Timelined at the same time and after What Matters
<Jessica> Jess adjusted her hold on the gym bag she'd brought with her as she wandered through the waiting area. She'd been directed up there by a nurse and now she had to just locate her husband. She spied a shape slumped in a chair and headed over to it, gently prodding Sebastian's shoulder when she identified him. "Heeeeello?"
<Shaw> "Hmm?" He sat up, startled for just a moment until he realized who it was. "Oh, hello, koibito," he said with a sleepy smile, only then realizing he still had an empty paper coffee cup in his hand and set it down.
<Jessica> "Good morning," she smiled back and bent to give him a soft kiss. "I brought you some real clothes..." She set the bag down in the chair beside him.
<Shaw> "Thank you, love!" His smile broadened and he tugged her hand to urge her into his lap. "I hope you brought enough for Michael as well."
<Jessica> She nodded, "Yeah, I did.... how is he?" She settled in his lap and leaned against him.
<Shaw> "He's with Hope. She's still asleep. Paige said it could be hours, but she recommended we allow her to sleep it off instead of giving her another drug." He nosed her hair and relaxed, giving her a kiss just below her ear.
<Jessica> "It's probably a good idea to let her sleep... she obviously needed it..." she chewed her lip, "I can't say I blame her for wanting to resort to drugs to help..."
<Shaw> "I know, love." Finding her unconscious in the floor of that gym at Hydra had terrified him beyond reason. "But that isn't the way to get that sleep."
<Jessica> "It's working fine for me," Jess pointed out, "I'm sleeping fine... Hope maybe should have got hers prescribed by Viper too, then we wouldn't be in this mess."
<Shaw> He made a slightly sour face. "Yes, well perhaps Paige will be able to prescribe her something less... drastic."
<Jessica> "I hope so..." she nuzzled his shoulder, "Sleeping is good... but she should also talk..."
<Shaw> "Yes, she should." He sighed and gave her a squeeze. "I'm hoping she can be talked into resuming therapy. Michael implied she may have been sexually assaulted, which... would explain a great many things." He wished he could kill both Oyamas again. Slowly.
<Jessica> "Explain what exactly?" Because she wasn't sure it would explain the lack of appetite but what did she know? Other than that, she wasn't really sure what was going on with Hope.
<Shaw> "I have yet to see her in her own clothing since she returned, and as most of her clothing is tight or provocative..." He tipped his head to the side. "It seems to fit."
<Jessica> "Or she's trying to hide that she hasn't been eating. It'd be more obvious in tight clothes..."
<Shaw> "Her behavior is more extreme than I've ever seen before. I don't know, love." He rested his head against hers. "I only hope this serves as a wake-up call of sorts. I don't know how much longer I can keep this from Tony."
<Jessica> "I kind of wonder if we shouldn't just tell him... doesn't seem right to keep something like this from him..." she sighed, "I don't know what to do, Sebastian... I want to help... but I have no idea where to start."
<Shaw> "I agree, but it's Hope's decision." He took her hand, straightening her ring and raising it to his mouth for a kiss. "If nothing else, you can help Michael. He trusts you, and though he doesn't show it as obviously as Hope, I'm certain he is as troubled as she."
<Jessica> "I don't need empathy to know he's hurting... and I'm already trying to help him.... He talks to me and I do my best... I just wish Hope would let her issues with me go for good... it makes everything so much harder... for everyone. I just want to help... it's all I ever want to do...."
<Shaw> "I know." Sebastian was quiet for a moment, then sighed. "Also, I'm quite sorry I was short with him and with you earlier."
<Jessica> "It's okay... I know you can't help it..."
<Shaw> "Hope's condition did frighten me, of course, but I need to work on my temper." He frowned. "I didn't intend to use the wrong name."
<Jessica> "It's understandable... it's a new thing and you were stressed out... it's normal... and I'm sure Michael will understand that too."
<Shaw> "I do intend to apologize to the boy, but there are other matters at hand first, of course."
<Jessica> "Apologising is easier to fix..." She said gently, "I'd start there..."
<Shaw> "I simply meant I don't want to start a discussion until Hope awakens." He frowned. "Also, last I checked, Michael was asleep as well."
