thanks anon for the boost of motivation! 🤗 here’s my fic! it’s a fluffy one:) i don’t own anything but irene! hope you all enjoy!
“Mouch. Mouch. Mouch!” Mouch was articulating slowly, emphasizing on the letter M each time he repeated his name to the intuitive, yet confused, Irene. His head kept on shortening the distance between him and the one year old.
Sylvie couldn’t help but intervene when the two were practically touching noses. She knew that Mouch meant no harm, and Irene didn’t seemed bothered, but it made her feel better when her daughter was back into her lap.
“Aw, Brett.” The firefighter complained as he got up off of his knees. “She was beginning to get the hang of it! So close!”
“She wasn’t saying anything.” She corrected him, grabbing a toy off of the table behind her. She handed it to Irene, who let out a shriek of joy at the sight of one of her favorite toys, a small activity ball with various contraptions all over. “All of you guys are pushing her too hard. The fact of the matter is that she will say one of your names when she is ready.”
Irene has been saying words for about a month now. But other than Diego and Eva, which sounded like “Eg-o” and “Va”, she hasn’t said anyone’s actual names. And even though Sylvie had verbally voiced that she expected Gabby to be the next name to come out of her daughter’s mouth, they still held onto their stubborn beliefs that each of their names were going to be it.
“But if she says my name first I’ll get free drinks at Molly’s for a whole weekend!” Mouch looked at her with wide eyes, like he wanted her to be on his side. Probably, Sylvie thought. He would then try to get her to repeat his name all the time.
“Free drinks?” She was skeptical at that piece of information. Herrmann thought offering half priced drinks was generous—him giving away free drinks was uncharted territory. At least from what she could remember.
“The stakes are high, Brett.” He had a very serious look on his face, uncharacteristic of his usual personality. “If Hermann wins we all have to help him do an annual cleaning of Molly’s.” He shuddered at the thought, like washing tables and sweeping floors was the equivalent of getting shot by a bullet. “And we can’t let that happen.” He had the audacity to point to Irene, as if a one year old could really contribute to this.
Irene followed his finger, so enthralled with the new distraction that she dropped her toy on the ground. Obviously, she didn’t understand that she was just a source of gambling entertainment to her mother’s coworkers. Wanting to avoid a potential temper tantrum if she kept her daughter from approaching Mouch, she placed her on the ground. A new walker, a week and a half ago was the first time she took her first steps, Irene waddled over to Mouch with only one small stumble.
“I think I have to tell Antonio that we need to find new babysitters.” Sylvie grumbled, watching as the scene from minutes prior was replaying in front of her again: Mouch, in front of Irene, saying his name over and over again.
“Do you really want to get on Trudy’s bad side?” He gave her a look, before releasing a toothy grin back at Irene. The toddler giggled, reaching forward to tug on his nose.
“I think you should be asking yourself that question, Mouch.” She said back, as the grin on his face turned into a grimace. He knew she was right.
Despite the squabbling between them, Sylvie appreciated the company. They were in the kitchen before with the rest of 51, but she had taken a fussy Irene into the next room to calm her down. A few minutes later, Mouch had followed. Yes, his main intention was winning the bet, but she couldn’t remember the last time she spent one-on-one time in the firehouse with someone other than Gabby. It was nice. Of course a little annoying as well.
“When’s Antonio coming back anyways? You know you’ve gotten lucky that we haven’t gotten a call this past hour….” Squad 3 had gotten one, but Truck 81 and Ambulance 61 have been both enjoying their extended break. Sylvie had been thanking her lucky stars, as Antonio had dropped by unexpectedly with Irene an hour ago, saying there was an emergency at the state’s attorneys office. Marley eagerly offered to watch her if Sylvie had to go out on a call. Since she didn’t know Marley too well, even though she seemed to be very kind, Sylvie was relieved that her baby didn’t have to leave her side.
