Timelined a day or two after Ritz Crackers and Senseless
<Shaw> The bulk of his emails had been sorted and addressed and his assistant was now assigned to handle the lesser issues. Later this week, he would need to spend a few hours in the office, but for today, he'd decided enough work had been tackled.
<Jessica> The bathroom was becoming Jess' new most frequented room since their return home. She was in there now, curled in a corner between the sink and the shower with the baby monitor clutched in her hands. She had thrown up for the second time today having caught a glimpse of some advertisement or other that set her off.
<Shaw> Sebastian checked the time and focused on his link with Jessica. Unfortunately, her general anxiety and malaise had made it necessary for him to compartmentalize much of their link in order to function. Now, he was more aware of her condition again and he hissed, standing and stretching from his desk in the work room.
<Jessica> Jess felt the shift in the link and tried to pick herself up off the floor. It was a struggle but she managed it after a few attempts.
<Shaw> Love, I think I'm finished for the day. Is there anything you need? He started down the stairs, not bothering to secure the work room door.
<Jessica> No... I'm okay... She started for the stairs, one hand on the wall to keep herself steady. Did you manage to get much done?
<Shaw> It will take time to catch up, but that's nothing new. He smirked to himself. I certainly got enough done for today. Meeting her at the bottom of the stairs, he took in her pale face. "Oh, koibito..."
<Jessica> "I'm alright... I just maybe shouldn't watch television for a while...." she slid her arms around his waist and snuggled into his chest. He was warm.
<Shaw> Knowing better than to ask, he held her tightly. Good Lord, she was freezing, but at least not wet. Paige had filled him in on the details of what had happened while he was gone.
<Jessica> She managed a smile at the squeeze and nuzzled his shoulder, "Miriam's still sleeping, I think."
<Shaw> "Good. We can check her and perhaps I can make you some tea?"
<Jessica> She nodded, a small smirk on her lips, "Do you even know how?"
<Shaw> "Of course!" He laughed softly and dropped a kiss to the top of her head. "I do have a knack for acquiring British mates, after all."
<Jessica> "You do... It's a good job I married you, now you can't get distracted when another one turns up." She offered him a grin before she started up the stairs.
<Shaw> "Precisely." He gave her rear a playful swat and followed her up, listening to Miriam's soft snores from the crib.
<Jessica> Jess stumbled at the swat but kept her balance, going on into the kitchen and taking a seat at the table.
<Shaw> Her instability was alarming, but he schooled his reaction and went to pull out her chair. Once she was safely seated, he checked her kettle for water and flipped it on.
<Jessica> "So how much of a dent did you make?" She knew her attempts to keep the conversation on him were obvious.
<Shaw> "I delegated a good portion of my workload to Emma and a few of my more capable minions." He flashed her a grin and fetched her favorite cup and other sundries.
<Jessica> "Good plan," she offered a smile and sank lower in her seat, watching him move around the kitchen.
<Shaw> "I'm going to make your tea, and I want you to eat something, love. Even if it's just some toast or a biscuit." He didn't turn to watch her reaction.
<Jessica> She wrinkled her nose a little, "I honestly can't see the point... I'll only throw it up again..."
<Shaw> "No, you won't. You have to eat, it's not optional. So, we'll simply avoid the television until you digest."
<Jessica> "It's not just the tv, Sebastian..." she scrubbed her face with her hands.
<Shaw> "I know, but that's a starting point."
<Jessica> "Yeah... I'm just... I don't know... not sure if I want to eat anything...."
<Shaw> "Fine," he said smoothly, pouring her water. "We'll start with a spot of tea then."
<Jessica> While his back was turned and he wouldn't see it coming, she tossed a coaster at the back of his head.
<Shaw> "Ouch," he deadpanned with a chuckle, turning his head just enough to raise an eyebrow at her.
<Jessica> "Teach you to mock my accent... I can still aim, even without my powers." She poked her tongue out at him.
<Shaw> Finishing with her tea, he turned and placed it on the table in front of her, complete with a sweet smile. It felt strange.
<Jessica> She eyed the cup, raising an eyebrow at him, "If you've poisoned this..."
<Shaw> Sebastian blinked at her. Was that a joke?
<Jessica> Jess cocked her head on one side, wondering why he wasn't laughing. "... have you poisoned it?"
