Timelined for several days after [Instance]Space Secrets.
<Christopher> Chris stumbled through his trailer, kicking various bottles of different liquors that he had already drained. He was in a worse state than before Carol had turned him into a pavement crater. One of his best friends was gone, and there was nothing he could do about it. His arm was getting worse each time he tried to use an inhibitor to stay drunk. He finally just collapsed on his bed, a new full bottle in hand.
<Greer> Finally released from endless meetings and debriefings, Greer picked her way across the lawn to Chris' trailer to check up on him. She knocked softly on the door and waited, her tail curling around her legs.
<Christopher> Chris groaned from his bed. He didn't want to get up. He wanted to lay there and play dead or just slip away from reality. "Go away." He slurred out hoping it would be at least slightly understandable.
<Greer> Greer sighed, "Chris... I'm not going to go anywhere... can I come in?"
<Christopher> Chris stared at the bottle wondering if he could get away with this conversation while drunk. "You'll do it anyways..." Chris just dropped the bottle, not caring if it broke, and got up to open the door. His healing factor was already working the alcohol out of his system.
<Greer> "I need to talk to you about something..." she wrinkled her nose at the strong wiff of booze from inside the trailer.
<Christopher> "I drink too much. I'm an idiot. I can't keep calling off classes. I need to take care of myself. Or all of the above." He kicked a few bottles out of his way as he went towards the couch to sit down.
<Greer> "Um.... well... yes, all of those things.... but also none of those things..." she stepped inside, navigating the fallen bottles with far more grace than her ex-husband.
<Christopher> "What did I do now?" He ran his one good hand through his hair.
<Greer> She shook her head, settling beside him, "It's not something you did... more something I did..."
<Christopher> Chris sighed. "What's wrong Greer?" It wasn't like he didn't have enough problems, but he wasn't going to turn her away.
<Greer> "I wanted to tell you before.... but you were seeing someone... and I thought it better to wait..." she frowned down at her lap, "And you... well..." she gestured vaguely, "You went away... and when you came back you were all... like this..." she sighed. "So... so I thought I shouldn't say anything... and just make you better first..."
<Christopher> "I don't think I'm going to get better." He pulled up his sleeve showing how much further it had gone. "I think my healing factor is the only thing slowing it..."
<Greer> "I told you... you have to let me try... and I thought you were going to wait. I told you I had to deal with the Brood first... but that's over now.... but I can't help you if you don't want to be helped, Chris..."
<Christopher> "I don't deserve to be helped Greer. And I'm still alive... Just more broken than before." He pulled the sleeve back down.
<Greer> "Why do you keep saying that?! Why do you think you don't deserve to be helped? What happened to you to make you think like that?"
<Christopher> "I killed... So many people. It doesn't matter what I do. Their blood is still there."
<Greer> "And I'm telling you, it wasn't your fault. If anyone believed you responsible, you'd be sitting in a prison cell. I know you feel bad about it... but you can't just give up."
<Christopher> "It doesn't matter if anyone blames me... I know I did it, and that's enough. I killed children Greer. I still see their faces when I sleep."
<Greer> "I understand that... but that doesn't give you a right to just give up on life... you can still do good, Chris... people still need you."
<Christopher> "No one needs me Greer. I'm a burden and a murderer." Chris' eyes started to water. He was fighting back just breaking down again.
<Greer> "You're only a burden as long as you keep telling yourself you are. No one thinks you deserve to die, Chris..." she swallowed and looked away, her tail swishing and tapping against his shin. "Come with me..." she got up from the sofa and held a hand out to him.
<Christopher> "I know no one does." Chris took her hand and got up. "I'm not in any condition to go anywhere..."
<Greer> "You don't have to go far...." she rolled her eyes a little, "I'm going to show you why you're not allowed to quit."
<Christopher> "I already told you I'd give you a chance to try Greer..." Chris didn't know what she hoped to show him, nothing could make up for what he'd done.
