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21 March 2011 @ 04:47 pm
Stay Awake When I'm Asleep (Jesse Eisenberg/Andrew Garfield) 1/4  
Title: Stay Awake When I'm Asleep
Fandom: TSN RPF (Jesse Eisenberg/Andrew Garfield)
36,000 words | Contents May Include: An ASTONISHING amount of curtainfic and schmoop. Some sex.

This is a picture of Andrew Garfield holding a baby. I was going to write a scene or two about it, and then instead I wrote all the fic in the world. There is EVEN MORE of this story in my brain, but I had to stop somewhere. Sometimes you just have to write what you're compelled to write.

Notes:
+ Set vaguely in the immediate future in a world that resembles our own
+ elureh and torakowalski helped me out TREMENDOUSLY with this; remaining mistakes are entirely my own. Please don't hold them responsible for the fact that there is LITERAL curtain shopping here.
+ I know Jesse and Andrew both have girlfriends (and I'm super happy for them). For the purposes of this fic they don't. I warped reality and the law repeatedly in order for Andrew to end up with a baby; I also made up a ton of stuff about Emma, Jesse, and Andrew's families here. In short, this is all nonsense, and if that will bother you please proceed no further.

Standard disclaimer applies: It's not meant to be about or imply anything about these actual people, just fictionalized versions of their public personas, ie, if they get to make a movie about Zuckerberg, I get to write this fic. But please don't share this fic with anyone portrayed in it.






Emma got a phone call early Tuesday morning. "We're canceling the interviews and press for Friday. Andrew's not available."

Emma was half-awake and trying to decide how to handle the first onslaught of the press blitz, so she was a bit taken aback. "He – He's Spider-man. The movie is called 'The Amazing Spider-man.' Is he allowed to skip interviews?"

Whoever was on the line – some poor PA who'd been told to call everyone, probably – sighed a lot. "I don't know anything else, Ms. Stone. Just that we're rescheduling for the beginning of next week. I'll email you the schedule as soon as we know it. You can go away if you want as long as you're back next Monday."

"Will Andrew be back next Monday?" Emma asked. She tried to sound calm, but she was pretty sure Andrew would have told her if he was going somewhere. Had he been fired? Was he on drugs and in emergency rehab? Maybe the drugs were how he stayed so cheerful all the time.

"I'm not sure, ma'am," the PA said, and Emma winced. She wasn't nearly old enough to be a ma'am. "I'm told it's a family emergency."

"Oh," said Emma. "Oh, jeez, I hope he's okay."

"Me too," said the PA tonelessly, and hung up.

Emma immediately texted Andrew. Is everything okay???? Where are you????? and then after a second, I hope you're alright. Call me!!!!

He didn't text back, though, and she hadn't really expected him to. If there was some kind of family emergency going on he was probably on a flight to England, and if it was something else he might not be allowed to use his phone. Maybe he was weathering a legal scandal. Maybe it really was a family thing. She hoped so.

Andrew texted back around three in the morning. Emma had just crawled into bed; she groped for her phone and tried to make her eyes focus on it well enough to read. When she rubbed her eyes mascara came away on her hand.

Not dead, not in rehab, not sacked. Emma snorted. They had the same paranoid ideas, obviously.

gtk. Is everything okay???? Emma texted back.

There was a pause and then another beep. y sort of it's complicated be back soon I hope explain it all then if I can.

Emma frowned at her phone. Andrew was adorable but not always the world's clearest communicator.

The phone beeped one more time. pls tell J sorry I was meant to call him this weekend can't now in Surrey really sorry!!!

She was tired and a little groggy, so she wasn't sure who J was for a second, and then realized they only had one J in common. Sure! she texted back, and fell asleep.

--

Emma had gotten incredibly fond of Jesse on the set of Zombieland, because he was so sweet and so funny and such a nice guy, but she hadn't actually seen him in months except for a brief wave or two on the red carpet.

"This is a little weird," she said, "but I have a message for you from Andrew."

"Is he dead?" Jesse asked, and he didn't especially sound like he was kidding, but it was hard to tell with Jesse because his deadpan was so dry.

"Nope," Emma said. "He is, however, unexpectedly in England, so I guess he wanted me to tell you he couldn't call you."

"Ah. I see. Because phones don't work in England. I think I'll just assume he's decided he hates me and is avoiding my calls," said Jesse. Emma was pretty sure he was joking, but again, it was right on the borderline.

"Do you have any idea why he's on this emergency trip?" Emma asked.

"Uh, if it is, I haven't been told about it." Jesse was fidgeting with something on the phone.

Emma was feeling a little bit nosey, and she hadn't gotten to tease Jesse in forever. "So…" she said. "What are you and Garfield having phone dates about?"

There was a weird pause. "It's not – We – What? No, he was going to call because we had that red carpet thing and we were gonna – He said he wanted to know who I was wearing and shit and I don't know, sometimes he calls me? I didn't—"

"Calm down," Emma said, biting back a laugh. "I was making fun of you. I don't think you and Andrew are secretly dating."

There was a longer, weirder pause. "Why would you even say that?" Jesse asked, voice so high and pinched that for a second Emma thought she had busted him, and somehow he and Andrew were actually secret boyfriends and she had found the scoop of the century.

And then she realized was that it was much simpler than that. Jesse had a crush. A secret crush. It was all she could do to keep her immediate hand-flapping reaction quiet, biting her lip and trying not to shout her glee from the balcony.

"Sorry," Emma managed, trying to sound normal. She was an actor, damn it; she could fake calm if she had to. "I was just joking."

"Well, it's a weird… It's a weird thing to joke about," said Jesse. "Do you really think he's okay?"

"He specifically texted me that he wasn't dead or in rehab," Emma said.

"Have you checked the gossip sites?"

"I don't think he's famous enough for that here," said Emma. "He might be in England, maybe? Can we check their gossip sites?"

"I'm googling him," said Jesse, and Emma thought I bet you wish you were, and giggled quietly to herself. "Nothing's coming up."