<Jessica> "Well obviously I don't mean you should go barging in there right now..." although a few months ago he maybe would have.
<Shaw> "I wanted him to come to work with me so we could have a more private discussion... away from Hope and the pressure he's under." Sebastian wound a lock of her hair around his finger, watching the shiny strands.
<Jessica> "I don't know if that's going to be as easy as you're making it sound..."
<Shaw> "Well, for one, I wanted to talk to him about the medical tests he really should undergo, now that he's aware of his... origin."
<Jessica> She wrinkled her nose, "It might be too soon for that..."
<Shaw> "I can understand if he wishes to postpone it, in consideration of what he's recently been through, but he should at least be aware." He met her eyes. "Don't you think?"
<Jessica> "Of course I do... I've been worried about that for a while now... maybe... if I was there too? I think you still make him kind of uncomfortable...."
<Shaw> Sebastian smirked. "Whatever makes you think that?"
<Jessica> She giggled quietly, shifting in his lap, "You know what does."
<Shaw> All innocence, he blinked at her.
<Jessica> "Don't give me that look," she poked the end of his nose and gave it a zap.
<Shaw> Predictably, Sebastian sneezed, then laughed and tightened his arms around her, hiding his face against her shoulder.
<Jessica> Jess cackled at the sneeze and snuggled into him, "I love that you do that every time."
<Shaw> "What do you expect when you zap my nose," he laughed, digging his fingers into her side for brief retaliatory tickle.
<Shinobi> He looked over his shoulder at the closed door to the room and silently wished Hope well, but when he turned the corner into the waiting room he stopped at the display. After a moment, his nose wrinkled up.
<Jessica> She laughed and squirmed in Sebastian's lap, smacking at his hands.
<Shaw> Still laughing, he batted at her hands and pulled her against him for a kiss.
<Shinobi> "Yeah..." He shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "I'll come back."
<Jessica> Jess started and pulled back from Sebastian, twisting in his lap, "Hey, no... it's okay..." she moved to get up and go over to Shinobi, arms out for a hug.
<Shinobi> With Hope's words still stinging, he paused for a moment before he accepted the hug. "Hey, Jess," he finally said in greeting. "Hope's awake."
<Jessica> "That's good... are you okay?" She hugged him tightly and pressed a kiss to his cheek, "I brought you a change of clothes..."
<Shaw> Sebastian stood slowly and stretched, debating getting more coffee. "How is she?"
<Shinobi> "Thanks. I'm... okay." Perhaps. "She's upset," he added, not elaborating. "Dr. Guthrie is with her now."
<Jessica> She gave Shinobi a squeeze then released him to return to the gym bag. She unzipped it and took out the neatly folded pile for Shinobi and offered it to him.
<Shinobi> "Thanks, Jess." He took the clothing and then realized that she'd packed Hope's own clothes for her, yet she wasn't wearing her own clothes.
<Shaw> "Upset? She didn't consider the reaction of those finding her unresponsive on the bathroom floor?" He huffed.
<Jessica> Jess sighed, "Sebastian... it's not his fault, don't start..."
<Shaw> "I did not start," he protested.
<Shinobi> "She isn't happy we brought her to the hospital."
<Shaw> "Well, what did she expect?"
<Jessica> "Probably that she'd get a nice nap and wake up fresh as a daisy the next day..." Jess sat down.
<Shinobi> "We didn't really talk about it..." He frowned down at the clothes. "Jess, did you bring anything else?"
<Jessica> Jess shook her head, "Should I have?" she frowned a little.
<Shaw> Sebastian figured it out and nodded. "She can have mine, or you can, if you'd prefer."
<Shinobi> Surprised, he just stared at Sebastian for a moment. "Thanks. We'll have to see, I guess."
<Jessica> "She should be wearing her own damn clothes..." Jess slouched in her chair.
<Shaw> "Love... I suspect what you've said to me applies to you as well." His eyes slid from one to the other.
<Jessica> "Oh don't! I'm fed up." She put her face in her hands, "I try to do something nice..."
