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"Thomas, you can not keep avoiding me." James says following Thomas as he walked down the hall, he was carrying Lucy to her room, the infant was asleep in her father's arms.
"I'm not avoiding you, James, I'm avoiding what you are saying." Thomas says, he stopped walking turning to face James who had stopped as well, holding the almost five month old tightly but not too much so.
"And you need to stop. You're worrying me. Listen to what I have to say, at the very least, humor me while I speak, then decide if it's worth responding to." James says crossing his arms
"I've heard what you've said. You just want me to know whatever bullshit you think will help." Thomas says, turning back to his path to the bed room.
"That is not at all what I was saying." James says following him again,
"That's what I was hearing." Thomas says simply with a shrug,
"Then you aren't listening." James says,
"I'll listen in a moment. Let me get her in her cradle." Thomas says, walking into the room and carefully setting the baby in her crib, he rarely put her down anymore, didn't let anyone else hold her.
"Are you listening now?" James asks,
"Yes, I'm ready for your lecture." Thomas says leading the way out of the room.
"I'm not trying to lecture you or scold you, Thomas, I just want you to listen, and it wouldn't be a lecture if you just cooperated." James says, still following his friend.
"I do not cooperate well, James, you of all people should know that." Thomas says, going into the living room and sitting down on the couch.
"Well can you do it for me?" James asks sitting beside him,
"Fine, I'll listen to your non-lecture that sounds a shit ton like a lecture." Thomas says leaning back on the couch and crossing his arms,
"Thank you." James says with a slight nod, he waited a second, then began talking again, "it's only been three weeks and you're acting like it never happened, and I know that's not how you feel, I know you're devastated and I just want you to say it, acknowledge that it happened, please?"
"I've acknowledged it, I went to the funeral." Thomas mumbles,
"Which is great! Really, but you need to continue to acknowledge it." James says, gently moving one of Thomas' arms and taking his hand, holding it and gently moving his thumb over the back of his hand in circles as always.
"Easier said than done." Thomas says, his voice still a mumble,
"That's all you have to do, say it, accept it, you've done it before." James says with a frown,
"It's not..."
"I know, it's not the same, or it's not that easy, but... it's kinda like ripping a bandaid off, right? Just get it done and over with, move on." James says, Thomas simply shook his head, "you said you'd listen."
"And I am. You didn't say I had to like what I listened to." Thomas says,
"I should've been more clear." James says, "but the point is,"
"I got the point, James, it's the same point you've been making the last three weeks." Thomas snaps,
"It is. Because you aren't listening. If you would ju-"
"Listen. If I just listen to what you're saying things will magically get better. I've been listening, James, and nothing has been gotten better." Thomas says shaking his head,
"Just, stop, okay? You're not helping. If anything, you're doing the opposite. So just stop." Thomas says softly,
"Alright." James says simply, thinking for a moment, "I'll stop, I'll let it be, but I will bring it back up later." He says,
"Fine." Thomas says, then pulled his hand away quickly and stood, he heard Lucy begin to cry, James of course followed him to the girl's room. "Shh, it's alright, dear." Thomas comforts her, holding her in his arms now. James had a faint smile, he was a good dad, he did try there at least, he thought, at least he was trying to do something. James leaned on the doorframe, watching him as he changed her diaper and then carried her with him to the living room, James following now.
"She's a sweet little girl." James says sitting in a living room chair as Thomas sat on the couch.
"She's too young to make assumptions about attitude." Thomas snaps bouncing the child ever so slightly to calm her whines,
"I am only saying that she is sweet now, not that she always will be, but she is your daughter, it is hard to imagine her growing up as anything but the best, like her parents." James says with a smile that disappeared as soon as he saw the glare Thomas was giving him.
"It's unnecessary to hold her to a standard ever. She'll do as she will be able. Nothing more, nothing else." Thomas says smiling gently down at Lucy, she was beginning to fall asleep again.