"Good, I guess," said Emma. "He probably wants to keep this quiet. Whatever it is."

"Will you call me when you find out what's going on?" Jesse asked.

"Definitely," said Emma. She was sort of secretly hoping it would be a small emergency, something she could justify inviting Jesse out to visit about, but not big enough that Andrew would be sad and mopey. Because then she could make sure her theory about Jesse was right, and if it was… Well. She'd wondered about Andrew anyway. He never shut up about how talented and great Jesse was.

Emma started to laugh again and had to bite her lip and hang up quickly. She'd never tried to set anyone up before. Maybe she could lock the two of them in a closet or something, and see what happened.

--

Monday morning had been reorganized so they had a bunch of interviews in a row, the kind of thing where all the different L.A. stations and local news all across the country interviewed them for ten minutes each, some on satellite and others in person. It was usually a grueling, miserable experience. Having Andrew around made it much it less painful.

But when Andrew walked into the studio he looked like absolute shit. He must have had on a little makeup, at least, but there were bags under his eyes and he was pale and unhappy and tired and a little bit… A little bit wild around the edges, like he was scared of something, almost.

"Are you okay?" Emma hissed, holding on to his arm a little too tightly.

Andrew nodded, and then shook his head, and then nodded again. "Fine," he said. "Everything is great."

They were still setting up cameras, and the impossibly perky hosts hadn't settled on their questions yet, so Emma pulled Andrew a step or two off to the side and tried to smile casually. "If you're on drugs you have to tell me."

"I'm not," Andrew said. "I'm just a little jet lagged."

"Bullshit," said Emma. "You were flying back and forth all the time during the shoot and you didn't look this awful."

Andrew laughed, but he sounded tired, and there was no laughter in his eyes. "Sorry," he said. "I'm… I'll try to rally."

She wanted to say they could put this off so he could take a nap, or at least get some more makeup, but they'd already rescheduled everything. "Coffee?" she asked.

"Tea," said Andrew. "Gallons of it."

Emma flagged down someone's assistant and managed to convince him that his job was to bring her and Andrew all the tea he could find. " Are you going to be okay to do this?" she asked.

"I hope so." He grimaced.

"Ready?" chirped the anchorwoman, straightening her miniskirt.

Emma dug her fingers into Andrew's arm a little bit. "Later," she said. "You're going to tell me everything."

"I – Well, I – I mean—" Andrew started.

Emma dragged him back over to the chairs and flashed a big smile. "We're ready," she said cheerfully, settling in for a long and painful day.

--


The parade of local news went on forever, roughly, with a break just long enough for Emma to pee and grab another cup of coffee and find more tea for Andrew before they started up again. She felt half-dead by the end, and Andrew was in danger of falling out of his chair. Normally they picked up the slack for each other as they burned out on the same questions over and over. ("Did you read comics as a kid?" "What do you think about rebooting the franchise so quickly?" "Why are Brits playing all our superheroes now?" "Emma, who's a better kisser, Andrew or Jesse?") But Andrew was both exhausted and obviously thinking about something else, and it was all Emma could do to keep the anchors from noticing how little attention to them he was actually paying.

When they were finally, mercifully done, she dragged him off to the green room. "I can't do that again tomorrow," she said. "I totally lost my voice. What the hell, Garfield?"

"Sorry," he said. "I'm so sorry, I'll be better tomorrow, I'll have it together."

"I'm driving you home," Emma said, "and checking for drugs. Are you coming down off coke or something?"

"I'd love a lift," said Andrew. "But it's a bit of a disaster at mine." He looked around uncomfortably, like someone was going to burst into the green room with a mic.

"Tell me why in the car," said Emma, dragging him outside.

Andrew was fidgety in the parking lot and restless in the car. She wanted to be sympathetic, but she also wanted desperately to know what had happened. "So?" she said. He was looking out the window, hair caught in the wind. "Hey, you! Mr. Space Cadet!"

Andrew sighed and sank in the seat a little bit. "It's a long story." Emma elbowed him and shifted gears, deliberately almost running a red light. "Okay, don't kill us both, it's just… I got this phone call last week that a friend of mine had died."

"Oh no, Andrew, I'm so sorry," said Emma.

"Yeah, well, it wasn't unexpected, I suppose. We'd been friends since we were kids, although my parents didn't like her much. Wrong sort of people, I suppose. Everybody knew her dad drank and her mum was on drugs and they'd get in screaming brawls and the police would have to come round and break it up."

It was always a sunny in L.A., and Emma was glad she had sunglasses on so she could give Andrew sidelong glances and not have him catch her too flagrantly. "Was she your girlfriend?"

Andrew laughed a little sadly. "We never got that far, and my mum would have murdered me. Emily was quite nice, but not… Not suitable, I guess. I suppose I fancied her. I think I did, at least."

"And?" said Emma, "What's happened?"

Andrew tapped his fingers restlessly against his jeans. "I knew she'd vanished a year or two back, I mean, we kept in touch but not that often anymore, and my friends said she'd met some awful bloke. Drugs, prison, the whole thing. Not surprising, just sad. She came home a month ago with a baby. Said it was his but he'd fucked off."

"And now she's dead?" Emma asked, biting her lip. "God, Andrew, that's a mess. Are her parents watching the baby?" No wonder he was upset; he'd probably spent the whole time he was home thinking about how awful that situation was going to be.

"Can't," said Andrew. "Her father's long dead, mum's on drugs and in and out of hospitals all the time. And anyway according to the papers I saw on Thursday she's named me legal guardian and told everyone I'm the godfather. First I've heard of it."

Emma almost slammed on the brakes and sent them both through the windshield. "Wait," she said. "What? Seriously? What the fuck?" She pulled off into the parking lot of a strip mall so she could push her sunglasses up on her head and give him a really serious look. "Say that again."