<Shinobi> After all the arguing in the room with Hope, he couldn't take more out here with them. "I'm going to go get some coffee." Or something.
<Jessica> "No don't... I'll go..." She got to her feet, "I hate hospitals..."
<Shaw> "I know you do," he said soothingly, catching her hand. "There's no reason for any of us to go off. I believe we're all under a great deal of stress. If Hope is with Paige, it could be some time, and we could all get coffee, and perhaps something to eat. Just take a moment to calm."
<Jessica> "I don't need to take a moment," she pushed a hand through her hair.
<Shaw> "Well, at any rate we could locate some coffee and tea." He gave her hand a squeeze and sent her his reassurance through their link.
<Shinobi> Swallowing, he looked away from the couple.
<Jessica> Jess sighed and took her hand back, "We can't go anywhere with you two still in your pyjamas."
<Shaw> "Well, then I'll change. The trousers at least, and that will give us a spare shirt if we need it, yes?" Sebastian reached for the bag and started picking out clothing.
<Shinobi> He wasn't happy about Sebastian being so hellbent to loan Hope his clothing, but he supposed it was a stupid worry, considering.
<Jessica> Folding her arms, Jess sat back down in a chair with a small huff and fixed her gaze on the floor. Maybe she should just stop trying to be nice.
<Shaw> An hour later, things were, if not calmer, at least quieter. Coffee and tea were found, and food was picked at in the cafeteria. On the way back to the waiting room, Sebastian held Jessica's hand and let Shinobi take the lead.
<Shinobi> He looked down the hall toward the closed door of Hope's room, hoping everything was okay. The link had been... silent. She must have been blocking him out. It hurt, again.
<Jessica> Jess fidgeted distractedly as they walked back through the halls of the hospital. There was no hope of escaping now...
<Paige> With her blonde hair pulled back, Paige had tried to hide the red splotches on her face with a quick makeup touch up. It helped, but she was afraid the Shaws would see right through that. Gathering herself, Paige made her way to the waiting room to deliver the news.
<Shaw> Releasing her hand once they'd arrived, Sebastian turned back toward the hall. "I'll get us more coffee. Tea, love?"
<Jessica> Jess shook her head, sitting down and drawing her legs up to hug her knees.
<Paige> She spotted the family and directed her path to their location, trying to smile as she approached.
<Shaw> Spotting Paige coming, he paused and tried to assess her demeanor. Her eyes looked red. "Is everything all right?"
<Shinobi> Already in a chair, he looked up at Sebastian's tone and saw the lady doctor. He jumped back up and started into the hall.
<Paige> No. No, everything was far from alright. Paige swallowed, forcing herself to meet his gaze. "I got her to talk."
<Jessica> Jess reached to try and catch Shinobi before he vanished, half uncurling in her seat.
<Shinobi> Catching the movement from the corner of his eye, Obi slowed and turned to check on Jess.
<Shaw> "Oh?" She looked dreadfully upset, so this could not be a good thing. "How is she? At the moment?"
<Shinobi> "You okay?" He took the hand Jess extended, but the exchange in the hall made him look back. She talked.
<Jessica> Jess gave Shinobi's hand a squeeze and pulled him back to her, "Don't leave me on my own... they'll come in here."
<Paige> "Sebastian... it's... I don't know if it's worse than we thought or not." She brushed a stray bit of hair back. "She's not alright."
<Shaw> "Is it safe for her to be alone?" Sebastian's eyes lifted to look at the closed door of her room. Guard or no guard, he was uncomfortable with the idea.
<Shinobi> Worse than they thought? He'd already been imagining enough, which since she'd never confirm or deny anything was an ever-changing nightmare. Fixed in place, he slumped into the chair beside Jess.
<Jessica> "Thank you..." Jess whispered, keeping his hand now between both of hers and thought, again, how much she'd rather be at home and not surrounded by these walls full of doctors and beeping monitors. At least she couldn't hear them with her powers turned off.
<Paige> "I left a nurse with her," Paige assured him. "But she needs her dad."
<Shaw> Sebastian reached for his phone. "I'll call Tony."
