“What is this?”
“It’s a fucking baby, Lup, what does it look like? A scarf?” Taako scoffed as he leaned over the basket holding the infant.
They had just finished finding a place for Lup’s gauntlet and had been walking back when they happened upon, of all things, a baby in a basket on the side of the path. It had made a noise, possibly to get their attention, and they had investigated it. Lup clearly failed the check but Taako knew exactly what this was.
An abandon child in the middle of the woods. No fresh tracks around that he could discern, could have been covered or the baby has been here a while. There was also a note on the edge of the basket that Taako plucked and read.
“‘Hello, my name is Angus, please give me a good home’…” Taako read solemnly as Lup snorted in disgust.
“If they wanted a good home for them, they shouldn’t have left them in the damn forest!” Lup snapped.
Taako couldn’t blame her anger, he was angry too. This baby had to at least be six or more months old already? What had happened? Why here and not in town? He had dozens of questions.
Taako leaned down to grab the basket when Lup grabbed his wrist.
“What are you doing? You don’t know if that’s safe.” Lup warned.
“Lup, it’s a baby not a fucking rabid raccoon. We can’t leave them here.” Taako retorted.
Lup let him go and nodded, that hadn’t been what she meant. It was just her paranoia catching up with her, she guessed. He was right, this little thing deserved to find that family.
They took the baby into town and asked around if anyone knew this little baby boy. No one had nor had anyone recalled anyone giving birth around the time the baby had to have been born.
There was also nothing like an orphanage in this tiny village either, so they were stuck with little Angus until they could figure something out.
“This is a nightmare.” Taako sighed as he bounced the baby in the basket on his knees as they sat on a bench outside of a wares shop. “How do we feed this thing? What do babies eat?”
“We can’t keep him, Koko.” Lup said with a melancholy seriousness that threw off Taako’s rhythm.
“What? Of course we can’t.”
Taako rolled his eyes as if she was being crazy.
“Koko…” Lup said and he refused to look at her. “Taako.” She said firmer.
“Look, Lulu, I know, okay? I get it.” Taako tried to keep his voice even and not startle the baby. “I know…” He said solemnly.
They couldn’t take Angus on the Starblaster, they couldn’t keep him around as they hoped this plan to keep the Hunger at bay worked or not. Taako couldn’t take care of this little guy or keep him safe. If this plan didn’t work, this baby wouldn’t be able to come with them.
“Koko…” Lup reached over and brushed Taako’s cheek, had he been crying?
“He’s just like us, Lulu. Tossed out and left on his own.” Taako gripped the edges of the basket. “What the fuck are we supposed to do?”
Lup hugged Taako tightly the best she could without disrupting the basket.
“We’ll do our best for him, that’s what we’re gonna do.” Lup said resoundly.
They traded some ideas for a while more before the owner of the shop they were sitting in front of came out. He approached them saying he had heard about the little boy they found, they were in a small village where news travels like wild fire.
“What a cutie.” The old man remarked, the store owner was a human in his later years.
He explained that he had lived a full adventurous life collecting all the fascinating things for his shop and never got around to starting a family. He was more than happy to take in the boy, what luck!
The twins were thrilled but Taako was still hesitant to leave Angus with a stranger. This was what they wanted but it was still a gamble all the same. The owner of the shop seemed to notice the elf’s suspicions and cracked a grin.
“Son, I’ve been alive for nearly eighty years, I’ve seen the worst of things and I can see in your eyes that you have to. The world can be a scary place for anyone, but this boy is already a lucky soul.” The man said, rocking the boy in his arms. “Know why?”
“Why?” Taako said, a little off put.
“He already has so many people who love him.” The man said, laughing as Taako sputtered. “I’ll take good care of him, to this I swear on the earth itself.”
Taako wasn’t so sure what good that promise was but it was all he and Lup had to go on. So they accepted.
As they left, Lup tugging her brother along, Taako stole one last look at the shop.
McDonald’s Rare Finds.
It was the last thing he saw of Angus, he thought for the rest of his life.
Roughly ten years in the future found Taako, a different elf than he had ever been. Lived a life he was never meant to, alone in all his memories, his life twisted and altered by someone he thought he could trust.
Taako was an adventurer now, taking work where he could, joining a goofy soft hearted fighter and a hippie of a cleric. Together they landed a gig on the moon, a steady thing, some stability in his life at last. At least for now.
That gig led him here, on this train, with this tiny boy in a fancy little suit and little glasses. The boy puffed his chest and proudly announced himself.
“I’m Angus, Angus McDonald. I’m on my way to see my grandfather.” The boy introduced.
There was something, deep inside Taako that gave him pause, but what? There was nothing weird about that. There was just…something that stirred inside him as he looked at this boy.
He was all grown up.