<Shaw> "No!" he laughed. "Why would I poison it, love? You had me worried that you thought I would!"
<Jessica> She giggled, shaking her head, "I'd hope not.... but I wouldn't blame you at the moment..."
<Shaw> "Your behavior is understandable, koibito." He went back to the counter to pour himself a cup of coffee and picked up a plate of cookies. "We'll just need to work on getting through this, yes?"
<Jessica> She nodded, wrapping her hands around her mug, "I don't know how, though..."
<Shaw> "One thing at a time, of course." The plate clicked down on the tabletop and Sebastian sat, adjacent to her chair.
<Jessica> Nodding again, she sighed, "Where do we start?"
<Shaw> "Well, I believe with a cup of tea." He gave it a pointed look.
<Jessica> "It's boiling water, I can't drink it til it cools down..." she frowned, looking down at the cup, "What about after the tea?"
<Shaw> "I'm still rather in favor of a biscuit." Sebastian selected one from the plate and took a bite.
<Jessica> "Sebastian... I know you're only trying to help... but I'm trying to find a way forward... and I'm lost..."
<Shaw> "I believe when you're ready to talk about it, you should. With whomever you feel most comfortable. Otherwise, I would seek to keep myself busy instead of dwelling on the past."
<Jessica> "Busy with what? I don't have anything to do... Miriam spends most of her time asleep, you spend all of your time working... and Hope and Shinobi aren't here... I don't know what to do with myself...."
<Shaw> "Well, point of fact, I will be more present when I get caught up again." He blew on his coffee. "There is the garden to work on, as spring is here."
<Jessica> She nodded, though she wasn't sure if she had the enthusiasm for that at the moment, "Are you going to help me?"
<Shaw> "Of course, if you like." He smiled and took another bite of his cookie. "Perhaps we'd have room for a small dojo up there as well, if you're interested."
<Jessica> Jess' grip involuntarily tightened on her cup, "I'd have to think about it."
<Shaw> Sebastian just nodded, watching her reaction. "It could do you a world of good to remember there is more to that art than death."
<Jessica> "I know that... I do.... I'm just not ready to think about it...." She swallowed.
<Shaw> "I understand. It's just a point to ponder for the future, yes?" He slid his hand across the table, palm up, and smiled at her.
<Jessica> She nodded, reaching and putting her hand in his and really trying not to think about all that had gone before. "I've been wondering if I should talk to someone..."
<Shaw> "I believe it would be beneficial," he said, brushing his thumb over her knuckles and interlacing their fingers.
<Jessica> "Not really a lot of options..." she tugged at the corner of her lip with her teeth, "Maybe if I find someone outside of the circle of judgment..." she kept her gaze on their hands.
<Shaw> "A professional would not judge," he pointed out, picking up his coffee again for a sip.
<Jessica> "I know..." she nodded, "I'll be pushed at Cessily though... and I can't talk to her about this..."
<Shaw> "There are far more professionals in the world than Cessily Kincaid," he said, eyebrow raised.
<Jessica> "I know... but that's what everyone does... crazy lives and all that..." she sighed, "But I can't do that... need someone outside all of this... someone I don't have to see all the time..."
<Shaw> "You do recall I found counselors for Shinobi and Hope, yes? It wouldn't be difficult to find another, or for you to check into seeing one of their counselors."
<Jessica> Jess shrugged a shoulder, "I don't know... it's hard for me to trust people... I know I need to talk about it... I just not sure I'll be ready... ever...."
<Shaw> "Well, you can certainly feel them out before you bare your soul." He gave her hand another squeeze. "Drink your tea, love."
<Jessica> She nodded, taking her hand back so she could use both to lift the cup and take a careful sip. "I'll try it... have to do something..."
<Shaw> "Good. I can give you their phone numbers." He watched her drink.
<Jessica> "Thanks..." she managed a small smile, "In the mean time I guess I'll just try and sleep a lot...."
<Shaw> "Sleep would also do you a world of good, yes." He tilted his head, listening for Miriam.
<Jessica> "The trouble being I have to make sure I time it right... don't want to accidentally drug Miriam... but I can't sleep without help." She set her cup down, keeping her hands wrapped around it.
<Shaw> "Well, we can work around that. If we store up some milk, I can feed her without disturbing you."