<Greer> "But you're doing an awesome impression of giving up in the mean time..." she pointed out, "So I'm going to give you a project." She led the way to where a couple of heavily armoured SHIELD agents were attempting to corral something.
<Christopher> Chris frowned. "I don't feel like doing anything anymore Greer."
<Greer> "Too bad, you're getting a project anyway." She crouched down in the grass when the wind blew from behind them toward the SHIELD agents. Moments later, the thing they were trying to catch burst from between them and ran full pelt toward her, knocking her onto her back.
<Christopher> Chris raised an eyebrow at Greer suddenly being on the ground. "Uhmm...?"
<Greer> Greer laughed and cuddled the bundle of limbs in her arms. She raised a hand to wave at the SHIELD agents, "Thanks for watching him for me! You can go get cleaned up now." She sat up again, crossing her legs and settling the furry child in her lap. His tiny hands reached immediately for the end of her tail.
<Christopher> Chris just stared at the little child for a moment. "Uhh...I'm still drunk aren't I?"
<Greer> "Probably, but not so drunk you'd be hallucinating." She patted the grass beside her, "Sit."
<Christopher> Chris sat down next to the two. "You sure... I'm pretty sure you have a 'thing' in your lap..."
<Greer> "This 'thing', as you so insensitively put it, is a fifteen month old baby... I know you wouldn't know it to look at him because he's growing crazy fast... but I think that's the cat half because his mommy was only pregnant for two months...." she watched Chris cautiously out of the corner of her eye.
<Christopher> Chris' eyes went wide. "I... you?" He did the math in his head but his brain wouldn't work. "He's?"
<Greer> She winced as tiny needle-like teeth clamped down on her tail but nodded, "His name is Thomas Christoper Grant... he's your son."
<Christopher> Chris started to reach forward with his clawed hand but quickly took it back. "Wh...why didn't you tell me?" He couldn't take his eyes off the little boy, a small smile creeping onto his face.
<Greer> "You know why..." she gently extricated her tail from her son's mouth and cuddled him instead, "You'd already left... and you didn't want children... so I thought there was no point bothering you with it..."
<Christopher> "I'm sorry..." Chris ran a hand through his hair.
<Greer> "No... I'm sorry... I should have told you... Carol's been nagging me to tell you since I got here.... and it took her getting dragged off by giant insects from space for me to see she was right..." She nuzzled Thomas' hair and he used the distraction to grab her tail again with a squeal of glee.
<Christopher> "He really likes your tail." Chris smiled a little, the numbness fading for the moment.
<Greer> "It's his favourite toy," she laughed, "I don't mind so much..." She uncurled a little, "Would you like to hold him?"
<Christopher> "I don't think I should..." He bit his lip.
<Greer> "He's our son, Chris... he's not so easily broken..." She shifted the boy from her lap to Chris' and Chris now became a shiny new climbing frame for him.
<Christopher> Chris froze a little. He didn't want to hurt the kid, 'his' kid. "H...hey there lil guy."
<Greer> "I should warn you... his claws may be a fraction of the size of mine but they're still sharp..." her nose wrinkled a little and she giggled, watching her baby scale his father like a tree. "Give it a minute and he'll spot a bug and be off."
<Christopher> Chris winced a little as his claws dug into him. "It's not that bad. I just don't want to hurt him." He held his clawed arm out away from Thomas.
<Greer> "You won't, I promise," she reached to take his clawed hand. "Fur is protection, remember?"
<Christopher> "Greer..." He didn't move his hand for fear of hurting her. "Ouch ouch ouch. Hey don't pull the hair." Chris winced a little.
<Greer> "At least he's not biting you," she offered with a half smile, turning his deformed hand over in hers.
<Christopher> "Don't give him ideas." Chris tried to capture Thomas with his good hand.
