|New Eden - 63
||[Apr. 27th, 2011|04:36 pm]
Janelle Walden Fans
It was about an hour later when Jared rejoined Kyle and Ian outside on that warm July morning, “Well, she finally got hungry enough to at least start to pick at the food I brought her.” he informed them quietly as he added his own dish to those waiting to be washed in the river after breakfast that day.
“Well, that’s one problem down.” Ian returned, looking at Kyle with remaining discontent after their earlier conversation, “Any idea on how we solve the other?”
“Which other would that be?” Jared asked, despite having a pretty good idea of what problem Ian was obviously referring to.
Ian just scoffed before giving in to answering, “You said don’t be angry at her. You said to be there for her. Exactly how am I supposed to pretend that whatever this is, is ok?”
“It’s PPD.” Jared said, though quietly as he tried to busy himself taking inventory of their medical supplies and all the herbs he had been trying to collect in recent months to try and hopefully mimic the active properties of medicine that they no longer had access to, without the ship.
“It’s what?” Ian returned with a raised brow.
“Post Partum Depression.” Jared sighed quietly as he tried to keep his attention on the supplies in front of him.
“Right…” Ian just shook his head before glancing to see if Kyle seemed to have any reaction to Jared’s diagnosis either, though the youngest of them only looked down rather than offering any insight into his own thoughts on the matter, “I thought that was what women got cause they were depressed that they weren’t pregnant anymore. I never got the impression that Lili would be upset to not be pregnant any more.”
“No, that’s not what it is. They don’t get depressed because they’re not pregnant anymore, they get depressed because of all the changes a new baby brings, and all the demands, and stress, and everything else that comes with it. And she was already pretty damn stressed before…before she had to take into account a whole new human life that will be depending on her for…everything.” he added more quietly, “And it’s made worse by living conditions, nutrition, not having any real kind of stability, and about a million other things.” Jared sighed as he only glanced back briefly, “And if we add to that stress in any way…” he shook his head, “It will only make it that much harder for her to ever come out of it, and to ever feel like she can actually deal with it, at all.” he finished simply and sadly as he looked back down at what few resources they still had to work with, medically speaking, anyway.
“So, we just never expect her to even be near the child at all, cause it’s too stressful?” Ian shook his head in disbelief at that theory.
Though, it was Kyle who responded to Ian’s question, rather than Jared, “No, but I think it means that we do have to let her adjust, very slowly, to the idea of being a mom at all. And we have to make sure that she knows that we all will be here to help, and that we all still care about her, no matter how hard this all is for her. We just can’t force anything. And we can’t make her think we blame her for how stressed, and helpless, and inadequate, she feels right now.”
Jared and Ian both turned simultaneously at the sound of Kyle’s counsel, “When did you become such an expert on this PPD thing?” Ian asked in a still quiet tone.
“You wanted me to tell you how to help her, first, so that’s how.” Kyle returned in a nearly inaudible tone, accented by the slightest shrug, though his blue-gray eyes remained cast down to avoid seeing the way Jared narrowed his eyes at that particular explanation.
“So, don’t force anything. Act like everything’s ok. Let her know we’ll help, and we still care.” Ian summarized quietly as he squared his shoulders and moved to stand, the child still in his arms.
“What are you gonna do, though?” Jared asked even more quietly, choosing not to quiz Kyle on how exactly he ‘knew’ how to help Lili right then.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll have to figure that out as I go.” was Ian’s only response before moving to carry the baby back inside with him once more.
Though Jared was a bit uneasy about how Ian did plan to interact with Lili, he honestly had no absolutely perfect ideas of how exactly to do so, himself, so instead, he paused only a moment before turning back to Kyle, “So, you’ve been reading Lili’s mind, I assume?” he began, attempting to keep his voice even.
Kyle just looked back at Jared with a shake of his head, “Are you really gonna do that?”
“Do what?” Jared asked with narrowed eyes.
“Play the self-righteous role.” Kyle stated simply, which did catch Jared more than a little off guard.
