Disclaimer: I don't own anything that you recognise.
A twenty-four year old Jesus of Nazareth and His father Joseph were walking home after a job in a town nearby. They were joking and laughing with each other, when Jesus suddenly stopped. "Did you hear that?" He asked. Joseph frowned at his son, not having heard anything. "Hear what?" He asked in return, trying to pick up any sound. A soft cry was suddenly heard, almost inaudible over the wind.
Jesus immediately started to walk into the direction of the sound and Joseph quickly followed after Him. They were quite far from any town or village and there were only some bushes and trees around. The sound became louder as the two men approached one particular bush. Jesus kneeled down in front of it and carefully pulled the branches apart. What he saw, completely broke his heart.
A malnourished little girl, who couldn't be older than two, was shivering underneath the leaves, clearly trying to seek as much shadow as she possibly could from the hot mid-day sun. She was barely wearing anything and had visible bruises on her skin. Joseph carefully kneeled next to his son and gasped softly at what he saw. The gasp finally alerted the girl that she wasn't alone and her head snapped up in panic. Seeing the two men, she started to back away, curling into herself. "It's okay, little one. We are not going to hurt you." Jesus breathed
The little girl looked up again, fear visible in her brown irises. "Who could do such a thing to a small child?" Joseph whispered in horror at seeing the state of the girl. Jesus glanced at him, before carefully starting to reach out to the girl, who immediately backed up even more. "We are not going to hurt you. Can you come out of there? We will bring you to safety." Jesus promised, a gentle smile on His face
The girl didn't do anything for several minutes, before finally reaching out at a snail's pace, constantly pulling her arm back. Jesus only waited patiently with the same gentle smile on His face. The girl finally grabbed the tip of His fingers and Jesus used that to slowly pull her out of the bush. Once she was completely out, the bruises on her skin and the malnutrition were even more visible.
Jesus could feel His heart breaking even more at the pitiful sight as the girl curled into herself, eyes shifting between Him and His father in fear. He carefully reached out and stroked her hair. She flinched again and He quickly hushed her, telling her that she was safe and that they were never going to harm her. The girl looked at him, a tiny bit of hope growing behind the fear. He smiled at her as he continued to talk
Joseph felt completely sick at seeing the poor girl, while his son continued to talk to her, trying to make her feel more at ease. After a while, the girl relaxed just a tiny bit and slowly raised her arms in a silent plea to be picked up. Jesus gently grabbed her underneath her armpits and lifted her up as he stood back up, shocked at how light she was. "Father, I can feel her bones." He breathed as He held her in His arms. The girl immediately curled into His chest, arms that were far too thin wrapped around His neck as the little girl trembled heavily.
Jesus had never been more thankful for the piece of cloth that He carried around his neck to protect His head from the sun as He took it off and wrapped it around the girl as well as He could. The fabric engulfed the child, making it seem like He was carrying a weird lump of something. "We need to go home. She needs food." Jesus muttered and He and Joseph quickly walked on with the girl.
It took them another hour to reach Nazareth, which was mostly spent by Jesus and Joseph repeatedly checking up on the little girl. She seemed to do slightly better, now that she was protected from the blazing sun. Mary, Joseph's wife and Jesus's mother, was overjoyed to see them again, before frowning at the lump in her son's arms. Jesus pulled the cloth back to reveal the girl and Mary gasped.
"Oh, you poor thing." She whispered as she hurried forwards. The girl flinched and made a sound of fear as Mary came closer and the woman immediately stopped, horror, anger and disgust filling her at the thought of people hurting this poor, innocent girl. "She needs to eat. Some milk." Jesus told her and Mary immediately nodded. "I'll go and milk the goat." She replied, before running out of the house.
Jesus carefully sat down at the table and pulled the fabric away from the girl's face, so that she could look around. "Is that better, little one? You're safe now." He told her, carefully stroking her hair. She flinched again, before burrowing herself into the fabric and against His chest. It was clear that Jesus was the only one that she trusted for now. Mary soon came back with a bucket of goat's milk and both she and her husband looked at their son interacting with the scared girl. "So young and so afraid." She whispered.
"I know, my love. What are we going to do?" Joseph asked and his wife gave him a look. "What do you mean? We are going to keep her with our family. Jesus is clearly the only once that she trusts and I do not think it would be healthy if she had to move again." She told him and he had to agree with that logic. It seemed that his family was on the verge of growing. Mary carefully walked closer and gently put the bucket on the table.
The girl flinched once again, Mary's son immediately hushing her. "It's alright. You're safe. No one is going to hurt you. I promise." He whispered, stroking her hair. The girl looked up at Him and gave Him a minuscule nod as Mary filled a small bowl with milk and gave it to her son, who carefully held it in front of the girl. "Drink. It's for you." He told her gently. She hesitantly reached out and held the bowl with Him. With trembling hands and with Jesus's help, she managed to drink a few sips, before not wanting it anymore. Jesus immediately shared a worried look with Mary.
"Let it build up. It is not healthy to suddenly eat a lot." His mother told him, having heard it from other women in the village. He accepted it as the girl yawned and snuggled against His chest, falling asleep in the only safe place that she could find: in the arms of the man who had rescued her. "Is she....?" Jesus asked in a soft tone, his question clear. "She is staying with us, but she will need a name." Joseph replied.
Jesus looked at the sleeping girl in His lap. From the moment that He saw her, He already loved her. He was going to do what her biological parents could not. He was going to raise her, love her and protect her, no matter what. Just seeing that she trusted Him enough to fall asleep already brought Him so much joy. With that thought, a perfect name came to mind. "Abigail. Her name will be Abigail." He told his parents