Aurora had changed into something more comfortable when she got back to the apartment. She wasn't planning on going outside again so it didn't matter than she was just lounging around in sweats, besides her jeans were beginning to get a little tight and even though she allowed them to sit a little lower she didn't enjoy the how uncomfortable they had become. Once she changed she lowered herself on the sofa and sighed, looking around the apartment as if to look for something to do. If this was before the world ended she would have switched on the TV or something.
She couldn't sit still for long and busied herself cleaning things up a little which felt far too domesticated considering the world they were living in. She stopped when she heard someone come in, half expecting it to be Harrison but when she saw it was Jay, she smiled a little nervously and watched him disappear into their room. Aurora couldn't stand feeling this way so she followed him.
"Jay?" She said his name as she stood in the doorway. "Jay, have I done something to upset you?"
Jay found Monica feeding the chickens. She got along well with them. They didn't make nearly as much noise around her as they did with the others. Jay approached and leaned against one of the wooden posts of the coop.
"Why so glum, Blue Jay?" she asked.
"I just need you to tell me I'm being an ass again," he said softly, putting his hands in his pockets and watching her work until he pulled back to glare at him.
"What did you do this time?"
He shrugged. "I'm better," he said, matter-of-factly. She jabbed a finger into his stomach and he let out a startled groan, grabbing where her finger had landed. "Alright, alright... [i mostly] better. I'm sick of being cooped up like one of your fuckin' chickens."
"That's not what's bothering you," she said.
He shook his head. He knew that, too. "No... I've hardly seen Aurora since she could leave my bedside. I thought we had this all figured out. I told her I loved her. She said she loved me, too, but..." He trailed off and shrugged.
"What are you saying?" she asked.
He leaned in closer. He could tell Monica anything. "We're having a baby," he said softly, but shook his head. "You know how many times we-" Harrison and Gabriel ran past at that moment and he had to cut himself off. When they were gone again, he looked back to her and held up a finger. "Just the once." Her brows went up. "I somehow got her pregnant after just one time. Nothing since. Am I being horrible here?"
To Monica's credit she tried not to laugh, but she couldn't hold it in. "No, you're not being horrible. What you're being is incredibly adorable," she said with a chuckle.
He rolled his eyes. He wished this felt cute. "I just don't know what I'm doing wrong," he said, defeated. "Maybe she doesn't like me anymore. Maybe... She just wants to stay with me for the kid."
"[i Now], you're being stupid," Monica scolded. "You were healing for a very long time. I doubt that's the best time for sex. Not to mention, she's really been pulling her weight around here. She... kind of jumped into it after... you know..." She went back to feeding the chickens. "I think the one your really need to be talking to about this is Aurora."
"I knew you were going to say that." He sighed and turned away from her.
"I love you!" she shouted at him as he walked away to head back to the apartment.
He hadn't expected Aurora to be there. He thought she might have been in the kitchen again or somewhere else outside. He hadn't had time to think about anything like he had planned.
He gave her a tight smile before ducking into their room to change his shirt. His was drenched in the sweat from pulling the deer and he was tired of it clinging to him.
Regardless of the fact that Jay said it was nothing she couldn’t help but shake the feeling that he was keeping something from her and she hated that. A part of her worried that she had done something to upset him before she could say anything else, he was already pulling away from her and moving towards the deer so that they could take it back with them. They didn’t exchange many words in the way home aside from some instructions to check the snares which she did, pulling anything that had been caught in them before resetting them.
She hated this feeling. It was almost like something was hanging over them and she started to worry that now he was feeling better he was beginning to change his mind about her and the baby. That feeling only intensified when they got back to their camp and the first thing he did was leave to find Monica.
“I...” he was already gone. She let out a sigh and a frown set in. She didn’t know what she had done to upset him and that made her feel awful. Aurora decided she would take the rest of the day off and go back to their apartment. Harrison was playing with Gabriel nearby and she gave him a little wave on the way back.
Her hand shook him from his thoughts and he nodded. "It's nothin'," he said softly, stepping away from her to start dragging the deer. He was in no position to carry it on his back, so he tied rope around it to pull it that way.
"Well, I guess we got what we came for," he mumbled, not looking her in the eyes. He pulled the rope over his shoulder so he could better pull the creature.
He made significant headway for someone so recently injured and he told Aurora to check the snares, which she was already doing, he was sure. By the time they made it back to the gates, Jay was sweating, but no more than he would have been uninjured. Someone had taken over for King at the post and they let them in. A few men came out to relieve Jay of the deer.
Jay felt like the entire outing had been wasted. He hated feeling that way. Hated feeling at odds with Aurora. This was nothing near what they had faced before when it came to each other. He was just annoyed. Annoyed that their first time alone in some time had actually turned out to be hunting. He had been stupid enough to believe she might have wanted something else during the trip outside.