<Greer> "Until you sprout a tail, you're probably safe... though maybe you should be careful with your fingers," she gave him a fangy grin as Thomas settled on Chris' shoulder, holding onto his head and swiping at the hand that tried to grab him - with the most adorable growl.
<Christopher> Chris moved his hand just out of reach with each swipe. "So... obviously he's a mutant."
<Greer> "Yes, obviously," she tutted at Thomas and he retracted his claws. "My mom and dad have been watching him for me..."
<Christopher> "How?" Chris gave her an exasperated look. "It's like they fed him pixie sticks..."
<Greer> "Well... let's just say their house is a lot less tidy than it used to be now...."
<Christopher> "Your poor parents." Chris caught the child and tried to move him back to his lap as Thomas gnawed at his arm.
<Greer> "He's not always like this... I mean... he is when he's awake... but then he tires himself out and goes to sleep."
<Christopher> "And then he's just as cute as his mother?" Chris didn't mean to let that slip out but there it was.
<Greer> She laughed, "Way cuter, I'm sure." She tickled Thomas' exposed stomach once he was back in Chris' lap.
<Christopher> "I might be able to believe that. I... I'm sorry you had to go through all that alone." Chris helped Greer tickle him. "You know you get all of your looks from your daddy right?"
<Greer> She raised an eyebrow at him, "All of them? Really?" she laughed, "Your daddy is clearly blind."
<Christopher> "Yup all of them. Daddy didn't always have monster arm."
<Greer> "Daddy also doesn't have fur and a tail but I don't think he noticed," Greer added in a stage-whisper.
<Christopher> "You gotta look past the fur." He laughed a little and just watched Thomas smile up at them.
<Greer> "But the fur is so cute! And we match."
<Christopher> "I guess I have to admit he is pretty cute." Chris attempted at teasing Greer, while letting thomas grab at his fingers.
<Greer> "Without a trace of bias even," she giggled, moving aside when Thomas got distracted by a butterfly and leapt after it.
<Christopher> "I guess I have a lot of spoiling to make up for..." Chris just watched Thomas chase after the poor insect.
<Greer> "You don't have to spoil him - he has grandparents for that." She smiled, flopping back in the grass to look up at the sky, "Just... get to know him."
<Christopher> "Oh man.... You know my mother is going to go crazy." He laughed a little.
<Greer> Greer pulled a face, "She's going to be mad at me..."
<Christopher> Chris raised an eyebrow at her. "At you? She's going to verbally murder me..."
<Greer> "What the hell for? I was the one who decided to keep our furry baby a secret... You didn't even know about him."
<Christopher> "I left you with a child. Plus you know my family is all sorts of disfunctional. Mom didn't like Hope. She's still being all passive aggressive about me leaving..." Chris sighed.
<Greer> "You didn't know you were leaving me with a child, that's got to count for something... and I'm going to reserve comment on Hope... and Kat."
<Christopher> "I have a bad track record huh." He shot her a smirk.
<Greer> "Well if you will hit on students..." she returned the smirk.
<Christopher> "Actually Kat came on to me. She kind of stole me from Hope. Kinda."
<Greer> "You didn't have to respond, Chris - you're the adult in that situation and you know better... and I wasn't going to talk about this." She sat up.
<Christopher> "Sorry Greer. And I know. I haven't ever been very good at being an adult..."
<Greer> "Or knowing what's good for you." She sighed heavily and put her face in her hands, "I didn't want to come here and nag you..."
<Christopher> "It's hard not to. I'm such an easy target." He ran his good hand through his hair. "Carol was doing a pretty good job at it."
<Greer> "You make the nagging necessary, you know.... We only do it because we care and we're worried about you."
<Christopher> "I know Greer. I'm just not very good at listening. Or making choices. I am really bad at that."
<Greer> "Just so long as you choose not to give up... I know it's underhanded of me and it's why I didn't tell you when Carol dragged me outside when you were in the crater in the parking lot... but, Thomas needs his dad..."
