Welcome to the Family
AN: Well, I hope you mods are happy. I was planning to leave it at Completely Under Control, but now the stupid cinnamon bun kid and his totally-not-dad-but-yeah-his-dad have lodged themselves in my brain and are refusing to vacate the premises. (Very politely in Toby’s case, but still.) So, yeah. This one was inspired by all the suggestions about Toby and Maddie, and it kept growing much longer than I had expected. I hope you enjoy it.
(Also, I noticed someone else wrote a fic on the same topic, but at the time I had already written a lot of this and had decided to take a different track on Toby and Maddie’s first meeting. The other fic is incredibly cute and adorable and I certainly hope we can coexist together despite the contradictions between us.)
Alcor hadn’t been answering Toby’s summons.
It probably didn’t mean anything, he had thought at first. Toby did summon Alcor fairly often – at least once a month, and mostly for mundane things that were really just excuses to spend time with him and keep him from getting lonely, now that Toby had moved out on his own and Alcor had dropped his human identity. It could easily have been that the demon was just annoyed with him and trying to make a point, or just wanted some alone time. Toby could respect that – while he sometimes had fun teasing Alcor a bit, he would never want to push him to the point of being legitimately upset.
Still, after four failed attempts over the past few weeks, Toby had been worried enough to call Jerry in Gravity Falls and ask if he knew anything. He’d never been clear on Alcor’s relation to Jerry – a man Alcor had kept in touch with for some reason after a childhood summoning, maybe? – but Alcor had given him the man’s number years ago when he was still a kid, in case of emergency, and he had gleaned enough from their occasional interactions during his childhood to believe that Alcor might confide in him if something was wrong.
He knew something was up when the older man had been a little too nonchalant over the phone. When Toby had pressed, he had reluctantly admitted that he was pretty sure why Alcor was giving him the answering machine. “I’m not sure if he’d want me to say anything, but he never said not to, so…”
Now, the following day, Toby was still moping around his tiny apartment, Jerry’s words and his own hurt and confused feelings swirling around endlessly in his head. He hated the way he was feeling, but felt unable to do anything to stop it.
He’s taken in a new kid. He’s not talking to me. He’s got a new kid. He’s raising her, actually admitting it to other people. And didn’t bother to tell me, let me meet her. Barely two years after I move out and he replaces me. After he said he was “tired of watching a kid and glad to be done with it.” He doesn’t want to talk to me anymore because he has a new kid. One he actually wanted. Was I that bad? He doesn’t want me anymore… doesn’t want me… doesn’t want me…
Jerry had tried to downplay it after telling Toby the news, correctly inferring the direction of his thoughts from his shocked speechlessness. “I’m sure he was going to get around to telling you himself! It’s just… hard, you know, taking care of a baby. They’re very needy, especially at Maddie’s age. He’s probably just overwhelmed.”
Yeah, but he couldn’t have spared a few minutes to literally pop over and give me a heads-up?
A part of Toby knew he was probably being extremely irrational. Another part knew he didn’t have any right to be thinking like this even if he wasn’t. Alcor didn’t owe him anything. He’d done so much for Toby over the years, been a parent to him when he had needed it most; if he wanted to move on and pretend none of that had happened now that Toby could (more or less) take care of himself, well, he’d already done more than Toby could have ever hoped for.
Besides, he had absolutely no doubt that this new kid must have been in need. No amount of jealousy (it had taken Toby quite a bit of uncomfortable introspection to apply that word to his feelings; it was an emotion he’d never really had to deal with before, and he felt like a terrible person for it) would make Toby deny an innocent child a home and parent.
Ultimately, he knew he should just put this out of his mind and get on with his life. He could let Alcor decide when or if he wanted to talk. He was an adult now, right? …Sort of… in a way… well, he was twenty, so technically not a teenager anymore, at least. (Even if he still got mistaken for one depressingly often – seriously, was he really that small?)
But yeah, Toby was totally an adult. Living independently, and all that. He should be able to handle his former guardian apparently not wanting to be as close anymore.
He really shouldn’t want so desperately for Alcor to pop in and hug him and assure him that he was still loved.
Toby sighed, trying and failing once again to motivate himself to get off his discount-store futon and do something to get his mind off of things. It wasn’t like Alcor had ever openly used the l-word with him anyway, it was always just sort of an inferred thing… He needed to stop this childish wishing for his father figure to spontaneously show up and fix everything. He was mature enough now to know it wasn’t going to happen.
With a disorienting lurch and a sound like the fabric of space being unzipped, Toby’s cheap, one-room apartment unit vanished around him and was replaced by a clean, homey-looking living room. He almost fell to the floor as the futon disappeared from beneath him, only Alcor’s grip on his arm holding him up. Toby allowed the demon to pull him up out of the awkward position, his head still spinning as he tried to get his bearings.
After a few seconds (he was no stranger to Alcor’s preferred method of transportation) Toby had recovered enough to get a good look at Alcor for the first time in over a month. Toby was surprised to see him in his human form – he usually stayed in his normal shape when it was just the two of them alone. More surprising, though, was how uncharacteristically stressed and harried he looked. There were dark circles under his slightly bloodshot eyes (and he doesn’t even need to sleep!), and his hair was uncombed and mussed up like he had been running his hands through it in frustration. His normally supernaturally clean and pressed clothes were untucked and rumpled, and Toby could swear he even spotted a few stains – stains! Alcor never tolerated stains! – spotting his black dress shirt.
Before he could do anything more than gape at how unlike himself Alcor looked, a shrill, gurgling, infantile cry suddenly pierced the air. Toby’s attention was drawn to the room he now found himself in – specifically, to the rainbow-painted cradle in the corner, where the cries were issuing from.
Alcor coughed awkwardly. “So, um, I guess Jerry told you…” He gestured to the cradle. “This is Madeline. Maddie.”