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Introduction

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A young, single father to a five year old girl had been managing to get by. Ever since his wife left him and their daughter five years ago, it's only been the two of them. He works as a full time photographer, doing everything he can to give his little girl the life she deserves. After many months of desperation, heartbreak and struggle, he's finally living comfortably once again. His and his daughter's relationship would be envied by many parents, and their future looks bright. However, all that changes with one single word.

Cancer

A life sucking illness had taken over his little girl's body, with little hopes of recovery. The doctors estimate she's got about a month left before it's too late. The only chance of survival is a very costly, very complicated operation with no guarantees that it will turn out well. Many doctors have tried and failed. Only one doctor, among them all, has ever succeeded with the surgery, making him the little girl's last and only lifeline. The only problem is, said doctor hasn't been seen for years. Rumor is, he quit the medicine field, though nobody knows why. But the younger father is determined to find him, and do whatever he can to save his little girl's life.




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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman
Ben Chapman played by iCat
Somebody make me feel alive and shatter me.

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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【 JACOB ✧ SONG 】

Image
"When you've got nowhere to go,
I'll be your home"

photographer ✧ #228B22outfit
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Jacob still wasn’t sure what to make of Autumn’s interest in Ben. Albeit, she was that way with everyone, but something about it being Ben made it feel different. Because they had come all this way looking for him and for what? As much as Jake didn’t want to pry, he also felt entitled to some sort of explanation. An explanation that Ben was clearly not willing to give. Granted, it’s not like his explaining why he can’t help would change anything. He’d still be unable to do anything. But at the very least it would give Jacob some piece of mind.

Jake kept his little girl busy as they waited for Ben, flipping through every book Autumn could get her hands on, while Jake made sure to have her clean up after herself by putting back each book where she had found it. They carried on until Ben spoke up. He left the two of them for a moment, only to come back with the returned jacket and a scarf. Autumn’s eyes lit up the moment she was asked about food, to which Jacob couldn’t help but smile. A lover of all things food, just like him. There was no doubt this was his daughter. As if in deep thought, she brought a tiny hand to her chin and hummed softly before clapping in excitement. ”Pizza!?”. Jacob’s smile grew as he recalled the small pizza shop they’d passed on their way to the bookstore. Which was most likely what Autumn had just remembered. He eyed Ben for a moment as he slipped the last book Autumn had pulled, back into its place. ”Are you okay with pizza?” Jake asked with a slight smirk of amusement. Jacob had never been picky about food, so he’d normally eat whatever Autumn wanted to as long as he could get her fed.

The small girl glanced between her father and Ben, as if the wheels in her head were turning, before looking at her father again. ”Appa, are you taking Ben on a date?” Jacob’s eyes widened slightly, glancing in Ben’s direction for a moment as if giving him a quiet apology. ”Izzy, where in the world did you get that?”. He was kind of at a loss for words. Mainly because Autumn’s statement seemed to have come out of nowhere, but also because Jake couldn’t deny the fact that, had they met under different circumstances, asking Ben on a date is something he most likely would have done by now.

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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BEN CHAPMAN
the doctor- #bbc89c - outfit
Image
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xxxi feel so damn worthless
xxxanother day is gone
xxxand all my faces are alibis
xxxand me, I'm half the man I wanted to be
The little girl's look of delight as she suggested pizza made Ben's own smile widen. She had probably spotted the little pizza place on their way here. It was a good choice, he had to admit. "Pizza suits me just fine," he replied as Jake cleared Autumn's decision with him. He never had been particularly picky when it came to food, and he would have been lying if he said that he wasn't enjoying actually eating out with other people. But he couldn't enjoy it too much, he reminded himself. It wasn't going to last forever. In fact, this would probably be the last time before they headed back in search of another miracle worker.

Autumn's question caught him off guard, and Ben suddenly took great interest in the pile of books nearest him. Jake's avoidance of the question didn't go unnoticed either. All the way back when, Ben almost definitely would have asked out Jake out by this point if they'd met under different circumstances. But there was so many reasons that it couldn't happen, wouldn't happen now. Ben cleared his throat as he tried not to dwell on it.

