"Marsh! Where the hell are you? We need to go!"
Reid threw a pile of socks in the duffel bag splayed out on his bed, growling in frustration. This would be a hell of a lot easier if he could remember where he'd actually put everything. As it was... there was clothing everywhere, and he still couldn't find his keys.
"Where are my keys?! Marsh! Have you seen my keys?!"
There was a soft jingling sound at the door, and Reid spun quickly, blinking in surprise. A tiny, blonde boy stood in the doorway, arms crossed, pout set in full force.
And dangling from one of his little hands was a set of keys. Reid's keys. With the little string voodoo doll and everything.
"Great, you found them." He started forward, only to have the boy shove the keys in his pocket and glare up at Reid. "What?"
"I don't want to go anywhere," the boy said stubbornly. "I want to stay here."
Reid groaned. Shit. "Marsh..."
"No!" Marsh yelled, hands on his little hips. "Mommy said she was gonna come back here! If we go somewhere else, she won't be able to find us!"
Reid threw his hands up. "She's not coming back, Marshall! She's been gone over a year! She is gone, and good fucking riddance to her, too! I don't care if she never comes back, got it!"
His son's face scrunched up in fury, and he retrieved the car keys to throw them at Reid with enough force that he gasped in pain when they hit him in the chest. "I hate you!" Marshall screamed, then dashed from the room, making Reid wince when the boy slammed his bedroom door shut with enough force to rattle the entire tiny, shaky apartment.
"Hey!" came a muffled shout from the floor below, and thumping on the wall.
"Yeah, shut up!" Reid shouted back, then flopped, frustrated, on his bed. "Fucked up again, Garwin. Real mature, swearing at a seven year old. Yeah. That's good parenting, right there. Dammit, why'd she - ?" Reid cut himself off before he could lament that his girlfriend Dominca could have had the stupid bad sense to leave him with a six year old and expect him to be able to raise him by himself, not entirely because he didn't believe it, but also because the walls of this hellhole he'd found his way into were thin enough Marshall would probably be able to hear him.
Pushing himself up, Reid headed slowly down the hall, pushing Marshall's door open. "Marsh? Hey, buddy."
Marshall was sitting on his bed, a half packed Batman backpack on the bed beside him. There were tear-tracks on his face, and he still looked resentful.
"Hi." Reid took a deep breath. "I... you know I didn't mean that, right? I shouldn't have said that..."
"I know." Marsh said softly, wiping his nose with the sleeve of his shirt. "I want mom back."
"So do I, Marsh, believe me." Reid smirked, remembering. She cleaned, she could cook food that at least didn't taste like cardboard... and damn, that thing she did when she was... He cleared his throat. "Come on, the others are waiting for us."
"Is Chase really that bad?" Marshall asked, swinging off his bed and tossing a few more haphazard items of clothing in his backpack.
"Yeah," Reid sighed. "He is. Did you pack any underwear, little man?"
Marsh rolled his eyes, but headed over to the dresser to grab a few pairs and shove them into the bag, along with his ragged blue and red clown doll. His mother had gotten him that stupid thing, and he'd loved it because it had 'silkies' - red ribbons tied around its neck. He'd liked to rub the 'silkies' while he sat around sucking his thumb. Even now, he still rubbed the ribbons in his sleep.He'd worn right through the ribbons five or six times already.
The front door opened, and Reid spun, eyes already black, and Marshall dropped the bag to dart behind his father, clinging to the back of his shirt.
Caleb rounded the corner, and Reid's shoulders slumped in relief, eyes fading.
"Hey. You almost ready?" Caleb asked, eyes serious.
Reid nodded. "Marsh?"
He held up his little backpack.
"Right. Let's go."
And as they left, Reid made sure to slam the front door with as much force as he figured it's flimsy frame could take. Ha.