"Apparently it's the only responsible thing she's ever managed," said Andrew tiredly, slumping against the seat. He pressed his hands over his eyes and tilted his face up, breathing deeply. "She got it signed and registered, and it doesn't actually legally obligate me to take Harry, but if I don't the state will. The father's signed a paper, or been declared unfit, or something. And there's no one else."

"What did you do?" asked Emma. She was horrified. Poor Andrew. She had a vague idea that orphanages in England weren't really just like Oliver, but still. His heart had to be broken over this. "I'm going to buy you the biggest bottle of whiskey in the world."

"Don't," he said, smiling wryly. "I don't think it'd help me much when I'm trying to change nappies."

For just a second Emma wasn't sure what he meant, and then she wasn't sure how to say anything in response. Her mouth was hanging open unattractively and the whole car seemed to have tilted ninety degrees.

"Yes," said Andrew, still not looking at her. "Yes, I am an idiot."

"You took the baby?" Emma shouted.

"It all happened so quickly," Andrew said. "I got the phone call that Emily had died, and did I know I was her son's legal guardian, and could I be there in time to make the arrangements for social services to take him? Then I got home and started talking to the people from foster care and it was all so scary and miserable and I asked if there wasn't anything I could do, and they said not unless I wanted to take him, and I said could I, just for a bit? And he was so sweet and all alone and I just… I signed everything that the solicitor handed me and they made some kind of special arrangement for me to take him back to L.A. because I needed to go back to work."

"Oh. My. God." Emma said.

Andrew groaned. "What was I supposed to do?"

"I mean…" Emma flapped her hand around a little bit. "You don't take someone else's baby out of the country, Andrew, that's what you don't do!"

"He's my baby now," said Andrew, just a little bit fiercely. "I just… I couldn't let strangers take him away."

"But that's their job!" Emma said. How had her voice gotten so loud? "They're equipped to deal with a baby! You're not!"

"Well, I've never tried," said Andrew. He gave her a pleading look, but she refused to crack because as near as she could tell Andrew was ruining his life. "My mum is going to come out and help," he said quietly, "but she can't get away for a week or two. I just… I just really don't want the press to hear about this until I've got my head on straight about it. Or maybe ever."

"Spider-man press is about to swing into high gear and your face is going to be on every magazine and newspaper and television and movie screen in the world, so you think now is a good time to adopt a secret baby?" Emma demanded. She stopped and made herself take a couple of deep breaths. "Okay. Okay, so where is the baby now?"

"He's at my flat," said Andrew guiltily. "One of my mum's L.A. friends is watching him, but she can't tomorrow or Wednesday and I don't know what I'm going to do."

This time the pleading tone and the big sad eyes totally worked. Emma could feel her angry resolve crumbling. "Shit," she said tiredly. "Okay. Well. I guess we're gonna need a plan to deal with this."

--

Emma had been to Andrew's apartment once; it was small but pretty nice, with weird art on the walls and a forgivable amount of clothing on the floor. When she followed Andrew in this time it looked a little like a hurricane had blown through the living room. There was an open suitcase in the middle of the floor and clothes spilling out of it, dirty dishes on the table, and take-out bags all over the floor. Emma wasn't a neat-freak but she was pretty sure some of that food was from before he'd gone to England.

An older woman with her hair up in a ponytail walked out of the kitchen. "He's down for a nap but he'll be up soon," she said. "Good thing you're back."

"Thanks for today," said Andrew.

Emma had expected more baby stuff to be around the apartment, but other than a car seat by the door it looked mostly baby free. Of course, Andrew hadn't had time to buy anything for a baby, had he?

"No problem, don't worry about it," she said. "Bottles are in the fridge, there's a load of laundry to do, and I picked up some Cheerios for him. You sure you're okay?"

Andrew smiled but he looked really tired to Emma. "We'll be fine," he said. "Thanks for being here."

"No problem, he's an angel," she said. She collected her bag and left. Andrew bit his lip and stared at the closed door looking a little anxious and lot lost.

"So…" Emma said. "There's a baby here somewhere?" She clapped her hands together and rubbed them briskly.

"Right," said Andrew, brightening a little. "You should meet Harry."

Emma followed him through the kitchen and into the bedroom. "Like the prince?"

"As in Potter, I'm told," Andrew said. "He was a year old last month, which is lucky for me, I guess, because he naps pretty well. He's not talking much yet, and he cries whenever anyone puts him down."

There was a baby in the middle of the bed, and blankets rolled up like bumpers all around him. He just sort of looked like a little round person to Emma, but she wasn't much of a baby fan. He had chubby little fists and he was sleeping with his mouth wide open. His hair was brown and curly and he was wearing plain blue footie pajamas, and there were a couple of toys just out of his reach.

"I haven't had time to get a cot," said Andrew. "Or a pushchair, or clothes for him, or toys, or—"

"He's really cute," Emma interrupted, because it sounded like Andrew might be having a meltdown. Cot probably meant crib, and pushchair was way cuter than stroller. "You can get all that stuff later."

"Yeah," Andrew said, sitting down on the bed. "Yeah." He put his face in his hands for a second. "I don't suppose you're one of those amazing girls who know all about babies and taking care of them and has a bag full of tricks for minding them."

"Nope," said Emma, sitting down next to him. "I'm one of those girls who likes to hold a baby for about ten seconds and then give it back."

"Right. I was just asking because I haven't got the faintest idea what I'm doing." He laughed ruefully. "This was a terrible, disastrous idea."

"It was really sweet," said Emma, and then changed her mind, because 'sweet' didn't cover it. "It was amazing and selfless."

"Still dumb, though," said Andrew. "Usually when you get a baby you've got months to buy stuff and find a nanny and get prepared. I've got nothing and I'm busy all day and he's already practically a person."

"Hey," said Emma, nudging him with her shoulder. "I may not be a baby type of girl, but you know what I kick ass at? Shopping. I'm an all-time gold medal shopper. I would love to trick out your pad."

