PHD #209: Loss and Gain
Loss and Gain
Summary: Astra and Evandreus discuss love lost and family gained.
Date: 23 September 2041 AE
Related Logs: And Then There Were Three
Astra Evandreus 
Recovery Room — Deck 10 - Sickbay - Battlestar Cerberus
A much more quiet area of Medical, this elongated room is also lined with beds. Each is similarly outfitted with privacy curtains as necessary and even the paint on the walls has been lightened in an attempt to help lift spirits. Chairs are readily available all over the place so that visitors can pull one up to talk to the patients during their recovery. Near the entrance, visiting hours are posted with a very conspicuous 'No Smoking' sign.
Post-Holocaust Day: #209

The lights are dimmed for evening hours in the ward, and Evan— Evan's nearly asleep with his arms full of Evans, sitting in a soft chair, half-reclined at Astra's bedside. The girls are full of bottled supplement, and, after a brief rocking and burping session, have drifted off on either side of the Bunny's chest, where they're inflicting a bad case of baby coma upon their namesake.

The beds on either side of Astra's are filled with sleeping children, as well, all seven of them sleeping together, curled like a pile of puppies. Only Astra is awake, being wheeled in by an orderly after a treatment. He chuckles at Bunny, lifts her into the bed, settles her, and then leaves without a word. Astra turns her head, regards Bunny fondly. She smiles, then starts to hum a soft lullaby.

Evandreus rests his head on the soft pillow portion of the chair, elbows on the armrest providing low sides to the cradle holding the little girls against his sides. The long fringe of his lashes slowly eases upward to reveal a sleepy eye, but otherwise he just reclines there, at peace.

Astra tilts her head, but she continues to hum the lullaby. "Bunny," she chants softly, keeping in the tune, "Go to sleep. Go to sleep…" She laughs a little, a gentle expression in her eyes, loving, for the children most of all, but a tender affection for the pilot as well. "Sleep, Bunny, sleep."

Evandreus' eye valiantly strives to stay open, but the orb inside wavers upward, green iris half-disappearing behind a quavering upper eyelid as more white rises into view. Sleep isn't far from him. If coaxed any further, it will certainly take him away.

The woman watches him for a moment more, then sits up. Slowly she eases her legs over the side of the bed, reaches for her blanket. Shakily she stands, wincing a little, but she keeps humming. She shakes out the blanket, nearly falling, then braces herself and moves to cover the pilot with it.

Evandreus stops fighting his eyelid and the way it wants to cling to its lower counterpart, and he can't even open them when he feels the blanket on him, though he's awake, just eyelid-glued— his lips draw into a shadow of a fond smile, and he tips his head toward his shoulder to brush his stubbly cheek against a Mama Astra hand.

For a moment Astra freezes, startled by such a familiar touch of an unfamiliar cheek. She almost yanks her hand away, then turns it, running her fingers along the stubble, tracing the line of his jaw. She draws in a shaky breath, blinking her eyes. She moves her fingers upwards, brushing his lips. Then she closes her eyes and trembles.

If only to differentiate himself from the other two Evans occupying the chair, Evan himself declines to suckle at the fingers thus proffered to his lips, though they do move just a little bit, as if he were murmuring something inaudible against them.

This time Astra does pull her hand away, and she sinks down on her knees on the floor. She stares at her hand, at his lips, then at her hand again. She brushes at her eyes with her other hand, then looks up at him again, her expression somewhere between dazed and bewildered. Her breath catches, and she bites at her lip, shakes her head, then goes still.

The sudden crumpling of person to the floor beside him is enough to shock Evan into a moment of wakefulness, brows rising and drawing his eyelids slothfully along with them as he turns his head to one side, then to the other. "Mama Astra? What happened? Did you fall?" he asks, voice a little groggy. "A.K.?" he calls blearily for one of the nurses. "Help?"

"No…. no, I didn't fall…" Astra's voice quavers, and she looks down again. "Not exactly." She makes no move to get up, though, still trembling. "Just… ah…." She is spared an explanation by the nurse, who enters, grumbling, and lifts her up and bundles her into the bed. He is not rough, but he is not gentle, either. "This time, *stay* there!" He looks about, then snags a spare blanket, drops it over Astra, and walks out.

Evandreus gives A.K. a grateful, sleepy-eyed gaze, but doesn't say anything for the duration of the tucking-in. "Do you want to hold these two for a little bit?" he asks their Mama. "They'll put you right to sleep if you're having trouble getting there."

"You look so happy sitting there, holding them," answers Astra. "I…" Her voice quavers again, and she looks away. A soft sob escapes her. "Frak. Just… frak…" She shakes her head, rubs at her eyes. "Gods. I'm sorry." Hiccup. Another sob.

Evandreus' serene brow furrows with concern as the fact that Astra is upset slowly weaves its way through his sleepwaves and into his consciousness. "… Astra… what's the matter?" he finally figures out how to ask.