"I guess I can see the logic in that." James says with a nod,
Thomas now fell silent, James following, he looked happy finally, James couldn't disturb that. He was smiling at his daughter, the smiling growing with every silent moment that passed. Ten minutes later she opened her eyes again, her hand reached out and gripped at the chain hanging from her father's neck. Her grip wasn't tight, her tug wasn't harmful, but Thomas gently moved her hand, he didn't want it to break either way, he could get a new chain of course, but it breaking was him risking losing the rings it held, the reason he wore it.
"Shh, no, baby girl, you can't have that." Thomas says gently as she went for the necklace again. "You're a silly little thing." He says shaking his head holding her close, quickly giving in and letting her pull at the chain gently. "Maybe I'll look into getting you your own necklace, hm? How's that sound? Maybe one of those amber necklaces? They help your teeth when they come in." Thomas continued on happily, it was in this quiet moments with Lucy that James ever saw him happy these last few weeks, even when Martha was still around he was stressed, worried, Lucy was his quiet place. Who would've guessed that an infant was the one thing that brought Thomas to a complete calm, James could calm him to a point, but he never could calm him as much as that baby did, it amazed him honestly. Big, loud, stubborn Thomas, drilled by a small child that could be held in one arm.
James wanted to speak, make a comment, opened his mouth to do so, but decided against it in the last moment, Thomas was happy, he'd been spending all this time to get him happy, he wasn't going to mess it up by speaking. No, he'd let the one sided conversations with the infant go on.
"Okay, you have to be gentle with the rings, baby girl, they're important to me." Thomas says when the girl hooked her finger through the engagement ring. "Come on, don't fuss, just be gentle." Thomas says, James could hear the frustration in his voice grow, he knew the only fix would be Thomas removes the necklace, and he also knew that wouldn't be happening. "Lucy Elizabeth, stop it." Thomas snaps gently, James bit his lip, but released it a second later as Thomas tried to remove the child's hand.
"Thomas, take a breath, she doesn't understand the world yet." James says reaching a hand to rest on top of one of Thomas' gently. "Want me to hold her for a second?" He offers, expecting Thomas to turn down the offer, but was surprised when he nodded and gently handed the baby to James, who pulled his hand from Thomas immediately and held her. He looked at Thomas with a worried look, but then looked back to the infant, there was a wave of calming holding her.
Thomas took a surprisingly shaky breath and shook his head.
"Are you okay?" James asks looking back up,
"Honestly? No." Thomas says quietly,
"Well... I'm glad you're being honest." James says,
"I don't know what I'm supposed to do, Jimmy..." Thomas says, his voice even quieter,
"About what?" James asks slightly puzzled,
"Everything. Martha. Lucy. God I'm terrible... she's so little, doesn't know what she's doing, and I just yelled at her." Thomas says shaking his head,
"You did not yell at her, you just used a harsh tone. And you're fine, you're no where close to terrible, you're great to her. You're doing the best you can do, don't demote yourself because of that." James says with a slight frown as Lucy pulled at the collar of his shirt.
"I'm not going to be able to do it... I can't take care of her on m-"
"Now in what fictional world are you living in? Where you don't have me to help you?" James cut him off,
"I... I don't know." Thomas admits quietly
"Your nerves are getting to you, Thomas. When was the last time you got some good sleep?" James asks, moving Lucy's hand gently,
"It's been months." Thomas says with a shrug,
"Go rest. I've got her." James orders,
"No, go rest, now. You'll feel better." James says, Thomas sighed and stood up, he then silently went to his room., leaving James in the living room with the infant.
Five hours later James was in the same spot, but he had gotten up and returned Lucy to her crib once she was asleep, now he was reading a random book he pulled off the shelf, at least he was until he heard Thomas' broken voice.
"Hey, Jimmy." He mumbles,
"How was your nap?" James asks,
"Restless and useless." Thomas mumbles, he wasn't looking at James anymore as he sat down on the couch, James set down the book he was reading now.
"You look a bit better." James says with a small smile,
Thomas shook his head, "Where's Lucy?" He snaps a second later,
"She fell asleep, I put her back in the crib." James says, then stood as Thomas did, yet again following him to the bedroom. "Let her sleep, Thomas, you both need it."
"I just want to check on her." Thomas says shaking his head again and then sighed softly when he saw his daughter asleep in her crib.