Andrew perked up a little. "Yeah? That would be brilliant, I can give you my credit card this weekend or something—"

"Dude," said Emma. "Don't insult me. You okay with him for a couple of hours now?" Emma didn't mention that he looked tired enough to drop on the bed and nap with Harry.

"Yeah," said Andrew. "But I can't let you do that. You've just had a really long day as well."

"Not nearly as long as yours," said Emma. "Let's try and figure out what you're going to do about tomorrow. You have to tell Marc, maybe the rest of the production, if you're going to show up places with a kid. You know that, right?"

Andrew shook his head. "If I tell them it'll get out and I'll have to tell the press how I've… How I've accidentally got a baby. I mean, it's not as if I'm Angelina Jolie, is it? What if I've forgotten to cross a T somewhere?" Andrew gave her a pleading look. He was really good at those.

"Fine," she said, "I think I have an idea anyway." She patted him on the arm. Behind them Harry made a fretful, sleepy noise and kicked his feet around a little.

Andrew picked Harry up. The kid hiccuped a couple of times and settled down with his head on Andrew's shoulder and his little hands fisted in Andrew's shirt. "Hey, you," said Andrew fondly.

The baby was giving her a long, considering look, like he could tell she wasn't a baby person and he was judging her. "Hi, buddy," she said. He frowned adorably and turned his face away, back toward Andrew's neck.

"He's shy," said Andrew.

"Maybe," said Emma, thinking that Harry knew what was up. "Do you need anything besides baby stuff?"

"Food? I don't think you're meant to raise a child on take-away."

"Be back shortly," Emma promised. She pulled out her phone and did a quick search for the nearest baby store. "Keep it together until I get back, Garfield."

"I'll do my best," said Andrew.

--

Jesse hated staying in L.A.. He was more anonymous than he could manage in New York, but it was loud and bright and everyone was incredibly beautiful and wanted to make sure you noticed. Jesse didn't mind getting heckled now and then as he rode his bike around New York, because New York was at least egalitarian. The message was, You're no better than us. In L.A. the message was, You're not as good as us.

It was unavoidable being in L.A. for work, though, so Jesse had the smallest, cheapest place he could find. He hated it. He got stuck there because he had to be in L.A. but he didn't need to be doing much every day, and he ended up just sitting in his apartment and missing his cats. He read and stared at the walls (and hated them) and read and stared at the walls and L.A. didn't get any better.

He was in the middle of a reread of Moby Dick when Emma called, and he thought maybe she'd have news about Andrew so he picked up. "He isn't dead, right?" Jesse said.

"Hello to you, too, Mr. Eisenberg," said Emma. There was a squeal of tires and she leaned on the horn of her car and shouted, "Fuck you too, don't text and drive! God damn, these people in L.A. can't drive. Hey, are you out here, too? Please say yes."

"Yeah, I'm doing some ADR," said Jesse. "I'm also bored out of my mind. I spent two hours a day working and nine hundred hours sitting around."

"Interesting math," said Emma. "So, hypothetically, you could get away now and then?"

"Hypothetically, if you have stuff for me to do it would be my pleasure," said Jesse. "Seriously, anything. You need some help moving? I'm not much help lifting heavy stuff but I can stand around and sweat."

Emma laughed, honked again, and swore under her breath. "Great. Then I have a favor to ask you. It's for Andrew." She honked and shouted at another driver.

"Where are you driving, south central?" Jesse asked.

"The parking lot of a fucking Kids R Us," said Emma. "These mothers are maniacs. Okay, cool, when are you free tomorrow for babysitting?"

Jesse bit his lip. "Is something wrong with Andrew?" he asked, running through increasingly dire scenarios. "Is he on drugs? Do you need me to—"

"No, seriously. Actual babysitting."

Jesse could hear the words, but not make sense of them. "So… You're knocked up?"

"Listen, don't freak out, but Andrew has recently come into possession of a baby. And we need someone to watch it."

"Watch it do what?" Jesse asked automatically, and then caught himself. "Wait, how did he get a baby? What the fuck?"

"He better tell you himself. He's not handling it super well, but he's really scared he's not handling it well, so don't tell him I said that. You have cats, and those are living things, so I figure you'll be better at this gig than I will."

Jesse tried to formulate an answer and found he couldn't. "I work in the morning," he said. "I could meet you in the afternoon."

"Great! You can take the kid for the afternoon and maybe Andrew won't be as disastrously horrible as he was yesterday. People are going to see those interviews and assume he's either high or the world's biggest asshole."

"Andrew?" Jesse asked incredulously.

"I know, right? But he's all distracted and shit. Okay, I have to go fight this bitch for the last good stroller, I'll text you the deets. See you tomorrow?"

"Okay," said Jesse, feeling a little faint. Emma hung up and he stared at the phone.

Andrew had a baby. Was it his? Had he knocked up a fan and gotten hit with a paternity suit? That just… it didn't sound like Andrew. If he'd been sleeping with someone he would have mentioned it when he called Jesse, wouldn't he? They talked all the time, although Jesse wasn't honestly sure why; he almost never had anything interesting to say. He just liked listening to Andrew talk.

Of course, if he had a baby there would probably be a lot less time for phone calls with old friends about nothing, wouldn't there? Jesse frowned. Maybe it was a give-back-able baby.

Or maybe that was a horrible, selfish, nasty thing to think, and Jesse didn't deserve as much of Andrew's attention as he normally got anyway. There was no reason for Andrew to spend as much time as he did chatting with Jesse and calling Jesse and texting Jesse. It really ought to have tapered off by now, anyway.

Jesus Christ, why did Andrew have a baby?

--

Press for Spider-man looked a lot like press for every movie Jesse had ever done, and he experienced a quick spike of panic before he remembered no one was going to ask him any questions. He tried to hide inside his hoodie and not be noticed.

Emma looked great, but Andrew looked stressed and tired. It wasn't a great look on him. There was a baby in a really cool-looking stroller sitting by the door, with a slightly confused PA staring at it. Andrew actually had a baby. Jesse's mind was blown.

