strokeof_genie: (Arthur~)
[personal profile] strokeof_genie
Title: dizzy found me (last night)
Rating: PG
Characters/Pairings: Meant to be pre-slash, but it could be gen.
Word Count: 900
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Summary: When Cobb fell asleep for the first time since he'd been home, it was a full three days later.
Author Notes: Something that kept me awake, so I wrote it. My first posted fic that isn't part of the kink meme!
***

When Cobb fell asleep for the first time since he'd been home, it was a full three days later. He told himself that it wasn't on purpose that he'd been staying awake. There was so much to do, so much to learn that he'd missed. Phillipa's grades weren't as good as they could have been, and he has to help his mother-in-law move the things that migrated with her out of his house. Sylvia hadn't wanted to stay with him, and he could understand that.

He hated that he understood it. He knew what she thought of him, and while he didn't know what Miles told her, Cobb wasn't going to try to justify himself. He couldn't possibly do that. Still, his children were happy to see him every morning they woke up, and he cooked them pancakes for breakfast. The fact that they were still the household favorite was a comfort, and he made blueberry because they were James' favorite, and then chocolate chip, because they were Phillipa's.

Miles and Sylvia visited on the second day, a hour after Cobb had succeeded in getting James bathed and dressed properly. Cobb, tired but over-caffeinated and the kind of awake you get to be from worrying, considered it a miracle that all they came over to do was have lunch. When he took the dishes back into the kitchen, Miles helped him, and told him it would be all right if he asked for help. It was all right to need help. Miles said he looked tired. The worst part was that logically, Cobb knew he was tired. Physically, he felt run down.

His mind wouldn't stop running in circles, racing along tangents of conversations he had, or thinking of all of his responsibilities. He couldn't get himself to accept that he'd have everything when he woke up, and still be able to handle it. He wasn't sure, he told himself, that he'll wake up and be safe with that knowledge ever again. He needed to do so much before he took that risk.

Cobb didn't sleep that night because he was busy searching for schools that had a pre-school class with students of James' caliber. He and Mal had taught him reading, and he could spell his name, and he could count to thirty. He didn't remember teaching James to spell Phillipa's name, or grandma or grandpa. He had trouble with mother and father, but knew mom and dad.

It was a lazy Sunday, three days later. It was raining and he was jittery and overtired, but he kept finding excuses to stay awake. The kids were watching one of the movies that had been bought for them while he was out of the country, and he had done the dishes, but was holding off on vacuuming until the movie ended.

When he sat at the table, watching to movie with them from across the room, he kept catching himself nodding off. He couldn't fall asleep, not yet. There was too much to do, and he realized that when the children's laughter jolted him out of his doze.

He had too much to do, especially when he had no guarantee that if he fell asleep, he'd wake up the next day in the same reality. He pressed hand against his pocket, against her top, and tried to resist using it.

He had used it every day, before he woke his children up. He used it after he dropped Phillipa off at school, and after he put them to bed. He should be confident that it was reality, but he couldn't be when he was wired from sleeping too little and drinking too much coffee, and from fear. Physically he was exhausted, and it was affecting him mentally, but he couldn't sleep.

Right after the movie ended, he turned the movie off. The kids had fallen asleep as soon as the resolution had started unfolding; he wondered if it was because they still had the fear that a guarantee, a fact and a truth, could change. It seemed a little silly to him, before he realized how hypocritical that made him.

He was on his way back to the table, intent on spinning the top one final time, before the doorbell rang. He stood up quickly because he didn't want the children to wake up and answer it without him. Between the rain and the noise from the cartoons he had turned on after the movie, they were comfortable napping on the couch.

Still, he kept an ear out for them as he answered the door. "Arthur?" Cobb asked, and it should have been much more of a shock than it was. Arthur, on his porch, with two suitcases and a duffel, all soaking wet. Seeing him lifted a weight off of Cobb's shoulders, and with that his exhaustion hit him all at once.

"May I come in?" Arthur asked, and Cobb nodded before stepping back. He swayed a little, so tired he couldn't keep his eyes open or get the energy to yawn. "Whoa, hey, are you okay?" Arthur said, and wrapped an arm around his shoulders before dropping his other bag to pull Cobb's arm around his. "Chair, now," Arthur said decisively, and the last thing Cobb remembered was being dropped into his armchair.

***

He wakes up smelling pancakes, and hearing Arthur's voice asking James to pass the syrup.
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strokeof_genie

August 2013

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