Hal does his best to avoid holding Eve after the first time, when he is drowning in grief and fueled by something else entirely. He remembers how far away it seemed her crying was coming from. The look on Tom's face, and the words. His own fear of himself, even as he slipped away.

That doesnt count as an excuse though, not to Annie, to Tom, despite all the evidence of exactly what he is. After all, the fact that it has been so long means somehow that he is harmless. Despite every evidence, the tasks he needs to fill up his life with to hold on.

He is afraid of Eve, of her noise and mess and the fact that someone is actually trusting him to care for this tiny thing. It lessens over time though, when his objections don't stop her being thrust into his arms.

Comfortable is never something that he feels around her, around almost anyone or anything, and it is his own skin that is the problem, his own mind. Tom is almost the closest he has come to that.

So it helps really, once he notices the way Tom lingers in the room when the two of them are together, most of the time. It's long after the two have gotten together that Hal thanks him, sitting on the couch and holding Eve as awkwardly as ever, half sure that she can sense his fear as she begins to wriggle.

"'S not 'cause I don' trust'ya, hasn' been for ages," Tom tells him with a shrug. It takes him a moment to get up and move to sit next to Hal on the couch, picking up a toy for Eve and holding it out for her with a smile. "Yer jus' not much've a baby person an' all."

Tom drapes his free arm around Hal's shoulder and kisses his neck with a smile. "Na tha' bad though, haven' had to step in on me own yet."

There is a part of Hal that couldn't disagree more utterly but he smiles, a little thin but partly real as he holds Eve out a little in his direction. "At my request then?" He asks, simply, and Tom manages to half bite back a laugh. "It has to be twelve by now."

"'S been ten minutes, Hal." Tom informs him, and Hal draws the baby back to himself almost disappointedly. Tom grins and shakes his head, "Nah, jus' messin' with'ya, he tells him, taking the baby and kissing Hal again. "Go on then."