"Hey, we better go get that pizza before all the hungry creatures get it!" Ben said in the hope of distracting both himself and Autumn. "You want a piggyback? You can keep an eye out for anything scary that looks like it might just steal our pizza!" He asked, bending down and holding out his arms to her. He glanced at Jake, hoping to at once ask for permission and say it was okay, he was okay with the question she'd asked. Even if he wasn't really. He just didn't want to dwell on it too long, dwell on the consequences, on their inevitable departure.

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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【 JACOB ✧ SONG 】

Image
"When you've got nowhere to go,
I'll be your home"

photographer ✧ #228B22outfit
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Jacob wasn’t given much time to dwell on the subject of the date as Ben quickly changed the subject. Most of him was glad, but there was still about a five percent of him that wished he would have answered the question with a yes. Perhaps this could have turned into a date. But that would have been reckless and poorly thought out considering the amount of time he and Autumn had left in town, and in the country for that matter. Ben took to conversing with Autumn while Jacob took a moment to recollect his thoughts. It’d been a long night. Surely, he was just too exhausted to think clearly. ”You want a piggyback? You can keep an eye out for anything scary that looks like it might just steal our pizza!" the question was directed at Autumn, for obvious reasons, but Ben glanced in Jake’s direction as if asking for his approval. Autumn then mimicked his gesture and added a ”Can I?”. Jake’s lips curved into a soft smile as he nodded. ”Go for It!”

Autumn’s small frame bounced with joy as she crawled onto Ben’s back, her small arms wrapping around his neck. All Jake could do was watch in silence. This was all very new to him, and he wasn’t entirely sure he liked the way it made him feel. For so many years, it’d been just him and Autumn. He’d be the one giving her piggy-back rides and reading bedtime stories and watching Saturday morning cartoons with her. To see someone else treat her the way Jake always had felt…foreign, yet really familiar at the same time. Of course Jacob knew it was only temporary, but that didn’t make it feel any less real. ”Let’s go then, Im starved!” he said, dramatically slapping a hand over his stomach to pull a giggle out of Autumn. It always worked.

The walk to the pizza shop was quick, or rather it felt quick. They spent the time chattering about anything under the son, though for the most part it was autumn chatting and the two men chuckling over her antics. It felt nice, easy, natural…as if this was something they did on a daily. Jake tried his best to ignore that fact and they walked inside the establishment. ”I want a whole cheese pizza! As big as my face!” Jacob let out a laugh as he looked over in Autumn’s, and Ben’s, direction. ”That’s a lot of pizza for one tiny girl, what if you don’t finish it?” She seemed to be in thought for a moment before gently poking Ben’s cheek with her index finger. ”Ben Can help me!” Jacob’s chuckled again, though his gaze moved over slightly to catch Ben’s, and for just a fraction of a second, he wondered how bad it would really be if he and Autumn stayed.

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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Image
BEN CHAPMAN
the doctor- #bbc89c - outfit
Image
Image
Image
xxxi feel so damn worthless
xxxanother day is gone
xxxand all my faces are alibis
xxxand me, I'm half the man I wanted to be
This all felt far too normal for Ben. He felt so comfortable around these people he'd known for such a hard time. And that frightened him. There was a part of him that told him to just turn around, to go home, to leave before they did, before he got hurt. But it wasn't like he could do that. How could he just run away without explaining why? And it wasn't like he could explain why.

So he kept the smile fixed on his face as they walked into the pizza place, laughing at Autumn's declaration about what she wanted. Her gesture made him laugh, but also made him feel guilty. Was she like this with everyone? Or would Jake have to try and explain why they'd met Jake, why they'd been so friendly with him, only for them to leave, just like that? But what other choice did he have at this point? They'd made the bond now, he may as well just stick it out.

He made eye contact with Jake, just for a second, and there was a crazy thought where he wondered if he could go with them. Help them out, find the best medical people he knew, do something. But then it passed, and his reality sat back in. This was just a brief reprieve, a good spell. They had to leave. And there was too much waiting for him back home, too much that he couldn't face. If Jake was already dealing with Autumn being sick, he didn't need to be dealing with Ben as well. Maybe in some other life, it might just be possible.