<Paige> Her hand caught his. "I meant you. She doesn't want Tony to know anything. She's afraid he'll fire David." She released his hand and shoved it into her lab coat pocket. "There's a lot to tell you before you see her."
<Shaw> Nodding, Sebastian gestured for her to proceed him into the waiting room and tucked his phone back into his pocket.
<Paige> Paige went on into the room, waiting for Sebastian to close the door.
<Jessica> Jess looked between Sebastian and Paige when he returned, chewing her lip.
<Shinobi> "How is she?" he blurted, unable to wait any longer.
<Shaw> Sebastian closed the door and pulled out a chair for Paige, then took a seat beside Jessica. If it was so bad, how could he keep this from Tony?
<Paige> She took her chair, bringing her hands back out of her pockets. Where did she begin? "The first issue we addressed was the lack of sleeping, which brought her here to begin with. I'm prescribing her sleeping pills that will induce a dreamless sleep. She can take them when she needs them."
<Jessica> If her own experience was anything to go by, that would be every night for the forseeable future.
<Shinobi> He nodded. "She hasn't been eating either."
<Shaw> Taking Jessica's hand, he gave it a gentle squeeze. "Will they hurt her if she takes them every night?"
<Paige> "If she doesn't eat, she doesn't get to leave. She'll eat here. The best I can do at home is to get her involved in something. Get her distracted. She'll eat. Get her to use Pietro's power for five minutes and she'll be starving enough to eat." She sighed a little. "They are supposed to be non habit forming, but there's no guarantee."
<Jessica> "Unless we get Pietro to move in, she won't be using his power any time soon... it's not likely she'll leave the house if her hotel stay is anything to go by."
<Shinobi> "She's right. She wouldn't even leave the room... it was driving me kind of stir crazy and she wouldn't talk to me, so I hoped getting her out might help." He shook his head, running his hand through his hair.
<Shaw> Sebastian nodded thoughtfully, trying to absorb the information and think of the various repercussions.
<Paige> "You can hash out details and debates later," she pointed out. "Distract her for food, pills for sleep. It gets much harder from there. That's the easy part. You know what happened to her when she was with you, Michael, but once they took her alone, things got worse."
<Paige> She took a deep breath, steadying herself. It had been hard enough to listen to this part, let alone tell it. "The first thing they had to do was gather basic tissue samples. Blood... saliva..."
<Shinobi> He looked down, at his free hand in his lap. They'd done that and more to him, of course.
<Paige> "We all know about how cooperative she was. They stripped her down and strapped her to the table. She said they ran some preliminary tests while she was in there, yelling obscenities the entire time."
<Jessica> Jess gave Shinobi's hand a squeeze and shifted in her seat.
<Shinobi> Closing his eyes, he tried not to relive it.
<Shaw> Sebastian turned his attention to his faux son while Paige spoke, exchanging a glance with Jessica.
<Paige> "The last thing they did..." Paige looked down. She had to say it, but it was awful. She forced her eyes up. "They needed her eggs to create life. They harvested them from her without using any anesthesia."
<Jessica> Jess closed her eyes and curled up a little more in her seat. She knew what it was like to have people poking around your insides when you were conscious and could feel every bit of it. Of course there'd be nightmares.
<Shaw> Sebastian slid his arm around his wife, sending her his reassurance. "That was how they created the clone we saw." He could only hope they'd destroyed all the samples.
<Shinobi> So they'd done it to her, too. He opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Clearing his throat, he tried again, but his voice shook. "One of the men... he was... he... I was afraid he'd..."
<Paige> "That's probably the one who watched her while it happened. She thought more might have happened had you not been rescued when you were," Paige admitted. "That's why she has been living in your clothes, Michael. It made her feel very unsexy and, well, safe. She didn't want to be attractive. .She wanted to be invisible."
<Jessica> Jess pulled Shinobi's hand to her and rested the back of it against her cheek.
<Shinobi> He wasn't sure if he was relieved or not that the masked man hadn't really touched her. What they'd done had been bad enough. "I saw the bruises and thought... Why didn't she heal?"
