Filling in the Blanks (Afterward Universe)
AN: On my prompts post, @fidgetspinner91 asked to see some of Michael’s anxiety (especially when his family is out of his sight) and @nikscaroline asked for some jealous Michael. Way back when, I was asked if I would write about some of the unknowns from the seven years they all lost. That’s a lot to tackle, but I’ve tried, in this one LONG fic. Takes place when Henry is about eight weeks old, right around the time of Laundry Night. More fics to come using other prompts, and if you still have some for me, send them my way.
After the ordeal of Henry’s birth, Michael worked hard to convince himself his episodes of PTSD were over. When, out of the blue one afternoon, his vision suddenly narrowed to a black speck while holding Henry in his arms, he told himself the acute anxiety wasn’t happening, and when he felt the prick of cold sweat at the sight of a particular car too long in his rear-view mirror driving Mike to school, he reminded himself he didn’t have time for such indulgences as panic attacks. Then he lost Mike for eight minutes and 26 seconds at a gas station on a Saturday in September, and knew with a jolt of certainty that he was not healed, was not healthy, and was not in control of the panic that hovered at the edge of his life, waiting to pounce.
They’d been on the way to the Ithaca Sciencecenter, a promised outing for Mike, who had been so good and helpful with Henry. When Michael stopped to fill the tank at the Shell station on Highway 13, Mike spoke up from the back seat.
“Dad? I have to go to the bathroom.”