They got shown to a table quickly enough, and Ben crouched down to let Autumn climb off his back. It was only then that the realisation hit him that people had seen him with Autumn and Jake, and they were going to have questions about why he had been so friendly, so relaxed, so... close to them. More questions he couldn't answer. The more he dwelled on it, the more he wanted to turn and runaway again, hide from everything and everyone. But instead he slid into the booth and picked up his menu. They were going to leave, regardless. So he should just try and enjoy the time he had with them.

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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【 JACOB ✧ SONG 】

Image
"When you've got nowhere to go,
I'll be your home"

photographer ✧ #228B22outfit
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Ben and Autumn headed to the booth and slid into their seat, and Jacob quickly followed suit. No matter how comfortable he felt around Ben, and no matter how much Autumn seemed to like him, Jacob knew this wasn't right. Sooner or later, he and his daughter would have to leave and Ben would stay here to live his life. There'was nothing Jacob could do at this point to convince him to help. And to be honest, Jake wasn't even sure Ben could help even if he wanted to. For a moment he let himself wonder about what happened. How could such a skilled, well-known doctor quit...just like that? The question was on the tip of his tongue, itching to come out. There were so many questions, in fact, that if Jacob got a chance to ask them all he'd be talking for hours. Which is precisely why he didn't. He wanted to enjoy and let Ben and Autumn enjoy their lunch. After this, well...he'd just have to figure it out as they went.

"Ready Izzy?" he asked, gaze switching from the waitress that had come to take their order to the little girl beside him. She nodded enthusiastically, pointing to one of the pictures on the menu. "This one!" she exclaimed, more to the waitress than to her father. "Oh! And some ice cream!" Jacob chuckled, confirming her order with a nod. Immediately after, both he and Ben ordered. The food didn't take long to be brought out, and it took even less time to be devoured. It seemed that they were all hungry, though Autumn began to slow down towards the end of her mission. Jacob felt her small head rest against his arm and immediately glanced down at her. "Full already?" he teased with a slight smile, but it slowly faded once he realized she wasn't responding to him how she normally would. He'd expected an excuse about how she was just taking a break so she could continue later, but instead got a slight nod and nothing more. "Sweetie, are you feeling okay? Does your tummy hurt?" he asked, worry already beginning to settle in. Autumn had always been a bright and cheerful girl, which made the instances she didn't feel well very obvious.

"I'm cold." her small whine was muffled by her bringing the sleeve of her sweater up to her face to help warm up her nose. Jacob's once smiling lips now curved into a subtle frown, his first instinct being to press the back of his hand to Autumn's forehead. He left it there for a few seconds before letting his hand fall back onto his lap and switching his gaze over to be. "I think she's coming down with a fever..." he explained, his lips curling inwards. His lips remained downturned, as he knew well enough that for Autumn, a fever wasn't just your run-of-the-mill fever. A lot of things could quickly follow, and there wasn't much he could do about it.

"Appa, my head hurts" another whine came from Autumn as her thin arms wrapped around her father's, seeking more warmth. Jacob could feel his fear beginning to rise once again, but tried everything in his power to stay calm. "Alright, sweetheart, let's go then." though the moment he said this, the young father realized they had nowhere to go. His reservation at the hotel had only been for one night, while their other hotel was over an hour away, in London. He'd also left their belongings in the coat room back at the bookstore. "I'm sorry our meals keep having to end so abruptly, but...we should probably go...I need to find another hotel room for the night and..." his sentence trailed off as he looked up at Ben. Though his voice was calm and steady, his eyes depicted every ounce of fear and worry he felt.

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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Image
BEN CHAPMAN
the doctor- #bbc89c - outfit
Image
Image
Image
xxxi feel so damn worthless
xxxanother day is gone
xxxand all my faces are alibis
xxxand me, I'm half the man I wanted to be

xxx
The food was really good, and even managed to lift Ben's mood a little bit. But even Ben could see Autumn starting to tire, and something told him it wasn't just because she'd been too ambitious with the size of her pizza. They'd had a long couple of days, perhaps it was just finally hitting her. But his instinct, the instinct that had made him such a good doctor, told him otherwise.