“Cause I don’t think you really get to play that anymore, all things considered.” Kyle replied plainly, which did leave Jared at a slight loss to find a response, “I did it to help her, and you know that. And that’s all I’m gonna say in my own defense, to you, anyway.” he finished firmly, “Next subject?”
“I don’t know how many times I can try to explain why I thought that having you out there searching, for something, was actually a good idea.” Jared replied once more, though with a bit of hopelessness to his own tone.
Kyle just sighed heavily as he decided to be the one to move the conversation forward, instead, “And when we first got here, you said we needed to talk about things that ‘change things.’ Was that about the vision you did finally tell us about, or is there something else you’re not telling us, too?”
Jared looked down quickly at that question, which only caused another loud scoff of disbelief, “Listen, before you get pissed, remember, I said I needed to talk to you guys. Meaning, I had every intention of having that talk. We just haven’t really had a moment to actually do that, all things considered.” he added more quietly.
“Well, hey, lookie here, it’s a moment.” Kyle retorted sarcastically.
Jared then sighed again, “I wanted to talk to all of you, or at least both you and Ian. Haven’t we had enough issues with some of us knowing one thing that others don’t know?” he attempted to defend his continued stalling.
“And the excuses continue.” Kyle returned bitterly, then added, “And what do you mean, me and Ian? Suddenly Lili’s the one you wanna leave outta the loop. That’s different.”
“As we’ve already established, saying or doing anything that might make Lili even more upset, is about the last thing we wanna do at all, right now.” Jared reminded somberly.
It was then Kyle’s turn to sigh, “Is this something we need to talk about something that will just upset Lili, or just Lili and Ian, or all of us?” Kyle prodded.
“No, it’s not about the baby, if that’s what you’re so subtly asking.” Jared mumbled as he finally shut the box of medical supplies with another sigh.
“Considering the state Lili is in, and the state that’s put Ian in, I don’t know when you think is actually gonna be a good time to tell us all about whatever else it is that you’re still not telling us. So you may as well just tell me now.” Kyle pressed.
Jared finally allowed a defeated breath, “It wasn’t a vision, it’s something ‘ghost’ said, so I don’t even know how reliable that is. It just, if it is true, it’s not good. But like I said, it’s just something he said, and we know how well he communicates, not to mention whether or not we should believe it just based on something he said, but…”
“But what?” Kyle pressed further.
“But I don’t know why he would say it if it wasn’t true. But I can’t be positive that it is true…I just…” Jared just shook his head again.
“Just fucking tell me already.” Kyle impatiently ordered.
Jared let out another heavy sigh as though bracing himself to actually repeat the words that had upset him so thoroughly when he had heard the other man speak them, “This was just last night that he told me this, right before he brought the two of you back here, when Lili was still unconscious…” another breath, “He asked me what we were looking for. I told him. Then, he said that he had been all over this planet and…” he swallowed hard before managing the rest of the sentence with breaking voice, “And he said that he had never seen any ship, anywhere here, at all.”
When Ian moved through the blanket that posed as a doorway between the main part of the shack and Lili’s room, the baby still held softly against his chest, Lili looked up, even more startled by his arrival in her room this time, than she had been the last. Her eyes immediately moved to the child as her entire body tensed up from where she still leaned back against the covers after having finished eating what she could force down of that morning’s breakfast.
“Hey there.” Ian greeted her, forcing a smile despite the near terror that crossed her face before she quickly tried to hide it, “Someone needed to get out of the sun. So, I figured I’d use that as an excuse to come see you.” he continued forcing the smile as well as making a concerted effort to speak in the most gentle, unthreatening tone he could muster.
“H--hi.” she stammered, her eyes still glued to the child as the rest of her body remained frozen in place as well. Once Ian took a seat next to her, still cuddling the baby close to his chest, Lili rushed to keep making some attempt at speech to hide her own nearly overwhelming anxiety at that point, “I thought you were still mad at me…about last night.” she added in a near whisper.
