024; real life

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Geoff knows anger shouldn't be his first reaction.  He knows he'll never really be able to understand how Awsten decided this was his only option.  He knows that he shouldn't be angry at Awsten but he wants to scream, yell at him until he fully understands that going to Emily is the worst thing he could have done. If he really took a moment to think about it, he'd see that he's not actually angry at Awsten. He's angry at Emily, but Awsten is here and Emily isn't and there's only one place he can direct his anger right now.

"You can't be serious," Geoff mumbles, unable to stop a bit of anger from seeping into his voice, "is that why you asked me to come here?  So you could have someone to stay with your kids who just lost their mom while you go off with fucking Emily?"

"N-no," Awsten stutters, unable to keep the tears back as he shakes his head, "I asked 'cause I needed you, none of this came up 'til after I asked you to come...I'm sorry."

Geoff stays quiet for a moment, not wanting to let his emotions get the better of him here. He tries his hardest to stay calm.

"You think Elijah would want you doing this shit to protect him?" Geoff questions, a bit more harshly than he had meant to.  "Do you honestly think he even needs you to protect him?"

"I was just trying to keep him safe...he's already hurting. She was gonna make it worse, couldn't let her do that to him," Awsten mumbles, trying to keep himself together.

"So you let her do it to you instead?" Geoff snaps, immediately wishing he could take it back but unable to stop himself from continuing. "You can't put yourself back in that position.  You're just gonna get yourself hurt.  For fuck's sake, Awsten, you just came in limping!  What'd she do to you?  Show me!  She left bruises, right? Why else would you be fucking limping? C'mon, show me what she did to you!"

"Stop," Awsten pleads, wishing best could disappear, "Geoff, please, just stop—"

"No! You spent years hiding everything she did to you," Geoff shoots back, "are you gonna do that again? Gonna fucking cover for her all over again?  Did you not fucking get it the first time around?  Do you need to go through it again to understand? Gonna let her do it all over again just to get it through your fuckin' head?"

"No," Awsten whispers, barely even loud enough for Geoff to hear him. Geoff shifts a bit and Awsten flinches, which doesn't escape Geoff's notice. He immediately softens at the sight, feeling guilty for causing that. He hadn't meant to scare Awsten, he didn't really think through any of it.

"I'm sorry," Geoff tells him quietly, "I shouldn't have snapped at you.  I'm sorry."

"It's okay," Awsten's response is empty and practiced and Geoff can't help but wonder if it's the way he talks to Emily, disconnected and distant for the sake of maintaining some bit of sanity, saying things are okay when they're far from okay because he doesn't want to deal with the consequences of admitting that it's not okay.

"You don't have to do that," Geoff mumbles with a frown, "you don't have to say it's okay when it's not.  You can be angry at me.  I shouldn't have gone off at you like that.  It's not...you didn't...you were trying to do the right thing.  I was wrong to yell at you like that.  I'm sorry."

"It's okay," Awsten repeats, looking down at the floor instead of at Geoff.

"No it's not," Geoff insists before deciding to just let up on that for now.  "Are you...how bad are you hurt?  You gonna be okay?"

"It'll heal," Awsten replies in an attempt to be dismissive, "it always does."

•••

Geoff sticks around until Awsten falls asleep. Before falling asleep on the couch, Awsten had told Geoff some of what happened.  Geoff felt sick hearing it all.  Once Awsten is finally sleeping, Geoff can't stop himself from trying to do something to stop things from going any further.

He sneaks out of the house quietly, taking Awsten's car, and drives off to what used to be Awsten's apartment.  He gets there and heads right up to the apartment, anger rolling off him in waves ready to destroy anyone who gets in his way before he can get to the target of his fury.  He bangs on the door loudly, a million different things he could say running through his head.

Emily opens the door and rolls her eyes when she sees Geoff.

"Disappointing," she comments, eyeing him up and down briefly, "was hoping Awsten decided to come back. I mean, I know if I had to go home to you, I'd look for any excuse to leave."

"Leave Awsten the fuck alone," Geoff gets right to the point, "you have no reason to come after him again. Just fucking move on. He doesn't need you ruining his life."

"Oh, Geoff, don't be stupid," Emily scoffs dismissively, "he ruined his own life. I'll fix him, like I did last time. You can sit back and mind your own business. He doesn't need you."

"What he doesn't fucking need is someone who only sticks around to hurt him," Geoff fires back angrily, "he told me what you did tonight. He fucking showed me the marks you left on him, you piece of shit. He doesn't need that. He doesn't need you. All you do is hurt him. You need some serious help if you genuinely believe you're fucking helping him. All you've ever done is hurt him."

"Tell that to all the love songs he wrote all about me," Emily argues smugly, feeling confident in the validity of the statement.

"The songs you never even bothered to listen to? Yeah, he wrote those to try to make you happy 'cause if you weren't happy you'd take it out on him. And, you wanna know what other songs he wrote all about you? He wrote songs wishing he could undo everything he did with you, wishing he could take back every second of every year he wasted on you," Geoff tells her venomously, "he told the whole world how much he fucking hates you. Only reason he came back here is 'cause you threatened someone he actually does care about. And, fucking trust me, he won't be coming back. No more threats. Gonna fill Elijah in on what bullshit you used to get Awsten here. And, he's gonna raise hell. If you were gonna go for someone, you really shouldn't have picked someone who's known for fucking fighting people who do stupid, toxic bullshit like you. He's gonna tear you apart and I'm gonna laugh when he does 'cause that's what you fucking deserve."

"Let him come at me," Emily replies with a shrug, "I'd love to put that arrogant dick in his place. Someone has to, might as well be me."

"Oh, you're more of a fucking dumbass than I thought. You think you can bring him down? Can't wait for you to be put in your place," Geoff comments with a harsh glare. "Stay the fuck away from Awsten."

"He's the one who came to me. Don't forget that."

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