Ben watched silently as his suspicions were confirmed. She was running a fever. Nothing unusual in kids, but concerning in her case. Jake's expression confirmed it. Something was wrong. The headache just made Ben more worried, worried that things were going to go really wrong and that he wouldn't be able to help. But he could try. The sudden, confident thought took him aback for a moment.

He got to his feet as Jake said they were going to leave, but then Jake admitted they didn't really have anywhere to go, that they needed to find another hotel room. The thought of Jake having to deal with Autumn alone, especially if she was really unwell, in a hotel in a different country sent anxiety and guilt through Ben. He look one look into Jake's eyes, eyes that were filled with fear.

"I have a spare room. Small, you guys might have to share a bed, but... you don't have to go to a hotel. You won't have to deal with it alone," Ben said, even before he'd really thought about it. But he didn't regret it. He didn't think he'd forgive himself if he made them go to some crappy hotel for the night. He could help, and he would. "You guys left stuff back at the bookstore, right? Go get it, I'll settle up here and meet you there. Do you need me to get any medications? I can get something to bring down her fever, ease her headache, that kind of stuff." He said, keeping his voice low and calm. "Let me help."

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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【 JACOB ✧ SONG 】

Image
"When you've got nowhere to go,
I'll be your home"

photographer ✧ #228B22outfit
‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗

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ben’s sudden offer had sent Jacob on a loop. Yes, he’s originally come all this way to ask for his help, but that was when Jake was still convinced that Ben could help. After Ben’s reaction back at the family restaurant, Jake had no intentions on pestering or forcing him to get involved. He’d do anything for his little girl, that much was a given. However, he wasn’t so selfish as to be inconsiderate of Ben’s own problems. But the man spoke so confidently now, the complete opposite of what Jacob had seen the night before, and the young father wasn’t sure how to respond.

”No. it’s okay- I…” he looked back and forth between Autumn and Ben, his lips settling into a conflicted frown. ”Ben, I’m sorry…I know you’ve got other things to worry about” Jake stayed as he got to his feet and fastened Autumn’s coat and scarf before pudding her into his arms. Her head immediately rested in his shoulder and Jake could feel the heat of her skin against his own. ”I brought some of her medicine for emergencies.” he explained, letting Ben know he at least wouldn’t have to spend his own money. He reached into his back pocket, pulling out his wallet with one hand and placing the money for the meals in the table. ”I invited you out, so this one’s on me.” he explained before Ben could even protest. ”I’ll meet you at the bookstore.” he finally said, agreeing to Ben’s offer. He had no time to argue with it now, he’d just have to plan from tomorrow on and find somewhere they could go until Autumn was well enough to fly back home.

With that, he gave Ben a quick “thank you”, barely audible but loud enough for him to hear, and headed out of the restaurant. He walked as fast as he could, shielding Autumn from the cold air. He could feel her small body trembling in his arms and felt a sudden pang of helplessness. A feeling he’d have to start getting used to. There was only so much he could do, so many doctors he could seek out, before they ran out of time. And he was already off to a bad start.

Eventually they made it back to the bookstore. At this point. Autumn’s Fever had very visibly gotten worse. While they waited for Ben, Jacob asked Dave to help bring their belongings, quickly bringing out Autumn’s medications. He was thankful that she’d at least gotten to eat first and not have to take them on an empty stomach. Though she did protest for a good five minutes, Jacob and Dave joined forces to convince her to take them. From then on it was the waiting game. Waiting on Ben, waiting on the medicine to kick in, waiting on some form of miracle that could help them. Because at this point that’s all they had.

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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Image
BEN CHAPMAN
the doctor- #bbc89c - outfit
Image
Image
Image
xxxi feel so damn worthless
xxxanother day is gone
xxxand all my faces are alibis
xxxand me, I'm half the man I wanted to be

xxx
It felt like Ben could hardly get a work in edgeways as they got ready to leave. But eventually, he seemed to decide to agree to Ben's plan of his own accord, leaving Ben to pay the bill. Every second he had to wait seemed to drag, wondering if Jake would be okay. Without him even trying to, all the medical knowledge came flooding back- what meant it was bad, and what meant they needed to get to a hospital as soon as possible. Things weren't that bad, not yet, but he felt better knowing that Jake at least wouldn't have to deal with it all alone. Even if Jake had turned his back on medicine, all the knowledge was still there, and came flooding back without him having to even try. It made him a little sad, but it was something that he couldn't dwell on. Not now.