“Didn’t I already tell you how futile a time I have when I try to be upset at you?” he attempted to assure as he continued to hold the smile, though kept his eyes on the baby rather than the mother. Lili took a shaky breath as she remained sitting there, more tense than she thought was humanly possible as she tried to force her eyes to focus on anything else in the room at that point, “So, she’s all of two days old now.” he attempted another smile, “At some point she might actually need a name.”
Another shaky breath as Lili finally gave in and turned her face back toward he and the child, though the rest of her remained frozen, for more reasons than just her continued physical weakness. She swallowed hard as she forced herself to cast the tiniest glance down into the face of the child he still held in his arms, only inches from where Lili herself sat.
“She…she looks like you.” she managed, though her voice was so hoarse it wouldn’t have been surprising if she had been able to taste blood in her throat as she spoke.
Ian almost allowed a blush as he forced back his own emotions at her observation, forcing his eyes to remain on the baby, rather than Lili, “Nah, just her eyes.” he allowed another weak smile that seemed to be hiding many different feelings right then.
“Your eyes are your best feature.” Lili managed, almost allowing her own smile, almost.
“Now, now, I’m sure you enjoy other parts of me. I think she’s living proof of that, isn’t she?” he couldn’t help adding.
Lili almost even allowed a slight chuckle then, but forced it back just as quickly, “So, I guess being a dad hasn’t made you any less of a perve, huh?”
That was when Ian allowed an honest chuckle of his own, “Shh, not in front of the kids.” he allowed, as he finally looked her way with his own smile, almost catching one from Lili, as well, almost.
“I somehow doubt she’ll remember.” Lili managed to make the effort to continue the conversation, though still made no move to actually interact with the child as of yet.
“I don’t know, there’s an epidemic of geniuses around here. We could have another in our midst.”
“Well, I think Jared’s vision made it obvious that she isn’t exactly, ‘normal,’ now is she?” Lili whispered as she swallowed again, casting another furtive glance back down at the baby.
That was when Ian felt his own composure take a hit, though he tried to quickly hide it, “Well, as abilities go, keeping ferocious animals from attacking us all, that’s a pretty good one, right?” he tried to justify the facts to Lili, despite whether or not he was all that comfortable with them, himself.
“But if something like that has already started by the time she’s only three…” Lili just shook her head again.
“Well, it’s a good thing we got a few geniuses, with abilities of their own, to help us out then, right?” Ian attempted.
Lili was quiet for a long time as she stared downwards before speaking up at last, “I can’t believe how ok you are with all of this…with everything. How can you deal with…just, everything….” she decided on, “And still be so calm, and strong about it all. How can you do that?”
Ian thought on her words for a long moment, trying to find an answer. However, he didn’t feel calm and ok about anything at all anymore, but apparently, to her, he was, whether or not he believed it, himself. After another long pause, he finally found words again, “I guess, because, I know hope is the only thing we can still hold onto, despite everything. So, I’m just holding on to that hope for dear life, and refusing to ever let go of it, no matter what.”
Another pause before Lili spoke again, “Do you know how many times you’ve used that word?”
Ian glanced back over at her with a questioning look, “Which one would that be?”
“Well, as long as we’re all still alive, that’s what we still have, isn’t it?”
“I just wish…” she took another breath, “I wish I could feel that way too.”
“Lili, you survived. Against all odds, you survived bringing this little girl into this world. I know that in your classes up there, you talked all about karma and fate, and things always having some deeper meaning. Did you forget all that?” he offered a gentle smile, “Think about the mere fact of everything that has happened: The four of us all being here, becoming as close to each other as we all did, the fact that this planet itself demanded that you be able to have this child, and the fact that the only person on this planet, other than us, appeared right when you needed him to, and he was able to save you and the baby, just in time…The fact that you and the baby both survived at all….” a deep breath, “Can you honestly say that you don’t think that all of this, that this baby, and you, and all of us still being here to see her come into this new world….Can you honestly say that you don’t think that this is all happening for some bigger reason?”