As soon as there was a break Emma came over and gave Jesse a hug. Andrew stopped to pick the kid up out of the stroller and walked over, hanging a little behind Emma like… Like he was afraid Jesse might be mad at him, which was seriously the stupidest thing Jesse had ever heard of. "Hey," said Jesse. "Who's that?"

"This is Harry," said Andrew. The baby didn't look anything like him, but he had giant brown eyes and curly baby hair. Jesse felt a little bit like when he saw a sad, shaggy puppy at the vet. He reached automatically and Harry reached back and then somehow Jesse was holding Andrew's baby.

"I don't recall you having a baby last time I saw you," said Jesse. That seemed like a safe way into the conversation. Harry reached up with one fat little hand and tried to yank on Jesse's hair, and Jesse very carefully pried Harry's hand away and let him wrap his hand around Jesse's finger instead.

"No," said Andrew. "It's all been a bit of a shock." He looked at Jesse and then at Harry and tried to put his hands in the pockets of his skinny jeans, only they wouldn't fit. "You actually came."

"Of course I came," Jesse said, frowning.

"I mean… This is all a bit… You weren't busy?"

"Not too busy to hear why you have a baby," said Jesse.

Emma gave Andrew a little shove, and Andrew laughed uncomfortably and explained how he'd ended up with Harry. It didn't make a lot of sense, and it sounded sort of like one of those Victorian novels full of long-lost rich relatives and orphans in poor houses, but Andrew was English, so maybe that kind of thing happened to him more than other people.

Harry mumbled something. "Is he talking to me?" Jesse asked.

"He doesn't talk yet," said Andrew. "Not really. He says hi and bye bye and otherwise he's mostly quiet."

"He hasn't said a word to me," Emma said. "I guess he likes you."

"Oh. Well. That'll make it easier, I guess," said Jesse. He didn't look at Andrew, because there was something very profoundly weird about having Andrew's kid like him.

"You really don't mind watching him?" Andrew asked. "You don't have to. God, I never meant to dump this on either of you."

"I'm done working for the day," said Jesse. "Do you have a diaper bag and stuff?"

Emma pushed over the stroller, with the diaper bag slung over the handle. "He's all yours. You know stuff about babies?"

"I know stuff about humans," said Jesse. "And he's just like a human, but smaller."

Andrew laughed, tired and startled. "Are you really sure you don’t mind? I could… I suppose I could pay you for baby sitting."

"Shut up," said Jesse, looking at Harry. He had given up on trying to yank Jesse's hair and was grabbing for the cord in his hoodie instead. "It's my… I'm happy to help out." It was so pathetically true. He would have done absolutely anything if it had been helpful to Andrew, and it made Jesse feel stupid and helpless and ridiculous.

"I'll call you when we're done," said Emma. "The stroller turns into a car seat if you want to drive him anywhere."

"Oh god," said Andrew. "Wait, you can't cut anyone off if you're driving with him. And don't swear. And don't speed or honk. And—"

"It's going to be fine," said Emma, taking him by the arm. "Come on, they need us back."

Andrew looked like he was going to freak out and demand the baby back so Jesse grabbed the stroller and said, "Great, see you later! Say bye, Harry."

Harry sucked on Jesse's hoodie string and didn't say anything.

--

Harry wasn't actually related to Andrew but it was hard for Jesse not to speculate on how alike they were. Harry didn't talk, but he did giggle a lot. He was content to sit in his car seat and make a lot of almost-words. Sometimes, when Jesse was especially tired, Andrew's British English sounded a lot like that, too.

"We can go to the park," said Jesse. "That's what people with babies do, isn't it? Take them to the park?" Jesse drove around until he found somewhere with a dog run and benches and then cut four people off to get a parking space. It was okay, he reasoned, because he was doing it for Harry.

The car-seat-stroller was incredibly complicated, with lots of straps and levers and buttons and Jesse spent a while yanking on things and swearing at other things while Harry watched him curiously. Jesse gave up and decided he'd just carry the kid. He slung the diaper bag over one shoulder and grabbed Harry with the other, then discovered Harry had taken his shoes and socks off somehow, and had to put him back down to root around in the back seat for them. They spent a while with Jesse trying to put the shoe on one foot while Harry pulled it off his other foot, but eventually Jesse won and managed to fasten the velcro and everything.

"You're a lot of trouble," Jesse told him, trying for stern and landing somewhere around the voice he used on the cats when they were purring and refusing to give him back his pillow. Harry giggled and Jesse picked him up.

The park was full of nannies and bored-looking moms and yappy little dogs. As soon as Jesse put Harry down a puppy ran by and Harry squealed and toddled after it, and Jesse had to run after both of them. He expected fussy crying but instead Harry looked at him thoughtfully for a minute and sat down in the gravel by the end of the bench and started making piles of rocks.

"He's cute," said a blonde mother, pausing walking with her jogging stroller to push her sunglasses up.

"Thanks," said Jesse, feeling a weird sort of second-hand pride. Third-hand, actually, because Harry wasn't even cute because Andrew was cute. He winced and told himself sternly not to think about Andrew like that. Andrew was a father now. It was rude to lust over someone with actual life responsibilities.

"Is he yours?"

"Uh, I'm kind of… I’m the babysitter," said Jesse. Harry twisted himself around and grabbed Jesse's jeans with both hands, so Jesse picked him up.

"You look familiar," she said, squinting at him.

"Yeah, well. I babysit a lot," said Jesse, ducking his head a little bit. That would be perfect. He wanted to avoid a headline screaming Oscar Nominee Baby Scandal. He wasn't sure what was scandalous about the situation, exactly, but Entertainment Tonight would figure something out, and then Andrew would be mad at him.

Harry smacked Jesse's shoulder with his hand a couple of times. "He's hungry," said the mom. "You should feed him before he starts to cry."