<Paige> "That's the next thing... I had Dr. Montgomery examine her. Only she'll know for sure, but my guess is she didn't heal completely when it happened, so her body accepted the... damage..." Paige's mouth felt dry. This was awful to tell them as well. "I'm really sorry... but it looks like her chances to conceive someday are very, very small."
<Shinobi> They'd made her like him. They'd caught her, because of him, and then they'd made her like him. This was his fault.
<Jessica> Jess squeezed Shinobi's hand again and looked to Sebastian. She was at a loss for words.
<Paige> Paige swallowed hard, tucking her stray bit of blonde hair back behind her ear. "She'll need all of you to get her through this."
<Jessica> Jess almost protested that aloud but kept it to herself. Hope wouldn't want her help but she could try and help Shinobi. She looked at him, rubbing her thumb across the back of his hand. Nothing good ever happened in hospitals.
<Shinobi> He cleared his throat. "She was having... pains. Bad stomach pains..."
<Shaw> Sebastian looked sharply at Shinobi. "That doesn't make sense. She had my abilities and Sum's. Did they do something else to her?"
<Paige> "Severe stomach pains for several days after would be consistent with a large egg harvest," Paige said softly.
<Shinobi> He looked down again. They'd made her like him. It was all his fault.
<Shaw> Thoughtful, Sebastian stared at Paige. That didn't answer his question, precisely.
<Jessica> Jess uncurled, taking her hand from Sebastian to hug Shinobi because he looked like he needed it.
<Shinobi> He tensed for just a moment, and then he turned his face into Jess' shoulder and tried not to lose control.
<Paige> "You can see her when you're ready."
<Shaw> Sighing, he attempted a smile. "Thank you, love. I confess, I'm unsure what to say to her. She authorized this disclosure, I'm sure, but is there any other information that would help us in dealing with her?"
<Paige> She nodded, smiling weakly. "Resume normal activities as much as possible. Go off her cues. I'll check in on her on my way home from the hospital. If she loses anymore weight, I can readmit her. I'd like to see her gain a good ten pounds or so." Paige paused for a moment, thinking. "Don't force anything... If it needs forced, let it come from me. I'll be the bad guy."
<Shaw> Sebastian smirked at her, eyebrow raised.
<Paige> Giggling just a little, Paige put her hands on her hips. "Who do you think keeps Bobby in line?"
<Jessica> "Carol." Jess tossed in without missing a beat.
<Paige> "Okay, Carol is scary," Paige admitted, laughing outright now. She pulled Sebastian into a hug. "Don't take anything she says personally. Any of you."
<Shaw> "She has a therapist, should you perhaps suggest she resume attending sessions? Also, you realize she was due to graduate." Sebastian returned the hug, sighing internally.
<Jessica> Jess sighed, "That's easier said than done where I'm concerned..." she muttered softly and gave Shinobi a squeeze. She'd spent so long taking crap from Hope, it was hard to know where the line was anymore.
<Paige> "Then make sure she graduates," she giggled at Sebastian. "I'll try to ease her into that. I promised to give her hair a trim this week. That's a start." Paige pulled back to smile at Jess. "I'll see what I can do there too. Maybe find out why at least." She moved to give Jess a hug next.
<Jessica> Jess wasn't sure she could handle a hug from Paige and she hoped the fact that she was still hugging Shinobi might protect her. She didn't especially want to let go of Shinobi either - he was still hurting.
<Shaw> Sebastian watched the curious three-way hug with more than his fair share of amusement.
<Paige> Paige even stole a quick kiss to Jess's cheek since she couldn't escape her. Smiling, Paige stood back up. "I'm going to go check on her. Take your time. She's not going anywhere until you're all ready to leave. And she eats her lunch."
<Jessica> Jess felt her cheeks heat a little at the kiss. Why did she do that?! She attempted to hide her face against Shinobi's shoulder.
<Shinobi> He was oblivious to the women, just clinging to Jess in misery. Why would Hope want him?
<Paige> Paige slipped out to go check on Hope.
<Jessica> You should go see her... Jess thought at Sebastian as Paige's steps retreated.
<Shaw> I'll give you two a bit of time. Shinobi should calm down before he sees her. As is, with their link it will be difficult. He kissed the top of her head and followed Paige into the hall.
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