forth a bit as if doing a sing song na na nana na in her head and he couldn't help the derisive sound that blew out from between his lips. She laughed a little, a nice light sound that lifted the heavy weight for a breath or two from his chest.
He hefted the pack of water and they walked to the front in a comfortable silence, Daryl deciding he could shop for food later in the week, wasn't like he'd be nowhere near the store. Nearing the registers he saw one of the guys from the auto center in line at Carol's register and he made towards it knowing his cover was about to be blown.
The man, T-Dog, still wearing his work overalls with the company name stamped all over them and his name stitched onto the breast pocket, turned and saw them coming, a wide smile spreading across his face.
"Daryl man! What're you doin' here so late? Ain't you got work in the morning?" The auto center was relatively small and all the guys pretty much knew each other's schedules in the event someone had to cover for someone else.
He saw Beth's head snap over to look at him but he ignored it for now, lips pulling up on one side a little and nodding. Placing the water on the belt he turned to take the pop from the suddenly quiet blonde and kept the same half smile in place when he met her eyes.
"You hurt yourself or something?" Carol asked as she rang through T-Dog's purchases, leaning a hip against the cash drawer as the man slid his card. "You making the greenhorns haul your groceries for you?"
"She offered, ain't gonna get in the way of her run for employee of the month." He shrugged, nodding and grunting a goodnight, as T-Dog gathered up his groceries and headed out.
He could see Beth’s blush darkening to a slightly more red hue and he shot a bit of a look at Carol. Who, as always, knew exactly what he was getting at and gave a bright smile to Beth.
"Well, you must be a saint to get this man to let you help him with anything." And they exchanged nods when Beth looked away with a small grin back on her face.
"You need any help out Daryl?" She offered, but he was already shaking his head, paying for his items he boosted the water on his shoulder and gripped the twelve pack in the other hand, nodding to the two women he turned and made his way back outside to his truck.
After getting the two packs into the bed, he climbed inside and again found himself staring off into nothing for a few minutes before with a shake of his head he started up the old beast and began the drive, not home, but back to the hospital.
When he reached the NICU he was relieved to see the last nurse he had spoken to standing near the nurse’s station. Surprise flashed in her eyes when she saw him but she quickly smiled and waved him over.
"Changed my mind." Was all he said and she nodded knowingly enough in response.
"I'll get that cot." She told him as she turned and began walking with him to where his maybe-baby was. "My name's Tara by the way, I'm glad you decided to come back. They always seem to do better when their parents are around."
She left him in the room to go get the bed and Daryl walked slowly over to the glass case, sighing in relief when he found her nestled warmly inside. Maybe he should have corrected the nurse, Tara, but then again it'd been a long, crazy day and for right now at least he didn't mind the idea.
After all, someone had to look after the little life on the other side of the glass.