He got the bill settled and turned, heading back towards the bookstore as quickly as he could go, making sure that they hadn't left anything behind on his way out. The walk had never seemed quite so long, despite Ben's pace being considerably faster than usual. Eventually, he got to the bookstore and caught up with Jake and Autumn. It was only then he remembered that he was supposed to have half a shift left to work. "Don't worry about it. You deal with this," Dave said, without Ben even having to say anything. Ben nodded, breathing a sigh of relief. He pulled his scarf from around his neck and handed it to Jake. "Here, it should help keep her warm."

Taking some of Jake's stuff and throwing a bag onto his shoulder, he opened the door and held it for Jake. "It's about a fifteen minute walk from here, will she be okay?" He asked quietly as they stepped out onto the street and started walking. He wished there was more he could do, but for once, he was stuck. It made him miss the days of being able to help people, of actually being able to make a difference to people like Autumn and Jake. But even when he had been able to help, he hadn't been there when it had really mattered. Seven people had died, and he hadn't been able to do anything about it. And besides, with his hands, nobody could ever trust him with a scalpel. He barely trusted himself with sharp knives.

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【 JACOB ✧ SONG 】

Image
"When you've got nowhere to go,
I'll be your home"

photographer ✧ #228B22outfit
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The wait for Ben to arrive felt like it lasted ages, though in reality in wasn’t that long. But Jacob knew Autumn’s fever would worsen by the second. He had to get her somewhere warm and comfortable and he had to do it fast. The moment Ben stepped inside the bookstore, Jake felt a wave of relief wash over him. He’d been so caught up in the moment, that he’d forgotten Ben still had half a shift to work. He only remembered when Dave spoke up, giving Ben the freedom to leave. Part of Jacob was relieved, while the other part felt guilty. He wanted to tell Ben is was okay, that he could stay and work, and Jake would take care of everything. But he was in a foreign country that he knew nothing about. That was easier said than done. ”Thank you” Jacob nurtured, his voice low and flat. He took the scarf handed to him and wrapped it carefully around Autumn, gave Dave one last thank you, and followed Ben out of the store.

The outside air was cold, even for Jake. He could feel Autumn’s small body pressing against his own in search of warmth and hoped the walk didn’t last as long as the wait felt. ”It’s about a fifteen minute walk. Will she be okay?” at Ben’s question, Jake instinctively looked down at his daughter, or rather what he could see of her. ”You doing okay sweetie?” he questioned. He answer was muffled and quiet, but Jake was certain he heard something about her being sleepy, which meant the medications should be kicking in. ”She’ll Be Okay.” he said in response to Ben’s question. ”She’ll Probably fall asleep very soon.” he kept his eyes on the walk ahead of him, but his mind is as partially elsewhere. Mostly, he couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of Autumn ending up in the hospital again. The back of his eyes were beginning to burn, partly from the cold air but also from Jacob’s overwhelming need to cry. Cry until there was nothing left inside of him because that is the one and only thing he had yet to try. He tried his best to avoid Ben’s gaze, looking everywhere but at him, until they finally made it to his place. ”Ben…” the young father spoke as they came to a stop in front of Ben’s door. ”I’m really sorry about all this…”. Jacob was beginning to think he should have never came in the first place.

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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Image
BEN CHAPMAN
the doctor- #bbc89c - outfit
Image
Image
Image
xxxi feel so damn worthless
xxxanother day is gone
xxxand all my faces are alibis
xxxand me, I'm half the man I wanted to be

xxx
Ben kept his pace up, not wanting to delay, especially if Autumn was falling asleep. His coworkers had been great, but he knew they would have questions, questions he wasn't sure he could answer. It seemed that's all his life was becoming, a series of lies, of questions he couldn't or wouldn't answer, things he was avoiding instead of confronting head on. But how could he escape them now? He was so caught up in it that he wasn't sure he could escape any of them, not without leaving messy, untied ends that he couldn't deal with. So instead, he just had to let himself get more and more wrapped up in it and hope that they wouldn't eventually strangle him.