<Jessica> "Been working on that... there's some in there," she gestured vaguely to the fridge, "I don't mind getting up for her..."
<Shaw> "You can get up for her after you've caught up on some sleep, love." He smiled softly. "She and I may even join you from time to time."
<Jessica> "I'm catching up... I just need to keep food down for long enough for it to have any benefit..." She leaned against him and sighed heavily, "I'm in such a mess...."
<Shaw> "I know, love." He picked up another cookie and took a bite, then offered it to her.
<Jessica> She shook her head, nose wrinkling a little, "Need something with less taste... might be able to manage some toast..."
<Shaw> "Your wish is my very command," he said, balancing his cookie on the rim of his cup. Kissing the top of her head, he stood carefully.
<Jessica> She gave him a smile, picking up her tea again, "Maybe a tiny bit of butter..."
<Shaw> "A tiny bit of butter it is then." Sebastian found the bread and popped it in the toaster, then went to rummage in the refrigerator. How domesticated he'd become.
<Jessica> "Thank you..." she watched him looking for the butter, her smile softening, "Are you okay?"
<Shaw> "Yes," he said after a moment and emerged with the butter, turning around to give her a smile. "I'm just concerned about you, and Hope, and even Shinobi."
<Jessica> "I'm worried about them too... I want to check on them but I know they need their space..." she looked down at her lap, the emptiness of the place hitting her again.
<Shaw> "They do need a bit of space I believe, yes, but don't take it personally, love."
<Jessica> "I'm not... well... a little bit from Hope but I'm used to that... I just miss them... it's so quiet here."
<Shaw> "Shinobi is quite fond of you. I believe he would welcome your company, once he recovers a tad."
<Jessica> "I hope so..." she had another sip of her tea, "We were friends... I'd hate for this to have ruined all of that..."
<Shaw> He thought it was rather more than friendship, but didn't share his observation. "Call him in a few days then." The toast popped up and he was pleased to see it was unburned.
<Jessica> She nodded, "Yeah... I think I will..." it'd probably help her to separate Shinobi from the images that kept returning to her.
<Shaw> "I had his car sent over, and he said he wishes to return to class when he's able." Sebastian buttered the toast and returned to the table, placing the small plate in front of her.
<Jessica> "That's good..." she gave him a small smile, relinquishing her grip on the mug to pick up a slice of toast while it was still warm.
<Shaw> "He seems... stable, at least." Taking his own seat, he picked up his cookie and dunked it into his coffee.
<Jessica> "That's good to know..." she took small bites of the toast, it was an effort to swallow it. "I wish I was better at this..."
<Shaw> He tilted his head. "Eating?"
<Jessica> She frowned, "No." She put the slice of toast down and brushed the crumbs off her hands on her jeans. "Recovering from this stuff..."
<Shaw> "That implies we should go through these things enough to have practice and I would hope we've had quite enough trauma for one lifetime, koibito."
<Jessica> "Well I hoped that the last time and here we are... and I never do get over any of it... I just set it to one side and leave it there..."
<Shaw> "I don't know, love." He sighed, sipping his coffee again.
<Jessica> "It's why I want to try talking to someone... never done that before... not by choice..."
<Shaw> "And I believe that's a good choice," he agreed, brushing crumbs off the table into his hand and depositing them on an empty plate.
<Jessica> "Then I'm obviously a pod person and you should talk to Viper about where she's put the real me," Jess offered him a small smirk.
<Shaw> "I haven't ruled that out," he agreed with a slow nod and a return smirk. "Or, perhaps you've simply matured."
<Jessica> "I wouldn't go that far..." she prodded the toast she'd set down, in two minds about whether or not to attempt finishing it, "Being a mother is enough maturity for now.."
<Shaw> "That is true," he chuckled. "Why don't we look at a few perennial varieties for the garden until you get drowsy?"
<Jessica> She nodded, "Okay.... can we do that upstairs, though? I think most of the books are up there anyway...."
<Shaw> "We can." He stood and picked up his coffee, offering her his hand and nodding at the toast. "Shall we take that?"
<Jessica> Jess looked at it, reaching to take his hand, "Probably should..." she picked up the plate, "I'll try to finish it... if it sits well I'll eat something else later..."
<Shaw> "It's a start," he said with a nod, and kissed her hand. "Shall we then?"
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