Astra bites at her lip, then lifts her head. "I… You're the closest thing to a father they have…" she murmurs. "And… I was thinking how much Leto would love to hold them… and then…" She hiccups again, trying to stifle a sheepish sob. "You brushed your cheek against my hand. And I…" She shakes herself, flushes, and looks away.

Evandreus swallows briefly, shifting his hips just a little bit, not to wake the slumbery infants. "Man… Astra, I'm… really sorry. I didn't mean to overstep a boundary or anything. I'm kind of a cuddle addict, I guess," he admits, voice a little rough. "I'm really… sorry, about Leto. But you're not going to have to raise these girls alone. Okie?"

"You didn't… overstep anything…" murmurs Astra. "Nothing to be sorry… about anything you've done. It…" She takes a deep breath. "I… thank you… for helping with the girls. You are… you are a father to them. Mu… I'm just kind of… confused abut… Well…" She bows her head. "I wanted to kiss you, Evan. It's me who ought to apologize."

"Oh." There's a pause, and then, after a moment's introspection, "-Oh,-" he sort of realizes. "Well. I mean. I have nothing against kissing, in general principle, but— yah. I— um." He's awake, now, and he takes a deep breath, snugging the girls cautiously into a position less apt to put his arms to sleep. "When you asked me, y'know, what I would name a little girl, if I had one. I knew. But I thought it'd be a little… odd. For you to have one of your girls named for… someone… very important to me… back in the world. Someone I still… love, a lot."

"When I asked you…" Astra sighs. "I didn't ask you because of some… misguided affection. Or to… I asked you because… because you saved my life, my girls' lives… and I wanted to honor that… honor what you'd done, honor you." She closes her eyes. "It was… watching you tonight. I just felt…" She sighs again. "I am still very much in love with my Leto. I'm not… I'm not looking to fall in love, or anything. I'm just glad that you… love the girls for their sake." She wraps her arms around herself. "Who… what's her name? And… where is she? She must be very special."

"I do. Love them. I have a little sister on the way, and between the Evangirls and mum's little bundle… it's… like… it's almost like there's a family growing here." A deep breath in, swift, released slowly, eyes drifting to one side at the questioning. "Octavian," he finally answers. "He died on Leonis," he manages to explain around a lump threatening to block up his throat.

There is only the barest instant of confusion, and then Astra's eyes widen in understanding. "Oh gods, Evan… Bunny, I'm so sorry. I misunderstood what you said… and thought he was still alive. I'm so sorry." She shakes her head, then lifts her chin. "You do have a family, though, Evan. You do. You love my girls. They adore you already. And…. I adore you. As a brother, a friend…" She shakes herself. "It's hell, losing half your heart. Half my soul, it felt like. I can be your friend, though, Evan. Your sister. I've never had a brother." She leans over, reaching out her hand to him.

Evandreus wriggles out his fingers to touch at Astra's, still holding onto the girlies, unable to reach out with his arm. "Thanks, hon," he whispers, voice still lacking its strength. "Yah. Yah, I know," he clears his throat. "It still hurts. But… that's what they make antidepressants for, eh?" he half-jokes.

"I didn't have those," answers Astra. "I had a bar of chocolate. But… I shared it out with the children…. let them have it all. Leto used to make…" She clears her throat. "Let's just say that chocolate is how I got pregnant. After he died… Frak. I had the candy-wrapper left. I saved it, and… when I was very depressed I would take the wrapper and lick it a little. There were a few smears of chocolate, and it tasted a bit of chocolate. So. That's what chocolate's for." She brushes her fingers against his, then draws back, wincing. "Evan. I'll be here for you. I love you, Bunny-brother."

"Chocolate," Evan muses. "I'll have to bring some down. I never liked it as much as I like, like… gummy candies and suckers. But it's good to know there are some sweet teeth in the crowd who'd go for some of the brown stuff," he smiles. A real smile. "I'll just have to be sure not to bring down too much at once. I don't know what the s'bay would do with all of these kiddoes on a sugar rush."

"Oh goodness." Astra chuckles, though the sound is a bit strained, and she rubs at her side. "The children would think even a square of chocolate is a huge gift." She offers him a warm smile. "You're going to spoil us. But… a square, one square… that'd do me more good than all the antidepressants in the galaxy, right now. That and my children… and my family. I thought I'd lost everything. Now I know that I haven't. I've lost so much… but gained so much, too. I'll always be glad that you're part of my faily now, Evan."

"Well, I'll just leave it with you," Evan decides. "You can be the keeper of the sweets. I'll just spoil them silly, given a free hand," his lashes hide his eyes once again as he turns his gaze down to trace over the contours of Evandra's face, then Evanthe's. Green eyebeams rise again and he gives Astra a warm, tender smile. "Welcome aboard, Mama Astra. You won't be alone here."

"I wouldn't trust me with all the sweets, Bunny," answers Astra. "I'd probably devour them… or gives them all to the children and not save any for myself." She gives a soft, wistful laugh, then nods and returns the smile. Evandra stretches, coos, then so does Evanthe. "So I'll just have to let you spoil us all silly. And…. thank you. For everything."

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