As they reached his door and Ben fished out his keys from his jacket pocket, Jake spoke, his tone enough to make Ben look up at him. For the first time, he really saw all the worry, the fear in Jake, and felt that wave of guilt again. He should be able to help, he should be able to do something. But he couldn't, and instead he was just going to be a bystander in the whole thing. He wanted to stay something, but instead he just shrugged. "It's okay." It was all he could say, and yet it was nowhere near enough.

He opened the door and let Jake in ahead of him. "First left is the guest room. I'll be in the kitchen if you need me, just straight down to the end of the hall," he said, glad that he never even went into the guest room and so he knew it was clean. He went ahead into the kitchen, glad that he'd had the motivation to tidy up only a few nights before. He had a few takeout boxes and empty bottles to throw out, but he at least seemed to come across as a functional person. He sighed, running a hand through his hair. All he wanted was a drink, but he couldn't do that. Jake needed him there.

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【 JACOB ✧ SONG 】

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"When you've got nowhere to go,
I'll be your home"

photographer ✧ #228B22outfit
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Jake nodded, letting Ben know he’d understood, and headed towards the guest room. Autumn was no doubt asleep by now. She hadn’t said a word in a really long time, but Jacob could feel her soft breaths against his neck. He found the room easily, managing to pull back the covers with one hand before setting her down on the mattress. The bed was more than enough for the two of them. At least for one night, it would do. Just one night. The only reason Jake had taken Ben up on his offer was for Autumn’s sake. They had nowhere to go, and she needed somewhere calm and warm where she could rest.

Jacob had been warned by the doctors that Autumn’s fevers could be rather unpredictable. They could just as easily last a few hours as they could a few days. Her immune system was weakening, meaning that any little thing could trigger a cold or fever, and it would only get worse from here. Jake let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding and sat at the edge of the bed. He delicately pulled the blankets up around Autumn until they reached her chin, and carefully tucked her in. There was a knot forming in his throat, tears threatening her eyes as he moved a strand of hair from his little girl’s face, and yet he refused to cry. Crying meant he’d given up, and that wasn’t going to happen. Not until he’d fought with every breath and muscle in his body.

He made sure Autumn was sound asleep before getting to his feet and stepping out into the hallway. He still had to bring in the rest of their belongings. He made his way back to the living room and could easily hear Ben moving around in the kitchen. Part of him wanted to follow him, not wanting to be alone now, but Ben needed his privacy. He was already allowing total strangers into his home, that was more than enough. Instead, he focused on his small bookbag. He set it on top of the couch, deciding to do a quick inventory of what he had for the night. There were more than enough clothes, Autumn had her small bag with her clothes as well and just about everything else they needed for the next day. All except the most important item. Autumn’s medication. He’d brought enough for a day or two, most of which would probably be used throughout the rest of the day to keep down her fever. He let out a sigh, one hand running nervously through his hair. He certainly hadn’t prepared enough for this. If Autumn’s fever grew into something worse, it would be on him, something he’d have to carry on his conscience for the rest of his life.

He let his body fall onto the couch, his head leaning against its back. He just needed a moment. To breathe, to think, to keep himself from panicking, to figure out his next move. This wasn't how he'd planned on this trip to go, not even in the slightest.

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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BEN CHAPMAN
the doctor- #bbc89c - outfit
Image
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xxxi feel so damn worthless
xxxanother day is gone
xxxand all my faces are alibis
xxxand me, I'm half the man I wanted to be
Ben wasn't used to hearing other people move around his house like this. Jake's footsteps were enough to make him jump, his heart pounding. It took a little longer than he would have liked for his thoughts to stop racing, his heart to stop pounding. In an attempt to distract himself, he decided to make tea. He wasn't sure about Jake, but he knew the last thing he needed was caffeine making everything worse. He loved coffee, but he'd found out the hard way that when he was already on edge, it only just made him worse. So tea it was.