"I told you, she's fine, come on." James says, gently taking Thomas hand and pulling him out of the room to the living room.
"Let go, James." Thomas says pulling his hand away but continuing to follow.
"I'm sorry." James says simply as they sat on the couch, "you still look tired."
"I am."
"Then rest."
"I can't."
"Whys that, Thomas?" James asks, using his name as a way to keep his attention, which he could tell he was losing.
"I don't know... it's dumb..." Thomas whispers
"Tell me anyway."
"I'm scared."
"Of what?"
"While I'm asleep she'll be gone, or you."
"I'm not going anywhere, I promise you that." James says shaking his head and taking Thomas' hand, "and I'll keep an eye on Lucy, don't worry."
Thomas forced himself to nod, "I know, I'll tell myself that, but it never works, I never manage to convince myself of it." He says softly,
"Well, don't worry, really, seeing you get so worried makes me worried and then you get more worried and it's a loop of worry that is unpleasant for the both of us." James says, beginning to move his thumb over Thomas' hand as it always ended up doing.
"I know, I just..."
"You just what?" James prompts, he probably could've answered the question, actually it was rare he couldn't answer a question he asked Thomas,
"I just don't know what I should do, how I should go about and do what I know I need to do and what I want to do." Thomas whispers not looking at James,
Thomas was silent and he thought for a moment then he spoke in the same whisper, "and I don't want to mess up. I don't want Lucy to end up hating me, or you hating me."
"How could she hate you? You're doing your best, she can't hate you for that. And if you think I could hate you, you need more rest then I thought." James says shaking his head, squeezing Thomas hand gently,
"I know, I know, but then..."
"You end up second guessing yourself, you need to stop that habit. Every time you second guess yourself, take a second, look at the situation, I mean really look at it, see if you are right or wrong. It's good to double check things, but not every time you do something, so try not to, and when you do, step back and breathe." James says, relaxing his grip on Thomas' hand but still circling it.
Thomas nods again, staying completely quiet, his hand relaxed in James' grip. James smiled softly, finally he had gotten Thomas calm without the help of Lucy. It wasn't as calm as his daughter could make him, but it was calmer than usual so James wasn't going to complain.
"You should rest, Thomas, I'll get up and take care of Lucy if it's needed, okay?" James asks a few minutes later, Thomas mumbled something James couldn't understand, but it sounded like something of agreement, so James wasn't going to ask for him to repeat himself.
James' smile grew when Thomas close his eyes, leaning back on the couch, now he was completely calm, which was perfect, he needed some time when he wasn't going on and on, out loud or in his thoughts. Thomas was asleep within a minute, and soon he moved slightly, James thought the woke up, but luckily he didn't, if he did he probably wouldn't have done what he did next. He moved and rested his head on James' shoulder, his hair slightly tickling James neck and cheek, but he stayed still, he didn't want to upset Thomas at all.
James continued circling Thomas' knuckles as he thought. His thoughts drifting, soon on Thomas, but in a different way. He would've shook his head to chase the thoughts away, but that meant risking waking Thomas up, so he let the thoughts dwell. They were simple enough thoughts, ones he had had for years, ones he'd never act upon. Thomas would hate him if he did do what he thought about. They were innocent enough, but Thomas didn't like that sort of thing, he'd brought it up in conversation before, pointing to what looked to be gay couples when they were out and about and every time it prompted Thomas into a rant of sorts, luckily he was polite to points, so he never was too loud, but he had ended up upsetting people before. It'd been a while since James did that though, for two reasons, they barley went out together in the last few months, and he didn't want to upset Thomas more than he already was. Before Thomas even met Martha he thought about acting on his thoughts, hugging him a second too long, holding his hand a slight bit tighter, a few times(okay more than a few, but he won't admit it) he thought of kissing his friend. But he never got the nerve to do it. They were friends after all. That was all. Just friends. James couldn't say it wasn't slightly frustrating at times while being truthful, but he was happy being friends with Thomas. At least he had him. If he ever did act on his thoughts he risked not having him anymore, and that was too great a risk. So James was content with where their friendship was, and longed for these moments where Thomas was closer than he normally was, although he wished the moment happened when they were both awake.