Timelined a day or two after Hokey Pokey
<Jessica> Not having a Hope in the house for a few meals made cooking a lot more interesting and Jess was making the most of it. There was still an absence of red or any meat in the food but there were various other colours of vegetable that she wasn't afraid to use. She was also taking a small break from using her power inhibitor while it was just her, Sebastian and Miriam in the house.
<Jessica> It had been going fine so far as none of them were feeling any emotions particularly strongly. She could cope with this.
<Shinobi> Class hadn't been quite as distracting as he'd hoped, but the selfies and texts he'd received from Hope were. Her trip to Washington DC was long overdue, but he missed her. He pulled up in front of the house and gave Starbucks a longing look.
<Shinobi> There were a few advantages to having her gone for the day. Soon, he had coffee and a bag of peanut butter cookies.
<Jessica> Turning the heat down under the pot, Jess leaned on the counter and contemplated making a pie. She reached for her tablet instead and went back to her usual investigations on courses.
<Shinobi> Juggling his backpack and the snack, he got into the front door and started up the stairs, greeting Sharky when he skittered up.
<Jessica> Sharky's movements and the sound of the front door drew Jess from the kitchen, "Welcome home!" she called down the stairs.
<Shinobi> "Thanks!" He picked up the pace and found Jess in the kitchen. "Hey," he greeted, dropping the bookbag by the stairs.
<Jessica> "Hi," she smiled and leaned to give him a hug, "You went next door..."
<Shinobi> "Yeah, I wanted peanut butter cookies." He smiled and returned the hug briefly before digging into the bag. "Want one?"
<Jessica> "Oooh yes, but with tea." She went to put her tablet on the table so she could put the kettle on. "How was school?"
<Shinobi> "We can burn the evidence before Hope gets home," he said with a laugh and went to the table to sit down. "It was okay."
<Jessica> "We better or she'll accuse us of conspiracy," she glanced over her shoulder at him as she moved around the kitchen. "Only okay?"
<Shinobi> "Yeah. It's not as distracting as it was before." He took a sip of his coffee and tilted his head to look at the screen of her tablet.
<Jessica> "I'm sorry... anything I can do to help?" she went to the fridge for milk while she waited for her tea to brew.
<Shinobi> "It's just... the situation." He sighed and pulled the tablet closer, turning it and then craning his neck back a little to bring the words into focus. As if he needed another reminder.
<Jessica> "I get it," she gave him a sympathetic smile, "At least we've set wheels in motion..."
<Shinobi> "Yeah." Unconsciously, he rubbed his inner elbow. Dr. Maximoff had been gentle, and reassuring, and had put a bandaid covered in cartoon dinosaurs on his arm after she'd drawn his blood.
<Jessica> "We have the best people on it, don't worry... we'll do everything we can for you." She picked up her tea when she was done and went to join him at the table. Then she got back up again to get side plates for the cookies.
<Shinobi> "I know," he said quietly. "Thanks." Obi looked up and watched her return, smiling faintly when he caught her eyes.
<Jessica> She returned the smile, sitting down again and taking a cookie after she passed him a plate. "Got any plans for this afternoon?"
<Shinobi> "Not really, not with Hope in DC." He broke a cookie in half and took a bite, remembering to get his phone from his pocket and place it on the table.
<Shinobi> "It looks like you have plans," he said, nodding toward the tablet.
<Jessica> "Oh, that? I don't know..." she sighed, "The more I think about it, the more I worry it's going to complicate things..."
<Shinobi> "Why? If you want to do it, do it." He shrugged and took a sip of coffee and a bite of cookie, savoring the peanut butter.
<Jessica> "Because we'd have to get a nanny for Miriam... and I don't know if I'd be able to trust a stranger..."
<Shinobi> "I'm sure you can find one. Sebastian can definitely afford a trustworthy nanny," he said with a smirk.
<Jessica> "Yeah... but she's my baby girl...." Jess broke off a piece of cookie and dunked it in her tea before she ate it.
<Shinobi> "I understand." This was what a real mother did, he supposed. Worried. "It could have been interesting to go to school together," he said with a sigh.