"Yeah," said Jesse. He tried to hold on to Harry and fish a baggie of food out of the diaper bag at the same time. It was more complicated than it looked. One-year-olds got heavy fast.

"Are those organic?" the woman sniffed. "You really shouldn't expose him to chemicals, he'll get cancer."

Jesse blinked at her and held the baggie of cheerios open for Harry to stick his hands into. "You know the whole world is made of chemicals, right?" he said. "They're the fundamental building blocks of everything."

"No, I mean chemicals," she said. "Do you want him to be autistic?"

"Wow, thanks," said Jesse. "I like to take all my health advice from total strangers in the park." She made an outraged noise and jogged off. "Don't listen to anything anyone in L.A. tells you, Harry," Jesse told the kid quietly. "They're all insane. You don't need a tan and you don't need to jog and there's nothing wrong with dessert."

Harry stuffed a lot of cheerios in his mouth and accidentally poured a few hundred more down the back of Jesse's hoodie. "Mah," he said.

"Yeah," said Jesse. "I know, man. Try and get some of those in your mouth."

--

Harry was perfectly happy to toddle back and forth around the bench or to sit on Jesse's shoulders and flail at all the dogs who ran by. Eventually he was even happy to have a bottle and fall asleep, drooling on Jesse's shoulder. Jesse's arms were tired and he could have put him back in the car seat, but… Well. He just didn't really want to.

Jesse wasn't entirely sure how he felt about Andrew having a baby. It wasn't a girlfriend, at least, and Jesse felt bad about feeling like that, but he did. And then he thought that a baby probably was going to distract Andrew a lot more than a girlfriend would have, so Jesse was kind of screwed either way.

Eventually his phone beeped and Emma sent him Andrew's address. Harry woke up long enough to eat a banana, or really to squish banana all over his shirt, and then Jesse drove them across town.

"No problems, right?" said Emma. "How busy are you tomorrow?"

Jesse was carrying the diaper bag over one shoulder, holding the car seat in one hand, and balancing Harry in his arms all at once. "I, uh," he said. "Well. Not too busy. What?"

"He's not the live-in help," scolded Andrew, reaching for Harry. "God, Jesse, I'm so sorry about today. You're amazing for helping out. I owe you so much." Jesse dropped the baby stuff by the door. There were boxes of baby toys and bags of baby clothes and other baby things everywhere.

"It was fine," said Jesse.

"Were you good for Jesse?" Andrew asked Harry, who yawned a little.

"He was," said Jesse. Harry reached out a banana-covered hand for him, so Jesse grabbed a towel off the floor and wiped it mostly clean. "Now be good for your dad," he told Harry.

Andrew flinched. "I'm not – I can't be – Oh god. Um, I don't have dinner to offer you or anything. You or him. What am I going to do, how am I going to—"

"Relax," said Emma soothingly. "Jesse cooks, right?"

"Yeah," he said. "I can make something. He's old enough to eat regular food, right?"

"I… I think so," said Andrew helplessly. "I've been feeding him jars of baby food, mostly, but I'm nearly out. What if he chokes? What if he's allergic to something? I've done this all wrong, he's going to end up hurt or--"

"I'll make something super bland, like spaghetti," interrupted Jesse. "We'll cut it up in tiny pieces."

"You give him a bath; he looks like he's been through a war," said Emma to Andrew.

"Sorry," Jesse mumbled. He tried to find things in Andrew's kitchen, but there was butter in the cupboard and crackers in the fridge and the pot on the stove had dried green stuff growing in it.

"But I… But Jesse can't…" Andrew started, giving Jesse a funny look he couldn't read. Emma gave him a shove toward the bathroom. "Yeah, I'll just," Andrew said, and carried Harry off.

Emma waited for him to be out of the room before she hissed, "See?"

"See what?" Jesse found a sponge and some soap, so that was a start.

"He's losing his mind."

Jesse glanced over his shoulder to make sure Andrew was in the bathroom with the door closed. "Babies are hard," he said. "Especially surprise babies all on your own."

"People are wondering what's wrong with him."

"And the baby isn't enough of a clue?"

"He hasn't explained the baby to anyone at the studio. He's being very weird." Emma watched Jesse start washing dishes and made no particular move to help, which he actually didn't mind. There was a particular order to dishwashing.

"I can see where it would be kind of a bomb to drop on people," said Jesse.

"Eventually either he's going to give up and realize this is too much work—"

"He wouldn't," said Jesse certainly.

"—or he's going to have to tell people something. If you have a baby with you often enough people start to notice."

"Has he told his agent? He can probably get some advice on how to handle it."

"As far as I know he hasn't told anyone but us."

For a second Jesse felt weirdly proud of that, and then he felt stupid, because Emma had called him, not Andrew. It didn't mean anything anyway. "His parents probably know," Jesse said. He scrubbed a pot thoughtfully. It wasn't feasible to keep a baby secret, but for a while at least they could probably avoid direct questions. "It might be okay. I can watch Harry tomorrow, too, if you guys need." He put water on to boil and started throwing away old take-out containers. The baby was going to get typhoid or something living around all this trash.

"So you'd just give up your spare time to watch Harry?" Emma asked. She was trying to sound casual, and for an actor she was failing pretty hard.

"Sure," said Jesse, crumpling up paper bags and picking out plastic forks to wash. "Andrew's my friend. Plus, I think I mentioned how bored I was."

"Your friend," Emma prompted.

Jesse glared at her briefly. "Yes," he said. "Why, are you planning to have a secret baby and ask me to babysit, too? I might be booked."

Emma leaned forward a little on the kitchen stool. "Friend, or like… I mean. You two were pretty cozy, and he talks about you all the time."

"Andrew talks about his friends a lot," Jesse agreed.

"Jesse. Come on. You two never had any lingering glances? No accidental touches that went on too long? Stolen moments on a dark set together?"

Jesse gave her a long look. "I don't think I'm known for my stolen moments."