<Christopher> "He doesn't need me like this... Not when I can hurt him just by touching him."
<Greer> "I'm telling you, you can't. He heals just like we do." She took his clawed hand again, "And he does need you. He needs you to have patience enough to wait until I can fix you. And he needs you to be sober."
<Christopher> "Cheater." Chris looked away from her. He felt even worse for all the things he had done over the last year.
<Greer> "I use what I have..." she half-smiled, turning the clawed hand over in hers again and inspecting it.
<Christopher> "I don't even know where to start Greer..." He watched Thomas chase the butterfly some more as she inspected his arm.
<Greer> "Start by throwing out your booze and showering every day.... and going to your classroom to teach your kids."
<Christopher> "I meant with him. I'd say the booze and drugs were the easy things to give up. But I haven't been able to yet."
<Greer> "Because you gave up everything else instead. You just did it the wrong way around, that's all... so just start taking care of yourself, get back to work... and I'll bring him by as often as you feel you can handle."
<Christopher> "Easier said than done Greer. I'll try. He deserves better than me but I'll try."
<Greer> "No, Chris... he deserves you. You're his dad. There's no better person than that." She leaned close to him and pressed a kiss to his cheek, "One day I'll figure out how to prove that to you."
<Christopher> He blushed at the kiss. "I don't think you can but good luck." He leaned against her. "I'm sorry I wasn't there for you when you were pregnant and he was born."
<Greer> She shook her head, "Don't worry about it... it didn't last very long," she tucked her tail into her lap. "And you know I can do anything I set my mind to."
<Christopher> "I really hope you can." Chris moved away from her a little and slumped down. "What if you can't Greer?" His eyes locked on Thomas and in an instant he felt more miserable than he had since they had brought him back. He'd just met Thomas and he already couldn't imagine losing him.
<Greer> "I can. And I can fix your hand. Chemistry did this to you and chemistry will undo it... and if I have to sneak antidepressants into you, don't think I won't do that too."
<Christopher> "But if you can't Greer... What then. I can't, I can't." He stared down at his hands as they started to tremble.
<Greer> "Mr negativity! Have some faith, Chris, for goodness sake!" She gave him a shove, "SHIELD have the best minds in the world available to work on this. We can fix it."
<Christopher> "Broo made a rift into another dimension in the basement and made me an honest to god sonic screwdriver and he couldn't fix it."
<Greer> "Broo is many things, Chris... but he's not a chemist. Your ex-wife is. And so were the people that did this to you."
<Christopher> "I haven't had a lot of faith in a long time. I just don't want to become that thing again. I don't want to hurt people I care about."
<Greer> "You won't..." she rested her hand on his shoulder, "I promise."
<Christopher> "Why're you so good to me Greer?" He sighed.
<Greer> "Because you're a good guy and you deserve a break."
<Christopher> "If you insist. I can't really see myself positively anymore. Greer? Do you think I'll be an okay Dad?" A part of him thought that Thomas would be better off not knowing who he was.
<Greer> "You'll be a great dad... you already know I think that." She smiled at him, "Otherwise we wouldn't have fought so much about it."
<Christopher> "I wasn't a great husband. And I don't have very good reference material to work off."
<Greer> "Then take my word for it? Or isn't my word good currency anymore?"
<Christopher> "It's better than mine. Kick my ass if I do something stupid, yeah?"
<Greer> "Just until Carol comes back," Greer promised, "Can't steal her favourite job from her, can I?"
<Christopher> "I think she'll be a little busy with Cess when she gets back." Chris laughed a little.
<Greer> "I'm sure she can spare five minutes here and there to throw you through a couple of walls..." Greer rolled her eyes, "But, it's not like I'm short of free time...."
<Christopher> "Well I think my social life is effectively dead for a while. I wouldn't mind spending time with you, and Thomas, whenever you're bored."
<Greer> "I'll bear it in mind," she smiled, "And if you want to sneak down to the lab to make sure I'm working hard when I'm not surprising you with a toddler, feel free."