He sighed and gave her a look, trying to offer her a small smile. It wasn't her fault. "I'm gonna... go see if Monica needs any help." He mumbled before walking off.
It had been some weeks since any of them had taken a deer home but that was because they hadn’t come across once for a while. They had been living off the smaller animals that had trapped themselves in his snares and the ones that they had started to rear in a make-shift farm they had set up at the old apartment complex.
Aurora watched for a moment as Jay composed himself enough to shoot the deer but even as it fell to the ground he didn’t really say much, nor did he move to get the deer either. She waited a moment longer before she stepped closer to him. “Everything okay?” She asked as she placed a hand on his shoulder, trying her hardest not to seem like she was trying to be overbearing.
Aurora understood him so well. But there we some times when he was sure his subtle way of talking and his shy demeanor muddled up what he wanted to say. This was one of those times. He looked at her as she took his hand and he sighed,. He opened his mouth to speak his mind, but she pointed out the deer.
It must have wandered back. Or it was a different one entirely. He was grateful to see it because it meant dinner. But, he hated the timing.
He turned and pulled the rifle to his shoulder and lined up the shot. He breathed in. Then out as he pulled the trigger. The shot rang out through the trees and birds scattered from their nests. The deer dropped on its side and Jay let out a huff.
He didn't go to get it right away. He just stood there looking at it. Squinting as he thought. He was weighing the pros and cons of saying aloud what was in his head.
Aurora listened to his closely, really listening to everything that he said. She knew then that she would need to talk to King and let him know that if they kept saying no to letting him help that they risked losing Jay. He may had been good physically but he was dealing with a lot in his mind and this wasn’t a world where therapy sessions would help. If Jay ever wanted to talk, he would but for now he needed routine and some kind of normality.
“Then we will carry on, like normal.” She said with as smile as she reached out to take his hand. Over his shoulder she saw movement and she smiled a little before looking back to Jay. “Quiet...” she whispered as she nodded her head towards the deer that had seemingly come in his time of need.
Jay knew Aurora was working herself hard. She would no doubt keep it up until the baby came and he made his one of his duties to make sure she was taking time for herself, but he would make that clear later.
"I know," Jay nodded, glancing down at the ground for only a moment before making eye contact with her again. "But I don't want space." He let the words hang in the air a couple seconds before adding on. "I'm good. Physically, I'm... I'm good." His eyes got a little distant. "Now I just..." He chewed the inside of his lip. "I just want to carry on. Like normal. As normal as it gets here."
And that was the truth. He knew someone would tell him that talking about the things he went thought would help, but in his mind, he just wanted to forget. He wanted to get back to his life here. Back to Aurora.
Being taken away from her had put a huge gap in their time together and he just wanted to make up for it.
Aurora chuckled. 'You are a master hunter. It's hardly an embellishment of the truth." She said with a smile as he complimented her footing. She was study when it came to these things and she had been out hunting with the group Jay had taught quite a few times so she had picked up a fair few things, although no one was quite as skilled as Jay was when it came to this. No one could have detected how long had passed since the deer had last been in this area the same way Jay did. She could see his disappointment but began continued to move.
Aurora was careful in her movements and glanced over at Jay when he spoke. "Me? Oh I'm doing just fine. Nothing j can't handle." She had been doing just as much when Kay had been captured. She had needed to then. It helped her keep her mind occupied and now it was just a force of habit, but she enjoyed knowing that she was contributing more than bread to the group's survival. "I'm not avoiding you. I'm trying to give you the space to heal."
Jay raised his brow with an amused look. "Oh, is that what you're calling me now?" He did as he was bid and started to read the ground like a book. He was hoping for something big. Another deer maybe.
He tracked one for a good mile and a half. "You've gotten good and light on your feet," he observed softly having noticed that he could hardly hear Aurora behind him. He knew she had been out here since their first training day. He knew a lot of learning hadn't exactly been done that day, so he was surprised how much she retained.
He shook the hair out of his face and moved some of the leaves on the ground away from some hoofprints in some mud. "Been four or five hours. It's long gone," he said, disappointed.
He straightened back up again and adjusted the shoulder strap of his rifle as they continued to search. He couldn't help but keep looking over at her, watching her move around.
"You know... I think this is the first time we've been alone since I could stand properly. Other than sleepin', I mean." He stopped walking altogether and turned towards her. "You've been taking on a lot. You handlin' it alright?"
Aurora was glad that King didn’t but up too much of a fight because she wasn’t sure how much longer Jay could stay cooped up in here without anything to do. She exchanged a look with him and she nodded as she went to grab a rifle of her own.
They had only been hunting together once more and then Aurora had been a different person, unable to take a shot but now she didn’t even think about it. At some point she realised that in order to survive one had to adapt and that was what she did.
As they approached the woods Aurora glanced around at Jay and smiled a little. “Lead the way master hunter.” She said with a gesture of the hand.