His hands were shaking more than usual. He stretched them out and curled them into fists a few times, trying to remember the advice he'd been given. But it hadn't worked before. He knew that the only bit of advice that had really mattered was that he needed to talk to somebody about what had happened. But how could he do that? How dare he be affected by it when it was his fault at the end of the day? He hadn't been able to save them when he should have been, and now this was his punishment, a constant reminder of what had happened. He had to live with it. He had to.

The kettle flicking off brought him back to the present, and he carefully poured the boiling water into the mugs. He'd had a few close calls with hot water, but had so far managed to avoid serious injury. That was a record he was hoping to keep. Adding some sugar and a dash of milk into both mugs, he carefully carried them out to the sitting room, sure that was where he had heard Jake entering. Doing his best to keep the worst of the shaking at bay, he sat the tea down in front of Jake, before sitting down himself. It was only then that he realised, for the first time, he didn't know what to say. He hadn't ever been in a situation like this.

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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【 JACOB ✧ SONG 】

Image
"When you've got nowhere to go,
I'll be your home"

photographer ✧ #228B22outfit
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Perhaps Jacob had expected too much to come out of this trip. He had set all his hopes on finding this famous doctor. He'd been determined to beg for as long as needed until the man agreed to help. But now, having actually met him, having talked to him face to face, Jacob couldn't get himself to do half the things he'd set out to do. Ben had his own life, his own troubles, and worries. He certainly had come all this way, started a new life away from his old identity in an entirely new country just to go back to what he used to be simply because some random man asked. That was asking for a lot. Jake realized that now, which only made things inexplicably harder for them.

The sound of footsteps and a cup hitting against the coffee table pulled Jacob out of his sulking thoughts. He quickly repositioned himself to sit up as Ben came into view. Somehow, Ben turned out to be a lot kinder than Jacob imagined he would, which only made his plans crumble further. "Thank you." his voice was low, mostly to avoid waking up Autumn, but also due to the sudden wave of exhaustion that had washed over him.

Jake brought the mug to his lips, carefully blowing on the hot liquid a couple of times before taking a few sips and setting it down. "You know...my wife always made tea. She loved it and wanted me to love it too, so she would make me try it every time she made it. I hated it" he admitted with a slow chuckle before taking the mug for another taste. "But yours is actually really good." Sitting this close to Ben now, Jake could really notice the signs of his lack of sleep but also all the emotions that hid behind the man's eyes. He'd never been an expert at reading others, but Ben's gaze carried a lot. Somewhere between loneliness and desperation. Jacob knew that feeling all too well.

"Tell you what!" he said with a sudden chirp in his tone, reminiscent of Autumn's usual pep. He turned to set the mug on the coffee table before turning to Ben once again, a soft smile settling in again. [color=#228b2]"To make up for the tea and for lending us your home for the night, how about I make dinner today? Critics have told me I'm an excellent cook."[/color] he stated confidently before bringing a hand up to run through his hair. "Well more like one critic. Autumn to be more specific" he corrected with a timid smile. He hoped Ben would take the offer, as it was the only thing he could truly do for him right now.

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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BEN CHAPMAN
the doctor- #bbc89c - outfit
Image
Image
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xxxi feel so damn worthless
xxxanother day is gone
xxxand all my faces are alibis
xxxand me, I'm half the man I wanted to be
The thank you was enough to make Ben smile, enough to break the silence. It was a comfortable silence as they sipped their tea; but Jake's comment about the tea was enough to make Ben blush a little and grin behind his mug. But there was one word that struck Ben, something he'd barely even been letting himself consider. Wife. Did Jake have a wife back home, someone who was waiting for him? Was there a tragedy there, making Jake's life even more tragic?

"You can't be living in England as long as I've been without learning to make a good cup of tea," was all Ben said in reply with a wry grin. And there it was again, a silence that didn't feel quite as awkward as Ben had been expecting. He felt comfortable with Jake, more comfortable than he'd felt with anybody in a long time.

