012; real life

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Awsten doesn't linger at the school, getting Skye and leaving as soon as he gets to her rather that's sticking around a few moments for her to start talking about something.

"Why are we hurrying?" Skye asks curiously, looking up at Awsten as they walk.  He holds her hand, making sure not to hold it too tightly despite his growing nervousness.  He wishes Thea was here.

"No reason, sweetie," Awsten lies with a forced smile, "just wanna be able to stop by the hospital and check in on Jade and mommy before we go home."

"Are they okay?" Skye questions with a worried frown.

"Mhm," Awsten hums, unlocking the car as they get to it.  He opens Skye's door for her and helps her climb in and buckle her seat belt.

Skye starts on her usual ramble about the school day and everything they learned and little comments about how she remembers that Jade already knew this stuff. Awsten can barely even pretend to pay attention.

They get to the hospital and hurry inside, going to Jade's room first.

Awsten freezes at the sight of the familiar little blue teddy bear on the bed with Jade. He feels like he's going to throw up. He grabs the bear, lights tracing over the words embroidered on one of the feet. I love you, Aws.

Skye starts to ask about it but Awsten is tossing it in the trash can outside of the room before she gets the chance to even finish her question.  There's a trash in the room too but he doesn't want it anywhere near Jade.  He'd burn it if he could. He doesn't know why Emily even kept it after he left. 

"Why'd you throw away the toy?" Skye inquires, looking at Awsten like he's just thrown away a million dollars.

"It wasn't a toy," he tells her simply, "and it shoulda been thrown away a long time ago."

They linger there for a few minutes before Awsten gives Jade a little kiss on the forehead.

"I'm sorry she was here, lil' angel," he mumbles quietly enough that Skye doesn't hear him, "I won't let her come back."

They head to Thea next and Awsten can only take a quick peek into the room because Skye doesn't want to go in, she never wants to go in to see Thea like this, and Awsten isn't willing to leave her in the hall for even a split second.  Nothing in the room looks off so he takes that as a comfort.  They head home after that, Skye still wondering why Awsten is acting so strange.  He said it wasn't a toy but it looked like a perfectly good toy.

Despite how much effort Awsten puts into trying to hide it, his stress is quite obvious.  Skye doesn't know what has him feeling so odd today but she can tell that he's not doing well.

"Are you sad, daddy?" Skye inquires as Awsten starts doing a little bit of cleaning up.

"Huh? No, I'm okay," Awsten lies with a forced smile.  "How doin' okay?"

"Yeah," Skye answers with a nod, pausing briefly.  She moves on, deciding that if Awsten says he's okay, then he must be okay.  "Is uncle 'lijah still coming over?"

"Yeah, he's gonna bring pizza," Awsten informs her, knowing she'll be happy over it.

"That's why he's my favorite.  Don't tell him he's my favorite though."

•••

"Nope," Sam tells Elijah dismissively, "you're not driving.  Absolutely not.  You shouldn't even be going out!"

"I'm not going to a party or whatever," Elijah reminds him with a little smile, clearly amused by Sam's overreaction.  "I'm just going over to see Awsten and Skye. And it's not like you weren't invited."

"You purposely chose the day Kev has a vet appointment, asshole," Sam retorts with an eye roll. "I know that was your not so subtle way of letting me know that you were going to have a talk with Awsten. Go have your talk but take an Uber or something."

"Yeah, yeah, I'll text you when I get there. Love you, loser. Go get Kev to his appointment," Elijah says sarcastically, giving a little smile.

"Love you too."

Sam heads out with Kevin and Elijah orders an Uber and awaits the arrival.  Not long later, his ride arrives and he makes the short trip, with a stop for pizza along the way. He pays the fee and then heads up to the house, knocking on the door.

"Hey," Awsten greets with a forced smile, trying to hide his stress and exhaustion as he lets Elijah inside. "How you feeling?"

"Fine," Elijah replies dismissively, "you? And Skye?"

"Both fine," Awsten mumbles, motioning for Elijah to set the pizza down on the counter. "Thanks," he adds, nodding towards the food. He lightens his tone a bit before calling out to Skye. "Skye, sweetie, Elijah's here. He brought food, c'mon, gotta wash your hands so you can eat."

Skye's footsteps can be heard as she makes her way from the playroom down stairs and to the kitchen.

"Hi, uncle 'lijah," she greets, giving him a hug before skipping over to Awsten so he can help her wash her hands. He lifts her up so she can reach the sink and lets her get her hands washed and dries them off with a towel for her.

"Hey, dork," Elijah replies with a little smile, "how was school?"

"It was fun. We got to do art," Skye informs him excitedly, "my teacher said mine was pretty. I let Nick keep it and he let me keep his for me and Jade. I think she'll like it when she wakes up and I show her. She's taking way too long with this nap.  Mommy too.  But mommy has a baby in her tummy so I think she has to sleep enough for her and the baby so she can get away with it a little more than Jade can."

"They'll be up soon," Elijah tells her, his eyes darting towards Awsten briefly as if to reassure him of the same. Awsten looks like he's about to cry or fall asleep right where he's standing, maybe both. "But, y'know what?  Your dad needs a nap too, not a week long one but he's gonna take a few hours and we're not gonna leave him any pizza 'cause we're gonna eat all of it and binge watch Powerpuff Girls."

"Elijah," Awsten mumbles, clearly not fond of the idea.

"I'll be right back, Skye," Elijah says, "gotta go make sure your dad finds his room right.  He gets lost so much."

Elijah gently grabs Awsten by the arm and pulls him towards the stairs. Awsten doesn't really have the energy to fight and follows behind him.  They reach Awsten and Thea's room and Elijah only leaves the door open a little crack behind them.

"You look like you haven't slept in three days," Elijah puts it bluntly, not seeing a point in dancing around the issue.

"Well, then I guess that means I look pretty decent," Awsten mutters sarcastically, earning a look from Elijah. "Been more than three days."

"Okay, so take a nap," Elijah urges, obviously worried about Awsten. "You know I got Skye. I've watched her and Jade countless times. Get some sleep, and then we'll talk later. Okay?"

Awsten pauses, his eyes darting over to the door as he considers just going back downstairs. He lets out a quiet sigh and gives a nod, his exhaustion getting the better of him.

"Thank you," he tells Elijah with a forced smile.

"Don't thank me, just go the fuck to sleep."

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