Emma made a disgusted noise and dumped an entire box of spaghetti into the pot. It was going to get clumpy, Jesse thought disapprovingly. "He likes you," Emma said.

"Andrew likes everyone," replied Jesse, ignoring all her implications. Jesse tried really hard not to wish for more than solid friendship, because he wasn't going to risk that for anything. Now that Andrew had a baby – there was no way he was going to have time for anything else. It was horrible of Jesse to even consider it.

"Jesseeeee," complained Emma, drawing his name out. "He—"

The bathroom door swung open and Andrew walked out holding Harry. Andrew was pretty soaked and Harry looked at least marginally cleaner. "Everything alright?" Andrew asked. "I'm a bit damp. I need to get some bathtub toys for him, I think, to distract him from trying to drag me in."

"Here," said Jesse, reaching for Harry. "Go put on something dry, god. How did you manage a single day by yourself?" Harry sat on his hip, the one Jesse turned away from the hot stove. Kids liked to grab things.

Andrew looked at him wonderingly. "You're so good with him. He was crying for me and now he's stopped."

"I'm not making him take a bath," Jesse said. "Go, shoo." He waved Andrew away and gave Harry a whisk to bang against the counter.

"You really are good with babies." Emma said. "Wow."

Jesse shrugged. "Would you set out plates, please? I washed some." He would rather have died than admit how much he liked it when Andrew looked at him like that, like he knew something magical instead of just how to balance a kid in one arm while heating up sauce in the microwave. Jesse felt like an enormous fraud on a daily basis, but particularly at that moment. "And hold him while I pour out the boiling water, please." He handed Emma Harry but she held him a little like a bomb that might go off at any second. Not one of nature's babysitters, Jesse decided, and was secretly glad. Otherwise Andrew might not have needed him.

"Smells amazing," said Andrew, wandering back out in his pajamas. They weren't quite staying up on his hips, because Andrew didn't really have any hips, and Jesse told himself firmly that ogling while a baby was in the room was wrong. Also, Emma was watching him. "Emma, give him here. He's not going to explode."

"They scream and cry and poop," said Emma.

"Only if you squeeze them too tightly," Jesse joked, serving everybody. Spaghetti from a box and sauce from a jar. Somewhere his mother knew he was serving jarred sauce and was clutching her chest in mock-pain. He cut Harry's spaghetti up until it was too tiny even for a baby to choke on and put it on a plastic dish.

"You're amazing," said Andrew. He sat down with Harry on his lap and Harry immediately began grabbing spaghetti with both hands. "Oh god, he's going to need another bath. I'm so shit at this."

"He's pretty easy to clean, though," said Emma. "I guess my next trip for you is the grocery store again."

"I'll make you a list," said Jesse.

"Only if you're going to come over and cook it," said Andrew tiredly. "Come on, eat it, Harry, don't just throw it all over everything."

"Sure," said Jesse, mouth mostly on auto-pilot. He could make baby friendly food, and he was sure his mother would have recipes if he called her.

Andrew looked at him. "I was joking."

"Oh," Jesse said. "Me too, then."

"I mean," Andrew tried to explain, "you've already watched him and cooked and I don't know what you were planning to do today but presumably not this. And I couldn't possibly ask you to – I was just kidding, Jesse, you've got a life. This is all my… He's my problem. This disaster is all my fault."

Andrew was giving him a funny pleading look, but Jesse wasn't sure what Andrew was pleading for. More help with Harry? Less? "He doesn't have to be," Jesse offered quietly, looking at his plate.

"God, I've upset you, I'm sorry, I didn't mean—" Andrew started. "You think I'm a selfish bastard, now. I'm just so tired, and I can't make any sense out of anything today, I think I'm still jet-lagged. Or maybe it's Harry, waking me up in the middle of the night. Not him, I mean, just me; I get panicked I've forgotten him or forgotten to do something and I wake up with my heart racing. Please don't be cross with me."

"Jesse's not busy, right?" Emma interjected. "And he likes to cook. I say let him cook."

"I could make stuff to keep in the freezer," Jesse said. "You could just heat it up for Harry when you don't have time to cook. Or you could keep ordering Thai food, but I'm not sure that's really great for either one of you."

"I can manage," Andrew insisted.

Emma laughed. "You have this awesome guy who's offering to help and you're getting all weird about it. You weren't expecting this baby shit to happen but it did, so you might as well take whatever help you can get."

Andrew's shoulders slumped a little. "My mum'll be here in a couple of weeks," he said. "She couldn't get away before that."

It sounded defensive to Jesse, but he wasn't sure why Andrew felt the need to defend himself. "I could help out until then," he said. "I'm doing ADR for a little while but after that I'm free." He'd just have to rebook his flight home and arrange for his sister to check on the cats. No big deal.

"I mean," Andrew said. "If you wouldn't mind."

"He wouldn't," said Emma. "Okay? Okay."

Andrew was looking at Jesse again, sort of starry-eyed and grateful and overwhelmed and really, really tired, and Jesse didn't know what to do with all of that so he looked at his plate instead. Harry started to wiggle and fuss. "I'm just going to take him over to the couch," Andrew said, grabbing a bottle. Jesse wiped the most egregious spaghetti sauce off Harry with a napkin as they passed.

Emma winked. Jesse ignored her.

--

"Uh, he's out cold," said Emma, poking her head in to the living room.

"The big one or the little one?" Jesse asked, washing the last dish. He felt a million times better now that the apartment was mostly clean.

"Both, I think."

"That might be easier to deal with." Jesse put the dish towel down and walked out into the living room. There was a Baby Einstein DVD on but no one was watching it; Andrew was slumped against the back of the couch with his face smushed against the corner. Harry was partly on him and partly on the cushion. He'd kicked his shoes off again. The bottle had rolled out of Andrew's hand and onto the floor where it was making a sad little puddle.

It felt sort of creepy watching them sleep, Jesse thought, but he was enjoying it. That definitely made him creepy.

"If we move Harry will he cry?" whispered Emma.

