AN: Also on tumblr, written for a prompt by anonymous

Seven sleepless nights and you're just about fit to faint. Your feet drag as you make your way slowly into the elevator before jabbing the button with your thumb. You lean back against the warm metal wall and feel the steel box rise slowly up, up through its allotted chute, piercing a height barrier and making your head spin with dizziness.

When the doors slide open, you don't even pause to look ahead. You just want out.

"Watch it!" One of the other tenants, an angry little businessman, barks at you. You grin and raise your gloved palms, a little amused at his offense. But you don't want a fight-not today, anyway—and you keep things civil.

It's not like he could take you if you did.

You swing lithely away from him and he watches your retreat, neither one of you tearing eyes from the other until the doors slide shut and swallow him down into the belly of the mechanical beast. Only then do you turn on your heel and swagger down the hall.

You turn the key in the lock, and you're home.

"Bro!" You're immediately greeted by the patter of little footsteps and an immovable grip around your calf.

"Hey, little dude." A little awkwardly, you turn your torso back and lock the door again. Then you're all his and you scoop the brat from the floor into your arms. "Have a good day?"

Dave clings to you like a koala and you laugh under your breath. One of the points of his shades is digging into your throat but you're too tired to care.

"Alright," you say. "Dinner's coming right up." You carry him to the kitchen and deposit him in a rickety old high-chair. He bangs his little fists against the table but all he garners is a soft thud thud.

You reach into the cupboard and push away a pile of smuppets, knocking a couple to the floor. Little Dave is watching you and he makes grabbing motions at the plush rumps littering the ground.

"When you're done," you say, sliding your hand further along the cupboard bottom. Shit. Are you seriously out of food? You don't think you have the strength to drag your sorry ass back to the grocery store, but Little Dave's gotta eat somehow.

In a sudden strike of godless mercy, your fingertips brush against a solitary jar, pushed right to the very corner. If you had tear ducts, you would have cried in joy. You don't do that sissy crap, though, so you pull your shit together and persuade it down from its lofty hiding place.

By now, Little Dave is nice and agitated and he's making squawking noises. Your practiced fingers circle the cap and you pull the jar open.

"All right, all right, soup's up," you mutter, snatching a little spoon from the drying rack and pulling up a chair. "Are we gonna be good today? Am I going to be able to get some of this into that face of yours or what?"

Dave babbles and you dig the spoon into the carroty mush. Goddamn does it ever smell awful, but he seems to tolerate it, so you guess you should, too.

"Here comes the Boeing 757 with two hundred passengers aboard, awaiting imminent esophagus engulfment," you say, pressing the spoon to his lips. "Come on, little guy, don't deny these folks their acidy demise." Eventually, you manage to coax him into eating and, once he's started, he finishes the jar off pretty quickly. "Good," you say, exhausted. "Good kid." You wipe the stray food from his lips and free him from his wooden prison. You look the damn thing over and think you might need to perform a little patch-up with some duct-tape, but for now you don't really give a shit. It's holding and that's all that matters.

The little brat burps a couple times, softly, into your ear, as you hold him there and you snort. Well, there's one problem pre-emptively solved, at least. Wish you could say the same about a few other things.

Dave pulls at your shirt as you carry him to the couch and it's there that you collapse, him lying flat against your chest. You'd probably prefer the bed but it's a whole room away and the way Dave is closing his eyes behind those shades tell you it's safest to just stay here. He likes it, at least, and the warmth from your tired body seems to soothe him. He's had a rough couple of nights, too, and maybe it's best to just let the sleeping demon child lie.

Ah, who are you kidding?

You'll keep him.