"Still can't imagine he'll say yes, but..." He shrugged. "We might as well give it a shot." After she let the others take over, they left the kitchen and sought out King who was manning the gate at the moment. Perfect timing.
They approached and King took one look back at them. He laughed and shook his head. "You do [i not] give up, do you?" he asked, already anticipating their question.
"If I feel good enough to climb up there and slap you aside the head, I think I'm good enough to hunt," Jay shot back which only got more laughter in reply.
Finally King nodded. "Alright, fine. But don't go far. And be back in two hours."
Jay went to grab a rifle and rolled his eyes. "Yes, [i dad]." They headed through the fence he opened for them "You'll tell the other's where we've gone?" he asked King, who nodded.
They headed out together then, into the woods. Once the camp was out of sight, Jay took a deep breath.
Aurora imagined that Jay felt much like she had when they first arrived here. When she was sick and unable to do something of use she was close to falling into so kind of depression and she did worry about Jay’s mental state. He wasn’t the kind of person who would be happy sitting around doing nothing and every time he offered to help with something he was turned away and told no. Aurora figured they would have to stop saying no at some point because he was healing nicely and he would likely go out on his own to Vent his frustrations and she would prefer he didn’t leave alone as he still was not 100%.
Aurora couldn’t keep avoiding her duties to look after him either so the time they spent together was sparse but she figured in order for him to heal properly, having his space would be useful and without the pressure of talking about their relationship or the baby, he might be able to do so better. So she busied herself helping teach the new residents how to do some of their jobs. She had picked up a few things at this point but today she was in the kitchen teaching some how to make bread.
When she heard someone enter she looked up and smiled softly towards Jay as she clapped her hands together to rid them of the flour. King had given most orders to say no if he offered to help with jobs but she had a different plan. “Actually, I was going to come find you soon. How would you feel about going hunting? For leisure not work, that way King won’t stop us.” She smiled a little and washed her hands before instructing the survivors to take over.
"I'm sick of resting," Jay said, obviously frustrated. But once she moved the hair from his eyes, Aurora's calmness came over him. He let himself relax into the bed. "I hate this," he mumbled.
When Harrison climbed up onto the bed, Jay couldn't help but soften even further. It was hard to be mad with a seven year old calling you dad.
Jay looked over at the boy and ran a hand through his hair, ruffling it softly. "I know you will," he said softly.
Ten minutes later and the two were napping together like that had been the plan all along. Harrison was curled into Jay's side, a small arm draped over his stomach as if laying claim to his new father.
A week passed by and all anyone would let Jay do was sleep and eat. He was at least allowed to move around again on his own without completely collapsing, but no one let him do any real work. Any time he wanted to pitch in it was always, "Sorry, Doctor's orders," or, "King said no."
On top of that, despite all his time spent inside and all the work she insisted on doing outside, he and Aurora didn't get much time together to talk about things. Or to even just sit with the fact that they were together now. At night is when he saw her the most and they were both so tired they usually just fell right to sleep.
The new apartment was perfect. Harrison loved having his own room. Jay thought it might give them a little more privacy, but Scarlett, Monica, and Jack always had to pop inside for something.
A few days after he had been back for a week, he decided he couldn't take it anymore. He needed to go hunt. He needed to get out of that god forsaken room and do something with himself.
He got himself dressed fully for the first time in a long time and checked his reflection in the mirror. Most of the bruises on his face were gone. He still had a cut healing on his lip. And his chest and back were doing much better as long as he didn't overstretch himself.
He left the apartment. He'd at least say hello to Aurora in the kitchen. They got in new survivors, including the ones that they had saved while rescuing Jay, and were teaching them their jobs that day. At least that's what she told him. So she was probably showing everyone how to make bread properly.
Once inside, he came up beside her and leaned on the counter. "You got anything I can do?" If he was coming to the kitchen for something to occupy himself with, then he was truly desperate.
Aurora couldn't help but chuckle at Jack's reaction to their news. She figured it was how most of them were feeling since they all seemed to be expecting them to get together from the very beginning. Jay had shut himself off so quickly when the world went to shit though and she couldn't blame him. It wasn't exactly the jind if world one would expect to settle down and raise a family yet that's what they were about to do.
Aurora looked to Monica when she interjected. It was sweet that she cared about her enough to chastise Jay but now wasn't the time and luckily she seemed to realise that quickly. Jay clearly didn't like having her mad at him though because he moved to talk which proved to be too much.
She looked to Jack and Monica lovingly. "We can all talk more when he is better." She said as she helped Scarlett get him to his room and into bed. She reached out and shifted some hair from his eyes. "You should sleep. I'll wake you up when you need to eat but aside from that you should take all the time you need okay?"
Harrison stood at the doorway looking concerned and Aurora held out her hand to him. "Why don't you come keep him company?" Harrison smiled a little and climbed up onto the bed and wrapped his arms around him softly as he lay his head on the pillow.
"We'll make you better Dad."
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