"Maybe," said Jesse. He picked up Harry, carefully dislodging his hand from Andrew's shirt. He blinked a little and started to cry but he settled down again against Jesse's shoulder as soon as Jesse started to bounce him gently. He carried Harry into the bedroom and put him down in the crib. He fussed for a second and then his breathing evened out and he went back to sleep.

"You're the baby whisperer, Eisenberg," Emma said. "Who knew? And while I'm asking questions, is there some reason you've decided to stare at Andrew all the time instead of hitting it in a hotel somewhere?"

"Shhh," Jesse whispered, trying not to look at her. "Don't wake him up." Emma crossed her arms, and he sighed. "It's not that simple, okay? I couldn't… I don't have a lot of friends like that, and I'm not going to say something stupid and screw it up. Besides, he's kind of busy being a dad. New parents don't have time for… for me."

"You're full of crap," Emma whispered. Harry made a choked little crying noise. Jesse glared at her.

"Fine," she said. "Do what you want, even if it's stupid. Can you put the big one to bed, too? I have to go."

"Emma, don't—" Jesse started.

"You're a champ, see you tomorrow!" she said, and was out the door.

Jesse glared after her. He was tempted to follow her out but Andrew was going to have horrible neck pain and Jesse couldn't live with himself if he left him like that. He groaned to himself and walked back out to the living room.

Andrew hadn't moved. Jesse bit his lip and considered for a minute and then decided that Andrew would be too sleepy and confused to argue with him. He pulled the shades down so the living room was dark and got a couple of pillows and a blanket from the bedroom. Then he grabbed Andrew by the ankle and pulled him down so he was actually lying on the couch.

"What's – Jesse, are you—" Andrew started, but they'd shared an apartment for a while and Jesse knew Andrew didn't really wake up very easily or coherently.

"Pillow," Jesse said. "Blanket. I'm going to go crash in your bedroom so if Harry wakes up there's someone there. Okay?"

"You're going to –" Andrew blinked.

"Yeah," said Jesse. "Go back to sleep. If anything happens I got it covered." He dropped the blanket on Andrew and didn't let himself spread it out or look at Andrew's stupid hair being all smushed up on one side or the red line on his face from the couch cushion. "Night."

Andrew was trying to object but he was clearly too tired to work out why. "Yeah," he said. "Okay. You're sure?"

"Go to sleep, Andrew," said Jesse. He went into the bedroom and closed the door. He sent his agent a quick text that he'd be late tomorrow, kicked off his sneakers and pulled the comforter up on the bed so he could lie down on top of it. There was I'm-stealing-your-bed-and-watching-you-sleep creepy and then there was I'm-sniffing-your-sheets creepy. Jesse had lines.

next
 
 
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Daturawhitedatura on March 21st, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
So I haven't started reading yet but here is some capslock of doom: O M G I AM SO EXCITED TO READ THIS WJWEFJKS:DLFKj:LWERJOWERJ OMG
She manufactures illusions...wordsalone on March 21st, 2011 09:23 pm (UTC)
I love it when epic fics get posted while I'm on vacation. So convenient. ♥
Harry's complete lack of ducksharriet_vane on March 24th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC)
If you want epic, consider the 4k of sequel I've got in an email chain already.
papaya_37papaya_37 on March 22nd, 2011 12:00 am (UTC)
I can't stop reading this and of course it would be one of my busiest days but oh well, this is so soooogood!!
astro_frog5astro_frog5 on March 22nd, 2011 01:38 am (UTC)
Just a little ways in, and so far this is pure joy! But I thought I'd pause my reading to point out that Jesse has surprisingly dexterous shoulders here:

"He slung the diaper bag over one shoulder and grabbed Harry with the other, then discovered Harry had taken his shoes and socks off somehow, and had to put him back down to root around in the back seat for them."

Which did also give me joy, but maybe not the kind you were intending.

Okay, back to it!
earlgreytea68earlgreytea68 on March 24th, 2011 01:30 am (UTC)
Okay, so, like, this isn't even a *fandom* of mine. But someone recc'd this (I don't even remember who, I'm terrible) and I got sucked into reading it and OMG IT IS BEYOND BRILLIANT I LOVE IT SO MUCH I WANT TO MARRY EVERYONE IN THIS FIC CAN I DO THAT? Loved the whole conversation with the crazy jogger woman, that was brilliant ("I babysit a lot" HAHAHAHAHA), I loved Emma being a crazy road-rage driver, love love love... Must read the rest asap.
Sarahabbylabby on May 9th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
Holy crap. Will you marry me please? because this is the most beautiful thing ever and I want to spend the rest of my life with the person who wrote this awesomeness.
Thank you so much for sharing this.
I love this story.
(and you too author :D)
Fabrizia del Dongolakeeffectgirl on May 30th, 2011 01:47 am (UTC)
Everything about this story was amazing.
Tarnish notte the majesty of my TOWER of HATS: Andrew Garfield and his hair like thismeresy on June 23rd, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
"Are those organic?" the woman sniffed. "You really shouldn't expose him to chemicals, he'll get cancer."

Jesse blinked at her and held the baggie of cheerios open for Harry to stick his hands into. "You know the whole world is made of chemicals, right?" he said. "They're the fundamental building blocks of everything."


And that is when I knew without a doubt that I was going to love everything you chose this fic to be. /embittered biochemist

:D :D :D
listeningirllisteningirl on January 25th, 2012 05:43 am (UTC)
Oh my god. About ten minutes in, I opened up wordpad to copy/paste things I wanted to quote back to you, and then I realized it was everything, and then I decided I didn't care and picked my favorites.

Okay, I have to go fight this bitch for the last good stroller, Laughed out loud in surprise. Well done.

"Do you want him to be autistic? LOVE IT.

Jesse gave her a long look. "I don't think I'm known for my stolen moments." Such a great line.


This is so beautifully characterized and genius. I love how Emma is the awesome personification of fandom.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )