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Not the Worst Parents in the World

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It's about three in the morning when Cody and Noel hear it. They come out of their rooms at nearly the same time and when they see each other standing there, the noise still coming from the kitchen, Cody's eyes widen. Noel's reaching behind his door for a bat and Cody grabs a large candle and walks behind him towards the kitchen. The sound of pots and pans banging loudly makes them think raccoon or a cat, but the only reason that didn't make sense is because they were seven stories up. They look in the kitchen floor and only see a small child with long blondish brown hair, big glasses falling down his face. He's sitting near a pair of shoes and jeans, long socks falling off their feet and a huge long-sleeved shirt hanging off one shoulder. The sleeves were massive and when the baby looks up at them Cody and Noel give each other a weird look.

"You got a kid I don't know about," Cody asks.

"Dude, that kid is white as hell, it's gotta be yours."

"No, fucking way," he says, "that thing looks like Spock."

And the second they say it they give each other a look an Noel pulls out his phone and calls him. Cody looks at him, "what are you gonna say?"

"I'm gonna tell him to come get his ugly ass kid out of our kitchen."

He narrows his eyes at the phone and cocks his head looking at Cody, "dude, Spock left me a voicemail. It probably says something like 'turns out I have a kid, take care of him while I work.'"

"Well," Cody sighs, "let's see what he has to say."

He puts it on speaker and soon Spock's voice is coming through the phone, "Noel, I don't have a lot of time so you need to listen carefully. I fucked up. I was at a gig a few hours ago and some chick offered me this blunt after my set and she pretty, dude, like really  it doesn't matter, that's not the point. The point is she turned out to be a fuckin' witch and spelled me. I know it sounds crazy and I didn't believe her when she told me but then she made this magic and did weird shit with her hands I just thought she threw some fucking shit into the blunt to make me trip but she didn't. I am one hundred percent not high anymore and I'm freaking out, man. I can't remember shit, I can feel myself getting shorter and my brain getting dumber. She said this shit would make me feel like a kid again but I had no idea this was what she meant. All my shit is in my jeans, I need you to track this chick down and find her because whatever she gave me..."

His voice trails off and he sounds like he's about to cry, "fuck, man, I think it might be fucking permanent. I left a message on Cody's phone too, but you guys can't tell my family or anyone about this shit. I don't want my family finding out or the government trying to do fucking experiments on me, I just  you guys need to help me! Please help me."

They look to the kid on the floor, he couldn't be older than two or three. He looks up at them and Cody heads over to him squatting near him, "hey, buddy."

"You're not buying this shit, are you," Noel asks, calling Spock's number, "this is all bullshit and it's some fucking elaborate prank and Spock is gonna show up any minute and be like 'I can't believe you two idiots actually believed I was a baby.' And he'll never let us hear the end of it. Every time we prove him wrong he'll be like 'Oh, well you remember that time you idiots believed I was a baby?'"

He does the last bit in his fake Spock voice and Cody tilts his head at the kid, "hey, do you know who I am?"

"Cody Ko," he says making sure to say each syllable.

Cody's eyes go wide and he looks up at Noel. Noel shakes his head, "he's in on it, dude, this is just Spock's way of messing with us."

Spock's phone goes off in the pair of jeans and Noel looks down at them. Cody picks them up, "this is his wallet, his cash, his ID, his phone, his keys! Dude, this is Spock."

"It's not him, it's just some little kid," Noel says.

"Noel," Spock says, like he's sounding it out.

"Fine," Noel rolls his eyes, "if you're Spock, tell me this, what's the capital of Nebraska?"

"Fuck you," the kid says.

Noel goes quiet before crossing his arms over his chest and nodding to Cody with wide eyed, "oh shit, this might be Spock."

"Would Spock even know the capital of Nebraska," Cody asks, brows coming together in confusion.

"No," Noel says shaking his head slightly and pointing to the kid, "but he would definitely answer that way if I asked him."

"Okay," he says, "so, what do we do now?"

"Let's leave him at an orphanage," Noel says, "I'll look up some places."

"We are absolutely not doing that," he says, "why don't you go to the store and buy him some diapers and clothes and stuff and I'll watch him and figure out what to do."

"No fucking way, it's three am, I wanna go to bed. Get that shit in the morning."

"Where's he going to sleep, what's he going to eat, where's he gonna shit? Huh? Cause I'll tell you where he'll be shitting if you don't get them."

"Why don't you fucking go and I'll watch him?"

"Because I don't trust you not to call the police and have them deal with this shit."

"We can just leave him at a hospital, you know? People do it all the time."

"What's going to happen if he grows into a person at the orphanage? He's going to be a grown man in a diaper and baby clothes, possibly naked and around a bunch of kids, and you know what? That wont look good. Even worse is if he ends up growing in front of someone and they're like 'Yo, this kid's an alien and we gotta have the government come in a do some tests' or he could be at a park and-"

"God, if you shut the fuck up I'll go get the diapers. Give me his wallet."

"You're using his money," Cody asks, handing him the wallet. Noel narrows his eyes and gestures with his arms, "what, you think I'm buying this shit with my money? Hell no. Now what the fuck am I getting?"

"I'll text you a list of things," he says, "oh, but if there's a sale going on then you should definitely-"

"Just come with me."

He nods, "you're right. We'll just drive really carefully and hope to god we don't get pulled over, I think it's child endangerment if you don't use a car seat."

"We can leave him here and just lock him in the bathroom or something."

"That's probably child abuse so lets not do that," he says, holding out his arms to Spock, "wanna go for a ride?"

He nods and Cody turns to him, "you bought some new underwear the other day, didn't you?"

"Yeah, but they were too small, I gotta return them and  no. No, I'm returning those!"

"Dude, I can't carry this kid with no underwear. If someone sees then I look like a bad dad who doesn't buy his kid underwear and then people start calling the authorities-"

"Oh my god, fine."

He heads into his room and brings out a pair of boxers briefs, tossing them at Cody. Once Spock has them on they're still loose, "give me some duct tape or something."

Noel rummages through a few drawers before finding some. Once Cody wraps it around the underwear a few times he nods, "yeah, that works."

Spock raises his arms at Noel and the man looks down at him, "I know you don't expect me to pick you up."

He frowns and plays with his long hair before looking up at Cody with teary eyes. Cody frowns, "aww, it's okay little Spock, I'll carry you."

Noel rolls his eyes and when Spock makes grabby hands up at Cody the man happily picks him up and puts him on his hip, "Noel's just being a big old d-bag right now, huh?"

Spock nods and Noel glares at the small boy, "just for that, I'm buying you all the baby foods I know you'll hate."

They head down to Cody's car and once Spock is safely buckled in the back he hands the keys to Noel, "you drive, I don't have my contacts in. I only have my glasses and they're really foggy right now."

Noel drives and Cody distracts Spock all the way to the store. When they get there Cody leaves Noel in the car with him, "stay here and I'll be right back."

Noel rolls his eyes and Cody runs off inside. The second the door closes and Cody's gone Noel relaxes against the seat, closing his eyes. Before he can even think about sleep his eyes snap open at the sound of sniffling. He slowly turns to look at Spock who was pulling at his seat belt and reaching for the window.

"Dude, what is wrong with you?"

"Want Cody."

"God, seriously? You're all sad because he went in the store? He's coming back in a minute," he tells him, "stop crying and take a nap, it's like three am, don't you sleep?"

"Cody," he frowns.

He holds onto his hair, nervously trying to see out the window. After a few minutes he lets out a sob and Noel groans, "please don't."

He rubs his eyes, full on crying and whining, "want Cody."

Noel covers his eyes, groaning as loud as Spock cries, "oh my god, dude, okay! I get it! Fuck, at this point, I want Cody to come back to the car too!"

The backseat door opens and Cody speaks, "hey, I got  what's wrong? Why are you crying? Noel, what did you do?"

"Nothing! You left and he just started crying and saying 'want Cody, want Cody.'"

Cody smiles, "aww, it's okay, buddy. I'm here."

Spock smiles and Cody undoes the seat belts and stands him up, wiping his eyes. He changes him into a pull-up before taking the baggy shirt off and holding up the bag he'd got. Cody takes the onesie out and holds it up for the child to see, "look, I got you this skeleton onesie. Do you like it?"

"You bought him that?"

"Yeah, they were already marking down Halloween stuff," he says, helping Spock into it before pulling the zipper up and the hood over his head, "I got him a unicorn one too, it's fluffier so I think it'll be good for him to sleep in."

"Great, can we go now?"

"No, we still have stuff to get," he says, "food, a car seat, a bed, a  oh dude."

"What?"

"Where's he going to sleep?"

"Not in my room," Noel says, "he should sleep in your room, he cries without you."