“Don’t jinx it, Mouch!” Sylvie warned, leaning down to grab Irene’s discarded toy. They were quickly approaching the estimated time of arrival Antonio had given her, and she would feel rather uncomfortable not physically seeing Irene leaving with her father. “He should be here soon, anyways.” She added, answering his question.
Herrmann, Otis, and Stella burst into the room. Well, so much for peace and quiet. “What the hell—” Herrmann’s signature loud, raspy voice boomed through the room at the sight of Mouch.
“—What are you doing in here?” Herrmann was unfazed by Sylvie’s scolding, only giving her a shrug as an acknowledgement. “You’re always the last one to leave the table when we all eat!”
“Free drinks, Herrmann. Free drinks. They’re on the line.”
“Or how about ‘I wanted to spend time with the cutest one year old in the world’?” Sylvie got up out of the chair to pull Irene into her arms. Her daughter squirmed for a few seconds, not expecting to be picked up, but soon was content again, gripping onto Sylvie’s collar as she watched the new entertainment, babbling away quietly to herself. “Pretty sure precious, human life trumps alcohol.”
Otis, Stella, Mouch, and Herrmann didn’t answer her. But that was enough of a response for Sylvie to know what their response was.
“Whatever.” She sighed, deciding not to want to get so wrapped up in their game. She had more important things to worry about. Like if Irene just let out a fart or shit her pants. Since the smell wafted away a few seconds later, she was relieved that it was the former. “If it helps you sleep at night.”
“It does.” Otis piped up with a grin. “I sleep like a baby imagining Mouch scrubbing toilets this weekend….”
“I thought that was if Herrmann would win?” Sylvie voiced her curiosity aloud.
“Well, since I work at Molly’s too, I thought it was a brilliant idea.” Otis explained, lopping a friendly arm around Stella’s shoulder. “Luckily Kidd here agreed too.”
“You see why this is so terrible?” Mouch moaned from the ground, who still hasn’t moved even though Irene was back in Sylvie’s arms. “They are arming up together!”
“How did this ridiculous thing start anyways?” It’s been happening for weeks now, but she couldn’t really remember how it came about.
“You can thank your lovely sister-in-law, Gabby, for that. It started between her and Casey.” Stella revealed. “We all overheard while eating and wanted in.”
“Where was I?” Sylvie asked, trying to rack her brain around this new piece of information.
“I’m pretty sure it was the day Irene had a fever….” Stella guessed, finger tapping on her chin. “Because Trout was there, and you can’t really miss his big mouth.”
“Oh.” That would make sense. She had to call off of work that day to stay home with Irene. Which would mean this all started about two and a half weeks ago. She shouldn’t have expected anything less from Gabby. Competitive was her middle name.
After the explanation, Stella turned her attention to Irene. “How’s my Reney doing?” She cooed, waving her fingers. Irene, always a fan of the attention being on her, let out a big giggle.
Ugh. 'Reney’ was the terrible nickname Stella had taken to saying. Ever since Sylvie had slipped out the nickname 'Chunks’ around Stella and Gabby, they both decided that she needed a better one. It had just been a name between her and Antonio, because of Irene’s chubby baby rolls. Sometimes it varied from chunk, chunky, and chunky monkey. Really, she was mostly defensive of it because it was her little family’s 'thing’ and it was being made fun of. And then was attempted to be replaced by a name that sounded like a 1980’s porn star. So despite for her usually being pretty laid back with things, this was certainly a sore subject.
But since her daughter was in her arms and she really has been a sour puss this whole time, Sylvie decided to bite her tongue. She’d save her talk with Stella for later. “She’s been doing really well despite the curveball thrown at her usual routine.” She complimented her child, gently brushing a side of her hair to the side. Irene had inherited her father’s hair, thick and black. But then, unfortunately, got her mother’s curls. “Since Antonio never works weekends, she’s always with him normally.” Sylvie explained.
“Reney is just the best of the best.” Stella pressed a loud, smacking kiss on the top of Irene’s curls, making her let out another laugh. “Don’t you love Stella? Stel-la.” To no surprise, the firefighter began slowly articulating her name to Irene.
“Are you guys still doing that ridiculous bet?” A familiar voice called out from behind Otis and Herrmann. The two parted, revealing Antonio. He clapped both of the firemen on the shoulders in greeting, but his full attention was on Sylvie and Irene.
Irene let out a squeal of excitement at the sight of her father. “Dada!” She said, pointing a stubby finger at him.
Sylvie couldn’t help but smile too. Out of relief and pleasure. It really was a miracle that she didn’t have to leave the firehouse during the timespan of having Irene here. She thanked her lucky stars. “That’s all they’ve been doing since Irene arrived.” She informed him with an eye roll, pressing her lips against his briefly. Despite Irene leaving with him in a couple minutes, she wanted to go to her father immediately. She squirmed in Sylvie’s arms, not stopping until she was handed over to Antonio.
“You couldn’t handle a few more minutes with me?” Sylvie pouted at her daughter. Irene, finding her mother’s facial expression to be humorous, began to laugh.
“You’re a lot to deal with, Brett.” Otis piped up.
Sylvie knew he was joking, but she couldn’t help but bring up something he told her months prior. The look on his face would be worth it. “I remember you telling me how great of a roommate I was.” She pretended to think about this, tapping her finger against her chin.
His face fell at that comment, not knowing how to respond. Even if he had a response he was fishing for, the arrival of Gabby brought on an entire new subject.
“Bee!” Irene’s face lit up with recognition, thrusting one of her hands out wildly towards her aunt. “Bee!”
Gabby’s face, which was already looking excited at the sight of her niece, lit up even more at the word that came out of her mouth. She threw a victorious smile at the four shocked firefighters before looking back at Irene to pull her into her arms.
“You got to be kidding me.” Mouth groaned, shoulders slumping in defeat. “You had an unfair advantage! Shouldn’t count!”
“This was between me and Matt at first,” Gabby reminded him, “Which was one hundred percent fair. Then you all wanted in, and didn’t give up even when I told you that we already had an advantage.”
“I….I don’t remember that.” Mouth lamely responded, scrambling for excuses.
He wasn’t going to get anything past Gabby, though. “I’m sure everyone else does.” She said, eyes going across the rest of the dismayed crowd. “I look forward to seeing you guys bright and early Saturday morning to do yard work.” She cheerfully said, the most upbeat Sylvie has ever seen her during work. It wasn’t surprising considering how much she hates anything to do with yard work and gardening. Forget having not a green thumb, Gabby didn’t have a single drop of anything green in her whole body.
“Jesus Christ.” Herrmann swore under his breath, before sending Gabby a look. “Hey! Why didn’t you pick cleaning up Molly’s!?” He asked incredulously.
“Really, Herrmann? Cleaning a bar versus my back and front yard?” Personally, Sylvie would rather do the second option. She actually enjoys gardening and yard work. Gabby however, said her obvious answer. “I would choose cleaning a bar a thousands times over getting down on my hands and knees in the dirt just once.”
“The short answer is that she is just really scared of worms.” Antonio butted in, a teasing smile on his face. Whether he was telling the truth or bothering his sister, Gabby didn’t seem happy either way.
“You should be careful what you say, Tonio. I have your baby in my arms.” She threatened.
“Oh? What are you going to do with your precious niece?” He was not affected by Gabby’s words, knowing that’s what they were, just words.
“Oh, who knows.” Gabby pretended to think. “Could teach her some bad words, my tricks from my own childhood. And teen years, when she gets old enough.”
Antonio looked freaked out. Sylvie, who didn’t know too much about how Gabby was when she was younger, was clueless. But when it comes to Irene, she was feeling very cautious. She inched closer to Gabby, suddenly wanting her baby back in her arms. “That’s not funny.” Antonio said, a frown on his face.
“You know he wouldn’t be the only one that would suffer from your cruelty.” Sylvie brought herself to Gabby’s attention.
