One day, little Maria started crying.
And didn't stop.
The neighbors complained about the noise. Matt was panicking. He called Claire. She took a look at Maria all over and didn't find anything wrong with her. She just didn't want to stop crying.
Luke looked like he wanted to hit something. Frank looked like he was about to cry.
Maria would fall asleep from crying, passed out on Frank's shoulder, letting out heartbreaking sobs as Matt tried to sleep and Frank walked with Maria tucked in his arms around the apartment.
They tried everything they could think about. Danny even looked up curses, maybe she had been cursed. Colleen smacked him and told him to stop being dumb.
“I don't understand,” Karen held the wailing child, taking her from Frank's arms so the Alpha could sit down, “she's not hungry, she's been changed, she doesn't have any injuries.”
“It's been a week… The cops think I'm hurting her.” Frank had dark circles under his eyes. “I shoved her in Mahoney’s arms and told him to please take her because I'm exhausted and he just gave her back to me…”
“Where's Matt?” Foggy spoke over Maria's screams, the baby was trying to remove herself from around the soft fleece blanket.
“Trying to sleep, he was up with Maria all night.”
Maria screamed for hours, then fell asleep, but she seemed uncomfortable even in her sleep. Matt stroked her little cheek and sniffled. What was wrong with their child?
“We should try to sleep now that she finally passed out.” Frank said, placing a gentle kiss on Matt's forehead, where he’d shot him so very long ago.
“I can't… I wish I knew what's wrong with her… She was fine when we came home, she had been fine , and now she's just… uncomfortable.”
Elektra came by a few days later and she and Frank exchanged growls for a while until Matt told them both that he'd hide with his child in the bathroom if they didn't stop. Elektra was as distressed as they were when little Maria woke up wailing, and didn't stop even after she had been fed and changed.
She left and came back with a doctor. The best pediatrician in the country, she said. The doctor couldn't find anything wrong with her, he said she was just uncomfortable, and they should try to change the cause of the discomfort.
“Babies cannot speak, they cannot tell you what is wrong. They will cry to show their discomfort. Whatever is making her uncomfortable, you have to change it.” The doctor said.
Elektra sat with Maria laid on her lap, sobbing and wailing and flailing her tiny arms. The parents walked the doctor out and then came back to flop on the couch.
“You both look exhausted.” Elektra said.
“Yeah, well, it's been two weeks.” Frank grumbled.
“Two weeks? She's been like this for two weeks?” Elektra stroked little Maria's hair gently, it was dark, like Frank's, and silk soft. “Poor thing, what could be making her so uncomfortable?”
“I don't know!” Matt burst into tears right along with Maria, distressing the two Alphas in the room, but mostly Frank, Elektra was too worried about the child in her lap. “What is wrong with my child? What happened to her? She was fine !”
“It's not your fault, Matthew.”
“It has to be! I’m a terrible mother! I ruin everything I touch! You should have never mated with me!” Matt pushed Frank away and left to their room. Frank sat on the floor with a heavy sigh. He didn't even have it in him to go after him.
“He'll come around, don't worry.” Elektra tried to he comforting but she sounded dispassionate about it.
“We're just… so exhausted…” Frank was looking into space, then frowned and turned to her. “Do you want a beer? I could use a beer.”
Frank moved to the kitchen, taking a bottle for himself and another one for Elektra that she didn't ask for. He sat on the couch and watched Maria sob until she passed out from crying.
“Is this how she falls asleep?”
“She gets tired of crying and sleeps, but doesn't look any better while sleeping.”
“We need to figure out what's making her uncomfortable.”
“Red's already checked the whole crib, there aren't any bugs or hair that could be stuck on her fingers, her clothes are washed with that thing Red uses for his sheets and we try to be quiet and…”
Frank sat there in silence for a moment. Elektra raised a brow and looked at him.
“I think… I think I know what's wrong.”
Frank stood like he'd been sitting on a spring and went to the bedroom. Elektra took the sleeping baby and followed. Matt was sobbing in the bed, patting Max for comfort.
“Red! I got it! I know what’s wrong!” Frank moved around the room like a maniac, closing the curtains so no sunlight would come in and then taking the fleece blanket and throwing it somewhere.
“Frank, what are you doing?” Matt sniffled and sat on the bed, the room was dark and Elektra tripped on a shoe and cursed softly. “Are you taking my sheets?”
“She's like you! It's not anything we're doing, it’s what we're not doing!” Frank put the folded silk sheets on the crib and moved to the pile of things they had received at the baby shower. “There's noise out there she can hear and it's annoying her, the sheets hurt her, the sunlight bothers her because unlike you, she can see it! Aha!”
Frank triumphantly produced a pair of earmuffs from the pile and took Maria from Elektra’s arms. The baby woke and cried for a moment, until Frank put the earmuffs on her and placed her on the bed in silk sheets. She instantly quieted.
“Frank…” Matt whispered. “She’s calm!”
“The earmuffs muffle the sound a little, until we can figure out how to help her focus on just one noise.”
Elektra looked like she was waiting for the other shoe to drop, but little Maria looked up at her parents and giggled.
“Well… He's not such a bad mate after all, Matthew.” She said, with a sigh. Frank puffed his chest like a proud bird, then promptly passed out. “Oh dear.”
Max barked and went to his owner, Matt and Elektra dragged him to the bed. Matt said he hadn't slept in the past three days. He took little Maria and put her on her crib.
“Was the noise too much for you, sweetie? I’m sorry mama didn't know how to help.” He placed a gentle kiss on her cheek.
Elektra clicked her heels on the hardwood floor. She patted Matt's back gently.
“You're a good mother, Matthew. No one had no way of knowing this would happen.” With a last pat, she left the room and the apartment.
The earmuffs, the dark room and the silk sheets helped little Maria sleep peacefully. When they bathed her, Matt would sing (very off key) so Maria would focus on his voice. Sometimes, they'd submerge her on the tub, the water covering her ears, and she'd laugh and flail her little arms. There was no noise under the water.
They could finally sleep.