"You're right," he nods, "well, come in and help me pick out some stuff."

"Just let me sleep, I just wanna sleep, okay? Just leave me in the car."

"Please," he says, "he asked both of us to help him."

He groans when he sees Cody's pouty face and gets out the car, walking in with him. Cody sets Spock in the top of the cart before buckling him in, "why don't you go get the car seat and the bed and stuff and I'll get the foods."

Cody walks to the baby aisle and looks at the foods, "baby food is so expensive when you buy organic. How about some cheap baby food and then for your snacks you can have cheese balls, cookies, and fruit cups? I think that's fine, like, I think you can give a toddler that. What do you think?"

Spock reaches for the carrot one and Cody nods, "right, you're a baby and I'm the adult."

He puts a few different ones in the cart before looking back to the toddler, "I wonder if you can eat big people food. I'll google it. I think you can eat mac and cheese and like chicken nuggets. There's probably more stuff though."

He types it into his phone and a list pops up, "smoothies, cheese string, hot dogs, yogurt  dude, there's so much stuff you can eat. This is great. Let's get tater tots and some macaroni."

When Noel finds him he's putting the car seat in the cart, "here's the car seat, I also found this air mattress thing that like, keeps the kid from rolling out and stuff. Way cheaper than a whole toddler bed."

"Oh that's good," he says, "dude, I just looked it up and he can eat like so much stuff that's not baby food. We can give him big people food."

"Just say regular food, man," he says, "you don't have to call it  doesn't matter, did you get him anything healthy?"

"Of course, I got some fruit and cheese and like yogurt stuff. He's good. We'll probably need another box of pull-ups, some baby wipes, toys."

"We'll get toys at the thrift store. That shit's expensive."

"Dude, can you please not swear in front of him," he starts, putting his hands over Spock's ears, "he already said 'fuck you' earlier. I don't want him thinking it's okay."

"It's fine," he says, moving Cody's hands from his ears, "I'll get the diaper things and the wipes, you just get him a blanket."

He nods, "you're right, he'll need one of those."

He goes to the baby bed section and points to everything, "you want any of these?"

Spock picks the soft pink one that's fluffy and Cody nods, "good choice, very soft."

The boy points to a teddy bear and Cody points to it too, "you want that?"

He nods and Cody picks it off the rack and hands it to him, "I'll get it for you."

He holds the blanket and bear to his chest and Noel finds him and puts the things in the cart before looking up at him, "I think we're good."

"What about clothes?"

"Thrift store," he says, "no sense in buying new clothes, especially since he's two and he'll be in pajamas almost all the time."

"Ooh, that's true," he nods, "what about shampoo?"

"Oh god, are we gonna have to like, give him a bath and wipe his ass and stuff? I don't wanna do any of that shit. Let's just drop him off at some some orphanage, go home and go to bed, and then wake up tomorrow and get breakfast."

Cody gives him a look and Spock looks up at Noel. Cody gestures to the child, "look at him. He asked us to help him and if we asked him to do the same he would have helped us."

"Would he have," Noel asks, narrowing his eyes at the kid, "I don't think he would have."

"Let's just get the shampoo and stuff."

Once they pick it up they head to the register seeing a woman with dark hair looking at them, "you guys just get a baby?"

"Yeah," Cody says, "we adopted him."

"I remember when me and my wife adopted ours," she says, "how old is he?"

"Two," Cody replies.

"Is he picking up the words he isn't supposed to yet," she asks, scanning the items.

"Yeah, is any way to keep him from not doing that?"

"Don't treat the words as a big deal, he wont want to say them if he thinks they're alright to say."

"See," Noel says, "swearing in front of him is fine."

She smiles, "my Katie likes to call everyone the B word. It's actually kind of funny. You know, you should take him to the park if he makes you wanna tear your hair out. He'll run off the energy and teach other kids swear words. Plus you find a lot of parents telling horror stories about their kids that'll make yours look like an angel."

"We'll have to keep that in mind," Cody nods, turning to Noel who's nearly sleeping while standing.

"Your spouse falls asleep like that too? My wife Aleena does that, Katie'll run wild all over the place and when my wife looses sleep she'll just nap standing up. It's crazy."

"Yeah, I don't know, he can just sleep anywhere."

She nods, "how long have you and your husband been married?"

And Noel's eyes open wide at that, "six years in December."