<Jessica> "I haven't ruled it out yet... it's just awkward... our lives are so messy... not sure it's fair really to drag someone else into it all.... maybe we could get a mutant nanny..." She sat back in her chair, "There needs to be mutant baby daycare..."
<Shinobi> "Other mutants seem to do it." He distracted himself with a bite of cookie.
<Jessica> "All the other mutants I know with kids live at the school... there's a lot of people there to pick up the slack... and they go to classes there so they're really nearby... It's different for us... I'm just... afraid to leave her..." their family seemed to attract trouble like no one else.
<Shinobi> "Maybe she should stay at the school then?" Or not, as the school often seemed to be painted with a target as well.
<Jessica> "Maybe... I don't know... I'm not trying to make excuses not to go to college, God knows I'm going crazy stuck in this house... I'm just torn... and I don't want to be too far away to help if she needs me..."
<Shinobi> He cocked his head. "You can fly. And don't you have one of Viper's teleporters?" It seemed everyone had more options than he did.
<Jessica> "I can fly... but not that fast..." not like everyone else she knew anyway. "Maybe I'm just being paranoid... I can't help it... I'm a worrier..."
<Shinobi> Obi was slowly picking the cookie apart on his plate. "Yeah, but you can't worry so much that you don't live the life you want," he said quietly. That was his plan anyway, for as long as it would work.
<Jessica> She sighed heavily, "I wish I knew what that was..."
<Shinobi> He'd lost much of his appetite now, and carefully swept up his crumbs into the plate.
<Jessica> Jess watched him, she hadn't missed the mood dip but she wasn't sure what to do to take his mind off things. "Are you going to make me dispose of the evidence all by myself?" she tried.
<Shinobi> "Guess I wasn't hungry after all." He gave her a slightly apologetic smile.
<Jessica> "I'll put them somewhere..." she got to her feet to fetch a damp cloth for the table.
<Shinobi> He reached for her wrist. "It's fine. I'm sure I'll eat-" The ring of his phone cut off his thought.
<Jessica> Jess paused, looking down at her wrist where he'd caught her before following his arm up to his face and giving him a questioning look.
<Shinobi> It wasn't a number he knew, and he let go to pick up the phone with a frown before answering it. "Oh... hello Doctor Maximoff." Obi swallowed down his panic.
<Jessica> Jess sat down again and took his hand in hers.
<Shinobi> "Yeah. I understand." He met Jess' eyes, licking his lips. "Do you know how long until..." Closing his eyes, he nodded and worked on controlling his fear.
<Jessica> Jess gave his hand a squeeze and tried not to eavesdrop on the other end of the conversation.
<Shinobi> "Okay, and when should I do that?" Grateful for Jess' hand, he kept it, listening to the doctor's instructions.
<Jessica> Jess offered him a small smile and attempted to bolster his confidence with her willfully blind optimism.
<Shinobi> "Yeah, I guess that would take a while. So are you sure yet that she's really my... Right. Okay." He opened his eyes to meet Jess' and sighed. "Thanks." After another few moments, he ended the call.
<Jessica> After a moment of silence, Jess shifted in her seat, "Do you want to talk about it?"
<Shinobi> "It could be worse." He sighed again and squeezed her hand.
<Jessica> Jess pulled him into a hug, "One step at a time."
<Shinobi> "I still don't know where they're leading."
<Jessica> "No one does, sweetheart... but that doesn't mean the road won't be a long one." She gave him a squeeze.
<Shinobi> "I guess it takes time for them to figure out if Yuriko really is my mother, too." He snorted softly. "If mother is the right word for it."
<Jessica> "It's the closest word, I suppose..." even if the woman would show no actual care towards him, "This is uncharted territory for all of us."
<Shinobi> "Yeah, that's the problem." He needed Hope. "I suppose glasses aren't so bad," he attempted, lightening his tone.
<Jessica> "Especially not if they stop you getting headaches," she smiled a little, "You never know, they might suit you."
<Shinobi> "At the very least, Hope will laugh at them." He smiled a little at the thought.
<Jessica> "Probably, she's tactless like that - it's why she and Sebastian get along so well," she gave him a small grin.
