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“I need help.”

CT feels the bottom of her stomach drop out at hearing that, and she stands, instantly moving to the hallway, dragging her hand through her hair, swallowing to fight back the sudden nausea. “Wash, what's--”

He seems to realize it as soon as her voice drops like that, tight and uneven and worried, and he rushes forward, his voice low. In the background, there's a crash. “No, no, it's-- not that, I'm fine. I just-- no, please, don't get into that.” Muffled footsteps, and a giggle, and then Wash exhales harshly into the phone. “Nevermind, I'm okay, really. I'll call you back.”

The phone disconnects before she can say anything else, and she finds herself staring at the beeping line, utterly baffled.

>From: L. C. (8270284285)
Have you talked to him today?

>From: Y. Raisins. (9275382958)

You too huh

  >From: Y. Raisins. (9275382958)
think nancy brought her kid over. i heard giggling in the background after a crash

>From: L. C. (8270284285)
I'm heading home.

Because it's not that she doesn't trust Wash- she does. They're careful not to mention any names when they text back and forth; it's all code names or abbreviations that are too vague to give anything away, but, well. Nancy had mentioned asking one of them to watch her kid, and she and York had assumed she meant them.

Wash-- well, it was a good day when he remembered to give himself three square meals when they were out. Trusting him with a child wasn't exactly a bad thing but no one knew the extent of what he was dealing with besides them, and sometimes, even then, CT wasn't sure they did. She packs up what she needs and sends the last of the data off, slipping out of armor and into civvies, heading back home. Insurrection or not, it's safer to wear civilian clothes and not stand out, not draw attention to herself when she heads home. She tries texting Wash a few times, and doesn't get anything, swallowing back the little bubble of fear at that.

Not getting a response is fairly common- Wash stops halfway through a text, or just forgets, unless he's reminded or if it's extremely important. Nancy's car isn't in the parking lot when she drives past, and she slips in the front door with a hand at her back to reach for the gun she keeps tucked there, only to hear hysterical giggles as she enters. That's...a relief, she supposes. “Richard?” They're careful to use fake names, simple, easy to remember ones when they're talking to each other in front of people, and even if it's a child, you can't be too careful.

No breaks on the security system, nothing to be alarmed at, and from down the hall, she hears muted, soft laughter that's too low to be Shelly's-- Wash? CT rounds the corner and finds Wash looking helplessly at the kitchen, currently covered in flour, with a very smug child covered in it. “Natasha taught me how to make pancakes,” he says helplessly, and that really, really explains everything. Shelly beams cheerfully, two chubby hands fisted in the front of Wash's shirt, and CT gingerly tries to take her from him, only to have Shelly cling, her face screwing up as she protests.

It takes more wheedling and bribery than CT's strictly used to, but they manage to get them both washed up and Wash settles her on the couch with some crayons and stray paper while CT makes real pancakes, giving Wash a look over the edge of the couch that he can only raise his hands at. Why he didn't just say no-- well, no, she knows. Wash is too polite to say it and Nancy, for all that she's well meaning, is a bit of a busy-body who wants to be in all of their business. “She's due back at six,” Wash says finally, and dutifully cuts the pancake up into bite-sized pieces, letting the girl eat them, cringing when she gets syrup all over her fingers.

By the end of all of it, Nancy comes and picks her up while CT bites back the urge to scold her for just dropping her kid off like that, and Wash has to go upstairs and shower, rinsing syrup off of his shirt and face and god knows where else. He's just tugged on a pair of boxers when CT moves into the bedroom, lingering in the doorway, concerned. “Was it--”

“It was good.” He sounds as surprised as she feels, really. It's not that she thinks he's not responsible – she knows he is. It's more the fact that he has issues taking care of himself sometimes. It's only when he motions to his datapad that she picks it up, and flicks through it. There are multiple alarms set with a checklist of things-- he'd likely made it as soon as she'd been dropped off, to make sure he didn't forget anything. For a moment, she feels terrible, assuming he wouldn't be able to do it, catastrophic kitchen damage or not. “I didn't forget anything.”

She can't stop the little curl of warmth inside her as Wash says it, tugging his tshirt on, mussing his hair every which way as he smiles faintly at her, looking pleased at himself for it. It's more of an accomplishment than either of them really want to say, but she'll take the small victories where they can get them. “We're not acquiring any children permanently,” CT says finally, lips twisted in a lopsided smirk.

Wash's own smile widens as he reaches out, and curls his fingers in the loops of her belt, better at this kind of casual affection the more he does it. She's not surprised at his next suggestion, muffling her laughter against his jaw when he murmurs it. “We could always get a cat.”

* Natasha - changed name for Natalie since lol not using real names. * Shelly - name of the kid. * L. C. - ME MAKING UP what Connie's name is under York and Wash's phones. (Laura Connecticut) since I'm unoriginal. * Y Raisins. - In a previous fic raisins was a code word, sob. York that's your name now.


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