The way Jake spoke up reminded Ben of Autumn, and suddenly all of her mannerisms started to make sense. He smiled despite himself as Jake made him an offer, one that made him raise an eyebrow. After everything, that actually sounded... really nice. A moment of some level of normality in the chaos that had been the last two days. But there was still that hesitant voice, holding him back. He couldn't let himself get too attached, couldn't let himself get hurt.

"I mean, I don't know how much food I actually have at the moment," he admitted a little bashfully with a small laugh. "We might need to go shopping, I don't know. But... sure. That sounds great. Kids are pretty great critics," he added. The part of his brain afraid of getting hurt was screaming at him, telling him not to do it. But how could he say no?

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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【 JACOB ✧ SONG 】

Image
"When you've got nowhere to go,
I'll be your home"

photographer ✧ #228B22outfit
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For just a moment, Jacob didn't feel like a stranger in someone else's home. In fact, Ben had become so familiar from the first time they met that it almost felt like he fit in here. Which was an absurd thought considering he'd eventually have to fly back home with Autumn and leave Ben to carry on with his own life. Still, just the two of them sitting on the living room couch drinking tea felt so...normal. The idea brought a nervous flutter to the young man's stomach, which he promptly ignored to respond to Ben's statement.

"Great! Well..." he thought for a moment, wondering if the favor would be asking too much of Ben. As comfortable as Jake felt in this house, in Ben's company, he had no way of knowing whether the other man felt the same way and the last thing he wanted to do was to take advantage of his kindness. The young dad bit on his bottom lip for a moment before lifting his gaze to look at Ben again, his tone a bit softer than before. "I can go buy what I need if you don't mind keeping Autumn company. he carefully suggestion. More likely than not, his little girl would still be asleep by the time he made it back.

"I might need to go get the rest of Autumn's medications...but they're in London." he muttered the last half of the sentence as if rethinking his plans. Maybe he wouldn't need them? It was unlikely, but perhaps Autumn's fever wouldn't last very long and they could be on their way home. "Actually, it's fine I'm sure there's enough." he decides, getting to his feet. He takes the last swig of Ben's homemade tea and lets a soft smile settle on his face. "Since I'm doing groceries, is there anything you need from the store?" It was a normal question but somehow felt odd to ask in the midst of everything that was going on. But a bit of normality after the past couple of weeks Jacob had was a welcomed changed. Even if just for a brief moment, Jacob would at least pretend everything was alright.

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Character Portrait: Ben Chapman Character Portrait: Jacob Song
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BEN CHAPMAN
the doctor- #bbc89c - outfit
Image
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xxxi feel so damn worthless
xxxanother day is gone
xxxand all my faces are alibis
xxxand me, I'm half the man I wanted to be
The longer this... normality, this oddly comforting and domestic situation went on, the more it was going to hurt. He knew it already, he could feel it starting to tear his heart already. Part of him wanted to change his mind, but how could he? How could he abandon them at this point?

"That's fine by me," he said simply in response to Jake saying he was happy enough to go get groceries if Ben stayed here to look after Autumn. Jake's mutterings about getting medications seemed to resolve themselves, so Ben decided commenting on it. If Jake needed to run back after all, Ben could hold down the fort for a few hours. He was sure he still had enough medical knowledge to be able to do that much.

"Um... I'm actually not sure, hold on," he said as Jake asked if he needed anything from the store, heading out into the kitchen. He opened the fridge and stared into it, realising that he really needed to go grocery shopping himself. But they'd manage. "If you want to get some drinks, wine or whatever you're into, and maybe some food to have in case Autumn wakes up and needs something? I don't know what she likes, you'll be the best judge of that," he called. "And ice cream. Today feels like an ice cream kind of day," he said with a laugh as he headed back into the sitting room. "Do you need directions to the store or anything?" He asked as he sat back down, taking another mouthful out of his tea.

He hadn't felt this comfortable in... years. Not since before he'd left for that fateful trip, not since he'd had the comfortable job, the comfortable life. The fact that he could feel this at ease considering all that had happened. That scared him more than he could imagine, more than he could admit. Because as much as he could imagine a happy ending, he was also constantly aware of the fact that he was going to have his heart broken at any moment.

43800: Out Of Character (OOC)

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