Cody looks to him, impressed Noel was able to bullshit a number that fast without stuttering or anything. Cody nods, "yep. What about you and your wife? Aleena, was it?"

"Yeah, it's been eight and some change," she nods, "it'll be nine years in April."

"Aww, that's nice," Cody nods.

She smiles and finishes ringing up the items and Cody looks at her name tag. Kelsey. He'd have to remember that. She sighs, "that'll be a hundred and forty-six dollars."

Noel uses Spock's card and Cody pats the child's head as she prints the receipt and hands it to him, "you three have a nice night. Maybe I'll see you guys at the park or something."

He nods, "yeah, yeah, you might."

She gives Spock a tiny wave and he waves back with a big grin as they leave the store. Cody smiles as they head out, "she was nice."

"She thought we were fucking."

"Yeah," he nods, "but to be fair we did walk in with a kid, of course she thought we were."

Noel finally smiles for the first time all night, "do you think she thinks your the top or do you think she thinks I'm the top?"

"I don't know, dude. We were talking about going to the park, not what we do in our spare time."

"She definitely thinks you're the bottom. You radiate twink energy."

He narrows his eyes at him, "get in the car."

Once they take the car seat out Cody's fixing it while Noel puts the groceries in the back. He finally fixes it and puts the box, along with the receipt, in the trunk. Once Spock is strapped in they head home. Noel sighs, "fuck I can't wait to be back in my bed asleep."

"Dude, language!"

"He already knows the word!"

"Still," he says, "I don't want him thinking it's okay, we need to stop swearing around him."

"I don't think we swear around him enough," he says, "fuck, shit, pussy, ass-"

Cody rolls his eyes, "can you just be an adult for like two seconds?"

They finally reach the house and load all of the groceries onto the elevator as they ride up a few floors. Cody carries as many with one arm while holding Spock while Noel's got two arms full. Cody manages to unlock the door and when they're in he's setting Spock on the floor as they put everything away. It's quiet, kitchen completely silent except for the light patting Spock is doing on the bottom of a big pot, "Noel?"

"What?"

"How long do you think he'll be like this?"

And Noel stops putting things away, actually thinking about it now that they had everything together. He sighs, "I don't know, hopefully not long. Cause I don't know anything about enrolling a kid in school or any of that shit."

"And we just have to hope he doesn't injure himself or anything because I don't know how we're going to explain why we have a kid that's not ours with a serious injury. I don't know, man, this shit's kind of stressing me out," Cody says. 

And Noel doesn't know what to say to make him feel better. But Cody's brain acts fast and he tries to sound a little more positive.

"Maybe he wont be stuck like this too long," he says, handing Noel the mattress for him to blow up, "maybe it's only for a day or a week or something."

"And if it's not," he asks, "what if it lasts longer than a few weeks? What if it lasts months? What are we gonna do then?"

"I don't know. I don't know, okay, I'll just  I'll figure something out," he says, "let's just not think about that for right now though. Okay?"

He nods and puts the bed in Cody's room, setting it in the floor beside his bed and putting the pink blanket in it. Cody picks Spock up and lays him down, covering him up, but when he turns the light off he hears crying only a few moments later. He turns the light on and the boy is making grabby hands at him and looking as if he's going to start sobbing. Cody picks him up and heads to the living room. Spock's got two tiny fistfuls of Cody's shirt while he lets himself be rocked side to side. Cody rubs his back until he's passed out in his arms. He sits down on the couch alone watching old commercials for portable cookers and looking at the amount of food the woman on screen shoves in them. Soon Noel's coming out with a blanket wrapped around himself. He spots Cody and looks to the TV before lowering his voice, "aren't you tired?"

"Yeah," he says, "but he started crying when I put him in his own bed so I just brought him in here. We have to fix this, dude, it's only day one and I don't know how much of this I can handle."

Noel sits beside him and puts the blanket around him and the toddler. Cody closes his eyes and eventually Noel puts an arm around him and lays Cody's head on his shoulder, "go to sleep, we'll deal with it in the morning."

Cody's barely out while Spock sleeps soundly against his chest. Noel finally feels his eyes get heavy when he watches the woman on TV start making food out of fridge leftovers. He leans his head against his, slow blinking as he feels sleep coming for him. He pats Cody's head and sighs, mumbling.

"We're Noel and Cody, Cody and Noel. We've dealt with so much, this is nothing. You know? We fuckin' got this, dude."

"Noel," Cody says back.

"What?"

"Go to sleep."