But Gabby had no mercy. “Sorry, Sylvie. That’s the price you have to pay for marrying my brother.”
Sylvie was done with this sibling squabble nonsense. She normally found it amusing, but with her daughter being the pawn she did not enjoy any of this. She had scooted closer and closer to Gabby throughout the conversation, and her shoulder was brushing her sister-in-law’s by the time she began to grab Irene out of her arms.
“Don’t you want to go tell Casey the good news?” Sylvie questioned before Gabby could continue talking about her diabolical plan.
“I should go tell Matt.” She repeated Sylvie’s words, thinking about it thoughtfully. Her face then brightened even more, another thought popping in her mind. “I can go rub it in his face that I beat him!” Gabby was then gone, fast walking away with determination. She was so set on her course that she forgot to even say goodbye to Antonio and Irene. Everyone else followed along, probably eager to see their lieutenant’s face when he found out that he lost the bet.
“Well, I think we should go, too.” He said, turning towards Sylvie as his sister was out of eyesight. She gave him a look, to which he rolled his eyes and sighed to. “It’s almost time for her nap. Unless you want her sleeping schedule to be completely whacked—”
Point taken. “Fine, fine.” She interrupted him, shoving Irene into his arms. “Send me a picture when she does go to sleep though, you know how much I love that. Extra motivation.” She explained, running a hand through Irene’s black curls. The soothing motion made her begin to close her eyes, showing her tiredness. Her trip to the firehouse must have worn her out.
“It’s a plan.” He watched Sylvie and Irene’s interaction for a moment, then leaned in to press his lips against Sylvie’s forehead to say goodbye. “We’ll see you later.”
Sylvie nodded, stepping back from them, knowing if she didn’t they would end up staying longer. Which would mean keeping Irene from her nap. “I think she’s our good luck charm,” She couldn’t help but add, watching as the one year old let out a small yawn. “Gabby and I haven’t had a call this whole time.”
“Better get ready then.” The two of them began walking through the firehouse. Sylvie began to slow down once she spotted Gabby and Matt, along with an audience of Otis, Herrmann, and Stella. They had just caught them in time to witness Gabby’s reveal to Matt. Her paramedic partner’s back was to them, so they were unable to see her facial expressions, but the others probably masked what hers was: excited anticipation.
She ignored the urge to stop completely, knowing Antonio had to get Irene home. Before they completely left the kitchen, they were able to hear Matt’s dismayed “no!”.
“You better get back there fast if you want to catch the rest of that.” Antonio gestured with his head at the ruckus forming in the room they departed. When Sylvie tried to deny wanting to, he shook his head with a laugh. “Go. You know you want to. If you don’t leave us now I think you’ll end up following us home.”
After what her coworkers have put her through these past few weeks with the bet, her annoyance mostly because of them using Irene as a source of gambling entertainment, she did want to be able to relish in the fact that this ridiculousness was finally over. “Okay, I’ll leave you two here.” She reluctantly decided, leaning up to briefly lock lips with Antonio and then directing her attention to Irene. “I’ll see you later, my chunky monkey.” She cooed, resisting the urge to take her into her arms to make the goodbye longer. A simple caress of her cheek and kiss on her forehead would suffice.
Before they were out of sight, Sylvie wanted to remind him again of her request. “Picture!” She called after him, redirecting herself back to the room she had just left. Antonio’s response was a laugh, but it was a good enough answer for Sylvie. He would follow through.
“So, Casey. I hear that you are very excited to spend your weekend doing yard work while Gabby and I drink mimosas on the deck.” She inserted herself smoothly into the conversation, giddy by the dismayed sigh by her brother-in-law. She could tell that he had been doing a lot of them since Gabby had revealed the results.
Casey’s response had to be put on hold, as the intercom began to call for Ambulance 61. Sylvie locked eyes with Gabby, and without an exchange of words, they began their trek to their vehicle. Pushing the afternoon’s events to the side, they both immediately entered work mode and began to drive off to save lives.