<Christopher> "If I can find it. I still get lost here."
<Greer> She laughed, "Just listen for the sounds of screaming SHIELD agents. I'll be employing their daycare services."
<Christopher> "Those poor people. I think that should qualify as cruel and inhuman punishment. Not only is he what? Basically a toddler, but he's a mutant and the spawn of our loins. If they survive we'll have to get them the medal of honor."
<Greer> She laughed again, "He's not so badly behaved... he just has lots of energy like any toddler.... plus sharp claws and a fondness for climbing... also normal for a toddler... if they're a cat."
<Christopher> "And chewing on things. Maybe I can make him some more sturdy things to play with..."
<Greer> "That sounds like a great project to keep your mind busy... and help bond with him," she smiled, rubbing his upper arm.
<Christopher> "Yeah. Maybe make him a playset or something. I'll have to look up some designs."
<Greer> "Something that'll hold up to his claws and the tiny needles in his mouth."
<Christopher> "That shouldn't be too hard. At least now I don't have to bother you to test things."
<Greer> "You never bothered me," she assured him with a small smile, uncurling her tail and stretching. Thomas had caught his quarry and was winding his way back to them while he inspected the smushed remains on his hands.
<Christopher> "Looks like he got his hunting skills from his mother." Chris smiled at the boy and his smashed butterfly.
<Greer> "You wouldn't have said that if you'd seen his efforts a few months back," she giggled, getting to her feet to pick Thomas up, "I think I have some videos saved on my laptop if you wanted to watch sometime."
<Christopher> "I would love to. I know it was only a year but I bet I missed a lot..." Chris frowned.
<Greer> "There's still a first you haven't missed... he's not much of a talker yet." She bent to pick Thomas up and sighed when he rubbed the remains of his prey into her clothes.
<Christopher> "Yeah?" Chris laughed a little at the bug smush. "He's just trying to make you the prettier one right?"
<Greer> "Yeah... sure... that's what it is..." She ruffled Thomas' tiny mane of hair. "I think it's naptime..."
<Christopher> "You sure?" He frowned a little, his good hand tickling Thomas' tummy.
<Greer> "Yeah, he's had a long day... and mommy has paperwork to finish before dinner."
<Christopher> "Alright..." Chris gave her a little smile. "I uhmm I'll help however I can Greer. If that's okay?"
<Greer> "Of course that's okay," she smiled, "That's why I introduced you to him..."
<Christopher> "I think you had another reason too." Chris sighed. "I guess I should let you go."
<Greer> "It's all part of the same reason, Chris - you're his dad." She leaned and gave him a small peck on the cheek, "I can give you a call or something when he wakes up?"
<Christopher> "If you want." He felt like a little warmth spread through him. "I wouldn't mind a distraction from grading papers.... That should have been graded weeks ago."
<Greer> She laughed, "Yeeeeeeah... I would hide all those papers before I bring him over... he likes to make it snow."
<Christopher> "It'd probably be better than my grading process. I guess I have work to do too."
<Greer> "Okay then... so we both finish our paperwork... and then you can experience dinner time with the master mess-maker."
<Christopher> "Do you want me to get something." Chris rubbed the back of his neck.
<Greer> "You don't have to - I can cook," she smiled, cuddling Thomas, who had started to doze off in her arms.
<Christopher> "When did this happen?" Chris teased her. "Is he always so cute?"
<Greer> "I can learn stuff!" She shoved him with her shoulder, "And of course he is, that's how he gets away with shredding paperwork I still need to send on."
<Christopher> "Guess he does get it from you." Chris smiled a little more. "I'll see you guys in a few?"
<Greer> "I'll call your cell," she smiled and gave him a small, slightly awkward, wave before she turned back for the main building.
<Christopher> "Okay. I'll uhmm yeah. See ya." He started back off to where he'd replaced his trailer.