<Shinobi> "It's one of the things I love about her." Sebastian, not so much.
<Jessica> "Yeah? I could live without it," she laughed softly.
<Shinobi> "I would think you'd be used to it," he said, looking up at her.
<Jessica> "That doesn't mean it doesn't drive me crazy... I could throttle the pair of them sometimes..." she gave him a slightly crooked smile.
<Shinobi> "I don't really understand Sebastian," he admitted.
<Jessica> "He's not that complicated.... it's mostly just all show..."
<Shinobi> "It's a hell of a show then." He frowned and took a sip of his coffee.
<Jessica> "He's been doing it his whole life... he's had a lot of practice," She reached out and rubbed his shoulder gently, "I've been trying to get him to stop it... but it's useful sometimes..."
<Shinobi> "When it's convenient to have a pompous dick?" It came out a tad more bitter than intended.
<Jessica> She couldn't help but laugh at that, "It comes in handy more often than you'd think."
<Shinobi> "He's the king of mixed messages, and I wish he'd just make up his mind if he wants me around or not." Apparently, his filter was broken today.
<Jessica> "He does want you around..." she touched his cheek, "He's just... he's very guarded... it took a hell of a lot of crap to get him to open up to me, it's just one of those things that takes time..."
<Shinobi> Obi sighed. "I suppose I can understand guarded." He picked up a piece of cookie and popped it into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully.
<Jessica> "We're all a little damaged that way..." Jess offered, "Some of us are just better at functioning past it than others.... and I'm not saying for one moment that I'm one of them."
<Shinobi> "Damaged is one way of putting it," he snorted, leaning back into the chair. He had no room to criticize, he knew. "He was... more sympathetic than I expected. At the school."
<Jessica> "He's doing his best... it's easier for him with Hope, I think... their relationship is easier to define.... even if it's really weird for me. Yours is complicated... and largely your decision, you know that right?"
<Shinobi> "So he tells me." Popping the lid from his coffee, he stared into its depths.
<Jessica> "Because it's the truth... No one's going to force you to have any particular relationship with him, the boundaries are yours to define - as they should be... and the same goes for you and me. We'll be here for you if you need us to be, but it's up to you to let us in and tell us when we over-step."
<Shinobi> "Yes, but I don't know what relationship he wants. Not really. He's insinuated, but one time he acts... well, what I would think of as paternal. Like how he acts with Hope, or Miriam, I guess. Then the next..."
<Jessica> "What kind of relationship do you want with him?" she prompted, "Because every time he contradicts that I can smack him for you."
<Shinobi> "I think I would like to have a father, especially if I don't have long." He picked at the label on the cup.
<Jessica> She chewed her lip, watching him fiddle with the label, "Have you tried telling him that?"
<Shinobi> He shook his head with a frown, shrugging one shoulder.
<Jessica> "Would you rather I did?" she offered, knowing it would probably be awkward for both of them if he did try.
<Shinobi> "I don't know." He supposed he did know, but it would be ... weird. "Let me think about it?"
<Jessica> "Of course," she smiled, "Just let me know if you want me to do anything." She remembered then that she had tea and picked up her mug for a quick sip and stole a piece of her cookie from her plate too.
<Shinobi> Quietly, he reached over and picked up a bit of cookie too. "Thanks," he said after a moment.
<Jessica> "You're welcome," she smiled again, "And, just for the record, I think we're clear on that I consider you to be family and I will do anything to make you happy, just like I would for Miriam."
<Shinobi> He smirked. "So your mom worry extends to me, huh?"
<Jessica> She laughed, "Of course it does! Was there ever any doubt?"
<Shinobi> "Not that I should be happy to make you worry," he said, working up a sly grin, "but I guess I am."
<Jessica> "Aww," she leaned to give him a hug, "That's very sweet of you."
<Shinobi> "It's the least I can do," he said with a chuckle, returning the hug and going back to his coffee.
<Jessica> "You brought me cookies, you owe me nothing," she ruffled his hair a little bit before going back to her unfinished cookie.
<Shinobi> "I'll keep that in mind for future bribery." He smirked and bit into another piece of his forbidden peanut butter treat.
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