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Tenenbaum pulled herself to stand on her own using Jack’s suit coat, looking skeptically at the blood stains and holes there… And he let out a breath when she didn’t comment on it. Of course he was hiding something. All that time with someone like Booker was making him secretive after all.
We have that in common, ja? Such a terrible effect we have on those we know.
“Verdammt,” she grumbled. “Get off me, I’ll go help.” He trailed after her, his concern in the air like atmospheric pressure. Tenenbaum kicked her heels off as she continued, and the little ones took to them quickly…
And she stopped, stumbling to her knees and almost falling by the pieces of their tower.
“Schnuckiputzi,” she slurred at the closest of the girls and pat her head. She giggled, rushing at Tenenbaum with a hug – drawing in the others as well in a wave of children.
“I’ll just…” Jack’s voice disappeared or maybe went away, she couldn’t tell– no, she wasn’t listening. Not to him.
“Mama B!” The girls called over each other, tiny arms wrapping around her, voices blending with her laughter. It was better than ‘Mr. B’, to be certain. And to think, her maternal instinct once repulsed her.
“Tenenbaum,” he interrupted, but he was too gruff and deep for Jack… She looked up, straining to see at such an awkward angle.
And through the alcohol.
Stubble, bandaged arms crossed over his chest, and cool blue eyes watching her. She blinked, he stared. Booker, then. “Looks like it’s my turn to babysit.”
She chuckled, sitting up as the girls scrambled away to rebuild their tower. The floor was damp, uneven stone and yet the little ones still ran barefoot without trouble. Tenebaum didn’t find it as forgiving.
But at least she had a handsome distraction. One that was easy to tease. “Have I not been sitting you these past months, keeping you from going mad in your idle days?”
“I… Wouldn’t say that.” Yet he had more to say and only shifted his weight in silence. Maybe the dose left him restless? Or maybe…
Fighting her way to her feet, limbs warm and heavy, Tenenbaum shuffled over to Booker.
Where did the girls take her shoes?
She didn’t get this drunk often… Tenenbaum impressed herself being at least decently spoken and coordinated as she was. Das Wunderkind had learned new skills– and she buried that thought quickly.
“I know a better way to return this favor,” she suggested, reaching out to grab the red sash around his neck. What were they called again?
Booker tensed, shoulders locked as he pulled back in equal force to keep from getting close. And in the corner of her eye, blurry shapes of Elizabeth and Jack sat across from each other.
Art by NeonBairon on dA
Let the children talk…
Tenenbaum twisted the fabric around her hand and stepped forward to be right in front of Booker. Without her heels, the height difference between them was even clearer. Yet he did not resist. Not truly. “Fontaine was into business, the work of the mind. He was a bit soft underneath that fancy suit.”
“More than I wanted to know,” Booker grumbled and kept a confused glare on her. He didn’t trust her and he showed it. Booker wasn’t a good man, no, but he couldn’t hide what he felt. That, Tenenbaum could trust.
“You,” she went on, smirking. “You are a man of the body, a solider. It would be an improvement and we could help one another. Think about it, Booker.” And she let go of the sash, staggering back and trying to pass that off. “I will be.”
“Wha– that’s–” His hand found the back of his neck and his eyes wandered off to an empty corner of the room until he recovered. For a man who had committed such atrocities, Booker could be such a prude. “Don’t compare me to Fontaine.”
Tenenbaum shrugged, feeling clumsy even in doing that. “I didn’t hear no.”
“Tenenbaum, just– just focus,” he snapped. “We need another dose of Lot 192. Did you get enough to make it?”
She snorted and dropped into a wheelchair nearby, rolling away a small distance. “No, your blood made a mess of it – to put this in words you will understand.”
“Hey,” Jack’s thin voice interrupted. “Elizabeth got some news… Over the radio. The city’s falling apart. People are panicking with all this fighting between Atlas and Ryan.” Jack heaved a breath, buttoning and unbuttoning his blazer.
Booker stepped closer to squeeze Jack’s shoulder. What could Tenenbaum do but smile as he fathered the boy better than he ever had been? An opportunity for them both.
all this drinking made her emotional
“And Suchong returned to the lab after Booker hit it. Maybe under orders to work on the bond between the girls and Big Daddies and…” He forced his hands into his pockets, looking to Booker. “He’s dead.”
What do you want to do, Elizabeth/Tenenbaum?
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