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LOVE HURTS (SOMETIMES)

Chapter Text

When Edgar Reade steps into the kitchen,
Nat has thrown a good bit of her breakfast onto
the floor, the wall behind her, and the table;
Zapata seems lost in her own thoughts, not paying
attention to the mess their Daughter is making.

When he takes a seat across from her, Zapata
finally takes notice, snapping out of her trance.

“It’s his birthday today,” Reade comments.

“Yes,” she says, simply; quietly.

“Are you alright, Tash? I can stay here with you.”

Their eyes meet, lock. “Okay.”

Zapata nods at their Daughter, still happily slinging food everywhere except
into her mouth. “Sometimes, when she’s playing by herself, I hear her…
talking to someone…like she’s asking something, then answering…I know
its sounds crazy…"

“No,” her Man responds. “When I have her out in the car sometimes, she’s in
her car-seat, in the backseat-like she’s telling a joke, then laughs that ‘Tasha’ laugh, as
if she’s just SO FUNNY…”…then, somberly: “I miss him…everyday…”

Zapata reaches across, takes his hand in hers. “Todo los dias, todas las noches,
Todo el tiempo."

Chapter Text

Once they are settled, Monica Reade says, "Now.
What exactly did you and the Hard Headed Man
argue about?

Tasha's smile is a sad one. "I...accused him of not feeling
the loss of our first Baby as much as I do, and that he's moving on,
too quickly, as if nothing happened."

"He's a MAN, Natasha. Father's don't love any less than a Mother
does-they love...differently...we Women carried that
Child, nourished them from our bodies. We suffer through-how
many hours of labor?-

"FIFTEEN." The Latina smiles ruefully.

"...twenty two for me...OF COURSE we Mothers have a love for our
Children that is BONE-DEEP and NEVER -ENDING...Fathers don't
bear that burden-their function is to prepare that Son or Daughter to
do battle with LIFE. It's the same level of love-just DIFFERENT."

"I feel so badly now. I screamed and cursed...I acted a right fool.

"Just try to understand that a Man can't really afford to show any type
of weakness, or hurt. He may be dying inside, but he HAS to maintain
that facade of 'I'm Okay, I'm on it.' He does those things-cry, grieve-
in private. It's how they're built."

'I understand. I owe him a huge apology. Thank you for listening, Mom.

"Anytime, Baby. Edgar can be difficult to live with (like HIS Father), but
he's a good man, as you already know. Now I need some good GOSSIP, before
those babies wake up!"

Chapter Text

"Me perdonas, Amor?" This by Zapata after a few hours of
carefully navigating each other after Reade's arrival. Nat is
blundering from place to place, atuned to her Parent's unusual
mood, and unsure of what to do about it.

"Tu sabes," Reade says simply.

"I...I had no right to assume that your way of grieving for Danny
is any less valid. I spoke with your Mom today...she helped me see
that."

"She's very wise. Apology accepted."

"Lo que perfectamente bien que Tu lo amaste igual que Yo;
que Tu lo tienes en Tu corazon-igual que Yo.

"Mira: pelamos, pedimos disculpas-asi es la vida." He holds out his
arms, spread wide, inviting an embrace. "Un plieto no cambia NADA-
Aqui estoy, y aqui estaré , siempre."

Chapter Text

"My Weakness by Moby is the song playing at their Son's
gravesite.

[“Weakly mind, weakly /
Ooh I go home / Weakly,
“Weakly mind, weakly /
Ooh I go home / Weakly,
“Weakly mind, weakly /
Ooh I go home / Weakly…]

Falling to her knees, Natasha Zapata sobs loudly.
)
“Mi NENE, O, MI HIJITO…perdoname, amor; perdoname!”
(My Baby-OH MY LITTLE SON!...forgive me, my love; forgive me!)

Reade also on his knees, wraps her in a tight, loving embrace.
“No hay que te perdone; El sabe que paso no fue tu culpa.”
(There’s no reason for him to forgive you; he knows that what happened isn’t your fault.)

[“Weakly mind, weakly /
Ooh I go home / Weakly,
“Weakly mind, weakly /
Ooh I go home / Weakly,
“Weakly mind, weakly /
Ooh I go home / Weakly…]

"I’m sorry, Reade…I can’t help feeling this way. I feel responsible…I can’t help it.”

“Again…there’s no need to do anything except forgive YOURSELF, if forgiveness is to be given
…your Boy is happy. He’s LAUGHING-see him there, dancing with the other Little Angels?”

“I do…I see him,” Tasha whispers. He IS HAPPY. We don’t have to worry-he’s SAFE.”

Reade stands, helping her up as he does. “C’mon. let’s get the babies and go home.”

Chapter Text

The couple keep the Babies in their room, with them that night. As usual, Danielito keeps one foot
foot against his Fathers thigh (if Reade moves during the night, the Baby will be aware of it-sense of
security, perhaps?...Nat gets as close to her Mother as possible (her usual M.O., when she's allowed to
sleep in her parents room.

Tasha whispers, "Do you ever think...Dario's death brought you and I closer together? I think that sometimes,
and I feel so guilty.

"The Grief Counselor said to me: Dario wasn't even an actual BABY when I lost him

So quietly Zapata almost doesn't hear, Edgar says: "You named him...he had a NAME...viable or not, he was our Son.
OUR BABY. I'll get you another grief counselor tomorrow"

"Okay. I know that you're tired, and so am I...but I have to say this, before we do. Thank you for...thank you for supporting
me even when I don't deserve it. When we lost Dario, I was so sure that I would die too-I was POSITIVE that I would. You
didn't let me. For the first time in my life, I BELIEVE IT when someone-YOU-tells me you love me. I will be strong for you,
and for these two. I'm still so scared, but less so. The therapy is helping, so much. Having these, and you are the reasons why.
I don't have a choice-they don't know it-YET-but they will expect more from me, as they should. I miss him, but I can live on-celebrate
him by doing that."

"We'll talk all night if it helps you...we do it all together-the FOUR of us. This week is hard, and we knew it would be. And these two do
make it better-focusing on them. I'll make sure that the therapist we get is the one best suited to one who deals specifically with loss of a br />
child to miscarriage. SLEEP, Vida. I'll arrange the new Counselor in the morning, and I'll come back early to be part o it. I need it too."

Not wanting to wake her youngest (and deal with his hig-volume 'yowling'), Zapata suggests "air kissies." And they sleep.